This saying is used often and its usually very applicable, seems the source is some guy named Warren Buffet and I am sure he is very interesting on other matters too, he is certainly very rich :-).
However more and more as I encounter people beginning with online business, I feel compelled to direct people toward this consideration. The basic principle is that business goes through three stages, namely: Innovation the point where something takes a huge stride forward or does something truly new. Imitation: Some one comes along and replicates this model, idea, product or service and does it better, these people often end up suitably rich. Lastly the Idiot, he was too late to the party and is competing in a saturated market.
I see a lot of unwitting idiots in online business people who bolt out the gates and create a site aimed at lead generation for the high competition markets. The fellow who spends eight hours a day on his bad credit repair site and manages to scrounge out $300 a month. That dude who phones me up desperate for a chat only to inform me he has equity to offer in exchange for skills, the plan? A sorta facebook type, social site, thing......
The ever constant blogger who runs a nice little blog, draws in traffic and cannot turn a dime, the list goes on and on.
The internet can be cruel, it flashes traffic at you, waves visitors in your face and hides the nasty reality that the internet is full of skinflints, tire-kickers and cheapskates! If your not top of your game that is very likely the traffic the world wide web is going to pass you along. I know a friend who has a dog blog and it gets a lot of traffic, it makes nothing and the reason is likely that the demographic visiting are 13 with their first puppy. So when they go and ask mom and dad to buy them the harness of total control for lassie, they google the term and shop at Amazon.
Such mini case studies abound which is why its so important to enter this game with a proper plan, target audience, traffic generation plan, monetization and how the end result will grow into a business. Nothing wrong with having random sites wofting around the internet, I have plenty but they do not form any aspect of my core business. In this regard Flippa has done the newcomer to the industry no favours, not by any wrong doing on their part but when you are assault by sites claiming 2k in ten days its easy to believe your onto something. If they can why cant I? Well truth is they probably never did and those sites that do manage that sort of turn over, well they are finely tuned businesses and either down right brilliant or running as a business. They spend money on advertising, they fork out for content and they study trends until they find the sweet spot on conversion.
One cannot distil how to be successful in business online or other wise into a little bit of text but one can begin to think more practically. Next time the urge strikes to build a site do a few calculations, work out the time vs return and estimate the profitability of a website. Look for new ways to monetize instead of just running to CB or amazon and then find a way to put your idea in a unique space or in front of a unique audience with a plan in place.
Of course all of this makes it sound like I do not believe there is money in afflinks or reselling or adsense and that's simple not true there is just more money in a plan. I need those sites to be quick, easy and as such profitable if it can make $100 a month, I cannot spend more than a few hours a week. If it makes a $100 a month, where can I buy all required content for $30 and if I spend $20 can I make that 100, 150 and invest in growth? All these questions should be answered.
As to spend more time than that the site either needs to have bigger aspirations and a plan to get there or I am simply under paying myself, that's an idiot move!