How to Build Your First Online Asset in 48 Hours

For all of my talk about the three step process of building a business, there’s something to be said for the fact that it’s so freaking easy these days to start something – right now.

Recently I went to a conference here in Portland put on by Jason Glaspie called Tiny Startup Camp.

The idea?

Start a tiny business by the end of the weekend.

There were speakers, and plenty of people there to help, but the entire concept was built around the idea that you don’t need funding, crazy tech skills, or 99% of the things that keep most people from starting a business.

All you need is an idea, a few bucks, and an afternoon to put the whole thing together.

That’s a powerful concept.

Why Build An Asset? What Does That Even Mean?

Over the past couple months I’ve talked a lot about how most people go about building businesses in the wrong way. They start at the end, before they have any clue what they’re doing.

Well now, I’m gonna hit you with some knowledge that will be completely contradictory to all that other stuff – so hear me out, while keeping all of that in the back of your mind.

Time and time again I hear excuses like these:

  • “I don’t have a good idea”
  • “I know I need to start, but it’s just so daunting”
  • “I want to start something, but I don’t know how”

The list goes on, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Even my three step method of: building skills, freelancing, then building your own projects, will take some time.  For some people without tangible steps and guidelines it can be really difficult to feel like you’re making progress – and thus can be difficult to build confidence in your ability to start something on your own.

So how about we change that?

This post is going to go in depth and teach you everything you need to know in order to build an online asset, or the beginnings of a tiny startup in one afternoon.

What’s an asset exactly?

By the time you’re done with this, you’ll have a site that’s up, allows you to capture leads, test your idea, and see if there’s an actual business anywhere in there.

Simply having this site setup is an asset.  Maybe you’re creative and come up with a killer domain name.  Maybe the domain sucks, but it’s a great idea and a thousand people sign up and say they’re interested.  Maybe you found the perfect combination of keywords that lead to great SEO rankings.

Any of those things are building the value the asset – ie your new site.

Whether you develop the asset, sit on it forever, or sell it later on, you’ve got something you didn’t have before. You’ve put all of the essential online business skills into practice.

And most importantly:

By the time we’re done here you will have done somehing. You’ll have made something real, and built your confidence along the way.

Does This Have to Be a Business?

While building this asset, you may be wondering if this constitutes a business.  You could be asking yourself “what’s the point? What am I getting out of this?”

Putting the confidence and skill building aside, let’s look at a couple quick examples of this.

One of my tiny startup ideas is Best Hotel Suites. I love the domain (Thanks, Max) but I haven’t figured out exactly what I’m going to do with it.

So in the meantime, I put up a cool landing page and I’m leveraging it.  I’ve used that domain to score free (or greatly reduced) hotel rooms all over the world.

When the site launches in whatever form it will, I’ll promote all of the places I’ve gotten rooms for, but in the meantime I’ve used it to benefit an interest of mine.

Same with Breaking Eighty. Haven’t launched yet, but have still scored some free golf products from it.

Are these businesses?

Maybe, maybe not. Right now, they certainly aren’t.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t assets that I can use to my advantage!

So, let’s get this rolling. In the steps that follow I’ll show you exactly what you need to do to build out this first asset – what you do after that is totally up to you, but if this is your first business or venture online, I promise you’ll feel more confident, empowered, and excited by the time all is done.

Step #1: Pick a Domain 

First thing’s first: don’t over think this.

Right now, this is more important as an exercise than a business. If I were you, I’d come up with a domain name around something you’re interested in or a hobby. This will make it more fun for you throughout the process.

Don’t think of this as anything more than an experiment and exercise that you’re doing today. Who knows what it’ll become in the future, but don’t worry much about that.

Focus on a basic idea.  Here are some examples:

  • Ebook teaching people how to
  • Video course teaching people to play the trumpet
  • Reviews of the top 100 golf courses in the country
  • How to setup a completely wireless home theater

Step #2: Buy a Domain

It doesn’t matter where you do this, but Hover is one of the best companies out there for this type of stuff. May be a little more expensive than major competitors, but I’ve found it to be worth it.  I also use Name Cheap on a regular basis as well – as their name says, cheaper than most.

Step #3: Setup Hosting

If you’re reading this blog you should have no excuse for not having a hosting account.  You can often get them for as cheap as $36/year.  While it may not be the best hosting, if you’re just getting started, really anything will do.

