Making Money Online Using a Lean Startup

You will find enough information on Eric Reis’s important book for startups for making money online, “The Lean Startup” on our blog. We discussed how the Lean Startup methodology has helped companies such as Dropbox become such phenomenal success.

But here’s the question – what’s in it for you? We are assuming that you are a young man or woman who dreams of becoming a self-employed entrepreneur and may not have access to much capital early on, even as you look to start a new business. How can you benefit from the Lean Startup methodology?

Well, the Lean Startup methodology is meant precisely for young aspiring entrepreneurs such as yourself who may not have much of a startup capital. But first we need to understand – why do we become entrepreneurs? To make money, of course. Making money is the most important goal, indeed the only goal, of any entrepreneurship.

So your Number One focus should be on making money as early on in your startup as possible. And to make money without much of an initial investment. The only way you can do that is to make money online. The lean startup methodology is well suited to making money online.

So how can you make money online using the lean startup methodology? Which online businesses are best suited to this idea? We can think of two – selling info products online and offering B2B services online.

Selling info products online could mean selling eBooks on your own website or on eBook retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and SmashWords. eBooks have an excellent margin – they cost almost nothing to produce or publish and earn you cash from the first day you release them to the market.

You may write eBooks for making money online on topics that you are really good at, fulfill a valuable demand in the market for specific niche knowledge and build a loyal and committed customer base from the get-go. This does involve a lot of time and effort to be invested into the marketing, which is certainly not easy. But with experience, even marketing your eBooks become easier as you develop a methodology pretty much by trial and error, and constantly iterate till it achieves you a modicum of success.

The other thing you can do is to start a B2B service business, offering various services to other businesses. You can start a one-man web design firm (if you have excellent knowledge of website design), offer to run a company’s social media accounts, work as an SEO copywriter for small businesses or offer to run customer support for small businesses. None of the things we talked about really cost any great initial expense and you can get started and make money from day one, as long as you focus on your customers or clients.

Focusing on clients is the most important thing you should learn from all this, because it’s only when your clients are happy that you make money. Happy clients mean healthy cash flow. And without a positive cash flow, there is no business.

You don’t have to get into the details early on. The important thing is to get started, to make yourself available and make your presence felt. The details will be taken care of later, as you win initial customers and begin to take care of their expectations.

What you should sweat on, is making sales, from the very first day of your business. Set a goal of selling 250 eBooks a month, for instance. Do whatever you have to do to sell the 250 eBooks, worry about the details later.

When your focus is on selling, you begin to think from the viewpoint of the customer, find out what they are truly looking for and cater to their specific demands. This way, you will constantly improve upon your product as you find out more about what the customer expects from it.

Remember – the only way for an online business to make money is to offer value to your prospective customers. When you do that, you make money, as simple as that. So keep your ego aside and give your customers what they want, not what you think they should want. This is what the Lean Startup methodology is all about.

This blog post for making money online is a part of our series on the book “The Lean Startup – How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Reis. We believe that reading this book would help you a great deal not only in your business, but also in identifying the right business partners. As always, we look forward to your comments and suggestions, so keep them coming. Ciao!