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!

2015 GOALS

Let’s start with the goals!  I have business goals and personal goals.  This blog centers around my business, but I will share a couple of the personal goals where they are relevant:

1. Develop one new private label product per month (researched, supplied, designed)

I’ve seen so much success with my private label products, I’d decided to be very aggressive this year with this portion of my business.  One per month may be pushing it a bit as far as implementation- these things take a lot of time from research, to finding a supplier to negotiations, design work, production, arranging shipping, creating a listing, and promotion of each product not to mention building brand recognition for the new brands! (I plan to add several products to existing brands, but also to start some new brands in other niches!)  This will keep me busy!  The actual goal, however, is to have at least 12 ideas researched that I am working with suppliers on.  I’d like to get at least 6-8 of them live and selling by the end of the year!

2. At least $5,000 in revenue per month from non-FBA sources by 2016

On one hand, this feels like a lofty goal since my non-FBA income has been minimal to this point.  On the other hand, there are people who have created 6 figure incomes in less than a year without selling on Amazon or Ebay.  It’s possible.  A lot of this will be learning- lots of trial and error!  I’ll keep you all updated on my success and failures so you can copy and paste the successes!

3. Page 1 on Amazon for every major keyword per private label product

My private label products are all actually all on page 1 or 2 for my target keywords currently.  However, this year, I plan to target some more competitive keywords.  For instance, let’s say I sell 5.1 surround sound speakers for computers and I’m on page 1 for the keyword” 5.1 computer speakers” (I’m not, this is just an example).  This year, I might target “computer speakers” or “speakers”- both of these keywords will be much more competitive and will drive more sales.  My goal is to be on page 1 for the major (ie: competitive) keywords!

4. Hire someone to help with organization and email

This goal is long overdue!  As I’ve written about in previous posts, organization is not a strong point for me and has cost me dearly at times!  I need to find someone to help me manage my inventory, manage my ad campaigns and to analyze data to tell me in general what is working and what’s not!  I have someone in mind and I’ve had a couple of meetings with him, so I’m well on my way!  I also hope to finally outsource customer service which takes up a huge chunk of my time.  Don’t worry, for this year, I still plan to answer all emails from this blog personally.  I may do things differently in the future, but I think making the changes I outlined above will give me enough time for my blog audience and my family and personal life!

5. Hire someone to help with social media 

I’m not even sure where to start with this one.  I don’t personally know anyone who is great with marketing on social media and thus far I’ve been doing it all myself (Facebook Fan Pages, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube etc) and it’s just too much to keep up on with everything else and as a result, these very necessary social aspects of my business suffer.   I will likely put out an ad on a site like Craigslist, or Odesk to get some help this year!

- I should note that these last 2 goals (4 and 5) are really a “strategy” to meet my continuing goal of working less on the business in general covered recently in this post and originally in this post.

6. Stick to a set schedule by March

The amount of days I work after dinner are more than I care to admit.  I’d really like to set more “hardline boundaries” between “work” and “personal.”  I will say I’ve done much better with this since I started working at home.  I now take Saturdays off without exception and I don’t start work until after taking my girls to school (after waking up sitting down for breakfast with them and helping them get ready for the day).  I “finish work” before dinner about… hmmmm… 25% of the time.  This could be improved!

7. Take 1 extra day off starting in June

I’m not going to list all of my personal goals here (unless you really want to know- if so, just ask!) but one thing I’d really like to make time for is creating music (among other things).  I used to love playing, creating and recording music and have not done much of this in years!  Kids change things and a business changes things.  I’d really like to devote a day to no work where I focus on things that energize me personally (Saturdays are great, but most are spent having “tea parties”, playing with dolls and playing hide and seek with the girls… it’s all good, but I’m in need of some designated “me time” once in a while as well!)

THE STRATEGY:

As you can see, these are a lot of goals!  I feel I’m setting the bar pretty high, but this should help motivate me!  Oh, and a goal I didn’t mention is a monetary one.  It’s more of a “hope” really!  By implementing strategies to meet the goals above, I hope to double my yearly profit!    So how will I accomplish this?  What will my strategy be?  Here is how I’ve broken it up!

