#231: BEHIND THE SCENES OF A BUSINESS LAUNCH
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You are listening to episode number 231 of the boss girl creative podcast. Today I’m talking about the behind the scenes of an upcoming business launch onto the episode.
Welcome to the Boss Girl Creative podcast. I’m your host Taylor Bradford and this podcast is for my fellow creatives. Each week, I will teach you all about the nitty-gritty of blogging, social media and growing your online Empire. Want to show off your epic fangirl status? Make sure that you are subscribed to the show. So, you can be one of the first to listen to my latest episode, which starts right now. So, grab your notebook pen and your favorite beverage and let’s dive right in.
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Hey, welcome to Episode 231. I am your host, Taylor Bradford, and as I sat down to record this episode, I laughed at myself because I’m realizing all of the snacks that I have in my little podcast closet. It is really ridiculous. I bring in these snacks so I can hide them from my husband so that he doesn’t eat them. And I have cookies, I just noticed I still have some Easter candy, I also just noticed I have some Goldfish crackers. This is extreme you guys. Oh, my goodness. Okay, so let’s dive in.
First, before we get into the episode, I want to give a shout-out to this week’s community member, which is Stacey and her blog website is The Broken Blessings, which you can find over at thebrokenblessings.com. You can also find her on Instagram @thebrokenblessings and this is what her site is all about. It’s a place with all things wellness. A tribe of like-minded busy women who are looking to be the best version of themselves. She creates content to help women get well physically, emotionally, and spiritually, with quick workout resources, self-care tips, time management strategies, and daily devotional tips and tools. The Broken Blessings gives women the freedom and path to complete wellness. So definitely go pop over if that sounds like it’s your jam. Go over to thebrokenblessings.com or go say hi to Stacey over on Instagram @thebrokenblessings. Stacey, thank you so much for being a part of the boss girl creative community. It is much appreciated. Super, super appreciated. If you want to be featured in an upcoming episode of the Boss Girl Creative podcast, it is so incredibly simple. Pop over to bossgirlcreative.com/feature, answer the few questions that are there, and I’ll get you slotted into an upcoming episode.
Alright guys, let’s dive in. We’re talking about the behind the scenes of a business launch. And it’s actually a new business that myself and a business partner are launching, hopefully in the next couple of weeks and I think we’re going to go into pre-launch mode fairly soon. We had a goal-date of launching by the 15th of this month, which is November 2019, and there’s still a lot to do. And so, I think we may go into a pre-launch sequence, which will give us some time to kind of catch up. But today’s episode is kind of going to walk you through all the steps we have taken up to this point to get us to where we are. And I’m not going to reveal the business yet because it’s still super-secret. And but I will eventually in an upcoming episode because it is, it’s going to be amazing. It truly is going to be amazing. And I’m excited. It has been something that she and I have been brainstorming since 2017. I’m not even kidding. This has been a labor of love for a couple of years now. And I’m just going to dive in, into what all has gone into launching a business and kind of the steps we’ve taken, the path we’ve chosen, and hopefully, it will encourage you. If you are thinking about starting a business, thinking about launching something, hopefully, this will give you some motivation, some inspiration. And I’ll kind of talk about like the things that we maybe had some missteps on. Because, again, I’m a teacher by heart and soul, and I want you to be able to learn from the things that I do.
And so, we’re just going to get right into it. So 2017 was the initial idea. And the initial concept actually started out as an online magazine concept and a possible podcast. And I was going through all of our documents, we have everything stored in a Google Drive, and I was going back to some of that initial stuff and kind of reading through it and what we’ve actually created is based on all of those initial notes, it just went kind of a different direction into a full-blown website, which is amazing. But that original concept started out as an online magazine with a potential podcast added. And it’s really cool to see our notes back and forth to each other. Like, we would do brain dumps. Like, she would brain dump, then I would brain dump and then she would brain dump. And that’s how we started to formulate this thing.
So we went ahead and wrote up a business plan to kind of give us some parameters, give us some guidelines. Is this thing going to be a thing? What is it going to be? And so that was the thing number two that we did. And then we also started researching for existing competitors. We wanted to know in the market that we’re stepping into, what all exists. Like, what websites exists that might have a component similar to ours. What website sites exist and what kind of content are they creating? What are their ads looking like? What is their social media content? We studied all of that in-depth. I have notebooks of notes and notebooks of wireframes about how people laid out their website and what we liked and what we thought worked. And initially, back in 2017, that’s all we were doing was just formulating and that took a lot, that formulating. And then sending now to actually create a name and a logo for this thing. That was the next thing that we did was try to come up with a name that felt like it fit and it fit within our industry that we’re stepping into, and then creating a logo that really kind of felt timeless but modern at the same time so it wouldn’t feel like it was going out of style or could potentially go out of style anytime soon. And then snagging the social media handles and the URL, that was another thing. I think naming a business is probably one of the hardest things to do because URLs in these days and times are really hard to find that aren’t already purchased or aren’t an astronomical fee. And so finding something that we really, really love that really spoke to us, and then making sure the URL existed and that we could snag the social media handles, and so we were able to capture that which was great. And then just brain dumping content ideas, and what was this thing going to be made of? And what kind of categories would we have and what types of content and what exactly were we going to solve? That’s another big thing. Why are we even doing this? We had to figure that out. And then who are we helping? Or what problem are we solving? That was also equally as important. You cannot have a viable product or service or new business without answering those questions.
And also figuring out what’s going to make you different. If you’re stepping into an industry or a niche that is already saturated, what is going to help you stand out? And so, we worked a long time on all of those things, trying to figure out: is how we are going to approach this going to be different? And it is. That’s the exciting part, it truly is. So, we also defined our ideal customer, which you guys have heard me say a lot. That’s your blue person. And I started building our first website, and I bought a theme that we really liked and like the structure of and the bones of and I put one of those coming soon pages up. I didn’t think anybody was going to stumble on this random name, but just in case, I didn’t want anybody seeing kind of like the behind the scenes happening, so that’s still coming soon page is still there. And it’s got a date of 2018, which is really funny because obviously we’re in November of 2019, and we haven’t launched yet. But this thing kind of took on a, a beast of its own, and trying to really figure out, ‘Okay, what are we good at? And what do we need help with?’ And that’s when we decided, this is probably 2018 when we decided after, I mean, I feel like we kind of shelved this for a while. It was still in the back of our minds.
And we still were continuing to work out and hash out the things, but we, we didn’t really step into it until actually this year, and we really went, you know, focused in and decided we needed to hire a website developer to create a certain component to the website that I didn’t have a skill set for. And I’m pretty tech-savvy and I’ve gotten us to a certain point, but I realized there was no way I was going to be able to do that ‘thing’ that we needed. And so, I had read a book by a gentleman and I actually heard him on a podcast and right now his name is not coming to me. And he wrote a book, and in the book, he recommended a company called Toptal, TOPTAL. And this is where you can go and hire web developers and coders and all those things. And they’re kind of like freelancers, but they all work for Toptal. So, think about using a source like Fiverr or Upwork, if Upwork still exists. It’s just like, an upper-level kind of platform where the best of the best go and work. And they’re contractors, so they get to set their own schedule and accept projects when they want to, and it came highly recommended, so that’s what we did is we went through this Toptal system. We went through an in-depth, super in-depth interview process, just even get into the Toptal system, and then we were matched with people that would best be suited to our project. And then we had the opportunity to interview those people and then ultimately select the person we wanted in that role, which was the first hire we did was a web developer.
And let me just say, this project has a lot of cash up front. There are some businesses that you’re going to start that are just solely online. There’s no true startup cost, per se, outside of buying your URL, and paying for your monthly hosting like we did that. I forgot to say that we did that initially. After we got the logo, bought the URL, started paying for hosting. Like, that was part of it, but there wasn’t a lot of costs like I, I bought the template and we were paying for monthly hosting. That’s, those are the only costs we had until we decided we needed a web developer and then we started paying for that. And that’s not cheap, hiring somebody that’s a pro to create something that you don’t have a skill set for. That’s not cheap. And so, but we knew this thing that we created or are creating is going to be game-changing. And we actually termed a component of it our MDI, our Million Dollar Idea. I don’t know if you have anybody in your life that’s constantly trying to come up with the next big thing. This big thing is a million-dollar idea and we feel strongly about that. So, MDI, that’s what we call it.
