How To Start 4 Businesses In One Year: Month 1

This year, I’m doing something a little bit crazy, and a little bit difficult. I’m starting four businesses in one year. In case you missed it, you can find out more in this post. Each business will use a different business model. That’s a given. Each will be profitable within 2016. And each will overlap with my work as the Technology & Strategy partner at an Australian business consulting firm.

The first business I’m starting is a services firm. It’s a creative agency called Creatomic, focused on copy-writing:

The simple reason is that I’ve worked largely in service based small and on-line businesses before. Most of my success has been in doing high quality, well realised client work. So yeah, it’s an easy start. Why make it harder for myself to kick this off?

I’m going to be founding a Copy writing agency model business. It’s going to focus on a service area that I know I excel at — writing great copy for websites, apps and marketing materials.

So the first month is almost over, January 2016. I’m still really happy with my decision to begin the challenge with a creative services firm. Client work is something I genuinely enjoy, and it’s an opportunity to connect with so many incredible entrepreneurs and companies.

The decision to focus on copy-writing was also very positive. I love writing, and I have enough talented contractors that I’ve worked with in the past that I know the work is going to be of a high standard.

Here’s what I’ve completed in the first month:

Designed & launched the Creatomic website.

I used Squarespace as the platform. Part of the motivation behind this project is showing people how achievable starting a business really is, and the ease of use that Squarespace offers could be an excellent starting point for any entrepreneur. You can see the website here:


Cost: $195.00 for the year’s subscription.
It’s normally $216, but I was able to use a discount code from Daring Fireball. Gruber, you’re a legend.

Domain costs were $12.00 through GoDaddy.

Chose A Business Management Package.

Here’s an app anyone doing client work should be using. Motiv. It’s a web app that allows you to create proposals, quotes & invoices from a branded portal. You can manage your accounts, pitch clients and provide beautiful proposals that are approved with a simple click.

Cost: $15 per month. Do I love paying that fee? Nope. Does it cut my work in half? You bet.

Set Up Email Addresses.

I’ve used Google Apps for Work. This is an incredibly easy approach to setting up a professional email address, particularly because it automatically changes your GoDaddy details once you give it permission. The whole process took me 10 minutes, and it’s going to be cheap.

Cost: $5 per month, with a 1 month free trial.
Definitely worth it, if only for the ease of use.

Note — for the people out there who don’t like using Google services, I hear you. But there are just some cases where I’m happy to make the trade-offs, and this is one of them.

Chose My Project Management Software.

There are better options, and there are worse options, but I chose Wunderlist. My plan is to use a shared To Do list for each project, using the list with my own copy-writing contractors and the client. Why am I including the client in there? The best way to make sure a client knows they’re being looked after is to include them in the project management.

Let them see and receive notifications when tasks are completed. They’ll appreciate the involvement and you’ll build trust with them.

Wrote A 5 Minute Marketing Plan.

A marketing plan worth following doesn’t have to be long and involved. I’ve advised start-ups on this in the past. When you get too detailed with it, you’re going to find every element excruciating. Keep your marketing relatively high level.

Here’s my target markets:

  1. App and design agencies
  2. On-line businesses

And here’s how I’m going to market to them:

App & design agencies.

I need to have a really good hosted press kit or sales piece that I can send them a link to.

These are a great target for me, because they do creative work that requires copy-writing. I know from a past life in web design that many clients aren’t prepared for the copy process and often provide sub-par content to their designers.

Often, agencies have their preferred copy-writers. There’s no reason to assume they wouldn’t work with Creatomic however, as long as the value proposition is strong enough. So, I’m going to create a landing / editorial page that will introduce Creatomic to App & Design agencies.

It needs to explain the clear and simple benefits of using Creatomic — including the referral fees I’ll be offering & free support for their own projects, as well as a certain number of consulting hours. I’ll be sharing the landing page through an e-mail drip campaign.

There will be an update on this next month.

On-line businesses & start-ups.

For an on-line business, the value of copy-writing isn’t difficult to communicate. Some of the greatest pieces of advertising in the history of commerce only worked because of beautiful wording.

Ever heard the phrase, “Just Do It”?

The value add for start-ups is going to be that I can help write pitches, as well as website and app copy and help get them press coverage. I can also offer some alternative pricing models — including profit sharing and bartering. If a start-up has an app that is being sold, for example, I’d be happy to provide the content and copy for that app in exchange for a small profit percentage. If they have a product or service that could help me find customers, an exchange in value through bartering could be awesome.

Again, this will be a separate landing page with a drip campaign.

Pitched & Retained My First Client.

I’m a big believer in the principle that nobody is going to hire you if you don’t ask them to. I’ll be offering Creatomic’s copy-writing services to every entrepreneur and business owner who emails me about my challenge. The good news is, I didn’t have to do that to get started.

I was able to secure my first client for Creatomic before I even launched the website. That was lucky, I’ll be honest. I received a great email from Brad Robinson, the owner of an app called Cantabile.

Cantabile is a great piece of software aimed at musicians who want a professional grade workstation that they can use to play VSTs, trigger effects & clips and manage their tracks live. It’s an app that can turn a performance into an experience.

You can check it out here:


Here’s what Brad had to say:

I just read your recent post about starting 4 businesses and thought I’d say hello since a few of things you describe resonated with me — fellow Aussie, trying to get a business off the ground (though just one in my case). Also, I might be a potential customer for you — in particular copyrighting and entrepreneurial mentoring. Just quickly about myself… I’m currently doing contract iOS development but more importantly I’ve spent the last 2 years rebuilding my software for musicians (see here). I’m hoping to launch in the new year. I suspect the site could benefit from some better sales copy and my marketing in general is not great.

I jumped at the chance to start the project off with a fresh client. What a great opportunity!

Brad and I talked over email and an engaging phone call, and we agreed that my work would compliment his new website design. We agreed on my standard website copy package:

Up to 15 pages of copy

4 Revision Rounds

On-going support & analysis

$1500.00 Plus Tax.

The best part about working with Brad? That initial project fee is able to cover the start-up costs for the agency. Big win.

So what’s next? Well, I need to build my marketing landing pages and set up my drip campaigns. I need to complete the Cantabile project and begin pitching new clients.

Additionally, I need to start working on products, including a course, an e-book and a piece of copy-writing software that can support this agency business if there are points when client work is down.

I can’t wait to give you an update in a few weeks’ time!

Thanks for reading — I’m Jon Westenberg. I’m an entrepreneur, writer and avid learner. I advise start-ups and investors on how to build profitable companies and operate with a small business start-up mentality. You can read more about me on my website…
…Follow me on Twitter…
…Or just reach out and say hi!