If there is a single secret to selling online, it is to work hard.
Hard work is the secret to succeeding in almost anything, but it
is especially important on the Web.
It's true what they say: the Web levels the playing field. A high school can make a better Web site than a large industrial company.
On a level playing field, how big you are matters
less than how hard you work.
There are millions of consumers out there, but lots of other Web
sites are competing for their attention. So you can't just build
an online store and walk away from it. You have to work hard to
draw visitors to your site, work hard to create a site that those
visitors want to buy from, and work hard to give those buyers such
good service that they and their friends will buy again in the
So the bad news is that starting a business on the Internet is just
like starting any other business: work, work, work. The good news
is that it is a lot cheaper.
The Web gives you something that has never existed before in history:
an inexpensive sales channel direct to consumers. Before the Web,
if you wanted to sell direct to consumers, you either had to build
retail stores or do catalog mailings. In either case the entry
fee is hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
On the Web, you can sell direct to consumers worldwide for a hundred
dollars a month. You have to work hard to exploit this opportunity.
But if you are willing to work hard, you don't need a lot of money
to get started.
Copyright © 1999 Paul Graham. Feel free to reproduce any of this text on your own Web site, so long as you reproduce it verbatim, and include this message. For any other use, please contact the author. Yahoo! and Yahoo! Store are trademarks of Yahoo! Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.