• 01:50:23 am on January 14, 2009 | 17
    Tags: , , , ,

    The Game Plan

    Sounds like Josh’s future is pretty much set: stocks, stocks, and more stocks … I see the next generation of hedge fund managers right here. Just to fill you in on the profit potential, a friend ‘in the business’ recently related the story of his self-made hedge-fund-manager friend who told his 8 y.o. daughter (who had to travel alone for the first time) “you will be traveling on a plane that has strangers on it” … she had only ever traveled by private plane before!

    _________________________________

    This is ridiculous

    In order to achieve My Number, I must realize high percentage gains to my net worth, approximately 170%, and according to Michael Masterson’s Seven Years To Seven Figures, the only way to get to 50+% (that’s a really big plus sign), is by starting my own successful business.

    I started an e-commerce business in late 2007, got it off the ground in 08, and am looking forward to profits in 09, but this is not the business I believe will launch my net worth to substantial levels.  The business responsible for that is buying other business’ when they are cheap and selling them when they’re over valued, this is also called stock investing, and is made possible by centralized market locations where people from all over the world gather to participate, most of them virtually through the Internet, like me. 

    I believe earning an MBA from a prestigious college will better qualify me to take a position in the financial sector, but this is not imperative. You could be a grade-school drop out and get hired by a firm or start your own and actually attract investor’s if you can show and prove consistent profitable trades. This is what I’m focusing on, as well as studying to sit for the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), this is what I like to call “covering all the bases”.  Of what I’ve read thus far, a year’s worth of trading is usually sufficient to prove you can be an asset, I work on this everyday in some form.

    After completing the exercise Adrian wrote about recently, I ended up with basically what I’m doing now, minus the e-commerce business. It’s amazing how I have a lot more fun researching biotech stocks and trading than learning marketing techniques and editing HTML code.  In that light, it also comes to no surprise which one is currently profitable and which is not.

     

Comments

  • Scott 4:51 pm on January 14, 2009 | #

    Sounds like you are putting a pretty good plan together for yourself Josh. I think any smaller business ventures that you pursue will act as learning tools for helping you to further understand larger businesses to invest in as well.

  • Ryan 5:04 pm on January 14, 2009 | #

    Probably a great time to get into hedge funds as there are likely a lot less managers this year than there were last year!
    What is the URL for your other business?

  • Adrian 8:12 pm on January 14, 2009 | #

    @ Josh – Yes, a link in the context of this article is not only acceptable, but necessary … now, we’re ALL curious 🙂

  • Josh 9:22 pm on January 14, 2009 | #

    Hey fellas’, thanks for the encouragement.

    @Scott – your right, the business i’m working on has acted as a sort of small scale model for viewing larger business’ with stocks.

    @Ryan – I’m planning on calling and e-mailing a few managers and asking what they suggest for an aspiring manager. There’s an interesting section in contacting people who don’t like to be contacted in The 4 Hour Work Week. For specific adive, it’s worth a shot.

    @AJC – my ecommerce business can be found at http://propianist.com

  • Josh 9:23 pm on January 14, 2009 | #

    oh yea, any advice for the site would be appreciated.

  • Adrian 4:05 am on January 15, 2009 | #

    @ Josh – Obviously, you have a strong musical bent (which didn’t appear in your list … what DID appear across all 4 – and, then just 3 – columns??!!); this is good, as creativity is strongly aligned with entrepreneurialism.

    I also have a theory that more than one of the 7MITs will be left-handed (an attribute of more than the statistical 10% of the general population in actors and artists … and, I am beginning to suspect, entrepreneurs).

    But, I digress: I REALLY like this site as a straight forward e-commerce site … it shows discount (hopefully, genuine) and easy access to ‘geek specs’ of each product.

    The question is how you direct traffic TO this site … there’s no marketing ‘spin’ here, so you will only attract people willing/able to buy.

    I recommend that you start a blog on music and ‘advertise’ this site on that one … every time you talk about an instrument a subtle link to the product page wouldn’t hurt.

