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My two failed businesses to date

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Aug 17, 2016
Sahuarita AZ
Maybe my failures can lead to some insight. Obviously its going to be subjective and have some hindsight bias but...

Alright so my first business, 3 years back I want to say. Ejuice company, very niche market (naturally extracted tobacco), So first problem here is I did absolutely no actual math into market viability - it was in fact a niche where most people just DIY , I had no unique value add either so a "me too" product really.

Now my marketing and sales plan had come from a single back and forth I had with a single guy on another forum (so mistake number 2?) , guy was saying he didn't even sell on a website, his big turnaround had come from getting a bunch of wholesale orders from an expo. Seemed like a cheat code to me! , so while I did have a website that took orders (enough to sustain itself and give me a little fun money every month) I immediately, without building a brand or anything, decided to blow a bunch of money and get a booth at an expo.

Did I mention I financed this entire venture on credit? , no? , I totally did!

So I made...maybe a hundred bucks at the expo? gave away tons of stuff, no wholesale orders. Now it turns out the regional expo that year was the same weekend as my states expo so technically I got date stomped but...really thats just an excuse, I had a product no one really wanted (need).

So pulled the plug on that (although I did share all of my insight and knowledge with the world so, any value I did create is still available, for free to those who want it)

Second business, I wanted to do something online , wasn't sure what but I knew it would be a product based venture not services. Somehow I stumbled into this "all in one" eCommerce software, wasn't really all that all in one as I still needed like 4 other paid web services but over all pretty good product. Problem? 1 (control and entry)I was selling on amazon, using 5 other peoples software programs.

Basically the software scraped other sites for products and "sort of" automated listing them with a markup on amazon, then I had another software program for price adjustments, one for automated emails, I had a VA from the phillipines month 3 once I started profiting to actually add the items, I had software to help with better titles (keywords), I had software to help find items...

by the way if me middle manning stuff from walmart and marking it up to amazon seems unethical, go ahead and take a peak at google at some items in your amazon shopping cart next time you're buying stuff, Its actually a huge business and its how tons of amazon sellers make a living (nothing new here) , I feel like I was actually providing value because frankly - the reason I personally dont google first is the convenience and ease of amazon, people don't care about the markup - they just want fast shipping easy return and a one stop shop for all the items. Maybe 1 in 100 sales someone would mention "why did this item come in a box from retailer xyz when I placed an order on amazon?" , I would just refund them no questions asked.

Anyway tangent aside, had a really good month, 2k in sales in 6 days! , that was 4x the previous month and...

I was under capitalized , I had to close down. I'd been running the store with excess money from a new higher paying position at work and (can you guess?) , financing it on credit cards!

So definitely a common theme of "don't start a business with a credit card" , some good lessons learned though. Glad I could share.
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