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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    Question Who's actually making BIG money?

    Hey guys,
    Im relatively new to Sitepoint. Been browsing around over the last few months but never had the time to actually focus on participating.

    Firstly Id like to say, that this site is amazing! Theres some really great information here and the forum is just sensational. Numerous threads of which I can relate directly to - some great minds here!

    Well, as the topic header suggests, I thought Id jump on and ask the question....

    Are there any entrepreneur's here making a decent income from online business or ecommerce? From their own websites? By decent income I guess I mean income up and around the $100K a year or above mark.

    Anyone?

    I was speaking to a relatively financially successful friend (property investor) online just recently and was asked the quesion...

    "what are you goals..? where do you see yourself?" to which I replied..

    "Id like to think that I could make $100K a year from the net through online business..."

    He then put forward the following questions..

    1. Is it really do-able?
    2. Will the web infact bring the lifestyle you want?
    3. Do you know of other successful web people?
    4. Have you actually networked with other successful "web" people?

    And I thought to myself .."I dont know!"

    ...etc etc etc

    It was up until that moment that I really gave it some really good thought. I mean, I sit here day in day out programming sites in an effort to create income in hope that I will eventually make it big. Then it became a reality...I thought to myself, "Is this really possible.."

    Now by no means am I thinking negatively or doubting my abilities, but I need reassurance from perhaps those who are doing well that Im not attempting to get to a destination with the wrong approach. I hope you can all understand what Im getting at.

    I wont post up my sites here as I havent read over the terms and conditions ...is it allowable to do so or not?

    ...anyway, Im making probably $1,000 a month at the moment from 2 sites that I have and basically do web design from home to pay the bills.

    Anyway, Ive probably babbled on long enough - it would be great to hear from everyone, thoughts and opinions etc.

    Thanks guys,

    John

  2. #2
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    Very quiet here, all of a sudden. Ha ha!

    Interesting topic.

    I think most people frequenting these forums are web developers and designers and perhaps not online business owners.

    We have a client that runs a very succesful online business that we have been with from day one. (Most of our clients are both online and offline so this is the example I could think of.) They are doing very well but they are completely untechnical and would probably never dream of visiting Sitepoint.

    In other words, there are probably better forums for meeting online entrepreneurs?

    But you have a very interesting point. It seems like you are a developer yourself and you are thinking of switching more to web based services. I agree with you 100% on that because consulting is not the best route to go down in the long run. Rather than having your income depend on manhours it is much better to have a business that generates money even when you are asleep.

    And who better to do this then we who are already developers/designers? We don't, as opposed to our clients, have to spend $100K, to get our online business up and running. All we need to do is invest our time and efforts.

    My problem is that I am lazy and not focussed on the goals your friend was talking about. I need someone to kick my butt and get started with some kind of online business. Generally, business ideas don't have to be unique or even very good. Persistance and perseverence seems to be more important.

    OK, now I have babbled on too. Over to someone else...

  3. #3
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    Hey mate,
    Thanks for the reply - yes it is quiet in here! I scrolled down the page before and saw hundreds of members online, but where on earth are they all??

    Anyway...

    Its a strange industry isnt it? The web. i guess my reason for posting this is that quite often when developing late at nights I wonder.."where are all of the other people doing what Im doing..?" Meaning, surely Im not the only one sitting here programming til 3am every night in a hope that I can put together a site that could potentially earn 6 figures a year!

    Unlike yourself I dont need a kick up the butt, infact Im the opposite. An idea pops into my head and I go on about developing the site over a 12 month period, fine tuning, changing, enhancing - then launching.

    Then waiting. Then well...wondering when the money will follow.

    Its great having the development skills, however Im really beginning to realise that the money comes with marketing. Efforts concentrated in both online and offline marketing must be the key!

    Be good to hear from some more established entrepenuers who have made it and can reassure me the efforts are worth while!

    John

  4. #4
    Theoretical Physics Student bronze trophy Jake Arkinstall's Avatar
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    Well, I would say that the most likely way to get big in the web world is to have money to start with. Of course, you could make a brilliant web service, but if it isn't known about, then it might as well not exist.

    I'd say that the most-wanted service on the web is domain hosting. If you host good domains, whilst also offer web development and hosting as a package, then I'm sure people will use your service.
    Jake Arkinstall
    "Sometimes you don't need to reinvent the wheel;
    Sometimes its enough to make that wheel more rounded"-Molona

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    Ummm, not really interested in selling services, more so sites that generate traffic and pull good revenue.

