As part of my goal of creating $10,000 in new income during 2013, I have developed an idea for a business that I think is useful, sustainable, and profitable. I will be documenting the process of creating, launching, and building this new business.
While on my honeymoon in Cancun, I read The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau and absolutely loved it. For all you entrepreneurs out there who just need a little motivation, go pick up his book today and start reading. You don’t need big money to do big things.
Over the past year, I’ve developed a system for keeping track of my advertisers, advertisements, and expenses. I used to use spreadsheets to track all of the data, but things would fall through the cracks and there was no easy way to organize all the information I had. Now, with the click of a button, I am able to generate reports of my sales, fees, expenses, and net income for the month or year. Plus, in an instant, I can see which advertisers should be contacted and what their history is. No lead becomes dead anymore, even if they don’t follow up to my initial response.
To say that my new system has saved me time is an understatement. Instead of calculating all of my sales, fees, and expenses by hand each month or quarter (with the risk of human error), I click one button and the reports generate instantly. I immediately see a breakdown of all the important figures for each of my websites. Also, I don’t have to dig through hundreds of emails to find conversations with advertisers who never closed on a deal.
More importantly, the system has directly led to more sales. My system has led to at least 7 sales that would not otherwise have happened totaling over $2,000. It has also helped me avoid letting expired deals run without being paid for it. I click on my handy “expiring soon” view in the system and it tells me everything that will be expiring in the next month. Just fire off a couple emails and hope that the advertisers are interested in renewing!
There is clearly value in the product, so the next step was ironing out the details. Most of this was done in my head while I was at the beach reading or listening to podcasts while Lauren tanned, and when I got back to the room, I would take notes about my ideas. I needed to build a site that was easy for users to navigate, intuitive, and provided them with all the features a blogger needs to track their advertisers, advertisements, and expenses. I had the idea, so the next step was the technical details.
As soon as I got home, I created a project on Elance, where providers bid on the job I posted. I described everything I wanted and needed for the site as well as the backend databases, and the proposals started to flow in. I got some responses from people who could do the job for $1,000, some for $500, and some for as low as $300. In the end, I picked someone who promised the site would be done within a week for $375. I accepted their proposal and they got to work. However, 3 days later, when I expected the front-end of the site to be complete, I asked for update and didn’t hear back. After a few more days, I cancelled the project. I never released any funds, so there was no harm done. But I had to find someone new.
And I did. The new provider was very responsive, cost $400, and had even build a similar system for someone else in the past, and I liked what they showed me. We started to work together and every 2 days they would send me an update and I would give my feedback on the changes they made. There was a lot of back and forth and I made lots of seemingly small requests to make sure the site looked and functioned the way I wanted.
The site is not perfect, but it has all the essentials and then some. It is a one-stop shop for all bloggers to record their sales and expenses, and once the advertiser data is recorded, there’s no need for reminders until it comes time to follow up as indicated. Once I launch the product and get some feedback, I’ll be adding some other features that I think users will enjoy.
Oh, and if you want to check out the site, here it is: BlogBookkeeper.com. Please let me know what you think! I look forward to sharing more of my story and hopefully I’ll have something nice to report soon! I’m planning on officially launching the site to new users soon!