692
8 min 39 sec

Dog Stocking Hustle Earns Husky Payoff

He never saw himself starting a side hustle, but when he noticed one of his marketing clients making bank on seasonal pet gifts, he just couldn’t roll over anymore.
Holiday Special Niche Ideas Product Reselling

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What It's About

A holiday-themed side hustle worth howling about.

Business Model
Reselling
Skills Required
Marketing and Design
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

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!

Fun Fact

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 692
Jeff 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!


SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"I would personally like more seasonal businesses. Work hard for a couple months, then take it easy, work hard, take it easy. It's honestly not too bad. I really work on increasing positioning year round, and then when the holidays hit, I get to see the fruits of my labor."
—Jeff Moriarty #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau