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My 2015 Business Challenge

I’ve been pondering about my goals for 2015 for some time now, but more so since Thanksgiving 2014, the typical time of year where intentions and resolutions become more tangible and real, as the start of a new year is right there in front of us. Events in my personal and professional life of the last few weeks have helped me in making the decision of starting a challenge for which I want to be held accountable, not just by my personal circle of friends (they always go easy on you), but also by my professional connections.

I’ve always wanted to start a business, more importantly a successful one. I’m not talking about a one-man incorporated freelance gig, although it will start like that, but something more rigid that grows out of an edge, something that sets me apart from my competition.

This required edge is something I took away from the online YC class How to start a Startup last year.

I’m building this business from scratch, which is a perfect opportunity to share the journey and get others inspired. I also want to make this process replicable where possible. I will do my best to provide updates on how I make decisions as well as what goes well and what doesn’t. I will give my professional network a peek into the inner workings and struggles of my challenge. I also have to add that this challenge stands loose from my current/future fulltime day job, that’s why I give myself a whole year as opposed to the typical startup MVP timeline of 3 to 6 months.

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I also think that whenever you’re setting yourself up to do something ambitious, it’s important to figure out where you want to be and work backwards from that point. I don’t want to just drift towards my goal, fueled by the momentum of that day. Before I figure out what I’ll offer, who I’ll offer it to, what I’ll say, what the website will say, I first figure out where I want the business to be. From there, I will come up with the highways and backroads that will get me there.

Why am I telling you about this …

I want you to be part of this challenge and hold me accountable for my actions and decisions, maybe share some ideas and pointers and give me feedback straight between the eyes. I want you to be the fly on the wall that experiences all the ups and downs, and all the major takeaways that I learn as I embark on this experience. I’m afraid that without this, life will get in the way and things will come up that push this challenge aside like cold soup. Proclaiming this goal publicly will help me stay focused and motivated.

To summarize all this, I’ll set some guidelines, timelines, requirements and objectives to make this challenge measurable.

The Challenge

Build an online business from scratch that makes at least $1,000/month by the end of the year.

Rules and guidelines:

  • I can’t spend over $500 of my resources, including hired contract work.

I want to be profitable asap and I don’t want to spend a fortune before I know the Minimal Viable Product is profitable.

  • I can’t work on it more than 30/hours a week.

I intend to have and keep my full time day job that pays my current bills so this will have to start as a side opportunity. I also want to make sure my productivity, efficiency and health don’t drop below an acceptable level. This cap ensures I make the most of my time.

  • The official end date of the challenge is December 31st 2015.

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{ Hello world! }

Welcome to the front page of my world.

Hi. My name is Marcel. I’m a software developer, born and raised in Belgium, Europe many moons ago. I now live with my wife and kids in northern Arkansas, minutes away from the Buffalo river, in the hills of the Ozarks.
Not exactly the Silicon Valley of technology !” you’ll say, and that’s true.
My answer to you is .. “but I’m working on it !” and nothing is more powerful than a man with a plan. I therefore pledge to update this website on subjects like

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