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[Progress] The Road to a wholesome Unscripted Life

Xeon

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My introduction is here: Introduction - 75% through the Unscripted book and about to launch my first real business soon!

After soaking in the aura of this positive and informative forum, I've decided to start a progress thread for accountability. I did something like this many years back (but for art-progress and not business) and I saw the benefits of this sort of thread.

I can't guarantee I'll be able to post here regularly as I intend to spend most of my time working on my business : pet industry, product-based business.
 
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Xeon

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Monday today. Morning now. In the office with my boss sitting right next to me, occasionally looking at my screen. This is the Ultimate Scripted Life.

There's one thing I hate about MJ's book : after reading Unscripted, you start to really hate your Scripted Life. I was immune to the Scripted life previously but now I can see how meaningless it is.

Tonight, when I get home, I'm gonna make a list of the final product samples I need, then email the supplier, and have them shipped over to me via the fastest delivery possible (though it will cost more).

On top of that, I'm gonna note down the issues in the website and compile them, so that in the next 2 weeks when it's done, I'll send them to the developer for fixing.

Seems that in the meantime while waiting for final product samples, there's nothing much for me to do as I'm still in the product development phase (nearing the end though). I'll also pin down which are the marketing channels I'll focus on, but it'll be mostly Instagram as I'm active there, and I might consider paid advertising in reddit too (there's an active sub-reddit where my audience is right there).

On a side note, tonight I'll dream of the Lamborghini Veneno and how awesome their horsepower level is compared to the average car on the road. It will definitely make girls swoon!
 

Xeon

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Finished Unscripted yesterday.

Near the end, I skipped that small section on the 3 money pots, because that's way too far ahead for me.
The part before that, where MJ talks about making choices in life, makes me feel he should write a 3rd book wholly devoted to self-improvement. Best darn advice ever.

Unscripted showed me a world that I never even knew existed before. Through Unscripted, I learnt to think bigger.

I've always thought people who drive BMWs / Mercedes Benz cars were the biggest baddest gods in town.

The start of this year 2017, I aimed for a US$120 salary increase yearly at my 9-to-6 job, and aimed to earn approx US$3200 / mth when I reach 40 yrs old, by trading time for money.

After reading Unscripted, I laughed at all my old pathetic goals and what a sorry sad excuse of a human I've become!

MJ showed me a world where all of a sudden, BMWs / Benz started feeling like Toyotas to me.
I'm gonna try my best to incorporate CENTS into my business and try every possible method to value-skew the crap out of my business.

Unscripted also taught me that it's POSSIBLE to get rich without scamming people and resorting to unscrupulous business tactics.
I always assumed to get rich and drive lambos, one has to lie and cheat his way up the corporate ladder!

I'm reading chapter 3 of TMF now at Google Books (trial version).
I will buy it next Tuesday once my pathetic paycheck comes in. Nowadays, I'm scared to see my bank balance.

Yesterday, while reading TMF on the train, I chuckled loud. LOL.
See this sentence in the book:



I've also subscribed to this daily free viral growth loop newsletter which seems pretty legit.
If it ends up like some "back-end sales funnel" crap as mentioned in Unscripted, I'm gonna mark it as spam.

I've placed an order for the product samples, they should be arriving within 5 - 9 working days.
 
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Xeon

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Today, while reading TMF, on page 42 of the book, MJ wrote about how wealth = community, impacting the lives of others, and how the richest moments of his life occured when he's surrounded by family and loved ones.

Once again, this is a bit of a shocking revelation to me, because I always thought wealth = buying super cars and watches and taking photos of these and uploading to Facebook to make everyone swoon and envy you. Kinda like a penis contest. I guess the gist of it is to be genuine to people and live life together with them happily, and not about showing off how financially successful you are on social media (although I would love to have a few "big-breasted models" as mentioned in the book).

I'm now beginning to see things in a different light, hopefully, this will also influence my thinking towards people, that $$$ cannot buy real relationships, and that trying to earn more $$$ in order to buy super cars will not solve all my life's problems.

Still waiting for the product samples to arrive. In the meantime by the end of next week Fri, I'll be making a list of value attributes where I can skew my product towards.
 

sparechange

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cool to see we are in the same industry, will be following!

have you made any sales?
 

Xeon

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cool to see we are in the same industry, will be following!

have you made any sales?
Nope, will only be launching in end Oct. Are you building your brand on FB? I'm using IG and find that it helps to give genuine comments on my followers' posts. Instead of saying generic things like "lol cool!", it works better to say "that's a nice blue bow he's wearing, I want one too!"
 

sparechange

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ah ok, yes using facebook to build brand. have a youtube channel aswell although it has 0 views. would like to get an instagram setup eventually just dont have the latest phone atm.

maybe one day we'll sign an 8 figure deal together! lol
 

Xeon

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ah ok, yes using facebook to build brand. have a youtube channel aswell although it has 0 views. would like to get an instagram setup eventually just dont have the latest phone atm.

maybe one day we'll sign an 8 figure deal together! lol
U should use IG as soon as u can. The engagement rate there is a lot higher compared to FB. Also, since IG is a highly visual platform, it's just nice to post memes and cute pics.

