Over the past two years, I've tried a dozen different businesses and side hustles, each with a varying level of success.
In my previous article, I talked about the six businesses I tried in my first year of business.
This article will discuss the rest of the businesses in my second year of business.
The aim is to show you that business is not a simple, straight road.
It's a long, winding path, that can take a turn at any point.
At some point, it can feel like nothing you try works.
It can feel like you're just throwing dirt at a wall and waiting for something to stick.
You're not fully invested in one thing, and one thing only.
I've gone through many failures until I finally started to see a hint of success - yet I am still nowhere near where I really want to be.
No success ever happens overnight.
You can learn from all of my mistakes in one place and use them to your advantage with your own businesses and ventures.
Here are the businesses I tried in my second year of business and the lessons I learned.
Around this point in my life, there were a ton of things going on.
I was trying to do many things at once - although I was balancing them pretty well, it wasn't long until I realized I couldn't keep this up much longer.
When I started selling on eBay, I was also working a job in an Amazon warehouse.
My initial intentions were to work there for 1-2 months as I got my marketing agency ready to go.
Every day went by, I started to like the place - the salary was good, people were fun, and the environment was chilled back (or so I thought).
On top of this, we had a family friend who would send products over to my house that I then sold for him on eBay and received a 20% split.
This slowly increased to around 30%, and I was making a ton of money from it.
I was loving where I was at, I could finally see that I was making real progress.
Combined with my salary from Amazon, I was making a little over $4000 per month.
I made a YouTube video detailing how I saved over $12,100 in 3 months.
It's really true what they say, "A salary is just the drug they give you when they want you to give up on your dreams."
A week at Amazon turned into a month, a month turned into two months, and all of a sudden, I was there for over 6 months.
Every day got worse and worse, and it was getting harder to balance everything I was doing.
However, my marketing agency was still lacking behind, eBay started to die down because there was a lack of products coming through, and working at Amazon got both tedious and much stricter.
eBay was a great, simple side hustle to try - in fact, I had plans of expanding the store into some sort of 'Currys,' or electronics company because that's what was selling best at the time.
I had to cut those dreams short when everything came crumbling down on me.
Although it wasn't time-consuming to do eBay and work at the same time, I needed to focus more of my time on eBay - finding a more reliable source of products and scaling.
The supplier I had was great for a while, but as soon as I lost the supply, I lost the business.
I was starting to get comfortable with where I was at - I was slowly forgetting my entrepreneurial dreams making only $3-4K/mo, and so this was a way to snap back.
Life managed to go from 100 to 0 faster than I could say 'help' and it was time to get it all back together.
After eBay, my friend and I, who was my business partner at the time, decided to go all in.
We finally decided that we're going to make this work.
We've always been close friends, but this venture bought us ever closer.
A few months prior, I was sitting at home watching YouTube videos when a specific video took my attention,
It was an interview with a 17/18-year-old entrepreneur, who was making $60,000 per month.
It immediately grabbed my attention and so I clicked on it.
I resonated very well with the interviewee and so I decided to tell two of my friends about it.
A week or two in, one of them quit and so it was only two of us left.
Until the start of 2021, we were preparing the business, picking the niche, going through courses, videos, and just procrastinating the launch.
I've spoken about starting a marketing agency in a week, and I think it's definitely possible to do so.
Every day or two, we jumped on a call and would laugh about how successful we'd be, and how simple this business is.
Once we finally decided to start prospecting, we got on a call and did cold calls together.
Although I had a sales job before this where I went door to door, this was extremely scary.
Why? I did not know.
A few calls in, we both decided to quit cold calling - reality was that we didn't see ourselves doing this.
My friend accepted that early whilst I stayed ignorant to the fact for a very long time.
A month later, we hired a VA because we realized we weren't making progress alone.
We thought that to fix a broken tank, we just add more water - that doesn't usually work, the water will still flow out.
For the month we had the VA, it did help us out though.
We were finally booking calls, but we struggled to get any qualified calls, prospects who really were interested in the service.
In fact, 5/10 of the calls we managed to book were no-shows.
After that month, we stopped working with the VA and started to slow down again.
That's when my friend made the decision to leave, but I stuck to it.
I knew how simple the business was, but I ignored the fact that I was simply not cut out for the job.
Everything the business required went against what I was.
An introverted little kid is not suitable for cold calling, cold messaging, and constantly getting on sales calls.
What I thought, at the time, was that this was the end of the world.
What I didn't know, is that I could simeasily use systems and processes to go over this barrier.
That's where my article on building an A-team to successfully scale a marketing agency comes in.
If you're not good at a specific part of your business, simply hire someone to do it for you - as long as you've done it before and know what to expect.
