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thejenn 9th November 2005 10:08 PM

Zero Cash, A Little Talent and 30 Days
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One of the beautiful things about the Internet is that it is supposed to level the playing field between the major corporations and the little guy trying to eek out a living on his own from his basement. Many a netrepreneur has managed to go start a company on a shoe string and turn it into a business that generates a nice profit. The whole point of Search Engine Guide and our sister site, Small Business Brief, is to try and help people learn how to do just that.

So, I've decided to set up a little challenge for myself and to both blog and write articles on it over the next month. The idea is to try to setup some type of business in my free time and see if I can start to turn a profit in a 30 day period. That shouldn't be too hard, since I'm also going to limit myself to spending zero cash out of pocket. That means that any sales at all will be profit.

I plan to outline all of the steps that I take over this 30 day period so that readers can find out what worked, what didn't, and maybe get some ideas to try with their own sites. The point I need to make again is the lack of money involved here. There's a big difference between what someone can do with cash to pay for hosting, for marketing, for web analysis and so on. I'll be working without many of those advantages, using only what I can get for free.

Logan 10th November 2005 07:33 AM

Best of Luck :abovehead

Curious, why not combine the use of cafepress w/ AdSense and/or Ebay?

David Wallace 10th November 2005 07:50 AM

Great idea! Best of luck to you, Jenn.

That is exactly what we have done with Arizona Builders' Zone. Besides renewing the domain each year and paying hosting fees, I don't think we have ever spent more than $100 on the site since it was initially launched in 1997 and yet it pulls in income from multiple streams. The only real thing that has been spent on the site is lots of sweat and labor. :)

thejenn 10th November 2005 10:06 AM

The ebay thing isn't a bad idea and that might come into play here before too long...only on day two after all. :) And remember, I'm doing this in my free time...the goal is to replicate what the average joe (jill?) would go through...

Not sure what you mean by using AdSense? I'm still new to this Cafe Press thing and trying to figure it out as I go. I know that I can put articles on a CafePress site, but can I also put AdSense on it?

Logan 10th November 2005 11:03 AM

I don't know regarding the cafe press, definitely probably some technical limitations there i didn't consider. Been a few years pre-adsense since i've used it.

Regarding AdSense, my thought pattern is the following. I assume eventually you will be trying to promote the site and have visitors. Some of the visitors may purchase and thus generate revenue, but as we typically know the vast majority won't. How can you generate revenue from visitors who do not make a purchase? Some may be interested in offers presented w/i AdSense advertising on your site and leave that way - thus generating a very small amount of revenue ... at a cost that meets your budget. Just my thoughts - doesn't necessarily follow traditional 'business logic' ... but a suggestion based on your end goal and the limited budget you have.

thejenn 10th November 2005 01:21 PM

Good point. I need to look into how AdSense might be integrated with Cafe Press. I'm also trying to figure out if I can use my own URL (I own in any way other than forwarding it.

But...I can't use it right now anyway, because the goal is to not spend any of my own money. That means things like advanced hosting, stats tracking and even eBay are out until I make a few sales. (Ebay costs .25 cents to list, even if you don't sell your product, so until I make a sale and have profit to spend on things like eBay, it's outside of the rules of the game.)

Gotta say...this is tough.

Though I did get picked up on Jason Dowdell's blog today. Working on a press release with a decent concept that I'll be writing about tomorrow. Also going to start doing some link seeking, which I'll also chronicle.

Robert 10th November 2005 06:38 PM


Originally Posted by thejenn
Good point. I need to look into how AdSense might be integrated with Cafe Press.

You can easily integrate all types of AdSense ads into your Cafepress store with the premium store.

Premium stores are free for the first 15 days, so you could start with that and revert to the standard store if you haven't generated enough income in that time.

Or, even with the free store you may be able to include AdSense code. Can you add code to the header or footer in the free stores?

thejenn 10th November 2005 10:21 PM

Gotta say, earning a new appreciation for "the little guy."

So much to take in and so little time. :) I did find that I can incorporate AdSense, but I'll have to build my own custom HTML header and footer. Haven't had the free time to do that yet. So it will have to come at some point down the road...

thejenn 11th November 2005 10:55 AM

Day Two
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Yesterday, I wrote about the start of a new project that will see my trying to launch an online business with zero cash out of pocket with a goal of turning a profit by the end of 30 days. (You can learn more about why I'm doing this in the Day 1 article.)

Day two is when I really started to appreciate the amount of work that goes into starting up a business as a side project. Add in the zero cash bit and you start to see that it takes some true creativity to get something rolling. In the "real world," I'm used to having a budget for things like web analytics, site designers, copywriters and search marketing campaigns. In the life of a shoe-string entrepreneur, those luxuries don't always exist. What's a girl to do?

PaulD 11th November 2005 04:18 PM

Great Project! I have just done a quick search on "Famous Breastfeeders" (and got some very odd looks from my other half LOL) but there are some very famous people there! Just a thought that mentioning/writing about them could certainly help generate interest/search results etc.

Just my 2p worth!

Take care

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