Author: Jason Miles

How Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula Changes Our Business

Hi everyone,

We are super honored to have just been featured in Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula Workshop Series as a Case Study. We weren’t sure if our story was going to be included, so when we saw it last night – we were nervous blown away – and we realized we really should have told you about all of this before now! Sorry about that!

Here is the link to our video on the Case Studies Page…

Note: Your email address might be required – and then Jeff will send you emails. You can always opt-out, but his marketing materials are great, so we hope you learn a lot from his ongoing emails.

Act Fast: We’ve heard Jeff’s free online workshop is available until Friday night (November 18th) at midnight Pacific. After that he’ll be taking all the training videos and resources offline for 12-18 months. So if you want to see our video case study (and all the free training videos he offers – be sure to act quickly. Sorry for the short notice – this isn’t something we can control. And sorry if you’re reading this after November 19th.

On his Case Study page look for this section:


Jason and Cinnamon Miles PLF Case Study

Click Here To Watch Our PLF Case Study Video

How Product Launch Formula Changed Our Business

In case you’re not famiiar with Jeff Walker and his Product Launch Formula – ten years ago he invented a system that has become the premiere online marketing methodology. He calls it a “Product Launch Formula” – it’s a smart way to roll out a new product.

In 2009 our mentor Jim Cockrum helped us clarify our product strategy…. then in 2010 we got terrific help from Jeff’s Product Launch Formula course related to marketing our new products. Those two business decisions (what products to sell – and how to sell them) have changed our business forever!

And our total sales for our company (and charity) prove it – and I’m happy to show you the proof. Here is a chart of our total revenue… but first a few disclaimers…

Disclaimer 1: Please note – this is NOT our personal income, or “net income” this chart has nothing to do with that … this is just top level sales from our company and donations to our charity). Disclaimer 2: This is total income from a variety of income streams including my writing, teaching, and speaking, our websites, and related activities. Plus donations to our charity. I am stacking them here only for the purpose of showing the full impact. Disclaimer 3: These are our results and we have no idea whether following Jeff Walker will work out well for you – or improve your results in any way.

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-8-10-53-am

5 Important Things To Notice About Our Story

Lesson One: Product Choice Impacts Your Outcome: I know a lot of you reading this are just starting out, or have been selling handmade items for a long time without a big financial break-through. We know what that is like (to a degree) since for the first two years of our business we were only able to sell $1,000 a month on eBay. Those eBay sales were excruciating – and required Cinnamon to stay up till midnight sewing on a regular basis. It wasn’t sustainable – and certainly not the level of success we aspired to achieve. So when we decided to shift our product emphasis – we started to see new and exciting results. So consider what you’re selling – and if you can realistically sell 10X more in an efficient way – or would that kill you? If you can’t sell 10X more easily – then you have a product problem.

Lesson Two: Marketing Techniques Impact Your Outcome: Selling online is just like anything else – It’s a skill that is learned. When we started all we knew was how to use eBay. So we started there. We had to learn how to use email marketing, social media, ecommerce websites, and product launch methods. If you don’t ever develop the appetite for learning the marketing skills – then your ultimate outcome is going to be drastically limited. If you hate marketing – then find a partner that loves it – and offer to give them half of all your revenue – so they can focus on being your marketing person.

Lesson Three: Investing In Your Education Impacts Your Outcome: I realize there are a lot of scams on the internet. Sadly the early days had a lot of get-rich-quick schemes. But those people never last because what they are selling is garbage. But in the case of the Product Launch Formula program, it’s been around for over 10 years – and tons of people have used it successfully. I can demonstrate and share my own results from using the system (which is what we did in the video) … and there are tens of thousands of small business owners that could also give a similar testimony. I’ve met many of them – when I attended Jeff’s massive training event in Phoenix in 2014. It was amazing to hear from people of all different backgrounds – all helped by the Product Launch Formula method.

Lesson Four: Learning From Free Training When You Can Get It Impacts Your Outcome: Here is a little secret. The free training workshop that Jeff Walker offers (from now until Friday night at Midnight Pacific) is pretty much EXACTLY what is taught inside his $1,999 program. The only difference? You have limited access to it right now via the workshop videos – and that goes away in a couple days. And – in his program he unpacks each topic with TONS of videos, worksheets, examples, and related content. So you get the same thing – but in a much much more detailed way. So, if you can’t afford his full Product Lauch Formula Course – then learn as much as you can from his free workshop. Maybe it’ll revolutionize your business.

