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Next Project

Hello All,

Now that I have this website almost fully automized, my ads are running just fine with about where I want to be CPC’s and conversion costs.  I think it is time to start my next project.

Website #2

I am going to sustain the site I have now, and go through the entire process again of building out a site.  I have the niche in mind that I want to deal with.  This is not so much a premeditated thought but more a gut feeling that rose within me over the past week or so.

Reason?

Take a page out of a majority of financial advisors books.  Never invest all funds and resources into one fund.

 
One way to look at it is, you should never rely 100% on one source of income either. What if that source dies off? Your main vendors drop you? You have to still be able to survive.  Take a page out of a majority of financial advisors books.  Never invest all funds and resources into one asset or allocation.  Diversify.

I have so many projects in my mind on potential opportunities to make money, however; from my experience in life.  Sometimes it’s just better to take one on at a time, and do it right.

Last but not least, I have some very, very, life changing news that will be coming down the pipeline in a month or so.  Life changing is a good way to put it.  Very nervous and excited about it.  2016 is bound to be one to remember – good or bad 🙂

Remember, Never Cool Down.

What kind of projects are you working on right now?

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February 2016 – Progress Report

Hello All!

Today I am going to write a brief post on my progress report for February 2016.  In total, I have spent less than four hours a week on my site.  I have picked up and worked more on a freelancing gig than I would have expected.  I also during this time had to shut down all outbound ads to deal with an issue with my main supplier.  This lasted a total of six days with almost zero traffic.

Over the past few days, I have started to learn how to write a macro function as well to incorporate into my process flow of running this store.  I think it could help me dramatically when it comes to keeping my products and inventory correct.  This could potentially help me capture all “Out of Stock” sales that I have been missing due to my inaccurate inventory counts.

February 2016 vs January 2016

Sessions: 2,056 (-13.47% from 2,376)
Users: 1,504 (-17.09% from 1,814)
Pageviews: 4,882 (-3.90% from 5,080)
Gross Revenue: $1,343.73 (37.901% from $834.27)

Freelancing Services:

$200 – One client – One job.  Has the potential to be month/month revenue.

Interestingly enough, I was down in majority fo the data I track through GA BUT my gross revenue was higher.  Last month I put in close to the least amount of hours you can possibly put on a site.  The month of March has been somewhat the same, however; I am truly striving to have this macro completed for inventory purposes and ensuring I do not continue to lose sales over this.  The first step to creating this macro.. go through the entire process and write down step-by-step how to convert the file from origination to where it needs to be in order to be complete.  This is going to be over 100+ steps without a doubt in my mind.  Once that is complete, though, this will save me hundred if not, thousands of dollars in missed sales.  I would say it is worth the huge time investment in the long-run.  Plus why not learn another skill such as excel macros?

Comment Below any further question or conversations.  Can always follow me on Twitter as well @JustCallMeRob

Until next time, Never Cool Down!

 

Being Afraid of a New Idea

This quote made my day from Gary Vaynerchuk.  Wanted to share the inspiration!  Get ready for February Stats

Get ready for February Stats too 🙂 !

On  being scared or afraid when trying to create or execute a New Idea;

“Upside of trying a new idea and then succeeding will always outweigh the downside of 11 failed Ideas. ”

 

Never Cool Down.

Setting Up

Have a lot on the fire right now.  Many options and avenues all with a common goal.  Setting it all up as I always do.  No stone left unturned.  A problem I have with being a perfectionist, to be honest.  The idea of just saying “fuck it”, never came naturally to me.  Prime example.  I picked up photography a year ago.  As soon as I took my first photo, all I wanted to do was figure out every intricate piece of this thing.  How it works, why it works, what each setting does and how I can capture what I want to capture and see.  I spent hours, upon hours, just watching youtube videos.  Setting up subjects in my room to test settings and visualize what I have learned.  Some people just aren’t that way.  I couldn’t just be like, meh, I’ll figure it out or I don’t care.

The idea of just saying “fuck it”, never came naturally to me.

“Transition” is about to occur within my own life.  It’s funny, it has been a word I’ve heard a lot over the past few years (especially within the business world).  To be thinking of it on my personal spectrum, definitely a new thought.

 

Not going to lie.  I am nervous.  I am anxious.  I am on Fire.  Never Cool Down.

2016 – January Stats

Hello, Hello All You Fine People.

