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Progress Thread Time to Get Serious For Once! [eCommerce & Info Marketting]

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by New, Dec 10, 2016.

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  1. New
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    Good evening everybody! As you know I have been lurking for a while here.

    Time to stop this time-wasting and to focus on generating scalable businesses that bring in income.



    I opened this thread for two purposes:

    1) To put in black and white my long-term and short-term goals, and to report EVERY day whether I achieved them or not.

    2) To share the learning experiences I have in this process with people who start their execution journey after me or who are at the same stage as me.


    Where I'm Coming From:
    I have been selling virtual goods on eBay since November 2015 until July 2016. Almost reached ~$5k montly in sales (~$1.5k profit), but the whole thing was illegal and totally not compatible with NECST. From July 2016 until December 2016, started dropshipping on eBay. Everything went well, but margin was thin (last month, ~$2k montly revenue, ~$200 profit), and my account was closed due to too many complaints and disputes from buyers (I was aware of the risk).


    Plan of action:

    - Continue with the eBay business

    - Start importing goods, and send them from EU to other EU countries (avoid seller standards and feedback problem)
    - Since I have no budget to import in bulk from Alibaba, I will be buying through Aliexpress 3-5 units of each potential item.
    - The criteria for potential item is Sell-Through Rate of 50% or more, less than 15 competitors, around $1000 per seller (using sellers per day and total sales), and being able to sell the product at the market price while still getting 30% margin. This should increase my margins 3x compared to dropshipping.
    - Experiment with IM

    - Not exactly sure I should split my focus between 2 completely different fields, but writing comes sort of easy to me, and I actually enjoy it, so perhaps I could give it a try.

    Also, since I'm purchasing from Aliexpress it will take about 1 month for the products to arrive. So might as well spend that time productively.

    - Uncover potential niches and problems people have
    - Research keywords related to the problems
    - Create blogs
    - Create infoproducts

    Goals:

    - (Long-Term) Dedicate 40 hours weekly on my entrepreneurial venues. As if it was a full-time job. Quit f*cking around.
    - (Long-Term) Make it an habit of being able to concentrate and work wherever I am. On train (I spend at least 40 minutes every day commuting to college and back), in class, while waiting for something/someone.
    - (Mid-Term) By 11th February, $600 USD monthly profit (at least forecasted)
    - (Short-Term) Find 10 potential items for listing on eBay, according to the criteria mentioned before. Order 3-5 units of each.
    - (Short-Term) Find possibility to get the products sent quicker than 1 month. Too much to wait, slow learning.
    - (Short-Term) Find keywords related to a list of niches/problems I generated for the IM venture. Evaluate them (search volume / competition). Open blogs and start posting articles with those keywords.
    - (Short-Term) Learn more on IM (inexperienced). Learn on the go if possible to save time.



    That's it. Hope to some of you guys what I post here will be useful. I'll try to be as useful as possible, however I am also using this thread as a personal log and motivation to keep me pushing, so I might get too self-centered at times (like now).


    Any feedback or comments are welcome! Thank you. :D

     
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  2. miked_d
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    miked_d Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    When you say illegal do you mean against the law or against eBay terms of service?
     
  3. New
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    Well, that wasn't too serious so far...


    I opened this thread (& decided to act) during exam period at college, so due to bad timing, could do little back at those days. Plus I learned that my discipline is lacking currently, need to work on that.

    Since I worked about 1h a day on the previous week I won't consider that as really moving towards my goals, and will rather start the counter on Friday, which is when I really got focussed.


    What I did:
    Friday 16.02 & Saturday 17.02

    - Research some products from the demand side (STR, sales per seller...) - I think for now I have a good enough list
    - Dropped the bar for the margin expectations from 30% to 5 EUR per sale (figured out if I get 5 euro per item shipped, it will be worth going to the post office :) )
    - Got a mentor for IM stuff from Warrior Forum
    - Analyzed the products I researched from the supply side (i.e. If I can buy them from Aliexpress, if I can still get the 5 E margin by reselling them, etcetera).

    Hours worked:
    Friday 16.02

    6 Hours
    Sat 17.02
    3 Hours

    Total 9/40 hours for the week.

    Learning outcomes:
    --
    Mentors and help from people who already did it is VERY important in business
    - Creative approach to problems: I was losing much time searching products from the demand side but then learning that I could not get 30% margin for them. Then I realized, why do I need a percentage margin?
    - Need to get focussed when I work. I lose too much time with Facebook, searching for music on YT, etc
    - Need to join IM mastermind groups to learn
     
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  4. New
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    Hey Miked_d, thank you for stopping by.

