Bootstrapping with Alec Lynch of DesignCrowd [PreneurCast Ep150]

Bootstrapping with Alec Lynch of DesignCrowd [PreneurCast Ep150]

“[W]e didn’t have any selling or marketing skills. That probably would have been useful to help us get in the door of other clients…” –Alec Lynch

Alec Lynch is one of the founders of DesignCrowd, a marketplace for crowdsourced design services. He talks to Pete about the challenges (and benefits) of getting investment and also gives some great tips on using the DesignCrowd service successfully.

As a lot of you may know, a few years ago, I was very lucky to be one of the finalists in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards for the telecommunications business I’m involved with. Well, Alec went through the EoY program this year, and did a little better than me – he was named Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year in the Eastern Region (2014).

His business, DesignCrowd, is all about crowdsourcing design work. It’s one of those platforms where you can put a brief about your project (e.g. you need a logo, a book cover, or a banner designed), and then designers from all around the world will do a spec work and present you with their best ideas. You then get to choose the one you like the best. It’s like a smorgasbord of graphics!

Alec has grown his platform to be one of the largest in the world. If you’re not familiar with it, we talked a lot about the platform, the pros and cons, how to get good results out of it, and more importantly, how Alec bootstrapped and built his business. There’s definitely lessons in that for you to grow your business as well.

There have been some criticisms to the crowdsourcing model of winner-takes-all (i.e. you now have 107 people who have invested an hour of their time to design up a logo; but out of that 107, 106 of them are not going to get paid for that time). How does DesignCrowd address this and other similar concerns? Listen to this episode of PreneurCast with Alec and find out.

“We see our marketplace as being like a stool with three legs. One leg are the designers, the sellers. One leg are the customers, the small businesses that are buying design. And the third leg of the stool are the process, how that process scales and works, the infrastructure and the site itself. Basically, the concept is that each leg of the stool needs to grow roughly at the same rate, in unison, for the marketplace to grow. And if one leg doesn’t work or grow with the others, the marketplace can fall over.” –Alec Lynch

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Pete Williams is an entrepreneur, author, and marketer from Melbourne, Australia.

Before being honored “Australia’s Richard Branson” in media publications all over the continent, Pete was just 21 years old when he sold Australia’s version of Yankee Stadium, The Melbourne Cricket Ground For Under $500! Don’t believe it? You will! Check out the story in the FAQ section (it really is our most asked question).

Since then, he’s done some cool stuff like write the international smash hit ‘How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality’ (+ the upcoming ‘It’s Not About the Product‘) and he’s created a bunch of companies including Infiniti Telecommunications, On Hold Advertising, Simply Headsets and Preneur Group.

Lots of other people think he’s pretty good too! He’s been announced as the Global Runner-Up in the JCI Creative Young Entrepreneur Awards for 2009, the Southern Region Finalist in the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year, and a member of SmartCompany’s Top 30 Under 30.

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