The Making Of An Online Business – The Projects

This is the second article in the series about managing an online business. It will focus on what you actually do in an online business, how can you measure it, the various stages of each project and how you can monetize your work. If you came here directly you can go back to the summary of the whole series or you can start with the first article which deals with starting your own business.

Please keep in mind that this post is rather long, more than 3000 words, so  make sure you are away from interruptions when start reading it. If you can’t read it now, you can bookmark it and come back later.

Online Processes

More than in any other business, in the online universe, a product (i.e. a website) is more like a process and not like an object.

If you are in the furniture business, you’re selling objects. A chair, a table, a couch. Every once in a while you change a little the design, but you are largely selling objects.

In the online field, you sell things which are continuously shaping. An online service is by definition dynamic. Your websites need continuous upgrade, otherwise they will fade as importance and eventually lose their audience.

The online has a high availability, which means your potential audience is huge. But the online has also a high volatility degree, which means that the potential huge audience is very easy to be moved toward your competitors.

Online Projects Metrics

You need a way to quantify the behavior of your websites in order to measure their success. Otherwise you’ll be lost in the jungle of millions of other websites, portals, forums, blogs or online shops. I worked with only three main online project metrics:

– traffic, the total number of users that accessed that website in a given time interval
– money, the total amount of money that website produced in a given time interval
– resource consumption, how many resources (people, money, assets) that website consumed in a given interval.

Although it seems pretty straightforward, the way in which those three metrics can combine is infinite. You can have projects with minimal traffic but with good money flow in. You can have websites with little or no money in, but with huge traffic (I guess the most famous example is YouTube in this area). Or you can have websites with zero resource consumption (auto-pilot websites) with no money in and just a decent traffic. but still consider them as successes. Each combination of those factors can play a role in the bigger picture and you must not overlook any possible outcome.

Now, let’s take each metric and see how you can interpret it.

Read moreThe Making Of An Online Business – The Projects

The Making Of An Online Business – The Series

For the last 10 years I was a self-sustained person, getting my income for my online business. Last year I made a successful exit from that and started a much more enjoyable activity as a personal development blogger, here at dragosroua.com. Not that having a blog as a main activity would be an easier venture, … Read more The Making Of An Online Business – The Series

Start Your Own Business

start your own business

Ten years ago I started my own business. At that time I felt this was the best decision ever in my entire life. Ten years after I still feel the same with all my heart. Having your own business is one of the most challenging situations in which you can put yourself. And I’m not … Read more Start Your Own Business

The Gratitude Experiment

The experiment is out and running, check out the new page listing the last 20 tweets tagged #gratitude on twitter.

It’s funny how a certain path we chose leads us to realms we never knew to exist. Or puts us on roads far more adventurous or enriching than we thought. In today’s post I’ll share one of those twisted yet so rewarding situations in which a certain path lead me to another, much deeper one.

The iPhone Situation

I can say in all truth that I’m using an iPhone even since before it was launched. One of the most read posts on my blog is about iPhone and GTD – total black belt productivity, a post featured on the official forums of David Allen company. That post was written weeks before the launch of the iPhone. What can I say: it’s a useful device which combines my needs for communication in one little tool.

But I use my iPhone for much more than communication. In a post about Law Of Attraction and Action I gently let you know that I exercised with the Law Of Attraction by using my iPhone. It was a very simple exercise: I set up reminders in the calendars with my goals and took time to read them and interiorize them. I kept this habit for several months and of course, it worked. I also used my iPhone for getting in touch with my Personal Mission Statement, another interesting exercise which I am still using.

Read moreThe Gratitude Experiment

Creating Value

Have you ever thought about the values you create? Ever crossed your mind to sit back and look out what exactly you give to the outside world in exchange for what you receive? Because this is how we, humans, are functioning: by a continuous exchange of values. The most popular value exchanged being, of course, … Read more Creating Value

Social Networking Versus Real Life Relationships

We live as cells of a giant body: the society. We have rules to manage this body, rules we learn very young. The whole giant structure is sustained by an invisible yet so powerful web of rules about when, how and why we interact with each other. Relationships.

I think the first rules of real life relationships are learned around the age of 3. After that age we know how to act and react in order to integrate in the society at the very basic level. Of course, after that comes school, job and other social interaction games that we learn along the way. But the core is learned at a very young age and so we act almost unconsciously when it comes to real life relationships.

