View Full Version : Minimum Computer Skills Needed?
07-25-2007, 03:03 PM
I notice that the 4-HW-w plan is rather computer heavy. Though I don't disagree that the internet might be a goose laying golden eggs, nevertheless I worry that maybe I'm not going to be able to (erm ...) milk that cow.
What do you think the minimum amount of computer skills are, that someone would need to know before going in, in order for him to be able to set up a "Muse"? I, for example, am a very bright guy, but I am not going to go learning HTML or how to program in Java-plus-plus (or whatever they call it). I'd be outsourcing ALL of that. I'm noticing that a lot of people who are posting here on the forums are computer jocks, who have "set up their own" web service of some kind or other. I am NOT going to start creating web sites on my own. Outsource! In fact, I'm at the point of wishing I could outsource my posts at this, The 4-Hour Workweek Forum. :)
But then, I don't want to get taken to the cleaners. I'm sure a minimum amount of HTML knowledge would be helpful -- for example, a small glitch in a website could be identified and reported and fixed rather quickly, if I noticed it and knew what it was. But if I didn't, my outsourcers could charge me for identification, diagnosis, AND fixing. Then again (come to think of it ... just thinking out loud here) maybe knowing that HTML would be just another inappropriate way for me to let work overtake my mind, instead of being more responsible about insisting to myself that I outsource those decisions. Hmm.
How much computer knowledge is a positive return, and how much is a negative? Can you know too much? Is there a bare minimum that you need to know? Maybe there's some location or web-site called "So you want to start an internet business? Here are the six computer things you should always understand, and here are the ten you should NEVER try to do on your own!" or something like that.
07-25-2007, 03:15 PM
The big thing is you don't need any computer & internet knowledge. What you don't know or can't do you outsource.
I have no knowledge of programming or internet website building, but I am familar with the mortgage and real estate industry. So I am having my accounting & books out sourced to a CPA; the LLC setup & legal paperwork out sourced to a lawyer; the internet hosting, design and support outsourced through elance; the PPC campaign I am even outsourcing.
Hope this is helpful!
07-25-2007, 03:31 PM
I saw Tim say on one of his interviews that you only need "entrpreneurial" skills. To me that means being able to think creatively to solve problems, etc. :)
07-25-2007, 07:55 PM
I see computer skills as necessary for most online businesses (muses). So for example, if you are outsourcing the creation of your website - how are you going to edit it in the future?
Are you going to have to hire someone each time you want to change something? This could get expensive!
I'm not saying you have to be a computer/internet guru, but you should start learning some basics, most importantly search engine optimization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization) and 'pay per click marketing (http://www.google.com/search?q=pay+per+click+marketing&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B3GGGL_enES220US231)'. If you are not familiar with these topics, then you are not going to find a good outsource partner, you will probably find someone who will get you crappy links and do nothing for your marketing campaigns.
If you are brainstorming what type of muse to create, I would suggest starting a Wordpress blog (http://wordpress.org/) about a particular niche that you are interested in. You could go to the Google Keyword Sandbox (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) for ideas.
The reason why I recommend a WordPress blog is because its very easy for someone with little internet experience to use the Wordpress administration menu to post, edit posts, and arrange elements of your website (without having to hire someone or spend too much time learning).
Once you find a niche with little competition, your next step is to look for merchant sites that you can review. So for example, if your niche is 'learning to play piano', you can review ebooks or training methods, and receive a commission for each visitor you refer in what is known as affiliate marketing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affiliate_marketing).
Setting up a wordpress blog is relatively easy, and if you don't know how to, someone on elance (http://www.elance.com) or rentacoder (http://www.rentacoder.com) can set it up for you for under $20 dollars I imagine.
The next step is purchasing your own domain name and host for your wordpress blog. Make sure you get your own domain name, such as 'FinalReviews.com' (make sure its a .com and brandable, and easy to remember!). You can customize the design to your liking by looking for wordpress themes (http://themes.wordpress.net). If you are going with a Wordpress blog, make sure you look for 'linux' hosting packages, and not Windows based hosting.
