Seven years ago, Nick Veneris was faced with a question that daunts many new college graduates. “Do I follow my heart or go for job security?” Then twenty-something Veneris said, “I opted for the latter.”
Fast forward to 2011 and Nick’s big risk paid off. Learn how Nick Veneris, founder of Xomba.com – an online publishing platform and social network for writers – bootstrapped his way to success and why giving away $500,000 isn’t such a bad idea.
Founder, Age: Nick Veneris, 32
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Industry: Financial Services
Startup Year: 2006
Startup Costs: $10,000
How I Got Started:
Upon graduating from the University of North Florida in 2004, I was faced with every new grad’s conundrum: Do I follow my heart or go for job security? I opted for the latter.
I wanted to be a writer, but I wasn’t quite ready – or well enough established – to gain a foothold in the dog-eat-dog writer’s market. I brainstormed, studied and brainstormed some more.
The solution I found: Offer young writers like myself an online publishing platform. Better yet, share the revenue the site makes with the users of the site; simple, elegant, effective and profitable.
With the help of a close friend – and silent partner – and a relatively small capital investment, I settled into my bedroom “office” and began building Xomba.com, a place where writers of any skill level can publish their work, benefit from the site’s high traffic of 8 million page views per month, meet and learn from other writers and make a few dollars in the process.
That was five years ago. Now Xomba employs five staff members and we gave nearly $500,000 to our users last year alone.
Best Success Story:
We launched a new innovative website this year without any outside funding. The site now incorporates a host of social networking features along with a new focus on the user.
In the coming months, we will be expanding our reach into what we are calling “channels”: topic-specific niche sites comprising a new Xomba publishing network. Think of the new Xomba as a social networking site for people who love to write. We’re ushering a new age of writing online.
Biggest Startup Challenge:
Our biggest challenge initially was the lack of engineering staff. Being a bootstrapped company, we couldn’t just go out and hire a team of programmers.
#1 Tip for New Entrepreneurs:
Take risks. I wish we would have taken more risks and I’ve applied that philosophy moving forward.
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