Well, we are in the month of January, still relatively early in the year.
Work has been picking up. I intend to focus more of my attention at work (likely work later for the next few weeks). News of retrenchments from other companies in my industry has been floating around. In the recent company Dinner and Dance (D&D), there isn’t any announcement of future projects (unlike previous years).
In terms of my stock portfolio, it looks healthy. I haven’t been researching stocks for some time and do intend to set aside some time to look into it.
My venture into Amazon e-commerce has not bear ‘fruits’ so far. I will give this ‘experiment’ some more time, but most likely, I will stop it soon to stop the money ‘bleeding’. Currently, it has been unprofitable if I take into account the cost of ‘advertising’. Kinda like cutting loss in a bad stock.
There are many possible causes for the lackluster results: Wrong niche, competitive market (new competitors offering better-valued products emerged after my listing became active), profit margins too low… and perhaps I haven’t found the best way to market my products. Incidentally, I have switched from the Professional account in Amazon to the Individual account (to reduce the monthly fee).
Personally, I am trying to find a system whereby I can generate some kind of profits. It may be really low monthly profits — but as long as it is a positive gain, to me, it is something worth pursuing. On the other hand, if it is a monthly loss for consecutive months, I reckon this ‘hobby’ is not for me. Mentally, I have allocated a sum of money for this venture and do not wish to exceed this amount (to pursue a loss making venture).
I have yet to crack the code (and find a system here to generate profits) – so to speak.
Money aside, e-commerce is not exactly passive. Yes, you can set up the system for it to be eventually passive, but at the beginning, to research and gain sales traction, these involve a lot of work and time. And you have to keep thinking of how to promote the product once it is listed. Should you just rely on Amazon PPC campaigns, launch mass scale discounted products via web-site like LaunchZon, go to Facebook review sites to promote discounted products, find ways of getting good reviews, promote via Facebook Ads / Pinterest Ads / Clickfunnel… All these need time and money.
And you have to keep thinking of how to promote the product once it is listed. Should you just rely on Amazon PPC (Pay per click) campaigns, launch mass scale discounted products via websites like LaunchZon, go to Facebook review sites to promote discounted products, find ways of getting good reviews, find ways of generating an email list, promote via Facebook Ads / Pinterest Ads / Clickfunnel… All these need time and money. And it might even exceed your initial cost of buying and shipping the products.
Come to think of it, it might have been more beneficial if I started off with a blog / Youtube posts to promote the products.. anyway, to sell is never easy.
By the way, this blog (apennquotes.com) is pertaining to my quest for financial freedom, not so much as to promote products. I do intend to keep it that way (eh.. well, not really intend on revealing what I am selling).
So it is not just the initial time and money spent to bring a product to Amazon fulfillment centers… it is a never-ending journey.
I have heard and read a lot from seasoned sellers that Amazon has changed a lot in a short period of time (eg. 2 or 3 years ago). The recent rule preventing incentivised reviews is one such big change. The implementation of Long-term storage fee (and soon to be increased storage fees) is another.
I may not have made any monetary gain from this venture, but I reckoned that I have learned a lot in a very short period of time. Even if I quit this e-commerce venture in the near future, and if needed to (in the far future), I can confidently say I know how to ship a product fast from China to Amazon and get it listed with no issues at all. (well, then again the system might have changed drastically by then).
Basically, what I am trying to say is that the things I learned here might come in useful in the future.
No doubt the marketplace will continually get more competitive over time. There is no secure niche. Many seasoned sellers are advocating a more contrarian way of selling. For instance, instead of going for small and low weight items (which typically can ship in a shoebox), they aim to go for bigger and heavier items (which are typically more expensive), so as to eliminate the competition from most newbie sellers. Having said that – there would be more risks involved. In fact, from what I have heard in the Podcasts by many of the seasoned sellers -those big sellers making multi figures profits typically take up loans.