7 Lessons of a Rookie Entrepreneur

After almost two months of being a full-time entrepreneur, there are a number of first-time experiences, feelings and lessons I’ve walked through that I thought I’d share simply for therapeutic reasons and also because they might help someone else starting out for the first time.

A lot of these particular things I’ve learned may have come up simply because of my personality type and quirks as a human being. Some are most assuredly because I work from a home office. But I think there’s some applicable value in most of them.

So here are six things I’ve learned as a rookie entreprener:


How To Make a Long Tail Business Even Better

Amazon is brilliant …

Here’s why: If you’re read the Long Tail, you know that Amazon is a Long Tail-type business.

So just this week, I just stumbled upon a new on-demand publishing business called Create Space. They offer a lot of similar services as Lulu and other on-demand businesses, including DVD, audio CDs, audiobooks, and books.

Here’s the kicker: It’s owned by Amazon.

And here’s the brilliance: Thousands of publishers get their content produced by Create Space … and all of it gets listed on Amazon.

In other words … Amazon has opened the product pipeline for hundreds of thousands of potential Long Tail, niche product to easily be listed and sold through their ecommerce system … at relatively no cost to them.

In essence, they have opened the floodgates for more profit, while cutting out those middlemen. After all, why should Amazon rely on traditional publishing systems to give them content and products. Why not go straight to the thousands of fledgling Internet marketers and content creators.

And then sit back and collect all the royalties for all of it!



Know Thy Strengths

I’m fascinated by personality tests and other tools that help clarify who you are, what you’re good at, etc. I took the Myers-Briggs Test Indicator in college and that started my immense interest in the subject.

So a while back, I bought the book Now, Discover Your Strengths and took the StrengthsFinder test.

I thoroughly enjoyed it (and now have three books in the ‘Strength’ series) … and as a stereotypical “overthinker” and one prone to lots of introspection, it revealed some patterns about myself …

I found my top five strengths were:

  • Learner — why I have to have something to read at all times … without fresh, insightful and new material that stretches me, I go crazy. This is why I thoroughly enjoyed my experience working as a communications director at a theological seminary. And why any new endeavor I take must include a conference training and book budget. Because of this particular strength, I dove into blogging a year ago last month … and was like a sponge in the ocean. I’m still learning.
  • Individualization — recognizing others strengths … I think this could also be applied to business ideas and strategies … looking at something and finding a way to capitalize on its potential. (See Maximizer)
  • Maximizer — taking something that’s good to great … again, in the biz sense, squeezing maximum potential out of a business … the people that drive it. This isn’t about forcing people to be a cog in the machinery. It’s about finding the things other people do really, really well and letting them thrive at it.
  • Futuristic — vision casting; seeing “over the horizon” … this is probably why I think a lot about the time in history in which we live … and in particular the Internet and my (our) place in it.
  • Intellection — always thinking … I wish I could turn it off sometimes. This “strength” woke me up at 4 this morning with what I call “idea insomnia.”

Control the Traffic or Ride the Waves

He who controls the traffic — the mass of Web users logging on each day — is king.

That company or website who can steer and siphon and redirect the majority of Web surfers is Google controls traffic through search.

Now … Google is a verb.

When your brand name is used commonly as a verb, I think you might be onto something …

I think of web traffic, as a whole, as a stream of water … a great big, powerful stream like a firefighter’s hose.

The key is controlling that power and pointing it where you want it …

Digg is a powerful stream of water. Land on the Digg front page and your server gets crashed.

Digg controls some huge traffic … through votes.

Yahoo still controls some huge traffic … I’ve seen it. Only now, they do it through content.

And traffic equals clicks … clicks equals purchases or ad revenues … which all equals money for the bottomline, right?

Anyway, I realized quickly as a fledgling blog designer that if my themes got listed or posted on certain sites, my downloads for those templates would increase exponentially. And my exposure with it.

So the question I ask myself is … how can I tap into the various “kings” of traffic … harness that power and traffic for my goals …

One more metaphor or whatever… I think a lot of this comes down, for you and me, Mr. and Mrs. Average Web Entrepreneur, to just riding some waves.

Traffic waves controlled by the kings …

Waves eventually crash, right?

Even big waves. They hit the shore and dissipate back into the ocean.

Surfers look for the right moment, they catch a glimpse of a good wave coming, pick their approach and go for it with all they’ve got.

They ride that wave … for however long it takes them. They maximize the wave.

For Google’s waves, they might mean the right keywords … Digg, content that gets the right votes … etc. etc.

And the key for us is … we’ve got to be ready to expend all our energy getting to the right approach of that incoming wave.

For most of us … those who will never be able to control those waves, but only ride them … we must watch diligently for upcoming waves … and be paddling out to it.

And when the waves come … ride that baby hard!


Skype Wants to Welcome Me Back

I was just cleaning out some programs on my computer that I don’t ever use … you know those ones where the icon sits on your desktop forever, but you never click it. Or worse, the one that boots up with your computer automatically but is an irritation.

Well, I wouldn’t say Skype was one of these (I just never used it) … but when I removed it today, I was sent to a “We’re Sorry To See You Go” screen, which I thought was an outstanding way for them to try to keep you as a customer.

Here’s a screenshot:


The screen says “Did you have problems? We can help.” And another great text says: “We’d love to welcome you back, download now,” along with a listing of some neat benefits to the web phone service.

Now THAT’S the way to try and close your backdoor to your business!

How many people are you losing out your back door, but could keep a portion of them from leaving with something like this?