Every quarter I take stock of my business and my life. What am I doing? What am I going to do? And why? I put it all down in a quarterly business report. If you want to know how much money I’ve earned this quarter, you can do here.
I’ve spent almost all the last three months in Chiang Mai (apart from three days in Pai, see above). This quiet provincial capital with just one bar that stays open after midnight (officially speaking) is the perfect place to get stuff done.
And a lot has been happening, business-wise, this quarter. Let’s get going:
Amazon FBA profits
Let’s start with some good news. I’m delighted to see my first product creeping up in the listings for its main keyword and secondary keyword. Amazon pay you twice a month. I take these payments and subtract the cost of manufacturing and transporting the number of units sold to Amazon to get a per unit profit figure.
I’ve turned a profit for 5 the last 6 payments from Amazon. Here’s an article on how much money I spent and the time it took before my Amazon FBA business got to profit.
I ran an Amazon promotion through ZonBlast to improve my rankings. I was disappointed with the outcome. Usually when you run price reductions and promotions it improves your rankings and sales but this particular “ZonBlast” was extremely expensive ($1500) and did less well than the cheaper alternatives out there – AMZtracker and Snagshout. I will write an article shortly to compare Amazon review and promotion products.
However, I’m making money on the first product and I’m desperate to get my 2nd, 3rd and 4th products onto the platform.
I was delighted to be approached by a group of successful Udemy instructors to produce an introductory WordPress course as part of a freelance developer bundle. Udemy didn’t allow us to publish the bundle so we sold it on StackSkills.
This gave me an opportunity to put the course on various platforms (Udemy, Skillshare, StackSkills, Amazon, my own, etc.) and test out how it sold on various platforms. Unfortunately, due to an issue at ActiveCampaign, I was unable to segment my lists successfully. But I managed to make at least $3000 from the launch.
I’m making a new course at the moment. I wanted to do something completely different so the working title is: How To Start A Successful Online Business. Because that’s what I’ve done. 🙂
Lack of motivation
Despite (or maybe because of) being incredibly happy living in Thailand, I’ve been noticing that I’m not springing out of bed to work on my business with the same urgency and delight that I once did.
I’m happy with the way things are going with my business. I can’t say that I’m bored because I love my business and it’s as exciting as its ever been in terms of new challenges.
Sure, things are going wrong (Udemy sales down, ActiveCampaign issues, wasting money with ZonBlast, etc.) but these things always happen and they rarely demotivate me.
Income report negativity
There is an increase in negativity about my income reports. I’ve always had criticism for publishing my income reports but it was always countered by the positivity I got from people. I liked the idea of helping people so this kept me going. The criticisms I usually get about the passive income reports are:
- You’re boasting – I don’t want to know how much money you make.
- You’re lying – You don’t make that much money. You’re exaggerating to sell a product.
- It’s not passive income – You have to work to create products and sell them (who’da thought?)
- You’re not making enough money – Profits are down and, anyway, $5,000+/month passive income isn’t good enough.
And so it goes on. So, I’ve been thinking. How do these reports benefit me? I like the accountability. I can see whether I’m relying on one platform too much and I can see if I’m making more than last year (or less as the case may be).
I can get that accountability “behind closed doors”. I have a Drive Sheets doc where my VA and I keep all the figures. We can still update this every quarter without having to bother about the income report blog post itself which takes a lot of time.
So the last income report may well be my last ever. Now I think that I should concentrate more on helping my business get tangible results and less on helping other people for free. From now on I don’t want to be the “courses guy” or, even worse, the “Udemy guy”, I want to be the “guy who makes money but doesn’t necessarily have to tell everyone how and how much”.
My antidote to lack of motivation
I’ve concentrated on three things in the last two weeks. And they work:
- Increase in physical exercise
- Spending at least one hour everyday doing something that gets me closer to where I want to be:
I’ve really been making an effort with meditation since coming back to Chiang Mai in May. Things have been going well. I get out of bed and do a couple of warm up stretches I learned in my Tai Chi classes (swinging arms and sink & pray) and then I’ve tried to do 20 minutes meditation.
