Business Startups

Review these business startups, modeling your own success through an understanding of what makes up a great idea. The most important point is to develop a reasonable business plan, serving as your roadmap.

Online Business

Doing business online is one of your best options to raise extra income. Success is governed by two main factors, visitor traffic and sales conversions. How many of the right people can you attract to your site, and how many of those people can you persuade to take a given action? There's no rent to pay when starting a business online, unless you count yearly domain name registration and monthly website hosting, both of which are minor. Basically, you need to register a domain name describing the type of business you want to start, and then build the website using a template in HTML, adding a database and programming routines as needed.

The easiest way to start is by opening a Wordpress blog, and monetizing with Google AdSense pay-per-click ads. If you've tried Adsense before, but only made a few cents per click, you have a lot of learning to do. Adsense works great, in fact, but you have to understand the concepts, especially how text-ad bidding works, and how the Adsense code interprets your page text. You can drive targeted traffic to your website at a reasonable cost, by learning search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, and writing hundreds of pages of high-quality content.

Just making a website isn't enough, if no-one can find it. You'll then need online marketing skills, and the ability to drive conversions, like encouraging a sign-up for paid membership, purchase of an item, clicks on advertisements, or other money-making events. All of this takes work, and the learning curve is steep at first. Google Analytics provides free tracking of your visitor traffic, enabling you to monitor growth, and find out what works. After you copy the code to the header on each of your pages, this free stats package displays great graphs, going far beyond the number of visitors to your page, into user flow, what links they clicked on, how long they stayed, bounce rate, the percent of repeat visitors, search traffic, and referral traffic.

Udemy Courses, Kickstarter

Right after Apple released the new Swift code, Nick Walter envisioned that he could learn the Swift language for making apps for the iPhone, and teach it at the same time, videotaping his progress. For the next week, he studied the Swift programming language, recording his voice and doing screen captures, making 50 short videos. Then he uploaded them on Udemy, a four-year-old site that makes it easy to put paywalls around content. Apple released Swift on June 2, and Walter submitted his udemy class on June 5. For the first 24 hours, he offered it for free, gaining 1,600 sign-ups that first day. The next day he raised the price to $199 and netted $20,000. Within 30 days he had earned $40,000. “That was more than I’d made in the last year,” he says. It helped that Udemy sent out an email blast to 60,000 people who they thought would be interested in the course and offered it for a discounted $29. Since then the course has generated between $3,000 and $5,000 a month in residual earnings.

People who took the Swift course started emailing Walter, asking if he could teach a broader class on how to make an iPhone app. So he decided to make a marketing video called “How to Make a Freakin’ iPhone App,” and put it on Kickstarter, pre-selling the $199 Udemy course for just $29. In one month the Kickstarter video proved a huge success, earning him $66,000. Only 40% of Kickstarter projects reach the goals set by those who launch them and just 15% of those earn more than $20,000.

Jeff Schwarting, an adjunct professor at Brigham Young who teaches a course on launching products, says Nick Walter hit a sweet spot with a clever campaign. “He happened to be teaching in a space that is really hot,” says Schwarting. “Typically, osftware programming videos are really boring. You just look at a black screen and someone is typing on it while you listen to them talk.” In his Kickstarter video, Walter dances around an empty room with a red brick wall to a pounding electric beat, waving his arms and contorting his body, then promises, “this is a class that’s going to take you from ideas on a napkin to a polished app that you can submit to the Apple app store.” Later he dons a blonde wig and proclaims that Swift has nothing to do with pop star Taylor Swift, singing in a bad falsetto.

Pat Flynn - Income Reports

Pat Flynn made a comprehensive review of the LEED Architecture exam for his own study, and subsequently started sharing links to interested parties within targeted chat rooms. Because of the interest people expressed, he wrote an eBook which was a summation of his prior work. It sold well, thereby helping other to pass the exam. The success of his eBook startled Pat, who then decided to concentrate on online business, and created the website SmartPassiveIncome.com (SPI).

Initial income stemmed from GreenExamAcademy.com eBook Sales and Google Adsense earnings. Pat ran SEO, added a buy-it-now button, landing page optimization, did marketing, bought a microphone, video, and started podcasting. After intial growth, he started a limited liability company to protect personal assets, and met with a CPA to standardize tax reporting.

Gained first 1,000 email subscibers to SmartPassiveIncome website. Started offering an eBook how to succeed, attracting subscibers via a free eBook sent to their email (with an approved newsletter agreement). Started moving the focus from teaching people how to pass the LEED exam through an eBook towards teaching how to succeed in eCommerce. Pat earning affiliate income, with links worked into the text of articles ('BlueHost', 'Market Samurai' niche-site SEO and Keyword tool, 'Internet Business Mastery Academy').

Bought Audio Equipment: A Heil PR-40 Microphone, a Heil Mic Arm, a mixer, and some mic cables. Started Podcasting. Doing appearances on other sites, TV, podcasts, YouTube, sharing what he learned via consultation, coaching, and public speaking engagements, Pat Flynn becoming an expert in the field.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is an American internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is known for co-founding Facebook, and serves as its chairman, CEO, and largest controlling shareholder.


