Monthly Archives: March 2008

Killing The BodyMonkey?

I’m not sure what to do, so I’ll write it out..

I’ve got two very similar online businesses:
HouseOfRave.com and BodyMonkey.com

Aesthetically they look identical, but they are geared towards different markets. I have HoR which is a niche website that caters to light up stuff, so the items sold are generally things that glow, blink or light up.

BodyMonkey goes through the same supplier as House Of Rave, but focuses on a broader product range. On BodyMonkey you can find all sorts of toys, games, decorations and things that appeal to a larger audience. The broader range of products is good, but online specialization is sometimes BETTER than selling items you can often find elsewhere. This has been a key to HoR’s success.

House Of Rave has been the steady producer over the years which only recently I’ve been taking more seriously. BodyMonkey makes a small profit every month with a large potential, but I don’t think I can maintain both stores. I’ve tried with very average results.

So my problem is should I keep both businesses or focus just on one? I’ve struggled with this question for a while now, and in my opinion I should get rid of BodyMonkey.com.

Focusing on just House Of Rave would allow me to improve it to awesome status, while focusing on both sites might leave me with two mediocre sites.


OPERATIONAL COSTS:

House Of Rave costs roughly $350 per month to keep running.

  • $100 – Dedicated server. Not bad, because I also host a slew of other websites from this server paid for by HoR.
  • $95 – Merchant account fees.
  • $20 – Google Checkout fees.
  • $50 – PayPal Fees
  • $45 – Vonage phone bill.
  • $5 – American Express acceptance fee
  • Other additional yearly fees which I amortize into monthly billing.

BodyMonkey costs roughly $85/month to keep running.

  • $40 – Yahoo Store fees
  • $45 – Merchant account fees


END GOAL:

The end goal for HoR and BM is to provide me with a steady monthly income so I can dabble in other projects while still having my bills paid. With the additional burden of BodyMonkey on my hands, maintaining the two stores almost becomes a full time job.

With this said, I think it only makes sense for me to kill the monkey. Sad, because I think it has lots and lots of potential.

Now the questions is, what do I do with it?

  • Sell it?
  • Let it sit there and generate a small income till it becomes obsolete?
  • Let someone else take over, share profits?

If someone takes over BodyMonkey, they would be sharing the same relationship with my supplier. This makes it very important that I can personally vouch for the person who takes it over (if I choose that route).

Any suggestions?

Car Broken Into – New Account

Since I bought my Lexus last year I haven’t had a single problem with it. It was due time something happened, but it wasn’t Lexus’ fault.

Someone decided to break into my car.


Passenger side quarter-window


Glass slipping into every crevice. You can see police fingerprinting dust on the seat.


Cops found a decent fingerprint on the door…unlikely it will lead to anything though.

I always keep my cars absolutely devoid of anything visible in the cabin, so they didn’t have anything to take. The Lexus dealership is charging me $209 for the parts and labor….which actually isn’t a bad price, however I quickly realized something: Where will this money come from?

I’ve got the money to cover it, but here’s the breakdown of my regularly used accounts (sans the savings and stock accounts):

  • General Account - $1,000 balanced debit card. Money goes in and out from this account, but the balance always remains constant and isn’t spent.
  • Bills Account - Pay rent, gas, groceries and other everyday bills.
  • Spending Account 1 - Money for going out.
  • Spending Account 2 - For trips & holidays.
  • House Account - Money for buying house.
  • Investment Account - Used for anything that helps me make money. Usually keep roughly $6k in here.
  • Permanent Savings - Accumulate money here to later put in various savings accounts.

If I have to get routine maintenance on the car like an oil change, tire rotation etc. I send it to the “Bills Account” but this charge doesn’t justify coming from there.

What I need to do is open an unexpected situation account. I’m going to nickname it the “Oh Sh!t Account.”

As I get older and have more stuff/responsibilities I have a feeling this account will prove to be pretty useful. This account will slowly accumulate money month after month that can be used for any of those unexpected things life throws…in this case, a brick!

