Well, it’s the time again! I’m writing on the first of September which means Summer is coming to a close (my girls go back to school tomorrow!) and the “busy season” is going to begin! Traditionally, September sees an increase in sales, though usually minimal. October, things pick up a bit more. November sees a huge difference over other months and December is usually double to triple the standard sales! This is exciting, but even more exciting to me was the fact that Summer was not completely dead as it has been for me in years past! So…let’s see how things looked in August!
WE’LL BEGIN WITH… THE DISCLAIMERS
If you’re a regular reader, feel free to skip this section. I always feel it’s necessary, however, to be 100% up-front, and transparent. I want you to understand the numbers you’re looking at for what they actually are.
The first disclaimer is about the nature of the business. Historically, this business comes in waves. You’ll see ups and downs. If like me, you’re starting a business or are thinking about starting one, you’re probably thinking “I’d like to make $X a month.” In reality, it doesn’t work this way. My first several years of business were all over the place. Some months were high, others were low. Things have steadied out over time, but the reality is, no two months will be exactly the same
The second, and possibly more important disclaimer in light of transparency is how I figure my numbers. For sales of physical products, I take 35% to figure out my “profit.” This is consistent with last year’s profit percentage (after shipping costs, fees, cost of goods, misc expenses etc). This is not an exact number, but it’s going to be pretty close. Going through hundreds of transactions and determining the cost and profit is simply not something I’m willing or probably even able to do. Be aware that you’re looking at an estimate, but a fairly accurate one.
SOURCES OF INCOME (NEW SOURCE THIS MONTH!)
As regular readers know, the majority of my income comes from my 2 Amazon Accounts. I also sell a bit on Ebay (2 accounts). In addition, I have a handful of affiliate accounts that make bits of money each month. This month, however, I started an Amazon.ca account (Amazon Canada) selling FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon- meaning my inventory is actually in Canada and orders are fulfilled by Amazon’s staff there.) I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve already made a few sales! This was done with almost no promotion (I’ll spend more time talking about this below.) The income from this is not significant (at least not yet) but the fact that these sales came in so quickly was totally unexpected! (As I mentioned in my previous post, I didn’t think I’d have income to report in this account until September or October! I’m so excited that items are already starting to move in this account!
THINGS GOING ON IN AUGUST
August went FAST! I was thrilled to get my first Canadian Amazon shipment finalized and received to Amazon.ca. I said above that I did “almost no promotion.” I did send out a single newsletter to my current mailing list for the products letting them know that the products were available at Amazon.ca, but it turns out none of my subscribers are in Canada! This means I’ve got some work to do, BUT it also means that the few sales I got were organic (from finding the product on Amazon.ca) and were not related at to the newsletter I sent out! I’m seeing that there are pros and cons to listing on Amazon.ca. The biggest disadvantage is the lack of traffic. The traffic does not appear to be anything close to Amazon.com. The huge advantage here though is the lack of competition. When I listed the same product on Amazon.com, I had to work hard to get it on the first page for my target keyword (currently about the 5th listing on the page). When I listed on Amazon.ca, I became the number 3 listing for my target keyword (same keyword) in less than a week with no promotion. It seems the international Amazon sites are wide open and far easier to rank and compete! I’m very excited about continuing to pursue other Amazon marketplaces and expand my audience!
As I’ve mentioned, I have 2 other products that are being imported. The production is just about complete and we’re working through the final steps before shipment. These should hit Amazon in 30-45 days (though my last product has still not hit the warehouse- it’s been nearly 2 months!- keep this in mind if you’re considering shipping by sea. It can be incredibly slow!)
Finally, on a personal note, my wife and my youngest daughter share August as a birthday month! We celebrated my wife’s birthday on the 22nd and celebrated my daughter’s (fifth) birthday Friday (the 29th) and yesterday (the 31st)! Friday was the “kids party” where our house was overrun with females for 3 hours (a ton of little girls and their moms) and Sunday was her real birthday (Grandma, Grandpa came over for some pie and ice cream). It was a great ending to a great summer!
So, planning games for 5 year-olds, eating cupcakes, pie and ice cream and buying presents is all great, but how did I pay for all that? I’m glad you asked! Lets look at my August income! (did you like that segue?)
Amazon Account 1: $31,819.52
Amazon Account 2: $15,071.54
Amazon.ca (Canada) account: $143.57 (estimated conversion to U.S. dollars)
(I don’t have a professional account yet, so I do not have access to the business reports. Below is a shot of my payout report)
Ebay Account 1: $1011.84
Ebay Account 2: $182.37
35% = $16,880.09 (total physical product estimated profit)
Amazon Associates: $36.59
Jim Cockrum Owned Courses
Worldwide Brands: $67.25
Total affiliate earnings: $347
(100% profit since there is no “cost of goods”)
GRAND TOTAL ESTIMATED PROFIT FOR THE MONTH: $17,227.09
LAST MONTH’S ESTIMATED PROFIT: $18,987.40
I’m not completely surprised that I’m down this month. My goal for the next couple months is to keep up on my inventory and numbers a bit better (I’ll be talking more about this in upcoming posts). I’m seeing that when I don’t track things, I don’t know exactly where I’m losing money. I can guess though. 2 of my top selling private label products have had to fight a bit for placement on Amazon. Competition is moving in and some of the sellers are fairly aggressive with their strategies! I could benefit from a bit of promotion on my products!
The second factor is that my main contractor (who sources and lists products for me) has opened up a car shop and has consequently been spending significantly less time on the business. We are currently in conversation trying to balance his schedule. All in all though, I certainly can’t say I’m complaining about $17,000!
I hope this is inspiring to you and that it motivates you in your own business. If you’re just starting and want a strategy, you can download the overview of the stategy I use in the form of an ebook by entering your name and email below! Thanks so much for your support!