Category Archives: Business Planning

New Year, New Life, New Goals (and the post I thought I’d never write)

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADO OR DIE

I was convinced for better part of 2016 that I would abandon this blog forever.  The choice I hadn’t made was whether I would just let it die a natural death or if I would write a farewell post.  Turns out not making a decision is actually making a decision.  This is a poor way to run a business or to live a life for that matter.  While I’m still undecided, today I’ve chosen to take action in the midst of indecision which, in my experience, always produces better results!

THANK YOU TO MY READERS

Today I decided to write a post I thought I’d never write.  During my time of stepping away from the blog, I would occasionally still have readers contact me with encouraging words.  You told me how much a past post inspired you to take action, start a business, or earn extra income.  You told me about the life you never thought you could have, but that you do have- because of taking actions on things I wrote.  The comment I got more than anything though was “you seem like a real person.”  “You seem like a regular guy.”  “There are so many ‘gurus’ out there, but I followed you because you seem like someone I can actually relate to and someone who is actually doing what they are teaching.” You all encouraged me that my efforts on this blog have made a difference in your lives.  Thank you to all of you who reached out, shared your stories, asked questions, asked for help, shared your frustrations, decided to keep going and inspired me with your results! Now I need to admit that all of these emails came in while I was not taking action and not feeling inspired and not making the most of my business this last year!  The truth is, I was fairly depressed for a good part of 2016.

PERSONAL LIFE CHANGES

In 2015, my personal life changed pretty dramatically.  My wife and I were having a difficult time and over the course of many conversations and a number of counseling sessions, she came out as a lesbian.  We eventually mutually decided to divorce.  This is not something I thought I’d share publicly for a number of reasons including the fact that it’s a controversial subject.  I have no interest in starting a debate on this blog.  There are countless places you can go online for that kind of thing if you’re wanting to make it “an issue”.  Ultimately though, this is my story and I prefer to work toward greater and greater authenticity regarding how I present myself online.  Our divorce was mutual and amicable. It was final last February, but her and I remain friends and continue to raise our children together.

As you can imagine, these events changed things in many ways.  I now take on many more responsibilities being a single father, I have a house to maintain, meals to cook, errands to run (I was already doing some of this, but I do all of it now!)  This means my time is more limited than before.  In the midst of it all, I got fairly depressed- which is unhelpful for a business to say the least!  The upside of this, is I had built a business that still runs without my direct involvement in many areas.  Products get made, stocked, bought and shipped- and I get paid, all day every day- and I have very little involvement in the details.

While this can all sound quite glorious (“passive income!”) in reality, if we’re not working on our business, our business will not work.  My business definitely suffered.  Amazingly, I believe I’m still going to come out with a 6 figure year end profit, but I’m frankly quite astounded and there isn’t a chance of that happening another year without some serious effort!  I really let some things slide this last year! The fact that I’m still in business is largely due to the residual sales of my previous year of hard work.  The rest is from the minimal effort I put in this last year and some pure luck!  I’ve decided 2017 is my time for a change!

TIME FOR A CHANGE

I already enrolled in college late 2016 and have completed one semester.  I plan to continue my business (almost no job is going to pay me what I’ve been able to make through selling online even with a college degree!) but I also want more education and I want a fallback plan in case the business doesn’t work out.  The fact is, selling online has gotten significantly harder since I started in 2006/2007.  There is a lot more competition, and Amazon eBay and Google continue to change the rules.  It’s becoming more and more important to work smarter.  Those who have some extra cash to begin with are going to be better off! (The more money you have to lose, the more mistakes you can afford to make!)  With this said, there are also more opportunities than ever! My goal is to find, learn and take advantage of every opportunity I can!

GOING FORWARD

As I alluded to above, I’ve debated with myself endlessly about continuing this blog.  I originally started this blog because at the time, there were very few resources on in the ins and outs of selling online.  I had to learn it through trial and error.  I wanted to give others the opportunity to learn without so many failures in the process!  Since that time, however, a great number of blogs, podcasts, books, courses and resources have popped up everywhere that explain the process smarter, better and clearer than I ever could ever do!  I’ve never been a “professional blogger.”  This endeavor was always just a casual way of connecting with people and saying “hey, here is what’s worked for me.  Here’s what hasn’t.  Try out the stuff that works and see.”

