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Thursday, 23 June 2011

You're the one for me Statty!

   I received an email alert with some very interesting stats this week:

  • Man Utd score the first goal in all 19 of their Home games last season.
  • Man Utd won 18 of their 19 home games last season (WBA got a draw).
  • Mark Halsey was the most lenient ref in the Premier League by a considerable margin.
  • Both teams scored in 95% of Blackpool's home matches.

   I reckon if you could find 4 or 5 killer stats that you were confident in; pick the one offering the most generous odds each week; back it to make a set profit level; roll up the next week if required - then you'd be on a winner over the course of a season. Study time!

Gift Basket Business

   I love the idea of producing a "Scottish Gift Basket" which contains the very best of Scottish produce - the best Square Sausage, the Best Whisky, the best Haggis etc.

   Here is a article recently published on Positive Money Feeds:

How To Start A Gift Basket Business

by Andrew Shim

The gift basket industry is growing steadily, and according to statistics, is raking in an estimated $2.8 billion annually. In a survey conducted by a magazine covering gift baskets businesses, nearly 72 percent of the companies surveyed reported annual sales of at least $50,000 and over 30 percent said sales were at or over the $100,000 mark! Today, gift baskets have evolved to include every conceivable occasion - from ordinary house-warming gifts to pricey corporate PR and business relationship builders. To give you a rough idea of how wide your options are, here's a short list of popular gift baskets :

New baby

New moms

Pet products


New Year


Valentine's Day




Mother's Day

Father's Day




Get Well

House warming


Chocolate Lover's

Wine Lover's

Who should go into this business?

The gift basket business is one of those businesses where packaging makes all the difference! It's the perfect business opportunity for someone who loves to shop and find a bargain, likes interacting with people and has enough creative juice to turn fanciful ideas into great looking gift baskets. It's a business that mixes shopping, public relations, entertaining and fun to make money!

Valuable skills for starting a gift basket business

Creativity and artistic ability goes a long way in the gift basket business. This helps you transform ordinary bars of soap and toiletries into an eye-catching, posh-looking work of art that's worth every cent you're charging for it.

Sales, marketing and networking skills are critical. You need to be able to convince your customers that you ARE the best, even though you're a small setup, or your charges are one of the highest, or they simply haven't heard of you before. You'll need to know how to get your gift baskets in front of eyeballs so people will take notice and that calls for networking - knowing lots of people.

Organizational skills are needed to keep you from going insane. Remember that you are in a business that involves lots of small items and keeping track of everything and everyone can leave you frazzled if you don't learn to organize.

These skills can be learnt as you go along. It's good to read books or attend workshops on creative gift wrapping to help you get started. It's also a good thing to keep an eye out for unique gift baskets that stand out. Carry a camera along with you and take a photo of a nice gift basket whenever you see one. Take note of its combination of contents too and record all these to be kept for future reference.

Finding your niche

We don't want to pour cold water over your dreams even before you start, but you've got to expect competition in this business. It's like this simply because this is a highly profitable business. There are broadly two directions you will want to head - the do-it-all general gift baskets, or niche (specialty gift baskets).

If you decide to jump into the general category, then expect your customers to come to you with a wide range of needs and expectations. This sort of makes you a Jack-of-all-trades and at times, you may feel that you're being made to squeeze juice out of a rock! The plus side of this is that since your market covers pratically anything and everything, you should be busy all year round.

The specialty niche has less competition and allows you to charge a premium, but it's tougher to break into. It's about finding gift basket ideas that are unique and encompasses a specific specialty, for example, cigars, wines, cheeses or even silk pyjammas. A great example of this is Although you need to be "different" and market yourself as a specialist in your niche, it's actually not all that difficult to find a niche. You just have to keep an open mind.

Of course, there's nothing that says you can't specialize in more than one niche or even do a combination of general and specialty gift baskets.

Getting your supplies

A critical requirement to becoming a successful gift basket business owner is knowing where to get anything and everything - from food items to novelties and toys to posh perfumes - and knowing how to get them at a good price. Whether you're into general or specialty gift baskets, you have got to know where to find the right items. Many operators have found that the most affordable option is to get supplies from countries like China and Indonesia, where production costs are low. Even after factoring in the shipping and administrative charges, bringing in items this way may still be cheaper than sourcing for items locally.

