The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast

Sam Priestley dives into modern day lifestyle entrepreneurship. What is working, what isn’t, and how exactly do you build a business that funds the life you want to live?

Listen and subscribe to the Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast on any of your favourite channels:

“Whenever there is a hard job to be done I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it.” – Walter Chrysler

Most Recent Podcast Episodes

All of the following episodes can be listened to in any order. So find a subject you’re interested in and start there!

Bonus: An Interview With Luke Pearce, Co-Founder Of The Radical Tea Towel Company

Luke goes into depth on how he built a £500k turnover company selling tea towels.

I found talking to Luke very interesting as his business is very different to any of mine. He had to build the demand for his product and find creative ways to get it in front of his audience. Well worth a listen.

Resources Mentioned In This Episode Of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast:

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#23: Just Start. Your Ignorance Is Your Advantage

“If you never start you never will succeed.” 

-Sam

This is a call to action. Whatever the business is you are trying to research or has been sat at the back of your mind. Just start. You will never know enough and in fact knowing too can hold you back.

Resources Mentioned In This Episode Of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast:

Listen to this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast on:

iTunes | Spotify | YouTube | Stitcher

Structure

01:27 – The benefits of ignorance
04:50 – Why you should do things that are difficult
05:17 – Overconsumption
09:04 – People might copy you after your successful, so succeed first
14:13 – The problems of doing too much research
17:24 – Do things immediately: Emma’s first website for the supper club
20:51 – In summary

Transcript

Sam: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam Priestly and I’m joined by my lovely wife Emma
Emma: hello
S: today we’re gonna kind of go back to episode 1 with a real call to action let’s just start just start your business whatever it is you’ve been thinking about you’ve been sitting in the pub talking to your friends about it’s been sat in the back of your mind or maybe that’s the reason why you’re listening to this podcast you have something that you’ve been putting off or you’re researching here’s my call to action to you just start just do it I think that after four years four five years of writing this blog and doing his podcast and having hundreds of people email me with questions the main advice I sort of come up with is that yeah just start and really you’re ignorance is your advantage not knowing everything means you’ll actually do better I’ve seen that true myself in the businesses I started when I was completely ignorant of everything are some of the most audacious and most successful businesses I’ve ever done and then now I’m a few years in I’m getting a bit more scared I’m starting to realize how difficult things are and I think that’s true for for everything before it’s even true outside of businesses it’s true for the sports do as well the hobbies I think I do Brazilian jiu-jitsu I got into that because I thought I could get really good at it in a year turns out I was lied to and it takes ten years to get any good well I only started because I thought it was easy yeah let me just go into that a little bit more. you’ve heard me talk about this before haven’t you yeah that I’m an optimist at heart and I think that things are gonna be easier than they are and that’s often the reason why I start them people will say to me you know you’re going up against experts in that field you know you don’t know anything about the industry you need experience first there’s too much competition the market is saturated you’re too late the trends over or whatever it is you were told that as well when we started our gin business
E: oh yeah
S: you were told that when you started your supper club
E: yeah
S: why would anyone ever want to come to your house and pay for food you were told that when you started doing freelance marketing you’re working at PWC and your bosses told you you’re throwing your career away to try back yeah do your own thing
E: quite a lot of negative people around me don’t I think it’s genuinely people want you to succeed but they just can’t understand how you could on your own setting up a business
S: I think they describe themselves as realists yeah that we’re optimists and got this delusional idea of how the world works and they’re a realist they’re a bit more cynical I think the thing is they’re kind of right that things are a lot harder that they are difficult you know there is a lot of competition it’s difficult to break into industries you don’t have a lot of experience about the markets are pretty saturated with stuff we’re doing but that doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed E: yeah
S: and if you never start you never will succeed I think that if you knew how difficult it was to do things you might never have done it I don’t know thinking back when you quit your job to start freelancing and doing your own thing if you knew how difficult it was would you have been so eager to to quit and start
E: I think in my situation I felt at the time anything was going to be better than the current job that I had because I couldn’t wait to leave yeah so any change was good I think a lot of people around me thought the opposite and very much thought that I was throwing everything away I wouldn’t succeed I wouldn’t make enough money to live why on earth would I leave my very secure well-paid job they thought I was crazy but I guess the words succeed a lot of people think that involves just the money side but it doesn’t a lot of it is about learning new skills getting confidence out of something you’ve produced rather than as a whole team and there were so many things like that I got out of freelancing almost straightaway that I had never experienced in my career
S: yeah that’s a good point isn’t it that if something is really difficult and you then succeed it it might your sense of accomplishment is ten times
E: yeah definitely
S: like how proud are you of the gin
E: yeah tell everyone about it
S: tell everyone about it because it is an accomplishment is something really cool and that’s difficult it’s not easy just taking a lot of work and yeah that’s awesome you’ve done if it was really easy then the accomplishment isn’t isn’t really there that one
E: yeah yeah
S: that’s a good point all right let’s talk a little bit about overconsumption of like trying to learn too much about something I think this is particularly relevant for the people listening to this podcast because that might be why you’re here you learn as much as possible before you started yeah and it’s something I am guilty of too I love to sort of consume information and I often end up spending more time researching than I do actually creating more time consuming than producing and that’s something that I’ve had as like a New Year’s resolution as a something I want to change for years that I want to spend more have my time more time creating and working then consuming and I think I normally end up with a bit of balance but there’s definitely people who spend all their time researching and don’t do any yeah never actually get around to it yeah I think there’s loads of problems with this some areas where the more you learn the almost harder it’s gonna be for you to succeed
E: yeah because you’re reading about everyone’s mistakes and or and also how good all of the competitors are and making you feel like you’re never gonna compete with them
S: yeah that’s a big problem if you do too much competitor analysis you’ll never start because you realize how good and how hard-working they are yeah yeah you’ll be reading other people’s mistakes that could scare you off as well I get people contact me a lot saying stuff like oh if I build a product what happens if people just copy it and like that’s that’s a problem of success
E: yes
S: so yes that is a problem that is a problem we have with our popular products is that people will rip them off but that is a as a problem of success like
E: that’s not something to stop you doing it in the first place yeah
S: if you never start you’ll never have that problem but you only get that problem if you’re doing well people copy you if you’re successful
E: yeah and another example I’ve got like that is there’s a guy locally who’s always talking to me about setting up his own gin brand and he’s usually talking complete nonsense and the last question he asked me was did you get copyright in every single country when you launched the gin and that’s a classic example of and my reply was you don’t need to get copyright in every country you need to launch the gin yeah stop using all of these kind of really later on potential issues as blocking you from starting
S: can you imagine how expensive that would be and how long it would take you wouldn’t be able to do anything for like six months
E: and it’s complete waste of time
S: I do get a lot of people tell me I’ve got an idea for a business but I can’t tell you about it because I’m waiting for my copyright or my patent to come through and then I’m gonna start well you’ve got a six month wait now like
E: there are a lot of other things you could be getting on within that time
S: and the thing is people only copy ideas that have been shown to work
E: yeah
S: like your idea in the pub no one’s gonna copy that now anytime people are on my blog I’ve got my ten ideas a day where I’ve got a thousand ideas over which ike 300 business ideas in there
E: quite quite good business ideas
S: yeah well I think they are quite good and I don’t think anyone’s copied a single one of them but people do try and copy me once I’ve already succeeded guess what that’s a problem of success and they’re going to do that regardless of what other protections you’ve got in place I mean yes you will make mistakes so IP problems intellectual property problems trademark problems these all stuff I’ve come across from messing up and having to fix it later but you know what you’re gonna make mistakes regardless like they there’s a mantra they say in Silicon Valley it’s a bit cliche but it does have some truth to it which is fail fast and fail often the best way to learn is to learn from your own mistakes not from other people’s mistakes and provided the mistakes you’re making are low investment like that you’re not over committed to them you can afford to make the mistakes then that’s fine
E:it’s part of business you kind of need to accept that you’re not going to create this absolutely perfect business model and this perfect product and service and this perfect marketing campaign and this perfect sales funnel that’s just not reality you have to accept that you’re going to have to try things and some things will fail and that is okay and you’ll learn from it
S: and I think yeah there are there are mistake there are problems that you can if you foresaw them you could have dodged them that could destroy your business yes so I’ve got a friend who started a very popular brand of like beard related products I don’t want to talk too much about what they are in case I give away who it is
E: well there are a lot of people doing that
S: yeah which is why I’m trying to be a bit vague but he was doing really well selling hundreds of thousands of units a year he started in his bedroom just making his products himself and then eventually found factories to make it all you know the dream he discovered eventually he got around to trying to like copyright his stuff maybe like five years in and as he was doing this a big brand who had the same name contacted him with a cease and desist because they discovered he had this brand and so he had to completely change his brand change his brand name after spending years building it which was a massive impact on his business
E: yes and something he could have avoided
S: if he had forseen it but the problem is that you’re not going to be able to foresee every possible problem there’s loads of issues that if I knew at the time what I know now I could have foreseen but no amount of research would have covered me for all of those problems so another one was selling you know building someone else’s brand instead of building my own brand to begin with that’s a problem I made which cost a lot of money because other people couldn’t start selling that brand as well that’s a big issue sort of trademark stuff I’ve had problems with IP things where you know didn’t have the contracts in place of employees they signed over the IP the intellectual property of what they’re working on to me there’s so many examples of this kind of stuff
E: classic example
S: kind of classic examples and maybe after 10 years of business you might know to avoid them but sitting around researching on blogs for two years is not it’s not worth it to kind of find all these things and yes you will read horror stories of people who’ve messed up because of foreseeable mistakes but like don’t worry about them just get going that guy with his beard products he still made I don’t know how much he made maybe a million pounds in the period where he didn’t know this brand was owned by someone else before having to change and start again if he had worried too much about that sort of stuff to begin with he might never have started so you will make mistakes just make sure that there as much as possible protect yourself from your mistakes being too detrimental but I mean don’t invest too much money in your in your business to begin with you know money you can afford to lose and your own time is fine to commit because you know your own time you’d be spending research you know anyway so you might as well spent that time actually building the business and even if your first business fails you’re probably have learnt so much from that then maybe your next one will succeed
E: yes I don’t see the first one as a failure
S: don’t see the first one as a failure or do see the failure and learn from those mistakes like treat it as like doing an MBA or doing like a business course instead so yeah you will make mistakes another problem with following doing too much research is it you could fall into this trap of building an exact copy of someone else’s business and that is a real big problem that I see a lot especially with digital nomads I think you’re a classic example of this people trying to build like a lifestyle business and they’ll latch on to whatever the trend is at the moment yeah that people have in the last few years made enough money to sustain like a traveling lifestyle
E: life coaching
S: life coaching a digital nomad is someone who travels the world full-time working and making their money online and there is problems of people they’ll start a business that’s an exact copy someone else’s business and that person’s business worked because they were unique
E: yes
S: and it did work for them but now you create an exact copy you’ve got no USP or no unique selling point so by being ignorant of kind of best practices you’ll create something that’s better or different at least to everyone else’s and maybe you’ll stumble on the next big thing that anyone else will copy yeah so what we said we said the time you’ll spend researching and putting too much effort into things into learning as much as you can about starting a business is time you’ll spend consuming and not creating you can be spending that time building your business you might scare yourself off you might come across problems that people who’ve already succeeded at having yeah I find this especially if you read forums you’ll see people who are maybe a year in making a bit money and there’ll be some problem will come up and they’ll be complaining about this and when people only really post about their problems you’re gonna make mistakes regardless so it’s better to fail quickly and to make those mistakes and learn from them than to try and protect yourself from every possible mistake that you can make and if you spend too much time consuming information and researching you’re never gonna have a unique business you need to be you need to have that creativity that doing something different and often the only way to do something different is to not know what everyone else is doing yeah
E: I think there is a point to be made about doing some level of research and for me the way I always approach it because I’m a trained marketer is very structured so for me I’d be looking at basically what elements of a marketing plan I’d need to start a business yes so take for example when I started my supper clubs I really focused on my competitors yeah so I looked at who were doing supper clubs in the area and then who were doing it in the UK that I wanted to aspire to yeah looking at their social media looking at their pricing like for me there were definitely research to do which was valuable but I think I probably spent about a day yeah doing it I’m not even joking and then that was it that was that part of the business done and then I could create my brand what I wished it looked like and pricing which social media channels I was gonna have blah blah
S: and I think you also had me kind of like pushing you to just get going
E: definitely yeah and I wouldn’t have done it I don’t think
S: Do you remember when we were at my flat and you said you needed a website and I was like well let’s build a website today got a little video camera I’ll do some videos and
E: And I thought you were completely mad
S: and we had a website up in six hours or something and I’m sure that website got deleted quite soon after but that momentum is starting even if that was never really used
E: yes quite important yes definitely
S: those were terrible but that’s okay it’s okay to make those mistakes and learn from them and or try different things and see what works and then then double down on those I mean also you’re it’s a personality as well the people who are listening to this podcast are people who listen to podcasts about business you’re not really one of those people you only listen to kind of the sort podcast when I play them to you
E: yeah and I listen to food podcast
S: and you listen to food podcasts so you’re probably on the side of not doing that much research or doing targeted research as opposed to just starting the business
E: very targeted yeah
S: as opposed to more general research yeah so this is really a call to action to people who know that they aren’t starting when they kind of should or they’re worried about starting or worried about getting going because yes it’s gonna be difficult but you’ll deal with it it’s gonna be harder didn’t you think it is if you knew how hard it was you probably wouldn’t start but once you have done it and you’ve got over all those problems you’re gonna be really glad you did and there’s a difference between types of research right so when you start a business so we started a gin business when we decided to start a gin business we didn’t know anything about the alcohol industry in the UK food and drinks industry how does it work and so we went in with these ideas you know focus online do Amazon FBA because people aren’t really doing that trying to stay away a little bit from the ol boys networks but since doing it and in the process of starting our business we’ve learned pretty much everything there is to know about that kind of old-school drinks industry
E: yeah
S: and you know we’re still using that kind of creativity naivety of the start but now we’ve now got that experience of being over a year in and making mistakes and sort of trying to get things to work yeah so just yesterday you went out with a sales rep from another business
E: yeah another drinks business
S: yeah a tonic brand just going around to bars and stuff telling him about our brands yeah so that was interesting you cuz you had to make all that stuff up as you went along yes and she’s coming from a very structured she’s got her payment system a sales job she’s got to input everything and so you can now that you’ve done it yourself and you kind of made mistakes you can learn from her and you can see what she’s doing
E: and it works quite well definitely from the things she was saying to the bar managers and restaurant managers I was listening to the words she was using and how she’d introduce herself that’s all very useful
S: and I’m sure that you do stuff that she never would have thought of because you’ve gone to it without any training and just trying to think for yourself about what to do
E: yeah definitely well awesome so yeah call to action just get going people will be negative people tell you is oversaturated and all this kind of stuff and they might be right but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to succeed and even if you fail you’ll learn more from the failure than you would from the research that goes in around it that’s not to say don’t do any research but don’t do only research a balance of consuming content consuming information to creating and you know you’re ignorance is your advantage your naivety is is what makes it work about two years ago I wrote a blog post called the power of naivety and why I’m choosing ignorance and that was me basically saying I’ve gone the other way whereas now I’m always getting scared about certain things in life because I over research such as going travelling to a new country whereas once upon a time I would just hopped on a plane and dealt with everything when I get there now I’m looking up you know the safer traveling things can I use the taxis all this kind of stuff yes you will make mistakes but on balance the positives that come from being naive and just trying things and getting going and starting have far outweighed the negatives and the stuff that’s gone wrong from that kind of optimistic approach I finished that blog post by saying being naive saying yes, giving everyone the benefit of the doubt these are all things that I’m working on and trying to cultivate and I think that some that’s still true now two years later let’s end with some final advice which is this is all true get started but don’t overcommit start with your own time and money you can afford to lose because you can make mistakes and you will make mistakes but start now all right if you have any feedback for this podcast please email me at hello at Sam Priestley dot com the show notes are at Sam Priestley dot com or you can just google the lazy entrepreneur and that’ll take you to my website and as always I would love if you could leave me a five star review goodbye

 

#22: Creating a Sales Net

 

“With a sales funnel, you’re often kind of winding a person up by adding more and more costs to something quite similar that they are wanting to buy whereas [with a sales net] it’s a different angle. We’re giving them loads of other stuff that they might find useful and they might not have thought of, so all of them are are complementary and they also all get traffic from different places.”
– Sam, on the benefits of having a sales net over a sales funnel

An alternative to the sales funnel. A spider web of businesses that cover your whole niche. 

 

Resources Mentioned In This Episode Of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast:

Listen to this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast on:

iTunes | Spotify | YouTube | Stitcher

Structure

00:28 – Sales funnel vs. sales net
03:27 – Sam’s table tennis example
07:50 – How multiple products enhance credibility
11:36 – Applying a sales net to Pipehouse Gin
16:41 – Setting up a consultancy around gin
20:30 – Actionable ideas from the podcast

