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What businesses that you have started, have failed?

Everyone is often too keen to talk about when things go right in business, but I think there is a lot can be learnt from looking at failures too.

I would be interested to hear what business people have started and why they think they failed?

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level 1
105 points · 7 months ago

Not counting my candy business in middle school... :) I've had a few ventures.

Started a tool sharing service called ToolSpinner (Airbnb for power tools), raised angel funds but ultimately failed due to various reasons but mostly due to the challenge of matching supply/demand on a local level.

Next I started a coffee roasting company... so fun. So yummy. But decided early on that the math didn't work as a profitable side-hustle. Decided to not expand before I purchased my first large roaster.

Next went on to start a liquidation business buying pallets of returned goods. Loads of fun! Nothing like having 500 vacuum cleaners delivered to your home. Made a several thousand but simply didn't have time as a father of 4 with a demanding career as each product required me to test, photograph, list on ebay, mail, etc. (I still think this is an awesome option for a college student living at home).

Next went into selling laser lights (Christmas decoration). Ordered like 800 from China and distributed on ebay. Crushed it for Christmas 2015 but by 2016 everyone was starting to sell them and the market I knew would be too risky to go deep and order thousands for Christmas 2017. Now they are everywhere. Didn't fail, but was very much a trend that I caught at the right time and wasn't reproduce-able.

Next (and still) started a business selling kids balance bikes. I found a product I truly believed in (3 of my kids have learned to ride on balance bikes, 4th has just started.) Worked with a high quality manufacturer and imported several thousand. This was intensely fun and tough me a LOT about international logistics, wire transfers, quality control, design, logistics, shipping, freight, warehousing, etc.. Still running Jubilant Bikes and it's been going really well. It's so awesome to see kids using your product and I love what I do.

I still have a great career day-job I love, but I also love the side-hustle. Keeps me sharp and gives me my own mini-lab to try marketing, sales, supply chain, logistics, accounting, etc.

For those thinking of starting something, just do it. Even if you "fail" just get up and try again.. and again... and again. I'm a husband and father of 4 awesome kids, so please don't tell me you don't have the time to start a business. Start something you own and care about.

I'm not a millionaire yet, but I'm going to hustle until I am.

level 2

That’s awesome man, keep doing your thing I hope you get there one day! I do like your idea of the Christmas lights and the bikes and am curious how you got the idea and found the manufacturer as well

level 2

Can you point me in the right direction. Where could I buy bulk products from China to resell in the states?

level 3

I'm not sure if you already know this website, but I have bought and sold products from Alibaba and Aliexpress before. Doesn't work for branded products due to obvious reasons but if you want to start your own brand or are looking for products for which people don't pay attention to the brand, its a good source.

Because you're ordering from China, communication can be challenging and it's vital that you make your demands very clear. Try not to sound too formal and corporate - use simple language and dumb it down as much as you can so there's no room for misinterpretation.

Do a fair amount of research before you jump in - the website and manufacturers are as dodgy as they look sometimes. There are badges and labels given to the reliable manufacturers but even then, do your own research. Ask for samples before any bulk order. And for your money's sake, don't deal with anyone that doesn't accept PayPal. If you get bad feelings about a manufacturer, don't go through with it.

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level 3

I would also like to know this.

level 4

See above, basically Alibaba and Aliexpress are a good start.

level 2

Hi, can you please elaborate on how to buy returned goods for liquidation?

level 2

This is what entrepreneurialism is all about! Nicely done, keep the hustle alive

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level 1

Started an online store selling outdoor supplies, primarily fishing and hunting supplies. Launched in September and had a good first 3 months due to it being hunting season and Xmas. We were profitable even with low margins and Amazon's fees. The nail in the coffin was a few large purchases made with stolen CC #s. These products were shipped and charged back to us. That sunk the business.

level 2
Original Poster13 points · 7 months ago

Were the large purchases made through Amazon and do they not offer any protection to sellers?

level 3

no, those purchases were made through our site. Amazon offers some protection.

level 4
11 points · 7 months ago

If you were going to go through it a second time, what would you do differently? I am always concerned with this. We operate a food service business and a few times customers have "claimed" the CC was stolen and fortunate for us the receipt is low and square covers up to $200, but wouldn't know what to do if it was a larger claim.

level 5

I would employ a fraud prevention service right away. Eventually we started using Signifyd. They rate each purchase "green" or "red". If red, the purchase is likely fraud, if green, they think they purchase is legit and have a guarantee on "green" purchases that turn out to be fraud.

level 6

You can easily do this yourself by enabling some security features through the gateway you have connected to your shopping cart. Authorize.net for example.

level 5
seekwell.io
4 points · 7 months ago

There are a few companies that offer guaranteed chargeback protection, here is one https://www.signifyd.com/

I think most charge a percent of your sales and have to approve the transaction

level 6
[deleted]
7 points · 7 months ago

Yeah others have pointed out that you can do a lot of this yourself, but honestly when it comes to something like that, I'd rather have someone else assume the risk for me.

level 5

In addition, would a “no returns, all sales final” clause stick? I do understand it would push some people away.

level 6

This clause wouldn't matter if the CC was stolen and used fraudulently.

level 7

True, I’m an idiot lol

level 5

Would also like to hear more about this

level 5

What's the Cc ?

level 6

Cc=Credit crad, #=number

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level 1

Before Uber was a thing, I ran a Gypsie Cab weekend nights for about a month or so before a kind police officer informed me "I'd be fucked" if he saw me doing it again.

level 2

Are you sure he wasn't offering you a good time?

level 3
7 points · 7 months ago

Look, officer, I'm flattered really. But don't you threaten me with a good time

level 3

It was supposed to be consensual, but a hard sell

level 2

Lol this is awesome.

I like this story because it's pretty relatable for a lot of startup folk. There are a LOT of businesses you need licensing or regulation to operate legally, but how do you justify investing in becoming fully legit before testing your service/product, market, and your ability to perform?

level 3

It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. By the time I had to shut down I already made a decent return.

level 1

Started a pop-up wedding ceremony set up biz with a friend. Did a lot of planning and negotiating to get it up and running. Spent a bit of money to buy the stock and long hours to develop the marketing plan etc. Predictably the time investment became to unequal, i was doing everything and had all the skills and experience. And we realised it wasn't going to work because she didn't want to put inthe time and I wouldn't as I already have 2 other businesses so we called it quits after doing only 1 job. I bought her out and reutilised the stock in a different business. Not a major just a lot of wasted time.

Lessons learned, partnerships are complicated, every little detail needs to be negotiated and don't do business with friends, it gets complicated.

level 2

You have to look at it like a marriage. Would marry this person?

level 3

Haha yeah true. Also I think having a business partner where there's no emotional attachment helps. It's too hard with a friendship-partnership to simultaneously wear the different hats required with business decisions vs friendship decisions.

level 4

Not necessarily true, there are couple's who have done great business's too. Example Robert Kiyosaki and his wife.

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level 1
33 points · 7 months ago

I self-published a retail PC program in the late 90's for a niche hobby market (shrink-wrapped box, UPC code, CD-ROM, printed manual, etc) and I rented a too-big facility (1500 sq ft) for office, assembly and storage, thinking I'd get a lot more orders than I did. I spent way too much on ineffective advertising ($1,000 small ads in the back of the hobby's main magazines), thinking I'd get a 2% response rate based on their 100,000 subscribers, but it was more like 0.12%.

Most of my sales were to small hobby retailers whom I gave a 40% dealer discount. They undercut my "suggested retail" website price by about 15%.

I was profitable but only making $2K a month, which wasn't enough to live on, so I closed after 8 months. I had a great landlord who worked his own way up with retail shops and knew the pains of a startup, and let me out of my lease.

