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EXECUTION Making $5K a month by August 2015

Are you a morning person?


  • Total voters
    120

Dinho7

Bronze Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 7, 2014
127
198
159
South Florida
I am starting this thread to become more accountable with the hours I put into my business and to reach my goal.

My goal is a very conservative estimate of how much my business could make in revenue each month.

Background:
We are two students with a small baby.
My husband is a serial entrepreneur (he's had two business ventures that were slightly profitable).
I am a graphic designer/business student.

We are $20K in debt. Our monthly budget is $3K in personal expenses for a family of 3.

We are hoping to be able to repay all loans and have a stable income by August 2015. The additional income after paying ourselves would go to real estate investing or future ventures. We have a couple other ideas that could really work.

The positives:

We have several assets.
$10K in inventory and adding
$5k invested on a website
$5K of equipment and supplies (computers, good camera, studio set-up)

The asset we are most lacking in is time.

We've luckily had our first sale, and 4 more ever since.

During the next few months, we should be advertising and promoting.

The best part about this thread is that it keeps us in line so we don't slack-off.

Progress today:
-My husband adjusted prices to offer free shipping.
-I batch post-processed 20 product images.
Our store should be looking slightly better once the images are uploaded.

I feel confident that we will "live another day" and just keep going despite the crap-tons of debt and the lack of income for several months. You may ask yourself how we are living? Acummulating additional debt every day. This has set us back more than enough times, but we try not to let it get to us.

Hopefully we will both be updating as we progress... If we make one more sale, I feel like that would boost our energy levels sky-high. Fuel for entrepreneurs, right?

Please let us know if you have any tips from working parents or about time management and stop procrastinating. My husband is trying the miracle morning but has been consistently hitting the snooze button until 9am. However, I wish I could follow on his footsteps and get on a better routine too. We go to bed late at 1am, which might be the reason why we wake up exhausted too... Any tips from parents with small babies on their first year?

We are certainly making it up as we go.

Thanks for visiting:)
 

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Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
52
35
56
30
Miami, FL
**NOTE: I was writing from my husband's account and now I have my own. I'm sorry if that becomes confusing.

Update:
We feel like we missed out on the "holiday rush". We took very long to set-up and ended up missing out on Christmas sales. In the retail environment, this time is crucial. I made research on this time of the year for retail stores. Most retailers make up for slow months with holiday sales... People go all out buying gifts.

We missed this great opportunity because we weren't ready. We are still struggling to adjust our shipping times and give greater value to our clients.

We know that the product we have is good, since we've had sales without any promotion. We've had some abandoned carts and one potential customer asking why they should buy from us, then leaving. Was our answer not credible enough?

We obviously need to bring in more controls, get more opinions about what our market needs so that we can adjust our offering.

Sometimes I wish we could jump through time to learn from ourselves in the future... What worked, what didn't. I guess life doesn't work that way and just a ton of mistakes need to be made before you can reach a conclusion.
 

WorldImperator

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
May 29, 2014
115
91
74
36
My first question is, why are you living so expensive lifestyle?
3k USD/ month for three person seems like you are spending your money with a light hand.

Didnyou considered reducing your expenssive first?
 

Mr.B

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Nov 8, 2014
377
769
298
Australia
Progress today:
-My husband adjusted prices to offer free shipping.
-I batch post-processed 20 product images.
Our store should be looking slightly better once the images are uploaded.
You can do better than this. This is pseudo progress. How long does it take to adjust prices? Surely that's not more than an hours work?

Is a 'slightly better' looking store going to make any real difference? Since you are so short on time you need to focus on the stuff that really matters.

I feel confident that we will "live another day" and just keep going despite the crap-tons of debt and the lack of income for several months. You may ask yourself how we are living? Acummulating additional debt every day. This has set us back more than enough times, but we try not to let it get to us.

Hopefully we will both be updating as we progress... If we make one more sale, I feel like that would boost our energy levels sky-high. Fuel for entrepreneurs, right?
This concerns me. You're building a business on a foundation of sand...

Don't let your next sale determine your energy levels. Your drive has to come from somewhere else. Why are you doing this? What really matters?

You've got 10k tied up in inventory that isn't moving. How much interest have you paid to the credit card company while this inventory gets dusty? Have you considered listing some of it on Amazon or eBay to get some cash flowing? Your debt is an emergency. This isn't the time to be worrying about optimizing your prices and product images, this is the time to light a big fire under your a$$ and get some real progress happening...

