Failed Business - Losing the House.

by 52 comments
Hey guys whats going on...

I'm only posting here because I have no idea what to do...

For those who dont know I'm 17, and am trying to make a successful web design business. I do have a site currently which has a portfolio + testimonials + packages/pricing etc. for our services.

Basically, I have tried hiring people off Odesk and other sites to hire telemarketers on commission (which is very hard to find decent ones) and of course I have recieved tons of applicants from India etc.

Over the course of trying to hire people for 4 months now I have never found a decent telemarketer who will actually make calls (on commission at least)

I have been getting my leads via yellowpages scraper and getting all the businesses that dont have a website. This is pretty easy to do but also a lot of the businesses do a website now and the yellowpages for their business is outdated. I would like to afford to buy real leads but unfortunatly cant.

I have also tried classified ads (craiglist mostly) and got about 5 ads up a day split testing different content/ sales copy but have never gotten any leads.

At this point I would get over my fear of cold calling and make calls myself but cant due to my scheduale.

I wake up every monring at 6 and go to school (senior yr at highschool) at 7 and then get out at 2:20..then I have varsity soccer at 2;45 to 5:00 then come home and take a shower, eat, and do homework. Finally, at 8:00 I am not able to make calls because most businesses are closed.

The latest thing I have tried is VBX software to call and leave voicemails to businesses and then call back later and offer whatever we provide. Unfortunatly I cant even pay to have the minutes for the software which is only 2 cents a minute

At this pointour family is about to lose our house because of my dad's medical bills (hundreads of thousand) when he had his Triple A.

I would love to help out my family and I have been trying for the past year or so to do this but I'm starting to think i cant make this happen seeing as I literally have $8 in my paypal to fund my business.

I have looked at the threads what to do if your desperate etc. and have failed at those suggestions...

Any ideas on how I can get this to succeed... I feel like if I had money to pay telemarketers (lets say $10 an hour) then I could close sales but at this time thats a no go...

thanks for listening and letting me vent, Connor.

I appreciate any positive feedback.
#offline marketing #business #failed #house #losing
  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    Something has to give...
    Have you tried talking to your friends?
    Would they be able to go talk to business owners for you in exchange for a finder's fee?
    Do you go to church? Can you offer a deal where for every site sold through the church the church gets half and you get half for your dad?
    Do you have a portfolio?
    If you had some sites done, you would have something to show and it would be easier to sell.
    Can you manually build traffic? If you can get traffic to a site, you can sell it.
    Have you tried contacting other companies and acting as a fulfillment house for wholesale rates?
    What about Saturdays and Sundays? Can you call businesses then? Leave a voicemail for them to call back.

    Something has to give....
  • Profile picture of the author shane_k
    well you can sit down with your father and discuss the situation.

    Find out specifically what losing the house means. Is the bank threatening forclosure? Or is it already in foreclosure?

    What kind of wiggling room do you have, for example is it just 3 months back pay on the mortgage or more? When does the bank want that money? Could you talk to the bank and work something out? This will give you an idea of how much money is owed and how much time you have to come up with that money in order to save your house.

    Your father might not want to tell you this because he might be ashamed but make it clear that it doesn't affect how you feel about him and that you are looking for ways to help out.

    Also, cold calling is not the only way that you can generate leads. One thing that you can do is figure out who do you know in your network of familiy, friends, friends of friends, teachers, the local shop down the street, your local hairstylist, people on your varsity team, etc who might be able to help out.

    and by help out it could be something as simple as one of your teachers who could refer you to a business person they know who is looking for some web design services. Or it could be someone on your varsity team's uncle, aunt, or their fathers friend who might be a potential client or helping out could be your whole varsity team coming together to figure out a plan to do some fund raising or another strategy to help you guys save your house.

    My point it look for ways to access your network, people who might be able to connect you with someone else.

    this can be quick or even quicker than cold calling to get you results

    Let us know how things are progressing, and don't be afraid to ask more questions
  • Profile picture of the author Jon Martin
    Build/scrape up your calling list whenever you have free time throughout the next couple of days. Sort through the numbers you have and find the ones that have A) No website or B) an out of date website.