I recommend Bluehost for the majority of you, it’s affordable, reliable and has great customer service. If you’re willing to spend a bit more money, WPEngine is also a great host.

Step #4: Point Nameservers

All you’re doing here is telling your domain registrar which hosting account to point the domain to.  Regardless of what hosting you use, there should be pretty clear instructions for how to do this.

Step #5: Install WordPress

Once again, any basic hosting account should have a one-click install WordPress.  Login to your hosting dashboard, follow the instructions, and within 2 minutes, you’ll have a fresh WordPress install, thats ready to go!

Step #6: Install Theme

Ok, now this is where we can take our little exercise one of two directions.

One direction would be to actually setup and install a blog theme, and start writing content.  But that takes more dedication, more time, and we don’t even know if this is going to be a feasible idea yet.  So while you can totally grab a Woo Theme or Theme Forest theme, I recommend going the landing page route.

All this means is we are going to put up a sexy landing page and capture email addresses of people who are interested in what you’re offering.  Even right now, I have three different ideas I’m testing:

Don’t look half bad, right? They took about 20 minutes each to set up.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Download Launch Effect
  2. Install Launch Effect
  3. Find a big, beautiful photo relating to your site
  4. Use these tips for getting the site setup.  And these instructions for getting that cool transparent effect.

Step #7: Sign Up for Mailchimp

Ok now that you’ve got a sexy look landing page, time to actually make that email list do something useful.  I personally use Aweber, but Mailchimp is cheaper starting out, and is one less monthly expense while you’re starting up.

Follow the instructions for setting up a new list in Mailchimp, and then pop into Launch Effect and use the integration tools to get it all setup.

Now you have a way to build a list, offer something for free via email, and gauge interest for your new project.

Step #8: Setup Google Analytics

This is pretty easy to do, but absolutely essential.  This is how you’ll track whether or not people are coming to your site, help you figure out what your conversion rates are, and help you optimize for the search engines.

Here’s Google’s checklist for getting all setup. Here’s a simplified walk through.

Step #9: Setup Social Accounts

If this is a brand that you’re really hoping to grow and evolve, you’ll want to make sure you procure the necessary social accounts as quickly as possible. Twitter handlesFacebook pagesPinterest, you name it.

Even if you’re not sure you’ll use it, grab it anyway. Better to control everything relating to your brand then have someone else be able to mess with you later on.

Congratulations on Your New Web Asset!

Congratulations! You could do nothing else from here, and you still will have an asset that you can leverage in the future.

However, this is a good time to look at some of the options for what you could actually do with this asset now that it exists.

Let’s take a look at how I’ve been leveraging my sites as they currently stand.

Best Hotel Suites

I’ve had this site up for the last 4 months, and essentially I’ve been using it to build up a barrage of hotel reviews.  At some point I’m going to launch this site.  I’ll have some kind of blog component where I review high end hotels and suites.

I haven’t completely decided what else the site will contain, but I know in one form or another it will have those reviews.

So how does this help me?

Well anytime I travel I email some hotels, I tell them what I’m doing, and ask if they’d be willing to give me a room in exchange for a review.

So far I’m batting about 25% on room offers.  Pretty freaking good if you ask me!  This one site which took me about an hour total to get completely setup has saved me at least $1k in hotel costs.

File under: Hacking the High Life

Not to mention I then get to write about a topic I like, and build a relationship with the establishments.  Just make sure you’re up front about your plan with the sites, and don’t promise anything you can’t deliver on.

Breaking Eighty

Same drill as above, except Breaking Eighty will probably be my next site to launch. I’ve already received review copies of some awesome golf products (and written in depth reviews on them).

This site has solely been a way for me to turn my love of golf into a business.  We’ll see what shape it actually takes as we move into the new year, but I’m pretty excited about it.  That said, even as it stands I’ve had a surprising amount of success in forming relationships with golf companies.

Does This Spark Any Ideas?

Those are a couple ways I’ve leveraged similar assets.  Here are some of the other things this exercise can do for you:

  • Serve as a squeeze page for an upcoming product launch
  • Vehicle for testing an email series on a smaller audience
  • Build your confidence and skills for setting up WordPress websites
  • Turn these landing pages into a service you offer

The options are really endless.  Now that the latest versions of Launch Effect integrate with both Aweber and Mailchimp, it’s easier than ever to get something useful set up.

