Start Up Blog

Web Success = Populate & Promote

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on February 12, 2010

I recently saw a job posted on a web developer recruiting website. It involved some people looking for coders to make a copy of my web business and livelihood www.rentoid.com. What was interesting was the lack decorum shown in the coder recruiting process where the person said – build me a replica of this website. Here’s a screen print of it below.

I was a bit annoyed at first. and sent out a tweet to assess the mood of my army of advisers on twitter. I tweeted the following:

Not sure what to think of this? http://bit.ly/cYR5FI A compliment or IP rip off with me and @rentoid as the victims? Help! Thoughts?

The responses were varied, but all were within the theme of this person clearly does not get what it takes. Here’s some verbatim of the tweet responses:

xshay don’t worry about it – we saw a guy offering to build redbubble for < $1000 once. A) not going to happen, B) not about the tech

shandsaker same thing happened to us. Just be confident that $750 and a 2 line project brief is $750 better spent on beer :-)

TimBull if they can only spend $750 to build it, quality won’t be there and they won’t stick it – betcha the coding was trivial part

BLKMGK01 Congrats man. Business must be huge if other people want to start ripping off ur ideas. U should apply to design the site! haha.

BrentHodgson Don’t let it worry you. You know that @Rentoid is more than the sum of its tech parts – & that it wasn’t a $750 job to create.

lukerides precisely…all about execution, so I would not worry…if they do a better job than you, they were always going to anyway!

I pretty much knew this before I tweeted the issue, but it did force me to think about web marketing success, and the success of rentoid to date and I came to the following conclusion. It’s not about the tech. In fact, the tech is pretty low down on the list of things needed for any website to succeed. And if i had to give my nemesis some advice on how to succeed in copying me it would be to do these two things:

Populate and Promote.

This is what needs to be done with any classified style website to succeed, and it takes a lot of time and investment. Investment in  financial and human capital. The problem with being 2nd, 3rd or later is that all the easy promotional opportunities like this are taken by the market innovator. And populating your website to make it meaningful takes a lot of boot leather, which is something many web entrepreneurs are afraid of.

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The white collar reality

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 13, 2009

It was easy for white collar workers to be smug during the 1980’s. Their blue collar counterparts faced a dire future as hands on jobs increasingly went overseas to low cost labour markets. It even made it possible for information workers to extract larger salaries as the profitability of their organizations soared. The white collar desk jockey rode the wave of efficiency as corporations globalized and consolidated manufacturing.

The art of Tailoring

Life has a funny way of going full circle. And now it’s our turn, the white collar worker. We are also an endangered species in developed markets.

Yep, you and me. We too, will be outsourced. All us accountants, IP Lawyers, Engineers, Computer Programmers (insert university educated profession here).

Don’t believe me? Then consider this: In India each year there are over 300,000 Engineering graduates and over 400,000 IT graduates who will happily work for 10% of what conglomerate X pays you right now. It’s only a matter of time before large corporations, who are usually struggling for top line growth, can get over the emotional barrier of having a large corporate head office and go offshore. The spreadsheet will make that decision for them. But this time the barriers will be lower than when all the call center went overseas because consumers wont even notice. Society wont care either. They are sick of people earning well above average incomes in ivory towers. No one will feel sorry for us.

Micro outsourcing as provided by Elance, Odesk and Guru for entrepreneurs is just the test case. The head office is next.

What to do?

Stop being a factor of production and start organizing them. Stuff gets done, things can be built, and anything which is done at a desk is about to disappear to low cost labour markets. The way information workers can survive is through undertaking entrepreneurial endeavors (corporate & private). Be able to manage complex projects and by managing situations and people, not doing stuff. The age of the entrepreneur is about to become something which is so significant it changes work just like the industrial revolution did.

Startup blog says: Are you ready?

Get ready at Startup School.

Startup School

Startup School – 1 seat left

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 2, 2009

I’m very excited that Startup School Melbourne is this weekend. We still have a single seat left which is currently being warmed by this guy….

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But we’d love to replace him with you. And if you need any more convincing then I’m pretty sure I’ll have done the job once you finish reading this blog entry.

Firstly – here’s a list of topics we’ll be covering in detail:

  • Idea Generating
  • Creativity in business. Creative thinking
  • Raising Capital
  • Art of Pitching
  • Legal tips, shortcuts and administration
  • Successful outsourcing (digital & production)
  • Building an international work force
  • Cash flow for startups & budgeting
  • Simplified project management
  • Personal & business branding
  • Selling like a guru
  • Generating PR and media
  • Building a Team

All of which is fully documented in a take home working manual so you’ll leave knowing exactly what to do and how to do it. Like I have.

We are also being joined by Yvonne Adele – Globally renowned Creativity and ideas guru!

You can’t learn this stuff in school, books or at University. And I should know as I teach Marketing at Melbourne University. You also get me as an on going mentor as a Startup School graduate with unlimited help in your start up. Which is incredible value give what most consultants (with less real experience) charge by the hour.

We are holding the event in the groovy boutique Lindrum Hotel. Where the space is great and the food and espresso is awesome. I tested it.

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All of which is included in the price. You’ll be one of 10 people in an intimate learning environment. Not in a room full of people.

If that’s not enough , Startup School comes with a money back guarantee to blow your mind. I can say this because I know the 2 days will.

No, it’s not priceless – it’s priced at $998.

It will be the best investment in your entrepreneurship education you’ve ever made. it will make and save you thousands. This event is a one off, there is no next chance. If you want to chat about it – call me on the phone number in the right hand side bar of this blog.

Click here to book now.

