Learning 2017

aloha

In past few days, I have spent incredible amount of time learning about various business ideas I am working on this year. In fact, I didn’t get to write any blog, public or private, since January 9th.

Selling Private Label on Amazon

This seemed like an easy way to make semi-passive money. However, it requires a lot of upfront effort and cost. My brother is helping me with this but I think this should not be our first step. Selecting products for private label is easy. We are using JungleScout webapp. It helped us narrow down several promising niches. The next steps would be:

  1. Find manufacturers on AliBaba.com. Filter by Gold and Trade Assurance.
  2. Order samples.
  3. Order UPC codes ($250 for only 10 UPCs with $50 annual renewal fee. There are also 3rd party resellers that offer UPC). Also we can bypass UPC requirement if we can get Brand Registry. But Brand Registry approval process requires your product with the brand logo on it.
  4. Create the product listing on Amazon and get FNSKU.
  5. Design packaging with FNSKU and send final order to manufacturer. Use Air for shipping. It would cost more but it would be faster and avoid dealing with Customs.
  6. Once order arrive use inspect and send to Amazon.
  7. Start marketing on Amazon using PPC.

We might be moving on this slower than our initial plans. The other option is to order product first with our branding. Then apply for Brand Registry. This would save us at least $250. If we do this then we will not have FNSKU until after product is designed and shipped to us. So we will have to attach labels for the first batch of products. Then we can update our packaging design and incorporate FNSKU in it.

Retail Arbitrage

So while searching on how Private Label works on Amazon, we came across Retail Arbitrage.

I have been selling my old games and books on Amazon for a while but never used FBA before. So first we created a test FBA shipment, the process is a little confusing but in end everything went smoothly.  One video game sold within couple of hours of going live.

Pro account give you access to Amazon Seller App. The app lets you scan items and tell you how much you can sell it for on Amazon and if you are allowed to sell it. So we will try Retail Arbitrage though we don’t want to invest too much time in this as this is not passive at all.

Some readings:

  • http://www.sidehustlenation.com/amazon-fba-clearance-arbitrage-shopping/
  • http://www.sidehustlenation.com/amazon-fba-retail-arbitrage-six-figures-in-year-one/

T-Shirt Design

I am still learning to design and use Photoshop.

But I am thinking instead of selling my T-Shirts just on RedBubble and Private Label just on Amazon, why not create a real brand that we can grow.

So I am thinking about setting up a Shopify store. Shopify let you push products to Amazon so you can easily manage your products from one place. I can still use FBA to fulfill orders for Private Label.

Then for T-Shirts, I can use Teelaunch or Printful and integrate that with Shopify. These service will automatically fill orders. This should be better in long run. And once my brand is registered with Amazon, then I can push products directly to Amazon too.

To avoid $30 per month fee of Shopify, I could use WooCommerce. That is another area I need explore.

 

 

 

 

Android App Idea

My app idea is pretty simple. Basically, I want to create a voice based chat bot. There are already many APIs from IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon that you can use for text conversations. You add voice to text and then text to speech and you got yourself “Her.”

But there is more to this app. It should help one become a better speaker. By converting speech to text, then we can run various analysis. It can show crutch words or sounds. It could calculate rate of speech or high pitch.

Finally, it could offer suggestions to users on improving their speech.

Passive Income 2017

bhagavad-gita

One of my goal this year is to create a passive income stream. I always wanted to be location and time independent. In past, I have attempted many times to create passive income streams. Such as writing novels, stock photography, affiliate marketing, etc. But usually I gave up on such projects within a few months.

This time I hope to continue building passive income streams at least for the full year. Also, plan to blog about my progress to keep myself accountable.

Passive Income Ideas

T-shirt Designs

If you read any entrepreneur forums or subreddits, t-shirt design is such a common idea for first time entrepreneurs that it is almost a running joke. Most people don’t really make any money from it.

But I got interested in it because of two reasons. First, I have always been interested in arts. I paint once in a while, draw semi-decently, and enjoy photography and other visual arts. So t-shirt design seems related to my other interests.

Second, I just bought the Surface Pro 4 and I have been enjoying painting/drawing on it.

So far I signed up on RedBubble and uploaded a modified photo to get familiar with the process. I plan to practice drawing on Surface Pro and upload at least one design every week. Here is my portfolio link on RedBubble.

Online Sales Through FBA

This is not really passive but I have read enough online threads about people that are running their eCommerce businesses through FBA semi-passively. FBA stands for “Fulfilled By Amazon.” Amazon offers this service where merchants can send their inventory to Amazon’s warehouse and Amazon handles shipping and almost everything else.

Out of all of ideas here, this seems to be the most realistic and achievable.

Right now, I am still researching products.

Blogs

I have been blogging since early 2000s. I just never seriously monetized my blogs. Chaosplay is my oldest blog. My resolution this year is to write a blog post daily, even if it is never published. I have three blogs right now but I will mainly focus on this blog.

This blog will focus on my progress with passive income generation in addition to photography and videography. I think a blog with focus on income generation maybe easier to monetize and rank higher in search engines.

In a way, this seems like one of those sites where people teach how to make money using FBA while their main source of income is their courses. Hopefully, I will be as open about my progress as possible without giving up any competitive advantage and at the same time my main passive income would come from other sources. But even if I fail at my other experiments, at least, I can be honest about it and people can learn from my mistakes.

My plan to monetize this blog right now involves mostly affiliate links. Maybe in future, I can have sponsored ads.

Consulting/Freelancing

Freelancing is not really passive. I receive many requests for simple websites regularly. I just don’t have time for it. But now I am working on a system to outsource work. Currently, I have one client and I created an Upwork account to outsource the work. If everything goes smoothly it could be considered semi-passive work.

Android Apps

I am also working on an Android apps. The app is mostly for learning Android; it will be free and open source. However, I will place ads in it or maybe have some premium features.

Ordered Trial Products to Sell Online

waterfall

One of my goal this year is to create a semi-passive income stream. And I am considering selling online especially on Amazon using FBA program. In theory, it means find a few good products to sell, ship those to Amazon’s warehouses, and let Amazon ship them.

We ordered some trial products from AliExpress.com. Now we wait for a few weeks before these items are delivered from China. When items arrive, I will list these on Amazon and eBay and see how that goes. For now we will ship ourselves. But eventual plan is to use fulfillment service.

Also The Amazing Seller blog is very useful. A lot of useful tips about selling online and on Amazon there.