I know a thing or two about startups and launching web products and applications into the wide shark-filled waters of online.
But, it’s not because I’m a genius or because I’m so wildly popular and famous, but because I’ve been extremely lucky and I borrow a lot from the people who’ve come before me.
I also study really hard, and I take good notes of my failures.
Here are 10 Tips for Successfully Starting up a Web Ministry or Web-Based Product:
- Hang out with older people. I’ve been fortunate enough to hang out with a lot of people who are 10/20/30 years my senior. These people know what’s up. They know how to weather the storm. They know more than you.
- A “Startup” doesn’t need to be a “Startup.” Inheriting, buying, or acquiring an already existing application, blog, or service is just as good as starting one. Pros and cons on both sides, but if you’ve got an entrepreneurial mindset, next time you get the “itch” why not look into an acquisition instead of starting from scratch? One of the most successful (and funny blogs) out there is ICanHasCheezburger.com, which was actually bought by Ben Huh. Nice move Ben.
- You don’t know God’s Will for your app. In other words, there is no guarantee. Don’t be stupid. Starting up a web business is as hard (and foolish from one perspective) as driving 100mph blindfolded during a blizzard. Guess what? It’s even harder in ministry. Don’t ever believe that you’re guaranteed “success.” God has a funny way with web apps. This attitude will save you from immense heartache.
- Nothing wrong with “Last.” There is something biblical about being “last,” right? The first shall be last and the last shall be first type idea here. It’s ok if you’re not the first to market in the ministry space. In fact, it’s not even that much of an issue if you’re not first to market in the secular space either! Do you have a great idea? Do it.
- Time. This is a key ingredient. You must be willing to commit long term. Any web service will require time to even see if it’s viable and valuable. This is doubly true for Christian Ministry, as life-change happens long term, not instantaneously (except for justification… but enough theology).
- Money. Another key ingredient. You must be willing to invest some money to make it world class. Trust me, you alone cannot make it world class, you will need to hire experts to make it great.
- Courage. This is the nicer way to say “Have some balls son!” You will challenge and confront many people who do not “get” what you’re trying to do and will try to knock you down. Polarization will occur. Be ready. Christians are the worst at this, but you already knew that.
- Staying “under the radar” can be a good thing. Establishing credibility is a time-based result, not a make-it-and-they-will-come result. The difference is crucial, and you’re ability to build on this principle will mark your success long term. Sometimes it’s best to lay low for a while.
- Social media is not the answer. It seems that every web ministry startup these days is a social media endeavor. Please people, stop focusing on the hottest thing right now! There are tons of needs out there, and social media and social networking is not the answer every time. Do something fantastically different than everyone else. Also, using social media for your groundswell initiative isn’t always hot either, but it can work.
- Prayer. This is perhaps one of the most significant differences between the marketplace and us. We pray, they don’t (or maybe they do, but to some other thing or person or… whatever). Pray. It’s our bread and butter.
Got any more thoughts and ideas? Bring it!