1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Is it realistic to set-up a new forum and work full time?

Discussion in 'XenForo Pre-Sales Questions' started by Borgia, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. Borgia

    Borgia New Member


    As my title gives away. I want to set-up a new forum while I work full-time. And I would be grateful for views on how possible that is. People say that they are on their forums all the time, and that they mostly do not pay - for me that is not a workable combination.

    Thank you,

  2. Brandon_R

    Brandon_R Guest

    Most people set up a forum as a hobby and has a job. They make their forums for the things they love. Others who make forums for things like webmastering and programming are probably on it full time. Forums for gamers and just places to talk about stuff are probably hobby forums.
    Vincent likes this.
  3. Darfuria

    Darfuria Active Member

    I think that wholly depends on your forum. You can set one up in a matter of minutes (depending on the system you're using, the template you want to use and the hierarchy of your forum sections), and then just leave it be. You don't have to spend 16 hours/day using it if you don't want to.
  4. mjp

    mjp Well-Known Member

    If you set up a forum and ignore it, it will die a quick death. Look around, most of them die regardless of what the owners do. Forums are like blogs, a lot of people set them up and assume the world will find them, but it doesn't work that way.

    Even if you come up with some topic or issue that no one else is covering with an existing forum (and be realistic, I love you, but that's completely unlikely) someone has to reply to every post. Someone has to lure people in and keep them engaged. How many times have you gone to a forum, seen that there are only a few dozen posts and left immediately?

    The odds of a forum being a source of income are even more slim. If you have 1,000 users, do you know how many of them will pay a subscription fee? Depending on the fee, maybe 1%. If you're lucky. And advertising is a long, long shot. Pay per click isn't going to make you enough money to buy a sandwich every 6 months unless your forum has millions of users.

    But you can open a forum and be generally responsive and attentive to it and still work a regular job. That's what everyone else does. Your best bet though is to get a job where you sit at a desk in front of a computer all day (preferably in your own office, one with a door that locks, lots of plants and a nice couch) and don't have to do very much work. Then you can check in to your forum every 15 minutes. Get a job like that and you're all set.
    erich37 likes this.
  5. David Thomas

    David Thomas Active Member

    There are very few forums making enough money to call it a full-time job, and those took years and a lot of labor to get to that point. Running a forum alone is almost never a viable business plan, and I don't think that's what forums are meant for anyway. As stated multiple times here, they are more of a hobby. Even blog+forum combos are becoming more and more common, so it's hard to stand out enough to pull people in as it is.

    What a lot of people do is work a regular full- or part-time job, then work on the forums in whatever free time they have. The job ensures you have money to fund the forum, and is a more stable source of income.
    CyberAP likes this.
  6. Borgia

    Borgia New Member

    Thanks guys. I was beginning to wonder...
  7. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Forums CAN be a full time job - Some corporate websites do it. But you have to build up each site and keep it running for years to make returns on your investment. If you see a viable business income from a niche - build it up more, spend more on it.

    Examples are:

    Of course, www.internetbrands.com

    Some gaming networks do almost the same, but they do it the wrong way.
  8. MrBrian

    MrBrian Active Member

    If you want advice : take your time, don't expect too much. Don't set goals for yourself that are too high or too far. Don't think about the money too much. Focus on growing your community instead of growing your income. If you can add a good system with premium members or interesting ads or a shop, then the income will follow the success of your community. Do not forget that your members are your most precious part of the community, not the many options you can offer them. Be honest in dealing with them, don't rip them off, ever. If you expect money from them, then only offer them things that are real and fair. Think about the long term. Let your website grow together with the community. Never start a forum with 57 categories at first, start with a handful and only add new categories if there seems to be a need for it. And of course, try to find a niche subject or a local area.

    If you are thinking about becoming a fulltime admin yourself, then ask yourself those 2 questions :

    Can you handle it as a person ?
    Can your community handle it ?

    You will have to do things that are less fun too, like filling in all kind of paperwork and taxes and social security and so. You will have to make time free for that. You will have to carry more responsibility, there is no way around that . You wont be able to rely on other people... maybe you will find good advice, but nobody else will take the big decisions for you now. Some people just don't have the right stuff, but that is something that matters for everyone starting a business on their own, not just forum admins.

    Your community will be faced with things that are less fun too. The money will have to come from somewhere, so your members will have to swallow some more ads, or you will have to convince them about your premium membership. If you introduce them in the wrong way, then this can greatly hurt or even kill your community. So it has to be strong and flexible in these matters. Some community will not be able to support fulltime admins, because you simple can not make them big enough or because there is not enough money to be made with them.

    The two should not be confused. There is no Job Security these days but if you are career oriented and focus, you shouldn't have to worry about those things. Used to be you could get a job in a manufacturing plant, supermarket, hospital, etc.. and have a job for life. With constant mergers and acquisitions resulting in downsizing and layoffs this isn't possible.

