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SXSW: Turning projects into profit panel

I'm sitting at the "Turning Projects Into Revenue Generating Businesses" with Jeremiah Owyang, Brian Oberkirch, Adam Darowski, and Lionel Menchaca.

Jeremiah is live blogging this event as well here.

The speakers are:

Ted Rheingold, Top Dog, Dogster Inc, panel moderator


Tara Hunt  , CoFounder & CMOCitizen Agency

Gabe Rivera, CEOTechmeme

Shanalyn Victor, Owner/DesignerPixelgirl Shop

Ryan Carson , DirCarson Systems

Ted gave a 5-minute walk-through of the many ways people are making money online. Microsponsorship stands out as one of the truly new ways for people to cover costs and start making money online.

Ted: did you all plan to make money or how did it happen?

Shanalyn started Pixelgirl Shop as a free site but had to start a shop in order to pay for the hosting fees, that were exploding. For Tara and Chris, they needed to support their passion, the work that were doing, because rent is definitely not cheap in San Francisco.

Ted: did anyone study business before running a business?

Ryan encourages everyone to keep trying to get funding for side projects, it is doable.

Ted: how much can you find out on the internet or do you need to seek mentors?

Tara and Chris seek mentors to get new perspectives and may eventually hire a CEO to run the business. Shanalyn found that the "mentors" she found were thinking too small and she was shooting higher. Before your site is popular, people wlll forget about you, so it's a constant effort to get top of mind. Ted's mentor urged him to spend 50% of time selling, if not, "you're going to fail". Tara agreed: everytime you post to a blog, when you post pictures, when you travel and meet people, all these things keep you top of mind in the community.
In fact, you have to be part of the community you serve, and luckily it comes naturally to some. But you need to find ways to get involved, not really in a "selling" way, but in a "learning" way, with your peers.

Ted: how do you determine the pricing of what you're selling?

For Ryan, the only way to know is when you see people buying the stuff. The worst thing to do is to offer too much for free, because people will take it and not pay. So there needs to be a balance. Tara: do your research to see what the market will bear. Shanalyn had to raise the pricing of everything to lighten the amount of work she was doing fulfilling the orders. For Ted, it was about getting a first good sponsor. Once you have that, you understand where the floor is, and it makes it easier to get the next sponsor. But he's gotten the price point wrong many times and has had to adapt and experiment.

Essentially, the best pricing model is to open an excel sheet and figure out how much you need to make to quit your day job. 

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March 10, 2007 in Starting up, Web/Tech | Permalink

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