    Wake up early on Saturday and get to work. You'll find that Saturday is actually a good day to cold call to small businesses. Call as many numbers as you can without getting overwhelmed/rusty/tired. Take breaks. Get through a couple hundred dials. Leave some voicemails if you can't reach the businesses. You'll likely find somebody of whom is interested. Either close on the phone (more difficult) or try and set a date/time that works in the future for an appointment to close a sale. If you make enough dials you WILL find interested prospects.

    Take those sales and invest them into building your business. Be intelligent about it, work hard, and you WILL succeed. I'm sorry to hear your family is having a hard time right now and you're a good guy for wanting to help. Be smart about this, though. You seem like a busy guy so manage your time wisely and you'll find that there will be openings and opportunities to make some money.

    Best advice of all: Try and have some FUN with it. Smile while you dial.
  • Profile picture of the author kebertt
    I'm sorry to hear about your situation, but keep your head up and use this as your motivation to succeed. I understand that you have school and other obligations during the day and with your limited funds it can make it difficult to use many marketing methods, but in order to run your business you're going to need time.

    Your best bet is to cold call - it's free and once you get good at it, this method of marketing can turn a nice response rate. I think the reality is unless your schedule opens up, your business can't fully succeed. If people could work 3 hours at night and turn a nice profit, they would. It's just unrealistic, and I'll tell you why. Business owners are going to want to communicate with you about your services during the day, this is a time which you are unavailable.

    The one other potential option I can think of is is email. Have you considered email marketing? You could access your email throughout the day discretely and follow up with businesses.

    If you could get $100-150 it could open up some more options for you, as you've mentioned before. I think you need to start facing the realities, and from there you can make a decision that will benefit your business and family.
  • Profile picture of the author 2bkify
    You can have some kids from school help you with your business. Contact nonprofit organizations. Search help wanted ads for businesses who need your services, put together a portfolio and have your friends contact them.

    As far as the house goes, there are different options your family may have depending on how past due the mortgage is. Loans can be modified or refinanced for a lower rate. Also, there are also temporary programs for unemployed people to lower their rate.
    The government has information on this. Also, there may be nonprofit organizations that may be able to help. I will PM you.
  • Profile picture of the author Jon Martin
    Unless you have motivated, intelligent friends I would personally disagree with those of whom are telling you to get your friends to help out. I'm a teenager myself, and I know how unreliable and incompetent people our age can be (key word = CAN). Just keep that in mind. If you want something done right the first time, get it done yourself! Not to say that networking is a bad thing or that your friends can't be a great resource.. But I know that I personally wouldn't rely on that. Weigh out your options, focus on something, and take action. You can do it bud.
  • Profile picture of the author MaxwellB
    Ultimately your family will figure out how to handle their situation. If you really want to help them right now you will have to do one of 2 things in my opinion.

    1. Get a job on saturdays and sundays...yes a normal job that a 17 year old would have. Trust me I started young too and I swore I'd never do that and I never did. But for you it's the quickest way to start earning


    2. You quit soccer, come home and start calling the east coast for 2 hours then the west coast for 3 hours until 8pm EST. Do your homework at night after that.

    Another option is cold calls on saturdays which are absolutely okay to sell web design. Some might appreciate if you tell them your young and trying to drum up some business they might like your drive.

    Your not going to do every cold call perfectly but you should be out there finding the lay downs for a while that just want a site and you make a deal. Don't waste your time on anyone that needs to know the value of a website...actually you should never waste your time on those people because they are morons.

    Good luck man I know you can do it you remind me of myself and I did
  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    Hey post up your link and portfolio. Let us see what you can do.

    Also, have you tried the warrior for hire section? You could sell services there.
  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    A 17 year old should not have this kind of weight on his shoulders. I don't really know the advice to give... I mean, you can do it, it's just a matter of adjusting things to make it work, but I dunno man.... That's a lot for you to have on your plate and I kind of believe your parents should be trying to figure that out, not you. I respect that you want to try, but enjoy your senior year as much as you can.

    I'll try to come back in a bit and give you a plan.
  • Profile picture of the author socialbacklink
    I agree with Nameless. You should never have to worry about that kind of stuff at your age. It's definitely not good for you. Anyway, I would like to see your portfolio if I can. Also, maybe some of the ads you've posted. If you don't want to show them here pm me with them. I'd love to help in any way I can. You seem like you the attitude to get it done. That's the most important thing. You can learn how to market. You can't learn how to take action. You just have to do it.

