Join the Affiliate Program | Avant

An Account From a Former NSA Member: This One Was Kicked Out

https://tricycle.org/magazine/as-american-apple-pie/
'This is vulgar,' A. pronounced loudly into my ear. 'This is vulgarity itself.' We were standing under an arch in the gymnasium of a public school in Manhattan in June 1971. Fifteen clean-cut, energetic young men were waving their arms about vigorously, leading the audience in a song called “Have a Gohonzon,“* set to the Jewish song 'Havah Nagila':
Have a Gohonzon,
Have a Gohonzon
Have a Gohonzon,
Chant for awhile.
You’ll find your life will be
Full of vitality,
Watching your benefits
Grow in a pile …
"\Gohonzon: In Japanese,* honzon indicates an object of worship. Go is an honorific prefix. Nichiren Daishonin embodied 'Nam Myoho Renge Kyo,' as a mandala (Sanskrit for an object or altar on which buddhas and bodhisattvas are represented). The Gohonzon may be either a paper scroll or wood block with Chinese characters.
"The audience, a black-and-white cross section of New York City’s diverse ethnic and economic population packed the room; they sang and clapped with ferocious enthusiasm.
“'Look at them,' said A. 'Look at their glazed eyes, will you? They’re fanatics.'
“'The lecture was okay,' A. continued in a slightly more conciliatory tone. 'That Japanese woman started to make some sense. But those testimonials—’I chanted for a new car and I got it!’ ‘I chanted for a boyfriend,’ ‘I chanted for money …’ And this stupid song! All of it’s crap! This isn’t what Buddhism’s about.'
The audience sang on:
Your surroundings may be loony,
Just remember:
Esho Funi!

“'Now, that part’s true,' said A.
“'This place is filled with very dangerous loonies. What’s Esho Funi?'
“'It’s the doctrine of inseparability of person and environment,” I answered loudly, hoping he could hear above the noise. 'Your environment reflects your inner life.'
“'Well, not mine,' said A., putting on his coat. 'This isn’t my reflection. I’m off.' And he stomped out.
"I stayed on, frustrated that he had seen nothing beyond the egregious testimonials, beyond the silly song with its ungainly lyrics. I thought I had seen something, and, although I was also uncomfortable in those unfamiliar surroundings, I thought it worth exploring.
"A friend from college had introduced me to Buddhism six months before. The tradition she practiced was Nichiren Shoshu, a Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism best known for its organization of laity, Soka Gakkai. She had joined Soka Gakkai (then called NSA, or Nichiren Shoshu of America) a year earlier. She had shown me her altar and prayer beads, and explained that if I chanted 'Nam Myoho Renge Kyo,' I could get anything I wanted.
“'Anything?' I asked her, baffled. 'Fame?'
“'Um-hmm.'
"'Sex?'
"'Well,' she answered, 'the founder of this Buddhism, Nichiren Daishonin, said that even one time chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo might be enough.'
"'Okay. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo! How about going to bed with me?'
'On the other hand,' she continued, 'Nichiren Daishonin also said one million might not be enough. It all depends … '
" Nevertheless, I decided to try the practice. I knew a little about Buddhism from D. T. Suzuki’s essays. I had read Hesse’s Siddhartha and Herrigel’s Zen in the Art of Archery. I was twenty-two years old, a college graduate with a book of published poems but with no immediate plans. I needed focus. I tried yoga briefly, but could not manage the vegetarianism that I understood was mandatory. I looked at Zen, but the practice seemed stark and unfriendly. This Buddhism, strange on the outside, might offer a place to begin. Besides, my friend had acquired a pristine, buoyant spirit.
"I began to chant on my own. My first contact with other Nichiren Shoshu Buddhists took place on a New Year’s Eve. We chanted Nam Myoho Renge Kyo together in their New York City Community Center on West 57th Street. At midnight we applauded and cheered and wished each other Happy New Year. I was elated. I could not fly or see through walls, but I had accomplished something of great difficulty, chanting for four hours without pause. I felt a quiet, reassuring rightness of purpose.
"A. and I had known each other for several years. We taught together in the Poets-in-the-Schools program. We spent our summers in the Hamptons, part of the community of writers centered around East Hampton’s Guild Hall, the museum and cultural center. We lived nearby in the Springs, the famous artists-and-writers colony where Willem de Kooning lives and Jackson Pollack died. When I first told him about Nichiren Shoshu, A. was intrigued. He too had been interested in Buddhism. I lent him my set of borrowed books and pamphlets.
