Well it’s about time I did an update on where I am at with BetterEdit. If you read my entry titled ‘mind of a human entrepreneur‘ you would realise I’ve been awash with options, at least within my head anyway!
I’m still in Canada. I can though happily say I have made a decision regarding how BetterEdit is going to continue growing it’s Canadian user base.
I found a lost message on my cell phone voicemail asking about BetterEdit. I had no idea how long it was sitting there but I called back and it turned out to be Zunaid, a fellow that runs a business putting up posters in Toronto. He had seen my posters popping up and gave me a call to ask about helping with distribution.
I met with Zunaid and he turned out to be what I was looking for in a poster distributor. He made an effort to get my business which was more than I could say about any of the other poster distributing operations. He was upfront, honest and serious, all characteristics I appreciate in a business relationship. We discussed my needs and nutted out an arrangement and I hope to have a long term relationship with him. As long as I get reasonable results for my investment I will continue to distribute posters in Toronto, and if that proves successful Zunaid can also help me with some of the large universities in the surrounding area. It’s not going to be the cheapest, but Zunaid has certainly been fair with his pricing. I’m treating him in a sense like an advertising manager – get me results and I’ll give you a bigger budget.
Zunaid has already taken over most of my runs here which left me personally, in an unusual situation. I’ve been a bit lost for things to do. There are always countless little things I can do for BetterEdit and I keep at that list most days but they aren’t a specific focus, more an ongoing chore list. I came to Canada with two objectives regarding BetterEdit – test the market using posters and find someone to take over postering (done!) and to complete and launch of the BetterEdit Student Library (also done! – but will continue to grow of course).
So I needed a new major objective. Thanks to reading all the Internet business biographies I’ve been mentioning in this blog, especially the eBay book, I’ve had all these ideas churning over in my head. At some point during my readings, in fact at about 3am one morning it hit me that I could combine a lot of my ideas into one website and even launch it now myself. Most of my ideas I had been shelving for after my return to Brisbane and after I hire a web dev guru to build all my ideas because they were technically beyond me. But on this night I realised there was no reason why I couldn’t do it, in some way, by myself right now. I already had the skills and experience from building MTGParadise.com and I figured I could try and make lightning strike twice with this new project.
Okay, you are probably a bit lost – what the hell is this guy talking about right?!?
I’ve had many ideas for projects to do with the student marketplace, which seems to interest me the most, because I’m exposed to it a lot when running BetterEdit. The synergy of this new project with BetterEdit and with me personally is perfect. I can’t really describe in words how relevant this idea is, so instead I’ll show you.
A few days ago I launched a new site called Yaz! You can find the site at www.yaz.com.au. You can also find a good explanation I wrote describing how I came up with the concept. For those really keen, you can read my news post at MTGParadise telling my old friends about the new site (and also an interesting discussion about the legalities of trading essays on Yaz!). If you read all that you will have a pretty good understanding of what Yaz! is all about.
I put Yaz! together in a few days using the existing BetterEdit forum, a few custom modifications and by combining some old templates I built for the BetterEdit and MTGParadise early days. Of course it’s very early days still for Yaz! and I expect it will be months of ongoing promotion before the site reaches a good number of users and posts (critical mass) and I hope word of mouth will start to take over. It’s not a new idea, the student portal concept, but I’m in a very good position to make it work and most of all I’m having fun with the site so I’ll continue to pour energy into it. However it doesn’t actually take much time to promote it because most of my current channels of promotion for BetterEdit, can be replicated for Yaz! (there is no reason why I can’t put up Yaz! posters at the same time as BetterEdit posters, for example).
You may be wondering what my revenue model is for the site – well guess what, I don’t have one at this stage. I do, if the site takes off, have loose ideas to generate revenue from advertising, possibly subscription based services, but I’d be reinvesting a lot of that back into enhancing the technology behind the site. The forums are not the ideal trading platform for a super large community, but they are perfect to test an idea like this. Forums are good in that they are open, easy to join and allow a natural progression of a concept. However, they don’t provide all the tools I’d like to see. The great thing is, usually a site like this grows so organically that the community itself defines it’s needs so I’m very much going to let this project define it’s own boundaries and see what works. I’ll keep throwing ideas and features at users, but it will be the community that makes the final decision simply by doing what they want to do (if you read the eBay book you will see this is a very eBayasian concept).
So my plans now are – I’m going to head back to Brisbane soon enough. Canada is taken care of for now and I don’t want to spend any more time or money then I have already budgeted for this area. I will turn my focus back on to Australia and start to develop my grand plan. The combination of three ideas into one network – BetterEdit, Yaz! and Student-Marketing.com.au – and they will feed and grow off each other.
At least, that’s what I am thinking right now…but I do change my mind easily