Transcript

S: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam Priestly and as always we’re joined by my lovely wife Emma
E: hello
S: today we’ve got a topic that I find pretty interesting and I think is unique I don’t really think I’ve heard other people talk about it but it’s something I like to apply to my businesses and is a slightly different way of thinking about things so maybe you’ll find it helpful you often hear about sales funnels that’s a very popular concept in business yeah where the idea is once you get someone into your funnel they kind of trapped and you keep kind of upselling them and yeah getting more and more value out of them as it goes along with the funnel the idea is you got one entry point and then once they’re in there it’s just ongoing I don’t really like that my preferred method is this idea of a sales net and the idea of a net think like a spider’s web where people can enter from any point like there’s loads of different angles that they can get to it so what do I mean by that well I’m talking about building multiple independent businesses within the same niche they’re all complementary all right that is a bit wishy-washy it’s hard to visualize so what would plan do for this episode give you an example of how I’ve done this in a niche before in some of the businesses around that and then talk about how we can expand a current business that we’re both working on with this concept
E: sounds good
S: awesome what do I mean by multiple businesses what do I mean by multiple business I actually mean completely independent businesses they don’t need to be linked I’m not talking about having your main business and then trying to do adding a little section on the website called blog I’m talking about creating a whole new magazine or home blog that’s independent but is also complementary also slightly linked
E: yeah like a different product
S: a different business yeah and it’s something that has only really been possible quite recently because creating lots of different businesses used to have huge barriers of entry to each one so for instance let’s say you’re a chef at a restaurant to then go and release a cookbook was quite a big step
E: yes
S: they’re kind of two different businesses but in order to release that cookbook you probably had to be found by a publisher they have to give you an idea you have to find a ghost writer or something it would cost quite a lot of money someone needs to be invested in you so
E: a huge investment in time
S: to create a cookbook whereas nowadays with self-publishing and things like that you could go create your own cookbook even if you’re just a home cook yeah and likewise if you make running shoes for a living well that is one thing and then maybe building like a Center for coaching people you know if you’re Nike you can do that but if you’re just a small business creating your running shoes then the idea of having an excellent center for for people to learn at is a huge step yeah whereas now you got this idea of online courses and people be able to learn stuff online and where they’re actually quite easy to build
E: yeah it’s much more accessible
S: it’s much more accessible yes so without too much work you know one person or a small team like us can go and build a few different businesses that are each businesses in their own right
E: sounds good
S: that’s a bit abstract let’s talk about it in with the example of my biggest business which is in table tennis so between me and my business partner we have lots of different brands lots of different businesses around table tennis that are all complementary they’re all completely different and they don’t cannibalize each other so it’s not like a sale to one would mean we’re losing a sale to another yep let me run through the different businesses we have around table tennis so we got table tennis bats we got Eastfield Sporting Goods and Palio table tennis which are the two brands to do with sporting goods then we’ve also got table tennis University which is an online course where you pay a certain amount of money and you get video courses on how to play table tennis that’s one of Ben’s businesses yeah I’m not involved in that but it’s in the table tennis universe yeah but isn’t at all to do a table tennis equipment yeah we’ve also got a blog expert table tennis blog we’ve also got a podcast expert table tennis podcast we got a YouTube channel expert in a year you where we had my um my video there’s now ten million views and a lot of other videos around that are about my career learning to play table tennis we also got a book the expert in a year the ultimate table tennis challenge book all quite separate businesses and all of which make money and are profitable in their own right so how do they link well the idea is say in the book I’ll be talking about kind of the equipment I use for instance and then I’ll have a link in there to the equipment we use for sporting goodson the YouTube channel when you watch say me play table tennis every day for a year at the bottom there’ll be a load of links to you know by the bat that Sam used or we turn this into a book read the book which I link to Amazon or wherever it is you can buy those products that’s called selling but they’re all complementary so the idea is that rather than with a sales funnel you’re often kind of winding a person up by adding more and more costs to something quite similar that they are wanting to buy yeah so let’s whereas with this it’s a different angle we’re giving them loads of other stuff that they might find useful and they might not have thought of yeah so all of them are are complementary and they also all get traffic from different places so the idea is that people might access this net from different places whereas for instance if we were just selling table tennis bats we might only have one two routes which could be someone may be searching for it on Google or table tennis bat on Amazon whereas with the other stuff there’s other routes to it so for instance with the blog they might have written a blog post about something to do at table tennis you know how do you do a really good for hand strike or something like that someone might read that they might let me interest in the blog maybe sign up to his email list and get information about the other stuff that’s going on
E: yeah they might be interested in online course
S: yeah they might have never even thought of an online course but because they got entered into the net at a point they were interested in, now they have all these other opportunities and likewise someone might be looking for a book as a present for their nephew a table tennis book our book comes up he buys that. Nephew then reads it now nephew might be interested in our equipment also the idea of learning through videos or self-improvement in table tennis and they might go off and read more resources on the blog that kind of thing
E: do you think for someone who has never heard of you before it makes you look more credible that you have lots of different products and services to offer and your brand names so I don’t know if someone could find a table tennis bat and then they might find a link to your book and in the book they might find a link to the blog and then might find a link to their online course do you think that makes you look more professional and credible as a business
S: yeah definitely that’s something you can use as a USP yeah as a selling point and it’s something I’m gonna I think is true for this business for this niche is going to be even more true when we talk about how we could potentially implement this into Pipehouse Gin into our gin business yeah okay before we move on, let me quickly talk about a route that someone might go in and how they each earn money so for instance we have this popular video guy plays table tennis every day for a year that’s had millions of views
E: that guy is you
S: that guy is me yes so people go on to they might find that it might be on reddit or something piques their interest they click on that and they watch it when you will earn a little bit of money just from them watching it through the ad revenue on YouTube they then want to hear more about the story and there’ll be a link now to the book so by buying that book we’ve also earned a little bit about revenue they go to Amazon where we self-published book we did it all ourselves they might buy that or they might buy the audiobook that we have recorded ourselves as well from audible and we then earn a little bit of money then while reading the book they might learn or want to get into it themselves and want to buy a table tennis bat yeah well I don’t know whatI might as well buy the same one that Sam was using that he talks up and then they might go and buy that table tennis bat and then we earn a bit of revenue from that as well after this they started to play a little bit and want to get a little bit better with the kind of instruction manual that comes with the bat they might hear about these sort of free course this table tennis University thing online they can go on to watch a few videos they start to get better and better and then maybe they eventually go and buy a course that costs a bit of money so by that one entrance by someone watching this random video on reddit they might end up buying a bunch of different products from different businesses alright now let’s talk about how we can implement this into a business that we’re running at the moment
E: exciting
S: and where we haven’t actually done that
E: or talked about it
S: or talked about it in fact is the first time you’ve heard about this isn’t it
E: yes
S: I try to surprise Emma with my subjects so you get her actual reactions
E: Which Sam loves but can be quite stressful for me
S: yeah yeah because otherwise you know I might you might say your best lines or your ask your questions before we start
E: yeah apparently
S: so Pipehouse Gin is our craft gin business where we currently have one flavor out we’ve got an Earl Grey and cucumber gin and we’re in the process of releasing another one so far that is all it is being made, gin, yeah now how can we expand that business well we could create more and more flavors we could create higher quality ones and have a really premium product a really rare limited edition oak barrel aged gin that we sell for 1,000 pounds yeah we could create new products we create glass goblets stuff like that that people can buy as well
E: gift sets yeah
S: or we can do this route of building a sales net where we start completely unrelated businesses that hopefully will be complementary businesses that will stand up in their own right but will also help grow Pipehouse Gin
E: yeah linked together
S: yeah all linked together and this is something where I feel the credibility that we’re talking about works quite well because let’s say we wanted to start an online blog or a magazine about gin and people say who are you to write about gin well we’re actually we make ourselves well yeah we’re the founders of Pipehouse Gin or let’s say we wrote a recipe book of gin cocktails self published it on Amazon billion why what do you know much in why you writing his cocktail book well actually is brought to you by pipehouse gin a craft gin business so I’ve written down a couple of ideas we got yeah an online blog or a magazine that seems to be quite obvious straightforward one yeah I think a recipe book as well that’s quite straightforward it’s the sort of thing where there’s so many gins available to buy and that might be quite difficult to stand up in a crowd but there might not be that many gin cocktail recipe books and so we might be able to rank higher for a recipe book than we could do for our actual gin and then once they’ve read the recipe book that could end link to the gin yeah so it could be like a sideways entrance to get in front of people who we otherwise might not be able to also put down here subscription boxes which are very popular at the moment there’s lots of stuff you could do what that that give us a chance to work with other gin brands as well yeah I’ve also put down here a video series I think YouTube is getting more and more popular there’s loads of things you could do there with a video series or making gin and how you can do it at home we can do cocktail making or we could even do you know unrelated comedy sketches type things to do with gin
E: silly things
S: silly things you know we can do events we could do gin master classes both on making it or just drinking it we can like do pop-up bars we can do gin tasting all that kind of stuff and again in credibility who are you well I am Sam Priestly from Pipehouse Gin do you have any ideas
E: Putting me on the spot here I wonder if there’s any other products that aren’t necessarily to do with drinking the gin not sure some sort of like garnishes kit with tonics it’s not necessarily just a glass something where it’s like a ready to drink yeah
S: well definitely on the product side and there’s probably things that can be done and there’s the sort of thing where maybe we wouldn’t want to sort of muddy the Pipehouse Gin brand by also having a botanical brand yeah I thought it could be a separate business yeah that aren’t directly linked on the same brand but do sort of transfer sales between each other so the difference is we could have a business where we sell kind of the botanical kits for people to make gin themselves yeah something like completely different but then kind of linked to gin as well so for gin hobbyists to use or even a business-to-business one
E: I think one of the things that we haven’t doesn’t relate directly but something we haven’t really had much experience in yet is selling internationally and maybe some of the deals that we make this is something where we’re looking to do at the moment and finding the right partners and maybe those partners will have a different way of approaching selling to bars and restaurants I’m just throwing out there is we don’t know yet but
S: well this is something I’ve been thinking about is that we’ve been struggling to get in with distributors so why don’t we set up our own distributor
E: yep that’s a good point
S: maybe not locally but I think definitely as like an import/export alcohol business yeah we could probably find lots of other people in our shoes who are struggling you know they don’t know how to sell their stuff internationally how to do all the duties and so far that we could probably work out all of that find some duty suspended warehouses and shipping companies who specialized in alcohol and then you know effectively sell that as a service to a lot of other small gin brands as well as doing it ourselves
E: yeah that sounds really good I mean we’ve been approached by someone in Europe who basically does that and so it’d be interesting to see if we do work with them what their model is and whether we could replicate that ourselves in the UK with purely English gins to see if they’re looking for gins around the world
S: yeah but yeah that might be quite interesting and there are there are a few brands that we know of who have either come from the distribution angle and then create their own brands separately or the other way around so had a brand to begin with and then created a distribution channel yeah so we got stuff like is it Imperium Emporio brand or whatever the ones who owned Mayfield
E: yeah yeah I can’t remember exactly how you pronounce it
S: but yeah that’s two complementary businesses aren’t really linked but you know the kind of are they like they both help each other the other angle of course is the idea of you know consultancy you know helping people set up their brand yeah that’s a good idea to even the contract distilling type stuff
E: well yeah I mean even the recommendations of each stage like choosing your company that makes your labels to glassware to which platform to build your website on all that kind of stuff from a consulting point of view and also troubleshooting
S: yeah I mean it’s something that by having on my website that guide on how to start a gin business I end up getting contacted a lot by the people who are really into gin for one yeah so our target market already yeah and have only found me because they want to start their own gin business or make their own gin and then all those people then going off and buying a bottle of our gin as well
E: yeah definitely works both ways yeah and can you go and monetize that even more by offering them a consulting service
S: exactly yeah could we do consulting for them could we do you know maybe find a few different distilleries around who we’re set up with and we got kind of all the intellectual property stuff sorted and yeah you know we know that we ought to make two hundred fifty bottles for someone and then do that as a service so we’d be like the one point of entry for someone that wants to start their own gin business we’d consult them on a recipe or that kind of stuff and we then have the outsourcing partners who we could have affiliate deals and then we can hook them up with straight away that’s the problem that a lot of people have is they can’t they really they’re really struggling to find people to work with yeah so by having us in the middle it works both for the distillers and for the people coming in from the distillers point of view we are effectively vetting everybody beforehand everyone who’s coming from us to them is committed enough to have paid a certain amount of money so they get rid of all this kind of time wasted and then from the people coming in we’re like the easy point of access
E: yeah that’s really good another way of looking at that it could be doing an online course so videos like a more in-depth version of what you’ve got on the blog kind of thing
S: yeah yeah because currently the stuff we’ve got about starting a gin business is is very much as like as a side thing to do my general blog which is about all sorts of stuff so is there something we could do where that becomes a front and center of a new business
E: yeah and then if it was say on an educational video people would pay for that content
S: they say in a gold rush you know the person who makes money is the one who sells the shuttles or the pickaxes or whatever it is not the people actually searching for gold miners maybe the same is true for gin
E: I have never heard that
S: I probably butchered it is meant to be a lot more poetic how it’s meant to be said there’s loads of things so we’ve got quite a few ideas has anything we’ve talked about really jumped out of you like a good idea because certain things like you know I’m thinking about how do we get one of these ideas to market so if we wanted to have an import/export business for gin what would be the steps to set that up and how do we do that without too much capital investment at too much risk on our behalf I’ve got ideas for that whereas something like doing a recipe book of gin cocktails is so much easier than that I’ve published books before I know the process is that something that’s worth doing
E: yeah I think there is a lot of competition on the market I think books about gin anything about them whether it’s cocktails or the history of gin or whatever are really popular at the moment this is quite a saturated market so you’d have to find an angle that was really relevant so it could be off the top of my head low sugar cocktails I think would go down very well at the moment or low alcohol is the other trend which doesn’t necessarily fit well the low sugar fits our brand but not necessarily the low alcohol
S: I mean something like a low sugar gin cocktail recipe book you know you’re hitting a lot of keywords it’s probably unique they might not be anything like it it’s probably quite quick to produce and get to market
E: yeah
S: that’s a skeptical look you’re giving me
E: yeah I mean coming up with the recipes would be quite a challenge for us as none of us have a mixology background I mean I’ve obviously got loads of ideas because I love food and drink and recipes and I’d love to have my own cookbook but yeah the practicalities around it I think are quite difficult and the testing as well, we’d have to have a lot of people testing the recipes
S: that’s a hard life isn’t it awesome well hopefully this has sparked your creativity a little bit hopefully we might come up with an idea or two but chances are nothing we spoke about today we’ll actually end up doing but what hopefully what our conversation will do is you know spark that bit of creativity I find that anytime you sort of sit down and try to come up with ideas for things you can do to improve your business and grow it is time well spent even if none of those ideas ever actually come to fruition
E: yeah it’s getting yourself in that mindset isn’t it and and also it’s quite structured but also quite open
S: yes for sure all right well thanks for listening I said I hope you found that useful and I’m gonna be doing another question and answer podcast pretty soon if you want to get involved in that and ask me any questions just email me at hello at Sam Priestley dot com I’ve put up the show notes now for all episodes you can find them on Sam Priestley dot com as well there’s a little tab or a top that says podcasts and that’s got kind of everything we talked about and links to sort of relevant articles to do the topic at hand this topic about sales nets is something I have written about before so
E: I thought you had
S: yeah a few years back yeah so I’ll put a link to it in in the blog post into the show notes as well yep and as always if you have any feedback let me know adios

#21: The Story Of My Tech Startup

“Both options were very real, but the problem was and one of the reasons why I’m where I am today is that I had by this time realized that I didn’t really enjoy working on a start-up.”
– Sam’s thought process, when given the option to continue working on the startup or sell it outright

How I launched and sold a tech startup in under a year. And why it wasn’t as big a success as it sounds.

 

Resources Mentioned In This Episode Of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast:

Listen to this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast on:

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Structure

02:15 – The difference between a lifestyle business and a start up
04:06 – What are ETFs?
06:42 – The company’s first hire
10:36 – Contracting out a web team in India for 1,000 pounds
14:12 – How the startup’s approach was a bit backwards
20:42 – The benefits of being a young entrepreneur
30:10 – The extensive legal process
33:15 – Sam’s coding overhaul a week before the meeting with the investors
36:31 – The conversations Sam had when it looked like the business would not work
40:28 – When did Sam age more than any other period in his life?
44:17 – Selling the business
47:02 – The comparability of the business to an MBA