Each month consists of about 4 or 5 weeks (give or take a few days).  I’ve created a 4 week plan to follow every month.  I still need to break this down in more detail for specific monthly plans, but here is the general idea:

Week 1: Research, select and inquire (with suppliers) about new products- for new brands and/or existing brands- wholesale or private label

Week 2: Work on website income (non Amazon or Ebay) – promotions, marketing, social media, SEO, site development etc

Week 3: Market existing products on Amazon to get them to the top for the primary keywords.  This will include paid advertising, using social media, offering discounts, contests, giveaways and more!

Week 4: Evaluate my products, my business, and my goals: run the numbers, find what’s effective, what’s not- do more of the good stuff and less of the bad!  This will include having a meeting with the person (or people) that are helping with organization!

The strategy for weeks 1-3 should help me meet goals 1-3.

Hiring someone/multiple people to handle emails, organization and other monotonous tasks (goals/strategies 4-5) should help me achieve my goal of spending less time personally working on the business

The strategy for week 4 (evaluate) should help me work toward the goals of eventually sticking to a schedule and taking off an extra day. (goals 6 and 7)

These are my big plans for 2015!  To conclude, I wanted to share a video of me logging into my Amazon.com seller accounts which currently make up the majority of my income!  I’ve been figuring a 35% profit margin on sales based on my average profit margin last year which was about 38%.  I spoke with my CPA this morning and after going over all the numbers, it looks like I’ve been running a slightly smaller margin at 36% average- this is due to several factors including hiring help.  I was thrilled to see, however, that by using a more conservative number than last year (35% instead of 38%) my income reports were almost spot on!  I will continue to use 35% this year as well!  I hope you enjoy the video!

If you have not yet picked up my free ebook, please do so by signing up below!  This will walk you through some creative ideas for building some start up capital and will walk you through the basics of the 6 steps I use to create this income!  Thanks so much for your support!

 

12 thoughts on “Time to Get Serious- 2015 Goals

  1. Daniel,thanks a lot for showing me the possibilities.Since then,I have never relent and all i dream about is getting this done,done and done again.My shipment arrived FBA today and some of the inventories didn’t even went online before they are sold.17 sales so far. So first Thanks to you.

    My question is how do you handle paying customs duties when you are shipping directly from supplier to Amazon?

    I need to figure this out as this will give me more freedom to focus on local sourcing and research.

    Thanks again
    Regards

    1. Hi Tunde,
      This is fantastic! Thanks for the comment and for sharing your awesome success!

      As far as customs, don’t worry, customs will make sure they get their money ha ha! When you send from the supplier directly to Amazon, just make sure your business name, tax ID and contact information are on the commercial invoice. Customs will either contact you and ask for payment or will send a bill for payment after the shipment is delivered. If you are using a broker, the broker may handle this for you (and bill you accordingly.) Whatever method you use, customs will be sure they get payment. You will be contacted. Hope this helps!

      Daniel

  2. Great goals and great strategy put behind it! Hope for a great year!

    One question regarding PLP products, how much of the stock do you have to handle at any step of the process of getting them on Amazon?

    /Mikael

    1. Hi Mikael,
      If I understand the question right, you’re asking how much inventory I physically handle? I don’t touch any inventory anymore. The entire business can be run for a laptop (and often is!) I utilize my suppliers and my contractor to handle everything these days. Hope this helps!

      By the way, I love the name of your website! :)

  3. daniel,

    I got a question for you. Is there any program out there that lets you see category ranking after the 100 that Amazon shows. Let’s say I want to find out the ranking of Beauty category in the 800-1000 ranking. Amazon only show first 100. Is any program capable of showing more than the 100. It would save a ton of time if we could just put in a search category by ranking. Thanks.

    1. Hi Joe,
      Yes, this is definitely something that is useful. While I can’t share much at this point, I will say stay tuned to the blog for some potential news that may help with exactly what you’re looking for and more!

  4. Definitely a motivating post! You’ve really shown what a FBA business can achieve with hard work. By the way, how’s your dad’s business going? Some rough sales figures would be awesome.

