You know what - if we all sat down and thought for a while, we can all think of at least one company that made it big all by itself, nice and viral like, without any help from anyone but users, and that first user was able to drag all his friends in, and then exponentially drag all their friends in as well, and so on, and so on. Pretty soon it became an internet dynamo, a dominant force on the Web and its founders made a gajillion bucks off it for practically doing nothing.
No advertising. No SEM. No SEO. No nothing. Just magic. Maybe a bit of accidental viral-ness, but nothing else.
The funny thing is, I've met so many entrepreneurs whose site growth strategy depends on this magic.
I listen to them tell me their idea, and sometimes their idea is pretty cool. Sometimes they've got the site up and their idea's coolness is actually reflected in what they built. I tell them I really like it and then ask them if they are going to start a company. Then the story gets murkier.
Each one tells me yes they really want to start a company. Each one has big dreams. Then I start asking them about how they're going to get the word out about their product. Then it's unclear. They say they want to put it up and see how it does.
I tell them do they intend on doing marketing, even some marketing on the cheap like reaching out to bloggers, or SEM, or something. As soon as the mention of spending more money comes into play, the answers get murkier and murkier.
I persist. I ask them why don't they go out and raise money and become a startup. Then they would have money to spend on marketing. They give a range of answers from not wanting to leave the comfort of their current job to fear of committing to something that might not work to "still thinking about it." Mostly, they got the site up and are just waiting to see what happens.
At this point, I have my answer at least (which is "no I'm not investing").
You know, it's hard to leave the comfort of where you are now. You're making money to support a great lifestyle, or a family. You are comfortable, and don't want to face the potential chaos of the unknown, let alone a startup and its challenges. You might even fail - god forbid what others might think of you, or worse, what you might think of yourself. You might fail, and end up with no money, no job and you bet it all on this one thing and now you might have....zip...nada....nothing.
So you say you'll just put it up and see what happens.
My thoughts to you are:
1. Growth by "magic" into an internet dynamo happens SOOOOOO infrequently that the chances of what you built doing that are so vanishingly small.
BUT - what you built might actually be useful and cool enough to grow into a decent sized business (or even a dynamo) IF you were to put some sweat and money into distribution and marketing so that users know you exist.
In absence of full commitment, you might as well be playing Lotto.
2. Since you won't fully commit, you're unfortunately not risk tolerant enough to become a great entrepreneur. No offense, and I don't say it as negative criticism. Not everyone is built to deal with the uncertainties of being an entrepreneur, and the chaos that inevitably ensues from running a startup and living on the edge of having no money. So just stay home, make your money, live your life.
And don't be delusional about the chances of your site which you just "put up" and are "watching what happens."