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3 Traffic Tickets in 3 Weeks Leads To Something Profitable

During my sophomore year of college, I received 3 traffic tickets in 3 weeks. As a “starving” student, I thought, “What in the world am I going to do with 3 tickets?!” I found a legal process to contest the tickets without ever going to court…and had 2 of the tickets dropped. I told some friends who told some of their friends and it spread like wildfire. Before I knew it, I had enough customers to start a business. However, I had only a few hundred dollars to my name.

3 Traffic Tickets in 3 Weeks Leads To Something Profitable

Greg Muender

My name is Greg Muender. I’m 24 and I live and work in sunny San Diego, CA. I am the President & Founder of TicketKick (www.ticketkick.com). I launched TicketKick® in July of 2010, and since then we have helped thousands of drivers successfully contest their traffic citations. TicketKick is a legal document assistant designed to help drivers contest their tickets through a trial by written declaration in California. We provide all the appropriate instructions, forms, documents, and custom written defenses for drivers to contest their citation without ever having to go into court. Our service is guaranteed; if the case isn’t dismissed, we will refund the Flat Fee™ to our customer. We specialize in helping drivers with speeding tickets, red light camera tickets, and any other basic moving violation. We just hired our 6th employee, and our on track to break $1,000,000 in sales this year.

I launched our first website on Christmas Day of 2008. The cost? A whopping $29.00 using GoDaddy’s website-builder function. I used my personal computer, which I had recently purchased for about $1,100, and set up a $100 Ikea desk in my bedroom. I bought a MagicJack for less than $30, which gave me unlimited VOIP calling for a year. I set up a Gmail email account, and integrated useful Google Tools into my website (Google Analytics, Conversion Optimizer), all of which were free. I had a functional “office”, working website, and leads coming in, all for less than $1,500. When it was time to hire my first employee, I propped my bed up against the wall and made room for a second desk. Thankfully, I had a decent couch to sleep on for the first few months! When we decided to start advertising, we opted to engage in “Pay-Per-Click” models, rather than commit to costly traditional advertising methods. This meant that we only had to float money for a day or two before I received payment from my customers. As we grew and hired additional employees (by this time, we were in an office), we even encouraged them to bring in their own computers to cut costs until we could afford to purchase.

Even at our size now, we continue to leverage free programs that previously cost companies thousands of dollars. For email, we use G-mail, which is entirely free. Instead of hiring an expensive PR firm to manage our press, we use HelpaReporterout.com (HARO) and Pitchrate.com, which are both gratis. We skip out on expensive office furniture in favor of competitively priced Ikea desks. Instead of paying a programmer thousands of dollars to develop our on-site sign up forms, we built them using Wufoo.com, which costs us the equivalent of a few cups of coffee every month.

The one caveat to our frugal spending: Walk into our offices and you’ll be surprised to view a sea of aluminum and glass monitors with a certain fruit logo on the front. We operate exclusively on pricey Mac computers. Although this seems to go against our bootstrapping nature, our logic is simple. Bootstrapping is about the bottom line and getting the job done for as cheap as possible. Problems on a computer cause downtime and loss of productivity. Paying an employee to troubleshoot a malfunctioning PC is pricey. With our Macs, we never have any issues, which saves us money in the long run, which is surely bootstrapping at it’s finest.

We’ve grown a lot over the past year, and a lot of that growth is attributable to social media and PR. Facebook is a very powerful tool for us, and we’ve been able to gain a loyal following. Customers interact with each other on our fan page, which creates buzz and legitimizes our company. A healthy dose of status updates with useful information regarding traffic laws and news helps us reach out to our customers, and keep them within arm’s reach. We also leverage a consistent stream of Press Releases through a well-known channel, which provides instant website traffic, and boosts SEO when sites like Yahoo Finance and CNN Money post our releases. One recent PR initiative landed us a feature story on San Diego The CW Channel 6.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xY1mw3ZK-Q

This segment aired on Monday, August 22nd, 2011, and has spiked our traffic quite a bit.

Since Day One, we’ve been in the black. I’am always amazed to hear people say, “So, are you profitable yet?” My immediate response is, “Of course, why wouldn’t we be?” Granted, we are a service based company, so we never had to invest tons of capital to get the business of the ground. As I was building my business, this was my income. It’s how I paid rent, college tuition, and put food on the table. I had no choice but to make it profitable.

We feel we still have growth opportunity, and through diversification in other products and services, and markets, we can gross $2-3 million annually. Given our current growth, we estimate this to happen between 18 and 24 months. Businesses tend to have a growth curve that is somewhat linear at the beginning, and then hits a certain point that’s exponential for a period of time. We feel we are right at the base of the exponential curve.

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