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EXECUTION Making $5K a month by August 2015

Are you a morning person?


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Dinho7

Dinho7

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I hope you dont get a burnout working that much.

The poker part I wont even comment because its just SO stupid in your financial state.
That is indeed a better way and is also more long term - the method that I briefly described was just for some quick funds to tide over immediate expenses. If you import from China(but why only China?) you need to carry out a detailed analysis of your samples as well as know everything about your supplier. I was just reading Flyleaf's thread and he is right when he says that the best dropshippers my not even realize that they are dropshipping i.e. companies that advertise themselves as dropshippers take huge margins and already know about online ecommerce entrepreneurs and may not be ready to sacrifice their margins for your profits.

But if you do locate manufacturers who have the ability to dispatch items that are ordered and follow the "dropshipping process" for you then you have winners who will help you scale up in the long run, once you have tested out your process and started making profits. I was reading somewhere about 2 dropshippers who make at least 1 trip in a year to China to survey the market and tie up deals for dropshipping products in their niches.
We did a test run by ordering items from China about 2 months ago. 1/3 of the stuff we ordered was slightly acceptable. The rest was just junk that went straight to the garbage. There really is SO many suppliers out there... I think the only way to go is to do private label and just take your time with your supplier. I realized there is simply no way to rush things with them.
 

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Sean P

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Jul 4, 2014
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This is how I see it:

Cool idea. Definitely something to look into. Shipping it directly should not be a problem if it is sent like a gift, since I assume that the receipt is not included?
It does arrive as a gift package but comes marked with Amazon on it. Some customers may object to it since they did not order from Amazon and may spoil your rep on eBay. Hence, getting it sent to your address first makes sense - so that you can remove the Amazon packing from the item. Takes more time to dispatch though if you order from Amazon after the customer pays you on eBay(so you don't have to use your own funds). A lot of people do it this way on eBay and it works well with highly popular items that are priced at $200+ or $300+, and are discounted by Amazon to the tune of 30% and above.
 

Birdie

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Dec 24, 2014
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Update:

Big win of the day: We got approved to sell on a restricted category on Amazon, yay:) What's best is it didn't take us months. We read several people took around 6 months. The process is not easy and they are VERY picky. However, now we have a great audience and it is an amazing opportunity :) I've previously sold on Amazon, but never on their restricted categories before.

Me:
-Working on getting us into Amazon.
-Listing more stuff on ebay at 4am. Couldn't sleep.

Dinho:
-Deposited bankroll and tested the poker "waters".
-Promoting our site on alternative places.


I want to work on translating the site so badly, but I think it's best I get some rest. I don't work very well on sleep deprivation, and Dinho has to run errands starting at 6:30am, so I need to be available for the baby in some hours.
 

Birdie

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Dec 24, 2014
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Update:

Our total sales are: $813.99
Out profit is: $181.62

We are using all avenues (eBay, Amazon, our own website, other websites similar to eBay).

We are working on a service that is very similar to our business model for our store, which will complement it. This website has taken us 1 week and less than $100. We have learned from our past "mistakes" of overworking on the website. What matters most is being decisive, not overthinking logo, design, and brand name. We decided on one and went with it.

The reason we want to launch in less than a week this new website is because we have lined up three bloggers with great audiences that will help us promote the site and bring in traffic.

The service will help us with our research and development because we will know what consumers really want.

We are far away from repaying our loans, but we are making progress towards it. We are being really careful with our expenses and our cash flow. We don't have many operating expenses.

One of the mistakes we made is overworking the website and perfecting it too much. I read somewhere that users are forgiving if they see an incomplete website, as long as they see some improvement next time they visit (if they do visit).

Our number one priority right now is to move inventory and continue giving great fast customer service.

Dinho has started back on the poker, and we still have an additional 4 months of living expenses.
 

Mr.B

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Thanks for the update, I've been wondering how you were getting on.

Out profit is: $181.62
$6 a day since you started posting here? Shit.

Is this taking into account all expenses? Including taxes?

The service will help us with our research and development because we will know what consumers really want.
Wasn't this research done before you spent $10k+ on inventory?

What is this 'service'? How will it help you grow your business? Will it lead to more sales? Or just a bunch of data that will encourage you to change direction only to discover that what people say on surveys and what people do with their credit card are two different things?

I'm worried about you guys. Based on what you've shared here, I don't think this is going to end well. I really hope I'm wrong about this.

