Picking Products, Watching Stocks and Generally Hoping for the Best

I’m taking a break from cleaning my house to post an update on my recent activities, partially as a reward but also to help me get some of my thoughts down.

How do I ... business?

How business makes me feel.

This past week, I’ve been trying to choose a product to start my side business with. As I mentioned recently in my post on making money on the side, I am in the process of getting things rolling with Amazon FBA and, subsequently, an e-commerce business. Featured prominently in that post was Kermit as I was trying to make it clear that I am very green to the process from the business side, although I have spent years working with various e-commerce shops from the engineering side.

So the first step in any commerce-based business, as far as I can tell from what I’ve been studying, is to choose a product. Well, for some that may be easy, but for me picking products has been nearly impossible. There are so many things to choose from and I definitely don’t want to recreate the wheel here. I have a list of products I plan to start with and later I will narrow that down by setting up a score for each — essentially going with the product that I think will sell best while maintaining a decent profit margin, all while being something that I can pivot off of for similar products.

All the things on my list are of high quality, which is extremely important to me. As I mentioned previously, I wouldn’t want to sell anything to other people that I wouldn’t sell (okay, give) to my mother. That qualifier has sort of narrowed my list of possibilities way down, which is nice, but there are still hundreds to choose from. It could take forever.

This is exactly why I’ve given myself a deadline. I have to have chosen five products by this Monday. And that’s after choosing many and narrowing down the list based on a series of factors both of my own and sort of plucked from various posts and videos I’ve been watching. I don’t want to take forever on this. The next goal is to find a supplier for said products, foreign or domestic. Either way, it has to be done and soon!

Another interesting thing has been watching my individual stocks and comparing them to my index funds. Obviously there hasn’t been enough time to compare them in a meaningful way, but still — the index fund has been killing the individual stock selection. Luckily, I’m a buy and hold kind of fellow and won’t be selling my stocks any time soon.

Despite the downward trend my stock selections have already entered, I have transferred another $1,000 to Scottrade for some buys on Monday. That money is to take advantage of my free trades which, inconveniently, have an expiration date. For me, I see that as free money.

At this point, I don’t think I will invest more into the companies I already have. Once I have a decent selection, perhaps 10 or 15, I think I will do that but while I have 5, my plan is to diversify my selection a bit more. I don’t have a hard and fast rule here, it just feels like what I should do. Maybe some of you fine people can weigh in on this with your valued opinions.

For now, I should get back to work. This place needs to be clean before I go (I hate returning to a dirty house). For this next week, I will be out of town on a much-needed vacation so I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting, but rest assured I will be back to keep you posted on where I take my portfolio and my side business.

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