Posts Tagged ‘business startup ideas’
Staff Number: 1 but considering outsourcing work
Date started: July 2010
Tell us what your business does?
It’s basically a free classifieds website for the moment, providing free classifieds space for people to buy and sell new and used items but will be charging micro fees soon with the intent of donating a percentage to worthy charities throughout Ireland. At the core of the business idea, being green and recycling is on top of the agenda. Plus in times like these, people don’t necessarily have the funds to purchase all the things they want and need brand new, so adtree is a great platform to make some savings, make some money, and to prevent additional appliances being thrown onto the scrap heap.
It’s not ground breaking, it’s not revolutionary, but it’s new, it’s Irish and It’s my first serious endeavour.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
The idea came to me when myself and a friend where searching for commercial vehicles on other classifieds websites, the sheer volume of listings added daily made me realise how profitiable a business like this could be, so Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I decided to polish it up a little.
The sites that I had visited were looking for fees for listings, and they never really gave anything back to the community apart from classifieds spaces, so I thought that if I were to reduce the fee, and donate a percentage of those fees to charities, many more people would benifit from the site, not just the providers. There were also a couple of other things I thought the sites were lacking, like reviews, comments and feedback along with the all important inclusion of google maps which is a no brainer! That’s when everything fell into place and the hunt for an appropriate template for the site began.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
No, I wasn’t even interested in business to be honest but I did like the idea of working on my own and only having myself to answer to. I never really liked being told what to do or how to do it.
After a few months of unemployment I decided to fall back on something that I’ve been doing for years and that I was passionate about which was audio engineering. I tried production but I could never really get the formula just right and tracks were either never completed or never finished properly, so I decided that editing and mixing might be something that I could excel in, but where to start!
That’s when I searched google for freelance sites. I came across one of the best freelance sites around, Odesk.com and began to work from there offering my many years of experience as an audio engineer to the community along with some graphic and web design work as it was my hobby.
Not long after I had updated my profile, took some tests and applied for projects that I got a reply from a bid. It was a guy in the states looking for podcast editing and engineering for his new site. I graciously accepted the project as it was my first for the paltry sum of $2.20 per hour.
The podcast content was about online business and automation and I couldn’t help but learn by proximity as I was spending about 4 hours a day editing and engineering. It wasn’t long before I was intrigued and inspired by the words of Matt and Brandon in their podcast and the ideas and advice they provided seemed very straight forward, even for a non interested party such as myself. So with their words fresh in my ears I decided to give it a go and set-up my first site, the site was basically my main point of contact for all audio editing and engineering enquiries along with some tips and tricks for podcasters. As my profile developed on oDesk and more and more clients began availing of my services, I soon realised that these wood be podcasters needed alot of help, just to get their recording settings right. That’s when I had my big idea, but alas it’s still just that, an idea. If I ever get it off the ground I’ll send you a more inspiring story (hopefully). After many months of editing I decided it just wasn’t enough, an opportunity came my way to try an offline business with a friend and I took it. As we needed a commercial vehicle to provide our services we were drawn to classifieds sites to find what we were looking for and that’s when I decided to create my own site. My first real endeavour.
What planning did you do before you started up?
Not alot, as I’m practically a beginner with no business background or no prior interest in business I didn’t know exactly what was needed to get it off the ground. But I did know that an online business could be run very cheaply, could be off the ground within a week and was simpler to maintain than an offline business. Plus, the price of failure was lower than that of a business with larger amounts of interested parties and investors.
What I did do however is research my higher PR’d competitors and see what they were offering, and what could be improved. I also researched high traffic keyword phrases for seo! I know it sounds very lax but as stated in the beginning of the paragraph, Im a beginner.
Which entrepreneurs do you admire?
There’s not a hell of alot, but top of the list would be Matt Dottson, his relentless motivation and get it done attitude is inspiring, he churns out new sites developed from scratch which fill specific voids in certain markets like a milk maid churns butter, that is if a milk maid does more than just milk the cows. Then there’s Brandon Kennington, an engineer who likes to tinker and invent things in his spare time ,his greatest invention is the porch potty, using items he could get at his local hardware, he put together a product that provides pet relief in the home which needs very little or no maintenance or cleaning. and his marketing skills are pretty amazing too.
