How to start a video chat business?
Who does not want to run a business? If you do so you would get freedom of time planning, high income and potential of growing up is incredible. All you need is a successful business plan and investment. The most interesting business is the one which could run remotely in the Internet, in this case, you are not tied with geo-location and could travel around the World still keeping business under control! Your own website is one of best examples with great profitable possibilities. There are many examples of successful startups available on the market and every year we see more, just search in Google and you would easily find many examples. Could you get a piece of pie? Yes, you can, but if that would be too easy there would be too many people in this market.
We are software development team and for more than 10 years we are working on the development of webcam websites. It is hard to say exact amount of websites we have made, but there are definitely more than 500 and believe me, each startup website is trying to become a popular, but only a few growed up and become successful. While we were working on those project I learned few things and in this article would give some tips to webcam starters.
- Don’t make a copy of any existing websites
Each video chat script available on the market is unique and trying to change it to fit certain popular website is not easy. Very often we are asked by our clients to make a website which would look and function very similar to existing website. This is understandable – when we see a popular website we are trying to make a copy of such website to be successful as well but it would not work. Why a client should visit a cloned website if he can visit original? Same with models, they would keep working on the original website. Find a unique idea, make a website better than others. Figure out what is wrong and give more to your models, clients, studios and webmasters. Make something fresh – it would work better and more memorable.
- Do not pay too much attention to graphics and look of your website
You have to make sure your website is nice and looking good, but don’t try to make best graphics. You sell a content of models, live content and you have to make sure customers see what they want to see and they are happy with it. Check photos and videos uploaded into a profile of model account and be sure they are looking professional. Check dimensions of photos/video and make sure it fits an area of thumbnail image perfectly. Help your models, and you may need to edit photos they upload to make corrections. You could also work with a photographer and give a present of a professional photo set to certain models as a bonus for their good work, make sure you own that photos and use it for marketing needs.
- Make sure your website is clean and clear.
A time where a good website is the one with many features had passed away. Now the good website is a one which clear, easy to understand and to use. Webcam business is complex and you have to deal with customers, models, studio managers, and webmasters. Make sure to pay part of your time for each type of users only when they are all happy the ball would keep rolling.
- Avoid making mirrored websites
In some cases, it is good to set up a mirrored website. For example in case you would like to split models for girls and guys and it is reasonable to keep them separated. But if you are trying to make one more website just using another domain name that would not increase traffic in overall. You would make one website with duplicate content which would not get great positions in search engines. Better to concentrate on marketing of main domain name. Although it is a good idea to split registration/entrance area for clients, models/studio managers, webmasters.
- Don’t try to save payment processing costs
There are many payment processing companies and they charge a different fee for their services. Sure you can save pretty much with a lower commission but an amount is not critical from the beginning and you better work on other tasks more important while your project is a startup. Later you would be able to get a better deal with your existing payment processor or switch to another one with a good commission – it is up to your choice.
- Keep your plans realistic
When we start a new project we are not planning to fail and the goal is to establish a successful business. That is absolutely fine but we have to understand reality and it is not possible to become a real competitor on the market within a couple of weeks. You would need to spend months or even years for marketing of your website to become popular and successful. Based on that make you estimate of traffic to your website properly. Often our clients planning to have hundreds of models online with thousands of customers in each room. You can find such volume of activity on big webcams sites but if you do an accurate analysis you would find out there are only a few models with so many users in a room at once. And if you check models online you would find out half of those who online available only for paid chat and there are no users at all. Pay attention for such details when you measure traffic on big sites and be sure your website would not hit high traffic right after starting it. It could take years to get your webcam site on a level comparable with other big players. That being said do not plan a network of servers from the beginning, save cost on that and spend this budget for traffic – this is the most important part of any online business.
- Grow up your team with partners
Partners would help to grow up on a first step and if your website is successful you would have enough work for everyone. The most important for startup webcam chat system is traffic and if you lucky to get great SEO specialist or webmaster it might help very much. Share your profit or planned profit with partners, make sure they are motivated to get a business successful. You can even work with your own profit and give everything to partners this is a pretty good plan because money earned is not the key to success.
- Check activity of your customers and models
I am sure in a perfect world all users of your system would be fair but unfortunately we are living a real world which is not perfect. Your website could be visited by couple of swindlers: models and customer. Customer would spend money from fraudulent cards and you would pay commission earned by model directly to your bank account. Then after 2-3 weeks you would start getting chargebacks and payment processing company would request back your money and you should be ready to get this money back from model. Often such couple of model and customer is not really a couple but one person who plays video on as model using webcam emulator. Make sure you have reserve of funds (for example 10%) not paid to model and check carefully go customer’s activity. Make sure to check documents provided by models, if you think something is not fair communicate with them in a friendly manner but clarify questions and concerns you have. In WebVideo we have internal features to find out fraudulent activity and to help owners of webcam site to find it out on time but automated methods are not as effective as manual review. Make sure to communicate with customers as well, if they feel something is taking care of their website experience they would return back more frequently.
Remember in webcam business from 100 paying customers there are only 1-2 clients who could make 50% of your profit and you can afford loosing them!
- Choose right video chat script
Right choice of cam site software is one of most important point to successful website and we as software developers doing our best to solve technical side of business. You don’t really need to get in-house software engineer and try to remake system and fix bugs. If you see problems in script you should avoid using it. Sure all scripts made by human and there is a risk of problems but in case developer who made can’t fix it you could get into real problems trying sorting out issues. When you choose script for your future video chat website you should check live websites based on that script. Make sure those websites really made with that script and not co-branded websites. If you can’t find live websites on such problem it is better to look for something else – problems would definitely come up and if you get them while your website become popular it could become a fail. Based on our experience with WebVideo I could say how many tests we have passed: high http traffic, many connections in a chat room at the same time, flexibility of system at points of integration with different graphics design, payment gateways and 3rd party website features. Some of websites are running with our system for more than 10 years and this also important because we support their websites and improve our system which is really important to keep system up to date and often to be better than others!
- Be ready for marketing
Your first task would be puzzle how to keep models and customer on website at the same time? Customers would not stay on your website if they don’t see models and the same time models would not keep working and they don’t see traffic and paying customers. You have to find out a way to keep at least 8-10 models online and the same time get traffic right away to start ball rolling and to initiate business. That’s why I recommend to figure out marketing plan from the beginning and better to have someone constantly working on it. Leave technical support and programming tasks to developers of software platform and work on marketing. Thought-out marketing is the key to success.
If after reading you are not afraid of tasks and difficulties you would have every day you should start yout own video chat website! You can get many skeptical opinions but keep in mind every year there is one more successful webcam site is born on the market and it is made by a people like you.
Have questions? Contact me and I would be happy to help!