You can start an Internet business fast. What about starting one in seven days?
That's what I did last week, together with my buddy Jay.
We worked hard, and we made it. We had the idea for the business earlier than last week, but we started acting on it on Monday, June 22.
By Sunday, June 28, we had started a split-testing and community development company.
Our company helps other Internet businesses get more revenue from the traffic they already have - charging an affordable monthly fee.
And here's why you should care about this:
First off, if you're interested in making more money online, we might just be the service you need.
Second, you can leverage a system to start an Internet business fast.
Jay and I both give credit to this book, and I want to take the chance to thank Dan for writing it. Without it, our company wouldn't be here.
Here are the basic steps we took to start our Internet business that fast:
7 days to start an Internet business
Dan outlined nine elements of a bootstrapped business idea, so we knew exactly what we needed to think about.
Finding a business idea to execute on
Knowing what you're good at inside out has been crucial.
We all gather experiences in our lives. Each year we get to experience new things and grow our skills.
How many years do you consciously remember? How many new things did you learn in those years?
Jay and I set up a Slack group on the first day, talking ALL DAY about what we could do.
While we both can do A LOT, we found a combination of skills that got us excited:
He's a beast in community development. I can run split-tests and improve websites.
We could build a unique split-testing business that not only runs A/B tests but helps clients to nurture the new leads they'd get from the tests.
A company name was found pretty fast as well.
Since we run A/B testing and do Community Development to give Internet businesses more impact, we named it ABCD Impact.
Outline the client benefit
An online business has two ways to grow their revenue.
1. They can increase traffic to get more sales.
2. They get more sales from the traffic they already have.
We help you with #2.
By increasing the conversion rates and giving you specific strategies to nurture your leads, we help our clients grow their business online.
Now that we knew what benefit we can provide to our clients, we needed to be clear about what market would be the best fit (heard of Product/Market Fit?).
That discussion alone took a whole day of slacking around.
Starting an Internet business fast is not easy! Even if you're doing it with another person. Usually, the last thing I do in the evenings is to send a message to Jay. And the first thing in the morning is to check for new messages from him. We work hard.
Ok, back to the product/market fit:
We figured that our ideal client has a few attributes
- The business has a reasonable amount of traffic already (50-100 daily visitors minimum.) The more traffic, the faster A/B testing will bring statistically significant results.
- The business is selling products or services on a blog, in an online shop or via email marketing.
- The business owner has clear goals for the outcomes of the business website.
The secret pre-launch
We're not heavily promoting ABCD Impact (yet); we did a secret pre-launch.
Within the launch week (after getting the website up), we reached out to business owners in our network to get them as beta-clients.
In some experiments, those currently see conversion rate increases from 5% - 41% currently. Some even get up to 200%, while other experiments decreased the conversion rates.
We already learned that even decreasing conversion rates are a good thing - because they give valuable insights on what the audience dislikes.
Our clients learn what copy resonates best with their audience, so they can use it in other marketing parts as well. And what they should avoid using in their marketing.
The processes for the clients weren't as smooth in the prelaunch as they will be for the final launch - they knew that.
But we're still already working with some big names and the feedback has been positive so far.
What it's like to start an Internet business fast
While I tried to start an Internet business fast in just seven days, I was also renovating the house my girlfriend and I live in.
So at day-time I was removing furniture, wallpapers, ceilings, and stuff like that. There was only night-time left for business.
It reminded me of the months when I was starting my business on the side while working as a business consultant.
Little sleep, lots of work - challenge accepted.
Luckily there's Slack. And luckily my timezone is a few hours ahead of Jays.
So in the evenings we were bombarding each other with Slack messages and built the business.
I spent many long nights on building the website while Jay worked on the positioning and messaging.
I remember an enthusiastic discussion about the domain name.
While Dan's 7-Day Startup strategy is focusing on taking action fast, the domain name costed us too many hours.
We came up with all kinds of domains in a 3-hour chat. Some of them were pretty good actually, like impactbrewery.com.
Then we bought abcdimpact.com just to keep the momentum. Businesses always can rebrand if necessary.
I learned some important lessons from this launch:
- Positive feedback doesn't pay the bills. When you're reaching out to potential clients and their only reaction is "great idea" or "I like your service", you've done a bad job at converting them.
- Only focus on what's most important. Thanks to Dan's book, we knew what we needed to focus on.
- Decide fast. It's better to act and get feedback on what you did than planning for hundred hours and never launching.
- WordPress is great for launching fast. There's no need to spend days on perfecting the design. Using a WordPress template you can launch your website within hours. The website you see took us probably 6 hours to create.
So far, we're getting amazing feedback, and we started working with some big names in a private beta (which is why I can't announce them yet).
Dennis Yu from Blitzmetrics recommended us publicly, which is a huge achievement itself. And we're keen to share the first results we've been able to achieve for our clients.
Short teaser on the results:
We've seen increases in conversion rates by up to 200%. Even though that was a spike, we're able to grow the conversion rates between 5% - 40% on average.
If you want to start an Internet business fast, go and check out the book 7 Day Startup by Dan Norris (linked above).
I'm convinced that ABCD Impact has the potential to grow to 5 figures per month.
And I'm glad that I've got a business partner who loves entrepreneurship probably even more than I do.