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level 1

I had a very lucrative business selling CNC milling machines to jewelers. The industry changed as jewelers began to prefer 3D printers over mills. Fortunately I saw the writing on the wall and transitioned to using the equipment I had left to start a successful online jewelry design business. I focus on very detailed designs where my mill has a distinct advantage over the printers. My niche is distinctive celtic, gothic, and other designs inspired by antiquity.

The money was great in the mills and I survived on leads generated from just four big trade shows. I rode the downturn for a while, but got out in time.

level 2

Good sense to catch the downturn and then make the most of it! well played.

level 1

Quit my job to start an HVAC business based off one giant customer. That customer needed serious help with water damage in house she provided for her clients visit. A very important multimillion dollar client. It wasnt my area of expertise , but I knew of someone who had good experience . I took the job because all I saw was $$$. I was Looking to profit $10k in one week while he did the job.

The guy screwed me and didn't show up. He did half the job, and didnt finish. I was stuck scrambling to get it done myself but only made it worse. She lost the client. I lost her as a customer. When she left, both her apartment buildings, her husbands 2 car dealerships , a series of her friends houses, and a hospital I had a maintence contract with left with her. I also had to return her 15k deposit of which 10k was given to the guy that screwed me. Luckily I had the 10k extra to give, but that was all my profit from the previous month.

Lesson: If you cant do the job yourself, don't do it at all. Amen

level 2

I think the better lesson is, don't put all your eggs in one basket. 1 customer, 1 person that knows how to do the job etc.

level 3

Yeah, that thought always ran through my head, but big customers lead to other customers. One lesson I will still live by is if you see an opportunity for success, take it because it was meant for you. If you don't take it, it will go to the next person it was meant for. - Maria Labriola-Raymond . Daughter in-law of the King of Soho Paul Raymond.

level 1

25 years old. Met a client through my line of business that was a young entrepreneur in the urban music world. Vibed well together and wanted to use our network to create a management and consulting firm.

Through months of prep and thousands spent on branding, websites and legal work, we landed our first big client.. a recently ex NBA player who wanted to merge into music.. after we won him over all that was left was the paperwork. Made the mistake of allowing my partner to be the only point of contact and my partner ended up running with the client on his own (no longer answered my calls or texts, told the client it'd be better to work through him, not me, etc.)

Needless to say I was crushed and demoralized. Huge learning experience though. Had no clue what I was doing but it was great getting experience making a deck for investors, using my network to clientele on my own and finding out how fragile a business can be in its infancy stage.

level 2

Who was it? Did he have success as a rapper? Shaq-Fu’d

level 3

Haha I wish it was Shaq. And no as far as I know his rap career didn't take off. My ex partner is still trying to make it in the industry as a manager, but hasn't gotten anywhere big. He hit me up recently to see if I had access to an event and i told him to kick rocks.

As for me, I'm happily back in watches for now, building up money to start another business (last business put me in a little debt). Optimistic and looking forward to the next adventure 👍

level 4

He had the balls to hit you up for access to an event after he fucked you over?

level 5

Sociopaths amirite

level 4

Good luck to you, and good for you for bouncing back! Love your optimism.

level 4

Kick his ass

level 2

Operating agreement before anything. BTW, was it Booby Gibson?

level 2
2 points · 7 months ago

Jean Ralphio and Detlef Schrempf?

level 3

Entertainment 720 baby

level 2

Good attitude. I feel like you’re going to succeed big time at your next venture.

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level 1
38 points · 7 months ago

Tried building a website that allowed people to search for flights based on their budget to promote people with little money traveling often.

Unfortunately some guy in California was sitting on the tech patent for this, so I had to close down before I even went live.

Definitely don’t regret the attempt though. $300 and 6 months taught me enough about startups.

level 2
21 points · 7 months ago

How do you patent something like that? There are currently dozens of websites that do that.

level 3
[deleted]
18 points · 7 months ago

Seriously, that's like patenting a cheeseburger.

level 3

IANAL but my guess is they have a specific process patented, and Jahlei's idea was close enough the guy could threaten him and instead of taking the risk of legal fees it was easier to close. The guy may have had something to stand on, or try to enforce and it's entirely possible Jahlei could have tweaked it and been fine but you just never know. Unfortunately the US patent system is garbage and that doesn't help.

level 2

Nice idea. Something I've looked for a few times (but haven't found) is a site that uses flight duration as the parameter instead of price. I wanted this to find new places close by for long weekends away, and also wanting to keep flight time down when travelling with kids. Certainly not as big an audience as low price flights, but still a niche worth looking at I think.

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level 2

Was his name Expedia?

level 3
4 points · 7 months ago

No but funny enough, one of the board members of the company that held it is an Expedia executive

level 4

I always wanted to know about online travel agency. Can you tell me about how to get access to flight inventory? Seems like you spent only $300. Is it that cheap to just float a flight ticket booking website?

level 5
3 points · 7 months ago

The flight index everyone uses is the same one from Google, as far as I know.

It’s definitely not that cheap, but I didn’t spend any money on software development. I spent the money on graphic design and web layout

level 6

Not as far as I know, but google is overtaking/has been catching up crazy fast. So the threat to the business is big.

level 5

To get access to inventory the hard way (where you can potentially recover your costs) you'll need a contract with a GDS system like SABRE or Amadeus. You'll need a bond, and an employee with at least three years of experience in the industry. The easy way is to sign up for an affiliate program with one of the big OTAs, but you'll need your own organic traffic as you can't go head to head with a competitor with direct inventory access profitably.

level 6
2 points · 7 months ago

Do you know if there's any site that offers to search for the best option for the variables that you set, specifically like this:

  • desired timeframe (let's say mid-march to mid-april)

  • departure airport (& surrounding airports maybe)

  • set several desired locations (for example Fuerteventura, Lisbon, Marrakech, Santiago de Compostela)

  • set desired duration of the travel (10 days)

Example result: cheapest flight: 20th to 30th of March to Lisbon. That would be awesome, as that's exactly what I do manually, scanning different websites like google flights, kiwi.com, kayak,...

But I have to go through each possible option on all websites. Some of them do have some interesting features that speed the process up a little bit but none of them offer what I'm looking for.

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level 1
68 points · 7 months ago

Nightclub. Actually did not fail, but I gave up because I could not stand it anymore. Do not recommend it to anyone, it's a hell of a job.

level 2

Could you elaborate?

level 3
22 points · 7 months ago
  • you are married to the business, there is no automation

  • customer service with drunk customers

  • corrupted inspectors (they will always find a way to write you a ticket for something)

  • your employees will steal from you

  • your friends (drunk friends to be precise) acting like they own the place

  • You will have to deal with unsatisfied customers. Even if there is no reason for unsatisfaction, you will always have people that expect too much for their money, women are especially demanding (you can't imagine how huge problem they will make only about table they get)

level 4

...and the women’s bathrooms... I though get guys were the worst, but no.

level 4

I can't say I'm surprised by any of this but it does sound like hell. Unless you had the right setup that was super lucrative, I couldn't see this being worth it when I think about it.

level 3

sounds like all the work, cost, stress, and variables of a restaurant, plus more like bouncers drugs performers etc

level 4
5 points · 7 months ago

This.

level 3

Too much alcohol, drugs, and sex.

level 4

Thats awesome 😎

level 5
[deleted]
11 points · 7 months ago

It is when you're the customer. When you're liable for other people who are loaded and horny, it's not so fun.

level 2

You gotta give us more than that...

level 3
3 points · 7 months ago

Hard to control because most of the sales happen within one, or two hours. We had nights with sales of 2,400 beers between midnight and 2 AM. Even the "checker" can not catch everything that came out of the bar in that period.

level 3

He will deliver..........