Lesson Five: Taking Baby Steps Will Impact Your Outcome: The amazing part about the age of the Internet is you can start with an idea – implement it the best you know how for free – and see if it clicks with people – and then based on the outcome – you can work to refine it from there. Decades ago the start-up phase would have cost you thousands of dollars or more. Today – the tools and training are free. Those little baby steps protect you from ruining your financial lives, making big bets, or gambling on unproven ideas. And when you’re ready to take a bigger step up – to a bigger better test of your business opportunity – you can invest money.

So if you don’t have any money, and aren’t confident in your business idea – then just watch Jeff’s free workshop videos while they’re available (until November 18th at midnight Pacific). If you have some confidence in your business ability, and some money to invest, then I highly encourage you to not only watch the free training videos, but jump into Jeff’s full training course. If you’re not happy with it – he’ll give you all your money back – so you really have nothing to loose. If you take the plunge, let me know.

Thanks for supporting Cinnamon & I on our business journey…

We truly wish you all the best on yours too …

Jason & Cinnamon

Ps. I’ve used an affiliate link to Jeff’s program in this blog post. So if you end up buying the full course, I’ll make a little money. This is called an ‘earnings disclaimer’ which is important to always use when you’re promoting products or services that can benefit you financially. But trust me when I tell you – that is not my emphasis, nor why we did our Case Study video. My hope is to encourage and support you as you Make-Sell-Grow. I hope this blog post, and Jeff’s free videos did that today!

 

The Tonka Profit Project: Adding Digital Products To A Craft Brand

How do you scale up a craft business?

How do you take a craft related hobby and turn it into a business?

How do you go from selling one-off products on eBay (or Etsy) to a larger business? 

These are all common questions for artisans and crafters. Over the next few months I’ll share my results as I work to accomplish these goals with my business partner John Venheim. In this first post I’ll explain what we are doing and walk you through our approach to growing his business.

The Backstory: Last October I was asked to share our story (about Liberty Jane Clothing & Pixie Faire) at an event in Portland. When it was over a guy came up to me and told me about his passion – restoring vintage Tonka Trucks.

65 Tonka- Cool Picture

John’s story was oddly familiar. He had a hobby he was great at, and could sell items on eBay successfully, but he didn’t know how to scale up the business and take it to a higher level – a six figure level.

His story sounded familiar to us because that was the exact same spot we were in with Liberty Jane in the summer of 2009. Back then we could sell everything Cinnamon could make, but she was exhausted – sewing until midnight to fill orders. But we figured out how to scale up from there by using her unique skills to build a brand and a business. We went from being a $1,000 a month seller on eBay, to now selling over $2,000 a day on various sites including our own.

John wondered if I could help him figure out a similar path forward.

So over the last few months I’ve had a blast partnering with him to help figure it out. Here is our strategy and how we are implementing it.

Product Strategy

John is amazing at restoring vintage trucks and he can do that job day-in-and-day-out making on average $40 an hour. That’s actually really great for a craft based business. Lots of crafters make much less than minimum wage! But John needed more (and different) product ideas if he was going to scale up his business.

So we focused on looking at his work from another angle – the ‘make money online’ angle. Why? Because there is a hungry market of people trying to figure out how to make money online – and John’s good at it and sharing how he does it didn’t worry or concern him. Why? Because John can only find and repair so many Tonka Trucks – and their is a very large world out-there filled with old Tonka Trucks waiting to be restored and re-sold.

So we decided to focus on this new market and approach it with a few information products. John is also focusing on a few new physical product ideas as well. We are releasing,

  1. A book in both Kindle and Paperback form.
  2. 14-part video series.
  3. A Be-On-The-Lookout Guide.

Here is what some of that looks like:

real book image

Tonka Profit

 

Tonka Flipping V1 Ipad copy2

Price Strategy

One thing you might notice is that we are leading with ‘Free’.

  • The Kindle version of the book is free for the first five days, (from April 14-18) and we’ll continue to offer it for free occasionally over the months and years to come.
  • The paperback version of the book is free for those who are willing to cover shipping & Handling.
  • The Be-On-The-Lookout Guide is free on the website we well.

