We often get told the story of the disciplined saver: the individual who, through sheer willpower and the occasional skipped latte, managed to amass a small fortune over time.
There's merit to being frugal, and it’s a narrative many of us grew up with. Save, pinch pennies, and perhaps wealth will come your way.
The Internet: A Level Playing Field
Back in the day, the barriers to entry for most businesses were daunting. Renting physical spaces, managing inventory, hiring employees – these were just a few of the challenges budding entrepreneurs had to contend with.
One of my early entrepreneurial journeys began with a humble brick-and-mortar setup: a hotdog stand on a street corner. Yet, it turned out to be a challenging endeavour, far from the success I had imagined.
It was a disaster.
At that time, I was unaware of the immense potential of the internet and how effectively one could harness it to generate income.
Fast forward to today, and the internet has revolutionised how we approach business. With a website and a good idea, anyone, anywhere, can start a business.
Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, started his multi-million dollar venture from his apartment by tapping into a niche. He often speaks about how most opportunities are just sitting there waiting for someone to grab them, especially in the age of the internet.
Your passion, whether it’s making artisanal chocolates, offering life coaching, or writing about 18th-century French literature, has an audience out there. And the internet provides the platform to reach that audience.
Beyond Penny Pinching
Let’s get one thing straight: there’s a limit to how much you can save. But your earning potential? That’s boundless. Think of the internet as a vast marketplace, and your passion or business idea as the unique product or service you're offering.
MJ De Marco, in his book The Millionaire Fastlane, emphasises the importance of tapping into scalable business models. When your business is online, you’re not trading time for money. You're leveraging systems that work for you 24/7.
It's like having a store that never closes, with customers from all over the world. Every blog post you write, every video you upload, every product you launch — they all have the potential to bring in revenue, even when you’re sleeping.
Take, for instance, the story of the Dollar Shave Club. What began as a simple concept — delivering quality razors to subscribers for a modest fee — transformed into a billion-dollar acquisition by Unilever.
Their initial promotional video, costing just $4,500 to produce, went viral and led to 12,000 orders in just the first 48 hours. Their unique business idea found its audience on the vast marketplace of the internet.
Or consider the tale of Canva, a graphic design tool platform born out of a simple observation: that graphic design was often complicated and inaccessible. Starting as a modest online tool, Canva tapped into the expansive reach of the internet to democratise design.
Fast forward to today, and it's a multi-billion-dollar company serving millions of users worldwide.
These examples illustrate that with the right idea and execution, the digital realm offers unparalleled opportunities for growth and success.
Your creation doesn't just have to be a small stall in this bazaar; it can be the next big attraction that draws crowds from all over the globe.
But Margaret, these are giant companies; I am only a tiny fish in a big pond.
Consider the stories of ordinary but extraordinary people like you and me.
Nomadic Matt (Matt Kepnes)
Matt Kepnes transformed his passion for travel into a full-time business through his blog, Nomadic Matt. Starting off as a simple travel journal, his blog now attracts millions of visitors each month.
Matt offers travel tips, guides, and resources, enabling travellers to roam the world on a budget. Through consistent blogging, publishing books, and offering courses on travel hacking, he has turned his love for travel into a sustainable business model.
The brand "Nomadic Matt" is now one of the most recognised in budget travel.
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income
After losing his job, Pat Flynn started a website to help architects pass a particular exam. This niche website began generating significant affiliate income.
Recognising the potential of online business, Flynn started "Smart Passive Income," a platform where he transparently shares his online business journey, income reports, and teaches others to do the same.
Today, he's a renowned figure in the online entrepreneurship space.
....and here's one of my favourite stories.
One real-world example that showcases the power of a small-scale business to create a community through leveraging the internet is "Humans of New York" (HONY).
Humans of New York (HONY)
Started by Brandon Stanton in 2010, HONY began as a photography project aiming to capture the lives of New York City's residents. Brandon would stop people on the streets, take their portraits, and have them share a personal story. He began uploading these photographs and accompanying stories on a Facebook page.
What started as a humble project soon gained traction. People from all over the world began following HONY, resonating with the genuine and heartwarming stories from everyday individuals. The HONY Facebook page garnered millions of followers, which later translated to a massive presence on Instagram and a dedicated blog.
The virality of HONY led Brandon to publish multiple books that became bestsellers. Moreover, the platform has been used to raise millions of dollars for various charitable causes, showcasing the monetisation potential and impact of such a project.
While HONY might have scaled beyond what one would typically define as "small-scale", its roots were humble. It was a simple idea, executed consistently and authentically, leveraging the power of social media to connect and resonate with a global audience.
The success of HONY illustrates that with passion, consistency, and the strategic use of online platforms, even small-scale projects can achieve significant financial success and make a meaningful impact.
Work Smart, Not Just Hard
Yes, the age-old adage of working hard is crucial. But in today's digital era, it's equally, if not more important, to work smart. The beauty of the internet is that it allows you to tap into tools, strategies, and platforms that can amplify your efforts exponentially.
So, instead of just pinching pennies, focus on creating value. And remember, value doesn't necessarily mean a physical product.
Your knowledge, experience, and insights are valuable. With the right platform and strategy, you can monetise almost any passion.
We're living in a golden age for entrepreneurs. The barriers that once made business a game for the elite have crumbled. Today, your passion, coupled with the vast opportunities the internet offers, is a ticket to not just wealth but also fulfillment. Or to what MJ De Marco refers to as The Fastlane.
To the aspiring and existing business owners out there: the world is eager for what you have to offer.
Embrace the limitless potential of the digital age. It's not just about saving; it's about making, creating, and sharing your unique value with the world. Because in this expansive digital playground, the sky's not the limit; it's just the beginning.
Your Call To Action
1) If you own a physical business:
Establishing an online presence through a website is not just an option; it's a necessity. While your physical store has operating hours, a website works tirelessly around the clock. It’s a silent salesperson, a brand ambassador, and a customer service representative all rolled into one.
Even when you close up shop or go to sleep, your website continues to engage with visitors, take orders, and showcase your products or services to a global audience. By tapping into this 24/7 digital powerhouse, businesses can reach heights they never thought possible.
So, for anyone looking to truly maximise their business potential, building a website is the game-changer you can't afford to overlook.
2) If you own a digital business, need I say more about why you need a website?
Go here and let me help you.
3) If you want to start a business that operates digitally, purchase my ebook on how to start a business around your personality.
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