Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
- Jan 15, 2018
"Fastlane" is an entrepreneur discussion forum based on The C.E.N.T.S Framework outlined in the two best-selling books by MJ DeMarco (The Millionaire Fastlane and UNSCRIPTED®). From multimillionaires to digital nomads to side hustlers who are grinding a job, the Fastlane Forum features real entrepreneurs creating real businesses with one goal in mind: Freedom— both financial and temporal.
Thanks, I'll probably miss this months goal but revenue is heading in the right direction.Marked NOTABLE, congrats on reaching the revenue goal. You socking money away?
BTW, here is your intro post if anyone wants a link or missed it in your first post.
INTRO - In the fastlane and looking to go even faster
The business grew slowly and steadily enough over the first few months that I was able to simply re-invest the profits in new stock without any need to dip into the pool of savings that I was living off.Good stuff, I look forward to reading more updates. When you first started did you only invest the $4,000 into the business and recycle it growing month by month or did you infuse more cash into it for inventory to get it jump started?
Hey @MythOfSisyphus nice updates. I’m sure you will kick the gears these months and will get close to your annual goal, good job!The business grew slowly and steadily enough over the first few months that I was able to simply re-invest the profits in new stock without any need to dip into the pool of savings that I was living off.
Looking back though, if I knew how well the business would go, I probably would have immediately branched out into different products types using my savings to fund it.
Sure, it's basically been about allocating the marketing budget a little more unevenly than you would with a direct to consumer approach.Hey @MythOfSisyphus nice updates. I’m sure you will kick the gears these months and will get close to your annual goal, good job!
Would you mind sharing how you approach your targeting method to sell to retailers, vs a direct to consumer approach?
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I think you should consider talking to @Andy Black about your AdWords strategy, looks like he knows his onions when it comes to AdWords.In an effort to get better results from my online advertising, I'm going to hire a digital marketing expert to work a couple of hours a week to get the adwords and facebook campaigns doing better returns and also to provide me with better analytics and reports.
You should consider a 3PL here in the US. Have your products shipped there and they will charge you a per piece fee to do the shipments for you.Not as yet. I'd definitely be open to exploring it but not sure how viable it would be in my niche. Most of the sellers in this niche have their own brand of products.
I have recently negotiated a contract with Australia post for domestic shipping, but one that also includes the option of much lower international rates as well, so resuming international shipping is part of my plan in the coming months. I originally scrapped it due to the effort required to complete manual paperwork for customs. This process is now automated so I'm good to resume.
Approximately 10% of daily traffic to the site is international (around 30 to 40 visitors a day) so there's money on the table there.
Thanks for the kind words @Genius01.Great job, you're killing it!
I think you should consider talking to @Andy Black about your AdWords strategy, looks like he knows his onions when it comes to AdWords.
Though I think he primarily consults for offline services local businesses, not sure about ecommerce businesses, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a chat with him.
Wish you sustained progress, and hope you hit (and shatter) your targets for this year.
Thanks guys, I appreciate the offers. I'm still undecided on which direction to go with this hire and have put it on hold while I focus on resuming international shipping.
This is something I've considered for quite a while and to be honest it's really only a bit of internal fear (and a few logistics that need to be ironed out) that's holding me back from pursuing it properly. It seems like a huge step to take and the loss of control over things like packing causes me a bit of anxiety.You should consider a 3PL here in the US. Have your products shipped there and they will charge you a per piece fee to do the shipments for you.
Assuming your products are popular here or are a good fit, this could work out very well for you.
The other option is to open a "branch" or get a partner in the US. Have that company import the products in bulk (deal with customs 1 time), then have that "entity" deliver the goods.
Either solution should allow you to scale to the US.
Any questions, let me know.
Thanks for the kind words.