I'm doing merch for a start but my end goal is to sell non-merch custom pet products under my brand.

So what colour of Koeniggsegg Agera are you looking at?
 

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sparechange

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U should use IG as soon as u can. The engagement rate there is a lot higher compared to FB. Also, since IG is a highly visual platform, it's just nice to post memes and cute pics.

I'm doing merch for a start but my end goal is to sell non-merch custom pet products under my brand.

So what colour of Koeniggsegg Agera are you looking at?

hm, for sure insta in the future, merchandise is the way to start! maybe in the future ill consider food/treats.

no koeniggsegg for me, ill start off with a porsche!
 

Xeon

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I went through a list of value attributes that I can work on yesterday. The list is from Unscripted but I added a few that were specific to my business:

PRODUCT / PRICING VALUE ATTRIBUTES

Brand - My business model is based on the brand concept. I'm selling a want rather than a need (customers can still eat and breathe without my products but it will cause great inconvenience to their, and their pets', lives). So based on one page in the Unscripted book, I need to work the marketing angle. My logo design and website photos are all crafted to reinforce my brand.

Product design - In terms of aesthetics, my products look way better than most of my competitors out there. As a day-job designer who's been doing this for 5 years now, this is one of my USP.

Price - Slightly higher than average. I'm banking on the concept of selling a mid-end brand that jives with my target audience's lifestyle and interests. Sometimes pricing a product too low = people think it's crappy. I'm going for a mid-end pricing approach (think Samsung rather than Apple).

Product features - About average, might be slightly better but not stellar. All my direct/indirect competitors are about the same and they're all banking on more of the marketing/aesthetics factor. Just like white-label sports supplements / moisturizing creams. Two different companies sell the same moisturizing cream manufactured from the same maker (but sold under different labels and brand), but Company A sells better on Amazon.

Price Ambiguity - Not sure what is the book's definition of this, but I assume it's the same as the Ambiguity / Risk-aversion effect. I've this covered since I'll be offering product guarantees. See " CUSTOMER VALUE ATTRIBUTES" list below.

Packaging - Not enough money to create fancy branded novelty packaging now, but this is high on my to-do list once sales start coming in. I want my brand to have a flashy and high "ommph!" factor.

Comfort - My products are comfortable to use. Not top of the line yet but I'll look into that once sales comes in. No money for this now.

Included / excluded ingredient - I'll check with my manufacturer to see if they use toxic elements in my products. If no, I'll use that as part of my marketing.


SOCIAL PROOF VALUE ATTRIBUTES

Compelling Story (About Us)
- My About Us page isn't emotional enough. I don't have an inspiring story like Zuckerberg/Gates/Jobs/Henry Ford/MJ. I'm going to work on this since About Us pages are one of the most visited pages on most sites. I'm still apprehensive about putting my own photo up there as I don't want my day job employer to find out LOL. Should I use an alias too?

Bribed reviews - Wanted to buy reviews from Fiverr but I'm scared to sleep at night. As they say, karma comes sooner or later.

Affiliation / Associations - Not affiliated with any organization right now. No street cred. Nothing much I can do.

Public reviews - None at this point. Business not launched.

Celebrity endorsements - Zero. But I pray that Kylie Jenner will stumble upon my product, use it and take pics of it, post it on social media, then it might go viral, and I can immediately tell the salesman "This is a cashier's check of US$4.2 million. I want that Koeniggsegg Agera S over there. I want a Yes or a No."


SHIPPING VALUE ATTRIBUTES


Shipping cost - About industry average (slightly lower than some of my competitors) but there's a lot of room for improvement. Once the business gets bigger, I'll see if there's a way to bring this down even slightly. I'm impressed with how Amazon / other eCommerce retailers can offer free shipping in some cases. Maybe they absorbed the cost in the product selling price?

Shipping speed - Processing / turnaround time for my products is a few days faster than most competitors. Shipping speed itself (USPS, UPS, FEDEX) is outside of my control. One of my to-dos in future is to reduce the processing time to 1 - 2 business days. Not sure what's the average processing time for most eCommerce shops in general but it seems to vary wildly.


CUSTOMER VALUE ATTRIBUTES


Professionalism - I'll be professional in my dealings with customers. When faced with customers who come out from the asylum, I'll just ignore them only after all efforts to serve them goes down the drain.

