Starting a business in Japan with a mockup and a quick website
What if one day you woke up and you had the freedom to start your own business? What if that business was doing something creative (and market-attuned) in Japan? The story of #dreamdrive is about how Jared Campion passed on a career he wasn't in love with to start a business in Japan with little more to go on than a mockup and a makeshift website.
We spoke with Jared (dreamdrive.life) to find out more about how he did this, and what it takes to start a business in Japan.
His site is built on WordPress with a Woocommerce sales engine, which allows him to create great content and also sell direct to consumer without the need to pick up a phone.
The experience is really smooth, and showcases his product well.
One of the interesting points Jared made is that by going 100% direct to consumer, you inevitably suffer from seasonality and the whims of the market as a small business. His goal of growing fleet and dealer relationships makes a lot of sense and should help bring the Dream Drive brand across Japan.
So, can you do it, too?
In the interview, I referenced Tim Ferris doing something similar with one of his early product launches.
The idea of getting market validation for your product before you commit to it (especially when start up costs are high) is so key. The great news is that it doesn't matter whether you're in Japan or not – you can validate your idea against the Japanese market before your start a business with just a few simple steps.
- 1Get or make a proper mockup of your idea.
- 2Build a quick site with an opt-in gate, booking page, or other way of getting people to commit to a clear call to action around your idea. Jared and I both use WordPress, but you can just as easily use Wix or Shopify or another managed service if it's easier.
- 3Run some paid ads to get traffic. Facebook is large enough in Japan that you should be able to get solid, cheap traffic with a few thousand yen over a week or so.
- 4If you start seeing a positive response, reach out! Let these people know that they can get in on the ground level and be the first to try your product.
Lots of people make it seem like starting a business is a monumental process, but as Jared shows with Dream Drive, you can spool up the concept of your business in Japan with minimal investment and see if it's worth your time.
Let us know in the comments below if you are interested in starting your business in Japan! We are hoping to continue this series of foreign entrepreneurs in Japan and share their stories with you!
If you are looking for more stories on entrepreneurship in Japan check out the Scaling Japan Podcast!