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GOLD! The Chronicles Of DDall - A Progress/Execution Thread (Damn $3Mg/$700Knet!)

ddall

continuous self-improvement
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Dec 5, 2013
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814
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Toronto, ON
Ok, I figured it is time I start a thread and chronicle my journey, sharing the insights I learn along the way and throwing them back out into the forum nexus where many a golden nugget I have taken and dissected.

This thread will include primarily three main things: Process -updates on progress, mistakes learned, insights gained. Learning resources -links to resources I've found useful. Mindset - the mindset to win.

Firstly, a small bio: I'm 31 (wow already?), I have a small family (1 yearold boy) and young spouse. I have a BBA in Finance from UofT. I despised every moment of my education, and deem it's only value in establishing somewhat of a mental discipline. I worked for a major bank for a few years before dying of boredom. I presently work as a private investigator for a high end firm, specializing in surveillance, due diligence and risk assessment for major companies, mostly insurance. I'm very good at what I do, which is essentially follow people discreetly and obtain video documentation of where, when, how and with whom they conduct themselves. It pays well, better than the bank. But, more importantly, this is MJ's limo job. I have hours and hours of downtime, waiting for 'action'. This is paid time I utilize learning. I don't want to be a PI any longer. I want to control my own destiny. I seek to divorce my time from my money. I desire to challenge myself, to grow, and actualize some level of fulfilment. I have always found a deep satisfaction in the pursuit of achievement, physical and mental. When working towards a goal and vision daily, I never feel so content in spirit, so excited and energized. I'm addicted to learning, growing and mastering.

My first foray into online business came a few years ago. I had ZERO technical background when it came to computers and online experience. I started from the ground up, literally Googling: "how to make a web page", which taught me I was in a world of which I had no knowledge. It was overwhelming. Nearly a year later, after obsessive learning, I created a website which, overtime and after contacting numerous website owners, became and affiliate site. I somehow started earning 300-400/day, deposited in my paypal every evening. It was addictive.

Unfortunately, I built a house of cards, founded on cheap SEO and when Google came around with Panda, I watched it all evaporate overnight. I was gutted, and after sacrificing so much time and energy, I was jaded, and burnt out. I left it at that, and went back to a more impulsive, hedonistic way of life, indulging in booze, clubbing, toys like my motorcycle and lifting.

Fast-forward to today, I have a family now, and it seems a renewed sense of focus and desire to create something of value, something where I have control.

My first venture is one shared by Vigilante, 1Step, Jajt, JasonR, Eskil and a number of others. That is, it is the import, branding, FBA and eComm model.

To start the thread, I'll begin by sharing some of the sources I've used to help with my education. Check my following post.
 

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ddall

ddall

continuous self-improvement
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Dec 5, 2013
223
814
232
Toronto, ON
Ok, learning. Here are a few sources I found useful thus far. Note there are so many others I simply did not write down or cannot remember...Most of these I recalled or had bookmarked. Also, if you aren't an insider, you are not serious about your success. Read every Gold thread.

Books: I primarily use Audible when driving:
Books:

The Millionaire Fastlane

The Personal MBA

Street Smarts

Psycho Cybernetics

The Dip

How to Get Rich - Felix Dennis

Ready, Fire, Aim

Think and Grow Rich

How to Win Friends and Influence People

The E-Myth Revisited

The Lean Start Up

4-Hour Work Week

Gary Halbert – Boron Letters

Ca$hvertising

Also, I posted this in Insiders before. It is taken from another author who has summarized some of the best books out their on business. It is filled with gold:
https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/key-points-relating-to-top-business-investing-marketing-motivation-and-technology.49485/

Intro's to Ecomm/Importing:
Start up Bros:

http://www.startupbros.com/how-you-can-make-big-money-importing-from-china-the-rise-and-fall-of-my-empire/ This gentle man has also posted on the forum.

Addicted to Passive Income thread. Legendary: https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/insiders-addicted-to-passive-income-deposits.35694/

Dipping my toes into importing:

https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/insiders-dipping-my-toes-into-importing.44787/

How to create SOMETHING... from NOTHING. https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/insiders-how-to-create-something-from-nothing.47966/

Ask me about Ecommerce: Fantastic thread, unfortunately it is gone. I do have a PDF of it summarized if anyone wants it.

