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INTRO 33 Years Old and I’m finally making things happen. 2 businesses and searching for office space

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Santanaman

New Contributor
Nov 25, 2018
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18
15
Hey everyone.

I've been following the forum for a few months while reading through the brilliant TMF. Between the book and the valuable content planted in this forum, I've learned so much. Thank you!

I'm in my thirties, beautiful wife and 3 amazing young kiddos. Since I was a youngster, I had always been interested in multimedia. The web was just taking off in the mid-90s. At 9-10 years old, I remember downloading and printing hundreds of pages of video game codes at my father's school (he's an elementary teacher - retiring this year) because they had a super fast T1 line. I got into web design in '99 as a young teen, dabbling in HTML on Netscape Composer (anyone remember that?).

Anyway my interest in the web continued as I pursued a career in web design and front-end development. Mostly self taught and never did get a degree, though that never seemed to hinder any career opportunities as over the years I steadily landed the 'better' job with a solid increase in income.

I must admit, somewhere in the middle of my career I developed an itch. An itch to venture off on my own. Do my own thing, be my own boss. Mind you, this was during a time where I needed stability the most as my wife and I had just had twins. I was hired as a UI designer for a web firm and was relatively happy. During this time, I was also moonlighting as a freelance web designer. Suddenly, the inquiries really began to pick up, so 7 months after my wife gave birth, I took the risk. I left the 9-5 to work from home.

It went well... for about 6 months. The inquiries were getting fewer and further in between. Competition had increased. My one trick pony of simply ranking high on Google locally had run its course.

I didn't know what to do. I was frozen, paralyzed.

Now, up until this point I considered myself pretty good at wearing all the hats. When the calls/inquiries were coming, I was able to score meetings with prospective clients. I was able to close fairly well (this is coming from a guy who couldn't dare to pick up a phone and cold call anyone -- ohhh the anxiety!). I was always praised for a job well done and steadily retained clients for monthly maintenance work.

Once the calls stopped, my wheels came off. My system was broken and I was incapable of repairing it.

There was a moment where I realized I was an EXTREMELY inexperienced twenty-something year old who previously had the balls and faux confidence to leave a stable full-time position when I had 7 month old twins at home.

We ran through our savings quickly and had no choice but to break the lease of our rented townhome. I had to move my family in with my folks.

Humbletown.

For a year and change I ran in circles. Independent contracting here, affiliate marketing projects there. Struggling, learning, wasting, attempting... surviving.

Eventually, I found some footing. I managed to score an SEO manager position with a 12-man digital marketing agency. It was certainly a fake it 'til you make it because your family needs absolutely needs the stability right now sort of gig.

I learned so much and owe quite a bit to the challenges this position brought me.

After being with the agency for over a year, I landed a Digital Marketing manager position for another local company. It was here I evolved my self starter and solo make-it happen capabilities.

I did well here. 18 months later, I was let go (the company was struggling in other ways my marketing skills could not help). The writing was on the wall as the board had months earlier fired the CEO (whom I reported to) as well as a handful of other managers/employees.

That was about a year ago. I decided to take some time off and bond with baby #3.

During this time I hit a rough patch. What the hell was I doing? I need to be the provider and create generational wealth... not just SCRAPE BY!

I started working out, eating healthier and listening to audio books. Two books stood out to me personally...

Rand Fishkin's 'Lost and Founder', because the author's narrative and industry knowledge that which catered to my own experience and skillsets.

If the above read aroused my sleeping entrepreneurial spirit, The Millionaire Fastlane poured ice cold water over my face and said get the hell up, it's time to get to work.

I began reading up on sourcing and branding my own products. I worked at an e-commerce company (popular platform) as a web dev for a few years early on in my career, so I have the experience in running online shops.

On October 31st of 2018, I got my business license and resale certificate for internet sales. Nice EVENT, but the real work had yet to begin.

