March 2015 Income Report

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graphThis year is already flying!  Spring is (mostly) here! I’ve not managed to get many posts up recently, but I have a lot of thoughts in my head and many ideas, strategies and case studies to share.  My hope is to have at least a couple great posts this month!  There is a lot that is working, and a lot that is not!  Unfortunately, March consisted of analyzing a lot of what isn’t working with the hope of making next month better!  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still been a great month, but when I compared to last month and last year… it certainly could have been better!

SOURCES OF INCOME:

I’ve spent a lot of this month looking into some new income ideas.  It would probably benefit me to implement the 80/20 rule- spending 20% of my time looking into new things while spending 80% of my time focusing on building up what is already working.  I would blame some of the decline of income on “distractions.”  I put that in quotes because these ideas are only distractions when I’m reading about them at the expense of my regular income.  If I keep the 80/20 rule in mind, these “distractions” could very well become my next stream of income.  I’ll keep you posted on that.

For now though, let me list the “regular” income:

-2 Amazon.com seller accounts

-1 Amazon.ca seller account

-2 Ebay seller accounts

-1 profitable website

-Kindle income (from my relatively new kindle book)

affiliate accounts (including Amazon associates, clickbank and many more- see the full report for details)

-undisclosed source of income (though this made no income this month)

THINGS HAPPENING IN MARCH

I am learning that there is simply no such thing as “set it and forget it.”  Yes, I already knew this, but one can hope right?!  More and more people are discovering selling on Amazon and this means more competition!  Things aren’t as easy as they were when I first started.  However, I see this as a good thing because this gives me challenges which forces me to innovate and build more value for the customer.  It forces me to figure out what I have to offer that nobody else does.  It also forces me to think of long-term strategies.  For instance, I still love the concept of arbitrage and selling media online, but with Amazon’s new restrictions on media, this strategy may not be possible any longer for a number of sellers.  You can see my most recent thoughts on this HERE.  Arbitrage still works and it works very well!  However, some sellers predict there will come a time where Amazon will want to only work with sellers who are buying from wholesale source. (I personally don’t see things going in this direction, but with Amazon making the rules, anything is a possibility!)  Buying low and selling high on Amazon is a great way to get started, generate income, and even provide for a family, but in the end, it’s not as secure as some other models.  It’s also not very easy to sell a business based entirely on buying low and selling high on Amazon!  Wholesale solves many of the issues that arbitrage introduces, but is ultimately still a race to the bottom on Amazon (the seller with the lowest price gets the sale!).  Private labeling gives you a unique listing on Amazon, but lately so many sellers have been coming on board with private labeling due to popular courses like Proven Private Label (which will soon be integrated into the Proven Amazon Course) that it can be a struggle to make your product stand out!

For me, all of these “negatives” have historically motivated me to think outside the box and make things happen and I’m determined to continue this trend!  Much of March was spent looking at opportunities to diversify income, but much of it was also spent analyzing what is not working- particularly on my websites.  I’ve gained a lot of insight through hours of analysis, but this is fit for a separate post!  Stay tuned for that!  All of this to say, a great plan is developing to move forward into even greater success (while maintaining everything that continues to work of course).  Ultimately, I’m understanding more and more that making a living online is all about adapting, growing, learning, changing.  It’s never done and I can never simply set back and enjoy money endlessly rolling in (though I can do this for seasons which is a big advantage over a traditional job!)

Now… lets get down to the bottom line!

INCOME BREAKDOWN:

Amazon account 1: $27,609.19

amazon account 1

Amazon account 2: Amazon account 2$14,471.43

Amazon.ca account: Amazon.ca account$848.71 (approximate conversion to USD)

Ebay Account 1: $270.96

ebay account 1

Ebay account 2: $177.37

Ebay account 2

Website income: $301.45

website sales

Total Physical Product Sales: $43,679.11

35% (approximate profit margin) = $15,287.68

————————————————————————————-

AFFILIATE EARNINGS:

Amazon Associates: $52.86

Amazon associates

Nanacast: $459.10

(Products owned by Jim Cockrum) includes:

Proven Wholesale Sourcing

Proven Private Label Course

Import Direct From China

Proven Amazon Course

List Building Class

nanacast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clickbank (Affiloblueprint, Longtailpro etc)

$16.52

Clickbank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kindle (Six Step Six Figure System): $252.89

kindle book

Total affiliate income (and other “costless” income): $781.37

GRAND TOTAL ESTIMATED PROFIT FOR THE MONTH: $16,069.05

LAST MONTH’S ESTIMATED PROFIT: $17,216.30

LAST YEAR’S ESTIMATE PROFIT: $20,659.64

FROM LAST MONTH: DOWN $1,147.25

FROM LAST YEAR: DOWN $4,590.59

FINAL THOUGHTS:

To be perfectly honest, I’m a little surprised I did this well in March.  Although I glance at the numbers on a regular basis, I don’t do a full breakdown like this until the end of the month.  Yes, I was down almost across the board, but by the feel of things (very very low sales for many days at a time) and by my estimation from quick glances at the numbers, I thought I was a lot worse off!

