Welcome back to another monthly report. August was a pretty bad month. I really struggled with motivation towards the end of the month after spending a couple of weeks on holiday doing nada. And to make matters worse I hit stock issues with almost all my businesses, damaging the bottom line. On the plus side I have a new project which is keeping me excited. A podcast.

Here are the scores for August:

%

Hours Worked

%

Productivity

%

Profitability

%

Optimism

  • Hours Worked: August was the perfect storm of not doing much work. It’s a shame but also one of the advantages of having your own business. You can go on holiday or take a random week off and still earn.
  • Productivity: Even when I was working, I really struggled to motivate myself.
  • Profitability: Sales were down across the board, mainly because of stock issues. We ran out of stock on three different businesses!
  • Optimism: I’m really excited at the moment as I have new products in the works for all my businesses as well as a completely new project to focus on (a podcast). I’m never happier than when creating new things.

Let’s go deeper.

Pipehouse Gin

Pipehouse Gin is ticking along but ran into some stock issues in August which meant we couldn’t expand too aggressively. We had some issues with our label printing which stopped us from being able to distil any new stock until it was fixed. That’s finally fixed now and are expecting to finish our next batch (batch 5) first week of September.

August did still see progress. We continued to grow our trade business, including getting into our first big department store, Fenwick. 

We have slightly changed tactics and are now trying to work with local bars to build a more long-term mutually beneficial relationship. One part of that is to schedule photo shoots at their bars. We will then promote them on our marketing channels while giving them high-quality photographs which they can use for their own marketing.

It’s a concept that is working quite well so far, and we’re seeing a few of the bars that had held off buying some Pipehouse now getting on it. 

We are still struggling to get into the larger distributors, which is really limiting us. Especially as a lot of bars will only purchase from their usual distributor. Part of our issue is that we are refusing to budge on price and so their margins just aren’t quite big enough to make us really appealing.

In the last month’s report, I said that I would spend some of August trying to find some international distribution. Well I didn’t manage to do that, will try again this September!

Relevant Posts:

Table Tennis Brands

I run two table tennis brands. Palio ETT (aimed at beginner/developing players) and Eastfield (a more high-end/professional brand). August was another tough month for both, especially for Palio. 

The issue this month was stock and we ran out of two out of three of our products in the UK (our biggest market). It normally takes the factory about two months to complete an order but this time they ran out of raw materials which delayed everything by an extra six weeks. Juggling stock levels is never easy, but is made doubly difficult when one part of the supply chain is significantly late!

We’re back in stock now and hopefully September will be back to normal sales-wise.

In the last month’s report, I mentioned that I planned to make more of an effort to push sales of our products outside of Amazon. One way I am doing that is by linking Amazon FBA to eBay and our own website. That means when someone places an order on eBay, it is automatically sent to Amazon’s warehouse and delivered. I like it because it helps to spread my presence around the web without needing to juggle multiple warehousing and fulfilment solutions.

You can check out this post to see how it works in detail: Sell On Your Own Website Or On eBay Using Amazon FBA

Relevant Posts:

Blog

August was a reasonable month for the blog. I wrote three posts:

In terms of traffic and revenue. Both were pretty similar to June and July. It made £4,339.76 (about £400 more than July). That’s a really good amount and does seem to be growing, but still quite a lot less than it was doing this time last year – in August 2017 it made £5,933. 

The big earners are still my matched betting guide and Amazon FBA guide, because they get a huge amount of traffic. Even though they are both pretty old.

Relevant Posts:

Other Stuff – Books, Consulting, Investing!

I have a few other areas of income that don’t take up a lot of time. One is a self-published book called Expert In A Year: The Ultimate Table Tennis Challenge. It is very niche about my attempt to get really good at table tennis is one year and normally makes about £100-£300 a month. For some reason it massively dived in August and we only sold about 10 copies making about £30. I do not know why it crashed so much as sales have been pretty stable for the last couple of years! 

There is also a YouTube video about the same table tennis challenge that gets a few hundred thousand views a month and makes £100 or so a month. 

What does make a lot more money, but is also the most passive is my investing. Any extra money I have at the end of the month I put into peer-to-peer lending company Ratesetter (*my refer-a-friend link) and some stocks and shares.

Relevant Posts:

Conclusion

But perhaps the most exciting thing that I haven’t spoken about, is my plan to start a podcast. It will be called the Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast and will be an extension of this blog where I will talk about or explain different aspects of entrepreneurship.

I have about 200 blog post concepts in my drafts folder but have been struggling with motivation to sit down and write them, so the plan is that this podcast will be a way around that. It won’t be really well produced or slick, but will be chock full of in-depth information.  In other words, exactly the sort of podcast I like to listen to. 

So watch this space! I will do a proper post on it soon and expect the podcast itself to launch in September.

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