If We Build It They Will Come
Lately I have been getting a lot of inquiries from friends and acquaintances that have seen the success we have had online and want to start their own E-Commerce business. Many come to me for advice on where to go for website hosting, how to design a site and most importantly what to sell. What’s funny is they all think that if they just build a website and throw a couple of items up the money will just start flowing in, like magic.
When they first come to me and they ask, “What do I need to do to get started?” it always makes me scratch my head and say…”well, that is a loading question!” I think many have seen the late night infomercials with people claiming to make $25,000 a month while on vacation. For all of us seasoned e-commerce merchants we all know real vacations away from the site are few and far between. I try to explain that there are many variables within E-Commerce. Just because you build a website and have a couple of items to sell it doesn’t guarantee that you will be successful. Maybe you will see success after a few years of hard work building up your business, but it won’t be instant. Sadly, they don’t want to wait that long. They want that instant gratification. Like many of us starting out we didn’t take a payroll until about three years into this venture. All of our cash flow was put back into building the business.
Most of these inquiries are from people that have no idea what they want to sell online; they just want an online business so they can be like the people on the infomercials. Many have told me that they want to copy my business model. They want to know everything from who my suppliers are to how we do our SEO. This is difficult when the person is your friend, or relative and you refuse to tell them. I have had very negative reactions from people when I refuse to give them this information. I want to help other people starting out, but I don’t feel it is right that I should help someone that will directly compete with my business.
Do any of you have this same issue? I would love to hear how you handle it.