What It's About
A holiday-themed side hustle worth howling about.
Words of Wisdom
If you're thinking of doing something similar, Jeff suggests that you try to find a niche that isn't overly competitive and go after it. And don't forget to do your research!
Jeff spent 15 hours uploading all of his products to eBay. He figured it’d be another great channel for growing sales, but that season he made a stunning one sale on the platform. Whomp whomp...
Notes from Chris
Episode 692Jeff Moriarty has been in marketing for 17 years, but he’s not stuck in the old ways of doing things. He’s adapted over the years to become a master of SEO and has a knack for pay-per-click advertising—and these two skills led him to the seasonal business that would become his new side hustle. One of Jeff’s clients at his agency sold dog supplies. Leashes, food bowls, that kind of thing. But you probably would never have guessed the top seller... Dog Christmas stockings. Yup! Stockings outsold everything else—and by a significant margin. Jeff was the only person in the company working with this client, and his SEO strategy was really paying off. The company was getting more and more traffic, but the owner wasn’t into it. It was getting harder and harder to compete with Amazon, and margins were already slim, so he decided to exit the business and closed his e-commerce store in 2014. Jeff felt like he had a secret. None of his coworkers knew how well the store had been doing from the stockings. Should he go for his own dog Christmas stocking business? Jeff didn’t really see himself as a side hustler. He liked the marketing agency life, and it seemed like adding another responsibility on top would just be too much. But then he couldn’t stop thinking about it. Weeks and months went by. Every now and then he’d look around the search rankings to see if any other stores were dominating the Google rankings using his strategy—and every time he did, the entrepreneurial flame burned a little brighter. Sure, there were other stores selling dog Christmas stockings, but none of them seemed to really have a dedicated, mindful strategy—either that or they just didn’t know how to execute... but Jeff did. The trick that worked for his former client wasn’t trying to rank for broad phrases like “dog Christmas stockings”. The trick was targeting very specific phrases, like “basset hound Christmas stockings”. And while no more than a few hundred people were searching these breed-specific phrases each Christmas season, he knew that once he had a couple dozen breed options up, he’d be able to bring in a significant amount of organic traffic. These people were also willing buyers. Finally, a full year after his client closed up shop, Jeff gave in. The opportunity was just too good, the strategy too obvious (he’d already made it work in the past, after all). But he didn’t want to end up with tons of product in his garage, and he didn’t have a lot of money to invest, so he decided to go with a business model he’d been hearing a lot about for the past few years: drop shipping. His store, Dog Christmas Stockings, launched in the Fall of 2015. It was finally time to execute the SEO strategy he’d been brooding over for the last year. And he had to do it quickly—the prime stocking buying season was just a couple months away. 42 product pages and a couple weeks later, organic traffic started trickling in. It was slow at first, but as Jeff checked his search rankings daily, he became more and more excited. That November, Dog Christmas Stockings made its first sale, and its second, and its tenth. By Christmas, Jeff had sold over $1,000 worth of product. His own cut after the drop shipping fees was just a small portion of that, but it was more than enough for the work he put into it—and he knew he could do better next year. As we roll over into the holidays, he’s pumped to see how 2018 turns out. His pages are ranking higher than ever, crushing the competition with three years of solid history, and he’s got some extra products he’s trying out this year. Jeff is hilariously nonchalant about the whole thing. As he likes to say, “It beats wasting the night on the couch.”
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Dog Christmas Stockings: Looking for a stocking for your that special furried friend? Head on over to Jeff's website!
- “Cosplay” Photographer Earns $47,000 from Epic Star Wars Portraits: A Texas photographer combines his love for art and science fiction to add magic to his photography specializing in cosplay and all things geek.
- Oregon Woman Gets Paid to Clean Animal Skulls With Flesh-Eating Beetles: You read that right. In this bone-rattling story, a woman earns up to $3,000/month cleaning animal skulls for hunters and horror shows. She’s bad to the bone!
- Miniature Dollhouse Website Pays Full-Size Profits: A digital marketing manager finds success by growing her dollhouse drop-shipping website business—all without paying for advertising, and by working only one hour a week.
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