Online Business Model: Bridge Or Smokestacks

It was my first trip across the Lake Pontchartrain bridge in Louisiana. It was the longest bridge I’d ever seen—and it made a big impression.

One of the things I couldn’t get out of my mind was how they built it. First by laying down the pilings, then connecting those pillars with the road on top.

It was that image that I carried with me into my Internet business.

person working on blue and white paper on board

My plan was to create a series of products that supported one another and could be sequenced in different ways. Then start to connect them, much as the bridge had been connected.

So I started on the plan. I created and created and created. But it wasn’t time to sell yet. I still had just a “few more” pillars to put in.

It took not months, but years to put all of the pieces in place. Then of course, I had to start revising the older products… and well, as you can imagine, there still wasn’t any revenue coming in!


Compare that to the smoke stack model. In this model you build the first smoke stack. You promote that first product and start building your list while you continue to drive traffic to the site. You’re actually making money right from the start!

Once you have one smoke stack work- ing, you build the second one. You get that up and running, making money and well, you see the pattern.


So what is your first smoke stack? If you’ve been working on multiple proj- ects, stop! Choose one—the one that is the easiest to complete, the fastest to complete, and the one most likely to be immediately profitable.

Then turn your full attention to that project. Do everything you can to get that ONE project to market and making money.

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Jeanette Cates

Dr. Jeanette Cates is a 20-year veteran Internet strategist, known for prolific product production. After a brief retirement she has returned to launch OutsourceBees.com to help others build their online success.

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