Continuing our series of posts on starting up a small business, the next order of business is profitability. Before we jump in, if you have missed any other posts from the series, check them out:
- Getting the confidence to start your own business
- Taking “bet the farm” risks in business
- What was the first defining moment of your business?
Now, back to the topic of profitability. I have to say that, if I could just pick one, then the one thing I did in business that had the biggest impact on profitability was recognizing what we were worth. In the beginning of our ad-supported online business, I was just happy with anything that any advertiser was willing to give us, and happily gave them ad real estate for bargain prices. It took me a little bit, but there was a day where the lightbulb went off, and everything clicked. I was way underselling our ad inventory, and pretty much, we were being taken advantage of.
In continuing the entrepreneurship topics that I’ve been covering over the past few weeks here, this week we are looking at that first defining moment where you know that your business is going to succeed. In case you missed them, I also talked about getting the confidence to start your own business, as well as taking “bet the farm” risks in business. Check them out if you’ve missed them.
When thinking about that one, first defining moment in Gear Live‘s history, I have one specific moment that I can point to where I knew things were going to be successful. For a bit of a background, Gear Live was started as a hobby where I would publish my thoughts and opinions about technology. In order to get exclusive pieces out there, I had to approach manufacturers about reviewing their products. To make money, I needed to sign up for some bottom-of-the-barrel advertising networks, along with Google Adsense, just to get by.
A few days ago, I talked about what gave me the confidence to start my own business, as part of a series going on over at Small Business Trends. Up next, I answer the question, “Have you ever taken a “bet the farm” risk in your business?”:
While I think that there are many things we have done in our business that can be seen by different people as a “bet the farm” move, I can think of two instances where I knowingly knew that I was putting everything on the line.
The first was when I decided to take the side-blog business that I had going on, and turn it into a full-fledged, full-time business. The risk that was that it was either sink or swim. Either it would thrive, or it would die. Luckily, we enjoyed almost immediate success. If things didn’t work out so well, everything that I was doing would have had to have shut down so that I could return to the traditional workforce.
Secondly, and this may be getting a bit technical, but changing the entire underlying infrastructure that we use to publish our websites was a very risky move. Considering that a very large percentage of our traffic comes by way of search engines, and considering how finicky those search engines can be when you make major changes to the structure of any website, it was a real cross-your-fingers moment in our history. We made sure to make the transition as easy as possible by using a carefully crafted .htaccess file to make sure that everything got carried over and that nothing got lost. That was another highly successful move that paid off, resulting in a lot more flexibility as it pertains to publishing our data.
What about you? Have you ever “bet the farm” with a risky business decision that you hoped would pay off?
I’m taking part in a multi-part series over on Anita Campbell’s Small Business Trends where she has a group of Internet entrepreneurs answering a question on starting and running businesses each week. This week we were asked what gave us the confidence to start our own business. My answer is below:
When I decided to start Gear Live, it was with the knowledge that I knew I could do it, and that I wanted to strive to be one of the best at what I did. I really do think it is all about drive. When it came to confidence, I was simply confident that I could not only do it, but do it very, very well. With that goal in mind, I forged ahead, and never took my eye off of that goal.
Starting a company on your own is tough, and there are a lot of moments where you are going to question whether it was the right move, or whether you should throw in the towel. I decided that I wouldn’t throw in the towel until I hit my goal. If my goal was to be one of the best, then I couldn’t stop until I got there
In my estimation, if you don’t have the desire to be the best, and would instead be happy with the status quo, then you are in the wrong business. Find something you are passionate about, something that you know you can always get behind, and something that you absolutely, without a doubt, want to achieve. Once you find that, your confidence will be more than enough to not only start a business, but having a very good chance of succeeding.
So what do you think? What gave you the confidence to start your own business?
Read More | Small Business Trends
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