Welcome to a further instalment in my wonderful business and life! Every quarter I crunch the business’s figures, work out what’s wrong and what’s right, and, basically think out loud on my blog. Thank you for putting up with me.
This quarter has been, on the face of it, quite eventful. These last three months, I have:
- Launched three courses
- Wasted a lot of money on FBA and given up on a product
- And, I think, finally did what I’ve always wanted: start a viable side business that is totally separate from my brand
Let’s start with my “successes”. Don’t worry, as usual you’ll also get the dirty details of my horrendous failures.
Merch by Amazon success!
I love thee Merch By Amazon. Why do I love thee Merch By Amazon?
Well, compare it to two years of Amazon FBA pain: sourcing products, paying upfront for inventory, organizing transportation, spending a fortune on ads and, ultimately, loosing money despite selling thousands of products.
With Merch By Amazon, I identify a niche, design a t-shirt, upload a PNG … And. That. Is. It. Amazon does everything else and I sit back and watch the royalties come in.
Bringing in $120 a week, doesn’t sound great. But I’ve only just started. I never spend more that an hour a day on it. It’s got potential: I conservatively predict that this little side business will be bringing in over $1000 a month by the end of the year.
That’s over $1000 a month, pure profit, while spending less than an hour a day. Who knows where this will be this time next year!
The only blot on the horizon is Amazon’s trigger-happy habit of banning accounts. I’ve had nearly 10 rejections of designs that have fallen foul of their strict content policy.
If you want to know more about Merch By Amazon:
- how to make sure you get accepted straightway
- how to identify profitable niches quickly
- and how to make sure you don’t get your account banned
And, generally, if you want to know how to do Merch By Amazon right, you should take my brand new course: Merch by Amazon: An Introduction to Selling Print On Demand T-Shirts.
And, talking of courses …
More course launch success!
Regular readers will know that selling courses has been an important part of my business for a long time. This quarter I launched three courses:
- WordPress Security: Secure & Lock Down Your Site Against Hackers!
- The Complete Steemit Course: Earn Cryptocurrency For Free (Free Course)
- Merch by Amazon: An Introduction to Selling Print On Demand T-Shirts
For along time, Udemy was my main way of selling courses. This was both good and bad.
Udemy was good for me because it brought in nice monthly revenues and expanded my audience. It was bad because it got me in the habit of accepting low prices for my courses and it made me over-reliant on one platform for passive income.
Now I sell the premium versions of my courses on my site and “watered down” or lite versions on Udemy. My latest course on Merch By Amazon is doing well on both platforms.
This last month, for some reason, I received really good organic sales from my autoresponder emails. As a result I’m now running Facebook ads retargeting my website’s visitors to get them to join the mailing list.
It’s all about the list…
More Amazon FBA pain
Well, we’ve been here before. I’ve put a lot of money into my first two products.
My first product sells OK. I used a Viral Launch promo to get it “above the fold” in the results for its main keyword. I failed. It pushed it up to 7th in the rankings, on the third row and therefore just “below the fold”. I increased my spend on PPC ads but despite all this there wasn’t a reasonable increase in sales to justify continuing. So, the product descended back to the mid-page position it’s always been in.
My second product doesn’t sell. I’d already done a Viral Launch promo of 100 units which failed to get it off the ground so I blasted it with another Viral Launch promo of 350 units. And, nothing. So I’m discontinuing that product.
It’s too early to tell whether my third product will do any good. I’ve just ordered another 300 units to see how it goes. Fingers crossed on that one.
I’ve spent nearly two years trying and failing at FBA. I’ve just crunched the figures – I’ve actually lost money on it. So where do I go from here? I really don’t know but I’m going to keep at it.
Steemit, YouTube and content creation
Content creation remains a central part of my business. Last quarter I said I was trying to do more video and posting more on the Steemit platform. I also did a free course on Steemit in an attempt to further understand the platform as well as to introduce more people to it.
I’m still positive about the Steemit model. It’s a blockchain based social media network with a win-win model of rewarding content creators and users with cryptocurrency. However, I’m not really making much money there – a few dollars a post (although cryptocurrencies being what they are a few dollars could equal a fortune in the future – or nothing at all).
Lots of people are questioning me. Why do I bother with this platform? I have to say that I question myself sometimes. But I will persevere with it for the time being. Content creation is a long game. Always has been. So is investment: the total amount of Steem I own is increasing.
The new videos on YouTube (for example the one above on Bangkok) haven’t done well at all. My viewing and subscriber figures are rising painfully slowly despite all the extra effort. On YouTube I tend to see success with the odd technical “how-to” video. Otherwise, my “talking head” videos only get a handful of views.
Anyway, I shall persevere on this as well.
I invested some money in cryptocurrencies, mostly Ethereum, back in March/April this year. The word “rollercoaster” would be apt to describe the journey.
A lot of the money I invested in March/April started producing amazing returns initially. The price of Ethereum, which I’d bought at $40 soared to the heights of $400 at one point.
This situation was hugely conflicting. I began spending too much time watching the price of Ethereum and Bitcoin, and keeping an eye on Twitter to see what was happening to my investments, and less time doing what an entrepreneur is supposed to do: hustle.
Then the Ethereum price started to falter. To make matters worse, another investment did extremely badly. I lost a lot of money. Even worse, I wrote about it here and other people who’d invested as a result lost money as well.
The situation has calmed down a lot this quarter. I’ve been buying and selling less, and holding more. I’ve not being looking at the price so much – although spending too much time on Twitter. This is something I’ll be putting right in the next quarter.
I’m firming up an exit strategy in my mind. By the end of the tax year I intend to take out my original investment in crypto.
What I’ve been up to
I spent most of Thailand’s rainy season in Chiang Mai. The rainy season really wasn’t that rainy this year. It rained on average about 30 minutes a day – usually the 30 minutes when I had somewhere to go to though.
I took a trip down to Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, to check out some different weather and scenery.
And now I’m off to London to visit family. After that, I’ll go back to Thailand for high season. Five months of unbroken sunshine and bike rides. I can’t wait.
OK. It’s goal time. By the end of the next quarter I will:
- Be making $1000+/month on Merch By Amazon
- Have launched at least one course on Photoshop design for Merch By Amazon
- Be making a profit on Amazon FBA
By the way, if you read my last business report from Q2 2017, I’m delighted to say that I achieved all but one of my goals!
You can do it (and emails I get)
I get lots of emails from people asking me about business. If you’ve recently sent me an email don’t think I’m talking about you here. I get a lot of emails.
Just recently two or three of the emails really struck me. I’m a lucky guy. But I was in a bad situation over a decade ago. I thought getting a website live was beyond me. Then I managed to create a website. Then I got one visitor. And then another.
I took it slowly. I still do. The goals are small. The affirmations are huge.
You will get there.
Lots of love from BKK! Rob x