And so, we needed to hire a web developer, so we did that. And he started to build out these components that I couldn’t create. And we probably worked with him for a couple of months before I realized he wasn’t understanding us. And I was super frustrated and didn’t really understand how to fix the problem because I didn’t truly understand what he didn’t understand. And at the end of the day, what it boiled down to was, I didn’t speak his language and he didn’t speak mine. And it’s not that it was our English barrier because he is in a foreign country, actually just down in South America, his beautiful English, but the way his brain works isn’t the way my brain works. So, the way I would explain it, he didn’t understand it and when he would explain something back to me, I didn’t get it. And so, we went back to the Toptal system and said, “How do we fix this? He’s done great so far. We, we want to keep working with him. He’s an amazing web developer, but we have this thing that’s wrong, and we don’t know what to do.” And so, they suggested we hire a product manager. Somebody that can be our liaison between us and him that ultimately understood what we were trying to create, and then speak it back into his web developer language. And that has been a game-changer. And so, we hired the product manager back sometime in the summer. And it’s just been life-changing, because now we have somebody that gets the whole product, the whole concept, and he can relay that back to our developer. So, we have weekly meetings with both of them or just our product manager. We are actually using Trello and Dropbox, we use Slack as forms of communication, we meet over Skype, and it’s just beautiful. Like we have been, you know, working really hard to get this off the ground, and we’re really, really excited about it. So, hiring people was something that was absolutely necessary. Yes, it’s been a cost up-front, but we know the cost is worth it.
After we hired those people, we decided to form our business structure, which is actually an LLC, but it’s a partnership. So, it’s an LLC with partners. And so now we have like, have to do a schedule K, I think, with our taxes every year. So, we decided on that business structure, we opened business bank accounts, and then we needed another component. We needed photographers because we knew we wanted amazing photos to be within our framework. And in order to get those amazing photos and not to have to pay for stock photography, or pay a gajillion dollars to you know, Getty Images, we knew we wanted to tap into our photographer friends. And so, we decided, okay, we have to bring these people in, but they’re going to have to sign non-disclosures and confidentiality agreements. But then they’re also going to have to sign a photography release agreement as well. Because we want to be able to utilize their photos with proper credit, but we need an actual photography release, signed off by that photographer so that we can use their photos and we keep that and save that on file. So, that was kind of the next thing we implemented was non-disclosures and confidentiality agreements between some photographers.
We also started talking about our content schedule once we get launched. How often are we going to create blog posts? What are they going to look like? What kind of categories are we going to rotate through? We already knew what our categories are, but we were like, do we do to have this one category? And then one of this one and one of this one? And then two again of that first one? So just trying to figure out what is our best content strategy before we have data coming in.
We also started talking about our launch plan and this is kind of where we are right now is formulating, do we really want to just turn the website on, on November 15? Are we ready for that? I’m not sure if we’re ready for that. So, if we’re not ready for that, and we still have some things to tweak, can we go into a pre-launch strategy? Which I think might be the smarter decision for us, which is where we start leaking teasers out to our social media. We get our Pinterest board loaded up and we start emailing our friends and colleagues who are going to benefit from this thing and basically have a grassroots effort of launching this together with people that will support us. So, formulating your launch plan is important.
And then back to planning on growth. We recently had a conversation that kind of gave us some warm fuzzies about the potential for this. Like we, we already see the potential, but the potential for this could come quite quickly and so we have to be prepared to grow quickly and what does that look like? And so that means we’re back to planning future roles for this business and who to hire first and what exactly are the people or what are the roles that we will need to fill as quickly as we can, once this thing grows. Like we want to have that plan in place where we know, okay, hire number two is this person, hire number three is this person.
