Friday, November 03, 2006

Stuffing Gold Down People's Throats

Alright, so you have this great idea now and believe, instantly, that it's a goldmine. However, you probably aren't a jack-of-all-trades and will otherwise be unable to develop the website without a little help from others.

First, let me note that there are two points in an e-commerce website develop process that you really need to convince people to join your cause, in my opinion.
1. When you're starting it.
2. When you need to get the word out for people to join (an ongoing process).

Ok, so, again, you have your idea and go up to your friends to tell them about it and try and convince them to help you. Most of the time, they will tell you your idea is horrid, they believe in you, but they don't think anything will ever come of it.

Let me tell you about my freshman year. I spent a good while thinking about a way to build an e-commerce site, after having my initial site which worked well but ended up failing, and came up with the idea to create an online bookstore like site where users could trade their college books. I developed the website design and was almost ready to develop the code. It was at this point I made the biggest mistake of my freshman year (or at least the biggest I will admit here, I kid) which was that I began asking family and friends about it.

See, it wasn't bad that I was asking, per se, but I was unprepared for the resistance they put up. My own father, a grouch of a man at times but I love him dearly, was the first to tell me not to quit my day job or get any big ideas out of it (I reckon he also tells me I should shave my head whenever I go to get haircuts and I have a bumpy head so perhaps I should have used caution anyhow!). My friends were no different; they couldn't see any form of use out of the website so they also killed the idea. By the time I was ready to code it I was so sickened by the site, I too began thinking it was a bad idea.

At this point let me point out that a friend of a friend actually ended up creating the site (he never heard about my idea no worries) a couple years later and I felt like a complete fool. I reckon my design skills were not up to par at the time either so I'd have probably failed but I'd rather fail myself than not try at all. Anyhow, the site he created is called I Beat My Bookstore. Good luck with that Jack!

So again, you really have to get ready for a lot of criticism from friends unless your idea is so groundbreaking that they will accept it on the spot (which hardly happens).

A couple ways you can convince your idea to family and friends, in an effort to get them to invest or at least help out in some way, is to simply believe in what you're saying. If you're telling them that what they think is crap is really gold then get them to believe that it is, indeed, gold. I mean, if they are your friends, I reckon they'll at least meet up with you for a little while to discuss it.

You need people to develop a website once you have your idea. While I believe I could probably create a website alone, you also need people to support you and encourage you to develop it. It takes a lot of time and effort to make a good looking, well working website you'll need all the help you can get.

I know this post was more of a drowning out of why you should do something but, honestly, you'll thank me later if you take heart this advice to get others to help you from the get-go.

Next we'll be talking about how to pick the best web developer for your site. This is a problem because, generally, a lot of non-programmers can't tell the difference between a good programmer and a bad programmer. If you're dealing with user information or money you'll want a good programmer, it'll avoid a lot of problems in the future. If you're not, you'll still want a good programmer to avoid maintenance costs and bandwidth waste.

-Tim

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