A few weeks ago, after describing the subscription website business to a group of people, a middle-aged lady came up to me and said:
“What a great opportunity. I would love to do it, but I’m not an expert in anything and I don’t have any hobbies where I could profess to being an expert. I haven’t had time. I’ve been too busy raising my three kids”.
So I asked her “How old are the kids?”
She replied: “17, 15 and 11. Why do you ask?”
I said “Who advised you on how to raise the children?”
“No one” she laughed “Just trial and error”.
She looked slightly confused and bemused by my line of questioning, so I explained why I was asking.
“Every year, there are tens of thousands of couples who become parents for the first time. Babies don’t come with instruction manuals and whilst there are always a hundred and one people who give them well-intentioned advice, it is often conflicting and ill–informed”.
“Don’t you think that those parents would benefit from a website where they could seek advice, talk with other new parents and ask questions of an experienced parent?”
“Having brought up three kids, studied the books, watched friends, talked to teachers, experienced the highs and lows, don’t you think you would be qualified to help new parents cope with their babies and toddlers?”.
“Also, your members would all be in the same boat, so there would be great value in them interacting with each other to share their thoughts, questions and experiences”.
She thought for a moment and then smiled: “You’re absolutely right. When I had my first child, I would have loved to have had a community of people that I could have shared my experiences with and sought answers from”.
Another Example - Moving to Spain
I had a similar conversation with a chap who had run into some difficulties in his business life that threatened to leave him broke and jobless.
The man in question had been offered the chance to move to Spain and set up a coffee franchise in Costa Blanca. He sold up everything in the UK, went to Spain, bought a house and started to research his market.
During this process, he started to run into lots of obstacles, as local businesses objected to his plans. They used every excuse and trick under the sun to block progress, but the real reason was obvious. They did not want the competition from a successful US franchise coffee shop in their town.
Eventually, he found a suitable business property, negotiated the deal and set about starting his new business. By this time money was getting tight -- it was all expenses and no revenue.
Everything had to run smoothly from here on in...
Just when he thought he had cleared every hurdle and was ready to launch, a local official came to the new café and informed him that he had to put in a new staircase and fire escape, so that there was external access to the flats upstairs.
This was a ridiculous and unnecessary request as he owned the lease on the flats upstairs and no one was going to be living in them. It was then that he realised that he would never open the business no matter what he tried. There would always be one more obstacle to overcome.
Sadly, the tactics of the local community had worked.
He had to close the café before it opened. He lost nearly everything he had earned over the last 15 years.
As a result, when I met him a few weeks after the closure, he was planning on returning to England and getting back his old job.
So I asked him, “Did you learn a lot from your experience?”
He smiled “You bet I did”, he replied.
“Given that there are just over half a million UK people living in Spain,” I continued, “and many more thinking about moving, don’t you think your experience would be very valuable to them? You could stop them from making the same mistakes. You could save them thousand of pounds and a whole lot of stress. Would you have paid for such advice before embarking on your Spanish adventure?”.
He smiled and nodded.
“If you could convince just 1,000 people out of the 500,000 to pay 60 euros a year to have access to your site, that would give you a better income than the café would have done and it will allow you to stay in Spain -- and out of the reach of the local planning authority!”.
“The subjects you could cover include: buying a Spanish home, setting up a business in Spain, cultural differences, where to live, finding honest professional help, how to work with the authorities -- the topics are endless”.
I’m waiting to hear how he is getting on with his new subscription website!
As I said earlier, this opportunity is not for everyone.
However, I would like to add to that everyone has knowledge and experience that is of value to someone.
With determination, persistence and dedication, there is no reason why anyone can’t succeed in this new market.