Customer engagement - I comment and like my target audience's Instagram accounts daily (not generic comments). Once business launches, I'll be hosting giveaways a couple times per month to drive eyeballs and subscribers to my website/email list. I'll offer vouchers to customers who send me pics with them using my products and I'll post those pics on my site as social proof! Everybody wins and I want my customers to feel good about being associated with my brand.

Customer Service - See Professionalism above. In addition, I will listen to and fulfill all unreasonable customer demands as long as they are low in number compared to the overall customer base.

Guarantee - I offer 30-day product guarantees on my products with no need for returns.
Refund policy - See Guarantee above.


WEBSITE-RELATED VALUE ATTRIBUTES

Ease of Ordering - Standard WooCommerce shop. I've PayPal Express on my store in addition to the normal checkout. Not sure if Stripe is worth the hassle but I'm leaving it out now.

Website design - Clean website design with a single purpose : for customers to shop. This is the 8 - 9th iteration of my website. The previous ones look messy in comparison.

Ambience - If it's "website ambience", then it jives with my target audience : young hipster people with dogs aged 18 - 35 who are active on social media.

Security - My website has SSL and payments go through PayPal. I also subscribe to a popular brand of anti-virus that runs daily malware scans on my site and has the anti-virus site seal displayed.
Payment Options - PayPal only. But via PayPal, customers can also pay via credit cards.

User interface - Website UI is pretty straight forward. If a customer can use Facebook (complex UI, IMO) or Amazon, then my minimal site would be easy.

Website recently updated - I will be updating my site every month when new products are added.

Crisp clean photos - No money to hire professional photographers + models right now. So I'll look for good looking girls/guys from my target audience on Instagram who already have quality pics, and offer them my products + some money as compensation.


NOT APPLICABLE VALUES

Cleanliness - Probably not applicable to my case as I don't do food.

Employee photos - One man show. Not applicable.


Side Note : I'm taking a big risk on the 30-day money-back guarantee + no need to return thing. If customers return my products in droves, I will have to, quoting MJ, "prostitute myself to an older woman" due to financial losses. Problem is I'm not well-hung.

I mean, I've confidence in my products to offer this sort of guarantee, but the uncertain factor is how much of my customer base will abuse my goodwill and trust.

But from my reading up on others who do this, they often say it's worth it in the end, so I'm gonna sell my products in limited quantities and see how things go after that. 30-day product guarantees are like the Joker card. It could swing either way. I guess in business, risk is unavoidable.

This list is not final, I'll continue to go through it and improve on them as time passes.
 

sparechange

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do you currently have lots of traffic as in potential customers?

out of the 4k or so people that ''viewed'' my fb page i had no interest or inquiries
 

Xeon

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do you currently have lots of traffic as in potential customers?
out of the 4k or so people that ''viewed'' my fb page i had no interest or inquiries
No traffic as I haven't launched my website. :cool:
 

Xeon

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Met my first setback last night. Product samples came in, and it wasn't what I thought. TBH, I feel very disappointed and dejected.
Based on what the company boasted on their site, I was expecting something awesome and impressive, but it looks below average!

This is not acceptable, and not something I would want to sell to my customers.
I don't want my business/company to be known as "That Low-Quality Company (tm)".

I'm looking at other manufacturers who use different techniques of producing the product.
The costs are higher but the quality is way better.

Now I understand the meaning of "you get what you pay for". F*ck This!
 

Xeon

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sparechange

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not so good, but have relisted at a cheaper price with new pics. will see how it goes over the next few days
 

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there's nothing much for me to do as I'm still in the product development phase
That's not true. This is an excuse to be unproductive. There is always something do do. If you're waiting for product samples, keep scanning ideas. Look for problems. Read a book on sales. KAIZEN never ends. I say this because I've used "I'm waiting for X" as an excuse to do nothing.

Employee photos - One man show. Not applicable.
Family photos could be a part of your brand build if a STORY is a part of your brand build.

Thanks for sharing your progress.

Don't forget to get your badge by posting here.

Book - I've Read UNSCRIPTED!
 

Xeon

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@MJ DeMarco, hi MJ, can you move this thread to the Insiders' Progress/Execution section? Thanks!
 

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Xeon

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I'm still doing ok in the desert of desertation! Haven't given up these few months, never had and never will.

The company I'm working in now has extended my contract for another year. Because I have nothing to do during office hours, I spend the whole day reading mindset/execution articles here, especially the treasures in the Insiders'.
Hopefully they'll renew my contract again next year.



This is what my daily screen at work looks like. The FLF window is tucked in front of a graphically-busy background window. When people come near, I Alt+Tab on keyboard to switch to background window ("busy looking for interface references and trends").



