I like to believe that I’m slightly different from the other entrepreneurs who are trying to make an income on the internet (I don’t know why I keep saying ‘trying’, I’ve actually been doing it since 2007!) and one thing that I have noticed was that they only seem to list their successes.
Although they would like you to believe they have all been successful first time with their ventures, a lot of them have had some massive, and at times quite epic, failures to get to where they are.
As I said earlier I like to think I am different so I have decided to list some of my past failures. Some of them are very embarrassing and I have a feeling that I might wake up in cold sweats in the middle of the night regretting this for many years to come.
1. Sweet Shop In My Bedroom
This was the first thing I ever tried to do to make money. I was 10. Sadly it wasn’t anything as elaborate as people who set up online sweet web sites. Basically I went to a shop and brought a load of multipacks of sweats, crisps and soft drinks and sold them individually to my friends and siblings from my bedroom who were too lazy to walk to the shops in town.
As I was young I naturally ended up eating most of them myself.
2. Stationary Company
When I was 13 I decided to start a stationary business. I had unlimited access to free stationary (pens, pencils, papers, rulers, staplers, etc) so I really thought I was onto a winner.
I advertised by printing up flyers and popping them through the letterboxes of businesses in my local area. One of them got to the housing association, who my father rented our apartment from, and they threatened legal action as it was illegal to run a business from their apartments. Oops!
3. Online Music Club
Here in the United Kingdom we used to have a music club called Britannia Music Club. They would send you a booklet every month with the latest albums and you could buy them through the post from the comfort of your own home. If you brought enough at the full price they would let you buy some at really cheap prices once or twice a year.
My idea was along the same lines but online. I was new to the internet and didn’t know a thing about promoting, I simply set up a free webhost account with Geocities and got a free CJB.net domain name. Surprise surprise no takers.
4. Dating Site
I noticed that people were making a lot of money with dating web sites and I wanted a piece of the action. I had just read about how Markus Frind had created Plenty of Fish for nothing so I thought I could do it as well.
I knew a bit more about promoting by this stage, and I found a free script to run it with, but sadly I only attracted men from India and nobody paid for a premium membership account.
5. Football (soccer) Message Board
My brother started a football message board and asked me to take it over because he did not have the time. We already had a domain and the forum script in place so I promoted the forums wherever I could and as often as I could. I even paid a couple of ad networks to run advertising campaigns.
The revenue we were generating was not great but the membership was growing nicely, at a point we had over 3000 members who had generated around 500,000 posts. The only problem was the members were never satisfied and were always complaining.
They didn’t want ads, they wanted prizes for posting, they wanted more expensive skins to choose from, the moderators wanted to be paid, etc. It got to the point where I was spending pretty much every hour of the day working on the forum. In the end we were hacked so badly that it cost us a lot of money to repair and the members were long gone.
6. Tapp Out Radio
Ah Tapp Out Radio, my unloved baby. I wanted to try my hand at running an internet radio station but I didn’t want to have to pay those extortionate fees radio stations are forced to pay to promote music. So I played unsigned music and talk shows.
I spent a lot of money creating the website, purchasing broadcasting servers, broadcasting equipment and I paid voice artists to create stings and promos for the station. The problem was that not many advertisers were willing to do business with a station that aired music nobody had heard of.
The servers were hacked badly and I decided to cut my losses.
Now I’ve admitted my mistakes, how about you admit yours?