Thursday, December 4, 2008

The intricacies of running an online business...

I will dedicate today's post to the intricacies (and some would say rigors) of running an online business. This is not necessarily meant to be instructional in any way, but merely my experiences with the process. What people who don't run an online business don't know (and for those who do, I apologize) is how much time is spent in trying to promote the business, and how much that digs into the actual time you could be spending administrating the business and actually building up products or improving the store, etc.

Promotion, the act of "getting your name out there" is a LARGE chunk of running a business, especially a relatively new one, and those of you out there who are thinking of starting a business, prepare to spend more than half of your time (at first) submitting ads, creating promotional videos, and pitching your product to what seems like thousands of places. You will become VERY adept at typing your website URL and description at lightning speeds into countless submission forms across all of cyberspace.

Some of these promotional activities are actually rather fun for people. I, for instance, love making the promotional videos and other videos that have examples of my products, despite the frustrations of video editing software. And I love to design graphics for my products and image ads, despite the frustrations of graphics editing software (like a certain program that sounds like Phodobe Autoshop).

So while my forte is creating audio soundtracks, I can live with doing certain promotional stuff that's creative in nature. What isn't so great is the countless hours spent submitting and registering for every internet directory known to man. I mean everybody knows about Youtube and Google Ads and Yahoo and whatnot. But that is only the tip of the iceberg...mwa haha.

Take this as an example: I recently created a podcast of guided meditations called Meditation Getaways that uses my nature sounds in the background as I guide the listener on an imaginary trip to the wilderness. So, it's out on the internet, and I just let the throngs of eager fans of guided meditation jockey for position as they subscribe to my podcast, right? WRONG (accompanied by buzzer sound)! Nobody knows about it! So I have to submit my podcast feed to podcast directories so that people can find it.

Well, itunes is the first and obvious choice, but not everyone uses itunes, so why not a few others, like, say, Podcasting Station, All Podcasts, RSS Network, Plazoo, Podblaze, Podcast Direct, Get A Podcast, Idiotvox, Podnova, Yahoo Media, Every Podcast, Podcast Pup, Podcast Like That, Podcast Blaster, Mirpod, Podmopolis, Speecha, Personal Growth Podcast, Podanza, Podlounge, Podcast Alley, Podcast Bunker, Podcast Pickle, Podfeed, Syndic8, Hard Pod Cafe, and Digital Podcast.

Someone run the stats on that and tell me the percentage of syllables that the word "Pod" makes up in the above list. I'd do it myself but I'm too busy submitting to Podcast directories and blogging about how much time I spend submitting to Podcast directories. Why so many? Because there isn't a single directory that everyone uses, so you want to make sure that your Podcast reaches the widest possible audience. Many of these sites require a registration, and many require writing a description of some kind about your podcast before you submit. Anyway, the point is that you can see how promoting this one podcast could take the better part of several work days. The general rule in all of this that applies to all aspects of promoting a business: Do everything you can to ensure that what you are producing or selling reaches the largest possible audience.

So if love cat ice hockey and your unique contribution to the world is the creation of the world's first Cat Ice Hockey League and you have created a great website for the CIHL, be prepared to sacrifice some of the time that you normally spend reviewing team rosters, creating strict performance-enhancing drug policies, and scouting in faraway countries for the best international feline hockey talent. You must turn much of your focus for the time being to getting the CIHL's name out there, making sure people know about the CIHL's website, making sure it reaches the intended audience of animal sports fans, and justifying to the world why Cat Ice Hockey is THE sport of the 21st century. And once you've gotten that ball rolling, you can turn some of your attention back to the committee hearings on the legality of catnip.

That, my friends, is how hobbies become businesses.

Check out my business: Moodstreams

My Podcast Alley feed! {pca-e2b5ab07d34091cee7a337678fda6e85}

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