I am going to start this blog off a little off-topic.  Why?  Why not.. I’ve wanted to blog about it for a bit, and this is my podium as of now to preach my life lessons (mainly on drop shipping and eCommerce haha).  So, who here likes music?  Well most recently I went to a concert.  A band, I never thought I would see (because they stopped touring) and, well they then came back.  I have listened to this particular band since my Junior year at Penn State.  During the times since I have first of them, I have listened to them on so many occasions, with so many different emotions attached while listening to them.  They also instantly remind me of the different times of college, nostalgic type ordeal.  They have so many attached memories (almost all amazing) that once I actually was at this live show; I couldn’t help myself but feel a euphoric state.  It’s incredible what music can do to you.  How it can create such joy, just from a sound.  I just hope you, the reader, can find a sound, that can bring you such joy.  That can carry so much with it that no matter the time, day or simply the state-of-mind, it brings you happiness.  Find your tune.

It’s like having a kid who didn’t make the all-star team but still you know is a beast.  Ya, thats my site.

So onto what you are here for.. DRUM ROLLLLLL…

It’s really not that exciting, I dont know why I am so excited to show you my statistics over the January; but regardless of it, I am.  The ups, the downs, the good, the bad, it’s all part of this experience.  It’s like having a kid who didn’t make the all-star team but still you know is a beast.  Ya, thats my site.

 

January 2016 vs December 2015

Sessions: 2,376 (-11.71% from 2,691)
Users: 1,1814 (-13.29% from 2,092)
Pageviews: 5,080 (-10.56% from 5,680)
Gross Revenue: $834.27 (-78.90% from $3,955.5)

Well, as I stated, this is quite depressing to look at HOWEVER; and this is a HUGE however, I am comparing to Christmas time.  The time of the year, every single person has a hot finger looking to purchase products for the best holiday in regards to anyone selling anything.  With that being said, January is an obviously slow month in retail because everyone’s wallets are still in recovery for their blind spending.

Once February comes to a close, I will be reporting for you a direct monthly comparison for you!  During this month so far, I have increased my social activity and engagement slightly.  I have also implemented a new automated email marketing app that triggers on certain parts of a customer’s journey within my site.  If you want to know the app name, just comment below and I will share.  FYI – as all my apps, it’s free and has a great interface and very easy to alter email templates to your customized liking.  Really enjoy the analytics it offers too.  We shall see if anything comes of it because, if so, it will be strictly incremental business I wouldn’t have received if I did not download it.  That is a true win in regards to Shopify Free Apps.

Until Next Time.  Keep the Fire Blazing.  Never Cool Down

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Freelancing

Well,

It’s been quite the adventure thus far in regards to freelancing.  Continuing to build my digital equity and side-hustle business has been somewhat on the back burner to be honest.  But, I have come to the conclusion that I can create an automated sales funnel once a few more marks are checked off, bringing me in only qualified leads and reducing time wasting efforts.  This will practically remove all issues with figuring out who to work with on freelancing gigs.  Building out my skill sets within the digital marketing realm.  It isn’t easy to find gigs, but the ones I have been working for, have made me good money with minimal time and effort.  I want to continue working with the few I have now before I dive further in developing myself as a brand and person to work with.  Before I start to develop my outreach strategy, I have to achieve a get over a few more hurdles.

Overall objective with this.. continue to be building out my skill sets within the digital marketing realm and of course, building my side-hustle project.  It isn’t easy to find gigs, but the couple that has been thrown my way, have made me good money with minimal time and effort.  I want to continue working with the few I have now before I dive further in developing myself as a brand and person to work with.  Before I start to develop my outreach strategy, I have to get over a few more hurdles;

  • Establish what exactly I am and am not willing to do.
  • Establish whom I will be targeting
  • Establish pricing structures dependent on my targeting options and what I am going to be focusing on niching down with
    • The worse thing a digital marketer can do is establish themselves as a “one-stop-shop” – Niche down to what you are good at, what you enjoy or, what you are available to outsource easily and charge more for it.  A specialized expert within your niche.
      • Even further into this topic; I want to ensure my time is not wasted.  Because I could potentially be picking up 5 to 10x more projects, I want to ensure I calculate out the value of an hour of my time to build within the cost of all my available offerings.  Cutting yourself short to be the “cheapest” is not the route I am looking to go.

Really Quick Post – Abandoned Carts

Good Morning All,

I have been away for the weekend and have come back to see a TON of abandoned cart emails.  This is a HUGE opportunity for my site that I am just letting pass by.  What am I to do to fix this issue?

For one, I have been utilizing the Shopify emailing system for abandoned carts.  After a period of time, which I have been consistently experimenting with in regards to when to send the email to an abandoned cart user.  I have had 0% success.  Literally 0.  Not one conversion.  I have altered my email chains content, timing, and, esubject.

 

What do you do to automate your abandoned carts?  What are your time frames for the initiation of your email chain?

What I have recently been informed of is an easy but difficult idea on someone who is trying to run an almost 90-95%% passive business prepping for scaling – Call each abandoned cart customer.  With up to 20 abandoned carts a day, this was tough to conceptualize.

