Managing Partner and Chief Idea Guy at Be Brilliant branding and marketing. Formerly creative director of online branding at Unilever North America and creative director and COO of BBDO Worldwide partner agency WIRZ Interactive in Zurich, Switzerland. I've worked with name brand client, including Calvin Klein, Lipton, General Motors, as well as solopreneurs and local business owners. Call me for answers to questions about branding, marketing, increasing profits, attracting your ideal clients, and growing your business.
I've founded four successful businesses over the past 15 years. Here is what I have learned. The 'emotional ups and downs' are part of the process and are usually driven by doubt and uncertainty about yourself, the market, the competition. These fears are compounded by not taking the proper steps to ensure your success.
A very common mistake is not having an actual plan. At the very least, you should have a completed Lean Business Model Canvas. This is a very helpful tool, it's a business plan on one page. When done properly, it can help guide many of your decisions, and give you a clear path to success. Along with your LBMC, you should have a marketing plan. This can be as simple as attending local networking events and building word of mouth referrals, or as complex as designing an automated lead generation website.
You also need to realize that not everyone wants what you are selling. Most business owners make the mistake of assuming that 'everyone will want what I have,' and this is rarely the case. The key is figuring out who actually will buy what you are selling and focus on that audience as a first step. It's much easier to build momentum and success when focused on a niche.
Entrepreneurs also assume it will be easy to find clients and customers. It's not, it takes times to develop relationships and build trust. You have to focus on getting those first buyers, and then treating them like gold so they a) buy again and b) tell their friends.
The ups and downs come with the territory, but if you have a solid plan and realistic expectations it's much easier to focus on moving towards your goals with a solid game plan.
The system you describe sounds very similar to FindThatLead.com (and similar tools). I happen to be a user of Find That Lead and it works really well. Of course, it needs a target to ideally have a company email rather than a Gmail, Yahoo, etc email. It's great for verifying target emails.
It sounds like you want to use your tool to verify mass lists. I think that would be useful for data brokers and services that maintain large industry-wide lists like Agency Access, and other direct media databases.
That is where I would start. Look for companies that compile these lists and offer to test your product using their source lists. If they are happy with the results, you can then sell them ongoing access.
I'd recommend talking to a business consultant or coach, preferably someone with experience in your industry. As someone outside your industry, I would recommend that you think more about how you can consolidate into fewer brands. Managing five brands means splitting your resources, time and money to the point where, as you yourself have said, no single brand is able to shine. My advice to you would be to decide which brand has the best opportunity to stand out and consider focusing your efforts on that one brand. If you want to talk further, feel free to contact me.