But the last 10 years of history created another layer of relationships, on top of the traditional way of interacting, a layer powered by the online revolution. Right now most of our relationships have a strong online component. Either we met somebody online, either we keep interacting with somebody exclusively online, fact is a larger part of our relationships pool is now over the web. World Wide Web.

My approach with what we call social networking was a little slower. Although I had my share of enthusiasm and hype toward every major social networking service, I haven’t had the time, nor the curiosity to go deeper. I only started to immerse myself deeply in this new web only several months ago. And what I found there really surprised me. In this post I’ll share with you the differences I found between social networking (as in digital social networking) and real life relationships.

Consistency

One of the first differences I noticed was the higher degree of consistency needed in  social networking. One must be very strict about his identity and message in order to gain some attention. If you present yourself with an image of a blogger, you should closely stick to this identity. If you chose to be a environmental activist, by all means, stick to it.

If your presence is not consistently reinforced your identity will weaken. The only thing by which you are known is what you say and do about yourself. That will also ignite what others are saying about you, but the first spark is always you. If you change course just a little bit, your identity will be skewed.

In the real life you don’t have to do that. As long as you correctly channel your change, people will know about you. For instance, if you change your job and announce all your friends, they’ll know you’re doing something different now, but it is still you. You don’t lose identity if you change your message. The real life rules are strong enough to keep your identity solid.

Social networking is still a fragile medium, the rules are to a minimum level. This is why this medium is still so vulnerable to various infectious factors, like identity theft. In a space with loose rules you have to be the strong factor, hence consistently push your identity until you create what you want.

Read moreSocial Networking Versus Real Life Relationships

Staying GTD Over The Hype

Two or three years ago, a strange topic about organization skills, de-cluttering and mind like water exploded on the Internet. It was about GTD, or Getting Things Done, a methodology for boosting productivity invented and shared by David Alled in his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity [aff link]. This phenomenon lead to a sudden surge of new blogs, with 43folders.com of Merlin Mann becoming the icon blog for this trend. Soon, other useful and very popular blogs appeared. At that time even yours truly was a GTD wannabee and one of my very first posts in this blog – and one of the most popular, I must say – was about GTD for people in transition countries. GTD posts and blogs where spreading over the internet at light speed. It was the Golden Era.

But now the hype is over. Merlin Mann has switched his 43folder.com and we must re-learn how to use what was once the Internet Bible of the common GTD’er. Icon GTD blogger Brett Kelly handed over his popular GTD property Cranking Widgets Blog to a new voice, Andy Parkinson and in recent posts claim he cured his addiction for this technique.

GTD hype is over for good. But the benefits are here to stay. In this post I’ll outline what was left from GTD in my productivity rituals after the drop of the hype.

GTD Leftovers

There are at least 4 different things that somehow survived the golden era of GTD in my organizational behavior. Let’s take them one at  time:

Emptying your RAM

And getting rid of  “open loops”. In GTD terminology an “open loop” is a thought that is not solved, hence keep popping up in your head all the time. Solving this “open loop” is a matter of taking it out of your head and storing it in a trusted system, for further processing. This is something I kept and found extremely useful.

I don’t know about your brain, but my brain is not a rolodex for sure. I prefer to use my brain for doing creative stuff like writing, coding or something like that. I also use it for learning, either by absorbing information, either by experiencing. I don’t want to be bothered in these processes by unsolved “open loops”.

Next actions

I kept the habit of breaking projects into “next actions”. In GTD jargon, a “next action” is the next physical action required to move forward a project and it doesn’t have nothing to do with the logical structure of the project, most of the time. For instance, if your project is to change your plumbing, the next action will be “look up phone number of the plumber in the agenda @phone” and not “call the plumber”.  “Call the plumber” comes next to “look up the phone number”. Pretty logical, of course.

Next actions are a fantastic glue to my flow. After I created and constantly sustained the habit of breaking my projects into next actions, something nice happened: I started doing stuff instead of organize my day all day long.  It’s not rocket science, but it’s effective.

Read moreStaying GTD Over The Hype

Indiana Jones And The True Values Of Life

I first saw “Indiana Jones” in my early twenties. I wasn’t pleasantly shocked by the movie, but I somehow liked it. At that time I was interested mostly in art films, with a twist for Russian directors and I think my all time best movie was Stalker by Andrey Tarkovski. The difference between movies like … Read more Indiana Jones And The True Values Of Life