After starting and selling several web sites, Giancarlo Massaro decided to grow his own business with Any Lucky Day.
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Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
Any Lucky Day promotes companies products and services through contests and giveaways. Companies can purchase a day on the calendar on Any Lucky Day to have their product or service featured on the site, as well as given away in a contest where hundreds of people come to enter. In 2009 I worked with over 110 companies (Flip Video, Keurig, Griffin Technology to name a few) and gave away $13,000 in products and services. In 2010, I began selling days to companies using a calendar based model, where Jan 1st started at $1.50, and each day rises by $1.50, so Jan 2 was $3.00, Jan 4 was $4.50 and so on throughout the year. I am now currently sold out until April 4, which is available for $141.00.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
Before Any Lucky Day I was building and selling small websites for a quick profit. I am only 20 years old, so this is my first online business that I have maintained and built up over the past year.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Be prepared to work hard, build an audience, and make a ton of sacrifices in your life in order to be able to run a website that needs constant updating.
How did you come up with your business idea?
I have been building websites and selling them for a quick profit since I was about 15. Once I entered college at age 18, I could not manage my time and therefore completely stopped what I was doing with websites. In December 2008, in my sophomore year of college, I wanted to get back into making websites, but this time, I wanted to come up with an idea that I could transform into something long-term, instead of turning it over for a quick profit. While watching TV at 3am on my girlfriends couch and thinking of ideas for a new website, I saw an infomercial on TV. I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be great if I could test those products before I bought them to see if they actually work?" A light bulb then went off in my head, and with a little tweaking, the idea for Any Lucky Day was born.
Did you operate your business from your home? What were the challenges and benefits to this strategy?
Yes I opened the business from my home since it is an online business. It was definitely beneficial for me because I did not have to travel anywhere and I could work on everything right from the comfort of my own bed. The challenge for me, however, is that when working in my home, I sometimes tend to get lazy and procrastinate on building the business.
Have you outsourced any portion of your business? Has that worked for your business?
From previous experience, outsourcing has been a complete headache. For Any Lucky Day, I stayed away from outsourcing the development of the website, however, I did outsource a lot of the artwork for the site. The outsourcing process definitely went well, and I have no complaints about the artwork that was done for my site.
Social marketing is consistently being written about in the small business space. Has it worked generating business for you?
Yes, the contests I run on Any Lucky Day are all spread through social media. I make daily Youtube Videos, I take daily pictures that go on Flickr, and I promote all the contests to my social media audience on Twitter and Facebook. In addition, contestants spread the contests through social media to earn extra entries.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
I never ever expected to make a lot of money from this business. When I first started, I wanted to charge people to access the site, which would allow them to gain access to the contests. That model failed miserably, and I decided to turn everything free. In doing so, a major portion of initial idea to make revenue went right out the door. Instead, I decided to build an audience and credibility to the site over the past year, which has then allowed me to charge companies to sponsor contests. The time and effort I put into the business over the last year has definitely paid off.
Sounds like an interesting business. Thanks for sharing your business tips with us, Giancarlo. Good luck with your web site.