I have been dead set to NEVER work in a cubical job ever again. In 2007 I started my first online business which was a great “learning” experience but failed miserably. The upside was that I had picked up a few new skill sets. I began brainstorming the next venture that would allow me the Tim Farris lifestyle.
The advice you get most often when trying to start a new online business is to pursue something you enjoy and that you have knowledge and experience with. I had also read that if you can solve a problem then you have a much easier time selling your product. So after some hours of brainstorming, I came up with what would be my next BIG idea. I am a casual computer gamer and noticed that there was no central place to get the pc hardware requirements to play each game and so http://www.pcgamerequirements.com was launched (It’s no longer live).
I was super proud of this new site. I had borrowed the principals from the 4 hr work week and outsourced the research of game specs to India who in turn would fill out a custom spreadsheet that then was able to be uploaded to the site and WordPress would auto-populate and format the posts. Probably not a big deal now but at the time I was very proud.
I remember working on this project and consulting about the idea with a friend of a friend who was also looking on how to create an online business. At the time this person was working on data visualization. I remember him talking about how he was frustrated with the idea and that he was going to need to start working on another money making an idea. Today he is the founder/creator of IFTT.
It’s safe to say that idea number two for making money online was not a success. PcgameRequirements.com made me about $100 however if you count the hours of time I spent developing this site then I probably made .05 cents an hour. Tim Farris would not be impressed. One issue was the majority of internet traffic originated from other countries. The already low paying ad clicks were even lower because the gamers were coming to the site were to tech-savvy to click on ads. The other big problem was that most of the people coming to the site for the free information were pirating the games. They were never going to click on an ad to buy a game.
The big win on this project was that I started to learn about SEO and became very interested in how to drive organic traffic to websites. SEO fascinated me and I would spend the next three years jumping into the deep end of Google and SEO.