Two years ago I was coming out of my first business jaded and ready to give up the entrepreneurial lifestyle. I had this business all throughout college but a lack of motivation and management slowly dwindled it into obscurity. Why was I not motivated? Partly because I was just busy with college but mostly, I just didn’t care for the topic. My interest was spurred initially by the simple idea of making money on the internet, once that became a reality, the motivation to work hard on these sites faded.
If it wasn’t for the terrible state of the economy when I graduated (I couldn’t find one decent job in NYC), I’d probably be working some desk job at a Fortune 500 right now. I sat down that summer and asked myself: what can I MAKE that would blow ME away?
1: Do something you are passionate about, that you would use ALL THE TIME. Chances are, there are others like you.
And it was important that I made it. I wanted to understand what I was developing, I wanted it exactly how I pictured it in my mind.
2: Understand your product and service inside and out. If its a website, you should absolutely build the first version yourself. I know all of us aren’t computer geeks but it really doesn’t take more than a month or two to pick up simple programming languages like HTML and PHP.
I went through all my hobbies and interests, one thing really stuck out – I’m a HUGE practical joker. What could I do with practical jokes though? And how would I make mone…
3: If you are building a website, there isn’t that much initial investment anyways! Just make the product AWESOME and work on monetizing later.
I had an old site lingering, it allowed people to send text-to-phone calls but not much more than that. PRANKDIAL. Great name. So I spent that summer learning how to program and developing the best prank call website that ever existed on the internet. I asked myself what I would want, which is the great thing about #1, the ideas flowed easily. Finally, after a few weeks of learning how to develop and a week of development, I had a prototype. This wasn’t anything serious, it wasn’t the next Facebook or Google but it did what its name implied, and it did it well. I couldn’t stop using it, my friends couldn’t stop using it, and eventually as I put it into Beta, the internet fell in love with the concept. PrankDial was killing it. Not only was it a great service but it was viral, and purposely so. People shared reactions with their friends directly from the site.
4: Make it viral if possible. Think about how people share, what people share, and how they share it.
From there I monetized the hell out of PrankDial, testing out multiple pricing structures and ways to earn tokens. I still haven’t perfected it.
An Android app, iPhone app, and 20 million pranks later – TapFury (the app company I started) is a fledgling seven-figure business, yes BUSINESS. PrankDial -> Business, really? I still have a hard time believing it.
So here’s to those who follow their passion. May your silly ideas guide you to fortune.