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EXECUTION From Starving Artist to Fastlane(ish)

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Chapas

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Long time, no see my fellow fastlaners.

First of all, this progress thread is not about me. It is about my wife. Fortunately, she is not starving that much as I have a decent paid marketing/sales job, but now it is time for her to make some dough!

I have previously had my own progress thread in here: EXECUTION - From 0 to Freedom in 3 Months

That thread gave me so much motivation and inspiration - especially your advice and support was a daily dose of motivation for me.

I have put my own venture on hold for quite some time now. I am in a position at my "slowlane" job right now that makes it hard for me to pursue my own venture (contract, legalities and stuff). So I thought to myself; why not make my wife somewhat of a fastlaner? Or at least grow her income to a point where she can help support our lifestyle?

About a year ago I created another thread in here: Ideas to Monetize My Wife's Drawing Skills

The advice you guys gave us was invaluable. As it happens often, life took us in other directions, and after a struggling 2019, we are now finally in a position to focus on creating a business again and implementing some of the ideas.

What a specifically remember from the thread is two of you were suggesting that we should combine her drawing skills with a few other skills - inspired by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert. While my wife is an amazing artist (I truly believe that), there are a lot of amazing artists around. Yet, This is what she was born to do (cliché i know). This means that she does not have that many other relevant skills she can combine it with such as writing, marketing or sales. Add the fact that she just started learning English 6 months ago, and it already does not look like the perfect recipe to succeed in this game. So what do we do from here?

We combine her skills with my skills!

Why we haven't done that before is beyond my understanding. My creativity and insane ideas, experience with marketing and sales as well as my way with words (especially in my native language) combined with her awesome drawing skills = a pretty decent recipe to succeed I believe.

While she has been drawing the old-school way with pencils, markers and watercolours her whole life, we finally had the opportunity to invest in an Ipad Pro for her this year. She is quickly picking up the digital way of drawing and this is what we mainly will focus on in the future.

So what is the plan?

Like always, I have to many ideas in my mind. I believe that they all have some kind of potential, therefore, I plan to split-test them all in order to see which one(s) we should go with. So far she has just sporadically been drawing 2-3 portraits a month from random requests through Instagram or my personal network, and now we want to make her work much more scalable.

I already failed once with my goal-setting for a progress thread in here, however, I am ready to fail again if that is what it takes. Better try and fail, than to not try at all!

Inspired by the amazing and inspiring thread of @GuitarManDan I will add numbers below that I will update as much as possible.

2020 Revenue Tracker: $250 Revenue / $20,000 Goal

Passive Income Tracker: $0 Per Month / $2000 Goal

I hope some of you might be inspired by this thread - I will try to update it as much as possible.

Will make a post in the next coming days about the projects I will be split-testing. For now, I will just post some of the different stuff she has been drawing in the last year.

Wish you all a successful year my friends!

IMG_4923.JPG IMG_9706.JPG IMG-20200129-WA0012.jpg IMG-20200129-WA0006.jpg IMG-20190909-WA0032.jpg IMG-20200202-WA0007.jpg image-10-02-20-08-19-2.jpeg image-10-02-20-08-19.jpeg image-10-02-20-08-19-1.jpeg
 

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Chapas

Chapas

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So I promised to make a short post about the different projects and strategies we want to pursue to reach our goal. Some of them more simple than others.

Project 1: LinkedIn

In my 'slowlane' job I have really learned how invaluable LinkedIn is for B2B, and I am slowly starting to reap the rewards from it.

Since my wife is from a country that are not very fond of LinkedIn, and her professional network is quite small, we need to build her a network from scratch on LinkedIn. Building a network of like-minded people in her industry and potential prospects in the B2B sector is key. No sales pitches here, just purely networking and exploring opportunities.

Goal: 500 LinkedIn connections by the end of 2020
Steps to goal: Send personalized connection requests to 50 relevant people a week

Status:
0/2150 connection request sent
0/0 people connected
0/0 leads/opportunities created
$0 earned thanks to LinkedIn


Project 2: Custom Portraits

This is my favorite one, and probably the one where I see the most potential. I have a market I would consider myself quite of an expert in. This project has both the possibility of being a good side income without to much work, as well as it has the possibility of scaling to an almost passive income business with the right systems build in. Any of the two outcomes would be considered a success for me.

Realistic Goal: 20 orders a month by the end of 2020
Grant Cardone Goal: 100 orders a months by the end of 2020 (10X would be too optimistic, so we stick with 5X)
Steps to goal: Various marketing activities. Will update what works and what not.

