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A Decision That Nearly Cost Me My First Entrepreneurship Effort

"It has been my dream since college days to own a company."
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It has been my dream since college days to own a company. Back then, I wasn't ambitious (or greedy if you can call that), I just wished for a small company with a couple of employees. That’s it. I do not want my company to be listed in fortune 500 companies or become a world renowned entrepreneur like Steve Jobs or Sergey Brin. All I want is a freedom to work for my own dreams. I didn't get that chance very easily; it took me a while to get to a position where I could make decisions to leave my day job to pursue my own dreams of owning a company.

So, my idea to sell printed T-shirts online was not a new one. The online market is a bit saturated for this trade, but I still know that I could get a good share if I do certain things right. Those things include online and social media presence.

By the time I started to make small steps into the starting the business, like purchasing a domain, hiring a graphic designer, and purchasing things for screen and digital printing and above all an e-commerce website developer. I placed all the equipment in a big garage, which I rented from a friend. I designed the floor plan in a way that the designer and the developer get a peaceful environment to work. I was looking after the printing process myself, so there was not much trouble.

From all the things I've mentioned above, I was very much worried about the website development, as I knew nothing about it and it is the most vital part of my business plan. As for the social media and online presence (SEO), my friend, who rented me the garage, agreed to work as a freelancer on my project.

Therefore, the only thing I was worried about the website development. As it happens quite often, the thing you worry too much goes wrong. It was happening to the web development progress, so I asked the developer the reasons he told me a couple of things, but I realized that he is not skillful enough to deliver this e-commerce website.

So, I finally decided to hire an online firm to develop an e-commerce website for me. I googled a couple of companies and contacted a company. I called in the number they have provided on the website. A young voice answered my call (probably a sales agent) and tried to sell me a logo design. I thought maybe that’s the way they work. However, I told him I am more interested in a website development project. He immediately quoted me a price, without listening to what was the project. The thing which I am mentioning here, were the signs I missed initially, but recalled it when my website went into the trouble.

The price was very affordable as compared to some other web application development companies were offering. Now, when I analyze thing, I think that was perfect bait for a person like me. I took the bait and ordered an e-commerce website with a complimentary content management system (CMS) with it for $2,000.

That was the worst decision of my entrepreneurial life. First of all, I got so poor designs that I regretted my decision of hiring the web application developers. Then, somehow they managed to produce a design which was a little bit better than the ones I’ve witnessed earlier.

Once, I approved the design. They started the development of the website. It was a complete disaster. They never considered my continuous requests to create multiple user experience for each type of user, i.e. mobile, tablet and desktop user. Then they offered me to add those requirements in my package just for $400. An up-sell effort. I really hate the concept of hidden prices and ambiguous details. That was it.

I realized that they won’t get me what I need, so I decided to get my money back and that was a whole new level of absurdity, which I may share in a new post.

To cut the long story short, I got my money back after a long process with my bank and PayPal. However, I have learned a lot through it. The things I failed to check before placing the order with the web application development company was quite obvious. The things you should also keep in mind before working with an online service provider is to look up for a solid and genuine portfolio, a good Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, and a verified business address.

Oh, it would be interesting to note that I finally got my website up and running with the help of a truly professional web app development company. I ran that business model for 3 successful years and then sold it to a denim company, and moved on to a new project.

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