Deciding on a business model

The business model I’m using for this website is one that I have flirted with for several years.

In fact I could trace it back all the way to the early 90s. That’s when I was trying to figure out how I could help businesses as a voicemail service bureau.

The idea was to essentially be an answering service, but use a computer to answer and route the calls. I tried different versions of that, including something I called Voice ads which was kind of like classified ads delivered over the phone.

I worked on that particular project for close to a year before giving up due to insufficient funds, technical issues, and lack of marketing skill.

But one of the features of that service was the ability to connect a caller directly to a person who had placed a classified ad on my system, and I eventually settled on exploiting that particular feature and essentially creating a “local” long distance telephone company for people in the Akron Canton Ohio area. That was in 1993.

That service took off with little effort on my part because it pretty much sold itself. It was easy for customers to understand and saved them quite a bit of money. I enjoyed 12 years of success with that business which eventually turned into a real phone company as we added nationwide long distance and even local “landline” phone service as a CLEC.

But, for various reasons, I never really thought the business would last so was continually looking at other business ideas. One of them was a website that was kind of like the voice ads idea except it not only included classified ads but also news, weather, and a business directory — and of course it was on the Internet instead of just being done over the phone. I called it

That idea didn’t get very far unfortunately, and in the ensuing years I’ve tried variations of that model all without success. Other business models I’ve looked at include affiliate marketing, solo ad sales, selling survival products, selling leads to business owners, selling credit repair services, real estate in various forms, including starting an assisted living facility, helping people sell their home via lease option, renting a home out on Airbnb, and selling real estate leads to real estate agents. Oh, and also selling pepper spray and distributing discount prescription cards. I’m sure I’ve left out a few.

And I should mention that I definitely suffer from “shiny object syndrome” which causes me to get easily distracted and frequently move from one idea to another.

But, as I mentioned, I do keep coming back to the idea of helping business owners with their marketing and advertising — and of course there are many ways that that could look. I don’t have time or sufficient memory to list all the avenues I’ve investigated.

One of my problems I invariably have is to make things complicated with a too many moving parts. I tend to dream up grand ideas and then get bogged down in the details. I also focus on the technical aspects and never figure out how I’m going to market my services, or I’ll put forth a feeble attempt to sell my ideas, get discouraged way too easily, and move on to something else.

The truth is that I hate marketing myself, which is ironic since I’m trying to sell marketing services. But I have a serious lack of self-confidence when I need to put myself out there and take a leadership role. I need to overcome that in order to succeed.

So here we are — 20+ years down the road and getting old. It’s do or die time and I really need to get this baby off the ground and producing income.

Get ready for a ride!

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