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Starting from nothing - The Weed journy

Discussion in 'Follow Alongs and Online Journeys' started by storytellingmedia, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Hey guys,

    Ok so as i said in my quick introduction, I'm starting a new website dedicated to the Medical marijuana industry. So this thread is going to be the frustrations and questions i have while i build the site up.

    Iv'e got to a point where the site is live you can check it out here www (dot) the-mmj-nation (dot) com but Its still kinda bolted down as I'm still working on design and content but a quick description of the site is:

    the site is based around a Social platform, where you can upload avatars photo albums created groups events discussion any thing a social platform not adays should have it has... Well i say that but i don't have a chat function at the moment, i only have a messaging system.

    Around that social platform is

    • A reviewing system, This is were people will be able to review all kinds of things related to the medical marijuana industry from Growing products, strains, smoke products you name it any thing that is relevant to either hemp or medical marijuana will be added including locations.
    • An E-learning system, this is a complete e-learning management system, it allows user to create courses give out certificates and create quizzes, its all going to be about how to grow, how to use and what ever some one thinks they can teach them others about the Cannabis. they'll also be able to sell there courses
    • A recipes section, ok so this section is a recipe manager, users can upload there own recipes and sell them if they want. again all cannabis related
    • A jobs vacancies section, this is for dispensaries labs etc to be able to post job vacancies and users can submit there own
    • A case study section: this section is for doctors and researchers or any one that is doing research on cannabis can write and submit there publications directly on the site. with modeation

    AS you can see I'm trying to make a one stop shop for any thing related to medical marijuana.

    So this is where I'm up to, and what I'm brainstorming about the moment,


    - Finish content for each section and styling
    - figure out how to price all of it Patients will be free, its for the dispensaries doctors research labs etc should it be one payement, member ship not decided yet
    - What profile types should be able to get what, access rights for each pack-edge
    - Marketing strategy for the whole site (I'm currently not doing any except a twitter account i update nothing special)
    - Make the review area a link to an affiliate Amazon package or affiliate seed bank
    - An affiliate program for the different sign ups (will come later) but plan to have the profile types as an affiliate program or some thing not sure
    - Landing pages for each section with pricing and explanations of each section

    Yeah... still got lots to do before i can actually start marketing and making any money but hopefully this Case study will soon start adding up to a website launch, planing ups and downs, dispetions etc, in the near future. but might help others out i nthe same kind of situation.

    any how that enough from me, Will keep you updated as much as i can

    Peace
    Stay Blazed.
     
    K and petrijarvinen like this.
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  3. crysper

    crysper Moderator moderator Service Manager affiliate

    Good luck with your journey.

    The website looks great and I'm pleased to see that you choosed the stable, long-term route which can be a very important income source for the next years. Having a website(kept updated) is an asset and it can become very valuable over time if you keep working on it.
     
    storytellingmedia likes this.
  4. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Thanks very much appreciate it yeah I've been trying all the one off games for to long and i guess maturing, that being said I've got to much going on at once on the site, it's the first error that's standing out for me at the moment, i should have started with a lot less sections to the site, and thought about it a bit more.

    having a full social network, recipes management, jobs vacancies, blog, news hub, reviews, will hopefully pull off in the long term as you say, but i should have had one after the other I'm doing it all at the same time and it's mind blowing at the moment and I'm getting lost in what i need to do

    So first pointer in here - Dream big but don't under estimate the amount of work there is.

    i'll be back with an update in a week or so, I'm currently working on fixing all the bugs and making sure the joomla components all work correctly together and are not causing conflicts.

    My next step is working out how to price every thing, my plan at the moment is to leave the Social platform out there for free, and the add features on top of that, e.i :
    job vacancies X amount for 30 days, if dispensary want to get featured on the review section X amount for 10 days
    Or
    One "Pro" version with a monthly subscription to it.
    lots of questions are going through my mind at the moment and progress is going to be slow over the next couple of weeks while i brainstorm until some thing clicks and seems logical.

    Keep ya guys posted

    KeepBlazin' ;)
     
  5. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Hey all,

    Ok a quick update.. One of the biggest problems I'm having starting from nothing at the moment is Time/money. I know i know you make time and time doesn't make its self. I've got another start up that designs and develops websites, we work with large international organisations and the end of year is around the corner, they need to be able to spend their budgets. Work is mad. So at the moment I've had to put priority on my other biz, I've gotta eat from time to time at least :)

    The two main bugs I've got on the site at the moment are, the recipes section is not compatible with the template and then the E-learning platform is still a bit buggy. Once I've got those two spotless I'll start having a couple of landing pages created for each section and the marketing can get started!

