Company: The Adventurous 500
Founder/Age: Ryan Park, 22
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Startup Year: 2010
Startup Costs: $2k [bootstrapped]
How I Got Started: I was working as an intern at a technology company. A co-worker showed me his website one day – and immediately I was intrigued. After a year of brainstorming, I began to hear about “local this” and “local that” everywhere I went in Boulder. I’d hear people talking about ‘supporting the local economy’ and as a student [at the time] – I was always surprised how local companies used the same boring methods to reach college students – and it never worked.
College students are on social media SO often, and even though companies are starting to use platforms like Facebook, most of them aren’t using it effectively. So many companies push advertisements onto students through social media networks and fail to establish a meaningful relationship with them. This results in an ineffective [spam-like] use of social media. On top of that, local companies simply can’t afford the price of social media strategy development through larger agencies. So I decided to work with a pricing model [originally established by Jason Sadler] and create something that helped local companies reach college students, while providing students with entertainment and access to a bunch of fun giveaways.
Best Success Story: The way that The Adventurous 500 generates revenue is through advertising and sponsorship sales. Our sales operations have been operational for over a month to-date, but I can remember selling my very 1st day/sponsorship and coming home feeling like the world was mine… even though we sold the first day for $1!
Biggest Startup Challenge: Funding. My start-up is a very unique project [lasting 500 days], and it has the potential to grow into a series of other larger projects. Given the nature of The Adventurous 500, funding the startup cost is difficult…but exciting. Anyone going into entrepreneurship without a lot of money in their bank should know that they’ll be working 40hr weeks to cover start-up costs, unless they find outside funding.
#1 Tips for Newbies: It’s important to have faith and trust in yourself – see your vision all the way through and give it everything you have. My father once told me, “Our actions are a testament of our thoughts; work hard and talk less.” While social media and word-of-mouth are talkative in nature, starting your own company is all about DOING.
Many psuedo-entrepreneurs talk about starting something up and then they half-ass the job. If you’re going to start a company, go 100% and talk less. It’s also important to realize that entrepreneurship is often less glorious than the media makes it out to be; it’s incredibly hard work.
Ask people for advice and help. Find a mentor that can help you get things done and who shares an interest in what you are doing. As much as I want to do everything on my own, I would not be nearly as effective without my mentors and role models.
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