For those who don't mind a low-paying job that has lots of free time for you to hustle at work, try looking for start-up companies (the right ones). You know, the ones on government / VC funding, run by young guys who spend all their time at "start-up meetings", "accelerators" and "incubator" that kind of cool shit who burn funding money like no tomorrow? Those are the companies you want to work for.

The bosses of these "start-ups" have no idea what they're doing everyday, except drawing complex diagrams on the whiteboard which lead to nothing, and no concept of deadlines. If you're lucky, you can even go to pizza/Nintendo/coke parties every Thursday night at those start-up meetups. Love this life to death!

Next week, I'll be making the order for the inventory, and I'll post more serious stuff then.
I feel this hustle has a 55% chance of succeeding, but regardless of the outcome, I need to try this to see if it works. It's better than wondering about it when I'm 85.

If it doesn't, I'll move on to the next idea.
 

• nikita •

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Lol'd at your set up because it's exactly like how mine was in my last job. I was reading books and listening to podcasts, running ads for my (completely unresearched but at least I tried) business. Only I'm a huge introvert so those startup things like meetups, "beer Fridays" etc I F*cking hated. I saw it as more hours in the office, not a benefit. I think they were monitoring my emails and search history because they fired me a week after they told me they wanted to keep me for longer. I have glorious dreams of wiping that idiot's business off the face of earth one day just because I can, but I should shut up before this gets too off-topic :D

A remote job is even sweeter, absolutely no boss breathing down your back. In your field it's easy to find one if you wish.

Anyway, good luck!
 

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In before this thread is moved to INSIDERS... (OP requested)...

When you mention pet niche, you mean pet owners or Vets?
 

Xeon

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Made My Move - Ordered Inventory

Costs ~US$1200 including shipping, and additional US$120+ for setting up account with a fulfillment centre.

Initially, I wanted to use a US manufacturer with some components shipped from China to US for final assembly, before shipping the whole thing to the US fulfillment center.

However, I'm now using an asian manufacturer to do the entire thing and ship direct to the fulfillment center. The resulting cost is about 2x cheaper than before.

This gives a larger margin per product. I'm using the excess margin to offer free shipping + free returns. I believe this will skew the value a bit, since I read free shipping alone will improve sales, let alone free returns.

The product is about 25% (approx between US$6 - US$8) more expensive than my competitors'.
However.....

Marketing Game & Value Skew


I'm going for a different angle in the marketing approach, which I have not seen my competitors used yet.

My humble hustle cannot be considered a "lifestyle brand" but that is my final destination which I want to build it up to, since my product and market is suitable for this sort of thing.
I'm not too sure how to pull this off. I've plans and ideas but have not nailed down the exact path, which I'll do this week while the order is in production.

I've been looking and studying "cult" brands like BeardBrand, Johnny Cupcakes, Lululemon, Harley Davidson, Black Milk, Apple etc.

My target market consists of mostly part-time enthusiasts making a quick side buck from this, they're not serious about the whole thing and mainly doing it for fun. There are some small-to-ok sized competitors but no strong superpower, nowhere close (unlike the case of operating systems/search engines/phones = Microsoft/Google/Apple).

Also, the free shipping + returns will give me a boost.
On top of that, the quality of my product is better than most competitors who use a cheaper and less-durable way of manufacturing.
One more thing: I can ship out the product within 1-2 days while my competitors need 4-7 days.

I prefer not to state my USP here as I'll be using it throughout the website and future marketing.

Here's a screenshot of what my suppliers' comparison table looks like. I've left out the left, middle and top columns for obvious reasons. The last few rows are the unit profit margins, gross profit margins, revenue, net income calculations etc. I spent about 2+ months searching and digging for suppliers from various countries. I really wanted to use US ones, but the prices are just too expensive for me to add any profit.



What's Next

Waiting for the products to be made and shipped to the US, which will take approx about 2 - 3 weeks from now.

During this time, I'll continue reading FLF and watching Shark Tank, and also draft out a marketing approach in detail.


Side Note

My sport shoes of 12 years fell apart.
I was walking back home in these crap last night in the mild rain, and it has only spurred my desire to get out of the slowlane.

I've also spent about US$105 on buying a gym bench and total of ~120 lbs (60 KG) of weight plates so that I can gym at home.
Based on calculations, this can save me TONS of traveling time to the gym and several hundred dollars per year! I only need to go to the gym once a week now (instead of 3) to do the squats and deadlift.

Lifting weights keep the mind fresh, the body healthy and makes me feel more manly.

I still have a HUGE PHOBIA of spending money on my fastlane hustle.
My heart feels painful now as I'm typing this, it's my hard-earned day job money which I'm spending on this hustle which I'm not even sure what's the outcome. o_O
 

Xeon

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Production is about to begin! They'll start the production of the first product this week, and once I approve it, they'll go on to make the rest of the units.

