Assumptions and the dissonance of reality: My experience with PageOne.ng
Around March last year, I founded PageOne.ng with the assumption that it will be an open platform where anyone can share an opinion on anything that matters to them. Well, this assumption has now been invalidated.
One year after, PageOne is now a financial and business news blog with 99% of all the content published by my team.
While the road was very rough just like for many startups that ended up making a success of what they eventually became; the drastic shift from what I envisaged and what came to pass is a big learning for me.
As as a would be startup founder, you always think you have everything figured out. Competition, check! Monetization check! Content check! All these and many more areas are very certain until you eventually launch the product. The dissonance that comes thereafter becomes a huge blow that most founder(s) find very brutal and they eventually give up.
As in my case, we had many promises from interested and perhaps uninterested writers who promised to start publishing with us. We had a well planned calendar. It dawned on me that such model is light years away from me, particularly in Nigeria, my country of base.
My undying stamina and the reliability of my Co-founder, Joseph Amos, saw us through a rough and tumultuous path. We were not only abandoned by a coterie of promissory writers; some of our founding members left after revenue was not coming and venture capital became pipe dream.
The pieces of what was left was very difficult to pick up. We used big data to decipher what was bringing traffic to our site. We then focused on those contents, built a niche around them Readers started flocking. By the end of last year, our path became clear.
We have now clocked a year and I can tell you the nightmare is over. At the last time I checked Google analytics, our website has received nearly 500,000 organic and unique visitors. Monetization has taken shape and we hope to open more models and take some bets on product innovation.
We are finalizing our books for possible investor talks.
As a lesson, while it is good to assume when starting a venture, assumptions are often wrong and the disconnect lead to a massive ego crushing that many people are not prepared for.
But never hesitate to assume. Without assuming that you can start, build and run a business, there wouldn’t be a Facebook, Amazon and even a PageOne.ng.