There are a lot of little businesses on the Internet. Some are electronic extensions of real-world things like garage sales (eBay "workers") while others are totally new ideas that have reached critical mass (Digg). The important thing to note here is that there was little to no cost involved in getting these businesses started.
There's an article on News.com about this, and naturally it caught my attention because I've got a business like this. It's not a six-figure income, but it is something that didn't cost a ton of money to start, and there was no army of people involved. I think about it a lot, because it has always been that "beginner" success, as I like to call it.
The Internet, while more crowded than ever, is still fertile ground for being the great equalizer in terms of new business. The companies in that article have demonstrated how true this is. The question for people like me becomes, do I settle for beginner success, or do I try to translate it into something much bigger. Actually, more to the point, the question is, "How do I grow this into something more?" Honestly, I have no idea. That's something I've been mulling over now for at least two or three years.
The problem for me is that if it starts to feel like work, I lose interest. I have to feel genuinely into it or my mind wanders somewhere else. There was a period of time where CoasterBuzz was starting to feel like work, but fortunately it has landed squarely back into the fun realm. That's a good thing, seeing as how it accounts for 75% of my business income.
So what does it take to be a 37signals? I envy that company, because I think they're exactly the thing I'd like to be. I'm just not sure what the big idea is that I would need, and be interested in, to mimic that.
Many things to think about...