Two years ago I decided to move from Russia to New York City to pursue the American dream. Back then I had to save every dollar that I had because my future was unclear. As a foreign citizen, I also didn’t have a work permit so I couldn’t have a work permit so I couldn’t be officially employed. That being said – there was no use for my degree in economics and finance. P ionate about entrepreneurship ( and having a huge ego ), I refused to take odd jobs or work as a waiter.
But I still had to pay my bills every month. I had to borrow money, month after month, until my debt reached over $5K. I needed to come up with an idea to not just make ends meet but to also get out of that miserable lifestyle.
I recalled how I once fixed the broken screen on my Nokia cell phone. I decided to give it a try and started fixing electronics.
By watching YouTube, I learned how to fix iPhones and iPads and was ready to start helping humanity with their gadgets. The only problem was – where do I get customers?
The compe ion for electronics repair in NYC is rigorous. It isn’t a new niche and old established companies have been advertising in newspapers, magazines and online for years. How could I possibly compete with their marketing budgets? I had to act smart and apply some guerrilla marketing strategies.
I knew Craigslist as a website where you go if you need to find an apartment or a room to rent or if you want to buy something used but don’t have an eBay account. I tried to search for "IPhone repair" and found many different ads. If there was a supply, then there was a demand.
I posted a couple of ads offering cell phone repair. At that time I was just starting and didn’t know all the ins and outs of Craigslist posting.
All I had was three lines of ad copy and a stock picture of a cracked iPhone. Four ads resulted in 3 customers who weren’t even scared to meet with me on the street and go to my apartment where I fixed their iPhones( of course,I didn’t have money to pay for an office). Just a couple minutes of my time posting those 4 free ads resulted in hard cash. As an entrepreneur , you may be familiar with that feeling of making your first buck. I knew that I was into something big. Craigslist proved itself as a legit source of paying customers.
My first thought was – I need to post more ads on Craigslist. And I’m glad that I committed that mistake. If life hasn’t taught you yet, you should know by now that quality is better than quan y. I was spending my time posting ads and fighting with Craigslist anti-spam protections instead of improving my ads and conversion rate. I remember that I still couldn’t make enough money from my business to even rent a whole room for myself – I was renting a half of a room. On top of that – my $5K debt also didn’t go anywhere.
I started constantly working on my Craigslist ads, refining them, looking for the best techniques and secrets, and developing my own. I encountered many obstacles and issues along the way. But as the old Russian proverb goes: patience and hard work will grind everything ("???????? ? ???? ??? ????????"). After 6 months, I,d gotten so good at posting on Craigslist that I had more phone calls than I could handle. That was time to expand – I found a partner,hired my first employee and rented a small office. Want some proof and details? We had 10 to 15 customers coming from Craigslist every day. Our price policy was – at least a $40 profit on each service. For example, the most common service was cell phone screen repair – $25 parts + $40 profit, 5 days a week, 4 weeks per month totaling anywhere from $8000 to $12000 per month in PROFIT, not revenue. Rent was $3K (not the store front, but an office in midtown NYC) $1.5k was my istants salary, and $500 was for internet, a landline, cleaning and other utilities.
At that point, I came up with a free technique that allowes you to have a so-called "lifetime" of ads, something that will always bring people. Once created – the ads will always work for you even while you are sleeping. You don’t even need to continue posting on Craigslist. But you can’t get to those ads before you p the…