#Adam Janečko has been making money online since he was 15 years old. He sold coffee, engagement rings, cryptocurrency mining machines, dog kibble, restaurant systems, courses and animated videos over the Internet. Today, shortly after graduating from college, he has dozens of successful projects to his credit and is walking towards absolute financial freedom.
So what do you need to run an online business and why do you think everyone can do it?
Basically, just a website with a description of the service or product being sold, then launch an advertisement or directly address potential customers. That’s half a day’s work. If it takes you longer than 24 hours to get your first customer, something is wrong and you are probably dealing with unimportant things, such as the aforementioned ace, a great logo or perfect business conditions. All this is useless in the beginning. Do you remember your very first business project? What was it about?
I was about 14 when I found an application on the Internet through which I was able to get hundreds to thousands of followers or likes on various social networks. At that time, many companies needed the first followers to get started. I knew that if I offered to start the account they would pay me. I offered them 500 likes/followers for 30 euros, which took me about one hour of work. At the turn of elementary and middle school, I started about two to three accounts a day this way. I was able to earn much more in a few tens of minutes than at any part-time job. Of course, Facebook and other social networks do not like such rapid artificial growth in popularity and have started to ban such activity. So before I got it up and running properly, I had a business and it stopped working (laughs). Anyway, it gave me a great experience. I found out that doing business on the Internet is easy, and once a person understands it, he can start a business like no other (laughs). Dominik sells super-computers that mine cryptocurrencies: You can make money too, you just have to choose correctly. You have a lot of successful projects on your account, such as creativum.sk, tuningwebu.sk, quickmenu.sk and dozens of others. Which one are you most proud of?
Probably Creativum, as it is a regular “agency” business model that does not require any initial investment. And everyone knows how to start this way. It is enough to choose services that you know how to do – for example, in the field that you studied or that you know you are good at – and offer them further over the Internet. This is how I started and for a long time it was my only income, from which I then financed other projects. Here, no one can tell me that I was lucky with a supplier, contacts, a great idea or that I had a lot of money to start up. I started from scratch with just what I learned in my spare time. From this, I have built one of the largest agencies in the field of creating animated advertisements on the Czech-Slovak market, where I am only dealing with expansion abroad. I probably enjoy it the most. After years of business and projects, you will probably be able to evaluate even the biggest mistake you have ever made in business.
There were many common mistakes – I didn’t notice an email from the client, didn’t meet the deadline or forgot to turn off advertising on a non-functional website. Because of this, money slipped through my fingers unnecessarily. But none of them were fatal. I always started small and with small investments. So if something didn’t work out, I lost a few euros at worst, and I was able to earn them back with other projects. Of course, there were projects in which I would not go again, because not only I lost money, but also others. But even every bad decision taught me something, so I can’t regret anything. Would you be able to give young entrepreneurs some basic business advice before they open a small business or start a business?
The absolute worst thing is to open a small shop or business and only then start a business. In practice, it takes a few months before a person gets up and running and finds out if clients are even interested in his services or products. The best “experts” are those who immediately set up a company, find employees, an accountant, and pay an expensive agency to create a professional logo. After a few months, they go bankrupt because they find that there is no interest in their product or service. Or they can’t get customers. You should always test your business first. I would deal with the company only after I got the first customer. You say that a business idea needs to be tested first. Can you illustrate it with a concrete example?
I had an e-shop where I sold mobile phone covers with custom engraving. Instead of buying expensive engraving machines, stocking 100 covers of every size and color and ordering a professional logo, I started a simple e-shop. I used a template with a simple text logo and ran a test ad for 30 euros. If someone bought the cover from me, I canceled the order and made an excuse to sell out of stock. In fact, it was a fake eshop where nothing was in stock and I didn’t even have anything to sell. I primarily wanted to find out if such covers are profitable and if people would buy them. In the end, I received 7 orders, from which the potential profit was about 80 euros, so I was theoretically 50 euros in the plus. I saw that it works, people are interested, I’m in the plus – only then did I make some bigger investments in the warehouse, I had a professional logo made, a proper e-shop, etc. If you do the opposite and first invest a lot of money in the business before testing your business, you are a fool. This is rarely possible in today’s competition. And you have to take into account that 9 out of 10 businesses will probably not be profitable. However, if such testing of one business costs you 30 euros and 3 hours of work, it is not a problem to test them all within a week and find the one that will be profitable. So what do I need to get my first client online?
Basically, just a website with a description of the service or product being sold, then launch an advertisement or directly address potential customers. That’s half a day’s work. If it takes you longer than 24 hours to get your first customer, something is wrong. You are probably dealing with unimportant things like the aforementioned ace, a great logo or perfect business conditions, which is useless at the beginning. It is said that a successful business requires an elaborate business plan. What is your experience?
