Are You An Entrepreneur?

Today I talk about my issues with the title “entrepreneur.” I don’t call myself an entrepreneur, even though I started a business.  Watch the video to see why.

Transcript:

Am I? Are you? Hey welcome back for another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses and I am glad you are here because today, I have a confession to make. That confession is that I feel funny about the e word. The e word? What is that?

Entrepreneur.

I do not call myself and likely will never call myself an entrepreneur and that is for me not a word that I identify with. Let’s start at the beginning.  The first time I ever heard the word entrepreneur I was at college, and the university I attended was extremely focused in science and technology. So all the entrepreneurs were doing these big tech start ups, they were doing medical engineering and coming out with medical devices that were going to save lives.

This?

Selling on Amazon? Not going to save lives. So in my mind, entrepreneurship and high tech stuff go hand in hand. I know now that entrepreneurship runs a gambit and there’s everything from yes, those high tech start ups to creative entrepreneurs that are selling their art online.

But that early exposure to the word entrepreneurship and what it meant in that context has always really stuck with me and its made it really hard for me to consider myself an entrepreneur even though I have technically started a business.

Because I’ve been interested in starting a business for so long, years ago I used to actually subscribe to Inc. and Fast Company magazines and read those like that was the kind of business I was going to start. Inc. and Fast Company, they really tell those stories of the people that risk everything and put it all on the line to fund and start their dream. And that is just not what The Bootstrap Boutique is about.

The Bootstrap Boutique is about side hustles and side streams of income.  Maybe that becomes a full time job one day but for me right now that’s not the goal.  So for me, that is still what I consider an entrepreneur. I have a hard time in my head equating a side hustle to an entrepreneur. To me there is a big do not equals sign in the middle.

Right or Wrong?

I’m not saying its right, I’m not saying its wrong. Its just how my brain is wired and I think that early exposure to the word entrepreneur has a lot to do with it. Now a lot of you guys probably don’t agree with that concept and that’s totally fine. I’m not saying I’m right or wrong, it’s just how I think about it. I mean, if you go and you read Twitter bios, everybody is an entrepreneur.

But for me, if you said, “Megan are you an entrepreneur?” I would say “no.” Because I will probably always feel funny about the e word.

Wrap Up

Thanks so much for being here again this week guys I would love to know what you think about this topic, are you an entrepreneur? Are you not an entrepreneur? Tell me what you call yourself down in the comments below I can’t wait to see what everybody thinks.  You’re probably going to tell me about how wrong I am and how I need to get over it.  That’s fine too, tell me that, feel free. Don’t forget to subscribe to this channel so you never miss a video we post new ones on Mondays and Wednesdays and I will talk to you next time.

Take care!

Goal Update – January 27, 2017 (Amazon FBA, Twitter, YouTube, Podcasts)

Goal Update January 27 2017
Goal Update Report for January 27. 2017

Starting in 2017, I began publicly sharing goals related to building my Amazon FBA business as well as growing The Bootstrap Boutique. I set quarterly goals and do a check in on YouTube every two weeks to keep you updated on my progress and to hold myself accountable to working consistently towards meeting these goals.

 

Goal Update January 27, 2017

For the first quarter of 2017, I set the following goals for myself:

  1. Sell all 500 units of my Private Label Product
  2. Launch a second Private Label Product
  3. Gain 5,000 Twitter Followers
  4. Send out 1,000 Tweets
  5. Earn 200 YouTube Subscribers
  6. Post 20 YouTube Videos
  7. Review 3 books on YouTube
  8. Appear on 3 Podcasts or YouTube Channels

 

So how did I do?  Let’s check in!

Sell all 500 units of my Private Label Product

0 / 500

Alright, first goal was to sell out of all 500 of the products that I’ve ordered. This…wah wah…is still a big fat zero but did you see my video from yesterday?

Because all my products have arrived from China they are in my house, I’ve just now got to work on getting them out of my house and into Amazon. So that is going to be a big focus of mine over the next few days.

Launch a second Private Label Product

The next goal is to launch another product at Amazon, I’m still kind of looking at some stuff in Jungle Scout, I’ve got a few ideas.

But I think I want to try Aliexpress this time and just order like one or two things and see if something sticks, so just want to try out and experiment with a different way to do this so …more to come.

Gain 5,000 Twitter Followers

4243 / 5000

Ok, moving over to Twitter, that’s my @megloftin handle and when I started on January first I had 2679 twitter followers and wow guys, we are up to 4,243 just 27 days later. So, that is just a function of showing up, spending time on twitter, finding other people that I’m interested in following, talking to them.

I’ve been making an effort to just @ reply people or just @ tag people, I don’t know the technical term for it, but reaching out to people and saying “Hey, I appreciate what you’re sharing online” and especially if there is something particular that they have shared that I liked, I am just really trying to say hi to people on Twitter. So if you follow me there, say hi to me. That would be awesome.  I will say hi back, I promise.

Send out 1,000 Tweets

939 / 1000

My next goal was to hit over 1,000 total tweets on my @megloftin handle.  I’m currently at 939 so this is one we are definitely going to get to, like I said, I just make time every day to go to Twitter and post stuff.

I am really trying to do it to reach out more, I also really like to retweet content and to share it.  Because I feel like that’s how I find the best stuff on twitter, is through other people retweeting things to share so I just try to pass that along.

Earn 200 YouTube Subscribers (GOAL MET)

250 / 200

Youtube subscribers. Guys, come on. You’re awesome. Thank you so much for being here, again. Can I say that again? Yes. Will I say it again? Yes. I appreciate you guys so much. I had a  goal of 200 and we’re at 250 as of this morning which is amazing.

I’ve got a question.

Do you think we could hit 500 in this quarter?