Transcript

Sam: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam Priestley and there’s normal we’re joined by my lovely wife ever say hello
Emma: Hello
S: so today I’ve got quite a good story I hope for you it is the story of my attempt to start a tech startup back in 2012 we started in early 2012 I was 22 at the time and 23 by the time the story ended we started working on it in about February March and we sold it just before Christmas which sounds like a real success story. Something about it were quite successful but generally the successes that happened were more out of luck than anything and really it was just one business mistake after another kind of chained together with kind of naive arrogance and optimism thrown in so I can’t talk too much about the exact details of the agreements we came up with at the end of this because it’s covered by a confidentiality agreement but I can talk about generally about it and the basics of what the business was sound good
E: sounds good what did you hope to get out of starting a tech startup
S: that’s an interesting question and a good point because what do I mean by a startup why am i calling this one a startup and not all the other businesses that I talk about on this podcast and the reason is is that I kind of separate in my mind types of businesses one of which is a start-up the other one’s a what I call lifestyle businesses
E: yeah
S: most of the ones in this blog are about lifestyle businesses where the point of the business is to promote your lifestyle to build enough income enough sort of freedom of time to live the life you want whereas this business was the other type where you almost living your life for the business and where the business is is the end goal of what you’re working towards and so the idea was this would be like Facebook or Google or something like that something we would pump loads of time energy money into it would grow to a big amount and then we sell it sell it on for millions of millions
E: yeah because with this startup you had an office and you had staff whereas with all of your other businesses you can run in your pants from your bedroom
S: that’s a bit of a generalization
E: it is but also quite funny
S: yes yes that was the end goal really was to go from kind of close I was already working on some businesses at the time and I was making good money but what we wanted was to take it things to the next level to go from you know six figures to the seven figures
E: yep so you already have money to invest in this business
S: yeah and the way this worked was that I had a business with three of us which I talked about in one of the other podcasts we listened to my like professional gambling podcast yeah we talked about what we were doing and how all the time while we’re running our main business what would happen is one of us would be given kind of the time and an investment to go off and start a new business and that’s kind of how I run it they would keep bringing in money and I went off and ran this business
E: yes start something new
S: you start something new to hopefully would have eclipsed everything else we were doing
E: yep
S: and spoiler alert it didn’t it all right so let’s get a story so what was the business it was a comparison website for these financial products called exchange-traded funds ETFs for short we don’t even really talk about too much about what they were but they were they’re very popular financial product with passive investors because what they basically are is you buy one item and it contains a lot of other things so if you wanted to invest in all the companies in the stock market insider FTSE 100 you could buy a FTSE 100 ETF so instead of having to pay the transaction fee to buy a hundred different companies you just buy one company one ETF but the problem is you have many companies which are selling an ETF for the FTSE 100 so now they all are selling the same thing how do you compare the difference between them and at the time there wasn’t really any way to do that so we thought of building a comparison website thinking about money supermarket if something like that confused.com but for these technical financial products
E: so how’d you come up with this idea because previous to this you were doing matched betting and the gambling business which is quite different from the trading and the financial market
S: yeah I think that we kind of saw the financial market as like where the big boys were the big money yes
E: yeah way to make money
S: and so we’ve been looking for an opportunity there for a while something that we could do could you thought there’s a lot of money flowing around there we’re clever guys you know we can think of something and someone told us you know these things were getting quite popular and there wasn’t really a good way to compare them
E: brilliant
S: which leads me on to the first step that we took this business which was to research it was this idea a good one at the time I’ve never heard of an ETF before and really I didn’t really know what they were until a couple of years after finishing the business
E: This is why we like you Sam, you admit to things like that
S: It is embarrassing I think I understood it but I didn’t really understand why anyone would want it yeah as one nice businesses where even though I didn’t know much about it the more research we did and the more focus groups we held on it the more people kept telling us what a great idea it was and how much the market needed it which um I think kind of makes sense but it’s also pretty silly on my behalf because what is risky bull so why would I come commit you know my myself my life basically
E: Your money your time
S: to something I didn’t really understand yeah so how do we start turning around March time we had this idea and so before we start researching it so generally all my businesses kind of start the same where I try and invest as little money as possible and really bootstrap everything and this business was no different so what we did is we went out and we found someone who was willing to work on a small term contract just to deal with the research with us he was a very clever guy we found this guy called Brandon a bit of a genius he just finished his third degree LSC and was struggling to find a job
E: how did you find him
S: I can’t remember now I think he a friend of a friend
E: did you advertise the role anyway or was it you were just asking friends
S: friends I think was a way to do it we did advertise it but I think the more we started asking around does anyone know anyone who’s looking for a job at the moment who’s interested in this sort of stuff and basically the deal we came up with him we’d give him was we pay him pretty close to minimum wage on a weekly basis and then if the idea turned into something good we would sign him up to a long term contract so we kind of agreed his salary before we were gonna pay him a salary yeah so it’s a way for us to quite risk-free to do it for him if it worked out it would be good for him if it didn’t work out he’d have a bit of work experience while looking for other jobs yeah I mean it was a little bit of a win-win I think we’re quite lucky to find him because it was really good so he did the research he spent about a month going deep into it looking into you know is there space for a product like this how are we gonna monetize it is anyone else doing it what’s the risk if a big company came and just copied it and started doing it like that are they doing it in other countries and all that sort of stuff you want to know
E: and did you come up with all that criteria for him or did he did you give him some and then he added some more questions to kind of test
S: I can’t really remember to be honest I remember he was very good at just getting on with it he’s probably the best person maybe I’ve met at just like taking the brief I’m running again all over
E: yeah very lucky
S: he was like he’s very much chasing us for feedback rather than ask feedback you’re chasing off and he was like hassling me to give him more work or better to find goals and feedback which is great and very I’ve never had that with anyone else ever since he was very lucky and I’m gonna talk a bit more about employing people a bit later good because while we got very lucky with him we weren’t so lucky with some other stuff we did and the other ways we went about recruiting that was a first step not spending much money and this was when we got some really good feedback this a good idea thinking back maybe the, I don’t think he was biased with his research but thinking back the way we structured it would have been would have been good for him to be bias because we’re basically asking him is this a good idea if it is a good idea we’ll give you a full-time job so you know he wants to come up with the answer that yes it is a good idea but I don’t think even like he’s not that sort of person but that’s probably another thing we were quite lucky about so then we went and we decided to build a cheap prototype of this comparison website I have a computer science background but I’m not very good at web development which is what this was so we went and we found a team in India who had built it for us we went on all the freelancing website yeah put up a job description of the project and eventually hired someone and I’ve written down what it was in pounds it was one thousand two hundred and twenty three pounds for this fully working website
E: that sounds pretty reasonable
S: and they built it there’s a picture of it pictures of the end result they made on the blog which I’ll link to in the show notes and it worked it looked really bad but it worked at the time we own the prototype we got a proof of concept yes something that we could build on later next step was we then went out we found a team of western designers a team from America who would then give us do all kind of like the user interface and stuff like that and create something that looks really good and paid about two thousand pounds for that
E: that’s interesting the price difference
E: so we paid more for the design which didn’t include any implementation of the design just the design itself for the prototype which as you can probably imagine is a mistake
E: yeah I was about to say did you plan any of this did you have a budget of how much you wanted to spend on the prototype and how much she wanted to spend on the design the user interface was this just the best deal you could get at the time
S: I think at this point everything is kind of on track for a successful business yeah so we haven’t spent much money we’ve invested in the look and the user interface which is very important yes and we had a working prototype yes where we probably fell down later was that we should have when we decided we were going to turn it into a proper business website we should have then scrap that original prototype altogether hired a much better team for a lot more money to build it into something that looked like our design that we wanted
E: with that team do both the technical side and design user face side
S: so they probably work with the designers they’d have people who were able to do that what instead of we tried to do it was we tried to mold the prototype we had into looking like the design that we had
E: sounds quite difficult
S: and maybe it could have worked but a few things happened which I’ll come to in a bit so at this point we have an ugly prototype that worked and we have pictures of what the finished product will look like yes which is basically to prove the concept for the product the other thing we then put together was a business plan a business case for for what were you doing
E: for potential clients to basically get approval from their CEO or whatever
S: yeah and so what we what we thought was probably a bit naively was that the finance world is a very who companies will work with is strict and they won’t work with a random startup run by 22 or 23 year old kind of working out their bedroom so what we thought was to give us credibility we would team up with a much bigger company one who already had relationships with the people we were then going to be selling the product to
E: that makes sense
S: I think if I was going to do again I’d go to another direction where we’d focus on building getting all the clients to users and then once those users then getting money out of advertisers or other people would be quite straightforward showing that we and said it basically tried to get buy-in by the industry first before getting users yes whereas the better way to do around I think would be to get the users first and then get buy-in from the industry
E: yes because the industry wants to know how many users you’ve got to be able to then invest yeah they’re using and it works
S: yeah we had no um we had no kind of negotiating standpoint I think also we fought that the value of the idea was worth more than it was so really like in terms of negotiating could deal with the people we didn’t really have very much we just had as I said prototype and idea and design of what we really like yeah and the business plan I think that while that was a mistake it wasn’t it wasn’t a big one we could have made it work this route and having a partner like that would work well another reason we wanted it was we want him to give us money to fund the development and building it because you know we haven’t spent very much money in that moment we wanted them to give us a few hundred thousand pounds say in order to turn it into this awesome awesome bit of kit whereas and that’s fine right that’s fine especially if we have other business is going on but we’re making money it is a good use of my time well getting by and early on with people willing to put their money where their mouth is is a really good indication that it’s going to work out we’re spending time on say at this point haven’t particularly made too many mistakes yeah you can kind of see the momentum is building for a few other things going wrong so there we were I say we had this we wanted to go to a few talked to different potential partners people who we could do a joint venture with so we put together this huge business plan it was 69 pages with a few extra additional addendums on the side it was also we spent more time on the business plan than we did on anything else
E: Wow
S: We spent a month to two months full time with me and Brandon plus we hired a bunch of interns as well to work on it we really like knocked out because we fought we’re young I was 23 at this point Brandon 22 we’re gonna be pitching to these old men who were CEO he’s a financial side over for well and they’re gonna be very skeptical about 21 22 yet credible we wanted to blow them out the water with with everything we were offering them give him a really good deal give him look the part all that kind of stuff yeah and we thought doing a really good business plan was part of that we do that so at this point we again haven’t spent much money in terms with of this something I really found out was that people liked the idea of working for a start-up even if it’s just me running it like okay it would always amaze me that like I’ve decided to call my business a startup and people are willing to come along and work for it for almost nothing
E: it doesn’t matter how good your idea is or what you’re like in the boss it’s just something about that term if you want it on their CV and they feel that they want to give their time and support you
S: yeah and some reason they were creating my startup that’s had 2,000 pounds investment with a startup that’s like in Silicon Valley that’s had like a million and everything that Google but that’s kind of on the same wavelength for some reason
E: yeah it’s obviously not
S: right because anyone could go do what we did
E: well no, I think you’re underestimating how hard is to start up a startup and there’s a lot of risk and courage creativity around creating a start-up which you have in abundance and I think these people that are interning they would probably like to have some of that I want a piece of it I think that’s attractive
S: maybe I mean I think it’s the unusualness that is useful and I’m not saying it’s a bad deal for them I’m sure having this startup on their CV it does have the employees not gonna know it’s just little old me yeah not knowing anything fumbling around but yeah so that’s what that’s what we did so me at this point we haven’t spent much money so I don’t know exactly how much but we’re kind of probably less than five thousand pounds all in so far at this point maybe less than that
E: so you spent money on the prototype and you’ve got some staff is there anything else in that five thousand
S: I don’t think we had the office yet I came in the office came to the office was kind of timed to happen
E: when you got investment
S: if we got some initial interest from investors from the partners yeah so we kind of went to them we didn’t tell them we didn’t have an office remember our first meeting we went along it was me and Brandon I was petrified nervous I had I drank like three espressos beforehand because I’ve written a book that zhudi warriors would drink coffee before going into battle because they’d give them courage
E: did you feel like you were going into battle
S: Yeah I did and that kind of nervousness around you know boardroom and these important people and stuff like that is something that still scares you today and well it’s something that I’ve worked very hard on over the years yeah which I’ve talked about over the years look on the comfort zone podcast for what I will talk about a bit more about that so we went in and we blew their socks off and they were really impressed by us everything like everything we had was much more than they anticipated that we would have
E: fantastic
S: and I think at the time and maybe still now there was for about there’s all you there were all these young people making a lot of money with clever ideas in tech yes and these men in there who’d been working in finance since like the 70s or 80s might be earlier I didn’t really understand computers and Internet and all this kind of stuff it was a bit of a voodoo but there’s obviously a lot of money to be made in it so us coming in I think in some ways being young actually helped us a little bit because oh they’re young enough to know all about this stuff and then we had the credibility of like look at all these amazing business plans look at all the work we did and the market research look at this prototype that’s working look at the designs for how it’s going to look in the future all we want from you is a is a bit of money keeps going your name to attach when we go into meetings and then you’ll get 50% of everything and I think that’s basically the deal we offered them I can’t remember exactly and I probably can’t tell you exactly what it was anyway and it worked really well so did we left we were buzzing absolutely buzzing this is gonna happen and this is when we started scaling up and we started trying to turn it into we’ve got the proof of concept we’ve got the promise of a buy-in
E: how exciting
S: How exciting so we left that meeting with the next step was we would put together a header turns like a one-page sheet laying out the details of the deal
E: do you have any idea how to approach that
S: a little bit so what we did is we left we went back to the back to my bedroom where we were running the business from and we said okay we need credibility we need a team we need to turn these prototype in this dog this design into an actual working website and we need to put together this deal with this company and we knew that they would be doing more due diligence on into us than just that initial meeting so that is when we when and we’ve rented an office in office in Broadgate Tower which is a skyscraper just on the edge of the shortest triangle which is the Silicon Valley of London the silicon roundabout around that sort of area but also in the city which is where all the finances that was in this kind of cross over geographically where tech financed startups are it was also relatively cheap this was not that long after the financial crash so it was a lot of empty office space in London and so we I think we cost us about 1,500 a month all in for on the twelfth floor of this skyscraper an office for six people so quite a good deal and we got the first month free I gotta put it on I put all my cash back credit cards so I was getting a little bit back
E: and also really helps with your credibility now you’ve got an address you’re in the right place you could have client meetings there all of that and we can
S: when hiring people we got somewhere for them to work yes rather than just you know meet up at coffee shops and places like that we did that you know we get branded onto a proper contract so but how do you do all that stuff so we went out and we found a lawyer and you would help us help us put together the heads of terms do all the employee contracts that so at this point we we chucked quite a lot of energy at the project what
E: sounds really exciting
S: sound very exciting and we’ve got the initial yes yeah so this is where works off spending start to wrap up and the first this is where the biggest mistake to be explained one of the biggest mistakes was that we tried to fit that prototype into the design yeah the Indian team who built it to begin with had disappeared yeah they just stopped replying to emails and so we couldn’t get em to make the changes so we took a group of developers in-house and started to try and develop change their code so it would fit
E: rather than start from scratch again
S: which if anyone has any experience with software development is a really bad idea it would have been much better for us to start from scratch yes and
E: taking the brief of what worked with the prototype but starting from scratch
S: and so we ended up spending quite a lot of money on and time and time on developers and stuff like that we hired some quite expensive developers that we probably couldn’t afford as well this was a little bit later after we realized we weren’t getting anywhere with this
E: did you find these developers the similar way they found did you go on upwork and freelancing websites here
S: we did some job posting I also you know contacted a couple universities if anyone’s there I recently graduated done my master’s in computer science and so I contacted people from my degree course if anyone were was around yeah I’m willing to work on it and I put together this motley collection of people all of whom had their strengths but when put together didn’t really work at all and we were kind of hiring very ad hoc instead of hiring specific skills so for instance we were creating web app I know my course I did the course we didn’t learn anything really about creating web apps we learn a lot about the kind of algorithms and yeah and building software that you install on your computer like Microsoft Word not something you go onto on a website yeah so why did I go ahead and buy a bunch of software developers who had graduated from the same courses as me and did the same training because I was like we can all learn it not so easy right so we were doing this working quite hard to get something to build our value with would decide with the partner that we were working with yeah so we did that, put together our head to terms took them to the partner and this is where what I’m calling like the cycle of contracts began I thought we’d be able to crack our contract within like a couple of weeks and have something ready to go that’s not what happened
E: that’s very optimistic
S: yeah I thought we’d give him something to go yeah that looks fine and sign it that’s definitely not what happened
E: that’s not how business works
S: they took it and they were like that looks alright our lawyers will look at it the lawyers came back made a hundred and one changes they gave it to us I took it to our lawyer and I was like no they’re basically like saying they own your soul yes so I’d go change a bunch of things send it back and we had this long process with lots of middlemen which just went back and forth
E: well there’s a whole industry with people’s jobs relying on just making small changes to contrast one of my best friends from university does that well and
S: and I think that I had quite naive idea of what contracts were at the time I thought of what was in a contract is what happens
E: no it’s not
S: which is not the case at all really contractor only is enforceable as you want to enforce them yes so if there’s something in there that you know you would never go to court over then it doesn’t matter that it’s you know or not they say they can have a contractual obligation it may be for something but if you’re not going to enforce it then it kind of doesn’t matter
E: yeah and in that case it satisfies your kind of clients legal teams company policy but it doesn’t really affect you
S: so we went back and forth back and forth eventually got heads of terms done then we’re not to the actual contract which went back and forth back and forth so this was all going on cost us a lot of money by the way lawyers very expensive yes you know you’re talking 200 pounds plus an hour yeah is it for the cheapest every time there’s a new range of amendments that’s a few hours work yes so that’s getting expensive on the other end of the spectrum we’ve got the development work wasn’t going very well we eventually fitted our kind of square prototype into the circle peg of the design and it didn’t look right because it didn’t we put this quite a clunky thing together that didn’t really work
E: was it working
S: it was working but in some ways it was no better than the original prototype because the design didn’t look good once we translated it into this prototype design and we were spending a lot of money and we got to this point where we were spending about 10,000 pounds a month on this and this hadn’t got any investment by the way so and we won’t even ask for that much investment and you know we could have thought we couldn’t release a prototype if we couldn’t start getting customers until the lease agreement had been sorted
E: you’re in this is not very nice place where you’re throwing all this money at something that might not even come off
S: and there wasn’t really like an end in sight either so how long was this contract gonna take me now I did and every round of amendments sours the blood a little bit more
E: and it’s costing you
S: its costing me it’s costing them as well listen and then you know they get and then they get their their programmers to come look at what we were doing and their feedback is it’s not looking very good and yeah it was it was just was enough time it wasn’t it was a really tough time we worked very hard kind of not in the right right ways I think there was there was a later meeting which I knew was coming up where we had to demonstrate the website and the progress we did on it and a week before I looked at what we had done on it what we had spent the last over six months so working on I was like we can’t show this this is terrible oh no like this is this is this is going to be more harm than good to show it so a week before I started again from scratch and I built the whole thing in a totally different platform so what we looked at was much better in a week than all the work we’d put onto for the previous six months before
E: are you completely insane
S: I was well I did like 20 hour days for a week
E: on your own
S: on my own
E: what did the rest of your team think of it or did they not really have any say
S: well one they didn’t have any say and two when they saw the finished product they were really impressed I said what took we took it to them and they were like well this is great but two weeks ago it looked completely different like what is going on and I was like you know all the back end was kind of there and you know but like the plug ins and blah blah they kind of bought it kind of didn’t at this point and weren’t really trusting us anyway so that that is a story like kind of demonstrates just how ridiculous this got that we’d spent six months 30,000 pounds or so building this thing and then just got rid of it all start again from scratch
E: how involved were you in the details of what the developers were doing that you hired because I mean you made a point at the beginning that you all kind of had the same experience but do you think you learn a huge amount about developing and like the design side through the six months
S: yeah definitely and you know it’s not like they were working on their I’m not saying they were rubbish
E: no, what I’m saying is you it was a good thing you had to go through
S: I was working on it just as hard as then yeah doing programming myself yeah for that six months and the problem was we were trying to work with technology we didn’t understand yes to change something someone else had programmed and had all the flaws and quirks of that into a design that didn’t really fit the the base we were using and so and that was the problem and so it was built on a framework we didn’t understand so when I through it all out I got rid of that framework altogether I moved on to stuff I did understand and and I didn’t bother doing a design I just used a design that’s kind of built in with the stuff we were using so I used my you something called Twitter bootstrap which is a very easy way it’s it’s where Twitter the team in Twitter have gone ahead and they built kind of templates for how a website should look with perfect functionality and usability and the text sizing spacing and all that kind of stuff and so I just went and used all of that and it looks a lot better than what we’ve done ourselves do you know you know what it’s like we’re like a font it’s just like the wrong song you know you know what it looks good even if you can’t the spacing just looks a little bit off you know what is a good website and you know what isn’t
E: do you think if you had done that at the beginning of the six months so when you hired all these developers and if you started again with them you would have created a better end product or do you think it would have been about the same because actually during that six months you all went through quite a learning curve and it wasn’t until the two weeks before the week before the meeting that you could actually have created a product packet
S: yeah that’s an interesting question because if I knew now it definitely would have been better for us to starting from scratch with technology that we all understood yeah that is a no-brainer
E: but it still would have been a big learning curve
S: there would have been a big learning curve and none of us were web developers it would have been better to find people who actually have the skills who were already familiar with the same technology to work on it like that
E: it just sounds like with the people you had the time you had the decisions that you made you made the best of a tough situation and you saved the day
S: well I don’t know about that
E: I know you wouldn’t say that
S: thank you very much that’s why I married you so here we were we weren’t getting anywhere with our contracts and you know I’m reporting as well to my business partners they’re saying you’re spending ten grand a month where we are how and bear in mind our business plan wasn’t that ambitious anyway with how much money we make the more we’re spending the less viable is this is looking so we had a kind of a crisis meeting what are we going to do now and we had been approached by an investor basically I had a crisis meeting as well with our lawyers saying look I’m not sure what to do here we’re burning through cash
E: yeah we’re hemorrhaging it yeah
S: in order to get this to something we think is good enough to release it to the public and start bringing in revenue we probably need another fifty thousand hundred thousand pounds so had that and had the same kind of crisis talk with my business partners along with saying that the people we’re looking to do a joint venture with this is looking like it’s not going to work out like it’s we’re still working towards this but
E: it’s not gonna happen anytime soon
S: it’s not gonna happen soon we keep hitting more stumbling blocks and we don’t want to spend another however many thousand on lawyer fees for this so our lawyers were like well we know a bunch of people investors who might be interested should we put you in touch with them which they did very nice of them and my business partners are like well why don’t we look into selling the concept on what we got already yeah so we ended up with these two two options that we could take take an investment and then commit to it probably another six months before there was something ready that we could release and then it would probably be another three four years before it was at a seven-figure sale position seven or eight figure, something that was worth more money and I think by this point we had enough proof of concept to put in another three or four years and it it was a very real possibility that it would be worth seven or eight figures at that point maybe not not a hundred percent impossibility but it was like that was like it was the most likely result if we got it to where we wanted it to be would be it’d be worth a lot of money
E: yes that’s quite an exciting option
S: that’s an exciting option the other option was we were pretty sure that people would want to buy it, we’re pretty sure that the concept was still very popular with the people we were doing the joint venture with yeah and we’re pretty confident they if we gave them the option and deciding to be working out why don’t you just buy it and do it yourselves
E: yeah you thought they might bite
S: so we had an investor come round inspect olur office chat to us and he kind of said yes I will invest with you we didn’t get as far as like heads to terms or anything like that
E: yeah that’s what you wanted you wanted a positive response
S: both options were very real but the problem was and one of the reasons why I’m where I am today is that I had by this time realized that I didn’t really enjoy working on a start-up
E: yeah I was waiting for you to say that just because the particular with the first option of working on it for another three years I could imagine where your head was at you did not want to be doing what you how hard you’ve been working as in the hours all the stresses around responsible for people’s pay and managing you didn’t want to commit yourself to another three years of that
S: I think what people don’t really understand is how much work there is if you’re running a business like that
E: yeah
S: because you’ve got to be especially the way I was doing it was you got to be there before everyone you know I’ve got a key I’m unlocking your office for your morning I’m the last one to leave at night I’ve got to sort out all the legal stuff their contracts all that kind of thing makes sure that people are getting paid on time I’ve got to get the money into the business in order to pay them I’ve then got to be the chief developer all that kind of stuff I think gotta be the head of HR I’ve got to be hiring and firing people and negotiating terms yeah doing all that sort of stuff I think that in that period I’ve I aged more than any other period of my life just like the final six months of 2012 I went from looking fresh and young looking like an adult
E: or you can say you grew up
S: maybe
E: you looked too fresh-faced you weren’t credible enough
S: I was very fresh-faced when I started I wasn’t so fresh-faced by the end and like it’s basically it was stress I was very it was I talk a bit in some of the other podcasts about chronic versus acute stress yes about how stress that is always there is really bad for you and this was definitely chronic stress that wasn’t very good for me
E: could you sleep at night was it that kind of stress
S: I don’t even remember but probably not it was really stressful and remember I didn’t really know what an ETF was I don’t know why people want this product
E: you talked before about the naivety of starting a business and the positive side of it
S: yeah but at this point I’m not enjoying the business I’m working really hard it’s burning through loads of money my money by the way it’s not like we had anyone else’s money
E: this is your head out hard-earned cash
S: I’m 22 and I’m spending thousands of pounds of my own money a month on something I’m hating
E: well don’t you always say with these startup businesses if you had any idea how much went into setting up the business you would never do it but looking back on it but you always learn so much
S: yeah we can come to the lessons learned and the positive stuff in a minute but at the end of this little rant I’m having about how much how little fun I was running a business I didn’t enjoy was that I had decided that we would try and sell sell the business yes so we went to went to the partners do they want to buy it the other thing to remember is we had a few employees at this stage so I didn’t wanna just you know I wanted to look after them as well and buy another company buying the business they would then take on those employees yes and that’s effectively what happened so we went we proposed this they said yes in principle let’s agree on a price and we want to like do some due diligence on your code and things like that
E: sounds fair
S: sounds fair what else I think we we agreed this maybe like a week or two into December I’ll probably have the day in my notes let me look I think ninth of December is ringing a bell for one we promote we said this to them and the business was all finished and sold before Christmas and how did we do it so quickly and it’s and you think that why is a joint-venture different to contract for the sale of the business and the reason is is that we basically agreed to most things immediately with the contract because this was the end of a relationship not beginning of one the exact details of line by line on a contract matter a lot less to me I can’t remember how much we sold it for it it was enough to make a little bit of money but not not a huge amount yeah we covered all our expenses and made a bit of money and we had like some future earnings built in there as well but it wasn’t enough they would be worth either of our points either us or the business to go to court over a slight breach in this contract yeah and this was the end of our relationship so they were taking it on they can do what they want with it we just have to disappear and not compete with them
E: yeah both sides were happy with that
S: so the lawyers had a little fight over it I then went and sat down in an office with the head of legal we got our red pens out went through the contract and just agreed and the changes we were going to make and we both agreed that we would not listen to our lawyers and just make these changes and then sign it yeah and and that’s what we did and it was very refreshing they took on they took on our staff who got pay rises out of it which was good for them they took over all the code and stuff like that we had a no compete and then went our separate ways and that was a very very happy Christmas
E: yeah that sounds great after the stresses leading up to the high stakes choice and it sounds like a really good result
S: and I think that’s why in the beginning I said on paper this sounds like a real success story yes ran a business for a very short amount of time really less than a year sold it made a profit learnt an absolute ton that sounds great but we were lucky we were lucky that they were willing to buy the business if we’d had to shut it down it wouldn’t have been so great we’d have lost a load of money
E: yeah, a lot of things could have gone catastrophically wrong and they didn’t
S: and they did yeah and I think the most important thing so I met some amazing people through it and I’m still in touch with a few other people who worked on that and they were all doing really well and a few of them earn much more than I do which is good
E: you should get Brandon on to do podcast
S: I’d like to he is definitely a character
E: I bet he’s got some really interesting stories yeah
S: yeah and I kind of thought at the time even if this fails it’s basically like paying for an education like an MBA will cost you 60 thousand pounds a year this was a year cost similar to less than a year but basically I think by the time you sold it we’d spend I’ve written down fifty three thousand pounds or something like that so less than an MBA and I probably learned more than a typical MBA person would so in that respect it worked out and I’m looking back I’m I’m glad it all happened because is great content for this podcast and um and I learned loads and it was interesting and it taught me that the type of business I want is a lifestyle business and not one where I’m managing a start-up or managing a really big company
E: what were some of you highlights in terms of the learning like was it around the management staff was it around like the management stuff or the technical stuff I see that you improve your development skills like what some of her
S: so the technical skills I did end up using again for other businesses so that was good but not not really that key the the main thing I think I probably took away over there was just how business actually works yeah like how the contracts work hiring the lawyers lawyers work how do you hire people what does an employment contract look like how much can you get away with doing yourself versus hiring an expensive professional to do for you
E: yeah and things like creating the business plan like how much needs to go into it
S: loads of good things really yeah I learn you know how do you had to get an office, how do you hire people I learned how to not hire people yeah I learned a bit about management and about how that is a big weakness of mine I’m not very good at managing people and that’s a big weakness of mine I mean I still need to improve its been one of my new year’s resolutions for the last ever since this business really that I want to get better at managing people learn a bit about the dangers of outsourcing to places like India you know what happens if they drop off the map you might get a really good deal to begin with, I learned the dangers of trying to amend other people’s code, I learned a lot about myself all sorts of things
E: that’s really good
S: so that was good stuff as well I think this has been the longest podcast so far and you said it’s gonna be really boring yeah so hopefully I haven’t bored you too much
E: I’ve actually been really excited about this
S: that’s what I thought because we didn’t really know each other at this point so it’s a story that you haven’t heard before
E: well technically we met in 2012
S: yeah yeah so we met at the beginning of this adventure yeah let’s leave it at that well thank you very much for listening I hope it hasn’t been too long and dull for you I’m gonna be doing some question and answer podcasts soon so if you have any questions please email them to me at hello Sam Priestley dot com you can ask whatever you want but I’m on the hunt for them and yeah as always if you have any feedback for me especially if you got what you want to leave a good review I’d really appreciate that as well goodbye

Q&A Session: Job Offers, Mistakes, Brexit & Home Ownership

Sam gets asked questions by his readers about his views on Brexit, homeownership, job offers and mistakes.

A new format. To ask a question on the Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast simply email it to hello@sampriestley.com

Resources Mentioned In This Episode Of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast:

 

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#20: What Does It Mean To Be Successful?

I believe that what society thinks of as success, or who they label as a successful person, is just plain wrong. In this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast, Sam & Emma Priestley discuss a new definition of success and how they look to achieve it.