Based on the manufacturer's timeline, this will unfold in the following weeks:

7 Feb - Factory's completion of first product
28 Feb - All units get made and ready to ship to US
7 Mar - Shipment will arrive in US
11 Mar - Will send out 4 pieces of my product to IG influencers for photo-taking, after which I'll post the pics in my own IG and website
19 Mar - Launch

There's still so much time now in between that I'm going to start running IG giveaways next week to get more followers and have a better feel of connecting with my potential leads. I'm also looking to sponsor stuff for the occasional meetups that some of the IG folks do.

In short, get started on building up a community and connecting during this period. Then I can show that on my IG saying "We're proud to sponsor part of this event...."
That'll give social proof, perceived authority and street cred if I do it long enough.

On a side note, I paid a setup fee to a US fulfilment company and now I've decided not to use them and is currently discussing with another one.
The current one has poor attitude and a messy fulfilment system. I can see how this is a big red disaster flag if I decide to continue using them.
I chose them initially cos' they were the cheapest. U get what you pay for.

I'm also looking into researching for the 2nd product in the series so the store doesn't look weird with just one product one design lol.

Also going to continue watching Shark Tank.
I learnt many valuable tibits from Mr. Wonderful ("All roads lead to Mr. Wonderful") and Mark.
 
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Xeon

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Some updates:

1) Signed up with a much better fulfilment center. These guys are extremely professional, assuring and clear in their working style. They guide you every step of the way, tells you what's going to happen next, who to contact, what to do etc.

2) Manufacturer showed me some of the parts they did yesterday. Pretty impressed with one of the parts. The other has a very slight color variation (very light grey instead of white), but it's ok since it's a technical limitation issue and it's only a tiny part. If all is well, everything should be ready approx 20 Feb or earlier. Keeping my fingers crossed. I was reading Vick's sunglass thread (still on page 20 of that monster thread) and it seems with manufacturing, there's always delays.

3) Gonna run my Instagram giveaway next Monday. I did some reading and this infographic is useful:



I'm using easypromosapp to pull all the comments and generate a random winner, then I'll ship the prize to them direct from amazon.
My purpose of running the weekly giveaways is to:
  • get more followers
  • get more awareness of my brand
  • get social proof
  • increase engagement
4) While waiting during this period, I'm also researching the next few products in my line, and I did a poll on pickfu.com to test my potential customers' feedback. Surprisingly, their opinions are different from what I thought. The service is a bit expensive but it sheds new light on many things and is worth it. Each vote comes with detailed answers (the Whys) and you can choose the demographic to target.

4) Last week or so, I was in a bus going home on Sunday, and during the red light, I look to my right and saw this blue, exotic roofless car. I can't see the whole thing clearly, only the front part, and I thought it was a Pagani (nearly jizzed my shorts), but after a while, it seems to look like a Lotus Elise / Exige.

5) Btw, Tony Robbins is currently in Singapore giving a 4-day seminar. Official: Tony Robbins Singapore - Unleash The Power Within 2018
Look at the prices for the tickets WTF lol. With those $$$ I can buy more inventory and marketing. No offense to the Tony fans here but he comes across as another Tai Lopez type of guy to me, you know, the one who knows everything from wealth to relationships to business to religion to health. The premium tier tickets even have a fire-walking experience.
Tai Lopez, Tony Robbins, Joel Osteen.....masters of the feel-good fastlane business.
 
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I love those infographics and statistics on emails - best time to send, best time for opens etc. They tell me exactly when NOT to send emails/surveys/etc, because everyone and their dog are like "I'll do it then!".

I'm sure it depends on what you're selling/offering/smashing out of the park with value, but it also depends on the frame of mind you want people in. Sunday evenings are the best for me by the length of the Flemington straight (definitely not shown on that infographic). Found that out by testing - make sure you do your own.

Keep at it champ!
 

Xeon

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I love those infographics and statistics on emails - best time to send, best time for opens etc. They tell me exactly when NOT to send emails/surveys/etc, because everyone and their dog are like "I'll do it then!".
Thanks, I guess I'll try the opposite lol
I'm not sure if I should run a bit of ads on Instagram to promote the giveaway, because I don't want only 3 people participating in it. I've seen that happen to some other giveaways from others, whereby perhaps due to a lack of that account's social proof, few people join.
 

Xeon

All Cars Kneel Before Pagani.
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Meanwhile, had my 2nd FTE today. Went to help out a while at my dad's shop, and this customer whom I don't even recognize, came up and started "talking" to me out of the blue.

