Online Business Experiment

Online Business Experiment

I recently wrote an article about why I think you should start a business (and how you can guarantee success).

To put everything in that post to the test, I’m going to run an experiment…

I’m going to start a completely new business from scratch and I’m going to document the entire process!

What’s the point starting a new business after already achieving FI?

As I mentioned in that post, creating a business around one of your interests is a great way to force yourself to dive deeper into something you enjoy.

And as we learned during my recent interview with Cal Newport, going deeper into something results in more happiness and fulfillment.

How this will work

Rather than have multiple posts about this experiment, I’m just going to update this post as the experiment progresses.

I’m stealing this style of posting from my favorite entrepreneur site, MoneyLab.co.

MoneyLab is written by my buddy Matt and is where he runs interesting business experiments, documents all the details, and shares the results.

A lot of his experiments aren’t successful and don’t make any money at all but it’s nice to see that honesty and transparency (especially in the “online business” space).

He also has a really entertaining podcast that’s worth checking out (him and his cohost, Andrew from ListenMoneyMatters, have the best chemistry out of anyone in podcasting so the episodes are always a lot of fun to listen to).

Anyway, he dedicates a page to each of his experiments and updates the page as he goes along and I really like that style so I’m borrowing it for this experiment.

To keep the experiment as fair as possible, I’m not going to publically share the URL of the new project here.

Since the Mad Fientist has been around a long time and has a lot of authority in the eyes of the search engines, I don’t want to give my new site a big head start by linking to it from here.

If you’re interested in checking out what I’m working on though, enter your email below to join the Mad Fientist email list and I’ll send you the URL and will keep you updated on the experiment’s progress.

Note: If you’re already on the Mad Fientist email list, the email you received today about this post contains all the details.

Obviously having some of you visit my new site is going to skew the numbers a bit but I can’t imagine many of you will be recurring visitors (you’ll see what I mean when you read about the site below).

Right Type of Business

The first step of starting a business is to make sure you’re starting the right type of business.

As I mentioned in the other post, you want to choose a business that falls within the diamond in the center of this image:

What to Think About When Choosing a Business to Start

What to Think About When Choosing a Business to Start

The business I plan to start is a YouTube channel about synthesizers (yes, I do realize how dorky that sounds).

Let’s see if it falls within that diamond for me…

Interest

Am I interested in synthesizers?

Yes, I spend the majority of my free time playing, reading about, and watching videos about synths.

Am I interested in producing videos?

Yes, I’ve been enjoying YouTube more than any other online content recently and the idea of creating my own videos is really exciting.

Improve

Do I want to learn more about synthesizers and get better at using them?

Yes, one of the main reasons I wanted to quit my full-time job was so that I can devote more time to music and getting better at synthesizing sounds is one of the most excting aspects of that.

Meet

Do I want to meet other people who are interested in synths?

Yes, I’d like to meet musicians who are interested in similar music so this could be a great way to do that.

It’d also be incredible to join one of my favorite bands so that’d be much more likely to happen if I’m already known online as someone who is really good with synths (I know that’s a long shot but most of my favorite bands are small so it is possible).

Utilize

Do I have skills that I could utilize to get this business off the ground, that I would enjoy using, and/or would like to improve on?

Yes, I’d say I’m already more knowledgable than most about synths so that’s really all it takes to teach others (you don’t have to know everything…you just have to know more than some people).

I’ve realized through my writing here that I’m good at breaking down complex topics into easily-understandable chunks so that skill will definitely come in handy.

I’ve also developed a lot of knowledge about how online businesses work, thanks to the Mad Fientist, so I could utilize those skills to get my site off the ground quicker.

Does it matter that I’ve not produced videos before? Not really. I can learn as I go and as long as the quality isn’t awful, I can’t imagine it will make too much of a difference at first. It is something I’m looking forward to getting better at so that’s more important than being amazing from the start.

Business Potential

Since the business idea falls within the diamond described above, it’s time to see if the business has potential.

The Reddit Test

Back when I started the Mad Fientist in 2012, I noticed that the Financial Independence subreddit had a healthy number of subscribers (50,000-80,000) and was growing.

