You just got an idea! At first, you think it is one of the greatest ideas that has ever crossed your mind.
Upon further reflection for a day or two, you realize that it is not one of your better ideas, in fact it’s not that great of an idea at all.
So, what do you do? Do you just ditch the idea? Do you pursue it?
Basically, what you need to do is to do an analysis of how much time you will spend developing the idea, and how much money you think the idea will earn for you. You need to balance those two things and determine if it is worthwhile to follow the idea and develop it.
Let’s look at some examples.
I have had some ideas that have made me a fairly significant amount of money. I had one idea about 10 years ago for a website. The website required about 3 months of full time work (probably more than that, as I often worked up to 16 hours per day) to develop the site. For the first year or so, the site made me close to nothing. Of course, it took time to develop the site, promote the site, and iron our my business systems to make the site operate smoothly for my customers. Was it worth it for me to spend several months on the site? Well, if I based the answer on only the first year’s results, clearly it was not worth my time. However, since then, that site has made me a lot of money, enough for a full time income, an upper-middle class full time income. So, what do you think now? Was it worth 3 months work in setting it up? I think it was. In fact, in the past 10 years, I have had to put more work into running and maintaining the site, but not that much work, to be honest. So, I consider that a good investment.
I have a second example that I want to present. I have another site that took me about 2 hours to put together, frankly, nothing at all in the big picture. I set this site up about 4 years ago, as I recall. I have put no further work into the site since I set it up. I have a total of 2 hours work into the site. I don’t have to write any articles or anything for the site, just leave it as it is, and from time to time I make money from the site. I would say that for the past 3 months, I have probably made nothing from the site, until this past weekend. But, this past weekend, I made $750 in pure profit from the site. On average, in a year, I probably earn $5,000 or so from this site. It costs me probably $20 per year in hosting costs and domain registration for the site, and that 2 hours that I spent a few years back. What about this site, is it worth my time and effort? Well, as I said, usually it brings in nothing, but from time to time it spurts and gives me a healthy sum of money. Is that worth it? I think it is. $5,000 per year is not that much, in terms of lifestyle, but it is still a nice little injection of cash.
Of course, I have other sites that earn little, even nothing. But, who knows, maybe someday those sites will also start producing income too. Either way, I am still happy to have the sites, and whatever income they product I am happy for.
The thing is, I have long been an advocate of earning small streams of money. Don’t just go for that one website that earns you $100k per year. If you can build up a site of that caliber, sure, do it! But, produce many different sites of different earning levels. For example, I have probably 20 different sites that earn respectable revenue. If one of those sites goes down and earns nothing tomorrow, well, it’s not that big of a deal, because I have 19 other sites which are still doing well. That is the beauty of having multiple streams of income. Even if one stream dries up, the other streams keep flowing and contributing to your river of earnings.
So, to answer the question in the title of this article… for me, an idea does not have to produce huge amounts of earnings for the project to be a success. But, you do have to balance how much time and money you will need to invest in the idea compared to how much you expect the project to earn for you. It all comes down to that.