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Starting a business from scratch
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Mr Johnny Montoya Offline
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Post: #1
Starting a business from scratch
Electronic books : Amazon
Physical books : Amazon
Physical products : Amazon / Ebay
Services : Freelancer / Upwork and all the other freelancing sites

It seems that no matter what you're into, there's always some big site that acts as a platform for whoever hopes to earn money doing what they do.

The result is that 90+% of people struggle, while a tiny minority do very well, and there's not much in between.

The people who run the platform are happy because they have an endless supply of hopefuls adding content to their site, the big people are happy because they're doing well, a bunch of marketers are happy because they're selling a dream to the 90+% (i.e. buy my book and I'll teach you how to succeed at X), and those 90+% get nowhere. Not to mention all the scammers.

So I'm wondering, is it not better to start a business from complete scratch? I mean, no big (shared) platform, no competing with anyone (on the same site), no signing up to anything, just running a business on a grassroots level.

I've got some experience in cold calling, and I have no problem emailing people out of the blue. I think I have a lot of value to offer in the things that I do / can do, but it's very demoralizing having to go through so many hurdles.

I hate the thought of constantly having to drum up business, but I'm certainly willing to do it in an efficient way, if there is one. I don't know what that would be though.

Surely there has to be a way to generate sales without having to compete with bazillions of other hopefuls on the same site.

Is there a way?
01-29-2017 02:21 PM
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kirdiesel Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Starting a business from scratch
In my opinion its all about demand. You need to find/sell something people want or didn't know they needed... regardless of its grassroots or not. If its quality, word will get around and the shit will sell itself after a while. Product is everything. You'll be competing with people regardless if they are on the same site or not.

Once you figure that out everything else is cake. This is coming from a career long sales guy.

I have figured out a niche market on Ebay recently and im heading into my second month.. my first offical months sales were over 4 grand. There is/was a demand for the products but not enough inventory. I solved that problem am now trying to scale.

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(This post was last modified: 01-29-2017 04:57 PM by kirdiesel.)
01-29-2017 04:54 PM
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Mr Johnny Montoya Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Starting a business from scratch
(01-29-2017 04:54 PM)kirdiesel Wrote:  In my opinion its all about demand. You need to find/sell something people want or didn't know they needed... regardless of its grassroots or not. If its quality, word will get around and the shit will sell itself after a while. Product is everything. You'll be competing with people regardless if they are on the same site or not.

Once you figure that out everything else is cake. This is coming from a career long sales guy.

I have figured out a niche market on Ebay recently and im heading into my second month.. my first offical months sales were over 4 grand. There is/was a demand for the products but not enough inventory. I solved that problem am now trying to scale.

I get it, but what I mean is that when you're on a platform (i.e. amazon) with loads of other people, it's easy to get buried in the crowd. You could have a perfectly nice product but if people don't see you, or even if some do but decide to go with someone bigger, you're not going to get anywhere. I'm just frustrated.

It's demoralizing to think that the only way to earn a living is by being top of a massive heap. If you want to have a successful shop (physical shop), you sell what people want and you find a good location, and you'll get customers. But online, you're a nobody unless you're right at the top. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground. That's why I'm wondering if there's any way to go to people in a more direct way, and bypass all of that excessive competition. I understand that there's always competition but at least if you go to someone directly, one on one, I would imagine there's a better chance.

I suppose what I'm talking about probably applies more to services than products.
(This post was last modified: 01-29-2017 05:12 PM by Mr Johnny Montoya.)
01-29-2017 05:07 PM
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qwertyuiop Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Starting a business from scratch
Online has zero barrier to entry.

If you start a business based around a skill that takes years to hone, takes massive capital, and needs connections -- your chance of succeeding is arguably easier.
01-29-2017 06:09 PM
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TheMaleBrain Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Starting a business from scratch
I want to introduce the porter analysis model
:

If you want to better understand the "landscape" of competition, or decide whether to start a new business you may use it as an analisys tool.

e.g.
Selling something on Amazon:
are there entrance barriers (h/t qwertyuiop)
substitute (do customers change their mind or are loyal)
information availability (usually high)

And so on.

If you analyze the market around your product/service than you can choose to enter or not.
This is the same for building from scratch.

I'm a great believer in doing homework first

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01-30-2017 08:32 AM
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ScrapperTL Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Starting a business from scratch
My suggestion: While everyone is looking left you look right.
Get off the online bandwagon.
There is a huge world of offline money making opportunities out there for Entrepreneurs.
Look up my posts on Scrap Metal Recycling and Lawn Care Services.
Low start-up costs, unlimited demand, no education required, start making money in literally days and weeks, versus months and years.

Walk before you run.

Once you build a nice nest egg with the mundane basic shit, you can blow your wad on the more advanced Online Hustling if you want.

Also, Salesmen are really just Entrepreneurs without the capital investment necessary to start a high ticket item business.
Getting into Sales is one of the smartest decisions you can make in your life if you are not 100% ready to go all in on starting your own business.

If it is your first Sales job, make sure it is a combination of Hourly Pay and Commission.
If it is Hourly Pay only, don't take it, this is not a real Sales job and you are not a real Salesman.
If it is Commission only, this is fine if you are very confident in your ability to sell - however a terrible idea for someone new to the game.
(This post was last modified: 01-30-2017 10:28 AM by ScrapperTL.)
01-30-2017 10:27 AM
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456 Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Starting a business from scratch
Re: breaking free from a platform:

Own Your Email List

Sell Direct To Customer

If you can manage both of the above, you cut out the middle-man.