Your operations base

When you're starting out, a gift basket business can easily be run from your home or garage. You'll need enough storage space to store your popular items. Remember that you don't want to keep too much in stock - especially items that have an expiration date. You'll need

a phone, fax, computer and email to receive orders and communicate with your suppliers and customers

stock control software to keep track of all your suppliers and current prices

basic office furniture

basic showroom display racks

packaging area

filed catalogue photos of your gift baskets

transportation for delivery (type depends on your volume)

Expect to be very busy during the holiday season, so you will need enough room for an extra staff or two to help you out in packaging. If you intend to entertain walk-in visitors or you want to avoid the hassle of moving when you need to expand, you might want to shop around for a store. Again, how big a store to set up depends very much on the size of your operations. To cut down on costs, you could just rent a small store front as a showroom while your actual packing and delivery operations are based at home or somewhere cheaper.

How much you can make

Gift basket business owners regularly make anywhere from $10,000 to up and around $250,000 annually, depending on their niche, location and operation size. Large companies that specialize in gift baskets have been known to make six-figures per month.

The typical markup you will want to consider is fifty percent, but that again depends on who your target market is and your reputation. If you've built a strong brand presence in a specialty niche, your markup can be any amount you want.

Keep in mind that like any other business, your margin will depend on your costs. Buying in bulk helps lower your costs. Buying at retail prices has the opposite effect. You'll have to know what your competitors are charging to come up with a profit margin that you're comfortable with yet is competitive.

Getting Your Business Off the Ground

You can't expect to cover your market all by yourself unless you have loads of capital to start with. What you can do though, is work smart :

Leave sample baskets in appropriate shops. For example: wedding baskets in bridal shops & tuxedo rental shops; baby baskets in baby shops. A great way to work with these shop owners is to have them sell your gift baskets on consignment or even better, get the shop to buy baskets to resell themselves.

Leave posters, flyers or calling cards in these shops if they are not open to having your gift baskets there.

Give your baskets as gifts. When you see people excited at the sight of your gift baskets, tell them that you have a business making these baskets.

Offer your friends a commision for every referral that results in a sale or give them an attractive discount every time they make an order. This will surely get them to volunteer to get the gift baskets for office colleagues, church events or family get-togethers.

Baskets make wonderful fundraising items. Donate a few baskets to your children's school, local animal shelter or charitable organization. They can sell raffle tickets and give the basket as a prize. Make sure that you are given credit for the donation and are allowed to include your business cards or brochure.

Online Marketing Ideas

A website is the perfect way to promote both the online and offline components of your gift basket business. Websites are sales staff that never sleep, never need a toilet break and never take sick leave. If you organize you website well and provide enough information on it, then chances are, when you receive a call or an email, it will be from customers who knows what they're going to get, what it will cost them and are ready to place the order. That cuts down tremendously on the time spent on your sales pitch and follow up. Here are a few ideas to promote your website and online business:

Build a website that's user friendly giving detailed descriptions of your gift baskets, prices and ordering process. Remember to also give visitors to your website options to contact you either via an online form or telephone number. A well thought out website helps to assure people that you are a real business owner running a legitimate, above board business. This also helps encourage webmasters to link to your website.

Build a mailing list and send out a newsletter on a regular basis. Design your newsletter around a topic that relates to your gift baskets. This is easy, because gift baskets can be for any occasion. You newsletter should contain useful articles, information or tips, event planning tips, product giveaways, etcn - anything that you feel will be useful to your clientele. Along with this content, promote your business and specials in your newsletter, but do try to offer more than a sales pitch. For your more corporate clients, you may wish to take a different angle. Remember that your mailing list helps you stay in touch with your web visitors who might be potential customers. People are more likely to buy from someone for whom they have established a certain amount of trust.

Form partnerships and exchange links with gift reminder services (or start your own!), your suppliers, crafters and other related sites. If you sell different items, promote those on your respective sites. You can also coordinate deliveries across the country with other gift basket makers.

Build other websites related to topics that your clients will be interested in eg. Weddings, family, hobbies, gift etc. and place links to your gift basket website.

