What It's About
An American expat teaches children about other countries and cultures with his imaginative children's book series.
Words of Wisdom
Andrew didn't want the website for The Adventurous Mailbox to feel too commercial and initially resisted big “BUY NOW” buttons. But he soon realized that people don’t have time to sit and read a website with a long detailed explanation before making a purchase. By adding a simple video, explaining the books and overall packaging plus a couple tasteful “ORDER NOW” buttons, his conversion rates started going up.
Andrew also started sending out his book series to bloggers in target market communities, and this turned out to be a great way to both build up testimonials on his website and get the word out in an authentic, grassroots way.
Andrew received an email from a mom telling him how much her daughter loved the books, and she insisted on having him over for dinner the next time he was home visiting his mother who lived in the same town. Upon taking her up on that offer, Andrew met his first super fan—the daughter knew every little detail about the books and had lots of ideas for what he should do in future books.
The mom also arranged for him to visit the daughter's school where he got to talk to over 300 students about travel, adventure, culture, and languages and writing books. That school visit solidified his commitment to the project and made the challenging times easier to handle.
Notes from Chris
Today’s side hustle comes to us from Taipei, Taiwan, where American Andrew Bliss has living and working abroad for going on 12 years now. Andrew is a chronic side hustler, as he put it, “I usually like working a full-time job, I just always needed something of my own creation to feel like I am still the one determining the course of my life.” While he’s taken on a variety of different side hustles, to various levels of success, this current side hustle has a much longer build-up than anything that’s come before. Eight years ago, Andrew took his first trip to Thailand. At that time, his niece and nephew back home in Cincinnati, Ohio were around the age where they could start reading books on their own. He hated not being there to watch them grow up in person, and also remembered what it was like to grow up in the Midwest. He wanted to figure out a way to both spend some quality time with them, and bring the world to them, since they weren’t able to go see it with their own eyes. So on this trip to Thailand, he took them along with him in spirit and imagination, by trying to experience the culture through their young eyes. After that trip, he made a book for his niece and nephew about “their” adventures together, with tigers, monkeys, elephants and helpful monks in fancy robes. Through the book, he tried to spark their interest in the world and in exploration in general. He wanted them to know, at an earlier age than he did, that the world was full of rich cultures that they were welcome to partake in and learn from, even if they couldn’t fly across the ocean right away. The first day his website went live he sold ten packages—all to family and friends. But the second day he sold his very first package to a stranger. All in all that first year his monthly sales averaged about $500 a month. But his sales have grown steadily as he’s adapted his marketing strategies. In 2017 his average monthly sales are coming in around $2,000, with August being his biggest month yet.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- The Adventurous Mailbox: Help the children in your lives experience other cultures from the comfort of their own homes. Visit Andrew's website!
- Wordpress: Andrew used Wordpress to create The Adventurous Mailbox, and here you can learn how to install your own Wordpress site in 5 minutes!
- WooCommerce: The customizable eCommerce platform that Andrew used to accept sales on The Adventurous Mailbox
- PayPal & Bluesnap: Two of the payment processing services that Andrew used to accept international payments
- Immigrate to Canada and Make $500/Month: An American couple takes their biggest struggle of recent years and writes an eBook to help other expatriates forge a new life abroad
- Weekend “Book Registry” Site Earns Passive Income from Amazon.com: After a discovering a trend on Pinterest where expecting mothers ask for baby books in lieu of greeting cards at baby showers, a developer in Pennsylvania decides to create a book registry website to cater to it bringing in a new stream of passive income
- Mental Health Counselor Creates Coping Skills for Kids: A Licensed Mental Health Counselor brings in an additional $1,100/month creating digital products to help kids deal with stress, anxiety, and anger in healthy and productive ways
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