What Will 2015 Really Look Like… For My Business and Yours?

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deloreanIn the movie “Back to the Future Part 2,” Marty McFly and Doc Brown go WAY into the future to the year 2015!  Upon arriving, we see futuristic versions of 80s clothes, cafes with automated service, flying cars, hoverboards and more!  Now that we’re less than a year away, I find myself thinking about what 2015 will REALLY be like! 

As far as the movie goes, here is a list of some things that have actually come to pass! (and some that have not).  What I’m talking about, however, is in regard to business, life, and dreams!  As you may know, I’ve never written a business plan and really didn’t have a clue what I wanted starting out- other than to enjoy my work!  The more I build my business, the more I find things that I really want (or don’t want!) to be part of it!

We’re nearing the end of April, but it’s never too early to start thinking about what the future could look like!  I have developed a couple of goals for 2015- some of which I’ve mentioned before and some that I’ve just recently developed.  Up to this point, I have not written them down.  This blog post will be my first (rough) business plan ever!  My hope is that my goals can get you thinking about YOUR business and what you hope to get out of it!  There are 4 core goals that I would like to accomplish by the end of 2014:

1. Be able to run my entire business from a laptop. 

The benefit of this is the ability to travel (or just sit in my backyard if I wish.)  I’m almost to this point, but 2 things are preventing me from doing this all of the time.  First, I still have several shelves of physical inventory in my house.  The plan is to sell these off (or send to FBA) by the end of 2014.  Second, I don’t have a good system for handling returns.  I currently do this myself.  My goal will be to hand this off to a capable individual so I can literally avoid touching inventory!

2. Spend less time on the business in general- outsource or automate every possible part of the business

I’ve realized this year that I am still spending FAR too much time on tasks that can be automated and/or outsourced.  Emails still take up a great deal of my time every day as do little tasks like backing up reports, sending feedback requests to customers and other small jobs that I could easily hand off to an overseas outsourcer.  My goal is to go through each task that CAN be handed off and outsource it!  This will ultimately free up more time in my day to do things I love and to spend more time with my kids (I would love to ideally ONLY work while they are in school.  I’m close to this goal, but I usually still end up working a couple of hours after they get out)

3. Start a new brand and grow existing brands

I am thrilled about the success of my latest brand.  This success has helped me arrange my priorities.  I still continue to sell DVDs, blu rays and other media as well as general merchandise through arbitrage and wholesale sources.  However, building a brand of your own seems to be the most secure and expandable opportunity when selling on Amazon!  This is where the majority of my focus will be in 2015.  In fact, I’ve already outsourced nearly all of my arbitrage and DVD and media selling.  Furthermore, I’ve not pursued developing relationships with additional wholesale suppliers (I still buy from my current suppliers but have not developed any new relationships.)  My time and energy has shifted to my brands!  This brings me to my 4th and final goal…

4. Build out the business OFF Amazon and Ebay.

The thought of my Amazon or Ebay account being closed has produced some significant anxiety for me in the past.  At this point, I’m fairly established, I maintain 100% positive feedback in both of my Amazon accounts (and 100% and 97%  in my 2 Ebay accounts) and I make a point to stay familiar with the ever-changing rules of both marketplaces.  Even so, Ebay and Amazon are ultimately in control of the success of my business.  I build it, but I depend on these marketplaces heavily for traffic!  By the end of 2014, I would like to have at least taken some STEPS to build more brand loyalty.  This will likely include making an effort to drive traffic to my own websites.  (I have several websites, but most of them simply link to my Amazon listings currently (I sell only 2 products directly).  I would also like the option to SELL some of my businesses!  This would be close to impossible to do with an arbitrage only model.  The best I could really do would be to sell off the inventory.  In order to have a sustainable business, I really need to build recognition and loyalty.  This is very possible with a branded business- whether that brand be part of a product line or a retail store carrying a variety of products!  I’ve got some specific ideas of how to do this and will be sharing more in future posts.

I’m very much looking forward to 2015!  What are YOUR goals for the rest of this year.  Thanks again for your continued support!  Please comment below about where your business is headed!

By the way, a real working hoverboard (that one can actually ride!) may not yet exist (contrary to the claims of THIS video – the new “apology video” is HERE), but if you want your own (non-flying) hoverboard, you can pick one up for less than $400 HERE (wow!  What a deal!)

8 thoughts on “What Will 2015 Really Look Like… For My Business and Yours?

  1. Hi Daniel,

    Came across your comment on the warrior forum as I was researching overseas shipping and UPC labeling. This was roughly 2 days ago, I got your ebook skimmed through it the same night and am actually midway a more in-depth page by page overview but decided to read all your blogs which I just did. I must say I am inspired. I am currently looking into private label and talking to suppliers from notes I picked up on ASM (without buying the course) as I decided I could figure out the rest with adequate research but after having positive feedback from various suppliers I am scared now of the shipping process. My bday is 02/11 so you remind me a lot of myself, “we usually risk it all when our backs are against the wall”. I look forward to learning more from your blog. Is the Proven China Shipment a good buy to take away the fear of not knowing and avoiding unnecessary hardship before my first shipment? Although just buy reading your blogs I kind of have a better understanding regarding sea shipment.

    1. Hi Brodie,
      Glad you’re finding the content useful! Yes, importing can be a little intimidating. THIS is the book that I purchased that I recommend to others that helped me tremendously! The author (Walter Hay) goes in depth on the process and has a nice checklist at the end, so you’ll know that you covered everything when you’re ready to ship! Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks for replying I just purchased the e-book “Proven China Sourcing” and downloaded your latest e-book “Invisible Inventory”. Both look really informative just by first glance. I look forward to going through them both in depth. Again many many thanks. Will update you as I get launched.

        1. Hi Brodie,
          Sounds great! Thanks for the support. Hope you benefit from the material! Looking forward to hearing about your success!

  2. Daniel,

    Speaking of automation. You mentioned that you have someone that sources products for you. How did you find this person? Also, how do they know the type of products you are looking for.

    And since we are on the subject, what is your criteria for products you sell on Amazon, that you tell your sourcing person?

    Thank you,

    Will P

    1. Great questions!

      I suppose I got lucky. I hired a friend of mine. As a general rule, I try to avoid working with friends and especially family just because it can create difficult dynamics (if the business relationship doesn’t work out, do you want to see that person at every family function?) In this case though, my friend is a single guy with a part time job and a lot of free time. I presented the opportunity to him and he was really excited about it. I met with him to lay down some “ground rules” the main one being that friendship cannot get in the way of business, but the friendship must be valued ABOVE business. In other words, I don’t do special favors for him (or he for me) when doing business. Business is business, and if the business relationship does not work out, we want to do everything possible to maintain the friendship. We’ve had a couple of bumps in the road, but nothing major- and we always talk it out. The advantage is the trust issue which was already there before he started. The disadvantage, as I mentioned, is that if something goes bad, it could affect the business AND personal relationship. Craigslist is a great free way to advertise when you’re looking for help. If I lose the guy I’m working with now (he may be moving out of the country in the future) I would go to Craigslist.

      To clarify, he handles the “arbitrage” part of the business- finding single products that can be bought low and sold high. I still handle working directly with suppliers and finding those products.

      I personally trained my friend by taking him with me to stores, showing him how to find products and telling him what my focus areas were. However, I’ve been very impressed with some treasures he’s found- things I never would have thought to even LOOK for! He has very different interests than me and as such, tends to find products that are not even on my radar!

      When doing arbitrage sourcing, I basically look for products with a low sales rank, good profit margin (100% profit or higher is ideal- spend $10, make $10 for example) and with low competition if possible (though this isn’t necessary if the other 2 criteria are very good). If you’re talking about sourcing a wholesale product or creating a private label product, I put a lot more thought and effort into that. Sourcing wholesale and private label products is far more important (and risky) which is why I don’t outsource it. With wholesale, I’m buying 100, 500, or 1000 at a time rather than 1 or 2. One of these days, I’ll make a blog post about this! Hope this helps for now!

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