AM/MEDIA BUYING

Course:
AFF Beast CPA Marketing Courses. Good intro:

http://affbeast.com/library/courses/#.Ui5Tzj9FZsU

Traffic Blackbook 2.0 $97 Good course, somewhat advanced.

Threads:

AMA - Affiliate Marketing + Guide "How I Made $5K w/ 1 Campaign

https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/ama-affiliate-marketing-guide-how-i-made-5k-w-1-campaign.47167/

Online Media Buying Resource Thread

https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/online-media-buying-resource-thread.43885/

I've read dozens more, use the search function. Some very interesting AMA's as well.

Copywriting

https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/gary-halbert-30-day-challenge-copywriting-group.50217/

http://www.digitalmarketer.com/landing-page-bullets-that-sell/

http://s3.amazonaws.com/localbiz/Ultimate Headline Swipe File.pdf

Again, these are but a smidgin of what is out there, and a rather random few links. I just had these bookmarked.

Random
Funnels:
http://www.digitalmarketer.com/customer-value-optimization/
Shipping:
https://shipgooder.com
Facebook: See JasonR's call and thread. Also this is a good free video :
http://www.gauherchaudhry.com/facebook-marketing-for-more-traffic-leads-sales/

Blogs:
foreverjobless
tropicalMBA
DigitalMarketer
Imscalable

I will add more as I recall or come across.
 
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OP
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ddall

ddall

continuous self-improvement
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Dec 5, 2013
223
814
232
Toronto, ON
So what have I accomplished thus far besides building my business and online acumen?

Scoured Alibaba and other sites for potential products, looking for light, simple, non-electronical goods suitable for private labeling and whose market appeared hot enough, non-seasonal nor dominated by a particular brand. Primary channel of distribution will be Amazon.com, .ca maybe later.

After devising and optimizing inquiry templates I sent dozens and dozens of messages to suppliers in about 5 different niches. Distilled down the most promising (speedy replies, vetted as best I could - gold star suppliers, multi-year history, non-alibaba presence online...) and ordered samples.

Some accepted paypal, for others I used T/T (inherent risk, but another potential barrier to entry for those without the stomach for it) which I paid for online through my personal banking for a small fee.

Received samples and elected to pursue one niche, with two different products. Others did not satisfy my requirements (mostly cost vs perceived value was too low).

Created a light box for cheap following this guide
. Bought some cheap desk lamps and bulbs.
Used iphone5 to take the photos. The colour was off despite the bulbs I used, at which point I downloaded the free app WhiteBalancer. The app did a good job of enhancing the photos quickly.

Next I wrote copy for the products and listed them on ebay at 99 cent auctions. Had enough success to determine which product I would pursue (had about 5 quantity of each product). That being said, Ebay sucks, and being in Canada I believe was disadvantageous to testing the American market as my location is evident and affects searches. I can appreciate the current popular thread on selling on Ebay, but personally the margins are slim, the barrier to entry low, branding seems less relevant, the UI is ugly and a pain. Ultimately the process was good learning (paypal shipping, ebay interface, seller issues, Canada post) but in hindsight I would probably skip this step, I knew there was enough volume for my product before hand.

So following this, I resumed discussions with a single supplier, and dropped $500 on a larger sample, with minor modifications (slightly more than just color) for two variations of a single product. After about 3 weeks I was notifed by DHL that my product was held up at customs. My supplier kindly stated my product value at $20. Canada Customs rightfully did not believe this and put a block on it pending review. So, I signed for DHL to have power of attorney, and supplied and filled out a number of documents. One week later after following up DHL advised me the process was complete. But it wasn't, the documents had not even been submitted. I called them about 5 times before someone 'personally' attended to the matter. Suffice to say, my goods were finally released and I picked them up. Hassle and lesson learned (have supplier put realistic value of goods. When I explained the ordeal to my manu she suggested Canada Customs may need to be bribed lol).

So, concurrent to the above, I enlisted the services of about 5 different designers on Fiverr, all to create a logo. Eventually settled on one I liked and found relevant to my product/niche/branding angle. I also had a brochure designed where I wrote the copy, for more "added value" and branding to include with the product. I next had the logo and brochure printed and produced. The sample products I bought came unlabelled in plain packaging, so this was my test branding. My next order should this second test succeed, will include professional packaging with refined branding and logo on product itself.