Your 4 months of living expenses... Is that in cash or available credit?

Do you have a clearly defined point at which you'll liquidate the stock you have and do something else?

If not, I think you should spend some time discussing this.
 

Birdie

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Dec 24, 2014
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Miami, FL
Thanks for the update, I've been wondering how you were getting on.



$6 a day since you started posting here? Shit.

Is this taking into account all expenses? Including taxes?



Wasn't this research done before you spent $10k+ on inventory?

What is this 'service'? How will it help you grow your business? Will it lead to more sales? Or just a bunch of data that will encourage you to change direction only to discover that what people say on surveys and what people do with their credit card are two different things?

I'm worried about you guys. Based on what you've shared here, I don't think this is going to end well. I really hope I'm wrong about this.

Your 4 months of living expenses... Is that in cash or available credit?

Do you have a clearly defined point at which you'll liquidate the stock you have and do something else?

If not, I think you should spend some time discussing this.


To answer your question, yes, expenses are accounted into the profit (shipping, packaging, fees, etc).

Living expenses are cash.

We have a competitor that has a similar business model, so we know it's a proven concept. We thought we could add more value than our competitor, but it takes time to get traffic running into our website. The service will allow us to increase sales, and it will open up our business model too. We have a price restriction on our current business model... to make a profit, we need to have the product cost under a very specific amount. Instead, this service-based business does not have that price restriction, so it would bump up sales considerably.

About the inventory.... I have considered liquidating it. It's obviously not moving fast enough. Dinho is more focused on getting the service website up and running, which will also aid on moving the inventory (both businesses would be tied together). The page is at 90%, and like I said we have publicity lined up already.

I have considered sending all inventory to FBA just so we can get it moving faster, we have already liquidated some of it that we knew had no chance of success. We have kept only the items most likely to sell. Since it's not moving fast enough on ebay because it's not the intended audience, I am considering FBA.

An added note: We are giving a better offer than our competitor. They have been scrambling to adapt their website for months, while our website is ready to go. We have much better offerings, and better store policies. They have been on the business for years, and we have had months to build and improve their offering. Their advantage is their traffic, which we hope to surpass once the service is running (plus our advertisement channels).
 

Mr.B

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So is this service a different business? I'm having trouble picturing it.
 

Birdie

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Dec 24, 2014
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So is this service a different business? I'm having trouble picturing it.
It's a logistics based service. I'm trying not to share specifically what it is, but I can say it definitely ties to the other business and will increase the sales.
 

Mr.B

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but I can say it definitely ties to the other business and will increase the sales.
Good to hear. I hope it works well to increase your sales.
 

jockinbox

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hate to chime in so late but, hey better than never

so I got a few tips but before I get into all these tips I want to talk about something from the book, this may turn into a longish post but w/e 300th post might as well make it count

page 23
Wealth eludes most people because they are preoccupied with events while disregarding
process. Without process, there is no event. Take a moment and reread
that. Process makes millionaires, and the events you see and hear are the results of
that process. For our chef, the cooking is the process, while the meal is the event.


think about that for a second

the money is made in the process, the event is just a manifestation

if you are someone of principle, someone that goes above and beyond for everything they do, money is just going to be attracted to you
if you are someone who cuts corners, who looks for shortcuts, who tries to cheat the system, money will elude you

one person enjoys the process
the other seeks the event

I just read a thread today asking about what your 9-5 was and someone said something like

"I go to work and do just enough to not get fired. I don't even bother asking for a raise because I don't deserve it. I haven't gotten used to waking up at 5 am in x number of years"

Do you think that person is going to be successful?

ha please

you know why?

Because when the time comes for them to do their own business, they have that nasty habit built up

Why go the extra mile when no ones looking?

they slack in their own business, they wait for the day to go by, and they will fail

so what does this have to do with you?

you mentioned that you would rather play poker than take a job

now I understand there is mathematics and a way to win more often than not but does that sound like someone who's willing to put in sweat into this project?

or someone who cuts corners?

the quick fix?
the easy way out?

you know what happens to those people in business? they get killed

because when the time comes for them to provide that value to their customers, greed kicks in and they sell the customer short

