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Thread: A new web media company from scratch......

  1. #1
    One day older, one day wiser rafiki55's Avatar
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    I'm just starting to create a web media company that designs webpages in BC, Canada.

    I am looking for stories that anyone has or knows of. Has anyone started one? Sucessful? Still broke? How did you advertise? Regrets? Ideas? Advice?

    Anything and everything!! Cheers!

    thanks for all the input.

  2. #2
    One day older, one day wiser rafiki55's Avatar
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    no repiles!! someone reply?

  3. #3

    Hmm...

    I've started a new media company called Digital Ketchup Multimedia in the Philippines. We started out 2 years ago - from just being an idea to a registered company.

    And right now? well, we're dying. The 5 of us in the company [now 3] realize that it wasn't working out because most companies in the Philippines weren't ready for a web presence - or that they deemed it too costly. As the months passed by, we only had one client - who had big ideas about the internet but didn't form his business plans very well.

    Soon, money became a problem for most of us. We decided that we needed other jobs in order to sustain ourselves. So all of us got jobs - in different companies - with the agreement that if ever another project rises up, then all of us should drop what we're doing and do that - coz the company has to survive.

    Sadly,this wasn't the case. All of us got busy with our respective jobs. We'd get the occasional call for a price proposal or a partnership, but nothing ever came out of those because each of us simply didn't care anymore....

    We invsted so much [time - I'm glad there wasn't much money involved] only to have everything fall apart. We only had one successful project in those two years - and the client for that decided to pull the plug just last week because it wasn't working out very well.

    So, what did we learn?

    Well, here goes -

    1.) Fix your contract immediately. This is your most important piece of document. This will ensure that you don't get rip off and make your company look legit. Since we blindly just jumped into this business, we didn't have a well formed client and ended up getting ripped off once. And on our first client. Sigh...

    2.) I don't know about the companies in your area - but register your business immediately! Our clients always asked for receipts - for their tax purposes - and we couldn't provide during the first few months because we weren't registered yet - and we were marketing ourselves as a company! Hoo boy...

    3.) Make sure you have business cards! Meetings with potential clients or just casual conversation with people - people will always ask for a business card. I had a client who blasted me for not having a business card for them.. 'very unprofessional of you people...' to quote what she said to me... sigh...

    4.) Make sure everybody in your team are committed into the business! There were a lot of times that I was forced to do stuff that I wasn't supposed to do - simply because one of the team members didn't deliver. Be aware of all parts of the company - being a start up means not everybody is fully committed yet.... or it was like that in my case....

    5.) If you have the money, get an office. We used to work at the home of a friend - and suffice to say, we didn't appear very professional, neither did we act in that way either! Since we were in a house, we just ended up watching tv, or playing games over the LAN. Your work environment matters.

    6.) What else can I add? Hmmm.... just be sure you're committed into making the company thrive! Or did I say that already ? Ah well.. just tired I guess.

    So having said these, what's happening to us right now? Our sound engineer was the first to bail, and became marketing head in another company... our sales head became sales manager for another company... our graphic artist works for a call center ... another of us went into the army and me? I still design - freelance or for the company I'm employed in. I still have plans on starting a new business, but only if I have enough money to start again - and the committment...

    Welp, I hope my story and experiences help you. Good luck with your company! I really hope you fare better that I did.

    Oh! Didn't see a line there - how did we advertise? We used referrals. We used word of mouth and spread the fact that 10% of our contract goes to the person who referred the client to us. It worked for us.

    Again, good luck!

  4. #4
    One day older, one day wiser rafiki55's Avatar
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    wow...excellent! thanks for the ideas! Hmm...it makes me think... Any other ones out there??

    Thanks in advance.

  5. #5
    Flashkit Witch Azaraelle's Avatar
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    I did it for about a year, managed to get all the overflow and flash work from two large design companies and did extremely well financially... but cracked under the pressure.
    I have now got a full time job for about 1/4 of the cash and zero pressure.

    moral of the story: be prepared the pressure is intense!

  6. #6
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    Smile

    Short story:

    1997 ProWeb started.
    1998 ProWeb merges with J Tech to form D and J Media
    2000 D and J Media has made over $60,000
    2001 D and J Media has 3 branches & 12 divisions


    Good luck. I hope you do as well as I did.

  7. #7
    Thanks for the self-serving, ego-satisyfing reply, Hobart. Next time someone asks you for advice, think about the question before replying with "I'm a stud."

    DR





    Originally posted by Hobart
    Short story:

    1997 ProWeb started.
    1998 ProWeb merges with J Tech to form D and J Media
    2000 D and J Media has made over $60,000
    2001 D and J Media has 3 branches & 12 divisions


    Good luck. I hope you do as well as I did.

  8. #8
    Dynamic Systems, Inc. mikaelian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by rafiki55
    I'm just starting to create a web media company that designs webpages in BC, Canada.

    I am looking for stories that anyone has or knows of. Has anyone started one? Sucessful? Still broke? How did you advertise? Regrets? Ideas? Advice?

    Anything and everything!! Cheers!

    thanks for all the input.
    this is not the best time to start a webdesign company. Think about the perspective before investig your money.

  9. #9
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    No limos


    My first job in the industry was with a "flash boutique" that officialy started business a week after I was hired. The CEO was very young and extravigant and unfortunatly more concerned with decorating our extremely expensive, "loft style" office than he was with getting new clients.

    And of the eleven employees he had hired, only five of them were designers/developers and, as far as I could tell, did any meaningfull work. The other staff members were a sales rep, a marketing lady, a marketing guy, an accountant, and an interior designer. And I happen to know they made up about 70-75% of the pay roll.

    To make a long story short, the company couldn't make payroll withen six months. I left for corporate in-house work. All the other designers/developers and the sales rep bailed and formed a new, and very successfull company with out expensive furniture or expensive "office people".

    Here are five things I learned from the experience:

    1. Clients almost never come to your office so don't invest too much there. Sometimes you may even be respected for your "barebones" aproach.

    2. If possible, don't hang a shingle without already landing one or two steady clients. This is difficult, but if you already have steady freelance work make sure you keep it and expand on it.

    3a. Word of mouth is the best advertisement. Participate in local trade groups and get to know the designers and firms in your market.

    3b. Do not, for instance, try to attract clients by renting a Humvey Limo to park in your $6000 booth at a high tech trade show.

    4. Any office staff beyond the employees who actualy make your products should be hired on only if they are absolutly necessary to makeing a profit, the dirty leaching bastards... Oops, stike that last part.

    5. If your working for a company that can't make payroll be sure to take your company issue laptop home with you every night.

    Good luck,
    JC

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    All really good points..

    Mind if I collect some of the quotes for an article we're doing? It might just be a byline..

    At the very least we'll publish it on

    http://www.templatekit.com

    If so, just send me an email @ Tom@Templatekit.com and include a weblink to either your design site or resume if you want to.

    Cheers,

    Tom


  11. #11
    Senior Member Geoff Edwards's Avatar
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    this is not the best time to start a webdesign company. Think about the perspective before investig your money. [/B]
    I disagree.

    This <b>is</b> the time to build your web developement company. There is plenty of inexpensive freelance talent available and eager to help you build your company. The leaness of the current business climate will force prudence as you develope your company, then when the difficult business times correct you will be in a strong position to benefit. Companies that survived the great depression of the 1930s are some of the worlds strongest now (not to say of course that we are in a depression).

    So go for it. I know things are tough right now. But be smart and work hard nourish relationships with your freelancers. They may end up being your loyal employees in future.

    BTW I am in BC, Canada too.

    Cheers.

    The company I am building is http://www.streamworks.ca

  12. #12
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    The problem is most designers are high school kids (and some even younger) who may be able to reprogram Windows 98 into a stable OS, but lack the skills required to deal with the "real" world of business. That's why we have this "dot com bust" going on. They all have great ideas/skills/products, but had no clue on how to run a business. It's like jumping out of a plane without knowing how to use your parachute.

    I would say to you take many business classes. Take special care with Marketing.

  13. #13
    Corporate Nose-Picker
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    Here's mine...

    I work in-house for an aviation firm, it pays all the bills. My pet-project, E-Sense, consisted of a few little subcontract jobs here and there for other design firms. But I decided to try somethin different, and "hired" an unemployed friend of mine to be my salesman, working under commision. Well, now I've got my hands full, and almost no time to get anything done as I have a full time job as well! I'm registering in January...

    Here's the thing. I could never survive off it alone, at least not yet, so I recommend keeping another job, and invest your freetime in your company, until you have enough steady contracts to keep it goin. That way, you really don't stress yourself if you run dry; you have your job income to back you up anyways.

