WebDU 2010: Start-up, How to Get Going as a Web Entrepreneur

Collis Ta’eed spoke at webDU a few years ago on how to start a web community. He should know, Collis founded the Envato network which publishes PSD Tuts, Vector Tuts, Active Tuts, Freelance Switch amongst other titles. It’s inspiring to hear about web success stories. The Envato network employs 25 people and attracts ‘a few million visitors a month’. Impressive.

Often it is difficult for speakers to share lessons learned in work, because of client confidentiality, and because sometimes it’s not good business to give too many secrets away. To solve this dilemma Collis delivered his presentation on how to start a web business by discussing a hypothetical case study. His words of wisdom are summarised below.

How do you come up with an idea?

  • Solve a problem you have yourself experienced.
  • Observe and look for audience niches that experience this problem.
  • Your solution should help other people make money
    • e.g. the 37 Signals Basecamp application wasn’t making money from the consumer market but became a success when it was marketed to business.
  • Test your idea with research.

How do you do good business?

  • Not all businesses are equal. The Envato network has dual business models of publishing and market places.
  • Don’t underestimate marketing. While its essential to have a good product, it’s vital to have great marketing.
  • Spread the word. Present and blog about tangential topics that appeal to people who want to use your service.
  • Build your user base with free content then add paid services.

Collis was one of the highlights of weDU for me. Keep an eye out on the webDU site. They will be publishing audio of the talks in coming weeks.

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