This is quite a good test for business viability because it shows that…

  1. There’s a potential audience for what you’re planning to build (e.g. if the number of subscribers is over 10,000)
  2. Interest in the topic is expanding (e.g. if the subscriber numbers are growing at a good rate)
  3. It’s not already so big that you’ve likely missed the boat (e.g. if the number of subscribers is over 300,000)

When I started thinking about this idea, the Synthesizers subreddit had around 80,000 subscribers and was growing nicely. Now, it’s over 100,000 and is growing more quickly so I feel I need to get started soon or will be too late to the party.

Note: I’m not saying you can’t start a business in a space that doesn’t have an existing audience or already has a very large one…it’ll just likely be a bit more difficult.

Gap in the Market

It’s also worth trying to identify a gap in the market that you would be happy and able to fill.

When I started the Mad Fientist back in 2012, there weren’t many sites focusing on the hard numbers of early retirement.

Since I’m good at math and enjoy playing around with numbers, I figured I could be the one to build spreadsheets and run experiments to find new strategies to retire earlier.

The reason I keep coming back to this new synth business idea is because I think there’s a gap there that I’ll be able and willing to fill.

Currently, there isn’t a great video series available for beginners. There are some written tutorials but they are overly complex and there are a few videos but they are either really old or not comprehensive.

Since I’ve realized with the Mad Fientist that I’m good at breaking down complex topics and making them easily understandable, I know I can use that skill in this new space to create a free introduction to sound synthesis course.

Do I know everything about synthesizers? No.

Have I ever produced a video series before? No.

That doesn’t matter though. As I already mentioned, I have above-average skills in a few areas and there’s a gap in the market so that should make up for my lack of experience in other areas (just as my math/analytical/programming skills made up for my lack of writing experience or interviewing experience when I started the Mad Fientist).

Potential Revenue Streams

As I mentioned in my start a business post, making money doesn’t need to be the primary goal (especially if you’re already FI) but it does need to be a goal.

The IRS considers a business that doesn’t earn money as a “hobby” and doesn’t let you take all those great business tax breaks so you need to earn money (or be trying to earn money) to make it a business in the IRS’s eyes.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to think about potential monetization opportunities before starting out.

For this new synth business, here are some of my options:

  • Adsense – I can run Google Adsense ads on my YouTube videos and earn money from views
  • Amazon Affiliate – When recommending synths and other music gear, I can use Amazon affiliate links to earn a commission from those sales
  • Syntorial Affiliate – There’s an app called Syntorial that helps train your ears to get better at synthesizing sounds. It’s an incredible app and they have an affiliate program so I could earn money from recommending something that I’d recommend anyway (just like Personal Capital on this site)
  • Course Sales – I can sell a downloadable version of the beginner’s course I make
  • Custom Patches – I can sell the synth patches that I create
  • Advanced Courses – Once the free beginner course is finished, I can create an advanced course that I’ll sell instead of giving away for free

It’s obvious there’s a lot of revenue potential here, especially compared to this Mad Fientist business (i.e. a site where I’m trying to convince people NOT to spend money so that they can get to FI quicker, haha).

Non-Monetary Benefits

It’s also good to think about non-monetary benefits you can try to get with your business.

For this one, here are some things I’ll be keeping in mind…

  • Free Gear – If I have a popular YouTube channel that reviews synths, maybe I can get free gear to test out and review
  • Free Events – I’m paying to go to a synth festival this year (see below) but maybe I could get a press pass next year, once my channel is more established

Launch Strategy

I wasn’t planning to launch this business right now but something came up that pushed my timeline forward – Moogfest.

Moogfest is an annual technology conference and music festival hosted by one of the oldest and most-respected companies in the synth game – Moog.

At this festival, you can buy an engineering pass and spend two days with Moog engineers building an unreleased Moog synthesizer.

I’ve been wanting to learn how to build my own synths for a while now and this year, they will be building a vocoder so I knew I had to go.

Synth Module Build

Getting some soldering practice in before Moogfest

The engineering pass is really expensive though so I wouldn’t have bought it just because I wanted it.

Since I have been thinking about starting this business, however, I decided to use Moogfest as an excuse to launch my channel (which will therefore let me buy the Engineering Pass as a business expense).