"A. was disappointed in the literature. 'The language is rough,' he told me. 'And the philosophy is pretty thin.'
"I became defensive. I suggested that the sect had been in this country only a short time. Its translation skills would certainly improve. Besides, the book was written for a mass audience who could not be counted on to understand subtleties without schooling. In any event, I had planned to go to an NSA discussion meeting in Manhattan. Would he come along? Reluctantly, he agreed.
"After A. left the meeting I did not hear from him again for several months. When I met him by chance at a party in East Hampton, he asked if I was still practicing with NSA. He shook his head sadly. I would be sorry if I stayed with them any longer, he predicted. 'No reasonable, intelligent person is going to fall for that garbage,' he warned. 'Anyhow, they’re not your kind. You’re a poet. You’ve got something to offer. Why waste your time with inferior people?'
He himself had found real Buddhism, he told me. He was going to study with Trungpa Rinpoche. Had I heard of him? No, I told him, I hadn’t. 'He’s a poet,' A. said. 'He’s not shallow.'

"A. stayed with Trungpa until Trungpa’s death in 1987, and then he proceeded to study with other Tibetan teachers. Despite my friend’s counsel, I’ve continued with the practice of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism for more than twenty years.
"Others who knew about my involvement with the movement have been harsher than A. The most telling criticisms came from those who practiced other varieties of Buddhism. They wondered where, in Soka Gakkai’s visible and frenetic public display—its conventions and parades staged in major cities, its proselytizing groups gathered on street corners or swarming over college campuses—where was Buddhist dharma? Where was the contemplation, the dedication, the struggle for enlightenment, the evidence of responsibility to Buddhist practice that has characterized Buddhism for thousands of years? Where was anything of substance in what I was doing and advocating that others do?
"People in the United States and Japan who join Soka Gakkai are not often the same kinds of people attracted to other forms of Buddhism. In the U.S., Soka Gakkai appeals to a spectrum of the population in diverse economic, racial, and cultural groups. Solid demographic and psychographic information is not available, but judging by articles in Soka Gakkai’s American weekly newspaper, The World Tribune, today’s American membership includes many people living in lower-income, inner-city areas such as Detroit and Watts, as well as middle-class people living in major cities and suburbs. (African-Americans make up an estimated twenty percent of the membership, a significantly larger proportion than can be found in other American Buddhist groups.) Few avant-garde artists, writers, or scholars of contemplative bent (those who seem drawn to other Buddhist groups) appear in news coverage. Meanwhile, the testimonials of famous Soka Gakkai members—including those of Patrick Swayze, Roseanne Arnold, Tina Turner, and Herbie Hancock and assorted sports figures—have made the practitioners known as Buddhists who chant for fame and fortune.
"Most people assume that Nichiren Shoshu and Soka Gakkai are the same. They are not. Nichiren Shoshu is a religion, a sect of Buddhism. Soka Gakkai is a social, political, and cultural organization. Most Soka Gakkai members practice a version of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism regularly. Yet, although the religion owes its eight to ten million worldwide members and (apparently) uncountable wealth to the lay organization, the complex historical alliance between these affiliations has never been harmonious.
"Nichiren Daishonin (Nichiren means 'Sun Lotus,' and Daishonin means 'great sage'), the founder of the sect, was born in Japan in 1222. He began his career as a monk of the T’ien-t’ai sect of Mahayana Buddhism. The teachings of T’ien-t’ai are distinguished by their reverence for the Lotus Sutra (Saddharmapundarika-sutra in Sanskrit). T’ien-t’ai places this teaching text a bove all others because of its emphasis on the universality of Buddha-nature and the promise that everyone—men and women alike—may attain enlightenment in this life, 'as one is.'
"At about the age of sixteen, Nichiren left his home province for Kamakura, Mount Hiei, and other centers of Buddhist learning. He spent several years studying the sutras and their commentaries as well as the teachings of different sects. In the end, he became convinced that Shakyamuni’s teachings in the Lotus Sutra pointed to the Great Pure Law that could lead people directly to enlightenment. At the same time, he surmised that he had been entrusted with the task of propagating the essence of the sutra in the Latter Day of the Law, the time identified by the Daishutsu (Sutra of the Great Assembly) as beginning about two thousand years after the historical Buddha. In 1279, Nichiren inscribed the Dai-Gohonzon, a mandala that he declared to be the ultimate purpose of his advent in this world.