Since then it's been a PROCESS. I've been busy. I've spent money (this was never an easy thing for me in my younger years). Here are some important points of accomplishments in the last 5+ months:

- Relentlessly researched and found my niche
- Studied like hell my first product for my niche
- Sampled my product from 6 different suppliers
- Selected the suppliers I will be purchasing from
- Developed broad perspective of what my next few products within the niche will be
- Developed branding
- Designed and developed website for product
- Setup payment processing (Braintree)
- Developed seller copy for product website
- Studied like hell my core audience/s
- Built a separate website/community tailored to attracting/engaging my core audience
- Created and organically grew Facebook group (1,000+ users in 4 months) for my core audience
- Grew my knowledge in paid marketing
- Developed content marketing game plan to gain long term authority in space my audience resides
- Gained traction in Google for this website
- Implemented AdSense and affiliate links
- Hosted giveaways and questionnaires to gauge the interest of my type of product

Personally, I am pleased with my progress. Though, naturally, I've hit stumbling blocks along the way. It became apparent I will need to be able to generate more capital in order to fully get my product/brand off the ground.

With that realization, I decided it is time to take everything I have learned, failures and all and launch my own digital marketing consultancy.

In the last few days I have been looking out for small office space (300-400sqft) in the city I've been planning on moving my family to next month (after the twins finish the school year). After working from home with three kids, I need this folks. For productivity sake. I expect this will POSITIVELY increase the balance between my work and home life. The blending between the two will be eliminated and back to spending uncontested quality time with my loved ones.

So in the new small office space I plan on running with three opportunities to start:

- Digital Marketing Consultancy (revenue by way of website design and internet marketing services)
- Niche product business (revenue by way of growing my brand/selling products)
- Website Community (revenue by way to advertising, referral and affiliate marketing... this also serves as a bridge for pushing my niche product business)

I'm not sure if the intro post is where to do it, but I've seen others who share their progress with the forum. I'd love to do the same to offer any value to the community and perhaps help hold myself accountable.

Thanks for having me!
 

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Last edited:

lowtek

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Wow, what a story.

I know the feeling of needing an office. Got a 9 month here at home and it's hard to work sometimes.

Welcome aboard, I look forward to your success.
 

AgainstAllOdds

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- Digital Marketing Consultancy (revenue by way of website design and internet marketing services)
- Niche product business (revenue by way of growing my brand/selling products)
- Website Community (revenue by way to advertising, referral and affiliate marketing... this also serves as a bridge for pushing my niche product business)
It seems like you're chasing too many ideas and spreading yourself too thin.

My advice: Get a job. With your skills, you should be able to get $100k+ in this economy. Then spend your free time and excess cash finding out which one of these three ideas you want to run with before quitting.

You're going to have a lot of wasted time waiting for something to catch on. Might as well get paid while you wait.
 
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Santanaman

New Contributor
Nov 25, 2018
5
18
15
Wow, what a story.

I know the feeling of needing an office. Got a 9 month here at home and it's hard to work sometimes.

Welcome aboard, I look forward to your success.
Indeed. Having a <1 baby makes working from home even more of a challenge. Days can be dictated by the night before. If baby sleeps, we sleep. If not, well... I'm usually running hard on caffeine and not quite my productive self.

Thanks for the kind words.
 
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Santanaman

New Contributor
Nov 25, 2018
5
18
15
It seems like you're chasing too many ideas and spreading yourself too thin.

My advice: Get a job. With your skills, you should be able to get $100k+ in this economy. Then spend your free time and excess cash finding out which one of these three ideas you want to run with before quitting.

You're going to have a lot of wasted time waiting for something to catch on. Might as well get paid while you wait.
Sound advice.

To offer additional context, I do have about 15k situated for capital to begin. Most of this will go toward inventory and custom packaging for my niche product as well as marketing efforts.