They're made in both China and Korea and yes, some I simply slap our brand on and can spot the exact same products amongst several of our competitors, however I usually only put our branding on products where I've had some input into the manufacturing process. Many of the products, in particular disposable ones, are simply sold without any branding at all.Also are the products simply made somewhere in China then you slap your branding on them, and your competitors have the identical product with different branding? Or are you literally creating the products 100% from scratch, with input on the composition/manufacture etc
Amazing update! Congrats on the killer month.June Progress Update:
Things a looking good so far. Had a mid-year stock take sale last week that provided the biggest week ever in sales by a fair way. Not sure if I'll hit the target but should hopefully be close.
I've also put in a bid for a warehouse and office that is currently under construction and will be ready early next year. Hopefully I won't run out of room in the home office and storage shed before then. The main reason for this move is that I'll most likely be bringing on a 2nd employee within the next 7 or 8 months and I don't think having 2 employees working from my backyard is sustainable.
My biggest concern at the moment is trying to keep the overheads from blowing up. The warehouse expenses won't help and I've just switched to an online accounting system that will most likely require me to hire a part time book keeper, in addition to a digital marketing expert some time in the coming months.
I'm also in the process of going from being a sole trader for tax purposes to an actual business operating through a family trust. This will help protect my income, however will also incur further costs.
I'll provide a full update at months end.
Thankyou.Amazing update! Congrats on the killer month.
I am not, nor have I have been, in your current level but I think you are making the right moves in expanding your team and operations site. Although it may dip the bottom line in the short term, down the road it should allow you to let the team do more of the day to day and you focusing on increasing sales and expanding the business. Very inspiring!
Are you in the US? By sole trader do you mean sole proprietor (operating under your own social security/name vs an LLC or Corp)? If so, another great move in my opinion.. let the business be it’s own entity, you have limited liability, and thus protect your personal assets if someone ever tries to go after the company
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Interesting! I am rooting for you. One question. Did you start your sales off exclusively online and if so how did you get Salon owners to trust using non recognizable brands on their customers head and skin? I am assuming you private labeled them.I’m starting this thread to document my journey from “good money” (you can read my intro story here) to FU money.
I aim to do this in the next 5 years by getting my online salon supply business to the stage where it’s profiting 7 figures a year and then hopefully selling it for several million. I’ll then have enough money invested to live comfortably off interest and investments for the rest of my days. Or at least that’s my plan. Let’s see what happens.
I’m documenting this for a few reasons...
First of all I hope that sharing my successes and failures will be of some value to you on your own journey.
Secondly I see it as a way of holding my self more accountable to my goals. Not that I think I’ll slack off or give up, but I this will add some extra motivation for me in hitting my milestones.
Thirdly, because while I’m confident in what I’m doing , it never hurts to get a fresh point of view. Hopefully your feedback can help me see things I might be missing.
And lastly, all I seem to do lately is work on the business and learn about business. This thread will give me a much needed creative outlet.
I’ve decided that I won’t be giving away any major details about my business apart from what I’ve already stated in my intro thread but I will try and be transparent as possible regarding what I’m doing and my progress toward the financial targets I’ve set.
Goal for 2018: $1,750,000 in revenue
I aim to make $1,750,000 in revenue (a figure more than double what I made last year) and I’ll start setting financial targets to hit each month in order to get there.
Monthly totals so far:
March: $50,689 (At the halfway point)
Considering I need to average $145,000 every month to hit my goal I’m a long way behind where I need to be. But while the start has been slow, I think if I put in the hard work now, I will see my efforts start to pay off in the back half of the year.
I’ll set my goal for March at 108k which would be a good result considering my position at the halfway mark.
The goal for April will be 118k and if I can grow revenue at around 10k per month thereafter I might be able to hit the annual target by years end. It’s an unlikely goal, but why not shoot for the moon?
How I plan to grow revenue:
1. Hire & Outsource – Until 2 weeks ago I was handling everything on my own. I have since hired someone part time to assist with packing & shipping which will free me up to spend more time growing the business. I’ll also be looking for other opportunities to outsource work to VA’s and other contractors.
2. Expand the product line – I’m currently talking to 2 new suppliers in China after ordering samples of some new beauty products and am about to put in large orders with both of them for variants of some products we already stock that have been extremely popular. I’ve also just started stocking some new aftercare products (products that the salons we supply can retail to their customers) and so far they’ve generated around a thoursand dollars worth of sales within the first week or so.
