Sal Aiello and Monica Powers successfully established their profitable side business within four days, all while keeping their initial investment under $200.
In the beginning, they bounced their side business concepts off ChatGPT, using the generative artificial intelligence chatbot to gather market insights. Eventually, they honed their ability to pose the right questions to ChatGPT, yielding valuable answers that set them apart from others.
Aiello, with extensive experience as a CTO in the tech startup scene, partnered with Powers, a product designer running a strategic design and branding firm named Mascot. Back in March, they embarked on a project to develop an AI-driven research tool. The concept was simple: provide information about your idea through a form, and the tool would optimize the input for ChatGPT to generate the most beneficial responses.
Recalling the moment, Aiello, aged 36, couldn’t help but think, “Perhaps this is something we can market.
Just days later, they introduced DimeADozen, a platform designed for “want-repreneurs” to rigorously assess their business ideas. They offer a comprehensive report for a fee of $39, delivering results in significantly less time compared to traditional analytics agencies or search engines.
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In approximately seven months, DimeADozen, equally owned by Aiello and Powers, generated over $66,000 in revenue, as per documents examined by CNBC Make It. With minor expenses, including $150 for the web domain and $35 for hosting and a database, almost all of it translated into profit, according to Aiello.
In the previous month, they reached an agreement to sell their side business for $150,000 to Felipe Arosemena and Danielle de Corneille, a couple comprising a software engineer and a product designer, who intend to turn DimeADozen into their full-time occupation, Aiello stated.
Aeillo and Powers intend to maintain advisory roles, dedicating approximately five hours per week to the venture.
Aiello sums it up by saying, “It’s like a money-making machine.
Powers and Aiello crossed paths last year at a virtual startup founder meetup hosted by Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley startup accelerator. They swiftly joined forces during their free time, currently juggling three other side projects and harboring plans for more.
Although none of their prior ventures have attained the same level of success as DimeADozen, which, according to Aiello, is the first AI research tool specifically crafted for testing business concepts. It takes the data it receives and feeds it through numerous pre-written ChatGPT prompts, subsequently presenting the findings in 50-page reports covering the potential investors, customers, and competitors of the hypothetical business.
Aiello points out that you could attempt a similar process on Google, but it would be far more time-consuming and produce less reliable results.
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He says, “There’s no reason you can’t conduct 1,000 Google searches and get similar results. [But] it’s a no-brainer to rely on someone [to expedite the process].”
In addition to this, Powers and Aiello leveraged their prompt engineering skills, a method involving targeted questions to obtain more precise chatbot responses, to reduce the risk of AI-generated inaccuracies. This approach helps prevent AI hallucinations, in which chatbots generate plausible-sounding but entirely false information.
While DimeADozen cannot guarantee complete elimination of such inaccuracies, Aiello explains, “We mitigate hallucinations by adjusting the prompt parameters and employing strict prompting. It took weeks of fine-tuning to ensure we obtained the desired responses.
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In Aiello’s ideal scenario, their tool might eventually be acquired by a major cloud-based software player like Salesforce, serving as a widespread tool for business validation and learning.