Monthly Archives: March 2007

The House

*This post originally titled: “The House Of Rave House, Literally” (but removed for search engine purposes)

I recently just bought a house which will be completed in October/November, and I have decided to pay for the house entirely from HouseOfRave.com.

It will quite literally be a Hous e – Of R ave House!

I started this business in high school as an eCommerce experiment, and it has lasted since first opening its virtual doors in 2001.

I got serious about HouseOfRave not too long ago, and realized it can make several thousand a month easy. With a little love and care, HouseOfRave was making $6,000+ a month in profit….more than enough to pay for the mortgage and associated costs of a house.

My mortage on the new house will be approximately $1,400/month after tax and HOA fees, and I want this all to come from HouseOfRave (and later on some renters).

PROBLEM:
HouseOfRave has been suffering some growth issues, not from my side by my supplier side. I have also been working like crazy getting this last course done which has distracted me big time from HouseOfRave duties.

During the 2006 Halloween season I had a large increase in orders which the supplier could not handle, and bad things resulted: Chargebacks, angry customers, lots of refunded money and the loss of repeat business.

Then in November 2006 order pace started growing again with the holiday season rolling around and the December rush just compounded that problem. I was happy about the large volume of orders, but the supplier did an awful job of sending out orders and notifying me of problems. LOTS of orders were wrong, had missing items, were late or just plain didn’t go out. I also never got the final invoices for those crunch months, meaning I STILL didn’t know exactly how much profit was made or lost…not knowing how much money you made tends to be a small problem when doing things like TAXES. I was not happy about this, and it isn’t the first time this is happening.

WHAT REALLY GOT TO ME were the empty promises I kept giving (justifiably) angry customers such as “I’ll PERSONALLY send your order out today…” and the supplier would not send. I was pissing people off and sometimes just plain scamming them (from their perspective, which is the perspective that matters). Over the last few months I’ve been refunding money like crazy and found a new supplier who can handle a large load of orders.

If you run a crappy operation, it won’t be around for long, and lately that’s what HouseOfRave has been until I got the new supplier. Now I get orders, and they send them out….NO EXCUSES IN BETWEEN.

So it’s nice to focus back on growing the businesses rather than dealing with unnecessary problems.

THE RESULT:
House Of Rave has experienced a decrease in orders and is going through a big inventory change, meaning all the staple products that used to consistently make money are being shifted around and often completely removed.

THE PLAN:
Over the next 6 months I want to rebuild the HouseOfRave reputation and start making $5,000+ per month again. I also want to save between now and November approximately $8,000 for spending on the new house for all those home-associated costs like furniture, washer/dryer, fridge, hardwood floors, new fixtures. Basically all that stuff I used to ignore when my parents bought, I now understand!

I want HouseOfRave.com to quite literally pay for my entire house. It’ll be nice to have just ONE side businesses covering the expenses.

I predict getting HouseOfRave back to the $5,000+ mark will take 3 months. With the new supplier I have to change around all aspects of the businesses including the whole inventory, accounting system, ordering method, shipping prices and genre of products.

$5,000/month will be an attainable but difficult goal for 3 months time, as for the first time in 6 years, HouseOfRave might go into a loss this month!

On another note: I still have never been to a rave.

New Toys Toys Toys

The week has been like Christmas morning, but instead of Santa Clause the UPS man delivers the goods!

My new home workspace now looks like this:

NEW DELL COMPUTER
I was thinking the main thing that will help BodyMonkey sell stuff is the shopping experience where you can view custom images and videos for most products. I’ve been doing most of the photo and video editing on my trusty Tablet PC, but that computer wasn’t designed for such process-intensive activities such as simultaneous photo and video editing….so I needed an upgrade.

I bought a 64-bit AMD Dell with a big hard drive and high performance graphics card. I probably could have built a better machine for slightly less money, but I’m in no mood to build a computer. The Dell so far has been perfect for the job. It set me back approximately $750.

