When we last left off, we were talking about the fails that lead to my first online success. I had just formed a new partnership with Maggie and we were continuing on with the niche website business that I had acquired from a previous partnership gone bad.
We Made Long Distance Work
Even though we lived on opposite ends of the world (me in Canada and Maggie in Australia), we had a good thing going and were resourceful enough to make it work. We used Skype to text chat or used the calling feature for conference calls or other important things. I found with the time difference that we could talk either early in the morning or before I went to bed.
To share files and other data, we used Dropbox. It’s a cloud sharing service that can get you up to 16 GB of free storage with their free service. Dropbox was essential for us and really made sharing ideas and documents super easy
We Needed to Step up our Game
We were having small scale success with our niche website service, but we knew that if we were going to attract higher end clients that we needed up step up our game and move away from the niche game. We decided that we needed to change things up with a new online approach.
This led to the spawn of 6StarMedia, with the slogan “When 5 Stars Isn’t Enough!” The approach was a full service online provider that could help businesses with all facets of getting their business exposure online. I was incredibly proud of the design of the site and I had Maggie’s help with colour utilization and the sales copy for all the pages. The quality of the site was an indication of just how far I’d come from when I started out.
If You Build It, They Will Come
Not long after the creation of 6StarMedia, we got to work on finding some clients. Before we knew it, we had interest from an IT firm in Australia. Maggie was integral in meeting with the firm and eventually landing the client. They had an outdated website and not much of a presence online, so we pitched to them what we thought was the correct course of action, and they eventually agreed to give us a shot.
We felt on top of the world at that point. We felt like the long hours of putting our new site together were starting to pay off. It wasn’t until weeks later that I learned that Maggie’s meeting was actually with her son that worked for the IT company! That fact did not bother me one bit. It was nice to have an in with someone to get our foot in the door. A corporate gig was a corporate gig in my opinion.
Things Were Progressing Nicely
Four or five months down the road we were able to land a couple larger website and marketing jobs. The last of which was a client looking to create an online marketing service for salons. That gig really opened the door for us to the potential of marketing to traditional brick and mortar businesses. We found that the same principle were applying for our salon client could be applied to almost any business out there that needed help improving their online presence.
Maggie and I started brainstorming and eventually came up with a plan to essentially franchise our business by having sales reps sell our services to other businesses. The reps would pay us a rental fee and in return would have access to all our resources and have rights to all sales in a determined area.
Our first target was Pharmaceuticals, because Maggie had an in with a rep and she seemed fairly interested in expanding her business.
Then The Wheels Started to Fall Off
The Achilles heel turned out to be the salon client. She was incredibly hard to deal with to be polite, and I don’t think she liked how far her original idea was progressing or altering from the original idea. She had tremendous social anxiety and trusted no one, so it was very difficult to convey what we thought was the best approach.
I had a very difficult time dealing with her, so it was often Maggie that had to smooth things over, and I think that eventually started to take its toll. Stupidly, I began to question Maggie’s work ethic. She wasn’t the most technically gifted person, but she made up for that with the way she managed our clients and her overall business skills. Sadly as a naïve 20-something, I couldn’t see that. I let my ego get in the way and it totally altered our relationship going forward
Nothing Was the Same After That
Our relationship wasn’t the same after that. Maggie decided to leave the business day-to-day operations, but stay on as a hired hand. It worked out for a month or so, but I think the stress of dealing with our salon client and my inability to handle the situation properly led to our eventual parting of ways.
I gave her half of the funds we had in our PayPal account, as well as our niche website business as part of the dissolution. I carried on with 6StarMedia on my own. We eventually patched things up and are on good terms.
Another Lesson Learned
I carried on with the business for another year. I eventually had to give up all the Australian clients because (surprise, surprise) I couldn’t handle them without someone from that time zone to manage them. The worst part of everything was that we never got to see how far we could go with the sales rep plan. It was so close that we could taste it, but now it will never see the light of day.
Eventually I stopped taking on clients and focused more on my real estate investments. I let my hosting run out and never saved any of the website files. I still hold on to all of our manuals and documents for our sales rep business, but I’d have to create the 6StarMedia website all over again. I still hold the domain, so there’s a possibility that someone out there could recreate it using a web archive.
So what have I learned? I learned that everyone has their own set of skills that make them special and who they are. If you partner up and combine those skills, you can really create something great. Unfortunately, that life lesson came too late for me.