I also at this time purchased a number of UPC codes, and purchased about 500 upc labels only to discover I cannot use them with Amazon (they use their own internal FNSKU).

Signed up for sellers account and wrote my copy (2000 char limit including html) and optimized title (250 char limit). I uploaded my pics but decided to also buy a gig on fiverr for someone to photoshop the product pics to be optimized size wise and improve color balance and blemishes further. Also forgot to mention I had my product photoshopped into action scenes to illustrate use, not bad for $5.

So next I ship the product to Amazon FBA from Canada, and wait/drive traffic.

So, if this second test succeeds, I will be buying a much larger batch, allowing for custom packaging, branding. Probably ship part by air to restock, the rest via sea. Looking at a company in the US who I can ship to directly and who prepares for FBA to avoid the double duty shipping of the China->Canada->US route. This was learned in another thread.
I will then:
-Get pro photos done
-found a local company who will make a product demo video (youtube is a traffic strategy-I'm going through some youtube marketing courses)
-FB/Social set up
-I have someone creating an Ebook relating to the niche which I will either offer for free with product (coupon code for Amazon kindle) or offer with email signup on website and social sites (mainly FB). List building, dont you know? If you study enough online marketing, this should be hammered into your head.
-Initiate a traffic and rank building strategy to boost sales

Things I need to figure out:
-How to offer a longer warranty/Guarantee through Amazon without having products sent to me, and refunding money potentially years later. Amazon has a 30 day no questions asked, but I want to improve on that.
-Product liability insurance...will probably figure this out later when sales are high enough (ready, fire, aim).

So my main takeaways thus far in my process: Always be learning. I keep finding new ideas and approaches. Topics which at first appear unrelated, actually are (related). Mindset is EVERYTHING. The compound effect/habit keeping: Consistent applied effort in areas THAT MATTER (not stupid stuff like learning the ins and outs of photoshop to design your own logo) will deliver progress. Journey of 1000 miles....yada yada. Online courses are worth taking.
 

Luke1213

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Jun 25, 2014
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I uploaded my pics but decided to also buy a gig on fiverr for someone to photoshop the product pics to be optimized size wise and improve color balance and blemishes further. Also forgot to mention I had my product photoshopped into action scenes to illustrate use, not bad for $5.
Can you recommend who you used for your logo and photoshop on fiverr? I need action shots of my products but if someone can photoshop them for $5, I'm all for it!
 
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ddall

ddall

continuous self-improvement
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Dec 5, 2013
223
814
232
Toronto, ON
It has been a while since I wrote an update.

So what has happened since....

Well, in terms of self-education, I have read the following since last update: (*** denote my favs, although I liked all of them)
The art of learning - Josh Waitzkin ***
Blue Ocean Strategy - Chan Kim
Choose Yourself - JAmes Altucher
Delivering Happiness (about zappos)
Eat that frog - Brian Tracy
Entrepreneur Revolution - Daniel Preistly
The hard thing about hard things - Ben Horowitz
Making a good brain great - Daniel Amen
The One Thing - Gary Keller
The obstacle is the way - Ryan Holiday ***
The power of Habbit - Charles Duhigg
The Talent Code - Daniel Coyle
Rework - David Hanson
The slight edge - Jeff olson ***
The compound effect - Darren hardy ***
The 100$ Start up

Podcasts I've been listing to:
Entrepreneur on fire
Freedom Fastlasne
Forever Jobless
Tim Ferriss

Videos series of entrepreneurs:
Secret Entourage
Maverick Group

What have I accomplished?
-Scrapped light box photos, paid $500 for CGI renderings of product, 10 images including a diagram, with istock photos as background
-ordered more samples, selected final product.
-significant packaging design, including color manual and insert
-hired someone for ebook in niche off odesk, they failed and were fired
-wired 30% deposit for samples

2 Months later
- wired remaining 70%, total of nearly $9K in funds for 500 units, FOB Shenzhen.
- I'm in canada, so I found a customs broker. Logistics look like this for products: China -> San Fran O - clear customs -> FBA Inspection --> FBA
- Customs, duty, brokerage fee plus freight forwarding $1K (product is presently as of this writing en route to FBA Inspection)
- Set up Aweber and sign up form
- Set up website myself using Wix.com
- Set up feedback genius
- Set up lead-pages for facebook ad campaign
- using merchant words for second product research
-Once product in FBA will initiate aggressive marketing campaign, including youtube videos and other efforts

