Changing Times and New Business Models

5161094177_163c841ecf_oWell it’s been a while and a lot has changed since I made my last post. For those new here please feel free to browse the archives, there’s a fair bit of decent stuff though bear in mind the age of it. But in short form…

Previously I made the majority of my online income from owning web sites, paying people to do stuff with them and monetising them via affiliates, advertising and any other means I could come up with. Life was good and the money was pretty easy to come by, making a decent 6 figure income from the foundations that I’d laid. However complacency and boredom set in, so no matter how good the foundations if you don’t build on them you get left behind. I did!

So 2015 became a year of looking for new opportunities and adventures. I had planned for this possible inevitability so did have money in the bank to live off for a few years and invest in other businesses. Dabbed my toes in a few different ideas and at the moment this is where I’m at.

Existing Sites – They still bring in an income but no where near as much as they did (on a good day one revenue stream used to bring in £1,500+, now a good day for that revenue stream is ~£100 and they’re few and far between, ouch!).

Property – This I saw as an educated gamble, I currently have 3 properties that are rented out (admittedly one of them is a garage for £30 a month which doesn’t really count). The first is a 2 bed maisonette (condo for my American friends) which was bought with a buy to let mortgage, needed no work and found a tenant straight away. The second is actually in the building next to the first, this was a cash purchase as it was un-mortgageable and needed renovating. I’ll go more into my property adventures in future posts.

Healthcare Business – I invested in a friends business in 2014. It’s primary focus is sourcing and supplying products to the healthcare industry at a reasonable price (there are some right cowboys and rip off merchants out there). It’s had a pretty slow start but will hopefully reach a tipping point this year.

Selling Physical Products online – I started selling on Amazon in the Summer of 2015. I studied a few courses, read a lot and dived in. (Funnily enough my first sale was a second hand business book I sent in). Since then I’ve sold about £75,000 worth of products, mainly toys but all sorts of good shit that I can make a profit on. This is one that I can see me growing to a 7 or 8 figure business in the next couple of years (again I’ll post more about this later). I’m actually writing this on the train to my first Amazon Sellers meetup.

Dating Site and App – I’m currently in talks to get involved with a new dating site and service that’s been in development for 2 years (ouch), having third meeting this week so will see how that goes.

Software Development – I really want to get back to this and get my hands dirty a bit, I have all sorts of software ideas that could support other businesses or I might just do it for fun and write games but I miss the mental challenges of coding so need to fix that.

Toy Charity – I have a lot of inventory that I cannot sell for various reasons (and am in touch with others in a similar situation), so I want to form a charity to distribute those toys to kids who need/deserve them. As noble as the idea sounds I am also doing it for selfish reasons, previously when money was no object, I’d often spend frivolously, fun at the time but gave little satisfaction after the event. One of the things that gave me the most long term satisfaction was donating money for a child to fly to Austria for an operation that he needed. So I want to do more shit like that so I can feel better about myself.

So in brief that’s what I’ve been up to in 2015 and some of what I’m planning for 2016. If you’re interested in selling on Amazon, investing in property or just curious of what we’re up to then please subscribe to the newsletter.

Fancy sharing what you have planned for 2016?

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.

Comments

  1. Hi Al! I’m glad to see that you’re posting again! I used to love reading your posts a couple of years ago, I found them very inspiring! In fact I was looking for your website a few days ago because I needed some inspiration, but I couldn’t find it as I had forgotten your sites URL! So as you can imagine I was quite excited when your email appeared in my inbox today.

    Sorry to hear that the income has dropped from your existing sites, I assume that part of the drop is due to changes in Google’s algorithm? Hopefully your other exciting plans and investments will pay off in the near future.

    My plan for this year is to start a Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning business. I have an SEO background, but due to it’s unpredictable nature I’ve also studied offline marketing, Hopefully I can use these skills (and others) to get my business to a point where it run’s without me being present, then I’ll do the same with another business in a different industry.

    But at the moment I’m waiting to find out whether my loan application has been approved 😮

    Looking forward to seeing more of your posts!

  2. Bravo – everybody wants to talk about the good times in affiliate marketing, very few talk frankly about the not-so-good.

    What would you do differently? Not talking about regrets, but what would you say are your “lessons learned” from the Coolest Gadgets experience?

    Would you have focused on different things, would you have taken a different strategy etc etc.

    Would make a cracking follow up post.

  3. Good to see things happening with the Amazon business. I mentioned this to my sister in September and when I visited them in December – they are making a second income from retail arbitrage! I was well pleased, they need the money….
    I am still looking for a good product for private labelling as my location prohibits retail arb. But most of the stuff people are importing from China are junk products which I dont want to put money into or they´ve all followed the same courses and “gurus” so are all jumping in and massively saturating the markets.

    Software looks to be a good gig if you can hit on something popular. I remember back when IM was all the rage and the software creators were doing very well out of all sorts of stuff. Spencer Haws wrote a lot about developing long tail pro.

    And look at that Minecraft dude!!! Simple enough game to begin with and its now enormous – that one game has made him!

  4. Good to see you back Al!

    Ever thought of using Facebook to revive coolest-gadgets?

  5. Great to see this site active again. It’s a great resource and I learned a lot from it. Never made the big bucks or even achieved my target, but did pay my coffee bill from Adsense earnings, and I can tell you I have a big coffee bill. Learned a lot from your site and my own dabblings, earning a lot more now through regular income (with corresponding pressures on time), but a new post on SMM and the old experimental flair and feeling of open-ended opportunity sets in again… Hope Scott is returning too.

  6. So psyched to see that you’re back, always one of my favorite blogs.

    You wrote so much when you were last active about the websites you’d built, the ones you’d purchased, and your adventures in domaining. This update sounds like you made a pretty sharp exit from the online space, or at least the part of it that most online entrepreneurs can relate to. I’ll still be very interested to hear about your real estate investments, but it’s not something that’s likely to become a reality in my life. Are you still going to be building and buying websites and domains (and blogging about it)?

  7. Keep giving it hard Al, not dropped a comment on a blog (legitimately) in years, but wanted to wish you more power etc. Seems many folk wish you all the best.

  8. Hey Al I used to love your blog back in the day – don’t leave us hanging, we want to hear your latest schemes!

  9. It’s been a long time since I came on here always glad to read the latest! Please give us an update (on Amazon or whatever)! I need the inspiration and tips, bro!!

  10. Really interesting to read all your previous project ! Huge drop for your affiliate websites, you need to work again on them :)

  11. Hi Al Carlton,

    Informative post for we all. It is quite difficult to get rid from the less earning from our business and it examines our willpower and dedication. Therefore, we shouldn’t be upset about it or don’t to accept defeat and keep struggling to fight with the problem who are responsible to defeat our business.

    Reading about your investment in many websites and other field I can say that you are great who love to handy try in various business. I love the way of doing business but business requires dedication which is not provided by many one. I hope you will try your best get rid from business loss.

    Thanks for sharing. I have learnt many things from your post.
    – Ravi.

  12. Hi Al, I’m a little bit like yourself and have been involved in numerous projects over the years, had some failures and the odd success. I’m a big believer that the change brought about by the industrial revolution is going into reverse and more and more people will be working for themselves rather than some big company. My next project is to write a book that will inspire people to get on the self employed ladder and earn an income through blogging, in fact thinking about it I would love to interview you to get your take on it.

  13. Al, can you recommend any good Amazon FBA courses? It seems like a solid business model if you can retain ongoing contact with your customers.

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