That feels crazy to me, that feels like a really scary goal actually to even say it and put it out there. I was talking to my husband about it last night, and he was like, “You might hit 300, you might hit 400.” And in my mind I was thinking, “I want 500.”  I think I want to hit 500.” But I didn’t, I didn’t say it. I chickened out. But I will tell you guys. You know how I like to share things with you guys that I don’t really put out in my real life.

But that would be well beyond my wildest dreams of what I even thought I would ever do on this channel, so if you think that what I put out is worth watching, then maybe you think it’s also worth sharing. And if you share it with your friends and with your communities, then that would just mean the world to me.

Post 20 YouTube Videos

10 / 20

So YouTube Videos, when we started this in the beginning on January I had 49 live on Youtube and as of this morning I have 59 live on Youtube.

I’m not sure if that actually counts the product update video I posted yesterday because that was like a 10 minute thing I just kind of put together and threw up there because I was so excited.

But yea, 59 or maybe 60 videos so we are right on track to hit 20 in the quarter and don’t worry they are going to keep coming at ya on Mondays and Wednesdays up until the end of March.

Review 3 books on YouTube

1 / 3

These are the last two goals that I have to share. The first is books reviewed. I did a review of Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy, which was, you know. A little lukewarm, right?

Brian Tracy is a well known management professional guru and he has a lot of things to say, I just don’t know if that book was my favorite.

There’s a lot more to him that Eat That Frog! so don’t let my tepid review of that book put you off of him, he’s got a lot of awesome value that he shares through several of his books.

Appear on 3 Podcasts or YouTube Channels

1 / 3

And then finally appearances & collaborations.

So like I shared with you last time I did a podcast interview with John Lim who hosts Be Moving Forward, which is a really fun podcast. And it’s not very long, that’s a good think about Be Moving Forward. It’s very bite sized you can listen to it on a commute or something like that and you’re going to get a lot of good knowledge from people doing a lot of fun stuff. So I definitely recommend you check it out.

However, since that time I have not done any other appearances or collaborations with anyone. I’ve got a couple of opportunities sitting in my inbox that I need to reach out on.

What I really wanted to share here was that I pitched somebody to be a guest on their podcast yesterday and they came back pretty quickly and said, “no thanks, we’re not doing that right now.”

And here’s why I wanted to share that:

One because I should be pitching a lot more and hearing no a lot more. Because that means you’re trying a lot more things.

But 2, there was a time when, if someone had wrote me and said almost immediately, “no thanks, not interested.” I would have thought that was something that I did wrong. I would have thought that I wasn’t worthy. And I was really happy about my reaction to that “no” yesterday because I just thought, “oh, ok.”

They are saying it’s not right for them right now. They’re not doing that right now, that’s fine.” And I just went on about my day. And I can’t tell you how different that is for me, than where I would have been 6 months ago. Where I would have thought it was my fault and I would have felt bad about it, all day. And I just didn’t.

And I was just really proud of that response that I had and that’s what I want for you guys too. It is important that we go out and that we try things and that we fail and that we hear no. You got to go through a lot of “no’s” to get a “yes.” If you’ve ever been through sales training for your job, you hear that over and over again. But oh my gosh, it is so true and hearing no that time is just setting you up to get to a yes down the road.

So 2 lessons from that , 1 I should be pitching a lot more, I should not just be waiting for things to come to me because it doesn’t really work like that in the real world, but 2 that hearing no and being ok with it, is a really good place to be, it actually feels pretty good.

It’s been a great couple of weeks and I can’t wait to share what I’ve got coming up next. Stay tuned!

You can watch this video on The Bootstrap Boutique YouTube Channel here.

You can subscribe to The Bootstrap Boutique YouTube Channel here.

 

AMAZON FBA: Private Label Products Are Here

In today’s quick video – I share an exciting update.  My private label products are here!

Music by:
Spanish Summer by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Artist: http://audionautix.com/

Transcript:

So excited you guys, my package, my product, is in the states. It’s a good feeling, a good feeling.  Ready for it to get here.

My Private Label Products Are HERE

I just totally emptied out this guys whole FedEx truck. He was happy with me because I helped him bring all that in.

Let it never be said that I don’t bite off more than I can chew because that is a lot of boxes.

So me and the FedEx guy brought in all 24, 25 something like that of my boxes and they’re here you guys.

I am so excited.

I am honestly a little emotional because you know you guys have been with me and this has been a long journey and all the things to do wrong to get a product here to the states I have done. So if I can do it, my dumb butt can do it, then you can do it too if this is what you want to do!

I’ve opened up a couple of the boxes and the products look great, they are exactly what I was hoping for I mean, they look just like the sample so that’s the good news except that they have my logo on them. And I am just pumped and ready to go.

Today was not a video day and I was not planning on leaving the house so I don’t have on any make up, this…this is my face.

So now I am working on creating the product listing on Amazon, putting together all the details and information and the keywords and then I got to create a shipping plan and get these boxes out of the living room and into the Amazon Fulfillment Center.

And now we got to sell them, so the work is really just beginning.

So I hope you guys will stay with me, I will talk to you soon and I am just so excited! Who is excited?

Leave me a comment, give me a thumbs up if you are excited too.  AHHHHH. Thanks guys, bye bye!

Amazon FBA: Retail Arbitrage vs. Private Label

Transcript:

So, private label or retail arb.  Which one is right for you?

Let’s find out. Hey welcome back for another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique, I am happy you’re here.

Today I just wanted to cover some of the very high level differences between selling private label vs selling retail arbitrage.

If those things don’t make sense to you, I’m going to link up another video I did talking about the difference between private label and retail arbitrage as far as what do they mean.

And just to be clear, this isn’t saying that you can only do one or the other, because you can absolutely sell both on Amazon, its just that most people are going to go one way or the other.

So let’s recap.

What is Retail Arbitrage?

Lets start with arbitrage.  Arbitrage means buying something in one market for one price and selling it in another market for a different price. And an arbitrage person is going to make the spread between those two markets. So you always want to make sure that you are buying low and selling high.  Makes sense.

