Niche Pursuits http://www.nichepursuits.com Find Business Ideas, Niche Websites, and much more! Wed, 20 May 2015 19:09:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1Things and Things and Things! Niche Pursuits no Niche Pursuits sample@email.com sample@email.com (Niche Pursuits) Sample Podcast about Sample Things Niche Pursuits http://www.nichepursuits.com/wp-content/images/niche-pursuits-podcast-cover.jpghttp://www.nichepursuits.com Richland, WA Podcast 62: April Income Report and Thinking Big with Amazon Physical Productshttp://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-62-april-income-report-and-thinking-big-with-amazon-physical-products/ http://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-62-april-income-report-and-thinking-big-with-amazon-physical-products/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 19:09:34 +0000 http://www.nichepursuits.com/?p=5341 Welcome to another episode of the Niche Pursuits podcast! Today Perrin and I are excited to bring you the income reports for the authority site and my amazon product. We also discuss a pivot I am making in my business … Continued

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Welcome to another episode of the Niche Pursuits podcast! Today Perrin and I are excited to bring you the income reports for the authority site and my amazon product.

We also discuss a pivot I am making in my business based on these numbers.

The details of these income reports can be found in this blog post from last week.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we discuss on the podcast today:

Last month our authority site brought in $912.70, mostly from Kindle books, and some Adsense revenue. We did grow from 625 to 1300 email subscribers which is excellent.

However, at this point we’re facing a bit of a reality check: we’re now 10 months in to this project, and the traffic is not growing like we had hoped.

Currently we’re spending $3,000-4,000 per month on content creation and marketing. Over the past several months we’ve spent $15,000-20,000 and only realized $7,000 revenue.

On the other hand, my Amazon product launched March 28 and saw revenues of $4,400 in the first 30 days. This started as a very casual side project, but we sold out of the first batch of 105 units in 40 days for an initial revenue of $6,000.

Looking forward we’re planning to increase profit margins through lower freight costs and lower price per unit due to economies of scale with our manufacturer.

The difference in momentum between these two projects is allowing for a pretty clear decision in our business focus. As of today we will be putting the authority site on hold and try to make it more passive. We will finish a book we have in the works, and continue to operate the site, but we won’t be putting many more resources into building it out.

At this point, we will be focusing almost entirely on growing the Amazon physical products business. This will allow us to scale this into what could be a very big business. I can see a portfolio of Amazon products doing millions of dollar per year (potentially).

To do this we will be creating a portfolio of products and creating a website for these products that we plan to grow. The same lessons we learned in building niche sites will continue to apply to these Amazon products and related sites: keyword research, content creation, and paid acquisition.

One important take away that Perrin and I have been thinking about is the importance of having your own products to scale a business. This is something I learned with LongTailPro, and continue to reinforce in my business now through Amazon FBA.

If you’re enjoying the show and would like to show your appreciation for the Niche Pursuits podcast in general, please leave a rating on iTunes right here.

As always, I would love to hear any feedback in the comment below.  Thanks!

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http://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-62-april-income-report-and-thinking-big-with-amazon-physical-products/feed/ 20 Welcome to another episode of the Niche Pursuits podcast! Today Perrin and I are excited to bring you the income reports for the authority site and my amazon product. - We also discuss a pivot I am making in my business based on these numbers. - Welcome to another episode of the Niche Pursuits podcast! Today Perrin and I are excited to bring you the income reports for the authority site and my amazon product.We also discuss a pivot I am making in my business based on these numbers.The details of these income reports can be found in this blog post from last week.Here's a quick rundown of what we discuss on the podcast today:Last month our authority site brought in $912.70, mostly from Kindle books, and some Adsense revenue. We did grow from 625 to 1300 email subscribers which is excellent.However, at this point we’re facing a bit of a reality check: we’re now 10 months in to this project, and the traffic is not growing like we had hoped.Currently we’re spending $3,000-4,000 per month on content creation and marketing. Over the past several months we’ve spent $15,000-20,000 and only realized $7,000 revenue.On the other hand, my Amazon product launched March 28 and saw revenues of $4,400 in the first 30 days. This started as a very casual side project, but we sold out of the first batch of 105 units in 40 days for an initial revenue of $6,000.Looking forward we’re planning to increase profit margins through lower freight costs and lower price per unit due to economies of scale with our manufacturer.The difference in momentum between these two projects is allowing for a pretty clear decision in our business focus. As of today we will be putting the authority site on hold and try to make it more passive. We will finish a book we have in the works, and continue to operate the site, but we won’t be putting many more resources into building it out.At this point, we will be focusing almost entirely on growing the Amazon physical products business. This will allow us to scale this into what could be a very big business. I can see a portfolio of Amazon products doing millions of dollar per year (potentially).To do this we will be creating a portfolio of products and creating a website for these products that we plan to grow. The same lessons we learned in building niche sites will continue to apply to these Amazon products and related sites: keyword research, content creation, and paid acquisition.One important take away that Perrin and I have been thinking about is the importance of having your own products to scale a business. This is something I learned with LongTailPro, and continue to reinforce in my business now through Amazon FBA.If you’re enjoying the show and would like to show your appreciation for the Niche Pursuits podcast in general, please leave a rating on iTunes right here.As always, I would love to hear any feedback in the comment below.  Thanks! Niche Pursuits no 43:52
April 2015 Income Report: Physical Product Sales Versus Authority Sitehttp://www.nichepursuits.com/april-2015-income-report-physical-product-sales-versus-authority-site/ http://www.nichepursuits.com/april-2015-income-report-physical-product-sales-versus-authority-site/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 17:58:07 +0000 http://www.nichepursuits.com/?p=5312 For the past several months, I have been sharing the income for my authority site project, and this month is no different! You will have a chance to see the income from the website that Perrin and I have been … Continued

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For the past several months, I have been sharing the income for my authority site project, and this month is no different!

You will have a chance to see the income from the website that Perrin and I have been working on for while now.  However, I will also share the income of the Amazon physical business that I recently started.

I have several points that I want to compare and contrast between the two businesses.  In particular, I want to point out how quickly one of them has taken off.

This has led to a few decisions that I will discuss further below.  However, for now, let’s jump right into this month’s income report.

Authority Site Income for April

As always, I’ve prepared a nice little spreadsheet for your stat viewing pleasure.  Below is a breakdown of all the traffic and income from our authority site over the past several months:

income-april

Total Earnings for April: $912.75

The total earnings for April was still relatively stable at about $900.  As you can see, the majority of that income has come from the Kindle sales.

The Adsense revenue has continued to be small for the simple reason that we are not trying to monetize onsite very much.  The primary purpose of the site is to build an email list.

So, the site could be earning quite a bit more via Adsense if we didn’t have so many opt-ins on our site.  However, because we have been focusing on opt-ins, we’ve seen a nice increase over the past month.

Opt-ins

We’ve gone from about 625 email subscribers at the end of March to about 1,300 by the end of April.  The primary reason for the increased subscribers is simply from the fact that we added more opt in forms via Thrive Leads.

Just about every type of opt in form, we now have it on the site: pop up, headline bar, sidebar, content upgrades, etc.  All of these are powered by Thrive leads.

Here’s a screenshot from the Kindle sales:

kdp-april

As you can see, we had a couple of nice spikes.  We had a couple of promotions (including one on Amazon Brazil) that really shot up the downloads for a few days.

Here’s a quick look at the actual traffic to the site:

authority-april

The traffic for the month of April stayed relatively stable.

Why Stagnant Sales?

Overall, the sales have remained stable, rather than taking that hockey stick turn upward that Perrin and I keep hoping for.  The conclusion that we’ve come to is simply that getting more traffic to our site and selling more books on the Kindle platform is just really really hard.

With Kindle, we often see the spikes in sales at least once or twice a month with special promotions that we are able to do.  We’ve tried BuckBooks.com a couple of times now, and it works amazingly well to generate a sudden spike in sales.

However, these spikes are short lived.  The sales will do great (from just about any promotion) for a few days or a couple weeks.  But eventually they always seem to trail off.

As a result, rather than seeing the income climb month after month, we are simply seeing peaks and valleys.  We’d like to figure out a way to sustain the sales long term, but have yet to crack that code.

The traffic to the website is a bit more frustrating.  We’ve tried targeting low competition keywords, we’ve tried Google News, we’ve tried really long articles, we’ve tried daily content, and we’ve tried lots of outreach.

The only conclusion we can come to is that something about our market is simply not conducive to the tactics we are using.  We may have just bitten off more than we can chew with this market.

After working on this site for nearly 10 months, we are left with a difficult decision: Do we buckle down and keep trying?  Or do we move on to greener pastures?

As I make a direct comparison to the early results I’ve seen with my physical product business, this answer seems to be staring me in the face.

Income from Amazon FBA

I recently decided to venture into selling a physical product on Amazon.  You can see the full timeline of my involvement in this business right here.

After doing some brainstorming, researching, and getting a product manufactured…I listed my product for the very first time on Amazon on March 28th.

After just 30 days, I had already sold nearly $4,400 worth of product!

30daysgraph

If you want to learn more how I got these sales, you can read this blog post and listen to this podcast and this one.

However, the sales didn’t stop there.  In fact, despite the fact that I increased the price to try and slow down sales (so that I wouldn’t run out of inventory so quickly), I actually did run out of inventory just a few days later.

After just 40 days of listing my product, I had sold out of my first batch of 105 units and had revenue of just over $6,000.

Check out this sales screenshot:

amazon40

I’ve discussed this already in previous posts and podcasts, but I have been blown away by the almost immediate success of this business.  The only reason the sales trended downward at the end of April is because I tried to slow them down by raising prices.  If I hadn’t run out of inventory, I have no doubt I would still be selling 5 to 10 units a day.

My manufacturer is taking a little bit longer than I had hoped to get my next batch of units ready…but honestly I’m not overly concerned about it.  My first batch of 105 units truly was a test to see if this business had an potential.

My results over just 40 days are good enough for me to move forward in a big way with this business.  So, my sales for May might not be great (because of lack of inventory)…but I’m developing a more solid plan moving forward to grow the business.

Physical Product vs. Authority Site

I’d like to compare the two businesses that I’ve been involved with lately.  Like everyone, I have limited time and resources.  I can’t pursue every single opportunity that comes my way…so I have to make decisions what to work on and what not to work on.

Here’s how I’m currently comparing my two businesses:

  • Time spent on Authority Site: about 10 months
  • Time spent on physical product business: about 40 days
  • Revenue of Authority site in past 10 months: $6,942
  • Revenue of physical product business in past 40 days: $6,040
  • Revenue of Authority site in past 60 days: $1,868.35
  • Revenue of physical product business in past 60 days: $6,040

Whoa.

After spending nearly 10 months building our authority site and writing 5 kindle books, we’ve only made about $7,000.  In addition, we’ve put in TONS of man hours and hired an author to write articles on our site on a consistent basis.

On the other hand, I’ve put in very few hours into the Amazon FBA business…and it’s made in the past 40 days almost as much as our authority site has in the past 10 months.

If you were to hold both of these business opportunities in your hand and you had to choose one that you think is going to generate the most revenue over the next year, which one do you think you would choose?

Yep, me too.

As tough as it is to look back at the past 10 months and all the work we’ve put into our authority site…it’s pretty clear to me that the more immediate success is likely to come from focusing on the Amazon FBA business.

Not only does it likely present a more immediate return, there is also a very strong possibility that it presents a MUCH larger opportunity long term.

For example, let’s say I explode this business and started making $100k per month.  The reality is that making $100k per month is still not even close to one of the bigger successes on Amazon.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s just a few small examples of people making over $100k/mth selling products on Amazon:

In general, there are SO many ways to make money, so it’s important for everyone to weighs the pros and cons of each opportunity for themselves.

For me, I’ve at least come to the conclusion that this authority site is going to take much more time and effort than I had hoped to make $10k a month or more.  I don’t want to keep throwing time and effort into a project that isn’t seeing good returns.

On the other hand, I think it’s pretty obvious that my product business is showing some very strong signs of success early on.  I think I would be making a poor decision if I didn’t pursue the opportunity that is clearly showing greater returns, has required less time, and has way more upside potential.

Plans Moving Forward

As a result of this comparison, I am definitely going to be putting more time into the physical product business opportunities and less time into the authority site and Kindle book opportunities.

Say what you will, but I think it’s a smart decision for me going forward.

As a result, Perrin and I will be winding down our efforts on the authority site.  We are in the middle of one more Kindle book…but that very well could be our last book.

As for the site itself, we do have a few more articles that will be published that we had previously committed to; after that, we likely won’t be adding much new content.  We will continue to collect email address from the natural traffic that comes from the site and can continue to promote the books that we’ve already written.  Or we may just optimize the site for Adsense clicks…we’ll see what happens.

However, in general, we will be spending significantly less time on that site.

I still don’t know how many more income reports I will do on the Authority site since we are not focusing on it as much anymore, but it may only be one or two more.

My 10 Year Old Notebook

As for the Amazon physical product business, I couldn’t be more excited.  I used to be someone that would write down my unique products ideas all the time…well over 10 years ago! (Long before I built my first website).

I was dreaming over a decade ago about little product improvements that I could make.  However, none of those ideas seemed feasible until I realized very recently what was possible with Alibaba.com, Amazon FBA, and the ability to truly treat it like an online business.

I’ve always been an idea guy.  Now that I potentially have an outlet for all these ideas AND I’ve developed the online marketing skills that can help over the past several years; well, I’m enthusiastic about the prospects.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m also in a strong financial position where I can invest real capital into my ideas now; whereas, I simply couldn’t do that before.

Perhaps I should dust off my 10 year old notebook with all my old product ideas and see if I can breath some life into them.

To be clear, I’m not giving up on websites and online marketing at all!  I’m simply looking forward to combining physical products and the online world in a way that I’ve never ventured into before.

I hope you’ll tag along for the journey.

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Podcast 61: Selling Amazon Physical Products: Questions and Answershttp://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-61-selling-amazon-physical-products-questions-and-answers/ http://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-61-selling-amazon-physical-products-questions-and-answers/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 21:26:41 +0000 http://www.nichepursuits.com/?p=5316 Today’s episode of the Niche Pursuits Podcast is a Q&A session with Perrin and I talking all about selling physical products on Amazon. We’ve covered some of these topics in previous blog posts and podcast episodes, but we wanted to … Continued

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Today’s episode of the Niche Pursuits Podcast is a Q&A session with Perrin and I talking all about selling physical products on Amazon.

We’ve covered some of these topics in previous blog posts and podcast episodes, but we wanted to dig into a more of the details with you today.

Here are some of the main Questions covered in the podcast:

  • The most popular question we get is “What are your thoughts about going outside of Amazon?”. The spirit of the question here is what is the risk of having your entire business being based on a single platform. We’ve seen some of the Google SEO penalties really hurt niche websites in the past, and so we’re very conscious of this not affecting our Amazon business going forward. The important thing to remember here is that your product is the business, not Amazon. Things like building content on your own website will not only increase traffic and sales via Amazon, but will build a defensible business as well.
  • Two episodes ago on the show we talked a lot about the concept of being “The One”. Some people are taking this to mean that they have to create an entirely new class of products to be successful. That can be the case, but not necessarily. Think about small improvements you can make to existing products or marketing an existing product to a new audience. That an be the differentiator that will make your business successful.
  • Another common question we get is Why Not Go Direct? By this people are asking why not sell directly via an ecommerce website instead of selling on Amazon. There are advantages of selling direct, just like Andrew Yourderian is doing at eCommerce Fuel, but margins may be less and you’re not getting the built in traffic, marketing channels, and captive audience that Amazon offers.
  • A few people have been asking about selling through Amazon’s FBA program in other countries. This is a possibility for most people.  We discuss how this would work.
  • Can you estimate costs associated with a product? Yes, the easiest way to estimate product cost is via Alibaba.com directly. Email a few suppliers and they’ll give you per unit costs at different quantity levels. The same can be done for freight and other logistics considerations.
  • Where and How do you get samples? Again, Alibaba.com is the place to go for foreign sourced products. You’ll be able to send payment via Paypal for a single item and they’ll send it via DHL or another freight carrier.
  • Can you source from the US? Yes, absolutely. Particularly if you’re in the supplements or beauty products field you may need to source from the US due to government regulations. But many things can be sourced from the US. One of the Benefits being that the language barrier likely will be lower, time to market will be shorter because there’s quicker shipping times, and customizations may be easier. Downside is that the cost will be higher, primarily because of labor costs vs. China.
  • What due diligence can you do around suppliers on Alibaba? There are 4 criteria you can choose from at the top of a search bar: On Site Check, Gold Star Rated, Assessed Supplier, and Trade Assurances. Each of these come with background due diligence that Alibaba or third party groups have done on these manufacturers to help assure that they’re top tier suppliers.
  • Are there any courses you would recommend on Amazon FBA? Since we haven’t taken any personally I can’t recommend one. I like to learn by doing, which is how I’ve grown all of my businesses. With the community here and other resources available you should be able to get started with a good knowledge of how a good FBA business should work.

If you’re enjoying the show and would like to show your appreciation for the Niche Pursuits podcast in general, please leave a rating on iTunes right here.   We’d sure appreciate it.

The post Podcast 61: Selling Amazon Physical Products: Questions and Answers appeared first on Niche Pursuits.

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http://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-61-selling-amazon-physical-products-questions-and-answers/feed/ 30 Today’s episode of the Niche Pursuits Podcast is a Q&A session with Perrin and I talking all about selling physical products on Amazon. - We’ve covered some of these topics in previous blog posts and podcast episodes, Today’s episode of the Niche Pursuits Podcast is a Q&A session with Perrin and I talking all about selling physical products on Amazon.We’ve covered some of these topics in previous blog posts and podcast episodes, but we wanted to dig into a more of the details with you today.Here are some of the main Questions covered in the podcast:The most popular question we get is “What are your thoughts about going outside of Amazon?”. The spirit of the question here is what is the risk of having your entire business being based on a single platform. We’ve seen some of the Google SEO penalties really hurt niche websites in the past, and so we’re very conscious of this not affecting our Amazon business going forward. The important thing to remember here is that your product is the business, not Amazon. Things like building content on your own website will not only increase traffic and sales via Amazon, but will build a defensible business as well. Two episodes ago on the show we talked a lot about the concept of being “The One”. Some people are taking this to mean that they have to create an entirely new class of products to be successful. That can be the case, but not necessarily. Think about small improvements you can make to existing products or marketing an existing product to a new audience. That an be the differentiator that will make your business successful. Another common question we get is Why Not Go Direct? By this people are asking why not sell directly via an ecommerce website instead of selling on Amazon. There are advantages of selling direct, just like Andrew Yourderian is doing at eCommerce Fuel, but margins may be less and you’re not getting the built in traffic, marketing channels, and captive audience that Amazon offers. A few people have been asking about selling through Amazon’s FBA program in other countries. This is a possibility for most people.  We discuss how this would work. Can you estimate costs associated with a product? Yes, the easiest way to estimate product cost is via Alibaba.com directly. Email a few suppliers and they’ll give you per unit costs at different quantity levels. The same can be done for freight and other logistics considerations. Where and How do you get samples? Again, Alibaba.com is the place to go for foreign sourced products. You’ll be able to send payment via Paypal for a single item and they’ll send it via DHL or another freight carrier. Can you source from the US? Yes, absolutely. Particularly if you’re in the supplements or beauty products field you may need to source from the US due to government regulations. But many things can be sourced from the US. One of the Benefits being that the language barrier likely will be lower, time to market will be shorter because there’s quicker shipping times, and customizations may be easier. Downside is that the cost will be higher, primarily because of labor costs vs. China. What due diligence can you do around suppliers on Alibaba? There are 4 criteria you can choose from at the top of a search bar: On Site Check, Gold Star Rated, Assessed Supplier, and Trade Assurances. Each of these come with background due diligence that Alibaba or third party groups have done on these manufacturers to help assure that they’re top tier suppliers. Are there any courses you would recommend on Amazon FBA? Since we haven’t taken any personally I can’t recommend one. I like to learn by doing, which is how I’ve grown all of my businesses. With the community here and other resources available you should be able to get started with a good knowledge of how a good FBA business should work.If you’re enjoying the show and would like to show your appreciation for the Niche Pursuits podcast in general, please leave a rating on iTunes right here.   We’d sure appreciate it. Niche Pursuits no 41:28
Podcast 60: How I Made $4,399 Selling a Physical Product on Amazon in Just 30 Dayshttp://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-60-how-i-made-4399-selling-a-physical-product-on-amazon-in-just-30-days/ http://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-60-how-i-made-4399-selling-a-physical-product-on-amazon-in-just-30-days/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 16:59:31 +0000 http://www.nichepursuits.com/?p=5308 Today, Perrin and I get behind the microphone and discuss how to start and grow your own business through Amazon’s FBA program.  Much of this podcast is a recap of what I covered in my last blog post right here … Continued

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Today, Perrin and I get behind the microphone and discuss how to start and grow your own business through Amazon’s FBA program.  Much of this podcast is a recap of what I covered in my last blog post right here (if you prefer to read).

By following several key steps, I was able to sell $4,399 in product in just 30 days. Perrin and I share the process and answer some questions taken from a few blog comments.

This is a very real business, which I hope to scale and see monthly earnings quadruple. The potential rewards are, in my opinion, much greater than a niche website.

In this podcast, we discuss some of the particulars that go into starting an FBA business:

  • The importance of finding a unique product to sell
  • How to find a manufacturer for your product (using Alibaba.com)
  • Getting your item manufactured and shipped
  • Basic promotional ideas to generate sales and interest in what you’re selling
  • Why it’s a good idea to build a niche site around an Amazon product

We also delve into three reasons behind what makes a product sell.

I will be expanding my FBA product line in the coming months. Perrin and I hope you find some useful information that you can apply in your own business.

Also, if you found this podcast at all informative, or you would simply like to give me a “thumbs up” for the Niche Pursuits podcast in general, please leave a rating on iTunes right here.

If you have any additional questions or thoughts, please leave a comment below.  Thanks!

The post Podcast 60: How I Made $4,399 Selling a Physical Product on Amazon in Just 30 Days appeared first on Niche Pursuits.

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http://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-60-how-i-made-4399-selling-a-physical-product-on-amazon-in-just-30-days/feed/ 44 Today, Perrin and I get behind the microphone and discuss how to start and grow your own business through Amazon’s FBA program.  Much of this podcast is a recap of what I covered in my last blog post right here (if you prefer to read). - Today, Perrin and I get behind the microphone and discuss how to start and grow your own business through Amazon’s FBA program.  Much of this podcast is a recap of what I covered in my last blog post right here (if you prefer to read).By following several key steps, I was able to sell $4,399 in product in just 30 days. Perrin and I share the process and answer some questions taken from a few blog comments.This is a very real business, which I hope to scale and see monthly earnings quadruple. The potential rewards are, in my opinion, much greater than a niche website.In this podcast, we discuss some of the particulars that go into starting an FBA business:The importance of finding a unique product to sell How to find a manufacturer for your product (using Alibaba.com) Getting your item manufactured and shipped Basic promotional ideas to generate sales and interest in what you’re selling Why it’s a good idea to build a niche site around an Amazon productWe also delve into three reasons behind what makes a product sell.I will be expanding my FBA product line in the coming months. Perrin and I hope you find some useful information that you can apply in your own business.Also, if you found this podcast at all informative, or you would simply like to give me a “thumbs up” for the Niche Pursuits podcast in general, please leave a rating on iTunes right here.If you have any additional questions or thoughts, please leave a comment below.  Thanks! Niche Pursuits no 53:42
How I Went From 0 to $4,399 in Sales with an Amazon FBA Business in Just 30 Dayshttp://www.nichepursuits.com/amazon-fba-in-30-days/ http://www.nichepursuits.com/amazon-fba-in-30-days/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 21:20:42 +0000 http://www.nichepursuits.com/?p=5288 I don’t read a lot of blogs usually.  As a result, in some respects I’m somewhat “naive” to various online business ventures that others are pursuing. However, I do have a handful of blogs that I subscribe to and will … Continued

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I don’t read a lot of blogs usually.  As a result, in some respects I’m somewhat “naive” to various online business ventures that others are pursuing.

However, I do have a handful of blogs that I subscribe to and will peruse from time to time.  One that I read is my buddy Chris Guthrie’s blog.  We’ve known each other for about 4 years now, so I like to keep tabs with his business.

I believe it was about 6 months ago when I read a post from Chris where he shared that making over $12k in his first 68 days on Amazon FBA.

Honestly, for some reason, that post was the first time it ever dawned on me how hands off the FBA business is.  I always thought manufacturing and selling a product on Amazon meant producing designs to get manufactured, shipping product to your house, shipping it to customers when they ordered, and answering customer service emails.

In a nutshell, I was clueless about Amazon FBA.  Because it turns out that none of those things are true.

So, for the first time ever I did a little bit of Googling about people selling their own products on Amazon, private labeling, and FBA.  I was a total newb just 6 months ago.

I immediately reached out to Chris and asked him to come on the Niche Pursuits podcast, and we recorded this episode on Dec. 2nd, 2014. I also got some tips shared privately from Chris as I had questions.

Fast forward 6 months, and I now have a product on Amazon that has been listed for 30 days!  Not only is it up and listed, but I’ve sold over $4,300 worth of my product in just 30 days.

I’m about to share my journey from totally clueless to unlocking a potentially huge new revenue stream for my business with Amazon FBA.

First, Here’s the Money Shot

I know you guys want to see the screenshots of income, so here you go!

This is a screenshot from the past 30 days.  This is also my very first 30 days of having a product listed:

30daysgraph

I was NOT expecting to make $4,400 in my first month of listing the product!  This just went from a little side project that I tried not to spend very much time on to a business with the potential to grow significantly.

I see so much potential, it’s got me re-thinking where I should be spending some of my time.

Any Profits?

I want to be clear that the above numbers are REVENUE numbers, not PROFIT.  I don’t expect to make much money on the first 100 units sold, but I expect my profit margins to be 50% or more for all units sold in the future.

Here’s a quick breakdown of costs for my first batch of 105 units ordered:

  • Manufacturing costs: About $1,000
  • Logo/branding/photo editing: $150
  • Shipping/Freight costs: $2500
  • Amazon fees: About $15/unit
  • Giveaways/Discounts: 20 units (about $1,000 in soft costs)

So, as you can see from the screenshot above, I’ve sold 83 units. The screenshot shows the full revenue, even on units I actually sold for $1.  So, after coupons (12) and giveaways to family/friends (8), the actual revenue is about $1,000 less.

My total Amazon FBA fees on that is approximately $1245.

With some quick math, you can see my total costs are about $4,880.  So, I’m still slightly in the hole, but I should end up breaking even after the final 22 units sell from this batch.

However, my net profit will be MUCH greater for each new batch.  I was very happy to just break even with this first batch as it truly was just a test order of 105 units.

Shipping Costs

Also, my shipping costs were extremely high, and that was a conscious decision that I made.  I chose to ship them via air to get them to Amazon faster.

Not only is air faster than ocean freight, there were also some port strikes going on that would have delayed things another couple of weeks most likely.  So, I bought myself about a month by paying extra.

Maybe not the smartest decision from a dollar and cents perspective, but it DID allow me to test things quicker and I’m now about a month ahead of where I would have been in placing my next order.

I will be shipping via ocean freight from now on most likely.

Ocean freight for my first 105 units would have cost about $350.  So, the extra shipping cost is really what eliminated my chance at a decent profit.

If I had gone ocean freight, my net profit would have been about $2,000…which is very close to a 40% profit margin.

So, even though I didn’t really make any money on my first batch of units.  I fully expect to make about 40 to 50% profit margin and all future orders from China.  I will be able to get my product cheaper (because I’ll be placing larger orders), I won’t have logo and branding costs, and my shipping/freight costs will be significantly lower per unit.

So, I haven’t “really” made any money today…but all signs are VERY good that this business can be quite profitable for me.

A Quick Timeline of My Product – Discovery to Today

As explained, I honestly first heard about this business about 6 months ago.  After doing some quick research and my podcast interview with Chris Guthrie, I figured this business didn’t seem too complicated after all.

I thought it might be interesting to recreate the timeline from when I discovered this business to where I am today.  The idea behind this is to show you what kind of timeline you can expect if you decide to get into this business.

