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- Sep 24, 2012
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After 5-6 years I decided I didn't want to be stuck in a shop fixing computers all day and came across people selling laptop chargers on eBay. I was hooked. So I started selling laptop chargers on eBay alongside running my shop.
I had a couple of websites I used to purchase new and used laptops from for my customers and loved the idea of running a similar site. So I purchased a domain called whichlaptop.co.uk and for the next 3 years alongside running the computer repair shop and selling power adapters on eBay, I tried to grow the laptop brand.
Anyway, I then came across a company in Scotland who had 5 computer repair shops (they were actually buying laptop adapters from me). So I drove 4 hours to Scotland to see what sort of set up they had. I drove back a couple of hours later and I had decided I wanted to have more repair shops.
I then came across a power adapter seller in US doing really well. And herein lies the £150,000 mistake.
For my new product, I have priced it at the higher end of the market and only have 1 competitor at the price point. They are doing extremely well.
Do you see a pattern?
What are you going to do better than they are?
Do you know their margins?
Do you know this market?
Have you validated the different design with your market and that they care about the accessory?
Yes the pattern is clear.
My product is off different design and I’ve also added a matching accessory included in price.
I know the exact cost my competitor is paying for their products as I have spoken to their actual factory in China. They couldn’t provide me with the specifications I needed as they had exclusivity agreement with my competitor so I use a different factory.
I’ve been researching this market and products for the past year.
Learn facebook ads and sell other people's products/services using FB ads. Or just help people run their fb ads for a fee.
They launched 3 years ago now so unless they're playing a really long game using VC money they must be making a profit if spending $80k a month on Facebook ads.
Facebook ads could be losing money and just a customer acquisition tool. Do they sell other things? Sell on other channels?
You just never know.
I'm not sure you're seeing the pattern mate.
You're selling the same thing, over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.
Let me start selling batteries because of XYZ reason.... fail.
Well, let me start another business selling batteries because of ABC reason.... fail.
Perhaps if I start another business selling batteries and I rebrand it .... fail.
Maybe if I start another battery accessory business and I import it from vietnam instead of China for BBC reason.... fail.
I don't think you're seeing the pattern. Get the hell out of that niche/industry. NOW.
The competition is fierce, those with resources have already consolidated the market through mergers and acquisitions. Then there are a few people that have managed to carve a nice little niche out of the market. But by and large, the marketer is already catered to. We don't need another battery reseller.
You've got no competitive advantage. Even with your branding... why would anyone buy from your little brand when they can buy from an established brand that has thousands of reviews and a lower price point?!
Stop buying products and getting into costly new ventures. Learn facebook ads and sell other people's products/services using FB ads. Or just help people run their fb ads for a fee.
Facebook ads could be losing money and just a customer acquisition tool. Do they sell other things? Sell on other channels?
You just never know.
Good point but I would guess @Paul has already made a purchase from them and gleaned all he could from their funnel process and followups. If not he's missing vital information and I think he's too smart for that despite previous indiscretions.
Paul, how are you estimating their monthly FB spend?
I’m not selling batteries anymore! And I only ever tried to sell them for a short period of my twenty year story so I think you may be getting your wires crossed somewhere.
I sold power adapters for the majority of my time alongside a computer repair shop but also tried other similar niches. I have now exited all and the niche I’m currently in is completely different to anything I’ve done before.
I totally disagree with that advice. That is going backwards in my opinion. If you spend any time with people who run their own successful FB ad agency you know that they all want their own product. They have seen how much success they have created for their clients and want the same for themselves. In fact many are running other peoples products as well because they don't have their own.
Going down the route of affiliate marketing (other peoples products) is a retrograde step for anyone who has a viable product. Why share the profit and not have overall control when you don't have to?
Focusing on finding out what makes people want to buy YOUR product is extremely powerful and can be extremely rewarding both financially and intellectually, (you can gain a lot of insights from that knowledge that can propel your business forward at lightening speed).
Sorry I meant power adapters or whatever it is that you're selling (to me it seemed like you were always selling the same thing).
My mistake. Seems like you've got some plans that you want to see through to the end. So let me just wish you the best of luck. Was just trying to help.
Have a good day.
On a positive note, my website got 4 orders yesterday with 5 products sold in total. That's the highest number of orders I've got so far. Onwards and upwards.
That is promising. Now what was the reason? Where did these customers come from? Better FB targeting? Are they responding after taking a week or two to make up their mind? Are your Ads more on point? Is this a move towards profitability or just a blip?
Lots of questions to consider.
It’s not possible to validate the design without actually launching the products.
I’ve had great feedback about the designs since launching however.
I've always thought that I could get through anything and that I was strong-willed and confident.
However I've really struggled mentally with the situation and level of debt I have. I've felt like a complete failure. I've let my Wife down, my children, my parents and also myself. I've had massive sleep issues and ended up on sleeping tablets. I see other Fathers at the school when I collect my children and think to myself I wish I was them. In fact, I was I just wasn't me.
I'm also not ashamed to admit I've contemplated suicide on numerous occasions. I think the fact that I didn't was because I couldn't do it to my children. It's a selfish thing to do. Not so long ago I even googled whether it was possible to kill yourself but then have the Doctor tell your family it was a heart attack or something. Madness.
I have a loving Wife and Children and just by them being them I'm beginning to get through this. It's not nice having companies chasing you for debts every week. I get a horrible feeling inside when I hear the post coming through the letterbox, is this another debt letter. I could file for bankruptcy but I need to ensure we don't lose our house. It's jointly owned and there's not a great deal of equity compared to my debts and luckily my wife has a good job.