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level 2

Please expand on your statement

level 3
4 points · 7 months ago

Imagine that you are liable for a bunch of drunk and drugged people.

level 2

Pls. More info. Pls.

level 3
5 points · 7 months ago
  • you are married to the business, there is no automation

  • customer service with drunk customers

  • corrupted inspectors (they will always find a way to write you a ticket for something)

  • your employees will steal from you

  • your friends (drunk friends to be precise) acting like they own the place

  • You will have to deal with unsatisfied customers. Even if there is no reason for unsatisfaction, you will always have people that expect too much for their money, women are especially demanding (you can't imagine how huge problem they will make only about table they get)

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level 1
13 points · 7 months ago · edited 7 months ago

I started a gaming store that relied on repeat business rather than standard retail practices. It actually stood on its own for 4 years before crumbling down around 3 months ago.

It's failure really comes from location and timing issues, along with a growing number of similar but different places. (i.e Pubs with board games and the like)

Let me know if you have questions!

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level 1

Built to cyber security Product Company. It was effectively a security Operation Center for small-to-midsize companies. Well there's plenty of them out there now this was in 2014 before the real plethora of them came around. Had some great momentum pivoted a few too many times and didn't have enough funding to keep developing the product keep sales going and do this magic thing called make payroll. I had clients lined up but they were 90 days out for money and we only had about 30 days worth of money left. I shut the doors paid all the bills I could. Currently an executive at a security consulting company and incubating several other products. It kind of never gets out of your blood. one of the incubated products were about to sign a government contract with hopefully. Cross your fingers were somewhere between 3 weeks and 3 months from signing that contract. Government stuff is always slow as dirt. closing that startup company was the hardest decision that I'm the most proud of. I did the right thing for the right reasons at the right time. Still sucks.

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level 1
Comment deleted7 months ago(11 children)
level 2

ND?

level 3
Comment deleted7 months ago(0 children)
level 4
Comment deleted7 months ago(0 children)

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level 2

What does "oilfield service company" entail?

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level 1

At last, someone asks the real question. It's not about what idea was successful, but more about the road you took to get there.

For me, my entrepreneurial venture started a long time ago.

  • Aged 16ish I bought used NES/Snes Megadrive games on flea markets, played them and sold them for more than I paid. Stopped that when two local stores opened with the exact same business model.

  • Aged 18ish I was working in a Video/DVD rental place and noticed we'd throw out the DVD'S and games (we had xbox, gamecube and playstation games) that were too abused/used because they wouldn't work anymore. So instead of throwing those non-working discs in the trash, I found a place that had a machine to "clean" (It's more of a grinding process) those and then sold them via classified ads. Worked wonderfully until I stopped working at that store and had no more access to those discs.

  • At 25ish I opened a Detective Agency focused on financial fraud with two partners that went extremely well. We had good connections due to prior stuff and we were rolling in cash within a few months. Ended when I was out of the country for a few months on a case and the two pricks stole all our assets and the two main clients (banks) leaving me with massive debt and a situation I couldn't prove in court due to them preparing well. At this point, I was not only broke but had around 20k in debt and zero income (plus ongoing costs). So I started working two shitty jobs, didn't sleep for three years and started grinding my way out of that pit.

I stayed away from entrepreneurial ventures for quite some time, but now in my mid-30s, I just restarted my financial investigation service and so far it's going nicely. At any point during that journey, I could have stopped and just bailed. But I didn't. And I don't regret any step of the way.

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level 1

I’m a 21 year old college dropout who’s into video production/filmmaking. Mainly for my own personal YouTube videos (which doesn’t really rely on heavy editing), but I’ve been hired to make videos for weddings, events, and social media.

I started watching Mad Men last year, around April, and gained an interest in advertising. Started doing research on other content creators who got into advertising, and ended up finding Casey Neistat. His story sounded so simple: Moved to NYC, made videos, caught the attention of companies, got hired to create commercials for big brands, living the dream...

So, I decided to give it a try. My plan? Start locally, find small businesses I like, and persuade them to utilize the power of social media by advertising their product/service with a video. I was laughed at a bunch, nobody ever took me serious. So I moved on to my plan b. Just make a video for the company with or without their knowledge, show them the finished product, tell them I did it for “fun” but offer it to them for their website/social media pages. That plan also failed. Some actually loved the video but didn’t think they should pay for “fan art”.

It has been almost a year, and I still haven’t made a dime in my makeshift “advertising” career.

My issues?

I don’t promote myself or anything. I don’t have any serious credentials or any experience in advertising or marketing.

I don’t have a plan. I just like to get up and try to make it happen there and then, I have an issue with sitting down patiently and planning it out.

I’m not even an entrepreneur. It’s not an original idea, I can’t compete with actual local professionals, and I’m a college drop out; probably looked at as a joke.

I’m still working on it though. Just have been “taking a break” to work an actual job lol. Still think about it every day. My editing is amazing, my style is unique, but I just can’t sell myself. I remind myself every day though, you can get a million ‘no’s but all it takes is 1 ‘yes’ to open up that door for you. I’m just waiting for that ‘yes’.

TL;DR wannabe entrepreneur tries getting into video advertising but fails miserably.

level 2
66 points · 7 months ago

What you did is absolutely not "wannabe".

Wannabe is thinking about monetising your side hustle while you sit at your 9-5 for years.

level 3

Well I mean, I know absolutely nothing about business or what it takes to be an actual entrepreneur. I’m just completely winging it. A dumb kid winging it lol just hoping it works out and working a 9-5 to keep me afloat till I find a way to make it happen.

level 4
25 points · 7 months ago

That's how a lot of businesses start. Keep at it. You might not succeed the first time or the fifth time, but if you have a 5% chance of a business that sets you up for life each time you try, then 50% of people who try ten times will be set up for life.

For most people, having luck isn't about winning the jackpot first time, it's about tipping the odds in your favour and then keeping attempting until something works. It looks lucky because nobody sees how many times you failed or the people who stopped trying after the first failure, but it isn't just luck

level 5

Thanks, Borax! That’s what I need to constantly remind myself- it’s a game of commitment and persistence. I’m still giving it 100% till I physically can’t, no way I’m giving it up.

level 6
7 points · 7 months ago

Honestly I'm not even convinced you have to give it 100% until it gets of the ground, it's the persistence in doing something that's important.

level 6
6 points · 7 months ago · edited 6 months ago

F

level 6
[deleted]
3 points · 7 months ago

Good luck with you! You can do it!

level 4

Guys like neistat didn’t rest until they made it happen. I think great artists are generally born with it, not learnt it in school. Keep at your passions, it’ll pay off!

level 4

Guess who else knew nothing about business & also runs a video production company? Me. I'm not a billionaire, but I'm making a living. Keep at it. Polish up your presentation & keep practicing, show people value & quality and they will come. To be honest, video is a really hard business. Easy to pick up, but hard to make progress.

level 3

Sometimes that's not a bad thing. It took 25 years for conditions to be right for my dream company. Had I started before that, I would have struggled for years and burned out ages ago. Stayed close to my dreams - jobs in the same industry, but biding my time.

level 2
Original Poster4 points · 7 months ago

Have you had any good feedback from others in video production/filmmaking on your work?

Also what sort of business are you approaching? When you mentioned that they 'didn’t think they should pay for “fan art”.' i get the impression that maybe your approaching the wrong businesses.

level 3

I’ve received a bunch of great feedback. After getting paid for a few gigs, I started helping my brother out with some videos for his boxing podcast he’s trying to start. He’s a professional boxer (not big obviously), but he has made some great connections. I guess he showed one of the videos to a friend l who worked for ESPN (just recently laid off), and she thought it was really good. She’s got her own blog or something going, but has offered to pay me to help make videos for her. It’s not that serious of a thing but I was stoked to hear someone from ESPN thought my work was good lol.