The synth community is really interested in Moogfest so producing videos at the event will be a great way to launch my channel and help me get a name for myself in the YouTube synth space.

I plan to live-vlog the festival, create a cool video of me building the vocoder, and record a bunch of other footage that I can use later.

This brings me to the unfair advantage of FI…

Unfair FI Advantage

I can’t imagine many synth YouTubers have the time or money to get an engineering pass and spend a few days building a synthesizer.

That gives me an advantage and should allow me to create interesting and valuable content that the other channels aren’t able to.

What I’ve Already Done

Since I’m launching this business sooner than I expected, here are the things I’ve been focusing on…

Branding

When people search for Moogfest on YouTube and find me, I want them to be really impressed with what they see and I want my channel to look professional (so that people take me seriously and subscribe).

Coming up with a good brand for the Mad Fientist is probably the main reason it’s still around today (check out this article for that whole story).

I think I’ve settled on a name for this new project and have obtained most of the social accounts for that name.

I’ve also designed a logo.  Usually, I’d hire my buddy who created the Mad Fientist logo but he’s really busy this month and won’t be able to get something to me in the next couple of weeks so I just created my own.

I can always change it later, just like I did with the Mad Fientist logo.

Original Mad Fientist Logo

Original Mad Fientist Logo that I created myself

Website

I created a simple webpage with HTML and CSS that simply displays my logo and has links for my YouTube channel, Facebook page, Twitter page, and Instagram page.

I’ll obviously be adding to this at some point but I don’t have time to get fancier now so this will have to do.

Social

As I mentioned, I secured Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram handles for this new business.

I’m not sure which of those I’ll actually use but it’s always good to lock down everything that you can before you start.

Business Cards

Once I finished my logo, I got some business cards printed so that I can hand them out to people at Moogfest and can leave them laying around for people to find.

As always, I used Moo to get them printed because they are high quality, look great, and are affordable (I never understand people who hand out shitty business cards because bad cards actually make me want to AVOID visiting their site).

Next Steps

There are quite a few things I definitely want to get done before my official launch next week.

Video Intro Sequence

I want to make sure I have my videos branded with an intro sequence so I’m going to need to put something simple together myself.

I’m not worried about making the weird synth noises for the intro but I haven’t done any animating before so I’m not sure what I’ll do for that (may just keep it simple with a static image, until I can get my friend to do it for me later, or I may put a simple animation together in Keynote).

Plan my Trip

I’ll be going to Moogfest alone so I should have plenty of time to record a lot of content (my wife has to deal with enough bleeps and bloops at home so it’s not surprising she doesn’t want to travel to hear more of that).

There’s a lot going on at the festival though so I’ll need to plan what I want to see and think about what videos I want to try to make.

Current Business Statistics

Income

Since I haven’t launched yet, I have received $0 of income so far :(

Expenses

I have racked up quite a few expenses though…

  • Domain Names – $27
  • Website – $0 (I hosted my new site on the same Dreamhost VPS that I host this site on)
  • Email List – $0 (I already have a ConvertKit account for the Mad Fientist so I just set up a tag for the new site)
  • Camera – $599 (Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark iii)
  • Camera Tripod – $17
  • Lavalier Mic and Accessories – $75 (Rode smartLav+)
  • Moogfest Engineering Pass – $1500
  • Flights – $758
  • Accommodation – ??? (I haven’t booked yet)
  • Synth 3D Pixel Graphic – $58
  • Business Cards – $31
Moog Grandmother 3D Pixel Art

3D pixel art I bought to use for my logo

The great thing about business expenses is you can use them to offset other income/profits at tax time so it’s like getting a big percentage off of things you’d like to buy anyway (since they reduce your taxable income).

Plus, I make sure to put all the expenses on my business credit card so I’m also getting a bunch of points that I can use to travel for free later as well :)

If you don’t have a rewards card for your business, here are two of the best currently available so get one and start racking up points!

Card Bonus Spend Requirement Annual Fee
Ink Business Preferred℠ 80,000 points $5,000 in 3 months $95
Ink Business Cash℠ 50,000 points $3,000 in 3 months $0

Guaranteed Success

As I mentioned in my start a business post, you can guarantee success if you pick the right business.

