Saturday, September 22, 2007

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Millionaire?

So you read my post title and are intrigued by the idea of becoming a millionaire. Not being a millionaire myself I can't truly say what it takes. Living in a more affluent city, I've pressed the flesh with many a successful persons. One of the qualities that I admire about these people is that, surprisingly money does not drive their lives. As entrepreneurs, money and profit margins are everything. It envelops our everyday lives, we wish for what we don't have. It's just human nature. But those that have succeeded I've found, rarely were the I want to be rich type. Their success was driven by their strengths. I believe that it is this type of greed that turns the focus away from true entrepreneurship. Now I've always held money as something that I can always have or earn and therefore I would like to believe that money isn't everything. I received one of my most valuable pieces of insight while I was an intern at a start up health food company. It was here that my boss told me that, "I don't want money to control my life, rather I have a vision of where I want to be." Depending on how you look at it, it may seem the same. But seeing things in a bigger context can greatly improve your ability to succeed. Money should be a mechanism for success, and not your goal. Don't be blinded by all the cars, jewelry, houses and material things, remember what is important to you. Some people have that mindset of, making money is everything. If you're not enough without the money, you'll never be enough with it. Stay focused on your goals and have an open and attentive mind. Again these are my takes on entrepreneurship and I really just want to hammer these ideas home, so bare with me and don't forget to comment. Thanks for reading!


Friday, September 21, 2007

Get Rich Quick...Dating

On one of my earlier posts I referenced a successful website called I was intrigued by the success of this site and decided to research other dating sites on the web and found some interesting things and was also surprised that I didn't find things. I found that most dating sites are very successful whether they are regional or national or worldwide, whether they cater to a certain attribute or race. Recently, these sites have experienced a bit of a plateau, but are still going strong. There is great value in this type of relational database site as, let's be honest, so many people are looking for that special someone, its basically integrated into our society. One thing that I didn't find that I thought was striking was a speed dating type website. Speed dating is a hot trend especially here in the new millenium. Why not create a site that does this through a simple chat application? If you've ever played online poker, most applications use a lounge, group and table subset. Something like this system can be applied to a speed dating site. The game...20 people in a chat room 1 minute rounds. Each person has 1 minute to chat then rotates. The rooms can be organized by ethnicity, religion, orientation, etc.... The interactivity of this system can improve any of the existing websites right now, but can operate solely in its own new niche. I think this type of system may give users more control and it also provides an exciting new venue to meet people in. Any takers on this idea?


ATTN: Looking For Smart, Talented and Motivated Individuals

Everyday Entrepreneur is all about finding those people who, at the least, have that entrepreneurial spirit. You don't have to own your business, you don't have to be a corporate executive. EE is about those people who aren't bounded by the typical business model/idea. By now, those of you reading the few posts that i've put up, should realize really what this blog is all about. I'm not afraid to share some of my ideas, and I would like to find those others who are willing to share their ideas as well. I want to find people like me and collaborate, my plans eventually for this is to switch to more dedicated servers/domain...blah..blah, and create a forum. But without an audience I don't really see a point. So i'm calling on everybody to start commenting, get this melting pot burning. I'm only one person but am looking to turn this blog into a "we," or "us" type venue. I want to be able to turn some heads while doing this and if you want to join me subscribe to the feed, post a comment, let me know there are other people like myself out there. I look forward to listening to your ideas as well as hearing comments about my ideas. Thank you.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Making Money Off Other People

Web 2.0 is all about interfacing with technology and generating your own content. But it doesn't have to limit itself to myspace and youtube type content. I read an article about a year ago about a young startup company that created user generated designs to put onto clothing. Designs were submitted online and then users voted on which design would go to the printers. Now, many of the online printing operations have some sort of user voted content. You can take an important business lesson from this creative idea, listen. Sometimes the best ideas come from those you are selling to. Now I don't mean go out there and steal ideas from other people, i'm saying that you should adhere to what your audience is telling you. Unless you know you are the best at what you do, you can always benefit from someone else. So what other ideas can you apply this to you ask? Well, think of what people do on the individual level, they write, draw, sing, dance, act, etc.... The possiblities are endless when you talk about the human ability. There are so many talented people in the world, why not use their talents. Now I don't want to limit anyones creativity so I don't want to give anything too specific. Just remember to always pay attention to details. As i've said before, don't limit yourself to one dimension of business. Take one aspect and melt it with another then take that idea and create a masterpiece.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Motivations For Taking THE PLUNGE!

