The Startup Journey, lessons I wish I knew before starting

I wasted time, money, and energy seeking a solution for visibility and niche positioning. After a tedious and costly process of trial and error, I made it and things are now great, but have a few tips to save you trouble and money! Read on my friend…

Whatever you want to do, be sure someone wants it

Sweet dreams are made of this: a demand for what you are offering. It doesn’t matter if it seems like a genius and original idea or a very simple one, if someone wants what you are trying to sell, then you are in business mi amigo, and believe me, you don’t want to invest all your savings in an idea without testing its potential. So first of all ask your friends and family if they would be interested in your idea, then your Facebook circle and some random people who will probably give you a 100% honest answer.

Google Adwords, a big dogs game

After spending several hundred dollars in Google Adwords, I arrived at the conclusion that in my case it was useless. Why? Simple, in the race to the first page you will have to bet as much as the biggest companies out there in your domain, which are probably multi million players in the marketing game. Lets take a look at some numbers:

In short, if you are not on the first page you are basically wasting your money, same if you are on the first page too… Why? Because to be on the first page I was spending more than 20$ per click, and guess what happened then… competitors and bots, clicking on our ads multiple times per day until our budget was over. To sum up: Google Adwords will work for you if you have a huge marketing budget or if you are in a niche market with small number of competitors.

Choose your social media wisely

There are tons of apps and social media platforms out there, but you don’t have to use them all. Before creating an account in every website that you heard about analyze a few things first:

- What is the main purpose and the average user of the platform. For example, Instagram is an ideal place to promote events, fashion, music, artistic projects and personal life. But you won’t find serious political opinion or economics knowledge (and related products) on it. So don’t waste your time if it won’t work for you.

- “If something is worth doing it’s worth doing right.” How much time will you have to spend to post on a regular basis and are you willing to do it? Let’s talk about Youtube… finding ideas, making a video, editing it and finally posting it is a never-ending project that will take you at least a whole day per week. And mediocrity usually fails in social media.

- Be sure you can actually sell your product through your social media. Connect your website and shop to every single social media account you have and be sure people have easy access to what you do, how much it costs and how to buy it.

Jaaxy and the “magical words”

The same idea can be sold in a million different ways but not all of them have the same impact. This is why analyzing the popular research and online trends can make a huge difference when you try to sell and promote your content. Jaaxy is an excellent tool that gives you the most popular words and subjects on Internet; for example, how many times the word “Startup” was searched on Google the last month, and how many times it was used by competitors. So the idea is to find popular words that are not used a lot by competitors so you can get a better chance to be seen.

Talk to people

The best ideas I received are definitely the result of random conversations with random people. So don’t be scared of the exposure, cut the scarcity mindset that convinces you that someone will steal your ideas, and don’t be mad or frustrated if someone out there contradicts your point of view. Be egoless with your business. Easier said than done, but in the long run it is the only way to succeed.

A last bonus advice: ups and downs are normal… a startup is a unique and incredible adventure and you can’t be 100% prepared for it, just go along with the journey and do your best.

María Rojas — Director of Strategy and Marketing at YourPersonalEconomist