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Zero Cash, A Little Talent and 30 Days


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#1 AbleReach

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 12:03 AM

Great fun and a stack of ideas in motion, by Jennifer Laycock.

Discussion - Zero Cash, A Little Talent and 30 Days

Full text of day 1

Her other writings, at this writing topped by the series.

Very enjoyable reading.

Elizabeth

#2 BillSlawski

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 12:12 AM

It's a real pleasure reading through Jennifer's articles and posts on her efforts.

I'm pulling for her to make it through the full thirty days, and find some success at the other end.

Nice reaction from Cafe Press to what she is trying to do.

#3 GeoffreyF67

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 12:19 AM

Speaking of cafepress, I spoke to a guy in Romania the other day who has a team of people submitting stuff to CafePress for him.

G-Man

#4 Ron Carnell

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 09:57 AM

I've been following Jen's series since Day One, and keep meaning to drop her a line to congratulate her on a great idea. Knowing her, she'll see this post and save me an email. ;)

As interesting as the concept is, I do however find it a bit contrived. On one side of the fence, Jen is bound to get more attention than would an unknown starting exactly the same site. On the other side of that fence, however, starting with zero dollars is an unrealistic limitation, especially when she starts spending profits she hasn't yet collected.

I think Jennifer's series is going to provide insight into a process, but I really don't think it's an accurate reflection of that process.

#5 AbleReach

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 01:08 AM

Ahhh, but is accurate the point?
She has a leg up, and she works at it. That's how to get a leg up in the first place - one gets established by working at it and taking advantage of lucky breaks. Lucky breaks don't create working at it.

I like how she gives background on why she does what she does, so that someone who doesn't know the ropes has terms and resources to consider.

Elizabeth

#6 Ron Carnell

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 09:44 AM

I'm not sure if accuracy is the intention or not, Elizabeth. Those who don't care whether Jen's experiences reflect reality, however, might also consider picking up some of the fiction written by American novelist Horatio Alger, Jr. It won't be nearly as helpful as Jennifer's series, but if they don't care about accuracy I suspect many will find it equally inspirational.

Personally, I have less problems with Jen having "a leg up," than I do with her accounting system.

Being already fairly well known, and being under a very obvious microscope because of the project, is clearly going to affect the outcome of the project. That can't be helped, a fact even physicists recognize. I can live with inevitability.

I would have been much more comfortable, I think, with a scenario that set a reasonable budget and incorporated something resembling a business plan. To me, that would have been setting a good example and would ultimately be more realistic. A small budget means slow growth, and I'm sorry, but that's just a reflection of reality. Instead, Jennifer started with zero dollars and is accelerating growth by spending money she ostensibly doesn't have. You can leverage accounts receivables, but you can't spend them, and frankly, spending your profits before you've received them is historically one of the most common causes of business failure. Yea, the numbers are small ones in this case, but it's absolutely no different than spending $5,000 in hopes the money to cover it will arrive in time. Negative cash flow creates a cycle that is never easily escaped, and honestly, I think it's a bad example to be teaching neophytes.

"Zero Cash, a Little Talent and 30 Days" is a great title for what I'm certain will be a very inspiring series. I just think "A Hundred Bucks, a Smidgeon of Planning, a Little Talent, and 30 Days" would have been a more realistic guide to the uninitiated, if perhaps a whole lot less catchy.

'Course, it also explains why people are reading Jennifer instead of Ron. :)

#7 Respree

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 10:11 AM

Absolutely not true, Ron. I read you all the time. :)

I think it'll be a good read for the people just starting off on the web, the ones who are possibly in the research stage, not having a clue where to begin or what to do. Can you make something from nothing? Very difficult, I'd guess, but we'll soon find out.

It's an intriguing idea, more so from a personal journey perspective versus a carefully though out and executed business plan. Seems like she's sort of making it up as she goes along, rather than coming up with a plan and executing it. Personally, I would not do it that way, but its not to say it can't be done.

I think the responsible thing to do is to temper the documentation with stating the obvious so that people don't get the impression that its easy - that whatever results she does achieve was accelerated through her high profile and talents that she brought to the table - factors others are not likely to have the luxury of.

You're right, though, Ron. There's no substitute for 'some' starting capital and a smart business plan.

#8 GeoffreyF67

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 05:54 PM

Even if the accounting is a bit off I think there's still some good stuff to be gleaned in the aritcle.

G-Man

#9 tam

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 09:42 AM

Only just came across this, it's an interesting idea. I imagine it's how the higher cafepress earners work. It's always interesting to see how people approach a project though.

I've looked at cafepress a few time but been put off because it's based in the US, and I'd imagine that would put of a lot of UK people buying. I keep having to chase my bank for form to pay in google cheques too :)

Might give it a wirl though and see.

