A number of friends asked if I could put a post (or a series together) time lining the Finance Training Course adventure. For those of you who have just joined us, Finance Training Course is a business that grew out of a conversation last December with a friend about making money from selling content online. The conversation triggered the experiment which sort of became a text only finance resource site which spawned a store that to the surprise of all of us actually started generating revenue. Not enough for me to go home and retire but certainly enough to keep things interesting.
There were a number of core points this “experiment was supposed to prove”. In another life I also teach a course on entrepreneurship and after running a number of startups into the ground I became a fan of the 3 month sudden death model (aka the Y-Combinator) model. Finance Training Courses was supposed to be the case study that illustrated, proved or disproved a contested and counter intuitive points of the sudden death entrepreneurial model. In simple terms you define life and death decisions for your startup in 3 month milestones. At each milestone you evaluate progress and decided to extend the lease of life or pull the plug.
We decided to take the list of simple questions and see if we could answer them with our so called thought experiment.
- Starting from zero can you get to revenues in 3 months? The answer is yes.
- Can you cover your operational expenses in the next 3 months? Once again yes.
- Can you build an international base of customers with multiple orders a month? Short, yes.
- Can you redefine your core business around this experiment? Possibly yes, but still trying to figure this one out.
- Can you grown traffic from zero to 10,000 visitors and 25,000 page views a month in less than 10 months? Yes.
- Can you monetize and convert some of that traffic to cash? Yes.
- Can you build all of the above without logistics and supply chain and just deal in electrons? Yes.
Can you scale this up in a year? Working on this right now, will know within the next three months.
In terms of background I am a computer scientist who lost his way and ended up on the business side. When I first setup the Finance Training Course blog I hadn’t touched serious programming for over 12 years. I didn’t know anything about SEO except some curiosity about how the entire cycle worked. But I had a lot of great help and mentoring. There were three core members who contributed part time to the experiment and three primary advisors that helped when we hit a road block. I discovered a lot of really cool technology, fell in love with WordPress and Google and I am trying to see if I can get the experiment to a level where I can simply quit my day job and do this full time. It has been a great education.
The chronicles are laid out below:
Starting up, motivation and basic Q&A
What it took for us to rank on some core key words
Traffic trends over the year
Thinking about doing a new product
The Video courses are live – launch email