A lot of us, "entrepreneurs," have had our difficulties risking the plunge into running our own businesses. But most aspiring business folk do just that...aspire. It is a known fact that most ventures crash before they even take off. The best ideas for me have come while walking around with my buddies saying, "wouldn't that be cool if someone started something like this?" For me, I've always paid close attention to these things, as the demographic is what I know the most about. I know there are a lot of people out there who have had great ideas, the shortcoming is the follow through. Most of these shortcomings come from three things.

  1. lack of confidence

  2. lack of experience

  3. lack of expertise

Obviously money is another, but money should never be an insurmountable roadblock. In fact you should look forward to confronting that roadblock once you take The Plunge. The first thing you need to take The Plunge is a confidence in your product/idea. If you cannot stand next to your product and be proud of it, stop. People are going to invest in you and you better be able to back it up. If you feel that it can't compete, make it compete. There is always a way of working with an idea to make it stronger, find it and then exploit it. Another thing that i've learned and it may be cliche is, never let anyone tell you that you can't. I don't care if you're a high school dropout, the greatest qualities of a good entrepreneur cannot come from a classroom. Some of the smartest people that i've met are complete idiots when it comes to decision making and development. Entrepreneurs who are good decision makers know that they are. Good entrepreneurs don't need to open a book for an answer, they make smart choices by knowing things ahead of time. Lastly, a lack of expertise is the single greatest damper on The Plunge. Let's face it, most people don't have an MBA from Harvard in Business. But should that really matter? My mother always told me, don't put all your eggs in one basket. This applies to education. Whether you learned something in the real world, classroom, or casual read, it all matters. Just because you're not an expert doesn't mean you're an idiot. Take every experience and learn from it. If you're watching t.v., analyze what you're watching, learn from it. The more you take in, the more you can apply, get out there and pay attention to every detail of every second of your life. Taking The Plunge is a risk, no doubt, but putting yourself in a mindset to succeed will yield great results in the end. Have confidence in yourself and let's see what you can do!


Got Personality?

In a world of millions of URL's, it is hard to separate each other. People hate automated or cold websites. Giving your website a personality is crucial to keep traffic moving. A lot of sites today offer up their goals as their best foot forward. Sure, making money is a great thing but you should do it in a manner that pleases people. If you go buy a car, you have to buy the salesman first. Some of the best potential business people out there are the ones that take your order at a restaurant, or your real estate agent. Giving your readers a little taste of what you are behind that computer screen is somewhat of a comfort. We all have different personalities, why not apply those to your site in order to distinguish yourself. After all, its the content you provide that supposedly is driving your site. This post for me has a special purpose. I want to find those people that aren't in the business of making money, but in the business of investing in people. I could care less if I can make money off thousands of clicks, i'd like to think of myself as a business sociologist. I want to better understand people in order to motivate my entrepreneurial spirit. I'm looking for people like myself that aren't blinded by the almighty dollar. People are so focused on making money these days that they don't retain those relationships that have helped them. I really do hope that there are other people out there like myself, who aren't in it just for the money and are willing to help each other in a quest for success.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Make Things Free...Make Money

To quote one of my favorite t.v. shows, "SWAG! Stuff We All Get."(Steve Carrell - The Office).
The world seems to be giving stuff away. Just do a quick google search for "free stuff," and you're bombarded with promises of t-shirts, cups, memberships and so on. One of the great free trends is the trend of taking pay sites or what would be membership sites and making them totally free. Now with the advent of adsense, yahoo! search, and other ad serving programs, businesses have discovered a way to eliminate the burden of online monetary exchanges without sacrificing their potential revenues. As more and more companies pour money into ad programs the greater the need to create larger impressions. So what is out there that can be totally free? Many things I believe can benefit from adopting such systems. No more membership fees, no listing fees on eBay, etc.... Really, unless you are selling a product, there is no need to charge for things anymore. If companies are willing to spend millions on advertising, you might as well spend your time marketing. For example, one of the most successful free ventures out there was Amongst the plethora of pay dating sites came this simple database. Without the flashyness of aesthetic design, took on a sort of craigslist of dating. It gave users the opportunity to join this niche, with its simple interface and a few key services, without having to pay any outrageous sign-up fees. Through the use of ad serving, was able to generate a substantial amount of revenue. I will not disclose how much they made, but let's just say it was enough. So my challenge to you is...what other services can you automate online that will eliminate an online exchange of money?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Advertising - Me, Myself and I