Get a job to pay the bills (if you cant legally work, you and your wife switch roles. she works, you take care of the kid), sleep 2 hours less, dont go to university (both of you, because why should you?? Its useless if you want to be entrepreneur. read some books instead.), let your wife take care of your kid and work on the business every free minute of the day. You can spend time with your family when the business makes enough money so you can quit a job. We are talking about maybe 1 year max of living like this, then you should be able to quit your job if your business doesnt suck.
That's a process
2 hours a day

I'd bet on that guy 100 times before I bet on someone who wants to play it on black and risk it

think about that

-----------------------------------------------------------------
so anyways onto the tips

1) setup analytics and tracking (you probably already have this done) then run ads to landing pages and sales pages, check conversions, see if it works out

once you have something ROI positive than dump all your money into that, rinse and repeat = profit

2) free marketing, if you dont want to get a job spend 8 hours a day doing free marketing. it sounds like you guys are eating shit no offense, or maybe you don't know how to market
but here's the idea. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. All free. Forums, free. Go to where your customers hang out, hang out there, be an ambassador for your company

lets say you are in the makeup niche

get on instagram
go to popular IG pages for makeup companies (MAC, etc)
follow their followers
like their pics/comment
be active
build relationships

make multiple accounts

have conversations with yourself
"hey what product do you guys use for X?"
"I use xx and I liked it"
"yeah I used xx too and liked it"

get creative

get on craigslist, sell your stuff there

help people

write articles, get them published in related blogs/wikis

there is no shortage of money in the world and when you are low on money you just need to make it up in time

3) cross sell business

I'm doing something similar to this where I offer web/graphic design and marketing but its not my core business, it just gives me referrals to work off of

it sounds like you were planning on doing something similar so its def something to look into

---------------------------------------

anyways good luck to you guys, I saw you were in Miami so shoot me a PM to get together sometime

cheers,

Jock
 
Last edited:

Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
52
35
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Miami, FL
hate to chime in so late but, hey better than never

so I got a few tips but before I get into all these tips I want to talk about something from the book, this may turn into a longish post but w/e 300th post might as well make it count

page 23
Wealth eludes most people because they are preoccupied with events while disregarding
process. Without process, there is no event. Take a moment and reread
that. Process makes millionaires, and the events you see and hear are the results of
that process. For our chef, the cooking is the process, while the meal is the event.


think about that for a second

the money is made in the process, the event is just a manifestation

if you are someone of principle, someone that goes above and beyond for everything they do, money is just going to be attracted to you
if you are someone who cuts corners, who looks for shortcuts, who tries to cheat the system, money will elude you

one person enjoys the process
the other seeks the event

I just read a thread today asking about what your 9-5 was and someone said something like

"I go to work and do just enough to not get fired. I don't even bother asking for a raise because I don't deserve it. I haven't gotten used to waking up at 5 am in x number of years"

Do you think that person is going to be successful?

ha please

you know why?

Because when the time comes for them to do their own business, they have that nasty habit built up

Why go the extra mile when no ones looking?

they slack in their own business, they wait for the day to go by, and they will fail

so what does this have to do with you?

you mentioned that you would rather play poker than take a job

now I understand there is mathematics and a way to win more often than not but does that sound like someone who's willing to put in sweat into this project?

or someone who cuts corners?

the quick fix?
the easy way out?

you know what happens to those people in business? they get killed

because when the time comes for them to provide that value to their customers, greed kicks in and they sell the customer short



That's a process
2 hours a day

I'd bet on that guy 100 times before I bet on someone who wants to play it on black and risk it

think about that

-----------------------------------------------------------------
so anyways onto the tips

1) setup analytics and tracking (you probably already have this done) then run ads to landing pages and sales pages, check conversions, see if it works out

once you have something ROI positive than dump all your money into that, rinse and repeat = profit

2) free marketing, if you dont want to get a job spend 8 hours a day doing free marketing. it sounds like you guys are eating shit no offense, or maybe you don't know how to market
but here's the idea. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. All free. Forums, free. Go to where your customers hang out, hang out there, be an ambassador for your company

lets say you are in the makeup niche

get on instagram
go to popular IG pages for makeup companies (MAC, etc)
follow their followers
like their pics/comment
be active
build relationships

make multiple accounts

have conversations with yourself
"hey what product do you guys use for X?"
"I use xx and I liked it"
"yeah I used xx too and liked it"

get creative

get on craigslist, sell your stuff there

help people

write articles, get them published in related blogs/wikis

there is no shortage of money in the world and when you are low on money you just need to make it up in time

3) cross sell business

I'm doing something similar to this where I offer web/graphic design and marketing but its not my core business, it just gives me referrals to work off of

it sounds like you were planning on doing something similar so its def something to look into

---------------------------------------

anyways good luck to you guys, I saw you were in Miami so shoot me a PM to get together sometime

cheers,

Jock

Thank you so much for your kind words and tips.