Retail arbitrage means that you are buying products from a retail store.  Maybe you’re going to CVS and scooping out their clearance section.  Maybe you’re going to Wal-Mart or a store that is liquidating, either locally or online. You can buy liquidation lots online.

So you are buying from a retail location and you are selling online at Amazon. That is retail arbitrage in a nut shell.

What is Private Label?

Private label is also sometimes called white label and that means that you are taking a product and you are putting your logo on it, so you are branding that product.  Again, it’s more involved than that but we’re going to keep it very high level today.

Retail Arbitrage vs. Private Label?

What are the differences between retail arbitrage and private label and why should you choose one over the other?

There’s no answers here, it’s all going to depend on your situation but I hope that this will help you decide.

One of the big benefits that I see to retail arbitrage is a relatively low cost to get started. You can go into a CVS, into a Target, into a Wal-Mart, a Walgreens whatever and buy something very cheap that you can sell on Amazon. That means that your cost of capital that you put into a product is very low.

Now you may not make a big spread on that, you may buy something for 5 dollars and sell it for 10, and then of course you’ve got your seller fees and everything that’s going to cut into that 5 dollar profit margin, however, you only have 5 dollars into the product.

So if you don’t have a lot of money, if you just want to test the waters, that is a great way to get started.

You may decide that you really like retail arbitrage and that’s just what you want to do, or you may use that money to fund a private label product down the road.

Another great benefit to retail arbitrage is that you don’t have to create anything. You go out and you’re buying products that already exist on the marketplace. So you didn’t have to go through all the work of creating that widget because it’s already there and you’re just going to buy it and resell it on Amazon.

Also you can assume that there is already a market for that widget.  Because big box stores, they don’t get it right every time but they have a huge database of knowledge to pull from when they are making buying decisions on products.

Now one of the big downsides to retail arbitrage is something that I just said. There is already the product there.  So not just are you buying it, but other people are buying it and selling it on Amazon.

And that means that you have to compete for what is called the buy box.

Another downside to retail arbitrage is that you just kind of taking what you’re given.  So you can’t necessarily keep going back to the same well to get more of the same product because it’s going to depend on what’s out there in the market place that you can buy.

So you are always having to replenish your stock on the retail arbitrage side.  There are some costs involved to starting retail arbitrage too.

You need some money to invest in your inventory or your stock, sometimes people use repricer software, which helps them to keep the lowest price in relation to who else is selling the same product on Amazon.  Because remember you’re not going to be the only seller on that product.

There’s also labeling cost, shipping costs, packing costs, all the things that it takes to get your product physically into the Amazon warehouse.

So that’s a very high level overview of retail arbitrage.

And now let’s talk about Private Label. Private label means again that its a product that you are creating and putting your logo on and you are selling it as the manufacturer.

Private label can be very expensive.  You can  expect to spend a few thousand dollars getting something off the ground. You don’t have to, there are cheaper ways to do it, but from what I’ve seen, a lot of people online look like they are spending at least a couple thousand bucks.

However, once you get through the launch phase, if you have a good relationship with your supplier, you can go back to that well time and time again and just reorder the same thing and continue to sell it on Amazon. Also, in theory, there is less competition on a product because as the manufacturer, you are the only one that can sell that particular thing.  That doesn’t mean you’re the only person selling a spatula on Amazon, not even close, but that particular spatula, that particular model, you should be the only one selling it as the manufacturer of that product.

Private Label is also very attractive if you’ve ever wanted to create something.  If you’ve even been using a product and you thought, “it would be way better if it could do this” you can work with a manufacturer and create that.

The downside  of that and obviously what is opposite of retail arbitrage is that if you go and create something totally new, there may not be a market for it.  And that is something that you may not know until you’ve got the product here, ready to go.

Another benefit to private label is that it can be much more profitable. Because you’re not competing with other sellers and trying to have the lowest price and other factors to win the buy box, you can pretty much set your price. You do still need to remain competitive with other people in your category, but for your specific product you can sell it for, I guess whatever you want really.

So in theory your profit margins on private label products should be much better.

Finally private label gives you the opportunity to build a brand. You can build product and brand awareness in the market place and take that to channels that are not Amazon.

You could build your own ecommerce site, you could sell into brick and mortar retail stores in your area, there’s a lot more that you can do with Private Label if you have a long term mindset that retail arbitrage you’re not going to have the opportunities to do.

In Summary…

So which one is better, Private Label or Retail Arbitrage? Like I said, there’s no answers here because there is so much that is dependent on your individual situation. And the good news is that you don’t have to choose one, you can try both and see how you like them. See which fits better with your lifestyle.

But here is what you do have to do. You have to make a decision to start.

So like we said last week, what is the one thing that you can do today to get started on this journey?

Write it down and go do that thing. Hey thanks so much for watching again this week.  Would appreciate a thumbs up on the video if it gave you something to think about. And down in the comments below tell me what do you prefer?  Private label or retail arbitrage? You can give a reason if you want, or not because like I said there’s no wrong answers and I will see you next week.  Thanks guys, take care!

Eat That Frog – A Book Review

In today’s video I review Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracey.  This is a good book for anyone interested in time management, productivity, or lifestyle design.  But is it right for you? Watch the video to find out.

Get your copy of Eat That Frog! here. (amazon affiliate)

Transcript:

Here’s a Pro-Tip. Don’t read productivity books in bed. Hey welcome back for another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique, where beginners build businesses. I’m glad you’re here this week because we are going to cover a productivity book that will help you make sure you get really important stuff done every day.

Eat That Frog!

That book is called Eat That Frog! and it is by Brian Tracey.

Here’s something that you don’t know about me.  I am a little bit terrified of frogs, so that fact that I picked up a book that not only has a frog on the cover, but has the word frog on every single page, is kind of a big deal for me.

Likely you don’t have that same hang up, and so should you pick up the book Eat That Frog and read it?

