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EXECUTION Learning to hustle on the side

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by Sellas, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. Sellas
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    Sellas New Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I read MFL several years ago and made a decent attempt at trying to start up a consulting business on the side. One thing I learned in that business is that it wasn't very smart to start a customer-heavy consulting business while also working 60 hours a week during the business day. I then made the next step up in my corporate career into senior leadership and spent 2-3 years learning how to do that job properly. During this time frame I felt obligated to focus on that and put side hustles out of mind for a bit. Now here I am making another attempt at a side hustle that can eventually become a life style (thanks to reading Unscripted recently).

    After reading the Import/Export posts by @Vigilante I decided this is something that will allow much more freedom while maintaining the day job. So after spending a few days going through the AMAZING content in that thread (seriously, I walked away with 20+ pages of notes!), I am now hunting for the first product to run with. I'm generally the type of person who will just sit back and absorb content, but I wanted to make this journey public to help keep pushing forward.

    I have always had an entrepreneurial itch, but I have had a hard time pursuing that while providing for my family. This may not be the business I end up in, but I am determined to make this work as proof to myself that this lifestyle is possible. My goal is to update this thread each weekend with the progress I made the previous week and goals for the next week. The important thing is to keep making progress. That has to be REAL progress and not the faking that is so easy for me to fall into.
     
  2. ANR
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    ANR Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Good luck! Looking forward to reading the progress.
     
  3. Vigilante
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    Vigilante Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Glad you came out of the shadows as there are a ton of people here that can help you when you get stuck.
     
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  4. Burton
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    Burton Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    I'm really interested about your journey. Waiting for your progress posts!
     
  5. Sellas
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    Sellas New Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Weekly update:

    I'm still in early learning mode, but I'm trying to learn by doing instead of getting stuck in research zone. That being said, there's a certain level of research that does need to occur :).

    I started out with a product idea that I came up with several years ago. I spent some time on Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, and Alibaba verifying there was enough of a demand for it to be useful but not so much that I wouldn't be able to sell it. What I found interesting is that this product has exactly ONE version on Amazon, only a few on Ebay/Alibaba, and a TON on Etsy. This appears to be something that arts/crafts people are making by the dozen, but no one has taken that market over to Amazon. I may find out exactly why during this process, but for the time being I'm going to keep treating this like a golden opportunity.

    From a research standpoint I read the following:
    1. "Import Direct from China" by Walter Hay
    2. "Silent Sales Machine" by Jim Cockrun
    3. Started the first few pages of "How to Write a Good Advertisement" by Victor O. Schwab
    4. Shameless plug for my daily reading of "The Daily Stoic" by Ryan Holiday. The stoic mentality has helped me enormously over the last 3-4 years.

    Finally comes the action. Here is the part I was most scared of (for some unexplainable reason), but I jumped in and made a little progress. I reached out to 3 vendors I found on Alibaba that appeared to be somewhat established but not the top in their market. I also looked for vendors that were already making a similar product to what I was looking for. I have some good conversations going with two of them so far and they seem interested in taking on a new pivot to one of their current products. If this doesn't work out I can always fall back to the strategy of finding a product they're already making, but I wanted to at least pursue this long standing idea of mine.

    My goal next week is to start conversations with a few more suppliers and keep the current ones going strong. My goal with these is to get to a fast "no" or a slow "maybe" as early as possible, so I'm being very honest early on that I intend to move from samples to small batches to larger orders based on market demand. So far suppliers have been very accepting of this.
     
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  6. Tanu1234
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    Tanu1234 Contributor

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    Good luck.
     
  7. Burton
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    Burton Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    I have one question, do you want to just import some product and sell it as it is or make some changes to existing product / build something new?
     
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  8. Sellas
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    Sellas New Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    My main goal with this project is to get out there and prove to myself I can run something on the side. I was intending to either find a product as is or find one that required minor modifications (per the recommendations of this forum and the books I’ve read), but before I head down that path I wanted to try my hand at a new product.

    It’s a pivot from a product that is already being manufactured, but from a manufacturing standpoint it is fairly different. The upside is that it’s still a fairly basic product. My strategy to start off is find manufacturers making this category of product and then ask them if they would be willing to make this particular pivot.

    As an example to help clarify (not the actual product), imagine a bunch of companies were making basic tables. But no one was making one that had an extendable leaf or fold out sides to accommodate more people. I’m just asking those manufacturers if they will make a table, but with some new features they haven’t included before.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  9. Burton
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    Burton Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Great! Thanks a lot for your answer, it’s really valuable for me. Looking forward to your next progress posts!
     
  10. Sellas
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    Sellas New Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Time for this weeks update! This week was a ton of back and forth communication with possible suppliers. A few of them have asked me to send them samples that they can reverse engineer. That's an aspect I hadn't thought of (but probably should have). Given that the original concept for this was something my wife made, we are looking into getting another one that we can send out.

    Past that, I watched several videos on the Proven Amazon Course that taught me about some tools for Amazon keyword extraction. Those have been helpful while I'm looking for new keywords that could ultimately lead to this product. "Keyword Tool Dominator" was the tool if anyone is interested.

