What I've Learned in the First Year

Building an Online Presence is Hard

If you build it, they will come.

This was the classic line from Field of Dreams. And it was a very compelling line. But it was also a lie. At least as far as opening a business online goes. Don’t think I’m complaining, because I’m not. But one of my big lessons in the first year is that just making a product and putting it up on a website is absolutely not enough. Not even close. Maybe that would have been enough in 1995, when there wasn’t a lot of competition on the internet. But the internet has become a very crowded marketplace. Being heard above the fray is very difficult, and it is something I’m still learning. It is especially difficult when you are the new guy on the block. Sometimes it is frustrating, sometimes it is invigorating, sometimes it is fascinating, sometimes it is confusing. But every day - absolutely every day - you learn something new. And that is amazing! And that is a big motivator for me.

 

Making a New Product is Hard

I’ve also learned that making AloeVender is hard. Very hard. It took many failed efforts to come up with a workable formula.  It has been the classic case of three steps forward, two steps back. The current formula is very good. Far better than the early attempts. I find it to be very effective, and the feedback has been incredibly positive! When I look back at where I started compared with where I am today, the journey has been amazing. When I came up with the idea for AloeVender, I had absolutely no idea the number of bumps I would have along the way. Making a product like this is pure chemistry. There isn’t a lot of room for error. Something as simple as changing the order of the process can cause a complete failure, resulting in a significant financial loss due to wasted raw materials.

 

Building a Company is Awesome!

I love every day I spend working on AloeVender. I love the products I’ve come up with, and love the idea that my products are helping people! Hearing from customers and getting their feedback feels great! I am so excited about what I’m building, that I can hardly contain myself!

 

Rules...Lots and Lots of Rules

There are a lot of rules to learn and follow. FDA, IRS, FTC and on and on. The FDA is the most difficult. I have spent hundreds of hours poring over their regulations, and I focus on their rules and guidelines every step of the way.

 

Help Happens!

When you are trying to build a business, more people want to see you succeed than want to see you fail. People WANT to help you. Let them! I’ve had people offer consulting services, people buy my products (and OVERPAY), help me find venues to sell my products in person, sell my products to their friends, etc, etc, etc. I am eternally grateful to those who have helped me, and I look for opportunities to pay it forward.