When we set out 13 weeks ago to start a new business every week for a year, I had no idea what we were in for. What has started as a fun and exciting project, has become perhaps the most incredible journey of my life. We’ve started and helped start some great businesses and non-profits. We’ve learned a ton along the way. What we have not done a great job at is telling our story. It’s been easy to get caught up in what we are doing each week and not take the time to document things. I think now is a good time to take a break and give a brief summary of what we’ve been up to. Read Part 1 on Weeks 1 through 6 here. For more in depth descriptions of what we’ve been doing, check out our website.
Week 7 – Carré Quest
During Week 7, we worked with Peter Stanley who owns Baller Quest Bicycles and Equipment. Peter makes amazing welded sculptures. You may have seen some of the trailers he has made around town, or perhaps you’ve seen his Pirate Pizza vehicle. We helped Peter launch a new product line – artistic house security gates made out of bicycle parts. We also filed his LLC, solidified his branding, and built a website where you can order the security doors in addition to other custom products (carrequest.myshopify.com). Peter built us a special door for Jazz Fest, and we displayed all throughout the festival in order to do some market research.
Week 8 – Writingyourownvows.com
A help website for writing your own wedding vows was one of the first ideas we had for 52businesses because you can build all aspects of the business in a week. I found from my own experience that it can be very scary and challenging to write your own wedding vows, and I figured there were other people out there just like me. Quick market research confirmed this hypothesis, so we build the website, set up social profiles, built the products, and found people who could make the products. A friend of our is serving as the initial vow consultant and we expect future consultants to come from universities. One of the things that we tried during Week 8 was setting up a Google Adwords campaign to test the market. After fixing this issue of not setting a bid limit, we ended up getting several inquiries and one real sale. This return does not justify more advertising, but we will continue our SEO effort.
Week 9 – The Eventualizers
During Week 9, we worked with Nick Nevares, a true artist in the world of top tier event production. Nick has produced events for the Superbowl, NBA, Essence, and many others. There was a proven demand for Nick’s services, so we focused mainly on building the infrastructure of his business – The Eventualizers. We knew that as soon as he launched, the business would grow rapidly so we created an infrastructure that would scale with the business. After spending a little bit of time on branding, we built systems for project management, accounting, data tracking and much more. As we predicted, Nick’s business has blown up and he is working on many exciting events that you will certainly hear about in the near future.
Week 10 – 52 Events
We spent Week 10 building out another side of 52businesses, itself. Many of our partners, sponsors, and friends have asked us to help put on events for them, so we saw an opportunity to bring our community together (as well as another opportunity to bring in some revenue). We put together a few relationships where we’re planning “pilot” events. In addition, we got the ball rolling on our first big event which you’ll be hearing about soon.
Week 11 – KOLOSSOS
Katina Brees runs I Heart Louisiana, the Bearded Oysters, and Krewe of KOLOSSOS. Week 11 was all about building a business around KOLOSSOS. Here we were able to turn her incredible passion into a real and profitable business. Katrina makes beautiful larger than life art bikes that people ride in parades, so we built a ton of structures that allow her to book more gigs and to book them at a better price. We began by articulating Katrina’s mission clearly and then building the business around that mission. Then, we took the “10,000 bits of information” that Katrina holds in her brain and created systems to hold that information and make it easy to access. Another big item during Week 11 was social media. Katrina’s social media presence has been fantastic ever since going through social media bootcamp with the 52businesses team. Katrina has booked multiple new gigs since our week together.
Week 12 – iCareNOLA
When Ryan Rockefeller’s mother was diagnosed with ALS several years ago, he and his family moved into her house to be able to provide better care. Leveraging his professional expertise, Ryan set up systems that allowed his mother, who lost her ability to perform basic functions, to be able to actively control her environment. For example, she could change her TV channel to a video feed of the backyard in order to watch her grandchildren play on the trampoline. Additionally, Ryan configured alert systems that helps him provide better care for his mother.
The 52businesses team worked with Ryan to articulate his desire to honor the legacy of his Mother and better define exactly how iCareNOLA can positively effect the community of families with loved ones suffering from disease. We worked through all the details of launching a 501(c)(3) non-profit, structuring a way to build and sustain the new endeavor.
Week 13 – NOLATech Week
Week 13 was all about NOLATech Week. NOLATech Week is a weeklong, citywide unconference that brings together New Orleans’ food, art, music, urban development, environmental, and education communities – all with a focus on technology. The 52businesses team worked on turning NOLATech Week into a non-profit. We also re-vamped the structure of the conference events, prepared new operating procedures for organization and volunteer coordination, assisted in designating Board members, and found new ways to receive sponsorships.
The dates for NOLATech Week 2014 were announced earlier this week, and a new partnership with New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau was also announced. The unconference dates are October 6th-11th. Preregistration is now available online.