The best and most expensive idea I’ve ever had.

Jesse and I haven’t gone to bed before 4am this last week. It’s been a long, but good, seven days. Late today MANteresting 2.0 launches. Everything, from our code to our servers and our layout to our design, is completely new. We didn’t just redecorate a few bedrooms in our house. No. We blew the mother lover to smithereens and built our dream home.

I want to talk a little bit about starting a business… something I admit, I know very little about.

Some insight: 

I’ve managed to make a name for myself in a sea of over 1,000 personal finance bloggers. Although I am by no means the most visited PF blog (my traffic is actually pretty terrible), I think I can say with reasonable confidence, I’m one of the most well-known. I guess I have my crappy stick figure drawings to thank for that.

PDITF has had 1.2 million pageviews over it’s three-year life span. MANteresting, which is 6 months old, has had quadruple that. PDITF has around 2,000 active subscribers that read each post, MANteresting has tens of thousands of active users. PDITF costs me about $150 a year to operate (domain and web hosting). MANteresting has gobbled up over $5,000 (of my money) in its short life. So I ask…

How do you keep business, business, and not personal?

MANteresting is my brainchild. It’s near and dear to my heart. I am not in this for the money (although I wouldn’t complain if someone wanted to buy us). I’m much more narcissistic than that. Ego is my driving force. I thought I had a good idea and wanted to see if I was right. It’s really no different from the reason I created this blog. Of the thousands of other blogs out there, I wanted to see if I could author one worth reading . <— If you just read that line, I have accomplished my goal.

That said, I obviously don’t want to just keep pumping cash in to MANteresting just for the heck of it. Money may not be my primary motivation, but it is second on the list. To date, Jesse and I have made exactly zero dollars from the site. Ha! How’s that for honesty.

That might sound bad, but we are in the red on purpose. We knew if we even spent one moment of our time on monetization – and not solely on making the site better – we would lose users, traffic, and interest. I’m a firm believer that if we do this right, people will line up to give us their money (Zynga, Facebook, Instagram).

We have no clue if we will walk away $10,000 poorer or $1,000,000 richer at the end of this journey, but I do no one thing: It’s gonna be one heck of a ride! 

To any of you that have ever started a business, how did you decide how much money you were willing to pour in to it? How do you keep emotions from clouding your judgement?

p.s. it’s 4:08 am as I write these words.

14 thoughts on “The best and most expensive idea I’ve ever had.

  1. I recently started a blog regarding my debt payoff and journey to financial independence, so I can relate to you on that front, and completely understand the notion of ego and wanting to see if what you have to offer will prove to be valuable to a larger audience. But I have never started my own business like Manteresting and am intrigued by the points you bring up here. I work in the software industry, lived in the Bay area, and have seen friends become multi-millionaires overnight. But I have also seen ideas never really get off the ground. I’ve noticed that the people that become successful have focused on making their products as strong as possible, rather than monetizing them right away, and so it sounds like you’re on the right track. I’m interested in what others have to say about this, and I’m anxious to see how this all unfolds for you!

  2. It has recently occurred to me that I need to create a budget for my web design business. It has been WAY too easy for me to say, “This will pay off in the long run,” or “It’s a deductible expense.” And while I’m comfortable with my ratio of income to expenses for the most part, I just need to set some limits. It’s so hard to say no when I think a particular investment will really enable me to make more money later.

    In my case, it’s definitely hard to separate emotions because my business pays my bills and I’d like it to continue doing so. It’s also a completely different animal from MANteresting, but I understand that feeling that it’s your creation and you want to see it succeed at all (or at least a lot of) costs. I have no amazing advice since I’m struggling with a similar issue but I’ll be stalking the comments to see what others have to say.

    On a slight tangent, I love the redesign and can’t wait to see where MANteresting goes from here!

  3. long time reader debt ninja!

    i’ll be the first to admit that i always tend to stay in my comfort zone. i take a step back and admire people like you, most recently my best friend who started her own salon in san diego, ca (huge city and lots of competition) and is doing great.

    i think you’re in the position where there are a lot of unknowns (risk) and wonderful possibilities (on the cover of forbes being interviewed about how you sold manteresting for “100 billion dollars” ala dr. evil).

    i think you’re in the right mix of business/emotions a $5000+ initial investment seems reasonable. even though it’s your baby you’re not engorging it with your life savings, albeit just your time and zzz’s.

    goodluck!

  4. I think it all depends on how you obtain this money. I would highly limit financing. But if you have a decent savings account and have future plans, what do you have to lose?

  5. I have started a few businesses and you should always have a plan and a number in mind before you start. You also need milestones to make decisions. Things change and you may want to invest more based on new information. Good luck.

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I see no problems in starting a business like this as long as you are saving well and your future looks stable. I recently started my own blog as my wife and I get started on our journey to debt freedom. Feel free to check it out at passingthroughdebt.blogspot.com.

  7. It is looking really good dude. Much faster for us in the UK 🙂

    In addition to social media monetisation, have you considered writing a script to replace any links on images to your amazon affiliate ID? I believe this is what Pinterest does

  8. I know this doesn’t help you out but one of my shortfalls/positives I am always looking for monetization almost immediately…your site was based off another site why not just see what made them money (and as important WHAT DIDN”T WORK)?

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