My first big break in the world of online business occurred long before I got my first product idea. It happened the day that I hired a home repairman from an ad on Craigslist.
The repairman arrived at our home in very old vehicle, and it was clear from his car and his clothing that he was working on his own and not with any established company.
In the past I’ve had mixed experiences with services found on Craigslist, so I kept an eye on the work. The more I observed, the more I was impressed: the man completed the difficult job quickly and with obvious skill, despite the fact that his agreed price was much lower than what others had offered.
As luck would have it, while he was working I asked the man how his business was doing, and he confided that times were tough. As we talked, it dawned on me that this his major issue had to be a lack of good advertising.
Out of gratitude for his work and a little curiosity, I eventually volunteered to try and help the repairman set up an inexpensive website to promote his services – using his credit card to pay the costs.
The results were surprising. I quickly discovered that the repairman’s larger competitors weren’t doing a good job of advertising online, and it turned out to be easy to bring in a lot of new customers without spending much money.
Within three years the man – now a friend – grew his business enough to hire employees, open a brick-and-mortar store, and buy a fleet of several trucks.
And by that time I had already started an online business of my own.