The Gift Basket Industry is huge and competition can be fierce, but it's also a great home based money maker for stay-at-home moms who are just looking to supplement their household income.. You don't necessarily have to run a multi-million dollar operation to make money. If you want to go on to that level, great, but if you're content to stay small, this can be a really fun, family business!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


From Skyskanner:

10 Paycations: how to make money on holidayMonday 20 June 2011

Go abroad. Get paid.

A new poll has reported that two fifths of Brits plan not to take a summer holiday in a bid to improve their bank balances. But there are ways of getting your travel fix, and earning your keep at the same time.

Skyscanner introduces 10 holidays where you can make money, rather than just spend it.

1. Travel writing

Nice work if you can get it, plenty of people are making money by writing about their travel adventures. If you’ve got a way with the written word and an interesting story to tell, try pitching your article ideas to relevant magazines or websites, or even starting your own travel blog. offers writers an easy platform to start their own blog, and offers tips on all aspects of the travel writing business.

Earning Potential: from a few pounds up to £300 or more per article for top publications.

2. Travel photography

You’ll need to be pretty handy with a camera for this one, but if you know your ISO from your aperture, then you may be able to make a buck or two selling your snaps. Image banks like allow photographers to upload their pictures and then flog them to the rest of the world. If you’re good with video you could also set up your own YouTube channel and get paid for it – if you have enough of a following.

Earning Potential: top photographers can make a living from stock photography, but you’ll need quality, and quantity to succeed.

3. Teach English abroad

Native speakers of English have long been able to earn their keep by teaching their mother tongue in foreign lands. Almost every non-English speaking country has options for such work, from Japan to Jordan. A TEFL qualification is normally required, although not always necessary; in some places native English ability and an enthusiastic attitude alone will suffice. See TEFL or JET.

Earning Potential: Japan’s JET programme pays Y3,600,000 (£27,715) per year. It’s competitive and spaces are limited, but can be a lovely earner.

4. Sing for your supper

Can you play guitar, the violin, or the bagpipes? Many a musical traveller has made ends meet while on the road, by entertaining passers-by. A few hours playing your favourite tunes during rush hour could earn you enough coins to keep you going, so why not play your way around the world? One busker funded his entire trip from busking; read how here

Earning Potential: it depends on where in the world you are, but Violinist David Juriz averaged £83 per day, although he managed to bag £2500 in less than an hour in London during his first performance.

5. Work a ski season

There are many jobs available in ski resorts, most of which come with perks such as cheap or free accommodation, discounted food and that all important season lift pass. Jobs can vary from ski instructors (which will require an instruction certificate), to dish washers (which will require endurance) and everything in between.

Each job has its pros and cons with regards to pay, perks and how much time you get to spend on the slopes. Those with a British passport can work anywhere in the EU, and it’s also possible to arrange work for ski resorts in Canada, the USA or Japan. Check to find jobs in ski resorts

Earning Potential: from minimum wage for a dish washer, up to £50/hour or more for experienced guiding.

6. Summer camp worker

The USA has a strong culture of summer camps where kids spend anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months, learning arts and crafts, developing sporting skills and taking part in new activities. Camps tend to have an outdoor emphasis with campers living communally in cabins and there are a number of different jobs available: activity leaders, who spend most of their time running popular activities; support staff, who help out behind the scenes in the office, the kitchen and the grounds, and camp counsellors who mentor the kids on a day to day basis. See Camp America for more information

Earning Potential: the pay is only really pocket money, ranging from $600-$1200 depending on the role, but board and lodging are free.

7. VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas)

This is an international development charity that recruits volunteers to work on projects in some of the poorest regions of the world. Volunteers come from range of backgrounds; there are positions for both young, unskilled people, as well as experienced professionals. You’ll get to put your skills to good use and work within a local community in return for a living allowance, accommodation, insurance, flights and training.

A great choice for a longer term career break, gap year or a shorter term trip (assignments of 1-6 months are available) - if you really want to make a difference, VSO is an ideal way to do it. For more information see

Earning Potential: all expenses are taken care of, from flights, through to insurance and accommodation, and you’ll also get paid a local living allowance.