I may still have to file for bankruptcy but I'm going to give it everything I've got to get out of this. The thought that after all the work I've done over the years to end up bankrupt upsets me. Especially for someone with my traits, I'm the one who was always saying I'm going to earn this or do that but to put things bluntly without my wife or help from my parents I'd be homeless and living on the streets now.
I have recognized however though that negative thoughts aren't going to get me anywhere. I've been reading self-help books to reinforce some positivity into my mindset and I've certainly gone past my F*ck You moment. No more negativity and punishing myself for the mistakes I've made in the past.
I can't change anything that I've done, there are some expensive lessons there but I can control where I end up the future and that's where I begin.
If anyone feels like they can offer any help or advice feel free. I'll try and update whenever something meaningful happens but for now, if anyone wants me I'll be mastering facebook ads and growing my brand and I hope that this helps people to NOT make the same mistakes as me.
"If you try chasing two rabbits you won't catch any." This is what I would tell my 20 year old self.
Other than having a family... your situation sounds eerily familiar! While you've received some fantastic advice on the business front... I'd like to talk about your psyche. Some powerful & deep stuff you've told us there, so congratulations on that. Since you're a Go Getter, I doubt Depression could be it.
However I recently read a book from Dr Gabor Maté who works in the downtown core of Vancouver in Canada, and he clearly explains in his Book In the real of hungry ghosts that un-diagnosed and untreated ADHD can wreak havoc due to the brain founding numerous ways to heal itself. If your debt was generated solely due to your business, that might not be you. But if you have an habit that you can hardly control... and made this debt ballooned up... then that ADHD right there! (mine is food) He also wrote another book called scattered mind more guared towards ADHD that I didn't read yet.
But if beside it there's something that you literally can't control by however means you tried... then ADHD might be it! My way of coping was with massive amount of food. But due to being a bodybuilding expert, I was able to never get obese even tough I was eating a lot. My intellect simply delayed the inevitable... and you seem wayyyy smarter than me... so it might apply to you as well. Please keep in mind that I'm not a doctor, so this might not apply to you. In my case, thanks to my bodybuilding route, I went the supplement way instead of the pharmaceutical way to solve my issues. PM me if ADHD applies to you, and you'd like to try what supplement I'm taking!
But if you do have undiagnosed ADHD... you can't fight this without mediation (supplement in my case) Got nothing to do with you... but your brain is finding whichever ways it can get at it's disposal to heal itself. A battle against the Brain is a battle that cannot be won without reinforment. It sucks... but hey there could be worst!
Whatever you do... make sure to get checked out!
I see a couple of patterns that you are probably already aware of. Just my two cents so take it for what it's worth.
1. You're jumping into businesses based on what you see others doing. Essentially copying them. They appear profitable on the outside, but I would venture to say that they are in the same boat as you. I would even go as far as betting that by the time you jump into the market, it is already saturated. I think Facebook marketing will be much the same VERY soon. I can't even watch a YouTube video without seeing an annoying ad with fake gurus telling you how you can make 10,000 per day working 15 minutes per week selling Facebook ads. Everyone and their brother is jumping into this market which will, in my opinion, cause a race to the bottom.
2. It appears you are selling commodity items. My dad had a very large company growing up that marketed produce. He had 400+ employees, 3 packing sheds, a ton of B2B customers in multiple countries, and huge operating costs. There were some months where he would spends $250,000 just in phone bills from his 25+ sales guys (the days of long-distance phone bills charged by the minute). Some years it was very profitable, some years it wasn't. The problem was, and is, produce is a commodity. There isn't much that separates one tomato from another. They are 100% market-driven. When supply is down, prices go up, you make money. Vice versa, when supply is up, prices are down, you lose money. One brand that has somewhat overcome this obstacle here in the stated is Wonderful Brands. They have clever marketing and patented varieties that make them stand out amongst a sea of fruits and veggies in the produce section. They've figured out how to effectively brand and make a commodity feel more exclusive and valuable. Whatever you endeavor to do, be different, be bold.
I would encourage you to read Blue Ocean Strategy (or the synopsis because it is pretty lengthy and I'm not a particularly fast reader).
Why are you continuing to spend your time on this? You’re $250,000 due to running poor e-commerce companies and now still a company you haven’t profited off of... just stop with e-commerce for a bit, get some clients and get some money coming inI have my company yes. Not making any profit at the moment however.
You don’t have the cash/time to do two things! Why are you trying to help people run ads ad run an e-commerce company?!
Stop with the e-commerce company and just find clients to run ads for. It will be much cheaper for you to go that route. With e-commerce you have to worry about product costs, shipping etc. and there are many more costs you have to factor in that could lead you to lose money that you cannot afford. Just stop it with e-commerce for now and get out of debt!
Also if you’re a Facebook ads expert (I’m assuming since you feel you can charge others) why is someone else running your Facebook ads?
Why are you continuing to spend your time on this? You’re $250,000 due to running poor e-commerce companies and now still a company you haven’t profited off of... just stop with e-commerce for a bit, get some clients and get some money coming in
Those people aren’t 250k in debt. It may be going backwards but his current situation is running him more and more into the negative so perhaps backwards isn’t so bad in this caseI totally disagree with that advice. That is going backwards in my opinion. If you spend any time with people who run their own successful FB ad agency you know that they all want their own product. They have seen how much success they have created for their clients and want the same for themselves. In fact many are running other peoples products as well because they don't have their own.
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