    I'm not sure what the future holds for me as I'm really doing great at my job...I might end up subcontracting my work out so I don't squeeze too much work on nites and weekends, and compromise quality.

    I agree with G. Edwards, if you work under constraint now you will mature and only better yourself as you grow. Besides, I'm going for the small companies that aren't really affected by the crisis, and I believe that's where everybody should aim at first.

    To close it off, a phrase from AC/DC":
    "To those about to rock, we salute you..."


  14. #14
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    hi there...
    read all the lovely replies...
    some pretty encouraging and some demoralising...
    i have 6 years of experience in the field of IT and i am 19...
    worked under a lot of pressure all the time and now i have become a tough nut to crack...
    now i own my own firm ... i have one alliance with a mucat based company and and my projects come from there...

    i have been good at marketing and luckily i was in india when it all started...

    i have also am alliance with a company wher i use there office space...
    the most importent thing which i learnt is to keep your overheads low...
    i try do all the work..as much as i can...
    pretty decent money..but then i am on a look out for much bigger once...
    i feel as i have been told that it is very important to be ambitious to attain something which every body cannot...
    funny but still i am called over ambitious

    In fact i am looking for a company or any individual who is in for shaking hands with me...
    we are a full fledged e-buisness solutions provides, and also being into designing and web animations big time...

    we are also into offline s/w development and e-commerce.

    Any enthusiastic IT guy who feels who has the hunger for victory and a sence of achivement can mail me...i am open to anything...
    nothing that i have nothin to loose but then who knows, you might be the guy who becomes the next BILL GATES...

    so would wait for the replies...

    work hard and have fun...
    to all the dreams and all the ambitions...

    regards

    anil

  15. #15
    High on Life!!!!!
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    web media company

    Hey! I did, just this past summer. Its called WebconXeon. Though I will admit I'm more of a web programmer and not a graphic artist (though that will change). Its hard. I started in August and got my first client right away (at my garage sale no less, LESSON: ALWAYS HAVE BUSINESS CARDS, even if you aren't registered) the business is registered as a sole proprietorship (yep, just me on my own right now) I've had some small jobs and a bunch of bigges (with some refits) in January. I landed my first BIG (as in mucho dinero and mucho referral business) a week ago. I've found the best way is to take brochures and cards, dress nice (sports jacket and jeans) and go knock on doors. Also go to networking meetings. Make sure you've picked your niche. If you want to chat, email me. I'm in Ontario
    eheyl@webconxeon.com
    Cheers

  16. #16
    Senior Member dlowe93's Avatar
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    Originally posted by rafiki55
    I am looking for stories that anyone has or knows of. Has anyone started one? Sucessful? Still broke? How did you advertise? Regrets? Ideas? Advice?
    sorry. i'm a little late to the game, but here goes:

    have a baby. it will make working until 3:00 am worthwhile.

    seriously, i would not recommend starting out on your own unless you have enough savings to pay your personal overhead for six months. that's about how long it will take to start seeing a positive cash flow and pay yourself a salary, if things go well.

    don't go into debt, if you can possibly avoid it. revolving debt will kill your business faster than anything else.

    take on as little overhead as possible, and only take it on when you know you have the jobs and cash flow to cover it. make a budget and stick to it.

    and now the two biggies:

    happy clients are your best customers. most of my business comes from ongoing jobs, repeat business and referrals. also, as much of a pain in the ass maintenance agreements are, steady cash is the greatest thing for any business.

    bill for everything. act like a lawyer: every meeting, courier cost, fed-ex package, diskette, peice of paper, etc. make sure that shows up on a invoice. my first attempt at self-employment failed in part because i didn't bill back my costs, and kept losing money on jobs. once you get used to billing your costs, get used to cutting them back. if you are charging clients 15%-20% on job costs, cut your hard costs back to 5%-10% and put that back into the business.

    hope this helps.

    d.

  17. #17
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    Gates is into programming big time!

    I am also being into designing and web animations big time and I too hunger for victory.

    Cheers.

  18. #18
    Heaven is made
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    Re: No limos

    Originally posted by OnRelease

    5. If your working for a company that can't make payroll be sure to take your company issue laptop home with you every night.

    Ahhh man, thats PERFECT!!!!!!!

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