Disclaimer: I don’t break down the actual amounts in my progress reports in fear of revealing too much online – my apologies! These posts are merely a way for me to track my progress.
In July, I continued to work on new entrepreneurial routes as mentioned in June’s report. My passive income figure was about the same as last month unfortunately, which is still a significant drop from my highest months (April and May) so no new passive income milestone has been achieved yet.
It’s funny/kind of sad that I wanted to achieve $10k a month in October and yet I’m so far away from it! But on the other hand, I have high hopes for my new passive income channels because I do believe physical products have room for larger gains at a quicker pace.
July 2017 Progress Report
I’m in Vancouver again, this time for about a month! I’ve actually been able to get a decent amount of work done here, though a lot of the days are spent hanging out with the boyfriend’s friends and family.
Us at a gaming cafe playing Overwatch haha
I attempted outdoor rock climbing (top roping) for the first time!
We also checked out Seattle at one point which was nice. We took a day trip there essentially to eat this large bowl of pho hahaha.
Because I had joined a Buddhism meetup, I had been receiving a lot of texts and emails from the founder of the group requesting I participate on the forum and at the events. I wanted to be a part of this meetup to get familiar with the religion on my own time, but because I have been constantly required to participate I decided to take a hiatus unfortunately. I will probably continue reading books but I don’t think I currently have the capacity to be at the level they would want me to be at. I don’t intend to be a hardcore religious person, but I’d like to study the ideals of Buddhism because they make sense to me.
Though the income figures might not justify me saying this, July has actually been a great month for me in terms of passive income. I guess I might be on the “Wiggles of False Hope” phase of this startup curve:
Regardless, I’m feeling good about these new income channels. My main worry is still that I am putting a lot of eggs in one basket. I have about 4 streams that are all from Amazon (Merch, Kindle, FBA, Amazon Associates), and all these accounts are connected I believe. Things could happen and screw me over. Since they’re all tied together I get a bit scared that all 4 of those income streams could be impacted with any issues that may arise.
That is why I’m still looking to expand my horizons. Something I want to look more into is more platforms to sell digital downloads or physical products fulfilled by a 3rd party. I would like to find more of these sites that already have an existing marketplace so I don’t have to do that much marketing for my products. If only someone had a list for potential platforms so I don’t have to do all the research! (If you have any ideas about sites like this, I’d love if you commented! 😀 ).
I have finally finished editing and uploading both books that I had outsourced a few months back. I outsourced them both on http://www.ewritersolutions.com/, and I found the quality was way better on one book over the other. I guess it’s a hit or miss. I ended up taking extremely long to edit the one that was worse quality. But I powered through and uploaded both the Kindle and paperbacks onto KDP and am publishing them on ACX for the audiobooks.
Amazon Merch – the new platform I’m working on!
Around the end of June, I saw my friend was selling t-shirts on Amazon Merch and asked if I could interview him for the blog. Amazon Merch is a program that allows you to upload designs and sell shirts on the platform without having to actually create and ship the shirts. Amazon will print and fulfill your orders everytime your customer buys from the site.
Then my friend told me to apply for the program, so I checked and realized I had already applied for it previously and was accepted! So funny. I decided to pursue the income channel and see what happens. When you first get into Merch, you start at level 10 meaning you can only sell 10 designs on your account. When you sell 10 t-shirts, you tier up from level 10 to level 25. At level 25, you can sell 25 designs. At 100, you can sell 100 designs, and so on. In one month, I managed to level up from 10 to 100! I got a bit of passive income from this route this month, and I’m excited to continue working on this.
The thing that is interesting about Amazon Merch is how strict it can be when it comes to copyright designs. For example, my friend had a shirt that said something about stars and stripes and it got rejected because of a trademark issue. It surprised me how easily my designs could get rejected. I have already received a few rejections, and too many on the platform can result in the termination of your account. This is why I mentioned I was a bit worried that a lot of my income streams are dependent on the same account on Amazon. Now, I will make sure to search carefully on search trademark database to give myself most chance of approval on designs.
I’m so terrible! I have mentioned twice in my progress reports that I was planning on updating my Etsy shops, but I have failed to do so for 2 months. I have been too focused on physical products and have been avoiding Etsy. This month, my Etsy profits were about the same as last month while falling a few hundred short of my gains in May.
I decided to do some analysis of my previous revenue reports. I found that 3 out of my 4 shops worsened in performance while my main shop remained robust. This was a good realization for me. For my next action steps, I will look into exactly what products were performing better before and worse now. I have heard that Etsy changed their search algorithm which may have affected my sales. I will need to create new products and/or optimize listings.
I have a few different products in the Amazon warehouse now. One of my products is performing decently which I’m pretty happy about. If I can get one more product to sell sort of consistently, it will justify me spending more money on new products from Alibaba. I hope to get to this level in August.
My friend and I received a handful of sales this month! These sales were actually all organic as none of our Facebook paid ads have succeeded so far. Our sales aren’t consistent yet, but we hope to get our store to this level. We will keep testing and growing our Instagram and Pinterest pages. The good thing about having your own dropshipping store is you’re really building your own brand on a site you can control. There may be unforeseen factors like Google SEO algorithm changes or an error with the website, but it is still less risky than having your products on another site you don’t actually own. With my other income streams, they’re dependent on the Etsy and Amazon marketplaces. Because of this, I have much less control especially in the case that there is an algorithm change or some issue with my stores that I didn’t anticipate.
I’m happy about July’s performance over June’s as I totally remember writing that past report and feeling scared that nothing would come out of Merch, FBA, or dropshipping. It is exciting to see results on all three this month. I will keep pushing and hope to consistently improve in performance.
For August, my goals are to hit tier 500 for Merch, restore my Etsy performance to that of May’s, see consistent sales with dropshipping even if they’re few, and succeed in another product for Amazon FBA.