Hello and welcome back to another monthly report. It is going to be a short one this month because I honestly have been so busy with other things that work took a backseat in May. One of the nice things about being self-employed is that taking a chilled out month doesn’t matter too much.
But what I do have to report is mostly positive. It was a great month for the blog which had its highest ever income. It was also a great month for Pipehouse Gin – our highest ever or sales and we were featured in a nationwide window campaign for Fenwick which made our mums very happy.
As I said in the intro, May was a great month for my craft Gin brand Pipehouse Gin.
I think there is something about being for sale and in the window of a big traditional shop that our parents actually shop at that made it really hit home to them that yes we have a real business.
In May we were selected for a nationwide window campaign accross all the Fenwick and Bentalls stores in the UK. Here is Katie’s mum getting very excited over one of our window displays:
We also had our largest month for sales, mainly due to trade orders.
We are getting into a good routine. Once a month we phone round all our stockists and see if they want to reorder. If they do we put the order through on our online dashboard and voila it gets delivered the next day. That means that every month we have recurring sales plus any new business we drum up. Equals month on month growth.
Another highlight was that we were selected as a finalists for the Times local business awards. We didn’t win but did get a few good contacts out of it. We happened to sit next to the owners of the below pub at the awards ceremony who weren’t customers, but now are:
If you want to support us please buy a bottle of our gin from Amazon. And if you like it please leave a review!
- 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. Mid-range Palio & high-end Eastfield Co.
May was a pretty typical month with not much to report. We have our new range of bats in production but until then the business is just ticking over with minimal work needed.
Ohh actually that’s not true. We had one big problem that came to a head in May and took up way too much time. We are signed up with Amazon VAT Services to submit our VAT returns for us in Germany. Well in May we got a letter saying this was our final warning that we hadn’t paid our VAT bill from 2018.
Pretty confused we got in touch with Amazon and their tax consultant AVALARA. Well it turns out they hadn’t filed our returns. So Germany had ‘guessed’ what we owe and made up a number, 10k euros over what we really did owe. And added on a bunch of fines.
And final warning? Well it turns out the German tax office had sent previous letters to AVALARA (Amazon’s tax consultant) months ago who never sent them on to us. We finally got them in late May with an apology saying “sorry, we get a lot of letters…”
Even worse they are saying they have no way to remedy the problem. Amazon’s response “sorry we do not have the functionality to submit old returns….” terrible service and the latest of loads of issues we have had with Amazon’s VAT service.
Seriously if you are thinking of registering for VAT in other European countries I recommend trying to find an independent tax adviser.
So a lot of time towards the end of May was spent trying to get it sorted. Never got any help from Amazon or AVALARA. But found a friend who spoke German who has been speaking to the German tax office on our behalf. Fingers crossed it will be sorted soon.
The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast
I try and release 1-2 episodes a week, and while I was doing that the podcast got more and more traffic and did well in the charts…. but in May I really dropped the ball and only did two episodes. As I said it has been a really busy month. Unsurprisingly traffic dipped.
I should be back on track in June. It is my favourite project at the moment so I will be furious with myself if I let it peter out.
Listen to The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast now:
The blog had its best month ever in May, making £7,525. Hard to argue with that! All the income came from affiliations (refer-a-friend deals) and the reason it was so much higher than last month is that I have a couple who only report the earnings every three months.
The top-earning post was this one from 2017: Automating My Amazon FBA Accounting
In May I also wrote two posts (neither of which had any way to make money in them):
- Serendipity – How To Be In The Right Place At The Right Time
- How to Get A License Distil Gin From Your Home
I have been thinking about the future of this blog and will probably change the structure quite significantly. I have over 200 posts and most of them are so buried they are really hard to find. So instead of ordering the blog as a chronological list of posts, I am going to try and split it out a bit. Maybe delete some of the less popular posts and try and make it more useful.
If you have any good ideas then please drop me an email.
- 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 short and badly structured monthly report. Thanks for reading and sorry if it was a bit boring!