Status:
0/180 orders
$0 earned

Project 3: B2C market

Same market, almost same target audience. I want to create a synergy between these projects, so they can help sell and market each other. The plan here is to create an online store aswell as to sign up to various sites such as Displate, Etsy etc. I will of course take some marketing effort to get people to buy my wife's art with so many awesome artists around. Fortunately, I live and breathe marketing, so I believe that we have a chance to make some passive income here.

Goal: $1000 a month by the end of 2020 combined from own site and affiliates such as Displate and Etsy.
Steps to goal: Create a bunch of awesome stuff for our target audience and then be as visible as possible on various sites and social media pages. And of course just hustle, hustle and hustle.

Status:
0 orders
$0 earned

I have two other projects in mind aswell. One is B2B, but it will be down prioritized at this moment due to the Corona virus, as it might affect my B2B target audience quite a bit. Other one is still on the drawing board, and will wait a little will that.

Wish you all a great hustle!
 

Entre Eyes

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So much potential my friend congrats. But no reason not to be making some revenue and you may also get an idea on how to expand...tshirts, logos, covers, coffee mugs etc.

Just do a search for hand drawn gigs on fiverr...some are alot more than $5 even over $100. :)
 
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Chapas

Chapas

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Nov 23, 2014
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So much potential my friend congrats. But no reason not to be making some revenue and you may also get an idea on how to expand...tshirts, logos, covers, coffee mugs etc.

Just do a search for hand drawn gigs on fiverr...some are alot more than $5 even over $100. :)
Sorry for the late reply buddy. The corona-crisis has been my excuse to delay all projects. So have not even seen your reply before now :)

Finally got my shit together a week ago and now we are very close to launching an e-commerce store with her art. So I took your advice without even knowing it :)
 
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Chapas

Chapas

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The corona-crisis slowed down my motivation the past couple of months (always blame it on everyone but yourself mentality...) But now we are finally doing progress.

Right now our focus will be on Project 3: B2C Market.

Last weekend we went to our public library who have amazing scanners and expensive Apple computers. Even though our country is wide-open despite of the corona-crisis, I have been reluctant to go anywhere public. Now I couldn't wait anymore, so Saturday we went to the library and scanned 12 of my wife's portraits. Since then we have been moving quite fast.

We are starting out with Print on Demand sourced through Printful. These days I have uploaded the designs, so we now have 110 SKU's on Shopify. This was probably the most boring part of it all. So happy that I am done with that, haha.

Have been working on the Shopify store and I am starting to like the result. The plans for the rest of the week is:

1. Finish the design of the Shopify store (almost done)
2. Finish the copywriting for the store (product description, about us page etc)
3. Order samples home to make sure we do not sell crap quality
4. Set up payment gateway (would probably be through PayPal in the beginning)
5. Create a give-away campaign on my wife's drawing Instagram profile (7000 loyal followers). Hopefully this can give us some quick followers on our new 'company page' and give us some data that we can use for further marketing.

So happy to be motivated and doing stuff again. Can't wait to keep you guys updated!
 
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Chapas

Chapas

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WE ARE FINALLY LIVE!

So we finally launched, and my wife now has her own e-commerce store. Wuhuuuu!

From 'idea' to launch in 2 weeks. This was my first time working with Shopify, and I must say that I love it. Some even I felt a little grey haired, but overall I really enjoyed the process and I am really satisfied with the final version of the site.

Now the fun part - Sales and Marketing!

Today we launched our first Facebook Ads targeted at the European market. 6 different ad campaigns for 2 geographical areas. Ad budget is small, so I need to do my best here.

So what are the next steps?

1. Tomorrow I will share our new e-commerce venture with my personal network. Hopefully that can land the first sale, fingers crossed.
2. Keep analyzing and testing these FB Ads untill we hit the golden winner.
3. Leverage my wife's drawing Instagram profile with 7000 followers and create a giveaway campaign for them.
4. Run an Instagram campaign to the same giveaway campaign in order to create awareness and get more followers.
5. Update this thread as much as possible.

Exciting times ahead. It will be a hustle, but I have a good feeling about this one!
 
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Chapas

Chapas

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DAY 8 - Testing, testing and testing

So it has been 8 days since we launched the store. So far the status is:

0 products sold
1 custom portrait ordered
1 custom portrait in the pipeline

Products:


We have 3 different products. 2 of them with 12 designs each, while the third one has 14 designs. I started out with FB & IG Ads only for the last product with 14 designs. So far I have spent around 100 euros on ads with 0 sales showing.