8. Sail away

Dream of sailing into the sunset with the wind in your hair? Then crewing a yacht could be the job for you. OK – so it’s not all holiday – the work can be demanding at times, but in return you’ll get to laze on sunny decks, cruise turquoise seas and travel the world. According to there is a worldwide shortage of yachting crew, so if you’re a salty sea dog at heart and seek adventure on the high seas, this is the paycation for you!

Earning Potential: depending on the crew, the role and the region, yacht crew make anything from $2000 to $15,000 a month.

9. Tree planting

Prince George, in British Colombia, Canada is the ‘tree planters’ capital’ of the world, where forestry companies are in constant need of people to plant seedlings. The area has become somewhat of a stop off point for travelling vagabonds looking to earn big bucks in a shortish amount of time.

You get paid per tree planted, so speed is of the essence here. It’s tough, physical work, and you’ll often be stationed in the middle of nowhere in a ‘bush camp’ for weeks, but once you get up to speed, the money can be good, and with little to spend it on, you can build your funds fast. You’ll need a visa to work in Canada – those under 35 can apply for one. See for more.

Earning Potential: veteran tree planters can bag up to $300 or more a day (though $200 is a more realistic figure for newbies) but be warned, it’s tough out there!

10. Just get a visa and go!

If you’d rather not tie yourself down to any particular job, it’s possible to get working holiday visas for many countries of the world, including: Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. These allow you access to the local job market where you can take on casual work or longer term employment, as long as you don’t overstay your visa limit. Favourite paycations include: grape picking, working in youth hostels or bar work.

Earning Potential: depends on the country and job; anything from minimum wage to big bucks if you’re qualified in any particular field.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Bloody McIlroy!

   Stung £200 by McIlroy taking the US Open! I should stay away from Golf - I haven't got a clue about it.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Someone else's 2nd Hand Book take

   I never knew that Charity shops chuck out religious texts or Sexy books as a matter of procedure. Could be worth making a deal with your local shops to collect such items and save them going in the bin.

  Here is a recent article on 2nd hand books from the net:

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

You must have heard this adage, and in my experience it is so often true...
We often get offered the opportunity to rummage through recycling bags in charity shops. Many charity shops have arrangements with a recycling company to remove any unwanted books.
To be fair most of the books left for recycling are complete tat. However, there are often a few hidden treasures... I have lost count of how many books we have removed from 'rubbish bags' that later went on to render us a nice profit.
One shop we have an arrangement with in our local town, usually has a dozen boxes full of what they class as 'dud' books. We often find some lovely books, perhaps with inscriptions or with slight page edge tanning, which means the shop will not put them out on the shelves and just discards them.
Some charity shops have a policy of discarding books on certain subjects, for example; books on religion or books with a sexual/erotic content. These types of titles are often binned regardless of condition.
But it's not only shop policy that comes into play; some shop managers have personal preferences that deter them for putting certain genres of books out for sale.
Unwanted topics can also include motivational, self help books, study books, foreign language fiction/non fiction. Holiday guide books, children's books, royalty and hardbacks older than 6 months old - this seems ridiculous but that's fine with us... these are types of books that tend to sell very well thank you very much!
We often pick up older Sci Fi paperbacks - ok they may have a cover creasing or page tanning, but as long as the pages are tight we will list them. I once picked up a few copies of the books accompanying the Stargate TV series currently being shown on Sky TV: two sold for over £25 each, one for nearly £40!
We only pay 25p or less for books that we have to rummage for, many shops are happy for us to do this as they 'get a double bite of the cherry': money from us for the books we have rescued, and money from the recycler when he collects the books from them. Plus 25p is usually much more than the recycler will pay them. Generally they only pay a few pennies per book or so much per hundredweight of books.
We have been known to rescue 50 books or more from recycling bags. Many of these are 'punts' in that the subject matter is quite niche/obscure, we just do not know if they will have any value or demand on the Amazon site. If when I get them home I find them to be truly valueless I recycle them myself. After all, you only need one or two to come up trumps to make it well worth your while!

Graffitti Removal - part of "The System"

   I strongly believe that there is money in Graffitti removal. Get the kit, put an ad on Gumtree etc, make sure the council know of you and sit back waiting for calls. Nice easy thing to fit into "The System". Here's a recent net post on the subject:

Jeffrey Simpson on why Canada is in over its head in Li...

