How I’m planning to start a business since I lost my job

9:36pm last Thursday, I got a text form my boss saying that an investor has pulled out of our startup. So therefore we were all out of jobs! It wasn’t a total surprise. It looked like it was on the cards for a while because like many tech startups, we’d built a product which the market didn’t want. But in a sense, losing my job was a blessing in disguise.

My thoughts

Over the past month or two, I hadn’t been very happy in my job because I’d stopped learning. I was doing the same-old, same-old. And it was frustrating because although I’d written guest blogs which had got hundreds of tweets, bringing tons of traffic, people weren’t signing up to the product. Then, if they were signing up, they were not using the product. And therefore wouldn’t want to pay us.

The thing is, in marketing you’re judged by your track record. The best marketers e.g. the best agencies and Marketing Directors boast about how they grew the bottom line. They say that their work built a £80m business. Ultimately you succeed in marketing by helping create a profitable business… and that wasn’t happening at our startup. So I wasn’t progressing.

I’m not excited by other jobs

I’ve kept an eye on jobs for a while. There’s lots out there. Content marketing jobs at digital marketing agencies, SEO jobs and marketing jobs in startups. And I’d probably be able to get these jobs since A) I’ve met the people who run/manage these businesses at meetups and B) I’ve had some great experience.

The problem I have though, is that many of these jobs don’t excite me. They just don’t enthrall me. You may have been there, in a situation where you’ve got skills and experience for a decently-paid job, but you want more than that. You want to be learning and developing. Of course I’d develop a bit in one of those jobs, and maybe I’d make a huge success of it. But maybe not.

The thing is I’m restless. I get bored easily. And once I’ve learnt something, I want to learn something else. Anything repetitive really frustrates me. So I thought… if I’m not going for one of these jobs, what can I do? I want to do something self-employed. So I thought about what I can do.

What do I have & know?

  • Modern Marketing (SEO, content marketing, guest blogs, outreach and PR)
  • I know about marketing software etc.
  • I can put murky complex business jargon into plain bloody English
  • Contacts in the online marketing industry.
  • A face which doesn’t crack mirrors
  • Balls (or confidence, as polite people call it)

What do I want to do in life?

So then I wondered what do I want to do with life. I thought, well… I’d like to run a business where I…

  • Work 3 or 4 days a week
  • Earn £80k+ (and significantly more when I scale the business)
  • Eventually train and employ really bright school-leavers and graduates. So they can have an amazing career with me. Or go off and run their own businesses.
  • Have everybody working in a co-working space with an awesome atmosphere.
  • Write a popular book. (nb: I have written a book, but it’s only sold 6 copies :P)

And in terms of own living arrangements. I’d like to…

  • Live in an old house overlooking a park, with lots of bookcases and charm.
  • Cycle to places in town, and drive a little Smart car for longer trips.
  • Live with a very handsome, intelligent young guy.
  • Go for long walks and bike rides in the countryside at the weekends
  • Read lots.
  • Cook lots.
  • Grow herbs on my windowsill.
  • Have breakfast in bed every morning.
  • Employ someone to do my washing-up/cleaning/clothes washing.

OK – I know that all sounds very quaint and gay. And that I probably sound more like a greying pensioner, than the 19 year old that I am. But that is my big mega-goal and how I’d ideally live.

My business idea

On my last working day, on Thursday, I was researching an infographic about ecommerce. To be more specific, shopping cart abandonment.

On average 68% of shoppers who put things in a shopping cart, don’t complete their purchase. There are many reasons for this like high shipping costs, or not being ready to buy.

However, businesses can install a really basic piece of software which will email customers who fail to order. It nudges customers. With the software, ecommerce site can recover between 10-30% of the abandoned carts.

However, only 14% of ecommerce sites (according to Listrak) use the software.

I researched the market, and there don’t seem to be any consultants in this field. Yes, there are a few ecommerce consultants. But nobody who is laser-focused on shopping cart abandonment. And since this software can seem complex and confusing… I can install this software for ecommerce sites. I can advise the owners, optimise their websites and manage this software for them.

My value will be incredibly high because it can boost overall sales by 10-20% and often even more. And in terms of time, it’s really not time-intensive.

My plan

At the moment. I don’t know very much about this industry. However, I’m going to contact the software providers… and will learn about them, from them. I will work out how this industry works, which companies are best. Which software is best for which kind of sites. I will learn as much as I can, as quickly as I can.

I’ll have a gobsmackingly good content marketing strategy.  I’ll create a blog around shopping cart abandonment. I’ll write chatty reviews. I’ll put up photos and diagrams. I’ll make videos of myself talking about it. I’ll create infographics with all the facts. I’ll guest blog on other sites. I’ll retarget people who visit my site. I’ll have a regular email newsletter.

Basically, I’ll create the best and only resource out there, about shopping cart abandonment. I’ll become a consultant, earn handsome fees. I’ll run workshops. I’ll host events. I’ll write a book about it. I’ll speak at events. It’s quite possible it will scale beyond me and I’ll need to employ other people and consultants.

OK! OK! I’m getting ahead of myself, and I’m getting far too excited. But ultimately I want to offer some kind of really helpful service to ecommerce site owners where I  earn lots of respect, goodwill and money, so I can live as I please and have lots of fun.

In the meantime I’ve got 9 months living expenses saved up and I’m still living with my parents. Worst case scenario of all this: I have an whirlwind experience which doesn’t work out. And probably get offered a job with one of those software companies. Best case scenario: I get to achieve my big epic life goals.

I’m probably crazy to do this, but I’m actually going to set up my own business!

What’s next

Over the next week or two, I’ll work through my action plan of marketing stuff. Things like SEO keyword research, planning blog articles and infographics, talking to the software companies themselves and testing the water with ecommerce site owners. I anticipate opening the doors on this site, Monday 22nd April, if not before. This is very, very exciting.

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