Posts Tagged 'focus'

The 7 lessons learnt from letting donttell.com.au expire

Almost a year ago from now I launched the second version of donttell.com.au. It was to be Australia’s number 1 location for Australian street fashion and outfits. It never made it.

This week the domain for donttell.com.au expired and the decision was made not to renew it. That is I’ve decided that donttell.com.au should come to an end.

Here some lessons you can take away from my failure with donttell.com.au:

  1. You need to be 2010% passionate about what you’re doing. Whilst I was passionate about creating something that people loved to use, I wasn’t passionate enough about the actual purpose of the donttell.com.au. I really couldn’t get passionate about gladiator sandals, no matter how hard I tried.
  2. Focus your product/service on a specific need. The first version of donttell.com.au was launched almost 2 years ago. It was a mess of features and “stuff” and “things” and … It just didn’t have focus. Your focus needs to be something that people immediately look at and say “Oh I get it” – only then can you hope for growth and usage. Take a look at pickmylunch.com.au for an example of this.
  3. Focus on how you will bring people to your site. You need to put a strategy in place for bringing people to the site before you build the site or service. The reason for this is that by asking “how will I get people to my service?” you inevitably end up asking “why will people come to my site?” which not only helps you focus but gives you the exact information for how you should be building your site and the advertising you need to do. If your site is built to draw people to it, then it will. With donttell.com.au we eventually focused on fashion trends, creating content with the exact title of the trend and running advertising campaigns around that.
  4. Advertising is a must. Naively thinking that your service will just take off like there is no tomorrow because everyone thinks it is great and tells their friends is cods waddle. Ain’t going to happen. It doesn’t matter how great it is because how can someone tell their friends about something if they don’t know it exists?
  5. Focus on bringing people back to your site. Donttell.com.au had a mailing list that bought people back to the site. This mailing list had an exceptionally high conversion rate compared to most mailing lists. Once you’ve spent all that time and effort drawing someone to your site, you need to spend more time and effort getting them to stay.
  6. Keep it simple. Transforming donttell.com.au from a feature list like “A social fashion site where you can upload outfits and share them with your friends, rate them, buy them…” to “Australian street fashion and outfits” made a big difference. Keep it simple.
  7. Get other people involved. You’ll be surprised at how many people really want to take on an exciting “extra curricula” project. Almost everyone has the itch, they just need to be pointed in the right direction. Donttell.com.au was lucky to become the outlet for some very creative people.

There are other little lessons learnt along the way, but these were by far the most important. It’s because of these lessons that it is hard for me to be upset about this coming to an end. I’ve just learnt so much from it.

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Arnie on Focus

I was watching Pumping Iron featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and, even if you’re not trying to put 10kg on like I am, Arnie is one inspiring guy.

His focus is amazing. He clears everything out of his life leading up to a body building event and focuses only on it. Even to the point where he says he did not visit his father’s funeral because it would distract him from preparation for an upcoming event. I think this is a huge factor in him winning 7 times.

It leaves a tough question in my mind about focusing on studying vs one of my two startups. The benefits of focusing on one and only one are obvious. Perhaps focusing on different ones at different times of the year will still yield some fruit?

Masterclass Series Presents ‘Building a successful e-business’

Last night I attended a presentation by Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Realestate.com.au (RE), Simon Baker in Sydney’s MLC Center. You can read the flyer over on BSI’s site.

It was a truely interesting talk that Simon gave. I like short posts so here is what I took out of his talk:

  • In the internet business where you are the “middle man” it’s important to focus on the ones that are paying you. That’s all well and good you say. However, when asked why Simon thought RE has beaten it’s competitor, domain.com.au, Simon stated that it was because RE focused on real estate agents, the people that paid (their customers), and getting the agents to put their properties up and pay for it. Domain.com.au on the other hand spent a lot more time and resources capturing the minds of the end-user. By capturing the agents, RE in turn captured the agents customers.
  • Simplify your products. When Simon started with RE there was over 40 ways of selling the one product, by simplifying and focusing on 1 product RE became easier to understand and sell.
  • Simon was asked “I noticed you didn’t talk about the website, the features of the website or anything like that, why?”. In reply Simon said “And that’s exactly the point.” Beautiful pages, brand new technology is no substitute for paying customers and good reason for people to use the site.

Each of these points sunk home with me because in both of my ventures I’m tackling exactly the same problems.


Scott Middleton
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