I spent a few more months of grueling work, outreaching without any success.
Even after I bought a full course, I wasn't able to fulfill my potential.
I was at the lowest point in my life, and I thought the one thing I was truly made for came crashing down on me too.
It was finally time to quit the business - I simply spent too long on it, denying the fact that I couldn't do this alone.
I spent too long with 0 results or traces of success.
I had to leave it in the past and move on.
Notice how I have not yet given up? When you give up on your dreams, you're going to be stuck in mediocrity.
Every business was just a separate experience that moved me ever closer to my goals.
Every failure was a learning curve - nothing else.
In fact, I still wish to start an agency at some point in the future.
When I ran the agency, the biggest learning curve was that you don't need to go it alone.
Find help when you need it - it doesn't make you any less successful.
On top of that, the biggest, most important aspect of running a business is having the right infrastructure in place.
The systems and processes to run it smoothly and scale efficiently.
Without those, you'll really struggle to build a business.
A clothing brand might be one of my favorite forms of business.
It's the coolest thing in the world to wake up every day and know you own a successful clothing brand.
It's fulfilling to know that somewhere around the world, there are people wearing your clothes, your creation.
One day, I sat down and started to think about the vision I wanted - the future that I yearned for.
The word 'extravagance' popped up into my head.
I wanted to live an extravagant life.
The name stuck with me and I decided to start a clothing line with that name - I knew that a lot of others were also interested in this exact same lifestyle and so I wanted to make a brand for US.
For a few weeks, I spent time creating designs, looking into print-on-demand suppliers, and ordering samples.
At the same time, I was also building a following on my Instagram page so we can build a list of people interested in buying the clothing when it launched.
I constantly uploaded images of the product and was building an email list.
On my YouTube videos, I would shout it out and tell people to follow the page.
Although it was very small, we were getting people interested and some were even asking about the launch date.
Unfortunately, every sample we ordered was terrible - the quality of the clothing, the quality of the print.
It was all bad, disappointing, and not worth selling.
I couldn't sell clothing that was of this quality.
At this point, my older sister was also helping me - she wanted to help build this business but, like every other partner I had, she was not fully invested.
A few weeks after receiving more samples, more disappointment, and realizing that there will be no way to be successful doing print-on-demand, I quit.
I decided that I should not spread myself too thin and just focus on one primary business.
The clothing brand would be a very fun business to run, but once again, it's all about what you want to do.
At the time, I was also thinking about apps and learned about SaaS - never would I be able to build a Saas business, especially as my first ever business, I thought.
Instead, I decided to look into apps.
Condensr was a very meaningful business and it's a shame I couldn't watch it flourish.
Condensr was an app that brings the biggest ideas and insights from best-selling authors and condenses them into really short, 10-min narrations.
The idea came to life when I was on my daily walks, listening to a podcast, and the random thought of reading came to mind.
I thought to myself, "people like Bill Gates read a book a week, imagine you could read one a day!"
That's when I thought of - book summaries.
I wanted to build an app that houses summarised books.
A few minutes after I thought of this idea, the host of the podcast mentioned our biggest competitor and so I knew that this was destined to happen.
As soon as I got home, I got to planning and making the pitch deck.
I applied to accelerators and different programs to get help building this business.
I went on Fiverr and interviewed dozens of writers (to summarize the books) and dozens of voice artists to narrate the books.
It was going so well - I found a great writer and had a bunch of voice artists lined up.
I even got a wireframe built that showed the flow of the app, and how it would work - it was the most pointless $2000 I spent in my life.
I was tricked into the purchase when what I really needed was an MVP.
Investors don't care about a wireframe, they want numbers and traction.
I didn't know that yet.
After getting the wireframe built, I started to do a bunch of customer discovery interviews.
I did around 40 in the space of a month where I managed to learn all about people and entrepreneurs, their habits, and even met investors who were happy to invest in the business at some point.
It was a great idea, with a lot of interest, but everything led up to one point.
The month I spent doing interviews, my writer and I were struggling to summarise books effectively.
We were too critical in our approach and overthought every decision.
Every time I did an interview, I would discover a new competitor which I researched into and got demotivated.
"Yet another business we have to try and do much better than."
A few months into the business, it went from a platform that summarises books, into a platform that turns books into a mini-course.
No matter how much we changed the concept, it was still too similar to what was available on the market.
Without getting into any accelerators, it would also have been impossible to get the funding needed to build the platform, hire more writers, hire voiceover artists, and so all of that led me to a stop.
I stopped and quit the business.
It had so much meaning that I couldn't fulfill.
It was too big of a project for me to go through with.
