Saturday, January 19, 2013

Need Advice - On Starting a Company

So my little brother is starting a business. Well, to be honest, he did a while ago. But we're making it official now.

You see, my brother is 20. He's fallen straight into the heart of not being able to find a job. He has severe ADD, and it wasn't managed in high school - so he struggled just to pass his classes, and having a job wasn't even on the radar. Now that he's seeing a myriad of doctors and has his issues "taken care of", he's enrolled in college and doing well. Except for the whole working thing. See, no one really wants to hire a young adult who's never had a job before and isn't a college graduate. His resume is literally blank. He wasn't in clubs or sports in high school. He didn't graduate with honors. He's your typical "fell through the cracks" person. He's trying so so hard to get out.

My brother is in school for computer programming. He loves all things electronic. He loves taking them apart and putting them back together. Last summer, he started scrapping. He takes old computers and tvs, pulls them apart, and sells the pieces. It's a great deal. Most people just leave this stuff out on the curb or have it collecting dust in their basement. He makes money from it. It takes a special skill set - one he's developed over the years from tinkering with my dad and school. It takes determination - he drives around for roughly 3 hours a night, looking for electronics on the side of the road, and then spends hours more dismantling it and sorting it and taking it to the recycling center for money. My brother will take a string of Christmas lights and take all 500 bulbs off (and makes about $3 from it). But he's being resourceful. While he still lives with my parents, he's able to make income.

I'm so proud of him turning his life around.

But in a few years, he's going to graduate. He's going to give a resume out to employers. And they're going to ask, "What have you been doing with your life?"

I want him to be able to say, "I built this company. From the start." So I'm building his company. I want him to go from a "kid driving around picking up junk" to "let's call him to pick up our stuff!". I want him to have car magnets, business cards, a website, and an email. I want him to look professional. Hell, I want him to have a Facebook page.

Has anyone started a website from scratch before? Preferably free? I'm looking into websites and emails that work best. I'd love an email with a phone app (right now I'm looking at gmail or I'll be using Vistaprint for the material stuff. I'd love anyone's advice!! Thanks!


Caryn Allen said...

Vistaprint is amazing if you want to market yourself for cheap. Weebly offers a free website service that's pretty simple to do yourself. You can even pay for the site for pretty inexpensive, cheaper than a lot of other hosting services.

My suggestion is to come up with a business name, some kind of slogan, and even a logo if he knows someone (or can do it himself) to design it for him. Then print business cards, put all that info on facebook and his website, then he needs to enlist every single person he knows to help get his name out there. Marketing yourself is harder than the actual work, but it pays off!

Amanda said...

I've already done the name and logo part. In a scrapping business, a slogan isn't really necessary though. :)

The only concern I have about a weebly website is the name - how many people in rather rough and tough industry want "weebly" attached to their name? Plus, he doesn't want to spend any money on it, and I don't want to front the money for him either.

That's a great point about marketing yourself though! I hope he can get it off the ground.

Ryanne said...

No advice on starting the business, but what you're doing for your brother is remarkable! Having family that backs you up is worth more than anything!

And... I nominated you for a Liebster Award!

Victoria said...

I agree with what was said about Vistaprint for business materials such as business cards.
It's amazing that you're willing to do this to help your brother out, just as amazing as his skill with rebuilding/repairing things is. Not many people can do that.

One of the things I would suggest is checking with your city and see what the rules are as far as starting a business. I know I've been looking into starting my own, and one of the important things that people sometimes forget is that they need a tax ID if they want to do something AND make money off of it.

Good luck!

That said, I've done the same thing as Ryanne, and nominated toy for a Liebster Award! ☺