    You can either do this at arms length, or you can be explicit and call it “the official blog of propianist.com”. If you decide to gothis route, you can caste for opinions here …

    If that starts to work, you can then take the content from your blog and create a Site Build It! content-oriented site, complete with reviews of music equipment … also, music e-commerce sites … guess whose site gets rated ‘Best Value’ 😉

  • Jeff 6:09 am on January 15, 2009 | #

    @ Josh – I’m like your ecommerce site. I agree with Adrian on creating a blog. Blogs help build a nice tightly integrated site (in Google’s eyes). That’s important because if you carefully craft your articles/posts to include keywords that you think/know your customers will be using when they search for the niche you’re targeting Google begins to think your site is an authority.

    The blog idea can definitely help your site rise in the search engine rankings so that you can capture some “free” traffic.

    Another source of traffic could come from pay-per-click Google ads in the content and search networks.

    I see future growth here in the site where you could easily add keyboards, pianos and other related accessories into the product mix. This could allow you expand your offerings with out significantly departing from your niche.

    I do have one question Josh. I’m assuming you don’t actually stock all these products and ship them yourself. How did you find a wholesaler etc. that would drop ship the products directly so all you had to do was storefront them? I’m interested in doing something similar in other niche areas, but I’m not sure how to find the behind the scenes wholesaler bit.

    Good luck
    Jeff

  • Josh 2:24 pm on January 15, 2009 | #

    @ Adrian – the music genes run in the family, just never saw it as a way to early retirement so I don’t explore it much, personal I’m a sax player who loves classical piano music. (check out Sergei Rachmaninoff). The interest in piano is what sparked the keyboard theme, but not necessarily the drop-shipping business itself. I was determined to start something after reading T4HWW, propianist is just what it happened to be.

    I aim the site towards people who know what they want, have researched the product and are looking for the best possible price. As for marketing, I’m using very specific keywords with google’s adwords to direct traffic and I finally uploaded the products to google’s base (like shopping.com but free) as well as shopping.com. I’m looking forward to see what return comes from these shopping search engines because I always offer the products at the MAP (minimum advertise price) theoretically the cheapest price that can be offered on the product. The discounts are real of course, I take good business practices seriously when it comes to the site and go out of my way to make every customer satisfied, I’m hoping this marketing strategy pays off with word of mouth advertising eventually, kind of a long term investment.

    Some interesting suggestions about advertising and traffic Adrian. Although i’m not sure how automotive those activities are. My goal for this site is really to set it up and eventually spend very little time working on it

    @ Jeff – Creating a blog focused on the site would definitely be taking it to the next level, but it would also be taking the time commitment this site requires to a whole new level as well. The site has potential, but it’s not where my passions lie, thus it’s difficult to spend lots amounts of time with it while I feel I can achieve better returns with stocks and enjoy it at the same time. Having said that, I am committed to making the site profitable, I just can’t spend ALL my time on it.
    Definitely need get more products up there, it’s just a matter of contacting the manufactures, having them direct you towards distributors, or they may supply you themselves (the best situation is the latter). Your right concerning the storage, it’s imperative the distributor has drop-ship capability, so you can sell the product first and then buy it from them once you have a buyer. (just don’t charge the credit card until it ships to remain in compliance)
    To start with drop-shipping you must start a business, incorporate or an LLC, whichever you decide on. Then you need a tax id, or reseller id ect. Ect. There are a few names for it. Once you have the legal business entity in place, you can start contacting manufactures of the products you want to sell. The biggest piece of advice I can give it to just start!!! If this is something you want to do. I’m a bit of an introvert so it’s difficult for me to pick up the phone and reach out to manufactures, probably why I like trading, you don’t have to talk to anyone on the phone. So it comes down to overcoming fears and just keep moving forward with it, everyday do something to push the business forward.