    Oh and never make your Email findable on Twitter. Jesus Christ I'm getting bombarded with spam now need to change my email nightmare

    Any how hope to be move active November, December time as have some large contracts arriving so will be able to outsource a bit of the dev work.

    Take care and keep blazing ;)
     
    K likes this.
  6. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Alright. Got some cash and back on the wagon. Got some copy writer to re write the sites content, Getting some Banners and landing page designed (by the landingpageguys of course). So feeling productive at the moment.

    What i'm brainstorming about at the moment.

    Making cash.
    This is playing on me at the moment. Do i go down the Free route and make money off advertisement reviews and stuff, Or do i go down the membership route. with different sections for different prices. Lets say i go down the Membership route (i prefer residual income, thats what i'm leaning towards at the moment.)

    6 accounts have come to mind based on the services the site can provide.

    - Member. Access to a basic profile on the social platform, ability to view reviews, directory, recipes,
    - Doctor - same as member but has the ability to create Groups inside the platform to communicate with there patience and Access to writing publications that they may have written or case study they would like to make public.
    - Cook, same as Member plus, access to creating recipes
    - Dispensary - same as doctor plus access a pro directory page (high ranking and visible on front page)
    - Teacher - Same as member plus access to creating and selling there courses. (they keep 75%) or what ever
    - enterprise has all access.

    But for the launch (even tho the site is basically live no one has signed up) i will keep every thing open for free until i hit a specific number of users or some thing.

    Marketing

    This is where its gonna start getting complicated. Firstly i'm not sure on the laws and stuff for advertising the site. and am having a hard time figuring out where to find them. Secondly do i start with Branding, meaning like Weedmaps simply promoting the logo. Do I market each section of the site, or do i simply market that the site is free for a limited time for the launch...

    then traffic sources I've just signed up to what runs where and got some date from larger sites and seems that there are people selling weed for sale lol. so i think its gonna come in handy. at least to get an idea of where to go get some trafffic the landers and banners suck.

    As you an see i'm asking way to many question to my self, i guess any entrepreneur that works by him self does, guess that's why we all have that inner voice..

    the next phase will be turning the site into a mobile app. i've got a few tricks to turn the site in to a native app with a limited budget. then that again will become another brainstorming nightmare. but i guess the in app payements shoud be a good idea for each profile types.

    remember it's your attitude and not your aptitude that determines your altitude

    with that keep blazin and keep grind

    MAKE MONEY
     
    K likes this.
  7. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    K likes this.
  8. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Ok so i've just set up a Facebook page. and started promoting it, do't really have any plans with face book, just trying to get the brand out there, and seeing how facebook works.
    from 0 to around 50 likes - .20 cts per like, 6.265% CTR imps, 5.926% CTR unique click thru, reach touch over 800 people
    My advert is a crappy quick thing i decided to check out yesterday.

    [​IMG]

    Iike i said i'm just testing will i try and figure things out as a plan.

    i've also startedt the process to trade mark the name and logo I've always thought that that trade mark symbol makes a company looks so much bigger, no idea why, and most likly pointless but hey I'm here to satisfy my personal needs and make money, so what the hell. I'm using Free Trademark Search Online | Trademark filing & Trademark Registration Application | Online Corporations, Trademark Services, and others if any one has heard of it, no idea how good they are but going for 159$ to trade mark the name and 149$ to trade mark the logo didn't think it was to much :)

    any how, I'm currently looking over some landing pages and stuff trying to figure out what kind of landing page and banners i'm going to have designed. but i think that all i'm going to do is have a landing page to show all the services and a call to action that is linked to the registration page. thought about having the sign up form on the Landing page, but I've got 6 different profiles and it would cost me an arm and a leg to get every thing synced esspecially as not many of the affilate or developers work with Joomla, i seem to be the only person in the industry using it. Never understood that. You ca expand so much quicker with a Joomla CMS site. but any way.

    i'll post the landing page and banners here to show you what i've gone with

    Take care keep it real. and keep blazin!
     
