It has been a hugely busy couple of months. We have travelled to five countries (Malaysia, England, Switzerland Greece and Vietnam). Had record breaking months for our table tennis business, including launching in Australia. And took our first step to taking Pipehouse Gin international with a distribution partner selling to bars in Mallorca.

And if that wasn’t enough I have also started a couple of new projects. Writing a book which I hope to finish a first draft of by end of November and taking an online course by Harvard on video game development.

Busy busy busy! So let’s dive in.

Digital Nomading

We are currently travelling full-time and working on our businesses as we go. Living the lifestyle of a digital nomad.

In October we did a lot of travelling. We came back to Europe for a few weeks. To see family and friends in London, go to a wedding in Switzerland, check out the history in Athens and then a holiday with friends in Mykonos. Before flying to Vietnam where we are now.

We had a great time, stayed in some amazing places, and ate some amazing food. Here is our home in Mykonos.

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But honestly, it was all a bit too exhausting. I think I ended up drinking alcohol every day for about two months straight. And although I still managed to get some work done, I also spent most of exhausted or tipsy.

So to counter it we are doing the opposite. I am taking a month off alcohol (I know right, weird for someone who runs an alcohol brand) and we are going to really slow down the travelling.

We are staying in one place (Ho Chi Minh) for 30 days. Then going to Chiang Mai for another 30 days. Before Christmas in Myanmar. The plan is to spend the next two months on work and personal development. Currently, we are renting an apartment in the same building as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym (where I am training every day), and round the corner from a coworking space. That combined with no alcohol means I have no excuse for not being productive.

I have also kind of given up on my Instagram project. I had planned to become an Instagram celebrity but have since come to the conclusion that I don’t have the personality for it. To succeed you need:

  • Take great pictures. Every day.
  • Be good at storytelling and editing your pictures. Every day.
  • Write great captions and play the hashtag game. Every day.
  • Interact with other Instagrammers. Every day.

And while I can do some of those things occasionally, doing them all every day is just not suited to me. I much prefer creating evergreen content that will be there and useful forever.

I don’t regret giving it a go as although the account never made any money I learned loads. In particular, my photography skills are have gotten miles better (which is a skill I’ll use forever). And I have been a lot more purposeful about taking pictures. Before, whole weeks would go by without taking a single picture, whereas now I have a photographic journal with multiple pictures every day. 99% of which will never go online, but which I can look back fondly over. 

I will continue to add to the account. But instead of worrying about captions, hashtags and interacting with other Instagrammers, I am going to just focus on my photography and cataloguing our adventures.

 

Relevant Posts:

Pipehouse Gin

Pipehouse Gin is our craft gin business. And October was a pretty special month for us. We had our best ever month for trade sales, are now being stocked by English Heritage, and launched with a partner in Mallorca Spain.

Let’s start with Spain. For international expansion of our gin, we are taking a different approach to my previous businesses. Instead of trying to bring it to market ourselves and selling directly to the end customer, we are instead partnering with a company who will represent us in the region. 

This has the obvious advantages of relying on people who already have local knowledge and can go into bars and outlets to sell our gin. But also has the more important benefit of helping us to navigate the complicated international laws around alcohol. With a table tennis bat, you can buy it from me online and I can ship it to you anywhere in the world without worrying too much about the taxes. Not so with alcohol. Every country has different rules and different required licenses. 

If this goes well we will look into more international expansion.

Another interesting development is that how we are perceived locally is starting to change. Pipehouse Gin is very well known in and around Tunbridge Wells, where we created the brand and live, but is now no longer seen as a small new gin. In the words of one bar owner:

“We don’t want to stock Pipehouse Gin, it’s everywhere!”

The brand is over a year old now and has moved in peoples minds from the small scrappy startup to a well-established brand that is no longer new and exciting. So if that is the case, why are our trade sales still growing? Sales and new customer acquisition may be starting to slow in Tunbridge Wells. But we are still unheard of and exclusive almost everywhere else and so still have plenty of room to grow. While also getting repeat orders from current customers.

On top of that we are starting to get orders from bigger customers which have taken a lot longer to build the required relationships. For instance English Heritage! You will now be able to find at castles and English heritage locations throughout Kent.

Be sure to check out some of my older posts. I documented everything about the development of Pipehouse Gin in real-time.

If you want to support us please buy a bottle of our gin from Amazon. And if you like it please leave a review!

Table Tennis Brands

I run two table tennis brands. Mid-range Palio & high-end Eastfield Co. They are my biggest businesses making 6-figures a year profit and sell all around the world. With the vast majority of sales coming from Amazon FBA.

Both brands are already in stock in throughout Europe, USA, India and Canada. And in October both also launched in Australia. Very exciting! 

October was a good month. We had launched a new range of bats for Palio in August which pushed our numbers up a lot. 

Our Palio Expert 2 used to be the bestselling bat in the UK but launching the new version did cannabalise it and meant it lost the bestseller status. But having six products for sale rather than three has increased our sales overall.

That is a concept a lot of big companies use. The more shelf space you can occupy the more sales you will have overall. Even if sales of each individual product drop. 

Still I would like to reclaim that bestseller status, and so we are putting more effort into promoting the new Palio Expert 3. Watch this space.

Relevant Posts:

The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast

The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast, one of my favourite projects and currently the most neglected. I didn’t release any new episodes in October. Partly because I have been really busy moving so often, and partly because I am just not happy with the quality of audio I am able to record while travelling.

I recorded quite a few podcasts during our time in Bali in August, but while the content is good I think they really suffered because of the bad quality of my portable microphones. We are travelling with just hand luggage and so are using only tiny lapel mikes. 

I know, I know. That is just an excuse and I should just create the content anyway. I plan to get back on it in November and also find a way to improve the audio quality. ie purchase better mics.  

Listen to The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast now:

This Blog

Traffic had a good month in October. Traffic has generally been trending up and even though I didn’t write any blog posts (sorry!) traffic remained strong. Slightly higher than September and a bit lower than August.

Blog profit was good as well, £5,420 profit. It is probably higher than it should be because a couple of my affiliates changed their payments terms. But even allowing for that it was a very good month.

I don’t detail out the exact source of every penny any more (cos I am lazy). But I used to and the sources haven’t really changed. Check out this post: Half-Yearly Blog Income Report, Dec to May 2017

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Investing

In my August monthly report I said I was starting to invest in Bitcoin again:

I have changed my mind and have started investing in bitcoin again. I think that it is due a resurgence and 20 months on from that original blog post it seems we are a bit more ready for a cryptocurrency. I’ve been buying in at around $10,000 mark and have a vague plan to start selling at different points from $50,000 up. Fingers crossed!

Well, shortly after that post came out prices for Bitcoin crashed. I still believe it is due a resurgence and have continued to buy more! I am buying through Coinbase because they take fast transactions from the UK (you can use my refer-a-friend link and we’ll both get $10 each). Let’s see how it gets on…

But that is a gamble and not an investment. My real investment strategy is still very safe and conservative. I am buying index tracking funds through my stocks and shares ISA. And then investing more short term in peer-to-peer lending. Primarily Assetz Capital (you can use my refer a friend link for a £50 bonus if you deposit and invest £1,000)

Relevant Posts:

Conclusion

There we go, another monthly report. A good month and a very exciting November planned!

You may notice I haven’t gone into detail about my new projects. That is because they are just starting out.

I am using the National Novel Writing Month, a challenge that runs every November where the participants aim to write 50,000 words and finish a first draft of their novel. You can follow my progress here. The book is about a three-week wine road trip we did around vineyards in Europe to purchase the wine for our wedding. It was a pretty awesome trip and hopefully will make an interesting read.

The online course I am doing on video game development is something for my own personal interest and will probably never be a business. 

Thanks for reading!

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