A successful entrepreneur shares her thoughts on business success and failure.

Posts published in the Business category:

How I Helped Ramit Sethi Break Through Barriers and Earn Millions of Dollars

This post could potentially help you create the next huge online business. I’ll get into that more below, but first, since you’ve been asking, here’s what happened in the aftermath of my last blog post!

It’s been 2 1/2 months since I shared the story of my startup failing here on my blog. And I’m happy to announce I can now share the epilogue to that story: After I wrote the post, Whoosh Traffic was acquired by another local Austin company, OwnLocal. (more…)

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My Personal Transformation: 6 Life Lessons From 6 Years of Blogging

6 Life Lessons I launched erica.biz on December 4, 2007. This week, I’m celebrating 6 years of blogging here. Wow!

It’s been just over 6 years since I sold my last company, as well, and I’m amazed at how much I’ve grown. This week, I figured I’d do something special, and share some of the deep, heartfelt lessons I’ve learned in the past 6 years. Some of these were tough for me to grok. All of them have changed me as a person. This may be a tough read for some of you…but I hope these lessons will have as much of an impact on your life as they did mine!
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Financial Modeling: What Is It And Why Is It So Darned Important?

Financial model Ah, the financial side of your business. If this is the stuff that makes your eyes glaze over (and yet you’re an entrepreneur)…you’re the person I wrote this post for.

I know a lot of us aren’t big fans of doing the financials, and I understand why you feel that way–after all, it’s certainly more fun to build a product than it is to work on the freakin’ numbers.

By the time you’ve read this post, you’ll be able to do a financial model yourself (without hiring a crazy-expensive CFO!), and you’ll know the following:

  • How many sales you need every month to pay all your bills.
  • How to price your products so you don’t lose money on each sale.
  • When to hire your next employee (or when to quit your job)–based on the sales goals you set.
  • When you’re going to run out of cash (or, alternatively, how much cash you’ll be able to pay yourself every month without going broke.)
  • How much capital you need to raise (if any!)
  • How to quickly assess your business every month to ensure you’re meeting the goals you set for yourself–and how to know quickly if you’re in trouble, before it’s too late.

In summary, this is the blog post I wish I had 11 years ago when I was getting started in business. Let me state this unequivocally: Building a financial model has been paramount to the success of my business. However long it takes you to build a model (and it won’t take you too long if you follow the path I’ve outlined below), it’ll be worth it. It may even save your business from going bankrupt–or enable you to quit your job or hire your next employee more quickly.

Now let’s take a look at what a financial model is and how to set one up for your business… (more…)

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How to Find the Perfect New Business Idea

New business idea Starting a new business, but stuck on finding the perfect idea? I hear you. In fact, you’re not alone.

Recently, I asked people who opted-in for more information on my upcoming “Art of Email” course what they needed most in their businesses. Although many people said “Customers!”, several people asked how they would go about finding the perfect new business idea.

Let’s talk about that. I know the phase you’re in when you’re stuck on the idea. You want to start a business. It pays better (maybe!), offers more flexible time by allowing you to set your own hours, and gets you out from under the thumb of a boss. Plus, it’d be awesome to work for yourself and get people to sign up for something you’re doing for them.

The problem is making the leap from where you are now to actually having a successful business. In this post, we’ll work together on the first few steps to get you to the point of building your new business’s foundation.

First, to have a business, you need two clearly-identified items: (more…)

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The “Macklemore Effect”: How to Rocket to The Top of Any Industry–Even If You’re a Nobody Right Now

Macklemore Years ago, when I lived in Silicon Valley, there was a core group of about 50 people–the “cool kids”–who would make or break any social application that came about. Even though it often seemed, back in those days, that Twitter was down more often than it was up, the “cool kids” persisted in their use of it, and so it grew. Twitter’s founding team befriended and embraced the “cool kids” and success ensued.

Twitter was successful on a small scale until 2009, when Oprah joined it and Ashton Kutcher became the first person to get 1 million followers. The “cool kids” had started the revolution, but Oprah marked the day when Twitter became mainstream.

Over the years, the core group of “cool kids” slowly fragmented. Some of the influencers, like Robert Scoble, went on to grow huge networks of their own. (Scoble currently has 325,049 followers on Twitter and nearly half a million followers on Facebook.) Others returned to running startups, blogging, or even working a day job, much as they had done before. The “cool kids” didn’t as heavily influence Facebook’s rise to the top of social media, and they barely registered a blip as Pinterest pulled in record-breaking amounts of obsessed followers.

Many startups today try to implement that same model of getting Silicon Valley’s “digerati” to pay attention to their app/website/new social media network/whatever. The founders are convinced that if only Robert Scoble will do a video of their new company, or if TechCrunch will write an article about their latest round of funding, that they, too, will be successful. They see the outside results of something like Twitter, without understanding the view from inside the Valley–and how much things have changed over the past few years. (more…)

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Welcome to erica.biz!

Photo of Erica Douglass

I'm Erica Douglass.
After selling my online business at age 26 for over $1 million, I created this blog to help you grow your own business quickly.

If you are motivated to change the world and want to learn from my successes (and failures!), please get my free business tips and join over 112,000 other monthly readers!

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