If your husband is hitting snooze every morning, move the alarm clock to the other side of the room so he has to get out of bed to turn it off. Why are you up until 1am? If any of that time involves watching television or pointless internet surfing, I suspect you may be doing it wrong? Have you tried going to bed earlier? You may find that you get more done between 4am and 4.30am than you do between 9pm and 1am.

I know you have a young baby, I get that it's hard, but there are two of you there... Surely one of you can get to bed earlier so that you can crush it in the early morning? You don't need more 'controls', you need more motivation, you need more guts and you need less excuses.

All the best.
 
OP
OP
Dinho7

Dinho7

Bronze Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 7, 2014
127
198
159
South Florida
My first question is, why are you living so expensive lifestyle?
3k USD/ month for three person seems like you are spending your money with a light hand.

Didnyou considered reducing your expenssive first?
Hello WorldImperator,

Is it really expensive? Compared to my friends and people I have talked to in the same situation, $3k/mo for a couple with a baby doesn't seem much. Maybe I am wrong?

Here is a break-down of our expenses:
Condo maintenance fee + insurance/repairs $300
Car payment - $250
Car insurance - $150
Gas - $150
Cable & internet - $80
2 x Cellphone plans - $90
Electricity - $120
Groceries - $600
Baby supplies - $200
Health insurance/expenses - $100

All this equates to around $2k. Factor in things like clothing, entertainment, car repairs, contact lenses, appliances for the house, an odd restaurant visit ++ and you reach $3k in no time.

I feel like we are already living a modest life. Most of these expenses cannot be eliminated, or hardly reduced (could cut down on groceries a bit, I guess).

Please let me know what you think. Interesting to get different opinions on this.
 
OP
OP
Dinho7

Dinho7

Bronze Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 7, 2014
127
198
159
South Florida
You can do better than this. This is pseudo progress. How long does it take to adjust prices? Surely that's not more than an hours work?

Is a 'slightly better' looking store going to make any real difference? Since you are so short on time you need to focus on the stuff that really matters.



This concerns me. You're building a business on a foundation of sand...

Don't let your next sale determine your energy levels. Your drive has to come from somewhere else. Why are you doing this? What really matters?

You've got 10k tied up in inventory that isn't moving. How much interest have you paid to the credit card company while this inventory gets dusty? Have you considered listing some of it on Amazon or eBay to get some cash flowing? Your debt is an emergency. This isn't the time to be worrying about optimizing your prices and product images, this is the time to light a big fire under your a$$ and get some real progress happening...

If your husband is hitting snooze every morning, move the alarm clock to the other side of the room so he has to get out of bed to turn it off. Why are you up until 1am? If any of that time involves watching television or pointless internet surfing, I suspect you may be doing it wrong? Have you tried going to bed earlier? You may find that you get more done between 4am and 4.30am than you do between 9pm and 1am.

I know you have a young baby, I get that it's hard, but there are two of you there... Surely one of you can get to bed earlier so that you can crush it in the early morning? You don't need more 'controls', you need more motivation, you need more guts and you need less excuses.

All the best.
Mr. B, thanks for your post. The sales is definitely a good source of motivation, although far from the only one. I don't think the motivation is our biggest problem. It is finding a schedule that works for both so we can put down enough hours of quality work to do much more than mentioned in the opening post of this thread.

The debt is relatively benign for now. It has 0 % APR until next fall, so we have not incurred any interest yet. But it is no reason to slack. We know that the debt eventually has to be paid back, and paying 22 % interest is not something that is appealing.

I think you are "spot on" regarding going to sleep earlier and us finding a way to allow our partner to work in peace. I have been trying to go to sleep by midnight every day so I can wake up at 7 and start working at 8 before the baby wakes up around noon. The days I wake up early I get a lot done. The days I sleep in due to going to bed too late, the productivity level is embarrassing.

My wife convinced me to take Dec 24 and Dec 25 off from work because of Christmas, so tomorrow there is no excused to get a lot of work done. I will use your comment as a kick in the butt to get a lot of important tasks done.
 

Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
52
35
56
30
Miami, FL
You can do better than this. This is pseudo progress. How long does it take to adjust prices? Surely that's not more than an hours work?

Is a 'slightly better' looking store going to make any real difference? Since you are so short on time you need to focus on the stuff that really matters.



This concerns me. You're building a business on a foundation of sand...

Don't let your next sale determine your energy levels. Your drive has to come from somewhere else. Why are you doing this? What really matters?

You've got 10k tied up in inventory that isn't moving. How much interest have you paid to the credit card company while this inventory gets dusty? Have you considered listing some of it on Amazon or eBay to get some cash flowing? Your debt is an emergency. This isn't the time to be worrying about optimizing your prices and product images, this is the time to light a big fire under your a$$ and get some real progress happening...

If your husband is hitting snooze every morning, move the alarm clock to the other side of the room so he has to get out of bed to turn it off. Why are you up until 1am? If any of that time involves watching television or pointless internet surfing, I suspect you may be doing it wrong? Have you tried going to bed earlier? You may find that you get more done between 4am and 4.30am than you do between 9pm and 1am.

I know you have a young baby, I get that it's hard, but there are two of you there... Surely one of you can get to bed earlier so that you can crush it in the early morning? You don't need more 'controls', you need more motivation, you need more guts and you need less excuses.

All the best.

About fixing the prices... It's something we have to really re-think.

Prestashop has been a hassle, and fixing every single price for every item takes forever.

We are actually holding a meeting about this so that I can help listing items. I found the system really confusing and it's even worse than Wordpress e-commerce. My husband says I can master it in about a week... Seriously? A week is too long. I feel confident that I can have a site up and running in two weeks (from scratch) because I've done it before.

I almost feel tempted to start on another project on shopify because it seems simpler to deal.

However, I'm going to focus all my effort on listing more products on the existing website and expand it to an additional market, plus help promoting in an additional market.

We had one sale today.... It boosted our morale up a bit.

My personal motivation to do this is not for surviving or paying bills. To me, this project is just a stepping stone into other investments... Which motivates me to make it work, because without this we cannot go forward.

I know it might look dark right now, with all the debt, but I know this struggle is temporary. I've been in this situation before, my dad has been a serial entrepreneur all his life, and I've felt the ups and downs throughout my childhood. This is why I know we will be successful... Because I am seriously determined to do everything in my power to make us succeed.

This are not empty words- I am backing this with every penny we have, juggling to get out bills paid, and continuing to improve our store, making sure we have results... However small they might be now, I know we can continue grow.


I did NOT have a comfortable childhood, I did NOT get every toy, and I had to really fight for things that I wanted. I worked with my dad since i was 11... And I know that to get there it's going to take more than what we are doing right now. I'm just trying to not burn myself to the ground on the process to get to that point.
 

Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
52
35
56
30
Miami, FL
You can do better than this. This is pseudo progress. How long does it take to adjust prices? Surely that's not more than an hours work?

Is a 'slightly better' looking store going to make any real difference? Since you are so short on time you need to focus on the stuff that really matters.



This concerns me. You're building a business on a foundation of sand...

Don't let your next sale determine your energy levels. Your drive has to come from somewhere else. Why are you doing this? What really matters?

You've got 10k tied up in inventory that isn't moving. How much interest have you paid to the credit card company while this inventory gets dusty? Have you considered listing some of it on Amazon or eBay to get some cash flowing? Your debt is an emergency. This isn't the time to be worrying about optimizing your prices and product images, this is the time to light a big fire under your a$$ and get some real progress happening...

If your husband is hitting snooze every morning, move the alarm clock to the other side of the room so he has to get out of bed to turn it off. Why are you up until 1am? If any of that time involves watching television or pointless internet surfing, I suspect you may be doing it wrong? Have you tried going to bed earlier? You may find that you get more done between 4am and 4.30am than you do between 9pm and 1am.

I know you have a young baby, I get that it's hard, but there are two of you there... Surely one of you can get to bed earlier so that you can crush it in the early morning? You don't need more 'controls', you need more motivation, you need more guts and you need less excuses.

All the best.
We have taken great care in having a good working inventory system. Everything is accounted for, bagged, tagged and stored in a warehouse manner. This helps us find and fulfill orders faster and easier.

Part of the reason we took so long is because building all this structure took time. However, dusty inventory sitting everywhere is burning money. We also have a small baby who loves to play with the inventory, so we take care to keep it away from him. Stains, scratches or dust is burned money because we cannot give low quality inventory to our customers.

We are aware that the first impression matters, we had trouble with this in our first business venture. People would not re-subscribe because our product wasn't high quality and we handled it poorly. We learned a lot from this.
 

Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
52
35
56
30
Miami, FL
Regarding selling on eBay... We have been selling everything we have to pay our bills.

