From College Graduate to Successful Online Business Owner: A Journey of Entrepreneurship

From College Graduate to Successful Online Business Owner: A Journey of Entrepreneurship

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Background and Early Career 2.1 Customer Support 2.2 Financial Advisor 2.3 Investment Banking Intern 2.4 Monetization Analyst at Machine Zone
  3. Starting the Online Business 3.1 The Idea of Custom Posters 3.2 Printing and Shipping Challenges 3.3 Changing the Name to Crafton Oak
  4. Marketing Strategies 4.1 Influencer Marketing 4.2 Launching Facebook Ads 4.3 Challenges with Marketing Expenses
  5. Scaling the Business and Decline 5.1 Revenue Increase and Profitability 5.2 Strategic Decision to Slow Down Marketing 5.3 Selling Stake and Future Plans
  6. Conclusion

Article: From College Graduate to Successful Online Business Owner: A Journey of Entrepreneurship


Are you interested in entrepreneurial journeys and how ordinary people with determination and perseverance can turn their ideas into successful businesses? In this article, I want to share my personal journey of starting and scaling an online business. From my college graduation to the eventual sale of my business, I will walk you through the challenges, triumphs, and lessons learned along the way. Whether you're considering starting your own business or simply want to gain insights and learn from my experiences, I hope this article provides valuable guidance and inspiration.

Background and Early Career

After graduating from college in 2009, I embarked on a series of jobs that shaped my career path and eventually led me to entrepreneurship. I began my journey in customer support for a video game company, serving as a bridge between players and the development team. However, I realized that my passion lay elsewhere and decided to explore a career in finance. The allure of financial success and the influence of others in the field motivated me to become a financial advisor. Despite my degree in finance, I soon discovered that this path wasn't aligned with my interests and long-term goals. It became clear that money alone couldn't bring me fulfillment.

Starting the Online Business

In 2014, an opportunity to work for a popular startup in the gaming industry, Machine Zone, presented itself. As a monetization analyst, I delved into the world of psychological pricing and economic behavior. This experience taught me invaluable lessons about maximizing sales through in-app purchases and leveraging real-time data analytics. The success of the game I worked on helped me realize the immense potential of the online business landscape.

Inspired by this realization, I sought to start my own business before turning 30. In early 2017, a mutual friend approached me with an idea to sell custom street map posters. Intrigued by the concept and its potential for profitability, we invested $10,000 each and developed a single-product website called Your Own Maps. With this platform, customers could select a location on Google Maps, customize the layout, and have a unique poster delivered to their doorstep. It was a simple, tangible product with a clear value proposition.

Marketing Strategies

To drive traffic to our website, we adopted an influencer marketing strategy, collaborating with popular meme accounts on Instagram. We paid these influencers $100 per post in exchange for promotion, hoping to garner sales and brand visibility. This approach yielded positive results, and we quickly realized the potential for organic traction. Encouraged by this early success, we expanded our marketing efforts and launched Facebook ads in August 2018.

As revenue grew, we faced challenges in maintaining profit margins due to rising marketing expenses. While we maintained a strong presence and continued to explore new products, the stress and declining profitability prompted us to reevaluate our marketing strategy. By the end of the summer in 2019, we decided to gradually cease all marketing initiatives.

Scaling the Business and Decline

In November 2018, we achieved significant revenue of over $120,000, solidifying our belief in the scalability of our business. However, the following year brought slower months and declining profit margins. In March and April 2020, we made the strategic decision to reduce marketing expenditures and focus on maintaining a passive income stream. This shift in strategy coincided with my partner's relocation to Australia and the challenges of managing the business remotely.

Ultimately, in 2020, I sold my stake in the business to my partner. While the financial gains were not significant, the invaluable lessons learned throughout this journey continue to shape my entrepreneurial spirit. Looking toward the future, I have started a TikTok channel focused on personal finance education, highlighting the importance of financial literacy. Although my journey had its ups and downs, I remain dedicated to content creation, entrepreneurship, and future business endeavors.


My journey as an entrepreneur has taught me that success is not solely measured by financial gains but by the experiences gained and the lessons learned along the way. From college graduate to successful online business owner, I have navigated through various industries, overcome challenges, and embraced new opportunities. Starting a business requires passion, dedication, and a willingness to adapt and learn from both successes and failures. Whether you're contemplating starting your own business or keen on following a similar path, stay committed to your vision, maintain flexibility, and embrace the journey towards success.


  • Follow my personal journey from college graduate to successful online business owner
  • Learn about the challenges and triumphs of scaling an online business
  • Discover the importance of marketing strategies, including influencer marketing and Facebook ads
  • Understand the impact of profitability and the need for strategic decision-making
  • Gain insights into the lessons learned from my entrepreneurial journey
  • Explore the world of content creation and future business endeavors
  • Embrace the journey towards success with passion, dedication, and adaptability


Q: What inspired you to start your own business? A: The allure of financial success and the realization of the immense potential in the online business landscape motivated me to take the leap into entrepreneurship.

Q: How did you market your custom map poster business? A: We initially adopted an influencer marketing strategy, collaborating with popular meme accounts on Instagram. Subsequently, we launched Facebook ads to further drive traffic to our website.

Q: What challenges did you face in scaling the business? A: As revenue grew, rising marketing expenses posed challenges in maintaining profit margins. The stress of managing marketing expenditures prompted a strategic decision to slow down marketing efforts.

Q: Why did you decide to sell your stake in the business? A: The declining profitability and challenges of managing the business remotely led to the decision to sell my stake to my business partner. Financial gains were not significant, but the lessons learned continue to shape my entrepreneurial spirit.

Q: What are your future plans as an entrepreneur? A: I have started a TikTok channel focused on personal finance education and content creation. I remain dedicated to future business endeavors and look forward to new opportunities.