Hello and welcome back to another monthly report. I hope you have had a good January! Fully refreshed and motivated after Christmas.
Here at Priestley Towers it started well. I hit the ground running with my New Year Resolutions. Excited and determined to be a new, better person. I would leap out of my comfort zone, confront challenges and put in a huge amount of work.
And that lasted all of about two weeks. I competed at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu… and managed to rip a ligament in my ankle. So there went my plans of upping my training and become a jiu-jitsu bad-ass.
Instead of using that extra time wisely, I managed to get hooked on a new video game (Kenshi) which swallowed up 86 hours in January. I can’t really believe I’m typing that. I spent more time playing that game than working, or exercise, or spending time with friends and family.
But apart from that things are going well!
- Hours Worked: I worked 76 hours in January. 43% of my target of 175.
- Productivity: Despite that I got a fair amount done.
- Profitability: Profitability was good. All businesses made money. And only Pipehouse Gin didn’t improve on December.
- Optimism: Despite the hiccups of injury and too many video games I have loads of exciting projects going on.
Let’s talk about the individual businesses.
Pipehouse Gin is my craft gin business and unsurprisingly January was a slow month. Both our trade and online sales were down from the Christmas period. And the extra breathing room gave us time to focus on strategy.
With any business there is always a bit of a conflict between making money and growing. Well up until now we have been focusing on growth. That means pricing low, reinvesting all profits and spending on events and marketing aimed at raising our profile.
But in January we decided to slightly change that focus. We want the business to start paying us out profit by end of 2019 and so are slowly manoeuvring it into a cash generating business. We aren’t trying to compete with Gordons and sell for millions. We simply want to make gin and pay us a salary.
What does this change mean in reality? It means a slight price rise (£2 a bottle) for all avenues. And it means no more spending on loss leaders. So no more events that won’t make money. No more advertising spend on raising our profile – just advertising spend that we believe will lead to sales.
This is something we have been thinking through for a while. Check out Episode 4 of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast where I talk through with Emma what sort of business we want Pipehouse Gin to be. And more importantly how do we want to spend our time.
In February we will (probably) be launching a new flavour, and so we have spent some time coming up with creative strategies to help launch without costing much money. Watch this space!
- Starting a Gin Brand Episode 1: Doing The Research
- Starting a Gin Brand Episode 2: Creating The Recipe & Branding
- Starting A Gin Brand Episode 3: Delays & Legal Schmeagols
- Starting A Gin Brand Episode 4: Labels, Packaging & Marketing
- Starting A Gin Brand Episode 5: We Have Finally Launched Pipehouse Gin!
Table Tennis Brands
I run two table tennis brands and January was pretty much back to normal. You may remember that we had a real nightmare in November and had a whole load of stock stranded in China. We ran out in December and only sold about half of what we had expected.
That is now mostly sorted, and we are back in stock and January was a good profitable month. But Chinese New Year is upon us and hardly anything gets done in China in February so I am expecting more stock issues next month.
To solve the issue long term we have rented a small storage unit where we will stockpile a backlog of stock. And then feed them to our distribution channels. Instead of having to juggle the huge long-term storage fees that Amazon FBA charges.
On the plus side we have made a lot of progress developing our new range of bats. We are onto what should be our final prototype and can start manufacturing soon.
The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast
The podcast! My new baby. It launched in November and since then I have been recording episode after episode. I recorded 10 episodes in January (of which a few are still to be released) and I am thoroughly enjoying it.
Listen to The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast now:
Traffic is growing too. So far I haven’t done any marketing apart from talking about it on this blog. This was kind of on purpose as I found my feet and to see how much traffic the podcast will get naturally. I had 1,811 listeners in January, 1,159 in December and 538 in November.
But momentum has slowed and dipped a little in the final week of Jan. So I am planning to start some podcast marketing now:
- I am going to pay for transcripts to be done. This should help get Google traffic for the show notes page.
- I am going to try and do a ‘podcast tour’ and appear on other people’s podcasts and get in front of their audiences.
- I am going to start playing around with the iTunes algorithm to see what I can do to increase my exposure.
I also managed to sell my first bit of advertising for the podcast netting me £400. As I have spent a total of about £200 on equipment and hosting that makes the whole venture profitable! Wooohoo!
In some ways I was quite lucky to get sponsorship for such an early stage podcast. But on the other-hand I have a history of making a success of a project like this and if I grow the podcast exponentially then in six months time that £400 investment is looking like a real bargain.
In my New Year’s Resolutions I promised to start marketing this blog again. And have done so. In January I managed to get a few articles written about me and this blog which got me some good SEO juice and some extra traffic. Plus I built the The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast show notes page which now automatically generates content whenever I release a new podcast.
I also changed some things about the layout of the blog. Mainly I re-did my side bar to make it more logical.
And it has already paid off. My traffic is up 25% on December. And the highest it has been since March 2018. Profit was also up, making £4,227.34 in January.
I am taking it a step further now and actively looking for a publicist. Anyone got any recommendations? I am looking for someone who has a history or career in promoting musicians or actors who is willing to try and use those skills to promote this blog and me in particular. I have a theory that it could work quite well.
On the downside, all that time spent on marketing and messing around around with the page meant I didn’t release any blog posts in January. I try and do three a month (including the monthly review) and zero is just not good enough. In February I am going to do much more work, and that will be where I start.
- Start A Blog In Under An Hour – A Step-By-Step Guide
- What It Takes To Create A Successful Blog – Including how I market the blog
Well, there we go. A month of strategy, reflection and video games. But a good enough start to year. As people get over January, Pipehouse Gin should pick up. I expect the blog to grow in traffic again (but maybe not in revenue) and the podcast will have another load of episodes released.
My most profitable business (table tennis) is the only one that I expect to suffer in February. But in the long term I am pleased with the progress we are making.
Ohh, and I am still planning to keep my New Years Resolution of starting a new business in 2019. Keep your eyes peeled.
Until next month, Sam.