Episode 079: Lessons Learned from an Unsuccessful Kickstarter

Recently I launched a Kickstarter campaign for a premium gym-style duffel bag as part of a bigger brand that I am building called SOBAM Gear Company. This campaign was not successful at reaching it’s funding goal on Kickstarter. Was I happy that the campaign did not get funded? No…and yes. There were a number of lessons learned as a result of going through this exercise, and I am so thankful that I did it.

The main takeaway – Kickstarter is a just like any other launch, and the more experience you have, the better it will be. I am excited to re-launch this campaign next month in November, 2017. In the meantime, check out this episode for some of the things that we will change about the approach going forward, as well as the major lessons learned as a result of launching and failing to succeed with this recent campaign.

Episode 078: Interview with Jonathan Nadeau

Today’s guest is someone that has done more in his life than I have, with less tools in his arsenal. Not just any tools – his eyesight.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to lose your eyesight after years of having fully functional sight? The stark contrast from seeing the worlds vivid colors to, in a moments time, all the sudden being completely blind can sound terrifying. So how did Jonathan react to this? With positivity.

Jonathan says very openly and clearly in this interview that losing his eyesight was the best thing that ever happened to him.

Why would he say this? Because he believes it.

Since losing his eyesight as a teenager, Jonathan has gone on to open his own storefront and sell/build/repair computers, earn two college degrees (computer science AND business), created an entire operating system for disabled people, runs an SEO/Marketing company, runs 3 podcasts, and even builds websites. These are things that people WITH eyesight “can’t” do. Think you have an excuse now?

Jonathan describes what it takes to accomplish the things in life that you are truly passionate about, and his main takeaway is so profound, yet so simple – believe in yourself and take action.

If you truly believe it, trust in the process and do the steps that map to your goals. If you do that, you will achieve them.

Connect with Jonathan:

Nadeau Media

 

Episode 077: More Amazon Merch Tactics + Q4 Opportunities

If you’ve listened to the show for a while, you know that I sell on Amazon.com. Included in that is the time I’ve put into building a pretty continuous funding stream using Merch by Amazon, which is Amazon’s print on demand (POD) T-Shirt service. This service has allowed me to generate over $1000/month with about 2 hours of work per week. I’m not super creative with graphics, I’m not the wittiest person in the world with slogans and phrases, but I understand data and I’m creative enough to see patterns.

If Merch by Amazon has ever interested you, then this episode is for you. I break down some pretty straightforward ways of thinking about Merch, what it’s capabilities are, and how to get started with the creative side.

Above all else, I highly recommend people go check out a service called Merch Informer. It is free to try for 3-days, and then has a monthly fee of $19.99 – which is about the equivalent of 2 to 4 sales a month. Personally, that service has brought me many thousands of dollars, so it has been well worth the investment.

What is Merch Informer and why is it important? It’s the only tool that allows you really get up-to-date, real time data and analytics on what’s selling, what’s not, and everything in between. The thing I use it for the most is to search by BSR. By seeing what’s moving at a BSR of 100,000 (appx 1 per day), I can quickly generate ideas for a lot of new designs. With those ideas, I can create and sell those new designs and (almost) guarantee a 1 sale/day type of traffic. This isn’t an exact science, but it’s close.

Beyond Merch Informer, it is very possible for you to create your own ideas, and won’t cost you a thing. Here’s my recommended way of doing this (I still do this sometimes…)

  1. Create a list of topics around BIG things: seasons, sports, holidays, major events, extremely popular hobbies, pets, etc.
  2. Break of those down into subcategories (sports -> spring sports -> baseball -> pro / adult / youth -> male / female / coed). There, you just created 7 niches out of the word “baseball”. Do this to as many topics as possible.
  3. Search on Amazon for shirts in ALL of these niches – investigate what is selling already and what isn’t.
  4. Create new designs around the shirts that are selling.

This is all faster if you use a tool, but can absolutely be done by hand manually, which is how I started.

In general, your best bet is be CREATIVE IN CONCEPT. You don’t have to be super creative in terms of specific Photoshop or Illustrator execution, but you do need to be somewhat creative in the concept. Just keep designing concepts, and know that each that turns out poorly is a lesson learned. The more you do it, the more you fail, and ultimately, the better you get at it.

Click here to check out Merch Informer (I make no commission off this, I just believe in the product)

Gordon