You’ve probably seen a television commercial suggesting that if you just buy such and such a book and follow a few easy steps you’ll soon be making big bucks in your easy Internet business working only a few hours each week. The setting for the commercial often shows someone luxuriously lounging on the beach enjoying “the good life” of riches and ease.

This picture does not paint an accurate view of reality for the vast majority of Internet business owners I know. As an Internet business owner since early 1999, I have met hundreds of others like me. Most work long hours and are very much involved in all aspects of the daily operation of their businesses.

Armed mainly with my experiences, I have a few “common sense” suggestions for getting started. Also, given that many potential Internet business owners don’t know where to start, I’ll pass on some of my tips that I’ve learned over the years since starting Shopping-Bargains.com in early 1999. And since experience is something you get after you need it, most of what I’ve learned has been the hard way through trial and error.

Basically, an Internet business is a business like any other business. It takes a lot of time, work, and vision to see the process from concept to successful reality. There is no substitute for these things if one is going to achieve long-term success.

An Internet business is a real business and can experiences the triumphs and defeats found in any business. While any business potentially can lead to wealth, an Internet business is not a shortcut to wealth. It has advantages in many areas, especially relative to market potential and efficiency. It also has disadvantages in many areas, especially due to the lack of true physical and face-to-face interaction.

As I see things, an Internet business, like any other business, requires four essential things:

  1. Vision (concept, name and business plan)
  2. Investment (startup resources, effort)
  3. Infrastructure (web site and means to facilitate transactions)
  4. Profit (customers and a long-term positive revenue stream)

Over the next few posts I’ll take a practical, “business-owner” look at each of the four areas. I’ll also suggest some resources to address various elements within these four areas.

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