  • Adrian 3:11 pm on January 15, 2009 | #

    @ Josh – OK; here’ your DO likes: Rachmaninoff; Sax; piano; ecommerce; trading; anything that DOESN’T involve people contact (or, maybe it’s just telephone contact?) etc.

    Now, how about sharing the rest of your 4 column and 3 column items, etc.??!!

  • Josh 4:34 pm on January 15, 2009 | #

    sorry about that. Forgot to answer that question.

    The Four Column

    First Column: Earn

    manual labor
    life-guarding
    valet parking
    poker
    pharmaceutical sciences (job)
    stock trading
    internet business’

    Second Column: Spend

    toys
    cars
    stocks
    marketing for ecommerce business
    partying
    traveling

    Third Column: Ability

    problem solving
    learning new things
    valuing companies
    music
    investing

    Fourth Column: Do

    trade stocks
    play music
    work on cars
    bach of science

    The obvious common string is investing in stocks. I enjoy the speed, the potential, and the simplicity. Music and the internet business appear in two columns each (marketing for the internet business), so there’s probably not as much fertile ground there.

    it’s not that I don’t like people, it’s just tough to make that fist phone call. I really need to push myself in that area, it doesn’t come naturally.

  • Adrian 5:54 pm on January 15, 2009 | #

    @ Josh – I’m with you; phones are the worst (albeit damned convenient!) form of communication:

    I am told that 60% of communication is visual cues (body language, etc. … that’s ‘tells’ in poker 😉 … with most of the rest in ‘tone’ and only around 10% in the actual words that are spoken.

    You lose the visual cues and the phone frequency range cuts most of the tonal highs that convey emotion as well. So, for me, the phone is a tool and a poor one at that!

    I’m interested in the “bach of science” one: is that a kind of “Godel, Escher and Bach” thing?

    Do I see a mathematical/science, musical, methodical stock picking (eg fundamental analysis and/or charting) sort of flavor to you?

    In which case, you need to find a stock picking/investing ‘system’ that works for you – and, some clients (ideally) – and, eventually build a business around that; you could target to any / all of the following target markets/activities:

    Ultra High Net Worth individuals and institutions: Your own hedge fund (obviously, requires some serious credibility building).

    High Net Worth Individuals: Trading systems (‘shrink-wrapped’ trading systems, courses, and coaching with online tools): online sales, telemarketing, etc., etc.

    Consumer/traders: Online trading system (for ongoing transaction revenue; online delivery of course modules; etc.): internet sales/delivery business model a la “the Million Dollar Napkin”.

    This all conjecture based on my assumptive question to you above … having said that, the ‘marketing tree’ above is valid for just about anything you might want to do.

    The key is to only sell ‘high value, low qty’ OR ‘low value TRANSACTION-based, high qty’ … for a small business person anything in between is MUCH more difficult profit-wise [AJC: I feel a post coming on … 😉 ]

    Phew!

  • Josh 8:52 pm on January 15, 2009 | #

    Adrian, great idea’s. I have been considering writing an ebook about “building your own investment strategy” with a web site very much like yours. “building your own investment strategy” is what the ebook would be about, but I’m thinking it may need a more flashy title. And maybe one day a hard cover, who knows.
    My investing strategy is grounded in value investing. If you or anyone else has read “Buffetology” you understand immediately what I mean. I know you have read “Rule #1”. I bought that book and got through the first chapter when I realized to continue would be a waste of time, since it was clear Rule #1 and buffetology were basically the same book with the same knowledge, although I feel one’s focused more toward the younger crowd (Rule#1).
    With value investing as the core, I generally only invest in small cap biotech stocks. Some people think of them as highly volatile and risky which I believe is in error, you simply need to realize how they are valued, what drives the prices, (almost purely emotion, these stocks are more dramatic then day time television) react without hesitation, and exhibit patience. With these tools, small cap biotech stocks offer fertile investing ground.

    The main goal I’m currently forging towards is starting my own hedge fund.

    If anyone has any information on how this is done, please pass along the information.