We have been giving away some products in competitions which help drive traffic. However, I have talked about this with Dinho... Our number one priority should be to launch the site and just get traffic and interact with people all day long.

He wants to work on long articles before launching, while I suggested we launch now and create content as we go.

I think our core strength is that we bend over backwards for our customers, and just to give them the fastest service. We ship right away, we answer promptly. Now we just need to give high value content. I have several ideas for that on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.

I know what you mean of being in a negative mindset--- to be perfectly honest, it has not been an easy road with fights, miscommunication, and learning from our mistakes. What's important is we are more of a team now than before, and that we are helping each other.

What was most humbling for both of us and especially Dinho was that he though if only he could make a nice store with a great offering that people would line up and buy. When sales were so slow, we realized traffic doesn't just happen overnight or with little effort.

We started up with a good amount of capital but burned through it quickly with expenses. I guess this is why it is extremely important for enterpreneurs to follow cash flow closely.
 

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Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
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Sales to date: $2k
Profit: $515

We have launched the second website, which is a service related to our store. Several customers have asked for quotes and we are getting sales from the second website as well.

Some thoughts: eBay is ok for used products, but people there want a bargain. Our products did not move at all there, and we run into an eBay scammer, which made us lose very little money but it was a great learning experience. What happened was that our product's margins were so low that we wanted to save on shipping cost. When the buyer realized the package didn't have a tracking number, he asked for his money back giving some lame excuse.

Anyway, we are focusing mostly on Amazon, some other channels outside United Stated and our two sites. What we are focused on now is promoting, fulfilling orders and giving great customer service.

We also found this great website goanimate.com, where you can make your own animated videos. I will probably freelance on making presentation videos so that I can offset the cost to make ours.

I am still a full time student and Dinho has one class and is working on the poker. Hopefully we will continue to grow during the next months to our goal of $5K a month,
 

miked_d

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Thanks for update.

You learned quickly that ALL eBay sales need tracking. Even if you don't get scammed, eBay will eventually penalize you for not entering tracking info into the system.

I'm having a hard time understanding how you lose money on eBay yet profit on Amazon. I realize Amazon sales bring a higher price, but it usually isn't that much. At small volumes, listing on eBay is free so it doesn't cost anything.

Were the eBay listings fully optimized? Think of eBay and Amazon as search engines. Your goal is optimize your listing so that it ranks as high as possible in searches. Things that effect search rank on eBay are shipping (free is preferred), return policy (60 days is perferred), your previous feedback, the age of your account, and your account status (Top Rated, PowerSeller, etc) to name a few. Amazon has different factors, but they are sometimes more important.
 

Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
52
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Miami, FL
Thanks for update.

You learned quickly that ALL eBay sales need tracking. Even if you don't get scammed, eBay will eventually penalize you for not entering tracking info into the system.

I'm having a hard time understanding how you lose money on eBay yet profit on Amazon. I realize Amazon sales bring a higher price, but it usually isn't that much. At small volumes, listing on eBay is free so it doesn't cost anything.

Were the eBay listings fully optimized? Think of eBay and Amazon as search engines. Your goal is optimize your listing so that it ranks as high as possible in searches. Things that effect search rank on eBay are shipping (free is preferred), return policy (60 days is perferred), your previous feedback, the age of your account, and your account status (Top Rated, PowerSeller, etc) to name a few. Amazon has different factors, but they are sometimes more important.
Hi mike_d,

In regards to eBay, I found that used items in auctions or at 50% of the price sell out well. However, when are listing new items, eBay customers are not used to paying the premium that Amazon customers do.

On eBay, we have a 90 day return policy plus free shipping plus ok listings. On some items the market is saturated with cheap knock-off of some products, which left us selling at a loss.

eBay customers also like the "best offer" feature, which made us realize that they were not willing to pay above our break-even point.

We never run into this problems on Amazon. In fact, we don't yet offer free shipping there and we are selling way better.

This is just what works for OUR products. I'm sure there are products that are profitable on eBay, just not ours.
 

Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
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Miami, FL
I actually have a question...

Is 32% a good profit margin on each item? I am curious what a good profit margin is since I have read of many fastlaners having a 100 to 300% profit margin on their products.
 

theag

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I actually have a question...

Is 32% a good profit margin on each item? I am curious what a good profit margin is since I have read of many fastlaners having a 100 to 300% profit margin on their products.
It depends what you really mean. You seem to be confusing margin and markup.

32% profit margin in my opinion is good if it includes all costs, incl. marketing, fulfillment, shipping, etc etc etc. Especially if you now own this customer and can sell him other stuff.

Margin cant be higher than 100%. 100% margin means you have 0 costs. Product costs $0, labor costs $0, shipping $0, value your time at $0/hour etc.
$100 revenue - $70 costs = $30 profit = 30% margin

Markup on the other hand SHOULD be over 100% and only includes costs for the product, not marketing, shipping, etc. My markup for example is about 900%. Which means that I manufacture my product for (not real numbers) $10 and sell it for $100.
 
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Dinho7

Dinho7

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Hi again everybody

I should have posted more here, but I have been reluctant to respond since I feel bad about my own performance. There has been some amazing advice in this thread. Some of it feels harsh, and you go into defensive mode for a while until you realize that the feedback is justified and actually very helpful. The biggest takeaway I've had so far is that 1) we must be willing to sacrifice more to make this work, and 2) there is ALWAYS time if you just try to find it. I thought that taking a job would kill the business project, but I started reflecting over the responses and understood that it was not the truth.

We have slowly started learning from our own mistakes, and we have also managed to cooperate more with the schedule. I normally wake up early in the morning to work on the business for 4 hours, take a lunch break, play poker for 3 hours, eat dinner, take my kid on a walk in the neighborhood, and then work some extra hours on the business before we go to bed together. My wife has been really supportive and I try to give her breaks when I can.

@jockinbox: You have some really good points and I would love to take up on your Miami meetup offer sometime during this spring! Especially the marketing advice is something we will try to replicate.

I do not agree with your comparison of blackjack and poker though. They are two different games. BlackJack is skewed for the house so you will always end up losing in the long run (unless you are counting cards, which is illegal in all casinos). At poker you will win money if you are better than the average level of the players on your table, and also can beat the rake.

It is a very demanding job and 3 hours of poker is probably more exhausting than a regular 9 to 5 where a fair share of people do the bare minimum not to get fired. So I believe I am putting enough "sweat" in this.

The games have become a lot tougher than 3-5 years ago, and my edge is slimmer. I am aiming to make $2000 a month, but I'll be satisfied with $1500 which would cover a big chunk of the bills. It also allows me to spend more time on our business.

The typical product we sell costs us around $15 and is sold for $31. The Amazon fee is ~$4.50, and shipping, packaging and label adds another $3. So we are left with $8.50 in net profit per item. This number varies from $6 to $12.

We need to start looking into more expensive products so that we earn doube or triple per order. It will be the same amount of work for each shipment. The only problem is that cash flow is an issue for us right now. Amazon ows us a chunk of money (held until returns period is over), and so does some of the other channels we sell through.

Ultimately, reselling on Amazon is not our intended end-game. We do not have control and we cannot even communicate with our customers. The barrier to entry of what we are doing on Amazon is very low. BUT, right now it is an important way to get cash flow and to see what people really are interested in.

I believe we can make it with the second service we launched, and it can also bring an uptick in sales on our original business, as they are very similar but still complementary. We have given some gifts to two profilic bloggers that are going to advertise us next week. We are also going to spend some free credits on AdWords and Bing to get some traffic and test the waters. Really exciting times ahead now!

Thanks to all comments so far. Please keep kicking our butts so that we can continue to improve and grow as business people :)
 

Birdie

Contributor
Dec 24, 2014
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Miami, FL
It depends what you really mean. You seem to be confusing margin and markup.

32% profit margin in my opinion is good if it includes all costs, incl. marketing, fulfillment, shipping, etc etc etc. Especially if you now own this customer and can sell him other stuff.

Margin cant be higher than 100%. 100% margin means you have 0 costs. Product costs $0, labor costs $0, shipping $0, value your time at $0/hour etc.
$100 revenue - $70 costs = $30 profit = 30% margin

Markup on the other hand SHOULD be over 100% and only includes costs for the product, not marketing, shipping, etc. My markup for example is about 900%. Which means that I manufacture my product for (not real numbers) $10 and sell it for $100.
Thank you for clarifying that for me, theag. I did mean profit margin, with the processing fees, shipping and supplies and cogs.

I am glad to hear that we are at an acceptable profit margin:) I can foresee in the future looking for products that have a similar or better profit margin as we get more cash to reinvest.
 
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Dinho7

Dinho7

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We also tried our luck at a popular deal's site like Groupon.
The item costed $15 and is selling for $39. The site is taking a $13 cut, so we are left with around $5 per item in net profit after shipping costs.
In 3 days there has been 17 sales for our product.

It is not a lot and I have been reading some articles online about people being negative to selling products on such sites.

But there are also benefits for us:
1) We have a link with description about our page. Good exposure.
2) We can start building a relationship with our customers. They see that our service is legit. We get a lot of questions from sceptical people that think we are selling fakes due to low costs of highly regarded products.
3) We can get a feel of what people want. If it sells for $39 at this deals site, it means that it could also potentially sell well for $35 at our site where we get a bigger cut and the customer also saves more money.

The site is interested in more products from our site.

What do you guys think about this additional channel at this stage?
 

theag

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What do you guys think about this additional channel at this stage?
I think groupon is a great marketing channel. I plan on getting my products on there as soon as I have my backend offers dialed in.
 
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Dinho7

Dinho7

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Some good news... Sales are starting to pick up. On Friday we set a record of 4 sales, which we beat today (6 sales). We are selling through many different channels, and I am glad I listened to my wife about not selling exclusively on our website. Funny enough, we have actually had two sales in three days from markets we do not target at all so far on our website (England and France). I think this shows that we actually have interesting products and good prices, just that I have failed at the marketing and getting traffic.

Plan for the rest of the week:
  • Organize all our inventory to check status, and add products that are in our store to other distribution channels
  • Keep adding new inventory to Amazon and our other channels. We get a $450 payout from sales later this week, which will be used to re-invest in new products that we now KNOW will sell.
  • Spend at least 2 hours a day on marketing our two services
  • Finalize and publish "how it works" presentation video on our new website
  • Keep playing poker 3 hours a day
  • Agree on new products to sell on deals site next week. I think this can be massive for us.
  • Try to get in touch with an online magazine about writing about our website. We offer something that is unique in the sense that we take something existing and combine it with another feature we believe will become popular.
  • and... keep playing poker 3 hours a day
Edit: Actually the deal site gave us 9 sales in a day, and is now at 18 sales. I wanted to list a lot of similar products, but was told to only list one of them in order to respect other sellers that were already offering related items. But with what we are going to sell next week (hopefully), I think there is no conflict and it will be easy for customers to order more than one product.
 

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CrocodileX

Contributor
Feb 16, 2015
27
40
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make multiple accounts

have conversations with yourself
"hey what product do you guys use for X?"
"I use xx and I liked it"
"yeah I used xx too and liked it"

I was sold until I read that making sockpuppets to create sales was part of someone's actual advice. The amount of time spent on making multiple accounts THAT LOOK CREDIBLE (fake accounts on social networks are glaringly easy to spot because they don't have any photo history nor legit interaction) and using them to talk to yourself in hopes people will read it and just follow like lemmings and make purchases is spinning wheels in place at it's finest. It will backfire and ruin your rep, you will be labeled a SPAMMER and a SHILL.

Not even Sidewalk... that is GUTTER.

Remove the sockpuppetry and I think it was pretty decent advice.
 

axiom

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Dec 6, 2014
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Thank you for clarifying that for me, theag. I did mean profit margin, with the processing fees, shipping and supplies and cogs.

I am glad to hear that we are at an acceptable profit margin:) I can foresee in the future looking for products that have a similar or better profit margin as we get more cash to reinvest.
Hold on, don't forget about costs of marketing. The more you can spend on marketing and still make a profit, the higher your chances of success. 32% isn't much to work with.

I'd suggest reconsidering and/or finding a way to bring the base costs down. The most important thing is selling, and you can't do that without marketing. That being said, it all depends on what your product is.

Just my .02
 
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Dinho7

Dinho7

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I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 7, 2014
126
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South Florida
Sales are increasing and is making us feel much better about our venture.

