I work primarily with entrepreneurs looking to start a business or develop a product. Since Tim wrote his book I have conducted approximately 10 studies based on the Ferris model for product and business development using adwords, ebay, and elance. In fact, I am an elance provider and have been so for six years. I feel obligated (for some reason) to state the following,
If you don't know how to make money in your own town, you probably won't be very successful online either.
You can lose a SIGNIFICANT amount of money online if you are not careful. THINK ahead of time....how much time and money do I want to put at risk? In other words, if I lose $1000, will it be worth it?
Tim's process outlines a method to test a product or concept. You still have to have a REALLY good idea or product that people actually want to buy. Do some initial research first before you start anything or spend any money. Are there many competitors? What are their prices? What are their marketing messages? Who is buying their products? First and most important, ask your friends and family what they think about your idea. They care about you (hopefully) and will be honest with you. It is NOT EASY to come up with a good, profitable idea. The .com bust is evidence of that.
Before you start on ebay or adwords, understand some basic concepts about marketing and advertising. These are just online tools that are just that, tools, and the olds rules of messaging still apply. You can waste A LOT of money on adwords if you do not know what you are doing with your ads and keyword targeting. I am asked constantly to fix adwords campaigns that are losing $200 to $300 a day. These are not large enterprises but people and small businesses tapping their life savings hoping to score online. It seems to me Adwords has become significantly more expensive since Tim wrote his book. It has also become significantly more complicated so take the time to understand it well before you begin.
Develop a product or idea that you understand and enjoy. You do have to put some energy into it, especially in the beginning, and it might as well be something you like. Once you understand the model it will be easier to disconnect from the product or business and focus on profitability alone.
Because I am passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship I highly recommend Tim's book and think it has never been easier to start your own business and have the a entirely different type of lifestyle your parents could never have imagined (and good luck explaining it to them). In fact, I have done it myself. However, be smart about it and know when to get out, move on, or come up with a better idea.