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What should I do? Quit or Continue

Hi Fellow Rodinhooders

I am here to seek suggestion from all of you. I and my two friends started a venture – eWeLink (A campus networking website). The idea was to connect students of various campuses together and indulge them into various social activities.  We created the site in 2011 and launched it on 1st Jan 2012. Till date we have around 1000 users. We have been trying to keep the users engaged but so far I don’t see any progress and all our effort seems to have wasted. We have not invested much on marketing / SEO or any other form of advertisement so far. All these users were informed about the site either because they were our friends or using social networking website like Facebook, twitter, etc.

We have spent around 30K for the website server / domain and other misc charges this year. There was no development cost as the complete development was done by me only. But now as we are not able to generate visits / increase user base or generate income out of our website, we are unsure of what to do next.

Any suggestion is appreciated. Shall we continue with the site? Then what process / strategy should we follow to generate some revenue or at least increase our user base. Or should we quit our plan and start something new?

Thanks in advance. 

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52 Comments

  1. Hey Anoop,

    Congrats for trying to build something! Now the unpleasant part:  I strongly suggest that you should at best continue with this as a part-time hobby if you insist, but I don’t see this becoming a viable business if you’re depending upon advertising income mainly. Facebook started for the same reason and now it will be a tough task for another campus networking site to gain traction. So, unless you are offering something way different (in terms of content, UX, etc) for which users are ready to pay subscription money (which hasn’t seen proof of concept yet), I think you should move on!

    Good Luck

  2. Thanks Nikunj for your response. We are planning the same. But when I think of closing this and moving on.. It reminds me of all the hard work and dedication we put into building this. That is something which really hurts a budding entrepreneur.

  3. I understand but thats what as Alok says making tough decisions is all about!

  4. Hello Annop, I will take side with Nikunj here.

    It is not necessary that the world’s best website and world’s best team would be making money, in fact that website would not be known to anyone and would not be earning a single penny. 

    Think of any website as either a shop or garden, Shop is where you sell shamelessly and want people to pay (period)

    Garden is where you allow people to roam around, let them smell your roses and go home. That’s where you are doing it wrong because roses won’t grow naturally you will need to water and nurture. Make your garden into a museum charge people with ticket price. If you are not able to charge means you are not providing something which is valuable or helpful.

    A big lesson from Shark Tank in quote of Robert Herjavec “Follow the money”

  5. Hi Arun

    Thanks for your response. Your reference to Garden and museum is really inspiring. We should be building something similar to Museum not garden. Great !!

    Thanks!

  6. Hi Anoop

    I have gone through the site and i would really like to appreciate your effort. I could have a basic idea of your vision for the product and how you would have wanted it to come out. I understand that it could be really disheartening when you don’t get the response you hoped for and i would request you to not lose hope. Now coming to the problems in hand and what could be done.

    You biggest problem (idea wise) is the existence of Facebook. If you really look deeply you are doing a a lot of Facebook does and a little more. Now this little more is either too little or hidden because the first impression one gets is the overwhelming conceptual similarity with FB. Maybe we could do something about that. Maybe it is time to concentrate only on what we do and Facebook does not and highlight it. I understand that networking, commenting etc are standard features of a social network but you need to show the key difference.

    Major UI overhaul is needed. I do not know if you don’t see this or don’t think it is important but your UI is pretty bad. (i am sorry, i dont sugarcoat). You might be using ground breaking, sky shattering technology at the back but to a user the user interface is the only thing that matters. The design, the fonts the experience HAS to be world class. And mobile friendly.

    A lot of uncomplication can be done. The very fact that you need a super long tour at the start to show the oh so many features in the start is confusing and misleading. I am not saying that you should not have all these features. What i am saying is that you should have rolled out a few at start and incrementally roll out in frequent intervals to maintain that new feeling. This you can even do now, at the user level. Break the tour into multiple small tours and using the login history data you can choose to progressively show him tours at intervals. Let him discover the new features and think of them as newly developed.

    Ground work and marketing – I come from a prestigious college in Delhi and i had to create my own college entry. Maybe this is how you want the work flow to be but you need to make it easy for people to join you considering that they are not gaining much by joining you (at least not now). Add atleast the major colleges in major cities yourself. I couldnt even find delhi or new delhi and then realized the drop down has NCR. Think about the user experience. 