And then, obviously, we want to define all revenue streams, all potential revenue streams from what we’re creating. So, we have front-side revenue streams, we have backside revenue streams, we have data revenue streams that are major, major potentials. And just getting a solid plan in place for how is this going to make money? How quickly Are we going to recoup our initial investment? How are we going to fund these roles that we need to hire? Like, I’m not kidding when I say we have our first meeting with a potential contractor, who will probably eventually come into as an employee role, but contractor at first for this business and we haven’t even launched yet because of the vast scope of it. So, it is very, very important when you are going to launch something that you have a very clear, clear picture. As clear as you can make it for what your business is going to be about. If you could shoot for the stars, what is that million-dollar idea? What will it look like?
And I was recently talking to my business partner and I said, “You know, I think the paparazzi are going to come looking for us.” She’s like, “Nuh-uh.” And I was like, “Yeah, why not?” She’s like, “Oh my gosh, you’re so right. Why not?” If you can think so big and prep for that big, you will be ready to launch an amazing business, but it takes a super-strong foundation for you to do that. And that is something that we are trying to, at this point, we’ve done a lot of the homework. We’ve been working on this since 2017. It started off as a random thing we were talking to our friends about at a martini club and now it is morphed into this amazing thing that has major potential to be a million-dollar idea. And we are scared, we are excited, we are nervous, we are enthusiastic, we are “Holy crap, I can’t believe we’re about to do this.” So many emotions and like, we’re at this, we’re at this peak of like, “Oh, man, it’s time. It’s time to rip off that last band-aid and just go.” But we can’t go without having these things figured out. These things defined because we don’t want to fail. We don’t want to make a misstep that we could have foreseen ahead of time by knowing what roles we needed to bring on first, and what was important and what could we individually handle before we had to hire and what is her role and what is my role and how, how is she going to contribute and how am I going to contribute, and how are our web developer and our product manager going to continue? Because we already know they have to both stay on. We will put them into a monthly capacity of making sure the system can grow as it can grow.
And another component to this is we are going to get an influx of photos and photo files are huge. And what are we, what do we do to combat growing photos of photo database so quickly? And what kind of storage system do we have to have in order for us to manage it properly and categorize it properly and keyword it properly? Like there’s going to be a person hired just for that, eventually. Like that’s just going to be it’s, that’s their role is to manage the photos. And just trying to figure all that out and hearing what some major, major players in the tech world are paying for photo storage. And for just cloud storage period is mind-blowing. Our product manager did a tech launch for a company in the medical field and their monthly Amazon storage bill was $300,000 a month. 300k a month. A month. 300k a month. I don’t even know what that equates to. That’s over, let’s see 3 million, 3.3, $3.6 million a year just in Cloud Storage. Holy moly. These are the things we have to think about because we do expect this to quickly grow and we have to have those things in place and we have to have the right people in place to help us accomplish that so that we’re not backpedaling and we don’t misstep and we do the best. But we are human and we do understand that. There are going to be days where we’re like wanting to pull our hair out, but at the end of the day, we have created this magical thing that we both stand behind, truly, truly, and I’m just excited. I’m excited to take you along for the journey because this is going to give me something new to also give a point-of-view behind and I’m excited.
So, I hope that gives you some inspiration. I hope that encourages you to understand kind of the step-by-step kind of components that we’ve taken to build a business from the ground up before its launch. And I really do encourage you to take a leap of faith in yourself. We’re quickly, quickly approaching the end of 2019. 2020 is legit around the corner. It is so close. And it’s time for you to stop playing small. It’s time for you to multiply yourself in a way that allows you to create the life you want to be living. I’m not even kidding when I say that. I have got so much going on right now, and I’m excited for all of it. I am terrified, and I’m overwhelmed, but I think I perform really well under pressure. I have my whole life. And I’ve got a lot going on. You’ve got a lot going on. There are no excuses for why you can’t accomplish that big scary, scary goal dream. No excuses. If I can load up my plate, and try my best, and create amazing things, you can, too. You can, too.
Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. Again, shout out to this week’s community member spotlight, Stacey with The Broken Blessings. And you can find her @thebrokenblessings on Instagram. Her blog website is thebrokenblessings.com. Thank you to today’s show sponsor. It is Gusto. pop over to gusto.com/bossgirl to test out a demo of their product and after you run your first payroll, you will get three months free. I will be back next week with another Boss Girl Creative podcast. Until then, I hope you have a great rest of your week.