SportsLizard Entrepreneur Blog

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Why Would Anyone Read a Blog About Me?

Who would be interested in a blog about me? If I asked myself that question a year ago, I would have said no one. I had just graduated from RPI (recently ranked the 43rd best school in the country) with an B.S. in Industrial Engineering and took a good job as an engineer with a large consumer goods company in Connecticut. While I was very proud of those accomplishments they don't exactly warrant a blog. I can see the title now - "Kid Graduates College and Gets a Job."

The thing that sets me apart is that I am an entrepreneur. In the summer before my senior year of college I started SportsLizard.com, a sports collectibles marketplace. My vision was (and still is) to become THE place that people go to when they are looking for sports figures, cards, autographs, etc. I wanted SportsLizard.com to be to sports collectibles what Amazon.com is to books (that's an analogy, for those who bombed their SAT's).

So what happened? Well, I started the business completely with my own money (I am not the kind of guy to give up control of my business just to get a little cash) with the hope that it would catch on so fast that I wouldn't have to get a job right out of college. I knew most businesses took years to turn a profit but I somehow figured mine would be different. I was wrong.

I was now faced with a few choices as graduation approached. I could take a huge small business loan (on top of all the student loans I already had) and try to get the business going that way. I could drop the business and use my degree to enter into the workforce like everyone else. Or I could do both - take a job and run a business. I knew I would make plenty of money to live on and operate the business. Where it gets interesting is trying to have enough time and energy to work as an engineer 40 - 50 hours a week and then come home and operate and grow a business.

I chose option 3. This is where I think I am unique. This is where I think others can learn from me. I think there are a lot of young adults out there who WANT to start a business but don't even know where to start.

A few months ago a longtime friend who had just graduated college called me and began asking questions about how to do it. How to start a business, how much money it took, how long it takes to start making money, how much time it takes, etc. He knew that I was able to grow my business while working a demanding job and he wanted to do the same.

At that moment the proverbial lightbulb went off. That is when I decided to start this blog. I realized people ARE interested in me because what I am doing is uncommon. They want to know how I do it and they are curious to find out if they can do it too. Now, I can only speak to my own experiences, but I truly think that people, especially young entrepreneurs, can learn a lot from me and find strength in knowing that they are not going at it alone.

Coincidentally, I am starting this blog at a very exciting time for me and my business. I recently won honorable mention in the Microsoft Start Something Amazing Awards for starting SportsLizard.com. It is an honor to be recognized by Microsoft and this accomplishment gives instant credibility to SportsLizard.com. It goes a long way towards reaching the point where I can leave my job and focus solely on the business.

In the few years that I have been a business owner I have learned that the road to success is not an easy one. Through this blog I hope to provide you with a very candid look inside of the life of an entrepreneur. Most people only see the success and don't see the countless hours of work and sacrifice that go into growing a business. I hope to show you the daily ups and downs of being a 23 year old internet entrepreneur.

I appreciate any and all feedback and will do my best to respond to anyone who contacts me. I can be reached at ajm@sportslizard.com. Good luck to all!

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