    Such as one of my sites here - *link removed

    That I will *one day* get around to fixing!

    John
    Last edited by ramone_johnny; Aug 7, 2007 at 07:24. Reason: heads up from community mod

  6. #6
    SEO/SEM Unkn0wnPlayer's Avatar
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    Well, over this last year I'll have made around $xxx,xxx.xx *but* that includes the sale of an online ecommerce business.

    If I were to book my services full 40 hours per week I would cap out around high $xx,xxx.xx (not including my own projects), but I've been spending way too much time at the beach lately.
    Last edited by Unkn0wnPlayer; Aug 7, 2007 at 08:03. Reason: removed financial numbers

  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unkn0wnPlayer View Post
    Well, over this last year I'll have made around $100k *but* that includes the sale of an online ecommerce business.

    If I were to book my services full 40 hours per week I would cap out around $75k (not including my own projects), but I've been spending way too much time at the beach lately.
    Whilst not giving too much away, thanks for the encouragement. What would you say was the *turning* point or changes that you made, that started to bring in the $?

    John

  8. #8
    SEO/SEM Unkn0wnPlayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post
    Whilst not giving too much away, thanks for the encouragement. What would you say was the *turning* point or changes that you made, that started to bring in the $?

    John
    It's not a problem . I would say the turning point for me creating an actual plan. I sat down, drew out a road map of sorts, and what I needed to do to get there. For me, it involved selling a product (and now a service). Once I secured the resources for the product, I got to work doing research. Many hours per day was not uncommon. I had to eat, breath, and sleep the business if it was going to succeed.

    I read everything that I could get my hands on. Sitepoint, DigitalPoint, Webmaster World, Blogs, Books... all of it. Not only do you have to learn the internet side, but you also have to learn how to run a general business as well. I had to learn how to create an LLC. I had to learn how to read tax forms. It was hell, but interesting at the same time and you can never be too careful when it comes to the government.

    I had some money saved up so I quit my cushy corporate IT job. I'm not sure If I recommend that to others so hastily, looking back I was a little crazy! I couldn't explain it, but I knew that everything was going to work out regardless of what the naysayers thought. Before you knew it, I was at the top of the search engines for many of the products I sold (the niche was not saturated at the time). I wrote quality, unique sales copy and did everything that I possibly could to maximize conversions. Business picked up very fast and within a month a few sales per day were rolling in. Couple that with affiliate programs and a stable income was being made.

    I only needed to run a small marketing campaign, mostly some text links and PPC via adwords and overture. I didn't need much because I owned my niche in Google. PPC was just used to solidify that fact.

    Then I grew bored, sold the business, and here we are. This was all done within 8 months mind you. 2000+ orders in 8 months. If I can do it, you can do it. Just be smart, be creative, and use some common sense.

    Hope it helps.

    Edit: That being said, I think that there's generally quite a bit more money on the internet selling products, services, and affiliate programs than running informational and adsense sites. It sounds like you're well on your way already though, so congratulations to that. $1,000/mo is no easy task.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    I've found if you want to be a one-man-band-type entrepreneur, it's certainly easier to hit the $300,000+ salary if you concentrate on developing ecommerce sites for yourself, rather than 3rd party web development or 'made for adsense' sites etc etc.

    I went down the digital delivery route and haven't looked back, it's really just a case of good marketing, constant improvement, networking and keeping your ears out for good opportunities to progress the business further. Try developing a unqiue niche product and see how far you can take it.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unkn0wnPlayer View Post
    It's not a problem . I would say the turning point for me creating an actual plan. I sat down, drew out a road map of sorts, and what I needed to do to get there. For me, it involved selling a product (and now a service). Once I secured the resources for the product, I got to work doing research. Many hours per day was not uncommon. I had to eat, breath, and sleep the business if it was going to succeed..

    Wow, thank you very much for that. Its great to associate with experienced people such as yourself. I guess I could ask a hundred and one questions but Ill try to avoid that if possible.

    Having a plan is becoming more importantly apparent. My wealthy (property investor) friend highlighted this to me the other night when he asked "whats your goal?" and my response was "to make a lot of money from the internet"

    As you can see thats not exactly scoped or outlined as a goal in any way.

    Ill take on your advice and continue reading and learning as much as possible in an effort to move forward.

    Thanks again for your response.

