8 important lessons I learned from owning my own search engine – Lesson 2 of 8Mashcor
Please start with Lesson 1 in case you missed it. I will make references to it throughout this lesson.
Lesson 2 of 8 – What do Bees and Butterflies have in common with Entrepreneurs?
If you told me 10 years ago, “I see you running your very own search engine off your laptop,” I would have thought that you were high on something. Thanks to entrepreneurship lessons I learned along the way, I am living that ambition today.
I have grown up considerably since 2009 and I have been at this whole build your income online journey since 2007. The journey has had so many false starts and so many blind alleys I could write a book about them and it would read like fiction. Instead of a “How to create a business book”, I think it would be a “How not to spend money book.”
The antics that many of us “junior entrepreneurs” get up to are nothing short of, humorous, tragic, mysterious and amazing. The one thing we all share in common is our share of PayPal transactions. If I bought shares in PayPal instead of transacting through them as a consumer I may have had a better outcome in my sanity and my bank balance.
But the lessons I learned, which I am about to share with you, would have not come so richly.
I guess you can say I paid for my tuition in life.
As a junior entrepreneur, by the way, I hate the term “noobie” so I will use “junior entrepreneur” even though some of us are well into our twilight years chronologically. I think the term is much more befitting without the hint of degradation.
Right now I am still a junior entrepreneur but I am almost going to graduate to senior entrepreneur and later I hope to become a professional entrepreneur.
The holy grail at the end of a very long journey.
If you think about it, becoming a professional entrepreneur is closer to the much publicized 10 000 hour milestone. But haven’t I crossed that line after ten years of “trying to do internet marketing”?
The reason I am so late is that like most junior entrepreneurs I was dabbling, not focused. Dabbling is like a butterfly going from one flower to another, taking small low impact actions and relying on the wind and the air current to whisk me off to my next plant.
That’s why butterflies spend the entire day seemingly searching for food. Us junior entrepreneurs dabble from one shiny opportunity to another one with our jobs to carry us in between.
Most of the successful senior and professional entrepreneurs were forced by external or internal forces that made them build a system that made them gain the 10 000 hours quicker and move through the ranks with purpose.
Either they lost their job, or they had a health scare or needed to settle crushing debt. The common thread is that they went from butterflies to bees. Same insect group but more task driven and they leveraged others and built structures that were visible from a distance.
If you disagree with my metaphor, tell me, when last did you see the home of a butterfly? Butterflies serve a purpose, they help with pollination and that’s it. Bees run the entire food reserves of the world.
“So what does this have to do with lesson 2 I learned from owning a search engine?”
Simple, websites that Mashcor crawlers index can be put into two broad categories.
- Websites built by butterfly entrepreneurs.
- Websites built by bee entrepreneurs.
My personal observations on websites built by butterflies.
These websites do not rank well, period. They do not have a purpose. Websites designed and operated by butterfly entrepreneurs have poor organizational structures. These websites have little or no metadata.
Butterfly entrepreneur websites also tend to have more 404 error pages than useful pages. They waste search engine resources and cost me more money to index.
Right now Mashcor crawlers are making their way through one popular website and it has about half a million webpages of error pages. It’s bloated and marginally successful because it serves a purpose that no other website serves. That is why I do not block the crawlers from wasting nearly 30 days crawling through its underbelly.
I pray the owners to do something about it, but I know it won’t happen unless another better-organized competitor joins the fight. Till then I have to soldier on.
Another thing about butterfly websites is the here today, gone tomorrow. The website fails to load for several reasons.
The butterfly owner:
- Forgot to renew the domain.
- Went for the cheap hosting in case his business failed.
- Opted to DIY (Do It Yourself) the entire website and coded it like a bloated behemoth. (Very slow website loading)
- Started out well but true to his nature moved on to the next project and left his last project to wither and die.
- Was misled and opted to let the hosting or domain renewal lapse.
- Added everything plus the kitchen sink to his/her website and it became confusing and unwieldy by customers and the owner.
- Trusted a shark to DFY (Done For You) the whole project for $1997 and was surprised to find out that it was not entirely hands-off as advertised.
- Bought trucks of PLR content and “vomited it” all over the website.
- Is paralyzed completely analyzing the whole venture before making any meaningful changes on their websites.
- Is out of money and out of their depth.
I have lived each of the above 10 lessons and, boy, where they “fun”!
It was only after 10 years of butterflying that I decided I would build an asset. I became a bee.
My personal observations on websites built by bees.
The daily day of the bees starts from 3 to 4:30 am. If you wake up at 6am you are already 2,5 to 3 hours behind in less than one day.
Why do bees wake up so early?
Because we cannot wait to get started on adding that piece of content or prepare to meet the client. We cannot wait to show them our progress. Unlike the butterfly, the progress we make is tangible and is already sellable on sites like Flippa.
But bees do not sell for peanuts (less than six figures in case you are not sure what I mean by peanuts). Bees build business systems that can allow other people to join them in helping build their “home” or “hive” or “website”.
Bees can DIY or but DFY but they don’t sit back and wait for the heavens to open up and wait for the money to rain down from the heavens.
That is where the similarities end. Bees work the website kinks like they would at their 9 – 5 job. They troubleshoot, they notice shortcomings and they fix them.
That is why butterflies are afraid to really invest in getting their business off the starting phase because they believe that they represent the type of customer they would not like to deal with. The kind of customer who would demand a refund just because they found a better deal down the line.
Butterfly entrepreneurs are afraid to deal with other butterfly entrepreneurs.
That is why they never get off the blocks until some external or internal force pushes them into bee territory and success is no longer a wish but a must-have.
How does this lesson tie into my lesson 2 about me building a search engine?
If you haven’t figured that out yet you need to put away your idea that there is something better and find your hook (from lesson 1).
Find out what people need fixing. Use your experience as a former butterfly entrepreneur to build up lessons like I am doing now.
Learn from your mistakes and push towards not repeating them and minimizing their impact to your time.
Money can always be remade or recovered but time waits for no man.
Hope this was as much fun for you to read as it was for me to write.
You will find lesson 3 here. (I will hyperlink it when I have written lesson 3.