Want to start an online business in three days and quit your job? We can’t tell you how. What we can do is show you how Anthony Zambai of Bullet Bouquets did it. We spoke with Zambai and learned all the steps he followed to replace the full time income from his job as an engineer in just a few days. Below, we’ll show you where he got the idea for the business, how he promoted it, why the idea went viral, how he decided when to quit his job and more.
Where He Got the Idea for His Online Business
Zambai was looking through Reddit one Friday when he spotted an idea that caught his imagination. It was a little flowerpot a guy had given as a present to his girlfriend, with the blooms made out of spent bullets. Zambai knew instantly that he could turn the idea into an online business. Here’s why:
- The customers already existed. First of all, other Redditors were clamoring to buy the little “bullet bouquets.” That meant the idea had ready-made customers who would be relatively easy to reach.
- Zambai was able to get permission to make his own bouquets. The inventor had no plans to make any more of the bouquets. When Zambai contacted him, he granted Zambai permission to make and sell them.
- Zambai already had all the skills in place. “I’m a shooter and a tinkerer,” says Zambai. “All of the pieces of the puzzle necessary to take and build this thing quickly were already there for me. It’s not like I had to go out and do research and development. I looked at it and said, okay I need this, this, this and this and I can build prototypes.” Zambai bought a few supplies and made his first prototypes over the weekend.
An Online Store in Three Hours
In order to sell his Bullet Bouquets, Zambai knew he’d have to have an online store. He created one in just three hours with GoDaddy Online Stores.
“I remembered I saw a little ad for GoDaddy Online Stores,” Zambai says, “and I went back and found it. I took a look at the video and I thought man, it really does look pretty simple. So I signed up. It was one month for free and $30 a month after that. You just fill in the blanks. If you can create a Facebook page, then you can make an online store that accepts credit card payments and has several products and tells about your company.”
The thing that impressed Zambai most was how professional his online store looked.
“It was a solid looking website and maybe that’s one of the big reasons people were blown away with my story. It was, yeah, this guy built a business in three days and that’s cool, but it looks professional.”
Connecting to the Customers
Once Zambai had his prototypes and his online store, he needed to connect to the people on Reddit who said they’d gladly buy the bouquets. He posted on a sub Reddit called “ShutUpAndTakeMyMoney” about his new business.
“Here’s Bullet Bouquets’ first post on that fateful Monday,” says Zambai.
From the post, he made enough sales on the first day to cover his expenses. Then a writer named Erin Carstens saw his post on Reddit and wrote this piece for DudeIWantThat.com.
“That’s exactly the moment when the online business took off, and my life went into a whole different mode,” says Zambai.
The business was “blowing away” his income as a full time engineer within two days after his online store went live. Three weeks later he was swamped with orders and had hired two part time employees.
Using Facebook Promotions to Grow the Online Business
Zambai used simple Facebook promotions as a way to reach even more customers. After less than three months, the Bullet Bouquets Facebook page already had over 3,500 followers. He got a lot of Facebook followers in a short time by offering to enter people in a drawing for a free bullet bouquet in return for sharing his posts on Facebook.
“I said hey, if you guys share this on your Facebook page, I’ll enter you in a drawing to win this one dozen bloom flowerpot.”
He offered to enter people in the drawing five times if they posted about his online business in a way that put their own reputation on the line, such as on a blog or in a specific forum.
Zambai points out that the same kind of social media promotions work on Twitter, Instagram and Reddit.
The Business Went Viral on Reddit
A few weeks in, Zambai created another Reddit post called an AMA (for “Ask Me Anything.”) An hour after posting, he was “just trying to hang on.” Along with thousands of comments, Zambai also got a lot of orders.
Something about Zambai’s success story appealed to other Redditors in a big way. You can see his Reddit post by clicking here.
According to Zambai, it wasn’t so much the product that caught people’s attention as the story about someone building an online business up from nothing in three days.
“And I think that’s a huge lesson,” says Zambai. “That people may like your products, they may not, whatever, but they love a story.”
Not Really An Overnight Success
“You’ve got to fail five or six times before you get something that actually works,” Zambai says. “There’s so much to learn.”
The Business Could Fail. Then What?
Several of Zambai’s critics have pointed out that an online business that goes viral like Bullet Bouquets can cool off and die just as quickly. The idea that the business could go bust doesn’t worry Zambai.
“So what if this fails?” he says. “My next venture will be just a little bit more successful.”
In addition, Zambai has pulled in enough money from this online business to finance other ventures for a long time to come.
Knowing When to Quit His Day Job
Zambai worked with his wife to create some metrics he would have to meet before he would quit his job. He wanted his online business income to match his current income for six months. He wanted to make at least half his current income even during down periods. He wanted to diversify his online business into other items and also sell in brick and mortar stores.
In the end, he decided to take a risk and ignore these metrics. His reasoning? If he stayed at his engineering job, Bullet Bouquets would sink for certain under the weight of all its growing pains. He needed the extra 40 hours a week to make the business into a success. If he didn’t strike while the iron was hot, he wouldn’t have the chance to strike at all.
“I quit my job after six weeks,” he says. “I was absolutely swamped. I had two employees working for me the very first week the business opened. Two weeks in I was getting probably 10 to 15 emails a day that were, hey, where’s my order? It was pretty stressful.”
Brick and Mortar Stores
Zambai knew he had to diversify his online business beyond just online sales. Because the initial success of Bullet Bouquets was built on viral exposure, he knew he needed to build that quick publicity into something more lasting. While word was spreading of his business, he began to set up deals with retail gun stores to sell his products for him.
“The idea of the wholesale sales is that they recur without a huge amount of work from me or my salesman,” Zambai says. “However, it’ll be a while before my wholesale sales rival my online sales.”
Advice to Others
Zambai cautions that a lot of his success was the direct result of the story of his business going viral on Reddit. However, he adds that people can use Reddit to tell the story of their online business in a way that grows a following much more gradually and deliberately. He also thinks that anyone with the right entrepreneurial spirit can start an online business that can match the income from their day job, though it might take several tries.
“Don’t be afraid to do something a little stupid,” he says. “There’s a fine line between stupid and bold, and if you’re brazen enough, you might just convince enough people that you’re the latter.”