    K likes this.
  9. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Have been thinking about the Domain, while i'm waiting for the Copywiters to finish. most of my competition like for example Leafly.com have small domains that are easy to remeber and also, easy to insert into an ad as they don't take up much space compaired with my About Its too long i feel, so i've gone and bought a couple of domains to be able to foward people to the long domain for example, tmmjn.com - Registered at Namecheap.com i've just bought, a bit of a mouth full to tell ya the truth but at least it doesn't take up to much space on a banner. Will have a simple domain foward to the actual site. will also allow me to have a domain for tracking things, and not slow down the main site. Lol not that a couple of landing pages are going to slow the site down. but hey nice to keep things seperatly organised.

    Next outsourcing i'm going to be doing is Data entry i need to be able to get as many dispensary, doctors listed as possible. let alone the billions of strains there are out there.

    Lots to do, this case study is actualy really helping me plan and see what i had as ideas and stuff so Oliver and Co. thanks ha.

    take it easy.

    Alex
     
  10. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Ok so some ideas I've been having, I've never really done a launch before, for the site, even if it is live i don't have any one going to the site, so lets just say it hasn't been thou a beta stage.

    I'm thinking of playing the: get a free gift for signing up during beta stages X amount of users needed for testing. Getting some t-shirts printed maby a hoody and some smoke accessories. Like a grinder or something. Now, i've about the clothing i've always thought that one promotional theme i could use is Hemp. Hemp is probably the best known fiber for clothing, i'm not going to promote here as i'll prob come over as a freaking hippy, as i'm in the Cannabis industry it kinda feels stupid not to use hemp for clothing. The best would be to have it written Made in USA, as my market at the moment is in the US but i still need to find some suppliers and work out a couple of ideas. Thats a long plan i have is to be able to sell Branded stuff on the site. All at least 51% hemp based, for clothing.

    Any how quick update

    Peace
     
  11. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Right another quick update. I've been thinking about the cloths line i'll be creating for the launch of the site, as i said in my previous post i've always thought that using a hemp based product will be a better way to promote the brand and make sure that its relevent to the market i'm in. i've been hunting around and I've found a great Hemp trader, hemptraders.com if you live over in Cali, or if your addicted to Kickstarter, they are the hemp suppliers to the new brand Recreators (a hemp clothes line) i've got a sample coming over to me to see what kind of textiles they have got. but now this is where its going to start getting complex, First the designs and what they say is going to be crucial for the launch and as they are going to be free for X amount of people they are going to need to be a sales point for the Site. Secondly, I've got the textile supplier, now down to the manufacturing, I'm hoping that they can also make the clothes and i print them here , but thats going to mean investing in textile printer or what ever they are called, shit... this is turning in to a massive site to do by ones self, but hey its all part of the fun ey...

    Next part i'll be out sourcing is Data entry, the site hasn't got enough information on it at the moment to be able to get people exited about things and also one part i've been neglecting is the Employment area, its just like any normal employment site, except well for the Weed industry. I know i can make a bit off money on this front so i need to make it more visible on the site.


    Some ting else that has been troubling me, is do i leave the site Open for public to view the recipes reviews etc, or do i make it so that the only if you are registered can you see the sites information. For example Leafly allows you to search all the strains with out being a member but to comment or whats not you need to be a member. Do i push people towards register or do i allow people just to come to the site and try and find the information they want and if they want to comment or add a recipe they need to become a member?

    any how, was a quick update about where i'm at and what i'm brainstorming about

    Peace
     
  12. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Lol ok this is a funny one, i've just found out that facebook, Google, twitter have banned keywords relative to marijuana. but all of my ads are being a prooved, i'm taggeting people with interests in any thing i can think of related to cannabis, so quiet fun.
     
  13. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Ok at last got the landers and banners on the way. So the angle i've taken for the time being is below:

    I've split each section up for banners and landers - (as always landers and banners are from the landingpageguys) - Each section gets its own styling. I have to treat the site as sections, and not as a global site. The reason being is that each section is a different audience.

    For example
    The people that are going to be signing up to teach people how to Grow are not going to be the same as parents looking for information about CBD for epilepsy and their children.

    I've split it up into:

    - Education
    - Researchers
    - Patients
    - Growers

    I'm going to be doing Media buying and SEO, oh yeah baout SEO, shit there is a lot of work to be done, just started an SEO team up and man oh man their report scares me.

