Why now is the second-best time in history to set up an online business

When the World Wide Web was the wild wild west.

I have interviewed 40 of Australia’s top entrepreneurs for a book about how to succeed in online business, and although every single one of those entrepreneurs worked phenomenally hard to build their businesses, all of them also said they were very lucky to be in the right place and the right time.

Interestingly, many of them started their businesses between 2004-2006 and it seems this was a magical time for start-ups as many of them have since gone on to disrupt a wide range of industries and become household names – Catch of the Day, Freelancer.com, Kogan.com.au and many more.

From my research, I see that three unique factors existed then that don’t exist now. These ‘windows’ of opportunity enabled even those with very ordinary ideas, execution and customer service to succeed. Why? Because these factors provided them with the time to get it right. You could make a mistake and rectify it without losing your shirt. Now? Not so much. You have to be good straight out of the box to get a break.

Here are the main 3 factors that made setting up a business back them a breeze compared to now.

  • Online competition was low – only those with $10,000 to spare or HTML coding know-how could set up a website then so online competition was low and this enabled the early adopters to become the ‘go to’ site for their industry. 
  • Few knew about SEO – getting on page one of Google was a doddle compared to now. All you needed was loads of content, and it didn’t even need to be well optimised, and you could still own page one. Now, you have to be a SEO-ninja to get on page one.
  • People were less savvy – little-known entrepreneurs could sell a flimsy 60-page eBook for $60 whilst famous authors struggled to sell a 300-page paperback for $30. Now we virtually give away eBooks in order to get people interested in what we offer. People are far less naïve than they used to be.

Why Now Is The Second-Best Time In History To Set Up An Online Business

It’s not all doom and gloom though. The reality is NOW is always the best time to start a business. We are living in transformational times and the opportunity to build an online business on a very small budget and create very large profits has never been better. Okay, we may not have the early adopter advantages that those in the early 2000s had, and we may have to be smarter and faster now than ever before, but here’s why now is the second-best time in history to start an online business.

  • We have the technology to easily reach a global audience – just set up a website and you’re off!
  • We can find a global ‘tribe’ of people with very specific needs and problems cost effectively through niche marketing portals like Facebook, blogs, forums and LinkedIn
  • We only need to reach a very small proportion of our global market to create a successful business – two per cent of a global market is much easier (and cheaper) to get than 100% of a local market
  • We can advertise to our ‘online tribes’ cheaply using social advertising where an advertisement to reach millions can cost just a few dollars – and it’s dead easy to find out where they are because they nominate themselves to be part of these groups.
  • We can build a website, make a video, hire an assistant and develop a product using outsourced suppliers for a fraction of what it used to cost – and build it virtually overnight if we wanted to. Barriers to entry are virtually non-existent.

We live in an era where all these things are possible and we can literally do it on the smell of an oily rag. Of course, hard work, tenacity, persistence and all those other personal qualities play a massive role, but sometimes, timing really is everything and although we may not be living in the early 2000s, when the worldwide web really was the wild, wild, west, now is without doubt the second-best time in history to get started.

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