Location of writing: Back at the family farm on the Surf Coast of Victoria. The 5 day drive from Perth to Victoria with Mother Bear was pretty nice being the first time I have driven through that part of the country, from raw and dry desert to huge dropping cliffs straight into the ocean. If you are looking for a good camping trip within Aus I would definetely recommend the SA coast around Cactus Beach and also the southern West Australian coast – Denmark etc!
Parkinson’s Law In Practice
Since being home I have been surfing a lot, catching up with friends in between and then trying to keep the momentum up on both businesses. I have actually found that Parkinson’s Law (discussed in my first blog – the more time you have to do something, the longer it will take) has been more relevant than ever here.
As I have had more free time, not being pressured by doing cool things and pressing travel times and dates, I have been much less efficient in my work.
Daily to-do lists have helped to keep on track, but it will be important from now to set shorter time limits for the separate tasks I want to achieve, rather than leaving open days that fade away and it’s time for din-dins before you know it.
For example, I have set a strict 45 minute deadline for finishing this blog to leave time for work on Google Ads, Facebook Ads editing, and website fixes later…
My Experience As A Hustling Dealer
(But not really)
As I am now home and can have products posted directly to my (kind of) permanent address, I decided to depart from my original Drop-Shipping Model for a bit and see if I could sell some Sunny Straps for cash.
Yes, I know, this goes against my principles of minimising risk by not purchasing bulk stock. However, after bringing my supplier lots of consistent business up to this point I could negotiate an attractive price for a bulk purchase.
I also had friends and family wanting their straps ‘there and then’ so I did really need to have some on hand when people wanted them, even just to show them as samples.
In addition to this, selling this way would be a bit more profitable because I could purchase them in bulk (thus costing less per piece), and I also wouldn’t have to incorporate the shipping costs to the customer in the profit margins (which takes a big chunk out of the profit margins selling online). Plus, ‘the more straps I sell, the more people will tell’.
Its all word-of-mouth marketing and it is all worthwhile.
Anyway, I rocked up to Falls Festival on day two of the festival with a bunch of Sunny Straps in my suss little satchel.
I was feeling pretty anxious as to how people would react to me pushing products into their faces… but all the same prepared for some gnarly rejection as I think being able to deal with rejection is one of the key factors in succeeding in any business venture.
I wondered along the cars as they drove at a walking pace into the campsites and I peeked into each window being greeting by a car full of curious faces: “G’day guys, Sunny Straps? One for $10, three for $20? “
I sold out in 15 minutes.
Couldn’t have been easier, and they actually made people genuinely happy.
My only regret was that I didn’t have an extra 500 straps on me which I could have spent another hour selling at this success rate, and then walked out of there comfortably able to invest it all back into growing the business.
The best thing was I wasn’t even harming anybody. The security watched me, a little confused for a while, before a 6’6 bald giant in his high vis vest approached me and just let me know “Hey buddy, just wait until the cars stop a bit more before you keep flogging off your shit”.
Yep, no worries.
So, lesson learnt I thought – If I had have had more sunny straps on me, I could have made a lot more cash.
I went home and ordered another bulk order of straps from my trusty supplier. That following weekend I attended a little music festival at Lorne. After selling about 10 straps at the pre-party, I thought I’d bring the straps along with me and try and ‘flog off a few’ at the festival as it was 40 degrees and every man and his dog had sunnies on their heads.
I sold out in an hour.
My friends were (without meaning to) acting as my scouts and directing people over to me from every corner. People would start to notice others wearing the straps and ask where they bought them.
I had a ‘pocket full of cash money’ and I had random groups of people approaching me asking me curiously if “I was the guy” before I looked left, right, nodded and pulled out a lovely bunch of Sunny Straps from my back pocket.
Hmmm, so this is how it feels hey…
Don’t get me wrong, I did have to deal with a few funny rejections here too, and it was often pretty uncomfortable approaching randoms and asking them if they want to buy something from you while they are there having a good time. However again, these are the things you need to do if you want to get started I guess.
Once again, only regret, I should have had more – could have sold another 50 or so that day no worries.
I guess one other regret: being at a festival with a bunch of cash in my pocket and spending way more money than I would have otherwise. The $10 beers really took a chunk out of my earnings… Ah well, I had fun.
Side point for all above: No matter how many beers you drink, do make sure to get home and take accurate records of exactly how many you sold and how much you earn and incorporate these into the rest of your reports – you don’t want to get lost thinking you are doing better than you actually are.
How To Take This Experience And Grow It For Sustainable Business?
So what’s the plan now – drop everything, attend music festivals and sell Sunny Straps for cash in the corner for the rest of your life?
In all seriousness, although it was fun selling this way, it clearly is not sustainable.
I did try to ask each person that bought to add the ‘Charlie Spike’ Instagram so that way I may actually be able to re-market to them and get repeat sales, but the majority of them had no time to waste and were straight back into the bustle of the sweaty d-floor.
So my action plan from here: I have decided to start getting a bunch of the straps which I will be selling in person for cash branded with a subtle Charlie Spike logo attached.
That way, at least when someone purchases for cash at a festival, and then when someone else asks them where they got them, they will be able to show the logo, and that person will be straight on my website purchasing through the drop-shipping method – Hopefully all while I am out surfing or enjoying another festival elsewhere.
It will also mean that if the person who bought for cash decides they want more, they will have no confusion as to where to go, and will be straight on the site becoming one of my repeat customers.
Repeat customers really are essential to any business succeeding as it is simply not feasible to be constantly spending money (or time) to acquire new, and one-time-only customers.
It is much cheaper and more profitable to have people independently coming back because they genuinely like what you are offering.
Well, that’s it, my experience, as I would imagine it, as a hustling dealer at the festival.
Where to from here? Branded straps, and also enlisting a few trusty friends who enjoyed helping at the festival to continue selling themselves on a commission basis – they earn beer money while enjoying summer festivals, I earn exposure and repeat customers without needing to be there and it is scaleable – win/win.
Google Ads – Next Time
I actually planned to discuss all of the above in a hundred words or so and to then write a blog on ‘How Google Ads Work’ but I guess I’ll need to leave that to next time. This will be one which will be useful for any of you looking to start showing up on that first page of Google.
As always, if you are enjoying any of these blogs and are able to use them in your own lives, feel free to show your appreciation through a small purchase of anything on the site!
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