Hey guys, this is my first post in r/entrepreneur, and one of my first on reddit. A brief introduction, I’m a working-student-entrepreneur, out on his own with bills to pay, extremely motivated and always learning more. I study Business Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Psychology. I quit my salaried job with benefits in June, and have been freelancing ever since.
I have been working on two projects, both websites, however one is more of an ecommerce blog, with the other being managing a service company and transforming it to a “I cut grass for cash” to a taxable, on the books, reputable business.
PotSpotCT (Connecticut) www.potspotct.com Let me start by saying, I’m very proud of what I was able to do for this project, I launched it on 4/20/17 and worked on it regularly until about 7/20/17. I also created an instagram (@potspotct) and was able to organically grow it myself and get to a peak of 500 followers. Everything about this project- content, web design, marketing, etc, was done by me. My goal with PotSpot was to target the niche of medical marijuana patients (or soon to be patients) in Connecticut. I have networked in the industry for quite some time, and tried to turn my connections into a nice resource, and capitalize through ecommerce.
After about 3 months, I had not made many sales, but the site traffic and instagram activity were impressing me. I dropped it because I knew I wasn’t taking the right approach, and would like to rebrand and relaunch in the near future, focusing more on smoking accessories rather than apparel. My vision was to create a GeoDirectory for Connecticut, basically a Map with dispensaries, smoke shops, medical marijuana doctors, mental health professionals, and any other relevant business to the area. PotSpot was to be a central hub for all of this great information.
In terms of content, I regularly did “Strain reviews” which I do think were top notch, patient appreciation giveaways, and other content such as analyzing the prices of medical marijuana in CT and other content (take a look at the site). This was very time consuming, but I knew it was essential to build content to draw traffic. I used a small drop shipping company to fulfil orders of apparel so that I didn’t have to maintain any inventory. My illustrator skills were limited, but I am a photoshop guru, so there was a bit of a learning curve in creating renders for apparel. Where I’m at now: I don’t like the website layout.
I used WordPress and Woocommerce, but it feels too much like a blog. I like the one page responsive website looks, and I want to rebrand and relaunch with that, with more emphasis on the shop and content, and less emphasis on the GeoDirectory. My idea for the GeoDirectory was ahead of its time… I wanted to pitch to all of these features dispensaries, head shops, doctors, etc, and sell them a “Premium or Verified PotSpotCT Listing” which would be gold, and include a featured article and pictures and interviews from their business.
They would get a window cling with the PotSpot verification, etc. Some issues I ran into were low sales, hitting a ceiling with instagram followers (there’s only so many CT medical marijuana patients on instagram), and SEO/Facebook advertising. I can’t promote anything though FB or Insta because marijuana is against the TOS. I also do not know anything about SEO, so I didn’t utilize anything. I plan to hire a 3rd party for SEO optimization. In a nutshell, that’s PotSpotCT for ya, let me know what you think.
Mr. Green Jeans Groundskeeping LLC (www.MrGreenJ.net) My long time buddy runs a landscaping company and does quite well. Except he isn’t organized or formally educated on how to run a business, so there were a lot of opportunities he was missing. He struggled to keep track of things, and send invoices, which meant he wasn’t even getting paid! Since quitting my job, this has been my main source of income, as an employee.
I call myself the Operations Manager, if that helps at all. Since working for him, we have made a lot of progress. We switched from serviceautopilot to quickbooks online, got all of his employees W2’s and pay them on the books via payroll checks I print and track via QBO, created a website and email and use google voice for a phone so we can both keep track of things. We just purchased a shop and are in the process of moving in equipment from his father’s garage. Our goal next year is to refine and create a set service plans sheet to show customers what it is that we offer. We also have connections with commercial accounts that are six figure clients. We just aren’t ready to take that on, although we have already been offered contracts.
Currently, we have 3-4 employees, a few laborers when things pick up, and 3-4 trucks with trailers for the equipment. The website I build using wordpress and the Elementor plugin, and I like it a lot. I know it can be better, but I think it’s really clean and basically just what you need for a service industry website. Most of our customers are old, so they don’t even look, but those who do care to see enjoy the option to pay online with a credit card and receive their invoices through email.
With that being said, I would love to learn from you guys. Critique me, I can handle it. What do you think I have done well, and what needs work? What areas have I completely lost focus on that will directly impact sales, and where am I placing too much importance? You know the deal, I frequent this forum enough to know that there’s tons of helpful users out there, so thank you in advance!