What It's About
A side hustle that proves that great ideas can come in small packages.
Words of Wisdom
Amanda said something especially wise when I was talking with her. She said, "People will say it’s a risk to start your own business, but so is wasting opportunities and your potential. Time is our most precious resource—don’t let your whole life pass you by without going for what you most want."
The earliest known miniature homes were found in Egyptian tombs from nearly 5,000 years ago. It’s believed these wooden models were made for religious purposes.
Notes from Chris
Episode 607When Amanda Austin was a child, her late grandmother presented her with her very own dollhouse. Her crafty grandmother had assembled, painted, and wallpapered the miniature house personally. She even crocheted miniature rugs for each room in the house! It didn’t take long for Amanda to become preoccupied with the dollhouse. She spent every free moment playing with the house and the miniature family that lived there. Whenever she got allowance or birthday money, she would spend it at the local miniatures store. Now, as an adult working full-time as a digital marketing manager, those memories have come full circle. Amanda sells wooden dollhouse kits and dollhouse miniatures on her own branded e-commerce site. She runs this site as a drop shipping business, which means she doesn’t have to buy and store any of her items. When someone places an order on her site, she notifies her wholesaler and they fulfill the order. There are over 3,000 items for sale on Amanda’s site Shop of Miniatures, and she takes care of the marketing, customer service, and website maintenance. These days, there aren’t many brick and mortar dollhouse stores open. Since she still has that self-professed “soft spot” for miniatures, when she was thinking about starting a side hustle, she decided to dig deeper into the online world of miniature dollhouse sales. In her words, “They were all terrible... They were poorly designed, poorly organized, and not mobile optimized. I knew I could do better.” How did she do better? Well, first—being a digital marketing manager, she knew using keywords was critical. Keywords are words and phrases in web content that enable people to find a site via search engines. Sometimes a business can have a great website, but if keywords aren’t included in the site’s content, it won’t be found when a potential customer conducts a search on Google. Coming up on a Google search isn’t even good enough. According to one study, the first page of a Google search gets 95% of the web traffic. Best of all are long tail keywords—which are, as the name implies, keywords longer than regular ones. They are also more specific. This means you have less competition with other sites when using long tail keywords on your site. Often someone who is searching the internet is looking for a specific item or subject. They will likely be using more descriptive terms in their search. If a website is sprinkled with long tail keywords that match such a search, the shopper is more likely to find that site. They are also more likely to stay engaged on that site, or even make a purchase. Amanda’s goal was to rank on the first page of a Google search for dollhouse related items. She used metrics to conduct keyword research. She started out looking for keywords that had 3,000-5,000 hits a month that also weren’t overly competitive. She used the site longtailpro.com, where she found three keywords that had good search volume and low competition from other sites. Her discovery that dollhouses and miniatures were in demand but weren’t that competitive of a niche was the deciding factor to enter this market. Unlike some of the stories we’ve featured recently that have used Facebook ads or other paid strategies, Amanda has had much success in growing her business organically. However, this was no miniature feat. She did a lot of keyword research. She spent many months working to get on that first page of a Google search. She says blogging helped immensely and was very strategic about keyword placement on her website. She started her business in November 2017 and is now making about $800 profit per month—which is just enough to cover her soon-to-be-born daughter’s daycare costs. Amanda now only works on her business about one hour a week. Amanda’s goal is to continue to work on her site’s SEO so she can rank even higher than her current spot as the third top keyword search on Google. She would also like to hit the $30,000/year revenue mark—which she is hoping she will achieve with upcoming holiday sales. No doubt about it, this savvy doll-house lover has set herself up for BIG success in a miniature world of e-commerce!
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Shop of Miniatures: If you're interested in learning more about Amanda's side hustle, head on down to the land of mini—where the grass is painted green and the girls are itty-bitty!
- LongTailPro: The website that Amanda used to find keywords with good search volume and low competition from other sites
- SEO 101: If you're looking to launch your own online presence, here's a Beginner's Guide to SEO
- Auto Employee Earns $100,000 Selling Stickers on Instagram: On a trip to Tokyo, a serial side hustler discovers popular stickers in Tokyo. He comes home, learns to produce his own, and earns six-figures in the first year of operation
- Airbus Developer Sets Goal to Start 5 Hustles at Once: Not content with a single hustle, this web developer decides to create 5 projects that each earn $2,000/month. In this episode, we’ll evaluate his first two attempts
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