I’m really tempted to say absolutely, without a doubt everybody should read this book, it’s less than 120 pages and you can get through it very quickly, but I felt like each of those pages was a little bit redundant.

Here’s why, this book has 21 chapters and each of those chapters covers one specific tip on how to get more done and use your time more wisely. And here they all are.

eat that frog book chapters
eat that frog chapters 

Oh, was that not enough time to read all 21 tips? Well, let me help you out.  They all boil down to this one thing.

Out of all the things you have to do in a day, you should do the most important thing first. You should do nothing else until that most important thing is done.

So I felt like all 21 chapters were really good reminders but I don’t feel like I learned anything that I didn’t already know. And part of that is probably that I’ve been reading productivity books for the better part of 10 years and so you do start to wonder if there is anything else out there that you can learn.

If that’s not the case for you, then you probably would get a lot out of reading this book.

There’s the 21 chapters, but it’s a short book, the chapters are very digestable and they all have actionable things that you can do to get better at time management. The flip side of that is 21 things is a lot and that might feel overwhelming. So if you are new to time management I do suggest that you read this book and these are the chapters that I really think you should focus on.

Plan Every Day In Advance

Chapter number 2 which is plan every day in advance. A day without a plan can easily be a wasted day so if you plan your days in advance, then that is going to go a long ways to helping you figure out what that one most important thing is that you need to get done and to make sure that you have time in your day to do it.

The 80/20 Principle

Next, make sure you read chapter 3 which talks about the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 principle has lots of different applications but as far as we are concerned for the purposes of this book and this video it means that 80% of your productivity comes from 20% of your tasks. The flip side of that is that 20% of your productivity comes from 80% of your tasks. So if you really focus down on that productive 20% you can make huge gains in what you get done everyday while leaving behind a lot of the fluff.

Technological Time Sinks

Oh yeah, Chapter 17. Get out of technological time sinks. Don’t get so caught up on social media.  Don’t get so wrapped up in social media and checking your email and all that stuff that we do on our phones that you forget to actually get stuff done.

Single Handle Every Task

And what I think is so important is Chapter 21.  Single handle every task. That means no multi-tasking. Can you do it? But if you can devote all your attention to one thing at a time, you will be amazed at how much more you can accomplish than if you are trying to do five things at once.

Wrap Up

Ok guys, Eat that Frog by Brian Tracey.  Its definitely for some of you guys, if you’re new to time management. If you’ve been doing this for a long time, it’s a good reminder if you feel like you’re kind of in a funk. Have you read Eat that Frog? Do you have any recommendations for me? Make sure you leave them down in the comments below.  Thank so much for being here again this week I will talk to you next time guys. Take care.

New Amazon FBA Seller? Don’t Do This One Thing.

Today I tell new Amazon FBA sellers what ONE thing they absolutely should not do to begin selling on Amazon FBA. If you are a new Amazon FBA seller, this video is for you.

Transcript:

What is one thing that all new Amazon sellers absolutely should not do? Watch this video to find out!

Hey welcome back for another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.  Today is Wednesday which means that we are going to talk about selling on Amazon.

New Amazon FBA Seller – Pay Attention

And specifically I want to talk to you, the person that just found out about Amazon FBA and you’re just digging in and trying to figure out about this opportunity. Because I believe that it is a great opportunity but you will mess it up if you do this one thing.

Ok, so what is this one thing? Please tell me so I don’t screw up?

Don’t make it so complicated.

When you’re just starting on this Amazon journey, you need to focus on one thing at a time. You need to practice just in time learning.

Because if you start thinking about what you’re going to do five months down the road, you’re never going to get there.

So please guys, keep it simple.

Do not go out to your favorite podcast and download every single episode they have ever done and listen to all the different things they’ve talked about. Because they are going to be talking about hijackers on listings and nexus in states and all these things that you do not need to worry about.

If you want to start selling on Amazon you need a product, that is step one.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Let me give you a personal example. All you really need to start on Amazon FBA as far as a business perspective goes is a DBA. That stands for Doing Business As.

That means that you can go open a personal checking account with your social security number, and just let your banker know that you want it to be a DBA account and they can help you out with that if they are competent at all, and start there. You can probably get a free checking account, you don’t even need to pay for a business checking account.

But just get it started, keep it simple, that is all you need.

You do not need a business account, you do not need a tax identification number, you don’t need a LLC. You might need those things down the road but you don’t need it today.

And that is absolutely something that I screwed up getting started. The problem is that I confused doing stuff and being busy with taking action and making progress.

Those are two different things.

So spending time on LegalZoom and setting up and LLC and thinking about what I’m going to call my LLC, I didn’t need to be doing that stuff. I needed to be sourcing products.

Don’t be like me 10 months later and still be waiting to get your first products into Amazon.

People That Do It Right

I am amazed at these guys that I see where they learn about FBA, they dive deep in and then 2 months later they are selling on Amazon. That blows my mind. But its because they focused on taking action and making progress and I focused on busy work.

This is on me, but I don’t want you to make the same mistake. That’s why I’m a little in your face right now.

There will be time for all that stuff later but if you don’t have sales, you don’t have a business. So make sure that the first thing you do is that you find that product that you want to sell.

Jungle Scout can help you, or you can just go pick something. It doesn’t matter, just get started.

I feel now that I was way too cautious in starting out and I should have taken more of a ready, fire, aim approach because then at least I would be selling on Amazon right now instead of still sitting here and twiddling my thumbs trying to get going.

Got it?  Now Go!

So that is my one tip for new Amazon sellers, don’t wait, start now.

Do one thing and focus on that and then move to the next. Don’t get caught up in all the stuff that you’re going to do once you’re selling you know, multiple thousands of dollars a month on Amazon. Just focus right now, 100% laser focus on the one thing that you need to get done today.

Hey would appreciate a thumbs up on the video and tell me in the comments, what is the one thing that you need to focus on today to make sure you are moving forward and taking appropriate action towards your goal. Thanks so much for watching guys, I will talk to you next time. Take care!

