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The Apto Story: AptoHosting

aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
67
38
North Carolina
It all started it out when I was a wee lad, at about the age of 16. I have always been fascinated with ways of making money online, I had tried everything from eBay to ebooks! After months of continuous failure with eBay and other scams, I decided to start my own website that I would have 100% control over and be my own boss.(cliche, I know :)

I read some books, and figured out the common denominator for the success of all these people is they all did things they loved and enjoyed. So I took this knowledge and started a paintball website. I had been playing paintball for over 3 years at this point, I knew every aspect of the sport and I knew there wasn't much competition online. So I got some money my parents pitched in and I hired a web developer/designer. We went through and got the site exactly how I wanted it and made it as easy as possible to navigate. We finally got it done after about 2 months. I exploited every cheap/free method of advertising on the internet and hit up local paintball fields. I also put a few hundred dollars every month into banners/text ads.

I finally started to notice traffic spikes, little my little my site was getting noticed. I would get 1 order here another there, I would also pay $25 per referral which after a while that really got things going. I would catch myself going to UPS down the road twice/three times a week to ship out markers/paintballs/clothing. It got to the point where it was affecting my high school grades, I had to come home and fill orders, ship things, and answer 30-45 emails per day. So it took up a lot of my time, but it was worth it at this point $1,500-$2,000 per week was a slow week. At the 6 month anniversary of my website, I had 2 people working for me they handled customer service and shipping.

Things were going well, until I hit my senior year in high school. I had to make a decision, go to college or continue to the website. My parents made it pretty evident that they wanted me to go to school and they would pay for everything. So I pondered the decision for a few weeks, and came to the conclusion that paintball was played out and I wanted a new challenge. So I put the site on the market, and sold it for nice sum of money:banana:. I knew that there was no way in hell that I wanted to miss the college experience. I wanted to live the dorm life, meet new people, and get an education. I was interested in learning about business, history, languages, etc even though I was probably making more than my professors at the height of the paintball store.

So I get into a North Carolina School, I am all excited. I already have my shiny red 04 M3 ready and packed and ready, I am going to college! This is where the real fun starts. I spent alot of my free time in the library and internet exploring new business ideas. After about 1-2 months of searching, I found a viable option that I was interested in and knew a lot about. WEB HOSTING/WEB DEVELOPMENT!

I had an advantage this time around, I had a bankroll to fund my business. So I started this business in a very similar manner that I started my previous one. I found a good web developer in my local area, and I found a unix/windows system administrator that I trusted from the university. So I was all set, got the site set up, bought a few mid-high end servers, and found the name aptohosting.com (which is latin for adaptable/flexible). I stuck to my business plan like glue, I put money into advertising sources that I knew would work. And I targeted my audience, and focused a lot on the small business and individuals in my area. These were the people I knew would pay good money for quality service and web hosting.

I continued to market around campus/stores/diners, everywhere. I was offering free websites/coupon codes/templates, the whole shabang. People eventually took notice of the flyers, they realized they could get a free domain name and put up their identity on the web for cheaper than they thought. So we start growing, growing, and growing, started at 6 pentium 4's,8 months later now we are almost at 20 boxes and most of them are high end xeons. We are expanding our services in 2008, we will be offering dedicated servers/vps/game hosting. So hopefully by next year when I graduate we will have hit the 7 figure mark, and then I believe aptohosting.com will be at the next level.

Morale of the story: I know I am young, and probably in no position to give out advice, but here is my 2 cents anyways. Do not lose focus or motivation, I know its easier said then done. But if you find something you are good at, exploit that to the max. You play golf, you know a lot about golf, go find a supplier open up a website, and dropship golf clubs.

Good evening, and live life in the fast lane :smx2:

Any questions- AIM me mrgoodcat
 

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Peter2

Fastane Legend. RIP.
Aug 2, 2007
413
168
32
Palm Beach, FL
Thanks for sharing. Great story!!

Speed +++
 
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aptohosting

aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
67
38
North Carolina
Thanks for sharing. Great story!!

Speed +++
Thank you sir, I will get back to you in few months if I hit that 7 figure mark. I WANT MY STICKY :)
 

S928

Contributor
Aug 7, 2007
162
22
27
Way to go!!!


:smxF:
 
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OP
aptohosting

aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
67
38
North Carolina
It is indeed, for a saturated market it is growing faster than we expected.
 