Advanced Asset Building Steps

So we’ve covered some of the basic things you need to do in order to get the very basics of an online asset created.  However how can we apply some advanced strategies to this in order to test ideas faster or scale into a larger project?

Optional Step #10: Find a More Permanent Theme and Install Theme Test Drive

One of the primary ways I leverage Launch Effect is to use it for the above reasons while I’m building out a larger scale project.

How do you do this? I usually find a premium theme that has the general look and feel that I want for my new website or blog.  I install it on the blog, and then download and install the plugin Theme Test Drive.

What does this do?

It makes it so that when I’m logged in, it shows me one theme, but it shows everyone else a different theme.

In this case it will show the average user the basic landing page, while I can write content and build out the primary site.  Once everything is done and ready to launch all I have to do is turn off the plugin and activate my primary theme.

It took me 2 years to find a good way of doing this, and this is without a doubt the best thing I’ve found.

Optional Step #11: Send Adwords Traffic for Testing

Have a fantastic idea, but aren’t sure if everyone else thinks it’s as awesome as you do?  Test it.

Fire up some Google Adwords or Facebook ads and start driving a little bit of traffic to the site.  Usually with a couple hundred dollars of ad spend you’ll get a sense of whether or not people will want to buy your product or service.

There’s a good chance if you drive traffic directly to a Launch Effect landing page, your account will get flagged. So the best way to actually test an idea is to put up a sales page.  Every time someone hits the buy button count that as a sale, and just give them a message that the product is in the works and you’ll notify them when it’s live.

The easiest way to get a good looking sales page setup is with Optimize Press. The entire Location Rebel site is actually built on this framework.

In order to assure you’re not banned make sure you include a disclaimer, privacy policy, and if possible, a phone number.

Next Steps…

There are all sorts of ways you can move forward from here, the goal of this exercise was just to build confidence in your ability to build something online.

In the future, you can use this method to build out the beginnings of real online business ideas.

However, if you’ve read my articles in the past, you know that I don’t think this is necessarily the best business strategy when you’re just getting started.

You’re better off building some skills first.

So let your new found asset simmer for awhile.  Go build the other key tennets of a good business first, and then when you’ve got some traction come back to your new asset, or create a new one using this process and launch the hell out of it.

Have you built an online asset before? Tell us about it!


diamantis November 19, 2012 at 7:33 am

Hi Sean.

I’ve been checking your blog for quite a while. If Dan says you’re good , you’re good . :)

Recently some regulations changed here in Greece and all the stores likes cafes, restaurants etc are collectively called food and drink companies. So , I purchased the domain : food and drink companies ( the greek equivalent of course ) .

I haven’t set up a landing page , but I am creating quality content and hope it will go live next month. I believe it will be great asset, because now people will search for that term. ( My job is helping people get licences for these kind of stores ).

I think I am right on subject .

Be healthy and smile !


Sean November 19, 2012 at 8:44 am

You definitely seem like you’re on the right track, this is a great way to leverage some of these ideas into something that sounds like it could turn into a great business for you. Good luck!


Lerozier Holt March 12, 2014 at 8:40 pm

If I already have a free wordpress blog already setup, can I still follow all of the steps that you stated in this article?


Alexander November 19, 2012 at 8:58 am

Quality post. Seems like something everyone should spend an afternoon to do. All you have to do from there is do some heavy guerrilla marketing to test it.

I did this with a business idea in a weekend but eventually lost interest around the marketing stage due to immaturity.

Out of curiosity 😉 how do you leverage a landing page for golf and hotel suites into free things?


Natalie Sisson November 19, 2012 at 9:33 am

Love that you’re getting some free hotel rooms. Next step is contracting that out to Suitcase Entrepreneur like me. I can do reviews for you when I head to Malaysia on NYs day :)

Great post Sean. It honestly is easy and I have written a lot of posts about starting a business for under $100 that speak to your steps too – great minds think alike.

I think the thing that then becomes key is focus – to test with the minimum viable product and tweak regularly, fail fast and fail often and don’t be afraid to drop one project if it’s not working.


Financial Samurai November 19, 2012 at 9:58 am

Whatcha doing in Malaysia for New Years? I might be there soon!