"Until his death in 1282, Nichiren Daishonin wrote voluminous dissertations on the Lotus Sutra and correct practice. He debated, proselytized, remonstrated with the government, and underwent a series of government-ordered persecutions, including an attempted beheading that was thwarted only by the auspicious appearance of a comet. His prophecies of natural disaster and foreign invasion that Japan would undergo came true. 'No matter what you might think of his convictions,' I recall my Japanese history professor at Columbia telling our class, 'his predictions were completely accurate.'
"After Nichiren’s death, several sects of Nichiren Buddhism were founded by his disciples. By the second decade of this century, Nichiren Shoshu’s membership had declined, leaving it one of the smallest of the five surviving Nichiren sects. It took the tremendous propagation efforts of Soka Gakkai to popularize it.
"The original name for Soka Kyoiku-gakkai means 'Value-Creation Education Society.' The organization was founded in 1930 by a teacher and educational theorist named Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, whose circle was educational, not religious, in nature, and the membership consisted mostly of schoolteachers.
"Makiguchi became friends with a Nichiren Shoshu lay member and school principal. The evangelical Buddhist set out to convert Makiguchi, basing his appeal on those philosophical similarities which both men perceived in Nichiren Shoshu and in Value Creation Theory. According to community lore, their discussions ended in a somewhat formal debate, which Makiguchi lost. As a consequence, he converted to Nichiren Shoshu, along with Makiguchi’s followers, including his principle disciple, Josei Toda.
"In 1943, at a time when Soka Kyoiku-gakkai had a membership of about three thousand, the Japanese military ordered all religions to align themselves with Shinto, the native Japanese religion. Makiguchi, together with a group of Nichiren Shoshu priests, challenged the decree. He was arrested and imprisoned, as was Toda. Makiguchi died in prison in 1944 at the age of seventy-three. His disciple, Toda, then forty-four, was released a year later.
"The impact of his master’s death, and of his own mystical vision of Buddhism while in prison, led Toda to assume leadership with a mission to expand the organization’s membership. By the end of the war, the membership of Soka Gakkai had all but disappeared. Five years later, under Toda’s stewardship, the membership had regained fifteen hundred families. At a meeting held at a Nichiren Shoshu temple, Toda made the following pledge to his pupils: 'I intend to convert 750,000 families before I die. If this is not achieved by the time of my death, do not hold a funeral service for me but throw my ashes into the sea off Shinagawa.' He met his goal by 1957 and died the following year.
"Soka Gakkai today claims between eight and ten million members, living in more than one hundred countries. It sponsors an influential Japanese political party, Komeito, several high schools and a university, two art museums, several publishing companies, various newspapers, and many Japanese national and international cultural associations. It has acquired massive amounts of money and property.
"Soka Gakkai’s American branch was founded in 1960 by a Japanese law student named Masayasu Sadanaga (now known as George M. Williams), who had been a Soka Gakkai member in Japan. In the eighties, at its high point, the American organization boasted a total of 500,000 members, a number that—if anywhere near accurate—would make the Soka Gakkai the largest Buddhist organization in the United States.
"But in Japan, Soka Gakkai’s success has come with a price. Extravagant financial growth over the past fifty years has been accompanied by a reputation for corruption. This spring, the New York Times reported that several years ago the organization was fined millions of dollars for interest payments on undeclared income. In 1990, the police discovered a Soka Gakkai vault containing $1.2 million in yen notes hidden in a garbage dump in Yokohama. More recently, according to the article, $11 million connected with the proposed purchase by Soka Gakkai of two Renoir paintings disappeared. This, in turn, raised questions about whether the lay group was stashing money away for political payoffs. In November 1991, the head temple of Nichiren Shoshu excommunicated the membership of Soka Gakkai en masse. This action is now forcing members throughout the world to choose between joining a Nichiren Shoshu temple or remaining with an unchurched and religiously compromised Soka Gakkai.
"Nevertheless, the organization prospers. Soka Gakkai of America now (more realistically) puts its active membership at about 140,000—significantly lower than earlier estimates but still an impressive figure. Its members hold monthly meetings that seek to initiate new members as well as provide information and fellowship to established practitioners. Although members no longer sing 'Have a Gohonzon' during meetings, and street-corner proselytizing has been discouraged, the organization continues to emphasize acquisition of material and spiritual benefits as a path to salvation.