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
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Great story, and so young. Light years ahead of 99.5% of folks your age. If you could invest in people like stocks, I'd be a buyer. Speed ++
 
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aptohosting

aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
67
38
North Carolina
Great story, and so young. Light years ahead of 99.5% of folks your age. If you could invest in people like stocks, I'd be a buyer. Speed ++
Thanks man, I guess thats the result of not getting shitfaced every friday/saturday night in highschool and trying to learn new ways of getting in the fastlane. Now I constantly get from friends "man, what are you doing to drive that M3"!! AND ITS ONLY AN M3, I have a friend in Raleigh who owns Anandtech, met him a while ago. I was so envious and inspired at the same time, 25 year old guy who has gallardo and f430!
 
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aptohosting

aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
67
38
North Carolina
How come speed limit 20 is KIA level, but speed limit 10 is Honda.

Honda > Kia ---- ANY DAY
 

Peter2

Fastane Legend. RIP.
Aug 2, 2007
413
168
32
Palm Beach, FL
How come speed limit 20 is KIA level, but speed limit 10 is Honda.

Honda > Kia ---- ANY DAY
It's based on the number of posts you have, not reputation speed.
 

Russ H

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Jul 25, 2007
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Great and inspiring story, Mr Goodcat.

Keep us in the loop w/your progress. :)

-Russ H.

Rep Speed + + +
 

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Analyzer

Contributor
Aug 31, 2007
245
71
40
Portugal, Europe
Great story :thumbsup:

You mentioned your clients are mostly local/close to you. How important do you think that is to the success of the business?

Hosting is really competitive nowdays with a lot of companies offering it and sites like godaddy selling dirt cheap domains and hosting. I'm guessing people prefer to deal with someone they know personally. What is your view on that?
 
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aptohosting

aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
67
38
North Carolina
Great story :thumbsup:

You mentioned your clients are mostly local/close to you. How important do you think that is to the success of the business?

Hosting is really competitive nowdays with a lot of companies offering it and sites like godaddy selling dirt cheap domains and hosting. I'm guessing people prefer to deal with someone they know personally. What is your view on that?

They are extremely important to us. Locals are happy as can be to pay $49 per month for 5 gigs of space and steady high uptime service. Local clients could care less if they are paying $10-$15 more per month that godaddy. They care that they can call me 24/7 and I will answer their question on the spot. They dont have to give me account numbers, stupid secret phone pin, nor wait in 20-45 minute wait queues. All I need is their name, and I am on first name basis with most of the clients!

It also helps alot that we offer webdesign/development services, so they are much more apt to buy hosting from their designer.
 

Satpoint

PARKED
Aug 15, 2007
35
0
9
Good read, hope the site does good. I would of gone with you if i'd known about it a few months back.

PS: Check your PMs
 
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OP
aptohosting

aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
67
38
North Carolina
Good read, hope the site does good. I would of gone with you if i'd known about it a few months back.

PS: Check your PMs
Check your email, and its NEVER too late to switch to quality hosting ;-) From a fellow fastlaner!!!!
 

PEERless

Bronze Contributor
Jan 23, 2008
1,469
106
81
Way to go, Apto. I'm not a customer yet, but I'm a very impressed prospect. When I have financing, you know I'll go with you.
 

John

Contributor
Sep 18, 2007
147
24
23
Great story! Rep++ for sharing.

I found your story really interesting because you progressed in the opposite direction from what I did. I started out in web hosting, did well and grew to a certain level, then ditched it and moved into web publishing where I'm now very happy and successful.


Locals are happy as can be to pay $49 per month for 5 gigs of space and steady high uptime service. Local clients could care less if they are paying $10-$15 more per month that godaddy. They care that they can call me 24/7 and I will answer their question on the spot. They dont have to give me account numbers, stupid secret phone pin, nor wait in 20-45 minute wait queues. All I need is their name, and I am on first name basis with most of the clients!

You're absolutely right about this. Focusing on the local market instead of the overcrowded and supercompetitive internet-wide market was the secret to my early success in web hosting. I see you've also found that "local" doesn't just have to mean local geographically, it can also mean local to a community or forum where you have a good reputation and the ability to fulfill their specific needs. ;)

Great job, and congratulations on your success!
 
OP
OP
aptohosting

aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
67
38
North Carolina
Great story! Rep++ for sharing.

I found your story really interesting because you progressed in the opposite direction from what I did. I started out in web hosting, did well and grew to a certain level, then ditched it and moved into web publishing where I'm now very happy and successful.





You're absolutely right about this. Focusing on the local market instead of the overcrowded and supercompetitive internet-wide market was the secret to my early success in web hosting. I see you've also found that "local" doesn't just have to mean local geographically, it can also mean local to a community or forum where you have a good reputation and the ability to fulfill their specific needs. ;)

Great job, and congratulations on your success!

Thanks!

Glad everyone enjoyed my story.

Tom C.
 

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