Her: So kid, what do you work as?
Me: Designer.
Her: Your salary is around 4K? (asking people's salaries is a common thing in Asian societies)
Me: Nope, 2k range (almost reaching 3K though).
Her: How old are you?
Me: 34.
Her (arrogant expression): My son is the same age as you, an architect, and earns 4K. (screw your son, 4K for an architect is tragic if he's been working for 10 yrs)
Me: Yes ok.
Her: You should get a degree, it will increase your salary.
Me: Yes ok.
Her: You should start learning from your dad, so that you'll be smarter and less dumb.

Then, this F*ck went to my other family members (who're also helping out at the shop), and started telling them to advise me to get a degree. I can't find a hole to hide my shame.
(actually, at my age now, getting a degree will only screw me up further because it will not help me get a better job or higher salary as interviewers look only at portfolios in my industry)

All this once again proves that my decision to hustle is right.
The only path left for me is to make it, then I can show all these arrogant sad F*cks the kind of sorry lives they've been leading. One of my dreams? I want to have the ability one day to ask them the same question.

(7 years from now)
Me: So what does your son work as?
Her: Architect.
Me: His salary is around <insert 5-figure value here>?

Today, my mom gave me a watch to take to the shop for repair. It's a pretty old watch, the parts broke off. I really hope I can tell her, "Let's dump this away, I'll buy a new and better one".

If my current hustle fails, I'll start another and another. F*ck THIS.
 
Last edited:

Xeon

All Cars Kneel Before Pagani.
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Just launched my 1st giveaway on IG.
Things are not looking good.

It's been 4 hours and there's only 14 tragic likes, and only 2 people has joined, and what, I've 4k+ followers! This is discouraging the least.

I might be one of the few, or worse, the only account on IG to run a giveaway and only 2 people joined! I even ran a Promotion ad on IG (similar to FB's Boost post) for US$2 for the next 2 days, and as of now, the ad stats show 0 people has viewed it.
(while the non-promoted post itself has 320 impressions).

I'll see how things go. Maybe it's the prize isn't attractive enough (about US$10 value).
I see people run giveaways on IG and they've like 500 - 1000 comments and over 5000 likes easily, and their account followers aren't that much more than me.

Keeping my fingers crossed.
This is discouraging as F*ck.
 

Xeon

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I'm with you, let's make it happen or die trying
Yup, either it's to the skies or to the graves. The only easy day was yesterday.
 

Ravens_Shadow

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If my current hustle fails, I'll start another and another. f*ck THIS.
Planning on giving up so easily? The more time you put in, the better your chances of this being a success. If you think about it as oh I'll just do the next hustle or the next hustle, seems like you're chasing a shortcut.
 

Xeon

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Planning on giving up so easily? The more time you put in, the better your chances of this being a success. If you think about it as oh I'll just do the next hustle or the next hustle, seems like you're chasing a shortcut.
Nah, not chasing shortcuts, just making plans for the worst. I mean, I'm giving myself 2 years for this and I'm going be monitoring the sales. If sales don't pick up after say, 8 months, I may consider quitting and moving on.
Anyway, it's too early to say as I haven't launched.

Some updates.

1) It's Day 2 of the IG giveaway contest. There's currently about 10 - 11 people in the giveaway, I guess by the end of deadline, I might get 15 - 17 if I'm lucky. My plan is that during the last 24 hours, I'll make a final call using Instagram Stories. This feature is really cool, it drives additional traffic and gets you extra eyeballs to the IG profile. Always use and abuse IG Stories.

2) Just joined an IG engagement pod. Much of this is automated, and they've a bot to allow me to paste the IG URLs to like, and I just paste them in, and the bot will run them through and auto-like from chrome browser. I'll play with this engagement pod for 1 - 2 weeks to see if it gets me a boost in engagement.

3) Came across a Instagram engagement "managed service" where they will boost your engagement and followers, but after emailing them, I realize they're using the mass Follow/Unfollow technique.
That's pretty much what all these guys are doing nowadays. It's US$60 for the basic plan and over US$200 for the "premium" plan.

4) Manufacturer sent me pics of the first product for approval. It looks really good, I'm quite proud of it.
It feels so different when you see it come to life.
I gave them some very minor comments (I'm a picky guy), and they'll be churning out the rest. Only issue on my part was that I should have ordered more of another type, but it's too late now. But now that I know, I can do this for the next product.
 

Xeon

All Cars Kneel Before Pagani.
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Quick update. Products will be ready approx mid-next week.

Meanwhile, for the Instagram Giveaway Contest Results....

Gained 10 new followers (but lost about 5 afterwards), total 68 comments in the giveaway post and total of 26 participants.

One thing I learnt, is that giveaways should be restricted to the US if you intend to ship the product from Amazon. The winner of my giveaway is from a country in the middle east, and the cost to ship there is almost 5 F*ckING TIMES the cost of the gift! WTF x3!