  • Josh 9:08 pm on January 15, 2009 | #

    @ Adrian – with “Bach of Science” I meant bachelor’s of science. The actual degree is B.S. in Biochemistry.

    And to answer your question more directly, i’m all fundamental analysis, the system I have built to invest with is lightly covered in my previous comment, and I’m probably most interested in “low quantity, high value” strategy for my ebook. But I am looking forward to your post on this subject.

  • Jeff 10:27 pm on January 15, 2009 | #

    Josh, to me an ebook seems more like a high quantity, low value product.

    I think it could be a great entry product for your to sell, introduce people to your philosophy and give them some tools for mild success. Draw them in with the ebook, then up sell them to a more detailed ecourse and finally in the low volume, high value arena you might be able to upsell some customers to coaching or hedge fund levels.

    Good luck…Oh and as for the people skills. I’ve struggled a lot in life to break out of my shell in that regard. I really enjoyed Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” John C Maxwell has a similar book that’s good too, “Winning With People.”

    -Jeff

  • Adrian 1:33 am on January 16, 2009 | #

    @ Jeff – How to Influence Friends and Win People … now THAT’s A winner!

    @ Josh – D’oh … in that case I’m a Bach of Science, too (circa 1980) before they had invented electricity and all machinery was driven by leather straps and an overhead cam 🙂

    The principle still applies; you need to find a niche because you are treading in well-ploughed ground …. luckily, it seems that you have already found a great niche to develop and biotech is only likely to improve.

    So, you could develop a unique and tightly targeted system around “invest(ing) in small cap biotech stocks” and you will be able to pitch your marketing at people who would like to invest in biotech but “think of them as highly volatile and risky”.

    Your system (via a whole suite of interconnected products that you build over time) will show them how biotechs should be “valued, what drives the prices, (almost purely emotion, these stocks are more dramatic then day time television) react without hesitation, and exhibit patience.” .. with Josh’s unique tools, Biotech’s suddenly offer fertile investing ground”.

    Your words, and they sound great to me 🙂

    So, you have your 30 second elevator speech, which is a great start … float it around, see if it strikes a chord with other people in your target market. What about other readers, right here?

    I think you DO need to develop an eBook … and, you will probably need a blog and content site to help promote it (along with Adwords, etc.), not really as an income source, but to help build your name/credibility. That WON’T get you to a hedge fund … I’m not giving you $1 Mill. and neither is anybody else … YET.

    It’s the steps in between eBook and Hedge Fund that we need to explore further as this ‘grand experiment’ progresses, as I am beginning to see what you see: a path to true wealth. But, for you, it will be a difficult one, with a potentially VERY large upside, IF you execute exceptionally well and get even luckier 😉

    BTW: Have you Googled “how to start a hedge fund”? You will find that there are companies that will outsource the admin for you, but then you still need to find the ‘fuel’ (investors) and they will be looking for three things: 1. A niche/system, 2. A Name, 3. A Track Record … obviously, in reverse order!

  • Diane 2:00 pm on January 16, 2009 | #

    I’m far behind on my reading, so forgive me if I repeat something someone else has already pointed out – I got as far as your note about the time commitment involved in running a blog. Have you considered outsourcing this to a freelancer thru elance or some such site where you give them what you want and let them produce it? This might be cheaper than your time is, and allow you to get up the kind of content you want. Seems there are lots of folks out there who like to write – perhaps there are some struggling musicians who have a special knack and are looking for a few extra dollars? That might be a good marriage for what you are doing. I saw this on a website dedicated to fireproof filing cabinets – a blog that was informational, but part of a set-up for a real organization that sold the products discussed generally (what is needed, why buy, etc., things those who want to know more will look for and come back to time and again).

  • Josh 10:06 pm on January 25, 2009 | #

    Thanks for the suggestion Diane, but I’m trying to keep expenses as low as possible right now. My short term plan is to continue optimising my adwords campaign. Once The site can actually produce some real profit, I’ll def be looking to start the blog to supercharge traffic and out sourcing it would be the way to go.


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