Tam

#10 mcs

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 04:09 PM

That is, as you say Elizabeth, enjoyable reading - I wish her luck - I wonder where it'll take her. SHe'll certainly learn things she wouldn't have thought about had she not entered into her public project. Public: that's the weekness in the experiment - the benefit too...

The commercial value of free advertising is substancial. She created that before day one - perhaps it was on day one (I like to think it was the latter). Part of any success she'll see will be due to her public declaration of all she does.

Would this be the case if you or I were to test the same experience quietly?

I think not - but it would be an interesting parellel experience.

I have my fingers crossed for the experiment - no matter what the outcome, there will be important lessons to be learned from her regular progress reports :)

I love this kind of thing!

#11 expat

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 07:16 PM

Good to see your posts again, coops.

#12 Robert_Paulson

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 10:38 PM

Ron, I think you make great points, and I'd like to add to them.

First, I should say that the cause she's championing is great. Hard to do, hard to stick to for the first few months (and hard to watch a wife's expressions as a little one clamps down on her), but so worth it for the baby.

Back on topic, if this were to be something to show the aspiring "basement entrepreneur" that it's possible to scratch out a living on the web, then the 30 days should have been conducted in secret. Otherwise it appears disingenuous to claim you are starting from zero, when you already have a quite sizable audience to pitch your product. And the $108 doesn't bother me as much - pretty much anyone that has a PC and internet connection (a "basement entrepreneur") should be able to rustle up $108. Though to Ron's point, $108 > $0.

And Respree is right on the money, IMHO. I agree that despite the incongruities, one can probably learn a few things in reading it.

#13 AbleReach

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 04:21 AM

SHe'll certainly learn things she wouldn't have thought about had she not entered into her public project. Public: that's the weekness in the experiment - the benefit too...

AND, as a marketing person, she'll be consolidating a fan base. For me, the most attractive part of this project is how open she is all across the board. How many kazillion Marketing "Secrets" ebooks have we all seen out there? How many dozen times have we seen/heard that the way to success is some sort of secret that only company xyz can deliver? Oh, choke me! Do the "secrets" make for success, or does work, knowledge, exposure and inspiration have more to do with it?

She's showing she'll stick her neck out, go to the mat and give her all to a project. IMHO working on a series like this is a brilliant way for her to shop for motivated clients, while spreading around a dose of community-building zing.

Elizabeth

#14 Respree

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 10:56 AM

I would be fascinating for her to do a followup story - 1 year later. There's a whole slew of things she'll probably accomplish during the next 12 months, that weren't possible (or she didn't think of) in 30 days.

She reminds me of me when I first opened my online store in October of 1999. With 30 'whole' days of HTML knowledge in my head, the thoughts that raced through my head were, "What do I do? What do I do?"

I just took a trip down memory lane looked up what kind of business I was doing during my first 30 days online - a pathetic $38.49, which produced $16.81 of gross profit. :oops:

Month 2 revenue was better at $149.16
Month 3 was even better at $1,146.40

During those first few months, I remember thinking, "Is this going to work? How am I going to pay myself, my brother, my mortgage, startup business expenses and eat -- all at the same time."

Often times, success boils down to perseverence, hard work, patience and belief in yourself.

#15 GeoffreyF67

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 11:27 AM

Often times, success boils down to perseverence, hard work, patience and belief in yourself.


That is SO true! Most people fail because they simply give up or never even get started :P

G-Man

#16 eKstreme

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 11:41 AM

I wonder how many people she's inspired by this series. I for one is seriously considering starting my own CafePress shop. Not sure if I'll go ahead, but imagine how many people are thinking the same, and even if just 1% go ahead...

I think that's a powerful side-effect of her series. A big pat on the back is deserved just for doing that.

#17 JohnMu

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 01:49 PM

How much does she make from CafePress Referals? :D :mrgreen:

Seriously, even though a "normal" webmaster probably won't be able to make some sort of deal regarding that with them - I am sure CafePress would have been willing to pay "something" for the chance to recieve so many new shop-clients ... Hmmm :-)

Cheers
John

#18 tam

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 07:04 PM

I don't think anyone starts off with nothing, do they? You've usually got some applicable skills or it's something you're interested in so you have relevent contacts, bits of software, vouchers from google (I think I've got one of those somewhere...), a cousin that can build a website ;)

As I think she says, the extra audience she's got from the publicity probably isn't necessarily the type of people buying the shirts anyway.

I wonder how many people she's inspired by this series. I for one is seriously considering starting my own CafePress shop. Not sure if I'll go ahead, but imagine how many people are thinking the same, and even if just 1% go ahead...


Me :oops: I've been drawing pictures today - I think I'll give it ago.

