It’s time for a quick recap of May!
Well, things didn’t go quite as planned: the April celebration was short lived…
In case you missed it, in April I finally managed to break even with my ecommerce project. And then in May, things went South.
But it wasn’t as straightforward as this.
The first half of May was pretty good, then for a number of reasons, on May 16th the numbers plummeted, then stayed bad until the end of the month.
Read on to see exactly what happened.
Here’s what happened in May
I still enjoy working with an employee as much as before. It forces me to work diligently and with regular hours.
Going to the office every day makes it easier to focus on work and avoid all the distractions that come with a full-time connection to the internet.
That being said, having an employee also comes with its own set of challenges.
It can make for a frustrating experience having to explain the same things over and over again.
As with any kind of human interaction, it’s important to focus on the positive and push people to improve.
Lashing out on an employee who just messed up is pointless and counter-productive. Unless they’re completely reckless and don’t care at all about the company, they probably already feel pretty bad about their mistake.
I try to approach this kind of issue with calm and take time to explain what the mistake was and why they made it, this will make it easier to avoid doing the same mistake later.
Overall, it’s really nice to have someone to perform some of the tasks that need to be done. It’s like getting 8 extra hours in your own work day.
What I’ve been focusing on
Spending less time doing grunt work allows me to take more distance with the projects and focus on the bigger picture.
As a result, I’ve been focusing on automation.
I do want to build a team to work on the ecommerce project with me, but I don’t see the point in hiring 10 people to do very repetitive tasks that can be done with software (with 0% error margin).
To give you an idea: when I first hired my employee, she had to perform 6 different tasks every day. 5 of which were extremely repetitive and didn’t require much effort. They’re just time consuming.
I’ve been building software to automate some of these tasks one after the other. At this point, my employee only has 3 different tasks left to do.
Hopefully most of the remaining tasks will also be automated in the near future so she can focus on the most important work she has to do.
I’m becoming an automation freak, and it’s boosting our productivity like crazy.
If you’re using Intercom, read this!
I need to address an issue I ran into with Intercom.
Intercom is the SaaS that we use to handle all our customer support.
With the default setup, it turns out that it creates a user profile for every single person that visits your website.
Since they charge based on the number of profiles they have to store for your account, you can see why it makes sense for them to create these profiles.
As a user however, you’re paying for people who visited your website only once and will never come back.
It’s important to clean your list of leads in Intercom every week to remove these one-time visitors.
Doing this simple task is saving me over $400.00 on my monthly bill.
Taking a look at the numbers
I know this is what some of you have been waiting for: here are the numbers for my ecommerce project for May.
Once again, we were really not planning to increase our spending this past month. Our prime focus was to improve our ROI.
And we managed to do just that for the fist half of the month.
I ended up taking some bad decisions. One of which was trying to grow too fast before our advertising campaigns were actually proven winners.
If you combine this with the payment processor fees that I don’t really take into account when I’m reviewing the numbers every day, it’s a recipe for failure.
As you can see, our number of orders kept increasing at a somewhat stable rate. But I’ve been doing too much testing, and it killed our ROI.
I’m going to be honest: it’s a bit sad to see that ROI line going down again. We’re back at ~4% loss.
Interestingly, this 4% is more or less what we pay in fees with our payment processors. Lesson learned: be more careful with fees when I’m planning to grow our advertising campaigns.
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||$2,017.65||▲ $186.72|
|Facebook Ads||-$51,304.58||▼ $13,051.25|
|Cost of Goods||-$17,061.68||▼ $1,716.21|
|PayPal Fees||-$2,480.82||▼ $296.95|
|Stripe Fees||-$1,241.85||▼ $370.62|
|Shopify Apps||-$87.93||▲ $0.78|
Back into the red we go. Luckily, the losses for May weren’t terribly big (only 1.5% of my expenses).
The numbers for my niche site improved again even though I did literally no work on this project for months.
I’m going to let it run its course for now, and I might get back to it if I really can’t manage to turn a healthy profit out of my ecommerce project.
You can see in this graph that the gross income and expenses are growing steadily. It just happens that the income fell a bit short to cover all of our expenses.
What’s happening next?
Our strategy for June will have to change drastically.
To put it simply, I can’t afford to keep losing money this way anymore.
We might not be able to turn a profit in June, but we will try to limit the damage as much as possible while we make some deep changes into the way we handle our funnel from visitors to customers.
See you next month for another update!