Note: Stick around. At the end of this post I am offering a special deal for you amazing readers!
I have started a business! It’s a travel products company and right now, we only have one product (but the plan is to grow). For now, we sell exclusively on Amazon. The business is called:
Oventure Travel Gear (link is to our official website)
For this business, I wanted to give a bare bones account of how I got started. This is definitely my most involved side hustle so far, so I can’t include all of the details. However, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!
For now, let’s start at the beginning:
How I Got Started
As some of you know, I LOVE podcasts. They allow me to learn and be entertained during commutes, flights, etc. One of my favorite entrepreneurship Podcasts is Freedom Fastlane. The host, Ryan Daniel Moran has a couple of physical product businesses, selling mainly on Amazon.
As I listened, something in my brain changed. I have often thought about niche sites and selling digital products as a side hustle, but something about creating physical products clicked for me. Previously, I have hesitated to jump into entrepreneurial pursuits, but I liked this opportunity.
Even more important than the opportunity itself was timing. A year and a half ago, I started this blog. That led to connecting with other financially savvy bloggers and a shift in my mindset. After conversations and lots of research, investing in real estate seemed achievable. I jumped into that. Once I became a person who takes advantage of these types of opportunities, creating a physical products business was a big leap, but it wasn’t unthinkable. I was ready to take that step.
I joined the Freedom Fastline “Tribe” and got to work on my business.
Overview of the Business
My first product is a set of packing cubes.
Packing cubes are one of those products that are getting more and more popular. I often her people saying that packing cubes are a product they never thought they needed, but now will never travel without. However, the main reason I chose them as my first product was sales volume. I did my research on Amazon for products that sold well and had an acceptable profit margin.
However, I chose the category of travel products first. I have been bitten by the travel bug. I am currently planning my next trip to Italy and Greece and I love the idea of creating products that help people travel better. Some Amazon sellers choose a one-off product. You can’t build a brand around one-offs and it’s much more difficult to maintain motivation for a business you don’t care about. So, more important than my first product choice, was the overarching category of my products.
After I chose packing cubes, I ordered samples from various suppliers and found the one that I liked. I worked with them to make some changes including specifying materials and adding my Oventure logo!
Finally, I purchased the products and had my supplier ship them directly to Amazon’s warehouses. Amazon has a program called Fulfilled by Amazon. They will handle warehousing your product as well as picking, packing, and shipping it. So once it’s at their warehouse, when orders come in, they handle it.
I want to reiterate that this is an EXTREMELY simplified version of the process. It’s not quite so simple, but it’s definitely not unachievable as well.
At every step, there were obstacles that could have derailed me. I could have thrown in the towel on this project and chalked it up to “well, that idea doesn’t really work”. I won’t bore you with each one, but I wanted to share two specifically.
Stumbling Block #1 was part of the sourcing process. My first product was SUPPOSED to be a travel neck pillow (those u-shaped ones that people wear on planes).
I worked with someone I had networked with who offered a service of negotiating the best price with suppliers and inspecting the products for quality. I thought that was a valuable service.
However, half a year after reaching out to her, I am STILL waiting on my inventory. It is now close to arriving at Amazon (finally), but it took much longer than it should have and my investment in the products was tied up for far too long. Starting a business really drives home the saying that time is money. I never understood the importance of moving a process along quickly as it impacted my bottom line (ability to sell quicker, recoup my investment quicker, grow my business sooner, etc) until Oventure Travel Gear was created.
So, I could still be waiting on the sidelines now. However, I pushed through and launched into another product: packing cubes. This required even more money to place another order, but it got me in the game.
Stumbling Block #2 was my own mindset. Back in October, when I first started this venture, I was excited! I worked constantly on ways to make this business a reality. As small stumbling blocks presented themselves (it took longer to get product to Amazon, it was harder than I thought to actually generate sales, etc), my enthusiasm waned a bit. I didn’t really notice it. It happened slowly.
However, one day, I realized that I hadn’t thought about the business for a couple of days. I had other business opportunities that I was dreaming of. A couple of days may not seem like a lot, but it’s the difference between a hobby and really dedicating yourself to making a business succeed.
Of course, it would have been easy to continue down that path. But hat path doesn’t lead to where I want to go. I took a moment out of my day and thought about all the reasons I was excited about this opportunity in the first place. The joy of creating a brand from nothing in a niche (travel) that I am passionate about. I redoubled my efforts and pushed through.
How much money have I put into this project? More than I originally though. Between having to order a second product right away, not having the greatest online ad skills, and various other mistakes along the way, it was more expensive than anticipated. I imagine it usually is.
My investment so far: Approximately $20k
That’s a LOT of money. However, as far as starting a real business, that is actually pretty low. Most business go through rounds of funding. I am bootstrapping. But if you are looking into creating a physical products business, it’s not a decision to be made lightly.
Where I Am Now/The Future
I have promoted the packing cubes and now have over 125 reviews on Amazon! These have mainly come from deep discounts I have given friends, family, and groups of people that like to review Amazon products. Currently, I get a full-priced order once every couple of days. It’s slow, but I am committed to pushing through this growth phase. I mentioned earlier that I have my second product on its way to Amazon as well.
I have laid out a roadmap for my business. I don’t see it as an Amazon business. I am building it on Amazon, but I will eventually look at other channels, both online and offline, once the Oventure brand name is established. I also have plans to do more product innovation going forward. Implement new features that make my products even more useful to travelers and stand out in the crowd.
For now, generating sales is my laser focus for this business. And of course, to that end…
A Deal for You
The New York Budget readers are not the largest group of people ever assembled, but they are awesome. I love it every time I hear from readers via email or get to meet them in person. Therefore, I wanted to offer you a 20% off discount code for the packing cubes.
• Step 2: Add the packing cubes to your cart and when you check out, use the promo code: NYBPACKS for 20% off!
• Step 3: Enjoy your new packing cubes! And let me know if you’d be interested in a similar deal when my other products come out.
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