As for businesses, I just go to local Mom and Pop shops. A record store in the neighborhood, some small pizza joints, the local weed shop, small shoe/sports stores, etc. I just don’t think the approach is right. Just walking in with a CD and my laptop, dressed like a skater, expecting people to seriously sit down and talk business. I feel like a guy trying to sell mixtapes.

level 4
Original Poster10 points · 7 months ago

You said that you have edited your own videos for Youtube before and along with the work for your friends blog, have you considered doing more with this. Perhaps consider approaching youtubers / vloggers with good followings, but lacking in production value?

Also a lot of the businesses you are talking about, i would presume have very small social media followings and marketing budgets. It might well be worth putting on a shirt and tie and approaching some slightly larger businesses in your area.

level 4

Instead of making “fan art” maybe create a concept on paper? Also get one successful case study to sound professional with hard numbers.

level 4
[deleted]
2 points · 7 months ago

Make yourself a website to promote your work! MP could help you build it :)

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level 2

In your defense, Casey got lucky and struck gold with his initial viral video and then he smartly used that to catapult his name as he continued to use similar strategies to make more viral videos which then = $$$.

Just keep making things you want to make for no other reason than that.

level 2

Aww man, I’m in a similar boat but maybe a bit further along. I didn’t move somewhere to try and find work, but I do own a video production agency that’s really just me and whatever contractors I need for a specific project. I’ve been successfully able to pay my bills and buy some cool gear over the past few years, but no Lambos in the near future.

At the end of the day, you have to give yourself the services you want to provide for clients.

  • Make an awesome spec video that demonstrates the value of your offerings.

  • Your logo, website, and business cards (yes those still matter) need to be razor sharp

The idea is to build your inbound funnel and make sure it’s spiffy so you can focus on outside sales.

Once your funnel is all set up take a moment and write out your onboarding process from lead to signed contract. As I’m sure you know by now workflow is the king of video production. You need these same workflows for the other parts of your business.

Got your workflow and funnel down? Good. Now beat the pavement. Put together a really sharp cold-email and start contacting every ad agency and every digital marketer in your area (which is probably a heck ton because NYC). Chances are you’ll only hear back from a small percentage, but this is about planting seeds.

The leads you get from this and networking too (chamber events, local meet ups, business conferences) will help build the foundation for you to grow long term clients from.

The hardest part of being an entrepreneur is making the first step and adopting all the risk of uncertainty that comes with being on your own. The next step is to take that fire that made you want to take the risks in the first place and get hungry. Be the good kind of desperate to grow.

Hungry entrepreneurs are like genetically recreated dinosaurs, they find a way.

level 2

Idea: Make a "for fun" video for a mid-size mom and pop company (preferably in a fairly saturated market) and either just give it to them, or at least let them pay you any amount they choose. Set it up for them so it ends up live online on multiple sites. Then go to their largest competitor in that market and "show" them how much it boosted their smaller competitor's sales (bullshit the data if you have to - it's called salesmanship). It's likely the larger company will see this as a threat and NEED to have a similar video for their sites. Name your price from there :)

level 3

Lol loved this. I should’ve done that the first time I did it. Just gave it to them, set it up, and went to their competitors showing their sales since I’ve stepped into their lives. BUTTTTT I’m not a real entrepreneur/businessman.

level 4

That's ok, find someone fierce and cutthroat in your life to do that for you. My brother is the talent and I just dress the part and extrovert his skillset onto the world

level 4

You are the definition of a real entrepreneur. Keep hustling and good luck out there.

level 2
3 points · 7 months ago

What types of videos do you like to make?

level 3

Honestly, advertisements. Commercials. I started making videos by making short PSAs for fun- on YouTube. I loved being able to make a point through a visual. Advertising just seemed to make sense for me since I made similar videos. My editing got better, my filming improved, and my concepts/ideas were unique, so I thought making videos for company websites/blogs/social media/etc, would be easy because I’m doing what I enjoy doing. I could link one of my very first “PSA” videos I made. It was about drugs and I just wanted to scare/entertain people on YouTube- it was pretty dark though and probably couldn’t be used for any actual PSA.

level 2

I am needing a video for my landing page. I'd like to talk with you if you are interested in the work. I have the storyboard (or whatever it is called).

level 3

Let’s talk. PM me

level 2

rather than making your perspective clients content for free and approaching them with it, you could create the same content for a hypothetical brand that client can relate to and approach them.

if you make it for free and show them you are just shooting yourself in the foot. by default they will most likely not respect you and your time because they see that you are desperate to get that job. even if they do like it, you are setting yourself up to be low balled.

try betting on yourself and make content that you enjoy making. if you feel you need subject matter, you could always approach a non profit or something with a cause behind it to use as your sample projects. doing this will expand your network and put a good name out for yourself and getting the eyeballs on your work. keep at it and they will come to you.

level 2

I don't wanna crush you I wanna raise you to your full potential. But all I see rn is half ass excuses, EXCUSES I believe you're not trying hard enough. Keep going!!

level 3

I do have an issue with always making excuses. I guess it’s easier to make an excuse than to admit failure, BUT I haven’t given up. Lost a bit of motivation, but I’m also very impatient. Haven’t given up though, hell no. To me it’s all strategy. While at work and at home, 24/7 I’m constantly thinking of ways to work around the issues I keep bumping into. Trying to find the problem and get it fixed. I’ll try a different solution, if it doesn’t work as planned, I switch it up. If it works better than before, I tweak things to try and make it perfect. I clearly haven’t perfected the plan, but every problem has a solution. Eventually, I’m going to figure out the tailor made approach to this “advertising” thing and get it off the ground.

level 4

Hmm maybe you could combo it with distribution? Like a social media advertising thing? And let the work do the talking don't tell them your a college drop out. I won't give a fk but others might

level 5

Distribution? Can you explain combining it with distribution?

But the last part was funny lol I don’t tell them I’m a college dropout, but I don’t look like the average businessman. Nike SBs, slim jeans, skate hoodies, and a baseball cap. I feel like entrepreneurs have short greased back hair, suits, watches, briefcases, and cigars (I watch a ton of movies). I don’t think professionals take some guy that can’t even afford a suit seriously.

level 6

You don’t have to be super neat and tidy to be an entrepreneur. Real entrepreneurs keep it simple with clothing. Obviously, it also depends on each persons’ taste. 😉

level 6

Gary Vaynerchuk, I actually feel uncomfortable around Entreprenuers like that. Suits and perfectly combed hair means they ain't gonna get down and dirty in the trenches with me or think they too good for that. Distribution means you have the goods the video but where you gonna put it? Offer to build a fb page Instagram page and what not for them and manage it for them by producing quality content and putting it there

level 7

Yeah I saw him and Casey together in a video. He’s the kinda guy that makes you feel like anything is possible, doesn’t matter how you look or who you are. Gary’s cool. I don’t feel comfortable with suit and tie men either. It seems like a robotic, corporately programmed look. I must admit though, I do want to be able to wear suits and be looked at as a man of class when I do business.