I'm now checking with the winner if they will accept Amazon gift card instead. The value will be 2x the cost of the toy which is still a win for them.

If not, I'll have to suck it up and pay for that insane shipping cost in order not to leave a bad rep.

Expensive lesson learnt.

But thinking about it, I'll stop giveaways for now and concentrate the limited funds I've, to spend on influencers instead. I believe the ROI will be much better.

Currently looking for a freight consolidator to see if I can get the goods shipped to the US in a cheaper manner. Manufacturer is quoting me USD285 to ship a 33 lbs (15.6 KG) box from SE Asia there, what a pain for my $$$.

I also bought Walter Hay's book for my new reading material, and once I'm done, will get Jim Cockrun's book.

I've also been reading many threads here, and with the limited funds I've, I realized I can't use the shock-and-awe approach some folks here are doing. You know, going in with guns blazing and throwing money on sponsoring events, doing trade shows, hiring photo-shoots and all the big gala stuff which burn cash like no tomorrow.

My strategy would be to go small and slow, and give myself a very good sustainable burn rate. This will lengthen the time to succeed but well.

I've this book called the One Page Marketing Plan. It says the no. 1 reason why small businesses fail is due to them burning their cash too fast, trying to market like the big boys in building "brand awareness". It's like, Coca-Cola and Nike can throw more than US$30 million a year running ads showing their logo and lifestyle videos without any CTA or driving any sales, but can you?
 

Xeon

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Finally! The first batch of products are ready.
The manufacturer sent me some photos of 20 - 30 of them all on the floor (they were packing it into the box).
It's now being shipped out to the warehouse in the US.
It feels good to see your own products come to life.

The shocking thing is.....the manu told me the products will reach the US warehouse next Monday!
WTF! I'm not even prepared, caught with my pants down in bed.
I thought DHL usually takes 5 - 6 days for international shipments.
I just emailed the fulfillment center and I hope they'll be ready.

Been looking at the costs again, and I realize I need to find a manu in the US.
I always thought Asia gives the best prices, but it's not always true.
And the shipping cost from Asia to USA is insane.
Actually, for my case, a completely custom design will be cheaper in Asia, but since it's only semi-custom, the US is way cheaper. USD400+ cheaper in fact!

For a mere 34 lbs (15+ KG) box to the US, it's USD285++ by DHL, and I can't find any freight consolidator who would do this.
Most don't even bother replying except for 2, and one of them is quoting a price 3x the cost of my products. WTF WTF WTF
The whole shipping industry needs a shakeup.
They need something to disrupt their entire industry, let those fat shipping guys go out of jobs.
Then they'll work harder to keep costs cheaper. Like how Uber shakes up the cab industry.

For my Instagram, ever since using Everliker plugin, I've been gaining 14 - 20 new followers a day.
Gained 21 today! My goal is to hit 10K by 31 Dec 2018.

Also, I posted a few ads on my local equivalent of craigslist to find small gigs to further fund my fastlane hustle. My salary isn't enough. Actually it is, but I need 2 months of day-job salary to fund the next batch of products (assuming 0 sales in first batch).
I've also cut out all un-needed spending, such as giving up protein powder (one tub is expensive as F*ck).

Next step :

I've contacted a photographer from South America, the land of the legendary hispanic girls (never really seen one before in real life here).
He'll do product shots (with and without people). Then with those professional shots, I will contact a few IG influencers in my niche and get them to endorse it after I sent them the products.
I believe professionally done shots will entice them more to join me.
Trying not to spend any additional dime on the IG influencers. If they require $, I'll look for the next one.
"Here, take my product and shoot a pic of yourself using it. Hurry up! Ain't got no time to wait for you!"

Then, once all the photos are in, I'll do the last finishing touches to the website......and I'm ready to launch!

My level of self-doubt is insane now. Through the roof.
I have all these grand ideas and wild visions of my product and future lineups.....but......
Out of 10, how much would I rate my chances of success?

Big fat 2.5.

Let's see how it goes.
 

Xeon

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It's so exciting to track the location of the package from Thailand all the way to the US!
Four times per day, I would go to DHL's tracking page to see where the package is, and it has arrived!


Tomorrow, I'll contact the fulfillment center to check if all is well, and whether they've finished integrating their system with my Shopify cart. Getting closer!
 

Xeon

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F*ck! There are so many issues with the warehouse, and something that can be done in 1 day has taken almost 1 month! Every time when their other clients have a spike in orders or something happens, they would see to that first and my products are given the treatment of "Aye mate, we'll get to that later once we're done with this".

I'm still gonna go ahead with them as things are already halfway fixed, but I'm gonna find another warehouse just in case.

