All posts in Entrepreneurship

The L Word

launchI’m sure most of you will know how I’m feeling right now. Relaxed. Happy. Excited. Looking forward to the future. A bit overstressed too. That’s how everybody feels after Launch Day. I’ve been working on two projects for almost a year now, one at work and another as a personal business with a friend of mine, and fate wanted them to eventually launch on the same week. The last month has been pretty crazy and that’s why there hasn’t been much activity around here.

So what has kept me busy? Glad you asked. At work I’ve been working on with several people on a social videogame magazine called OnGames as an evolution to the now resting in peace Most videogame magazines rely solely on the editorial team to write of the content, specially the one promoted on the home page, but with OnGames we want to give more visibility and a louder voice to useers who want to talk about the games they like (or not). As of now it’s only in Spanish and will probably be that way for at least quite some time.

The other project, which just launched yesterday, is onSwingers, a social network for swingers. The fact that they’re named similarly is just a coincidence. What makes onSwingers so special and worth working on? Right now there are several erotic/adult dating sites, the most famous being Adult Friend Finder, but all of those sites share the same problems:

  • Anyone can register, so there are a lot of fake or unused profiles. We’re using a different approach by relying on users to invite their friends. Only being invited by an existing member can you sign up to the network. Additionally, we’ll be partnering with several swinger clubs all over the world to reach more potential users where just word of mouth would be difficult to get to. In any case, while possible, it will be harder to get into the network without being an active swinger.
  • They have a crappy design and a very basic set of options for users. They’ve been around forever, so they have LOTS of users and they can get away with being lazy and sit around to collect the profits. We built a very clean and usable site from a design point of view with lots of useful features (and more to come in the near future). The kind of site you would expect to launch in the Web 2.0 era, as opposed to the 90s look that most of the competition offer.
  • There’s no way to know if a profile is fake, and a lot of them are. We understand that in the Internet you can’t never be 100% sure of anything, and many famous scandals prove it. Nonetheless, we think we can help users figure out if a profile is fake by providing a set of tools. First, there are verifications. Users verify other profiles they’ve met in person thus telling other people they are real, and only verified people can verify others. We verified the first batch of users so they can start the process. And then there’s some information you can check in a user’s profile, like if you have common friends or see who was the user who invited him or her in the first place.
  • They’re very expensive. We think an Internet business shouldn’t cost that much when it’s easy for you to easily scale the service to support more users. We’re still deciding on the price (until Q2 of 2010 it’ll be free), but it’ll definitely be cheaper than the +$30 per month people pay to use AdultFriendFinder, and as opposed to the most of those sites, we’ll also offer a period of 100% unrestricted access for free.

Those are just some of the benefits onSwingers has over other adult dating sites, and that’s why I think it will do great. Right now it’s only available in Spanish but if you’d like to know more you can read the official blog or watch a video tour. You’ll definitely be hearing more from it in the coming months. It’s funny how some people look at a product’s launch as the light at the end of the tunnel, the end of something, when it’s actually its birth, the beginning of everything.

The Perfect Lifestyle

That's the dream...As I’ve said before, my number one priority right now is starting my own business. Why? Well, for starters is something I truly love. I enjoy pretty much all the aspects of it, from planning to development, PR or marketing. OK, maybe not accounting, but you can always hire someone to do that for you. What I find most interesting of running your own (small) business is you don’t do the same thing two consecutive days, you become a jack of all trades. I like that, it keeps you from getting stuck in monotony.

Being honest, I also love the possibility of earnings a lot of money. I’m a very ambitious person, and while I don’t have dreams of having a ridiculous house or a fancy car (I don’t think I’d ever buy one, as I don’t like driving), my goal is getting to a point where money is no longer an issue for me. Where I could travel, go to restaurants, buy drinks for me and my friends or rent an apartment without even having to look at my bank account. I think that’s pretty achievable in a year or two.

But all in all, what I’m looking forward the most when it comes to having my own business, is living THE lifestyle. For me, that means being able to travel all the time, live wherever I want, staying in a place a couple of days or a couple of months depending on how I like being there. And again, without having to worry about the financial details of doing such a thing. Working wouldn’t be a problem, since I’d be running an online business, I could manage it from any place in the world where there’s an Internet connection.

I don’t really like the touristic way of travelling, and CouchSurfing would definitely help me get a better feel of all the places I’d go to. For all of those who don’t know what that site is all about, basically people offer their couch to fellow travellers who want to crash there. What do they get in return? Meeting new people from all around the world, exchanging stories and the satisfaction of helping someone else. I’ve been hosting a lot of people lately in my flat  (this is my profile), even four people at a time, and it’s a very gratifying experience. For me it’s the ultimate way to travel: staying at the place of somone who knows the city very well, so they can tell you the best places to go, even those far from the touristic places, meeting really fascinating people, and as the cherry on top of the cake, you get all that for free.

Hopefully you’ll be able to read here in the coming months (or years) how I achieve this lifestyle, so if it’s the kind of thing you would like for yourself, you may even get to learn a thing or two from yours truly 🙂

Focus, focus, focus

Focus!I think what most people lack when it comes to making their dreams come true is focus. Make no mistake, I don’t speak from the perspective of a highly focused person who never loses sight of the goal, quite the opposite. As most people,  distractions and opportunities pop into my life all the time, and sometimes they make me focus on things that aren’t my highest priority at the moment. That’s one of the reasons I’ve started this blog, to make a commitment to myself, to remind me what are my goals and that I should always be moving forward to reach them. After all I’m a guy, and we’re all about reaching objectives, right?

So what is important? What should I be focused on? Well, for a while I’ve been trying to reach too many goals at the same time, in different aspects of my life, and I found that out to be very inefficient. You see, anyone has a limited amount of “motivation points”, and when you run out of them, things suddenly start to not work out as you would like. New habits are hard to establish into your routine, it takes time for them to be something you enjoy, to be part of who you are. In my case, I’ve been trying to introduce in my life so many things at once, that none of them ended up working. Some of my goals are eating (way) healthier, work out every day, start my own business, learn about how to be a good (amateur) photographer, blogging regularly or improve my public speaking skills, just to name a few. Some of them require a high level of focus, others don’t, but I can’t do everything at once.

That’s why I’ve decided to put some of those goals on hold while I focus on the most important one for me, and the one that will make the rest of them easier once achieved: starting my own business. Truth be told, it’s also the one I enjoy the most, and I’ve actually been working on that for a few months now, since I went part time last  July (and some more time before that, but not as serious for obvious reasons).  On the side, I’ll also work on my public speaking skills, as I enjoy my weekly Toastmasters meetings and it doesn’t take much time, blog here every once in a while and also try to fix a health problem I’ve been carrying for way too long and that’s getting to a point where it’s really affecting my life (more on that another day).

And what about you? Are you focused on the right thing?