Mindset
-I eat ultra healthy every day. Green smoothies, walnuts, blueberries, salmon, rasberries, almonds, organic butter, kale, broccoli, brussle sprouts etc. I quit coffee, my wife makes me a hot drink instead, made with; cacao, macca, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, vanilla, coconut oil, organic whole milk, ginger....Good shit

-Work out hard 5 days a week, including HIIT at least 4 times. The cardio and sweat is important. Read the books on the brain listed above, you want to optimize your brain function and clarity? Exercise, sleep right and eat right. Nootropics not needed.

- If you are the average of who you surround yourself with.....Everyday I surround myself with winners, champions, experts and entrepreneurs, via audio books, podcasts, videos, and this forum.

Internalize the messages below

photo 1 copy.JPG photo 1.JPG photo 2 copy.JPG photo 2.JPG photo 3 copy.JPG photo 3.JPG photo 4 copy.JPG photo 4.JPG photo 5.JPG photo 6.JPG
 

MoneyDoc

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
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Jun 24, 2014
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Wow, those pictures were great!

I also live in Toronto, great to see fellow Canadians here! Wish you all the best!

Also, I just have a question regarding FBA if you don't mind. I'm about to secure my product with my supplier as well and I would rather use amazon FBA to ship my products because as you know Canada post shipping is expensive! If I wanted to ship to US and Canada, would I need to have both an FBA account on amazon.ca and on amazon.com? If I send my products to amazon.com would they ship to my canadian customers or is it just US?
 

Peakdesire

Burning Desire to Succeed
Speedway Pass
May 16, 2014
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Hey dude great thread. Will be following your progress.

Thanks for the book recommendations!
 
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ddall

ddall

continuous self-improvement
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Dec 5, 2013
223
814
232
Toronto, ON
Wow, those pictures were great!

I also live in Toronto, great to see fellow Canadians here! Wish you all the best!

Also, I just have a question regarding FBA if you don't mind. I'm about to secure my product with my supplier as well and I would rather use amazon FBA to ship my products because as you know Canada post shipping is expensive! If I wanted to ship to US and Canada, would I need to have both an FBA account on amazon.ca and on amazon.com? If I send my products to amazon.com would they ship to my canadian customers or is it just US?
Amazon.ca and Amazon.com are two different entities. IF you want to enter the US market you need to set up a .com account and ship your products to the US. They will not ship your FBA to Canada from the Amazon.com FBA warehouses. If you want to operate within the Canadian marketplace, you need to set up a .ca account and ship to .ca FBA. Hope that helps
 

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Gitrokr

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Feb 17, 2014
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@ddall You're so money!!!

Putting 'The Slight Edge' on my reading list, definitely sounds like what I know the path to success...
Small consistent actions taken DAILY over time to create a BIG change!

Love the mindset, love the images you shared. Thank you.

Keep kickin' A$$ and takin' names!
 
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ddall

ddall

continuous self-improvement
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Dec 5, 2013
223
814
232
Toronto, ON
Update:

Product is doing well on Amazon, selling around 100 plus units a week. Problem: will be out of stock soon. Contemplating using a mixed air/sea shipment for next 1000. Redesigning the next 1000 as well, more customization, sourcing other items to include with packaging. Lowering costs, improving value. Customer service is everything. I've made a few refunds and sent free replacements. I'm in for the long term brand building, not the short, quick buck. I respond to emails as fast as possible.

As Hendrix once said: "And so castles made of sand, fall in the sea, eventually." Building it to last. Amazon is a channel, there is little security. It is best to build a real brand, divorce yourself from Amazon reliance and offer value to the market outside of cheap products and import arbitrage.

I've barely implemented my marketing pushes, and have shelved them for now...why? Because demand is already exceeding supply, and I do not wish to be out of stock for too long. That hampers amazon rankings.

Biggest issues; capital for additional products, my next order of 1000 will cost $16K. I am also looking at secondary and tertiary products, that are related and under the same brand umbrella. More time waiting to get products to market, more capital expenditure (which I dont have in cash, doing everything I can to procure the needed funds). I see an engine starting to chug and turn, but the gasoline supply is inconstant, inventory and cash flow management is a very real issue within this business model.

