My friend has a nice idea for a web application. I would really love to have that kind of website made because I am sure it would help a lot of Filipinos. Also, he wants to develop it using Ruby on Rails which makes it more interesting for me to see it materialize. But there’s one thing lacking — he hasn’t decided yet how to generate money from it. He is looking into advertisements but I urged him to find other means.
If your web application will not generate cash for you, then it is not a business. It is only a project. And remember, this project of yours will come at a cost. You may intend to do this on the side while you maintain your day job or present business but still, this project will still cost you money and time. Although, hardware is cheap, it still not free. Initially, you can pay it with your salary but if you want your web application to serve a lot of people, you will eventually need to use more powerful hardware, which is expensive. Your time is definitely not free. The time you spend on a project is the time not spent on probably more rewarding activities like finding ways to generate money.
There are lot of examples of websites that started out as free that became successful. But these projects are backed by people who have money to burn and they live in a country where the government gives them bread and milk because they don’t have a money-generating job (or as my wife always say, a “real” job).
If your goal is to build web applications to increase your personal brand in order to attract more clients or a high-paying job, that’s great. But if you want to have a business, think very hard on how your web application will generate money.
According to the sex and cash theory, we have two kinds of jobs. One is the sexy, which we enjoy doing while the other kind is the job thay pays the bills. It is definitely great if you have 1 job that covers both aspects but oftentimes, you don’t. Before you go on with your business idea, ask yourself if it falls in the ‘sex’ or in the ‘cash’ category. If you don’t have money to burn, it is wise to focus on the ‘cash’ first. When you have the money, you can have all the time in the world to have ‘sex’. Ooops. I mean to work on things that you enjoy.