Case Study - Dan Caplan, MyCityFaces

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Being an entrepreneur today is not the easiest unless you have major backing, have sold your previous site for hundreds of millions or are willing to eat Ramen and shack up on your buddies couch. I unfortunately am not that lucky and do not posses those attributes! I am though lucky enough to do it the old fashioned way, come up with a good idea and put your nose to the grindstone and make it work. You see I am not a 20 something with not a care in the world, no responsibilities yet, and a naive approach to the real world that only comes with experience, but a mid thirties, two kids, mortgage bearing guy with a full head of steam and know how to be successful. It is very frustrating seeing seed money and other Venture capital requiring you to spend the summer or be baby sat and incubated, go to start ups that just rinse, wash, and repeat. This is the real world folks, you can’t sit in a circle and dream of ways to change the Internet and live in a start up commune, you have to go out and fight for what you believe in, spend your time in the trenches and create your own destiny.

We started by scraping some credit cards together and hiring a great web developing company, and doing the necessary components to get a working website up. Right now we are on a strict budget and as we make money and grow, we will add new features and update the site. Luckily our concept is pretty straightforward, so most of my time is spent on marketing, which I feel is the key to becoming a success. When you are bootstrapping your start up you need to watch every dollar and make them work for you. I am not talking about being cheap, just paying attention to what works and what doesn’t. The neat thing about the internet in the age of Web 2.0 is that there is an abundance of marketing avenues and what seams like a limitless amount of websites to promote your business, some with costs but a lot are free if you can think outside the box. You just have too do research and not be afraid to test out whether they work for you or not, it’s not about spending thousands of dollars and shoving it down peoples throats, but If something doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to try something else.

We are currently doing a lot of viral marketing, things like Pay per Post, Pay per Click, Blogging, Social Bookmarking, and the one I like the best, forum marketing. Everyday I sit at my computer and find new ways to promote, it’s about getting it in front of as many people you can, sometimes one person at a time. I send out promo emails to magazine editors, local newspaper reporters, I go to local entrepreneur and start up meetings, hit the streets with business cards, any thing I can do to get one more person signed up. None of these things cost a whole lot and they go along way too build a solid foundation. Just like any business you have good days and bad days, and as you gain momentum the bad days will hopefully go away. Be patient, the Angel Investors will come knocking on your door when you have something to show them, not just a concept. It takes time to create a successful company, and if this were easy, everyone would be doing it!

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