Placement Strategy

Placement refers to your strategy of where you’ll sell. We are focusing on using Amazon and our own website for these new products. Of course, John continues to sell his physical items on his eBay account. We are also exploring ideas related to other locations where we can sell custom trucks – and feature the books alongside the trucks.

  • Using Amazon, a huge marketplace is a natural location for the kindle and paperback books. This will allow us to have continues exposure to a large community of potential buyers.
  • Using our own website, www.tonkaprofit.com, also has advantages. To accomplish this we used the Shopify platform. In addition to Shopify, to deliver the ‘Free+Shipping’ offer for the paperback book we used ClickFunnels, an amazing ecommerce tool that gives you a nice set of options related to how you structure your offers.

Promotion Strategy

We have a fun promotional strategy we are trying. We are giving away a custom box truck – that can have YOUR logo on. (Feel free to enter if you’d like). John has offered to do a few of these as part of our promotion strategy and so we are running a raffle from the 14th of April through the 30th to see how it goes. To enter you have to join our newsletter list and there are a few other ways to enter. To do this we used www.rafflecopter.com. Here is what that looks like:

box truck promotion

 

Will Any Of This Work? 

The early signs are good. We are already #1 in a category on Amazon (For Free ebooks).

So that’s fun! Here’s what that looks like,

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 12.24.29 PM

[Update, we reached #1 in the Antiques & Collectibles Category, which is exciting. Here is what that looks like… ]

IMG_0413

 

But as with anything else – we are learning by trial-and-error. I’m honored to partner with John on this project and it will be fun to see how it all works. As a lot of you know I’ve been helping Cinnamon with the marketing of doll related products for a long-time, so playing with Tonkas is a fun change! Stay tuned – we’ll keep you posted on how this all goes.

Of course – if you know people who might be interested in the topic of Tonkas – feel free to share this blog post with them and/or the website, www.tonkaprofit.com

Jason

Ps. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click on them and decide to purchase something I will earn a commission. The commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please realize we only include these types of links for companies we know, like, use, and trust. But please never purchase anything from a company if you can’t afford it – or if you’re not sure it is right for you. Do your research and decide carefully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Layers Of Profitability

The goal of any business is to make a profit. Whether you are earning $1,000 a month in sales, or $100,000 a month in sales – there is only one vital statistic for business health – how much do you keep as profit?

How To Get Profitable

This chart is loosely based on the work of Jagmohan Raju – he calls it 4 “levers” of profitability. I’ve oriented the 4 ‘levers’ to include an income and expense view of things:

4 layers of profitability chart

 

Let’s quickly review the 4 layers of profitability outlined in the chart. On the income side of the ledger you have:

Pricing: how much you charge for your items. Of course this can include fixed prices, variable prices and even auction pricing.

Sales Volume: This includes the total of all units sold. Some small businesses have 1 product and sell a lot of it, some have many products and sell a few of them.

On the expense side of the ledger you have:

Fixed Expenses: These expense items are fairly stable and include things like rent, salaries, property tax, insurance, and utilities.

Variable Expenses: These expense items change based on sales volume and other very flexible business decisions and include things like advertising cost, material cost, credit card processing fees, and shipping costs.

At the end of the month (or day or year, etc.) the math is very simple:

Total income from sales minus expenses equals profit. At the end of the day it is up to the entrepreneur to creatively increase income while holding expenses flat or lowering them.

Widening The Jaws

I once had an old boss who always talked about “widening the jaws” and would always draw a simple little chart when doing budget reviews with his managers. He would use that phrase to always remind his managers that we COULD grow expenses, but they had to grow at a slower pace than income in order for our total profit to continue to improve. Here is what that looked like:

widening the jaws finance chart

Some business make plenty of sales, but they suffer from poor profit because they have out of control expenses. In those cases – you can improve profit substantially by cutting expenses.

Other businesses have poor sales – and the best way to improve is to increase the income side of the equation. That might take a new product, a new pricing strategy, or a revamp of the existing product strategy.

But most businesses reside somewhere in the middle – okay sales – and average expenses. In those cases success is made in the margin. In finding the little, incremental improvement in sales or expense optimization, and continously making those wise choses.

I hope 2016 is a very profitable year for you!

Ps. Am I right in my analysis? Are there more than 4 layers of profitability? I’d love to know what you think!