Tomorrow, I've a call with these warehouse folks to fix all these crap, and I admit.....I'm anxious, for the reasons no one is expecting : this is the first time I'm getting an overseas call from a western country.
Don't laugh, but my mind is full of thoughts like:
  • What if they laugh at my English?
  • What if they can't understand my accent?
  • What if my English is not up to par and they treat me like a joke?
  • What if I don't sound professional?
  • How do I speak like Gary V / Tony Robbins?
On the Instagram side, I've come up with a content idea after reading Fox's post in that other IG thread. I'm gonna create original content based on relevant things in my niche, and put motivational quotes on them, in an ironic/sarcastic manner. Since visual design is my forte, I'm gonna capitalize on this.

I'll then tag and mention all the big accounts in my niche and if they notice me, they might even feature me. I just need ONE homerun. In the caption, I'll write "Tag a friend who needs motivation! / find this useful!" to further encourage sharing.

It will be a lot more time consuming than just reposting, but from what I learned in Fox's posts, reposting accounts have zero or no loyalty and people are just there for the dopamine highs. With an account that has original content, I might have a better chance of attracting true fans.
I'll try it for 2 - 3 months and see how it goes.
 

Xeon

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/start rave


Update: 1 July 2018, approx 11.40 PM

On the bus again towards the city. This time, I saw 2 Ferraris driving alongside the bus. This is the first time I've seen a Ferrari so close. Both reds but different models. Can't tell what's the models as I'm not a Ferrari fan (but man, it's curves are sexy)

As the bus drove into the heart of the city area, there were another 5, then 10, then before I knew it.....there were a sea of them! The roads got congested due to the large number of Ferraris..... I think there was at least 40 over or way more. All kinds of models and colors. It was some kind of event.

In another thread, I asked how women on the streets behave when they see supercars. I remembered MJ (praise and glory be upon him) saying it attracts guys instead of girls (aka dick convention), but this time, I've to disagree, because....the women were all whipping out their phones and taking pics of the Ferraris!

At one point, one of the Ferraris activated the convertible mechanism to cover the roof. It looked like a F*cking transformer!
There was this other orange Lambo that drove behind all the ferraris.

All these while, I can hear the huge booming, ROARING sound of the ferraris as they revv the engines and do that control launch.
Immensely motivating and inspiring. Imagine seeing a sea of supercars, all driving next to you.
It's like you're in a boat in the ocean and all these killer whales swim alongside you.
As I got off the bus, I felt overwhelmed and light-headed.

I BADLY want to be like these supercar owners. Successful, manly, alpha, rich, powerful, sought-after by women.
Why should I be working at a lowly $2K job while these guys are living lives of gods, even though we're all humans?

I want to join in their fun, but instead of ferraris or lambos, I want to do it in a Pagani!

/end rave /end fap
 

Xeon

All Cars Kneel Before Pagani.
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Just made a payment of ~US$2,300 for my products. My bank is now left with ~US$3,400, and it will hit US$1,600 next month, the day just before payday (based on my monthly expenses and forecast).

I'm truly terrified, scared, lost, confused and literally shivering in fear. When I think of how little is in my bank account, I freeze in fright. What if all these doesn't work out? It's ok to fail when you've $$$ in your bank, because you've a cushion, but not so much in my case.

I've changed my fulfilment centre to another one, for the 3rd time. This one is more expensive, but worth every bit of it. They're professional, knows what they're doing and in charge of everything. Great speedy customer service.

The current 2nd one is a complete nightmare : they don't ship out and I've to keep chasing them, inventory doesn't sync based on my testing, order status never gets updated. I'll be shipping these goods to my new fulfillment center and I hope these folks don't hold my goods hostage.

It's been around 1.5 years since I had my first idea of hustling early last year. Been a very slow start due to :

1) Giving excuses NOT TO PAY FOR PRODUCT MANUFACTURING (due to intense fear of spending money)

2) Hiring the wrong folks. I paid cheap dollar and got cheap stuff in return, especially the fulfilment centre. These guys delayed me by 2+ months at least.

3) Spent lots of $$$ on wrong stuff, like too much plugins on Wordpress/WooCommerce, Shopify, web development. If I could rewind time, I would have stopped these and could save US$4K or so. BIG COSTLY MISTAKE.
Well, I did learn a lot about using WooCommerce, Shopify, Wordpress and site speed optimizations though. Was a complete noob before that. I could put all these in my day job resume!

What's Next: The goods take about 2 weeks to be made, then I'll be sending them for photography, then after that, the real battle will start.

I'm expecting 0 sales, 0 feedback in any form, as mentioned in Unscripted. Basically firing off into a vacuum.

Let's see how this goes. Well, there's still that awesome $2,000/month graphic design job waiting for me.
 

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