Financial Samurai November 19, 2012 at 10:01 am

Ahhhh, for some reason, I’m totally into understanding more about niche sites! I think it’s because there’s been such a hubbub from the niche site community about how Google has changed their algorithms as to why there could be more opportunity that ever.

To have a niche site of your own to refer traffic or business to makes a lot of sense.

Thoughts on just creating sub domains or landing pages on this site instead to focus the traffic and build synergies?



Sean November 19, 2012 at 10:16 am

It totally depends on who you ask about stuff like this. Some say more opportunity than ever, others say the idea of the niche site is dead. I personally think the shift is just being made to a need for higher quality content and information. The sites have to actually be useful to people!

I’ve got some plans that involve some landing pages on this site or Location Rebel to provide really useful free information, and hopefully drive some sales as well.

These other sites I talk about in this article could also do something similar, it’s just more work to drive traffic to them.


Taylor Evans November 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

Great post Sean! You can just feel the energy popping out of the screen.

This post hit the main point of microbusiness on the head; opportunity. Never in the history of the entrepreneurship have we had the opportunity to build businesses around what we enjoy to do. We literally have the world at our finger tips, the largest marketing firm just one social media click away, and all the free or affordable information we will ever need. Future generations will look back and see this as an amazing period of freedom and independence.

I’m loving the look of the landing pages and am excited to see where you take them. Keep up the great work and inspiration for us aspiring lifestyle designers!


Ryan November 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Awesome resource here Sean, I’ve been thinking about making a landing/squeeze page for a couple ideas floating around in my head. The Launch Effect theme and the Theme Test Drive plugin look exactly like what I need. I’ve stumbled across other things like Kick Off Labs, but this way seems better. Pretty amazing that you can leverage a squeeze page into some free hotel stays, wow! I’m still struggling to get some discounted gear from mine :)


Michael Ten November 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Nice post. You give out some interesting links here.
Thanks for the post.
You’re really doing a service by trying to help others successfully earn money!


Shayna November 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm

What I love about this is that it blows away the excuse of needing months and months of planning before you launch anything. I pretty much set up my site in a weekend, with a free theme and a few posts – and then I’ve improved and iterated and developed it from there.


Financial Samurai November 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm

The thing is, setting up a site and a theme and some content is THE EASY part! The hard part is marketing your site, product, etc to actually generate livable income.


Shayna November 20, 2012 at 8:41 am

Exactly! Sometimes when I see aspiring bloggers/entrepreneurs/whatever with launch dates 6 months away because they’re still “planning” and trying to tweak everything to perfection, I want to shake them and say, “The hard part comes AFTER! Why not launch now and spend the next 6 months spreading the word? Plus, most of what you think you know about your market is probably wrong, but you’ll only discover that once you start actually trying to develop products and interacting with your audience, customers, and leads.”

I personally am terrified of the thought of spending months creating a product no one wants, so that’s why I take orders/payments first and make the product afterwards. If some people are at least willing to pay for version 1.0, I can at least get some remuneration as well as feedback to improve it and then market it further.

Fred Perrotta November 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Any reason you use WP over a service like LaunchRock? That’s what I’ve used in the past.


Sean November 20, 2012 at 9:18 am

There are actually a lot of reasons I like it better. Now, I could be wrong on some of this, but this is just based off one short experience with LaunchRock:
-LaunchRock doesn’t let you save email addresses to your email list (or at least they didnt used to). Launch Effect integrates easily with both Aweber and Mailchimp.
-Since LaunchRock isn’t a Wordpress theme I can’t install Theme Test Drive and work on the actual site while the landing page is up.
-Much more customizability with Wordpress.


Fred Perrotta November 20, 2012 at 9:53 am

Makes sense. I’ll try Launch Effect next time I need a placeholder site. Thanks.

Anika Hedstrom November 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm


Good content. However, I do think it would be beneficial for novice’s like myself to include some caveat info, i.e. if you follow your guidance above and use Hover to register your domain and FatCow to host your site/blog, you will have to wait 24-48 hours to repoint your domain, as DNS updates take 24-48 hours to fully filter throughout the internet zone files. Additionally, you will not be able to transfer your domain to your host, as the domain cannot be transferred for 60 days. Little things that just mean a bit more work and complications for the novice, like myself.


Sean November 21, 2012 at 11:02 am


Actually you can buy a domain, point it to your hosting, and it should be less than 10 minutes before you can start working on it.