I consider the separate website/community geared for my target audience as a marketing tool. This is with the potential upside of really being able to take off in terms of a revenue maker via ads, referrals and affiliate links. The work involved is simply creating high quality, industry driven content (I'll perform the topic strategy and source out the writing to folks knee deep in the industry) and marketing these articles through social channels and e-mail. With a modest budget, this tactic has generated me tons of targeted traffic thus far (over a span of 4-5 months). I'm confident with an increase in the quality and value in the DNA of my content, I can scale this in such a way where I'll trigger an amplification (authority per search engines and social networks). This site will make money and offer invaluable data on my target audience. As this website grows, I'll use it as a tool to expose my niche product and brand.

The other portion of capital will go toward paid and social marketing my website design and digital marketing services. I plan to heavily target a 20 mile radius of where my business location will be. I'll also get involved in the community (I'm very familiar with the town as I grew up there) and provide sponsorships and free service giveaways as I am a firm believer of offering value first.

In response to your 'get a job' suggestion. I agree this is something that absolutely must be considered here. And I have considered it.

In fact, I am giving myself 3 months to gain traction where the niche product business is self sustaining and my digital marketing business is paying the bills and then some. Should things not go exactly as planned within the 90 days, I'll chalk it up as more experience and plant the positives on my resume/cover letters. To be honest, I prefer it doesn't come down to this ;). At a glance, the town I'll be moving too doesn't appear to be too plentiful for a jack of many trades type + true market value pay. There's of course the option of getting a position with a company located in one of the surrounding larger cities, however I developed a hatred for daily commuting as I did so quite a bit in the early part of my career. I'd likely have to settle for something close by to home for less than my market value.

I appreciate your take on this and will keep the thread updated on what happens.
 

Sadik

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Hi @Santanaman If you don't mind me asking, where are you from?

Your story is so much similar to mine that it's unbelievable. I have 3 kiddos, quit a well placed secure job a while back, went through ups and downs, am a web developer and have a couple of businesses now, one a web community, another a freelancing profile while looking at building a third, my main...! And guess what! I too am looking for an office around 300 / 400 sq feet as recently with the arrival of my third child, working from home has become tighter and tighter! So yeah I was surprised someone out there has a story so much similar to mine. It would be fun to chat! :D

All the best to you and keep chipping away. You will get there where you want eventually.
 
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Santanaman

New Contributor
Nov 25, 2018
5
18
15
Hi @Santanaman If you don't mind me asking, where are you from?

Your story is so much similar to mine that it's unbelievable. I have 3 kiddos, quit a well placed secure job a while back, went through ups and downs, am a web developer and have a couple of businesses now, one a web community, another a freelancing profile while looking at building a third, my main...! And guess what! I too am looking for an office around 300 / 400 sq feet as recently with the arrival of my third child, working from home has become tighter and tighter! So yeah I was surprised someone out there has a story so much similar to mine. It would be fun to chat! :D

All the best to you and keep chipping away. You will get there where you want eventually.
Wow @Sadik. Almost to a T, huh? I am in the U.S. - California to be more specific.

I wonder from time to time "if only I got the entrepreneur spirit 10 years ago." You know, before I was married and had kids. Regardless, that's not what happened and I wouldn't change things for the world. Having said that, all you early twenty somethings out there reading, GO GET IT!

Looking for office space has been interesting. In this game of entrepreneurship, there sure are processes within processes.

I'm seeing various options that seem to fit my price range. $400-500 appears to get me about 250-375sqft, with utilities/CAM included (and even FiOS internet in some places). If I can keep my office space overhead under $550, I will feel good about that.

While it will just be myself for now, I like having the additional space for a small video setup and perhaps room for a potential hire/s down the road.

Would love to hear from you @Sadik. Feel free to PM me!
 

MJ DeMarco

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Welcome aboard my friend, appreciate the detailed story and intro to the forum.
 
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Santanaman

New Contributor
Nov 25, 2018
5
18
15
Welcome aboard my friend, appreciate the detailed story and intro to the forum.
Thanks, MJ!
Your books and community have provided invaluable content. I look forward to keeping this thread updated with my progression and participating in other threads on the forum.
 

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