One thing that really surprised me was that I’m just over $1000 down from last month, but almost $5,000 down from last year!  This prompted me to go back to last year’s income report.  My eyes were opened when I saw that I had a fairy new branded product that really started gaining traction back in March!  I am still selling this product and it’s going well, but the price point is almost $10 lower than when I started due to fierce competition!  This reinforces what I’m seeing again and again- it is better to sell higher priced, higher profit products than lower priced low profit products- even if the volume on the lower products is higher.  For instance, if I have a product that makes me $50 per sale, I only have to sell 100 to reach $5000.  If I sell another product that makes me $5.00, I have to sell 1000 of them to make the same profit!  This is a big difference!  With the way I pick niches, I’m very likely to sell 100 of a product in a month, and very unlikely to sell 1000 of a single product in a month (no matter how low cost!)

I’ve got several products “in the pipeline” but have been ordering numerous samples and have not pulled the trigger on any of them yet.  My plan is to have at least 2 new products available by mid-May.  I believe this is really going to help sales!  All in all, I’m quite happy with the numbers!

If you have thoughts or would like to share what’s going on in your business, please comment below!   If you’re just starting out and want some actionable ideas to build capital and the best type of inventory to invest it in, I’d encourage you to download my free ebook “System Start Up” below!  As always, I really appreciate you reading!

20 thoughts on “March 2015 Income Report

  1. Daniel,
    Are the $ 50.00 profit products that you are selling sourced from only private label?
    Do you have some arbitrage products that reach that profit as well?
    I’m only using retail/online arbitrage right now (more online arbitrage and not very successful at that).
    Thanks for all your posts!!

    1. Great question Bob! I plan to do a separate post on this in the future. I don’t want to give away the “secret” before I get my post up, but I’ll just say I have a great method to maximize profits (and even double and triple them!) With that said, the products that make this kind of profit are not the easy ones to find or the ones that everybody is selling (because once everybody starts selling them, the profit starts eroding- it ends up becoming a price competition!) With that said, yes, I’ve managed to find $50+ profit products in arbitrage, wholesale and private labeling. The difference is the margin percentage. In arbitrage, you can plan to spend $25-$75 for this kind of profit. In wholesale, expect to spend $45-$95 and in private labeling, expect to spend $35-$65. Retail arbitrage is the least consistent (which can be a GOOD thing) in that you can sometimes find ridiculous margins (for example, a product you buy for $20 and sells for $100!) It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. In my experience, wholesale and private label margins are fairly consistent regardless of the supplier or product with wholesale being around 15-35% and private labeling being around $35-60%.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Can anyone please clear up this confusion for me in regards to private labeling? If the manufacturer prints my UPC code on the back of my product, is that all that is needed to ship to Amazon?

    Will Amazon just scan the UPC code and attach their own labels or do I also have to ask the manufacturer to attach FBA labels?

        1. I use stickered and stickerless depending on the item and the account I’m using. I prefer stickerless whenever possible. It’s much simpler.

      1. Hi Daniel, thanks a lot for all your help. This website is amazing!

        I have another question regarding the fba upc codes that we need to put to our private labe products in order to save the 20 cents per item that amazon charges when they have to stick the upc. The question is:
        Does my private label product with my own upc code receives always the same fba upc code or they give you a new amazon code with every new shipment of the same product? I hope my question is clear :)

        Thanks again!!!
        Pablo

        1. Hi Pablo,
          Thank you for your comment. First, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to use stickered FBA inventory or stickerless. I recommend stickerless in most cases because it’s much easier (and cheaper). This would require simply printing a UPC on the product or product package. See THIS page for more information.

          If, you cannot make an item stickerless (I have several that require stickers), the code on the sticker will always be the same. For instance, one of my suppliers has a minimum print order, so they will print off 500 sheets of stickers (even though I only require 30) and they will use the rest of the stickers for the following orders. There was a recent announcement by Amazon that they are now including a bit more information on the stickers, but to the best of my knowledge, the actual number they assign and the barcode will not change once it’s in the system. Hope this helps!

  3. I love your transparency and your willingness to share so much of what’s happening in your business. Good things come to people like you!

  4. On this page it states if your starting out; that you should download the free e-book (system start-up). When I try to do that, all I get is a page that says ” that I’m all ready registered” That’s twice in a row now that you’ve supposedly offerred something free and haven’t delivered.

    1. Hi Al,
      Sorry for the trouble you’re having downloading the e-book. Yes, you are already signed up as a subscriber. When this happened before, you emailed me and I sent you a direct link to the resource you were looking for. Did you receive this? If not, I’m guessing my emails are going to your spam folder. Please change your settings to allow emails from daniel@alittlesliceofthepie.com. Also check your spam folder for “system start up” as this was emailed to all of my subscribers (including you) a while back. If you have any trouble receiving it, feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll get it out to you. Thanks!