    If you are focused on income and that is your priority then you look at things differently than as a career. Careers have setbacks, some minor and some major, but the person always strives to improve and get better leading them. The career is the drive. Income is secondary to this drive but also confused as being the same because we measure wealth the same as self worth.
    Andy.N, DXGeneration and David Thomas like this.
  9. mrGTB

    mrGTB Well-Known Member

    I think it depends what you want out of it really? If your setting one up to try and make it huge, taking it quite serious. Probably not a good idea working full time and running a forum. Your jobs always going to come first!

    If you just want it for some fun and are not too bothered about how fast it grows or how big. Yes, it can work.

    I work full time hours Monday - Friday, and run a forum for fun. I don't take it that serious anymore, not like I used too with them. If I was still that way incline, I wouldn't have bothered. You can't work full time and put the kind of effort required into a forum at the very start to make it grow fast. Not today!
  10. Omri.L

    Omri.L Active Member

    Definetely yes! asumming you have the right staff
  11. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    Millions of users needed? Simply not true.
    That largely depends on the niche you are targeting.
    Carlos and AmericanForum.com like this.
  12. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Depends on how you see it. Being an entrepreneur is a job, whether you like it or not. It requires a lot of time, and a lot of risk.

    I'm not asking for immediate cash, or think that cash comes quickly like many people think....I have always wanted a business, I have always wanted to be a businessman, but I don't have that track record yet - as in, not my own company kind of track record. I have founded websites with people - I have sort of a track record, but not good enough, to walk in front of an investor and say "look at my business plan and I'll help you make money."
  13. MrBrian

    MrBrian Active Member

    Maybe.. But, it should be noted that a Career has nothing to do with Job Security. Neither does income. Different aspects of things. :)

    Job Security is a term used by unskilled to semi-skilled laborers in jobs where anyone can do it. It doesn't take much know-how to get a job in a supermarket, auto production line or most manufacturing jobs. Though these jobs could result in moving to career positions if the employee is dedicated enough.

    Then again, I'd even say career security is a thing of the past. Yea, there are some careers that you could stick with for decades, but even in ones that seem stable if you don't constantly upgrade your skills you'll end up left behind. Doctors, lawyers and computer programmers are perfect examples of careers that seem stable but need constant renewal of skills to keep up. Some more so than others obviously, a lawyer could go longer without upkeep of skills than a computer programer for example.
    DXGeneration likes this.
  14. bookmark

    bookmark Well-Known Member

    It consumes a lot of time to operate and maintain a forum.Anyway,it depends on your view to the forum.
    It's fine if your consider making a forum as your hobby.
  15. gordy

    gordy Well-Known Member

    #1 thing, remove 99% developer mentality, members loathe change and constant mucking around with the controls, it's like someone changing the movie reel every five minutes.
  16. MrBrian

    MrBrian Active Member

    The problem now is that people figured out there was big money in forums, the trend started to move away from the community and more towards only caring about the number of eyeballs looking at ads on the page.

    In the end, a few sites will be successful without developing a sense of community. These sites will be run by sophisticated, experienced business operations. The little man who only cares about making a buck will find their forum to be floating face down in the water at some point. However, if the little man finds a niche he is passionate about that
    isn't already saturated, then not only can he have fun and build a great community, a funny thing will happen. He'll find himself able to bring in a few dollars a month from his site.

    At this point I would wager forums have moved into the realm of small business where the vast majority fail within the first year.
  17. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Many sites that AREN'T forums-related relatively do the same. You sure do have a negative outlook on forums, and think that websites are the only things that make any real money. They do, but forums can too.

    And on top of this, if you're able to run your site past the first year of operations - you're doing something right, that others don't see.
  18. MrBrian

    MrBrian Active Member

    Which part of my statment say that I have a negative outlook on forum? And, please re-read my whole statement again and not just quote the bottom part of it.

    Thank you. :)
  19. David Thomas

    David Thomas Active Member

    He never said non-forum sites do or don't perform better than forums, so that argument is pretty weak.

    He just stated that forums are like small businesses, where a lot of people start one (or try), but most fail before their first year. It's true. Just buying a vB/IPB license and submitting your forum to Google Webmasters Tools doesn't mean you'll start making money after a year. Yet some people go into the "field" with that mentality, then cry when their site only has 10 members and makes $0.0001/month.
  20. Dean

    Dean Well-Known Member

    You could always start up a forum specifically to get your feet wet. Something with low(ish) expectations but you find personally interesting. Learn how to set up a forum, software, hosting, basic member management skills.

    Save your good idea for forum #2.
    Brandon_R likes this.

Share This Page