The Amazon Challenge (TAC)

Welcome to The Amazon Challenge.

This is my personal challenge in which I will try to create a profitable Amazon business in 90 days, starting…today.

By profitable, I hope to get the business earning profits of a minimum of $1000 per month by 7th November, 2015. The challenge starts today!

Now, to be clear, I don’t live in the US. So, if you live outside the US, this will be a good case study to follow. Most of us outside the US usually feel there are many obstacles to making it online compared to what people in the US have.

This is the fun part. The bigger the obstacle, the greater the hustle.

This is no easy ride. It’s a hustle.

The dream is free, the hustle is sold.

To be clear, I have no previous experience in selling on Amazon. I have even never bought anything directly from Amazon because most sellers on the platform do not ship to my country (I’m in Africa!)

It’s gonna be a wild ride.

So, what’s up for Day 1? The easy stuff.

DAY: The Resolutions

There are three things I’ve resolved on Day 1 of The Amazon Challenge (TAC). These are just personal resolutions that will keep me on check and track to completing the challenge.

The first thing is I will dedicate at least 1 hr every day for the challenge. The 1 hour may extend to more depending on how much time I have. However, one hour will be the minimum.

Sometimes, I may put in more hours, for example during the weekends or when I don’t have any work from my freelance writing clients.

3 Principles of Amazon Success

For any online business, there are three principles of success that one should follow. Don’t ask me where I got them, but here are the principles:

i) Treat it like a business. Yes, it’s online based and you may only need a website of Facebook account to run it, but you have to treat it as a business. Even as a side business if you already have another business taking much of your daily time.

ii) Don’t reinvent the wheel. This is simple. Look at what successful businesses are doing and copy them. No need to come up with a triangle wheel!

iii) Take Action. Nothing beats taking action. Small actions done on a daily basis will take you closer to achieving your business goals.

These are the 3 principles I will be following in my Amazon challenge.

It’s 7.21pm

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My Subscription Box Business

From the last post, you already know that I’m starting a subscription box business.  I love the business model because of a number of reasons, including:

i) Relatively easy to do. I mean, you simply need to find the products for your market, pack and ship them. Who can’t do that?

ii) Easy to Scale. If you choose the right market, it can be easy to scale the business from a few boxes a month to thousands of shipments.

iii) Less upfront cash. Since buyers are ordering the items first, you don’t have to spend your money  to buy inventory. Simply wait for buyers to order and use their money to purchase the items.

NB: This may not however apply in all situations.

iv) Variety of Marketing options.  The sub box business is one online venture that does not require SEO to be successful. To market a sub box business, you will simply need to find communities where your target market hang out.

Let’s be honest; SEO can take a long time to get results. But by reaching directly to the communities where your market is hanging out, you can make sales without having to wait for months for your website to rank.

With these in mind, I have jumped into the sub box business. To begin, I have already registered a domain name and at the moment, I am developing the website. I will be using WordPress for my site since I’m most familiar with it and it can handle ecommerce  well.

You however do not need to use WordPress. I have seen sub box sites hosted on Shopify, Magneto, made from ASP.NET and other platforms. Simply go for what you feel will be right for you.

I highly recommend WordPress is you have experience with it. If you don’t know anything about site development but want to get your hands dirty, a solution like Shopify would be great.

Inspiration for the Sub Box Business

I was a freelance writer for an ecommerce payment gateway startup when I was first exposed to the subscription business model. I wrote articles on SaaS (Software as a Service) and along the way, wrote about sub box businesses like Birchbox.

At the back of my mind, I wanted to own one of these babies. I mean, the allure or recurring revenue; who would pass that opportunity?

Now, here I am launching my sub box business. But where did I get the nudge or elbow push to

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Subscription Box

I’ve always wanted to start a recurring subscription business. Imagine having a number of customers paying you X amount of dollars every month for a service?

I’d come across recurring subscription business in many forms in different forums. For instance, in BHW (Black Hat World), I would usually see guys renting links to high PR sites for $X per month.

I have also seen the SEO and inbound marketing agencies offering service packages for X amount of dollars every month or over a certain period. And then, of course, there are the numerous membership sites online.

I’ve subscribed to a couple of subscription based services in the past and for the most part, I found myself not using the services/tools. For instance, there was a time I kept my subscription for private proxies from a company on for more than one year. And then there was a time I rented a VPS for 8 months and perhaps only used it about  four or five times during the period.

What kept me subscribed to the services/tools was the low price. I mean, I was paying about $12 and $24 per month for the private proxies and VPS services per month. This isn’t a lot of money. But when you do the math over a year, you realize I just gave someone over $100 of my hard earned money and I wasn’t getting any value from them i.e. I wasn’t using their services.

When it came to subscription renewal, I always thought to myself: “This month, I’m going to use the service maximumly”. But you know, stuff happens. There are clients waiting for their articles from me and using the tools wasn’t going to earn any money for my rent et al.

Anyway, the whole point is I’ve lost quite some money staying subscribed to services that I did not need. Luckily, I pulled the plug on the subscriptions and now have other places where my money is going.

So, why would I want to start a subscription business?

Benefits of Subscription Business

The obvious benefit of having a subscription business is the almost guaranteed income you will have at the end of the month. If you have 10 customers paying $X, then you know every month you will have $10X in revenue.

There are a number of things that you should be on the lookout when dealing with subscription business. The most important are growth and customer retention. First, you want

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