Chicago Visit April 3rd – 7th

I’ll be in Chicago from April 3rd (Thursday) till April 7th (Monday). If you’re in or around the area, hit me up!

Every time I go to Chicago I have a BLAST, and hopefully this time will be no different.

The purpose of this visit is A.) to have fun with friends and B.) to keep up with my goal of getting out of town every quarter.

This isn’t a very long visit, but I’m always happy to meet new people over a quick cup of coffee, or meeting up Downtown for the nightlife. Call me if interested!

3D Printing and Review Website Business Idea

I’ve discussed 3D printing before and how it’s poised to be a huge field in the coming years…but it’s still got time.

Perfect opportunity for the early bird.

I wanted to do this project, in fact I already started it, but I’m also at a position in my life where I realize I’m not Superman and can’t handle 10 projects at a time….well, I can, but each one suffers from lack of attention, therefore stifling its growth. So this is another one of those good ideas that bites the dust on my end, but there’s no reason it can’t be done very successfully by someone else with the proper expertise and time.

I wanted to create a 3D printing review site that would also tie in a 3D printing service. The 3D print site would need regular news updates, a comparison page, a user registration system along with integrated forums. This would require the person to actually be pretty interested in 3D printing, seek out demos, post reviews and pictures/videos of actual products being made. Basically like a “TechCrunch of 3D printing” or an “Engadget of 3D printing.”

If you have no idea what the above paragraph means then this idea probably isn’t for you.

So the site would have several different things to offer:

  • 3D printing news
  • 3D printer reviews
  • 3D printer videos, demos, example prints
  • 3D print forum where users can discuss
  • 3D print files hosting where users can download 3D CAD and .stl files of ready-to-print objects (maybe even make some iStockPhoto style buying system).
  • 3D print services where a user can upload a 3D file and have it printed for a fee.


Implementation….
The technical requirements seem a little daunting at first, but it’s actually very simple with the help of content management system Joomla. I found some great Joomla Templates at RocketTheme.com and posted one on a domain I bought called 3DprintFactory.com. They already come integrated with forums, user-uploaded news features, user registration etc….so everything is basically included. You can even move the different modules around with great ease, which makes Joomla and these templates extremely easy to use.

Here’s the sample site I put up on 3DPrintFactory.com just to test the system:


Influences…..
The person doing this should try to emulate how other niche-interest sites like DevArticles.com, SitePoint.com and others got to be so big….integrating good information for a variety of skill levels and allowing for lots of community interaction (ie forums etc).

A good example of how NOT TO DO THIS is http://www.fabaloo.com/

They basically take small snippets of 3dprinting news from here and there and post it in a blog-like format. This is a decent idea, but it won’t really go anywhere because it provides little (if any) value. The goal here is to become an online authority on 3D Printing information, and eventually tie in a 3D printing service.

Some examples of a 3Dprinting service are:
http://www.sweetonioncreations.com/index.html
http://www.alphaprototypes.com/

An example of hosting 3D print files is:
http://www.bathsheba.com/downloads/

Money Would Come From….
So the site would have a multifaceted stream of income:

  • Regular contextual ads. Google, Yahoo yadda yadda…
  • Corporate sponsorships. If you make a great comparison page, have good reviews and in general do a great job on the news/information side of the website, it will eventually rank highly on search engines. Prove you have a captive audience of 3Dprinting enthusiasts, including purchasing agents for companies interested in the technology, and the sponsorship deals will sell.
  • Text links. You can probably command a high price for text links if you do a good job with the site because it’s such a niche (and profitable) subject.
  • Reviews. Company XYZ comes out with new product, and if you’re a strong authority on the subject, they request you do a review of their new product.
  • 3D Print Service. If you’re the authority on 3D printing, you can direct traffic to your own “Pay Per Print” service, or setup an affiliate sharing program with someone who already does it. This could easily be more profitable than all of the above combined.

I think this is a GREAT idea, and now is the perfect time since this technology is just breaking out of its infancy!

For what it’s worth, here’s the original design specs I drew out: