I just realized that it’s been a few months since I’ve updated my blog, so I wanted to first apologize to my clients and all the other folks that enjoy reading about the finer points of content marketing and search optimization. I’ve been working extra-long hours recently though and I just haven’t had a chance to post anything worth reading…but you know how that goes.
I’ve also been receiving a lot of emails about my social media site PackRise, and I am as frustrated as you are that we haven’t been able to launch a beta by now. But I wanted to update you on that journey and sort of give you a first-hand look at how big social media websites get made…which is actually been one heck of a learning experience for me as well.
When I first started asking around for help with PackRise, my original goal was to find a local developer that was strong enough to help complete the core algorithm in-house. The search actually started back in the fall of 2014, and I’ve yet to find anyone with the proper skill-sets locally. I’ve even talked to every other web developer in Spartanburg and still came up empty…even the big Greenville agencies couldn’t find anyone to recommend.
So that basically left me with three options-
- Move to Silicon Valley (which isn’t happening)
- Work with a solid coder remotely (which I tried three times)
- Hire a specialty agency to build the entire site (which I can’t afford)
That brought me to the world of angel investing and let me tell you, it’s not anything like you’d expect. I talked to about a dozen investors total, made it to three face to face meetings, and walked away with for funding from all of them. But even with the best offer, there were far too many contingencies…and it just didn’t seem worth giving away part of my creative control.
And here’s how a typical investor meeting works. You email them, give a quick two-paragraph pitch and then send over a very basic business summary. If the investor likes what he sees, then they ask for the full business plan…and if they like that, they’ll schedule a meeting. Just getting to this point can take months, however, and then you’ll get an email saying, “Can you meet us in Chicago this Friday at noon?”
So you pack your bags, hop on a flight, book a hotel room and then ultimately sit in a lobby waiting for hours…only to be given three minutes to sell your entire concept. And even though I covered financial projections and revenue streams, all three investors asked the same first question- how soon can the site be launched with a paid subscription plan?
Now remember, PackRise is a social media site about paying it forward and helping your community, so the last thing I’d want to do is to roll out with a business model that didn’t focus on rapidly building communities. You can’t do that with a paid subscription model though, at least not on day one, so I thanked each investor for their time and I left empty-handed.
That’s when I started rethinking everything about PackRise and how it should be launched, and I realized that I either needed a great strategic partner or I had to raise the funding 100% on my own. And for now, I’m going the solo route because it just makes more sense.
For now, I’m working stupid-long hours with an increased client load, plus I’m knocking out a book, “Thrive as a Freelance Writer.” I haven’t shopped publishers yet, but I think a niche book explaining my journey and helping folks earn a legitimate income writing online could have pretty big potential- I’m covering everything in it from SEO to copywriting, finding clients and time management.
So cross your fingers for me- I’m hoping to get enough of a book advance to go all-out on a crowdfunding campaign for PackRise. I do have a solid plan of action anyway…it’s just a much longer, slower route than anyone wanted me to take.
I promise to keep you updated more regularly though, and please be sure to start liking/following me on my business social media sites. That will be critical for me in the months to come. And please, keep sending the referrals of your business contacts that need marketing/copywriting help…I can sleep when I’m 80. =)
And hey, how about them 12-0 Panthers! Go Cam go!