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Shedding tears: A story of a startup

2. It takes a village
If you have a community that supports you, then you’re already a step ahead. In the beginning, our friends and family supported us but as time went on and revenue only trickled in, investors fell through and Google shut us down, they’ve disappeared. A year and a half later, some doubt we will ever be successful. And now when we talk about it on Facebook, on the phone or in person, people’s eyes gloss over or there’s very little engagement or interest in learning more. They’re doubting or bored with the topic. But for us, it’s still an everyday thing that we’re living and breathing. It’s everything we are. To be honest, it saddens us that people have disappeared. Jimmy is generous with his knowledge and would teach along the way, giving anyone who wanted to learn new marketable skills. If people support us, we do everything we can to support them. For example, Jimmy is working on an app. He doesn’t have time to do the finishing touches so he hired a coder from Bangladesh through a freelance website. We’ve paid them beyond the $5 campaign but the thing is… when we go to sell the software license, the coder will receive one-third of the profits. We don’t have to but that’s how we are. We will take care of those who help us along the way of the business journey.

We also have an affiliate marketing program that is residual. You refer a business, they sign a contract for three months and our affiliates would receive 20 percent of the revenues generated by the client they’ve brought to us EACH month. So let’s say someone sells a social media package to a small business for three months. This means, our affiliate would get paid $300 each month for three months at the minimum. Guess how many affiliates we have within our network? None. People say they are interested, but then the brochures get left. It’s their choice of course, but the point is, you help us grow, we will help you!

In June of 2017, we will have a new investment opportunity for our friends and family. We don’t have all the particulars yet, but we’re thinking that if you invest $20 one month, you can turn that into $30. If you reinvest that $30 the second month, you could make $45. And if you keep doing that, you could turn that $20 into $2,550 in one year. Yes, it’s legal. No, we will not tell you the particulars. Just know it’s advertising revenue. We will have contract guarantees that we will both sign and you will receive a W9. But like I said, right now we’re testing. We think we’ll be ready by June so stay tuned. Like I keep saying, if people invest in us, we will invest in them! We want to bring our community into our successes!

3. Rebrand – if necessary
There are so many business transitions you go through. You hear so many opinions. You take it all in and go with the best advice. During a “high” time, we partnered with a highly talented creative design professional living in Australia. Her creativeness was amazing. She helped us through our third rebranding process and came up with the logo that we still use today. We’ve also gone through three website designs, thanks to the forever talented Jimmy.

4. Diversify revenue streams
It took us until mid-year of 2016 to realize that it’s important to diversify your revenue streams. You have business and personal expenses to pay and when clients come and go, well, it can make times a bit stressful. So now, WinnComm is an affiliate with Amazon, Commission Junction, we’ve added advertising revenue and client retainers. Soon, we’ll add app revenue to that. So why diversify? Well, if you’re in the home construction industry, and the housing marketing is booming, you make a ton of money. However, if it takes a downturn, then so does your business. In hard economic times, marketing and public relations expenses are the first expenses that companies cut. If we rely just on clients who want marketing services and the economy takes a downturn, our phone would stop ringing. We’re not wanting a business to ride a temporary wave. We’re in it until we die. This is our retirement.

5. Don’t quit
When we got our first client … we were EXCITED! When we had investors looking at us … we were EXCITED! However, the investors weren’t the right fit, scammers pose as clients wanting to hire us for our services, and working with clients who have little budget and high expectations and then quit after everything you’ve done for them, well, the lows make you want to quit. The highs are amazing and the lows are the worse but they are a part of every startup journey. Thankfully, Jimmy has a tremendously high intuitive sense and investigative skills that are impactable so that we haven’t been scammed, even though they’ve tried.

I don’t know how many times Jimmy and I wanted to quit…thankfully at different times. The lows really get to you and with very little time to have fun, it weighs on you. But if you want a dream, give it time. I’ve done my research. Most businesses take three years. The first year, you lose money. The second year, you break even and the third year, most of the time, you gain. We are on that track. Last year we loss due to startup costs. This year we’re breaking even and January 2017 is the best month in terms of revenue that WinnComm has seen, so 2017 is already starting out on a good note. Plus, we’ve even bought our first server! We’ve also valued our 37 websites and let’s just say, we could pay off our house and buy another in Florida, if we were to sell them. We’re not. But there’s comfort in knowing this.

Whether you stand besides or not, doubt us or are our biggest cheerleaders, we’re pushing onward.

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