Bylaw enforcement

Graffiti removal business is booming

John Lorinc

From Monday's Globe and Mail

Published Sunday, May. 29, 2011 7:38PM EDT

Last updated Tuesday, May. 31, 2011 1:23PM EDT

87 comments Email Print Decrease text size

Increase text size “Hey Cam, a little more pressure!” yelled Gord Broadhead, who was standing atop a St. Clair West storefront, wielding a power washer.

Down on the sidewalk below, Cameron Roelofsen, owner of cranked up the juice in a truck fitted out with a 500-gallon tank of propane-heated water, filters, and hoses. He then hopped in the vehicle’s cherry picker and joined Mr. Broadhead up top, doing their bit to give Toronto’s civic face a scrubbing.

More related to this story

•Graffiti community fuming over crackdown


Scrubbing down graffiti Their project, one recent wet morning: erasing a mural-sized tag composed of pillowy yellow, white and black letters with 3-D outlines. Though the tag was dated (“2011”) and signed (“RIP”), it mainly represented a costly headache to the owner, who’d been slapped with a summons from the city. “It’s good for us, but not for small business owners because they’re getting a lot of fines,” said Mr. Broadhead, a muscular man with elaborately tattooed biceps.

By most accounts, business is positively frothy in the city’s graffiti-removal industry these days, thanks in no small measure to Mayor Rob Ford’s clean-walls crusade. Since he took office on Dec. 1, the city has issued over 4,300 notices of violation, and about 3,100 properties have been cleaned up. On Tuesday, Councillor Cesar Palacio will be the host of a town hall meeting at the Drake Hotel to hash out a “long-term community strategy on graffiti.”

For removal firms, however, the short-term strategy is to eradicate as much work as possible as the bylaw enforcement officers continue their crackdown. And there’s lots of money to be made. Contractor’s fees run from a less than $50 to several thousand, depending on the size of the canvas and the difficulty in accessing the surface. One truck may blast through several dozen jobs per day. With the building on St. Clair, BrickWash charged the owner $1,500 to clean up someone else’s vandalism. “This is the second time for her,” added Mr. Roelofsen.

“The big push is the main arteries coming in and out of the city,” said John Kalimeris, general manager of a Goodbye Graffiti franchise. A lot of jobs come from absentee owners who don’t live in Toronto, he added. and Goodbye Graffiti are just two of about 30 to 40 GTA companies scrambling to rid the city’s exposed surfaces of both gang tags (which often contain the encoded street prices for drugs) and larger swaths of graffiti that may or may not have artistic merit, depending on one’s point of view.

There are only a handful of established players. Many of the newcomers, said William Johnston, president of 25-year-old Metro Graffiti Services, are freelancers with a truck and a power washer. “A lot of people are water blasting and it does damage to the bricks [and the mortar],” he said. “It’s like everyone with a lawn mower is a landscaper, you know what I mean?”

BrickWash’s edge is an environmentally friendly approach developed by founder Mr. Roelofsen, who last year invented a technique for sucking the paint-residue slurry off the walls. His equipment isolates the paint particulate in a kitty-litter type substance that can be sent to the landfill, and the trucks filter the water so the toxic material doesn’t end up getting flushed into the sewer system.

While these firms are clearly enjoying a solid run of business, the operators have noticed several unintended consequences of the stepped-up enforcement.

From an environmental perspective, Mr. Roelofsen said hundreds of gallons of aerosol paint residue will end up in the storm sewers, and eventually Lake Ontario, thanks to the increase in private property enforcement and the city’s own efforts to clean its buildings.

Then there are some landlords, especially small store owners, who have found themselves trapped in a costly cycle of fines, removal costs and then subsequent cleaning expenses and penalties because of taggers re-painting those freshly scrubbed walls. “Some of the owners say it’s okay for the mayor to say `clean it,’ but where’s the money coming from?” asked Mr. Johnston.