My initial thought?  How can I hire a VA to handle this job & utilize a incentive based salary for this person to sell?  I would need to supply them with quite a bit of information for them to speak clearly on the product as well.  How can I ensure that no matter the VA, they can accomplish the job.  These are my first thoughts.

Time to start digging deeper on this idea.

Cruise Control

After running through a digital franchise already and burning myself out after 2 and a half years of working 18-20 hour days, I realize that cruise control is sometimes a necessity to survive for the long haul.  Because that is what this is, a long haul and, not a sprint.  That is one lesson I learned with my first franchise and business investment.  I advise any entrepreneur to reread that and really soak it in.

As of right now, I am on cruise control.  I have been so swamped because of the beginning of the year reviews, Q1 meetings, and new year scheduling with my full-time position and, just life in general, I have been putting less than 2 hours a week into the drop shipping site.

The best part about eCommerce and Drop Shipping is, once it is up and running, controlling everything else and sustaining is very easy.  I see why many investors are always looking to acquire great drop shipping site.  (Acquisition of drop shipping sites will be another post where I will go over my valuation currently from a drop shipping marketplace.  I’ll display the potential equity you can hold as a drop ship site owner and operator.)

With that being said, 2 hours a week consists of the bare minimum of running the site while still making money.  Ads are running, people are coming to the site, remarketing every single user and, fulfilling and processing orders.  Majority of this is automated as well.

My next ad program to really dive into will be Pinterest Ads.  I am a huge fan of Pinterest in general but now with the ad program being more open to businesses, I can see myself utilizing this on an ad cycle as well.

Look forward to slowing down at my full-time job and life to spend some more time for future advancements.

 

SIDE NOTE FOR SIDE HUSTLE ENTHUSIASTS:  I have currently initiated my second side-hustle!  Freelancing my digital marketing skills.  I just completed my first job for a brand in creating their initial Pinterest build.  This was a very lucrative deal that I can build upon and scale easily if I feel there is an opportunity.  There is also the opportunity for Month over Monthy Revenue or a subscription based model.  By that I mean, I am currently working with this brand to upkeep their page on a weekly basis as well.  After that, I also started working with a photographer now to help him get his amateur photography business off the ground.  This is particularly exciting because I have never marketed to this type of potential demographic or, this type of product so I am eager to see how I can make this customer some money at the lowest cost.  To say the least, this will take up quite a lot when treading waters you aren’t too familiar with.  After it is all said and done, we are rolling, he is making money with minimal cost, I might actually create a website to sell my prints as well.  We shall see but excited to have all this going on.

 

It’s Been a While! 2015 Stats

Happy Fucking New Years Everyone!

Hope 2016 has started off great for you as it has for me.  It’s been a strange start, but still, going all in the right direction 100%.  As you all are aware, I initiated this site as a pure experiment for my own knowledge in the eCommerce world, to experiment with digital marketing strategies and a fun way to make money with a hobby I enjoy.

So, it has been 4 MONTHS! Since my last update and boy have I missed out on telling you some good stuff.  I can see where all this holiday spirit comes into play because I absolutely killed it during this years first season.

Lets go through some basic Google Analytics (GA) stats and gross revenue for you.  Get ready, cause it’s pretty awesome stuff.  Going to go month by month with basic site stats and gross revenue for each.

September 2015;
Sessions: 947
Users: 740
Pageviews: 2,457
Gross Revenue: $289.98

October 2015;
Sessions: 692
Users: 536
Pageviews: 1,383
Gross Revenue: $0

November 2015;
Sessions: 1,867
Users: 1,503
Pageviews: 3,635
Gross Revenue: $867.12

December 2015;
Sessions: 2,691
Users: 2,092
Pageviews: 5,680
Gross Revenue: $3,955.50

Totals 2015;
Sessions: 6,197
Users: 4,730
Pageviews: 13,155
Gross Revenue: $5,112.60

Funny, as I am writing this post, I just made a sale off of an item for a net profit of $175.. love it.  That is more than a days work for some people.

But aside from that.  What changed?  How did I start to drive so much more traffic?  I am non-stop adjusting FB ads and ad strategies within FB.  The best part, I spend only a few bucks daily ($2).  What else did I do?  I adjusted and optimized my Google PLA ads.  Since I tweaked many of my ads towards the end of October, you can see I TRIPLED my visitors in November because of this strategy.  Believe it or not, with the SAME ad spend.  I did not spend a dollar more but tripled my traffic.

LEARN A PLATFORM OR TWO AND OPTIMIZE, OPTIMIZE, OPTIMIZE.

Not everything is peachy.  What have been some of my larger struggles?  First, customer service.  Hands down one of the hardest aspects of drop shipping.  Because I do not know much about my 4,000 different product(s), I find myself continuously taking messages and trying to get back to people with a response.  Or just plain and simple, terrible customer service.