  • October 2014 – I learn about the Amazon FBA business
  • December 2, 2014 – I interview Chris Guthrie on my podcast about his Amazon business
  • December 27, 2014 – I eat 12 donuts during the day.  Don’t ask.
  • Jan 1, 2015 (at midnight) – Light off massive fireworks…possibly from China. A sign of things to come?
  • January 8th, 2015 – I have my “aha” moment and decide on a unique angle for a product I can sell on Amazon (I know the date because I found scribbled notes in my notebook)
  • January 10th – I go to Alibaba.com and contact about 4 manufacturers in regards to my product.  Just a quick email to each with some basic questions.  We exchange emails the next several days.
  • January 20th – I order a sample product from the manufacturer that was able to best produce my product.  (I only found one that was able to easily add the features I requested).
  • February 3rd – I receive the sample product.  It’s exactly what I wanted!
  • February 4th – I take pictures of the product
  • February 5th – I hire someone on Elance to create logo and product packaging/branding.
  • February 6th – Contact logistics company to work out shipping details. We exchange several emails over the next month.
  • February 12th – I have my logo/branding ready and place my first order of 105 units from my manufacturer!
  • February 13th – Manufacturer informs me that the Spring Festival Holiday is starting in China and that the factory is shutting down until March 5th (almost 3 week shutdown!).  They expect my order to be completed 2 weeks AFTER March 5th.  I’m sad about that :(
  • March (sometime) – I create my Amazon seller listing and write product description, upload images, and get everything ready for sale on Amazon.
  • March 12th – Manufacturer completes the batch of 105 units (a week ahead of schedule!)
  • March 16th – The product is loaded on a plane and flown to the US.
  • March 24th – The product has gone through customs and the logistics warehouse.  The product is shipped to the Amazon FBA warehouse.
  • March 28th – Amazon has processed the product in their warehouse and my listing goes live!
  • March 29th – A stranger buys my product.  I’m super excited to make my first sale using Amazon FBA!
  • March 30th – I go on a week long vacation with my family (Spring break) and totally ignore the FBA business other than checking stats.
  • April 29th – In 30 days, I have sold $4,400 worth of the product!

I hope this breakdown of the timeline gives you an idea of what it takes to get a product up on Amazon.  This is not an overnight business.

So, from product idea (my aha moment) to having a listing up on Amazon was about 2 and a half months.

Why Is the Product Selling So Well?

Now comes the more meaty question.  “Why is your product selling so well on Amazon?”

First, I DO think a big part of the reason is because it’s a slightly unique product.  I discussed the importance of being the one in my last blog post and last podcast here. I don’t want to give away my product, so it’s difficult to explain what that unique feature is…but it’s nothing revolutionary.

I just took an existing product, and made it very slightly different (think about something in a different color, or something that has more padding like my dog carrier example in previous post).

Now, because I’m pretty much the only listing that offers this exact product and I KNOW people want this feature, it’s selling.

The second reason it’s selling well is that my product is ranking well on Amazon for several long tail keyword phrases.  Yes, this was intentional.  I treated my product description like a niche site and used my targeted keywords in the product title and the product description.

Because of these 2 factors: unique product and showing up for long tail phrases, I was making about 2 to 3 sales a day after about 2 weeks of being listed.  I did have a few “sales” from friends and family over the first 3 weeks…but that was 8 units total.

I was making 1 to 2 sales per day before I had a single review on Amazon.  I honestly didn’t do any marketing outside of getting a few friends and family members to buy the product (which I reimbursed them for doing).

I WOULD have done more marketing if I hadn’t been so busy (vacation with family, New Media Expo, and running a full-time business outside of Amazon).  However, the natural sales raised my eyebrows and I thought, “Okay, let’s see what happens if I do some basic marketing!”

This brings me to the 3rd reason I think the product is selling so well: Promotion.  As you can see from the image below, I had a huge spike in sales on April 23rd.  I sold 14 units that day…but 11 of those sales were from $1 coupons.

I issued $1 coupons to a group of Amazon product reviewers (not sure I’m ready to reveal the source), and they got redeemed.  I didn’t make any money from those coupons, but this sudden spike in sales also boosted my Amazon best seller rank.

As a result, my product was listed higher on Amazon in various categories AND for the keywords I was targeting.  As you can see after April 23rd, the sales continued to be much higher than before…but these were natural sales now!

30daysgraph_001

I started selling so much product, that I’m now worried I will run out of inventory.  As a result, I’ve been raising the price over the past couple of days…people are still buying after a 50%+ price increase!

Here’s a screenshot from my highest revenue day so far.  And yes, all of these sales are from people I don’t know…all sold at full price (no coupons):

1day

I have started to get a few reviews over the past week or so that I’m sure has helped with the sales as well.  At the time of this writing, I still have less than 6 reviews though…so these sales really are coming in with minimal reviews and marketing.

Inventory Issues

About 10 days ago, I decided that this business was the real deal and that I needed to order some more inventory.  At the rate I was selling at 10 days ago, I figured I still had a couple of months before inventory would run out.

However, after doing my coupon promotion, getting a few more reviews, and selling lots more product per day…I’ll run out of inventory in less than a week!  I only have about 22 units left and I sold 11 units on my best day…so you do the math.

As a result, I’ve been raising my price to slow down the sales each day to prevent my inventory running dry too quickly.  Unfortunately with the sudden spike in sales, I’ve come to accept the fact that I probably won’t have any product to sell for probably close to 3 weeks during May.

My manufacturer will take about 2 weeks to produce the product (which they started on a couple days ago), and shipping via ocean freight will take at least 2 more weeks.  So, I won’t have any product ready for sale on Amazon for at least a month.

I wish I could wave a magic wand to make it all work out, but honestly, I’m not too worried about it.  The point of my first batch of product from China was to test the market to see if people were willing to buy.  The market has spoken loud and clear to me that people like my product!

So, even though May won’t bring in too many sales…I’ll be gearing up for bigger things down the road.

I think it’s very feasible that I can sell 10 units a day at close to $70 each.  This would be a monthly revenue of $21,000.  (The net profit on this would be about $11,000).  I’m obviously not quite there yet, but after my first 30 days of selling this product the market is definitely there.

Next Steps for My Amazon FBA Business

Because I’ve now tested the waters and can clearly see the revenue coming in, I’m going to scale this business.

  • I’ve already contacted my current and other manufacturers to get samples of similar products to what I’m already selling.  I believe that I can easily get 5 or 6 products up in my chosen niche.  I have no idea how each product will sell, but it’s clear that there is a very healthy market here.
  • I will also be doing a bit more marketing (once I have inventory) to get more reviews, increase the Amazon best sellers rank, and make more sales naturally as a result.
  • Finally, I plan on going outside of Amazon as well in the future.  I want to build a niche site related to my product.  I’ll write informational articles to get natural traffic from Google and then people can buy the product directly from my site as well.

That’s right, I’ll be building an eCommerce site.

I see this as a nice marriage between my experience with SEO, keyword research, site building, and now Amazon FBA.

Yes, this is a new business venture still and this blog post is clearly dripping with optimism, but I plan to capitalize as much as possible on this opportunity.  Will everything work out as planned?  Probably not exactly.  But I see no reason why I shouldn’t pursue this and try to grow this into a healthy business.

Overall, I haven’t been this excited about a business in a very long time.  We’ll see where the ride takes me.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  Are you currently selling a product on Amazon?  Do you have any comments or questions that you would like to add to the discussion?  Let’s hear it below.

The post How I Went From 0 to $4,399 in Sales with an Amazon FBA Business in Just 30 Days appeared first on Niche Pursuits.

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Podcast 59: How to Be the ONE (with Several Real Life Business Examples)http://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-59-how-to-be-the-one-with-several-real-life-business-examples/ http://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-59-how-to-be-the-one-with-several-real-life-business-examples/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 17:06:20 +0000 http://www.nichepursuits.com/?p=5283 Well, I’ve gone and done it. I finally recorded another podcast episode! Today, I share a discussion between Perrin and I on the importance of being unique with your business. In particular, we have a more in-depth discussion about being … Continued

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Well, I’ve gone and done it. I finally recorded another podcast episode!

Today, I share a discussion between Perrin and I on the importance of being unique with your business. In particular, we have a more in-depth discussion about being the ONE, as I wrote about in my last blog post here.

This is an interesting topic that may seem pretty obvious to some people, while others may be completely oblivious to the subject.

In my opinion, to build a defensible business that can stand the test of time, that business needs to be doing something unique.

In particular, here’s a few of the things we discussed and referenced throughout the podcast:

  • What does it mean to be the one?
  • Restaurant examples that are unique
  • Why niche sites are extremely difficult to build a completely unique business from
  • How Long Tail Pro was able to stand out from Market Samurai and other competitors in order to capture market share
  • Discussion of uniqueness and marketing of NerdFitness.com
  • How Brian Lam made WireCutter.com thrive with a basic information site
  • Short update on my Amazon FBA business, and why its been so successful in the first 30 days (hint: it has some unique features)
  • Why it’s difficult to be the one with Kindle books
  • 5 Strategies to help you build a defensible business

Overall, it was great to get back behind the microphone and share some of my thoughts on the podcast!

I hope that you will give this episode a listen and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Also, if you found this podcast at all useful, or you would simply like to give me a “thumbs up” for the Niche Pursuits podcast in general, please leave a rating on iTunes right here.

Finally, stay tuned for my next blog post…I’ll be covering my new Amazon FBA business in depth. I’ve only been selling for about 30 days, but the success is honestly starting to blow my mind. I’ll give you the inside scoop in a few days.

The post Podcast 59: How to Be the ONE (with Several Real Life Business Examples) appeared first on Niche Pursuits.