3. Improve marketing campaigns – I’ve been spending around 5k per month on advertising on adwords and facebook but haven’t put in the time and effort required to really test and tweak the campaigns. I spent my nights over the past 2 weeks doing an online adwords certification and completely overhauled the old campaigns and set up some new ones. They’ll need time to settle but once they do I’ll continue to tweak and adjust to get a better ROI which will mean I can increase the overall marketing budget and generate more traffic and more revenue.
4. Increase Social Media Presence – This has probably been the most neglected area of my business. I keep meaning to post more regularly but always seem to find other things to work on instead. I think this is partly because as a guy selling beauty products, marketing them doesn’t come naturally to me and I’m not an avid social media user outside of work either. Having said that, Instagram is huge in my niche and other brands are taking advantage so I need to step up my game here. I did try to outsource the social media work by advertising on upwork however I couldn’t find anyone with knowhow in both B2B and the beauty industry.
5. A heap of other stuff - I use Trello to track all my various to do lists and I probably have well over 100 changes planned for the business from website tweaks to improving my email campaigns to improving ad copy. Basically anything that will 1) Increase traffic, 2) Increase conversions, 3) Increase order value. These are the things that will grow revenue.
So that’s my first post done. I’m not sure how often I’ll be providing updates. I’ll at least do a run down for the end of each month documenting how I measured up against the financial goals and what changes I made. What went wrong, what went right. I’ll also try and provide updates and answer any questions each week as well.
The plan is to keep coming back to this thread and setting new goals each year, all the way through until I make that sweet FU money and drive off into the sunset in my new lambo.
That means you have to have had a branding strategy ...right? I have sold both (hi end) well known brands like It Cosmetics, Laura Geller and Philosophy online as well as (unknown) Private label beauty and man in that industry people love and trust the brands they love. You must have figured out the formula to building trust around your brand? And with Salons that put their reputation on the line everytime they use a new product, that's gold.The 4,000 was spent on multiple products (around 600). There are thousands of products in this niche and most cost around 5 dollars to import and retail for around 20.
In the beginning most of the sales came from ebay and it took around 10 months for the shopify sales to overtake them.
Ha Ha, sounds like a great problem to have. Outgrowing a space doesn't happen if the phone isn't ringing. Congrats and thanks for all the updates.I've also put in a bid for a warehouse and office that is currently under construction and will be ready early next year. Hopefully I won't run out of room in the home office and storage shed before then.
Thankyou.Interesting! I am rooting for you. One question. Did you start your sales off exclusively online and if so how did you get Salon owners to trust using non recognizable brands on their customers head and skin? I am assuming you private labeled them.
To be honest, in the beginning, no, I didn't have a branding strategy, and didn't really know what one would even look like. I knew a little bit about marketing and the importance of professional looking products, logos, websites etc but didn't have a strategy (although I have developed some strong rules around the brand along the way). In the beginning my basic strategy was to simply out-do all the existing competitors I could find in the niche in every way I could. I started off beating most of them on both product price and shipping price, and also made sure I had a more professional looking website, better copy, and more professional looking product photos. I also put a huge emphasis on customer service as this is a niche that thrives on repeat buyers.That means you have to have had a branding strategy ...right? I have sold both (hi end) well known brands like It Cosmetics, Laura Geller and Philosophy online as well as (unknown) Private label beauty and man in that industry people love and trust the brands they love. You must have figured out the formula to building trust around your brand? And with Salons that put their reputation on the line everytime they use a new product, that's gold.
Please share a little about what you did to send your traffic to your Shopify (with private label products) and convince them to trust and buy there as opposed to more trusted channels? Did you utilize email appends to retarget? Just curious about your strategy NOT YOUR STORE OR BRAND.
Thanks in advance.
I don't buy any liquid products from China. I buy solid materials and tools from there however.When it came to beauty products from China, I was always concerned about the quality. Like what if they put shitty ingrediends into their products and my customers get a rash or worse. How did you combat that? Did you got all products tested?
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