Books I've read since last update:
Mastery - Robert Greene
50th Law - Robert Greene
Zero to one - Peter Thiel
Art of the Start - Guy Kawasaki (started this, meh)
I will teach you to be rich - Remit Sethi (not my cup of tea, did not finish)

NExt in reading list:
The 48 Laws of Power - Robert Greene
Your Deceptive Mind - The Courses
Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman

Exercising
and clean eating as always. This, I can never not recommend for overall life optimization.
 

Gitrokr

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Feb 17, 2014
36
43
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32
Update:

Product is doing well on Amazon, selling around 100 plus units a week. Problem: will be out of stock soon. Contemplating using a mixed air/sea shipment for next 1000. Redesigning the next 1000 as well, more customization, sourcing other items to include with packaging. Lowering costs, improving value. Customer service is everything. I've made a few refunds and sent free replacements. I'm in for the long term brand building, not the short, quick buck. I respond to emails as fast as possible.

As Hendrix once said: "And so castles made of sand, fall in the sea, eventually." Building it to last. Amazon is a channel, there is little security. It is best to build a real brand, divorce yourself from Amazon reliance and offer value to the market outside of cheap products and import arbitrage.

I've barely implemented my marketing pushes, and have shelved them for now...why? Because demand is already exceeding supply, and I do not wish to be out of stock for too long. That hampers amazon rankings.

Biggest issues; capital for additional products, my next order of 1000 will cost $16K. I am also looking at secondary and tertiary products, that are related and under the same brand umbrella. More time waiting to get products to market, more capital expenditure (which I dont have in cash, doing everything I can to procure the needed funds). I see an engine starting to chug and turn, but the gasoline supply is inconstant, inventory and cash flow management is a very real issue within this business model.

Books I've read since last update:
Mastery - Robert Greene
50th Law - Robert Greene
Zero to one - Peter Thiel
Art of the Start - Guy Kawasaki (started this, meh)
I will teach you to be rich - Remit Sethi (not my cup of tea, did not finish)

NExt in reading list:
The 48 Laws of Power - Robert Greene
Your Deceptive Mind - The Courses
Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman

Exercising
and clean eating as always. This, I can never not recommend for overall life optimization.
Sounds like action! I wish I was able to lend some advice or constructive criticism of some kind, but I don't think I have anything to offer in that regards. It sounds like you have some good problems to be having. You're headed in the right direction and you're headed there with a good amount of speed and action.

I've been meaning to pick up a Robert Greene book for some time now. I take it you enjoy his books?

I got back onto my weightlifting habit and been making sure I get my required amount of protein intake daily. I agree about exercise and nutrition being essential to life.

Another book I have on my list is 'The UltraMind Solution' by Mark Hyman. Have you heard of this?
I've had it raved to me by a couple different sources. Thought it might be up your alley.

Keep on keepin' on, and you're gonna start your 2015 off with some awesome momentum!
 
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ddall

ddall

continuous self-improvement
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Dec 5, 2013
223
814
232
Toronto, ON
Quick update:

Product is selling well, I've hit over $13K/30 days in revenue, almost $5K in the last week. Net profit is around 35% per item sold. I've had to deal with maybe 6 or 7 unhappy customers, immediately refunded and sent new item free of charge. Keeping reviews all 5 stars. Value and customer service is everything, I aim to wow everyone.

Working on bringing second and third product online, will have to ship via sea in every case. Re-designing main product, will be out of stock in 4 days unfortunately. I calculate I am leaving 15-25K in revenue on the table by being out of stock until end of jan. Going to be a longgg wait.

Edit: Sold out now. Hit $6000 last 7 days, I cringe what I would see in December. Inventory management is a big deal

 

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AnthonyM

PARKED
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Sep 15, 2014
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Invaluable information. Thank you! It seems like you are selling with almost no marketing push at all or are you actively pushing FB ads?
 
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ddall

ddall

continuous self-improvement
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Dec 5, 2013
223
814
232
Toronto, ON
Invaluable information. Thank you! It seems like you are selling with almost no marketing push at all or are you actively pushing FB ads?
I use amazon PPC (13% cost of goods sold), youtube, and forum traffic at this point. I'll be really stepping up Youtube SEO, google PPC (test at least, not sure it will be profitable) and will use Facebook "offers" (look it up, many dont know about these). Creating a brand is key (website, significant differentiation), a brand with a competitive advantage. You want blue oceans. With amazon, it is not enough anymore to order some cheap product and slap a logo on it. You really need to create a brand with a voice, style and vibe.
 

