Monthly Archives: February 2011

Need a quick answer

Problem:
Nearly every day I get emails or questions from people I know about how House Of Rave .com works.  To some, it’s unfathomable that I run a rave company, yet never have been to a rave.  I can show only so many people how it actually works (literally show them on a computer).

Solution:
I’m currently doing a whole guide (like a “course”) on how my drop-ship business works.  It’ll show all the stuff I generally don’t just “put out there” because of privacy and competition issues.

Question to those interested:
Look at the below list and let me know if you have further questions than what’s covered here.  Or let me know what you’d be MOST interested in hearing about.

You can simply comment on this post or email me:
nevmed ( a t ) g m a i l . c o m

Course Outline:

All of these will be a combination of text and detailed video tours (I really like doing these videos)!
Part 1.) What it is now:
  1. Makes a couple hundred thousand revenue, bare minimum of 30 minutes of work per day.  About 1-2 hours per day spend on.  Great lifestyle business.
  2. How it started:  When I started it (17), why I started it (experiment),
  3. Part 1.) The beginning, learning the technical side and being curious.
  4. Part 2.) Finding something to sell.  Narrowing down my options.
  5. Part 3.) Finding a drop shipping.  How to find a drop shipper.
  6. Part 4.) Getting a site setup quickly.  Go over all ecommerce options.
  7. Part 5.) Pro’s/Con’s of drop shipping.

Part 2: How it actually works:

  1. How it works: a private behind-the-scenes tour of how HoR works.  I wanna show you how it works so you can understand it’s achievable, I started HoR cause I saw another kid did something similar.  Understand you don’t need to be a programmer (I can’t even write HTML).
  2. How someone goes from browsing the site to purchasing.
  3. Sending the order to the supplier.
  4. Entering the tracking information.
  5. Handling customer service.  Emails, inquiries, phone number.
  6. Show the analytics, Show the past numbers, reports.
  7. Accounting system.
  8. Show around Shopsite back end.
Part 3.) How you can do it to:
  1. Bonus: How to sell just one item.  People think they need to setup big ecommerce site.  Using PayPal .  Other simple ecommerce solutions.
  2. Bonus: The 1 hour business.  How to get an ecommerce business up and running in 1 hour.

Question to those interested:
Once again, let me know if you have further questions than what’s covered here.  Or let me know what you’d be MOST interested in hearing about.

I’ve already got a lot of this already completed, but I really want to make this a TRULY informative “course” I can refer people to whenever they start asking me a million questions about HoR.

You can simply comment on this post or email me:
nevmed ( a t ) g m a i l . c o m

Thanks for your time!  :-)
-Nev

HoR 2010 Revenue n’ Numbers Recap

Well, it’s that time of the year again where I foolishly share all my confidential analytics about one of my Ecommerce businesses HouseOfRave.com!

All numbers are for the full year of 2010 (That’s Jan. 1st till Dec. 31st 2010 for all your dummies out there).

Let’s get started with a general overview:

For the most part it looks like I have moderately predictable traffic.

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Something noteworthy here is sometime in late July 2010 I installed the Asynchronous Google Analytics which can keep track of all ecommerce activity on the site.  Naturally this pushed down my average conversion rate (since stats weren’t collecting for half the year).

It also accounts only the revenue generated after that period.  I think the numbers are pretty close to accurate (I haven’t verified to the cent, but I know they’re not way out of whack either).

SO I technically don’t have all the correct information on this graph until after July 2010.

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Looks like Internet Explorer is still the dominant browser, FireFox really close, and Chrome gaining lots of traction (I pretty much exclusively use the Google Chrome browser because it is…well…awesome).

What was surprising is that pretty much 98+ percent of visitors have a high speed connection.  Dialup is only 1.34%!!!

Hahahah….I remember those funny Dial-Up screeches :-)

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Here’s revenue screenshot from my back end Shopsite panel:

Some of the tracking info such as hits & pages is linked with the Plesk Stats, so they get deleted after 12 months or so (hence the zero’s for Jan – Apr).

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For what it’s worth, here are the Plesk statistics for HoR (almost all of 2010 is shown, I only get last 12 months of reports):

The Unique visits show on average about 80% more visitors than the Google Analytics show.  I attest this to people looking at (or linking) images (from Google Image Search or similar + blogs etc) and leaving.  So technically these ARE “unique visits” but they don’t TRULY count since the person doesn’t stick around long enough to browse the site (or ever even get to the site).

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Well, that’s a nice little recap in numbers of 2010.

Time to close out 2010 and bring in 2011 (damn, this post is like 2 months late)!

The House of Rave Confessions

I own a business called House Of Rave.com.

It’s a drop shipping business, which means I don’t physically handle the products myself.