I did suggest listing our inventory on eBay to the husband, but he said it would be better to focus our efforts on our own website instead, where there is no 10% fee plus PayPal fee and we have higher profit margin and less competition.

We have approximately 160 different products... We are readjusting to just our best-selling items and looking for what is most profitable. We recently got rid of $700 worth of inventory because it wasn't working.

I hope this helps answer your question about eBay.
 
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Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
52
35
56
30
Miami, FL
Mr. B, thanks for your post. The sales is definitely a good source of motivation, although far from the only one. I don't think the motivation is our biggest problem. It is finding a schedule that works for both so we can put down enough hours of quality work to do much more than mentioned in the opening post of this thread.

The debt is relatively benign for now. It has 0 % APR until next fall, so we have not incurred any interest yet. But it is no reason to slack. We know that the debt eventually has to be paid back, and paying 22 % interest is not something that is appealing.

I think you are "spot on" regarding going to sleep earlier and us finding a way to allow our partner to work in peace. I have been trying to go to sleep by midnight every day so I can wake up at 7 and start working at 8 before the baby wakes up around noon. The days I wake up early I get a lot done. The days I sleep in due to going to bed too late, the productivity level is embarrassing.

My wife convinced me to take Dec 24 and Dec 25 off from work because of Christmas, so tomorrow there is no excused to get a lot of work done. I will use your comment as a kick in the butt to get a lot of important tasks done.
I was actually concerned about taking time off during holidays after I read the Christmas thread. They have a very important point about having an edge working while everyone else takes time off.

I guess there was a very emotional factor being a first time mom and having your baby's first Christmas and our first Christmas together as a family that made me draw a line for the 24th and 25th. I don't know if this is a mistake, but I know that years from now I won't regret my decision to put family first, especially when I explain this to my son when he is older.

I might be wrong in this mindset, but I wanted this Christmas to be super special.
 

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Mr.B

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Nov 8, 2014
377
769
298
Australia
I completely get it Birdie, I like my kids Christmases to be special as well, but your baby won't remember his first Christmas... nor his second or even third. That's okay though. Many of these special things we do for our kids are more for us than they are the kids! I don't think there is a problem with taking a couple of days out for Christmas, especially as a new family and as it is important to you. It all comes down to priorities. I haven't worked over Christmas this year and am not planning on getting back to my business for another day or two yet.

I did suggest listing our inventory on eBay to the husband, but he said it would be better to focus our efforts on our own website instead, where there is no 10% fee plus PayPal fee and we have higher profit margin and less competition.
I don't know your business or your profit margins, but if you are only making minimal sales at the moment and have a lot of inventory gathering dust, it may be beneficial to move some via ebay or amazon even if it means taking less profit.

I think you are "spot on" regarding going to sleep earlier and us finding a way to allow our partner to work in peace. I have been trying to go to sleep by midnight every day so I can wake up at 7 and start working at 8 before the baby wakes up around noon. The days I wake up early I get a lot done. The days I sleep in due to going to bed too late, the productivity level is embarrassing.
Just make it happen @Dinho7 - now that you know how the late nights bleed over into the next day, you know how important it is. I get it, late at night, it's calm and quite and tomorrow seems so far away, but if you commit to getting to bed a bit earlier each night, and getting up a bit earlier each day, you can increase your productivity without actually finding any more time to work. Work smarter.

The debt is relatively benign for now. It has 0 % APR until next fall, so we have not incurred any interest yet. But it is no reason to slack. We know that the debt eventually has to be paid back, and paying 22 % interest is not something that is appealing.
Glad it's interest free for now. How long have you got until that times up? Mark it on the calendar and stick the calendar above your desk. You want to be in a position where you can pay that back before you get stuck with a whole lot of interest. You don't want some credit card company sucking the life out of your business.

Hats off to you both. I love that you are creating a business together, that will support your family and help you create the life you desire. All the best.
 

stockyal

Contributor
Sep 7, 2014
29
32
23
United kingdom
i am no expert but i agree with @Mr.B selling on ebay whilst you are preparing your website is a good idea you may not make as much due to fees but you close the gap on your credit card quicker before it reaches the point where you will be paying the 22% interest. using ebay can also build your confidence in dealing with customers and you will be receiving feedback on your products.
hope it all goes well
 

Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
52
35
56
30
Miami, FL
Progress today:

Him:
-Small fixes to the site
-Research on new products (profit margins, is it worth it or not)
-Got more inventory (replenishing the things we sold).