"Is Soka Gakkai/Nichiren Shoshu the true American Buddhism? To an observer, the practices of Soka Gakkai seem tailor-made for the American fast-food, instant-wish-fulfillment culture. You can chant for money, for a better job, for love, for any of the 108 human desires symbolized by the 108 prayer beads that Nichiren Shoshu members hold while they chant. An observer would note that Soka Gakkai practitioners spend far more time in discussion meetings and other group activities than they do in disciplined contemplation or consultation with Buddhist teachers. Because its emphasis falls on action rather than view, Soka Gakkai appeals to a broad range of Americans with varying educational backgrounds, even as it may alienate those who enjoy meditative Buddhist traditions. Without looking further, an observer might reasonably conclude that Soka Gakkai represents only a simplified version—or even a cynical perversion—of Buddhism created for American consumption. But if Soka Gakkai appeals to the American Dream, it has appealed to the Japanese Dream as well.
"In the early fifties, during Soka Gakkai’s reconstruction, the then president, Josei Toda, succeeded in attracting a vast number of potential converts by describing the mechanism of Buddhist practice as a money-making machine:
"Suppose a machine which never fails to make everyone happy were built by the power of science or by medicine …. Such a machine, I think, could be sold at a very high price. Don’t you agree? If you used it wisely, you could be sure to become happy and build up a terrific company. You could make a lot of money. You could sell such machines for about 100,000 Yen apiece.
"But Western science has not yet produced such a machine. It cannot be made. Still, such a machine has been in existence in this country, Japan, since seven hundred years ago. This is the Dai-Gohonzon. [Nichiren] Daishonin made this machine for us and gave it to us common people. He told us: “Use [the machine] freely. It won’t cost you any money … And yet, people of today don’t want to use it because they don’t understand the explanation that the Dai-Gohonzon is such a splendid machine.
"Toda’s words caught the attention of those Japanese impoverished by the Second World War and desperate for survival. In like manner, the appeal attracts many Americans living in the inner cities who are desperate for a way to improve their lives. For these people who know little material prosperity, the more conventional Buddhist view—that enlightenment is encouraged by abandoning all attachment to material things—is virtually senseless. After all, you must first have an adequate supply of food or own a car or a washing machine before you can give up an attachment to them.

"The white middle-class practitioners who follow Zen, Tibetan, or Theravadan Buddhism are wary if not downright disdainful of Nichiren Shoshu but—whether they acknowledge it or not—they are involved in a dilemma with striking parallels. The issue for them is not money but ego. In a culture where low self-esteem and depression are endemic, the question arises: 'Does one have to have a healthily developed ego to give it up?' Yet many of the same middle-class, materialistically secure white practitioners of other traditions have remained hostile to Nichiren Shoshu without investigating its different economic and cultural contexts.
"To traditional Buddhists the idea of a Buddhism that encourages its practitioners to chant for BMWs appears blatantly heretical, and the description of the group’s object of worship as a machine for granting wishes sounds ridiculous. Even so, the practice of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism is not trivial, nor is its effect upon members’ lives shallow. Gongyo, the daily practice of the Nichiren Shoshu membership, consists of morning and evening recitations of the Lotus Sutra as well as chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo repeatedly.Gongyo,** which literally means “assiduous practice,” is performed while practitioners sit before theGohonzon, a replica of Nichiren’s original mandala. During gongyo, two chapters of the Lotus Sutra are recited from Chinese characters (using Japanese pronunciation) and are repeated five times in the morning and three times at night. After each reading, practitioners silently recite prayers that offer thanks for protection by the Buddhist gods, praise the virtues of the Dai-Gohonzon, acknowledge the succession of the chief priests, present a petition for world peace and attainment of enlightenment, and pray for the well-being of ancestors—all of which have parallels in the daily services of Buddhist parishes in many different Asian cultures, as well as in Japan’s Soto Zen tradition. After the final reading, members chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, usually for five or ten minutes, but occasionally for several hours. The liturgy of gongyoencourages one to clear the mind of wishes, anxieties, and other distracting thoughts so that when it is time to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo (the most important part of the practice) the mind will be sufficiently stilled to concentrate on the Gohonzon. The goal of this “assiduous practice” is the fusion of one’s mind with the reality of the Gohonzon—it means reading the Chinese characters not simply with one’s eyes but “with one’s life”—through chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
"\*Gongyo: In general, gongyo means the recitation of Buddhist sutras in fornt of an object of worship. In Nichiren Shoshu and Soka Gakkai, gongyo means to recite part of the second chapter and the whole of the sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra in front of the gohonzon, followed by chanting.*
"The literal translation of the chant is 'Devotion to the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma.' But Nichiren Shoshu provides specific interpretations: *Nam—'*devotion of both mind and body'—to Myoho, a word indicating that all life and death phenomena are united in a 'mystic' or mysterious manner. Myoho indicates 'the Mystic Law' of Renge, the lotus that reveals its seeds (its cause) as it blossoms (its effect) simultaneously—therefore, 'simultaneous cause and effect.' This is invoked in our lives through Kyo, the word for dharma, sutra, or the sound of its teachings.