    I mean the latter. Against eBay's ToS. As when it comes to law, it was sort of borderline, one of those grey hat methods. Wouldn't recommend doing that to anyone though, a business on a shady foundation won't last long.
     
  5. New
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    Alright, so a quick update.

    Sun 18.12

    - Analyzed products further from Supply side. Almost finished. Planned to buy them all on Monday, but unfortunately, I had only 300€ reserved, and I have to give them all to repay a loan of aprox. the same sum.

    - Cannot order the products until 4th of Jan when I get my student grant (and even then I will be able to purchase only a limited stock, as I will have about 150€ spare). Not good, need to find a short-term supply of capital to continue further.

    - Worked 3h

    Mon 19.12


    - Finished product research list, still stuck with the money problem.

    Worked 3h

    Tue 20.12

    - Talked with a friend about setting up 2 IM niche websites
    - Planned it out, did some keyword research. Spread some tasks on the keyword research.

    Worked 1,5h

    Day 5/7
    Hours worked 16,5/40h

    Currently underachieving by a lot.



    Why?

    - I attribute this fact to 2 factors:
    -- 1) Spending too much time on reading and too little on doing
    -- 2) I'm having 2 major goals at once: first one is this, setting up profitable business. Second, I am trying to tackle Social & Approach Anxiety, which is limiting me really a lot in life (both personal and professional, i.e. not making connecitons, not able to make like-minded friends). So I spend a lot of time on doing drills (i.e. talking to 5 strangers every day, going around looking people in the eye, so on) and on going to events for the sake of socializing only (namely parties and networking events).

    2nd aspect I'm not willing to sacrifice, but 1st I should definetely get rid of to get more hours for business purposes.


    Learning outcomes:

    - Money matters. I already had this problem when I started dropshipping, but then since I had a decent cashflow from this model I already forgot about the importance of capital. I thought that just by taking action, and investing time, I could do business. Wrong, money is everything. If it's not a barrier at this stage, eventually it will be one.

    - Time matters. Discovered this app Togglr, recommended by some user of this forum (forgot your name, but thank you a lot). It helps you to track where your daily time goes. Very, very useful, I recommend it to everyone.

    - Co-working space: figured out that, after I return from holidays, I will be going every day to a co-working space we have in the city center. This way I get a chance to chat with people that are doing similar things.

    - Daily habits: I'm trying to build some habits to improve myself. First is mantaining good posture while working on PC, I found it always to be a challenge. I set up a timer every 30 minutes to remind me to put my body upright.

    Second, I will from now on dedicate 30 minutes every day to post on TMF and other forums and try to provide people with value whenever I can, as well as ask relevant questions to learn more from others.


    That's all, thanks everyone who's following
     
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    Well, I screwed up a little bit.

    Went on 5 day trip, everything got upside down, schedule was destroyed.

    Long story short, I did not meet the 40 hours benchmark.

    I will be restarting the journey today. Will be home in about 1 hour (23:00 local time) and the goal is to work until 2AM uninterruptedly.

    Also, what I'm going to do:

    - Instead of buying stock, I will go risk-free: list the items without having them, and then tell people we're out of stock and refund their money

    - This way I can see the real popularity of different items and thus what quantity I need to purchase, without any investment upfront

    - It will kill my seller standards, but here's the thing: they get evaluated every month. So I have 1 month to play with this.

    - After the sellers rating drops to below-average and my account is doomed, I will create a new one. And on that one I will actually list products I have, which I will order based on the estimates obtained from the previous steps.

    Essentially the reason for this is: I have no money to invest upfront, but still want to keep going.

    Rectifying my previous conclusion: money IS everything, but when you don't have it... think out of the box!
     
  7. New
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    6.01.2017

    Happy new year everyone reading!

    Once again I have failed to keep the discipline, so I am creating more actionable steps to meet the 40 hours benchmark.

    - From now on, I will wake up at 8 am every day, get ready for work at 8:30 am. Then work until 13:00pm. That's 4:30h a day.

    - Then I will get to work from 17:00 to 19:30. That's 1:30h more.

    - Total of 6 hours a day which multiplied by 7 days should give me the amount of hours I'm aiming for (slightly more, 42 hours).

    Let's see if this way I can keep myself more accountable.
     
  8. Mainstream7
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    Mainstream7 Bronze Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    What are you doing outside of these hours.
     
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  9. New
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    Hey, thank you for the comment.

    There are currently several activities where my time goes. Thanks to your suggestion, I actually made an excel table to analyze my time spending.