I don’t doubt people have enjoyed and benefited from this blog in the past, but I don’t know that I have anything unique to offer in 2017.  I may end up just recommending the handful of blogs and resources I follow from so many great entrepreneurs and leave it at that!  On the other hand, I can’t seem to shake this feeling that maybe I could find something to offer or a unique angle that is valuable.  Especially with the emails I’ve received, I can’t help but wonder.  That question of “what could this be?”  or “what would happen if I kept going” tends to drive me… and maybe that will be enough- more trial and error.  I don’t know, but I’d love to hear personally from any of you who have benefited uniquely from this blog. This may get some ideas going of how I could utilize it for the benefit of the selling community going forward (feel free to comment or write me directly: daniel@alittlesliceofthepie.com)  If I find a way to fill a need that is not currently being met, I am all for it!

The other part of the debate with myself is the financial side.  When I first started my business (and decided I wanted to quit my job) my mantra was simple: Look at everything that is making money and do more of it.  Look at everything that is not making money and stop.  I started this blog when I had already established a good income.  I never intended for this blog to be a money maker.  The fact though is that when I post regularly, it takes a good amount of time and the content is valuable.  If I continued, I would need to find a way to monetize the blog while still offering great free content!  If I don’t, it’s going to fall into the category of “not making money” and, in line with my mantra I’m going to have to focus on the areas of business that are bringing in income and put this blog to rest.

On top of all of this, taking over a year off the blog (other than a few income reports) has made it quite outdated.  There would be a lot to update.  My book (six step six figure system) is now only about 75% accurate due to Amazon changing a lot of policies (and my personal story changing for that matter!) and there are a great number of posts I’d want to write to get current on what is actually working in 2017!   These are decisions I need to continue to contemplate.  Either way though, it seemed like a good idea to write this post to update you all.

You’ve all been such fantastic loyal readers and have inspired me in ways that many of you don’t even understand!

I don’t know what the future holds, but I’d love to hear from you in the meantime!  Thank you as always for reading!

(oh! And if you haven’t subscribed yet, doing so will mean you’re the first to know when new plans develop and what the future holds- please enter your information below- you even get a free ebook out of the deal that gives you ways to make some extra cash right away!)

How to Create a Successful Private Label Product and Brand – Part 1: Research

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researchAs promised, I am starting a series on private labeling.  There has been a tremendous amount of interest in this topic lately and I want to be sure to provide the best possible advice, tips and tricks for you.  Whether you are thinking of private labeling in the future, just getting started, or have your own successful private label empire, I think you’ll find something in this series that will be helpful to you! Continue reading

Time to Get Serious- 2015 Goals

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new-years-eve-2015-583216_1280It’s a new year and a great time to re-look at our businesses and decide how to best grow and adapt for 2015!  I’ve written out a list of goals for this year (I actually did!)  Some goals share some common themes.  I found it helpful to take those themes and break them up into smaller chunks to increase my chances of meeting those goals.  I’ll review the goals and the strategy I plan to use to implement the goals in hopes that this will help you set your own plan for 2015 and build your business!

Continue reading

2014 Goals Reviewed and Renewed

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target2014 is coming to a close.  One of my more recent goals in business has been… well… to set actual goals!  I’ve always had abstract ideas of what I want out of this business, but 2014 was the first year that I actually wrote anything out- and even this was not in the form of a “business plan” but rather a blog post!  My post contained 4 fairly concrete goals.  Of these 4 goals, the focus varied from being specific to 2014, to broader goals for the trajectory of the business.

Today I’d like to review those goals, try to gauge how close I came to meeting each goal and then renew those goals that pertain to 2015. Additionally, I’ll also talk about what I learned that helped me meet the goals as well as mistakes I made that created challenges in meeting the goals.  As always, my hope is that my discussion of these things will help you meet your own business goals as well!  Let’s begin! Continue reading

Amazon FBA Fees Will Increase. Should You Be Worried?

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dimeThis coming February, Amazon will raise their FBA fees.  I could create an entire post on the details of these fee changes, but all of the information you need is available right HERE.  Instead, I decided to create a post about the effects this may have on your business.  I also want to talk about my feelings on Amazon, Ebay, fees, and the e-commerce market in general. Continue reading