Darren DarnboroughMedia Entrepreneur & Entertainment Industry

British, LA-based Entrepreneur - founder of StuckForStaff.com & WeRehearse.com & startup advisor.
Actor & Filmmaker (see IMDb for credits).
Sponsorship Consultant & Event Planner for media industry.
Published travel & lifestyle journalist.
Loves helping charity.

Recent Answers

I would say foster connections between your community. If they come back to not only engage with you, but each other, you will increase the overall engagement.

Absolutely. I have done this in various aspects of my business, either as a consultant for film projects or as a sponsorship consultant / referrer and in many other aspects. There's a nice quote - it escapes me who said it - but "Your network is your net-worth" - what they mean by that is there is incredible value in who you know, but not just that - it's really WHAT you know, about how to HELP them.

Couple of ways you can make money by introducing:

- Find out what someone (or a business) needs. It could be more sales / clients / or a service. Then figure out how to get paid for that. Let's say a business sells XXX service for $10,000. If you were able to bring them a new customer willing to spend that, do you think they'd be happy to pay you a 10% referral fee? Probably, as long as they have a healthy profit margin, and you agree this upfront. If you bring people what they need, they will usually be happy to share the proceeds with you. In my own example, event organizers for major celebrity events often ask me for help to introduce sponsors, for which they pay a commission. The equation is easy - they need sponsors to finance their event. So if I help them find a brand, or advise them on doing that, they pay me some of the proceeds for making that introduction. It helps them achieve their goal quicker.

- The other way is online. Many companies run "affiliate" or "referral" schemes. Just like Uber will give $10 of free rides if you share with a friend, online companies often give fees for clicks or leads to potential customers. Just do a search for "affiliate marketing" or look up sites like Clickbank or Peerfly. If you have a good online network, social network or email list, you will be able to make money by letting your contacts know about things that interest them.

The great thing about referral income is it is often a percentage, and so it has great leverage for you. The more the client spends, the more you earn, for often the same effort. So focus on referring either big clients, or a wide spread of small ones, but be careful of too much effort on one small client!

Hope this helps.

I operate numerous businesses in niche fields and I know several Life Coaches and Self-Development coaches.

From what I see with all of these examples, firstly your customers will be buying into YOU so make sure you have a unique and relatable story and experience to draw on. For instance, one coach I know quit drinking alcohol to improve his health and relationships, and then started a "30 Day No Alcohol challenge" product. If you can draw from your own journey to create your niche, you will have more credibility.

I have an S-Corp and several other corps, but I'm not an accountant.

Definitely hire a qualified accountant, as the various state and federal dates and taxes can be confusing. You can also use a Registered Agent service that offer notifications and managed reports so that you don't miss dates. Companies like MyLLC.com (I am not endorsing this - just an example)

I have been both an event planner (designing and implementing the concept from scratch) and working with existing events in business development or sponsorships, for events during major film festivals and others.

The answer to you question really depends on a few factors:
- have you worked with this festival before? Do you trust them?
- Are they funded or are they seeking funding?
- Have you discussed amounts for the fee or percentage?
I personally would suggest a hybrid of reduced fee plus percent if it's reasonable that you should share in the success of the festival.
To do it on percentage alone has a risk of not materializing if for some reason the festival does not get funded or doesn't go ahead - then you will have done the planning work, yet receive nothing.

I've started several online companies where we have been first to market, but there have been marginally similar services out there....

A good investor will probably want to know there is someone else in the space, as if no-one else has thought of the idea, it *might* not be a good idea. Use this to your advantage. First off, it's proof of concept. Secondly, you can study where you think their downfalls are or what they are not doing well, and make that part better. Thirdly, look at which portion of the market they aren't serving, and target that. There may be enough customers to share, or they may end up acquiring you or vice versa. This will also show investors that an exit plan is feasible.
In answer to your question about the level of competition, you can probably only estimate. Do some research about the amount of customers they seem to have and what the average spend per customer is. You might find some of this data (or assumptions) in trade press or hire a Virtual Assistant to pool research for you. Think of it not just as determining competition, but as validating your market, which in turn shows investors you're realistic and well-informed. Furthermore, look at some horizontals and verticals in the space. For instance, when I started our Video Chat for Actors website, WeRehearse.com, although there was nothing like it, I could pool data from Auditions sites, Actors Unions, and IMDb to work out how many potential customers there were, and what they are generally spending on similar services, so as to get an educated assumption. Best of luck!

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