Me:
-daydreaming about new project, I have written copy on the offer for the new service. We are still far away from that.
-got web developer... We've been struggling with that.
-learned how to update products (finally!) so now I can start translating to another language.

We struggled because we woke up late... Again. Dinho7 managed to complete all the tasks on his list, but it took all day. We took breaks to eat but all we talk about is the business. He also was present for customer service but nobody needed it today.

We fulfilled an order- time to ship it:) hope there are many more to come.

We are still on that phase where we need to adjust to our market and act quickly. We've been moving like slow dinosaurs.

I hope that this week will bring more sales. I am considering dedicating time to listing everything using terapeak.... But then I would lose focus translating the entire website to another language.

I feel the pressure to pay down the debt, as does dinho7, but we are trying to keep a cool and more calculated mind. I just want to liquidate everything, but that is just not smart. I know we can make it.

We've been trying coffee in the mornings. I don't know if it's fueling us or that crash that comes after making us inefficient.

Do you drink coffee in the morning?
 

Mr.B

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Nov 8, 2014
377
769
298
Australia
Do you drink coffee in the morning?
I drink it all day... Usually have four or five cups of good coffee between when I wake up (6 or 7am) until my last one at 4pm.

If I'm planning on working late (>3am) I'll have another at 9pm, but that's pretty rare these days.

Glad to hear you are making progress. What's the next most important thing you need to focus on?
 

Lee Belcher

New Contributor
Jul 20, 2014
8
6
17
Damn your spending far too much!!

Don't take this personally but if your in debt and trying to get your business of the ground why on earth are you spending money on "clothing, appliances, two phones?, a car obviously on finance etc"

Pump that money into your business, spend the $100 you would of spent on a restaurant visit and plough it into advertising or pay some of that debt off.

I am really concerned as your obviously extremely keen for the success but at the same time you have the thought of "liquidating everything" in the back of your mind. This obviously expresses's a lack of confidence and this lack of confidence could and will severely effect your productivity.

I have no idea on the products your trying to sell which leaves me unable to help suggest ways to market the site, other venues to sell the product etc...

But stop spending so much dough!!! :)



Hello WorldImperator,

Is it really expensive? Compared to my friends and people I have talked to in the same situation, $3k/mo for a couple with a baby doesn't seem much. Maybe I am wrong?

Here is a break-down of our expenses:
Condo maintenance fee + insurance/repairs $300
Car payment - $250
Car insurance - $150
Gas - $150
Cable & internet - $80
2 x Cellphone plans - $90
Electricity - $120
Groceries - $600
Baby supplies - $200
Health insurance/expenses - $100

All this equates to around $2k. Factor in things like clothing, entertainment, car repairs, contact lenses, appliances for the house, an odd restaurant visit ++ and you reach $3k in no time.

I feel like we are already living a modest life. Most of these expenses cannot be eliminated, or hardly reduced (could cut down on groceries a bit, I guess).

Please let me know what you think. Interesting to get different opinions on this.
 
OP
OP
Dinho7

Dinho7

Bronze Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 7, 2014
127
198
159
South Florida
Hey Lee, thanks for your post! Very interesting that you all seem to mean that we are spending too much. The thought really never crossed my mind since I thought we were already spending quite little, but I guess we will have to sit down and re-evaluate our spending.

The thing is that we just recently took on this debt as a business investment, and it does not have to be repaid until August-November 2015. I believe in my own abilities and I am not feeling the heat as much as my wife does, although it certainly affects me when I see her worried about it. For now, I am calm and positive. If it is status quo in closer to the summer I will be more worried, but even then we have tons of other business ideas, and we will both have business degrees that will surely make us at least $60k a year combined if absolutely necessary (last resort).

PS! Sharing our business idea to get feedback would be AMAZING, but also quite risky since there are so many bright entrepreneurs here. I know that ideas are worth little and that execution is king and so on, but I do not feel comfortable sharing details of our ventures on here. I do appreciate you showing willingness to help out, though!
 

Hoogan

New Contributor
Dec 26, 2014
1
1
4
37
The best thing you can do is learn from your mistakes, take a look as to why you weren't ready and put a plan into effect that will get you ready for next holidays.

There are plenty of other opportunities like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, birthdays, etc. I'm not sure what you are selling but perhaps you could offer items that would make great year round gifts!