My takeaways so far:

- I totally screwed up in the first 3-4 days. I am branding our products as unique and exclusive on our site, and yet I started out my ad strategy with offering 20 % off on our products. After 3 days I thought to myself, what the heck are you doing and killed off the ads.
- I re-launched the ads without the 20 % discount, and my CPC is actually even better now.
- I have been testing with my relatively small budget, and looks like I might have found the best responsive market and target group for one of our products.
- I have been optimizing our site along the way, and still have a lot to learn and to optimize. I truly believe that we will have the first sale before 1st of June.

Next steps:

- Will finish optimizing the site these days. Inspired by another artist that really kills it with his branding.
- We just got some of our samples delivered last week. Quality is great! So this week we will need to make some product photos and a video we can launch with the ads.
- With our new visuals we will launch a give-away campaign for one of our other products. Here we can leverage my wife's Instagram profile with 7000 followers.
- Run FB ads and IG ads for the giveaway campaign in order to get people to participate and create awareness for our site.

Custom Portraits:

My wife does custom portraits as well, and this has primary been her only income source. This we need to continue with as well, even though this is not separating time from money.

My takeaways so far:

- By sharing our new site with my network on Facebook we didn't get any sales. However, we got 2 inquiries for custom portraits. One is closed, and another one is in the pipeline (all depends whether the wedding will happen or not due to the corona situation)
- We charge TO LITTLE. During the last 6 months we have almost doubled her prices on custom portraits. Still, each and every time I write someone the price and expect a rejection, people keep writing 'Wow. What a great price.". So now I realize that people are actually willing to pay MUCH more than we already charge. So prices will definitely be raised AGAIN.

Next steps:

- We need to create a section on our site for her custom portraits, while still sticking to the identity of our brand.
- We need to start running ads for her custom portraits. It has 2 benefits compared to our other products:
1. We KNOW our target group. We know who orders the portraits, we know for which occasions they want them and we know that people love her custom portraits.
2. We can spend MUCH more to acquire a customer. I think we can spend around 5-6 times more per conversion than with our products (and still leave enough profit margin that my wife does not have to work for peanuts)

Just a quick break-down of our first 8 days after the launch. Hopefully, the first product sale will come before the summer begins!

Btw, I feel like I am living in a parallel world right now. Negotiating 50-100,000 euro deals with some of the biggest companies in Europe from 9-5 at my daytime job and struggling to sell a 45 euro product to young women in the evenings, haha.

Have a great week of hustle my friends!
 
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Chapas

Chapas

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DAY 11 - Custom Funnel Launched

There must be a quote somewhere out there by some smart dude saying 'that you need to stick what is working'. So that is what we will try to do now.

Killed off the the ads for our first product. The CPC were good, but no purchases at all. Will run some retargeting ads for the product and hopefully convert some of the lurkers. Still convinced that the product can do well, it is just not the right time for it.

Now It's Custom Time!

Why not stick with something that has worked for the last couple of years? Custom Portraits. People have ordered her Custom Portraits throughout the years without any marketing efforts whatsover from our side (except from organic building of her Instagram profile to 7000 followers).

So what if we would actually create a landing page solely focusing on converting clients for Custom Portraits and put some money into the marketing? Let's see how that will work out for us.

We have raised our original prices by 30-40 %. Might sound like a lot, but talking about pricing with clients for the past couple of years it is clear to me that she has been underpricing her self each and every time. So totally feel like this price can be justified. Still an absolutely ridiculous low price for a piece of art that we bring so many emotions and happiness for so many years.

What we also do is that we have up-sells on the portraits. Will tell more about that later if it will work. This is a win/win for us and for the customers.

I have narrowed down 5 different target groups I want to target for the Custom Funnel. My copy plays on emotions for each group. All I need is to make some better product photos. Will do that shortly.

What is the goal? My goal is for my wife to have at least 10 custom orders a month by the end of 2020. Optimistic? Maybe. Realistic? Definitely.

In this way she can spend 50 % of the profit on shopping, and I can burn 50 % of the profit on ads for our other products. Win/win situation, haha.

Now it is just all about testing until we find the right formula. I feel in a better place though than with the first product. With the first product we were shooting blindly at people, but here we KNOW our target group (or all 5 different ones of them). We know their desires. We know how to make them convert and give them a great customer experience.

Trading time for money by drawing portraits is maybe not fastlane, but I can assure you that my wife is the happiest person on earth while drawing.

Will keep you guys updated! :)
 

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