    - Gym (including walking back and forth): [2.33 HRS]
    - Events (depends on what day. I try to go to atleast 2 a week so as to socialize. Usually one lasts 6 hours, including back and forth time): [0 HRS or 6 HRS]
    - College (currently 0 hours as holidays, but I expect it to be ~4 HRS when it starts, several days a week): [0 HRS or 4 HRS]
    - Sleep (8 hours, otherwise productivity suffers) [8 HRS]
    - Approach Anxiety drills / Dating (okay, this one's embarassing to talk about but I have a pretty bad social anxiety and am generally a loser with women, so it is one problem I am actively trying to solve, and it is as important for me as my entrepreneurial journey, if not more. I will try to dedicate 3 hours at least a couple of days to approach and make small talk with women, online dating, etc): [0 HRS or 3 HRS]
    - Cooking / Dressing / Grooming and other activities of this kind (2 hours) [2 HRS]
    - Eating: [0.33 HRS]
    - Work: [5.5 HRS]
    - Rest is lost due to lack of discipline (FB, etc)

    So you can see that it all reduces to the trade-off between my social acitivities (events, dating, college) and working hours.

    If I go to an event and to college, for example, my working hours will be reduced to small amount. So I will try to either go to event / go to college / do the dating related stuff, not at the same time, in order to keep my working hours constant.

    11.01.2017

    - The fixed working schedule worked amazingly well, for several days I've been following it and advancing with a speed of light.
    - I finally tweaked it out a little bit. Instead of 6 hours, I am working 5 hours 30 min, and I do them straight, in one sole working session
    - I wake up at 7:30 am, get to work at 7:45 am, and work non-stop until 13:15 pm. Doing this 7 days a week yields a worktime of 38,5 hrs, close to my 40 hours goal.
    - I have uploaded 22 products for testing on eBay, and split-tested how different images and marketplaces (eBay.co.uk vs eBay.de) affect visibility and sales.
    - Let's see what happens. Meanwhile I'm done with eBay, now will get onto IM.
     
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  10. New
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    26.01.2017

    Alright guys, just figured out I'd post a quick update.

    - The schedule has worked amazingly well, I've never been as productive in my life as I am now.

    - I left the 22 products on eBay to test. I got some questions from potential buyers (2-3), but no sales, which is bad news (if from 22 products I don't get sales on any, well, that means all the research has gone to waste). I will wait for 30 days though, to fully make sure.

    - But, my IM progress is going well:
    - Wrote 20 articles
    - Bought 2 domain names and set-up wordpress on them
    - Setting up pop-ups for mail list and analytics as we speak
    - Wrote 2 eBooks for Free Give-away (15-20 pages each)
    - Wrote 2 eBooks for Selling (20-30 pages)
    - Started doing podcasts about same content as the articles to give credibility (i.e. so people hear my voice). Also created an "about me" page with my photo.
    - Explored clickbank offers but they were shitty, so I think I'll pass. I don't want to sell things just for the sake of selling, I want them to provide value for my readers
    - Looked into supplement business, as I want to make 1 supplement for the readers of 1 of the blogs, which will be about beating shyness/social anxiety (and I know what supplements work because I've tried them on myself).
    - The blogs are still not public, but will be in 1-2 weeks. I will post URLS here

    - Any tips on how to get feedback on the articles & books as soon as I open? I thought about joining FB groups and sharing all the books for free, then joining reddit and making some contribuitive posts refering people to my blog whenever possible. I expect this "networking" attempt to take at least 1 month however to start giving results.
    - Also, I've beat my social anxiety to a very considerable degree. I am part of the organizor teams of 2 major entrepreneurial events of Finland now, and I started eating out alone and going to clubs with friends regularly (anyone with social anxiety can attest to the fact that doing that seems like a nightmare... but turns out when you achieve your business goals, you start to love challenges).


    UPDATE: Some more careful observations on the eBay experiment:

    - I've got 3 questions, 2 regarding the same item X
    - I've got one 50 Eur offer for the item X (BIN is 57 Eur)

    [​IMG]

    Still, I'm very dissatisfied.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
  11. New
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    4.02.2017

    Things are going great.

    - Blog #1 is almost finished (15 articles + 2 eBooks). I'm going to release it tomorrow hopefully.
    - Also thinking where to get feedback for the eBooks. Will try FB groups.
    - On eBay I got 3 sales of the same product I previously got the offer for (so, 4 sales total). The margin is 5 euro per sale which is enough for me for now, so I guess I will order 10-20 products from Alibaba and see how it goes.

    Excited.