Listen to this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast on:

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Structure

03:12 – The importance of balance in life
06:47 – Emma’s take on the relationship between health and business at PWC
09:00 – Finding optimal balances
11:16 – Sam’s “two thing” idea
13:39 – Emma’s optimal balance day
17:00 – Who do you think of when you think of successful people?
22:44 – Different metrics for success

Transcript

S: hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam Priestley as always I’m joined by my lovely wife Emma Priestley
E: hello
S: today we’re going to talk about a subject that when I described it to Emma before we started she said oh that’s a very Sam topic
E: yes I did
S: and that is redefining success what does it mean to be successful? and the reason it’s a very me topic because I think that what society thinks is success or who the successful people are is wrong when we think about professional athletes CEOs business tycoons Playboy’s whatever captains of industry the people who you know we see on TV that we idolize as very very successful I in my mind they all have a have the same issue and that is that they have focused so much on one part of their life that they are really unbalanced so I let me explain a bit more by what I mean by that I think there’s a concept of good enough that there are diminishing returns the better you get at something in other words the better you get at something the more you need to do the harder you need to work to achieve anymore to achieve a little bit more so an example would be in in weightlifting if you went from never having lifted weights before after a year of lifting weights you’ll see huge gains you would have doubled or even tripled the amount you can lift if you’ve been a regular weightlifter for five ten years the amount of work you need to put in just to add a few pounds or a couple of kilograms to your the amount you lift every year is put the same work that person is putting in their first year maybe even more it’s real diminishing gains and so the best weight lifters are people who are put in huge amounts of work just for tiny incremental achievements. The same is true with money there’s huge benefits to making fifty thousand pounds a year versus just ten thousand pounds a year, unbelievable changes to your life in your quality of living but going from fifty thousand pound to two hundred thousand yeah there is benefit that the benefits are all smaller and then there’s almost no benefit from going from 200,000 to say a million pounds a year no difference to your life won’t be that big at all and in fact really the more you earn you actually end up hitting problems that you didn’t have at lower levels for instances like if you’re a billionaire you’ve got to worry about stuff like getting kidnapped or your friends or family getting kidnapped. how ridiculous is that worrying about security everywhere you go you also end up not being able to survive without a certain level of luxury you won’t be able to take enjoyment in saying like staying in a hostel somewhere like that and probably the most realistic worry is you won’t really be able to work out who are your friends and who are just talking to you because you’re your money or your success so my point really is that there is a point when in reality after you’ve worked hard at something you’ve achieved enough and that putting any more effort isn’t really worth it and it’s a much better use of your time energy to focus on a different part of your life because I believe in balance I believe that you want to be as good as possible in a wide variety of things in your life
E: not just money
S: not just money not just your tennis skill not whatever it is not just in your career I believe that you should balance your mental health your physical health the spiritual health your financial health your relationships with your friends your relationship to your family your romantic relationships your downtime your self-development I mean there’s a whole range of things that are important and if you focus just on one part yes you could become one of the best in the world at that thing but that is gonna be at the detriment of all these other things
E: yeah
S: and in my mind the really successful people are the people who do well a really wide range of these different aspects of life I think when I bring it up like this most people would agree with me that it’s having a balance is really important and at some point it’s not worth putting in the extra effort into one thing it’s worth focusing on different parts where you’re getting easier gains but the problem is is that the people who I think are the most successful at life we’ll never hear from because they’ve never pushed it to the boundary that they become unusually exceptional in one field and we actually hear about them I mean there are exceptions of course but generally if you listen to podcast interviews with famous people and they’re all people who absolutely smashed it a one-one thing yeah I’m sure if you have a deep chat with them you’ll find that there’s other areas where they’re where they’re lacking nd they’re struggling with this is something that I think about quite a lot because it’s not just it’s not just theoretical it’s something
E: It impacts everyone
S: It impacts everyone it’s something that you you can apply to your life
E: I think the way a lot of people look at this is that they spend their lives concentrating on their financial health and they only address the other areas so for example mental health physical health relationships when something goes wrong so it’s not something they don’t look at for example their physical health there’s something to invest in throughout their life they think if something goes wrong that they become ill in some way that’s when they need to then spend more time on their physical health yeah
S: yeah you found that a lot when you were working a PWC right yes that people would all the time having to be take time off because they’d had a health breakdown
E: yeah
S: which they’d left to the last minute yeah
E: it’s all mental yeah yeah rather than can take a step back and try and reduce the level of stress and make sure they didn’t get to a breakdown point but they all did get to a breakdown point and it was horrendous mm-hmm and then I guess the other thing is um looking at the partners so every year they would go through a physical health check and and it was very much talked about that their health is associated with how much money they can make for the firm and to be a partner you have to invest money your own money into the firm so if their health was poor than they that was going to affect their financial performance
S: So they said the business was trying to find the optimal level where they can produce most for the company
E: yes but it didn’t work because most partners had extremely unhealthy lifestyles so they didn’t eat very well during work or outside work they didn’t do very much exercise and they weren’t really incentivized to improve it
S: yeah and they look unhealthy as well yes I love wining and dining clients not sleeping very much constantly traveling it doesn’t lend itself to a healthy lifestyle and that’s both physically and mentally
S: I think it’s really interesting how we judge people by their appearances as well so you look at them and if you didn’t know they were a partner in a big firm you think this person is really unhealthy like what’s he doing with his life yeah then once you know yeah and all this money although he’s actually successful and likewise when you see an athlete who has a peak like physical perfection oh that guy is doing really well we don’t know as he’s missed the last Christmas he’s missed Christmas for the last ten years and hasn’t seen his family because he’s been busy training and and working you don’t see what he’s like relationships are with his friends of family yeah there’s always kind of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that you don’t really know of? I do think of this contact quite a bit because I’m actually a really competitive person and I find myself when I look at certain people who are excelling in a field I get a bit jealous and I get I get kind of like motivated to really compete and to drop everything else I’m doing and try and like keep up
E: In that one area
S: in that one area I’m like what like even if only I was in as much work as there might be and so I have to remind myself of this concept that yes they are absolutely like beating me to a pulp and in this one section of life but in reality they’re probably unbalanced and there’s probably other parts of their life where they might look at me and be jealous of me and then I can then approach that a different way instead of saying oh this person is so much better than me teach me I can approach it from well we’ve actually both got stuff to give to each other let’s learn from each other
E: yeah
S: and it means if I fail at something I can think to myself well the reason I failed is because I prioritized other areas of my life yeah which is often true but you know what is the balance what is the best balance I don’t know that’s something I’m constantly working yeah
E: I think it changes every moment every day I think that’s the point you’ve got to be reactive to this stuff yeah yeah it’s juggling plates
S: juggling plates and you know life is is should be constant improvement constant development so your level of good enough at one thing might then change because everything else and things change in your life
E: like for example us getting married so our relationships with our family has had to change since we were married yeah and that’s that’s just that’s the reality of it
S: I thought it was interesting talking to um someone at our church who was saying for the first year of married life couples aren’t allowed to do any voluntary work at the church yeah because they consider it quite important that you spend that time each other focusing on your relationship together very interesting is we don’t really you don’t really think about imagine if the same was at work you have a maternity leave what about like new relationship leave
E: and the time you should invest yeah
S: yeah that’s interesting and yeah I don’t I don’t really know the balance just that there is some balance that needs to be had and something I’m constantly constantly working on
E: I guess it’s making conscious decisions about this stuff it’s being aware this is our first year of marriage so instead of I don’t know going to the pub every week with your mates that you use some of that time I’m not saying every week but some of that time with your partner in that it’s thinking about these decisions and making a decision together or yeah consciously
S: I have this idea that I can do two things well every day so I can do sport so busy in jiu-jitsu and I can do work I can’t do any thing else well I can’t socialize or I can’t do dates or I can’t I can’t I can’t commit myself very well to the other stuff or I can do social staff and say visiting friends or I can do work and social stuff and generally I think that you know I can do all three but I can’t do all three well as I say for instance yesterday I did jujitsu and relationship stuff with you with you I did do a little bit work but I did about an hour and a half two hours of yeah so I didn’t do that well yeah then again I could spend all day working on one thing and I wouldn’t be able to then do jujitsu I won’t be able to hang out with you or go visit friends or do whatever the other thing might be
E: wow that’s so interesting
S: Did you not know that
E: No I didn’t know that
S: I thought that for for a few years really that like but that’s that’s what’s true for me that’s given my energy levels and like doing exercise uses up energy and means I don’t have the energy for work or whatever yeah socializing uses up energy for me like whenever you commit yourself to one of you put energy into something it’s going to take energy out of you and it is possible to cruise through certain things so you could spend you know go to the gym in the morning work really hard to spend all day working and then come home and kind of just cruise through the evening with your family yes I think a lot of people do yeah but you’re not going to do that well and it’s not gonna you’re not gonna be improving those even in relationships you’ve actually got to work hard on it
E: yeah or the amount of time you’ve allocated for exercise maybe isn’t enough before work yeah
S: yeah oh you’re doing you’re doing both half-assed your exercising or you’re half ass-ing the family or relationship time at the end
E: I think it’s so interesting you putting in like that it’s now making me think how do I value it and I think without just the off-the-cuff I value doing as many as possible so I think having the combination of I don’t know seeing a friend for coffee doing some work, going to yoga I don’t know what else I could add into that spending time with you so working on self development improving something around cooking that as a list of things to do in one day for me at the end of that day would be a very successful day yeah and speaking to my mom on the phone rather than I spent a whole day on work I think that’s been a successful day because I don’t just value work as successful
S: I think you generally have higher energy levels to me anyway so I think if I tried to do all of that I would I would reach trouble or it would wipe me out for the next day the next day I’d struggle to to be productive at all really
E: yeah well I guess my focus is on spending time with other people so whether it’s friends family you so I get my energy from that whereas that exhausts you
S: And its true I know someone who would turn up to work at 6:00 in the morning and leave work 8 9 and 9 and I’m speaking to a friend who worked for him as well and was like I don’t know how he has the energy to do it how he has a need to work all day long I got kind of laughed at and he said he didn’t spend the day working he spent the day mincing around London meeting all his friends having a great time chatting having coffee yeah exactly okay that’s a different way of saying that he’s doing some work but he’s also combining it with a lot of different things in order to kind of get the most out of maybe different energy pockets he has inside of him um yeah I think that there’s definitely truth to that as well the you draw energy from different areas I think that about creativity that a change of scene will spur creativity saying Robert Rodriguez who’s a director what he does is he gets his actors to when they’re preparing for a role they’ll do a bit of like method acting they’ll play a character and play their music and maybe write a little story so they’re constantly changing the medium of which they’re being creative and he says he reckons that really helped bring everything out and I think that that’s true definitely I find when doing work is I’ll go off to a different place with my laptop and that change of scenery will work quite well
E: and I’ll say I think you got a lot of I don’t know whether energy’s right where maybe strength from your spiritual health mm-hmm
S: yeah definitely it’s probably all very personal to each person and now we’re back to the idea they’ve been asking to be a balance sort of ying yang of your life
E: and that changes every moment every day every week every year it’s not something you can plan out this is might be a June 2019 I think you got to be reactionary so who do you think of when we think of and successful people
S: and that’s a good question it’s a hard one it’s hard question because you can’t see you can’t see how everyone is balanced among different staff
E: you only see one side so I can look at some people so someone who jumps to mind who a lot people might have heard of is this guy mister money mustache he’s a he’s a blogger and his thing is he retired when he was 30 and now he’ll spend his time you know with his family and his self-development and he’s got this big believer in like building stuff of your hands and and living a fulfilled life that is sort of financially free and when I look at him I think that is sort personal things very successful he’s not particularly successful monetarily he lives the way he achieves it is by living a very cheap life but he also has this idea that topics I’ve talked on before hedonistic adaption stuff like that that if you if you live a luxurious life you need that luxurious life and it’s much better to live a life of you know kind of basic basic life so I think of him as a successful I don’t know maybe other parts of his life isn’t going so well maybe a certain things that he’s struggling with someone else I kind of think everyone when I think of successful people people like Tim Ferriss he kind of known for being quite good at a bunch of different things but not being exceptional at anyone kind of skipping between things and getting good enough at a bunch of different topics you know he’s made decent amount of money he’s done all this kind of stuff at the same time he spoken quite a lot about his mental health issues and how he struggles with friendships and relationships and how he’s got maybe an obsessive person like he’s a bit of an obsessive person and that has its downsides as well so maybe he would look at other people and say those people he would consider successful as people like Joe Rogan. He in my ideas kind of got the perfect life where he spends a time doing stuff he’s really interested in and he runs his podcast where he spends a few hours a day on it we just talk to interesting people and works on developing himself and learning more
E: yeah he’s always talking about doing different skills whether it’s learning archery or whether he’s in the gym or whether he’s on some crazy new diet
S: and he’s got a very inquisitive mind so he’s very interested in whatever topic people are talking about or bringing up you know he also does stand-up comedy and he is really into martial arts and so he commentates on MMA so he seems very successful as far as I know his family life is good and he’s got some children and stuff like that who he spends a lot of time with but who knows maybe there’s other parts to his life where he feels unbalanced and is is lacking a bit and you know you don’t really know I mean it’s easy to look closer to home that’s what friends and family people who you think have got it worked out that doing well I think Ben Larkin would definitely fit that category as someone who I think is successful he’s very comfortable in himself and his interests he makes enough money so he’s not particularly focused on that he’s a moment never he’s really working on kind of his spiritual health and that kind of side of it trying to be a service to other people so I’d say he is someone like you said who is very successful and physical health as well I think the health is really important he is into exercise and self-development so he ticks a lot of boxes to me I did an interview with him in one of the previous episodes it’s a bonus episode you can look that up. someone else my friend Daniel Lim I think he he ticks a lot of boxes. I don’t think he’s achieved it and I think he’s achieved that what we would both consider a very successful person and the complete balance across his life but I think he’s well on his way that he’s very close and he’s moving you know he’s moving in the right direction with everything and
E: do you think people would be you as someone in their lives that has quite a good balance across these things
S: well I hope so you know I’ve been working very hard over the last everything’s I kind of thought these concepts maybe like five years ago to be my definition a success which is something that’s balance across all these different things and I think that I have you know I haven’t achieved everything I want to but I never will because the whole point was this a work in progress but I do think I well I hope people look at me as someone who’s successful and balanced then again there’s probably I probably know people from different aspects of my life and they’ll look at me in different ways in jujitsu I’m a blue belt the top ranks of black belt as people look at me and say oh he’s not that good he’s not successful but they don’t see all the other parts of my life where I think I’m a bit better balanced same in work I got friends who make a lot more money to me they might look at me and say oh you know he’s not doing that well blend both insists there’ll be white belts in Brazilian jiu jitsu who will look at me and say well he’s awesome and there’ll be people who are earning a lot less money than me and think wow he’s doing awesome so that’s not the same like with friends and family I don’t know what one of my family think I’ve got it worked out or if they think I’m going down some weird paths I think definitely at one point in life everyone kind of thought passively disapproved of what I was up to
E: definitely
S: you know why are you not getting a job why are you not doing this why not doing that
E: constantly giving you articles with houses for sale
S: oh yeah my mom is always trying to convince me to buy a house to live in you know because that’s one of her in what she sees as good balance in life yeah that will be one thing you know having a home having a house having a stable home yeah I think how other people see us and say we don’t have any children to them that is a one of their success criteria yeah I think you know it is easy to idolize people who are close to you I think my mom is someone who has been very successful in her life yeah in achieving what she has which has been a very caring nurturing person and being like a real asset to loads of people in her life and probably the single biggest good influence on a bunch of different people in her life from our close family to other older friends as well
E: and she’s also very academically successful she’s very active and successful in her career
S: well she was a barrister a lawyer but then she she quit it and instead became a housewife and then eventually went back and became like a secretary for like a charity right and kind of growing applications so I think a lot of people say she gave up on or she quit what could have been a successful career
E: well I think she had a successful career I don’t think it’s about what she doesn’t have now it’s that she had she has been very successful at different things throughout her life which is a good thing
S: then I think there’s others parts where she might be struggling a little bit more maybe health-wise I think she’s going through a slightly tough time at a moment I think she probably taken on a bit too much stress in their life a bit too much of other people’s burdens but yeah so it’s hard what about you successful people?
E: I think it’s really a really difficult question to answer and this topic is quite new to me so I think I need a bit of time to think about it but yeah I mean I would say the same in terms of my mum emotionally kind of her relationships with friends and family and I’ll say her career and we’ve always been very financially stable my parents aren’t millionaires but we’ve we’ve had a very good life and it’s been very comfortable yeah in terms of other areas of life I think that’s really hard I don’t think I have any one individually that I financially look for kind of inspiration or mentally yeah I think I need a bit more time to think
S: I suppose that’s the other thing you can pick all the parts of your life you think are really important and then look at people who are successful in that part yeah and then look at how you can work to become more like that person yeah you’ll never be and then hopefully you build a balance
E: yeah I guess for me the most important one of those kind of categories is probably mental hmm and I don’t think I have anyone that I would really think that’s us that’s why I try to be for other people
S: yeah hopefully you are well that was a pretty short podcast I think to the point and hopefully you can maybe take some ideas away from it I think that changing your concept of what is successful is is useful both for how you spend your time how you improve your life then also about not being unhealthily obsessed with celebrities or like people who really be successful in one area and really idolizing them so hopefully you’ll feel the same if not then uh drop me an email or let me know let me know where your opinion is as always I hope you found this useful and if did please leave me a five-star review and whatever you’re listening to this on iTunes or stitcher or whatever thank you very much

#19: How To Earn Money From Your Website/YouTube/Instagram

The eight ways you can earn money from your online presence. Plus a discussion on the ethical considerations of each.

In this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast, Sam & Emma Priestley discuss the basics of how you actually make money online, often called monetization. This is not about how to build a website or get followers, but how to turn those followers into money once you already have them. Whether you are a YouTuber, blogger or Instagram influencer.

We cover:

  • Affiliations
  • Creating And Selling Products
  • Creating An Online Course
  • Premium Or Subscription Content
  • Voluntary Contributions
  • Traditional Adverts
  • Coaching/Consultancy
  • Sponsored Posts/Product Placement

Resources Mentioned In This Episode Of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast:

Listen to this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast on:

iTunes | Spotify | YouTube | Stitcher

Structure

03:34 – Affiliate marketing
05:21 – Affiliate marketing example: Amazon
09:23 – Ethical considerations with affiliate marketing
13:22 – Affiliate marketing: table tennis example
15:43 – Creating an online course
20:20 – Why Sam hasn’t created an online course yet
21:07 – Subscription content
22:33 – Voluntary contributions
25:52 – Coaching and consultancy
27:01 – Sponsored posts
34:54 – What marketing does Sam plan to do more of in 2019?

