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Interview: CreditCardForum.com Founder Michael Dolen on Inexperience and Persistence

Learn how Michael Dolen built his online startup, after dropping out of college, and why he believes persistence is essential for success.

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Would you launch a business during what is perceived to be the worst time to start? In 2008, entrepreneur Michael Dolen decided that a recession, dropping out of college, nor a job loss would keep him from starting a business.

[pullquote align=”right”]”I am a persistent person who doesn’t give up, so my lack of experience was not going to stop me.”[/pullquote]After dropping out of college, and a subsequent job loss, Dolen built CreditCardForum.com, a leading online consumer forum for “all things credit cards”. “My background in this field was quite limited…” Dolen admits, “However, I am a persistent person who doesn’t give up, so my lack of experience was not going to stop me.”

Today, Dolen believes his persistence paid off. “I started the business when I was 23 years old, as a one-man operation having little knowledge of the industry,” he explains. And today “CreditCardForum is one of the Internet’s most highly trafficked sites for credit card reviews.”

Learn how Michael Dolen built his online startup, after dropping out of college, and why he believes persistence is essential for success.

Company: CreditCardForum.com
Founders: Michael Dolen
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Industry: Media
Startup Year: 2008
Startup Costs: < $5,000

How I Got Started

I started CreditCardForum.com in March of 2008, the same month Bear Stearns bellied up (followed by the financial crash). At first glance, that may seem like the absolute worst time possible for starting a credit card marketing website. However, the timing ended up being a blessing in disguise as I continued to focus on building up the site while many of my competitors had given up or put their businesses on the back burner, since there was no money to be made in the industry during the recession. [Essentially] banks had ceased their affiliate marketing of credit card offers.

[pullquote align=”right”]”I built the website myself (through trial and error, teaching myself along the way) and basically ran it as a one-man operation.”[/pullquote]My motive for starting the website was simple: there seemed to be few websites which actually reviewed credit cards. Most were just generic comparison sites feeding consumers the same basic four or five bullet points.

I wanted to cover cards in a much more in-depth manner. Additionally, I wanted a forum where people could give their two cents. Up to that point, there weren’t any forums solely dedicated to credit cards.

My background in this field was quite limited.

As a 23 year-old with no formal training (I dropped out of college after two weeks), both the Internet marketing and banking industry were quite new to me. However, I am a persistent person who doesn’t give up, so my lack of experience was not going to stop me. I built the website myself (through trial and error, teaching myself along the way) and basically ran it as a one-man operation.

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