Even if I don’t earn a single penny with this new venture, it’s already been a big success because…

  • I’ve learned more about synthesizers than I would have had I not started this business
  • I’m going to get to attend a fun music/technology conference that I wouldn’t have otherwise
  • I’ll be taught how to build synthesizers (something I’ve wanted to do for years) by the engineers at the most iconic synthesizer manufacturer in the world
  • I will get to spend time with my family and friends when I’m back in the States on this business trip
  • I’ll also get to see one of my favorite bands play a one-off reunion show that I wouldn’t have otherwise (Brainiac!)
  • I’m going to learn a lot more about photography and video production (which is also something I’ve been wanting to do) now that I have a proper camera to use

What About You?

Have you decided to start your own business? If so, what is it and how’s it been going?

Let me know in the comments below!

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76 comments for “Online Business Experiment

  1. Inversor Millennial
    April 12, 2019 at 6:49 am

    This initiative is so cool, MadFientist! Very exciting. Looking forward to future updates!

  2. Gwen @ Fiery Millennials
    April 12, 2019 at 7:03 am

    Sounds exactly like you, Brandon! If there’s any chance you have a bit of extra time and you’re coming through DC, I’d love to hang out and see what else you’ve been up to! Miss you buddy! Good luck with the new project!

    • Stacey
      April 12, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      I’m up for a meet and greet if something is set up.

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 8:29 am

      Sadly not going to make it through DC on this trip but hopefully soon!

  3. Peter Buffington
    April 12, 2019 at 7:17 am

    Great article and nice to circle back on your content.

    I’m interested in drilling down in the long distance relationship niche and using simlar tactics with teachable, YouTube, etc.

    Right now I’m working on branding, acquiring social handles, staying active in Quora and Reddit, trialing a few FB ad combos and Google Ads combos to get a bit of paid traffic to my lead magnet (free mini course) as I try and build an email list.

    Any thoughts you have on the long distance niche specifically would be interesting to hear. My reasoning is that it’s a passion point for people and I have unique experience. I also have presentation skills and I work as a digital product manager focusing on search…so I understand the concepts (I think) well enough to make it happen if I try!

    Peter

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 8:34 am

      My girlfriend (now wife) did the long distance thing for a year early in our relationship and it was tough! That was back in 2003/2004 before Skype/Facetime/etc. though. I imagine it’d be much different now.

      That is what you mean by long-distance relationships, right?

  4. Amanda
    April 12, 2019 at 7:21 am

    This is great. I can’t wait to see where this takes you!

  5. Financially Fit Mom
    April 12, 2019 at 8:52 am

    I admit, I have zero interest in synthesizers. My entire family is musical and are involved in 4 different bands, 2 of them locally professional and my favorite is still just an acoustic guitar or piano and one or many of their voices. They, however, love the gear and fancy electronics and random noises they can make out of them so it will be interesting to see what you come up with.

    Personally, I’m excited to watch the processes. I’ve never gotten to the point of having a solid idea that feels like ‘this is the one to try’ but this article alone would be enough to get my going in the right direction when that happens. Your bulleted of what you did to get started already shows that getting a business going probably doesn’t cost as much up front as I assume it does.

    Good luck! and more, have fun!

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 8:37 am

      Yeah, definitely doesn’t have to cost much at all. I’m obviously spending quite a bit to launch this new business but that’s only because I want to attend that conference.

      I think I started the Mad Fientist for less than $100 and you could do the same today.

  6. Mungbean
    April 12, 2019 at 9:15 am

    Glad to see a fellow olympus m43 user!

  7. Travis
    April 12, 2019 at 9:19 am

    You’re amazing. This is gonna be good. :)

  8. Life Outside The Maze
    April 12, 2019 at 9:37 am

    I remember when you mentioned getting into music and it looks like you’ve done so in a totally mad fientist way. Cool project and a good model for choosing a business one might get into post FI.

