Expansion week | international listings & advertising campaigns.

With the full selection of products online on Amazon, my next task is to expand those offers across all the countries that Amazon reaches. Yes, postage costs a fortune – but in hard to reach areas, I figure that people are used to paying the postage. After assessing the demand, I can look at how to ship to warehouses around the world to reduce those costs.

The first things I’m doing, locally, is tripling my advertising spend. My current aCos is 2% – I can afford to increase the aCos to 40% and make less profit per sale if it gets me enough sales. I will monitor it for a week, and see where the aCos is at: then I will either increase or decrease again.

Then I’m creating listings for all the new markets. Sadly the inventory uploader file is different for every country, Amazon aren’t known for making things easy. I’m starting with UAE as its a fairly new market – then USA, then Canada, then Australia, Finally, Italy, France, Spain and Germany. I need a German Tax ID to sell on Amazon Germany, so that’s going to be a bother – and soon, Amazon will be requiring French Tax IDs, too.

My final targets will be Japan and Mexico. Even I’m not cheeky enough to try offering Chinese products back to the Chinese market at a UK price… although maybe I should?

Monitoring the progress of each country is going to take time, to make sure each remains profitable, however once in place & working, the international aspect will provide another income stream.

Total exhaustion: the perils of over-committing.

I reached the point of exhaustion today. I spent 5 hours creating a forecasting report, 18 hours making trophies and 20 hours writing product descriptions, packing and mailing. Took the car in for service, made two post office visits on foot, set up a new insurance policy and…

Dead.
Absolutely dead.

What’s even more depressing is none of this is work with short-term gains. It’s stuff I won’t see results from for months.

I may not be a doctor, or anywhere near the stress of a doctor, but stress levels are high & and it’s a sign to slow down a bit.

A good sleep, and a slower day tomorrow as reward.

Lea Marston Shooting Club, Sutton Coldfield

There’s a world of things out there that I’ve fancied trying out, but never got around to doing. This weekend, I went Clay Pigeon shooting at Lea Marston Shooting Club, a National Lottery Funded club on the outskirts of the West Midlands. Set on 100 acres, there’s a range of activities to try here including quad-biking, archery and ar rifle. The winner of the “2019 best Bangladeshi Restaurant in Birmingham” , The Pavaillion, is also set on the grounds, along with a club house serving more traditional fare (& alcoholic beverages, but only available after you’ve done your thing).

I booked the clay pigeon shooting as part of a Groupon deal, which I’d originally got for a friend’s birthday back in September. We left it until the very last day of its validity due to life getting in the way, but despite below zero temperatures and the early mornng start, we made it to the club in time. A very brief briefing, we hit the range (and some clay pigeons).

We’d been going to our local shooting club for air rifle shooting since the autumn, but I found clay pigeon way more fun. I think a combination of being outdoors with the friendly atmosphere of the club, plus a moving target, made it all the more interesting for me. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and I recommend anyone who can check it out.

That’s one New Year’s Goal down – now back to work again!

A year of Hollyoaks in two weeks

I’ve just successfully completed a year catch up of Hollyoaks in a two week period – all of 2019 in a giantic binge. It’s become a lot more circular lately, storylines last long past their sell-by date, and the villagers are just diving into and out of relationships with each other.

Here’s a 2019 recap of those we lost along the way.

Mac dies after being poisoned by Breda. As this is the second time we’ve taken Mac for dead, it’s no surprise that James looks into the bodybag this time to make he really was dead. James being one of my favourite characters, it’s been a joy seeing Romeo take after his father. Tom turning into a worrywart killjoy – not so much.

Louis Loveday got killed by Breda. Harry got killed by Breda. That was just a strange storyline. I didn’t feel any great sympathy for either death, despite having had the guys in my life for a very long time. Tony got attacked by Breda after he realises she’s the serial killer and she keeps him held hostage at her pigfarm – the same way she did with Louis.

Lily’s death shook me, and I cried s. The love triangle between her, Romeo and Price was immature but it was enthralling. One of the most tragic and worthless deaths, which echoed a friend I lost after GCSEs before going on to A’Levels. Perry gets accepted into university and Tom uses his money to set up a summer camp called “Tom’s Turtles”.

Ste goes far right, except it’s the most stereotypical and ill-researched portrayal of the far right ever. Peri, Tom and Harley have a thruple relationship that lasts for about a month and ends with Harley leaving the town.

After harrassing Sienna, Laurie rapes Sinead and attempts to rape Diane. He escapes jail after Finn attacks him in a prison van causing it to crash, finds Sinead at a festival, but dies from head injuries sustained in the crash whilst attacking her.

My favourite romance has been Brook & Ollie. Not a lot of interest in Transvestite Scott / Loveday Ever-Exapnding Family / McQueen & Black Family Feuds / Maalik drama drudgery. A completely underwhelming terrorist bombing – Dave going to jail for it was comedy gold. Maxine’s Munchausen’s (or Munchkin disease as Goldy put it) was quite fun. Cindy & Darren & Nancy & Sienna as integral as ever. James & Liam’s relationship, just about perfect – why can’t the bad guys live forever?

With Warren Fox making (yet another return) along with John Paul & Finn, things could get interesting again. The final episode of the year, on New Years Eve, contained flashfowards that seem to suggest the kids get involved in drug dealing – even Ollie’s considering it. He’s sobbing in a toilet about how much he misses an unidentified “he”… and whilst rumours abound about it being Luke that dies (Luke is dying after all), or him losing the baby, I reckon he may be cut up about Imran

Let’s take our bets on who’ll kick the bucket in 2020, now!

Website week | Building an affiliate website

This week I am going to step back from Amazon FBA and focus on building an affiliate website. It’s one that’s been up my sleeves for a long time, but I’ve never dedicated the time or resources to it. This will be my second income stream throughout the 2020s.

I’ve not even decided which operating system to use yet, or how to program it, or where to host it. Amazon AWS is tempting, but that in itself is a minefield of new technology to learn. Realistically, this will take me a month to build well, but I’m giving myself a week to prototype it.

My second income stream

Once this website is created, it will provide a second income stream for me. I may need to do some marketing activities to get Google to recognise it, but that will come in later weeks once the content is fully developed and ready to go. Ideally I will be in a position to do that by the end of February, and may dedicate a week to marketing at that point.

Forget #GamerGate – What Girls Played in the 1990s.

I’ve been playing board games a lot more than video games lately. However, someone started discussing their “top games of all time” – and I could only really think of ten. These were games that took up hours of my life back in the day (and by “back in the day” I mean in the 1990s or early 2000s, although Guitar Hero may have clocked in later).

The ten video games I wasted my life on

1. Micro Machines
2. Final Fantasy Tactics
3. Heroes of Might & Magic
4. Bubble Bobble
5. Mario Kart
6. Lemmings
7. Guitar Hero
8. MechCommander
9. Command & Conquer
10. Duke Nuke ‘Em

I also really enjoyed the Theme Hospital and Theme Park series of games when they were released. I’ve played demos of other games recently but never really got into them. I’ve retired to board games in my old age, and that’s mainly what I’ll be talking about further in the section – but never doubt that the mothers out there spent their own countless hours on a console before you were born.

Intermittent Fasting – My Trials and Tribulations

intermittent fasting

I qute enjoy using intermittent fasting as a method of weight loss. I get super focused and have a huge energy boost after 24 hours, but always start to feel hungry around the 40 hour mark. I’ve tried IF a few times, along with alternate day fasting. It’s not the most successful diet plan I’ve ever followed, but it does get results.

Today, I find myself in the middle of an unintentional fast after an upset stomach. I’m on 36 hours now, and there’s no real shift in weight. Historically my weight has been:

20165th December10st9
201713th February10st5
20179th April10st2
201721st May10st
20179th October10st2
201710th December10st9
201819th January10st4
20192nd January10st6
201913th December11st
202011th January10st11

Quite the rollercoaster. Indeed, the only plan that’s ever really worked for me in the Amelia Freer plan, but without hours to spend in the kitchen, it simply isn’t doable.

This year, my aim is to drop 20lbs, but whilst I’m surviving off takeaways, I’m not sure how it will work. I love pasta, I love cheese, and I generally love any food that isn’t good for me. I’ll start to exercise a bit more again, but not until February – starting in January is setting yourself up to fail.

I have a couple of companies who are supplying me with their products to try out. I’m a willing guinea pig – if you have the miracle weight loss product or supplement, hit me up, I’ll write about it! For now, though, I’m ordering pizza.

Here’s to good health in 2020…

Habit stacking 2020

One big discipline I’m trying to adhere to in 2020 is habit stacking.

  • If I sit at the computer – I go straight to Twitter & Gmail. I add Amazon Seller Central onto the habit.
  • When I go and see Mom, I stop off at the supermarket on the way home & pick up end of day bargains.
  • If I take my last sleeping pill, I turn off my computer.
  • If I get an appointment, I schedule a verbal reminder with Alexa.

It’s one acton that follows another action, and you stack them together until a pattern emerges.

There’ll be more habit stacks built throughout the year,but these are the ones I’m starting with, and so far, so good.

Kombucha for Red Bull

Kombucha from Kevita and No.1 Living

I’ve been a Red Bull addict for over 25 years. I regularly consume 8 cans a day, without too many ill effects, apart from the fact that I rarely sleep. I can’t see me ever completely giving up the Red Bull, it’s my only source of caffiene, but doctors, nurses and friends alike have asked me to cut down – and so this year I am swapping out some of my regular Red Bull Sugar Free for Kombucha.

I hate tea. I detest the smell and the taste more than anything else in the world, it turns my stomach like nothing else can. Therefore, I was reluctant to try Kombucha. However, upon seeing a tumeric and ginger infused version by No.1 Living, I was intrigued. And what do you know, I quite like the drink.

My favourite so far is Kevita Master Brew (sadly made by the Pepsi Company as oppopsed to any small organic farm). Ginger and Wild Cherry are amazing. I also like No.1 Living’s flavouts but it lacks the carbonated kick I need from a drink. What worries me is that there is so much sugar in all the versions – maybe Red Bull Sugar Free is the better option? But my doctor tells me it doesn’t hydrate me properly, so I’ll try swapping out for a while.

I’ve already learned that I can’t treat Kombucha like I treat my Red Bull and cane down numerous bottles a day. However, it makes a nice alternative and I’m hoping to slowly introduce more drinks into the range – or maybe make Kombucha of my own.

Clearout Week | Boxing, Labelling & Bubble Wrap

boxes

This week’s focus will be on selling as much stuff as possible from around the house. It’s a general clear out of things that are no longer needed, things that are no longer used and things that are past their sell-by date. There’ll be lots of visits to the tip, and lots of visits from UPS to send things to the Amazon warehouse. I’m even aiming to clear the garage which will be a bit of a nightmare.

At the end of the day though, everything that is junk to me remains sellable to others. Most of it is boxed and new, and now the listings on FBA have been completed, I can send them to Amazon for fulfilment.

Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.

Steve Jobs, Stanford University Commencement Address, 2005

However, unlike Steve’s vision, once everything is gone, it’s time to get everything back again from storage. Whether that will be accomplished this week, I’m uncertain, but I’m hoping to be a lot closer at the end.