    John

    *Oh and by the way, I just chucked in my cushy IT job with government about 3 months ago too because I feel that "everything will just kinda work out"

    Fingers crossed

  11. #11
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowbox View Post
    ..Try developing a unqiue niche product and see how far you can take it.
    Gday Shadow,
    Strangely enough I thought I *had* infact done this back in 2004 when I developed my garage sale website. It really was and still is a *new" concept so to speak, over here. Everyone that sees it always comments on how its a "great idea".

    However, unfortunatey Im finding that people are still advertising in newspapers instead of online when it comes to their garage sales. its weird!

    Some weeks I get 25 ads which is ok, and yet I open up the newspaper and theres 400 ads listed! If only I could tap into that at $10, $15 a pop Id be happy!

    Ive tried a variety of marketing without success and unfortunately none of the newspapers will allow me to advertise in print form as they see me as a threat.

    I mean, Im just one guy in a back office at home!

    John

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
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    I think a lot of people here are making well over $100k a year, but you won't hear too much from them. They're the ones that don't like to toot their own horns.

    But you can probably pick them out if you look hard enough. Many of them are the extremely helpful ones who have given LOTS of advice over the years. Some of them are staff members.

    Our revenues from websites are more than $100k a year, but I won't go into specifics or anything. It's not anyone's business how much I make but me (and the IRS )

    There are people around that make that per month. It's completely possible, but it takes hard work. You're on the right track -- you're already making decent money and on your way to grow your sites and add more.

    You can't post your sites around the forums, but you CAN include a link to them in your signature, as long as they're not affiliate links or otherwise violate the guidelines. Link up your sig so we can see your sites!

    Best of luck,

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post
    I mean, Im just one guy in a back office at home!
    Really doesn't mean anything - I'm the same, but there's nothing stopping me making money just because I work from home. Eventually I'm going to have to expand and get help if I want to take my ecommerce sites beyond a certain point, as the administration can be a killer, but there's plenty of money to be made in the interim, especially if pursue certain avenues - I'm currently licensing some of my ebooks to the japanese market, and it's going to net me 6 figures annually - all this because I wrote some niche ebooks in my free time a few years back.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beley View Post
    I think a lot of people here are making well over $100k a year, but you won't hear too much from them. They're the ones that don't like to toot their own horns.

    But you can probably pick them out if you look hard enough. Many of them are the extremely helpful ones who have given LOTS of advice over the years. Some of them are staff members.

    Our revenues from websites are more than $100k a year, but I won't go into specifics or anything. It's not anyone's business how much I make but me (and the IRS )

    There are people around that make that per month. It's completely possible, but it takes hard work. You're on the right track -- you're already making decent money and on your way to grow your sites and add more.

    You can't post your sites around the forums, but you CAN include a link to them in your signature, as long as they're not affiliate links or otherwise violate the guidelines. Link up your sig so we can see your sites!

    Best of luck,
    Excellent feedback and very encouraging! I now feel rejuvinated and ready to hack away at code for hours! Thank you!

    I removed the link in the previous post - will add them to my sig.

    John

  15. #15
    SEO/SEM Unkn0wnPlayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post
    I mean, Im just one guy in a back office at home!
    To me, that is the best part!

    Quote Originally Posted by beley
    I think a lot of people here are making well over $100k a year, but you won't hear too much from them. They're the ones that don't like to toot their own horns.
    This is very true. Not to mention the numerous amount who tend to sit back, lurk, and collect. I noticed this when I became more active in the SP marketplace.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Well I don't, but your post also doesn't take into account that the value of USD 100 000 is different in different parts of the world. There are, for example, a lot of Indian members here, for whom making USD 100 000 a year would be worth considerably more than USD 100 000 in the US and Western Europe.
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  17. #17
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    First I need to second my Danish viking brother above. In my country you would be looked upon as average if you as an experienced IT-pro earned 100k/year. If you consider my other "home" country, Ukraine, you would be rich with 100k/year income. So everything is relative.

    It's my belief that, independent of industry, to create great companies that makes really good money you need an excellent team of people, and not only one person. People have so many limitations and so much to gain from getting complementing skills in their management. I wouldn't had last 5 minutes without people around me. Also having people working together with you is better than having to generate all the revenue yourself.

    There is an illusion and hype that there is something called easy money. I don't believe in it. Of course you can be lucky, but long term money only gets easy after a lot of experience and trail & failure over the years. The secret is that to grow a real company is really really painful, but there's little that more efficiently push you forward and teach you the lessons of life that is necessary to make money more "easy".

