This page is different from the others on this site. It is not about cement. It is my review of my “secret weapon” in setting up a successful website. If you, or anyone you know, is thinking of setting up in business on your own in pretty much any niche, my review below of Solo Build It! may well be of interest to you. Solo Build It! is a comprehensive package of what you need to build an internet business. I am writing this review because I believe that Solo Build It! offers a unique and absolutely excellent way to maximize your chances of success. I also want to warn you of a potential pitfall.
If you are looking for information on cement, this particular page probably isn’t for you - just click away to one of the other pages!
In 1987 I left my job working for a cement producer, leaving also my pension, sick pay, holiday pay and the other benefits of working for a large company. Why? Ultimately it was because I wanted more control over my life.
Since then, I have worked as an independent consultant, with clients in the cement and construction industries. After a few years, I began to hear about this thing called “the internet” and by the early 2000s it was growing fast and I knew I needed a website. I built a couple of html sites on my own and they helped to bring in some work but they never really had much traffic and I certainly couldn’t rely on them for an income.
I wanted to build a new site that focussed on cement science, with lots of useful information not easily found elsewhere. From my previous experience of building a few websites, I knew that I didn’t know enough about “webbie stuff” to do it properly. I also knew that I needed to concentrate on my business; I didn’t have time to learn to be a web designer. Neither, though, did I want to pay a web designer every time I wanted to add or alter a page. I needed to be able to do it myself.
In 2005 I found Solo Build It! - in those days it was called Site Build It! - and it seemed to be just what I was looking for. SBI! stressed that you were building a business, not just a website, and they had masses of support documentation that showed you exactly how to do it. I signed up.
I really liked the emphasis on “building a business”. Although my main aim with the site was to help people learn a rather obscure subject, I didn’t have the resources to be too philanthropic and I needed the site to pay its way as soon as possible.
I (mostly!) followed the SBI! instructions as I set up understanding-cement.com. Of course, there was work involved in creating the content but it was also fun. To begin with, I made no attempt to monetize the site while the traffic grew, although it did bring in some consulting work indirectly. Later I used Adsense and this brought in some income that more than covered the costs - the site was in profit.
Today, understanding-cement.com is bigger than ever and sells my two cement-related books that are only available from the site. I have two more books in preparation.
Understanding-cement.com is in the top 0.5% of all websites, as determined by Alexa. Alexa is owned by Amazon and gives traffic information on any website that you type in, ranking websites in order of their traffic based on a combination of visitors and the number of pages they visit. Lower numbers are better! For example, Google.com ranks as No. 1, bbc.co.uk currently as No. 95 and cnn.com as 104. There are about 200 million websites overall, so to be in the top 0.5% a site has be ranked below 1 million. I just checked and today (June 2017) Alexa is showing understanding-cement.com at 478,572, comfortably inside the top 0.5%. Visitor numbers are steadily growing and the site has much additional untapped potential.
I am so glad that 12 years ago I found SBI! and saw what it offered. If at that time I had instead just cobbled together another of my own sites it would almost certainly have sunk without trace years ago. SBI! has made all the difference between success and failure.
There is so much that I value in SBI! but these are some of the key reasons why I love it:
If you don’t already know what your site is going to be about, there’s lots of help with brainstorming different subjects. It is well worth doing this, even if you are sure of what you want - it may help refine your ideas. Once you know what you want to do, again there’s masses of support documentation to help you do it, all written in an accessible style.
Yes, SBI! hosts your site but that’s only a small part of it. What differentiates SBI! from pretty much anything else is the integrated approach to designing your site as a business, then helping you set it up and constantly improve it. The way it does this is the key to the high success rate achieved by SBI!’s customers.
I think the monthly/annual subscription is a real bargain; in the context of a business expense it is tiny. The alternative to an SBI! subscription would probably be something like designing your own site, maybe with html or Wordpress and signing up with GoDaddy or a similar outfit to host it. That might be cheaper, but then what? Unless you already really know what you are doing, you would likely be fishing in an empty pond, or using the wrong bait. Eventually, you would realize this and sign up for some kind of internet marketing course, or maybe get a mentor, at which point the $$ really start to crank up to way beyond your SBI! subscription and you still don’t have what I would call an “integrated system”, just a bag of bits and pieces. SBI! gives you everything you need in one place.
SBI! sites are as secure as they can be. When I arrive at work I want to focus on my business, I do not want to have to spend half my morning working out whether some low-life has hacked my website!
This site has never been hacked and if it was I know that SBI! would work 24/7 to fix it.
The forums are a great place to ask questions of other, more experienced, SBI!-ers. They are very willing to help, maybe with a specific issue (“how do I do…?), or with something more general (“can some people please look at my site and tell me where I’m going wrong…”). People are so generous with their time and knowledge and I have had some very useful help over the years and maybe I’ve been able to help out a few people as well. This “paying it forward” principle is the core ethos of SBI!; when you are “new” you can expect lots of help, when you are more experienced you can help others.
