Today I will reveal a brand new project I launched just a few weeks ago.
But let me first give you some background. As you know seb10k.com is where I document my journey to $10k monthly income online. My goal is to own a portfolio of online businesses that generate income independently from each other. This is I’ll be working on several projects at the same time.
Let me explain how I came up with this new business idea.
The first step was deciding on the business model. There are a many. I considered the following ones below.
The business models I considered
Amazon Affiliate Review site
- This is a simple content site that attracts visitors through organic traffic (SEO). The site publishes review articles like “Best electric toothbrush 2018” and links to Amazon for the reader to purchase. Amazon pays a small 5-6% commission if a sale occurs. There are many such sites, like this one, and this one and this one.
- Pros: simple and lightweight to setup. Content writing can be outsourced to freelance writers. Overheads are minimal.
- Cons: relies on Amazon continuing its Affiliate program. If Amazon was to change the terms of its affiliate program or lowers the commission rate (this happened in the past), the whole business could be at risk. It’s risky. Also, if starting from scratch, this type of site can take 6-12 months to start generating $500-$1000/month.
Amazon Private Label (Amazon FBA)
- This is where you create your own brand of a generic product (e.g. a dog collar), source it from China through Alibaba and sell on Amazon through the FBA program.
- Pros: Amazon holds the inventory in its warehouses and takes care of picking and shipping.
- Cons: It involves a fair amount of work to setup and investment in inventory. This was super hot in 2015 and the opportunity for most obvious products is saturated.
Ecommerce / Dropshipping
- Everyone knows what ecommerce is. “Dropshipping” means you don’t actually own any inventory. The manufacturer sends the product directly to the customer.
- Pros: Can scale quickly if a profitable marketing channel is found.
- Cons: The space is crowded and it is becoming difficult to compete against the established players like Amazon. Everything today can be found on Amazon or Ebay. As a customer why would I bother going on a small independent site?
All models have their pros and cons. I wasn’t clear which one to focus on. It’s only when I stumbled on my product category that I decided to go for the ecommerce route.
My criteria when choosing a product category
Deciding on the product category / issue to solve is even more important than deciding on a business model. To focus my effort, I came up with the following list of criteria:
- A category is “evergreen” if is resists the test of time. The product or service already existed many years ago and will still exist in the years to come.
- Think of it as the opposite of a fad. For example, I don’t know if eating paleo or vegan will still be “a thing” in 5 years. However I’m pretty sure topics like health, personal finance and dating will still have a lot of interest.
- I want to avoid topics that are super hot and hyped up because this invariably means competition is higher.
- The ideal product/service is in a space that is neglected and overlooked by the young hungry entrepreneurs.
- This implies the competition is less tech and marketing savvy.
High – but fragmented – search volume with low SEO competition
- This is an important one. You can sell anything online if you send a sufficient amount of qualified traffic to a decent ecommerce shop. Shopify makes building an ecommerce shop very easy. On average ecommerce shops convert 1-3% of visitors.
- However acquiring traffic through paid marketing like PPC (Adwords/Bing) or Facebook ads can be very expensive and ultimately unprofitable.
- Having a meaningful flow of free SEO traffic coming to a site can solve this issue.
- But SEO in some product categories can be extremely competitive and uncertain.
- The perfect scenario is to find a category that has high search volume (many people searching for the product/service on google) but overall low competition because current service providers are not very sophisticated.
Enough of the theoretical stuff. Time to reveal my new site! Drum roll.
The category is British collectable coins! Yes, really.
Let’s see how it stakes up against the criteria listed above:
Evergreen: collecting coins and stamps is known as “numismatics”. Wikipedia defines it as “the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects“. It has existed since forever and still has an active and passionate group of collectors. The UK Royal Mint releases new coins each year, so there is new products coming to market all the time.
Low hype: clearly a severe lack of hype in this space. How often have you heard someone talk about their new collectable coin startup?
High fragmented search volume: I was surprised by the search volume behind some of many keywords.
Using SEMrush, I collected the following data on monthly search volume on Google UK (google.co.uk):
|Keyword||Monthly search volume in UK|
|beatrix potter 50p||74,000|
|peter rabbit 50p||60,500|
|mrs tiggy winkle 50p||18,100|
|squirrel nutkin 50p||14,800|
|jemima puddle duck 50p||12,100|
|beatrix potter 50p coins||9,900|
|william shakespeare 2 pound coin||8,100|
|first world war 2 coin||5,400|
|puddle duck 50p||1,900|
|tom kitten 50p||880|
These top 10 keywords have a total of 200,000 monthly search from the UK. Who would have thought? There is also a long tail of other small coins that collectors look for.
Looking at the Google results page, it is obvious to see the competition is relatively poor.
You can see that the Google results page looks a bit shady. There are only two “decent” links (boxed in red in the screenshot): one is the official UK mint (Royal Mint) and the other is independent ecommerce shop, which I will compete against. All the other links are low quality news article. It’s as if Google couldn’t find any decent content to show to its users, so had to resolve to showing news article. Promising!
It is hosted on WordPress with an ecommerce theme. My focus right now is to publish content on it and start building up SEO traffic. It could take a few months, I know it won’t be an overnight success.
In terms of monetisation, I will either sell coins directly on the website (need to figure out how to bulk-buy collectable coins first) or redirect traffic to Amazon of Ebay where collectable coins are already on sale. I haven’t decided yet. Focus is on getting traffic for now.
Using Upwork, I have found a writer that has started writing content. She is based in Bangkok, Thailand. Her English is flawless and she is a pleasure to work with. Her hourly rate is $15/hour. This is not particularly cheap, but still very competitive with a US or European writer.
Her first task has been to write what I define as a “Product Page” for the top (most searched) collectable coins. For example:
This page contains 300 words of content targeted at a specific coin: the “squirrel nutkin 50p”. The page explains what’s unique about the coin, what it represents, information on its history, mintage, characteristics etc. According to Semrush, this coins gets searched 15,000 times each month in the UK. It’s big.
In a few weeks, I’ll report back on progress and let you know how the site is going. Subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to know when I publish an update.