Tools Mentioned:

Jungle Scout (affiliate)

Is The Hustle Overhyped?

In today’s video I ask the question: Is the hustle overhyped?

Transcript:

Today there are no answers, just a lot of questions.

Hey welcome back for another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses. I am glad you’re here because today I have a question that I have been struggling with over the last couple of days and I just thought I would put it out there for the world.

What I’ve been wondering is,

Is the hustle overhyped?

So yesterday morning when I woke up, the very first thought I has was something’s got to give. And the reason I was thinking that is because a week or so ago I did an office video tour at the end of one of my videos, so you know that right over here is a weight rack my husband has almost got it set up and ready to go so we’re going to restart our workout routine, which I am really excited about.

But I was like, when am I going to do that?  Now the obvious answer is first thing in the morning, that’s a really good time to get up and get up and work out, especially if its in your house, its right there and ready to go. Its what we’ve done previously and its worked out well for us. But as I was laying there in bed and thinking that, I was exhausted I was laying in bed because I couldn’t get up, I was way too tired, and just the thought of, ok now I have to get up and work out? Or actually I have to get up an hour earlier, I have to give up another hour of sleep to get up and work out, to do something that I want to do just kind of put me in a funk.

Because currently my day is, get up, do the family stuff in the morning, get my husband to work and my son to daycare, come in the office and work day job stuff all day, go pick up my son from daycare.  We do family time, do dinner, bath, bed, book, all that stuff, put him down by 7:30 and then that’s my time to work on this stuff. On the Amazon, on The Bootstrap Boutique, and I do that until I go to bed and that’s just what I’ve been doing and it’s really fun but these days are really full and I feel like I’m starting to drop balls.

Gary Vaynerchuck

My first answer to that was Megan – you just got to hustle more. You’ve got to hustle. You’ve got to be working all the time and be maximum super-productivity all the time. Do I? Is that really the answer? Gary Vaynerchuck would say yes. He has pretty much built his business on the concept of hustle. He will tell you that everybody has from 7pm to 2am or some time frame like that where they can go and work on their side business. And he’s right. I do have that time, I just said my son, he is in bed between 7 and 7:30 most nights. So that’s what I should be doing until 2am right? Pretty much it is what I do until I go to bed, but where I struggle is the 2am part.

Here’s where I whine:

I am a person that needs sleep. I get physically ill, you know, fever, nauseous, all that stuff if I go too many days without sleep. So I don’t feel like that’s an option for me. I haven’t seen 2am since my son was a newborn and that was not my choice. So this is what I’m struggling with is all the different things that I have on my plate. Because I don’t want to take anything off, I actually want to do more stuff. You know, I made my year the year of yes because there is more that I want to do and accomplish. I am just starting to wonder, and I know part of it to is that I’ve got travel coming up which takes me really out of this groove.

Like I said, there’s no answers here, this is just me talking out loud and trying to figure out what I’m going to do.

Wrap Up

So what I would love for you to do today in the comments is just tell me how you manage, how you juggle all the different things you do, because I am not unique in the fact that I have challenges in trying to get everything done that’s on my plate. You struggle with that, everybody struggles with that. So let’s just try and help each other and talk about things that we can do to make our lives a little bit easier as we are building a side business, as we are managing a career and spending time with our family and taking on all the responsibilities that we have. Ok enough talk because now I really feel like I’ve got to get to work.

Thumbs up on this video if this is something that you struggle with as well.  Leave me a comment down below and let me know how you manage all the stuff that you have on your to do list and I will talk to you next time guys, take care!

Goal Update January 13, 2017 (Amazon FBA, Twitter, YouTube, Podcasts)

goal update report january 13 2017
Goal Update Report for January 13, 2017.

 

Starting in 2017, I began publicly sharing goals related to building my Amazon FBA business as well as growing The Bootstrap Boutique. I set quarterly goals and do a check in on YouTube every two weeks to keep you updated on my progress and to hold myself accountable to working consistently towards meeting these goals.

 

For the first quarter of 2017, I set the following goals for myself:

 

  1. Sell all 500 units of my Private Label Product
  2. Launch a second Private Label Product
  3. Gain 5,000 Twitter Followers
  4. Send out 1,000 Tweets
  5. Earn 200 YouTube Subscribers
  6. Post 20 YouTube Videos
  7. Review 3 books on YouTube
  8. Appear on 3 Podcasts or YouTube Channels

 

So how did I do?  Let’s check in!

Goal Update January 13, 2017

Sell all 500 units of my Private Label Product

0 / 500

Regular watchers will know that my product is currently in China, so I haven’t been able to sell any units yet.

Launch a second Private Label Product

I have a few good ideas for my second product and am using Jungle Scout to validate them.

Gain 5,000 Twitter Followers

3546 / 5000

I started the year with 2,679 followers and have seen a steady increase as a result of being active on the platform.

Send out 1,000 Tweets

814 / 1000

I started the year with 722 tweets and have been tweeting regularly.

Earn 200 YouTube Subscribers

211 / 200

I started the year with 182 subscribers and am humbled by the fact that there are now 211 of us here on The Bootstrap Boutique.

Post 20 YouTube Videos

4 / 20

I started the year with 49 videos and now have 53 live youtube videos.

Review 3 books on YouTube

0 / 3

I have a book review ready to go, but it’s not posted yet.  Coming soon!

Appear on 3 Podcasts or YouTube Channels

1 / 3

I’m excited to announce that I will be on John Lim’s podcast, Moving Forward, in March!

 

It’s been a great couple of weeks and I can’t wait to share what I’ve got coming up next. Stay tuned!

 

AMAZON FBA: Tim Ferriss’s 17 Impossible Questions for your Amazon FBA Business

In today’s video I use Tim Ferriss’s 17 “Impossible” questions and see how they can be applied to your Amazon FBA business.

