Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Seven year niche

2011 has been and gone, and it's been almost a year since I've blogged here. Time for a bit of an update.

I didn't get Mr Football finished in time for the start of last football season, and truth be told I may struggle to get it fully up and running as a Facebook app in time for the 2012 season. As I expected, I was not mentally able to keep myself working on it once football season had started. The offseason has been far more productive on that score, albeit that I am behind schedule on where I wanted to be.

I'm kicking myself that I only thought of the idea for Mr Football after Christmas in 2011, as I wasted the last three months of 2010 moping around, thinking my business was going to flatten off as Dream Team and Supercoach registrations had also flattened off. Despite fantasy registrations again showing zero change in 2011, FanFooty surged on regardless at the same exact growth rate in real terms as the year before, making it a full 100% increase in revenue and traffic in 2011 over 2009. This pleasant surprise has made my life a lot easier.

I can foresee many more opportunities now than I could back in Q4 2010. I am now confident that FanFooty's growth is not tied to fantasy registrations, so I see no reason why it shouldn't continue to grow as it has done, if I keep pouring the same amout of energy into it. If it doesn't, well, it's big enough now to keep me going. Mr Football is coming along nicely, if slowly, and I think it's going to be a solid product with the elusive (in a Facebook context) quality of staying power.

News of (possibly) forthcoming fantasy sports television program The Fan Show is very promising, and I hope to help out Warnie and the lads where I can to make it a success.

I will also be getting back into "serious" blogging in 2012, at a new location.

Nevertheless, there are still significant challenges facing me and the business. I'm still not part of the official AFL family, even after seven years of building the site up to be top 500 in Australian traffic in winter months. This is an ongoing regret to me. There are things I would like to do from inside the tent that I am unable to do. I don't know if a rapprochement is ever going to be possible given the politics of the situation. I'd like to think so.

I'd also like to expand the business on the production side beyond just me, particularly this year when Saturdays are going to be so hectic. I don't know how workable that is going to be, as it involves accountants and payroll and all those extraneous complications I have been avoiding for years.

The mobile side of FF has also been sorely neglected, in the sense that I still don't have an app for iPhone or Android. Based on trend data, more than half of traffic to FF will come from mobile devices this year, which is quite astounding really. Do I even need an app? Of course I do. But what will it do to my revenue model? I am a believer in ad-less apps as I don't think ads on mobiles work, which means I would give up a significant amount of ad impressions. Can the revenue from the app outweigh that? I don't know. This dilemma is part of why I have been de-prioritising the app behind Mr Football, I suppose, as the whole issue is full of doubt to me.

I'm not a worrier, as such, but I have been feeling a bit lately as if I am sick of things always hanging and never seemingly being done with, of there always being a huge barrow in front of me that I have to lug ever onwards. Finishing off Mr Football would help that feeling immensely, of course. But then I'd want to expand that code to other sports. The process of creation never ends. That's part of being an entrepreneur, though! So I'm being silly. I know. Gnomes aren't going to visit in the night and finish my cobbling for me. I do hope I don't have this feeling forever, though.

Overall, I have very little to complain about, notwithstanding the above. I am completely in control of my destiny and financially beholden to no one, which is where every entrepreneur wants to be. Deadlines are ruffling my hair and making that familiar whooshing sound as they go by. I trudge on. Soon, hopefully, I will once again experience that sweet emotion I am working towards: the warm feeling in the pit of my belly called satisfaction. :)


Blogger TKYC said...

Need an android FF app m0nty! A small ad at the foot of the app widow would work, no?
Like Mr Football as well... keep plugging away.

Any contact with the AFL...? Do you try to sell your content / ideas to them, or hope that they find you?

12:19 pm, January 20, 2012  

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