The Five Year Rule & Then Some

As a general rule, a business/startup/community will take five years to flourish. “Bullshit,” you may think. Steemit is only a year old and look at it now. No, bullshit it is not.

Don’t mind the random image of five beers above. You can toast yourself with a different beer for every year you’ve lasted.

We’ve all seen great online businesses, websites and services come and go. Greater ones replace them every day. They gain instantaneous momentum and reach the height of popularity within months. Or so it seems. Truth is, the majority of these greater sites have been in development, production, and pulled through endless marketing and advertising loops for long months or even years before gaining recognition. It’s not as easy as making a Kickstarter account.

But time is a fickle thing and the real question is: now that these wonder-projects like Steemit or Dash made it to the top, can they withstand the test of time? Will they stand true or crumble under the endless pressures presented by the ever-changing cryptocurrency markets?

There are countless elements out there effecting online projects and businesses from inception to launch and beyond. Legal problems, technology, development and upkeep fees, staff relations, personal issues, product demand, and content availability are just some of them. The list is never-ending in actuality. Remember, the bigger they are he harder they fall. Anything can happen; expect the unexpected.

The five year rule is a rule of general return and survival. Bluntly put it translates into two near-facts:

  1. You will start seeing true profits after five years of pursuing projects, anything prior will be short-lived and
  2. If you’ve lasted the first five years, you’ll last the next.

Long-term projects never really disappear, their legacy remains and will remain intact for as long as the Internet as we know it holds up. A project that took a year to build, a year to market, and lasted the first five years and then some will spawn endless spin-off projects during its lifespan.

The following are some points to consider in order to help ensure you go the distance:

Don’t get too close to your followers.

Be it a popular community you run or a restaurant directory, remember this: your fans are just that, your fans. Some people tend to become awestruck more easily than others when confronted by a seemingly-successful individual. A lot will strive to befriend this individual. Whores on your arm at every conference are a dime a dozen and they’re all “aspiring girls who code and vlog”. Regardless of how much in common you feel you have with your client, star developer, contributor, etc., never forget that they are just that; a client, a developer, or a contributor. They are not your closest bud nor are they a future wife. Never confuse admiration for love.

Keep in mind the ongoing Looks vs Brains dispute.

A layout will never replace a quality service or product. Don’t kid yourself, don’t think having a great design will make your business a success. A site with an average or even bad layout but great services will always be more successful than a pretty skin. Visitors will traverse the most absurd menu system to reach the content that they seek.

There was an article I read recently about logo designs and how much impact they have on the success of their product. The Virgin logo was scribbled on a napkin. It’s the quality of the product that makes the logo successful, not the other way around.

Artists paint their subjects inside out – the outline is last

Next time you’re investing in a web-based project or mobile app, pay a developer or a coder rather than a designer. It is easier for a developer, regardless how busy, to figure out how to work a graphics program than it is for a graphic designer to grasp the needs of the development team. Spend your money wisely. Never buy “uncoded” or “unsliced” templates if you’re working with websites or worse yet, WordPress themes. The back end of that theme will waste more of your time in terms of errors and plain shit coding than any other aspect of the site launch. You’d have to be truly obtuse to think otherwise.

Don’t discard potential affiliates or partners if their statistics don’t match your own.

That startup currently struggling to land an investor may just be the next big thing. Sticking only with heavy hitters is never a good idea. As mentioned in the body of the article, businesses fall, things change. The Internet is forever in development, with the next billion-dollar initiative just around the corner at every turn. You don’t know who that big thing is going to be. It could be that guy you wouldn’t let on your development team because he was a self-learner with no college degree. Keep your eyes peeled. Today’s kid with a hint of talent will be tomorrow’s leader of an industry we can barely imagine today. Just look at Google. Years ago if you’d have told me they’d eclipse Yahoo I’d have laughed. Not laughing anymore.

I’ll have to tie this bit off here. There’s plenty more to mention but as I see it, the above sums up the crucial in a manner that’s both sufficient and direct. Good luck with your venture, I will say now, and drop me a comment if it works out.

‘Dash’ is linked to the official forums to answer any Q & A on what that is.

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