Transcript:

It’s like 20 questions only more efficient.

Hey welcome back to The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses. Today is Wednesday which means we’re going to talk about selling on Amazon. And instead today of me telling you about what I’m doing, because I’m still waiting for a wire to go through, I thought it would be fun to share with you guys a few fun questions that you can think about as it pertains to your Amazon FBA business and crazy out of the box things that you can think of to do to improve.

Now these 17 questions actually came from a podcast from Tim Ferriss, you know, the four hour work week guy? And I had his podcast in my queue for a long time and I kind of just kept scrolling past it and listening to other stuff and I finally listened to this one, 17 questions, or I think it’s called “Testing the Impossible 17 questions, when I was in the grocery store doing some shopping one day. That is hands down my favorite place to listen to podcasts besides driving and sitting in my house by myself working and pretty much all the other stuff that I do by myself….

That’s not the point.

I was walking around in the grocery store listening to these questions and I thought, this would be really good to apply to an Amazon FBA business because we get in the mindset that there’s all these gurus out there that tell you, you do this then you do this then you do this then you do this. This is how you source. This is how you do PPC this is how review or get reviews and these questions kind of turn all that on its head. So take some time, think about these questions and see if they are going to be able to help you in your business.

Oh and you can put down the pen and paper because I’ve actually got all this typed up for you in a cheat sheet and you can download it below in the description box.

Ok are you ready? Lets get started.

Question 1. What if I did the opposite for 48 hours?

Here’s where my mind went with that question. One of the main reasons that people start selling on Amazon is because they want to create some kind of financial margin in their lives or maybe a time margin. What I mean is you want to be your own boss and have your own business. Because of that sales become so important. And I know a lot of people that have that app on their phone, that sellers app, and they check it constantly to see sales coming in. What if for 48 hours you just took it off your phone and you didn’t worry about sales. Maybe you focus on another part of FBA or maybe you see if you actually have created that freedom that you think you have where you are still earning money even though you are doing literally nothing with your business. Could you try that for 48 hours?

Question 2. What do I spend a silly amount of money on? How can I scratch my own itch?

This is a great question for product sourcing. So think about what you see a silly amount of money on in a month. Look at your Amazon orders, look at your credit card bills or your bank account statements. What is something that you just spend a ton of money on? Tim Ferriss actually talks about this in his podcast and he says that he realized that he was spending all this money on supplements and that was one of his very first businesses that he ran was selling supplements online. So could you take that question, what you do you spend a silly amount of money on, niche it down even further and find that perfect Amazon product that you have unique knowledge about maybe. That would be awesome.  Of course we want to use Jungle Scout (affiliate link below) to validate that product to make sure it’s going to sell on Amazon but that’s a great way to find products that would be 1. appealing to you potentially and also could be great sellers.

Question 3. What would I do have or be if I had 10 million dollars?

Lets get deep for a minute. If you had ten million dollars, how would that make you a different person than you are today? Would you still do the same thing that you do for your day job now? Do you love your job so much you’d go to it even if they didn’t pay you? Would you be more generous? Would you have a Lamborghini or a sports car? Would you go on trips with your family? This is not a question about daydreaming. This is a question about how can you take that person, that 10 million dollar person and be that today. If you want to be more generous, can you be more generous than you are today? If you want to take trips with your family, is it true that you can’t take an extended trip with your family now? It may not be an overwater villa in Bora Bora, but it may be a weekend camping at a state park. If you want the sports car, you’ll have to talk to my husband for some ideas on that. I don’t get the car thing at all, but is there a way that you could do that, or you could approximate it today? Because all that success that we hope we’re going to have with Amazon or with whatever your business is at 10 million dollars, you can probably do that today on some scale.  So the point is don’t wait to live.

Question 4. What are the worst things that could happen? Could I get back to here?

What is the worst thing that could happen to you selling on Amazon? You might be out a few thousand dollars. You’ll be out whatever your investment is if you send it to Amazon and it doesn’t sell.  And don’t get me wrong, there are people that that’s happened to. But that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you on Amazon as long as you’re not infringing on a patent or putting out a dangerous product. So for one, don’t invest money that you don’t have. If you have $500 to invest but you need that money to pay rent, please pay your rent. If you’re down a few thousand dollars, can you make a few thousand from a day job, from another side hustle? Yes, you can. That means you should go for it. You should, if you want to do this, you should do it, because if that’s the worst that could happen is you lose money, money is money, you can make more.

Question 5. If I could only work 2 hours a week on my business, what would I do?

This is the question that I’m pretty sure lead to the writing of the Four Hour Work Week and a lot of those experiments that Tim did in the book. So when you think about your Amazon business and you ask yourself the question, if I could only work 2 hours in the whole week, out of 168 hours, what would I do? What are your most important items that you need to get done? And a lot of that is going to depend on where you are in your journey. So if you don’t have a product, then you should spend your 2 hours a week finding that perfect product. If you’re already selling on Amazon, you probably have not maxed out your sales yet, so you need to spend that 2 hours figuring out how to sell out of every piece of inventory that you have in stock. The question is what is the most important thing that you need to get done in your business and do that thing. Don’t get distracted by social media, by YouTube videos by all the things that we have in our lives that are distracting to us. Do the important thing thats going to make the biggest difference for you today.

Question 6. What if I let them make decisions up to $100? $500? $1000?

Now when Tim talks about this question he is talking about it in terms of employees, so he has employees and what happens if he lets them make a decision that’s going to cost the company up to $100. How is that going to free up his time? For Amazon FBA sellers, I’d say 9 times out of 10 if somebody is really throwing a fit about a product or issue, just refund them the money and move on. You’re probably not ever going to make them happy. A refund or a replacement I guess would be the other option, but just take care of it and move on. Don’t sweat the small stuff, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Question 7. What’s the least crowded channel?