Safety is also increasingly becoming an issue, both for the taggers and the removers. Mr. Johnston and Mr. Roelofsen said they’ve noticed that the newest graffiti now seems to be migrating to higher, difficult-to-access surfaces because crews are cleaning away the tags on the lower flanks of buildings. Mr. Roelofsen recalled an incident in York Region where a teen fell off a ledge on a school building and died. “It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Back over the storefronts on St. Clair West, he and Mr. Broadhead, both damp from power-washer mist, have almost finished the job. After two hours and repeated applications of solvent, the roof has become a swamp of foamy, paint-flecked water. Only the tenacious shadows of the graffiti remain.

How long will the bricks stay clean? Mr. Roelofsen crossed his arms across his chest and glances at the newly exposed wall. “Six months, maybe. I mean, it’s the perfect canvas. Everyone sees it. And it’ll probably be the same guy who does it.”

Skip Raking Fortunes - love it!

How to pull £140 straight out of a skip

How one creative idea can turn into a massive money-spinner...

Are you one of those people who like to do things by the book? Or are you one of those people who like to be a bit quirky: to add a twist? Someone capable of thinking outside the box, someone prepared to make a go of something just a little bit different?

In short, are you someone who is not afraid to try something new?

I'm asking because I recently received a rather interesting email from one of my readers who, through sheer ingenuity, has managed to capitalise on the economic downturn.

I'm going to pass you over to Paul, the brains behind the idea, to explain...

"By pure chance I found a market and a product that people were looking for in times of economic hardship...

A neighbour of mine works as a surveyor and one day, he was on a site and noticed a UPVC door thrown in a skip.

Having sold different items on eBay before he thought there was a chance that he might make some money from the door by salvaging and listing it on the site.

I must mention that this door was in no way new. It was in fact absolute rubbish! It needed new locks and hinges and the UPVC was not too good either. Still, we thought it might make around £20 to £30.

So, with nothing to lose, we listed it...

(please enter email address)(Invalid email address)

Fast-forward to the end of the auction: this door actually sold for £140! Yes, £140 for a second-hand item straight out of a skip!

When we asked the winning buyer why he had bid so high, he told us that he owned a rented property and that a brand new door would have cost him between £800 and £1000. By buying second-hand and paying for new ironwork and to have it fitted the total cost to him was only £340: £450 less than a new door!

Hearing this gave me an idea...

I contacted a couple of my mates who own double glazing companies and offered them a 50/ 50 deal on any sales I made from old doors that they had removed and could supply to me - remember these were originally destined for the skip!

As you can imagine they were a bit sceptical, but then they realised they had nothing to lose. So, on future jobs they carefully removed old French, Patio, front and back doors and I listed them on eBay.

I sold the first lot of French doors for around £250 and guess what? This happens every time! It's the same with windows, which often sell for around £60.

I couldn't believe that such a simple idea could be so lucrative and I had no idea that used windows and doors were in such demand. But it makes sense really - landlords want to make savings and when you pay someone for items they are literally throwing away, the incentive is there for them to find more to sell which gives you a steady supply of stock.

I found a local man and a van, (or I use Pallet Line) for deliveries so everything is pretty straightforward.

Most of the doors I sell go into rented properties where the landlords want to save money so there's plenty of opportunity here in all areas. A typical set of new French doors costs around £1,200 including fitting, so by buying from me at say £300 and then paying a tradesman £200 to fit, landlords are making a real saving."

Ebay 5AM Moneymaker

   Nice piece here from Avril Harper regarding a moneymaker which she does, which ties up nicely with my system, and a method I was talking about a few months back. In a nutshell, look to see what sold yesterday on Ebay at £80 to £110. Research these items on Aliexpress. If there is a gold supplier on Aliexpress, who allows purchase of one unit, then list the item on Ebay (preferably on a Free Listing Day) with a long lead time. If your listing sells, get the Aliexpress guy to deliver straight to the customer. Bob's your uncle.

   Here is how Avril puts it:

#1. My favourite spare time moneymaker, practiced every morning, usually sometime between 5am and 6am is where you log into eBay and research one product you’ve never sold before but which you think you might enjoy selling. It could be anything you think will make money for you, maybe it’s something you read about in ‘eBay Confidential’, or perhaps it’s a product they mentioned on television news and you wonder if you could make money selling that item on eBay.

So you hit the ‘Advanced’ search button top right on eBay’s home page, then next page you key the product name into the search box, you tick ‘Completed listings’ further down the page, and then you click to ‘Search’.

