Journal 18 – Walking a Mile in the Snow: The Cold Hard Facts of Entrepreneuralism

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Cold FeetMy validation scheme was to offer three free videos to entice potential customers to leave their email address – if I got sufficient interest, I’d move forward. However, my efforts were in vain, because I didn’t get many interested clicks and even fewer people left their email address.

This validation step was a great disappointment and it made me second guess my entrepreneurial expectations; and because of this, I’ve made a major decision.

Disbelief

I really don’t know how a real estate training program could not be successful. The potential market includes the 10 percent of Americans who decide to sell their home without a listing agent. Frankly, I can’t believe 90 percent of Americans gleefully handover 6 percent of their sale price to an agent. Especially, considering the financial loss so many home sellers absorbed during the five or six years following the 2008 Great Recession.

Though few understand the effects of inflation, nearly everyone lost in terms of purchasing power, when inflation is factored in to the sold price – as I explained in my video, “Real Estate Agents Are Obsolete.”

In that same video, I discussed the National Association of Realtor’s Profile of Home Sellers and Buyers survey, which found that 44 percent of the sellers were not fully satisfied with their agents. Moreover, 10 percent of respondents decided to sell their home without an agent – and some portion of that group must want some sort of course to teach them how to do it quickly and for the best price. 

My Validation Was a “Dud”

In the prior journal entry I asked, “Is my idea a dud because I don’t know how to market or advertise?”

When I started advertising in Facebook, I didn’t get a lot of interest, so I jumped off my plan and started “freestyling.” This probably was a mistake. I should have believed in the plan and let it unwind for more than a day. I got one email address during the first day and then nothing as I adjusted my ads for a week. I even got two email addresses from sources outside my paid advertising. I’m not sure how that happened. 

Had I let my ads go for a week I probably would have done better. I read somewhere that it often takes 10 or more views for someone to click on an online ad and even more exposure before someone leaves their email address. I didn’t let my ad run long enough for that pattern to develop.

In my quote above,  I asked if it was a dud because I (essentially) suck at advertising. I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of fact in that thought. Advertising and building an online audience is something I have very little experience in. Despite trying to learn as much about this topic, my ignorance and experience had to play a significant role in the outcome.

Walking in the Snow Gives One Time to Think

Given this revelation, I decided to structure my efforts along two fronts: building an audience and producing a minimum viable product. The validation step is an important one, but since I suck at online advertising and marketing, I need to “do some learning by doin’.” I’m confident that the validation’s low performance resulted more from my execution than from the idea. 

This Thanksgiving brought sub-zero cold to my small town in Southern Idaho. Few, including my cat, want to venture into the elements – and when you do go outside, you’re the only one there. All you hear is the quiet wind and the crunching snow underfoot. It’s a lot like going into business for yourself. It’s lonely, cold, and quiet.

The Cold Truth

Here’s the cold, hard truth. I’ve committed myself to starting three businesses this year because I didn’t know what to start. I’m not one of those lucky few that has a cool idea or product to sell – you know, those with a passion. This last 11 months has given me the time to think and try a few business ideas. In many respects, my “passion” was staring me in the face.

For the last twenty years, I’ve read hundreds of entrepreneurial and business books and listened to even more hours of podcasts – I’ve had an interest in everything from business plans to accounting to marketing to website design. I also became a licensed real estate broker in two states – and that took a lot of commitment and expense to accomplish. I even have a business degree. So within all that effort, there ought to be at most a “calling” or at least an “interest.”

In fact, of the four businesses that I’ve looked into this year, the only one that earned a profit was my real estate flipping company.

So, given these clues, I’ve decided that my calling is both business and real estate. I also like to teach and share – which is one reason I started Free-Market Startup.

I’ve Made a Major Decision

I’ve taken the last few weeks to waller in my disappointment, give it some space, and rethink my next step. You see, after not getting the validation response I hoped, I’ve been in on the down side of the emotional entrepreneur cycle. Any entrepreneur will tell you there’s a lot of ups and downs in this line of work – and knowing that helps a little, but it makes one second guess his competence and dreams.

But after wandering a couple of weeks in the wilderness, I’ve decided to move ahead and develop my course. It will be a shorter course than originally conceived. I plan to hit on the basics. My goal is to finish it and get it in the market place in the near term. If I can get some interest in it, I’ll expand the course later on.

If I limit it to two or three hours, I should be able to get it into the market place in a month or two. 

Music Credit: All My Shuffling, by Silent Partner

Talley Ho!

Nick

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