There’s also no need to transfer the domain to the host, none of my domains have been registered through my current host – so that’s not a big deal.

I think you’re overcomplicating it a bit, let me know if you have any questions or trouble!


Mary December 4, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Hi Sean,

I just saw you were offering help on this topic and I’m hoping you will read this comment! I was confused on if I could move past step 4 with that 60-day waiting period, can I skip step 4 and move to 5 to work on the blog’s design? I’m also completely new to this :-)

Thanks for your help!

Susan November 21, 2012 at 6:27 am


Came across this article and am taking the plunge. I know what domain I want and am clear about my business offering. Two questions – the .com domain is not available, so what’s the next best thing? I can do (I’m in the UK) as well as .biz.

Second question…I’m following your instructions above. Do I need to add stuff like email when registering the domain, or is that something I can do later? Is it necessary for using at this stage?

‘Scuse the basic questions, but I’m a novice at this stuff!



Sean November 21, 2012 at 10:57 am


No problem!

Personally I always go for a .com when possible. Then .org or .net if absolutely necessary. IF you think the vast majority of your audience is in the UK, a domain may be ok – I usually try not to go for domains like that just because it limits growth options in the future.

You can add any emails later on, not something you need to worry about when first registering the domain :)


Fred Perrotta November 21, 2012 at 11:33 am

Only use if you plan on being UK-only. Definitely don’t use .biz for anything. You can use .net or maybe even .co (technically for Colombia but will be treated as international like .com).

You can try Lean Domains Search or Wordoid to find an alternate URL.


Erich Cathey November 21, 2012 at 9:45 am

I am implementing your suggestions as we speak…. Well, sort of. I purchased the domain name and have hosting through host gator. What do you think about aggregators driving content to websites? My site is a work in process and does not have anything up right now, but I hope to be operational in the next 48 hours.


Sean November 21, 2012 at 10:55 am

I think you have to be very selective of the sites you choose to aggregate. If it’s hand picked and focuses on quality I think it can be ok. However, doing this will make it harder to build an audience due to the lack of personality – so take that into account when deciding which route to go.


Anika Hedstrom November 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

One more thing I forgot to add for the novice: you don’t have to first make a stop at Hover before going to FatCow to set-up your hosting. You get 1 free domain registration when signing up with FatCow. Doing so will cut out the repointing process and will get you going faster. Just my two cents, since I am stuck in 24-48 hour DNS update waiting time from using Hover for registration and FatCow for hosting. I guess you have to learn somehow.


Derek Manwill November 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Great post, Sean! I’ve been looking for an easy way to upload some quick content to a couple of domains, and Launch Effect is perfect. I used it on and Thanks!


Customer Service Blog November 25, 2012 at 9:19 am

Hi All
Sean, Thank you very much for this post.I have in fact managed most of your points and created all you have mentioned.I have invested hours and hours to make it happen and Let me tell you something:
It`s harder than it looks and sounds!
However,without any previous SEO experience and expertise, I have managed to get my page to rank 4 in very short period of time and at the moment I am almost done with my first e-book but the road to the point where you can say ” You know what ,I have a valuable Web Asset!” is hard and long.
Still, there is no guarantee that you will have profitable site that can create steady side income stream. It is a gamble but I have another several ideas that I am happy to try.
I will keep you posted on progress.
Thank you again.
Best Regards


Sam November 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Hey Sean,
Do you think that the varying sucess of the niche sites will be dependant on your ability to promote and advertise them through your existing channels? Given you already have a captive audience and large readership I would image that you would see traffic spikes for all three niche sites after listing them in this post. This would no doubt also allow you to present a good case to companies/hotels etc who are looking for reviews or product endorsement. How does someone who has no internet presence go about promoting and driving traffice to their site so as to gauge whether or not there is interest in the idea?


Expatana November 25, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I love your post, Sean, as usual. But (sigh!) you assumed knowledge not everyone has yet. There are countless people out there who do not know what a landing page is.

Actually, that sounds like something where they leave their email and my first site will market a service, not a product.

You’ve used language some of us don’t know yet. And that we do know, some of the steps also assume knowledge. A good example for me is the theme. I already have a domain name, hosting and WordPress installed. Now I have to install a theme. It’s not there yet only because I haven’t the foggiest idea how to install it.