    Anyway, let me see what you have and how I can help.
  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    At 8pm at night you could call businesse and leave them a message like:

    "I was just looking at your ad in the xxx newspaper and an idea hit me that
    could be really valuable to you. If you'd like to hear about what I saw just give me
    a call on xxxx either in the evening after 8pm or between 6am and 7am in the morning."

    You'll be surprised how many business owners are up very early or still working in
    the evening.

    Giving them times to call you makes it sound like you're a busy professional
    which should work in your favor.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh

    P.S. It's great that you want to help out your family but as has already
    been said you shouldn't be killing yourself over it.

    These things have a way of working themselves out.

    At worst you move and start renting perhaps in a smaller home but you'll
    still have the things in life that are each other.
  • Profile picture of the author Trev81
    I would never leave closing deals in someone elses hands. Do it yourself.
  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    I'm going to be honest but I have done far less than you have and seem to have accomplished far more.

    I don't think me being older has anything to do with it. When it came to lead generation this was something I took VERY seriously. In fact when I first started I didn't have a website for 3 months, no testimonials, no portfolio, but still managed to sell 8 jobs in that time frame.

    The reason why I believe is this. I would pick one lead gen method and REFUSE to give up UNTILL that method was actively producing leads. Like you said you tested copy on CL, but for how long? How many hours? How many copywriters did you study? How much did you really learn about copywriting?

    At one point I was surviving pretty well on referals, than leads stopped coming in. I even made a thread about it here. A few weeks later I made a thread about how I had so many leads coming in from CL I had to give some away to people. Now when I need leads I don't pick up the phone, I don't go to direct mail, I don't rely on ppc or referals, I have an art I've mastered and thats my copy. The hundreds of failed ads I've typed up in msword, then the 15 or 20 that are ALWAYS responsive. I KNOW when I post those on CL I'm getting leads.

    Its not 100% every single time, but it has absolutely become the bloodline of my business.

    You NEED to invent that type of bloodline. In order for your business to work, you need a minimum of one lead gen method fully mastered and understood by YOU the business owner. If its only half way understood, and you branch off to another method, you are now half assing 2 methods.

    I DEEPLY suggest you pick ONE method you are comfortable with and DO NOT - I REPEAT DO NOT STOP UNTILL IT WORKS FOR YOU.

    It is NOT rocket science or magic. There are people on this forum when they need leads, they KNOW EXACTLY what they need to do. It angers me so much when I tell people I throw leads away on a weekly basis and they don't believe it. I'm mostly a one man show here so I can only tolerate so much work. I am not unique in anyway, I merely commited myself 100% to ONE THING untill it worked. After I didn't get one single lead for the first week I didn't give up and say "craiglist didn't work" because I've read enough threads on WF to realize I'd sound like an idiot. It became VERY personal, I became very focused at that point and was able to break through to the other side.

    You ARE young and should relax a bit, but I still want to see you get back to it. Don't give up man, just pick one freakn method and stick to it. I PROMISE if you give it more time, are more patient, more committed to studying & applying good copy, you WILL succeed. I swear to you it is inevitable. Go find some guys on this forum who are succeeding at web design, guys who are in full control of their destiny, study them, watch them, copy them, ask them questions, test & apply then test some more.

    Its not as much work as you think and you CAN do it. People like Ewenmack are handing out golden copy right here on WF. You can swipe his copy and post it right on CL or Facebook for yourself. However, if you plan on getting leads for the long term it is mandatory that you learn WHY his copy works. It is mandatory that you learn how to recreate the effect his copy produces. For you own success and longevity in this business.

    G/luck! - Red
  • Profile picture of the author SurrealPSD
    I can't give you any expert advice like the others, I just want to wish you well with your endeavours. Puts my own situation into context. All the best man.
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan

    Sorry to hear about your family's bad luck.

    Here are some techniques that can help you and your TMs right now:
  • Profile picture of the author Langeani
    Hey man, sorry to hear that... but it's a good thing you're trying to find ways to make it work!

    I haven't read all the threads around here, so, if someone has already said that, excuse me.