I never thought of that. Seems like a ton of work though but definitely something I’m willing to look into. Lots of small businesses around with nothing but flyers. No social media presence whatsoever. They advertise by leaving flyers on your windshield. How can I start without the resume? Seems like that would cost more for them, and generally, if you’re gonna spend money on a service, you want to make sure it’s A1.

level 8

How do you start without a resume? Do free work eat shit build a reputation / portfolio. Leverage that into your favor. Or, use your video talent to build yourself a legit website that promotes high quality work. Or join up with a local ad firm.

level 2

just keep on pushing your content in the face of the companies man, one will say yes. just dont stop.

level 2

I don’t promote myself or anything

Maybe you should? Consider the point of view of your client. They want a video that says, "we're awesome." If you don't seem to be good at promoting yourself, why would they think you would be good at promoting them? Maybe you have to find your way of doing it... you know, something that feels right.

level 2

People respond to numbers, try using a friends business with your adverts, study the numbers before and after and use that (hopefully) positive uptick to help sell yourself.

level 2

I seriously wish I could find someone like you near me. I'm a 22 year old drop out and I want to be a business consultant.

I remember as a kid my friend wanted to do a lemonade stand for our neighborhood garage sale and she sold lemonade for 50 cents and hot dogs for a dollar. I suggested she make a combo and she said she hadn't thought of that and wrote it on the board for $1.50. Obviously that defeats the purpose of a combo and I'm sure she wouldn't make that mistake now but at like 7 years old it was so clear to me to charge $1.25 to increase the chance of selling a combo and boosted her revenue.

My point being that I've always sort of known that my thing was business and much like you watching mad men, when I found the show "The Profit" I knew that I wanted to be like Marcus Lemonis.

I want to help people startup businesses and I'd love to make a YouTube series of it. I'm no expert and I wouldn't claim to be but I have a passion for business and helping people and although I'm not Marcus yet, I'm better than nothing.

I guess what I'm saying is that I wish I had someone like you to work with so keep grinding and something will stick.

level 1

Voice assistant for filling in forms. Way too early for the technology to work well enough, not enough alignment with my one goals, partners were nice but disrespected me and too much equity was handed away early. Left and now the company is dead.

Main lesson, your partners are key. If you have any doubts, don't do it with them, you won't be able to change them. Be professional 24/7 around people, respect them and don't say told you so. Nobody likes being wrong, take them aside quietly and have a word. Never let anyone take your equity if you don't like them. Venture Capitalists don't care about you in the slightest, they'll burn you out without losing any sleep.

Speak to customers but don't let them control you. Test everything about a demo, have a local video backup in case. Get something someone can buy asap. Build up a stack of technical debt, you can fix it if you actually go places. Information Asymmetry can be an easy way of getting rich if you are credible enough.

If someone hobby is mining cryptocurrency, drop them. Make sure you're the dumbest person on the room. Don't work with people that hire family members.

level 2
13 points · 7 months ago

If someone hobby is mining cryptocurrency, drop them.

Why?

level 3
4 points · 7 months ago · edited 7 months ago

They are too busy mining, trading, looking up prices, to build a great company. Especially if they use work computers to start mining without asking people, that's company money and compute being wasted for a persons gain.

And they seem to endless talk about cryptocurrencies which have no useful use cases. Check /r/Buttcoin for one of the few places where skepticism hasn't died around blockchains.

level 2

Voice assistant for filling in forms.

Could you elaborate? Do you mean using speech recognition?

level 3

Speech recognition to navigate and complete forms people use in business. One use case is that when doing and inspection where a part number is in an awkward place, you can shout out the part number instead of having g to remember many digits or carry a phone down a pipe/sewer.

A huge issue is that without a wake-word, how do you know when to listen? Then how do you call correct for failures in translation? (Obviously a wake work is only a few dollars per unit from kitt.ai and you need to have a method of playing back to the use what the phone heard.) If you listen without making it clear, you've basically made a KGB listening device.

level 2

Yep a good team pretty much will overcome all. A lot of people talk, not a lot can do the walk.

level 3

I agree entirely, it's a challenge finding and building a good team. I think I'll only do it again with people I've worked with for a couple years or people with exceptional track records.

level 1
10 points · 7 months ago · edited 7 months ago

Started a doorstep car service in Hyderabad (India) in 2016.

  • Had good initial traction pretty much all due to guerilla marketing.

  • Hired car mechanics instead of contracting to own customer experience.

  • In 6 months, had mechanics going AWOL.

  • Became a nightmare trying to find good mechanics who were willing to stay on (most mechanics think of doing this only for a short time and moving on to bigger career goals )

  • Profit became a challenge. Though repeat customers were increasing, the time to service a car is only once a year which means too long a cycle.

  • Part supplies were never consistent. Wipers would suddenly go out of stock with distributers.

  • Introduced eco wash which saw very high traction to the point that we couldn't keep up with demand.

  • So pivoted but was losing money per wash. Increasing the cost had reduced demand.

  • Finally shut it down. A 2030 electric vehicle policy in India could potentially mean reducing market in the long term.

  • Lack of funds also meant, could not afford the burn rate for washing.

  • Big positive, customers were unhappy we shut down.

  • I was the solo founder

level 1
  1. I was a freelance cleaning business for a while as a teenager. That was awful. Cleaning sucks.

  2. After learning to ride professionally, I wanted to start a horse training facility. That halfway worked. I got a cool venue to work out of, but it was in the middle of nowhere with a potential market smaller than a goldfish bowl.

  3. After pulling cables and programming AV installations for a year, the company I worked for was bought out and I left in the merger. I tried starting my own AV integrator. I think it could’ve worked if my heart was in it. It wasn’t. It didn’t work.

  4. While working at the AV company I was also freelancing for a few multimedia projects (video, graphic design, web design, etc.) I thought I could rip off the Scout Guide (tourism ad booklet) and make one for my hometown. About a month after launching the prototype I realized the financial model would never work and I bailed.

  5. After continuing to freelance in multimedia work I started working on low-budget movies. I took the skills learned on set and decided to start my own production company, with a focus on corporate videos and commercials. Two years in and I’m doing pretty okay. I’m always learning and I’m always looking for mentors who can help me on my way, but I’m paying my bills and growing slowly!

level 2
[deleted]
10 points · 7 months ago

If nothing else, it sounds like you're living an interesting life.

level 2
3 points · 7 months ago

I was a freelance cleaning business for a while as a teenager.

😂 You were a freelance cleaning business as a teenager. You make it sound so advanced. Why not just say cleaning person?

level 3

I guess just my marketing roots showing through. Managing perceptions and all that.

level 1

Let's see...

I opened a private personal training studio in my early 20's, and had zero marketing skills at the time. Rent was high, customers were nowhere to be found. Closed the door three months in. Now, I recognize it as one of my most valuable lessons-- I learned that just hanging a shingle does not a business make. I've had a successful acupuncture practice for over a decade now, and I learned what I didn't know about marketing from that first failed venture, so I chalk it up as a win.

level 2
Creative Entrepreneur
3 points · 7 months ago

What did you do differently to succeed with acupuncture, since they are relatively similar businesses (many competitors, service business, requires specialist worker/owner to trade time for money, not a unique business etc)?

level 3

I realized that it is a business model based on trust, reputation, and word of mouth referrals, so I did three things differently:

  1. I kept my overhead low by renting in an already established chiropractic office. This gave me a stream of referrals, and was much less expensive than getting a triple net lease in my area.

  2. I worked a 40 hour workweek whether I had patients or not. I booked lunches at doctor's offices, made postcard flyers and hand delivered them to local businesses, and spoke about acupuncture anywhere that would have me. I wrote articles for the local newspaper, volunteered my services at sporting events, and dropped cards and info on anyone I talked to. In short, I hustled.

  3. I paid for advertising-- as my income went up, my marketing budget went up. This was back when google ads were still sort of cheap, and nobody else was doing them yet. I paid for a photo ad in the yellow pages. I bought space in local newspapers. Some of it worked well, some of it didn't.

Most important, I think, was really getting out there and building relationships. Even now, face to face connection remains the most potent form of marketing for me.

