So is 2013 the year where you’re planning on quitting your 9-5 and make your money on some kind of online business venture?
Is 2013 the year where you will take action and build that business that in time will let you follow your dreams and live life like you want it?
This post is my forecast on what’s going on with online business in 2013 and I will go into what I think will be the trends and best practices here in 2013.
This is not a in any way a final list, so let me know your thoughts in the comments.
But Why Really Create an Online Business?
If you’re a regular reader I’m pushing hard that people build a lifestyle business in order to be able to have more time and freedom for the stuff you’re truly passionate about here in life. But the traits of a lifestyle business can be fully supported by an online business. You might say that a lifestyle business is a subset of the term “online business”.
But would you want to build an online business? Well it can be run from almost anywhere on the planet not keeping you tied down to an office desk. And it can scale much better than the usual strategi of selling your time for money meaning you can work less and/or make more money.
How to Build an Online Business
Some time ago I wrote a post called How to Build an Online Business in a Week, so for a 7 day business creation model you should certainly visit that.
Hoever there’s really no secret to building an online business.
Just like a “normal business” in order to achieve success you need to create value for somebody who wants to return the value with money.
It’s as easy as that.
So the question everybody seem stuck on is: what should that value be?
I generally tend to favor the “passion based business” over just looking at needs, but you can see more about passion vs. needs in this video.
But this post is really not about finding the right online business idea, if you want to know my take on this, you should read evaluating lifestyle business ideas.
My 2013 Projections
So what are my thoughts on online business here in 2013?
I’ve listed a couple of trends below that I see and I will focus on in 2013. If you want to add something to the 2013 Online Business trends, then add your voice in the comments below.
Forget Crappy Looking Websites
I’m still amazed at how many crappy websites there are online today. And I’m also amazed and surprised that people can’t see this themselves. Now I like to launch early with a minimum viable product, but there are limits to how crappy your website can be.
Buying anything online whether that is products or services is about trust. Most of the time you have no idea about who’s behind the website; a big corporation or just a single guy sitting in a one bedroom apartment.
This means that the one thing that can encourage trust and confidence will be the overall impression of your website.
Now design is subjective, but a website can still be rated “ugly” by most of its visitors – so how do you create a good looking website?
Well I’m a lazy bum so I usually just use WordPress with a premium theme of some sort. For instance this blog is using a modified theme from WooThemes. This mean that I can focus on just adding the content.
But the issue here is that now most people can do this (if you sign up over at LifestyleBusinessMastermind.com you will get a video showing you how to.
It has simply become sooo easy to get a good looking website that it has raised the overall bar. What might have worked just a few years back is now perceived ancient. So if your website is a couple of years old (or you haven’t got one), you probably want to get a new one in 2013. It’s easier and more accesible than ever!
Niche Sites are Dead
As you can also read in my rant about niche sites, I really don’t see them as a viable long term business model. There are a few exceptions but you can read that in the post I’ve linked to above.
The main issue is that small niche sites with mainly AdWords to generate income simply has no other viable traffic model other than getting organic traffic (that’s traffic from the search engines… and let’s face it: Google). The problem being that Google keeps changing their algorithms making it increasingly harder to get a small site ranking well with out the need to post more money into it than it will end up making.
Most of the people screaming about niche sites (no one mentioned, no one forgotten – or insulted ) are all now talking about the next thing: “Authority Sites” which to me just means a niche site with better content (and of course taking more of your time to develop).
If you look at my post about making money blogging, you can see that it’s even hard to make money with quality content that is frequently updated (something Google loves), so making money on crappy low quality websites filled with $5 Filippino articles is totally dead in the water. But again, if you’re making a killing with niche sites, by all means prove me wrong in the comments below.
Information Products will Focus on Advanced Topics
In the last couple of years it seems that everyone has been targeted beginners.
Whether that is teaching you to run your first marathon, decorate your first cake or create your first – yikes – niche site.
Everybody is targeting the beginner and you see very few advanced topics being taught.
I believe that this is going to change. A lot of the beginner friendly information can now be found for free online and this has devalued the paid beginner information products.
While there will always be beginners in any industry (which is probably why so many are targeting this segment) there’s currently a whole in the market for more advanced products that skips all the basic stuff.
I’m actually releasing an advanced video course which I will give away for free within a couple of weeks. It will assume that you know all the basics of the topic and only be concerned with trying to take you to the next step. You can’t of course know if this is something for you from this sparse cryptic description, but if you’re interested you probably want to join my mailing list as I will let my newsletter recipients know about it first.
But getting sidetracked here, moving on…
Information Products will be Higher Quality
Years ago everybody was praising e-books and while there is now places like Kindle and technology like iPads (ok tablets, but the iPad kind of defined that space) the typical PDF ebook being sold from a website today has very little perceived value.
Heck I even bought into this more than three years ago (and I do mention that awful “niche” word there as well).
Video on the other hand has a higher perceived value and therefore we’ve seen a lot of video through the last couple of years. However most of it has been screen-capturing a PowerPoint/Keynote presentation though.
Now video equipment is going down in price and I think we will see more high end quality productions that requires both more money and time to produce. For me it’s always about the 80/20 rule so I like to get as good a video quality with the lowest possible investment.
If you want to see how I currently produce my videos, I have a post on my current video setup.
I’m actually doing a lot of direct to camera videos in my LifestyleBusinessMastermind.com. It’s me in the studio in front of a whiteboard teaching the topic of building lifestyle businesses.
More Widely Use of Technology Supported Business Automation Among Entrepreneurs
Technology Supported Automation… Damn that’s a fine sounding phrase. What I mean is that in the past only the big companies could pay for having someone build a custom system (or build on top of some kind of enterprise platform) that supported most of their business processes.
With Software As A Service products and all the Open Source products in existence today, it has become much easier to get your processes automated using technology. Sometimes it involves you getting a small little piece of code developed to act as super glue between two existing products/components and other times someone has created a product that you can use to get 95% of the results.
10 years ago everybody was doing Content Management Systems (CMS – for managing your website) today this market is much more consolidated with a lot of the homegrown systems being thrown out as open source CMS’s are coming in.
Today not many start on the task of creating yet another CMS, instead we see an increase in more specialized systems. Systems specialized to certain demographics or business segments.
I often get plugins done for WordPress, not plugins that I’ve been selling but simply small plugins that would cost me $200-$500 but in the end would automate some part of my business and thereby save me hours and hours of time each month.
Now the biggest obstacle in technology supported business automation for entrepreneurs in usually the entrepreneurs lack of understanding for what is really possible. It usually requires someone with a little IT understanding – but it’s at least something that is trending right now.
So there you have it…
A few points you need to consider if you are planning on building or expanding your online business in 2013.
Am I missing something? Wrong? Let me know in the comments!