Secondly, keeping up-to-date with my suppliers inventory (or lack-there-of).  Because they do not integrate with Shopify, doing any altering hasnt been the case.  I have barely updated my inventory because of the time it takes to reupload all the proper formats for the Shopify inventory and product template.  This is a serious issue which I am losing sales daily on.  Realistically I have to invest a weekend to update once again the inventory to ensure I am on the same page.  This is a time consuming and nerve wracking issue that I have been pushing off because realistically I am losing sales on small cost items only that the company runs out of stock occasionally on instead of the larger scaled and more expensive money.  I might figure out an alternative to reentering in the entire inventory with one-off item management if an item goes out of inventory.

Third, would be shipping costs.  Because the supplier integrates with USPS or UPS or Fedex and I don’t have an API that integrates with the suppliers shipping costs, I am at a complete guessing game.  Half the time I am now making a few bucks off of shipping to be safe because in the past, I was losing money on almost every order.  Instead, for example like on the order I just received, I charged double for this item (standard with weight) than what it cost to actually ship.

 

Long story short, for the four months I have been up, I have learned quite a lot and can’t wait to progress further.  This experiment has not only made me money and a fair amount but has drastically increased my knowledge base on a plethora of digital marketing topics and digital aspects.  During this time, I have also started a small digital marketing agency as well.  Simple, with minimal effort being put towards this as of now but also utilizing many of the skills I am learning with this venture into that venture and capitalizing on them.  Just got paid $1,000 for one digital marketing gig and am working with an artist now to grow that business and brand digitally.

Very exciting for what is to come in this year.  I plan on reaching out to other suppliers as well now that I have a track record of sales as well in the hopes to increase my product line.

Stay tuned!

Keep that Fire Blazing & Never Cool Down!

 

 

To-Date Google Analytics (GA) Stats Analysis

God Morning, as I sit here I am outside of a coffee shop, it is 65 degrees out and the pope is coming to Philadelphia.  The city seems to be in this weird and awkward state of complete vacancy from the Philadelphia residents and more people coming in.  It’s strange to say the least but its a great fall day.

So, As the titles states, I am now looking for a second store to open.  I am not completely giving up on my first store and niche however due to the difficulty of gathering more and more suppliers and distributors because of the lack of a physical location, I think it is time.  Not only that but my conversation ratio is less than 0.5%.  I have only made one sale since the start of going live.  The stats are below from my GA and my visitors;

Sessions; 875

Users; 679

Pageviews; 2,457

Pages/Session; 2.81

Avg Session Duration; 00:02:01

Bounce Rate: 65.26%

Overall, looking at these stats, it blows my mind that I have only converted one sale.  With these types of numbers and time spent on the site, I would expect a higher conversation ratio IMO.

I am seeing a lot of drop offs from the initial site that the user is landed on i.e. if they are coming from a google PLA, the average duration is 50 seconds and no page flow.  Taking my knowledge from that means to me that there may not be enough content and information for the user to convert.  I have been dabbling around on how much more I can add and how to do it.  This would take a lot of time and effort considering I would have to do the initial research for each product and then add it to the product page and ensure it looks well enough to be on the site.  This is not worth my time at the moment because of the lack thereof validation for this niche.

As of right now, of the 875 unique users that have come from the site, here is the breakdown from each site acquisition;

Paid Ads from Google PLA; 461

Direct Traffic; 160 (Looks like a lot of BS spam visits)

Social; 126 (Majority were from the FB ads I am currently running)

Referral; 96 (More BS spam visits)

Organic Search; 23 – Yes, surprisingly there was such a thing as organic traffic already.  Shocking

After having this site up and running for just under a month and converting just one sale, I am now on the look for a wholesale/distributor listing site that I can pay annually to use their products.  I think this will help convert more sales with more options and not just one brand.  I also plan to add a lot of products from another site that I have been granted access.  I plan to have this done within a week and by then, I will give this site one more month.  I will then pause and recreate a new site with a different niche (Which I have a few different ideas in mind already).  I also plan to also plan to alter a few of my ads on FB to target a different demographic and see how that works.

As of now on Facebook, my total spend is about $25 and I havent converted a sale.  Time to switch it up.  What I can say about FB ads are that the users that are coming to the site from FB are staying a lot longer, with a average sessions of just under 3:00 munites and 5 pages views on average.  They are interested for longer but still not converting.

As for Pinterest; I have put very little effort into Pinterest however with a whopping 10 visits from it, the average time spent on the site was 9 minutes in total and 6 page views on average.  I can see where the value can come into play with Pinterest already.

Overall, my next update I should have about 50 more products uploaded and potentially a couple hundred more from another vendor that are more small item parts that might not be needed but will have the site look better.  At that point, I will then give myslf a month on spending money in regards to ads and see where we stand.

Stay Tuned and Remember; Never Cool Down.