Home Articles Diary of a startup: Kicking the curse of the forever start-up (Month...

Diary of a startup: Kicking the curse of the forever start-up (Month one)


Some people start a business, it takes off, makes millions, they sell it after a year or two, and then retire on an island somewhere. Most don’t.

Most small businesses get stuck somewhere between the start-up and growth phase, working 60+ hours a week, and forever pushing that proverbial elephant up-hill.

At the moment, I am the owner of one such elephant-like business. And, to be honest, I think it’s time I strapped some skates (and a rocket) to that bloody pachyderm.

Why? Well, firstly I am sick of the view. And secondly, I do not want to be one of those small business owners who struggles their entire lives. It just doesn’t sound like fun (a jet-propelled elephant on the other hand… that’s a ride!)

My business is an independent online fashion site, I am not going to tell you which one because that would make it all the more difficult for me to be as completely honest as I plan to be about where my business is at, and where I need it to be.

Just take my word that it is awesome, unique and very stylish, and let’s move on.

So, to start all of this off, and to make sure I actually get there, I need to set some goals. Good ones.

These will be goals that will push me along, and keep me accountable. They will not be ones that are so impossible seeming, that I will feel the need to pack it all in and become a pineapple farmer at the first hurdle. The unreliable world of the interwebs does that enough to me already.

Setting my goals

OK, so what are these amazing, business-changing goals? Well, this all feels a little bit like lifting up my skirt in public, so excuse me if I’m circling the topic a bit here.

Here I go.

I have two main trackable areas that I want to see get the rocket treatment:

  1. Monthly site traffic: Increase by 300%+ (Yes big, but surely doable!)
  2. Monthly sales & revenue: Increase by 200%+ (also big, but if I can pull of point 1, then point 2 should hopefully follow, right?)

Do you know how scary it is to actually write that down?

These are not some pie-in-the-sky numbers either. I have calculated my growth trends so far, and then given them a big shot of steroids in line with a few other similar sites that have had rapid growth, knocked them back down a bit, and here we are.

How will I get there?

How do I get there? Well I am pretty sure it’s going to be a combination of SEO, site optimization, social media, lots more awesome content, diversified revenue streams and PR.

All of which I have DIY’d so far, so I know there is a lot of room for improvement. I am sure there is more to it than that though, which is where part two of my master plan comes in.

Getting professional help

I am not talking about the kind of professional help that requires lying on a couch and rambling to a therapist. Although, I probably need that too, as I am clearly nuts. How nuts? For starters I quit my job and started my business at the start of the GFC for crying out loud.

The professional help I am talking about getting business support. I need to enlist the help of someone with a bit more experience than my well-intentioned friends. Someone who has been there, done that, and then sold the t-shirt for a crazy profit!

Basically I need a mentor. Or two.

So, I after much Googling, I have decided sign up to the Scaleable & Saleable 12-month mentoring program by The Entourage.

This is a group of crazy smart and very successful young entrepreneurs including Jack Delosa & Andrew Morello, who are just really good at helping small businesses become really, really big ones. I’ve chosen them because they’ve done it for their own businesses many times over.

In a nutshell, this is my little quest. I have 12 months to take my business from “plodding along nicely” to a big-crazy success. I’ve decided that I am going to share the highs, lows and why-didn’t-I-think-of-that’s along the way. And yes, I’ll be sharing the flearnings.

Month one is going to be all about site optimization, and really making the most of the current traffic and content I have.

Wish me luck!

Kate McKibbin is a born and bred Melbournite who has been treating shopping as an Olympic sports since birth. In 2007, after nearly four years working in various women’s glossies in Sydney I decided to take a punt on this whole new-fangled online shopping thing – and haven’t looked back since.