Who am I?
My name is Charlie and I am 24 years of young.
I have just completed my university degrees of Law, and of Communications majoring in Advertising and Marketing, however to be clear, this isn’t really relevant and is not required for what I will be doing at all. At the point of commencing this blog, I have been living in Europe for 7 months (Oooooph, sounds so exotic in writing) and I have been enjoying the pleasure of drinking plenty of Belgian beer daily.
I have been involved in multiple start ups over my short existence on this earth, the most significant one being Namaste Collective – a small company co-founded with my girlfriend in 2015, which still continues to run with almost full automation today, even while living overseas.
Through running Namaste Collective, and constantly up-skilling myself on things including search engine marketing, online advertising strategies, sales techniques and customer service models, I have managed to acquire a pretty broad knowledge in the ecommerce area.
I am about to commence a new online business (based on an entirely seperate and more flexible business model), and I will document the steps (and headaches) involved on this blog. Check out the seperate posts on the home page here.
*Disclaimer – I am not a blogger, nor am I much of a writer – so apologies in advance for anything which makes you cringe, but if you know me, you would know I make people cringe quite often anyway – sue me.
Why start another business?
Namaste Collective was pretty much started with a basis of zero experience. It has been challenging, fun, stressful, fulfilling, exciting, draining and pretty much a constant combination of all these things over the past two years. We managed to create a product which did not exist on the market, manufacture it ourselves while contributing thousands of dollars to worthwhile charities and causes, and also to sell to thousands of customers over more than 30 countries – all within the first year of business. It is a registered company, and requires all the associated work – quarterly tax lodgements, annual statements etc (however, when starting a business like the one I will be documenting here, it is not always necessary to set up in such a formal way).
Now, after two years, sales and demand continue, while much of the administrative tasks (packing, postage etc) has been outsourced (there will be a blog about this at some point).
Although the company has allowed us to donate to a lot of charities, made us money, and has also allowed us to get some pretty cool stuff (take for example a beach front hotel in Morocco), this is by no means a “get rich quick, and drive a Ferrari in 6 months!” scheme. There are lots of sacrifices and investments required before any profit will start dripping into your pocket. Some online stores do have the ability to become your full time job, but not all.
So whats the difference with the new store?
The main justifications for the new venture can be pretty much summed as as:
- Align it 100% with me as a person – As much as I love the Namaste Collective brand, values and products, ultimately, it is a brand targeted at a seperate target market to which I would be part of. I would definetely buy from it for gifts, I would promote it and I would absolutely approve of it, but I would not find myself scrolling the site and becoming excited myself as a customer, simply because it is not aimed at people like me. This can sometimes make it hard to give 100% towards a business and all the time required. Thus, I have decided to start another store based on one simple concept – create it with ‘me’ as the ultimate target consumer. This way, I can create a brand based around everything I would want, I enjoy and I can relate with. Hopefully, from this point, the passion in the business is set in stone.
- I do have the time – I have finished university (finally). I am about to commence another 6 months of travel. I will have spare time. Namaste Collective was founded while undertaking full time university courses and part time work. It also required lots of time manufacturing, testing, setting up legal structures etc, but it was possible despite my ‘limited time’. Now, I will have endless hours of trains, planes, buses and waiting rooms to utilise. Admittedly, I am one of those annoying people who cannot sit still and have no projects (or pranks) happening at any given point. On top of this project, I plan to start learning Spanish, continue working on Namaste Collective, meeting new people and trying new things. But throughout this time, I also thought I may as well utilise what is left over to create something real. For every 30 minutes spent flicking through Instagram or turning my face into a dog on Snapchat (still find this trend weird), I could be one step closer to having a sustainable business which can keep me travelling longer. Don’t get me wrong, I will not be turning down beers and opportunities while travelling, but rather, I will be utilising the time effectively whenever it appears.