    Now coming to the big question about to quit or not. I have never been averse to calling quits on something but it should only be done when you have tried all the avenues and turned all stones. As i see a lot of work still needs to be done here only. Even if you quit and start anew, you are likely to make the same mistakes/gaps there and the outcome will most likely be the same. I say give it some more time and real effort. Make the site beautiful and easy. Incentivise referrals somehow. Go to colleges physically and put posters if need be. Make yourself distinguishable. Things should work out. And even them if they do not then you have my permission to pivot (in Bane voice) 🙂

  7. Hi Akhil

    First of all thanks for your appreciation and many thanks for devoting some of your time to explore the site.

    As you have mentioned – Existence of Facebook is one of the major challenge we are facing while trying to attract more users. Whenever we approach someone and ask him / her to join the site, their first question is -> Hume kya milega? (What is the benefit of joining your site). Then we somehow manage to convince them by telling all the features we have on our website. People are so much engaged in Facebook that they don’t even try to look what the other website has got.

    Secondly, the UI – yes I agree the UI is somewhat worse 🙂 and we do have plans to redesign the whole website. But our only roadblock is the thought – If we spend a lot on redesigning the site and it won’t work.. then what !! . But now after reading your reply.. I am forced to give it a try.

    Regarding the tour – It was added later on when we got feedback from users that they are not able to understand what to do on the site. So we added a tour. We will definitely consider your recommendation of breaking up the tour into parts.

    Marketing – Ok.. we will work on adding more colleges (at-least the famous ones). We will also work upon how to market the site on other campuses. Your idea of displaying posters is good and can be tried on few campuses initially.

    Overall what I have concluded from your reply is – We should give some more time and put in some more effort highlighting the additional features of our site, improve the UI and UX of the site. Also, we have to adopt some marketing techniques that are cost effective and can attract the niche users.

    Really a great advice … Thanks for helping me out.

  8. Just quit and move on. If after 2011, you just have 1000 members, its not working.

  9. Its simple….man

    as you have asked this question…shows that you basically want to quite ….you just want reasons from others why you should continue,,,

    But the fact is that…if you think you can’t go ahead with it…which shows in your progress report so far……then just Quite..

    Thats the best option 🙂

  10. Alok Sir

    Thanks for replying to the post. I will discuss all the response I have got here with my team and will take the final decision.

    Thanks!

  11. Thanks Yunus for replying.

    Its not that I want to quit. Rather no one would like to quit after putting so much effort and dedication. But yes you are right.. I am here to seek suggestion from you all about what can be done to continue with the site (If you feel I should continue)… Else we might have to quit this and move on..

    Thanks again !!

  12. Hi Anoop,

    I am sure that the journey of building this eWeLink might have left you with a hell lot of learnings. If it doesn’t cost you anything keep the site running. But, apply your learnings in building something new.  

  13. Amar.. you are right. I have learned a lot. Actually I had no knowledge of php before building this site. I learned php online and started building this with the help of my two other partners. Now I realize — after a long journey of two years I have learned a lot. Be it on the technical side or marketing. One thing is sure If I plan to quit this, we will definitely put all our learning into our new product and will try not to repeat the mistakes we have made while creating eWeLink.

    And since we have already paid for the server and domain.. It is not going to cost us anything for the next 12 months. So we won’t put it down till then.

    Thanks a lot!

  14. great !! thats the temperament.
    THis time before you start, do a good amount of soul searching, and try to identify the pain-point/problem of your targeted users/customers very distinctively.
    Also, make sure you have good knowledge of your competition and try being the differentiator than trying to make things differently.

  15. We are already on to it.. Soon you will hear about the new venture we are going to start. We did all the required market study including the competition and market trends. We have also paid attention towards UI and UX. So this time hope things work well for us. 

    Thanks!

  16. Go ahead. thats the spirit . All the best ! 

  17. Anoop,

    I can understand your passion towards what you have built but unfortunately the statistics do not justify spending more time unless you pivot into something more interesting by leveraging what you already know by now.

    If you really have to give it another shot, set a deadline and some realistic targets e.g. 10,000 users in the next 1 month. If you meet them you can continue but if you dont you will have to make this difficult decision.

    What you have today is experience and that is extremely valuable. You already have an edge over others who are starting up for the first time. I can understand the myriad of things going on in your mind with pulling the plug but dont think you have lost everything. Look at the experience, knowledge, relationships, inspiration you have gathered en route to this point. Move-on, stay inspired, create something new, celebrate failure…

  18. Thanks Sanket

    That was a really inspiring response. Will definitely consider your suggestion for my next venture.

  19. Yeah.. won’t quit.. Will move on with a better and effective idea.

    Thanks mate!