  9. Kevin A Singel
    April 12, 2019 at 9:59 am

    I did this exact thing starting 3 1/2 years ago. I turned a hobby of gold prospecting, into my post retirement business if you can call it a business lol. First I built a website, and then a Facebook group, then published a book which I marked it to the website and Facebook group of course course. Last year my net profit was about $4500 this year I expect to do better since I’m no longer doing book research, which did get expensive relative to my revenue that is. Anyway I think what you’re doing is a great idea and you’ll probably learn a lot. Like you I found that I get free gear and free access to people and events all of which makes this more fun!

    Btw the website is http://www.findinggoldincolorado.com

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 8:41 am

      And $4,500 of consistent profit every year means you’d have to save up $112,500 less for your FI portfolio (using the 4% rule) so that’s not too shabby at all!

  10. Kathryn
    April 12, 2019 at 10:10 am

    Love this idea! I have friends in the electronic music community who are massive gear-heads and do live synth shows, build their own synths etc. I’ve played around with some neat synths and definitely see the appeal! The great thing is that even if you “mess up”, you still end up creating cool sounds — that is, after all, how acid house was born with the TB-303! I’ll be eagerly following along on this journey and taking notes, as I am earnestly trying to start my own e-commerce business in the dog apparel niche. Rock on!

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 8:42 am

      So much fun :)

      Good luck with your business!

  11. Joe
    April 12, 2019 at 10:14 am

    This is really exciting. I can’t wait to see how the experiment turns out.
    I’d love to start a micro business like this when I have more time to devote to something fun.
    Good luck.

  12. The Frug
    April 12, 2019 at 10:17 am

    I think it’s a great idea to share your new business journey. It will also be extremely helpful to all the FI folks who have YouTube channels. Especially all of the digital nomads and catamaran couples sailing around the Caribbean and the Mediterranean launching drones and making crazy videos.

    I also believe successful one-person businesses are the wave of the future. I’ve been doing it for 14 years and it’s been a huge part of my FI journey. It’s a one-person business but it’s very dependent on other one person businesses. You’ll definitely create some new relationships with this venture and my one piece of advice is when you find someone really good be extremely loyal and help them grow their business. Sounds like you’re already putting the tools in place to do that.

  13. Sebastian
    April 12, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Sounds great! I’m also working on FIRE so that I can spend more time on electronic music production. Looking forward to watching the channel!

  14. Adam @ Minafi
    April 12, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Sounds like a fun endeavor! The areas where you just can’t stop thinking about the subject and read about them in all your spare time have always been my most fun side projects too – regardless of if they took off or not. I like the 4-quadrant analysis for deciding too.

  15. Mary
    April 12, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Indirectly related to this post: I’d like to get one of the credit cards you suggest, but how do I qualify for one as a FI person with no regular income??

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 8:44 am

      You can try to call up the card company after you apply and then convince them you’re not a risk (by providing bank statements, etc.).

      I had to call four different times to convince them to approve my wife for her first card (she is Scottish and didn’t have a US credit history but she had a good job so I was eventually able to convince them).

  16. Mighty Investor
    April 12, 2019 at 11:12 am

    I’m looking forward to watching this happen real time. Love that you love what you will be doing ;).

  17. Bonnie
    April 12, 2019 at 11:32 am

    I look forward to seeing your progress although I will not be in your target market. Do you mind if I forward this to a family member who loves synthesizers, too?

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 8:45 am

      That’d be great, thanks!

  18. woogy
    April 12, 2019 at 11:37 am

    What synth music do you enjoy listening to? I’ve been into Synthwave the past year+ and it has quickly become my favorite genre to listen to.

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 8:48 am

      I tend to listen to synth punk type of stuff (e.g. The Faint, Brainiac, Enon, etc.) and darker synth pop (e.g. The Knife, Depeche Mode, Fever Ray, etc.) but I also love heavier synth stuff like Nine Inch Nails.

      I’ll have to dive into Synthwave more though to check it out! Anyone in particular you’d recommend?

  19. Shaun
    April 12, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Really good stuff! I’m excited to see it all evolve and become a successful venture!

  20. Christian
    April 12, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Best of luck!

  21. Nina
    April 12, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    I’m getting into real estate investing and it all started after listening to your podcast with Chad Carson. I can’t thank you enough for all your awesome content! My project is going well. I bought my first rental in December and I’ve become a lot more active in my local community. Fingers crossed!

