I’ve started several businesses in my life, and I’ve learned countless lessons that I share here on this blog and YouTube.
I’ve had thousands of ideas and I live with a pen and pad by my side at all times (and get a new idea pretty much every time I’m in the shower) but I will only be sharing the projects that fit the following categories:
I’m involved in the business/project currently, it’s on hold but serious steps have been taken to progress it, or it was scrapped for one reason or another – and hopefully, a lesson learned.I will list the projects below. There will be articles about each of these as I share with you what I am learning. But if you’re interested in checking out all of the tools that I’ve come across, sampled, and the ones I’ve fallen in love with that we use, see our top ones here.
TryNewSports.com – After deciding to get back into blogging and treat it like a business instead of a hobby, I wanted to diversify and create a few other niche websites in different genres. This helps due to seasonality and the ways you can make money from websites like affiliate marketing. I decided on a niche site for Pickleball (the fastest growing sport in America and so much fun!) As I was doing keyword research for my first handful of articles to write, I discovered that it would be wiser to expand the site to include other sports as well.
Gulf Coast BizCon – We saw the need for a conference for entrepreneurs and business leaders so Gulf Coast BizCon was launched with our first conference being held on April 26, 2019. (COVID-19 forced us to pivot as we had to cancel our 2020 event — we now are creating virtual events and have launched a podcast).
The Mobile Rundown – With our reach of 70k+ across our channels, we connect our community through local events.
MobTown Events – This is an entity that we started to produce a large-scale event called the King Cake-Off! The first year was a huge success and we look forward to making it into a staple event for the Gulf Coast and hosting it in Mobile, Alabama.
YouTube – I started creating tutorial videos in 2018 and have created a library of 200+ videos.
Udemy – My understanding of YouTube has led me to teach on Udemy and I now have over 9,000 students in 141 countries.
Cartridge World – We purchased the existing Mobile, AL franchise from the owner in 2016. The franchise sells re-manufactured ink and toner to customers. The business was run well, but we saw an opportunity to grow the business. The market is shifting and we aim to target more local businesses rather than at-home consumers. We also plan to printers on a lease program where customers agree to buy ink through our channels. (I currently have an incredible ops manager in place that runs this business full-time. I assist with strategy and marketing)
AirBnb Rental Properties – We created this website to market/promote our rentals and may possibly expand our listings over time.
ForeFront Real Estate LLC – In 2011 I obtained my real estate license in order to save money on real estate listing costs for houses that we were renovating. (this entity now purchases our AirBnb and long-term rental properties).
Mobile House Buyers – This is a child company of ForeFront Real Estate LLC and is our house buying lead capture website. We currently wholesale properties to other investors and still look for good renovation deals.
Mobile Investment Property – This is also a child company of ForeFront Real Estate and is our website for investors. They can view our current deals as well as subscribe to get deals sent to them via email.
COMPLETE, ON HOLD, OR SCRAPPED PROJECTS
Toys For Big Boys – A large-scale expo where grown men can be boys again. Cars, boats, hunting, drones, kayaks, golf, loud cars, food. You get the idea. (currently on hold)
Bottega Collection Boutique – I’m now in women’s fashion! This is an online women’s clothing boutique that my wife took over. We sell young contemporary women’s clothing and aim to empower women through how they feel about themselves and actions that they can take at home and in their community. [we sold the fashion truck and business in 2018 via owner financing and are still being paid for this business].
MobCityMetals – Furniture-Art-Design-Fabrication. Our art isn’t just art – it’s functional art. Each piece has a story – its own sentiment. Nurtured back to life by hand with re-purposed material. Modern Industrial pieces where we promise “no two are exactly alike.” [we dissolved this LLC in 2016 due to different directions of the business partners. It was a fun and unique experience].
Port City Properties LLC – This company was my introduction into real estate. I partnered with a top local investor that I became great friends with and we created Port City Properties. We renovated 12-15 properties and sold many more wholesale to investors. We dissolved this company due to us going in separate directions with our business goals. But I’m proud to say that he’s still an incredible friend and we still do business today.
The Southern Investor – This is a blog that I started in 2011 based strictly on real estate investing. I posted real estate investing articles at this site. [I merged The Southern Investor with this blog in 2015].
In no particular order, here are some ideas that never really grew legs to run on their own…
Digital Memories – When I returned from New Zealand I bought a high-quality scanner in order to digitize all of our family photo albums. I decided that others would want this service so I created a site, cards, and fliers. I put them out over 100 in my neighborhood and received 0 calls. That’s right, zero. Maybe I should have made my sample 500 houses. Maybe I should have just knocked on doors and asked if they needed my service. Either way, I know that people need it, but I can’t make a horse drink and I didn’t have time to wait. So I sold the scanner close for what I purchased it for and basically had all of my family photos scanned at no cost. Works for me.
Mass Nexus LLC – This was my introduction into business, although we never did any real business. It’s included on this list because my business partner and I had tons of meetings where we brainstormed, masterminded, and came up with fresh ideas. We also paid an attorney approximately $700 to set up our LLC. So we were legit, right? One of our main ideas was to create a website called TestBook that would be a site where college students could basically post and sell their class notes online. We scrapped it, but my friend Ryan is doing incredible work today and I think we both grew and learned from it.
Quixtar – When I attended college I was approached with an exciting network marketing opportunity. Quixtar was basically Amway re-branded into a new hip online strategy (they have since been renamed Amway). In general, there is a lot to learn from these opportunities – how to sell, how to work with people, understanding the operations of a small business, among others. The biggest takeaway that I have from these types of businesses is this: don’t get sold on the hype. It’s exciting and it’s supposed to be. But at the end of the day you have to look at the product being sold and the price point and usefulness of that product. If it’s not a product that you would be excited to buy yourself as a consumer, then why would you want to go into business selling it?
And hundreds of other ideas that never even made it much past the idea phase — Virtual Gong Website, The Baby Class for New Dads, DJ Online School, A Pool Exercise DVD (when DVDs were a thing), A hip hop dance studio, Watchology (it would be the Netflix for dress watches), an eBook for Section 8 Real Estate Investors. And hundreds more than never even made it from my head to a notepad. May they rest in peace…