Transcript

S: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam recently and as usual i’m joined by my lovely wife Emma. Today I thought it would be a good chance to do a back to basics episode when we talk about something that a lot of people get a bit confused about when it comes to kind of everything online and that is how to make how you actually make money online. I’m not talking about how you build an audience or how you get people looking your stuff I’m more talking about how you turn that into money, in the industry we call that monetization how to monetize your online presence. I think a lot of people get quite confused for that because most content online these days that we consume is free and so how are people making money out of that? And I mean you know we have a few ideas we kind of know about like adverts and I think we’re getting a bit more wise kind of product placement and things like that but actually there’s a whole range of ways different people make money online and there’s kind of ethical considerations about each one as well
E: And I think most people don’t understand them.
S: No most people don’t understand it. I think it is probably yeah my most popular comment on a on a blog post because every month I write like a monthly report in which I say oh this blog made this amount of money and all the time someone will message or write a comment saying well how does it make money yeah yeah exactly yeah I’ve written blog posts on the stuff before yeah I think it’s just good to go back to basics and even if even if you kind of know the answer to this this might give you a bit of inspiration for how for other ways you can perhaps look to make a bit of money out of whatever it is you’re doing. So by online presence I’m trying to be a bit broad and a general on purpose because I’m talking about anything from you know a website like mine you’re doing whether it’s your own URL and you got complete control to a podcast like this to your social media presence your Facebook page or Instagram YouTube channel kind of anything really that’s online and particularly where you’re producing content that people consume so I’m going to briefly give you the title of each each type of way you can make money online and then we’ll go into more detail so the first one is affiliations and we got creating and selling products next up we got online courses then subscription content then voluntary contributions then traditional advertising then coaching slash consultancy and finally a sponsored post
E: sounds good
S: do you know much about all of these you probably have a little bit of a concept of each one
E: yeah some more than others some I know more about the theory rather than the actual practical side so I haven’t actually done them myself
S: yeah
E: but yeah I think I know most of them
S: do you know which one I mainly do that’s a good question
E: um well I just say you do affiliate marketing
S: yeah affiliations is how my blog makes most of its money
E: yeah I know either to promote your products for example table tennis bat you’ll do online ads but I guess that’s not monetizing so that doesn’t really count for this podcast
S: all right well let’s dive in let’s first talk about affiliations I often call affiliate marketing affiliations are normally if you see in my blog I normally write refer a friend because that’s generally how most people understand it yeah like if you have an account with a website or or a credit card or something like that they might have a refer-a-friend offer which means that if you introduce someone to that business you’ll maybe add a little bit money or get reward or something like that and that is generally how I work with my blog I am what I do is I write posts I write a few a month and then I’ll look through the post I’ve written and see if there’s any company on there that I’m recommending or talking about and then I’ll contact that company or have a look on their website to see if they have any kind of refer friend deals so generally Google the name of the company followed by affiliate and see if they have an affiliate deal and often it will work that I would then get a percentage of any money they make from a customer who’s come from my blog to them and it works that I’ll have a special link that will be unique to me and when they click on that that you’ll go to sort of a unique page on that website or it’ll be recorded in the cookies the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on on the website and that website will then know that that customer was referred by me kind of how affiliates work in detail kind of varies from place to place how long after they’ve clicked on your link is that customer considered a referral of yours that kind of stuff changes from business to business an example of a place that often has affiliates is Amazon you know pretty much any product I talk about will be for sale on Amazon so let’s say I’m writing a blog post about you know what it took to start this podcast I might talk about the microphone I’m using kind of the the amplifier the little whatever this thing is and say for all of them I’ll do a little google and so on Amazon I’ve got on Amazon Associates account which is the name of their affiliate scheme and I can just go search for the thing on Amazon and then click the little button and it will generate a unique link for me and it means if you then go and buy a microphone I recommended I’ll earn something like 3 percent of the value of that order.
E: what about if the product is actually a service and it’s a monthly service
S: yeah so that that depends on the monthly service so some of the ones I have are so for instance one of my biggest earners is a company called odds monkey who provides a match betting subscription service so you don’t know what matched betting is it’s basically when you take advantages of bonuses casinos bookmakers the difficulty with that is finding the bonuses so people will pay a service like odds monkey to do what that research for them and have a service they can just log on it’ll tell you a list of all the bonuses that are on today you can make a bit money out of so it’s worth paying money for and people do I recommend that service because I think it’s you know the best out of the ones out there and there there’ll be a monthly subscription people will pay I think at the moment it’s something like eighteen pounds a month of which I think I get about a third of it so I’ll get like five pounds a month per person that I refer
E: that’s really good
S: that’s how that one works and so it means that it’s quite a long tale so someone uses it for years I’ll still be earning a bit of money every month for years yeah other type which is I’m getting a bit more common is is where what they’ll do is they’ll give you say a hundred percent of the first month referral so another company that I recommend is jungle scout who are a product research tool for Amazon I think again it’s the best product research tool in market and I use it a lot and they will give me, provided the person doesn’t cancel within the first month, they will give me a hundred percent of the first month sign-up fee and then leave it at that doesn’t matter how long the person is signed up after that I’ll just get that initial payment
E: That’s interesting I didn’t know that
S: It’s interesting and it means we got I much prefer the first method because our motivations are more aligned yes so they want long-term customers yes whereas with something like jungle scout I don’t care about long-term customers and in fact what I recommend often because it is the best thing to do with jungle sale is they use it while you’re doing product research and then cancel your subscription or I mean you can use it for less than a month I mean you know it’s not in my best interest but what I do say is that they do have a 30 day money back thing and that if you use it and it’s not that helpful then go ahead and cancel it I won’t earn any money from that but that is the best way for the person to use it yeah but it means that me jungle scale don’t have an entirely aligned motivations yeah so that’s affiliations affiliations like that are quite simple you also get them on places like Instagram where it works slightly differently because you don’t have links in Instagram so it’s harder to track so the way they’ll do it is they’ll create a unique discount code for the influencer yep which were unique to them and then if any person uses that uses that discount code on the website the Instagram celebrity instagram influencer will earn a little Commission
E: yeah that’s really big in women’s fashion isn’t it yeah
S: yeah pretty much whenever you see an instagramer with a discount code that’s what’s going on they’re going to earn a little bit of commission from that if you buy something using that code if you buy using that code affiliates uh let’s quickly talk about ethical considerations because affiliations people have different ideas about it what are they how it compares to other ones I use it because I think generally it is one of them if used correctly is one of the most ethical ways you can make money online in that all the content is free the way I do it is kind of in reverse in that I will write a blog pose and then I’ll find to see if the companies I’m talking about have affiliates and I think that’s the way to do it I prefer that to having just adverts on my website because let’s say always plugged in something like Google adverts which just puts random adverts on your website I wouldn’t have any control over that I don’t know the businesses I don’t know whether I’m comfortable recommending them to people
E: Yeah that’s the crucial thing isn’t it and do you get a lot of companies coming to you saying can you write a blog post about our product or service
S: yeah every day every day yeah yeah so that is ethical way of doing it and the unethical way of doing is to find the company that pays you the most and then write blog posts promoting it but there is a little downside is that it makes it hard it makes it harder for people to give negative criticism for stuff if you’re writing a review post generally you want to say good things because you want to be get that affiliate and you want to earn a bit of money so there is that downside and like all of these have their pros and cons I generally think affiliates are good one thing I think that’s a bit more difficult with them is that people don’t really understand them the best situation would be is if everyone knew that each link had their kind of monetized symbiotic relationship between the person who’s written the content and the company E: yes so they’re aware
S: and I mean places like money-saving expert do that quite well where every post at the bottom they’ll do a list of the same links but without the affiliate stuff attached to it so if people want to they can click through that the problem really though is educational, even though they do that like ninety percent of the people using money saving expert won’t understand how it’s making money
E: well I didn’t even see I’ve used money saving expert many times and I didn’t even see it
S: and I believe they’re very ethical company yeah but um yeah how it’s more an education thing yeah which is a bit of an issue and there’s a bit of a user you gotta think about user experience as well so one thing to do is every link you could put a disclaimer next to it in brackets after every link, like a refer a friend discount if you use this I mean it’d be great from the user experience so people do different things they put a little star next to affiliate links and then have at the bottom or they’ll just write a little disclaimer at the bottom or they won’t say anything it’s up to you um I try different things on different posts sometimes I put a little star sometimes I’ll just put something in the bottom sometimes I’ll put a bracket this is a refer friend deal
E: Do you get many comments from people specifically asking about the ethics around using affiliate links in your blog post
S: I don’t think I ever have I think I wrote a post about the ethics of online marketing yeah and a lot of people talked about that and some people disagreed with me some people thought that affiliates were bad full stop yeah other people were fine about that again it’s one of the things where I think it’s more the application of it that matters rather than the and if you’re aware of the ethical concerns then you can use it in a in a good way yeah that’s affiliations refer a friend deals next up I want to talk about creating and selling a product that’s that’s kind of linked to whatever you’re writing about so a friend of mine has got a table tennis blog and at the time he was affiliated with Amazon so if you clicked on one of his if he recommended a table tennis product like a table tennis bat and people went to Amazon and bought it he would earn 3% or something of it so we said to him well this would be good opportunity for us to build a table tennis brand because we know you’re going to get we’re going to get a few sales anyway people you click through that and you’ll earn a bit more than you would just by being affiliated so we set it up it’s a lot work to do that but then what happened was after we created a product you know he earns a bit more than just he would if he was affiliate but then that business became a business in itself and whereas as an affiliate he was only earning money from people who clicked through his website now anyone who recommends our table-tennis brand at all we’re going to earn money from so it’s gone from maybe we would have got I don’t remember the numbers maybe 10 sales a month so now talking about thousands of sales a month because the business has outgrown the start of it yeah but that could be something that’s quite good if you’ve got a presence already or you’re talking about a specific topic then building a business behind that that then can be its own business can often be a clever move you’ll see people do this a lot with books often if someone’s in a bit of an expert in an area or a someone who’s a bit creative they’ll create a book out of it that can be so it’s quite often with webcomics which you might not think they’re the best medium for a book but they’ll turn their best comics that they’ve done online into a book and they’ll self-published that or if you’re an expert or something if you’re talking about a topic that a lot of people don’t know about you can write now or you can do like an autobiography style thing which a lot of kind of Instagram celebrities are doing another thing you see a lot on on Instagram is people will create a brand product that isn’t particularly different from anything else in the market and sell it t-shirts are an obvious example you know general swag in general they’ll get so you can get stuff that has the branding or the you know the memes from your favorite Instagram app yeah another one you’ll see on beauty style Instagram places are stuff like false eyelashes and people create a company they’ll get them for 50p from China put their little Instagram tag on it yeah and then sell them for ten pounds each yeah and make a bit money that way the next one we’re going to talk about is creating an online course this is the one that gurus talk about a lot they say that if you’re an expert in a particular niche and you’ve got a blog about it your next step should be creating an online course and generally these courses are pretty expensive you’re talking hundreds of pounds maybe thousands of pounds so for instance Amazon FBA is a very popular subject in a moment I’ve quite a few popular blog posts about it and it’s where I earn a fair bit money because have affiliations to deal with Amazon related products but the people who are making the most money from these Amazon sort of information sites are the ones who created an online course to teach people how to do this and generally these online courses what they’re doing is they’re curating information that’s already freely available so there might be kind of other upsell type things like you know coaching like picture pools, one on one or look or group group chat yeah but generally the content that they’re they’re putting isn’t anything unique it’s often curated content that’s already out there
E: but there is some value in that to some people don’t have the time to do that research
S: there is definitely value in that there and often people don’t know where to look yeah they don’t know what and they don’t know who to trust so having someone they trust to curate the content into one place into a nice easily readable step-by-step guide has value to it
E: and by trust I suppose they these customers to understand that by how successful the the coach or the owner of the online course is say how many sales of Amazon products that they got a month how many products is they got
S: yeah the difficulty really is is that how do you verify what I some also need a truth for not
E: Wow
S: and I think that’s a real problem with online gurus in general is that you look at on your life if you are making as much as you were why are you doing this you know people come up that you hear the same rubbish answer all the time which is well I just really want to help people my passion is to teach people how to make money from Amazon really why are you charging five thousand pounds for this course
E: Yeah we’re a little bit skeptical
S: It’s worth being skeptical I think one advantage of these courses is it forces you it commits you to it
E: yes you’ve invested
S: if you’ve paid money to do something you might as well do it yeah make the most of it because if somebody’s free we don’t really value it yeah it’s true and one of the reasons people are so successful online courses is doing value stuff that costs money yeah when you read something for free you instantly think it’s not worth that much so people will read so I’ve got some very good guides on on my website about Amazon FBA that are better than some courses out there that people pay money for but people would rather pay money for the course because it’s kind of behind a locked door and they think that it must be worth something if people are charging for it rather than just getting it for free say on my website I haven’t got any online courses partly because I think that’s real I have a slight ethical issue with them in general and that the amount I’d have to charge for my online course I don’t think the amount of value I could add would really be worth it you know most I’ve got so much good content out there for free but I don’t think what I’d be adding to the course would really be worth it maybe maybe I’ll change my opinion on that at some point I’ve definitely used to think the courses were generally all bad after I’ve changed my opinion on that and I think that some of them are good and it depends on your personality as well towards what’s good for you another slight issue of online courses I want to talk about quickly is that they get a bit cookie cutter often with an online business or which they’re often talking about the benefits are to be unique and have a different angle to something
E: yes which you can’t learn from an online course
S: so having someone layout step by step the work for them that can often that can sometimes do more harm than good because then you’ll follow there step by step and then you’re creating a exact copy of whatever they were doing yeah whereas sometimes being a bit naive and trying stuff that might not work, experimenting is is a better move
E: would you ever do an online course as in create one yourself
S: yeah as I said not at the moment but that might change if I think that I can create something that has value yeah it has enough value for it to be worth because I think I could make an online course that would be really good I think it would take so much time and energy that I am not sure it’s worth it because I would have to charge so much anyway I don’t know one advantage of online courses is that then you could find people to affiliate with it and promote it so it turns into a business that’s not just linked to you and you can do lots of advertising and stuff to push it it’s like basic creating a separate business altogether well that’s today’s it kind of some of the main ones let’s continue quickly and let’s talk about subscription content this is something that a lot of websites are doing and I think it’s quite a good way of doing it where you’ll have a certain amount your content available for free and then you’ll have a premium version of it that people pay monthly for yeah we’ve seen this a lot with a kind of snapchat girls they’ll have like a raunchy snapchat which they’ll say a premium subscription for they’ll have a free version with kind of teasing images and then they’ll have one that you pay like 15 pounds a month for to get their premium snapchat
E: well that’s hilarious because I was just about to say an example which couldn’t be any more opposite this morning on Facebook I was trying to read an article posted by decanter which is a wine magazine and the title of the article was is 2019 a special year for you and here’s a guide to the right vintage to celebrate and this year is both our 30th birthday so it is a special year and I click sorry I clicked on the article to read it and all I could access was the first paragraph and then I had to subscribe to read the rest of the article
S: yeah that is a very good example and slightly different a lot of examples out there you know we spoke a little about odds monkey oh yeah that is a subscription content as well you pay a certain month when you get new content produced for you. Moving on we talk voluntary contributions this is a weight a lot of especially creative stuff is um is is paid for there’s websites like patreon where if you like a service someone is providing you basically give them a certain amount of money a month and it is just a contribution
E: like Wikipedia is doing
S: so Wikipedia is a voluntary completion place where they ask for a donation once a year stuff like that there’s there’s smaller people a lot of artists do this especially if you’re into kind of a niche type of arts whether you’re like all fan fiction or stuff like that where it’s quite hard to make money out of it but people there’s a small group people who really like your content they might be willing to give you say ten pounds a month towards it
E: the one I’ve had a lot mentioned is their on podcasts so there’s a huge science history podcast they’re always pushing for it yeah which I thinks really interesting and the way they promote it is that it’s just two women they spend full time doing the content for this podcast and creating it and they don’t get paid so you the listener if you like the content we think you should contribute and they get benefits so they get like extra content and getting a say in the content
S: So combining like the subscription premium content with a voluntary donation thing yeah yeah a lot of a lot of podcasts moved that route some of the really big ones do that as well there’s traditional advertising so if you put a video on YouTube and you turn on monetization YouTube would have automatically put adverts kind of in the middle before and after it you can get adverts on your own website services like absence which you just whatever your website is using you input the bit of code and keep and Google will just put random adverts in there that they think is linked to your content generally you need a lot of people looking at your stuff for traditional adverts like this to make you much money so if you’re getting millions of views it can pay well but not many people do not many people get that much so for instance on YouTube we have one video that’s got about 10 million views and that has made I think it’s made about a thousand dollars per thousand views something like that so it makes it does make a bit money but you need a lot of views and often if you’ve got that many of you anyway you can make more money by taking a different route yeah also kind of traditional advertising is probably how this podcast will make money eventually so what I’ll do is the plan at a moment is I’m gonna try and reach out to various companies and ask them if they’d like to sponsor the podcast then what they do is they would get a snippet here put a beginning and end of each podcast and they pay for like a month or so for a month and we give end of each podcast you’d hear a short little advert for for that product next up we got coaching and consultancy this is another way that’s very popular especially in the kind of online guru life coaching all that kind of stuff where you say if someone’s an expert it’s a bit of the way I went to slightly with my my own blog for a while yeah where basically I have this concept that if what I’m creating is useful for everybody I’ll produce it for free so if it’s on my blog that anyone can look at it and it’s not just of value to one person but if you want specific information it’s only helpful to you then I’ll charge for that and that’s basically traditional consultancy yeah you get that a lot with that’s another thing you see with Instagram celebrities as well they they do like meet and greets that type of thing where you get a chance to have a chat with your favorite person but you pay for that privilege you’re not kind of getting any information out of it but you’re kind of getting that one-to-one time with someone who you follow and really want to spend some time with next up I’m going to talk about sponsored posts sponsored posts is something that has got a lot more popular of late as it’s a way for companies to basically create an advert but from your voice so if a company gave me a sponsored post for my blog what would probably happen is they would pay me a certain amount of money they will then write the post and it will sound like it’s coming from me it will be something like the best binary trading options or something or how to make money from 4x trading or something like this and they’ll write a post or put a bunch of links in it to their own website somewhere hidden on the page will be a little phrase saying sponsored post or sponsored article but really it’s just an advert and it’s an advert masquerading as an information piece we get them a lot in a in newspapers and magazines nowadays you’ll see often in tiny letters above it that what you’re reading is not actually an impartial article written by the newspaper audio magazine is actually a paid for advert it’s quite a clever way of advertising it’s quite a clever way of making money from the company’s point of view because people don’t really trust traditional adverts yeah but they do trust experts and if you can kind of sneak in your advert then that works well we there’s quite a lot in the news in the last few years about Instagram people or youtubers basically creating sponsored adverts sponsored posts where the photo was set up by the company and they’re doing exactly what they’re told yeah and they’re writing something about a product that they might never have used before where they’re passing it off as their own recommendation
E: yeah and they’re getting paid for it
S: and getting paid for it and kind of originally people didn’t declare it was an ad at all and now they kind of have to put hashtag ad somewhere in the 60 other hashtags they’re using on the right place
E: and some of them do and some of them still don’t
S: same with youtubers, it is very hard to know whether what they’re promoting is an advert or if product they actually care about or if it’s something they’ve been paid to do generally I think that sponsored posts or the least ethical of all the different stuff we’ve talked about today and it’s something I’ve outright turned down every every time I’ve been offered it which is multiple times a week someone will come to me and ask if they can pay to have a post on my blog I think that if you’re doing if you’re on Instagram and you’re doing sponsored posts that’s probably that’s not as unethical but you need to I think it’s important to be quite clear that it’s an advert
E: yeah and it needs to be relevant to you and you need to try to products and yeah I mean yesterday I saw like a food influencer posting about a specific product they were using in a recipe and they actually had to state well they chose to state this wasn’t a sponsored ad they actually really liked the product, and I thought that summed up how distrustful we are of any content promoting a product yeah
S: well it’s hard because she might have really liked the product yeah and then gone and spoken to him and asked him said I really wanna promote your product will you pay me to do it and they might said yes so in that case it is something she believed in it should have the same value but she’s also getting some money for it so how yeah how do you balance that
E: yeah which is right
S: which is the same problem with affiliates really and you can do it ethically and you can do it unethically
E: yeah
S: same really with product placements that’s another thing people do and ninety nine percent of the time they don’t declare so they’ll get a contract from a company particularly with sports brands where they’ll say you need to have pictures of you wearing this product three times a month you’re not allowed to put any pictures wearing these products that our competitors own you do this every month for a year and we’ll pay you seven thousand dollars or something like that and those are the ads or are they not adds? They’re not ads it just so happens that you’re wearing that stuff but you’re wearing it because someone’s paying you for it so where does that fall ethically and I think it’s something you got to make up your own mind about
E: you see a lot in TV shows and films as well like apple and certain drink brands and they do really stand out and you think oh how much have they paid to be in this latest Netflix series you know whatever it is yeah
S: yeah and they don’t declare it do they I don’t know every time that appears they don’t put a little little subtitles or sponsor ads alone whatever yeah it’s interesting so there we go now we have it those are mine different ways to monetize your online presence how to make money from your whatever is your doing online quickly again affiliations those are refer friend deals where you get a commission based on whoever you refer to that company we got creating and selling a product that’s something that you can when you’re already talking about a product or something you can create an item that you know your customers will buy and earn a much bigger margin you can create an online course where people pay a set amount to buy off you you can create subscription content where people pay a monthly fee to access a premium version of what you’re producing you can take in voluntary contributions if people really support what it is you’re doing you can have traditional adverts such as YouTube adverts or kind of snippets at the beginning of a podcast you can take on consultancy clients or coach people you can have sponsored posts or product placement where you’re paid to to put stuff in your in your posts or you can do a bit of all of them which is generally what makes because you know finding an affiliate is much easier because it doesn’t cost the company anyway than finding someone who will pay you up front for an advert on your website so a lot of people will do a little bit of each and then see what works from say yeah
E: so in 2019 are you looking to do more of some of these monetizing tactics or less because I know you do some of them at the moment and why?
S: good question so I’ll be doing more on this podcast ya know I’ll be looking towards additional advertising room and trying to take on because I don’t think affiliations really work that well on a podcast
E: yeah
S: I think traditional advertising will work better but that’s a bit of an experiment we’ll see how that works out and that’d be occasionally finding companies who I think would be a good fit reaching out to them and that might not work out because there’s quite a lot of work and we might not be able to agree on a price yeah I think that the best way that I can monetize my website is by driving is by driving a consultancy business and so I’ve had it in my mind I’ve done a little bit this before
E: you’ve laid the groundwork
S:I’ve laid the groundwork for it and I do you take consulting clients every now and again but it’s a very passive process where if people try and get in touch with me they can do but there is a there is a kind of consultancy option they can take where they can immediately set up a call with me kind of in the next day or two but well you know it’s the thing I do is try and build it out like a separate business to have its own website and have its own price structures and there’ll be something that I could hopefully build as a separate business where I drive traffic from my blog and from this podcast then I can also offer refer a friend deals and affiliate stuff and build it out as a separate business well I do it like that in 2019 I’m not sure yeah it’s something I’ve been thinking about for the last few years and haven’t done yet but I might do 2019 those are really the two that I’d be looking at doing the rest of them I don’t think so subscription content could work for me but
E: that’s what I was thinking about yeah
S: it doesn’t particularly appeal to me I quite like giving away all the stuff for free it is a shame that people don’t value free stuff so the reason I might do a subscription stuff is because of that so to add a bit more kind of perceived value around it um but I probably won’t I think I’ll probably continue what I’m doing but apart from that no I don’t think so I think that’s it sounds good all right well thanks for listening we talked about a lot of topics here and I have written quite a lot blog post on this stuff before so in the show notes I’ll put links to all of those and I’d really appreciate it if you enjoyed this podcast if you could leave me a good review on iTunes or whatever platform you’re using but apart from that I hope that you found this useful and interesting and are able to implement it into your life adios

#18: Business Report For 2018

“You don’t necessarily know where your opportunities are going to come from, but you want to position yourself so that when an opportunity comes along, you can make the most of it.”
– Sam, on positioning yourself to capitalize on opportunities

It’s important to regularly look back and asses how your businesses are doing. So in this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast, Sam Priestley takes a look back at how his businesses have developed over the last year. An honest look at the successes and failures.

Listen to this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast on:

iTunes | Spotify | YouTube | Stitcher

Structure

02:40 – How Sam was able to stay productive despite being sick for half the year
04:52 – Review of Pipehouse Gin
06:46 – What is it that made Pipehouse Gin take so long to bring to market?
09:33 – Being ready to capitalize on opportunities
10:47 – Diversified approaches to selling gin
16:49 – Marketing approach for Pipehouse Gin
21:55 – Other issues with Pipehouse Gin
25:22 – The blog review
29:02 – Synergy between the blog and the podcast
31:20 – Sam’s grant applications
32:31 – Table tennis business
37:42 – The problems of success
41:23 – Consulting and investing progress
46:46 – Protecting yourself by setting up multiple income streams

