Last year I started my 4th concurrent business and would say it was an instant success. Why? – paying customers. I run a small consulting business, a sales and marketing company which currently has 4 brands under it – all selling daily online, a security business specialising in IT, and an overarching business and technology company (to appease my inner-nerd and also try..) to capture everything else.
I was a wantrepreneur – it all started when I was 10 and a friend asked me to sell him my prized Sam Stewart (captain of my then only-3-year-old, home-town Rugby League team) trading card for $2, approx 30x the original cost.
Monsters in my pocket was also around at that time, for the older folk – think marbles with plastic monsters instead of balls, for those of you not as old as me, these were kind of like Pokemon figures that you flicked at each other and if you knocked them over you “won” the other persons monster. The thing with these was you bought a mystery box of them, sight unseen and therefore some were rarer than others. The added angle, some of the rarer ones either stood up better or were easier to “flick”. I tapped into a keen market of cashed up kids who just wanted to win, so they were willing to pay big bucks (like $5, which was like a $1000 back then) to have the better monsters.
As I got older and grew out of these “toys”, naturally came Comic Books. When I attended a comic book convention (yep, I was one of those kind of nerds) and a very shady old dude wearing a “Yoda Is My Homeboy” shirt took one look at a copy of Wolverine I was clutching in my hand and instantly sold me a copy of Wizard magazine – it had Wolverine on the cover, of course it was an easy sell. Why did this matter? Well, along with being a pop magazine for the genre, it also included a price guide. Some of my old comics were worth more than I paid for them? – GOLDMINE!!
I thought these were all amazingly simple ideas, I knew everything about the subject and the people who wanted to pay for them.
So, totally oblivious to myself at the time, I had the ultimate business model right? Follow your passion, find your market, hustle – Win!…
Where did those awesome, passionate business ideas go?
* Trading Cards – lost in a house move somewhere, total sold – 6
* Monsters in my pocket – the school banned them (due to illegal gambling – go figure…how is it gambling if we were too young to know what gambling was, let alone spell it!), total sold – 3
* Comics – collecting dust in a closet, my wife has begged me to throw them out, total sold – 0
Funnily enough, that original trading card is still worth $2 today
Fast forward more than 20 years and up until 2012 I was still a wantrapreneur. That backlist of awesome business ideas now included a chain of Pizza stores, an IT Company, A Cafe, A Soup-Van, Website Company, Mobile App Company, A Pop-Up Coffee Stand, you name it, I tried (and failed) it.
What was the turning point for me?
Execution is the only way to create a real business, the only way to really make any money.
Ideas are like – well, you know where I am going with that. Everyone has them.
Passion wasn’t enough to keep me interested and get a business functioning as my own, or in some cases even get it off the ground in the first place.
It wasn’t until I actually “finished” a product, put it out there, talked to someone passionately and proudly about what I had done, asked for the sale, and enabled that person to send me money (incredibly something forgotten even when the other pieces were in place for me and other people I know)
So, how did I finish?
How did I get it out there, find that first customer? How did I even find those ideas in the first place?
I’ve spoken enough about me and answering these questions here may not help you in your particular situation and for your business or idea in whatever stage its currently in.
There is no magic formula and there is definitely no shortage of “advice” out there. But what advice is useful? How do you find advice that will help you and your idea?
All of this will be covered in detail in the coming months as we release some great content we’ve been hard at work putting together. Everything we’ve done, all the ups and downs, wins and huge failures, lessons that can save you hours, weeks even, not to mention hundreds or even thousands of dollars while you ride the wave of your business.
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Look forward to hearing from you – Nathan.