Tam

#19 BillSlawski

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 07:11 PM

Me  :oops:  I've been drawing pictures today - I think I'll give it ago.


Some rabbits on some Cafe Press coffee mugs, Tam? I can see that. Might even order one myself, especially if it goes to help a good cause like that one.

#20 mcs

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 07:27 PM

Elizabeth - you're so 'to the point' - I find myself wishing that I were you! You've hit it squarely on the head - again! The openess is all - openess and honesty - it's refeshing.

It's a shame there isn't some kind of real time feed for this - it could be fun (for us) to follow. It could be even more stressful for Tam to take...

I like to think that she'll do ti - success!

Go Tam, go Tam, ...

Mini
x

#21 peter_d

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 07:51 PM

30 days?

Seriously, you can do it in one day.

Think (advertising) arbitrage.

#22 tam

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 08:02 PM

;) I could set up a webcam and you can watch me tear my hair out trying to resize images to the right resolution and work out how to use adwords ;)

http://therabbithous...irts/image1.gif
http://therabbithous...irts/image8.gif
http://therabbithous...rts/image14.png

Tam

#23 AbleReach

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 01:03 AM

Golly mcs, you're making me blush again. :oops:
Mcs, I look for your posts, too...

Right now I wish I was Tam! Tam, you draw beautifully. You remind me how much I used to love to draw. Thank you.

Soooo, how many days before the Bunny Depot hits the Website Hospital? Heh heh heh.

E-Me

#24 Respree

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 01:24 AM

Think (advertising) arbitrage.


I don't get it, Peter. What's the other market?

#25 peter_d

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 04:02 AM

What's the other market?


There are a few different "markets" on which keywords are sold, yes? :)

#26 tam

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 07:37 AM

Right now I wish I was Tam! Tam, you draw beautifully. You remind me how much I used to love to draw. Thank you.


Thank you :) Grab a pencil and get doodling! This is a good excuse as it's work :wink: I don't get much time to draw much either.

Soooo, how many days before the Bunny Depot hits the Website Hospital? Heh heh heh.


Give me a little time to work out how to work cafepress first. Plus finish all the "do you think you could squeeze this in by Christmas" work I've got :( I don't think I'll squeeze everything into 30days!

Tam

#27 tam

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 09:04 PM

I just sold two shirts :shock:

Less than 24 hours after I signed up I'm up to $4 profit :D

#28 AbleReach

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 02:34 AM

:banana:

Link, please! :-)

#29 tam

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 02:45 AM

http://www.cafepress.../therabbithouse

I've still got loads of work to do on it!

#30 bwelford

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 07:50 AM

That's great, Tam. .. and that's from someone who is not really much of a rabbit person anyway. (Shame on me. :D)

#31 AbleReach

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 05:54 PM

Here is some passionate writing about networking and hard work.

Good stuff.

Elizabeth

#32 manager

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 10:07 AM

Hi Elizabeth,

Just to thank for a most interesting and inspirational post.

I only read it yesterday, as I am extremely talented; I thought it would be irrelevant to me. :D :D

I think I will have a go at cafepress, looks like fun. The Framed Tiles will be my favourite product I think.

TreV :)

#33 AbleReach

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 11:11 PM

http://www.searcheng...ock/006423.html

Finally I stumbled across a thread at the Cre8asite Forums that had managed to escape my attention for several weeks. It turns out that there was quite an interesting discussion going on over there about the project with some compliments and some criticism for the project. It was excellent reading, even if one of my old forum buddies was giving me a hard time about the project.


:)

Hello, world!

#34 projectphp

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 03:47 AM

I am sure Jen (may) see this, but I have only one critique: The articles aren't linked. A Next, previous, days in a drop down would be very, very handy!

#35 AbleReach

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 07:21 AM

Yes, I noticed that, too. You have to click on "Articles" and look for individual days.
This series should really be linked together in an archive.

Elizabeth

#36 Ron Carnell

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 07:50 AM

Yea, I too read the latest report with interest and, I'll admit, just a bit of chagrin.

Jennifer didn't have to call me old. :)

#37 Respree

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 11:07 AM

I'm sure she meant it in most affectionate of terms. Maybe 'dear' might have been a better choice. Watch for an edit. :)

#38 polarmate

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 02:48 PM

She got ClickTracks Pro for free. Pricing for that starts at $3495. She needs to value the goodwill she has in the industry and that really is her capital. You don't always need hard cash.

#39 AbleReach

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 03:36 PM

goodwill... is capital

I absolutely love this concept.

When I look at this series I see a wealth of encouragement and brainstorming offered up for free in user-friendly language, with discussion. It's like a really involved website hospital thread, with a marketing plan hospital twist. ;)

Elizabeth



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