Transcript

Hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam Priestley and today you’ve got the pleasure of just listening to me. My wife Emma who normally co-hosts this podcast is away visiting family and I’m currently sat in a Premier Inn somewhere near Wales waiting for my family to finish breakfast. I thought it’d be a good time to get in the final end-of-year podcast where I talk about kind of how all the businesses have gone over the last year and hopefully take some inspiration from it. I’ll do this every year and one of the reasons is that I tend to be a bit pessimistic. My instant reaction looking back over the past is normally always well that went really quickly I thought I’d do a lot more, achieve a lot more whereas you know sitting now and taking time reviewing all the successes I’ve had all the failures I find makes a big impact and I get to be very excited for the year to come. It also helps to stimulate me and give me give me a lot of new ideas and helps me remember what did actually happen in 2018. We had the launch of Pipehouse Gin, my craft gin business. My table tennis businesses changed a bit we launched in India we had a new a new range of Eastfield bats we had a new range of bat cases but we also saw competition rising greatly and a lot of stock issues which sort of her our bottom line that meant we actually made less money this year than year before 2018 also saw my blog going down on its income it went down from about 62,000 pounds to about 48,000 pounds in profit for a bunch of reasons I’m sure I’ll go into also saw the launch this podcast saw me change my investing strategy a little bit sort of focus more on short term short term investments so that I’d have a lot of money free for opportunities that might occur in 2019 and with Brexit and the quite quickly changing world that we’re currently in it saw me almost completely stopped consulting I had only a couple of clients in the whole of 2018 and it’s all in the end grants for 12 months from mid 2017 to mid 2018 I’m giving away three thousand dollars every three months to support budding entrepreneurs people who had a business idea and didn’t have the funds to start it so yeah we’ve actually got quite a lot to talk about but I thought I wanted to talk first about something that really should have impacted my productivity this year that is that for a good half of 2018 I was really really sick for about six months probably from around February or March up until September I probably would have had to take that time off work if I’d had a regular job but I didn’t know I had a job that I could do a job where I was my own boss and where my effort put in didn’t have a direct impact on the profit and productivity that came out. You hear a lot about passive income and the idea of earning money while you sleep and while the business that I run don’t really fall into that category I wouldn’t call them passive income because they still require effort they don’t require effort for money it’s not every hour I put in I get out a certain amount of money it means I put in a load of effort which then pay off over the next year or two years to come that’s definitely what I’ve been seeing in the last few years 2017 was a year in which I made sort of record-breaking profits for kind of all my businesses really, the table tennis and and the blog but that was a lot to do with the effort that we put in in the years before which were only then paying dividends and actually 2017 I didn’t achieve as much as I had hoped and a few things changed which then kind of impacted the profits that we’re kind of seeing this year your advantage of being your own boss is that you can work when you are well enough if anyone’s being kind of chronically ill they know that it’s not always down it’s not always terrible you’ll have hours throughout the day where you where your mind is working well and where you have the energy and the kind of enthusiasm to do some work and when my work involves hopping on my computer or writing a few emails or you know organizing a last minute meeting with someone that suits quite well and I was able to still achieve quite a lot and produce quite a few things. Most notably the gin business which was largely launched and kind of perfected in that in that period where I was at my worst okay enough on the depressing subjects let’s dive in and talk about each of my businesses in a bit more detail and how they go on first up PIpehouse Gin. Pipehouse Gin is a craft gin business where we make flavored gins but flavored without the sweetness so they’re London Dry’s which is kind of the purest of gins means that everything needs to be put into distill so we put all the botanicals in there and then the juniper flavor that everyone knows and loves that gin is famous for and it’s a definition of gin but also with other flavors attached to it. Pipehouse Gin didn’t exist in 2017 we had kind of the idea to start a gin business business and started work in September but then it really launched and our first flavor came out in in June 2018 so it’s really quite a long business and I think one of the things looking back that it strikes me is that in the monthly report I wrote in February I wrote I can’t believe how long this business is taking to set up I think that we’re almost there and that it was still another five months or so before we actually launched which is interesting because you’d think that I would have a better idea that everything always takes longer than expected you know, I started quite a lot of businesses and they all run into this same problem when you get really excited and then things just always always run over I’ve but I also think that’s one of the reasons why I end up starting more businesses so I’m always kind of eternally optimistic and Pipehouse gin was no different I’ve started in September and I’d hoped we’d launch our first product before Christmas in 2017 obviously that didn’t happen and took another six seven months after that before we’d before we launched our first flavour was Earl Grey and cucumber and we actually were working on that flavour in 2017 towards the end of it we’d we’d pretty much perfected it we had a few more tweaks to do which we worked on it was kind of all the other stuff it was the the branding you know coming up with the name sorting out suppliers for bottles getting the labels produced finding boxes getting all the legal licenses and things like that but what was it that made Pipehouse Gin take so long because for most businesses there is a bottleneck and I think that with Pipehouse Gin it was the branding that took us a long time I normally have this idea of good enough and I think this is one of the first businesses where that got kind of pushed aside not kind of down to me but because of um so many other business partners I was doing the business with who really really cared about high quality we had a few brands I thought were good enough I thought they were really good but it wasn’t good enough for in particular Katie who was a art teacher before she started this business with us which was interesting because the thing we get complimented in most about the gin is the branding and the idea for the business was to create an alcohol brand that people would buy online without having tasted it so with the name of it, earl grey and cucubmber is the name of our first product the earl gray cucumber flavored gin you know what you’re getting before you buy and it’s interesting it’s a bit weird it’s a bit different and the branding stands out is very clean it’s very good and it looks very high-end it’s the sort of thing we hope that you would keep on your shelf because it looks good as opposed to just drinking it and so a lot of the beginning of 2018 was spent working on the branding trying different ideas doing some bit of product testing but more kind of testing the waters with different ideas for names and and what stuff looked like and then once we finally had the branding sorted it took us a long time to get our labels printed and really that was what held us up towards the end I’m not sure exactly how long it was but I have a feeling the last kind of couple of months were spent just waiting on all these things final things to come together to finish because we can’t sell our gin until we got the labels on that might have everything else ready if that’s not ready we can’t we can’t do anything Pipehouse Gin and then we launched yeah it really worked out it is not a business where I was a bit surprised with with how it did with how it got on, not that it did any better or worse than I expected but it did better in different areas one of the things we wanted when launching Pipehouse Gin was to was to position it so that we had as the maximum opportunities available the maximum possibility of one kind of marketing channel working out and earning us loads of money it’s if you listen to one of my other podcasts on serendipity it’s a topic I talk about a lot you don’t necessarily know where your opportunities are going to come from but you want to position yourself so when an opportunity comes along you can make the most of it and that was kind of the idea with Pipehouse Gin. My original plan and the thing the area I thought we had a bit of a unique selling point and an angle that other gin business wouldn’t have is focusing online and in particular with Amazon FBA where I already have some very profitable businesses and other alcohol companies weren’t doing very well at. I thought that other I was Amazon FBA experts weren’t going into it because gin is too complicated, there’s too much legislation and laws around it and people in alcohol didn’t figure the online was a market worth looking at but then I also wanted to be positioned so that we could if something else happened to be better we could do that to too so we signed up to local markets started promoting our brand there, and started going the classic route setting up a market stall and then selling our gin directly to customers we also did the classic door-knocking like you see in The Apprentice where you go to business owners and try and sell them your gin directly and then we also approached distributors to try and get them to stock us and push our gin for us and kind of in the back of my mind I thought none of those other routes would really work out off what they were overly saturated I thought in my head that we’d probably lose money on stuff like the market and selling to local businesses but that would have work as advertising to get our brand out there and – and to push to sales online now it’s kind of my whole my whole marketing strategy my whole launch strategy going forward we threw a launch event we kind of talked to a local gin bar and booked the place out and then we invited loads of press we invited local bloggers and hosted local business owners to come down and try all our gin for free we made up a few different cocktails we hired a professional photographer to take pictures of the event and the plan was that we would hand out to any members of the public who came in like a coupon voucher that they could use to go onto Amazon and get a discount off our gin and the thought was that we could leverage this local aspect to try and draw sales online and then the way Amazon really works and online works in general is that it’s all about momentum getting reviews, getting sales and if we could push a bunch of reviews and sales from kind of local people online then that would hopefully push us up the ranks stop making us appear in Amazon searches and Google searches and we then start getting national sales from people who we can approach directly that was kind of the thought, leverage local do all we can to make as big a splash as possible in Tunbridge Wells where we’re based in the hopes that when we’d actually make our money from the national sales send people all around the country unfortunately our timeline didn’t really work out on label printing was delayed and we didn’t and we didn’t actually have enough gin ready to be able to send some to the Amazon warehouses ready for those sales so when our launch event came we didn’t have anything for them to go and buy we didn’t have there was no plan given in coupons because there’s nothing for them to use to coupons on so we had to change our approach and actually we ended up not really having that much of a purpose for the launch event but what we did change it to was we used it as a to really push the pier and we thought that even if there aren’t that many places for people to buy it then and there we could we could launch with a splash and we then start promoting a bunch of markets that we had coming up so saying originally we wanted people to go to the events and then buy online reading about us in the local newspapers and then go online so we changed that to go to the event and then come along to the market and buy bottles from us the following few weekends so that June we had a week a market on the first weekend than a market on the second weekend then a market on the fourth weekend so we had three markets all based in Tunbridge Wells that people who come along meet us and buy our gin and actually it turned out the markets are the areas in which we made the most money that’s because I quite cheap to set up I think we paid if each market varies but generally you’ll pay somewhere between 60 pound to 600 pounds for the weekend depending on the type of market is when the cheaper ones we were generally only allowed to sell bottles with the more expensive ones we allowed to also basically run a bar where we could sell gin and tonics to people were drinking and both of those ended up to be really really profitable to us both from the point of view again our brand out there and building brand awareness in the local community but then also and actually just making money partly because with gin there is a real expense to shippings if you buy online it’s going to cost us around 8 pounds to get that bottle of gin to you you need to be packaged in conover a blow up plastic bag that means it won’t break then you gonna put it in another box you’re gonna pay a delivery company to deliver it to you it’s got to be tracked shipping because you’ve got to make sure that the delivery driver isn’t giving it to someone who’s under 18 which is the legal drinking age here in the UK there’s just kind of a bunch of other things around it and then of course amazon takes their commission as well whereas if for a market is literally we’re just taking it from from my garage to the market and people are and basically everything that everything above the cost of the the cost of we’re paying for it is profit now yes you know later on we started hiring other people to work the markets for us you have to pay for the market stall and there’s an investment in building the stall and doing all the branding around that but generally markets turned out to be a really good a really good investment for us and then markets you know they led on to business owners approaching us in that first month we got contacted by a lot of local bars and in particularly the cool bars the bars that are on Instagram and that kind of plugged into what’s new and cool were approaching us to ask if that we if they could a stock our gin and then we kept pushing that and then we kept pushing it you know appeared in a bunch of local newspapers and and it worked really well. have this idea that I I think I read somewhere I’m not sure where and I’m not sure even if it’s true but it’s kind of concept that I work off is that someone needs to see your brand seven times before they’ll recognize it before it looks familiar so our idea was to hit the local area so hard that people would see the brand seven times they might see it in their local bar on the shelf, they might walk down the market and see it there and then they might read about it at a local newspaper and they might hear about it on the local radio or whatever I’m just trying to hit hit the area as hard as possible and it worked out and we we had good sales we sold almost 500 bottles that first month which was pretty staggering really and sales continued you know as expected the second month had a big dip because we’d lost that initial excitement and a lot of places bars and so already had our bottles and so didn’t need anymore but then since then you know dipped quite a bit and since then has been slowly growing again and in fact are the biggest thing that’s been holding us back has been stock issues our supply chains as it turned out to be quite difficult to keep intact whether that’s creating new labels or whatever and it’s only just now that we’ve kind of got a handle on that and we only really had excess stock that allowed us to start doing marketing and really pushing sales at the beginning of december in fact in december we had four christmas markets booked in and we only did one because we didn’t have the stock to do the others that should all be changed in 2019 now should all be sorted Pipehouse Gin wasn’t all good news we did have a bunch of issues which cost us quite a bit of money and the first one one that I haven’t really talked about because it was such a big disaster at the time was we our first batch of labels our first 250 bottles we made the ink ran on maybe a third of the bottles which meant up and this only happened after they’d all been applied to the gin so we started unloading you know from cases of gin just to check and notice that some of the labels had water stains on them at marks to a point where you know we weren’t happy selling them and that was pretty devastating it was about a third of that first batch I think it was like 93 bottles were what we considered unsellable which was a disaster it was a disaster also because it meant that we had to go back to the drawing board and get all the other labels for the other batches reprinted because the way labels work is the more you buy the cheaper it is and we bought eight batches worth labels in one go so we had to go back and work with the printer companies to try and fix that the first thing they did they put it on a veneer over the labels so we’re able to get batches two three and four out quite quickly and then they you know went to a different printing method to to print the others and now that’s all sorted our labels that have any issues anymore but at the beginning I think I almost cried it was it was terrible because we had our launch event in like a few days when we we discovered this we had all these markets set up ready for us and we had all these products which before we can’t we can’t sell so what do we do well we still have one or two of those bottles left but for the most part we’ve we’ve got rid of them all now how do we get rid of him well when we were running markets where we could sell gin and tonics we’d use these bottles the gin still perfectly fine we don’t want it people having it on their shelf well they’re still perfectly fine for us to make gin and tonics and whenever we’re using a sample bottle we’d use one with a damaged label and slowly over the year we’ve used up pretty much all of those those 90-something bottles and everything ended up being fine. Another big issue one that we’re still trying to sort out at the moment and actually since I posted on my blog a lot of people have contact me with some with some good ideas of how to fix this so thank you very much if you’re one of them was that when we were shipping bottles of boxes are six bottles to people which would be bars and places like that we were getting quite a lot of breakages because you even know these boxes they’re got dividers in them they’re packaged safe and snug the bottles are really quality really thick. I’ve seen the delivery drivers were just chucking them all over the place and they were quite quite a lot when smash and if one bottle smashes then that’s kind of the whole box written off because all the other label to be soaked and covered in bits of glass and absolute nightmare so we were losing quite a lot of cases because of this so I’ve got some stuff to to kind of fix that now but you can imagine our margins especially – wholesale are very high when it comes to a bottle of gin so any any if we lose a case like six bottles we got to sell, I don’t know seven or eight cases or something in order to to make up for that loss and yes you know we did a lot of time end up still gaining some value out of the other bottles that weren’t broken they just had their you know bits of glass and the labels ruined on them but it was still a big issue and it meant you know we have made money out of our trade sales but not very much. What other issues do we have just a few little things one thing we forgot to do is our first lot of boxes didn’t fit the bottles in that we bought and we bought I don’t know six hundred boxes or something and works you know they’re quite cheap per box but once you have 600 of them they’re not not useful so we ended up with a lot of boxes we couldn’t use in on getting new boxes and that’s all kind of sorted but there’s all kind of teeny problems ended up sorting themselves out and it means that 2019 we should have a much better run of it. What else happened with Pipehouse Gin well one thing was do we we end up being in profit we had one point quite early on maybe coming was probably the third month where we had more money in the bank than we’d originally put in a business was in profit we since you know reinvested all our profits into growing and more stock and working on new flavors but still the business is profitable it doesn’t yeah I should point out that there’s a difference between profitable and taking money out this is a business that will probably take us a long time before we can take any money out of it but what we’re doing is were building value in the business something new entrepreneurs don’t really get and something that took me kind of a long time to really understand was that when you’re working on a business you’re not just it’s not just the profit of the business that matters it’s kind of the equity value that you’re building in it so all the work we put into the branding to building supply chain to building relationships with suppliers that has some sort of value that we can’t really put a number on it and it means that let’s say we were to sell the business the people are buying it they’re not just buying the stock we have left at whatever value that is they’re buying the value in the business the value in the brand and those relationships and come to work and momentum that we’ve done so far which is actually quite a lot and will probably be a lot more than whatever we put in and then on top of that you’ve also got the idea that even though the business is making profits to grow you’ve got to investor those profits. Gin is a very high cost product to make mainly because of the tax involved so for reference each bottle of gin we sell is including the there’s the alcohol duty the alcohol duty plus just a v80 on alcohol duty comes to about 10 pounds a bottle so already we have to pay ten pounds to the government every time we produce a bottle of gin which as you can imagine has a real impact and should make you think when you see a bottle of gin being sold in a supermarket for 15 pounds 10 pounds of that is going to straight straight in taxes so for the five pounds they’ve got to be doing everything else that goes into that gin and there’s why craft gin is quite expensive because you know good quality gin is is expensive and hard to make but yeah Pipehouse Gin that’s been that’s been a great a great business has also been a good business because it’s the first one I started with my wife Emma and it’s been you know it’s brought us closer it’s been it’s been really good there’s another podcast we did together on starting a business with a partner or on your own I recommend having a listen to because it’s quite a lot of nuances there and there’s pros and cons to both but for me definitely it was that was the best decision to go into it with her and with a couple of other friends as well. Pipehouse Gin that’s kind of a success of the year, let’s talk now about about the blog. My blog had a stellar year in 2017 it made 62,500 pounds and that was on really not much content I really I didn’t I was losing love for the blog in 2017 I was writing less posts the quality I think was going down a little bit and I was spending quite a bit of time marketing trying to get people onto it reading it which paid off because the readers is what led to the profit but you know I was actually thinking of stopping altogether I wasn’t really enjoying it so in December I made a very conscious decision to to stop doing any marketing at all I would just focus on writing good quality content and hope that people kind of find it naturally and share it or whatever. That didn’t really work and the trend for 2018 has been down forty eight and a half thousand pound is still really really good but the trend is down and you know the big profit months were early in the year and as the year has gone on it’s been dropping and dropping and dropping if it continues on the same trajectory next year it will make like twenty five thousand pounds or something it’s going down so it was like the correct decision I think so I think my my blog posts that I’ve been writing have been I’ve been better my series on the gin I think is particularly good I started doing monthly reports to regular readers have really enjoyed and find quite useful, also very useful for me to get me excited about the next month and look overall on what’s happened before I also think is not just down to the marketing there’s been a bit of a change in culture the people are reading less long-form blog posts on sort of third party blogs like mine you know someone’s got to come to my website click on an article and read it people are doing less of that now they’re getting stuff from their social media feeds that are already in and that’s willing to go to independent independent sites nothing particularly wrong with that it’s just a change the way people doing it and I also think there’s a change in how people like to consume the type of content I produced which is you know long-form kind of tutorials or like journaling style stuff and people are now rather it has been a big rise in podcasting and videos and it’s kind of one of the reasons I’m doing this I’m launching this podcasts half of the reason is because I want to get more content out there and producing a podcast is a lot easier at least for me anyways than writing a blog post blog post taking a very long time and I find it quite tiring and I need to kind of like pump myself up to do it whereas a podcast I can ramble on a little bit and tell you whatever is I I’ve got on my mind and as you can see I’m getting a lot more podcasts out than I am blog post basically in my draw folder on my site I have done 150 blog posts I started writing and never finished and they’re all ones that could be good podcasts so we’ll see what happens you know in 2019 I’m going to start marketing again doing a little bit I might hire someone to help me with that I’m also gonna push this podcast and hopefully combine those two as a single as a single thing you know drive people from the blog to the podcast from the podcast at a blog and see how that goes but we’ll see nothing else doing on the blog was mine with grants I was doing need entrepreneurship grants where over 12 month period I gave away twelve thousand dollars to different kind of budding entrepreneurs to to help them start a new business or grow a small business that needed a bit of a bit of money that was originally an experiment and one of the things I hoped to get out that was a lot of people would share the fact these grants were going on and they’d go viral and I’d end up getting a lot of a lot more traffic out of it that’s not what happened and in fact I think it probably did me more harm the good turned out that what I was trying to do was get people to write like a grant application and then I would review the application and choose kind of the top 12 or whatever all the top three so every three months I gave out three so every three months has to choose three and I did the first one and I got something like a hundred and fifty grant applications which took me a long time to read through and while three out those hundred and fifty are really happy the other 147 aren’t. I end up pissing off a lot of people basically because a lot of people don’t like being told no I said had didn’t really work out for me it turned out to be a lot of work and I think was partly the reason I started losing love for the blog cuz I spend a lot of work just sitting there reading these grant applications and I went for a phase of giving everyone feedback and you know the most common reaction to giving feedback on someone’s application about why I didn’t choose them was to argue with me and tell me that I was wrong which yeah you can imagine so I stopped them so I finished the first year and the twelve thousand pounds and I stopped doing that. I might do something again I might try and change the idea and do something else is I think it’s always worth just cuz experiments fail you know this probably lost me money and revenue basically it was a lot of time it was worth it because it was an experiment I think had a good concept I just badly executed and experimenting and you know failing is is a good thing that’s kind of the blog you know I didn’t rent up writing quite a bit more but you can see you can see you can look up you can look at my blog and there’s some really good posts but you can also see I’m probably getting a little bit more tired and the really in-depth posts can be fewer and further between so hopefully the blog will give the podcast a big push if you want check out the blog it’s Sam Priestley dot com then let’s move on to my biggest business my table-tennis business so I got two brands we got paleo by expert table tennis which is a entry level a series of table tennis bats we start the cheapest one is about thirty pounds and it goes up to 40 pounds we have a range of three that are very popular we’re currently on our second series so it’s the expert II – – the master II – and the legend II – and that is a very good business that has a bit you know we’ve been the best seller in the UK for table tennis bats for a very long time and we do well in all over the world in the USA Canada the rest of Europe in 2018 we launched in India which was quite a big step and was really difficult actually because it is the same bureaucracy in India we had to find a partner who would work with us who was a Indian resident because they don’t allow foreign businesses to operate now we had to do a load of things we had to get like stamps and get hundreds of different departments to give us random numbers and all this sort of stuff it was a nightmare and we eventually worked our way through it but it took us a year and a half or something since when we first started researching it before probably launch and that’s turned out to be quite a good market it’s something that was a risk because we’re selling it for the same we’re saying our products were more expensive than they are in the UK the 30 pound bat is about 32 pounds in India because they’ve got so much taxes and stuff around it and we’re up against table tennis bats that are being sold for like a pound or 50 P so how can we compete and it comes back to currently idea that we’re competing on quality not on price and just because the you know the entry level stuff is very very cheap doesn’t mean it isn’t a market for that more high-end and India has a hugely quickly growing middle class and it’s a huge country anyway so even if most of them can’t most people can’t afford the table tennis bat it’s got a billion people there so it’s still a very large chunk who can buy it and we’ve been selling you know doesn’t sound huge bit or maybe 70 bucks a month for them which of it made the experiment worthwhile and hopefully that is something we can grow going forward we’ve also got our next range coming out are expert free master free legend free which we literally two days ago we just we finally finished the final prototype for after probably a year and a half of making tweaks and doing research we finally got about that we think it’s going to be a huge step apart from the ones we currently sell and that we can sell at basically the same price so here’s all the positives and that will come out sometime in 2019 probably around April or May I would have thought that’s the positives the downside is that we saw Amazon is getting a little bit nastier a little bit like their customer service for sellers is very bad and there’s a lot of a a lot of fraud basically going on with people selling fake items that are very similar to yours and so we had a lot of that so we had to deal with a lot of people copying our brand and trying to sell it at one point we had to we had a big fight over our trademark yeah we had to it’s been quite a bit money on a lawyer to sort out for us the trademark office was disputing our trademark and so we had to had to appeal that and that cost us you know quite a few thousand pounds and who knows how much all this cost us all these copycats that are selling a a worse fake product of ours and tricking customers into buying it was also particularly true on eBay where it’s a bit it’s even more to Wild West there and it doesn’t matter about your trademarks they will change one letter of the word and that kind of gets them around them and the other problem we had was with stock issues most notably coming up to Christmas we are one of the levels in our supply chain so the people who make the cases that the bats go in so we sell them with a free bat case and the bat case is basically the packaging the company that makes the bat cases were about two months late with their delivery date and it meant that our Christmas order didn’t arrive in time for Christmas so we sold out before Christmas which is obviously our biggest time of year and cost us a small fortune basically in lost sales to make sure this never happens again as of about two days ago we’ve now we’re now renting a little warehouse a little lock up that we’re gonna basically build up a backlog a sort of reserve of stock that we can send immediately to wherever it is needed so – were not related we’re not relying on this supply chain to create everything from new for us which it can take months and as we saw it there’s a delay it really does hurt us but despite that it still is a good business it still made decent money that’s the one that pays us you know the salary that me and my business partner live on and yeah you know all the problems are the problems that come with success so just because I complain about Amazon or complain about you know suppliers it doesn’t mean you you should avoid the business all together I hear a lot of people talking about quitting Amazon altogether and starting their own websites and trying to drive customer I mean come on people use Amazon for a reason we have our own websites as well and we do drive customers there but the majority of people are buying on Amazon and that trend is only gonna continue people don’t want to go to a random website input their details and their email address and stuff into a website they don’t know anything about like they want that one-click ordering that was one product so the other brand is Eastfield is more high end you know cheapest back there is 50 pounds at the beginning of 2018 we only had one product but we’d be working on a new one for a while so we can launch that and beginning of in February in 2018 we launched our Eastfield professional bat which was a really high-end bat it’s it’s very good it what we tried to do here we’re pricing around 100 pounds and it it’s we want a bat that is good enough for any professional to use and is competitive with bats that will cost you 200 pounds so it’s half the price of pretty much everything else in its category and it’s just as good but to do that has taken a long time to produce it and there was a manufacturing error with some of our first products that arrived in February which took us a long time to sort out so we hope to have a big launch in February which meant that it didn’t happen and it’s only being in the last couple of months – we finally got everything sorted and the quality that we wanted as being good enough to where we’re starting to push it that’s something else that I’m quite excited for for 2019 see what we can do now and there’s lots of good stuff we could do with advertising and you know promoting to Instagram celebrities getting some top table tennis players on board sponsoring people things like that we haven’t really been doing with our lower end products because they’re not good enough for those professionals to use we also saw a new range of our bat cases come out they’ve been very popular in the past because there aren’t really any good quality cool looking bat cases on the market until we came along so we launched a new range of kind of double sized ones which hold two bats which hasn’t been going on long we launched in March sales of them have been slower than we hoped why is that I don’t know a good question I mean there’s probably a few reasons it’s something I need to look into more I think it might be something to do with the fact that people only need one bat case and kind of the market we kind of already saturated the group looking for those cool bat cases who are willing to pay 20 pounds for just a case well that might not be the case it might be a bit of an education thing it might be that we need to do some more marketing to get out there that’s really one of the problems because I’ve had so much other stuff going on and along with being ill we haven’t put anywhere near as much marketing help marketing that these businesses deserve really soon this is our biggest business this is the one that pays my bills I should be spending a lot more time on it than I am and that’s something that will probably change in 2019 especially once we get our new brand out there the the expert 3 master 3 and legend 3, that’s gonna be that’s gonna be big. 2019 will also see us launched in Australia should be good pushing India again and then maybe launch in Japan that’s what we’re thinking about what we’ll see. Consulting was quite a big part of 2017 I haven’t really done much of it I don’t really enjoy it but I’ll probably look into doing a bit more of that we’ll see we’ll see what’s gonna go on I don’t really want to talk about consulting but I’ll probably do a bit more in 2018. Finally let me talk a little bit about investing if you if you read some of my stuff before you know I’m not trying to become rich I’m not particularly motivated by money it’s more the free time and ability to do the stuff I want and the way to do that the best way to do that in my opinion is to is to build up enough investments that you’re financially free that even if you had no income from any business at all you be getting paid a salary that would be enough for you to live your life on so that’s kind of been my goal for quite a long time and although the amount you need for that is the common wisdom is that says you need about 25 times your annual your annual spend in investments I have a slightly different opinion I think that I don’t plan on ever retiring all the businesses I’m currently running they’re the ones that I’ll see the end a long time in the future you know the blog is all about the trend the way they’re moving so my opinion on financial freedom is as long as I got investments kind of covering the next ten years really or five or ten years then it’s all good and I could actually use some of that investment money for other things and that’s kind of what I thinking so I’ve put quite a bit of my money into short term investments particularly peer-to-peer lending I kind of go into my reasonings quite a bit more on the website Sam Priestley dot com there’s a quite a recent post about you know investing in the light of Brexit which is you know at the same time is that’s scary sides to it also has a great opportunity sides to it I’m sure that after all the turmoil starts happening I’ll see some opportunities I think will be really good investments and something I want to have my money available for to move into so that’s kind of what I’m thinking at the moment this was helped by 2018 I sold some some property I own I’ve had a business out in Malta I’ve been working on selling for about two years it’s kind of it’s been a bit of a mess just because of the structure which is set up but it kind of owns three properties and I share the business with a couple of other people and there’s some kind of other stuff in with the companies and things so it’s been a bit of a bit of a nightmare getting it all sorted quite stressful really but then in October that finally got sold so I received quite a large amount of money into my bank account and so there’s an idea of investing came up again and that’s when I kind of started thinking more about these short-term investments and the majority that has gone into a very term sort of 30-day accessible investments where they’re earning kind of between four and six percent and then I still slowly siphoning in into my kind of stocks and shares the rest i I believe in kind of passive index fund investing so in the UK here we get twenty five thousand pound a year of tax-free investments you’re allowed so what I do is I just every month i funnel one twelfth of that twenty thousand pounds into a Vanguard fund the stocks and shares index fund and I’ll do the same for my wife Emma and then the plan is that that will just sit there forever and keep growing and keep growing and then at some point you know that will be earning more money than we’re spending between us and it means that you know I’ve kind of protected in case things go wrong this is the lazy entrepreneur podcast one of the reasons it is the lazy entrepreneurs I have this idea that about finding the easy way to do things you know if you’ve been if you’re a lazy person you always want to get the quick way through which kind of sums me up a little bit but also because you know I’m motivated by having that free time and wanting to be lazy and not wanting to get a job or you know if you’re sick for six months like I was this year you can’t get a job you can’t work and so having that you know having as many backup plans as possible it’s quite important to me so and investing is one of them versus a back-up plan having multiple income streams in completely different businesses is another back-up plan so if say my table tennis business collapses I’ll still have income from the blog also having income from Pipehouse Gin if one of the other ones collapse then I still have that so at the moment I kind of have you know four or five income streams I wanna I’ve got a few you like I’ve got a book that I sell we got a couple of YouTube videos to make a bit of money every month. Here are the things that mean that I should be quite protected in case of stuff going wrong and that’s kind of it that’s kind of my year in review there’s been a lot of ups and downs stuff has been good stuff has been bad but I think only on average is 2018 I can chalk down has been a very good year the one thing I didn’t mention was that I got married in July in 2017 so 2018 was my first year of marriage and that has taken up quite a big time my time as you can imagine if you listen to mine the previous podcast is always talking about is talking about my personal development and stuff I can change my productivity and stuff in terms of the actual businesses and how they’ve done yeah 2018 good year let’s do the same in 2019 goodbye.