Spoiler alert. The least crowded channel, not Amazon. But there’s other places that you can sell your product. Wal-Mart is becoming very popular. Jet.com, I get their mailers to try them all the time so they are probably going to be a player in the future. You can sell certain products on Houzz.com, they have a marketplace. You can sell on eBay, etsy, eCommerce. I mean, these are all well known platforms but there’s others out there that I don’t even know about maybe you should tell me if you know about them. But what’s the least crowded channel that’s going to have the biggest bang for your buck.

Question 8. What if I couldn’t pitch my product directly?

In the podcast I’m pretty sure in this one I’m pretty sure Tim was trying to sell his book and trying to get people interested in his book and how he eventually found his way to selling it, or promoting it to bloggers, which is very early influencer marketing. So if you can’t go direct to your consumer, maybe you were relying on something like a review group in the past, and that’s no longer an option, how else can you market your product? One thing I’ve talked about is YouTube videos and creating a channel for my brand once I get that going and creating YouTube videos, how to, instructional, lifestyle, whatever applies to you videos that are going to go out and be for your product that your customer is going to find on YouTube and of course there is going to be a nice little link right down there in the bottom that’s going to lead them straight to your product. That’s just one way, I’m sure that there’s a million out there and we’ll explore those as we go.

Question 9. What if I created my own real-world MBA?

The way that I think about this question is, should I pay for a course? I don’t think that this stuff is that difficult, I feel like so many really smart people give it away that for right now I feel no need to pay for a course for how to sell on Amazon. I’ve done courses on other stuff but I have not yet found an Amazon FBA, how to sell on Amazon FBA course that I felt like was worth my money. So I’m kind of starting to learn via the school of hard knocks or via real world experience as you guys know and I have definitely at least got an associates in it at this point. But that’s going to be a different answer for different people, it really depends on how much time you have to put into it, how much cash you have to throw around.  As you know, I am working on bootstrapping as much as possible so it’s been worth it to me to just put in the time and learn the hard way. But that answer may be different for you.

Question 10. Do I need to make it back the way I lost it?

So lets’ go back a couple of questions ago we were talking about what happens if you lost a few thousand dollars, several thousand dollars, five hundred dollars, whatever your case may be. Do you have to make it back by selling on Amazon? Of course not, right? You can go sell a product somewhere else, you can just go drive for fiv – I was going to say drive for Fiverr. You can drive for Uber if you wanted. You can do Fiverr projects if you want since we’re talking about Fiverr now. But the thing is that there’s always other ways that you can make money and just keep that in mind when you’re feeling down and if you feel like this Amazon thing is taking too long or whatever.  You need to make some money, there’s other ways you can go out and make money. You will always have value in the market place if you’re willing to work.

Question 11. What if I could only subtract to solve problems?

Now there’s an interesting thought, right? I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to overcomplicate stuff.  I want to add tasks and subtasks and projects to an already overstuffed calendar. So what would it look like if I could only solve problems by taking things away? To me that’s like creating a not to do list.

Question 12. What might I put in place to allow me to go off the grid for 4-8 weeks with no email or phone?

Perfect question for people who are trying to create freedom through Amazon FBA selling, right? How good are your systems? Can you leave for a month, for two months and go to the jungles of the Amazon or to Tahiti or Bora Bora or the moon or whatever? Could you do it? How good are your systems? If your answer is no, you couldn’t, then your systems aren’t there yet, and we need to work to find out how to make that better because otherwise you’ve just made yourself a new job. Right? If you’ve ever read the E-Myth, the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, you know, you’ve just made yourself a job. You didn’t make yourself a business. You’ve still got a boss, it’s called Amazon.

Question 13. Am I hunting antelope or field mice?

This question, I get it. I totally get where he’s coming from. But I do think that Amazon is a little different because if you spend all your time trying to go out and hunt antelope, so you’re trying to find one product that’s going to net you like 10,000 a month, you’re probably going to be looking for a very long time. And/or you’re going to be selling a product in an extremely competitive field that you’re going to have to really stay on top of. I think that this business is one that does ok with small wins.To mix metaphors, with base hits. So you don’t have to go out and hit a homerun every night with Amazon FBA, if you have enough products that are selling at least a handful of units a month, then you can probably make a pretty good living.  I was listening to a Scott Voelker, The Amazing Seller, podcast he was talking about a lady that came to his breakthrough event and was on the hot seat. She was doing 80,000 a month in revenue and she had hundreds of products. You start to do the math on that with an average profit margin and you realize that she is making some pretty good money with those small volume sellers. So don’t knock it. I totally get what Tim Ferriss is saying and in most businesses that is true but on the other hand, it would be really weird to go into Wal-Mart and they only sell one product. So I think in this business to spread that out a little bit, it also helps lower your risks, which is always a good thing.

Question 14. Could it be that everything is fine and complete as it is?

Are you a maximizer? Do you want the most bang for your buck in every aspect of your life? Because that is something that I think we all deal with to some extent, but you have to realize that not being content in what you have and who you are can rob you of your joy in the present moment. And that is just something that, when you’re starting a business you always want to do this thing and then this thing and then take on this opportunity and then oh, there’s this shiny over here. And you’ve just got to remember one, to work on what you’re working on, start where you are and learn what you need to know and not anything more than that to start with because otherwise it gets all overwhelming. But maybe it you’re already running a business, what you’re doing right now is fine. Yes, we always need to grow to stay in business, but comparison is the thief of joy , we’ve all heard that. And so if you’re already running a business, be content where you are. Not that you don’t have ambition to do more, but be so happy and proud of what you have accomplished already.

Question 15. What would this look like if it were easy?

I thought that business was supposed to be hard. Are you telling me that there’s something that we can do to make this easy? Again with the over complicating of things. How can we simplify our processes, how can we outsource where we can outsource to make this easier? There’s always going to be challenges that’s not, I believe the purpose of this question, but how can we make things easier on ourselves as we build a business instead of harder? Amazon FBA is a great opportunity to do that because they handle all the fulfillment for you, they handle most of the selling and marketing for you, there’s things that you can do to stand out, but your product is on Amazon just like Nike’s shoes are on Amazon, with a much smaller budget.