  20. To quit or not to quit is completely your call.  Absolutely no one can advice you on something like this.

  21. You are Free to make your Choice, but you are not free to choose the 
    Consequences !!!

    There is no such thing as a Loser. Only Quitters. 

    And a Quitter is someone who gave up on their Dream.
    A True winner is someone who will fight for their Dream, even when the World says they can’t have it. 🙂

    Winners are not those Who NEVER Fail,
    But those Who NEVER Quit!!!

    No one ever Loses anything, they just simply Give up on what they were After.

    DON’T make Decisions, when you’re Angry
    DON’T make Promises, when you’re Happy
    DON’T make Replies, when you’re Sad

    Cheers!!! Good Luck!! Go After it, Win It!!

  22. Hi,

    If u have 1000 users in 3 years, its clearly time to move on. Its a bitter pill that u need to take. But do take time to understand why u failed so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes. You also need to understand that even labor of love needs to also have a clear path-to-profitability, that is based on on-ground realities. If u dont think up ways of how your labors will ultimately make money, then clearly u havent done your homework fully. 

    Maybe you’d like to look at the product you created in a new avtar and think thru all sides before taking the plunge again. 

    All the best. 

  23. Hi Himanshu

    I am new to this entrepreneur world. So wanted to have suggestions from the experienced entrepreneurs of TRHS. The suggestions so far are really inspiring and informative. Obviously the final decision is with me and my team.

    Thanks!

  24. At your age you have nothing to loose…. i am sure you will gain from it & and remember there is a difference between Business and BusyNess!

    Simply Quit and move on!!!! 

  25. Thanks Darshan

    Will surely consider your opinion.

  26. Thanks for the suggestion Pancham..

    Will definitely keep things in mind before we start again.

  27. Im working in a similar field.. Shoot me a mail at mayank@campuspedia.in and i think we should talk on this. I might have something for you. Im based out of delhi.

  28. Thanks Harpreet for your response. 

  29. Sent you an email.

  30. I think you should continue as whatever has been spent is “sunk cost” even if you close its gone…its better to keep it running and generate new ways of creating interest and generating revenues. A dead elephant is worth 1.25 lakhs while alive is worth 1 lakh….just keep it going…..I think you can target the new admission guys as they are always looking for contacts in the new university they are enrolling…that can be done by…creating  database of all applicants in universities and a n automatic link can be sent to their emails.

     

    but please do not close it down….

  31. Thanks for your reply Arpit..

    I also do not wish to close it down.. But in order to keep it going, we need to attract more users / students into our website. And for that we would need to spend more time and more money. Me and my team will be working on this in the coming days and will keep you all posted about the decision we take.

  32. Hi Anoop, I along with my friend are thinking to work on same field, but in different way. write me at manishswarnakar@gmail.com. lets have a talk and check if we make something better way to implement this.

  33. Hi Anoop,first of all I appreciate your work and dedication.Though I dont know about your work but I think you should continue with your web.In my opinion,in this type of work it takes time and your courage to develop your work but then once it fully develop it will generate handsome and infinite revenue.The other most important thing is you have to invest some money in advertising which constantly appear in front of people.Nowadays advertising has become an important part of any business,without it nobody can achieve its target.Since you have launched it on 1st of Jan 2012,almost about 2 years,it takes time to grow Anoop but it will certainly help you in future,just try to make your stuff more interesting and bring some innovative ideas which will definitely help you.keep it up. 

  34. Thanks Jay

    I will definitely consider your suggestion going forward.

    Thanks again.

  35. Hey Anoop,

    Why don’t you customise this from college to college and start selling.

    Intracollege connect I mean to say. Wherein the teachers can share notes or even provide chat support after college, confessions,connections with people from different section, provide them email id’s, raise a leave request, sell used books to junior, or for that matter bike or mobile or whatever for sale. Total networking intracollege.

    Sell this product to the college based on the number of students studying and you can charge a minimal fee as subscription every month and a standard price for development. The market is huge with colleges, schools.

    This can increase the revenue through ad’s as you have a definite customer base and a very active one.

  36. After you hav a decent number of colleges onboard. You can integrate all of them into 1 platform and improvise. But its too early for you too quit.
    Try all ways to make it happen.

  37. Very impressive suggestion Anoop. Your suggestion made me think again on my concept.

    Thanks!

  38. Nice. Let me know if you need anything from my end.

  39. Lets connect sometime.. my id – anoop at ewehelp dot com

  40. Hi!

    No one knows the answer better than you. Trust me on this.

