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Be scrappy; have fun; know your market
HotOrNot, a dating site that generated $5 million in earnings and $7 million in sales at its peak and recently sold for a reported $20 million, is an example of how a hobby can become a successful venture. James Hong and Jim Young started the popular site eight years ago as a way for people to submit their pictures for others to rate. Just this week, it became known that the company was acquired by Avid Life Media. Hong did not comment on the price, but he did tell me that while he was running the company, HotOrNot generated $7 million in sales. HotOrNot has had a subscription business since 2001, he added.
Some time ago, I asked Hong to share his advice to entrepreneurs in video. For those who don't know the man who launched and ran the popular site, here he is explaining what it takes to be successful. Besides finding a "niche" and "having fun," Hong also advises entrepreneurs to stay "scrappy" as money has a way of taking the fun out of being an entrepreneur. As he puts it, "Eat the ramen." Congratulations on the sale, James.
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