MoneyDoc

Gold Contributor
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Hey buddy.

Amazing progress. Just another question. Are you selling on amazon.com only as of now? So only to US customers?
 
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ddall

ddall

continuous self-improvement
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Dec 5, 2013
223
814
232
Toronto, ON
Hey buddy.

Amazing progress. Just another question. Are you selling on amazon.com only as of now? So only to US customers?
Thanks!
Selling on .com. .Ca I think has some long term potential if you target some of the top moving products, but I understand .de is a large market, and .uk also decent.
 

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Traveling Morgue

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Any updates dude? I've been watching this thread because I just love your execution style.
 
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ddall

ddall

continuous self-improvement
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Dec 5, 2013
223
814
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Toronto, ON
Any updates dude? I've been watching this thread because I just love your execution style.
Thanks. I'm still in a transition period waiting for product. I have 1000 units a few days away from arriving at port.

In the meantime I have pulled the trigger on two additional products, and working on branding (writing manuals, video scripts, website, inserts, and going back and forth on packaging). I've also been studying additional marketing strategies, reading etc along the way.

The Chinese New Year is fast approaching, and it will add further delay to turning over inventory that has yet to reach US shores. The Spring Festival is upon us and many close for 15 working days. One company is telling me their factory is working straight through.

A particular supplier representative I have been dealing with is getting married soon. I'll be sending her a gift. Relationship building with the Chinese is essential. I've been saving up points on my CC for a trip to China hopefully this year to visit personally. I'll update this thread in a month or so when stuff gets cooking. I will add with the 1000 units I am frustrated the supplier has disappointing me in one key area I was relentless on them correcting.
 
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ddall

ddall

continuous self-improvement
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Dec 5, 2013
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814
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Toronto, ON
Update:

Here are most of the books I've consumed since last year, in case anyone is interested.:

Steve Jobs Walter Isaacson
Einstein: His Life and Universe Walter Isaacson
Call Me Ted Ted Turner
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Ed Catmull
The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King Rich Cohen
The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World's Healthiest People Dan Buettner
Man's Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl
When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man Jerry Weintraub
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life Walter Isaacson
What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars Brendan Moynihan
Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising Ryan Holiday
Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator Ryan Holiday
Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less Joe Pulizzi
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth Chris Hadfield
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Ron Chernow
How We Decide Jonah Lehrer
The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups from Their Founding Entrepreneurs David Kidder
Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less Sam Carpenter
The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done Peter F. Drucker
The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business Clayton M. Christensen
Sam Walton: Made In America Sam Walton
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1) Steven D. Levitt
I Will Teach You To Be Rich Ramit Sethi
Cashvertising: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone Drew Eric Whitman
Think and Grow Rich Napoleon Hill
The Richest Man in Babylon George S. Clason
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It Michael E. Gerber
The 4-Hour Workweek Timothy Ferriss
Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs Norm Brodsky
Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat Michael Masterson
Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries Peter Sims
Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time Brian Tracy
The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business Josh Kaufman
The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses Eric Ries
Rework Jason Fried
Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition Irrelevant W. Chan Kim
Entrepreneur Revolution: How to Develop Your Entrepreneurial Mindset and Start a Business That Works Daniel Priestley
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School John Medina
Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life Maxwell Maltz
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) Seth Godin
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose Tony Hsieh
The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else Daniel Coyle
Making a Good Brain Great: The Amen Clinic Program for Achieving and Sustaining Optimal Mental Performance Daniel G. Amen
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future Chris Guillebeau
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business Charles Duhigg
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement Eliyahu M. Goldratt
Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time Jeff Sutherland
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life Alice Schroeder
Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way Richard Branson
The Magic of Thinking Big David J. Schwartz
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Malcolm Gladwell
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers -10000-timmarsregeln och andra framgångsfaktorer Malcolm Gladwell
Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters Richard P. Rumelt
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon Brad Stone
The Slight Edge: Secret to a Successful Life Jeff Olson
How to Get Rich Felix Dennis
The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success Darren Hardy
The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime! M.J. DeMarco
The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results Gary Keller
The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph Ryan Holiday
The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence Josh Waitzkin
The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything Guy Kawasaki
The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure Grant Cardone
The 50th Law 50 Cent
The 33 Strategies of War Robert Greene
Mastery Robert Greene
The 48 Laws of Power Robert Greene
How Google Works Eric Schmidt
Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World Peter H. Diamandis
Choose Yourself James Altucher
Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Business Shane Snow
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers Ben Horowitz
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