    If you still have any doubts, please take some time to go through this article I did to help answer such questions – https://goo.gl/EwksAr

    I hope it helps.

    Thanks

    Sarsij

  41. Anoop — Did some quick search and found the fb page for this; the page says it was launched in Jan 2013 and you say 2012. If it’s 2012, there’s not much traction and something needs to change —  pivot, shutdown etc. whatever it is.

    What’s your role on this one? Didn’t find your name on team page. I also found you do run/work for a services business that was started much before this thing was born, and my impression is (correct me if I’m wrong) this was more of a “side project” or “part-time project” for you, right?

    My guess is you already know the answer to your question (and you want to quit), but asking yourself these two simple questions might help you: 

    #1. Which one of these start-ups you think is the one you can work on *full-time* for a foreseeable future (10 years)?

    #2. Put yourself in the shoes of a user (will YOU use it?), now put yourself in the shoes of an investor (not an external one) — are you willing to put all your savings/money etc. on this)?

    Even if you decide to quit, the good news is you’re entrepreneurial and are willing to experiment…so there’s no shame quitting and trying to find something else you really want to work on. Don’t care about what others say (if that’s what you’re worried about) and stay true to yourself. Good luck! 🙂

  42. Nice article Sarsij.

    Thanks!

  43. Hi Rishi

    1. The site was launched for testing purpose in 2012. The site was officially relaunched in 2013. 

    2. Regarding my role – I developed the whole site. I am the Co-Founder. You can say responsible for each and every single line of code on that site.

    This is my role on eWeLink 🙂

    3. Yes, We already have some other venture named eWeHelp Technologies. I have already posted regarding the same on Therodinhoods few days back. Here is the link : The story of a startup by three idiots.

    So eWeLink is actually a product of eWeHelp Technologies. And when you say it is a side business.. you are somewhat correct as we were not able to invest much of the time for eWeLink.

    And yes.. Definitely for the time being we should be focusing on the venture that is earning us some money. Once we feel like we have settled things down and have put our business into auto pilot mode, then we should be looking for the next venture. 

    Thanks for your wishes 🙂

  44. Is there a  bug on your site? When I click About Us, I’m taken to this page:

    https://www.ewelink.com/pahal_organization.php and not /about.php

  45. So Rishi

    We collaborated with an NGO (Pahal an initiation) in LPU. We are accepting registration for them through our website. So the about us link you saw is the about us for Pahal.. not eWeLink. Once you signup or login to eWeLink, you will find the about us link in the footer of the website.

    Thanks!

  46. anoop – what did you do??!!

  47. Hey Asha

    Good to see your mail.

    As of now the site has been left unattended and we have not yet decided to Quit or to Continue but somewhere in the corner of my heart there is a hope that we will definitely come back with a better platform and with a better plan. Currently we are really busy with our ongoing client work and other stuffs and we really didn’t got a chance to give it a serious thought. 

    Will definitely post the plan and the result once we are back on track 🙂

    Thanks for the follow up. 

  48. advice from lean startup book and from alok :

    be ruthless . chuck your emotions 

    find the problem . 

    have you found the problem or can you guess what the problem might be 

    if yes – try out some experiment which validates your problem , take interviews with folks to validate your problems . 

    solving a problem in this world and creating an impact is worth going after and is the only way to create value (your startup)

    read eric ries book 2 times , read ash maurya , read the book dont make me think 

    and then decide on next steps . 

    the standard of quality today is real real high in the world and we need to meet it after validating problems 

  49. Karan. Looks like I missed your reply here. Thanks for your suggestion.

  50. So Finally!! I decided Neither to continue nor to Quit.. Rather I decided to move on… The South Indian Store is the new venture I am working. More about my new venture in this post.

    #celebrating Failure

  51. Hi Anoop

    Leaving something behind is always hard, when you’ve put your good amount of efforts. What I suggest is,

    Option#1

    Leave it to someone else. Find like minded people and ask them to contribute their time in further development, enhancement, design changes, marketing etc. As you’ve some users (students), they will be your best bet. Ask them to give you feedback to improve the site and check if some students (Interns ??) can join you offline to work on the site. You can consider this project as your hobby project and let other interested candidates to take control over your site. Though I don’t see it as a game changer. 

    Option#2

    Redefine site model.

    Option#3

    Quit and Move On. Every failure is a learning lesson. Getting 1000 users is also an achievement. You can use this user base to market your next project. Every day is new beginning. 

    Best luck.

  52. Thanks Nilesh

    Option #1 and #2 didn’t worked for me. Finally opted for option #3.

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