Monthly Archives: December 2005

Graduated, Full Time Investment Vehicle Creator

Formerly I was: Neville Medhora, college student.

I’ve now graduated from the University of Texas:
Major: Government
Minor: Business

I am now: Neville Medhora, Investment Vehicle Creator.
Investment Vehicle Creator = Phrase I made up because I don’t like the word entrepreneur.

I will be celebrating New Year’s in Miami, FL., then return to Austin to begin my IVC adventure/career. It’s now fully up to me whether or not I succeed.

I live in a wonderful city, have roughly $30,000 in the bank, a college degree, a large arsenal of experience, a good business network, two forms of transportation, a loving family, I’m fully insured, have low monthly costs, multiple forms of reliable income, several large projects in the works and an insatiable appetite for productivity.

2006 will either be a wonderful year towards my success or a dismal failure.

The trick will simply be working hard and working smart. I’ve heard time and time again from successful people that simply outworking the other guy will get you ahead.
I can no longer say I am busy with school, meaning I have one less excuse for procrastination and unproductivity.

———————————–

Upcoming Problems & Changes:

In 2006 I will no longer have time constraints or the structured schedule that school imposes. I will have to self discipline myself to wake up earlier, work harder and properly manage my time.

“If we do not discipline ourselves the world will do it for us.”
–William Feather
(Stolen from TheKirkReport)

Another change I didn’t anticipate was the change in my business card. I generally carry at least 3 of these on me at all times. The first order of change is creating a new email address. I was also thinking of putting an odd slogan on the card under my name such as “It rhymes with Devil,” as it helps clarify the pronunciation of my name and stands out at the same time. I’m not sure if that’s clever or just cheesy.

I was toying with the idea of getting ShowOffCards.com, business cards that portray you as a superhero. They seem to really stand out, but I think right now they are too gaudy for me:

I don’t want to spend too much time creating a new business card, as I am the one who makes the first impression, not the card….although it can help.

I will however leave the web address on the card, as I’ve found a phenomenally large amount of people I hand the card to will visit and actually read it….speaking of, I must also update that.

Another challenge will be meeting new people. In a quest to continually expand my network of people, I now must more actively put myself in situations where I can meet new people. The college environment forces people to interact, but once taken out of that environment, the rules change. For the first time in my life I am out of school, so this should be interesting.

————————–
It’s completely up to me now whether I succeed or go down in flames. Time to get started!
-Nev

2006 Goal Setting, Other Stuff

Almost 2006, so it’s time to start setting goals. I made a poster board with goals and a sort of calendar to make sure I work towards those goals every month. Goals rarely get accomplished unless they are constantly kept track of.

I’ve also bought a giant cork board to thumb-tack inspirational articles right in front of my desk. I’ll start putting up quotes, articles, pictures or anything that inspires me to work harder.

—————————————-

I think a great financial move I’ve made is splitting my money into separate accounts. It really shows how much money I have for what purpose. I had too much cash sitting in my extremely low-yield permanent savings account (aka “No Risk” account), so I maxed my Roth IRA for the year by adding $2,000 to it, and threw $1,000 into an EmigrantDirect savings account.

I also recently opened up a 2nd Spending Account specifically for the holidays and larger purchases. I noticed every holiday season is much more expensive than other months, so I’ve been stashing a little money each week for a couple of months and built up around $800 for gifts and other holiday expenses.

It makes me feel good that I can buy gifts for family and friends without worrying about prices.

—————————————-

The second scooter I bought has recently been fully registered and is now actually legal to drive. Almost immediately after I bought it, I got a ticket for driving with: No insurance, No inspection and No registration.

I’ve also got two parking tickets, each $50 a piece. In relation, it takes me $3 to fill an entire tank of gas.

I’ve also been yelled at several times for cutting through standing traffic. One cop said I was a “Traffic Unit” like everyone else and couldn’t go through just because I could. I disagree. I’m not sure what kind of ticket I can get for moving through a line of traffic, but I’m willing to find out.

Despite $700+ extra dollars of additional costs (Not counting helmet, gloves etc), I have been able to easily absorb these costs thanks to my “Bills Account.”

—————————————-

Visit GoDaddy.com and see if yourname.com is available. If yes, buy it. I don’t know why, but it just seems a good idea. It costs $9 or less per year. NevilleMedhora.com redirects to my original webpage, http://www.neville1.com/. Having a website throughout the years has really helped me in many ways.

How My First Online Business Works

Inundated with emails about this, I decided to show how House Of Rave works. This is just one example of how I use a drop shipping service to make money on the internet. There are still some inefficiencies, but this is the way I handle things now.

I will show what happens from the time I get an order, till the customer receives their order. Everything is done in 5 steps. I can accept, process, account for and send off 2 orders in around 2 minutes with this system. 10 orders will take me about 10 minutes with this system:

1.) Check, View and Review Orders.
I login to the backend of my Shopsite software to see how many new orders I have waiting. I click to view all the orders and do a quick skim of the order information. I am looking for any subtle signs of fraud at this point. After 5 years, I’ve become pretty good.

I can view individual orders or all the orders at the same time:



2.) Charge Orders.

This is the most inefficient step, as I choose to process cards manually to become more familiar with the customer names, locations and spot fraud. I login to my merchant account digital gateway and copy/paste from Shopsite the needed customer information. This step goes quicker than imagined because I use my tablet PC pen.

