16-04 Jumping on Trends
When it comes to building up virtual real estate, many people really don’t know what they’re doing, just as I wouldn’t know what I was doing if I tried to invest in physical real estate. These people do the equivalent of trying to build a shopping mall in the middle of nowhere and then abandoning it half-finished. Then they complain that you can’t make money from shopping malls.
Perhaps the biggest problem I’ve seen is that people try to build virtual real estate by copying what others have already done to death. You don’t even want to know how many people have started personal development blogs after seeing mine. That strategy isn’t going to work very well these days.
When I first launched my site, I didn’t know of any other similar site. There were personal development experts, but they mainly focused on writing books and speaking. Most of their websites were just bare-bones online business cards, no more than 10 pages total. Many of them didn’t even know what a blog was. I sensed a big opportunity there, so I jumped on it.
Seeing this opportunity was like finding cheap, vacant land right at the edge of a rapidly growing metropolitan area. You know that as the city grows, that land is going to become increasingly valuable, so it’s a wise investment.
When I started, for me and other bloggers like me, it was almost like we could do no wrong.
There was far more demand for blogs than bloggers could satisfy. Many other bloggers who started around that time saw their traffic grow like gangbusters. Those golden days are over.
If I was starting out today, I would NOT start a personal development blog. This field is way too crowded in the blogosphere now. It would be a major uphill climb against entrenched competition to stand out, build a following, and get to the top of the search engines. I’m not saying it’s impossible to succeed with a new blog now — it can still be done — but it’s not nearly as accessible as it once was. There are much easier targets.
If I was starting out today and wanted to work in essentially the same field, I’d go where there’s still a lot of empty real estate, and I could get in cheap and build a following. I might get into eBooks since that market is exploding due to all the iPad sales, and it’s nowhere near the saturation point yet.
Other good choices would be apps for iPhones, iPads, and Android Tablets and phones.
Another option would be to develop apps for Chrome, which recently became the #1 browser.
Some of these markets may seem crowded already, but I think we’re just getting started.
Back when I started blogging, I was worried that I might be getting into blogging late because there were already 8 million blogs when I started, although most were akin to personal journals. Now there are probably 400-500 million blogs. I think we’ll see the same explosion in eBooks and various app markets over the next few years. You think there’s a lot of iPhone/iPad apps now? Wait a few years, this is still early.
As Wayne Gretzky would say, skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been. Blogs are yesterday’s news. If you haven’t already ridden that wave to the top by now, you’ve missed the boat. Focus on the newer, more recent opportunities that are just emerging but that aren’t so saturated with competition yet.
When it comes to online real estate, if you snooze, you lose. When you see an opportunity, act on it.