(Seats still available for Sydney 21st & 22nd of November)

See you on the weekend, Steve.

Picture 116

Startup School just got better

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 16, 2009

For those of my blog readers already locked and loaded for startup schoolGood News.

For those thinking about coming long – Another great reason to join us.

The uber terrific Yvonne Adele from at Ideas Culture has just joined us for the 2 events. She will be facilitating and helping us out through the two days. But don’t think she’ll just be giving the intro’s and outro’s – she’ll be giving us her spin on creativity and ideas, as well as getting us pumped up, motivated and thinking. Which will also blow our minds!

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For those who don’t know, Yvonne’s business was recently featured in Springwise and has a list of credentials and testimonials as long as both my arms.

So, if you’ve been on the edge of booking startup school. Time to get moving. The Melbourne event is about to close the door with only a couple of seats left. And Sydney is filling quickly.

Feel free to contact me if you have any queries and want to chat in more detail about it on 0438 779566. Steve.

Startup School this November

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on September 28, 2009

If you’re planning a Corporate Escape or are an early stage entrepreneur. Then 2 day event I’m running is an investment worth considering. For a very simple reason: It’ll save you many thousands by not having to make all the mistakes I did before I got it right.

What stuff are we covering?

Content taught includes:
– Idea generation
– Idea validation
– Art of bootstrapping
– Setup costs / legal Tips & tricks
– Project / Cash flow management
– Outsourcing ( digital & production)
– Raising capital
– PR – Getting on TV, radio and in newspapers (all of which I’ve done before – see http://www.rentoid.com/about and scroll down)
– Social media tools
– Staffing & handling the growth curve.

All of which will be interactive – and busts the myths of success. You wont read the truth about this stuff in books because the truth isn’t shiny and doesn’t sell. All 10 alumni graduates get me as an on going mentor to help them startup and success like I have with www.rentoid.com.

It also includes food & drink for 2 days. It is $998 for the 2 days. It’s not cheap – bit it’s the real deal. A worthy investment with a money back guarantee to blow your mind.

Startup School

If you think it’s expensive – then think about this:

  • How much is 17 minutes of prime time ‘in program’ TV coverage worth? More than $500,000. I’ve done it and startup school will teach you how.
  • How much is full page spreads worth in National Newspapers & magazine worth?
  • How much did your last website cost to build? I built www.startupschool.com.au for $220 and I’m not a tech person, designer or a coder.
  • How valuable is knowing how to raise Angel and Venture Capital? Or even know the right people?
  • What about in market validation without the actual expense of launching?

The point is your investment will pay for itself many times over.

It’ll be running In Sydney and Melbourne for 10 people only. It’s pretty much a one off event. So if you want to come book or seat at www.startupschool.com.au or feel free to give me a call {0438 779 566} for more info. Be quick it’s limited to 10 people only.

Steve

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10 steps to web start up

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 2, 2009

It’s never been cheaper to start a business in the history of man. Especially on line. Startup guru Guy Kawasaki proved it with his $12,000 example for www.trumours.com – But startup blog says you can do it for pretty close to zero. In the spirit of sharing here’s the startup blog list of the 10 things you need to get started, and resources to help perform these necessary tasks.

  1. Idea generating – Ideas these days are free and omnipresent. Steal ideas from www.springwise.com or www.idea-a-day.com – Just take one that suits you and do it. Maybe bring their idea to your geography, or just copy something already successful and do it. There is no currency in ideas. They are free. Take them. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that is the easiest part of any venture. And they are right.
  2. Name Generating – Actually your business name has nothing to do with success. There’s only two things to consider. Firstly that it’s available (.com?) and secondly that people can say it. Check out www.nameboy.com to help you generate some.
  3. Idea testing – I loved the idea from Timothy Ferriss who tested the idea for the best book name (4 hour work week won it) by using Google Adwords for the various options and seeing which one got the most clicks with certain key words. Inspired stuff. Steal his idea and use adwords to test your business proposition before investing heavily.
  4. Project Managment - Keep your project stuff all in one digital location. The crew over at 37 Signals provide some awesome tools for free in doing so. We’ve used it extensively for rentoid.com
  5. Communication – Get skype set up for all your international dealings phone calls and chats required in managing your project and team. I work with with people all over the world on rentoid and have never paid for a phone call yet. You can even get it on your iphone to make free calls from – Giddy up.
  6. Design – Don’t get stooged paying a zillion dollars for an agency to design your stuff. Leave the agency work for big companies with big budgets, you’re a bootstrapper and need to get it done cheap. But lucky for us these days cheap doesn’t have to mean crap. Check out 99 designs to get your site designed. If you need digital icons or related visuals check out istock photo for great up to date design. For pictures use Flickr creative commons.
  7. CSS (Cascading Style Cheets) – Check out slice and dice it to get your shiny new designs ready for coding.
  8. Coding / Programming - Yep, that tricky stuff which makes it all work under the website. Easy, go straight to Elance or ODesk to find coders for HTML, PHP, Rails, AJAX – anything. They’re all there waiting for your brief. (this should be the only biggish expense for your web startup – which means a few hundred dollars with a currency advantage)
  9. Payment gateway – Use paypal – free set up and the cheapest, most trusted way to accept credit cards and multiple payment forms on the internet.
  10. Promotion tools –  OK this is the stuff you’re all familiar with and using daily. So turn these fun parks into business tools by using them properly. But just choose a couple of them and use them well. My favourites are youtube, twitter, blogging (recommend wordpress).

So there you have it – web start up in 10 easy steps. Feel free to add any other cool tools and ideas in the comments.

What are you waiting for? Get started.

Steve.

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