- A Personal Project – On top of anything, I somehow actually enjoy this kind of thing. It keeps me motivated, thinking creatively and more than anything keeps me aware that it is possible to do the unusual and start something new rather than following directions. The business may make $0, it may be a complete flop. But at the end of the day, I know that I will have learned even more. I will also then have this blog with which I can show off my knowledge and that may help bring in other opportunities in the start-up scene at a later stage. However ideally, the business becomes another source of remote (earn from anywhere) income funding my travel as I move, and more importantly, supporting my love of Belgian beer.
Won’t the blogging double the time required to start this business?
Yeppp! I plan to split the business creation / blogging into roughly a 70/30 ratio: about 70% of ‘business’ time implementing the actual business set up and tasks, and the other 30% documenting it here. Thus, don’t expect a polished and flaw free blog every week! Sometimes it will be written from my phone on a train, a bus, or a stannnky public toilet in a pub that offers free wifi!
Without the blog, I would have been open to shortening the challenge to earn profit in 60 days or less, however, for me, the blog seems to make at least a little bit of sense, so 90 days it is!
Will I make money from this blog?
I thought about this, but decided against it. Rather, if you find yourself reading this blog, and you find anything I say remotely useful, it would be greatly appreciated if you do make a purchase from the actual new business once it launches, and leave a nice review when prompted.
This way, it gives the business that little kickstart which can be so vital to breaking through the death zone in the first few months!
What would you need a blog like this for?
People have always been interested in my work in online business, especially people I meet who are my age, and who would love to start something ‘on the side’. This blog might be useful for lots of different people with varying desires, with some main advantages being:
- Get over that initial self-doubt to having the ability to start a business online – be it a blog, a store, or a community network – it is always possible, you just need pen to paper!
- Skip the long processes of learning simple things through long ebooks and forums and over priced courses – have it presented to you in a short, simple, and 100% honest form
- Apply the blog in seperate ways – it doesn’t have to be for the purpose of starting your own business. Use my productivity tips in your work. Read my recommended books for increased energy, creativity and motivation. Or just follow my travels to hear of some cool things to do next holiday.
What will I tell you?
Honestly, pretty much everything. I will be open on everything from where I find suppliers, how much I will mark up the products, how much profit this will leave, and how I will invest that profit.
Whyyyy would I give away such ‘confidential business information’ they ask!
Well, I follow a similar mindset to Tim Ferris who generously shares many of his secrets.
The simple fact is that for 90% of you, even if you did want to completely copy my business model, my brand, and my exact products, you won’t bother! You won’t take the time. You will burn out. And for the 10% who do want completely copy the exact business created, and who do follow through with it to copy me, thank you! You have just become my biggest motivator to run my business 50% better than you run yours. Challenge accepted!
UPDATE: I have had lots of comments on this statement, many of you seem to like the concept. Something which is worth pointing out is that not included in the above segmentation of people, there is also a large percentage of you who instead of copying, will trade their own secrets, knowledge and advice in return. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Simple.
What will the blogs cover?
The topics of the blogs will vary, but much of what you can expect to see will be:
- Dropping the excuses and starting – simple concept, not so simple in practise
- Getting past the starting stage, and really starting. Most people give up in the early stages, sure, it’s the hardest part, but I could not agree more with the view that “being an entrepreneur is really being someone who is not just willing, but keen to do what nobody else wants to do. “
- Planning – Business plans, legal checks, risk assessments, record keeping – This doesn’t have to be as boring as it sounds!
- Productivity tips – Best ways to outsource and maximise your time – just to live your life
- Platforms – Do you need coding experience to launch an online store? No, no, no. I’ll show you how simple this is!
- Finding a product, a market, and a brand that fits
- Pricing, shipping issues, meeting the customers demands
- Best support tools, plug-ins, applications
- Most recommended books and role models to follow in the field to keep motiviation
- Headache evasion – headaches will occur, but there are somethings you can do to avoid it
- Online marketing – GoogleAds, Facebook, Instagram – This is a fast changing world, and I have hopefully kept up enough to fill you in on the basics as I set up campaigns myself. This is really the most challenging part. The old ‘if you build it, they will come’ has never been so wrong.
Want me to cover anything else? Just shoot me a message, I am always happy to delve deeper into the darkness of subjects which may be daunting.