I lost £1,500 when I was 23.
I spent it on a website called whatsitliketo.com – a Wikipedia for experiences.
I did everything: I made a limited company (I started putting ‘Todd Green, Director’ at the bottom of my emails, that felt good), got a registered address, set up a business bank account, got an IP lawyer to advise me how to draw up the contract with the developer, even got a qualification in Small Business Financial Management.
I had no idea what I was doing – all my time and money was spent on the company stuff, but I had almost zero users or retention or revenue or marketing ideas.
(Actually, I can blame my friends for having no marketing ideas because I cooked them a three-course curry dinner in order to get their ideas, and none of them were feasible or worked.)
I thought I would make money from putting Google Ads on the site, because if someone is reading what it’s like to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge they should be interested in ads for flights to Sydney, tours of Sydney, hotels in Sydney etc.
I earned $1.10 from those ads, but since Google won’t pay out until you earn $100 I never actually got it.
So in the end I killed the site and felt like a complete goon. £1,500 is still a lot to me now; when I was 23 it was everything I had saved by living cheaply at home with my parents when I first started working. I could have saved that money for a mortgage or a car or a shirt with no stains on for work or something. And now it was all gone.
But I’m glad about it now. Yesterday I showed a colleague how to use Google Ads. Today I’m going to add a new page to a little site I built to solve a problem at work. And between now and Christmas I’m teaching 15 classes on how to get people to come and look at your website.
All that began when I was 23, and I realised I didn’t need to ask anyone’s permission to create something on the web.
Turns out I made a good investment completely by accident.
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