    The problem for many freelancers and mini companies is that they work in their business rather than working on growing it. They are professional IT people, but it's an hindrance for really growing their business. Often it actually can be an advantage having a non-techie person running the business, because he doesn't get strangled up in all the technical details. I recommend reading a book called "E-myth revisited" to learn more about that subject.
    George Skee
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  18. #18
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    Its great having the development skills, however Im really beginning to realise that the money comes with marketing. Efforts concentrated in both online and offline marketing must be the key!
    Absolutely. Marketing is of course crucial.

    Another thing that is crucial for success is that the payment methods should be adapted to your target group. If you do classifieds/garage sales it is a service for ordinary people, not geeks (ebook readers are much more techologically mature for example).

    This means you can forget about credit cards and especially Paypal*. Key for success, when it comes to micro payments, is having an easy way for people to pay, for example pick up the phone, dial a number and get an access code and have $3 charged to your phone bill. I don't know what country you are in so it is hard to say what you can do and can't.

    *Try to get your mother or grand mother to sign up and pay with Paypal if you don't belive me.

  19. #19
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Revenue is easy; profit is hard. I hit $100,000 in annual revenue from my websites in 2004, and I credit much of my success to the help of this community. I now hit that mark pretty early into the year. But it's not like revenue goes into the bank; you spent it on advertising to get that revenue, you spent it buying whatever you're selling, you spent it on developers and designers and support reps...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pacifer View Post
    First I need to second my Danish viking brother above. In my country you would be looked upon as average if you as an experienced IT-pro earned 100k/year. If you consider my other "home" country, Ukraine, you would be rich with 100k/year income. So everything is relative.

    It's my belief that, independent of industry, to create great companies that makes really good money you need an excellent team of people, and not only one person. People have so many limitations and so much to gain from getting complementing skills in their management. I wouldn't had last 5 minutes without people around me. Also having people working together with you is better than having to generate all the revenue yourself.

    There is an illusion and hype that there is something called easy money. I don't believe in it. Of course you can be lucky, but long term money only gets easy after a lot of experience and trail & failure over the years. The secret is that to grow a real company is really really painful, but there's little that more efficiently push you forward and teach you the lessons of life that is necessary to make money more "easy".

    The problem for many freelancers and mini companies is that they work in their business rather than working on growing it. They are professional IT people, but it's an hindrance for really growing their business. Often it actually can be an advantage having a non-techie person running the business, because he doesn't get strangled up in all the technical details. I recommend reading a book called "E-myth revisited" to learn more about that subject.
    That's good stuff.

    Most IT professionals see there is money to be made in entrepreneurship.. and that's true. However, most of us have spent our lives working to make money for someone else... not for ourselves. It can be difficult shifting your perspective outside of that cubicle/comm closet.

    One should seriously consider what a disadvantage this leaves us at. Especially if you were never very high up the ladder at the office. You go in to work, and do just what someone else has already planned out for you to do. Either trouble tickets, projects, or whatever.. unless you were part of the inner circle, most of the good stuff you could've learned and applied to building your own business was done behind the scenes.

    That's not to say that your time working for someone else doesn't have any value to you now. There are a lot of insights to be gleaned from any perspective.. but will those get you where you are wanting to go.. AKA.. $100K+ per year?

    The number one reason people fail with these web stores is poor planning in most cases. Complete lack there of in others. There have been very few who've been able to look at the broader picture and develop a truly valuable site that people will trust and return to.

    Of course there are a lot of ways to achieve that.. rows upon rows of books at your local library.. each one of them trying to tell you that XYZ Strategy is better than LMNOP Strategy. The point is, you have to expose yourself to what's out there.. what's been done.. what's worked for whom when, and what's flopped like an iPhone.

    Bottom line.. your goal is to build a business.. not a web site. You should be searching out the best practices on how to manage, market, and grow that business from it's conception. The bits and pieces people assume they can overlook, or wait to develop at a later date.. those can be the reasons why you fail in the first six months.

    I suggest you pick a few companies to do a little research on.. and don't pick average examples if you want above average results for yourself! Go for the throat.. RedBull, Napster (the OLD Napster), D.C.Martin... or anyone you've been in awe of for the past five to ten years.

    The idea here.. is to take your end game goal and develop your strategies in pursuit of attaining that particular vision. You certainly wouldn't drive a car without being able to see where you were going, right? Focus and understanding of what it takes to get where you want to be.. that's what will take you the farthest.