I recommend 1and1.com (http://www.scrappybusiness.com/u/11) or Bluehost (http://www.scrappybusiness.com/u/16) for domain hosting, with packages starting as little as $4.95/month.
Regarding your questions, computer knowledge in my opinion, always nets a positive return. As I mentioned above, a better investment in your time is to focus on internet marketing aspects rather than learning HTML (which you can easily pay someone to do with little knowledge on your own part).
I don't want to be self promotional, but since you asked if there was a website that can help you figure this stuff out, you might want to check out my blog. (http://www.scrappybusiness.com) to get ideas.
Hope this helps!
07-25-2007, 09:23 PM
I would say minimal knowledge at least is a must.
I'm currently working on a yahoo store, and without knowing their proprietary language rtml, you are severely limited in what you can do design-wise. You're pretty much stuck with cookie-cutter sites, and the only quick way to change it is to hire someone, but rtml programmers are very limited and niche and so can charge a bundle for a simple design. I've seen $700 to $1800.
But since I knew basic html and css, I was able to hack together something that stands out a little at virtually no cost. All I did was run a design contest for $50 to get some nice looking graphics made, and then put them in the site and laid them out myself.
I'll post the site I'm working on in a week or so, as it's almost done and ready to open, just to give an example.
The way websites work is that there's the HTML/CSS/Graphics portion that controls the look of the website. The content is often mixed in with the HTML, but that's not absolutely necessary. There are plenty of different ways that the content could be accessible so that you can edit it. No need for a custom built administration section that costs you hundreds of dollars to implement ;)
08-06-2007, 03:30 PM
I have just read one of Tim's latest blog posts, where he explains "how to make a best seller." There's a LOT of computer-ese in there, about networking and blogging, but most of it is pretty non-technical.
First, it's pretty clear that the way that he has created such big sales for the book is that he created a "meme" and made it circulate by means of all the networking available on the internet. He's one of those people who "worked" the system, and I think the essential advice to be gained is that the system will always be there, in whatever its current form will be, so the only question is whether or not you go out of your way to "work" it. For example, he sold his book to the publishers before even starting to write it, and then made blogging and online communities the zones where the book's sales would propagate. This is an important lesson for traditional publishers (if they'll listen), that someone who commits to POST-authorship networking is probably much more effective than the usual stupid methods (author tours! cold calling!).
[[Aside: as a former staff member at a publishing house, I have to say that the damn author tour was always a thorn in my side. It sold four copies and cost $500. I could NOT convince marketing managers that it was a waste of time, though, because it was a way that "you're supposed to do things." Glad to see Tim was smart enough to just abandon it outright from the get-go.]]
Anyway, my point is, that what seems to be going on here is, USING the internet without KNOWING the programming. I read elsewhere a suggestion that a Dreamweaver license might be a good idea. (Here is the forum post (http://fourhourworkweek.com/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=281), very useful.) I can understand that thought, but I don't think I want to go that far.
Or do I? I am torn. Should I start learning HTML basics? I already understand mark-up language, to the extent that it's really pretty self-explanatory. I don't need to know more, do I? I don't want to learn Dreamweaver: although I "get" many of the concepts right now, I don't want to immerse myself in the details. Time time time!
So I'm still up in the air. My current computer knowledge is "smart user." I can figure just about anything out, and am an "expert" at just about any end-user office productivity software that I try. Microsoft Office is fine; I can pick addresses out of a Filemaker database. But running the background shopping system (cart, wish list, etc.) is something I think I should outsource.
How do I know where to draw the line? How much knowledge of computer technicalities is too much, not enough, and when seeking to learn it, how much is a waste of time?
08-06-2007, 09:06 PM
I really like inspirationalwebhosting.com, which is acually a creation of one of our forum members, wildsoul. It seems to me so far that for a basic, professional looking site, little web design knowledge is needed. And even if you do know html, css..., his site is much quicker to put a site together to test in your niche market. Plus it's free for 10 days to try!
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