I look forward to your next posts!

I think that $3,000/mo is pretty reasonable for three people if you have a mortgage/rent, house payment, utilities, vehicle expenses, insurance and food. It all depends on where you live. Just stay smart.
 

Tlcalis

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Nov 25, 2012
146
81
85
You gotta set goals for what you wanna achieve for
Yearly Big target
Monthyl Smaller target
Weekly Smaller target
Daily Smaller target

Make a list of all the problems on a list then plan everything you want to achive at least by 1 week what you want to accomplish daily brainstorm specific problem on list then take action on it
Make specific target of what you wanna accomplish
What gets measured gets accomplished
Otherwise you'll just be pissing time and away while keeping yourself busy which is not what we want here :)
 

Mr.B

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Nov 8, 2014
377
769
298
Australia
Damn your spending far too much!!
I disagree with this (with the exception of the car loan).

Keep in mind that the cost of living varies a lot depending on location and family size etc. To me the spending listed by @Dinho7 seem pretty reasonable for a family of three.
 

FLYmk

Contributor
Jul 8, 2014
54
44
61
36
if I may lend some advice...SCREW the bloated ecommerce platform. Seriously, unless you have high volume and hundreds of skus, bloated ecommerce solutions are really unnecessary. I've used 7-8 platforms between myself and clients, and in almost every case, the most important thing to remember is you have to focus on user experience and marketing, period.

Remember when Yahoo Stores were the FIRST online ecommerce store that you could use to sell your products "easily" (for its time)? There were VERY few bells and whistles, and yet millions of dollars in sales. The same goes with ebay - 10 years ago there was very little functionality, and yet so many of us were Powersellers (I was one) by just focusing on selling quality products.

You mentioned considering Shopify. If Prestashop is causing you to spend more than a few hours a week to control product, information, and process a few orders...you're overspending time. The solutions you use should improve the efficiency of your process, not take away away more time.
 

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Last edited:

BradJ

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Dec 21, 2014
7
26
22
38
-got web developer... We've been struggling with that.

I can't believe you're hiring a web developer with so few sales.

Does your site look like childish garbage? Ditch it and go to shopify and one of their free themes until you get 100k in sales.

Go to ebay. Ebays listings are chronological. You will get a lot of people viewing your listing as the expiration rolls around. No SEO needed. No PPC needed. Google listing tactics to figure out the best timing.

When you get some sales going buy some PPC traffic to your site and measure success. If your campaign is successful run with it. If not come up with a theory of why and test what you can change yourself for free. Change your targeting. Change your copy. Change your keywords.

Test test test. Don't hire some designer/developer unless you have a strong theory about why their work is going to make you more money.

Paying someone to make changes without having data + a theory of WHY a change will make you more money will only lead to empty pockets.

99% of all designers and developers I have met don't give a rip about your success as a business.
 

Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
52
35
56
30
Miami, FL
I can't believe you're hiring a web developer with so few sales.

Does your site look like childish garbage? Ditch it and go to shopify and one of their free themes until you get 100k in sales.

Go to ebay. Ebays listings are chronological. You will get a lot of people viewing your listing as the expiration rolls around. No SEO needed. No PPC needed. Google listing tactics to figure out the best timing.

When you get some sales going buy some PPC traffic to your site and measure success. If your campaign is successful run with it. If not come up with a theory of why and test what you can change yourself for free. Change your targeting. Change your copy. Change your keywords.

Test test test. Don't hire some designer/developer unless you have a strong theory about why their work is going to make you more money.

Paying someone to make changes without having data + a theory of WHY a change will make you more money will only lead to empty pockets.

99% of all designers and developers I have met don't give a rip about your success as a business.
Hi bradj,

I actually "hired" the developer of the theme we are using for prestashop. We previously have paid $10 an hour for developers that had no clue.

Our shop looks quite good, I believe. It looks like a high-end shop, with high-end products. I tried to keep it as clean as possible, focusing on our best products. We are giving a lot of value to our customers.

The developer is just used to fix small bugs- images not displaying, some links not working, that we cannot fix ourselves with out very intermediate html and css level.

I told the developer to invoice me but he hasn't... So unreliable when it comes to showing up. Like you guys said, developers don't really care about your business or bottom line and you have to be giving them incentives constantly.

Anyway, rant over... We have added more products without necessarily increasing our debt, so that is awesome. We had some comments from people who reviewed the site saying "we don't have much".