I don’t know what it is, I’ve never seen it (laughs). If I were dealing with a startup where I need an investment of a million euros and I had 50 employees, some plans probably make sense. But it doesn’t take anything but a few hours to start a small business over the Internet, which is a simple business model that anyone can start doing business with tomorrow. During them, you have to recalculate basic things, such as margin, costs or potential profit. No need to make it complicated, rather start small and improvise over time, collect feedback and progress and grow accordingly. In practice, everything is constantly changing anyway, and there will always be situations that were not foreseen in the plan. Which books and entrepreneurs inspired you to develop your business exclusively online?
Definitely the book “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris. Here he describes his online business, where he sells some product, for which he needs a website, advertising and a virtual assistant. She communicates with customers or solves orders. He travels all his life and somewhere in the background his virtual business earns him money, while it takes him a few minutes a day to check and organize everything. That’s when I realized for the first time that dealing with some offline operations, employees, offices and being tied to one place is not for me. If I’m going to do business, it’s only through the Internet. And so it happened. Today I have about 10 active online projects without any unnecessary costs. Internet and laptop are enough for everything. If any formalities need to be dealt with, I have a virtual assistant who will do everything for me for a nominal sum. I have to admit that I am quite lazy. If someone gives me something to do, instead of doing it in an hour, I’ll spend two hours looking for a way to do it myself (or someone else can do it for me). In my opinion, skill is more important than hard work. A hardworking person will toil all his life and curse how bad he is. A clever person will find people who will do it for him and make the most money anyway. The owner of a construction company will always drive a better car than his bricklayer employees. I follow a quote from John D. Rockefeller who said: “I would rather have one percent of the work of 100 people than 100 per cent of my own work.” Whoever thinks about this and adjusts his business accordingly will escape from the world of slavery and the whole life will be lived freely without being tied to work. Do you consider yourself a digital nomad? How would you describe your lifestyle?
I’m not a typical digital nomad. I know a couple of them, they work 10 hours a day. The only thing in which they differ from an ordinary employee is the place where they work – often it is some cafes in different corners of the world. But they still have to work and exchange most of their time during the day for money. I’m more of a managerial type who starts a company, finds a client and if something needs to be done, finds someone else to do it. So at the moment I don’t even work the four hours a day. In recent months, it has been much less, and I try to delegate or automate all work. I’ll give an example. I got a client who needed to create a website. He paid me 700 euros for it, I found a smart student on the Internet who did it for 200 euros. The result was even better than if I had done it myself. The remaining 500 euros remained for me as profit. Four such clients a month are enough for me and I earn more than a regular employee who goes to work for 8 hours. At the same time, I have a whole month off and can do what I want. This is how I build all my projects, and thanks to this approach, I do very little active work. If I’m working, 99 percent of the time I’m just building new projects, looking for new ways to get clients for old projects, or improving company processes. But I’m already training a virtual assistant for that too. So give me a few more weeks and I won’t be working at all (laughs). When you started your first project, what was your main motivation to start a business?
You will probably expect some inspirational story, but I just wanted to buy a drone (laughs). My parents wouldn’t just buy me a toy for 800 euros, so when I was about 14 years old, I typed the phrase “how to make money on the Internet” into Google. And that’s where it all started. I ended up buying the drone about 3-4 months after that. But what happened during those months is a story for a separate book (laughs). Today, about 10 years later, it is freedom. Lifestyle is probably the most important thing at my age. When I see my friends and family having to get up to work every day, be there 10 hours a day even with traveling, and have to report their vacation months in advance, I don’t envy them. And they only have 21 days off out of 365 a year. I can’t imagine working like this. This motivates me to constantly improve and start new projects, so that I have as many sources of passive income as possible and as much certainty as possible that I will never get into the normal life of an employee. Actors probably want to win an Oscar during their career, athletes the Olympics. What do you want to achieve during your business career?
Definitely freedom. I have no ambition to be a Ferrari-driving millionaire and be the next Elon Musk. I only need a few thousand to cover my lifestyle and the freedom to be where I want, when I want and with whom I want. In addition, in recent months I have discovered a passion for educating others. My girlfriend and I started a course where we teach people how to start a freelance business and travel all year. We have dozens of successful students. I am most pleased to see how our advice has helped someone else. He quit his job and today he has a dream career, thanks to which he is no longer bound to place or time. If I help at least one person get this lifestyle every month, it will be a career highlight for me and it will give me meaning to get up every morning. I am also going to educate entrepreneurs – to make a separate course on how to automate your business and train a virtual assistant for routine activities. Many entrepreneurs do everything themselves, they work 12 hours a day and often end up burning out. I believe that my know-how in this area can help entrepreneurs to get a new lifestyle. If I succeed, it will be a great career success — maybe even bigger than Oscar (laughs). Do you want to be constantly in the picture?