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level 1

I had a profitable window cleaning service for my first entrepreneurial experience . Thought I was pretty smart. I started a weekly publication. A rag to be read while you wait for your food at breakfast or wherever in 1995. Short stories, horoscope, puzzles and ads around the border of a single page two sided legal heavy eight paper. I let outside influence turn it into a bi monthly local talk about town and it became to hard for me to create content. Published a few issues, paid for the expenses, lost motivation as there was no real profit in the short term and let it go. Went back to cleaning windows.

Learned to listen to myself when I know I should t be listening to someone else.

Sold the window gig a few years later. Currently own three successfully small business, real estate, supply store, and a Manufacturing business. I try to never forget that it could all come apart. And try not to ignore my own gut feelings.

Peace

level 1

It was 2009. I was in college delivering pizzas part time. I noticed that we did the most business between 11pm and 3 am and during that time most of our customers were drunk/high and didn't seem to care about price. They would order a sandwich and with minimum delivery it would be like $15 and they would pay it without batting an eye at the price and still tip $2-3 (mostly. that's a different story). They really didn't care whatsoever about price, they just wanted food in their drunk mouths asap. Some of them had payment set up through their University meal plan which meant a.) it wasn't coming out of their own pocket cash, but rather from student loans/Mommy daddy money and b.) If you don't use all the money by the end of the semester you forfeit it, so they had incentive to spend it frivolously.

Often they would ask if I could pick up other things for them, like beer or McDonald's. Sometimes I would depending on how busy we were and how likely I thought they were to tip well for my effort. This mostly went well. If they didn't care about the price of the pizza, they really didn't care about the price of extra things I was bringing them. Sometimes I saved parties by providing a couple 30 packs when they had run out.

Anyway, I started thinking that with their price elasticity and desire for things other than pizza to be delivered, I could probably make good money just doing "delivery from anywhere" on my own. So I did. I got some sidewalk chalk and I went to every dorm, every apartment complex with majority student population, and everywhere else I could think of that had a high density of student residents and I wrote on the sidewalk "Food/beer delivery from anywhere that's open. 8pm-3am. Price of food plus $7, tip NOT included. (555)555-5555."
I obviously accepted cash, but to accept cards I just took their card information and ran it through my own pay pal account. I told them it would show up on their statement as paypal my name. That part was sketchy as hell and possibly illegal but as it turned out, drunk, hungry college students didn't care at all at midnight.

I wasn't super prepared in quoting prices. I didn't make a menu, I didn't gather prices of possible purchase items, I just said if it's open I'll bring it to you and I had estimated prices based on what's in my own head (so a Big Mac meal is like $8, add $7 to that for an estimated price of $15, I'll tell you the exact amount at the door with a receipt from McDonalds).

It was somewhat successful. I did it for a few weekends and had an average of 10 calls per night which with tips was about $85 for 7 hours of work.
Ultimately it was unsuccessful because I quit doing it. It was a lot more work than my actual job at the pizza place, it was less reliable, and though I made less per delivery with the pizza place, I got minimum wage there in addition to my tips which came out ahead. I could have probably tweaked things a bit and made it work, but I wasn't trying to start a business really, I was trying to make some part time bucks while going to school. I also couldn't see how to scale up. I would have to hire employees and I couldn't figure out how to make money from other people doing the delivering for me. Also, once an employee did it for me, there wouldn't really be anything stopping them from just cutting me out and doing it themselves.

All in all, when uber eats came out I was like I CAME UP WITH THAT! I WAS DOING THAT 5 YEARS AGO!

level 1

I started https://pagesof.com and so far expenses are more than revenue. I’m gonna have to shut it down once my hosting contract ends.

level 2

That’s a tough one. Someone tried to sell me a classified ad site that overall was really solid but I’m glad I didn’t spend the money. Don’t think the internet needs more of them tbh.

level 2

Craigslist?

level 2

Zippy site. I don't see how it's any different than craigslist though.

level 1

2 failed businesses in the last 5 years.

First was a PowerPoint presentation service company. I had soild experince in the space from my time in the military (build presentations for high level government officials) but no real portfolio because 95% of my project were classified. I can build slide decks life nobody's business and have a good eye for design. Failed after a few years, got some clients every now and then but nothing consistent. Learned a ton about B2B sales and networking.

2nd business was cell phone and computer repair. I thought being the only service provider within a 2 hour drive of anything would have been a slam dunk. Instead I dealt with customers who wanted to haggle prices and lowball for quality work. Supply issues shut me down because I couldn't keep every type of Android screen on the market in stock mostly because my profit margin in those weren't as good as Apple products ($40 screens/ $55-65 labor) and lost lots of business because people would look up the screen themselves and try to buy them and expect me to install for $20 bucks. Closed the business after about 10 months and got a 9-5.

In the evaluation stage of launching a 3rd business based on the lessons learned from my previous attempts. This project is more focused on my passion (Veteran employment) and I've been really successful in gaining credibility and visabilty and have identified several niches I can fill along with ways to do it better than my main competition in the space. I also have a very solid group of mentors and advisors to help me make this plan work.

level 1

A fashion label. There was no reason it failed I had a great product but I under marketed it and had issues with pricing. I basically gave up and put it on the back burner. I'm going to start up up again now that I'm more business experienced. I feel confident in starting up pretty much anything now.

level 2

And for that reason, I'm out.

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level 2

Hey mind if I pm you? I'm about to start a clothing brand and would love to get any advice and tips from you

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level 2

I knew a person that had a niche clothing line that looked great, was functional and the quality was exceptional. She created the designs and oversaw the manufacturing. Her SO worked at a successful ad agency / marketing firm so her site and catalogs were top notch. After many years of grinding, her company ultimately failed. From my perspective, she did everything right with the exception of underestimating the amount of capital that is required to fund the venture. It was exciting to see her get a large purchase order from a major only to not have the financing in place to produce it. I have so much respect for entrepreneurs in the fashion industry after seeing what she went through physically and mentally.

level 3

It is difficult. I've worked for a few other fashion labels and it's one of the trickier businesses to run - but also one of the most popular. There must be so many failed fashion start ups.

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level 1

Spent 15k (my life savings) on a food wagon. The reason it never even made one plate is that I didn't price out all the kitchen equipment before I bought the shell. That stuff is really expensive. I had no idea that commercial restaurant stuff is sooo much more than things you buy for your kitchen at home. Also the vent hood, and the rv style plumbing and electrical. Now I know what not to do.

level 2

Are you selling the food wagon?

level 3

Nope. Sold it already.

level 2

If you ever decide to go at it again, maybe buy a used food truck or find used equipment for a lower price.

level 3

Yes. I will do my next business with a whole new perspective in mind. As in price everything out before I make the first purchase. ;)

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level 1

My brother and I started a nootropics business 2 years ago that we just dissolved before 2018. Both being out of school, we were taking it on outside of starting our careers in large manufacturing companies.

All of the product we sold was word of mouth, we made everything ourselves, but the hardest part that we didn’t realize was the marketing needed for an Ecommerce business, and the amount effort and time you need to put into a business to make it successful.

Capital is great, the work was exciting, but as we moved through our primary careers, we both realized that we weren’t 100% passionate about the idea enough to make the time investment needed.

level 2

As someone looking to enter this space, what are some key takeaways you found about sourcing products, customer interests, etc?