    * some advice*

    when building a large site make sure meta tags etc are high up on your list i've just been concentrating on functionality and now i have to pick up the pieces to make the site SEO optimized and it's Gonna cost, but hey again gotta learn the hard way to not do it again.

    any how back to the landing pages and banners, i've decided that i will be giving out 150 free life time memberships and a few goodies bags so hope that will start a buzz. I will be selecting the 150 people based on what they can bring to the site.

    Data entry is on its way also adding the strains to the review system using Leaf.ly API to get the strain information .

    mmm... thats it for the time being i guess.

    Keep blazin' and keep ya eye out for some test ads ha best
     
    K likes this.
  14. chazten

    chazten Affiliate affiliate

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    I wouldnt mind being one of the 150 :D
     
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  15. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Ok me going mad at the moment. I've got so many option on how i can monetize the site that i can't make my damn mind up.... and its whats going to make or break the site.

    - Free make money on Advertisement once a user base is formed, make money from the comissions for the sale of courses and affiliate links in the reviews section
    - one time payement based for all aspects of the site, a flat rate like the Dojo. + partner fees for featured aspects
    - membership min 3 months for each part of the site.
    - buy credits for posting careers opportunity
    - split each profile type up and make it a paid membership for each section, E-learning, Careers, Publications, recipes etc

    any one got some advice? all have their benefits, I'm leaning towards the Free and make money off advertisement , sales of branded products, advertisement on site, affilaite and featured lisitings...

    but damn its a hard decision to make on ones own ha Keep blazin'
     
    K likes this.
  16. K

    K Administrator Administrator affiliate

    I'd always start FREE for membership until you have a user base and users help you build up content, engagement etc.

    I wouldn't launch a site ever with the plan to monetise off the bat!

    Think first about the site, the engagement, userbility and then monetise the shit out of it when you have people joining and returning constantly.
     
    storytellingmedia likes this.
  17. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    haha dude hadn't seen your message i'll hook ya up no worries ;-)
     
  18. T J Tutor

    T J Tutor Administrator Administrator moderator affiliate

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    YEP! If you are doing memberships or any other type of continuity site, then offer a free lifetime membership for the level 0 membership and start asking them what they want. Try out their recommendations.Tell them they are the BETA Team and you will reward the first #XX X with an upgrade top level 2 or 3 for their input when you go live with the official launch. This works like magic. They will be a cornerstone for you. You can do this several times over the years as you add new paid levels. Remember, you are doing this for them, not the other way around. They must believe this!

    Continuity sites are awesome when they spring into action for you. You continue to build audience and expansiveness and depth to these sites over time. Remember that syndication of your content in this field of MJ is a great and open field. Once you get a decent audience (membership), then the guys like Big Mike at Advanced Nutrients the authors at 420 Magazine, et al, will gladly help you with interviews and content.

    BTW, which platform are you using? I've put S2Member on WP with a VPS for most of my continuity sites.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
    storytellingmedia likes this.
  19. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Thanks K, for that, yeah i'm in that phase at the moment where i'm getting some beta users to sign up and have a life time membership for them, But i like having a long term plan, i don't like not knowing where i'm going with a project it allows me to plan for future marketing materials and simply getting things right from day one, (not that i don't redo things) its just I always thing you have a better chance of making money when you know where your going with it and have a long term plan, what kind of user base do you normally target before you start adding the paid subscriptions?

    best
     
  20. storytellingmedia

    storytellingmedia Affiliate affiliate

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    Appreciate that, you got me exited with those names! thats the plan, get the user base and get the bigger guys over later, I'm setting it up to get some beta users over to help build the content of the site, I'm giving them some branded goodies plus a life time membership (t-shirt, grinder and some other things i'm not quiet sure on).

    For the component i use, i use Joomla 3.x for the CMS i don't have one plugin for the memberships, its based on the components i've chosen, so for example the Social platform is Jomsocial, the recipe management is Yoorecipe, the reveiws section is Jreviews, the e-learning platform is Guru from Ijoomla, each component allows you to have a paid access level to certain aspects and they each have there payement system.

    How have your continuity Sites treated you?

    thanks again for the advice
     
  21. crysper

    crysper Moderator moderator Service Manager affiliate

    Man you are on the right track. This industry is extremely profitable and only from advertising contracts you could earn a lot.

    I have some experience with Joomla, let me know if you need help on the tech side.
     
    storytellingmedia likes this.

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