Is Something Fundamentally Broken?

Is there any new money being injected into the system? Is any new wealth being created?

This is something I’ve heard time and time again over the last 8-10 months if not years. I’d like to share my thoughts on making money if you’ll bear with me here. The easiest way to make money is when someone is already spending it. In other words, the closer you are to a money stream, the easier it is.

Here are some examples:

-banks skim off the top of every transaction. They are right there next to the money so they just take some of it in the form of fees.
-real estate brokers skim money off of big transactions via commissions. Again, be there when the money is being transferred.
-stock brokers make money whether you do or not. They charge for the buys and sells. All they do is make money all day long.

Once you have this mindset, you can start to look for where transactions are already happening so that you can skim off of the top.

Examples include:

-affiliate marketing where you get in between a buyer and seller to make a commission off of that sale
-general contracting where you skim profit off the top of a large bid for smaller bid sub-contractors
-reviewing things you buy everyday to see if there’s any way you can get paid by spending money – use this for discovery only as you want to use other people’s money to make money

What I’m really talking about here is how to get money without taking it away from someone else. Is there any new money being injected into the system? Is any new wealth being created?

Napoleon Hill talks about a man starting with nothing but an idea for a service he can provide. He gets someone with money to pay for his service and thus income had appeared from an idea. But the guy who paid now has less money – unless that service allowed him to make more money.

There are three traditionally successful products and services that always have and always will make money:

  • save someone time or money
  • make someone more money
  • fix a problem or frustration

Now there are other things like teaching, the arts, and sports, but even those things solve problems of lack of knowledge, boredom, and lack of fun. Speaking of sports, there is no shortage of money being spent in that field/arena.

So how do YOU make more money?

  • become an employee
  • sell something people want

Being an employee is less risky, but you have less control, less freedom, and the moment you stop working, you stop getting paid. Being independent means more bosses, less frequent paychecks, but you get paid on value, not time and if you do it right, you get paid over and over again for the same work.

If I had to do it over again, I would have learned to code programs, but I’ve helped a lot of people by being who I am now. There’s a need in the market for people who understand technology and can talk to people. You are a great front man. I think you should run for office.

One Dozen Rubber Ducky Ducks

This past week I sold One Dozen Rubber Duckie Ducky Ducks in a nativity scene (set includes: Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, 3 wise men, angel, lamb, cow, donkey and camel) without ever linking to the product. It would make most sense if it came from this website since I talk a lot about Erich Stauffer figurines and other collectibles, but it wasn’t. It was clicked on through my site on Coby Kyros Tablets. That’s right. Someone looking for information on Android tablets bought a nativity scene made of rubber duckies. But that’s not all. I have a site that exclusively promotes learning sets like science experiements for kids and yet MID Tablets sold a child’s microscope. Who did sell a Coby Kyros tablet? A page about technology consulting. This goes to show, it pays to post (and post often) #myBody. Here are some of the systems I use to use affiliate marketing to help transition to a full-fledged ecommerce company or “etailer“.

Systems for eCommerce/Affiliate Marketing

To run a successful online business probably requires some systems so I’ve been developing some and thought I’d share:

  • Review Amazon Best Seller lists and curate new items to add to your site(s) – (Daily)
  • Review sold items that were not linked to and create posts for them accordingly – (Daily)
  • Review Google Analytic trends for top content and keywords on your site – (Monthly)
  • Review Amazon sales clicked, but not sold* – (Monthly)
  • Review Google Adsense reports for trends – (Weekly)

Posting Routines

  • Post SEO optimized title and META description, reviews, a picture, and some original content (I use WordPress SEO by Yoast)
  • Install “Social” plugin by MailChimp + “Twitter Tools” to not only display tweets, but post to Twitter
  • Post also on Google+ and Facebook (and any other social network you can systematically stay engaged in)

How to Read the Amazon Associates Orders Report

*When I download the Orders report, I get a view of what people are clicking on, but not buying. I think the “Product Link Clicks” is a better metric for us to track since we can’t control what they do once they are on Amazon, but let’s read what Amazon Associates says:

Orders Reports display number of clicks for each product via a Product Link or add-to-cart button, number of orders placed through the Product Link, and the resulting Product link conversion. You can also see other items that were ordered after customers clicked through to other Amazon pages.

Balls of Steel

In response to marketing and distribution device about product development:

Sometimes you just have to write something, make a decision, just do something before the true answer will come to you. That’s how it is with me at least. A lot of times I won’t know what to do so I’ll just choose something and then it’s like the fog lifts and everything becomes clear. A lot of the time my first choice is wrong, but if I didn’t make it I wouldn’t have been able to know the right choice. In a small way that’s what happened after I emailed you last. I almost immediatly knew how I wanted to help you.

I’m starting an online store for coffee and tea accessories called pourjoy.com and would like to sell your steel balls as an accessory for making non-diluted ice coffee. I wouldn’t call it Balls of Steel though. I’d have to call it something else like “liquid metal” or “iced beans”. I’d see if your mom could buy like ten sets of them from you for me to sell in my store and that would be a good market test and potential new distribution channel for you. What I’d encourage you to do is to find ways to sell the same product as many different ways as you can.

Think about the movie The Hudsucker Proxy and how the circle is used first as a hoola hoop and then as a straw. If you haven’t seen it then Coca Cola is a better example. They sell you the same coke in a bottle, can, and by fountain drink. Mmmm. I’m getting thirsty just thinking about it. For your product I can see it being sold as ying yang balls, stress balls, desk toys, marble run accessories, a game of some sort, a drinking game, as a way to move large furniture, or as a way to shatter large panes of glass.

If you really want to sell a lot of these you’ll need to both have market demand and either large barriers between you and your competition or a huge head start. If you haven’t read how Warren Buffet picks companies, it’s very similar. He would want to know how hard it is for someone to make what you have or do what you do. He would want to see patents and large capital costs that make a virtual moat around your product protecting its business model for years to come. I guess I don’t see that with your product.

Have you considered getting into ecommerce or affiliate marketing instead of manufacturing? You know what ecommerce is, but you may not know about affiliate marketing so here’s a brief primer. Using Amazon.com as an example, anything I link to at Amazon with my code I get a percentage of if someone buys it. Percents range from 6-8% on average. With ecommerce the margins are higher, but so is the risk when inventory is involved. Some of that risk can be mitigated with drop shipping services, but the margins are lower.

I know I want to get into ecommerce and so I am leveraging my background and experience in affiliate marketing, SEO, and web design to learn ecommerce and make a go of it. I’d be happy to share with you what I’m learning and catch up with you in December when you’re in town. Your mom says you’re making a lot of money waiting tables down there and that you’re doing good in school. I know she’s really proud of you and wants to see you succeed and I do too.