Lots of entrepreneurs have started businesses online but few have offered a day-by-day, play-by-play narrative outlining their experiences. For the past few weeks, Search Engine Guide editor Jennifer Laycock has treated her readers to an insiders view of her new social-business, the Lactivist.
The Lactivist is a blog offering information on breastfeeding along with clothing and product referrals. The blog is also designed to, “help spread awareness of the availability of human milk banks.” Jennifer started the project about three weeks ago and has been posting daily updates on her progress, revenues and experience.
The series, entitled, “Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days”, stand as one of the most honest and comprehensive looks at the trials, tribulations and triumphs faced by people Jennifer calls “shoestring entrepreneurs”, or people starting businesses with little or no money. Jennifer started the project in part because, as editor of Search Engine Guide, she wanted to get a sense of the experiences shared by many of her readers.
Her first post at SEGuide’s Small Business Ideas Forum describes her motivation and her methods.
“One of the beautiful things about the Internet is that it is supposed to level the playing field between the major corporations and the little guy trying to eek out a living on his own from his basement. Many a netrepreneur has managed to go start a company on a shoe string and turn it into a business that generates a nice profit. The whole point of Search Engine Guide and our sister site, Small Business Brief, is to try and help people learn how to do just that.
So, I’ve decided to set up a little challenge for myself and to both blog and write articles on it over the next month. The idea is to try to setup some type of business in my free time and see if I can start to turn a profit in a 30 day period. That shouldn’t be too hard, since I’m also going to limit myself to spending zero cash out of pocket. That means that any sales at all will be profit.
I plan to outline all of the steps that I take over this 30 day period so that readers can find out what worked, what didn’t, and maybe get some ideas to try with their own sites. The point I need to make again is the lack of money involved here. There’s a big difference between what someone can do with cash to pay for hosting, for marketing, for web analysis and so on. I’ll be working without many of those advantages, using only what I can get for free.”
Jennifer’s posts are witty, highly informative and, topical. Today she writes about finally getting rankings at Google (after only three weeks!), some technical issues surrounding her Blog vendor, a few new products offered at the Lactivist, and the resolution of an annoying DNS issue that has plagued the project.
Anyone interested in establishing an instant online business should take the time to read Jennifer’s experiences. They might make a major difference and save time, money and headaches. As for Jennifer’s profits to date, after day 11 she is in the black (on the good side of the ledger) and has seen $75.57 in profit from $80.53 in revenues.