May was another busy month where I had a lot to do, but also one where I found it very difficult to motivate myself to be creative. I didn’t hit my target for blog posts and I didn’t start any new ideas.
But the big news for May was that Pipehouse Gin is finally here! We finished batch #1 late in the month and have a lot lined up in June to promote it.
Anyway, here are the scores for May:
- Work Rate: The raw number of hours I’ve spent working. I put in quite a lot of hours this month.
- Productivity: How much I’ve managed to achieve. I found myself procrastinating a lot.
- Profitability: How much money my businesses have made. May was a good month. All businesses were up and we had our first gin sale.
- Optimism: How happy and excited I feel about the future. I am really excited about the gin. Feedback is great and I expect it is going to do really well.
Let’s go deeper.
Here it is, our beautiful and delicious Pipehouse Earl Grey & Cucumber gin:
After almost nine months of work it is finally here!
A lot of May was spent getting ready for the first batch and fixing our mistakes. I’ll go into detail properly in my next gin post, but May saw a few major things go wrong. Parts of our supply chain fell apart, other things were late, and some boxes didn’t fit. The joys of muddling your way through a new business! Luckily I think we have fixed most of them.
May also saw us build the website. We have been working on and off on it for a while, but this month we did the majority of the design and put it all together. Here is a screenshot of what the front page looks like, click on it to go to the website:
We built the website in WordPress using the Divi Theme and hosted on WP Engine. The same setup I use for this blog. You can see how versatile the theme is by seeing just how different this blog looks to Pipehousegin.com. If you want an intro into how to build a site like this yourself check out my guide: Start A Blog In Under An Hour – A Step-By-Step Guide
May was also full of a lot of frantic designing and purchasing. We have a lot of events lined up for June and needed to decide how everything would look, and then get the banners and flyers made. Here is a sneak peak of what our market stall looks like (I’m writing this post just after our first market in June):
June is going to be even busier. Now we actually have a product to sell we have a lot of promotion to do. There are 101 meetings lined up with bars, shops, journalists and bloggers. Plus we are going to be selling at a bunch of markets, and have our launch party.
If you have been following my posts you know that the plan is to try and scale the brand through online sales. But that part will have to wait as we don’t have enough stock at the moment to supply both the local interest and also online. There are a few bottles currently zipping to Amazon (should be live in a day or two) but it will be another few weeks before we have enough gin made to make it worth sending a lot.
I am really enjoying doing a local business. It is not all anonymous buyers sat behind a computer, we are talking to real people who I can watch try and enjoy the gin. And everyone is so nice. You just get used to trolls and negativity when online.
One of the really great things about a gin business is that almost everyone can relate to it and get. I’ve never really had that before with my previous businesses either being too niche (like table tennis) or difficult to explain (like sports arbitrage). Now I have a very easy and interesting answer to “what do you do?”. I make gin.
- 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
Table Tennis Brands
I run two table tennis brands. Palio ETT (aimed at beginner/developing players) and Eastfield (a more high-end/professional brand). May was a good month for both with sales on the rise.
But there is a lot more that could be done and both brands are suffering a bit from neglect.
They are my biggest source of income which I am completely taking for granted, I don’t have much to report for May as I didn’t really do anything on these businesses.
That is the great things about setting up an outsourced and automated supply chain. If you have a lazy month of suddenly take unwell the business just ticks along without you.
I did spend a day or two planning some new marketing. One thing I have learned from Pipehouse Gin is the value of having lots of really spectacular photographs. So we have set up a few table tennis photo shoots for June.
On this blog, traffic was slightly up and it made a massive £6,015 in May, which is an all-time high! And quite a jump up from last month’s £3,740. But it is a bit misleading to attribute all that to May as I got a big payout from A2X which included quite a few months worth of commissions.
A2X is an accounting plugin for Amazon and Xero, check out my post: Automating My Amazon FBA Accounting. If we were to take out A2X the blog would have made just over £4k.
Even so it is a bit of a pleasant surprise to see the blog on the rise. Especially as I didn’t hit my targets for writing posts in May.
Partly to thank was that Patt Flynn over at Smart Passive Income wrote an article on me. He removes tracking from his links so I cannot see just how many visitors came to this site after reading the article, but I reckon it was between 500 and 1,000 people.
The one thing I did in May for the blog was set it up on AMP, which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. A project from Google that strips down your website for mobile users so it loads much faster.
I had met up with Ricky Willis from SkintDad.co.uk for a coffee, who just happens to live around the corner from me, and he reckoned that AMP would really help with my search engine rankings. It also adds a lightning bolt next to your website when it appears in Google.
I use WordPress for this site so setting it up was easy. I used the AMP for WP plugin and spent a few hours fiddling around until it looked right.
- Start A Blog In Under An Hour – A Step-By-Step Guide
- What It Takes To Create A Successful Blog – The 3 Crucial Aspects
Book sales increased in June. Which is remarkable as I haven’t touched the book or promoted it in almost two years. The main book is Expert In A Year: The Ultimate Table Tennis Challenge. A very niche book about my attempt to get really good at table tennis is one year.
It doesn’t sell loads, but is still a couple of hundred quid a month in completely passive income.
In May I didn’t add to any of my investments. With how popular it looks like Pipehouse gin is going to be I expect I will be wanting to invest any money I have into that.
I am a big fan of the stock market and investing, but nothing beats the returns of investing in your own businesses. If they work out….
Not the most exciting monthly report as I spent most of May preoccupied with the gin. Hopefully, you’ll see some more creativity and interesting ideas in June’s report.
- Gin is launched!
- Great month for blog profit.
- Made some expensive mistakes with the gin.
- Neglected my biggest businesses and this blog.
- Didn’t do anything creative. Yes, I know the gin is creative but most of the creativity came months ago. May was just following through on old ideas.
Thanks as always for reading. If you have any questions or opinions then chuck them in the comments below.