Obviously I knew it would be a huge challenge so this is no surprise and it’s also encouraging to be busy too BUT….it can be discouraging when results aren’t immediately evident. So what’s occurring with ideas 1 and 2 of 52?
Well the Aloe Hive thing is a cool opportunity and I’m still super excited about it but the traditional ways in which it’s promoted don’t really apply to me. Normally, women all over the world, get stoked about the products and the chance of working from home and tell all their girly friends about the awesome face creams, makeup and weight loss products. They plug the treatments for nappy rash or cradle cap to the fellow mums and toddler group goers and show off their ‘light-up’ lip gloss sticks. It’s truly easy, they can’t lose, the products DO sell themselves and they’re just doing what they do anyway….having a natter and sharing their experiences. I love Forever Living Products for that and it’s a great business opportunity for that reason. However….as is plainly evident…..I do not fit into the above category.
When I joined I really wanted to concentrate on the products that help serious health issues like arthritis or IBS….things that I could talk passionately about to people as a bloke without looking like a bit of a metro-sexual weirdo. I mean I can do camp, but where, in every day life, having a beard, tattoos and a foul mouth whilst camping it up throws people in a somewhat pleasing manner. When I’ve got my ‘Aloe Jojoba’ shampoo in my little PUPP (Personal Use Product Pack) box and I’m bleating on about softening your skin or worse, trying not to offend anyone whilst saying this product is really good for wrinkles, it just feels ever so slightly unnatural – probably even creepy to the average prospect.
I expected this though to be fair. I wanted to concentrate on building a brand and online store (The Aloe Hive) and exploiting internet marketing to get the reach and exposure I needed. What I didn’t account for though is…..compliance! Basically, even though I’ve seen with my own eyes the benefits of the products for people’s health and read countless testimonials in real time via facebook groups and google images…..the varying governing bodies around making health claims and advertising are COMPLETELY in the pocket of the big pharmaceuticals. Heard about Monsanto and all of that conspiracy stuff? Well I didn’t give it any credence before I started this. But it’s TRUE, it couldn’t be more obvious.
Basically….the big players in the health sector don’t want it getting out that you could technically grow some aloe vera in your garden and use the gel exactly as our product range uses the gel on everything from eczema to asthma….for free. If you harvested Bee Pollen or Honey from a hive in your garden you could probably cure throat infections and have access to countless vitamins and minerals aka good shit…I know I’ve used honey to good effect when I’ve had a sore throat. That’s it though…..nobody’s buying steroid cream for acne, or cough medicine or energy drinks laden with caffeine if ingredients can be found naturally around us. Nobody’s making any money.
Don’t get me wrong, I know the prescribed remedies can help and have helped millions of people over the years and Aloe Vera isn’t the answer to everything. I also know that taking natural remedies without consulting the quack or understanding the full implications can be dangerous, even life threatening….but frankly I should be able to show a before and after pic of my son’s acne if my ‘natural’ products have helped.
You only have to look on wikipedia to understand what I’m on about. I’ve used Wikipedia for years and I know not everything written is gospel…but generally it does a pretty good job of providing a balanced view and presenting the facts. However, you google anything like Bee Pollen, or Aloe Vera….and the articles are so shamelessly biased against natural remedies…it’s impossible not to smell a rat. I was genuinely shocked with what I read on there – they literally imply that there’s a reasonable chance you could die at any given moment whilst taking such products. No statistics…’10% of all women taking bee pollen suffer allergic reactions’….no case studies….’20 people every year are rushed to hospital suffering the effects of ‘toxic’ aloe vera etc etc.’ Just straight up scaremongering, undermining, biased articles. And of course they rank the highest on google cos the companies concerned pay zillions to make sure of the fact.
Rant over…but basically it’s meant that I can’t promote our fantastic range of products in the way I’d like, to anyone other than behind closed doors with friends or family. We have a great list with literally, an A-Z of ailments our products can help with, but it’s pretty hard to get it out there when I’m in Bulgaria and my English speaking target audience are back home in the UK. It’s not just me though, Holland and Barrett (the most recognizable natural health brand on the UK high street) have started employing ‘advisers’ in store to literally speak to people face to face and make product recommendations for fear of ASA reprisals. They can’t say….’cream that might help psoriasis’ on their products anymore. Anyone who’s been to our site will see watered down wishy-washy sales speak next to all the products….so it’s no surprise people don’t want to pay premium prices for a product that – according to the description – doesn’t seem to do a lot.
Heck I don’t even know if that stuff above is OK to write….I think it is, as I haven’t name checked my products or the location of them but this site does so who knows!? If the blog disappears randomly, you’ll know the men in suits have come for me. HOWEVER, I have some hope yet and will be reporting more on my evolved plan of promotion. ANYWAY, what about the real estate thing? How’s that doing?
Well! In short, it’s ‘doing’ slowly. The whole idea of the thing was to be a really aspirational, classy, slick looking site….we found a template we liked literally the only free one there was that fitted my expectations. Then we had to chop it about a bit to fit with newer versions of software that it wasn’t designed for but finally, we got it looking just how I wanted it. The scope for everything to happen as I want, is also there…couldn’t be better. However, that’s…’the scope’.
The front end looks great but the back end (the bit where all the stuff is uploaded and users are managed, email addresses captured etc.) is U.G.L.Y Ugly! It basically doesn’t do what I want it to, I can’t operate the business properly as it is currently, I also don’t have a web designer willing to work for free (understandably) on perfecting this thing. So I’ve put a few feelers out for quotes and may offer it as a joint venture thing if said designer is interested but it’s stuttered a bit if I’m honest. The web world is keen to tell you everything is easy and can be done by yourself using this plug in and that tutorial but in reality to create something unique….to reproduce your mind’s eye? You still need a decent web designer. If I had the money to sit back and ‘direct’ proceedings in a wand-like SteveHax flurry, everything would be up and running and we’d have already made bank I’m sure of it.
All that said, the concept was proven to be great, when I put it out to the agents operating in the expat community here I got a nice fast uptake of interest, and one of the biggest agencies wants on-board, so that’s great and really encouraging. I am just in the process of working out the most efficient way of getting their content on the site so we can start ironing out other niggles like search functionality and capturing some emails. What we’ll have then is the coolest platform ever, where everybody wins, not everybody pays but sometimes, I get paid to help others get paid. We’ll have multiple revenue streams from value added services for the agents or ‘partners’ and also a platform where we can laser-target the users of the site with specific products and services, so the future is still looking very bright on the overall concept.
What that means generally though, is that the house isn’t getting done, we’re still a tad brassic and we’ve got to tweak things ever so slightly to start bringing in revenue. But that’s where ideas 3,4, 5 and 6 come in of my 52 ideas. Including a new entry at 3, reflecting the fact as yet we don’t have much capital in the SteveHax empire’s kitty to invest into what was originally idea 6. More on that soon. So, no fancy pics on this post and nothing wonderful to report but as you know, it’s warts and all coverage and by the time the year is out there’s going to be a ton of useful advice, ideas and solutions for any would be entrepreneur right here on this blog.
Stay tuned for more info subscribe to the blog and comment below, join the banter on the SteveHax group on facebook and like the page for snappy updates. Also you can find me on LinkedIn and on Twitter as of today @Steve_Hax. Find out more about the reason why facebook is frustrating me in an upcoming post too….bet half of you don’t know what’s going on there.
Cy’all for now though. Steve.