  5. Daniel,
    Congratulations and thank you for sharing your income for March, it gives new sellers like me a perspective of what to expect in the future. I have been out of the net for sickness and a lot of work at my J-O-B. You surprised me with the new book, it’s not just a book, it’s a complete course.

    On Jan, I was uncertain about how my sales were going to be for Q1, I was clueless but I manage to gross $33,000 in sales, part time.

    I want t o share an experience I had last week, on a single day:
    1. I had the largest single sale; $594.00 from the same customer.
    2. I had 38 sales of one of the featured products in Shark Tank that night.
    3. I had the largest single day gross sales of $1,300 dollars
    After having that experience, my mind opened to big possibilities.

    1. Wow Ed! You’re doing amazing! It sounds like you’re selling a product that got a big boost from some free advertisement (free for you I mean) via a TV show! I love it when this happens! I too have experienced some success from this- selling the right product at the right time. I once had a bunch of DVDs (I can’t remember what movie it was right off hand). They were sitting in inventory for a long time. Hollywood came out with a remake of the movie (as they do with a lot of old movies) and my inventory was gone within a day! If you can spot these opportunities, you can definitely capitalize on them!

      Thanks for sharing. It’s always great to hear from you!

  6. Dear Daniel,
    Thanks for sharing the report.I am and remain a close student of yours and I have been doing fine.The first month I did 2175 and the second month 5654.30 pounds, which is more than 100% growth. However, I have been having problem calculating and account for my product.Although I know that some of my product is generating about 50 to 75% profit margin.I have been really bad with the book-keeping and I haven’t found cleared solution.

    I want to ask how are you doing your bookkeeping when you started out? I can’t pay account 60pounds per month for now.

    Also, while I have learned a lot from you, my average selling price is £8.59 which means,I need to sell a lot of units which I did.The problem am having is that,some of the product am finding are priced between 7 to 9.99 but with quick turnaround time which is good but in terms of contribution very low.What’s your take on this?

    I really want to say thanks a lot to the post and good work…You are a blessing to people like me.

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Tunde,
      So great to hear that your business is taking off! It’s a great feeling isn’t it?

      running numbers has always been a struggle for me. I do almost nothing on this side. My wife keeps the books and we’ve hired a CPA to do the “heavy lifting.” We use Quickbooks. The newest version is about $230 new (link) but you can easily get by with an older version which you can pick up on Ebay (or possibly a thrift store) for less than $35 (about £24.00). We actually use the 2010 version and it works just fine!

      I find it helpful to do an overall profit and loss statement rather than looking at each individual product. If you only have a handful of products (less 20-40) you might be able to track each product, but this is time consuming- particularly because prices change on Amazon constantly! I find it’s easier to simply calculate the amount spent on products against the amount that I brought in. Then take out all fees, shipping costs etc to end up at your profit. The disadvantage to this is it can screw up the books for a month or so at a time. For instance, if I need a lot of inventory and I end up spending $10,000 on inventory and only make $8000 that month, it looks like I’ve lost $2,000 (according to the books) but then the next month will look like “pure profit.” The idea though is to get a trajectory going. At the end of the year, everything evens out and you will have a great idea of your average profit percentage.

      For your last question, I would prefer to sell an item with a higher price and sell less of them than sell an item with a lower price that requires me to sell a lot of them for the reasons I mentioned in this post. Of course, it all helps! I have some products that make $1.00 each and some that make $50 or more per sale. It’s all needed. If the product you’re selling now is working well, keep it and look for another to add to the line. Hope this helps!

        1. Hi Daniel,
          As usual another fantastic post.
          I have a question for you.
          Have you used Adwords to promote your Amazon offers? How successful was it?
          The reason I ask is because Amazon recently invited me to sell on Amazon.ca
          As you know they don’t have sponsored ads on Amazon.ca which is why I wanted to know if I get targeted traffic from Adwords to my listings on Amazon.ca how much success I can anticipate.
          Thanks for your views as always.
          MARK.

          1. Great question Markimris,
            I have used Adsense, but not much. I’m currently doing some testing with it, but I don’t want to create a post about it until I’ve actually had some success. It did definitely help drive sales when I used it, but I had no idea what I was doing at the time (have since read a LOT about the program to understand it) and ended up losing more than I was making. Keep in mind too that all of my targets and traffic was U.S. based. I can’t say with Canada because I’ve not used Adsense there.

            The good news is Amazon.ca is a pretty wide open market. I ranked for my keywords on Amazon with nearly no effort (and remain in the #1 spot right now.) Sales are FAR less in Canada than the U.S, but considering I’ve put in such little effort, I can’t complain.

            When I do some more tests with adwords, I’ll definitely post my findings.

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