Gotta spend money to make money.

unicorn ranch

This internet stuff is tricky business. I love this blog because it requires such little financial investment. I pay $10/year for the domain and about $80/year for hosting. And that’s where the cash investment ends. I put in $90 (and obviously sweat equity) and get back $10,000+ for a year. That’s a pretty darn good rate of return if you ask me. This blog is easy to manage. MANteresting.com, however, is proving to challenge my inner miser.

This crap can get expensive. Fast.

Yesterday, we were lucky enough to get a few mentions on some pretty popular websites. Which lead to some pretty popular people tweeting about us, Guy Kawaski, a cofounder of Flickr, a Vice President of Tubmlr, and someone with 1.3 million twitter followers all giving us some shoutz. This lead to a flurry of traffic, and a flurry of headaches. Within minutes MANteresting went from stable unknown website, to “OMG our servers are down because we are getting hammered with traffic.” 

Do you know how frustrating it is to have people want to see your website, but instead they get a 502 “this website is broken” message upon arrival? It would be like going to Krispy Kreme and being told they’re out of donuts. Or Nordstrom Rack and being told they are out of shoes. If people want to give you their money, or in our case check out our website, we gotta be ready for it.

So our site crashed and was terribly unstable for a good hour or two. What a wonderful problem to have, but still a problem. We were already paying $85/month for hosting. We had to decide if we should pay for an upgrade.

The obvious choice is YES, upgrade and give the users what they want. But reality is, many of the people who were clicking through to our site, probably wont be back. They were simply following a trail and checking it out. Many signed up, but many didn’t. So do we pay for an upgrade that might only be necessary for a day or two?

You’re darn right we do! Haha. If we want this thing to succeed we can’t afford to NOT let people see us. Every user gained is another step closer to internet domination. 

So my pockets are running significantly deeper with MANteresting than compared to PDITF. In fact, I’ve spent more in the last 1.5 weeks on MAN, then I have in the last three years on PDITF. I guess the saying “you gotta spend money to make money” really is true. Or in this case I guess the saying is, “we gotta spend money to get seen by a lot of people, which will hopefully lead to acquisition or monetization”. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but you get the point. 

We’ve also had people reach out wanting to partner with us, take a stake of the company and help us in its development. This is a particularly awkward stage of life because we are so new we don’t even know the full potential of our site. It could fizzle out and be a dud, or it could literally turn in to a million dollar idea. Makes it real tough deciding how much of our cash flow we are willing to put in to it (keeping us sole owners), and at what point we should probably accept/seek funding from third parties.

Frick. This business stuff is terribly confusing, particularly when your business strategy at this point completely ignores generating revenue. Here’s to hoping things keep getting more problematic. And by problematic I mean awesome! We like awesome. MOAR AWESOME PLEAZE!!!

 It’s a good thing I’m financially disciplined otherwise I might have been putting these expenses on a credit card. Could you imagine?!

p.s. favorite nail from yesterday: Oh Frank.

 

23 thoughts on “Gotta spend money to make money.

  1. What are some good blog hosting companies out there? What makes them good? AWS looks pretty good and I’ve noticed that many use wordpress…

  2. This is awesome news!

    Also, this might have already been covered, but what are you guys doing about copyright issues? Pinterest is in a bit of a mess right now (but I know they’re constantly upgrading/updating to fix things), so I’d be interested in your take on the subject…

  3. Set a limit on what you are willing to invest into the website, after that limit is reached then you and your business partner(s) will have to look to outside investors. It would be awesome if you could make this thing huge being sole owner(s) though. Congrats on crashing your servers, thats a good thing to happen.

  4. Keep careful records of all your expenses from the time you began, since if this thing graduates from being a hobby to a business, there are going to be tax implications (which include deducting expenses). Google “IRS hobby vs. business” to learn the rules.

    Meanwhile, I had to try 4 times before I could open your site.

  5. Actually PDITF might qualify under IRS business rules. I don’t know for sure, but it’s never smart to fool around with the IRS.

  6. Congrats on the increase in traffic. I was trying to “explain” to my husband what Pinterest was (that was oh so painful), so he would understand MANteresting. He glazed over at the Pinterest talk but was interested in MAN so, I guess it’s working!

  7. An increase in traffic is great! I think you made the right decision to get more bandwidth although, I agree, what about AWS or something like it?

    Anyway, my boyfriend really likes Manteresting. He spends hours looking at it and even sometimes says things to me and when I asked him where he heard them, he tells me he saw them on Manteresting. Sounds like a success to me!

  8. The Most Manteresting Site in the world!

    IANAL but I come from a family of them: Lawyer up, and try to find someone you trust who can guide you. You want advice on the legal side and the investment side. If I was in your shoes, I would try to find a local Angel Investor club and try to go for advice (if you can find a mentor there, perfect)… it’s impossible to know exactly what everything is worth, but it sounds like the sharks are swimming.

    Just be careful, tread lightly… and keep PDITF going as well, haha!

  9. On the hosting:
    have you you looked at something like mediatemple – i haven’t used them but they would be my choice. the way they allocate resources (GPU’s i think is their measure) on a monthly basis is somewhat more complicated, but you can see that they pride themselves on managing the spikes in traffic – something you need to look at.

    On the business plan:
    If you are lucky, someone else will see the ability to monetarise the site and offer you a sum of money for it.
    If you are unlucky, no one will see the financial benefit that it could drive, and you end up with another hobby.
    If I was you, i’d be thinking about how it could make money as a way of bridging the gap. would it drive traffic to other sites, fit within an existing network of sites, or simply be ad supported? If you can’t come up with the answer, one of 2 things will happen – either no one will see the value (see above), or you will be in a weak position in understanding how best to sell this site, if that’s your goal of course. That’s not to say it’s up to you to actually do those things, but understand it now.

    Blah blah blah – dot com – sold businesses without a viable model – blah blah – advertisting not enough – blah blah….. dot com crash etc….. i guess as long as you sell out first, then the inability to monetarise something is no longer yours anyway…. just a thought.

  10. Would you be willing to take on DEBT to fund this project (if it hits a certain point) to avoid bringing in investors/partners? Or would you prefer to have the investors/partners early on, even though it would decrease your ownership %?

  11. Have you seen gentlemint.com? One of my co-workers was talking about it this morning in a meeting. It seems to be a competitor to manteresting… ” a mint of manly things”

  12. I’m sorry to say it. I don’t see the point of your ‘manteresting’ site. There are already several like it including gentlemint.com …. Much like your own personal opinion of Groupon and Living Social as so much web noise, so it is with your collection-of-images site. I mean, what’s the point? There’s so much stuff out there on the WWW now that people MUST determine what is worth their time. Manteresting is not worth my time or, I suspect, that of others. It’ll be a flash and then …. flatline. Sorry.

    • Hmm… it may be, and I’m just guessing here… that you aren’t in the intended demographic of Manteresting? I’m thinking that the appeal is greatest among 22-49 year old male.

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