Next page shows recent sales of products similar to those you are contemplating, and if you hit the button ‘Price: Highest First’ at ‘Sort By’ right of the screen, you’ll get to study the highest prices paid recently for those products. Then you check out sellers already making big money from those products and learn what you can from their listings before moving into the market yourself.

If there are hundreds of listings, it’s going to take more than a few minutes to find role models to study and to determine what price point seems to attract the highest number of sales and biggest profit margins for those other people. And that’s something you can do next time you have an hour to spare!

As an example, today I studied dolls’ house furniture and accessories, it’s a market I know targets passionate big spending buyers, people who never stop looking for new contents for their dolls’ houses.

And it’s also a market where people have paid up to £105 recently for miniature goods I know I can easily source from artists and craftworkers locally.

Sunday, 12 June 2011


   I have found that Twitter is the best way to learning new Jokes. The World Record for joke telling is 549 in an hour, held by the Australian comedian Lehmo (who beat Tim Vine's previous record).

   I bet I could beat this record. I've currently got roughly 200 jokes re-tweeted on my list which I could easily wangle into a routine. It'd certainly be fun to try, and you could obviously try to get some sort of joke book spin-off and TV appearances on the back of it.

More Amazon

   I should've added to my Amazon post earlier today that there are two more things that I would have to do if taking Amazon up to the next level:

1) Once you get sales above £50 a week it must be worthwhile to look into Amazon FBA.
2) The other way to offload fiction and over-sized non-fiction would be via Car Boot sales.

Smartodds - Opportunity

Just been reading about a company called "Smartodds":

"Who we are

Smartodds is a privately owned company providing statistical research and football modelling services. We are based in north London, and employ in excess of 50 employees together with a number of consultants based globally.

Founded in 2004, Smartodds has a proven record of providing exceptional services to its clients. We are a growing company and work in an exciting and fast-paced industry of which we are a market leader.
Smartodds' achievements are built around the talents of its employees. We like to think that despite the diverse background of the people who work at Smartodds, there is one thing we have in common: committment and job satisfaction. As part of a fantastic team, Smartodds' employees enjoy the opportunity to be the very best at what they do, contributing to the success of the company on a daily basis."

   There must be a way of applying the minds of my "Brains Trust" to Scottish football. The way of gambling by producing you own "tissue" and then betting where you feel that the Bookmakers have made a slight mistake, as esconsed by Smart Odds, is one that I have heard before. In order to keep some semblance of safety for your bank you could knock together a tissue for the 20 games each week, and then only bet on the macth where you feel that the Bookies are showing the biggest weakness. This would result in one bet per week which you could follow with an aggressive staking plan if you were confident in your maths.

UPDATES - Amazon

   I've been working so hard at my Full Time job of late that I've neglected my extra-curricular activities. I've had my weekends off, of course, but have generally been knackered (/lazy).

   In particular I've let Amazon slide, resulting in some warnings from the site and negative feedback. There are some things I've realised by this:

1) You need to have a good filing system and space above all else.
2) You should put the marketplace "on holiday" whenever you are restructuring your stock.

These two go further to the plan I was already building:

1) Buy from Ebay at a max of 5p per book. There are opportunities to do this every week.
2) Pick out the non-fiction to sell on Amazon.
3) Move on the out-sized non-ficiton straight away (postage costs deem these next to worthless).

Let's look at some stats for February to May this year:

* I brought in £327 from Aamzon after fees etc, or in other words £82 per month.
* I laid out £60 for stock.

Projecting these stats forward, I reckon I would have to increase my stock by 5 to 10 times, and keep it at that level, in order to have a c. £200 per week wage. The logistics of this would mean having roughly 3 rooms of a normal house filled with books. Therefore in order to stop your marriage falling apart you'd need to hire rpivate space somewhere. It'd need to be cheap or else all your book profit would go on rent. Also, you'd have to consider that you'll be knocking out 70 books a week, so you'd be spending an hour a day picking and packing. In order to keep stock up, you'd need to replenish at least once a fortnight, and for this you'd need use of a van.

So in a nutshell, my Amazon business is mothballed until I get to Scotland. At that point I'll need to rent cheap space for storage if I want things to get big.