This afternoon I was watching some of the Olympics on TV and there was an interview with one of the world’s leading long distance runners, Paula Radcliffe.

During the interview they showed video clips of the athlete training in the driving rain and the snow. They had close ups of her face, with teeth gritted and sweat pouring from her brow, as she pushed herself to breaking point. It showed her collapsing in tears when she lost a major race …and it showed her crying tears of joy from the winners podium.

When the clips finished the interviewer turned to the runner and asked.

“Why do you do it?” and Paula simply replied “I want to be the best in the world at what I’m good at”.

Over the last 10 years I have been involved with the setup of hundreds of websites for a wide variety of individuals and small businesses. Some have done extremely well; many have done OK, whilst others have failed.

If I had to identify the single most important factor which separated the winners from the losers it would be the determination to keep going when others give up.

Starting a money making website can be a lonely and frustrating business.

There is always too much to do and so many new things to learn … but everyone is in the same boat.

Google was going for two years before it was discovered by the mass market.

Seven out of the top ten blogs have been going for over 33 months. Many of them have only become recognised and successful in the last twelve months.

There is myth perpetuated on the internet by the hundreds of get-rich-quick schemes that all you need to do is create a great website and the world will beat a path to your door with their wallets open for business.

I’m afraid that the only people who get rich from get-rich-quick schemes are the people selling them.

Top 10 Tips to Building a Successful Online Business

1)    Like an Olympic athlete you have to put in the hours to become excellent at what you do

2)    Like an Olympic athlete you must focus on one thing and become the best in your field

3)    Don’t spend all of your money on an all-singing, all-dancing website. Start with a simple site that does the basics well and then add new functionality as you need it. The SubHub website publishing platform provides an excellent starting point

4)    Don’t dip in and out of community websites, tell everyone how good you are and leave. Pick the sites that are relevant to your subject and become active and regular contributors. The more you give the more you get back

5)    Pace yourself. Expect success to be a marathon and if it comes after 1,500 meters then that is a bonus

6)    Don’t get caught up in all the hype about the latest online application or marketing fad. Most of this stuff is for the geeky few and not the mass market

7)     Remember the HEART acronym for online content; Honest, Exclusive, Accurate, Relevant and Timely. If you stick to this, you’ll never go far wrong

8)    Listen to your customers; they are your pathway to continuous improvement

9)    Study your stats. Your website stats tell you what is really happening on your website. Read and react

10)    Remember, the secret of online success is to still be standing when those around you have given up and gone home 


Just to finish up I want to repeat my mantra which I know from my experience is true.

Anyone, from any walk of life can become hugely successful on the internet.

Indeed it’s often those who start with the biggest advantages – money, a brand, a fancy website – who fail, because they think the web owes them a living.

There are thousands of ordinary people like you and me around the world making a living beyond their dreams on the web. The common theme to their success is persistence.

Build something to last, and success will beat a path to your door.