Monday, April 13, 2009

The New Internet Start-Up Boom and 4 Tips To Join It

I was thumbing through my latest edition of Time Magazine when I came upon: The New Internet Start-Up Boom: Get Rich Slow. What a wonderful little article - it talks about how the timing for starting a web business couldn't be better. It also introduced a new acronym - LILO which I thought captures the concept well:

It's time to stop whining. The economy might be melting down like a pat of butter on a hot Hummer roof, but for some people — you, maybe? — this could be a very good thing.

Here's why. At no other time in recent history has it been easier or cheaper to start a new kind of company. Possibly a very profitable company. Let's call these start-ups LILOs, for "a little in, a lot out." These are Web-based businesses that cost almost nothing to get off the ground yet can turn into great moneymakers.

I have a special affinity to these types of business, because I work with them every day. I know for a fact, this approach to starting a business can and does work.

OK, suppose you have an idea and want to give this LILO style approach to business a chance. What next? Here are 4 tips to get you started.

  • Read The Dip. A LILO business is a marathon, not sprint, and The Dip will help you put this journey into perspective.
  • Read The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur is a handbook for starting a business using minimal resources (read: money). Not only that, but it'll teach you how this is actually a good thing.
  • Signup for Google Reader and prepare a custom news feed. First, educate yourself on what RSS is all about. Then, subscribe to various authors. You'll want to start with well known people like Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki and Signal vs. Noise. You can also Google around for recommended reading lists. You'll be amazed at how much information is out there to help you get your business started - from inspirational stories to nuts and bolts how-to's.
  • Start publishing your own blog. You may want to make the topic related to your business idea, or you may want to make it completely unrelated. Either way, starting a blog will give you a chance to actually get out there on the web and start doing - and it won't cost you a dime. There are hundreds of lessons to learn from your own blog, ranging from how to market stuff on the web, to how to embed a YouTube video on a page. This is your chance to take the ideas you learn from all the reading and put them into practice in a safe environment.

It really is an exciting time to start a business. And I just how the primary ingredients you need are creativity and hard work - not cash and connections. So, what are you waiting for? Get started already...


  1. Surprising that you didn't include in your list of recommended reading, given that such startups are pretty much all he writes about nowadays.

  2. offby1 - You're totally correct, Paul Graham should defenitely be on your reading list.

    He's also mentioned in the Time article extensively.

    I was actually trying to avoid making a recommendation as to who you should be reading - as any list I come up with would be woefully incomplete.

    But, I should have done a better job of pointing that out.