    Anyways, a good way to start doing business is by talking to your friends, to people in your classroom. Many of them will have their parents running business, or home-based business (like selling home-made pies, for instance), or they know people who have businesses...

    The thing is, explore your network. What Facebook and other social networks show us is that there's ALWAYS a friend of a friend, or something alike, who could use your help.

    So, tell your friends that you will pay them, I don't know, 20% comission if they bring you leads that convert. That'll get it going, until it builds momentum; And, also, you're getting your brand known, and you can get testimonials and portfolio -which is really important.

    That's another thing... the one source that gave you 50 callbacks... explore that a little more and PAY COMMISSIONS, at least on the beggining. That takes your time from finding leads to actually doing the work, and you pay people for your time!

    Good luck man, I hope I was of a little help.


  • Profile picture of the author bluecoyotemedia
    17 years old.

    here is a quote I wished I learned when I was 17

    "True maturity is reached with the realization that no ones coming to the rescue"

  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    I think I will offer some advice that hits at the true issue.

    1. Can your family afford the house payment and house bills right now? If yes your first priority should be paying them and not paying any other bills.

    2. You should not be paying on the medical bills. These will be erased by bankruptcy.

    3. Has your family spoke with a lawyer? If not they need to now and should have months ago.

    The best advice I can give you is use our bankruptcy system the way it was meant to be. And pray your family didn't waste money paying bills that will be erased by a chapter 7. Unless you are living beyond your means on good money most people who file bankruptcy for medical bills will get chapter 7. I did this myself.

    Now is the time to stop thinking about how to pay and start thinking of how to save.
  • Profile picture of the author Solarisz
    There have been many great replies posted before mine that should really help you out. One I haven't seen posted, but worked for me is to build a website first and sell that to a target business or businesses. These are the same steps I showed my brother which helped him start making money.

    The first thing you should do is get a part time job so that you have a little bit of money to invest. No matter what some people say, you can't run a business without any investment.

    1. Look for businesses in your local area that (as you've done before) don't have or website or have a website that is outdated.

    2. Check to see if they're ranking locally. (It's best if you can find multiple businesses in the same niche that are not ranking well in local results) If they're not in the local results for their main keywords, get a domain with their keywords and build a website that has similar info to theirs.

    3. You'll need a local address to use on your website. I recommend getting a UPS box or virtual office address (Not a PO Box) as close to the center of your town as possible. You'll be able to rank your website higher than others faster this way.

    4. Optimize the website and do some local SEO (submit to, Google Plus Local, and any other local review site) setup a Facebook, Twitter & Youtube account for this "Demo Business" website and link from those accounts to the website. Also link from the website to all of the previously setup social accounts and review sites.

    5. Once you have the website ranked, you can approach businesses in that particular niche to sell it to them. Now you can get a higher price because not only do you offer them a better website, but also a great position in local search results. (This is where there money truly comes from) You can also get hired to maintain their local seo on a monthly basis earning you recurring income.

    6. If none of the businesses are interested in buying the website from you, you can sell them leads since you'll be better positioned in search than they are. Just setup a Free email form (Mail Chimp is free) to collect names and emails. Also with your VBOX account you should be able to get a local phone number that leads can call which you can sell to your niche.

    Do this a few times and you'll be the authority go to guy in your area. In a few months you could turn your life around completely. I know it's not overnight, but success takes some time.

    Combine these steps with the advice above and you'll do well. Just hang in there.

    I hope this helps.

    PS. I've been homeless years ago and I used similar methods to get myself off the street.
  • Profile picture of the author PeacefulCalamity

    Maxwell covered everything I pretty much was going to say. Calling on Saturday is fine. I bumped into a thread here on cold calling on Saturdays just the other day - here it is:

    Post #5 is pretty much what I took away from it.

    Yes, this isn't something that should be on your plate. If you're still in clubs or certain things, I recommend trying to explain the situation and trying to stay in those clubs while doing the work for them some other time other than after 2:00 PM. Those extracurricular activities give you an edge when applying to college, no matter how silly they are.

    Senior year of high school was possibly one of the easiest (and had the potential to be one amazing) year of my life, next to be being below double-digit age. This shouldn't be something for you to be handling. Power to you for being a boss and trying to take care of it early though.

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