Category Archives: Business

Progress so far

I have started working on my own business in December 2008. Here’s the progress so far.

Idea

Idea is very simple:  web gallery with shopping cart for wedding photographers. For more details see my older post.

Pricing

Fotrel is a web application. My clients use it as a service. The whole software-as-a-service model has a great appeal to me. I can make money while I sleep. There is no pain of acquiring new clients.

I’ve set the price to $95 per month right from the beginning. I didn’t want my product to look cheap. On the other hand it is flat price. I don’t like the idea of charging commission for this kind of service. For some reason it feels like putting my hands in client’s pocket. After all, my expenses are exactly the same regardless of how many orders my client gets.

Then, after reading Jay Abraham’s book I got an idea: charge $95 per month only if photographer has sales in that month. This creates a safety net for my clients: if my product doesn’t bring profit to them at least they are not losing money on it. This should be especially appealing to small (one-person) studios. Also, when you have sales paying $95 feels like giving away part of the profit, not parting with your own money. So far people like this idea. It certainly makes it easier to say yes rather than no.

Clients

Not everyone pays me each month because of the pricing structure. So it is somewhat hard to tell if someone is my customer. A photographer could sign up for my service just to try it out and then never come back. I define my client as someone who has uploaded at least one wedding or portrait gallery in past 3 months.

At the moment I have 15 clients.

Profits

Profits chart

On average, I get $300 per month.

Expenses

You might be wondering why I have those red months with negative profit.

  • I hired web designer twice.
  • I sponsored few AIPP mentoring sessions.

Hosting is the biggest part of my expenses at the moment – about $150 per month. I’m using Amazon EC2 and Softsys Hosting.

Conclusion

Overall, I’m happy with my progress. For now, my focus is on preventing those red bars from appearing again.

P.S. You can take a look at my product here: Fotrel.

Idea for my business

Idea for my business is quite simple: web gallery for wedding photographers. Here’s how it works:

  1. Photographer uploads photos after the wedding.
  2. Friends and relatives view photos. Some of them order reprints generating extra money for photographer.
  3. Photographer pays me a monthly fee.

How did I come up with this idea? I was looking for an idea for my own software product for a long a time. Then, in one of the books I read an interview with Joel Spolsky where he recommended creating a niche product. As an example he suggested creating a photo manager specifically for wedding photographers instead of photo manager for everybody. And I thought to myself: heck, that’s not a bad idea, I’ll try to execute it.

Surely, there are other products that do the same thing. This doesn’t stop me. If my execution is at least half-good, I should get some clients. I’m aiming at creating a small Italian restaurant on the web, not a global chain of fast food franchises.

I Want to Start My Own Business

Hi, my name is Pavel and I want to quit my day job.

Where am I now

At the moment I’m working full time as software developer.

Where do I want to go

I have had an idea of starting my own business for quite some time. I decided to build my business on the side. I’m going to work on it part-time. My goal is to grow my business to the level where it could support me and my family. At that stage I’ll be able to quit my day job.

I have a lot of distance to cover. I need at least $5,000 per month to quit my day job:

  • $1,900 – home mortgage
  • $2,000 – living expenses (food, electricity, gas etc)
  • $1,000 – just in case (buffer)

Fortunately we don’t have any credit card debt.

I definitely don’t want to take any investments. I want to bootstrap my way up. My business should pay for itself.

I will post updates about my actions here, on this blog. Hopefully this will prevent somebody from making the same stupid mistakes as I do.

With this blog I’ll try to answer this question: “Is it possible to start home-based business on the side, without quitting day job?”.

Onward!