What's worth more:
- a list of 10k emails/customers who spent > $1 with you or are likely to
- 10k twitter followers

Whether you start on a big platform or not, leverage your following and Build Your List on your own platform (i.e. customer database / crm / email list).

This works especially well for digital product. Inbox is personal (even seen text-based marketing in the music / production industry). So if you whip something up and blast it to 10k people who already bought from you over time, 500 might buy your new offering right off the bat because you are personal with them, moreso than an Amazon Seller could be (platform limitations).

Think about how direct that is when you own the ecosystem. Figuratively print money, create a wanted personal presence in customers' inboxes, etc. The funnel is crucial here, how to build this intimate list legitimately, including through appropriate collaboration.

Always deliver more value than you capture.

In other words, if you can own the relationship AND the transaction (i.e. email / customer profiles & your own payment processing on your own website), you may forgo the exposure but you gain a tight loop and control over marketing to your own customers.

You can combine both "worlds" (platform vs. your own ecosystem), and they can have different value over time. Some platforms have great discovery.

(I'm speaking in generalities but have seen some very scalable implementations of the self-platform/ecosystem up close, i.e. musicians bypassing iTunes huge cut and selling direct to consumer. Smaller, more targeted revenue stream, ability to spike demand and time new releases as long as your customer db grows.)
(This post was last modified: 01-30-2017 05:03 PM by 456.)
01-30-2017 04:50 PM
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Mr Johnny Montoya Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Starting a business from scratch
(01-30-2017 04:50 PM)456 Wrote:  Re: breaking free from a platform:

Own Your Email List

Sell Direct To Customer

If you can manage both of the above, you cut out the middle-man.

What's worth more:
- a list of 10k emails/customers who spent > $1 with you or are likely to
- 10k twitter followers

Whether you start on a big platform or not, leverage your following and Build Your List on your own platform (i.e. customer database / crm / email list).

This works especially well for digital product. Inbox is personal (even seen text-based marketing in the music / production industry). So if you whip something up and blast it to 10k people who already bought from you over time, 500 might buy your new offering right off the bat because you are personal with them, moreso than an Amazon Seller could be (platform limitations).

Think about how direct that is when you own the ecosystem. Figuratively print money, create a wanted personal presence in customers' inboxes, etc. The funnel is crucial here, how to build this intimate list legitimately, including through appropriate collaboration.

Always deliver more value than you capture.

In other words, if you can own the relationship AND the transaction (i.e. email / customer profiles & your own payment processing on your own website), you may forgo the exposure but you gain a tight loop and control over marketing to your own customers.

You can combine both "worlds" (platform vs. your own ecosystem), and they can have different value over time. Some platforms have great discovery.

(I'm speaking in generalities but have seen some very scalable implementations of the self-platform/ecosystem up close, i.e. musicians bypassing iTunes huge cut and selling direct to consumer. Smaller, more targeted revenue stream, ability to spike demand and time new releases as long as your customer db grows.)

Sure I'd like to have a few thousand people on an email list, but how would I get them there? The only ways I can think of would involve using a mass platform and thus being Mr Invisible. It's like there's no way around it, as far as I can see.

The internet is a curse. Anyone can theoretically do anything but if you try, you're a nobody, unless you're a somebody. It's very demoralizing when you've spent months creating different things, and in a reasonable world you should be able to make a living.

I hate the fact that not only do you have to be good at what you do, but you have to also be a marketer too, and struggle against hordes of others in the same space. It's horrible. At least in the olden days each village had a blacksmith who was good enough at what they did, and that was that.

I'm just bitching. I'll figure it out. I've come too far not to. But boy is it tough. Maybe just straight up advertising is the way.
(This post was last modified: 01-30-2017 08:14 PM by Mr Johnny Montoya.)
01-30-2017 08:11 PM
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456 Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Starting a business from scratch
^^-- think of the example of a "nobody" doing a great cover of a well-known song on YouTube -- particularly on a single instrument.

A whole category of "nobodies" doing videos like "[bass|guitar|keyboard|drum] cover of [well-known song]"... I've personally done a few videos like that (years ago), with zero additional effort to promote the videos. Each video got mid six-figures views, and my channel got almost 1k subscribers. I made a quickie website and sold some tabs of one of the more challenging parts of one of the songs, and a few people bought it every month for a few years. That was with ZERO marketing, advertising, or promotion of the product. Just a proof of concept. What if I had done 20 such videos / tabs and actually advertised or promoted? Now I have all of their personal email contacts, and I know they already spent a few bucks with me. If I had more to offer, wouldn't they be open to hearing about it?

Many such video creators then have a link to their own website, where perhaps they break down their playing, offer sheet music or tabs, have their own material (works well for music education), etc.

So in this example you're taking free publicity,
(the cover video of something people will search for, it's not hard to get views with decent content and zero promo effort)
and directing people (via comments or video description) to your own ecosystem, where a small % may give you their email address if you ask for it.

Then market your actual products or content to those people.

(I understand that in this example, Youtube is a platform -- but it's not a closed ecosystem to the extent of Amazon or Ebay. And discovery is a lot easier because it's free video content, with the opportunity to "SEO" via your tags and description and having good content.)

I don't have the exact prescription, but there are a lot of ways to start cultivating even a TINY list of people who want to hear about what you're doing.
(This post was last modified: 01-31-2017 10:13 AM by 456.)
01-31-2017 10:09 AM
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ElJefe1 Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Starting a business from scratch
This is 100% the way to go in my opinion as you are the victim of the platform and their many whims.... yes definitely use all tools to make money but don't be totally dependent upon it.

"I got no game it's just some bitches understand my story." Nas
01-31-2017 10:41 AM
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