I take it when a customer says that, they mean "you don't have much of what I am interested in".

So we are now putting more of the products that they are interested on... Finding the "meat" or value versus the filler products that are not adding value.

Progress today:

Him:
-added products (without using capital)
-did research for new products
-shipped an order
-updated finances

Me:
-worked on a banner to advertise. Our campaigns have been largely uneffective so far... I think most of our traffic is just coming from Google. We are working on other possibilities.
We have a permanent banner on a site with 300 unique visitors a day and we have not captured a single sale through there... What could we be missing? I'm going to try a trip wire offer here to see if I can get this mostly male in their 20s audience to purchase.
-worked on analyzing other products- I got 5 new products, while he added 9.

My plan is to focus on expanding to another market by translating to another language. I already have lined up several ways to promote on this new market that could work, I'm just unsure that the prices might be too high for that specific market in Latin america.

This means translating the page AND the 160+ products, descriptions and prices. I just want to focus several days on this once we have a better product offering and I have designed the banners.

I wasted some time vectorizing our logo today, but I guess it had to be done because dinho7 has been asking for this since before Christmas. I hate spending resources on silly things, but I know details are crucial.

I feel like jumping to another project but I am trying to give this project everything I've got. I feel half-passionate about this project and more passionate towards my idea for the next thing in line... I guess it's easy to fall in love with ideas.
 

Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
52
35
56
30
Miami, FL
The best thing you can do is learn from your mistakes, take a look as to why you weren't ready and put a plan into effect that will get you ready for next holidays.

There are plenty of other opportunities like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, birthdays, etc. I'm not sure what you are selling but perhaps you could offer items that would make great year round gifts!

I look forward to your next posts!

I think that $3,000/mo is pretty reasonable for three people if you have a mortgage/rent, house payment, utilities, vehicle expenses, insurance and food. It all depends on where you live. Just stay smart.
Thank you Hoogan.

I don't want the idea that we "missed the train" because Christmas has passed make us feel defeated. I know there will be more opportunities too.

Before Christmas, we got an order from a woman that wanted expedited shipping so her gifts would get there on time. We sent out the order in regular speed and I think it was a mistake... You need to give customers what they want.

Dinho7 said we didn't have that option back then. I finally talked him into adding the option.

I just hope our customer wasn't disillusioned from our site by this huge detail.... i wonder if she got her stuff on time (no way to know, unfortunately) and if she will be a repeat customer or if we lost her over this.

Anyway, it's a small thought, but an important one to consider. We now offer the option of expedited shipping.

We don't have delays fulfilling orders, because we have worked on being organized with our inventory system and the back-end of prestashop IS working for us. The only issue is when adding products.


An added thought... Just like hoogan said, it depends on where you live. We don't live in an expensive city like New York, but the cost of living in Florida is higher than the middle of the country, for example.

About our expenses:

You may notice we don't pay rent or mortgage;) we own our home. I haven't bought clothes for over a year (before my pregnancy). Our car loan is break-even at this point... It depreciated heavily on the first two years but now we are at a $10k loan with $10k car value. We are keeping the car for a long time unless the business goes really well. I considered trading it but it's not a good financial decision. We own a sort of fuel efficient car and we don't drive much.

I think the reason why our expenses have been so high is because we travel twice to four times a year. Dinho7 is from Europe and I am from Latin America. He goes there twice a year and so do I. Plane ticket are huge expenses. We have decided not to travel until we have positive cash flow. To be honest, it's like living a luxurious life without having the budget for it. I understand dinho7 cares a ton about seeing his family, but it places a financial burdain on us to do this trips. He used to play poker professionally before and that's how we afforded trips and our monthly expenses. It also gave us the opportunity to buy our own place. He has now quit that to focus solely on this project.

Remember though, we are a family of 3... Babies have needs. I have tried to keep that budget to a minimum and we do not have hospital bills, every medical expense has been paid. I do not have health insurance. We had to pay for childbirth (crazy expensive), and child gear. I did enormous amount of research and kept it to a minimum.

I'm gonna make an effort to trim out budget, but I would need to post it to get more ideas. I am constantly calling up cable companies and car insurance companies to get our quotes down. Our cellphones are the cheapest unlimited plans you could have. We own our phones outright and they were bought used. I refinanced our car loan to have 3% interest vs 8% before. I've downsized unused baby items, and I sell baby gear/clothes as he grows out of it.

Every time I see a bank fee by mistake or overdraft, I call to have it forgiven and 98% of the time, they waive it. I don't recommend capital one, though... Bloodsucking bank.

I keep an eagle eye on most our expenses.

I'm thankful for the life we have, even if we are in serious debt right now. I have a roof over my head and I can feed my baby, which are the top priorities to me.

Those are some of my thoughts on the budget.
 

Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
52
35
56
30
Miami, FL
I can't believe you're hiring a web developer with so few sales.

Does your site look like childish garbage? Ditch it and go to shopify and one of their free themes until you get 100k in sales.

Go to ebay. Ebays listings are chronological. You will get a lot of people viewing your listing as the expiration rolls around. No SEO needed. No PPC needed. Google listing tactics to figure out the best timing.

When you get some sales going buy some PPC traffic to your site and measure success. If your campaign is successful run with it. If not come up with a theory of why and test what you can change yourself for free. Change your targeting. Change your copy. Change your keywords.

Test test test. Don't hire some designer/developer unless you have a strong theory about why their work is going to make you more money.

Paying someone to make changes without having data + a theory of WHY a change will make you more money will only lead to empty pockets.

99% of all designers and developers I have met don't give a rip about your success as a business.
Thank you, BradJ.

We do have a pay per click marketing campaign going on. I don't know how effective it has been... Perhaps dinho7 can expand on that.
 

Jam Wheel

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jul 14, 2014
77
92
126
UK/US/SE
Sorry, maybe I missed this somewhere, but are both of you working full time on this project and no one is going to work? You are funding it through credit card debt alone?

Also, is it worth translating every product you have to hit an international market when you don't yet have a good idea of what is selling in your home market and what customers want. Why chase a new market when you haven't mastered your current one? That time could be spent better in getting your process nailed down and your most profitable products dialed in, as well as some increased sales efforts and marketing.

It sounds like you are ebaying your personal items to some degree of success, so why the reluctance to sell on ebay for your business (yes, I understand the fee issue, but some income at this stage while you build a brand is better than negative income in carrying inventory)? Or what about selling on ebay for products that are maybe loss leaders, and then directing buyers to your own website for other purchases related to that product?

I am sure someone else on here will chip in on the "half passionate" statement. You really gotta believe in what you are doing; it makes getting up early and pushing through the dips a lot easier.
 
OP
OP
Dinho7

Dinho7

Bronze Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 7, 2014
127
198
159
South Florida
Couldn't agree more with your post. The reluctance to eBay is my mistake, but I have finally realized that we need to use other channels to sell while we are building our brand and driving traffic to our store, which can take time. Hopefully I have been able to list at least a few products today to get the ball rolling.

The expanding idea and lack of passion is something that my wife has to stand for, and I hope your comments help with her mindset. Instead of spending countless of hours to translate the page and products, marketing and educating a whole new and untested market etc., she could instead take care of the baby only from noon to 4 PM so I can get a full day's work for a change (baby wakes up at 12 anyway). And instead of being worried and negative, start thinking about how we can fix the problems and make this work. It is counter-productive to keep me awake for hours in the night dwelling about our problems, when the only thing we need right now is at least one of us to wake up early to work hard and smart on the project.
 

Mr.B

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Nov 8, 2014
377
769
298
Australia
Instead of spending countless of hours to translate the page and products, marketing and educating a whole new and untested market etc., she could instead take care of the baby only from noon to 4 PM so I can get a full day's work for a change (baby wakes up at 12 anyway). And instead of being worried and negative, start thinking about how we can fix the problems and make this work. It is counter-productive to keep me awake for hours in the night dwelling about our problems, when the only thing we need right now is at least one of us to wake up early to work hard and smart on the project.
@Dinho7, don't get caught up in the whole 'if only she did this then I could be successful' way of thinking. That's just bullshit.

Go and give your wife a hug and tell her how much you love her, then sit down together and figure out what your next step is...
 

tafy

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Aug 21, 2013
1,647
1,835
490
UK
I don't understand this whole thread tbh, first of all I would go and get a job.
Ecommerce is pretty passive, you can build it on your evenings and weekends, having a job will take a lot of stress away from you.
Don't start any blame games either, it wont be pretty down the line.
 

MajeStyle

New Contributor
Dec 28, 2014
19
9
15
27
Switzerland
This sounds like a dead project already: I mean, this is WAY too expensive for what you can really afford right now. Getting a job to finance bige project is the best way to go IMHO
 

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