In 2010, I was looking for ways to build a more successful web business. I saw a horde of highly-educated people in India, China, Pakistan, etc. that were making websites at ridiculously-low prices. I concluded that the only way I could make a ton of money was to play the game at that level. So, I created a little package that I just KNEW would make me rich! What I didn’t know is that it would compromise everything I stood for.
When I first started making websites, my goal was to make them fun. AWESOME. Mind-blowing!
I’d spend a lot of time on them and make them the best that I possibly could.
And, hooray! My website went viral. Brand recognition, tons of fan mail, and a huge newsletter list.
Fast-forward 10 years…
I had made the leap from employee to entrepreneur, and was looking for ways to build a more successful web business.
And what did I see? A horde of highly-educated people in India, Pakistan, etc. that were making websites at ridiculously-low prices.
I concluded that the only way I could make a ton of money was to play the game at that level.
After all, almost everything you can buy in a retail store is made in China. Why should someone pay Canadian prices for a website?
And so, I asked myself, “What is the absolute cheapest, bare-minimum website that I could possibly be comfortable selling to someone?”
Thus, my $150 website was born.
What I’d lose in margin, I’d more than make up for in volume. If I could sell a million of ’em, I’d be rich!
And no — of COURSE I wasn’t going to try and exploit all that cheap labor. I was gonna do it all MYSELF!
Well… it wasn’t until I sold the business, 6 years later, that I realized it was NEVER going to work the way I was running it.
Imagine Chef Boyardee personally inspecting each and every can of lasagna before it leaves the factory…
“Oh, this can needs an extra dash of salt. This one needs a basil leaf on top. This one doesn’t have enough beef in it.”
Does that sounds ridiculous to you? Well, it’s exactly what I was doing.
I spent hour after hour fixing and tweaking stuff — and not charging for it. My inner drill sergeant constantly nagged me to go faster.
“I’m wasting time. The client isn’t paying me for this. I’m gonna be broke if I keep this up!”
My package didn’t stay at $150 for very long. It went to $500, then $1000, then $2000.
Yet, with every “value-added” improvement I introduced, the focus was always on being as CHEAP as possible — and never on being AWESOME.
Every website package I created was a complete and total compromise of my quality, my brand, and myself.
What do I stand for? Awesome, exciting, and fun experiences. So … why was I making these things?!
If you’re a Master Chef, and you like it… then be a Master Chef. Trying to become Chef Boyardee is a fantastic way to ruin your business.
My advice? Don’t compromise yourself — or what you bring to the world — because you think someone might want something OTHER than what you offer.
If you can find a way to authentically replicate, package and mass-produce what you love to do, then by all means, please do it!
Before you get into that opportunity, be sure to set a time limit for yourself. If you aren’t able to really make it work for you, after a year, two years, whatever timeline you think is reasonable — get out! Sell it or shut it down.
But, whatever you do, don’t do what I did … unless of course you want to ruin your business.