Melanie Perkins’ $3.2 billion design platform, Canva, is one of the world’s most valuable female-led start-ups. CNBC Make It’s Karen Gilchrist met with the 32-year-old Australian entrepreneur in Sydney to find out how her startup is growing.

Chris Sacca

An accomplished venture capital investor and entrepreneur, Chris Sacca manages a portfolio of over seventy technology and consumer startups through Lowercase Capital.

Elon Musk

In this video, Sam Altman interviews Elon Musk, asking how he would start over, if he were 22 years old today.

Shark Tank

Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Kevin O'Leary, and Rohan Oza are all interested in Boho Camper Vans, a custom-built van company. The Sharks love the margins and their approach.


Wattpad is a website and app for writers to publish new user-generated stories. It aims to create social communities around stories for both amateur and established writers. The platform claims to have an audience of more than 90 million users, who can directly interact with the writers and share their opinions with fellow readers. Although available in over 50 languages, 77% of its content is written in English. A number of Wattpad users are translating stories to continue to build the platform. Wattpad announced the launch of Wattpad Books, the company’s first direct publishing division that will bring Wattpad stories to bookshelves everywhere. In January 2021, Wattpad announced that it was to be acquired by Naver Corporation.

Wattpad’s work in machine learning, deep learning and recurrent neural networks have also enhanced its ability to discover stories for adaptation and content trends that are now used across the entertainment industry. Wattpad has major TV, film and digital video partnerships with Universal Cable Productions (UCP), a division of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, eOne, CW Seed and others. The company works with publishing houses such as HarperCollins, Hachette Audio and Hachette Romans. Hundreds of Wattpad stories have been published as traditional books, many as best-sellers.

In 2017, Wattpad launched Tap by Wattpad, an immersive storytelling experience that delivers short, conversational-style narratives. Tap offers interactive entertainment experiences that digital natives love, using a chat-style format, combined with multimedia innovations designed specifically for Tap Originals. Since launch, users all over the world have devoured Tap stories, with more than 3 billion taps to date on over 300,000 stories available.

Successful Startups

Byjus.com, Test Prep, Courses

Byju Raveendran achieved a top score on an Indian college entrance exam. Subsequently, he started teaching a few friends how to score beteer on the exam. This led to larger and larger groups of people listening to him, until he was lecturing on stage, and then at stadiums. Finally, he collected the materials he developed into the Byjus.com website. His popularity grew, and as he entered stadium-size venues, he launched online. Within six years, his platform was valued at 1 billion USD, with over 30 million users a month.

Elon Musk

Elon Reeve Musk is a business magnate, industrial designer, and engineer. He is the founder and chief designer of SpaceX, the product architect of Tesla, founder of The Boring Company, co-founder of Neuralink, and co-founder and initial co-chairman of OpenAI. Elon Musk was born to a Canadian mother and South African father and raised in Pretoria, South Africa. He briefly attended the University of Pretoria before moving to Canada aged 17 to attend Queen's University. He transferred to the University of Pennsylvania two years later, where he received dual bachelor's degrees in economics and physics. He moved to California in 1995 to attend Stanford University but decided instead to pursue a business career, co-founding the web software company Zip2 with his brother Kimbal. The startup was acquired by Compaq for $307 million in 1999. Musk co-founded online bank X.com that same year, which merged with Confinity in 2000 to form the company PayPal and was subsequently bought by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion.


Udemy is an American massive open online course (MOOC) provider aimed at professional adults and students. It was founded in May 2010 by Eren Bali, Gagan Biyani, and Oktay Caglar. As of February 2021, the platform has more than 40 million students, 155,000 courses and 70,000 instructors teaching courses in over 65 languages. Students and instructors come from 180+ countries and 2/3 of the students are located outside of the USA. Students take courses largely as a means of improving job-related skills, and some courses generate credit toward technical certification. Udemy has made a special effort to attract corporate trainers seeking to create coursework for employees of their company. The headquarters of Udemy is located in San Francisco, California.


Airbnb operates an online marketplace for lodging, primarily homestays for vacation rentals, and tourism activities. The platform is accessible via website and mobile app. Airbnb does not own any of the listed properties. Instead, it profits by receiving a small commission from each booking. The company was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia. Airbnb is a shortened version of its original name, AirBedandBreakfast. With a huge valuation, the company has been criticized for a direct correlation between increases in the number of its listings and increases in nearby rent prices, and creating nuisances for those living near leased properties. In response, the company has attracted regulatory attention from cities such as San Francisco and New York City, and the European Union. It has also faced challenges from the hotel industry and other competitors.

Management Jobs

A project manager is responsible for determining project requirements, and managing all elements of the task. Project management software is available that will help to organize both yourself and your team. Depending on the sophistication of the software, it may include estimating and cost control, decision-making trees, and a workflow analysis. Over the course of any project, the requirements may change mid-stream, without prior notice. Changes can be the result of necessary design modifications, altered site conditions, material availability or lack thereof. Finally, a formal, compliance-based audit may be conducted by upper management after completion.

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