|06-03-2007, 01:01 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2007
Some helpful advice needed.
I am in need of advice and guidance. For a while now I have had an idea for a website. Let me just state up front that I don't want to call this a business. Although I do hope to make money, and while it is a large motivating factor, it is not really the driving force behind the idea. I don't see myself building a business, I see myself building a community of individuals who share common goals and interests.
In this case, the community will be based around learning to live a healthier life and losing weight. Since I was a young child, I've struggled with my weight, and although I've lost a great deal I still want and need to lose more. The problem I have, and a problem many people like me have is really two fold: Lack of tools and lack of motivation.
The website that I would like to create gives both of those things. In essence, it will be offering a community of people in which you can draw support, share your struggles, make friends, share stories and gain encouragement. This should then translate into gaining motivation to push forward, especially if you have people - just like you - who are struggling with the same problem. It's hard to deal with those who haven't experienced the same problem, and the anonymity of the internet provides a shield in which people who would not normally want to talk about these types of things can hide behind. Overweight people face a great deal of discrimination in modern society and as such do not often like to draw attention to it, even though they are actively aware (perhaps even more so than others) of the "problem."
Secondly, the website will offer the tools you need to get to where you want to be - no, it won't offer a fad diet or anything like that. No "soup diet", "cabbage diet" or anything like that. I don't want to push products onto people. In fact, I want to offer as much as I can - if not everything - for free. I'll generate income through Google ad sense or something along those lines. I can also weave in other things that will help in monetizing the site. The tools themselves will actually be extremely helpful.
I'm sure we've all had the following problems: Planning what to fix for dinner and planning what to buy at the grocery store. It's a major pain in the butt and more often than not, at least if you're like me, you tend to wuss out and go for something easy - something not so healthy. The tool will take care of this problem. After calculating your weight, height and the amount of exercise you perform each day (on average) it can then calculate how many calories you consume and burn. Simple fact: In order to maintain a certain body weight you need to consume a certain amount of calories per-day or else your body then turns to its naturally stored resources (fat) and begins consuming it.
The plan isn't to force someone to quit cold turkey. If you've ever been to the doctor or a nutritionist you probably know what I am talking about, they want you to cut back on everything and immediately begin consuming simply 1,500 - 2,000 calories per day and no more! If you consume 5,000-10,000 calories per-day on average, you simply will struggle to do that and will often give up. However, by calculating how many calories you consume, and then slowly decreasing it over time it's not only healthier for you but will be insanely easier for your body to adjust.
In any case, the tools will also offer the ability to plan your daily meals for an entire month. This way all the calorie work is factored right into things. You don't have to count them yourself. Finally, by having your monthly meals planned out you can then print out a grocery list so you know what you need to get from the store. This reduces the urge to go down the junk food isle and throw that bag of chips into the basket. You know what you need, you get it, and you get out saving both time and negating temptation.
In the end, I want to build this website for not only others but for myself as well. I intend to use it, and I figure - if I can use it, I'm sure other people can use it as well. Ideally, I'll be able to earn enough money where I can live a "basic" life and store away some cash in the bank for other business interests.
My only problem is... I have never started a business before and I am not sure really what to do. I've tried doing things like this before, but always end up discouraged because I try to plan everything out so carefully and even go as far as trying to learn a programming language... only to end up discouraged and give up because of lack of motivation. Does anyone have any advice that they can give me to get me on the right track? Does anyone think the website I've expressed is a good one?
Thanks for the feedback and I apologize for the length of the post.
|06-03-2007, 04:03 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Inside the Container
Keep it simple.
Who is your specific target market? What do they want? Who is already providing it? How? The area of interest (healthy eating and weight loss) is huge and so is the competition. My advice is to find an underserved niche within the market and serve that.
You need to specialise.
It's all about the people, build a helpful vibrant community of like minded people and the money will flow. Keep it simple, get it build quickly and don't spend too much time and/or money on it.
There are off the shelf free and fee soltions for websites and coders are very affordable. Forget learning to much about coding, the basics is helpful, but if you get a good coder you won't need to know much. Set yourself a time frame, unless you want to build a Google, plan to have it up, running and open within 30 days and for less than $500 - $1000 including everything.
If it's going to take longer and be more expensive forget it or rework it. It took me 4 weeks and $600 to have a commercial viable website build and running from a free script and a decent coder, I know a little html, but that's it. Until you get massive traffic, use a shared or vps host, stay away from cheap and free anything and be careful about shared get a unique ip address.
Keep it lean also, don't have all the bells and whistles until you have a definable audience and traffic, the best sites, including the big ones started out very simple and added stuff as they got bigger. People want simplicity, we don't actually want complex solutions, the simple things work best.
Read this, it's from 2005, but nothing has changed much
evhead: Ten Rules for Web Startups
"don't think, know"
|06-03-2007, 09:45 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
advice on the "backend"
Stealing web jargon for a minute, there are two pieces to a "dynamic" database driven website. The front end is what you see, the pages, links, etc. while the "backend" is the nuts and gears like the mysql database and scripts that make everything work.
Likewise, your life has a "front end" and "backend". Let's call the front end the "tasky stuff". The education, specific steps to take, advice to follow, people to call, etc. This is important stuff but overindulgence in this area can lead to the dreaded 'analysis paralysis'. So let's move onto the "backend". The backend in this case is YOU. what makes YOU tick, your values, style, tendencies, etc. My thoughts are that you look to this venture as something you're going to do, period. I read that you have become discouraged and quite in the past, so this time, simply eliminate the option of quitting from your "list of options". When you get discouraged just keep it on the burner, that's all. It's not about being "grit and determined", its simply about not actually throwing in the towel.
I am 41 now, and started one of my businesses when I was 22. I was working in a kitchen, cooking and found it so miserable, I started a lawncare business, as I'd dropped out of college, I knew that was the only thing I could succeed at without a degree (that was my thinking at the time)- It was horrible. Dirty, hot, 20 year old equipment, my $1,000 or so I'd saved up wiped out in 2 weeks, I just said, that's it, I'm quitting. And then I just "let it be", I didn't actually quit, I just felt the feeling of being done with it and knew I didn't want that. Then the phone rang, I got a good account that I HAD to service every week and the rest is history. Now it brings me in 50k a year and I work 20-25 hours a week during the summer and only when it snows during the winter and have one solid employee and 4 subs. It was really about being almost "dense" and not quitting when everything felt like it was time to quit!!
Hope this helps
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