    Also, what are your long term goals? Is this business something you want to hand down to your kids or do you want to bank a few million, retire early and live comfortably the rest of your life? It seems like a business you’ve built from the ground up would be hard to let go of, but heck, early retirement sounds good too!

    You’ve inspired me and countless others through the blog. Thanks for that.

    1. Hi Aaron,
      Really great questions! This blog seems to be helpful for others, but it turns out that it’s really helpful for me as well due to comments like this! It causes me to think about things I may not have if it wasn’t for you and people like you!

      I know my Dad did really well during the holiday season. It was actually quite surprising for him- and even a little frustrating- because he kept running out of stock of really profitable stuff! He said “man! I’ve learned my lesson, before next Christmas comes, I need to STOCK UP!” He was finding a lot of inventory that was selling for a premium! The next step will be working with wholesale suppliers which he wanted to wait until 2015 for. Being that it’s now 2015, we’re going to get together soon to talk about this. He’s actually been “on his own” for the last month or two now- rarely calling me with questions. Next time I get together with him, I’ll try to find out where things are at!

      Long term goals- great question! I have given this a bit of thought, but probably not as much as I should. I have this idea in my head of 6 million dollars. I think I calculated out what my family and I would need to live on for the rest of my life at one point and came up with about 3 million, then my wife pointed out that we would owe a ton in taxes and that inflation should be considered as well, so I came up with 6 million :) The idea was make 6 million, sell everything off and retire which sounds great… but then what would I do? My daughter has expressed mild interest in working for me as well, but she’s 9, so she’s got a while before she needs to figure that out!

      Having something to hand down to the girls would be great, but there is always the possibility that they wouldn’t want it and would want to do their own thing. I realize this is a non-answer, but yes, I think there are benefits to both. A third possibility would be to make my 6 million and then “semi-retire” and run the business “for fun”- like icing on the cake! This would give me the possibility of handing it down… of course, first I need to figure out how to make that 6 million! :) I’ll have to see how things go and definitely think on this more!

      Thanks for checking in and making me think! Glad the content on the blog is helpful for you!

  5. Daniel,
    Thanks for sharing! Very inspiring! I was curious what percentage of your sales came from your private label products in 2014? One of my main goals for 2015 is to keep launching private label brands and products.

    Thanks!
    Brent

    1. Hi Brent,
      Thanks for the kind words! I’m pretty bad at figuring out percentages like this (part of why I plan to hire someone for data analysis like this!) I can tell you though that my private label products are a very high percentage of my overall income- beyond 50%. It’s definitely a viable strategy going forward- not the place to begin (in my opinion) but if you’re willing to take on some risks, it’s very profitable and perfect for the long term. Having a brand gives you a unique advantage and sets you apart rather than being just “another Amazon seller” (though great money can be made doing that as well!)

  6. I enjoyed reading your goals. I spent a lot of time earlier this month doing my goals and coming up with a system to get more organized. Like you, I sell on Amazon and have a blog but I’m not at the same level as you are. I like that you are going to schedule a day off in June – I also work a lot and need to schedule in time off too. I’m also forcing myself to stay off of Facebook in the morning until I get my more important tasks done. Thanks for sharing your goals and I’m going to get a copy of your eBook next!

    1. Hi Diana,
      I just spent a few minutes over at your blog! Your content is really helpful- a lot that I wasn’t aware of (like “scandroid pro”) and other things I am aware of, but found your insight helpful (buying off Amazon and selling on Amazon- other readers have mentioned this to me before too and I’m always thinking “HOW do they DO that?”) It’s great to hear about the kinds of things that others are doing. I’ve bookmarked your site to check out more this week. I’m glad you enjoyed reading my goals. Upon first glance of your site, I could see that you’re far more organized than I am! I could learn a lot! I’ll swing by and leave a comment later this week and maybe get some insight from you on what’s working!

      By the way, as long as you’re signed up to the newsletter, the new ebook will be free to you! I hope to finish up everything this month and get it out to everyone! Hope you like it! Thanks for dropping by!

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