As the year starts, here is an absolute GEM from DoshDosh:
“It’s the first month of a new year and at this time I’m itching to start new web ventures both for fun and profit. I usually do up a list of possible startup and site ideas and narrow them down into those with the highest potential. But success depends on execution and not just plans so I tend not to be too hung up about having a complete vision of what I want.
A little vagueness won’t hurt. I can always muddle through and change things up in response to market conditions or personal interest. No need to be perfect from the start.
I looked at many websites to study their methods, to learn what made them a success. I started planning what specific niche I wanted to explore and suddenly realized that I was thinking about the whole thing in a roundabout way.
There’s really no need to think hard about having the perfect idea. The foundations of popular and profitable websites/services are deeply related to the basic reasons why people get online and use the internet. Let’s do some reverse engineering from that perspective.
So, why do people worldwide use the internet?
- To communicate and socialize
This is very much a fundamental human need. People like to meet and talk to other people through the internet. They use it to maintain new or existing relationships. They want to communicate ideas and find solidarity with others who share similar interests. So do something which facilitates communication. Hyper-local or cross-border communities, social networks, virtual worlds, apps or services built on existing communication/social protocols and services. Bring human social activities onto the internet grid. Socialize existing web functions, emphasize on connecting people.
- To find information, learn new things and be entertained
The internet is a massive archive of new and old information. It is also a source of pleasure, giving immediate gratification in the form of images, sound and interactivity. As an educational tool, the web is essential for people who are seeking to learn.
People want to find things online. So help them. Create a system which provides information or filters existing content. Monetize the flow of data. Blogs, training courses, social news, aggregated news, paid membership sites, online journals, one-stop entertainment portals, video, image and game hubs with a specific focus.
- To do work, generate income and run a business
People use the internet to make a living. It is essential to many businesses that want to increase brand exposure or sell a product/service. They also use the web to help them work better. There is a market of webmasters, entrepreneurs and small/big businesses out there who are willing to pay to boost their revenue. Consultancies, design firms, freelancers, enterprise software, business-specific tools/apps and services. Think of ways to help people work smarter and more efficiently online.
And of course, there’s the e-commerce industry and the buying/selling of products. There’s really a lot more specific reasons why people get online. Everyone of them is an idea for a product/service/website. Most likely there’s already someone out there in the same niche doing the same thing. The question is not how many competitors are there but how saturated and fulfilled are each web user’s reasons/needs.
Differentiate by presenting alternate solutions. Or stand on the shoulders of giants and improve existing services/websites even more. Learn to do some clever marketing and you should do fine. Cut your losses early by quitting when you’ve lost the passion or will to work hard. Because one rarely gets profitable or influential without interest or perseverance.”