-----------
Ok, so update:

I'm out of stock yet again. Cash flow/Inventory is a difficult horse to straddle while also expanding.

I was out of stock for nearly 4 months, including missing all of Christmas. Was an agonizing delay, exacerbated by CNY and the redic west coast port strike.

Upon getting in stock sold out in about two months, with 30 day trailing sales about $27K US in rev.

I incorporated, and also applied for a business loan, which I received, to help with inventory purchase. Problem is there are so many obstacles before funds are deposited (it is a government entrepreneurship program, so need full business plan, income statement, and have to meet with a mentor they assign. This has all been passed and accepted. Talked on phone, great guy but out of country now for three weeks. He needs to complete a form to allow funds to be released, bad timing here as I need to place orders now to keep inventory in stock.

I'll be getting new stock in two weeks, air shipping at great expense, and if sales resume as before I will be out of stock yet again way before I get another shipment.

I have product number 2 going through customs now before I launch. Product number three is almost finished and will ship via sea. I also have a 4th product in the works that will not be as good a seller but better margins.

So, I am doling out like 60K CAD in inventory, most of which is borrowed funds, trying to get the timing for inventory right as well as expand.

I've negotiated payment terms with main supplier, from 30/70 with balance due on completion, to 50/50 with balance due 30 days after shipped. Trying to get that to 45 days so I have two weeks to turn inventory assuming 30 days to get in stock when sea shipping (3 weeks plus customs etc). My supplier has continually lowered my purchase costs which is great.

I am also in the works of a 5th product under a new brand. All of my products are strongly related, this 5th one will retail for $100 or so. It is a passion project.

I REALLY need to get the inventory/cash flow sorted out before October where I want to be prepared for holiday madness.

I've encountered numerous obstacles to date, but each one is a barrier to entry. Learn to welcome them, they will never stop coming, so tighten up your resilience.
 

The-J

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Bro, don't forget: meetup is this Saturday. If you've got problems, please bring them up! We want to know!

Keep kickin a$$, man. Rep+
 

Iwokeup

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Great thread, man.
 
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ddall

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I got an email from Amazon asking for me to give them a call regarding a direct partnership. I believe they are referring to vendor central.

This article http://content26.com/blog/looking-for-amazon-vendor-central-help/ and comments have turned me against the idea, and thus far I intend to remain as a third party seller. @JAJT @biophase Any insight or exeperiance with vendor central vs seller central. Would seem you give up a lot of control, 90 day pament terms, but get an improved template, "shipped and sold by amazon", bulk orders.

Big loss of control I think, lower margins, generally seems unappealing.
 

biophase

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I got an email from Amazon asking for me to give them a call regarding a direct partnership. I believe they are referring to vendor central.

This article http://content26.com/blog/looking-for-amazon-vendor-central-help/ and comments have turned me against the idea, and thus far I intend to remain as a third party seller. @JAJT @biophase Any insight or exeperiance with vendor central vs seller central. Would seem you give up a lot of control, 90 day pament terms, but get an improved template, "shipped and sold by amazon", bulk orders.

Big loss of control I think, lower margins, generally seems unappealing.
I think you get lower margins, but you also get better search placement, 90 day payment would suck. I wouldn't do it if asked.
 

putinwork

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Awesome thread, great seeing another Canadian doing FBA.

I've heard you can also do FBA + Vendor so at least you also spread your risk around and not just selling to FBA by yourself.
 
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ddall

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It's been a long time since I've made an update.

Things are growing well, I am expanding into another brand and going deep in my initial niche outside of Amazon. I am working with over a dozen products and have 7 more in development, same niche.

In a few months I am going to make a very concerted effort to make sales off of AMZ.

Sponsored ads by Amazon are going up considerably over time. See image.
 

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