How do you earn the money you get for your living? Where do they come from and I mean not ultimately but the actual, literal sender of money to your personal pocket, your personal bank or crypto account? The more people are in the middle between you and the end users of the thing you do - the less of a business and more of a job or occupation you have.
What are the variations of middle man? - A Boss, Employer, a freelance client, online marketplaces like Amazon, Facebook, OLX, payment providers like Skrill, PaySafe, PayPal, sometimes even your own Bank.
Are you noticing that when you open a link from the Facebook, Messenger, Instagram App, from the Google News or Search apps, or from any other big player, the web page loads in a Web View - an embedded browser within the concrete app, instead of - in a separate browser - provided by the OS or installed by the user? Do you ask yourself why?
The answer is that in a separate browser - the user either exits from the context or exits entirely from the control of the current app and the platform - may not be able to track how much the user spends on the opened page, what part of the page the user was watching or clicking, and a lot more statistics, a lot more data, that in big quantities is very valuable.
The secret to business is to have actual control on the stuff you get money from - to be the legal owner, to be able "have it" as closest as possible - as physically as possible, if not, at least as an environment that you can truly manipulate, like a (virtual) machine, especially if you are monetizing or you are planning to monetize the environment from which you get money from.
Do you maintain the machines, the hardware that your web site is running on? If not you are not in full control. Do you have full control over the virtual machine or container that your site is running on? If not - you are not in control. There is some sense in delegating that, so you can focus on your own shit.
Having a registration on a platform for e-store - ebay, amazon, woo-commerce, shopify is not having control. They could alleviate some work for you, especially when you are starting, but this will come with a price - if you hit big scale and will create for you a natural need to migrate to a more personal environment as possible. Also if these platforms decide, they could theoretically expel you.
Having actual control on the stuff and making money from it requires more than just technical skills and will bring to you next level problems and difficulties - reach critical number of clients or users, moderate their behavior, filter the bad comments, from the feedback of the users and implement more and more meaningful features or sell more hot products, conquer markets from the competitors, market, brand, sell yourself in the world. This requires from you - extrovert-ism, confidence, courage, patience and humility and more and more skills and traits in the character that are outside of the purely technical area.
A thought about marketing - One idea that I realized recently - why email marketing is still hot, even when most mails today are full of spam? There is a reason. When you have attracted an audience for something, you have actual control over it - the email addresses. So, you have options - to dive into the technical details of setting up a Mail Server and white-listing it as not SPAM and sending unlimited number of emails, you could use the SMTP Server of the Mail Providers, or a 3rd party service like Mail Chimp. And sending mails will more likely reach the users, even if ignored by them. Many platforms offer creating an audience from a list of emails. When you have a followers on twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram or whatever - you don't have full control - just the opposite. Even the organic reach over your followers on these platforms will fade away and eventually will cost money.
Here are some more signs about control and business:
- If you are depending on only one client - you don't have a business.
- If you depend on - only one payment provider, only one server, one registration on some 3rd party platform, only one copy of the data
- You don't have s business if someone else is to decide what you, your team, your company is going to do next.
- if the whole thing stops to work more than 50 percent when you are not there physically or virtually.