It was time for the next one.
When you start a business - start simple.
You don't need to build something massive.
Build a very simple business that solves a problem - a replicable business.
You don't need to build the next Apple, or the next Amazon.
All you need is a business that solves problems for people or adds value to their lives.
When you have that, you have a business.
I tried to build a massive business long before I could walk and it led to a swift downfall.
11 business in.
I've learned so much.
I've experienced so much.
I've gone through so much.
Everything has bought me to this point - what's next for me?
The scariest thing in business is having to go back to the drawing board for me.
I hated having to rethink everything I was doing and looking for an alternate path.
All I wanted was stability.
The ability to wake up and work on the same thing every day, scale it to the 100s of millions.
I made this too hard on myself.
However, I knew there's so much I still knew, so much that I learned that millions of others would love to learn.
When I was down at my lowest, I remembered how much writing helped me.
I even managed to write an entire 30,000-word book which I have not yet published.
Suddenly, the idea of sharing my thoughts and lessons with others struck me - "let me start a blog", I thought!
That's when Mohamadalasadi.com was born.
This blog is here for one main reason:
To unite entrepreneurs and help them realize their dreams.
As an entrepreneur myself, there have been so many times where I've wanted to learn something but heard 100s of different perspectives.
I wanted to create a singular source of truth for entrepreneurs to come and learn, get what they need, and go apply it.
Everything I write in these blogs is all you really need to know to be successful.
There is no secret to success.
The only real secret is that we already know all we need to know.
The reason so many people fail to be successful is that they can't see and believe the fact that they already know what they need to know.
It's not hard to build a business, it's simple.
We've been raised to believe that success is hard to achieve and so the fact that we already know everything there is to know is scary for a lot of people.
They don't want to accept it's this simple.
We know everything we need to know, we're just stuck in the wrong mindset.
The mind is what needs improvement - not our entrepreneurial ability.
Mohamadalasadi.com is made to help entrepreneurs with this.
It's made to help entrepreneurs realize the possibilities within them.
I genuinely believe that everything on my blog is enough to make you a multi-millionaire.
The only thing we need to collectively work on is how we think about business and success.
Blogging has been an amazing test of fortitude.
It's been a great experience where I can test my discipline and consistency.
Better yet, seeing people read and engage with my content is heart-warming.
There's no better feeling than to hear you've helped someone learn something new.
My latest SaaS business, Hawk Prospecting, was a business venture born out of my own desperation.
When I ran my agency, it was very difficult to get in touch with the right prospects.
There were a bunch of lead generation tools and freelancers who can help you find prospects.
Both were very expensive and very saturated.
On top of that, I was unable to find a single tool that helped me find names, emails, numbers, social media, business info, and more.
Every tool out there only found emails and was extremely overpriced.
For a marketing agency owner with no clients, spending $100s per month was absurd, especially for a small number of uses per month.
Although email is one of the best forms of advertising, it's not as effective when you're doing cold email marketing.
After asking one of my agency friends, and a group of agency owners on Facebook, I quickly realized that this was also a problem other people faced.
I did a bunch of research (something I neglected when I built Condensr), and I spoke to many developers.
I was receiving quotes that reached $60K and felt very demotivated.
My last experience with developers was almost a scam and I was not falling into that trap again.
A few days later, I spoke to some people on a call who introduced me to no/low-code tools.
This made my eyes glow up and I immediately went and looked into this.
A few weeks later, I was almost done building Hawk Prospecting.
That's the power of no/low-code programs.
My biggest fear was launching - I didn't want to launch the business and hear nothing but crickets.
I wanted people to flood to my business.
In a way, there was a flood of people - for the first week, a bunch of people were signing up, people were using the software and we were getting noticed.
Someone from Appsumo even emailed me wanting to promote me on their newsletter.
I wrote an article on how I went from a simple idea to paying customers in 7 weeks or less.
It was a great journey and it helped me overcome a negative thought I've been holding:
Money flows to anyone who provides value.
I wasn't doomed.
I wasn't unlucky.
I just didn't provide real value to customers.
When I made that switch, when I built something worthwhile, I started to see traction.
A month in, there were over 100 users on the software.
I still think Hawk Prospecting has the potential to grow.
There's a bunch that can be done to make the software better.
There are more tools I want to launch to build a hub for salespeople to succeed.
Hawk Prospecting was a business I built all alone, with no strengths in software development or coding.
You can do anything you want - you just need to be determined enough to reach it.
There is so much left to explore as an entrepreneur and I can't wait to explore this with you!
If you haven't read my previous article - every business I've tried over the last 2 years & lessons I learned in year 1, I urge you to read it.
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Till next time.