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 8:49 am

      Nice, congrats!

  22. Jamie V
    April 12, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Pretty cool! Thanks for sharing your experimental business!

    I’ve been sewing and am getting into quilting, of all things. This was completely unexpected. For many years, reading your blog, MMM, and a few others, I tried hard to come up with business/side hustle ideas that were unique or that I could put a spin on. No luck, though. Nothing either held my interest long enough, or sparked a fire in me to do, do, do! Then last year, I dusted off the sewing machine, really needing a creative outlet, and I started sewing, and I find I rather enjoy making quilt tops. I fell into a rabbit hole of bookmarking “trippy” quilt designs and patterns and optical illusions that I’m trying out to find ‘my style’. Here I am half a year later still sewing and experimenting. I’m having so much fun. During the week, I can’t wait to get home from my job and spend another 4 hours on it (makes for long days but it’s so much fun!), and on weekends I can’t wait to wake up so I can start or continue on a project. It’s an amazing feeling, this excitement and passion, and I thought it wasn’t possible for me to feel it (and I also thought everyone else was lying when they described this feeling). I had a pretty big “OOOHHHHH” moment when I realized what was happening, lol. I haven’t sold anything, don’t have an etsy shop (we’ve just been accumulating what I make), but I have a goal to make money, even if it’s half a dollar, from this hobby, by the end of the month. So, we’ll see. :)

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 8:55 am

      That’s exactly it!

      I spent all of my 20s trying to find the right idea but it never happened.

      Then, I got the idea to do the Mad Fientist and it made me feel all those things you mentioned so it was obviously the right idea!

      I kept trying to kill this synth idea (I don’t need another business, after all) but it wouldn’t die so I knew I had to do it! And so far, it’s been a lot of fun and I’m glad I did :)

      Good luck making your first dollar!

  23. Jennifer
    April 12, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Love it! Good luck!

  24. Zulema
    April 12, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    I’m very excited for you! I also started a YT Channel a while back but I stopped uploading videos since it was becoming too stressful for me and I was sacrificing more important things in my life. I def did not have a clear plan like the one you have wrote here. I recommend for you to use YouTube Buddy there’s a free and a paid version of it. I thought it helped me with the tags and the MANY things that go into uploading a YT video. Thank you for the inspiration. I will be revisiting your first article as well. I have been thinking about starting a business but I’m always scared. Oh another good channel is Video Influencers. They have good tips.

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 9:28 am

      Thanks, I’ll check it out!

  25. Lisa Mills
    April 12, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Love your content. I am currently starting a Facebook Ads business so material like this is right up my alley since I’m dealing with the same questions. Looking forward to seeing how this works for you! Thanks Brandon!

  26. Jordan @ triplefiguy
    April 12, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Great motivational post! Thank you for the advice on the importance of branding. I also like the idea of being able to change your logo later on for your business. I’ve been stalling on a logo still since I was thinking it’s more locked in once you get one. Sometimes you just need to get it done and get yourself out there.

  27. Cate
    April 12, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Are you coming to my hometown?? I was curious about Brainiac and wanted to listen to a few songs, and the interwebs told me they’re playing a show in Dayton. What a surprise! (except I also learned they’re from here.) Hope you enjoy our little city while you’re here!

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 9:30 am

      Yes!! Never been to Dayton but I’m excited to see where one of my favorite bands is from!

  28. Nella
    April 12, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Congrats on your new venture! We can really tell this is something you’re excited about. I’ve always been hesitant to ask people to spend money when i’m constantly preaching FI, which has made me judge brands with a fine tooth comb when they approach me as a brand ambassador or influencer. Will you be talking about how your business filing and legal preparation?

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 9:33 am

      I need to talk to my tax guy to make sure but I’m hoping this business will just fall under my current business (since it’s really just another form of online content, similar to this blog, my podcast, etc.). So hopefully I don’t have to do any extra business/legal stuff.

      • Cindy
        April 23, 2019 at 10:59 am

        One of the best shows I’ve ever been to was Brainiac…it was at a run-down bowling alley in Chicago. Looking forward to reading about your endeavors!

