It’s time for a quick recap of February!
It feels so good to be back home in Manila. After living in several places in South East Asia for the past 6 years, it certainly feels weird to be so attached to a place.
But here I am, calling this place Home.
Since I have my habits completely set, it’s a lot easier to focus on work. I don’t have much else to worry about.
And boy do I need the brain-time available with all that’s going on with my online businesses.
It’s been a stressful month. And definitely not the last one.
Here’s what happened in February
As I was saying, I’m back in Manila since the end of January.
I barely have any social life at the moment because I’m trying really hard to make this whole ecommerce thing work for me.
Focusing exclusively on work can take a toll on you, but being in Thailand in January allowed me to recharge my batteries to face these challenging times.
What I’ve been focusing on
100% of my time has been dedicated to ecommerce with Shopify, from the moment I wake up, till the moment I go to sleep because I can’t stare at my screen anymore.
I’ve had to take hard decisions when it comes to my other projects…
Software as a Service & Viral Sites
I’m throwing in the towel for my Software project.
Nothing went as planned from the moment I started working on this. It was supposed to be a software primarily used by one of my friends to run his affiliate campaigns, but he completely dropped the ball on this one.
I never planned to spend time or money advertising this piece of software so it’s better to pull the plug before I waste any more time and money on this.
Another project is going down: my viral sites.
For almost a year, this project has been on complete autopilot. I stopped adding new content to the sites and I set them to recycle old content once in a while to keep the homepage and newsletter looking fresh.
Earnings were small, but they required zero work. Who doesn’t like free money?
However, recently my revenue from advertising on these sites starting going down.
I’m at a point where the advertising revenue doesn’t cover the costs to run the project.
Since I don’t want to spend any other minute working on that project, I also pulled the plug on it.
Shutting down these projects has a major upside: removing clutter from my mind.
When you keep small side projects like this on your mind, it’s using some of your brain time for very little return.
It’s a lot more productive to kill these projects to focus on a project that really matters to me right now: ecommerce.
Ecom, here I come
So, let’s talk about my most important project at the moment.
When you scroll down, you will see that I lost over $6,000 on this project in February.
Obviously, I would prefer making money, but this loss wasn’t actually a loss.
While doing my research and running some small test campaigns, I found a product that wasn’t doing so bad.
Clearly not a winner, but definitely not a loser either.
So instead of killing it to keep searching for my first big winner, I decided to keep running this product at a loss.
It allowed me to do a few things.
First, it gave me some insight into how to build my advertising campaigns on Facebook.
I’m still looking for a clear cut system that I could easily replicate with an employee, but I’m getting there.
Secondly, it allowed me to work on my on-site factors.
I took all the steps from the customer adding a product to the cart, to visiting the cart page, to initiating the checkout, to completing the purchase.
I sliced down this funnel into clear steps and worked on them one by one to improve my site conversion rate.
My thinking is simple: to double your sales, you can either double your traffic, or you can double your conversion rate.
Doubling the traffic will technically double the cost.
Doubling the conversion rate is free.
So I focused on improving my conversion rate, and soon enough I went from 0.5% purchase to 6+% purchase.
What about the money?
Here is a breakdown of the money flow for my various projects.
To make this report easier to understand, I’m using a simple color code: green numbers are positive, red numbers are negative.
Please keep in mind that these figures may not be 100% accurate due to various factors such as refund requests and network adjustments. The terms for each payment may also vary. As a result these numbers may differ from the actual payments issued and received.
|Niche Sites||$1,148.71||▼ $609.37|
|Viral Sites||$15.28||▼ $11.22|
|Facebook Ads||-$13,024.63||▼ $9,752.59|
|Cost of Goods||-$3,386.51||▼ $2,987.03|
|Stripe Fees||-$280.40||▼ $205.41|
|Shopify Apps||-$83.98||▲ $137.76|
One thing I clearly underestimated this past month was the fees associated with an ecommerce business.
When running an ecommerce store, you have to pay fees for a lot of things… PayPal fees, Stripe fees, Shopify Fees, App Fees…
In February, all these fees accounted for $1,371.73 which is 7.71% of my expenses for the ecommerce project (that’s HUGE).
I’m going to keep a better track of these fees next month so I can anticipate my exact costs and adjust my advertising campaigns.
The most important take away from this graph is how different ecommerce is from SEO and blogging.
There’s a lot more money moving around, and it’s important to keep an eye on your expenses if you don’t want them to get out of control.
When I first started working online, I was doing affiliate marketing with paid traffic, so it’s refreshing to have data very fast to work with, as opposed to SEO where you have to wait months to see the results of your hard work.
What’s happening next?
I have yet to decided exactly what I’m going to do in March.
Obviously, I will still focus heavily on my ecommerce project, but I need to decide which aspect in particular I will spend my time on.
I’m going to be more conservative with my spending because I can’t keep wasting that much money every month or I’ll go broke.
One aspect that is interesting to me is finding out if there is a tipping point where an economy of scale can turn a losing campaign into a winner.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress next month.