How to Build Your First Online Asset

  1. For all of my talk about the three-step process of building a business, there’s something to be said for the fact that it’s so freaking easy these days to start something – right now.

A few years ago, I went to a conference in Portland put on by Jason Glaspey called Tiny Startup Camp.

The idea?

Start a tiny business by the end of the weekend.

There were great speakers and plenty of people there to help.

But the entire concept was built around the idea that you don’t need funding, crazy tech skills, or 99% of the things that keep most people from starting a business.

All you need is an idea, a few bucks, and an afternoon to put the whole thing together.

That’s a powerful concept.

Over the last few years, I’ve seen this a lot.

Bryan Harris from Video Fruit did a 24 hour project around writing, recording, and publishing a book. At the end of the day, it made just over $2,000. Not bad for 24 hours.

ConvertKit shows you how you can create a paid email course in a weekend.

Now, granted, both of these are already established brands, but the key takeaway is you don’t need to have months or years of experience to get started on a very small project in just a few days.

The Three-Step Approach to a Lifestyle Business

I’ve talked a lot about how most people go about building businesses in the wrong way. They typically start at the end before they have any clue what they’re doing.

They’re worrying about A/B testing and landing pages before they have a basic website set up.

That’s why I advocate a three-step method:

  1. Learn Skills
  2. Find Freelance Clients
  3. Apply to your own projects

This is the decidedly unsexy way to approach building a business.

Typically, this method takes some time to see results, but it’s a really good solid foundation for getting started. So, that’s why I generally push people towards this method.

But, at the same time, it’s not the only way to get started. Noticed how step #3 doesn’t have a linked post?

Well, welcome to step #3.

Sometimes, working on your own project to build something is a good option. It can get you on the road quickly, you can learn skills by doing, and you can make a little bit of money.

The key is getting started.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

Time and time again I hear excuses like these:

  • “I don’t have a good idea”
  • “I know I need to start, but it’s just so daunting”
  • “I want to start something, but I don’t know how”

The list goes on, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

A lot of this is about confidence, or actually, the lack of confidence. Most people are scared to get started. That can manifest itself into a number of reasons, but the majority of them boil down to those three above.

So how about we change that?

This post is going to go in depth and teach you everything you need to know in order to build an online asset or the beginnings of a tiny business in a weekend.

Sound good?

Here’s the Goal…

By the time you’re done with this post, my goal is you’ll have a site that’s up, allows you to capture leads, test your idea, and see if there’s an actual business anywhere in there.

Simply having this site setup is an asset.

Maybe you’re creative and come up with a killer domain name. Maybe the domain sucks, but it’s a great idea and a thousand people sign up and say they’re interested. Maybe you found the perfect combination of keywords that lead to great SEO rankings.

Any of those things are building the value the asset – i.e. your new site.

Whether you develop the asset, sit on it forever, or sell it later on, you’ve got something you didn’t have before. You’ve put all of the essential online business skills into practice.

And most importantly…

By the time we’re done here, you will have done something. You’ll have made something real, and built your confidence along the way.

Don’t underestimate how big that is.

Hack Your Hobbies Into a Business

While building this asset, you may be wondering if this constitutes a business. Here’s an honest answer: it could be. I like to refer to these tiny startup ideas as Hobby Hacking.

Basically, taking this approach lets you start by creating something small around something you love.

There are a ton of benefits to this.

The biggest is skill building. You’re going to learn a ton by doing these things by yourself.

Next, it’s confidence. Once you start realizing you can do all sorts of stuff like setting up a website and getting your email going then you’re going to feel like you’ve actually created something that’s truly an asset.

Building an online asset that’s framed around something you already love helps you tap into that excitement too. You’re already a relative expert on your chosen topic, and chances are, you can likely think of all sorts of things you’d want to talk about down the line if there is interest.

Finally, this approach doesn’t mean you have to go all in and have a lot on the line. It’s about gauging interest and testing things. It’s not going to cost you a ton of time or money to get started.

If it doesn’t work, that’s ok. You’ve still been able to create something. And if it does…well, that’s pretty awesome!

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