Every day, for at least 90 days, I’ll write on this blog my experience of aspiring woman entrepreneur. I’m based in Paris, France. Being bilingual, I want to reach out to a global clientele and I am currently on the planning phase of my international online business, an online business management company. I plan to launch it in March 2012.
This post talks about me, my background. I think it’s an essential part of starting a business. I mean a business here, not a month-to-month job that you own. I believe that if you start a business that is meant to last you a lifetime (or at least you ideally plan for that), then you must clearly know who you are and what you want in life. I answered all these questions while working on myself in the past months so I can sum them up here today.
Did you read the end of my previous post? Of course it has never been about money, of course it has never been about getting a job or creating a business or anything close to that – but after producing 100+ events and working with 100+ content creators in this virtual world… How come I still wasn’t making money?
My mission had just started.
I never got to the Module #2 of Marie Forleo‘s B-school coaching program because the invaluable advices I found in the Module #1, on the importance of profit clarity, left me with a lot of questions. I was full of disappointment, of bitterness. After spending 2 years and a half in this virtual world, coordinating every single of these 130+ events, managing up to 40 persons for various events production, designing and publishing a magazine from A to Z… I just couldn’t believe that my project was not more successful than that and at the very least covering my initial investments.
I was on revenge mode.
That’s what it was. I was eager to know if I did anything wrong and what and why and how I could ensure to never make these mistakes ever again in my entire life. It was an emergency. I didn’t want to lose an other 2 years doing the same mistakes. I was on a mission to learn from my mistakes and to better understand what I could have done to ensure the success of this particular project – and of all online-based projects in general. This is how I decided to fully immerse myself for over 6 months, almost full time, learning everything I could find on entrepreneurship, business management, goal-setting, success principles and internet marketing.
Try me. Seriously – try me.
Failing at this virtual project boosted my desire to better understand how real world projects were successfully put together. Now, you can try me.
You can ask me anything about…
- niche marketing
- email marketing
- list building
- article marketing
- online networking
- joint ventures
- shopping carts set up and management
- affiliate marketing
- affiliate management
- passive income creation
- multiple streams of income
- content creation
- product launch
- opt-in reports
- cold calling
- warm calling
- conversion rate
- return on investment
- product funnels
- marketing funnels
- one time offers
- squeeze pages
- landing pages
- viral marketing
- social media marketing
- social media management
- social media optimization
- Search Engine Optimization
- Search Engine Marketing
- Video marketing
And the list goes on and on. By reading all I could on internet marketing and all the relevant topics related to running a successful online business, I was answering my own burning question: “where did I fail?” I slowly but certainly learned a sad lesson about my project which will last me a lifetime.
It was doomed right from the start
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll always love Second Life™ . I’ll always support it. I’ll never be part of those who think it “failed”.
I firmly believe that this virtual world did not fail, I realized myself that it is just not set up for the standard expectations of real world projects. It requires to be fully immersed AND to have a deep understanding and knowledge of how services-based businesses work. Many products-based businesses are striving there currently, but I was never in it to promote products. I’ll definitely still do projects there and transform the situation by applying every single thing I’ve learned along the past years on internet marketing…
[ Like I recently got us to rank #2 on the first page of Google when you type “second life fashion magazine”. Similarly, we are on the 1st page of Google Result Pages for the term “second life fashion blog.” We also have over 2000 indexed pages on Google. And there are many more things I work on to ensure this project keeps the very first vision I had of it. ]
… But I am also, allow me to say that, a smart woman – and I do not plan on going gaga over marketing and social networking on my virtual agency’s website until I know exactly what I want from it. I learned this very powerful lesson from B-school, to always be clear about what you want before even getting started.
But all this work paid off. I’ve got my answer. I cracked the code…
…Of obvious stuff.
Right from the start as I said earlier – it was doomed.
I have learned along the months by reading other entrepreneurs’ experiences on various forums as well as autobiographies, that my project was just one more typical example of business failure. Here is how NOT to run a business:
- Firstly, I had no particular experience of running a business at all, let alone a fashion PR Agency – virtual or not. So of course, how could I know when I was on the right track for success or not? While having been managing a business is not a requirement, I should have got a business mentor, a coach, to guide me in the process and warn me against some decisions or goals.
- Secondly, I never put a business plan together. Duh! Major mistake that you’ll never see me doing again, ever. I now fully understand its importance.
- Thirdly, I haven’t done a marketing plan and never kept track of how much time or money I was spending promoting the agency’s activities.
- And finally… I was hoping for profits, while I never properly planned for it!
Let’s say it like it is.
On this project, I made mistake after mistake. I was this delusional virtual world business owner, full of confidence and ego – most definitely – and I kept moving forward in my projects without ever making a pause. I never set any goals for myself or my agency. I never tracked my progress based on what I was expecting most, which is profit. Never. I was naming it “passion”, “calling”, consciously putting a mental barrier between my dream vision and the reality. I knew deep inside that it was a failure but I didn’t want to acknowledge it… Until it was too late. During all these years, I just sat there and kept myself busy with my passion and hoped for the best.
Can I be absolutely honest with you?
Keeping myself working “in” my business and not “on” my business cost me a freakin’ lot of money.
Tomorrow you’ll learn how I saved myself from debt, the hidden benefits of being a loser and a few other stuff that you won’t find in the business page of your favorite newspaper.
Hey… Want to connect with me on Facebook? Click here to “Like” my Page and let’s chat!
[ Photo Credits ]
Tell me in the comments below what you would do differently in your business if you had to start it from scratch?