Gangster Profit

Business and Marketing Web Radio Show featuring Robert MacDonald and Kevin Bombino

Episode 028: The Network That Wasn't

Filed Under: Business, Length: 0:02
The guys talk about an ambitious project that wasn't meant to be.


R: This is a Gangster Profit failure report.

K: I wouldn’t say that it was a failure though.

R: Yeah, it’s true. It’s not really a failure. More like lesson learned.

K: Alright, well here’s the back story. As you know, we run a successful SEO operation ourselves. And we’re sitting around one day, thinking about building another internal network to use for SEO.

R: Yeah. We love networks. They’ve helped us out a lot in the past with our SEO. We think that building networks is a pretty great way to help rank your sites. You know, building thousands of websites, or at least hundreds of websites. You know, buying all these domains. Creating some kind of automatically generated content on there, and then using those sites to push links all around your network to your money sites and the sites that you want to rank for whatever keywords.

K: Yeah, we still think that’s a great idea and we talk about this a lot. We talk about basement sites and network sites. And so we decided that we were going to try and build a very ambitious big network. And what we decided to do was sell placements on the network to some of our close friends.

R: Yeah, because we feel like...I mean, it makes sense because I kind of have this opinion that at a certain point, you know, it’s worth more to have links for more domains than it necessarily is to know, a link is not a link is not a link, so they’re all valued differently. So, like, your first link from a random domain is great. And then, you know, your second link, I think probably is slightly less valuable than the first link and so on. And it reaches a point where, you know, once you’ve got more than a hundred links coming from the same domain, I believe that they stop having a very large marginal value to the next link or whatever. So, it kind of makes sense to split those links or those sites with other people so that way all of you can benefit from the value of those domains.

K: Yeah, exactly. So, we basically wrote up a little sales letter. We kind of send it to about maybe 10 or 12 of our closest friends and we kind of pitched them on this idea of we’re going to build out this network, and if you trust us, which we think that you do, you’re going to want to get in on it.

Basically, what ended up happening is we did end up getting a number of people in on it. We sold a couple handfuls of memberships to this network. Kind of collected everybody’s cash. And then, basically, we kind of realized that we’re now in a position where we’ve promised to build out a 1,000-site network within 30 days.

R: Yeah, which is not that crazy because, I mean, we were kind of excited about it in the beginning because we also got to put all...we would get to keep the income from the sites themselves, too. So, we always try and have some sort of monetization strategy for all these sites that are on the network. So, we kind of thought it would make us some fairly solid cash, but what we didn’t count on is that our interest in the project dropped as our interest in a couple competing projects started to get a lot higher.

So, what kind of sucked was that, now, we had collected a bunch of money from our friends, and then we’re like, shit. We really don’t feel like spending the next 3 weeks building out this massive project with all these different things that we’ve promised to people in terms of the number of IP’s that we’re spreading these across, the number of servers, you know, there’s a lot of different details that we put on it. So, we were like, whoa, shit. This kind of sucks because we can either bust our asses for the next couple weeks building this and then probably see a fair return on it, or, we can work on these other things that we really want to work on, which we think we have like an potentially awesome return down the road that are way more leveraged in terms of how much time we put in to the potential amount of money that we make out of them.

So, over the course of a week or 2, we were getting less and less excited about working on these other things. We found ourselves kind of pushing it off because we were like, uhhhh. You know, when you’re not as excited about a project, you don’t really want to work on it as much and you start finding excuses to avoid it and do other things. And, eventually, we just kind of sat down. We were like, shit. I don’t really feel like building this network anymore.

K: Yeah, and we basically had our customers, who are our friends, more or less hounding us, being like, “Yo, when is this network going to launch? Yo, when’s the next conference call to talk about the network. Network, network. I need the network.” And we were kind of like, damn, we’ve got such another cool opportunity that we would really rather be working on right now. And we realized, we were kind of being like dicks to our friends at this point.

R: Yeah, so, there came a point, we were like, well...we just kind of sat down. We were like, alright, obviously, we’re not excited about this anymore. This kind of sucks. We also feel like if we do end up setting up this network, since we’re not as excited about it, we’re kind of gonna half-ass it. And we don’t want to end up doing that either because that will suck and our friends won’t get as good an investment out of it and blah, blah, blah. So, we said, you know what? Why don’t we just talk to everybody and be like, “Hey, listen. We’ll just refund your money and not do this thing.” And, you know, it sucks because everybody’s excited about it but we just think, overall, it’s the best thing for everyone at this point.

K: Yeah, basically...and the moral of the story here is that everyone, more or less, respected our decision. You know? So rather than feeling trapped, stuck working on a project that we weren’t excited about anymore, all we did was we were honest with our customers. So, we went back to our customers and we said, “Look, we’ve got some other things that have come up. If we were to build this out, we feel like we would be half-assing it. We feel like we wouldn’t be giving you the support that you deserve, and that’s why we want to give you all of your money back.”

I mean, and it was a hard decision for us to make because we were essentially turning away several thousand dollars...I mean, tens of thousands of dollars. We, basically, more or less had to straight up refund. So it was kind of a hard decision to make on that perspective. I mean, a lot of you out there would not want to give up cash that’s in the bank to work on another potential project, but you’ve got to, you’ve just kind of got to follow your heart and follow what you think is the best thing to be spending your time on.

R: Yeah, exactly. I mean, it comes down to a point where lifestyle is just as important as making money. And you want to be kind of doing something that excites you everyday. You know, you don’t want to wake up and feel like you have to do work. That’s the whole point of working for yourself, being an entrepreneur, is that you’re working on something that you’re truly interested in and excited about and you really think there’s major potential there.

So, if you’re not doing that, then re-evaluate what you’re working on. And, sometimes, we find ourselves making promises to people and then...In reality, I think it’s better to be straight up with people and they’ll probably respect you more for that than trying to do their job in a half-ass way and then they come back and say, “Hey, this kind of sucked.” And now, they’re disappointed with you. I think people are more willing to understand the fact that if you’re straight up with them, you know, “Hey, I was excited about this, now I’m not.”

I don’t know. Honesty is good. So is doing what you want to do.

K: Yeah, I mean, I would encourage you to take a look at your own projects and try to figure out...well, maybe you’ve got 5 different projects going or maybe you’ve got a couple different customers that you aren’t excited about or one or 2 projects that you aren’t excited about. You know, really, you should figure out what those things are, those things that are kind of like the least exciting to you and consider just cutting them out. You know? If you’ve got 5 customers and one of them sucks and 4 of them are good, get rid of the one that sucks.

R: Yeah, exactly, because that one who sucks is going to create a whole lot of headache for you and we just find that drags down your overall output in life way more than it probably makes up for it in terms of your income. So, yeah.

K: Yeah, so that’s just a Gangster Profit failure story for you. I mean, it’s not really a failure.

R: No, it’s a lesson. It’s a lesson in listening to your heart.

K: Yeah and follow your...

R: Be a gangster who follow your dreams.