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Nova's Progress Thread

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Read Unscripted!
Dec 3, 2017
United Kingdom
Good evening everybody.

I wanted to document my progress to both hold myself accountable and gather feedback from other forum members who have been in a similar situation. I appreciate all advice and feedback, whether good or bad. The beginning of the new year is a good time for me to be doing this, as I now have an obligation to myself to update it on a monthly basis.

Around 12 months ago I signed up to the forum. I didn't post much, but did a lot of reading. I ended up spending the next few months researching several ideas but not committing on any. The result was a Google Drive account with hours of research correctly filed and documented into individual projects, but no action. This was the definition of action-faking.

A particularly jarring day at work forced my hand. My immediate boss had been even more patronising than normal and the managing director had just announced his semi-retirement by moving to the US into multi-million dollar property. I had an annual review, scored 'exceptional' in every category and was rewarded with a £20 Amazon gift card for my trouble, but no pay increase. Now was the time to act.

And act I did. I opened Google Drive folder 'Project 1' and reviewed my research. I ordered 10 samples from a supplier in China. 7 were terrible and were rejected. 2 were perfect and were accepted. 1 had flaws, so I discussed the manufacturing process with my contact. They agreed to some changes and I accepted a minimum order quantity of 10,000 at £4000.

They took 3 months to arrive in England via a container ship from China. I then arranged for a courier to deliver them to the north. It had been a long process, but I was ready to go. Whilst waiting for the delivery I had pre-built some sophisticated looking eBay and Amazon stores. All I needed was the stock, and it was now sat on 7 wooden pallets on my driveway.

After shipping, marketplace fees and the initial cost, I was roughly doubling my money on each item sold. Things went well for around another 3 months, I was running down my stock and almost ready to process another order from my supplier in China. Then, another seller appeared on both eBay and Amazon, offering a product identical to my most successful. He undercut me at every turn, offered the same next day delivery service for less money. When I reduced my cost, he reduced his. I was getting dangerously close to my item's cost price, making next to no money. But still he kept undercutting me.

Eventually I decided that that I needed to take action. I found the seller's contact details (phone and address) on his eBay store page and gave him a call. He seemed taken aback that I had called, and I explained my proposal - "We're both losing money here. Let's both increase prices and agree to price match. I could come and visit you to discuss if you'd prefer." I could tell over the phone that he was surprised and potentially a bit out of his depth (I used to work as a Security Guard and have been told I can come across intimidating) so he agreed and thanked me for my time. And he stuck to his word - increasing his price to the same as me.

For 2 days.

I wasn't sure how to respond. Do I match him again? Do I drive around to his address and see what he has to say? Do I call him again?

In the end I decided to make a more radical change and overhaul my product listings into a more 'premium' product. It was high quality to start with so there was no issue with doing so and charging a premium for it. Before long I was starting to outsell my competitor despite charging more for the same product.

Now the boot was on the other foot and was working in my favour. I was now making twice the profit on each item without spending anything extra. It really highlighted how targeting different markets yields different results.

And that brings us to now, 12 months later. Project 1 current turnover is £4000 per month, £2000 of which is profit. It certainly could be worse.

Project 2 has been kickstarted this morning. I am waiting for some materials to arrive and should have a product ready for distribution by this time next week.
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