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http://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-59-how-to-be-the-one-with-several-real-life-business-examples/feed/ 29 Well, I’ve gone and done it. I finally recorded another podcast episode! - Today, I share a discussion between Perrin and I on the importance of being unique with your business. In particular, we have a more in-depth discussion about being the ONE, Well, I’ve gone and done it. I finally recorded another podcast episode!Today, I share a discussion between Perrin and I on the importance of being unique with your business. In particular, we have a more in-depth discussion about being the ONE, as I wrote about in my last blog post here.This is an interesting topic that may seem pretty obvious to some people, while others may be completely oblivious to the subject.In my opinion, to build a defensible business that can stand the test of time, that business needs to be doing something unique.In particular, here’s a few of the things we discussed and referenced throughout the podcast:What does it mean to be the one? Restaurant examples that are unique Why niche sites are extremely difficult to build a completely unique business from How Long Tail Pro was able to stand out from Market Samurai and other competitors in order to capture market share Discussion of uniqueness and marketing of NerdFitness.com How Brian Lam made WireCutter.com thrive with a basic information site Short update on my Amazon FBA business, and why its been so successful in the first 30 days (hint: it has some unique features) Why it’s difficult to be the one with Kindle books 5 Strategies to help you build a defensible businessOverall, it was great to get back behind the microphone and share some of my thoughts on the podcast!I hope that you will give this episode a listen and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.Also, if you found this podcast at all useful, or you would simply like to give me a “thumbs up” for the Niche Pursuits podcast in general, please leave a rating on iTunes right here.Finally, stay tuned for my next blog post…I’ll be covering my new Amazon FBA business in depth. I’ve only been selling for about 30 days, but the success is honestly starting to blow my mind. I’ll give you the inside scoop in a few days. Niche Pursuits no 45:57
Be the ONE In Your Niche: Unique Strategies for a Successful Online Businesshttp://www.nichepursuits.com/be-the-one-in-your-niche-unique-strategies-for-a-successful-online-business/ http://www.nichepursuits.com/be-the-one-in-your-niche-unique-strategies-for-a-successful-online-business/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 21:20:29 +0000 http://www.nichepursuits.com/?p=5254 I’ve been thinking a lot about being the ONE lately.  And by extension, I have been thinking a lot about whether other people are thinking about being the ONE as well. In other words, are you thinking about whether your … Continued

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I’ve been thinking a lot about being the ONE lately.  And by extension, I have been thinking a lot about whether other people are thinking about being the ONE as well.

In other words, are you thinking about whether your business is different enough to stand out from the crowd.  Do you have a unique selling proposition?  Do you have a unique product offering that is going to help your business thrive?

I feel like I need to write about this subject for 2 reasons: First, I can easily look back at my own business and see where the majority of my income is coming from, and it’s directly tied to the uniqueness of my business; and second, I know that many people reading this blog are just getting started in their online business and they NEED to hear how important it is to not copy other people’s business.

If you want to make real money, you have to be the one.

What does it mean to be the ONE?

Well, let’s look at a quick example.

Let’s say you are looking to open a Burger restaurant in Mesa, Arizona (where I grew up).  How many restaurants are in Mesa?  Oh, probably several thousand.  So, you are not the ONE restaurant.

How many of those sell burgers?  Easily still hundreds.  So, you are not even the ONE burger restaurant.  Unless, you can make your burger restaurant unique you are going to struggle to make money most likely. (This is a HUGE reason that most restaurants are failures…they are just a copy of what already exists).

However, what if the interior of your burger restaurant is surrounded by huge aquariums with all kinds of aquatic life and the tables move throughout the restaurant on a moving belt?  Suddenly you become the ONE restaurant that has moving tables with amazing aquariums that happens to serve burgers.

Now you might have a business.

Throughout the post today, I’d like to dig a little bit deeper into making your online business unique and why that’s so important.

Oh and if someone wants to steal that burger aquarium idea, be my guest.

Not the ONE…

My passion for this subject runs deep.  I’ve seen so many people try and fail with their online business and it’s heartbreaking.  However, when I look at many of the online businesses I see out there, I have to simply think, “Well, how was your business any different?”

In fact, if I were able to go in the past and talk to myself 4 or 5 years ago, I would have warned myself of the risks associated with niche sites.  Since, I can’t go back in time, I want to warn you if you are putting all your eggs in the niche site basket.

Niche sites are not unique.  Yes, you can make money from niche sites; however, they are more like a loophole, rather than a real business.

I mean, I’m still making money from niche sites…but I KNOW it’s a loophole and won’t last forever.

Be honest with yourself and think about it.  Let’s say you have a niche site that is about the best BBQ grills.  Even if your articles are “unique”, you are really no different than thousands of other websites that provide information on BBQ grills.

When I do a search for “best bbq grills” on Google, I get 1.9 million results.  You are 1 of nearly 2 million, definitely not just the one of one.

bestbbq

Sure, you might be able to rank #1 in Google if you play your cards right and make good money.  But it’s a loophole, it’s a marketing play (more on this later), not a real unique business.

In general, any site that makes money strictly from affiliate income is not unique (yes, there are exceptions).  You should not bet your future on something that many others are already doing (providing great information on bbq grills).

You should do everything in your power to be the one.

In this example, instead of writing about BBQ grills, maybe you can actually manufacture a unique BBQ grill or a tool for a BBQ.  And I do NOT mean just private label a BBQ tool…that’s not really being unique either.

It’s time to step up your game.

Yes, I still have niche sites and I still try to take advantage of these “loopholes”, but my real effort and income comes from unique businesses that I have.

In other words, you should start with a business where you can truly be unique (be the one), then if you want…chase other less unique opportunities like niche sites or affiliate income.  But for most people, the real money is always going to come with the unique business.

3 Examples From My Life…

I want to share 3 examples from my business to hopefully drive this point home.

1. Long Tail Pro

About 4 years ago I created a software product called Long Tail Pro. This business wasn’t an overnight success, but I’ve stuck with it and it’s grown consistently.  In fact, after a couple of years the business had grown tremendously, and is currently an EXTREMELY successful business that is able to employ several people.

Long Tail Pro has the advantage of being the ONE.  Let me explain.

First of all, how many keyword research tools are out there?  There are lots, but let’s say there are 50 keyword research tools.  Already my odds are 50 to 1 versus competing against 1.9 million webpages.

However, Long Tail Pro has some unique features to help it stand out from the competition.  The software is easier to use, it’s faster (see comparison to Market Samurai), and it allows you to search multiple seed keywords at once.

In fact, this one feature of searching for multiple seed keywords at once was perhaps the main unique selling proposition for Long Tail Pro when it was first created.  How many other keyword research tools at the time allowed a user to search for multiple seed keywords?  None that I was aware of.

Long Tail Pro became the ONE tool that had this feature.

So, instead of playing a marketing game against 50 other established keyword research tools, I was able to simply showcase my one feature that they did not have.  When you have no competitors, business becomes much easier.  (Obviously there are always competitors in a broad sense…but when you narrow it down to features you truly can stand out).

I wish I was willing to share the monthly income of Long Tail Pro to really drive this point home to you.  I will just say that the net income from the launch I shared a couple of years ago are no longer the biggest net income month that the business has ever had.

The business continues to do well each and every month, even though I haven’t done a “launch” in over 2 years.

2. Kindle Books

Another business I’m currently involved in is Kindle books.  This is a tough business.  I will simply say that on the uniqueness scale, writing books is only slightly above creating niche sites.  It’s extremely competitive and very difficult to be unique.

Yes, our books are unique titles and may cover some slightly different angles on a topic that other books don’t, but overall, our book will just be another book in a pile of thousands of other books on the same subject.

amazondiet

Writing books comes down mostly to marketing.  If you want to be a successful author, you will probably have to get good at marketing.  No matter how unique you try to make your book, there are probably going to be MANY existing books on the same subject.

This is why Perrin and I are doing so much to build our email list and build an audience.  Once you have an audience, this because your unique angle to selling books.  You know more people than the next guy.

Sadly, the best written or most interesting books don’t usually win.

The author with the best marketing strategy does win.

I’m not trying to steer you away from writing books, but I am saying that it’s extremely difficult to stand out and be the one when you are an author.  The success of your business will probably rely more on your marketing efforts than your writing efforts.

3. Amazon Physical Products

Another business that I’ve recently become involved with is selling a physical product on Amazon.  If you want to hear more about the Amazon FBA business, you should listen to the podcast interview I did with Chris Guthrie a couple of months ago.

This is an interesting business.  You can either take the copy-cat approach (similar to niche sites and kindle books) and just create a “private label” of a product that already exists on Amazon.  Or you can create a unique feature or even a completely new product, get it manufactured, and sell it on Amazon (and other places too).

For example, during the podcast interview that Chris and I did, we walked through an example of a pet carrier.  The unique feature that we discussed adding was a better shoulder strap, one with better padding if I recall correctly.

How many small dog carriers are there out there?  Likely dozens.  How many dog carriers are there with a comfortable and well padded shoulder strap?  Maybe only one.

You can truly stand out from the crowd and be unique with a physical product.

If you are at all interested in the Amazon FBA business, I would STRONGLY advise you to create a new product or a unique feature…rather than just private labeling the exact same product that is already on Amazon (this could be a simple as adding more padding to a product, creating it in a new color, or some other minor tweak that customers are looking for).

Either way, you will have to do some marketing.  However, when you have a unique feature you will most likely have to do less marketing!

Now let me give you some insight into my own Amazon business.  I’ll give a more in-depth report down the road, but for now I just want to make a point.

Before I had a product manufactured in China, I searched and searched on Amazon for how I could make my product unique.  I actually came up with the product need out of my own life experience.  I will just say that I had something similar to what I eventually manufactured, but could never find something similar on Amazon.

I also read lots of Amazon reviews and so I KNEW other people wanted the same feature I was looking for…but it simply was not on Amazon (at least that I and other reviewers could find).

I didn’t create a new invention or a new product, but I did create a unique feature (think about the padded shoulder strap for a dog carrier…something like that).

Well, I had my product manufactured and shipped to Amazon.  I listed it, but I immediately went on vacation and have essentially had no chance to do any marketing (promotions, getting reviews, etc.) since I listed the product 3 weeks ago.

However, I was surprised to find that my product is selling pretty well!  In fact, take a look at these numbers:

amazonsales

How is my product able to sell well despite the fact that I haven’t done ANY marketing?  Because my product is the ONE.  I have the one product on Amazon that people in my very narrow niche are looking for.

When you have no competitors, business becomes much easier.  Yes, this is a very small niche…but I believe with a little bit of marketing I can get my sales up to at least $10,000 a month with this one product.

The product really didn’t start selling until about April 1st, so the “30 days” number should end up closer to $2k to $2.5k.  I know this is nothing to get overly excited about…however it DOES show what can be done with very little marketing effort if you create a unique enough product.

Also, I purposely removed the number of units sold to make it just a little more difficult to find for people that still want to copy-cat others…even after reading this post!

To say the least, I will be trying to scale the sales of this product, but I’ll also be thinking of other unique products that I can sell.

I really like being the only fish in the pond.

Strategies for being different

I’d like to cover a few traditional ways that business try to be different.  You can call this a unique selling proposition, you can call it strategy, you can call it standing out from the crowd, or competitive advantage.

1. Lowest Price.  Wal-mart is known for this strategy.  It works for one company, but that’s about it.  I would strongly advise you not to be the low cost leader.  You will simply eat away at your profit margins, and as soon as someone prices their product lower then yours, your complete strategy is toast.

2. Highest Quality.  A higher quality product is also usually the highest priced product.  This is a great strategy if you can truly create a better product that is higher quality.  This is an excellent strategy (think of high priced products for examples: Apple, Chanel 5, designer clothes, etc.).

3. Original Idea.  This is really a first mover strategy, because copies will come quickly.  If you really can think of an original idea and get it out into the market quickly, this is also a great strategy.  This is often why tech startups seek venture capital…so they can scale their business quickly even if it’s not profitable at the beginning.  By moving/growing fast enough, they become much more difficult to knock off (think Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, etc)

4. Focus or Go Niche.  This is actually directly from Michael Porter’s generic business strategies.  Basically it means if you can focus on a specific market segment rather than the general population, this can be a great business strategy.

5. Add Unique Features to Existing Products.  This is a combination of having an original idea and going “niche”.  However, this is a strategy that has worked very well for me (Long Tail Pro and Amazon product).  If you can find an existing product and simply make it better or appeal to a new audience with a new feature, then you suddenly have a unique business with less direct competition.

Marketing Can Be Difficult…or Easy

If you don’t have one of the above 5 strategies in your business, the only thing you have left is marketing.  The good news is that marketing can be very powerful.

So even if you have the exact same business as thousands of other people you can still be successful, you just have to be better at marketing than your competitors.

The downside is also that you MUST be better at marketing than your competitors.

On the other hand, if you create a unique business, you should still try to be better at marketing than your competitors, but you don’t necessarily have to be better to have a great business, because your business will be meeting a market demand that others simply aren’t meeting.

Marketing is much easier when you have a unique business.  When you are the ONE people want to talk about you all on their own.  Press comes easy because you are unique.

Instead of searching out guest post opportunities or podcast interviews, they come to you.

Long Tail Pro has been mentioned hundreds of times on blogs and very well known online publications…all without my involvement or knowledge.  My product is unique enough and the small amount of marketing that I have done has allowed it to continue to grow organically.

This doesn’t usually happen with niche sites or Kindle books.  It’s extremely difficult and almost impossible to be unique enough with a niche site or Kindle book; so marketing is still required.

Niche sites are a marketing play.  You have to build more links or create a content piece that will get shared on social media.  All of this is marketing.

The exact same is true of Kindle books.  You can share your books on free sites, pay for promotions, and get people on your email list through marketing efforts.  The book is rarely unique enough to sell itself.

Overall, marketing is still essential for any type of business that you have.  However, it truly does become easier when you have a unique product offering.

How is your business different?

I hope I’ve made my point.  If your business isn’t unique enough, you are going to have to rely heavily on marketing.  In addition, a business that isn’t unique probably won’t stand the test of time and any success you are experiencing today, will probably be gone tomorrow.

So, take a good hard look at your business.  Are you the ONE?  Or are there hundreds (or millions) of competitors doing essentially the exact same thing as you?

If you are just realizing that your business really isn’t that unique, perhaps it’s time to get those creative juices flowing!  What unique idea can you come up with?  How can you improve on an existing product?

If you have a niche site or a Kindle book and your marketing efforts aren’t really taking off; perhaps it’s time to pivot and try become a bit more unique.  This could mean creating a software product, a new training product, a physical product, or perhaps simply tweaking the idea of an existing product.

Overall, if you are looking for a long term business that has the best chance of helping you reach your financial goals…you should really be trying to create something unique.

You don’t want hoards of competitors.

You want to be the ONE.

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What’s Up with the Authority Site? Combined Income Report for February and March!http://www.nichepursuits.com/whats-up-with-the-authority-site-combined-income-report-for-february-and-march/ http://www.nichepursuits.com/whats-up-with-the-authority-site-combined-income-report-for-february-and-march/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 18:05:53 +0000 http://www.nichepursuits.com/?p=5238 Perrin and I have been working quite a bit lately on our Authority Site Project.  I’ve also been enjoying a lot of brownies and cookies lately…but that’s a different story. I don’t share the income from most of my business … Continued

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Perrin and I have been working quite a bit lately on our Authority Site Project.  I’ve also been enjoying a lot of brownies and cookies lately…but that’s a different story.

I don’t share the income from most of my business (you can see all that I’m involved with in my last post); however, the one area of my business that I have been sharing the income for is the authority project.

I missed posting the income report for February, so today’s report will include both February and March.

To be honest, I was hoping to show an increase in income, but that hasn’t happened.  We had a smashing success with our first book, and we had assumed that we would be able to achieve similar success with subsequent books, but that simply has not happened.

Today, I’m not only going to discuss the actual earnings of the site, but what we plan to do differently to turn around the downward trend in earnings.  I will also discuss my decision as to whether or not I will be revealing my site. (I asked for your opinion in my last post).

Let’s jump into it.

Income for February and March

I want to throw the numbers out here first thing, so that we can discuss things the rest of the post.

Here’s the overall stats and earnings of the site:

mar-report

Combined February and March Earnings: $1,854.68

This is both Kindle earnings and Adsense earnings for the months of February and March.

February Earnings: $899.08

March Earnings: $955.60

As you can see, we continue to sell nearly $1,000 worth of Kindle books on Amazon each month; however, this is much less than January and December.

I’m unhappy with the downward trend.

However, before I dive into reasons for the lower earnings and strategy, let’s take a look at a couple of screenshots.

First, here’s a screenshot of the Kindle sales for March, just in case you enjoy the visual stats that this represents:

march-kindle

Promotion on Amazon Brazil

The huge spike in sales that you see on March 5th was due to a promotion that Amazon Brazil did for our book.  The promotion was done at a $0.99 promotion, so most of the sales you see there are worth about $0.35 to us.

I was contacted by Amazon Brazil out of the blue (I didn’t do anything to get their attention) and they asked if I was okay if they highlighted our book at a discount.  Of course I said yes, and the above spike in sales was the result.  Pretty cool!

Here’s a look at the traffic stats to the site:

analytics-march

As you can see, the site averaged about 215 sessions per day for the month of March.  While this is a good start in traffic, you can see from previous months (in the chart above) that the traffic has not increased significantly since December.

What’s Going On? Negative Reviews…

While I’m happy that the site is earning real money, I expect so much more from the site.  I don’t think I’ll be satisfied unless we can get the site to $10,000 per month in revenue.  That’s the goal.

Here’s a quick recap on the site and why it hasn’t been steadily increasing in traffic and earnings like I had hoped.

First, we did a stellar job with our first book and it was earning $100 a day for a while there.  However, we hired a different author for our next 2 books, and they flopped.

Part of the reason for the flop was poor topic choice, but the bigger reason I believe was the lower quality of the books.  These 2 books were slammed with a few negative reviews early on, and that just killed the sales.  Once you get some negative reviews on your books, it’s hard to overcome them.

Unfortunately, our first book, (that I feel IS high quality), was also hit with a couple of negative reviews.  These negative reviews also took that book from a bestseller, to a not so hot seller.  I believe that the 2 negative reviews on this book are “fake” reviews.

They don’t really address concerns in the book, and at least one of them was written by someone that only reviewed our book.  You can never know 100% which reviews are fake or not, but there were certainly a few signs that the negative reviews on our first book were not “real” reviews.

The negative reviews on books 2 and 3 were real, and unfortunately were probably deserved.

As a result, we went back to Perrin writing book 4, and I’m happy to say that the quality is excellent again!  Book 4 has received nothing but positive reviews and I still believe it has a chance to sell well.

Book 4 is currently selling just okay, mostly because the timing of our launch strategy didn’t quite work as well as before.  We just didn’t get our book listed on some promotional sites in time and other timing factors just caused it to have an average launch.

However, we will be trying a few things in the next couple of weeks and hope that will jumpstart more sales for Book 4.

In addition, Book 5 is nearly completed and gives us another opportunity to bring in more sales.

Overall, we are still learning as we go with writing Kindle books, but I think we are getting closer to finding a “formula” that works for us more consistently.

Email Subscribers and Google Traffic

In the meantime, we are still building an audience and getting more and more email subscribers to our list.  All of our books have opt in forms, and of course our website itself is helping to build the email list everyday.

We currently have about 625 subscribers on our email list, and I think we may come close to doubling that in April.  We made some tweaks to the opt-in forms on our website to give more opportunities for people to opt-in, and the early results are very promising.

We’ve been using Thrive Leads to make this process easier for us.  Thrive has built-in A/B testing, AND has just about every possible type of lead form you can think of: pop-ups, exit pops, widgets, headline bars, content upgrades, slide-ups, and more.

I know.  We should have done more to increase our opt-ins sooner; however, I really think things are moving in the right direction now.

Google News…

Another big reason that we haven’t seen a higher increase in traffic is due to the fact that we focused so much on Google News traffic for the past few months.  We saw some early spikes in traffic with a couple of our Google News articles, and we thought we could replicate that on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, the Google News traffic has not really panned out for us.  We tried writing more daily articles.  We tried different topics.  We tried keyword focused articles for news pieces.  We tried both longer and shorter articles.  However, we could just never get consistent traffic from Google News.

