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Thread: 3rd time a charm?

  1. #1

    Default 3rd time a charm?

    So I have had two unsuccessful ventures in my life trying to start my own business.

    Venture #1. Paris Creative - I founded it in late 2001 as a Web, Logo, and Print design company shortly after I lost my job (2 days before 9/11). 2001 was my banner year in sales, about $5k worth which did not quite equal what I had made in the real world, but it was still very young at the time. Within a couple months I had landed a new regular day job and I put my side venture into part-time mode and never experienced a major profit surge. About a year or so ago I decided to put it on the back burner, concentrating on my family.

    Venture #2 Mid-Hudson Valley Tech Guy - founded in late 2007 as a local competitor to the Geek Squad, I was poised to do a big sneaker-net campaign (I even still have the ad). to be frank I chickened out before it even really go to take off.

    So now a bit wiser, still broke as hell, I am thinking of trying once again. But to be frank my mind is racing on what to try to do. My biggest concern is the risk, more than ever with 2 young children to support. Venture #1 and #2 failed because of lack of time, money to quit full time, and effort.

    Should I think on a totally different track like a zero-to-low inventory e-commerce site, or something that I could build income off of to launch other ventures? I could probably restart Paris Creative back as a part time gig and just hustle as much as I can.

    I would love to hear opinions.

  2. #2
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    Honestly,

    It doesn't sound like you're in a position to own a business at the moment (not that you won't ever be) a new business is like a baby... it needs your complete time and attention during it's infancy, if you don't, then at best it will give you fits in it's teen years, and at worse, will die during is childhood.

    When you have the time and enough money socked away (from a job, or equity in your home) and your real children are more secure... then and only then should you consider venturing out on your own.

    Best,
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    Being in graphic design, and with some recollections of conversations we had on the old forum, I'd say restarting Paris Creative is a viable option as long as you still have the passion for it. You can work it on the side until you build it up to the point where you can quit your day job. I'm guessing you still have your computer and all the needed software, but having the latest versions of everything is not required. You can operate on very low overhead in graphic design.

    I'm sure I told you this before, but I'll repeat it. Get to know marketing. Graphic designers are abundant and cheap (same with web designers), but if you can help your clients beyond just nice looking graphics, that service is more valuable. Only a small percentage of graphics and web people seem to understand marketing, so it provides a huge advantage.

    Also, and I base this off previous conversations we've had, get some good books on sales, business, leadership, etc. As I recall, you had issues with not closing deals and losing business. You've had setbacks, yes, but get your confidence level up, and you will project that confidence. When you are confident, it instills confidence in the client and they will want to do business with you.

    We also have Coach Morse on this forum. I recommend a copy of his book, Take Charge Get Results as a good starting point in your reading.
    Steve Chittenden

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  4. #4

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    Yep your memory serves well Steve. I had a refocus on Paris Creative but literally at the same time that happened I lost my biggest client and a bid for a local.gov client. At that point I just got a bit depressed about the situation.

    Agreed my focus should really be on marketing and sales. My biz is nothing without closing some deals and getting my name out there.

    Ad-Vice Man, I understand where you are coming from. I think that is why I put my ventures to the side. But I also know that in order for me to be really sucessful the only path is my own business. Sure I can do my day job, and it pays ok (but a bit lower than market value) but I have always wished to stive harder. But if my heart and attention is not into it, it will die again.

    Time to ponder.

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    ParisCreative, good to see you here. Really it depends what your ultimate goal is. It would seem that it is actually to operate a business to the point that you no longer need to go to work on a regular job.

    If you want to fully make the transition, you need to be fully aware of what sort of time frame you may need to work with. For example if you find it hard to really make the commitment and need time to get use to the idea, then it may be wise to set your goal a number of years out, eg 4 or 5 years.

    Another thing is unless you want to highly focus on one stream, then you could potentially combine the two different business into what you want to do now. Because both really offer you the opportunity to work on them at different times. Eg. graphic design you may have ahour to spare in the evening that you could work on projects for this. While on the weekend you may be able to squeeze an couple of hours for the tech support. Both will give you a little and you are not so much relying on one area.

    If you start off properly with the tech support one this could quickly replace income for a regular day job, depending on rates and what sort of customers you can find.
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    I'd say the first thing is to decide what you really want to do. Don't look for something based on what you think will be the best way to make money. Look for what you'll enjoy doing. The money will come if you enjoy what you're doing and it can come in ways you might not think exist now. There are always ways to make money.

    Paris Creative or something similar could really be started part time after your day job if it's the kind of thing you want to do. I work full time, but I don't exactly work 9-5 every day. You'll need to go full time at some point to get the business where you want it to go, but you could really start out on a part time basis.

    You really could do a lot of things online in your spare time to start. Running an ecommerce store or an affiliate marketing site or starting a blog that later gets monetized with ads. There are a lot of ways to make money that don't require you to be there. You could work on the sites at night and on weekends or whenever you have the time, but still have them in place to earn revenue all day long.

    If you're not sure what you want to do maybe a good start is just spending some time doing research into the different kinds of things you could do. I would think while you're doing research some ideas will be more appealing to you than others and it'll help you find your way into whatever you decide to do.
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    I agree with most of what you said Steve, but the following can be dangerous for people that don't conduct a good business plan before starting a venture.

    "The money will come if you enjoy what you're doing and it can come in ways you might not think exist now."

    I can think of lots of things that people enjoy doing but would be very unlikely to make them much money. Figuring out what you love to do is certainly a great first step, but then do a serious analysis in your business plan to determine if it is also a good business.
    Steve B

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    I think there are ways to make money doing most anything. I absolutely agree you want to think business, develop a business model, etc, but I still believe you can make money doing just about anything. Sometimes that might mean seeing things in a different perspective.

    A simple example. Someone loves sports, but doesn't have the physical ability to make it a profession. That person can still write about sports, become a coach, get in on the executive side, run a sporting good store, become a game photographer, etc.

    Obviously a number of the above require the addition if skills outside of sports, but that's my point about money being able to come if you enjoy what you're doing. The careers may not always be quite what you think, but there's always something there and if you're truly passionate about your subject you'll find where your skills can add something and make you money.
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    Paris, start with a written business plan that includes a good marketing section. As a marketer, I find this to be the biggest lack among small businesses.

    A BP is not something to which you should become a slave, but it will give you direction and the focus to avoid the side trails that will sap your time and effort.

    That is not to say that a side trail is not to be pursued, but if it isn't in your plan, you will be forced to look at it more thoroughly to decide whether to alter your BP to include it. It makes you stop, think, and plan or reject the idea and stay on your already-charted course.

    Paul

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