Welcome back to September’s monthly report, it has been one of those months that flew by and I can’t believe it is already over. Progress has been up and down. The most exciting thing to report is that our new business Pipehouse Gin is now firmly in the profit! There was a point at where we had more money in the bank account than we had originally put in, plus a bunch of stock which was awesome.
Other than that progress has been slower than I would have liked. I managed two pretty bad episodes of my new podcast but found it much harder than I originally thought – turns out speaking into a microphone is harder than it looks.
Here are the scores for September:
- Hours Worked: September wasn’t too bad for hours worked, but I did have a week off in the middle for a holiday.
- Productivity: I spent too long avoiding recording podcasts. When a job is daunting I find it really difficult to just get on and do it.
- Profitability: It is was a very good month for my newest business Pipehouse Gin. Plus my table tennis businesses had a good jump in sales. But that was slightly offset by a dropping readership and income for this blog.
- Optimism: I can’t really say why I am optimistic at the moment, but I am. I feel that the future has a lot of good things ahead and I look forward to finding out just what they are!
Let’s go deeper.
Pipehouse Gin is my craft gin business. We launched our first product in July and it has been a massive learning curve. In some ways it is a completely different business to any others I have done before. It isn’t at all niche and has potentially unlimited scalability, offset by loads of competition.
Wheras with my table tennis business the challenge was finding potential customers, with the gin there are potential customers everywhere. The challenge is instead to convince them to buy our premium and unusual gin rather than our cheaper competitor.
We have succeded really well in person where customers get to taste the gin and we get to explain exactly what makes us special, and have absolutely killed it doing markets and pop-up events. Over just two weekends in September we sold almost 250 bottles and 600 gin and tonics.
We have also done alright selling directly to bars and small retail outlets. We are now stocked in about 40 places and that number is just continuing to rise.
But where we are struggling is to find big distributors willing to stock us at a price we are happy with. And September was just another fruitless month of cold calling/emailing. But the search continues and I am sure we will get it sorted soon.
The other big sales channel I have always envisioned is online sales. But due to focusing on other aspects and some stock limitations we haven’t even started marketing online.
One thing has become clear. There is more work that should be done on this business than us partners are able to do ourselves. We are leaving a lot of potential on the table. So I have been starting to think of expansion.
There are four distinct segments of the business that I believe could really benefit from having their own dedicated teams to built them out:
I am very bad manager so finding the right people is going to take a while.
Plus I am very keen to try and keep the business 100% owned by us and under our control. That means that any expansion or staff hires must come from profits being reinvested, or extra investment by us.
Luckily Pipehouse Gin is now in profit! In September we had a time where we had more money in the bank account that we had put in, plus a load of stock. That is a really good position to be in, but doesn’t mean that any of that profit will be hitting our pocket. Instead we will be reinvesting most of it to grow the business.
What most people don’t realise about starting a business is that it takes a long time before you can take any profit out because doing so would jeopardise your growth. That is one of the reasons why taking on investment is very tempting – it allows you to pay yourself a salary while still growing the business.
Luckily that isn’t a problem for me due to my other businesses…
- 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. Palio ETT (aimed at beginner/developing players) and Eastfield (a more high-end/professional brand). The last few months have been pretty tough due to a whole catalogue of errors which you can read about in my previous reports, but luckily by September most of them were sorted and we had a good month of getting back to where we were.
Sales were up across the board and we were almost back up to our original target monthly sales. Even better solving all these problems gives us a clear run at Christmas. Easily our busiest time of year.
The table tennis businesses are what pay me a salary and covers my day-to-day living expenses. So I really shouldn’t be neglecting them.
In September we also finally finished work on our next generation of table tennis bats, which are now going to be going into production. We are probably a little late for Christmas, but better late than never.
September was a disappointing month for this blog. It made £4,830 which is good, but was propped up by a one-off payment from sales covering a few months. If we take that out it would only have made £3,443… which is the least it has made in two years.
Why the drop? Well for one I only managed two posts during the month. My regular monthly report, and then right on the last day of the month a beast of a post about all the popular businesses it is worth looking into these days.
- My Monthly Report – September 2018. My standard monthly report.
- Businesses You Can Start In 2018. A mammoth post based on the content of my new podcast.
But my new posts don’t really make much money anyway, it is my back catalogue that rank highly on Google where the gold is. And one of my big earners, my matched betting guide, had a pretty big drop in Google rankings.
Again I only have myself to blame, I haven’t written about matched betting for over a year and so it is only natural for Google to decide it is no longer a focus of this blog.
Having a very broad site that covers a huge range of topics is both a curse and a blessing. It means you have a chance of ranking for a lot of different subjects but does make it much harder to excel at any one topic.
So what am I going to do to improve things? Well I am hoping that my new podcast will help with that…
- Start A Blog In Under An Hour – A Step-By-Step Guide
- What It Takes To Create A Successful Blog – The 3 Crucial Aspects
Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast
Well, believe it or not, talking to just a microphone is much harder than it looks. I thought that I would be able to crank out lots of episodes of my podcast very quickly, but nope. Turns out I am not a natural orator. And I have suddenly got a new appreciation for narrators. How do they make it sound so natural??
So far I have done two episodes which you can listen to on iTunes here. And they are pretty bad.
Actually, that isn’t fair. I think the content of both episode is good, but my delivery and post-production is terrible. I am hoping that by just forcing myself to do a lot more and practising I will slowly get better until they are good.
I also haven’t told anyone about the podcast so consider this my soft launch. Give it a listen (if you can get through them), and let me know what you think…
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.
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. In September it passed the 10 million views milestone!
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.
- This Is How Much We Made From Our Viral YouTube Video
- Peer-To-Peer Lending – Why I’m Moving From Funding Circle to Ratesetter
Well, what a mixed month! I regularly get emails from people asking if I am spreading myself too thin… which judging from today’s post is hard to argue with. Look how many different projects I am currently working on? Not to forget all the stuff that isn’t business related. I also do a lot of Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, have a social life and play way too many video games.
So I will give the excuse that I always do: I have a real problem with motivation (hence the Lazy Entrepreneur). If I am not enjoying or excited about the project I am working on I just won’t do it. And in fact I regularly go a week or two where I can’t find it in me to do anything. Doing lots of projects is my way of getting around that and means I am almost always excited about something.
Yes it may not be as efficient as spending the same amount of time on one project, and means that none of my businesses ever reach their full potential. But so far it works, and anyway, if you don’t enjoy your business then what is the point?