    Dear gods.. I'm rambling! Okay.. I may know of a few books you'd benefit from reading.. or skimming through. Perhaps even a few web sites with some educational facets that might also help you out. If you want to know, send me a PM and I'll take the time to look all that up and shoot it back to you. Also, I may know a few others who could offer their two cents in regard to your original questions... so I'll pass them on.

  21. #21
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    A big part of my business is consulting to smaller businesses and freelancers and showing them to work their way up the business-ladder and make more money. i have watched many of my clients break through the 100k barrier - some have made much more.

    For the most part, if you are offering services you'll cap out at a certain income (especially in web, which is a low-pay business compared to other forms of professional services). So, if you really want to make money you have to diversify, etc.

    I have also watched lots of people get obsessed with their income and start working to hard and investing their whole lives into the dream of making lots of money. I generally don't work with those kinds of clients for long. An unbalanced life isn't so go, and it's possible to make lots of money and be happy without having to make 'the most money possible'.

    Anyways, the people who make the BIG money are the ones who don't talk about it, it's true. I am generally skeptical of the people who post checks and blog about their income - I think most of them exaggerate, and many lie.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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    This reminds me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing View Post
    .. For the most part, if you are offering services you'll cap out at a certain income (especially in web, which is a low-pay business compared to other forms of professional services). So, if you really want to make money you have to diversify, etc. ....
    I think this is a key factor in creating a strong net presence for yourself. The more different types of goods, services, information that you can offer at quality.. the bigger your customer base will be. Not to mention, those people will tell their friends.. and so on.

    One type of product/service will get you one set of customers. If this isn't a consumable product/service.. (IE: they have to keep buying more) then they aren't even repeat customers most often.. nor will they spread the word about your company unless they run into someone who needs your particular variety of widget.

    Even if you just want to build an info site that generates a profit from ad space.. you'll never get anywhere with one published article.

    The trick is to appeal to the broadest range of customer needs while maintaining quality and establishing valued connections with those individuals. Don't just offer them software, offer them software that works and tutorials or some such knowledge base on how to use it properly. Not only do they love you for being so easy to work with.. you also keep them coming back to see what else you may have to offer.

    Unless.. you just want to scam people. There's always that I suppose.

  23. #23
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    That's a little simplistic - you can do very well by being an extremely focused specialist. Diversifying your offering might be good, but it might be just as well to focus on a single thing and do it well. Even if you are doing services there are ways to increase revenue, and you can always take on employees. Each business is different.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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    In my experience you need to dip your feet into a variety of pools to make 100k+ unless of course you can land annual or semi-annual retainer(s) from a company or two, these usually pay out 50k+.

    Here is what I do to make over 100k
    • Multiple week or month long projects with return of referred clients
    • 1 annual retainer with my biggest client (not part of above)
    • 2 self-running small revenue based sites, minimal support needed.
    • Hosting ability for all clients and even referred clients that all I provide is hosting. This is less of a revenue generator and more of a tool to keep in the loop with companies and business networking. It keeps my name, business, and services in their head as I am constantly in contact with them as a hosting service provider.
    If you have the income you do not need to be a Network guy to host sites, I am not a Network/Server expert. I pay a collocation company for a rack and to host my servers and they deal with all the technical issues along with IT consultant or two.

    Networking and having the available resources is key. It will be difficult to may significant money without having the resources in place to accept each opportunity as it comes out you. A person that networks well will make money faster and easier then the majority of people that sit in their office never talking to anyone.

  25. #25
    I Never Give Up roosevelt's Avatar
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    There's a saying only money can make money. This means, if you are thinking of making $100K a year, then you actually have to invest probably half of that to setup a successful income.

    I believe the owner of HostGator (do i have to say who this guy is?) stops by here and there at sitepoint . When you start as a web developer or a programmer, take the liberty to learn from the people who you work for. They don't need to teach you, just observe how their website is played out, what kind of geography they are targeting, and most important of all, what is their marketing strategy. Just by this you will get quite a lot of information about starting a business and go for the success. Don't rely on companies who makes you work from home, but try to get into the ones who got an established office.

    And if you already have technical knowledge, then like Gibberish said... don't bother hiring people unless its an absolute must. For example, if you messed up the server and customers are getting angry. Then don't bother using google but hire a tech to solve your problem.

    Keep your eyes open on the latest technologies if you want your business to succeed. Because if you are offering something that is 3 years old, then people won't even bother hanging out. It's a ton of hard work, but once you have a good customer base, and people working under you... just sit back and relax a bit .


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