It’s April 1st now, and it’s been 3 months since December when I quit my job and stopped looking for one since I’ve gotten out of school. It was both exciting and scary.
Graduating from wantrapreneur to entrepreneur wasn’t easy, but it’s the only lifestyle that suits me I think. Also building an internet-software app that I complete myself from start to finish, then seeing people use it and appreciating it, it’s one of the most rewarding experience.
I wanted to share my journey and experience to possibly encourage you to do the same, or help you in any ways that I might helpful by sharing what I had gone through and what I’ve learned.
My first project is an online dating app that’ll feature both a web app and mobile app. It’s dating services for Christians in Hong Kong. I’ve finished the web app for the most part now (which is why I just started to have some free time to write this).
Fortunately this is not a completely new startup. My partner has ran this group for 10 years, and I’m now joining him as CTO to help building a newer, more exciting app, and also make more marketing efforts to push and grow it bigger. It had a few thousand users signed up in the past 10 years, and roughly a few hundred active users. Not the biggest business that’ll make me rich, but it’s a nice start.
And here I want to talk about the fact that I’m a ‘micropreneur’. At this moment, I focus on starting businesses and startups that are ‘micro’. It means basically 3 things:
- I’m not looking to hire employees
- I’m not looking to raise funds
- I’m looking for profitability within 1-2 months, not 1-2 years or longer
Of course given the above, the business could probably never grow to millions of dollars. But hopefully it’ll kept me well fed and provided enough that I don’t need to pick up another job or consulting clients.
With this new tech-startup wind blowing to Hong Kong (and all over the world), people are getting a bit crazy about making the next billion dollar company I think. 95% of startups fail is the truth. Raising X million dollar and acquiring X thousand users in few months sounds glamorous and all, but at the end, most don’t pay well (or don’t pay at all).
Keeping my family in good financial condition is a higher priority to me than becoming billion dollar company founder/CEO, so that’s why I’ve particularly chosen to focus on ‘micro-preneurship’ right now.
I want to encourage more entrepreneurs to take the ‘micro’ route when starting up. Building a X millions dollar company require much expertise, skills, experience, and luck, to achieve. Unless you are rich to start out, risk a few years on a venture that might not pay isn’t necessarily the best way to go.
HK Christians is a great project for me because it’d already been profitable before I joined. There’s almost no risk of it generating no money. Of course on the flip side, there’s almost no chance it’ll generate millions of dollars, but again that’s not what I’m looking for at this stage of my life. It’s a great micro-business that’s getting me started.
This is another business that I started with a couple partners. The concept is an online referral network that allows professionals, such as real estate agents, insurance agents, and lawyers to refer business to each other.
Here I’m partnering with a couple people who had been in the mortgage brokerage and finance business for over 10 years, and I rely on their expertise to bring this thing up and running.
This is truly a ‘startup’ from the technical sense, as compared to HK Christians which has been running for 10 years. However, it’s still my cup of tea of ‘micro-business’, because of how we plan to attack it.
One way we could do it is make it completely free, accumulate thousands of users, raise funds, and think about monetization later on. That’s NOT the way I’d want to do it right now.
The other way, the ‘micro’ way, is charge immediately (we charge commission on successful referred transactions).
Advantages of ‘micro-startup’ (which are disadvantages of typical startups on the flip side):
- Quick proof of concept and validating business idea (if there’s no revenue in 1-2 months or profits in 3-6 months, you know something’s wrong)
- Low risk, getting paid quick for your work, or quitting soon when you haven’t put in too much investment
Advantages of ‘high-risk startup’ (disadvantage of micro startup):
- Higher potential result, after raising funds and possibly getting acquired big company for XX millions
- High speed and leverage, using venture capital investment money to fuel growth
Of course there’s no right or wrong, but in my opinion, too many people choose the high-risk route when for some, the micro route would’ve been better suited for their goals and lifestyle.
One of my initial goals of 2016 is get fairly good at programming, building internet software. I gotta say I’ve really improved SO MUCH over these past few months, building 2 real production apps that are real business and should monetize.
The next goal for me is to master digital marketing. My 2 businesses are great playground for me to practice and get good at. That include SEO, SEM, email marketing, referral advertising, web conversion optimization, A/B testing, etc.
I will be continuously sharing both tech and digital marketing stuff that I’ve learned through doing, making posts on this blog under respective categories. If you find them helpful, please feel free to leave a comment, send me an email, share my posts. I hope to really share my experience and learning to help others as much as possible.