Here are some of the stories
This will be a long read, so if you don’t feel like it, you don’t have to read it.
I’m 25. I started actually trying to build businesses at 20. I had been thinking about it since I was 12 or 13, just never had the skills, or know how, or fast internet lol.
I’ve started many different businesses, and 90% of them have either
A. Not taken off as successfully as i’d liked
B. Only made 5 or so sales.
C. Sold Nothing At All
My first, was EmpireLabz, website is still up, but only because I have free hosting for some reason www.empirelabz.com
I put everything I had into that business, that’s where I learned by doing, and experiences taught me lots. I was 20, I somehow came up with $300 to get my site developed, I had a min. wage retail job, and had rent to pay with my 3 other roommates, we were pretty poor, lol, but it was fun. So I got the site done, and man, it was a pretty fun feeling knowing my idea had come to life just like that.
That was back in 2009-2010. It was a website that did online mixing/mastering for musicians and their music. It was one of the first around the time. Over the next 2-3 years, I probably only made $10K from it, because it was all service based, there really wasn’t a product to sell, so I had to do all the work (I learned that’s not what I wanted to do).
Fast forward to then end of 2012, I had realized (and predicted to an extent) that the whole industry and space I was in was going through a huge shift. Technology was making it much easier and more accessible for musicians to do what I did, on their own, for much cheaper. So my sales dwindled, way down, to where making $200/Month from it would actually be crazy to get that many clients.
By the beginning of 2013 I pretty much stopped marketing and started to focus on other businesses. Not before I re-established , changed the model, and went into the space I thought was booming at the time (online education). It’s now an online education site where musicians and artists can go and learn how to record their music, directly from home or anywhere, HD streaming, it’s pretty cool. That was over the summer of 2013. But I’ve since put all my focus into my new startup TimerVise (web productivity app, currently in development, sign up!
SnapBackKids was my second big success. We were an ecommerce site that specifically sold snapback hats. It was around 2011-2012 when I started and ran it, there was a HUGE market for these hats, so I got to work. Another $350 and the site was designed and developed exactly how I wanted. My excitement level for this site was much greater than EmpireLabz. I specifically used Twitter to market. I literally just made the profile, and staretd searching for anyone and everyone that tweeted the word “snapback”, and replied to them saying to check us out for hats. I remember my first sale, I had woken up that morning, checked my email, and there was a $70 order for a few hats! I knew I was onto something from then. At one point I I made over $2K in one month, early on in the business. Not much, but for my first product based business, that was great. Over the next year, the trend for the hats slowly declined, not much, but the competition grew, overseas companies started to flood ebay and amazon at MUCH cheaper prices, so us smaller companies just got killed. I closed down after about 12 months, made over $5K I believe.
I learned a lot about interacting with customers, potential and current ones. E-commerce, logistics, and trying to squeeze as much margins out of your products as you can. I switched shipping boxes to a lighter one and probably saved $50-$100 on shipping fees dues to decreased weight.
Other Businesses I Did, But Really Tanked.
Some of the other crap I tried but reaaaaally didn’t work was…
- Laundry Pick-Up & Delivery, got 2 clients, made $40. Lol
- Marketing/Ad Company/Content Creation, got lots of clients, made under $10K over 2 years, but I had to use my video shooting skills, internet skills, all kinds of stuff, lots of work, for not much.
- E-Books, wrote 3 different e-books, sold about $50. It’s cool.
What I’ve Learned
The number one thing I’ve learned, is that I’m not too fond of working on other peoples projects, but you gotta eat, right.
You really have to put in work to get results.
Start quickly, try what you know, if it doesn’t work, try other things to make it work.
Make sure your idea/product/service is validated before you start, meaning find out if someone will pay for whatever you’re offering, it’ll save you time.
AND THE ACTUAL NUMBER 1 THING I LEARNED
Time, it goes by so fast, cherish the moments you love, in the end, business is just business, but don’t sacrifice your personal relationships over it, find a nice balance for yourself.
Title Photo Credit: flickr
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