Here I find out if each order is legit. If the order is declined, I make a note of it and move on. If the order was paid for using PayPal, I login there to find if payment was made. If the order looks suspicious or comes back with negative address verification, I will often call the person on the spot to verify the order.

Manually charging orders seems a waste since I can simply press a “Charge” button instead. However, over time I have noticed that I start to remember customer names, locations and ordered items. Since this step exposes me to the orders, it helps me identify order patterns and it drastically reduces my fraudulent orders (Although this isn’t as much of a problem compared to a few years ago).

3.) Enter Into Accounting System.
This step is very quick and allows me to see my estimated current profit, my expenses, what I owe etc.. I’ve used some pre-made accounting modules for Shopsite in the past, but I like my Excel sheet better. Over the years I have honed it to help predict my profit at the end of each month. I don’t know my exact profit until I get the monthly bill from my supplier, but this Excel sheet gets me damn close.

4.) Create with Word & Send.
This step is the way THIS particular business of mine works. Once an order is ready to go, I copy/paste the information into a Word document and send it via email to my supplier. From there, they print it as an invoice and send the order. This is the way my particular supplier chooses to do business, others may have different methods.


5.)Followup.

My supplier will send me a tracking number once the order is sent. These go into my tracking system where customers can check the status of their order. The tracking module also sends customers their tracking numbers via email automatically.

How I make Money:
I pay wholesale price for the products I send out from my supplier. They send me a bill for the products & shipping each month. I charge retail price on the website and bring in all the money myself. At the end of the month, I cut a check to my supplier and the difference is my income after product expenses. I then subtract my server costs, merchant account costs, PayPal costs and phone bill costs to get my total profit amount.

I’ve made about $800 – $1,000 every month for 5 years doing this. I’ve recently made additions to the site which have doubled my profit to about $1,600 a month. I plan to make this side income generate about $5,000/month in 2006.

I’ve had other online businesses which operate differently, but this process works best for HoR. There is still a lot of room for improving the efficiency of this system, and in 2006 I’ll have time to concentrate on it.

One thing I find the funniest about this business was my first order. I had no clue what to do with it. I just got the business running first, and was forced to figure the rest out very quickly.

Hopefully this helps someone further understand the inner workings of this type of small business!

Increasing Online Profits Further

One business I own and openly talk about is House Of Rave .com.
It has consistently made between $800$1,000 every month for the last five years. I particularly like this business because it’s extremly simple to run and I have no inventory.

I’ve been very satisfied doing a minimal amount of work on House of Rave and making a few hundred dollars a month, but I am graduating this December and will have more time to focus on my businesses. I recently set out some Forecasted Goals for HoR and how I would go about accomplishing higher profits.

On September 2005, I set my sights to start breaking the $1,000 barrier per month by years
end. In October I beat my forecast and brought in $1,120. In November I beat my expected forecast, bringing in an HoR record of $1,630. This increase in sales seems to be directly related to the changes I’ve made to make HoR look more consistent and have faster customer support.

My actual income for November 2005 was higher than $1,630, and I report the actual figure on my tax statements. However, I always understate my profits so I don’t withdraw all of it from the HoR account. This is because online stores tend to surprise you down the road. For example, I may bring in a $200 order today which gets charged back for 3 months down the line. Since I understate what I can withdraw from my business account, I have extra cushioning building up for those surprise expenses.

The good thing about the business is I don’t have any inventory, I’ve had a great dropshipper in California who does all of that. The negative side is I haven’t seen 99% of the stuff I sell. To increase sales of already popular products, I’ve been ordering my own products and doing photoshoots with my ghetto photo studio.

I’m currently taking pictures, videos and writing my own descriptions for many of these products. I will keep adding 1 or 2 a week when time permits.

I did a photoshoot, video and instructional post on this Scrolling LED Message Belt Buckle. The photos were taken in my room and edited with Photoshop. The video was also taken in my apartment.

A customer emailed me while I was doing the photoshoot saying she had lost the buckle programming instructions, so I decided to make a full instruction manual for the customers. The original instructions are a little hard to use and have some confusing grammar, so this should help people out.

The video I took of the belt buckle features the now World Famous Crotch of Neville Medhora:

Another product I enjoyed playing around with were the Ultra High Intensity Glowsticks. It’s like a regular glowstick but they burn themselves out within 5 minutes. I ordered these to see how bright they were. I took some photos and two videos demonstrating the brightness.

The first video shows the cracking of an ultra bright glowstick, and the second video shows my skills at swinging glowsticks. I can’t afford real actors or anyone with talent, so I enlisted one of my roommates as camera man and shot the videos myself. This was a zero budget production, so I had to settle for that! I simply used my Casio Exilim for filming.

The last product I’ve recently updated was the Glow Paint I carry.


I added some nice before/after shots to show the effect and give HoR a free plug.

There are several reasons I am adding my own content:
  • Search Engines. A good amount of unique content on a page helps higher positioning.
  • Branding. House Of Rave needs to become more engrained in customers minds.
  • Customer Comfort. The customer must know that HoR is a real business, and unique content should help. This is especially important for online retailers.
  • More Information. The customer can get a better idea of what a product is with additional forms of media and descriptions not found anywhere else.

Hopefully enhancing the product pages with unique content will help increase profits in the long run. I see no reason why HoR cannot be a $5,000 p/month part time business by the end of 2006.