Both of these guys are the presenters of the automate my small business podcast which I happily edited for twenty shows, and without them, I would have had absolutely no interest in business whatsoever.
What challenges have you faced how have you overcome them?
Not many just yet thankfully, I’ve had some issues with the development of the site and its functionality. As the template is developed by someone else, all I can do is request features and wait for updates. Funding and keeping the sites online is another issue but that is something that my audio work looks after. Another issue is keeping content fresh. As I’m not at home all the time looking after these projects, finding the time to keep content updated is difficult so I decided to hire a V.A on Fiverr.com who will pull affiliate ad’s from amazon to my site for five hours at a time. An absolute bargain if you ask me. Which brings me to my next issue. Monetising the site! As I’ve not introduced fees for the site as yet, I have resorted to listing items from Amazon which I will make a commission once an item has been sold. I’ve also included games on the site. They may not be very relevant to the sites content but I’m hoping that parents looking for items will come across it and share it with their kids, or even play the games themselves. Most of the games are free, some of them you need to subscribe to or deposit money to play, and others provide the option to deposit funds in return for upgrades or special features.
Then of course there’s getting traffic to the site. A small adwords campaign is in effect at the moment, I have set the budget pretty low for the minute as I don’t see the point in bringing people to the site when there’s practically no content but when the content is increased to a healty level and I’ve fixed a couple of bugs on the site, I will increase the budget and CPC.
How have you promoted your business?
Promotion at the moment is pretty low, The adwords campaign is my main source of traffic but I have posted a link on a local forum which get’s a few clicks per week. A twitter account has been made and I intend to outsource the collection of followers pretty soon, I’m in the process of creating a FB page which again, I intend to outsource the managment of, and word of mouth which is always good.
What has your growth been like?
Low, it’s still very early days but there has been some interest in the site so far. I’m hoping when all the bugs are fixed, the social accounts are kept up to date, the fees are introduced, and the content is fresh, that I will start to see the fruits of my labour.
What are your hopes for 2010 and beyond?
Hopefully before the year is out, I would like to see an active set of members on the site, that my amazon partner account has a healty balance, all social media accounts are managed by V.A’s and kept up to date with a large following. And that I still have the entreprenurial spirit.
I’m also hoping to have plans set in motion to get funding for my “big Idea”
In general though, besides business, health, happiness and a smidgen of success will be just enough to keep me going into 2011 and beyond.
In Ireland, a company is deemed to be audit exempt if it fulfills all the criteria set out below in both the current and previous year;
* The company must be a Private Limited Company;
* The amount of turnover of the company must not exceed €7.3 million;
* The total assets of the company are less than €3.65 million at the end of its financial year;
* The average number of employees must not exceed 50;
* The company must not be a parent company or a subsidiary company;
* The company must not come within one of 19 classes of companies listed in the Second Schedule to the 1999 Act; (Generally banks and companies that are under the control of the Financial Regulator)
* The company’s annual return must not be late in either the current or the previous year;
Late Annual Returns
The condition which generally causes the most trouble is where a company is late filing of it’s annual return. This will result in the company loosing its audit exemption status for the current year and also for the next year. The CRO are very strict in this regard as they are unable to waive the exemption as a matter of law. There are also late filing fees of €100 and €3 per day for every day the return remains outstanding.
Ways to help you avoid loosing your company’s audit exemption status
1) Ensure that the company’s Annual Return Date is the maximum 9 months after the company’s year end.
2) Try to get the accounts of the company prepared as early as possible to avoid unnecessary delays.
3) Filing your annual return online gives an additional 28 days to file the company’s accounts.
Loss of audit exemption can prove to be expensive as a significant amount of additional time will be required to complete the accounts of an audited company as opposed to an audit exempt company.
If you wish to discuss any of the above do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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