One of the pillars of this blog from the beginning has been the concept of experimenting, trying new things, and ultimately sharing my results with you through my monthly financial results posts. The biggest and overarching experiment was the quest to make a full time income purely from selling on Amazon and eBay.
It all began in September of 2013 when I quit my full time job, and from October of 2013 through June of 2015 I have published completely public financial results posts here on the blog. The goal of these posts was always to document my journey from the very beginning so that anyone could go back at any time and see the progression on a monthly basis. The idea was that seeing this live in action would provide motivation to individuals to do something outside the norm. In particular I hope that it shows other young individuals a different path than the graduate high school, go to college, get a “real” job, work for a long time, and then retire. My hope is that having this journey documented will inspire at least a few individuals to try something that they really would like to do, and they just need a little extra courage to take the leap.
The results posts have also served as a means of holding myself accountable, as I don’t want to have to put out a public post that says that my results turned out to be poor. Although, as I shared the details of my brief suspension from Amazon, I would have shared any poor financial results posts as well.
The financial results posts have been a little bit of a roller coaster ride, but I have been very fortunate that the results have been overall very positive. Ultimately, I believe the results posts thus far have proved the hypothesis of the experiment that it is possible to make a full time income simply from selling products online. As a result of this, I don’t think it makes complete sense for me to continue publishing completely public financial results posts on a monthly basis. I have great admiration for Pat Flynn of www.smartpassiveincome.com, and others who continue to post public financial results posts on a monthly basis even as the numbers grow incredibly high, but it is not something that I am comfortable with (not that my numbers are anywhere close to his level).
With that said, I don’t plan to stop experimenting or trying new things in my business. My plan is to always continue to try new things that have the potential to payoff in the future. I would rather make mistakes by taking action, than making a mistake by sitting on the sidelines. I will continue to document these experiments and my experiences selling on Amazon here as well.
The primary reasons for limiting the distribution of these posts are for the following 3 groups of people: family & friends, employees & contractors on my team, and contacts in the industry.
In regards to family & friends, I am perfectly fine with some of these individuals knowing the details, as I would discuss with them already. The part I would like to avoid is every single person I know, knowing the specifics of how my business is doing on a monthly basis.
In regards to members of my team, whether employees or contractors, I would prefer if they do not find out about the results via a public post. Some of the individuals that are on my team know virtually all of the details of my financial results. I plan to be quite open with results and goals with the members of my team, but I want them to be hearing the information directly from me versus on a post here on the blog.
In regards to contacts in the industry, this primarily means individuals that I purchase products from. The primary group here that I am thinking about is store managers that I have relationships with. This also carries over to contacts I have in the wholesale & liquidation industries as well, but the primary concern is store managers. The key detail I want them to know is my buying power, but I don’t necessarily want them knowing the specifics of how much I make on each sale. Again there are some individuals that I am just fine with having them know the results, but I want to be the one controlling the flow of information.
Another contributing factor for this decision is that many individuals do not fully grasp all of the numbers that I am sharing in my financial results posts. They will see a sales screenshot for $100,000 included in the post and think that is how much I made, despite the fact that I break out income and cash flow statements. If I am able to control the flow of information, I am able to clear up any misconceptions on the spot to make sure things are understood fully.
With those concerns stated, I don’t necessarily want the financial results posts to go away completely as I have had many people let me know that the results posts provide them with motivation, and in addition these posts give some insight into my business on a monthly basis.
There might be doubts that I am stopping the public financial results to focus time elsewhere, but that really isn’t the case. I fully intend to keep my business growing, and don’t have plans to slow the growth and stabilize until at least sometime in 2016 at the earliest. To that point, August was my best month of 2015 so far, and I am really excited for this upcoming 4th quarter.
Ultimately, I don’t want the financial results posts to go away entirely, I just want to have some control of who sees them. So the best place to get updates on the results is now in the Online Selling Experiment Facebook Group. I occasionally share updates there with how my business is doing.
This has been a very difficult decision to make, and I talked with many individuals about the best possible ways to keep sharing the results to only the intended audience. My hope is that those of you reading this will be able to understand my decision, and can see how having the results available in a completely public manner can affect relationships with those around you (in particular the groups mentioned above).
If you have any questions or comments, please let me know below!