Question 16. How can I throw money at this problem? How can I “waste” money to improve the quality of my life?

So for me this question, every time I hear it, every time I hear about throwing money at something, my mind goes to housekeeping. Because there’s been times in our lives when we’ve hired a housekeeper, generally its just been for short times when we needed some extra help and it makes such a difference in quality of life.  I have a child under 2, I have 2 big dogs that shed a lot, my house needs constant attention to stay clean and I am not a natural housekeeper. So whatever I can do to make my life easier, I should probably be doing at this stage. So housekeeping is something thats on my list of things to do now that we’re in the new house and I know I need to get it done. Because that is literally me throwing money at a problem to make my life easier, and it will make me a much happier person. If you’re working a day job and you have a side hustle and you have a family that you would like to see at some point, then you have to find some ways, something’s got to give, right? So for me thats an easy one to let go of. As far as Amazon FBA, it may be paying for some software that you would not normally. Like Splitly is software you can use (affiliate link below) to help you split test your listings and see if this one is better than this one instead of always trying to have to run those tests yourself because they are time consuming and you might forget and then your numbers are off and you just wasted all your time. That is a way that you can throw money at a problem to make your life easier. And as we grow our businesses and get some margin in there that is a great way to do it because it will also help you expand your business.

Question 17. No hurry, no pause.

Wait a minute, that’s not a question Tim. But I believe what he’s talking about here is just the ying and the yang. You can’t feel happy unless you know how it feels to be sad, you can’t be energetic unless you know how it feels to be tired. You can’t, you know, there is no joy without pain. All of that stuff. And you can’t have and experience the hustle unless you also experience rest. That is an important one to keep in mind and its a great place to end because you can’t have the questions without the answers. And now it’s time for you to go out and think about the answers to these questions.

Don’t forget I have included a cheat sheet of all these questions, you can download it from the link in the description box below and I would love if you’d give a thumbs up to this video if you enjoyed these questions. Comment below, tell me what your favorite question is out of the 17. Consider subscribing if you haven’t already so you never miss a video and I will talk to you next time. Thanks guys!

Tools Mentioned:
**Jungle Scout
**Splitly (not affiliate as mentioned in video)
**Tools of Titans  (Amazon)
**The E-Myth Revisited  (Amazon)

How To Find Your Big Why

Ok, but why?

Hey welcome back for another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses. Today is Monday which means that we are going to talk about our business mindset, and what I want to do today is go back to the core of why we do what we do, why we are trying to start a business.

And that should always lead you back to your big why.

So what is your big why, and that is, not to use the word too many times, but that is a big question.

And if you have ever heard of a technique called the seven whys, then that is a really good way to make sure that you get to your big why. If might be five whys, you ask yourself why a lot.

If you go through this exercise, it may sound something like this:

Why do you want to start your own business?

Because I want to make more money.

Why do you want to make more money?

Because I want to create security for my family.

Why do you want to create security for your family?

Because I want my children to have everything that they want need and desire growing up.

Why do you want that?

Because I love my kids.

If you ask yourself that enough times and you realize that you are starting this business, maybe, if that’s how your scenario played out because you want to give your kids a better life because you love them. So maybe your big why is your family.

Maybe your path sounds different through those whys and you discover that your big why, your big reason for doing what you want to do is because you want to effect social change.  That’d be an awesome why. Maybe you just have a driving need and desire to create and to put things into the world. That’s an awesome why. I’m really not sure as I’ve been thinking about this if there’s any not awesome whys.  They are just all very different reasons that people are driven to do the things that they do.

Because if you’re like me, you already have a day job, you don’t need to necessarily bring a whole bunch of other stuff into your life and put a whole bunch more work onto your plate, because if you’re like me again, we’ve got plenty of that already.

But there is this drive inside of you that makes you want to do, create or be something more and knowing what your big why is, and how that drives you, can really help you as you build your business.

If your why is your family, you probably should not create a business that is going to require you to be on the road half of the year, because you’re giving up all that family time, and if your why is your family there is not enough money in the world that will replace that time with your family.

If your why is to create social change, then you’re going to be very concerned with labor practices where your product is manufactured if you go the physical products route.

This is why knowing your why is important because it can help drive you and lead you down a path to creating a successful business because its going to align with the core of who you are.

That’s how you discover your why, and if you have done that exercise before or if you want to share what your big why is, go ahead and leave it down in the comments, I’d love to know what different kinds of answers people come up with.

And turn around is fair play so I will share my big why with you.  It’s probably not a surprise if you have listened to videos I’ve done in the past or if you’ve just paid attention for the past minute or so, because its the example that I return to time and time again.

My big why, why I am starting this Amazon Private Label Product Business, why I am documenting and sharing and trying to learn how to improve here on The Bootstrap Boutique is because of my family.

My family, my husband and my little boy are so important to me, but not just that family thats in my home but my extended family also. I live and have lived for a while quite a distance away from my parents and just being able to create some freedom in my life to go and visit them and spend time with them and my grandmothers whenever possible is really important to me and its becoming more important every single day.

So take some time this week to think about what your big why is, I feel like this has been a very subdued video for me, I’m not jumping around or loud and everything, but this is an important thing and it should be taken importantly. And importantly may not be a word, but it should be taken seriously, that might be the word I was looking for.

So, you know, definitely spend some time thinking about it, go through those five or seven why questions just to make sure that you’re actually at the core of your being when you’re answering those questions and figuring out what is your why.

Thanks so much for watching again today and be sure to like this video if you enjoyed it and it gave you something to talk about.  Comment and let me know what your big why is and if you haven’t already, consider subscribing so you never miss a video.  Thanks so much guys, I’ll see you next time!

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Link to explain the 5 Whys