Category Archives: Business strategies

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!)

Amazon Cracks Down on “Black Hat” sellers- What it means for YOUR Business

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black hat banI’ve been creating my own brands and having products made under these brands for years now.  Knowing how this all worked and making it happen used to be a well guarded secret.  It took me years to understand and figure out.  Once I did, I decided to start this blog to help others learn a lot faster than I did.  After all, I would have really benefited from a blog like this when I was starting out!  Shortly after I started this blog, a lot of buzz started in the online marketing world about private labeling products to sell on Amazon. Continue reading

Gaining Approval for Gated (restricted) Categories on Amazon.com

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combo lockSo lets say you’ve found that silicone spatulas sell really well on Amazon.com and you decide to sell them too!  You connect with the brand owner, they direct you to a supplier, you strike a deal, buy the branded product in bulk and add your product under the main Amazon product listing!  Sales go great at first, but then others start dropping their prices.  Eventually the prices drop so much that there is no margin left and your income is shot.

Time for strategy 2: Continue reading

The Private Labeling Craze and Why I’ll Never Make it as a Marketer

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trademarkThe concept of private labeling has become a huge topic among online sellers and continues to be the area of my business I receive the most questions about.  A couple of years ago, a big online course was released covering this topic which largely sparked all of the interest.   Continue reading

The Power of a Brand (What I Learned While Shopping for a Coat!)

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RI’ve had the same coat for more than 10 years and it’s falling apart.  I tend to hold on to, and wear down my possessions until there is nothing left- whether it be my car, my clothes, my furniture, or in this case… my coat!  The reason is a combination of laziness and a drive to get my money’s worth- something that was instilled in me from an early age!  2 weeks ago I came to terms with the fact that my coat was absolutely falling apart and was not going to last through the Winter.  I decided to go shopping!  What I found was remarkable!

Continue reading