SportsLizard Entrepreneur Blog

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Year, new change in direction for me....sort of

As 2007 approaches, my entrepreneurial journey is taking another interesting twist. No, I'm not getting a job. I guess you can say I'm "consolidating" my work and adjusting my long term focus. When I quit my job, I thought SportsLizard was all I needed to spend time on. Then I started iPrioritize, and shifted focus there. As I struggled to make ends meet with two successful sites and two not so profitable businesses, I started doing SEO consulting because it's something I enjoy, am good at, and can fund my businesses as they grow.

A funny thing happened along the way, as it always does. I was presented with a new opportunity that I couldn't pass up. In doing SEO work, I started doing a few local jobs with people who heard about me through word of mouth. Some of the jobs involved other things in addition to SEO (design, adding forums/blogs, database stuff, etc) and I took on "partners" for each project. One project I worked with a close friend, Mike Li, who owns Chinese Food America. Another project I am working with another longtime friend, George Dushensky, the owner of the insanely successful Detailed Image.

We tossed around the idea of merging our businesses, including our consulting gigs. It wasn't until last week that we got serious about it though. Together we spontaneously purchased a large site that has steady revenue (larger than my sites, but I don't want to say the name until the deal is 100% done). We called a series of midnight meetings to figure out how we were going to legally structure this, and we came to the conclusion that we should create and umbrella corporation to buy out all of our sites, own this new site, and provide web design/application development/SEO. And so Pure Adapt, Inc was born last Thursday (thanks to our fast working lawyer).

We are fighting to finish the transition before '07, and we are all swamped with work. I've got enough SEO work lined up to cover me through the first quarter of '07, which is exciting and also a bit stressful. However, when you take a step back and look at Pure Adapt as a whole, I can't help but think the company we just formed is somewhat brilliant. Yes - we are providing web design and all of that stuff, like a million other companies out there, but we are different because we all own web businesses. I think that's a big selling point with clients - we have the same problems they do.

And all of that's nice, but the thing that really excites me is that we have a different plan for growth. We don't plan on taking on as many jobs as we can, and hiring more employees accordingly (as I think most firms do). We plan on reinvesting a large portion of our revenue into purchasing sites (as we did last week). We look to buy sites that already generate steady revenue, aren't "fad" sites, and that we can get a ROI within 6 months. Anyone whose shopped around for sites knows that there are sites out there for any budget and most of them are not maximizing their potential. We buy them proven (as opposed to making lots of them) and then grow them. At that point we either sit on them or flip them for a profit.

We will continue to always do SEO and web design, but we won't take on clients infinitely. Ultimately the more we make working for clients, the more sites we will buy and the less clients we will take on. Honestly, I couldn't be more excited about this interesting "twist" we put on our biz!

My role in all of this is somewhat obvious - primarily SEO work, the occasional database driven site, look for and buy new sites, and manage my existing sites. I've already outsourced the majority of work for SportsLizard, and I plan on doing the same for iPrioritize (I'm mostly talking about marketing, I'll probably continue to code the sites). Both Mike and George bring unique things to the company, and as a whole we compliment each other very well.

Opportunity is the key in all of this. To some people on the outside, each move I've made since I was about 18 hasn't added up. But I have always been able to recognize opportunity, and act accordingly. If I see something that presents me an opportunity to learn or grow or make money or whatever I want at the time, I pretty much always take it. I tend not to let fear get in the way, as I think many people do, and I feel like I'm better off for it.

2007 should be an exciting year for myself as an entrepreneur and Pure Adapt as a company. I also think it will be interesting to see the dynamic of this blog change as I write "for three" as opposed to one. My business problems are now Mike's and George's and vice-versa, so they will now become key "characters" in my entrepreneurial story. They support this blog and it's mission and what it's done for me and others, so hopefully I can still stay as transparent as I've been in the past with things. As usual, I'll continue to ask for forgiveness rather than permission :)

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