PRO’S:

  • If I stay on top of things, I only have to do a minimum of an hour or less of work per day (except maybe busy seasons).
  • The business makes money when I sleep.
  • I’ve slowly built a “moat” around the business which makes it (just a little) harder for newer competitors to compete with me.
  • I can say “I own a rave company
  • It’s helped me pay for college, supported me even after college.
  • By itself, it pays me enough money to live a pretty cool life, travel whenever I want and still save money.
  • This business allows me to abide by the rules I heard from Joe Sugarman, “Anything you can do to eliminate people or paper, do.”
  • It provides me a FANTASTIC “testing grounds” for trying out marketing techniques.  Like when I read something great in a book, I can easily implement it to HoR with ease since it’s 100% my business.
  • It’s always on top of cash flow, meaning I never have much debt (other than about $10,000 – $15,000 revolving debt on an American Express card).
  • Because of the above, I get crazy amounts of airline points (in fact I just checked I have half a million airline miles I’ve never used until TODAY when I booked a flight to Vancouver….fo FREE).

CON’S:

  • I must do at least SOME work everyday.
  • If I get hit by a bus, the business will cease to exist.
  • It’s unlikely it will ever get HUUUUGGEEE (without a change in the way things are currently run).

House Of Rave is what Tim Ferriss refers to as a “Muse”…a small business that you can run from anywhere which pays for your lifestyle.

However I’m no fool (well, at least not completely).

I am a middle man.  And as technology improves, manufacturers get more sophisticated, and consumers get more educated….I will be phased out with my current model.

I don’t foresee this happening anytime soon, and I do have time, but it will eventually happen.  Fortunately I’ve found ways to overcome that for now, but looking at a 5 or 10 year forecast, it will move in that direction.  If someone else took over, they could make the business BIG and sustainable in the long run, but it’s never really been a passion of mine.  It was one of many side-projects that made enough money not to pull the plug.

I’m really grateful I’ve had House Of Rave all these years.  I’ve started a lot of small businesses here and there, but HoR has been around the longest (first live order was placed in 2001).

But there’s a yearning to branch out even further.

I’m getting hungry.

HoR Updates 2-7-2011

Every week I said I’d document at least two updates to HouseOfRave.

Here’s two of them (damn these stupid goals….keeping me all accountable and stuff)…..

1.) Updated this High Output Light Base for wedding planners.  I actually use this thing during parties for “mood” lighting by simply placing it in the corner of the room.  You can actually see an example of that on the page.  I snapped some pics, made a quick video and wrote some fun copy for the page.

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2.) More prominent email address capture placed on the top-right of the page.  For some reason I’ve always had the email capture hidden under the left-column navigation.  I’m already seeing a higher number of signups per day.  I’ve kept the old one there, because I use that valuable top-right corner during promotions and holiday seasons.

February 2011 Goals

A new month, so new goals…

Got my January 2011 goals completed.  I’m liking having only a very small amount of goals for the month.

I think anything more than three (maybe four) is too much for my little brain to handle.

Here’s the February 2011 Goals:

GOAL: Complete HoR Product:

One of the most-asked questions I get (over email and in person) is how a drop-shipping business like HouseOfRave works.  People are always perplexed that I can own a rave company, yet never have been to a rave.

For a very select few people, I can take the time to personally show them how everything works.  We’ll sometimes speak for HOURS about how customer service is done, how I update the site, how traffic comes to the site, how promotions work, where I get the products, how I started it etc etc etc….and “going to a rave” NEVER comes up.

So for this goal I’m going to digitally give a behind-the-scenes full tour of HoR, how it was created and exactly how it runs.

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GOAL: Every week 2 HoR improvements documented:

A big improvement in customer service over the holidays helped make running House Of Rave relatively simple.  However I wasn’t focused on other improvements during that time.  This month I want to ensure that other improvements start being made again….even if they’re tiny.

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GOAL: 5 days a week wake up at 7am:

I’m a lazy bum who works from a home office, plus it usually doesn’t matter ONE BIT when I do my work (for example, do anyone care if I wrote this blog post at 10am or 10pm?)..

…naturally my sleep cycles get a little wonky.  However the last month or two I’ve actually been doing something completely uncharacteristic of myself…waking up at 7am.

I swear to you….this simple lifehack has accounted for more of my productivity over the last two months than ANYTHING else…BY FAR.

For example, as I’m typing these words it’s 7:45am.  I woke up precisely at 7am, hopped out of bed and sat my butt down and started working.  I NEVER “start working” immediately…however at 7am there’s really no brain function of mine fully up yet, so I don’t get distracted.  I simply look at the very first thing on my to-do list…AND DO IT!  Then I finish it, and to avoid just plain falling back asleep, I do the next one.   Before I know it, it’s noon and I’ve done 5 hours of solid work….which is often nearly my entire to-do list.

I am allowed to fall back asleep whenever I want to.  If I sleep at 2am and wake up at 7am, I only got 5 hours of sleep. I’ll generally work till noon or so, take an hour nap, then wake up and do whatever (more work, gym, errands etc).  This seems to be my optimal amount of sleep.  From doing this for about 2 months now (although not consistently everyday, I am almost totally convinced 8 hours of sleep is too much for me (presuming I take one nap).  It makes me MORE groggy to sleep a lot (isn’t it weird how that works) ??

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If I don’t….

A nice negative consequence always ensures my goals will be completed.  If I don’t get my February 2011 Goals completed by Feb 28th (damn leap year…) 2011, then I will NOT attend the massive SXSW conference which I’m pretty excited for.