Session Review: Turning Projects Into Revenue Generating Businesses (Rheingold, Hunt, Rivera, Victor, Carson)

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Summary
This is a panel of passionate entrepreneurs that deployed a successful web strategy or service. They share their stories, hints, failures for others to share.

Being in a startup at PodTech, it’s interesting to me to check out how passions turn into businesses, I’m watching this session and live sharing it, Turning Projects Into Revenue Generating Businesses, with Ted Rheingold of Dogster, Tara Hunt of Citizen Agency, Gabe Rivera of Techmeme, Shanalyn Victor of Pixelgirl Shop, and Ryan Carson of Carson Systems.

I’m sitting next to quite a few community guys, Lionel from Dell, Alex from Scrapblog, Brian Oberkirch, Adam Darowski.

Ted: Dogster is much like a magazine, which leans how it’s the link to an existing medium, there are no new

Ways to make money: (Rheingold)

-Advertising and Sponsorships
–Adwords
–Ads, Contextual and Basic
–Sponsored
-eCommerce, selling goods
–A wide variety of selling services and goods
–Donations
–Check out Deviant Art, where you can buy and sell art to hang on the wall.
–Also shows Dropsend and Laughing Squid (Ted
–Consulting Services (showing Chris talking to God)
-Subscriptions
–Virtual Currencies
–Virtual Gifts (zeFrank and others in MicroSponsorships)

Ted, not sure, but is there a model that wasn’t mentioned around micro ecommerce transactions? For example if someone purchased a book on amazon but came from your website, and you get a cut, what category should that be in?

Questions:

Did you start this business out of passion or for the love of money?
Carson: First project did not make money, learned from this and now think of a business model.
Victor: Started project as an art gallery, which paid for hosting fees, did not realize it would make money.
Hunt: Wanted to “Support” her passions
Rivera: Saw several opportunities when they started it


On Resources

Many folks in the audience said they were trying to start a small business or project on the side to get funding.

Tara: Seeks mentors and may seek a CEO at some point for future growth.
Panelists: See value in accountants.

Rheingold: His mentor suggested they need to sell at least 50% of the time, and to improve products.

Rivera: Not in a selling mode, business is coming to him.

Hunt: Be part of the community that you serve, and doesn’t see the value in advertising.

How to you determine pricing?
Carson: Determined by what’s selling, look for demand
Hunt: Boutiques may charge more, look at market offerings.
Rivera: Try to set a standard, look at what others were selling

Ebay Affliate challenges the classifieds and affiliates not being effective. Gave several examples of where affiliates are making money

Carson: Suggests that enterpreneurs figure out what the price point is to be independent.
Many of the panelists don’t think an exit strategy is in their futures, although Carson wants to sell dropsend

Questions (from me) How much time do you spend doing this, and what have you sacrificed
Carson: Only works four days a week, and sacrifices some peace of mind.
Hunt: Sacrifices a little bit of (mental) sacrifice.
Rivera: Spends a lot of time watching his site, and enjoys it.
Victor: At one point was making more money 20 hours a week than her corporate job. And is now working all the time.
Rheingold: Since your business may fail, suggests not to put in more money than one can afford.
Hunt: Looks for free or cheap resources, software, services.

Should you tell your revenues?, and tell how you’ve failed in a project

Carson: Failed a product, one of his earliest ones, but that didn’t keep him from continuing forward
Hunt: Has not published finances (but I’ve read on her blog that they’re doing well). Had a company called Rogue Strategies, taking a huge risk and it didn’t pan out.
Rivera: Has business rolling in, and hasn’t had a huge failure.
Rheingold: I’m not sure if I heard that right, but he’s making signifcant revenue, over 1 million dollars. Brian says there’s 200,000 members, so that’s quite a significant input per customer.

Victor: Suggests those that replicate the site, send them cease and desist letters, and often they’ll back off.

Carson: Inspiration piece: Now is the time to succeed, don’t quit. All it takes is to cover your expenses and make it happen.

Victor: Location doesn’t matter for success.


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About Live Blogging: This is fun, I really enjoy capturing events and sharing the knowledge with others, it also serves as a reference point for me in the future, check out all my posts tagged “conference