I’ll also need a logo for my header. I haven’t the money to pay for one so I have to design it myself. Duh. So there are things stopping me. I can’t move forward until I know how to do things. It’s not a matter of getting it perfect; it’s a matter of launching a site that will attract clients to my service.


Sean November 26, 2012 at 7:46 am

Thanks for this feedback, I tried to simplify as much as possible, but alas it doesn’t always work :)

I tried to at least tell you what to do, so worst case scenario you can Google it. There are probably hundreds of resources online walking you through exactly how to install a Wordpress theme.

That said, I’m toying with the idea for a new project that would help solve this problem.


Kate Wilson February 27, 2013 at 5:20 am

Hi there
Great post – I read the lot as it was so relevant to what I am looking for. But I too got stuck at many bits that assumed knowledge I don’t have. Imagine – I have written a blog for three years and still had to look up SEO! Not that I am stupid but it has all been a learning curve and I like writing more than web design.

If your project is to put together a guide for the really beginner beginners then I think that is great and I would be interested! And if you need anyone to be a tester to make it idiot-proof then I offer myself as an intelligent idiot!
Where I got stuck – examples
1/ I tried out Google Analytics and went through the link you gave, set up an account and tried to put it on my existing blog as an experiment. Got stuck as I have no idea how to add the code to each page. Googled for info – got bogged down.
2/ I know Word Press is better than Blogger but I find it much harder to use. However perhaps I am now ready to learn. Time to get serious!
3/ Why do I want or need an email list? Is this to send the site directly to readers before I have even written it?

I know more than I did before I read your post – thanks!

Expatana November 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Thanks for responding, Sean. You’re the best. I’ll continue to Google, too. Sam also has a good point about a ready-made big list. You have one, most of us don’t (yet). It’s a big advantage and one I’ve seen a lot on marketers’ sales pages.


Sean November 27, 2012 at 9:27 am

Yes having a list is definitely an asset, and a good thing to work towards. However, with things like this, it isn’t always necessary. You could simply poll your Facebook friends or cultivate a list to email from your contacts. If you’re willing to put a little money towards it paid search is one of the best ways to do it.

It’s also worth noting that my list(s) are very targeted. If I start emailing them about a golf or cocktail project most people will be turned off, so while it’s useful in that I can drop it in a newsletter every once in awhile – it’s not as useful as some of the other avenues out there.


Megan November 27, 2012 at 8:16 am

Why would I purchase a domain as well as hosting when a domain seems to come for free with the hosting services you listed above? Are there any benefits to going with those domain services instead of just getting the domain for free along with hosting?


Sean November 27, 2012 at 8:22 am

Megan, if you don’t already have domains or hosting and you’re starting from scratch thats an excellent way to get started. When you renew through them in a year it might be a *little* bit more expensive, but after 60 days you can always transfer to a different registrar if that’s an issue for you.


Sheila November 30, 2012 at 8:57 pm


Where do you go to find the gorgeous photos you used? Did you buy royalty free ones or just source them via search engines?



Bob Buskirk December 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Great post Sean. I normally wait to launch a site until I have enough content etc, but this approach is a great idea, especially for capturing leads. I will be checking out the Theme Test Drive plugin for sure!


Erich December 5, 2012 at 12:06 am


I am starting a website that will offer clients the ability to sell their airplanes and boats for a one time flat fee. What website platform would you recommend for this type of site?



Sean December 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Absolutely Wordpress. You can make it do pretty much anything you want and it’s the also the easiest to setup and manage.


Glenn December 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Hey Sean,

After Working on a cruiseship and travelling for over 2 years I m about
To get myself some assets online again.

I was thinking about it for while now but after reading your article I can t wait to start again.

Great article!!!!

Thanks for the inspiration

Till laters

Glenn from Belgium


Expatana December 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm

One other thing about setting up an “empty” site with only a landing page and nothing actually for sale yet: If I were a customer who’d just clicked on “Buy” and got a message that the product was “in the works,” or some such, I wouldn’t be too happy. I think credibility would suffer.

My own first site will offer a service I’m prepared to perform immediately (once my sample and fee pages are ready), so for me that issue will only apply to my second site which will be content-based and offer products. Although I know Sean is right about needing to research our audience, I still believe I need to have something ready for those who click “Buy.”

Are there other ways to research your audience besides seemingly tricking them into hitting Buy before you even have anything ready to send them?