  29. Kameron Kelp
    April 12, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Mad Fientist,

    This is really crazy cool! Its funny that you’re starting a music business because I’m trying to start one too but not really sure where to start and I think with you doing this and providing a road map is immensely helpful.

    I’m not sure what angle I’m going to take yet, but my passion lies in composing strange and catchy music. If you’re interested in collaborating on a song and like my style lmk! I’m on bandcamp and YouTube. Search “kameron kelp it was rigged”

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 9:37 am

      Ha, nice!! You may really like the band I mentioned in the post (Brainiac) so check out their album Bonsai Superstar because it’s one of their strangest but catchy albums.

      What type of business are you starting?

  30. Oscar
    April 12, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    As a fan of synth oriented music and progressive rock, this is up my alley!

  31. Paula Wells
    April 12, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Good luck with the project, very exciting, looking forward to following your journey.

  32. JD Cotton
    April 12, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Nice breakdown…Did you apply for a business license? Here in the Seattle area, you need to have a business license from the county, $25, and to get that you have to have an endorsement from your local city, which is another license, $60. I’ve been starting a music business , but have delayed getting the license. Thanks!

    http://jamesdeancotton.bandcamp.com

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 9:39 am

      No, I’m hoping this new business will just fall under my existing LLC, since it’s effectively the same business model (i.e. produce online content/media and earn money through affiliates/advertising)

  33. Nilsa
    April 12, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    Moog. Awesome. I watched a documentary about the guy who made it on something couple years ago. Why did you make it something I would be interested in.
    My past hobbies have been video production and screen writing. Have to suggest Matt D’Avlle if you want a great crash course in video producing (and minimalism)
    This sounds like it will be fun to follow.

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 9:41 am

      Cool, thanks!

  34. Modular Fan
    April 12, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    Holy crap – I’ve been reading your blog for a minute, and clicked on this link and I see 520HP of Eurocrack. Right on! Hope it’s your business rather than a hobby, because it’s an expensive hobby. Though I don’t speak from experience of course….

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 9:43 am

      Haha, sadly that rig wasn’t mine. I could see how this could snowball quickly so I’m going to try to take it really slow and build my modules instead of buy them :)

  35. Modular Fan
    April 12, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Hehe, now I read the whole post – right on. Sounds like an amazing plan!

    I did Moogfest in 2016 when the Engineer Pass was $1000. It was so much fun!

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 9:45 am

      Oh nice! I can’t wait!

      You still have your BFAM?

  36. Kalub Swirvin
    April 12, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    I guess you have to find some way to fund the black hole that is Modular! I’d love a link to any music you have made, hopefully it’s weird!

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 9:45 am

      Nothing to share yet but hopefully soon. And yes, it’s going to be real weird :)

  37. Carl
    April 12, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Today I was watching synth videos on YouTube (google owned). Then I was listening to the making sense podcast episode 152 “the Trouble with Facebook” where they talk about how google and Facebook track everything you do online. Then I get this article near the top of my feed when I get home. It is like google and facebook are just rubbing it in my face. I was mainly watching red means recording because I had just come across the teenage engineering pocket operator in an ad from amazon on Facebook. I already have the neotrellis m4 from Adafruit I got in their subscription service for my kids and I wanted to see how they compare. I didn’t realize the last connection until I just wrote this. Sheesh. Beat of luck with the new business.

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 13, 2019 at 9:49 am

      I’m not really interested in synths, Carl. Google just paid me to write this post because they want to get you to buy a pocket operator through their ad links instead of Facebook’s ;)

  38. Penny @ BurdenToBounty.com
    April 12, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    That sounds really cool and I can tell you are pumped about it. What a great example of the advantages of FI. You encourage me to get back in the saddle of blogging and going and recording a voice over track I was heming and hawing about. Good luck!

  39. Van
    April 13, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing Brandon! Wonderful framing of how this fits into your diamond of Interest, Improve, Meet, and Utilize. Be great to learn as you go how these key themes get realized or what needs course correction.

    Hoping the best for your new venture!