For the last 2 or 3 weeks I’ve been making sure I do a good load of exercise at least 3 times a week. This consists of running outside for 4-6 kilometers followed by a bit of weight-lifting.
Then I’ve set myself a task each day (two things everyday that gets me closer to where I want to be):
- To record or edit at least 5 minutes of video for my new course How To Start A Successful Online Business
- To make at least 4 email enquiries to suppliers for potential Amazon FBA products to sell
I found the feeling of achievement of getting the above tasks done each day (which probably only took 90 minutes) as well as meditation and physical exercise got me out of a funk.
Above you can see the moment I made this realisation. Simple: goals plus meditation plus exercise equals happiness. Rock on!
I’m now concentrating on earning at least $10,000 passive income profits per month and my Amazon FBA business is going to be the main driver toward this goal.
My business report: Quarterly business targets
Specific business targets
Here are specific targets that I set three months ago and more targets for three months’ time.
|Target||Q2 2016 Target||Q2 2016 Actual||Q3 2016 target|
|Monthly sessions (traffic to my site)||22,000||17,695||secret|
Traffic is stagnant; profit is stagnant. However, I hope to dramatically increase my passive income towards the end of the year as I add more products to my Amazon brand. We’ll see.
General business targets
Last quarter I had five targets. Here’s how I got on (not very well!):
- Amazon FBA product number one: on the first page for it’s primary keyword ✓ Target Hit!
- Amazon FBA product number one: has over 300 reviews ✗ Target Missed!
- Amazon FBA product number one: making at least $2000/month passive income ✗ Target Missed! (only just missed!)
- Amazon FBA product number two: launched ✗ Target Missed!
- Publish one Kindle ✗ Target Missed!
Here are my business targets from now until the end of the third quarter 2016:
- Launch a second Amazon FBA product
- Launch a third Amazon FBA product
I always add these indicators to my business report. I’m not sure I’ll be sharing this going forward.
|Indicator||30th Sep 2015||31st Dec 2015||31st March 2016||30th June 2016|
|My Twitter followers||3309||3418||3574||4835|
|My YouTube Channel, subscribers||3471||3825||4193||4553|
|My YouTube Channel, video views||765,373||827,482||899,725||965,615|
|Facebook page Likes/Fans||3388||12,323||28,149||37,119|
|Subscribers to RobCubbon.com||9059||9380||9435||9108|
|Subscribers to my free courses||2006||2393|
There are a few thing to note on the above figures:
- My Twitter and Instagram follower numbers swelled due to automatic following and unfollowing with the help of MassPlanner. However, MassPlanner proved too difficult to keep working so I cancelled my subscription.
- It’s great to see my Facebook Page benefitting from the tactics I learned in Steven Aitchison’s Your Digital Formula course (affiliate link) that include how to create image quotes to increase Likes on your Facebook Page.
- I’m closing in on one million YouTube video views! Woohoo!
- Unfortunately, due to a bot issue at ActiveCampaign I have lost subscribers on my main email list
I’m not sure I’ll be sharing this going forward. What do you think?
Philanthropy, gifting and donations
I donate a total of $460 a month to charities from my business. I was inspired by a Smart Passive Income podcast by Pat Flynn with Dale Partridge of People Over Profit although I’ve always been interested in gifting. I hope to donate more as the business grows.
Again, I don’t want to be accused of showing off so I might not publish the donations going forward. Again, how is this benefitting me or anyone else? What do you think?
Life is great in Chiang Mai. I have my favorite restaurants, cafes, massage places, running track, gym and friends all within a 10 minute bike journey. And added to this, I’m in the middle of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
The challenge will come when I leave this place and get back on the road again. I need to continue with weekly physical exercise and daily meditation.
And then I’ll need to return to the UK soon. The challenge will be to keep a positive mental attitude when away from Thailand.
I hope these business reports help other entrepreneurs, business people and those starting out. I certainly want to continue them every quarter.
However, I’m not going to share as much going forward. So there will be far less information about my business’s income. But, most importantly, what do you think? What would you like me to share going forward? What would help you?