NEW MONITOR
Photo editing and video editing generally takes up a lot of screen real estate, so I wanted a widescreen for a nice work area. I needed something with good resolution and a bright screen. I ended up buying a 22″ Acer widescreen monitor from TigerDirect for under $300.

I’m actually VERY pleased with how the monitor turned out to be, especially for that price!

WINDOWS VISTA AND OFFICE
I have a friend who works for Microsoft who gets MS products for deep discounts. So I ordered Windows Vista Ultimate and Office Ultimate. I usually just download pirated software, but Microsoft has become exceedingly efficient at verifying your Windows copy is legit before you can download updates.

When I ordered the Dell computer it came free with Windows Vista Home Edition….I DID NOT LIKE IT. It’s made for very novice computer user, so I’m glad I upgraded to Vista Ultimate.

Retail price of both Vista Ultimate and Office Ultimate together is something like $700+, but I got them both for $130 (Office is actually more expensive than Vista).

NEW TRIPOD
I had this GorillaPod thing for taking product photos, but after I upgraded to a real camera for product photos, the GorillaPod wasn’t sturdy enough to support the big camera. It also had short legs so it couldn’t take pictures from higher angles.

I ended up buying a professional and very sturdy tripod with extendable legs, so I can take pictures from about 6 feet in the air. I can also use this if I decide to buy a larger SLR camera or video camera in the future. This set me back about $80.

NEW PERSONAL CAMERA
My last Casio Exilim I bought was crushed somewhere between when I went to India and Germany….and half the screen is now whited out, meaning I can’t change settings or really see what kind of picture I took. Also the night pictures never came out well, so I wanted a new camera before I went to China anyway.

I bought a Cannon SD750. I don’t have much time before I leave for china, so I basically went to Best Buy, asked some guy what the best compact camera was and bought it. I’m sure money could’ve been saved if I Ebay’d it, but I don’t have that kind of time and have other stuff to focus on.

This purchase means I’ve gone through one camera per year, not including the camera I bought for product photos! This camera is AWESOME when it comes to functionality and picture quality. It set me be back about $370.

———————————-

I’m very pleased with all the purchases, especially the new computer. Having a separate computer for graphics and video editing has really increased my productivity as seen here!

This Makes BodyMonkey OFFICIAL

BodyMonkey is OFFICIALLY a business….it has a shirt!
I wish that made it completely official, but it’s one step I got a kick out of.

Since I was just testing out what the logo would actually look like on a shirt, I paid $23 for one shirt to be made online. In bulk they cost much, much less.

Right now only the front says “BodyMonkey.com” while the back only says “BodyMonkey.” I’m not sure why I did that, but the next generation of the shirt will most likely include a “.com” on the back.

I also want to put the large BodyMonkey logo on the front instead of the standard small left-hand title.

The back logo looks GREAT, but I may need to scooch it up a bit.

The logo was actually just a very temporary placeholder while I got the BodyMonkey site redesigned, but it grew on me and I think it will stay for a while. It might however rotate and change with the season or corresponding holiday time.

It’s a weekend night, so I gotta get out and party….and I’m wearing the shirt!

Stereo 3D Pictures

I randomly saw these stereo images on Digg, and realized you could make pseudo 3D images without any special skills or equipment.

Part of my scheme for the up and coming BodyMonkey is to let potential customers have a fun browsing experience while going through the products on the site, and I thought these would be pretty interesting on some products. Worth a shot.

I first tried to see if it would work on a picture of my guitar…It doesn’t look very 3D right now:

So to make it a stereo 3D image, I took one photo of it, moved a few inches to the right and snapped another photo. When quickly switched back and forth, they make the picture look 3-Dimensional!!

So I figured this could be an interesting thing for BodyMonkey.com on some of the product photos. Little gimmicks like this wouldn’t necessarily provide anymore incentive to buy more products, but it will keep people curiously wandering through the site, and have some entertainment value.

Most of the items BodyMonkey will sell are much smaller than the guitar, so the effect was not quite the same when I tried to make a 3D image of the Rocket Shaker, but it still works:

It might be a little too much or provide too little value, but it’s an idea to keep in mind!