    Not a particularly exciting week, but they can't all be winners. Hopefully next week will have some awesome updates.
     
  11. Sellas
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    Sellas New Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I'm running into an interesting trend. Several of the suppliers I am talking with want to charge several hidden fees. One company wants to charge a $120 module fee, a $40 shipping fee, and a $30 sample fee just to get three samples of a product that likely costs less than $2 once purchased as part of a normal order. Finding one or two of those wouldn't surprise me, but so far there has been some similar story for all 8 I'm talking with. Have other seen the same thing?

    Also, I know this forum and other resources say not to pay for samples. Are other having success for that today? I'm assuming it makes more sense to start negotiating MOQ before having a sample sent if I have to pay for them. It doesn't make sense to pay for product/shipping on 5-10 manufacturers samples if they aren't willing to budge on an MOQ of 10,000 (when I'm really only willing to start off in the 100-500 range). Even if they send a free sample and I cover shipping, it seems like you would want to make sure the MOQ is at least in the same ballpark before spending a few bucks on shipping. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
     
  12. Jaden Jones
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    Jaden Jones Igloo Builder Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    It sounds like your running into some normal challenges, while I cant comment on how to move forward, Im excited to hear how you overcome them! Please continue to update us.
     
  13. Thomas Chauvet
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    Thomas Chauvet Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Same here!
     
  14. Sellas
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    Sellas New Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Sorry for the late update. I was out of town this weekend and didn't get around to updating via phone. No excuses. Last week was a little slow. There was a fair amount of waiting on DHL to approve my express account, waiting on suppliers to respond to my messages, and waiting on Incfile to get me my EIN.

    If I'm being completely honest, I lost a fair amount of time this week due to my own mindset. I did NOT lose this time because of all the waiting I just mentioned. I lost this time because I didn't allow myself to get creative in order of operations for things and I didn't use this opportunity to make progress in other areas. I treated this process far too linear and failed to move the ball forward on other tasks just because I was stuck on the task at hand. This was a good learning lesson.

    All that being said, I did start conversations with half of my potential suppliers to test concerns from my last post. Each of them wanted to pursue a sample before negotiating MOQ's and prices. But I asked half of them to start negotiating MOQ's and prices before pursuing the sample. I chose half in case this completely backfired and burned the relationship. A few of them said they absolutely refused to go below 1000 MOQ, but I have capped myself at 50-100. This let me know they were not a good fit. But others have openly admitted that they don't like orders that small but are willing to do it for the sake of building a good relationship. These small orders would ONLY be for the first batch to prove the product, but it is telling when a company will or won't work with you on these. I'm glad I adjusted my approach and asked this question. I will likely be asking the other half of my potential suppliers the same thing.

    I also received two different types of sample product. Neither of which I was a very big fan of, but having physical product is allowing me to build a custom pattern and adjust for the things I don't like. This means I'll have much better information to take to the other suppliers. I consider this a huge win!

    Education:
    In the realm of self education I have still been cranking through the some youtube videos to continue to learn this process. I've also started reading some content from Grant Cardone. Specifically "Sell or be Sold". Sales is a new territory for me, so this is good content for my current situation.

    Helping a friend:
    I was telling a friend of mine about what I was doing with this product and he got really excited. This person has been a close friend since elementary school, but they are admittedly the poster child for "sidewalker". I don't think he has ever had more than a few hundred dollars to his name. BUT after talking for about 5 hours around mindset, he really started getting some of these concepts and wanted to learn more. So I convinced him to get Unscripted and he is loving it. It felt good to help a friend start down the path of getting their mindset right.

    My goals for next week are going to be placing actual sample orders with as many suppliers as possible (that have qualified through the process I mentioned above). This should hopefully set me up to start listing product on Amazon in the next few weeks.
     
  15. Sellas
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    Sellas New Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    It's saturday and another week is in the bag. Short update this week, but we did make some good progress. We had enough feedback and samples from suppliers that we have been able to create a detailed blueprint of exactly what we need. We are needing taking this blueprint back to other suppliers to price shop and see who makes the best quality product. I believe we are a couple of weeks away from having a supplier chosen. Then we can start getting this content up on Amazon.

    Next weeks goal is to get the official blueprint to all suppliers, get a quote from them, and get samples ordered from each of them.
     
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  16. Sellas
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    Sellas New Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I'm narrowed down to four manufacturers with three of them sending in samples as we speak. Once those come in I can pick the final and start getting them listed on Amazon. I recently read a thread here with Biophase and Vigilante about this not being quite as easy nowadays. It had some great content around building a brand that I've been putting more thought into. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.
     
  17. Sellas
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    Sellas New Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I won’t lie, getting a viable product from these manufacturers has been harder than expected. Even with a detailed blueprint they are finding every method under the sun the mess up some detail. For instance, when a piece of fabric is specified they manage to find something that “technically” meets that specification but is so far outside of the norm for that material that it is not useable. I’m down to two manufacturers that have not yet given me good product but they have been very willing to work with me and communicate fairly well. I believe with enough back and forth that one or both of them will be able to produce a good product. The journey continues!
     
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  18. Zarar
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    Zarar Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Good luck man
     

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