Sean December 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I’m going to have to disagree with you here.

If you’re considering investing dozens of hours and potentially hundreds of dollars of your own money to build a product, you need to make sure there’s a market for it.

There are all sorts of ways to do this, and I believe this (in tandem with things like surveys, direct responses from your audience, and comments in blog posts) is a great way to do it.

When I do this I make sure I give anyone on that interest list a killer deal since they were the ones who showed the earliest interest. However that being said, you can take the same idea and put a different spin on it if you think your credibility will suffer. Try a presale. Put up the landing page offer a 50% reduced price and another bonus, and get people to pay you for the product before it’s even created.

Give them feedback throughout the entire process. Turn to them when you aren’t sure what questions your audience is going to have, or when you’re trying to decide whether or not a certain feature is worth it.

If presales don’t reach expectations, refund the money and move onto another project.

That’s how I’d solve this issue :)


R.Gokarn January 23, 2013 at 4:51 am

Hi Sean,

Great content. This is a great beginners tutorial, however most people will find themselves creating web assets that they don’t return back to. Creating too many assets is a waste and drain on resources.

Perhaps you should have gone over picking niches in this post. I know, I have personally made huge errors picking markets that were saturated and finding it extremely hard to monetize them.

Is it advisable to enter saturated markets as a beginner? Golf and hotels are saturated markets. I think most people will additionally struggle with product development.

Also how do you determine the size of market potential with LaunchEffect and over what period of time? This is a very important part that needs to be addressed.


a dot February 9, 2013 at 8:43 pm

does this only work if you have premium wordpress? i am unable to upload the launch effect theme from the Wordpress dashboard.


Looer February 25, 2013 at 8:45 am

Hi Sean, Hi everyone,
I really like this blog, I think it’s filled with extremely useful content.

I’m 19 and I’m finishing the last year of high school (here in Italy finishes 1 year later).

The last week I build my own asset online, it’s called RNKD and you can find it at
Basically it’s a website where the best products are ranked and users can choose from the overview the right one for them.
I have just launched it but I’m glad to hear any suggestions and advices from you



Tiger Ryan May 5, 2013 at 3:56 am

Hey Sean,

I’ve been excited to create an asset using Launch Effect since you first published this post months ago. I waited until I had a specific goal in mind (connecting with Couchsurfers for cooking lessons), and finally went for it this weekend. I’m happy to report that it only took me about six hours beginning to end. It made my day, and I just wanted to write in and say thanks!

If anyone else is wondering what to do about a background photo…I ended up using a Creative Commons photograph found on Flickr. Then, I used the CC attribution generator ( and embedded the code in the same field as the privacy policy.


Balaram May 15, 2013 at 3:48 am

Dear Sean
I wish to set up a website for a health niche product. It is for reducing high cholesterol levels.
What is needed to set up such a niche site and where can i get information and help?



Dee Miller June 6, 2013 at 9:08 am

I can’t even tell you how useful the information in this post is. I keep coming back to it, and I used it as a partial guide to put in a place marker for my new project:

Thanks, Sean!


Naomi July 22, 2013 at 3:42 am

I totally just did this! Launch effect is awesome! I had never heard of it, so thankyou. I’m not doing anything with this business until next year but this is a great way to collect subscribers now. Cheers, Naomi


JBS August 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Aaah I love this! Followed all the steps and built my first online asset in less than 24 hours, as well as managing to cram a lot more into the day..

here it is:

Still got to iron out some of the minor details, but the bulk of it is there..

Oh, and if anyone wants to win a free trip to carnival in Brazil, make sure you sign up to our mailing list at our website heheh..

Thanks so much Sean, you rock!


John October 17, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Hi Sean,

I really appreciate your tips here. I went ahead and created I get quite a lot of traffic off Facebook through a page I created there. The idea isn’t a list, more to generate revenue through Adsense. Next site I will definitely be building a list though. Thanks.


Steph November 22, 2013 at 5:04 am

Such great information, thank you !


Mary December 4, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I jumped right into this–and then hit a roadblock :-( Maybe you all have some tips for me in the meantime?

After I bought the domain name and purchased the hosting on Fat Cow, I find out I can’t transfer hosting for 60 days since it’s a new domain! (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s what I understand from what I’ve read.) Can I do anything to prepare the site before I use Step 4–Pointing Nameservers? I’m really bummed because I was looking forward to knocking out the list over the next two days or so.

