2015 Annual Review

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This is my second year in review. You can read the first one here. It’s been such a crazy year that I haven’t really had much time to just reflect so I’ve been looking forward to sitting down with a nice cup of coffee and writing away.

What Went Well

Ecommerce — It feels like all I did in 2015 was eCommerce. I was certainly very focused on the eCommerce business (Amazon and Shopify) and growing that as much as humanly possible. It’s a business that I started in October 2014 and I’m happy to say that annual revenue is over 7 figures (my first million dollar business too :-).

The Team — As the business has expanded, I have hired full time employees this year in the US, UK, India, Philippines and Australia, and contractors in even more countries. This has been both challenging and rewarding at the same time.

Reading — I read 100+ books last year when I was more about automation last year and had more time on my hands. This year I managed to complete around 72. I read a lot more classic direct marketing books from the likes of Ben Suarez and Joe Sugarman (all highly recommended) as well as some modern ones.

Travel — Thanks to the Ecommerce biz, I got to jet around the world in style with my girlfriend and stay in 5 star hotels, expensing everything to the company.

Friends — I wasn’t exactly out looking for meaningful new friendships but I made some close friends during 2015 and I’m truly grateful for finding them.

Mastermind — A friend and myself organized a European mastermind in Barcelona at a villa near the sea. That was a lot of fun and something that I would like to do more of in 2016.

 

What Didn’t Go Well

Stress — Part of having a fast growing business is that there will inevitably be stresses along the way and unfortunately I got a lot of that in 2015. Unlike a pure digital business, there are a lot more moving pieces that you have to deal with including supplier relationships, manufacturing lead times, forecasting demand correctly, import customs, product quality issues, delivery issues, Amazon issues (probably the worst of the bunch. I could write a whole essay on Amazon issues alone and probably will in a separate blog post eventually), building a team quickly from scratch.

Fitness — With the increased stress, I dramatically reduced the amount of time I spent at the gym. It should have been the opposite but that didn’t happen so.

Time Wasting — To take my mind off things, I like to play games like Clash of Clans. However, I got a bit carried away and I’m now a very active co-leader of a clan which wars practically every day. Add to that the endless series which I binge watch (I’m subscribed to Prime, HBO, and Netflix).

 

Plans for 2016 and Beyond

Ecommerce

The focus this year will be to grow our Shopify business alone to 7 figures.

I can list a million reasons why nobody should be dependent on Amazon and I’ll probably write about it in another post but an additional reason I recently found out is that Amazon buyers are quite loyal to… Amazon. I spent most of the year building an email list of buyers that purchase on Amazon only to find out when launching promotions on our Shopify store that they convert terribly compared to people that already purchased on our Shopify stores.

So this year we’re going to direct a lot more of our advertising spend to get sales on Shopify rather than on Amazon. It costs a little bit more to get the conversion but these customers are worth a lot more because a transaction has taken place on our platform rather than Amazon and thereby some trust is granted to us just as long as we at least deliver something. Of course, we always try to exceed expectations so when we launch new products to Shopify purchasers, we get really good conversion rates and very high repeat purchase rate.

Digital Products and Mastermind

With the peak holiday selling season subsiding, I would like to start creating digital courses again. I was meaning to do them last year but never got the chance to.

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