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level 1
[deleted]
4 points · 7 months ago
 Sold plastic novelty smoking items. Never thought it was a million dollar business, but maybe I could make a few thousand extra a month. I sank way more into plastic molding,  LLC fees, and expensive banner ads on niche sites than I ever made, and now I'm paying the price.
 Not only are my credit card bills higher than I would like, but I have like 1500 roach clips collecting dust in my garage. Since the clips were my personal design, it took a lot of self inflection to admit it was a failure.
 Although that was a setback, that doesn't mean I've given up the dream of being my own boss and doing something I love to do.
level 1
6 points · 7 months ago

I have said it on other posts. Take a look at Fuck up nights It's a worldwide movement in which they invite entrepreneurs to give 8 minute lectures about their failures. Ive seen from local restaurateurs to ceo 's of multinational corporations give their stories and it's absolutely amazing

level 1
6 points · 7 months ago

I started several online marketing websites that failed.

Why?

Because I did not learn how to attract targeted visitors to my website. I tried Google Adwords which cost me a lot of time and money and I never learned how to make a profit. Seems to me that Adwords has become too competitive and only the big boys with the revenue can afford it. I believe they hire an Adwords marketing consultant to manage their campaigns. Adwords is very complicated to me with so many positive keywords, negative keywords, phrase match keywords, exact match keywords and so much more that I can't explain here.

I still like online marketing but I would rather focus on free or low-cost traffic generation such as articles and website seo. Attracting this type of website visitors is targeted and more interested in what you have to offer, give away, or sell.

level 2

As someone who also wants to break into the internet marketing scene can you tell us anything else, maybe some advice?

level 3
2 points · 7 months ago

Yes, you first have to decide what type of income that you want.

Do you want passive income with minimal work or do you want to create software products that you have to maintain and answer support questions?

There's much work involved in online marketing.

If you want truly passive income, then you will have to write books that people will buy and sell them on amazon. If you love to write, this can be very lucrative. There are many programs that teach you how to publish books on Amazon and promote it effectively. The good thing about publishing books is that once the work is done, it can sell for years (Truly Passive Income).

You can also just be an affiliate marketer where you only promote other products and get a commission.

There's a lot of work involved in creating a software product and keeping it updated. Yes, you can get affiliates, if your products are very good and pay out good commissions, but you still have to maintain it. You also have to create a sales page, opt-in page, bonus page, deal with customers, do refunds, have a good web server for high traffic, and much more.

You can hire someone to do it for you if you are making enough sales to justify it and make it more passive. But, that is easier said than done.

I guess that's why I choose to promote other people's products so that I don't have to deal with customers. I can just refer them to the customer support desk if they inquire of me.

If you do affiliate marketing right, you can make plenty of money.

I used to try to make a website for each product that I wanted to promote for SEO purposes. That turned into a lot more work on my part.

Now, I only work on one website myhelpshack.com and promote all of my affiliate products on that one page. It is easier to maintain and promote one website than it is to promote several different websites.

Also, I only promote good products that I use or could use. There's no sense in promoting a bad product. It makes you look bad to the customers that you referred. I want my customers to be happy that they bought the product. If you do it this way, you will have far less refunds and happy customers.

Being a good online sales affiliate is time consuming in the beginning, but once you get your site set-up, looking good, and running, then the hard work is done.

Next, you just start promoting your website. Just be sure that you are promoting your site in the right place. If you are selling health products, you don't want to advertise on a site that sells electronics. Any time that you promote your website, it should be in a market, website, forum, or blog that is related to yours. If you advertise somewhere that is unrelated to your promotion, then you are wasting your time and money.

Another prosperous thing for affiliates to do is to build your own following (I'm still working on this). Once you build a list, you can keep in touch and help them with there needs. If you offer true value to your followers, they will listen to what you have to say and recommend.

When working in online marketing, you will have to do the work, whichever method you choose (passive or creative).

I find that it's easier to only promote good products and leave the support to the product owners. You can still build a list doing affiliate marketing, if you offer real value to those who choose to opt-in. Just do not send out mailings every day promoting every product that comes up. If you do, your list will unsubscribe and all your work, time, and money is lost.

Maybe this will help some of you be able to choose the type of online income that you want to pursue.

level 1

Tried to build a Snapchat for Nightlife called PartyUP. I still think its pretty cool but, never really caught on.

level 2
[deleted]
2 points · 7 months ago

Could be cool if it gave entertainment venues and their potential customers a way to find each other.

level 2

Everhusk inc?

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level 1

Expense management platform that utilized virtual credit cards. Think privacy.com but for businesses.

level 1

Skip to the end of this If you just want the moral of the story but, A business that I stared with my good friend. He ended up taking a few assets from my previous shirt business to help himself make shirts. We were good friends and I thought nothing would come between us cuz I had known him as my best friend for 18 years. He leaves to college after not being anywhere for years and coming up and visiting me in college. Nothing big happens and he doesn’t talk to me anymore. The business I started was with a friend and failed when our friendship was lost. The business has great potential but has been losing popularity recently.

Moral of the story, if ur friends with someone, don’t do business with them. I don’t remember meeting this kid cuz I was 2, and we were best buds thru high school and college.

level 1

Real estate company: a death in the family motivated me to relocate back to my home town. Traditionally I had been in marketing management (manager, director, president, consultant, CMO) . After a year of looking for work in my hometown I gave up and started a real estate company because it’s the only industry that seems to thrive in my hometown but my heart just wasn’t in it. Should have been honest with myself from the start and not done it, but family responsibilities kept me in a community where it seemed my chosen career path and experience just wouldn’t translate into a paycheck.

level 1
2 points · 7 months ago

The technology my site was based on was the algorithm that used interests, budget and location was one of the tech patents they held.

Should be noted that once I saw the site and the fact that the problem I wanted to solve already had a solution, I kind of lost the motivation to continue.

level 1

Restaurant. Yeah, I know I’m not alone.

level 1

In 2008 I set about starting a very specific kind of social media marketing company. I pitched what I called "Digital Theatrics". It was the "art" of taking a character from a story (videogame, cartoon, etc) and role playing them on social networks in such a way that the characters both told a story and actually interacted with everyday people. I found a client, built a campaign, hired some contractors, and went to work. After around 9 months of story telling, our client said that our campaign was far less expensive and yielding much better results than the other ARG (alternate reality game) they had going with another marketing company. I felt pretty good. And then they stopped paying me.

You might remember a thing that happened to the stock market back in those days. The investors in my client's company freaked out and decided to sell everything asap. They sold the company to "Southpeak Games". It was some kind of shell. Southpeak sold all of the useful IP to a parent company and shut down. Then the parent company shut down. It got hard to understand what else happened from there. They just didn't pay their bills at all. I was one of dozens of companies that went under when the checks stopped coming. By the time I knew that assets had been frozen, I was waiting on about $20,000 worth of invoices to be paid. Much of it was intended for my subcontractors.

I went after Southpeak. Had no idea what I was doing. Hired lawyer. Spent thousands of dollars. I won a default judgement and all we had to do was find their bank and we could put a freeze on their funds. We couldn't find an account and I moved on in life. Also, I paid all of my subcontractors in full as soon as I went back to work.

I think I had an ok business model. But I had crappy contracts and did not diversify my clients. If I had 2 or 3 clients instead of 1, I might have survived.

More interesting than my company - my client gave a QA startup company so much business they had to scale to meet the need. So when the money froze, they had a huge workforce that needed to be paid. Even though they had other customers, it wasn't enough to make up the difference.

I haven't really tried starting a company since then. I've talked about it a lot, but that was the last time I tried.

level 1

Created an e-commerce venture selling customizable fine jewelry online in 3D. We were the first company (to my knowledge) to combine both customizable fine jewelry pieces (pick your stones, metals, engraving, etc.) and in-your-browser realistic 3D viewing with no plugins/software necessary.

We invested a lot of money in the technology from the beginning (which was a large mistake). But the largest problem was that we built something consumers didn't need/want. We performed very little market research to determine market fit and desired features. Shut it down 8 months after launch because we ran out of runway and were making little in terms of revenues.

