Friday, January 10, 2014

Building A Billion-Dollar Enterprise, 26: A lovely milestone

At 1:28 a.m., it is technically Friday morning. But in my consciousness it is still Thursday night, so when I say, "Luminaria Productions passed a milestone today," "today" means Thursday, January 9, 2014.

Luminaria Productions passed a milestone today.

The company executed its first sponsorship contract, with Urban Innovation 21, the public-private partnership that sponsored the grant competition for Homewood-based businesses that Luminaria participated in last year. Luminaria didn't win a grant then, but Urban Innovation president and CEO William O. Generett (he prefers "Bill") expressed a desire to advertise on "Homewood Nation," the community news website that is Luminaria's flagship product. After I explained that Homewood Nation offers advertising only for my own lines of businesses - a Cafe Press shop, an Amazon affiliation and being a Legal Shield representative - we agreed on sponsorship as a way for UI21 to support Homewood Nation.

Over the last month or so, I created a sponsorship package that offers businesses, nonprofit agencies or individuals to the opportunity to be listed as sponsors in exchange for levels of monthly support ranging from $50 to $500.

Today, in a meeting at the Homewood branch of Carnegie Library, Bill Generett and I signed off on an agreement for UI21 to sponsor Homewood Nation for six months at $180 a month (a 10% discount extended-run discount on the $200/month sponsorship).

This is not only Luminaria Productions' first sponsorship contract, it marks the company's first instance of recurring revenues. In and of itself, it will not make Luminaria profitable; indeed, it will not even enable Luminaria to break even. But it does bridge the chasm between 0 and 1 in recurring revenues.

The bigger news is that creating the sponsorship package gives me something to offer others who have expressed an interest in supporting Homewood Nation (I love creating re-usable stuff!). I need to schedule meetings with those folks within the next week. When I do, Luminaria could gain additional revenues within the next week.

In recent weeks, Luminaria has taken on expenses that would normally be covered by Capital Synergies (specifically, gas for the car), but in the normal course of things, it would take only one more $200/month sponsorship to make Luminaria profitable. So, Luminaria could become profitable within the next week.

And even if it doesn't happen next week, there is now a good probability of it happening this month. Woo-hoo!

Finally, the biggest news may be that Bill Generett spoke about replicating Homewood Nation in other communities - i.e., helping people in other communities to set up websites after my model, and charging them to do so. We are going to talk about how that might work.

Thank You, Lord.

It's not just the prospect of being able to pay bills that is gratifying here. It is the affirmation that Homewood Nation is truly worth doing, because by doing it I am truly creating value. People have given me lots of verbal affirmation, but those words ring hollow when the number of people who demonstrate the willingness to help me eat can be counted on one hand. Obviously I need a better way of asking.

Today, sponsorship proved to be a better way.


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