#17: How To Start A Craft Gin Business

Listen to this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast on:

iTunes | Spotify | YouTube | Stitcher

Structure

02:17 – How Sam and Emma approached the gin biz from a unique angle
04:33 – Exploring the feasibility of a gin biz
05:30 – What are the differences between bathtub gin, distilled gin and London dry gin
07:57 – How to make gin legally
14:00 – Deciding on what distillery and fulfillment warehouse to use
16:04 – Branding the gin
19:18 – Why craft gin is expensive
23:28 – Launch strategy of Pipehouse Gin
25:24 – In summary
26:52 – Some early obstacles/difficulties
29:34 – Comparing the coffee shop to the gin business

Transcript

Sam: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam Priestley and as normal we’re joined by my lovely wife Emma Priestley
Emma: hello
S: today we’re gonna do another episode where I talk about a business I’ve started and talk you through what was involved in the setup maybe some of the mistakes we made and what could be done to improve it and today we’re going to be talking about our gin brand, Pipe House Gin which is our current business really and it’s one I did with Emma but it’s the first business we’ve done together so Emma should have some unique insights into how it’s gone and yeah we’re working on it at the moment but it has launched and it is doing quite well so we first came up with the idea in September 2017 we’ve always been well for a long time we’ve been interested in gin and we lived in in Spain for a little bit where at the time there kind of craft gin game was was a lot better then it was here in the UK they have gin bars everywhere and they do what we now take for granted which those lovely goblets with all the different botanicals in it
E: the garnishes
S: yeah the garnishes we saw that starting to come over to the UK and the gin craze starting to take off we also were interested in sort the gin said craze starting to take off and we thought we had a couple of USP’s that we could add sort of a unique angle to the business even though we didn’t really have any experience with making alcohol we thought that my sort of background in online marketing and in particular selling on Amazon through Amazon FBA meant we could kind of leverage that and sell our gin online quite successfully and we did some market research and it didn’t look particularly competitive and also we had an idea for a type of gin that we thought would uh would be good in the market was missing which was flavoured gin without the sweetness we kind of realized that we couldn’t compete with other gin producers and making the best classic London Dry Gin because the people doing that are the best in the game
E: yeah and have been doing it for 20 30 years
S: okay forever and and it’s a busy market like why would someone buy our one rather than that but we thought particularly from looking at the market research we saw there was a trend appearing that people wanted to flavor gin and the only flavored gin really on the market was very liquory type gin which is where you make a gin you get like a normal gin and then you add sweetness to it so you have like a rhubarb syrup or something and those types of gin were getting quite popular but I personally didn’t really like them because they they taste too sugary they’re very good for getting people into gin but they’re not what I’d call a classic gin so we had it that was my kind of concept that we wanted to make a variety a range of flavored gins which were kind of classy and low sugar and all of that without being sugary and sweet. the other reason I thought it was good ideas because the other trend taking off at a time which was the idea of flavored soft drinks that didn’t have added sugar and weren’t fizzy
E: yeah
S: so that’s what all came together that was the kind of consensus conception conception of the idea so there we were but at this point we still had no idea how to make gin we didn’t know where it was feasible we didn’t know what all the laws around it were
E: and we didn’t have any suppliers have any relationships with anyone that made gin or bottles or labels
S: or anyone’s sanity yeah
E: or any customers yeah
S: so we started from just an idea which is where any business first starts so the first step was then just do loads of research the initial research focused on how do you make gin like is this something we can actually do or is it is a like wine where it would take eight years to grow the grapes and cultivate it or whiskey where you want to bowel age it for 15 years that turns out gin isn’t like that. It could be made very quickly it’s what I describe it as a chef in the kitchen he goes out and he buys ingredients and he’s not necessarily growing those ingredients themselves but he’s combining them to make something really special at the end whereas wine a bit more like a farmer where the focus is on is on actually growing the grapes and having a really good taro and all that kind of stuff
E: yeah really good base product yeah
S: Gin is not quite like that which is good for this type of business we’re doing that especially good with the USP that we had
E: well yeah it’s a lot easier entry point from our point of view
S: so there’s a few different ways to make gin with different categories so the simplest one is we call bathtub gin or compound the gin she’s where you get like a neutral spirit such as vodka and you put in it your botanicals and you just kind of leave it to stew overnight or for a few days or a few weeks don’t know what recipe you’ve come up with yeah there’s a few quite popular gins on the market bathtub gin being one of them that follow that that recipe
E: and it makes a nice gin
S: it makes a nice gin, it’s easy to do it does it’s it’s
E: it’s not purist
S: it’s not purist and traditionally they’re often worse quality and I think that’s more to do with the ease of making it than a lot of people assume that because you call this a bathtub gin it’s not gonna be very nice that’s because most of all touch it isn’t very nice because it’s made by somebody doesn’t know what they’re doing. next step up is just distill gin that’s anyone where you take it’s a similar point to get your your base white spirit and then add your botanicals to that but this time you put it in a giant pot you kind of heat it up and it stews as it as it heats up the alcohol which has a lower boiling point of water will evaporate first and then you really condense that water down and you end up with a clear liquid which is your gin at the end at this point is very high percentage so you dilute it down with some pure water. now distilled gin you could also add flavorings after that and that is why a lot of what kind of the bigger name gins do well though it will be called distilled gin but the first process I’ll do really easily and then they’ll get just some cheap flavorings and they add afterwards particularly if you see if you see someone selling a bottle of gin for 20 pounds or 15 pounds they’ve cut corners somewhere and this is often one of the areas. the next step up is the London Dry Gin which is the type of gin that kind of the top craft gin makers are making and the only get between that and distilled gin is you’re not allowed to add anything after you’ve distilled the gin. everything has to be put in, the botanicals into the still so that’s the basics of how you make gin. next question was how do you make it legally yeah which is a very different question because you can’t just make it at home. you need certain licenses there’s a lot of legalities around the duty requirements and paying for the tax is basically on the alcohol. I’ve written a few blog posts on this the first blog post I worked if he just googled Sam Priestley starting a gin brand episode one I outline all the different kind of licenses are stuff that are required so I’ll just run through quickly what we needed here so at the very bottom end which you could do without really any license at all was you could find someone to make you gin for you
E: so professional distiller
S: a professional distiller or anyone who’s got a license already yep buy the gin off them with all the duty paid already so that some that means that you’re basically paying another ten pounds per bottle or eight pound something plus VAT take that and then you can then settle it, send it to a warehouse that has a license to store and sell alcohol and then sell it online and get them to deliver it. that doesn’t need any losses at all. the next step up which is up which is kind of the route we took which is to get a wholesalers license it’s called the alcohol wholesalers registration scheme and that meant that we can then sell to businesses and then we also got a personal licenses personal alcohol licenses which allowed us to sell at markets and to get 10 free events licenses. we still took the step of finding the distiller someone who had a distilling license who could make it for us paying all the duty up front so then we could get the gin but then we can now do wholesaling except the businesses we could sell it on our own website and stuff like that. again we couldn’t sell it directly on my website we couldn’t take it order on the website pick up the gin and put in a box and take it down to the post office we had to find a warehouse company of a film and company who had a premises license and on a type of alcohol license which allowed them to fulfill online orders basically which allowed them to sell gin from that premises so that was kind of the steps we needed and that’s not too complicated we had the alcohol seller’s registration scheme it was free to sign up to they paid us a visit and went for our business plan with us
E: yeah which was very scary at the time but actually going through it was fine
S: it was fine and we were much more prepared then they expected and I’ve got yeah examples of the business plan we used on the website which you can just copy if you want it’s all quite straightforward. they mainly wanted to see that our supply chain was in tact and that we had a we were making sure that every point the correct alcohol duty was being paid and there was no chance to kind of illegal alcohol to be slipped into it
E: yeah so we just did a due diligence document for that which again I’ve got examples of on the website and then with the personal license you had to do go into a test which was like a half-day affair so I think cost 70 or 80 pounds
E: yeah so yeah it was a course like a half-day course with us a PowerPoint and someone explaining the different rules and things that have gone wrong and then there was a multiple-choice test at the end that was all very straightforward
S: And that was it, they each took about a month or two to sort out but that’s alright because it took us a lot longer than we thought it would take to do the whole process yeah as we said we started in September 2017 and we sold our first bottle of gin in June 2018 so we got the legal way we’re gonna do it we had our idea of how we were gonna make it. the next steps were to but because of those legal requirements we needed to find a contract distillery who we could basically give our recipe to and they would then make the gin for us and sort on that side and we also needed warehouses for fulfillment partners who could store it Amazon FBA is an example of that so we had to sign it up to that basically get approved by them to sell alcohol which was a bit of a pain not because it was difficult but because it just took a long time to get through to anyone who had the power to
E: Yeah the backend system of Amazon wasn’t working very well
S: yeah
E: but yeah we needed we needed a warehouse fulfillment option for trade didn’t we
S: we needed it for trade and we needed it for our website yeah so you then contacted as many different fulfilment companies in the country as you could do they have the licenses, what are all their fees yeah
E: how much they were charged to pick a pack how much they would charge storage monthly fees etcetera etcetera
S: yeah and then you did the same thing with the distillers you made lists of as many distilleries in the country as you could find and you contacted all of them yeah again asking you know we had set requirements we wanted to do small batch yeah so we’re looking for under a thousand bottles ago
E: yeah which is quite difficult
S: which is quite difficult and we wanted us like help with recipe formulations so we wanted we didn’t want to just white label a gin they were already selling we wanted to make our own which again was another difficulty. eventually we narrowed it down to a few options, eventually chose one who we went to visit and same with the fulfillment warehouses we narrowed it down to a few eventually found one who we liked the sound of we liked talking to him and they had a good price structure
E: yeah
S: so with creating the recipe what we did we started by doing some compounding of gin ourselves so this is a bit difficult because the you’re not allowed to by law do anything to alcohol that changes its nature changes what it is which is quite a gray area. like does that mean you can’t make cocktails because that changes them if even if you’re doing in your own house for your own consumption. it definitely means you can’t make cocktails and sell them on the street but doesn’t mean you can’t make a punch that you serve at a party so I kind of took that to mean that we could for our own consumption and using kind of all alcohol paid duty paid alcohol and that kind of stuff do some recipe testing ourselves at home which is what we did we tried all the different ideas of flavours that we had until we narrowed it down to a few different flavours which then we went and we spent some time with our distiller trying out these recipes we’d come up with on their bigger equipment and working with him to work out how to change the concept that we kind of done in our kitchen that we could scale and do big batches of yeah that’s something which I’m sure a lot of other distillers could help you with and it was quite it’s quite a fun process as well isn’t it trying different things and yeah we’ve learned a lot about gin in the last year. so now we effectively had the point we had our recipe we had our supply chain pretty much set up the next step was branding. branding is what took us a long time we wanted to work out you know what size bottles we wanted what shape we wanted what was our look and feel of the label, what was the brand name we were gonna have was our website going to look like once, what was the kind of Instagram theme, and all that kind of stuff
E: but more importantly, the main strategy for us at this time was that we wanted the branding to be really strong so that customers who hadn’t tried our gin would be comfortable to purchase our gin online yeah so we wanted to stand out want you to be really clear what the flavors were and what the gin was gonna taste like but we wanted to look good we wanted people to buy our gin because and they wanted to keep it on their shelf and show off to their friends
S: yeah definitely I always thought that it has to look good in the thumbnail. If you’re scrolling through amazon it has to jump out at you, and that’s something that I think we achieved but I think we need to up our game on the photography side a bit. I haven’t spoken to you about this yet but I we should redo our Amazon listings with different photographs. But with our branding we had a few different ideas stuff from which to target one of which was local we thought that it would be a good route for us to sell initially would be would be to local because that would give us another USP we could say to him not only are we flavor without the sweetness but also local when talking to bars and stuff, what was our mass appeal, we wanted it to be easy to understand not use too much terminology obvious what it is online when you’re looking online which we’ve kind of spoken about. we wanted it to be low sugar. We wanted it to be clear that they weren’t gonna get it wasn’t going to be another rhubarb gin that they were given it wasn’t gonna be really sweet syrupy I want to make it obvious what the flavors were. I wanted to make it look unique and we wanted it to be very high-end and high-end was important because we were gonna have to charge quite a lot of money for it because every step in the supply chain cost quite a lot so we’ve already spoken about how much alcohol Duty is that’s already 10 pounds gone then you’ve got to pay for the bottle we’ve gonna pay for the label you’ve got to pay for the actual gin that goes into it you’ve got to get a call you’ve got to get the heat-seal on that you then gotta get the box it goes in you then need to have another box that your groups of six will go in. you’ve then got to pay someone to put that all together you then have to ship that from there to your warehouse then at the warehouse you gotta pay someone to store it there then when you get an order you have to pay them to package it and put a label on it then you’ve got to pay a delivery company to go deliver it and then you’ve got to pay whatever platform you got to sell from with us Amazon or whatever a fee for that. Then you’ve got to pay your payment provider your bank a little fee and whatever you’re selling it for there, and then you have to deal with returns breakages, that kind of thing. when it comes down to it gin, craft gin is expensive for a reason no-one’s really making that much of a margin out of it. it’s just an expensive business and so but the consumer is used to being able to go to Tesco’s and buy a 20-pound bottle of gin generic gin yeah that and we’re basically charging double that yeah very close to double that so you had to look high-end had to look craft. so we did that we spent quite a lot of time thinking about the branding and we tried a few different we called out a few different design agencies who developed gins that we liked the quote we got back were pretty horrendous yeah I don’t remember it was about 60 70 thousand pounds eighty thousand pounds just for the design yeah eventually we went through designing it ourselves and then hiring a professional to kind of like tweak it so we can run the concept and then we hired a professional to turn that concept into into a label and to our logo and to our branding and we found that on 99designs which is a website where you can hire freelance designers and instead of costing us tens of thousand pounds it cost us a few hundred
E: yeah but one of our directors is a graphic designer and she was able to work very closely with this outsourced designer
S: yeah yeah so she took the lead on that she was an art teacher in a previous life and now works with us and we came up with a name. the name took us a while we ended up we narrowed it down to two names one was Wheelbarrow Gin which we thought would conjure up this idea of local flavored we can have like a rustic wheelbarrow with the botanical earth the actual flavors are in the gin growing out of it. had some ideas there and then on the other side we had the name Pipehouse and the pipe house was the first drinking establishment in Tunbridge Wells we quite like the name – Katie or the art teacher it looked right how it was written down and that would be a very different brand that would be very minimalist we our logo would be a house made out of pipes I quite liked it because I like linking imagery to names you want you want kind of a dual reason for them to remember it and if I called it Priestley Gin they have to remember priestly yeah whereas calling it Pipehouse with a picture of a house made out of pipes was quite straightforward and there’s some stuff to do pipes again kind of copper pipes with the you know the still exactly so there was some stuff we could do there. i thought about it I did a poll on the blog we came up basically decided the pipehouse was the way to go. and that’s the brand we still have today, pipehouse gin and it’s available on our website pipehousegin.com or Amazon if you fancy buying some. Our first flavor was earl grey and cucumber we’re just about to launch another one, pink grapefruit and thyme and it did really well. so we spent ages we had to find a company to make our bottles for us we had to find another company to do the labels we then have to make sure the supply chain would work together and that whole process ended up taking quite a long time so we got our first batch our first 250 bottles done in the beginning of June and then in June we had our launch party we had a load of markets that we did we did a big push where we spoke to loads of bars and stuff like that we had did a big press push who invited loads of photographers and local newspaper editors and stuff like that to our launch event and we basically tried to hit the local area with a bit of an explosion and the plan was we would get those initial interest and then we drive them online so they buy online and then that would drive our rankings and our reviews on Amazon which would then lead to kind of national sales. it didn’t quite work out like that. we were behind schedule and we actually had no stock online ready to be bought. we only had the stuff that was in our garage ready to be sold in the markets but didn’t really matter because we sold out pretty quickly. we sold almost 500 bottles 400 and something bottles in that first month.
E: yeah it was amazing
S: pretty amazing yeah
E: Who knew people in Tunbridge Wells liked Gin.
S: yeah and it’s just been going on like that. we’d been doing more markets we’ve been working on new flavors we’ve been working on online we’ve been working on new products other things we can do but that’s kind of it. that’s how you start a brand of gin so let’s go back through it quite briefly there’s all the resources on on my website you go to sam priestley dot com to find out and I blogged about this as we were doing it so you actually get better idea reading that about what the thought process was because we’re looking back now with rose tinted glasses there were loads of issues we ran into and he can see the frustration at some of my post cuz I start off expecting it only take like three months when it actually takes nine months to create, you can see how I was getting a bit antsy but yeah so the process was you know work out how to make gin, come up with a USP you don’t just make it any other type of gin you need to have something different something unique a reason why people will buy it. sort out the legals. on the website i’ve got all the different legal stuff you need and some different options you can take there. once you got an idea of that you can then start looking for partners to work with are you going to be making your own gin at home which you want to sell in which case you need very different, there’s a lot more red tape you need to get through if you’re going to work with a distillery you know start contacting them and talk to local people. think about how you’re going to sell it. Are you just going to be doing markets local to business in which case maybe just using your garage is fine if you’re thinking about online or delivery trade orders yourself then you’re probably going to need some sort of warehouse and fulfillment solution there. and that’s kind of it anything add Emma
E: well i mean there’s just so many different things you can talk about the gin like that from a marketing point of view
S: we talked about quite a bit about marketing on a blog posts there’s one podcast called how to get customers for your business which i recommend listening to we get quite a depth into marketing on that. There’s loads of stuff that went wrong with the gin like we forgot to get boxes to put it in
E: yeah
S: That was one of the things we messed up on and then when we did get boxes our gin didn’t fit in it. like they were rubbing against each other. our first batch of labels went wrong and we had about a third of the gin we couldn’t sell
E: yeah because the labels weren’t loading properly
S: We still have a few bottles that we’ve been serving for gin and tonics or at a slight discount to people who don’t mind about
E: yeah it hasn’t been a complete waste
S: but when we got back with our box we went to pick up all the boxes of gin and took two cars to fill it up we drove it back got to the garage started opening them up getting each bottle out and then I remember the first box we opened all six bottles were like unsellable. I like almost cried.
E: Oh yeah you and Katie did didn’t you
S: I was not happy but we got around there we ended up sorting that out with the labels and now our labels are all fine and you can dip them in water and rub them with a fan and they’re fine we had loads of problems like that. one other problem we had recently is delivering crates of gin to businesses the delivery companies seem to just chuck them around they’re labeled as fragile glass inside and these are quite really premium bottle
E: yeah it’s very thick
S: but yeah we still managed to get bottles broken and if one bottle breaks inside a box or six that’s all the six like unsellable at that point so we’ve been having those issues there’s loads of little things that I it’s always harder than you think it’s gonna be but like none of the problems are ones we can’t solve and we managed to get over all of them and another nice thing about starting a business quite cheaply like our original plan was only spend ten thousand pounds on it, we ended up spending twelve thousand for that first batch and then as that was selling well we spent another four thousand pounds in so bringing investment to 16 thousand you know to basically pay for that gin up front and that meant that we never had that much on the line if we went out and got a loan for a hundred thousand pounds and we’ve gone with a distillery who had a minimum order of five thousand bottles and then a third of those bottles have been unsellable it would have been painful for us because like what do you then? so starting small definitely helped and is definitely something I’d recommend and it wasn’t that difficult of a business if you listen to one of the other episodes is on how to start a coffee shop. as businesses go, the coffee shop was a million times harder in terms of all the stuff that was required to do it.
E: well the nice thing about having a gin business is it’s very social
S: yeah so it’s a fun business
E: meeting the customers whether that’s a b2c or b2b like a bar restaurant it’s an easy conversation it’s fun and it’s quite an easy sell. lots of people like gin and if they don’t like drinking it themselves they’re happy to buy it as a present for someone
S: it’s worth saying we did come up with our our flavor is unique and has done very well at competitions and at blind taste testing in our first yeah we came second in an international competition for best flavor gin in the world which is ridiculous considering we’d only just launched and so we were selling something unique that no one had tried before which is a much easier settle than saying have this London Dry what makes it different? and having to come up the story behind that and you can do say Chapel Down. Chapel Down they are a vineyard they’re so ingenious doing well their storyline is is made by the first cutter their Bacchus grapes because that’s the stuff that they can’t use for the wine they were then distill into a into a vodka basically which they then uses the base for their gin that’s their story but they do a classic london dry and it’s selling well they’re doing really well because of that story behind it. Another company that is using waste for their their base alcohol is kind of the older stuff which farms were going to throw out that they couldn’t sell they’ll take it all distill it up turn it into a pure spirit turned that into gin at the end of it so there is a lot you could do with gin there’s also lots you can do with the flavors Earl Grey and cucumber that’s an unusual flavor you know something other people haven’t done before so there’s a lot you can do or you can do something different you can do a flavored vodka you could do a vodka that is made in quite a similar ways you can do something non-alcoholic something that is quite popular at the moment I think yeah it’s a good business to be doing. I don’t know whether my business is getting better in the idea for them or if we’re just getting better at side businesses because this one is going quite well and I’m pretty pleased with it yeah and all that night I say good night.