Here’s a look at the traffic from Google news over the past 2 months:

googlenews

As a result, I’ve made the decision to focus more on what I know and what is still bringing in more of the traffic to our site: Organic Traffic from Google.

Again, I know.  We should have just stayed with what we knew all along…but the “shiny object” of Google News traffic got us started down a path that just hasn’t panned out as well as we’d hoped.

We’ve done some additional keyword research and now have a better content plan moving forward.  The process is long, but over the next couple of months we should start seeing more search engine traffic as our new articles get picked up.

The Decision. Reveal the Site?

Like Lebron James, I have a decision to make.  Unfortunately, nobody in Miami (or Cleveland) wants my basketball talents…and nobody from ESPN wants to interview me about this decision.  However, I DO have a decision to make regarding my authority site.

Last week, I posed the question; “Should I reveal the URL of my Authority Site?”  I got lots of responses in the comments section.

Many of you had good reasons for why I should reveal the site; and many of you had good reasons why I should NOT reveal the site.

The primary reason given for revealing the site would be to give people an example that they could see, visit, and try to glean strategies from for their own site.  I see alot of value in having a live example of a site that is working.

The primary reason given for NOT revealing the site was that it takes away from the true case study value of the project.  If I reveal the site, readers from NichePursuits.com will visit the site, link to the site, and probably even buy the books.  The waters become muddied as to whether the success of the site was “natural” or whether it was really just due to the fact that I have a popular blog.

After reading all your comments and doing lots of thinking…I’ve come to my decision!

I will NOT be revealing the URL to my authority site.

I want the site to do well on it’s own…without the influence of NichePursuits.com.  Not only will this prove that a site can be built from scratch; but will hopefully inspire those without any influence or following that they can do the same.

So, for the now, the site will remain hidden and I will continue to share these updates without revealing the URL.  IF the site reaches the goal of $10,000 per month in earnings, I will take a second look at that decision. (If Lebron can go back on his decision, then so can I).

If I can build the site to that size, I think it might be valuable at that point to talk about it openly.  I’m not saying I WILL do this, I’m just saying I will consider that as an option once we get to that earnings level.

Quality Books

In addition to some of the changes to our site mentioned previously, we will also be focusing more on producing quality books.  The best way to avoid negative reviews is to simply make sure there is no reason your book should be getting those negative reviews.

Sometimes it’s unavoidable (if a competitor decides to buy negative reviews); however, for the most part, you control your own fate with reviews.

I think 2 out of our current 4 books are sufficient quality.  However, any new books we do will be even more in-depth, longer, and I’ll be more liberal with the editing hammer.  The only way to get top notch results is to produce top notch books.

Finally, since our list is finally starting to grow a bit, we will be gathering a “street team” of reviewers that will be happy to download and review our books as they come out.  These initial reviews will help propel the sales on Amazon.

Your Thoughts

Overall, we have been putting quite a bit of effort into our authority site and kindle books.  This post doesn’t really do justice to everything that goes on behind the scenes.  However, this gives you a quick look at how the site is coming along and what our plans are for the future.

I’m disappointed that the site isn’t earning more.  However, it IS earning close to $1,000 per month and that’s a decent start.  We are definitely not profitable yet, but I believe the potential is there if we simply keep plugging away and continuously improve.

Whether or not you like my decision to keep the site private, I hope you will continue to follow along as there are plenty of lessons to be learned here.  I’ll continue to teach what I learn along the way and hopefully some of my tips can help your own sites succeed.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  Are you happy that I’m keeping the site private?  Do you have any questions about something I discussed?  Or perhaps you have questions about something I didn’t discuss.  Either way, let me know in the comments section below.

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Online Business Update: Kindle Publishing, Amazon Physical Products, and Morehttp://www.nichepursuits.com/online-business-update/ http://www.nichepursuits.com/online-business-update/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:23:50 +0000 http://www.nichepursuits.com/?p=5221 Today will be a simple update post.  I don’t have epic strategies to share or any mind-blowing stats to review. However, I hope you will still find value in seeing what I’m involved with in my business and my plans … Continued

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Today will be a simple update post.  I don’t have epic strategies to share or any mind-blowing stats to review.

However, I hope you will still find value in seeing what I’m involved with in my business and my plans to grow.

Last week I wrote about overcoming shiny object syndrome, and this post will just once again prove why I said I’m not the perfect example!

However, I have focused enough to complete lots of projects and I do work full-time from home with a few employees (all virtual)…so if any of that is appealing to you, I do have a few things to share.

Today, I just want to give a quick rundown of all the current projects that I’m working on and give a quick update.  I would also love some feedback from you, so look for my questions.  In particular, I’d like to know which project you are interested in hearing MORE about.

Small Niche Sites

My online “career” began with building small niche sites, so I feel like it’s appropriate that I cover these first.

I still have lots of niche sites, but most of them are completely on auto-pilot.  I simply check earnings and monitor traffic.  I do have one or two that get new content every once in a while.  However, for the most part, I’m no longer focused on this part of my business.

I’m focused on building out larger web properties, rather than “set it and forget it” sites.  These “authority” sites get more of my attention and are discussed below.

Kindle Authority Site

This authority project has it’s own page and list of blog posts.  Perrin and I started this site towards the end of last year, and are actively working on growing the site.

We’ve now launched 4 books on Kindle, with varying degrees of success.  Our first book was an absolute home run.  You can see the earnings report from this first book right here.

However, we then hired an author to do books 2 and 3 for us, and they didn’t perform as well.  You can see the dip in earnings in the last income report right here.

We just launched book 4, and it’s doing a little bit better…but we have a few more promotion ideas to try before we know it’s full potential.

The site itself continues to grow in terms of traffic and email subscribers.  I’ll admit that it’s slow going when you are starting from absolute zero (I’ve never revealed the URL or Kindle books publicly on my blog here).  However, the site regularly gets 250 to 300 unique visitors a day and we have 600 email subscribers or so.

I hope to see both those numbers increase more rapidly in time.

Should I Reveal?

This brings me to my first question that I’d like your input on.  Up until now, I’ve kept everything private.  I’ve NOT revealed the site for 2 reasons:

  1. Improves case study value.  Showing that I can build an authority site from “scratch”, is a great study to show that others can do the same without leveraging any sort of influence.
  2. I want to prevent copy-cats or negative impact from readers with bad intentions.  When I revealed my site from my first niche site project, there were lots of copy cats and the site was damaged from negative SEO.

Despite the above risks, I’m still considering revealing the Kindle Authority site.  I’m considering REVEALING the site for these 3 reasons:

  1. Our Kindle books already get copy cats and fake negative reviews.  Even without publicly sharing our books or site on my blog, our top selling book has already been copied and a couple of reviews that were clearly fake…and very negative…were left.  Unfortunately, business is cut-throat and people that see your successful books will copy them and do anything else to make them drop in Amazon.  So, my reason number 2 above is already happening.
  2. Is the case study “value” less or greater when you can actually see the site and books?  I know personally for me, it’s great to see Steve Scott’s books that I can use as a guideline.  I know that for me and others, there’s more value in actually seeing the live site or books so you can personally dissect what made them successful.
  3. I think I would be remiss if I didn’t simply come out and state that my books and authority site are more likely to be successful if I tell more people about them.  Yes, I’ll make more money (possibly) and that’s a good reason to consider revealing.  I’ve build the site from “scratch” to over $1,000 a month, how far do I have to take it before I can just tell you what it is?  Pat Flynn has always been very public about his projects, and that’s worked pretty well.  I can see value in both options.

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  Should I reveal the site?  Will you get more or less value our of the “case study” if it’s public?

Private Authority Site

I actually have a site that I’ve never talked about on my blog.  I started this site over 2 years ago, and it’s a “passion” blog for me.  I go in spurts where I update it more frequently and sometimes long spurts where I don’t update it at all.

The site get’s between 600 to 1000 uniques a day, and does okay with Adsense.  However, I’m currently in the process of having a Kindle book written for this market, and I see TONS of potential.

I don’t plan on revealing this site, but just wanted to mention it because it IS a site I work on and is a market that I enjoy.

Vylo

Vylo is a web-based chat software product that Perrin and I created a little while ago.  You can read the couple of updates we’ve given in the past here.

We honestly are just letting this one grow organically.  The site has actually grown on it’s own over the past year, but I wouldn’t call it a success at this point.  Here’s a recent traffic screenshot:

2015-03-25_1144

So, the site gets a fair amount of daily traffic.  But what’s even cooler is that the site ranks well for several “voice chat” related keywords in Google and gets a decent amount of organic traffic each day.

Here’s a screenshot of the organic traffic that the site gets:

2015-03-25_1147

We do have paying monthly subscribers, but not nearly enough to get excited about. I plan on tweaking a few things to see if we can get more people to become paying customers.

Amazon Physical Products

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this in passing somewhere, but I’ve been working with a manufacturer in China to have a physical product created!  In fact over the weekend, my product was shipped from China to Las Angeles, and is on its way to an Amazon warehouse as I type this.

I expect my listing to be live on Amazon in the next few days!  I have no idea what to expect with this, but after seeing what Chris Guthrie has done in a short period of time, I know there is a lot of potential.

I didn’t take any training course on how to do this, I just jumped in and “pulled the trigger”.  I might be doing everything wrong, but I’m learning along the way.  I’ll let you know if the product sells. :)

I’ve heard so many good things about this business, that I’m getting involved with a couple of other people as well.  I have a partnership of sorts with my own brother to get a product up on Amazon.  I have another partnership with my employee Jake to do a separate product.  Jake’s product is currently being manufactured in China.

I’ve been wanting to wait until I actually see some success here before I discuss it too much.