SBI!-ers are all over the world so it may be possible to get together with other SBI! folk. For example, here in the UK some of us meet in London for lunch a few times a year and I really look forward to our meeting days. I can say that, without exception, the SBI!-ers I have met are all lovely people - generous, creative, enthusiastic, talented - and I have made some very good friends. We bounce ideas off each other and help each other with particular problems we may have. These meetings are both enjoyable and very useful.
When you know something works, it adds greatly to your confidence and commitment. I know SBI! works because I’ve experienced it myself. I’ve also met, either online or in person at our London meetings, other SBI!-ers who make their living, either partly or entirely, from their SBI! site(s). They have sacked their boss and generally work from home. I’ve not met a single one who has any regrets, except maybe that they didn’t do it sooner.
I’m a bit different in that I’ve already been my own boss for 30 years, so I can’t easily sack myself. However, at some point I may want to wind down a little from my consulting work. I don’t just want to retire and go fishing though.
Through the success of my SBI! site I have learned skills that no-one can ever take away from me. I have also experienced the privilege of being able to help people learn more about cement generally, or assist with specific complex technical issues. It is also still quite a thrill to wake up in the morning and find I made some sales while I was asleep. I don’t think I would ever want to be without knowing that I am contributing something of value to the lives of people - mostly people I have never met from all around the world, although I do know some of them. I may know them personally or I may not, either way they are all valued customers. This is part of my life.
Whether I keep my cement site or pass it on to someone else in due course (it is now an asset of some value) remains to be seen. I may start one or more new sites in different niches using what I have learned over the last 12 years with SBI!. If I did it once, I know I can do it again and that is most of the battle. If I do start a new site it will be with SBI!.
Whatever your stage of life, if you are thinking of setting up in business on your own, SBI! is the best way that I know of to do it. Take a look at SBI! here.
The startup costs are minimal, the risks virtually zero and the rewards potentially unlimited - not only financial rewards but also those of learning new skills, making new friends and having the satisfaction that you have helped people.
For younger people, I know that SBI! offers a route to a lifetime of working for yourself on your own terms - the ideal lifestyle. I know it because I have met some of them. They are my friends.
If, like me, you are getting to a “certain age” you may have a different perspective but SBI! could still be just what you need. The “old”, inflexible, model of working for 50-odd years then retiring with a gold watch (if you are lucky!) is disappearing fast, as are the days of generous company pension schemes. With an SBI! site you can keep those “little grey cells” active as well as helping people while supplementing your retirement income. This isn’t hypothetical, I know people who are doing this with SBI! - they are my friends too. You have worked all your life; you have the wisdom of age and you know a lot of stuff! Don’t just retire and take that all knowledge to the golf course.
There's more detailed info on how SBI! can help you build your business here.
If you want any more information about my experience as a customer of SBI! just use the contact form and I’ll be happy to help. None of the links to SBI! on this page is an affiliate link; I don’t get a penny if you sign up to SBI! but if you are thinking of starting up on your own, I really hope you do join SBI! because it will give you the best chance of success.
At the top, I mentioned a potential pitfall.
If you search for “Solo Build It! reviews” you may find fake reviews from people who get paid to write reviews that send you to a particular competitor of Solo Build It!. These aren’t real reviews but are just part of that competitor’s sales funnel. The competitor has a product proven to be inferior in a study carried out by Solo Build It!. The link to the study is here and Solo Build It! shows you the method used so that you can check it for yourself.
If you do look for reviews, keep an eye out for the real reviews, written by Solo Build It! owners. Our reviews aren't about "make money online" or "affiliate marketing" stuff, we have real businesses in niches that we are passionate about.
The study included every Solo Build It! site and every site from the competitor’s product. On average, Solo Build It! had 3,300% (33 times) more sites in the top category compared with the competitor.
These fake reviews really concern me for two reasons: first, the name of the Solo Build It! that I love and have been with for 12 years is being traduced unfairly and second, people are being misled into buying a product that gives them only around 1/33rd the chance of success compared with Solo Build It!. This wastes their time, the most precious thing we all have.
(Fake reviews are a big problem generally online, misleading potential customers just to make money. You could do a Google search for “fake reviews” for more information.)
You can tell that Solo Build It! is genuine because they show proof of success in a massive list of successful online businesses created by Solo Build It! customers. The competitor can’t do that. Don’t take my word for it though, do your due diligence, read the Solo Build It! study and then draw your own conclusions! The study is quite long but there is a summary at the top.
Also, there's a great article here from the Social Media Hat that summarizes the problem.
I wish you the very best of luck in building your new business.