#16: Putting The Lazy In Lazy Entrepreneur

I often credit my success to my laziness and fear of the 9-5. But now that I work on businesses I love, we investigate what can be done to get me off the couch and doing something productive.

Resources Mentioned In This Episode Of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast:

Listen to this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast on:

iTunes | Spotify | YouTube | Stitcher

Structure

02:20 – Stereotypes of comp sci vs. soc students
03:03 – Finding motivation in fear
03:45 – The moment Sam decided he wanted to be an entrepreneur
06:57 – Sam’s decision to focus on things he enjoys
10:25 – Sam’s thoughts on how 20-somethings should be spending their time
13:04 – Sam reflects on progress made on 2017 goals
14:38 – Emma reflects on productivity in gin brand vs. working for PWC
16:18 – Differences in routine between Sam and Emma
19:04 – Sam’s 2018 goals
21:51 – How Sam ups the enjoyment of work
26:07 – Discussing mindset changes
27:10 – Sam discusses his difficulty with getting up at a certain time every morning

Transcript

Sam: hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam Priestley and as always we’re joined by my lovely wife, Emma
Emma: hello
S: it’s currently Christmas Eve here at Priestley towers and as normal when it comes to this time of year we’re not doing much work we’re spending a lot of time eating and drinking getting ready for family to arrive and I spend a lot of time thinking about how the year has gone thinking about what I want to change in the year to come and inevitably thinking about my flaws. I’ve quite a few flaws but perhaps the biggest one and sort of the reason this podcast is named what it is is that I am naturally just incredibly lazy. that’s why it’s the lazy entrepreneur and the other reason is called lazy entrepreneur is I credit a lot of my early success to being lazy and that fear of having to get a real job, fear of not having control over my own time, I’m never particularly motivated by money I was more motivated by not wanting to get up in the morning not wanting to work for someone else. wanting to like lie bed and play video games. I was pretty bad a school I didn’t do very well because just the whole being there 9-5 didn’t sit very well to me I missed a lot of school because well I’d wake up in the morning feeling ill and dreading the day and then getting a few days off university was great for me because there was no attendance requirements at our University and I was able to skip as much as I wanted provided when it came to the exam time I sort put in that that that final bit of work
E: and that worked very well for you
S: yeah that worked will for me. did your friends talk about the fear like just before coursework deadlines is due in and people haven’t started doing the coursework
E: yeah absolutely yeah I mean me and my close friends are very much the kind of people that would do a bit of work all the time because we’re very motivated
S: yeah of course you are
E: I would say that was a bit of a stereotype for my course because I did sociology so it’s kind of little and often whereas I’d say the stereotype of computer science students like yourself is very much waiting to the deadline to make you a bit of a kick up the ass and do some work
S: yeah well yeah probably agree with that. It’s strange isn’t it like what is it about that the pressure of the deadlines like why do we not feel the pressure when the deadline is not there I mean you obviously do, you do a little often or is it other people will happily not even think about the coursework till it’s due in in like 12 hours time and still get all the coursework in it’s not like I’d end up not doing it it was just that there was something about needing that fear to kind of motivate me
E: well I think it’s good they could didn’t have anyone checking up on you saying how’s your coursework getting on can I see 50% of it if it’s different for a dissertation but for all other types of work at university you kind of were it was your own responsibility to get it done in your own time
S: so you’re saying if they expected you to be responsible adults and I wasn’t and I’m still not
E: or that they gave you the responsibility to choose how you got the work done
S: yeah I remember the the moment I decided that I was going to be an entrepreneur I was filling in graduate application forms for banks in London. I don’t know why I was choosing banks and each bank even though they all know you’re applying to 20 30 40 of them it’s a numbers game you just apply to loads of them they would always like get you to write 200 words about why you’ve chosen them in particular or what it is about their firm you really and you have these huge huge forms to fill out and I just couldn’t face it and more than I couldn’t face the idea that that would be real life that kind of waiting the fear of the deadline doesn’t work in real life you can’t just cruise by and hope things last minute in the real world you’ve got a got a show up you got to turn up and you’re gonna you got to work and so l shut my laptop and thus decided I was gonna find some other way to do it. luckily I had a way to make money at the time it wasn’t a good one but I determined to push it as much as I could which was matched betting and I’ve done podcasts on that and that worked really well for me so that that fear then got me working much harder than I would have done if I’ve been working normal job I reckon. it’s like that’s it’s like that just before the deadline of course work where these lazy people who spent the last month not doing anything will be working pulling 12 hours 14 hours all-nighters to get the work done they end up working really really hard they extend that over this constant background fear of having to get a job having to it’s something about getting up in the morning I I really rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not a morning person and the world is not set up for evening people for night people and that worked really well and particularly because while I was doing matched betting and then the gambling and stuff like that I always kind of assumed it was gonna fall apart and it wasn’t gonna work out so even though I started earning quite good money I still had that fear in the back of my mind motivating me to start new things try harder to build up as much savings as possible so I just assumed at some point it would all fall apart and I’d have to get a job and I really didn’t want that but that changed as things do as the years went by and I built up more savings and I started building multiple income streams and had other stuff going on, that fear started to lessen and the unproductivity of the laziness sort of crept back. in 2014 I made quite a big decision which was to quit my businesses that were earning me a lot of money and just focus on on the stuff that I enjoyed so that was writing a blog playing table tennis then it was making gin now it’s doing this podcast. people like at the time were very keen on saying stuff like follow your passion do stuff that you enjoy and you’ll never work a day in your life. that was kind of my thought, well I made a bit money but I still wanted to be doing productive stuff you know the view that I was very into self-improvement becoming a better person but I thought don’t get fussed about the money let’s just focus on actually that’s more fulfilling and it’s something I actually enjoy doing the problem is is that when people say follow your passion they assume you’re like an artist who’s happy this who’s who ideal day is so from today canvas working all day on that well actually my passion is probably eating pizza and playing video games on the sofa. I enjoyed in the blog I enjoy making gin I enjoy I really enjoy doing this podcasts and talking about whatever is I’m thinking of but like I will normally just take the easiest route through things which is often not doing very much I’m not very happy lying on the sofa watching TV
E: I mean that hasn’t been the case for all of your businesses
S: hasn’t been the case for everything but it
E: I would say the Rand in particular
S: that was a lot of work oh yeah I think there was a time that was kind of still at that kind of fear level where I was doing a hundred and one things at the same time
E: yeah specifically on the set up there was less things for you to do all the time
S: the Rand is a coffee shop I started in 2013 maybe yeah yeah I mean this is just a problem I come to every year and I try and like change something about my life. what can I do to make myself a bit more productive to be a bit less lazy and get more done and it kind of changes my my solution I think it evolves overtime I’ll try something that worked for a while then it’ll stop working and I’ll try something else. I suppose what I should really mention though is what is wrong with being lazy what is wrong with just spending all day lying on the sofa eating pizza and watching watching films
E: well I guess to most people it depends how often you’re doing it yeah I feel very well to spend Saturday and Sunday that’s the norm to be chilling out whether that’s spending time socializing or whether that’s being on your own and recharging that’s kind of seen as normal but actually in our lives we’d work on the weekends as well so there has to be some leisure or downtime but I guess people would would judge you spending weeks on end on the sofa
S: yeah you’d judge me too I’d judge myself and I think that’s part of it it’s the guilt of not doing anything productive. when we stop being digital nomads and started traveling full time one of the reasons was that I didn’t feel like twenty something year olds should be just having fun all the time I should be trying to build something trying to create something and when I look at my life objectively that is what I want I say I want to be competitive, I want to achieve things I want to create things I want to I want to develop myself personally I want to change the person I am and grow long term but if you ask me what I want to do right now it would often be I quite fancy getting a pizza and watching some Netflix
E: I think another element to it is that the side of being an entrepreneur that you one of the things you enjoy is the coming up with lots of new ideas and the strategy and actually that requires a lot of thinking time
S: yeah
E: and I think you underestimate how much when you’re lying on the sofa eating pizza you are also thinking about how to improve your businesses new businesses new ideas
S: yeah thats true I do a monthly blog post where I write about how the month has gone before I want the metrics I track is how many hours I’ve worked and I do that as a percentage of what a normal person would have worked so against like a 40 or 50 hour working week but that doesn’t include kind of downtime thinking time that doesn’t include other productive stuff which I have got better at like jiu-jitsu. I spend a lot of time on that a week it doesn’t include the other kind of productive stuff which I’d include like socializing and keeping up with friends things like that so there is more to it than that and I’m not saying I’m terrible like I am I am good at each year I get better at some things and worse others but also it’s part of it is changing the kind of carrot and sticks that I am giving myself
E: what does good like for you at that that point in time
S: yeah yeah and part of it is it’s changing my goals maybe I achieved something and like so one point I look to my kind of on my blog I was reading one blog post on one page in it and it gave my what I wanted to achieve for the next year this was written somewhere mid 2017 I think and it was launch a gin brand done help you launch your supper clubs done yeah it was a do Jiu Jitsu regularly three or four times a week done and there’s only one other one which I’ve actually forgot what it was now but I’d actually achieved most of them
E: that’s really good
S: and like is not it’s not to say that I don’t produce a lot I think most people when they look at my output of what I’m producing so I want to wrote a blog post on laziness about three years ago and I kind of got two reactions either people being like I totally get it or people being like what you’re talking about you work really hard you run like six businesses what are you talking about
E: They’re polarizing
S: and just and like you’re not seeing the day to day and I do often look back and think you know what could I have achieved if I was what if I was being as productive as I am but working the same number of hours as anyone else as people doing a normal job
E: yeah I think that a lot as well particularly with the gin because it’s been so successfully locally a lot of people ask us is this your full-time job and I find that a really difficult question to answer because in comparison to my job at PWC absolutely not it’s not full time because I spend a fraction of the hours on the gin that I do that I did working at PWC but it’s you’re looking at it completely differently it’s like the productivity of PWC is not the same as having your own gin brand yeah and therefore how do you measure that is it just purely on hours you’ve spent or is it what you’re producing yeah or is it the service or the product you’re producing and that’s very difficult to measure
S: it is difficult to measure and I think I for a while I thought that that was kind of an inverse correlation, the harder you worked the less you could produce per hour like I only have so much energy for kind of hard work and creativeness and that can only be limited to a few hours per day yeah but I do believe that but I also believe that with practice you can you can increase that and that actually if you are putting quite a lot of hours you will you will increase your energy levels for that type of work well
E: yeah and I’ll say something that you haven’t been doing very much in Tunbridge Wells but you kind of taught me when we were being digital nomads and traveling is when you get in the zone you just go with the flow when you keep working
S: yeah yeah
E: you don’t do that very much now because we’re in a bit more of a routine because I call it your golden hour really is kind of midnight onwards yeah whereas our life you need to sleep so that you can get up and and be productive in the morning
S: Yeah or get up and lie in in the morning
E: We’ve usually got something on in the morning even if it is 11:00
S: yeah well one of the things about being married is having two different so you’re very routine orientated whereas I function best without a routine and kind of embracing whatever mood I’m in
E: yeah so one day you can wake up being like well I need to chill today I just can’t do any work and the next day you could work for two days straight
S: yeah I think looking back it’s not what I think about what I could have achieved if I’ve been working as hard as everyone else I don’t think about how much money I can make I think about the personal development that I’ve kind of missed out on
E: that’s really interesting I don’t think most people would think like that
S: no I think a lot people don’t really believe in personal development they believe you are who you are and you can’t change that yeah whereas I can look at myself and I say well I’d like to be more extroverted and that’s something I’d used to work on and then for some reason stopped or what I still do a bit but it used to be a real focus of mine it might be little worth listening to another episode of this podcast we did recently called about the comfort zone and getting out your comfort zone because there’s a few crossovers here. I was talking about personal development and how to like push and grow yourself in these areas. It is something I believe in a lot and a lot of a lot of what I want to do is build myself, make myself a better person, and I think I do achieve that but I could have achieved so much more that’s part of it. I’m not trying to be I’m not trying to be down I’m not trying to be depressing it’s just isn’t the time of year and let’s not get wrong like a lot has been achieved in the last year as I said all those targets that were set have been done but you know we’re talking about growth we’re talking about improvement what can we improve going forward
E: when did you set those targets we moved it
S: I’m not sure when I wrote it was just on my about me page on the blog here’s what I’m up to and what I’d like to achieve in the next year but I haven’t dated it because
E: something I wanted to ask you is have you reviewed your new year’s resolutions post
S: I have yeah, the problem with that one is I didn’t really set any good goals so I set goals but they’re quite wishy-washy
E: what do you mean by wishy-washy goals
S: well they weren’t what I can say I have achieved this I haven’t achieved this
E: well were they to spend more time developing certain skills
S: here we go 2018 goals sell lots of gin write more blog posts do more jujitsu yes I have achieved that
E: well that must make you feel good
S: right yeah well what does lots of gin mean, what are more blog posts and what does more jujitsu I mean I have done that, I wrote more blog posts in 2018 than 2017, I wrote more blog posts and did more jits in 2018 than 2017 and sold more gin in 2018 than 2018
E: Not sure the gin counts as we launched in 2018.
S: So here we go look New Years Resolution: start selling gin to the public, done. Train 5 hours per week of brazilian jiu jitsu, launch a table tennis business in India. do a new challenge to improve my managerial skills, haven’t done. cut down on the amount TV i watch or video games I play, haven’t done. get back on track with my investments, have done
E: so that’s quite good, they’re quite varied as well varied
S: and you can tell I was thinking about similar things last year this year we’re back to that TV and video games
E: and self-development yeah more self development stuff managerial which is something I’ve spoken about in previous podcast episodes alright let’s get back on track let’s go to this idea of carrot and stick so carrot being basically tempt yourself to be more productive by giving yourself good things like rewards and the stick kind of like beating yourself to do it so I have been historically really pushing the carrot side of it so one big thing I did was i minimized the friction around work that means as little commuting as possible and I don’t just mean with work it was the same with jujitsu where we were travelling I would often look for accommodation that was near a gym so I knew that if it wasn’t really walking distance where it was easy to get to I just wouldn’t go
E: yeah which sacrificed my my exercise which was yoga tended to be we were very close Jitsu and I had to travel very far for yoga
S: yeah but you like traveling yeah so feel like doing this podcast is another example of that where I was struggling to write as many blog posts I wanted because they all take quite a long time whereas with this podcast I could just write a few ideas down and then record it
E: and it’s interesting because you did also try this year using a dictaphone and trying to record you talking into it but you didn’t get on that well with it so actually you’ve just tried another thing which is the podcast
S: yeah the first set of podcast was a lot harder which was just me talking and having you here makes it a lot easier a lot better I also try to up the enjoyment of work itself and one of them is quitting businesses I didn’t really like and focusing on ones that I do like yeah another one is by getting rid of all the stuff that I didn’t like doing answering emails ignoring loads of certain jobs not bothering with phone calls not redoing cold calling or anything like that so I purposely kind of even though it would have made the business better I just purposely just got rid of them yeah cuz I knew I’d do more hours overall even if I was ignoring some easy kind of money that was there for to taking there’s a lot of examples like this but my kind of point is that the carrot has been eaten from the carrot and the stick like that’s that part done yeah I need to now have a look at the other side and actually start doing the doing a stick a bit more and I think my goal for 2019 when it comes to this is kind of twofold so there’s one technique that I know works quite well so I know I’m quite lazy but I also know I’m competitive I don’t let people see me fail and I also don’t like letting people down so for me setting challenges I’ve told everyone about gives me kind of no choice but to do them because I have these two pressures on me the kind of override the laziness example of that was the expert in a year challenge where I spent every day playing table tennis one of the most unlazy things I have ever done in my life but it works and I did it so such challenges is one thing and I’ve got a few challenges lined up about that some to do with jujitsu there’s also ones about this podcasts where I’m trying to do two podcasts two episodes a week which is such a high goal even if I don’t achieve it I’m still producing a lot of podcasts but then the other side of it is an idea that I’ve becoming more and more kind of attached to which is instead of setting exact challenges I’m quite logical so I like to set a target and then a path to get there so an example would be I want to become more extroverted okay my way gating there could be I will go to a pub every week and try and talk to three strangers it’s all set like very achievable goals along the path that I feel like would get me to go instead what I’m thinking now is trying to change my mindset itself and one of those is just to try and embrace hardship a bit more and look a hardship look at look at the stuff I don’t particularly want to do as as a step on the path to self-improvement as instead of just being a chore so I don’t know really if you’ve noticed but I’ve been a getting us out the house a lot more doing a lot more social
E: yes definitely
S: going to so it used to be that one of the requirements for going out for dinner with me was it had to be walking distance yes kind of an unsaid requirements
E: I would say it was said quite a lot
S: but where you’d say do you fancy going here and I’d say where is it and you’d say it’s about 20 minutes well I’ll be trying to say a lot more yes to things like that I’ve been I even I organized some social stuff this week. two things this week two more than the last six months they’re just kind of seeing these things as part of that self improvement process so having a mindset change that saying I suppose it’s part of it saying yes to things where part of it is purposely taking the hard road because I think it will benefit me in the long run the problem with having a mindset change is if you just think about it once it goes and that’s why often setting set targets of goals works well but but if you meditate on that mindset change or in my case my version is think about it a lot this is this isn’t just something I’ve come up with today and like with most new year’s resolutions and any comment or something never think about them again this is something I’ve been thinking about and slowly trying to change my mindset and I know it’s a long road but I’m also okay with that. I’m okay with thinking about the type of person I will be in ten years time if I can live in a certain way if I can change my mindset a bit now that’s not to say that that is easy and I’m successful. one thing that I’ve never been able to do is is get up at a certain time in the morning have like an alarm it just doesn’t what I just don’t have especially in the morning where I’m at my weakest willpower it doesn’t work and I’ve tried it before so I’ll get up at this time every day but you know it’s all about little steps and I heading in that right direction and I think this is something that I had almost consciously decided I wasn’t going to do I consciously decided that I’m lazy I want a comfortable life I’m gonna make my life as comfortable as possible which means avoiding hardship so I think now I’m trying to have like a like a direction change on that. there is a little contradiction going on here so one hand with the carrot I’m talking about removing hardship from work stuff I don’t like doing so that encourages me to do more hours and on the other hand I’m saying try and embrace hardship in order to improve myself as a person and I get that there is a contradiction and that’s a balance that I need to work out and I need to spend you know just experiment with and get right so that’s not to mean I’m gonna change the podcast title is not going to change I’m gonna call myself now the hard-working entrepreneur or anything like that and I even compared to the still see on my monthly reports I’ll probably well below I’m not gonna be hitting I’m not going to be doing more hours that most people working 9:00 to 5:00 hopefully in 2019 what we’ll see is me getting slightly more productive doing slightly more hours and hopefully growing as a person along with it
E: sounds good
S: alright well on that note we’ll probably going to go off and have some mulled wine now have a very Merry Christmas and if your list is this in 2019 hopefully you’ll be seeing some changes some improvements until then goodbye