I still think the technology we developed is useful, just not sure who the customer would be.

level 2

Cosplayers and people in the costume industry maybe?

level 1

Successful organic food truck. 25 five star reviews with awesome testimonials 610 likes and still growing even after it's been closed a half year.

Cause for Closure - Lawyer fees for ongoing child custody. I'm going to start a new business this weekend.

What's great about running a business that failed? There are a lot of great things about working for yourself; But when you said you were going to start a business, You started a business!

No one's going to doubt you ever again when you say, "I'm going to start an X business!"

level 1
2 points · 7 months ago

Here’s my 2 cents: “failure” is too strong a word for what happens to most businesses. “Failure” conjures up the founder loosing their shirt and going to live in a cardboard box. In my view, most business fade out rather than crash and burn.

I was really lucky 2-3 years ago to spot that I could import a product from China in small batches to sell at higher price. Started on eBay, moved to Amazon pretty quickly, scaled up. It was going well- a great little business that paid my mortgage while I built up my profile as a freelancer/contractor in my core expertise.

New sellers eventually entered the market and undercut me , luckily I wasn’t too exposed, cut my losses and moved on. Losses were small; a fraction of my monthly profit.

I’d considered buying bulk and scaling up my business, which may or may not have worked out financially but wasn’t right for me really for other reasons. The complexity of getting storage space wasn’t something I wanted to focus on as I had other projects on the go and I always felt my Amazon business was probably not sustainable because it was a product likely to be only briefly popular. Also, I was losing interest in doing the packing/ order fulfilment work that I had previously enjoyed. I cut my losses and moved on.

One option would have been to throw myself into Amazon sourcing work and try to build a business there. It wasn’t right for me for a number of reasons. For a start my life was in a city with high cost of living. I had a small shed that was perfect for a small business. Scaling up would have meant finding premises a long way away, and I wasn’t committed enough to uproot my life. The Amazon business was great for me for a while but I felt it was time to call it a day, especially as my contracting was taking off.

I now focus on my contracting work which uses my skills and experience and gives great return on my investment into my education. I’m earning far more than I ever did from my Amazon business - the business that helped sustain me as I set up full time as a highly paid contractor . I’m really glad I did it and it really served my purposes. I think the lesson is that it’s always about leveraging what you have - a small shed - rather than trying to make it work with what you haven’t.

level 1
Comment deleted7 months ago(3 children)
level 2

Hey dude, you need to give yourself some credit. The “Why me, when...” line is a non-starter for an entrepreneur.

Why you? Because you are the best at developing video concepts for distribution via YouTube and you have an understanding of the partner program along with video monetization techniques.

Boom, there’s your pitch.

level 3

Thanks for the tips bud. Literally wrote them all down. Planning on how to approach the funnel starts now, but I loved the pitch. Like seriously loved it. You’ve got credit in my notebook and everything, you’re much better at this than I am.

level 4

And there are people a lot better at this than I am. If you wanna talk more, send me a PM. If you want to keep going down the video production path, I can help you dodge some of the mistakes I made early on.

level 1

define fail; having to close shop due to no money? filing bankruptcy?

level 2
Original Poster3 points · 7 months ago

I think I would class a failure as a business venture that didn't go to plan and either changed direction completely or ceases to exist.

1 more reply

level 1

Started an online publication on fashion and style that was more of an alternative source than your average Blogs or publication. Wanted to eventually turn it into investment firm for up & coming fashion labels. I think I was in the wrong city (Toronto) for fashion and it become difficult to be consistent on the publication and manage it with full time studies for me. But I did learn a lot from the experience and very glad that I went through it.

level 1

Co-founded a company that wanted to adapt my software for a similar purpose in a different sector. Did well until we went on SharkTank. Got the investment but the BS and conditions essential hamstrung our ability to adapt and we ended up shutting down 8 months later.

level 1

Created my own software and distributed it on a global platform. Never really got the energy and engagement I wanted to keep supporting and improving it, and I felt my heart wasn't in it. So even though I got income from it (enough to survive), I finally decided to release it for free and move on to something else. It wasn't a failure though as I learned that it's better to go after what you want more directly, instead of the mentality of "I'll get rich doing X so I can do what I really want which is Y". You might get moderate short-term success but people won't really invest in you and your business if they can't sense that you are really investing in it yourself, and you won't be able to keep that up for long unless you have love and passion for it.

level 2

What business space was your software in?

level 3

Small studio and indie game development

level 4

Yes this is a tough and very congested market segment.

level 1

Started an online magazine that failed but taught me a lot about creative production. StRted an online store selling curly hair products that went REALLY well but the logistics were more than one person could handle.

level 1

Many :)

  • SaaS for social mention alerts (good competition, too generious free option)

  • Emoji clothing store (people rather have "illegal" unlicensed emojis then not perfectly known ones, also clothing is hard)

  • Digital Scales store (run pretty well actually, but dropshipping from aliexpress lead to way to many "why does it take so long" emails, to lazy for stock)

  • Reselling Social signals. (quality of my sellers was to unpredictable over time, lead to angry emails)

  • Many many other online things, like content sites and stuff failing usually for not enough interest.

1 more reply

level 1

Leveraged my insanity several times: started a fashion makeover business using larger than life characters--think Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, but without the sexuality requirements. Did well for a few years, but managing performers was to much headache. For the ultimate revenge, I sold the company for $1 to the employees.

Did some less interesting stuff--bicycle rehab, tour consulting, firewood.

In 2015, I launched Dive In Movies, a pop up cinema using inflatables: inflatable screens, inflatable hot tubs. Logistically it was a nightmare, but it had the opportunity to be so damn much fun that I went for it. A similar concept was bouncing around the UK at the time and was knocking it out of the park. We had all the starts aligned--equipment, staff, insurance, media, etc., but then we started dealing with permits at the county level, and that proved to be the death of the idea. One county wanted $44k to issue a permit. Others needed the pop up set up six weeks before they would be able to issue permission.

Launched a novelty clothing line in 2016. It was a topical thing, the trend disappeared before I could really cash in. Lost a whopping $48 on that venture.

level 1

Over the years I have had my fair share of failures in business.

My very first media company that I co-founded failed. It took me a while to recognise it's impending doom as well and I let it drag on a bit too long. I had grown it to fairly good size and had a number of people working for me as contractors doing writing and videography. I ran it for a few years, grew it, and was generating revenue, but on my good months I was just breaking even. I couldn't see a way to scale it and start turning a profit and so I made the hard call to kill it. When I look back at this, it really came down to my lack of a solid plan going in. Before I started I never clearly stated the goals of the business or what I envisioned it would grow into. There were other issues as well, but i pin the biggest mistake back to not coming up with a plan. Luckily I was able to take that lesson and be successful with my new goes at media.

My most recent failure was a wearable tech company I started a few years back with a partner. The idea was to embed tech into jewellery that would be able to act as a digital key for media files stored online that were specifically linked to a singular piece of jewellery. The biggest constraint was because of the level of jewellery we were looking to go to market in the tech had to also be power harvesting as charging would not be an option. This time it came down to not being able to get our product to work as we had intended. Before we even started the company we had spent about 6 months developing the business plan, working out the budgets, researching and consulting with engineers and advisors. All in we spent about a year and a half trying to get the designs to work well enough to go to market but our engineers just couldn't get it there before we ran out of money. We were offered some investment, but the terms weren't doable for us, so we decided to close up shop. The up side was we were able to sell off some of the IP so it wasn't a total loss.

It's a learning process for sure. If you can walk away from a failure with minimal losses and some new knowledge that you can act on next time then it's not all bad. No risk no reward.

18 more replies

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