You've seen them, in the grocery, in the mall, just about everywhere there is a point of service. Its these damn plasma tv's, playing the same old ads over and over, but do they really work against the conventional print media? Many studies over the years have lead many companies to believe that the future of advertising is in digital signs. Of course, the dynamic media that is capable of being played can be much more attractive but maybe not as effective as we think. I recently went to a gas station where over every register there were silent commercials, one for a car, another for food and another for a lottery ticket...which I did end up buying as my bi-weekly ritual. The problem with digital ads is they are not mobile. Now I don't mean putting plasma tv's on a segway and driving them around, digital ads cannot be passed around like flyers. The advantage with paper media is that it is cheap and mobile. What it lacks in flare is made up with solid, quality impressions. I myself have developed a digital signage company. I had some success early on, and definitely saw the potential. Being able to pitch an exciting new means of advertising for small businesses was an easy selling point...almost too easy. "Hello business owner, are you struggling against the large corporations. I have an exciting new advertising network that will surely bring you prosperity and help brand your name in this community." Yes I could sell the product, but I did not wholeheartedly believe in it. I couldn't justify the money I was taking. I couldn't prove to the owners that their ads on my network were effectively herding consumers to their businesses. As a small businessmen myself, I shut down the operation and re-evaluated. I thought to myself how can I truly make an impression on a customer that is sitting behind the glow of these screens. Psychology. What is this person thinking, doing, watching, reading when they see these screens? I believe the future is here. I say, enough technology more psychology. Over the years, through the evolution of print ads and onto digital ads, not much has changed. Sure now we have video, but what good is video if it isn't focused. Sorry this was my rant post for the day, just something that was on my mind.


New Craze in Street Food Perhaps - Cheap Startup

My travels around the world have given me great experiences in the realm of food and its distribution. From Thailand, Philippines, and the great US of A, food is an important part of our everyday culture. But why does the variety of US food suck? Upon a recent trip to a Seattle Seahawks game, I struggled to find a pregame meal that strayed from the typical processed meat in a bun. Veggie dog, bratwurst, chicken dog, footlong all wrapped in a fluffy piece of bread. I understand that there aren't many things more american than a good old hotdog and beer before a game, but there's nothing wrong with something new. Canadians have a snack called poutine. Its most basic form is:
-A hefty helping of medium cut french fries
-A handful of curd cheese
-Topped with a generous serving of brown gravy
This hearts attack in a cup is absolutely delicious. On a cold November day in Seattle, this snack would be a great addition to the lines of vendors that paint one street during game days. This snack also makes a great post-drinking neutralizer. The grease and perfect texture of poutine is a great way to end the night after the club or bar. Now, what you need to become a street vendor(in Seattle). Insurance($$$), stand, permission from surrounding businesses. I'm not too sure of how much the insurance would cost but the rest is cake. A mobile double fryer only costs roughly $300, another $100 in other necessary cooking equipment plus other costs puts your business total at around $500.00. Now for the best part:
1 - 20lb bag of fries = $9.50
Slab of curd cheese = $27.00
Gallon of Gravy = $13.50
Total cost = $50.00 for roughly 60 servings = <$1.00 per serving
At less than 1 buck per serving, this snack is a great money maker. After operating costs and material costs, the potential profit yield is huge, especially at a large sporting event. Pricing can be much higher for this type of food as: the portions are much generous, cooking time is greater and the promise of a new snack makes poutine a potentially revolutionary food. BTW, the average cost of a hotdog is .25 cents and sells for 1.50, not around here I guess. I spent 5.00 on a hotdog after a long night out, I would definitely pay a comparable amount for poutine. Hopefully someone will bring this snack to the masses and satisfy my cravings without having to drive 3 hrs. If you doubters feel that this sounds disgusting, don't knock it till you try it!


Web 2.0 - On the Decline?

So this is my first post so please be patient as my thoughts develop. The purpose of this blog is to create a community eventually where small businessmen and entrepreneurs can creatively gel ideas together in a generally grey time in startups. In a recent news article, it was stated that web 2.0 ventures and their financial backings have slowed compared to last year. San Francisco is the epicenter of the 2.0 community and continues to host pop up sites. However, fundraising has steadily decreased as the phenomenon of web 2.0 has worn off, or has it? Are investors hesitant to put money into social networking sites and user-generated content? It seems to me that every web 2.0 start up is the same thing, just with a different demographic. I think that the problem here is a lack of creativity. All these different companies are fighting a war of who can buy their consumer/contributer. Investors are pouring money into a money pit where the battle of technology is taking place. Who can make their site more cleaner, user-friendly, and accessible will win the game. I ask this question now - where are those creative thinkers that can take this business model to the next level? Enough myspaces, enough youtubes, who can take it to the next step? Perhaps one of the readers of this blog will be inspired and create a new model and something that actually provides value to its users.