2016 Planning Worksheet

Hi everyone,

More of, Less Of Goal Setting worksheetThis week I’m working on my 2016 planning using an old method I learned somewhere along the way. It’s called “More Of, Less Of, Different”. I thought I’d make you a little worksheet so you’ll have a good resource to use as well. I’ve added it as an 8X10 PDF file so you can print it out easily. Here is what it looks like. Let me describe each section briefly.

More Of: The more of category is the section where you list the things or activities you want more of in 2016. I generally look back at 2015 and ask the question, “what went well in 2015 that I want to make sure happens even more in 2016”

Less Of: The less of category is the section where you list the things or activities you want less of in 2016. I look back on 2015 and ask the question, “what happened in 2015 that I want to happen less (or not at all) in 2016?”

Different: The different category is the section where I list what things that worked okay, but should be done differently. I look back on 2015 and ask the question, “what worked okay in 2015 that could work better in 2016 if we did it differently?”

HH Goal: The High-Hard Goal section is where I list my big aspiration for 2016. The phrase “high hard goal” comes from the book Bold by Peter Diamandis the famous creator of the Ansari X Prize. It’s a book that really inspired my in 2015. The HH Goal is where I ask myself, “if there was one thing I could imagine that would really be a break-through, what would it be?”

What’s my outcome? Here’s how I used this tool to plan my 2016. I won’t bore you with the details related to each concept, but I have specific plans and details for each of these.

More Of: Partners and products. I’m excited about launching several private label brands in 2016 – and several new product lines. You’ll hear more about these over the next few months.

Less Of: Teaching and online classes. I’ve decided that I’m going to limit my online classes (just sticking to the few that I’ve already committed to). I’m also going to limit my public speaking to just truly exceptional (and fun) events that Cinnamon and I can enjoy together.

Different: I’m going to focus on team building, hiring, and partnership development.

High Hard Goal: I’m going to try to push for a 7 figure year (revenue exceeding 1 million) for our core business Liberty Jane/Pixie Faire and a 7 figure year for Sew Powerful as well.

I hope you have an amazing 2016!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Etsy Hacks Everyone Should Know

Hi everyone,

Last night in our Etsy Intensives webinar with Nancy Alexander she shared SOOO much good content. I quickly realized that the replay will be very helpful for me (so I can go through it slowly, hit pause, and then implement the “hacks” (or tips) that she recommends. I’d encourage you to do the same thing.

Watch The Replay Here (and learn more about her full Etsy Intensives Program).

My Reflections on The Etsy Intensives Webinar: While she was talking I tried my best to look at my Etsy shop – and evaluate what she was saying – and how I was (or wasn’t) doing compared to her recommendations. Here are five hacks (or tips) that stood out to me:

1. Etsy Search Engine Optimization:

Definition: How does Etsy serve results to people who are looking for items?

Etsy Hack Search Engine Optimization

2. Etsy Keyword Usage:

Definition: Understand, review, and write your descriptions and related text information to use Keywords and Long-Tail Keywords (Keywords that have more than 3 words) effectively. When you do – your results will show it.

Etsy Hack: Keyword use

3. Etsy Search Bar Related Terms:

Definition: Etsy begins to reveal related searches as you type. Use this information to understand what people are searching for and how to organize your keyword strategy.

Etsy Hack: Related Terms

4. Etsy Shop Description Purpose:

Definition: Use the Shop Description and “About” Information to focus on bonding with the prospect. Work to ensure they 1) Know 2) Like 3) Trust … you and your work.

Etsy Hack: Shop Description Strategy

 

5. Etsy Shop Images:

Definition: Etsy recently added the “Info Image” that most sellers still haven’t used yet. Be sure to add your logo to the Shop Info image box and your personal (smiling face) to the Shop Owner image box. Etsy uses these in various places so it’s important to add them properly so you help Etsy help you.

Etsy Hack: Shop Info Image and Shop Owner Image

 

Regardless of whether you sell a little or a lot on Etsy – I think it’s important you get these elements set up properly. As I mentioned previously, these were just my “in the moment” ‘ahas’ … as I watch the reply I’m sure I’ll get much more. Then as we go through the full course – we’ll learn even more.

I hope you enjoyed this special training session as much as I did.

Remember the closing date for Nancy’s full Etsy Intensives program is Tuesday, August 25th, at Midnight!

Jason