The last days we have had 6-5-6-7 sales respectively. It is going in the right direction and we are gaining experience as of what sells, and what does not sell that well.

With 7 sales we have more than $50 a day or around $1300 per month, which is half of our budget. If we can double that number and add in some higher priced items with a bigger cut, we will very soon be able to live from this and start paying down our CC debt.

However, most sales (60-70 %) are on Amazon, and I feel like we are doing business in "someone else's backyard". We do not have control over fee increases, policy changes, or customer interaction. And for all we know people can start getting the same inventory as us and kill our slim margins.

For now, Amazon is great for cash flow and the learning experience. It does not take a long time to get inventory or fulfill the orders. This leaves plenty of times to improve our own webshops and our own brand.

Total sales: $3,038.06
Total profit: $754.38

Items sold....Revenue....Net profit
Dec 12.........397.32.......41.73
Jan 25.........734.49.......205.38
Feb 62........1906.25......442.62

Thanks for all feedback and replies so far.
 
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Dinho7

Dinho7

Bronze Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 7, 2014
126
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159
South Florida
So just in our best moment, when we were consistantly selling 7-10 items per day and almost reaching subsistance wage only from Amazon, they decide to shut down our account for review.

At first I got shocked and thought it was the end of it, but after contacting their customer support, the "problem" is supposedly that we have reached our "velocity limit" for new users. They have asked for tons of information, which I have promptly answered.

This case can take up to 5 business days to resolve. In business terms that means up to $500 in lost net profit.

Weird enough, this happened right after I had a bad feeling about the whole thing and doing business in a place you have no control.
 

theag

Most Aggressive Guy on the Internet on the Planet
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With 7 sales we have more than $50 a day or around $1300 per month, which is half of our budget.
Nice, but dont forget taxes :(.
 
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Dinho7

Dinho7

Bronze Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 7, 2014
126
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159
South Florida
Nice, but dont forget taxes :(.
Of course! Easy to forget that when we have been in the red for so long due to the start-up costs (that were quite unneccesary for where we are heading now anyway). But I guess its part of the learning curve. If we had not spent that $20k investing in our business, I think there would have been a lot of unlearned lessons that would have set us back in the future.
 
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Dinho7

Dinho7

Bronze Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 7, 2014
126
195
159
South Florida
Frustrating times!
  • Amazon account still under review. We have had 82 orders in short time and only one review (positive), and therefore sparked a velocity limit flag. I have read it might take up to 45 days for some sellers to get activated again. Amazon told me to be patient and wait for buyers to leave feedback to my account. I have asked for feedback from around 50 users, but still no new comments.

    You would assume that they would leave a negative review or ask for a refund in case they did not receive their items, but this is not good enough for Amazon (yet) even though 99 % of orders were sent with tracking and show as "delivered". For now, we just have to wait patiently.

  • The deals site that were good to us in February has been very slow to answer our requests for new deal. The woman in charge of organizing the deals has not had time to review our samples even after two weeks, and is now going on vacation for another week. So it will take around 14 days to get started again. Hopefully we can get multiple deals going then.

  • I cashed out money from the poker account in the end of Februray to switch to a site with a better deal. Normally cashouts take only 24 hours, but since the amount was higher this time, they needed to go through a round of verification (passport, proof of address etc.). I am still waiting for the funds, and have lost 5 days of potential revenue this month. I really hope it will be in my account tomorrow so that I can work on my side job in the weekend.

  • Received a shocking $700 claim from Enterprise. I rented a car from them via Ford while my car was being repaired. In the end the car was never repaired, and somebody scratched up the rear right side while I was parked. I have never had an at-fault accident in my life and gambled on no insurance for two days. Big mistake.
Instead of feeling defeated of all these problems that are out of our control, I know we need to keep our heads high and work even harder (and smarter), especially on our other distribution channels like @miked_d said. So many worse things could have happened, and these hurdles are just small roadblocks in a long journey.

I need to take self-criticism for not working hard enough lately. I am struggling with my sleeping pattern and my productivity drops every time I do not wake up early due to added stress, more distractions etc.

Honestly, I do not think that I can succeed without fixing my own habits. It is extremely frustrating to "know" all about good habits, miracle mornings, focus techniques and time management, without being able to put it into action.

I will try to check in here on a daily basis after waking up (goal is 7 AM). Having @theag bashing me for not being cut for entrepreneurship with his Putin avatar should be motivation enough :)
 

theag

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