Long Tail Pro

Long Tail Pro continues to be a phenomenal business.  I don’t like to share numbers, but I will just say that Long Tail Pro has the most employees.  (Jake is full-time at marketing, I have 3 contract developers, and 2 customer support reps).

The business is now hitting revenue numbers that I never dreamed would be possible.  Long Tail Pro is a business I’ve been working on and growing for about 4 years now, and much of the growth is very organic at this point.

People that don’t know me are becoming affiliates, using the software, or just mentioning in blog posts.  The software has been mentioned in Moz.com, SearchEngineJournal.com, SocialMediaExaminer.com, DuctTapeMarketing.com, and many other places without my involvement or even knowledge until after the fact.

In addition, Jake has really done a fantastic job helping to promote the business over the past few months.  He’s been actively blogging on the Long Tail Pro blog.  I encourage you to go check out some of his recent blog posts right here!

We have also been working on our funnel, both pre and post purchase.  As a result, the month of March should see a nice uptick of over 20% in sales without any special promotions or offers.  I’m hoping the business has reached a new “normal” level of sales that we can just continue to build from.

If you are interested in hearing more about this software business, let me know.

Niche Pursuits and Podcast

I’ll be honest, after 4 years of blogging, sometimes I struggle with “what should I write about next?”  However, I always come back to the fact that it’s just my blog and I can blog about whatever happens to be on my mind.

Some of my content will be “epic” (hopefully), and some of it will just be a regular update.

I keep at it, because I regularly receive feedback, emails, tweets, and more about how much people learn from some of the posts I shared.  I appreciate the feedback!

Podcast

In addition, you may have noticed that I’ve been taking a little bit of a break from the Niche Pursuits Podcast.  Surprisingly, some of you HAVE noticed and keep mentioning that I should record another episode.

I may just do that…sometime.  As you can see, I have a few other things going on in my business, and I’ve yet to see how the podcast impacts my business.  I’ve tried to analyze that in-depth here in a recent post.  Unlike other activities, such as improving my funnel/offers for Long Tail Pro which show a direct and immediate impact to my business, the podcast is a very soft metric.

I know the podcast can extend my reach and provides a deeper connection with my audience; however, it just doesn’t impact my revenue in a timely manner as much as other activities.

I will record more podcasts, I just don’t know when.

If you have topics that you would specifically like me to cover in the podcast, let me know.  I’m all ears.

Wrapping Up

Overall, I just wanted to give a brief update on the various online businesses that I’ve ventured into.  Business is good.

I would love to hear your feedback on which projects you would like to hear more about.  I can blog a bit more or record more podcasts episodes wherever there is the most interest.

In addition, I would really like to hear whether you think I should reveal my authority site or not.  I gave you some of my thoughts on the pros and cons below, now I’d love to hear from you.  What do you think?

If you have any additional comments or questions, let me know!

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How to Stay Focused and Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome?http://www.nichepursuits.com/how-to-stay-focused-and-avoid-shiny-object-syndrome/ http://www.nichepursuits.com/how-to-stay-focused-and-avoid-shiny-object-syndrome/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 16:28:36 +0000 http://www.nichepursuits.com/?p=5210 I have some bad news.  I don’t have a magic formula to always keep you focused. However, what I can share is my own struggles and small triumphs that have allowed me to stay focused long enough to build a … Continued

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I have some bad news.  I don’t have a magic formula to always keep you focused.

However, what I can share is my own struggles and small triumphs that have allowed me to stay focused long enough to build a very successful business.

I recently completed a survey where over 300 of you responded with your biggest obstacles to starting a profitable blog or website.  One of the top reasons that people struggle is to a lack of focus, or shiny object syndrome.

Unfortunately, I’m not perfect either.

Even with a successful business, it’s very difficult for me to focus on just one business venture at a time.  However, I have been able to focus ENOUGH on my projects that they’ve taken off.

So, today I’m going to share some of my own ups and down with pursuing “shiny” objects…and hopefully some of the small lessons learned can help you as well.

The Problem

You know the problem.  You get REALLY excited about a new business venture or project.  You get started with all your enthusiasm…and then something happens.

Maybe you get frustrated with technical challenges.

Maybe you read a blog post about ANOTHER great idea.

Whatever it is, you suddenly stop the “old” idea and move onto the new SHINY idea!  This will be the one!

Unfortunately, it rarely is and you find yourself starting a new project every couple of months with rubble of half completed projects cluttering the path behind you.

I’ve been there too.

When I first got started online, I began with a financial blog.  I had expectations that it would become huge and I would become the next great Dave Ramsey.

However, after some point of not seeing any results and reading forums or other blogs, I decided that if I created an ebook, that would be the next best thing!

I completed the ebook (which I’ve never mentioned here before), and it flopped.  Rather than trying some real marketing, I got slapped with another shiny object…lead generation!

I built a lead gen site in the financial space and got bored with it.  Finally I discovered small niche sites back in 2008 or so…and this was a good fit for me!

I saw some early success with my first couple of niche sites, and then I finally learned to focus on this one strategy and it allowed me to quit my day job just a couple of years later.

In a sense building niche sites was a way for me to still go after lots of shiny objects (building a new niche site on random topics), but I was still focused on just one-strategy (ranking in Google quickly for long tail keywords).

While building these niche sites, I was of course tempted along the way to dive into other projects, but I focused for the most part and it paid off for me in a big way.  I went from making almost nothing in 2009 online, to making over $16,000 a month shortly after quitting my job in 2011.

My problem recently

I’ve made some good decisions in my business that played off my strengths of building niche sites.  That includes starting this blog and sticking with it for over 4 years now and creating Long Tail Pro; which has become a very successful software business in it’s own right.

So, I’m not a perfect example of avoiding additional projects…by a long shot.  I enjoy building new sites, I have a software company, and I run this blog.  However, in a strange way these are all related and I can handle most of it because I have my employees Perrin and Jake helping me out.

However, I’ve allowed myself to drift a bit too far after some shiny objects, even recently.  Let me explain.

I mentioned briefly in a blog post a few months ago, that I was going to rent an office in a coworking space locally.  In conjunction, I mentioned that I was becoming a partner in a software development company.

The company itself launched in September and we picked up several software development contracts.  However, I found that the original idea of the business continued to morph into something bigger and bigger that required more and more of my time.

I could see that I was starting down a road that would be hard to back-track from if I didn’t do something.  The shiny object of a local software development firm was taking me away from my core business that all of you are so familiar with.

As a result of some SERIOUS thinking, I decided to leave the company in order to allow me to focus my time on my core business.  It was a tough decision, but I was immediately relieved.

The software development company is actually doing well and has recently made some new hires, but I’m glad that the current owners can give it the time and attention it deserves, rather than me.

As crazy as it sounds, even when you hit your income and business goals, you might still be like me and try to pursue additional options.

The syndrome never goes away completely.


Shiny object syndrome is kinda like alcoholism, you are never really cured, just in remission.
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The Rewards

Again, I don’t have all the answers to cure your unfocused ways.  I will simply say that you are likely to do MUCH better in business if you focus on one thing at a time.  It’s not easy; I’ve been there…however, you really will do better to stop chasing your tail.

I have 3 successes from my business that have in part come because I was able to stick with it and focus enough to grow these revenue streams.

First is my niche site business that I mentioned.  When I finally took to the time to focus and pull all my effort into niche sites (for a few years straight), I was able to quit my day job because my business income had exceeded my day-job income. I continue to focus on building out sites, with Perrin and I putting a lot of effort into our authority site project and Kindle books right now.

Second is Long Tail Pro.  I launched Long Tail Pro right around the same time that I quit my job back in 2011.  I’ve been able to grow that software business each and every year, and that business is currently on pace to have another record year.  Again, this is something I’ve just “stuck” with for about 4 years now…it’s paying off immensely now.

Finally, is NichePursuits.com itself.  I’ve been blogging for over 5 years now…crazy!  If I had tried to chase every opportunity that came along, I probably would have not had time to blog.  While NichePursuits.com does not make me a significant amount of money directly, it has helped me build a large audience, generate large amounts of traffic naturally everyday, and provides a platform for anything I might want to do in the future.

4 Ways to Help Overcome Shiny Object Syndrome

I don’t have a magic wand or special words that I can say to change your shiny objects tendencies; however, here’s a few thoughts that might help you think differently about how you are operating.

  1. Set goals.  I’ve always been a big believer in goal setting as it really does help you focus your energies.  As you know, your goals should be specific and measurable.  And if you are having a hard time focusing, set goals that specifically mention the 1 or 2 projects that you are going to work on.
  2. Plan your day.  I don’t have any fancy time management or planning tools.  However, each morning I jot down with a pen and paper (old school!) the 5 or so things that I most want to accomplish for the day.  I number them in priority and work on number 1 until its finished before moving onto the next ones.  This helps more than you might think.
  3. Remove distractions.  For me this is email.  However, for you this may be reading other blogs or following social media.  I would set up specific times a day where you are “allowed” to check email or read blogs.  You will find that being a little more strict with your time will help you accomplish much more.
  4. Pick your own winning strategy.  In other words, don’t just follow the crowd.  Think of a business strategy that makes sense to you and pursue it.  I’ve said this many times before, but the best business to go into is the one that makes sense to you and hopefully you’ve developed with a unique angle. While it’s okay to glean business information from others, if you solely rely on a “blueprint” you will likely always be looking for the next blueprint to your success.

Unfortunately, doing all these things won’t guarantee your business success, but it will at least give the opportunity to focus long enough on one idea to see if it has legs or not.

Overall, hopefully some of these ideas will help you realize that it’s to focus a little more if you hope to succeed.  Also, I’m not perfect at this either!

I’ve shared some of my own ups and downs getting distracted with other projects, but I can point directly to where my business income has come from and see that it’s the projects that I’ve focused that have succeeded.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

The post How to Stay Focused and Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome? appeared first on Niche Pursuits.

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