Thanks for your help–


Sean December 5, 2013 at 8:36 am

Mary, awesome to hear you’re getting started!

I ran into this exact same issue when I was first starting online – and in fact it’s not an issue at all.

That means you cant transfer the domain to a different registration company for 60 days – which isnt something you need to do.

Basically you just have to point the nameservers to your new hosting account. If you call support at Fat Cow, they’ll be able to walk you through that (it’s really easy).

Let me know if you run into any other issues!


Adrian Moore February 12, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Hey Sean, hope you are well :)

To get my ass in gear i thought i’d set up my 1st ‘asset’ online. After installing Launchpad it seems that a background image can not be added now without having the ‘paid for’ Premium version of launchpad.

Am i missing something or am i correct? I can understand why they would change this if they are getting tonnes of traffic, if this is the case any suggestions for an alternative easy free ‘landing’ page theme. [I know you are a busy chap but maybe an update to that section of this post would be good as i think this post is a great way of getting people to actually take ACTION when reading your blog. As we all know, most of us have enough info to start now, but most of us just dont!

FYI – my site will be (hopefully score some cheap/free golf)


Sean February 13, 2014 at 9:36 am

They did an update at one point that caused me to have issues with my background images showing up properly, that said there was a fix, I just dont remember what it is off the top of my head. Cruise through their forums, and you should find the answer.

But you definitely CAN still use your own background image with the free version.


Kashiefah Chetty March 14, 2014 at 12:28 pm


I am new here. I have tried to start this whole process but I get stuck at step 4. I have very little technical knowledge and I have no idea if I am doing this right. How do I point nameservers? Am I supposed to link my Hover account to my Dreamhost account?
Apologies for my ignorance.


Kashiefah Chetty March 14, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Ok forget I asked. I have just pointed my nameservers all by myself!! I love that I am pursuing my goals and learning new things in the process too. Thank you Sean and others :)


John June 2, 2014 at 1:47 am

What theme are you using on your golf website?


abena July 7, 2014 at 5:55 am

I couldn’t agree with you more Sean. Great post. Online assets are fast becoming part of our daily assets. Its important to protect and secure them.


PrIyAnGsHu BG August 12, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Great guide, mate. This is the only guide a starter will need to set up his first website online. By the way, I’m struggling to find a good theme for my niche website made with WordPress. Can you suggest me some good niche website themes for WordPress?


Mike November 4, 2014 at 3:34 am

Did you lately check the links to your projects?
Best hotel suites ends in :Parse error: syntax error, unexpected $end in /var/www/besthotelsuites/wp-includes/functions.php on line 1736

Cocktailcraftsmen is not reachable.

I like your blog, and your very detailed, step-by-step guide.

Best regards


Jon Bowes November 5, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Hey Sean, is there any chance I could get some of the emails that you sent to hotels for the besthotelsuites in order to get the free or discounted rooms? I just scooped up and I’m going to get one about hotels too, I was just wondering how you phrased it.


Sean November 6, 2014 at 8:05 am

Thats all located in Hacking the High Life inside Location Rebel :)


Keith Shadle (@KeithShadle) December 4, 2014 at 12:27 am

Great step by step breakdown! Good starter kit list for a niche site or asset.
Info is still appropriate two years later:) Thanks for the content!


Kashif December 9, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Bumping up this old post to report the site is down.


Meredith October 15, 2015 at 10:20 am

Where do you recommend hosting for a dedicated server? Because my digital asset is getting bloated 😛


Sean February 27, 2013 at 10:06 am

Kate, thanks for dropping by and hope you still got SOME value out of it :)

For a blog post there is only so much information I can give.

The best bet is to Google anything you dont understand, or I have a course/community that goes into way more detail. Check out


Kate Wilson February 27, 2013 at 10:46 am

Hi Sean

I must have written my comment badly! I got a HUGE amount from your post and only wanted to say that I am one of those people with so little knowledge that I have to look everything up. After coming here I also found your great post on SEO’s in particular and now know a lot more and am reading the links you recommended. Sorry if I sounded negative – I loved this and will be reading more of your information soon. Will take a look at the course as well. All the best :) Kate


Sean February 27, 2013 at 11:02 am

haha I didnt take it that way at all – I’m afraid it may have been my response that came off badly :)


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