  40. Kameron Kelp
    April 13, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    @Madfientist my apologies if this is not where the reply goes. I clicked reply and it seemed to send me here.

    That is a good question. ATM I am building up my brand on Insta/youtube mainly as a musician. I am trying to figure out which direction to go. I really enjoy composing songs but it seems like that market is saturated (reddit we are the music makers is 600k subscribers). Other ideas on YT i’ve seen are creating beats/sample packs, mixing services but again those seem pretty saturated as well. I am looking in to sync licensing so my goal right now is to create a full, high quality production album that I will use to apply to sync licensing sites as an artist (marmoset). I’d like to create another, as you said “front-loaded work” option, but still considering options and am open to suggestions :D

    Thanks for your time BTW I’m amazed that you took time to respond to almost everyone here with genuine comments and it means a lot.

  41. FIRECracker
    April 13, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    Ha ha, I love the nerdiness and the creativity of your new venture. Great list for testing out whether your idea will be successful. I’ve actually never thought of “too many Reddit subscribers” as a sign that you may have missed the boat on that niche. Interesting!

    Can’t wait to see your videos and subscribe to your channel! Rock on, Brandon!

  42. Stan Daman Moto
    April 14, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks for the post,
    Being a completely new in business do I need to create an LLC or DBA account will be just fine for my first business?
    Thanks for inspiring, you are awesome

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 17, 2019 at 2:40 am

      I didn’t end up creating an LLC until over 5 years into the Mad Fientist. For the first five years, I just tracked my income/expenses on a spreadsheet and filed a Schedule C at tax time.

      • Stan Daman Moto
        April 17, 2019 at 10:20 am

        Thank you, I wasn’t sure if I need to open an LLC or something like that. You helped a lot.

      • JunkStar
        June 19, 2019 at 4:51 pm

        What if your new venture based on website ad revenue? I though you have to provide some kind Business Tax ID to sign up with adsense.

  43. Modular Fan
    April 15, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    I sold the BFAM, as it was a bit underwhelming – the main Moog engineer guy (Steve) explained that it was an early prototype of the Mother 32, with an analog sequencer instead of the digital sequencer in the Mother 32. Hence the name brother of another mother!

    The good new is that I recooped the money from the Engineer pass in the sale so it paid for itself!

    The recent offerings have been much more enticing – really want a Subharmonium but I don’t think there was enough demand for it, like the DFAM, for Moog to release it commercially.

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 17, 2019 at 2:43 am

      That’s what pushed me over the edge and made me buy the engineering pass…figured I could always sell what I make and recoup the costs!

  44. Ellen
    April 16, 2019 at 12:46 am

    How do we know when this article is being updated? Will you have a word “Updated” somewhere whenever you update this article?

    • The Mad Fientist
      April 17, 2019 at 2:44 am

      I’ll send out an email notification to the people on the email list mentioned above and that email will contain a link that will take you to the most recently added section(s).

      • Ellen
        April 18, 2019 at 1:28 am

        Where’s the email list please?

  45. Max Out of Pocket
    April 18, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Great post! But, what if your experiment goes bad and you end up selling the company 6 months in for millions? That would be awful ; ) Just kidding! Looking forward to following along.

  46. Greg @ Retireby36.com
    April 28, 2019 at 1:59 am

    This is such a great project MadFientist! I’m excited to see how it turns out!

  47. Steve
    May 31, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    Wouldn’t be a Fientist, if you didn’t experiment! All the best, MadFientist!

  48. JunkStar
    June 19, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Taking a dive out of my comfort zone. Never created a website in my life and have zero coding experience. I have studied SEO for quite a while and think I’m pretty sure I’ve found something I can rank #1 in Google that is easily in that subreddit threshold. Lets just say touches on genealogy, photography, and perspective.

    Pretty sure it’s something I can accomplish it with very little startup capital, and the concept is very scalable. I promised myself I wouldn’t take any chances unless it was something that could grow easily. I’m very cautious and have been hesitant to make the move (especially with two very young kids adding another layer of difficulty), but this checks a lot of the boxes that were keeping me from taking the next steps.

    Cheers to new chances! I’ll play with this and see how this goes.

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