"What Nichiren Shoshu members unite with when they chant to the Gohonzon is a depiction, in Chinese characters, of the “Ceremony in the Air,” described in the Lotus Sutra as an assembly of Shakyamuni’s disciples floating in space above the saha (impure) world. When the Bodhisattvas of the Earth appear, Shakyamuni reveals his original enlightenment in the remote past. He then transfers the essence of the sutra specifically to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth led by Bodhisattva Jogyo (Vishishtacharitra in Sanskrit), entrusting them with its propagation two thousand years in the future (our own time). Chanting to theGohonzon then both invites and affirms attendance at this assembly of bodhisattvas.
"The philosophical lineage of Nichiren Shoshu purports that although the material and the spiritual are two separate classes of phenomena, they are in essence inseparable, a 'oneness of body and mind.'
"T’ien-t’ai sought to clarify the mutually inclusive relationship of the ultimate truth and the phenomenal world asserting with this principle that all phenomena—body and mind, self and environment, sentient and insentient, cause and effect—are integrated in a life-moment of a common mortal. Pre-Lotus Sutra teachings generally hold that all phenomena arise from the mind, but in T’ien-t’ai teachings the mind and all phenomena are “two but not two.” That is, neither can be independent of the other.
"In pre-Lotus Sutra teachings, earthly desires and illusions are cited as causes of spiritual and physical suffering that impede the quest for enlightenment, obscuring Buddha nature and hindering Buddhist practice. According to T’ien-t’ai’s intepretation of the Lotus Sutra, however, earthly desires and enlightenment are not fundamentally different: enlightenment is not the eradication of desire, but a state of mind that can be experienced by transforming innate desires.
"Beginning Nichiren Shoshu members establish their practice by chanting for whatever they want. I had friends who started off chanting for cheaper drugs and free money. Like them, I treated the Gohonzon as a pimp. I wanted to see if chanting would work. I set about praying for things (a summer job, a girlfriend, even a good parking spot) that would fill immediate needs or give instant pleasure. Some things I got; others I didn’t. The things I really needed—such as better relationships with people and with myself—eluded me. Nevertheless, I continued to chant. Gradually, my interest in short-term material benefits was displaced by a hunger for longer-term spiritual ones. I found that chanting incessantly about difficult personal problems, like polishing a mirror, brought clarity to my situation. The more difficult or painful the motivation for my chanting, the clearer the mirror of my faith reflected my ownership of whatever troubled me. I could no longer deny the responsibility for my predicaments. In my experience, the activity of chanting for material or spiritual things becomes a process of cleansing one’s spirit, not corrupting it; and Buddhists who began by chanting for hotter cars ended up driven to awaken themselves and help others, at times with great energy and joy.
"'Will you please tell me what playing the trombone has to do with Buddhism?' my friend A. demanded. It was during my first year as a Buddhist. I had told A. that I’d planned to join Soka Gakkai’s brass band. 'You want to be in a marching band? Didn’t you do enough parading in military school?'
Indeed I had. I was sent to military school when I was twelve and remained there until I was eighteen. I promised myself I would never march again. Yet, here I was in the Soka Gakkai Brass Band.
"I had no satisfactory explanation of the relationship between marching in a brass band, attending Soka Gakkai conventions, donating money to the organization, and Buddhism. I had only Soka Gakkai’s official answer: these movement activities would yield personal benefits and further the cause of world peace. In any event, they certainly benefited Soka Gakkai.
"In the ten years during which I practiced as a Soka Gakkai member, I attended their conventions all over the U.S. and Japan. These were always spectacular public exhibitions, such as the show performed on a massive floating island stage built off the Waikiki shore. I got to see little of them, however. As a Young Men’s Division member, I was often put in charge of luggage and remained at the hotel, or was appointed caretaker of one or another member who had suddenly become unhinged, such as the young man who insisted on walking—naked—backward up and down the hotel corridors and dressing only to take a shower.
"I cannot say that I entirely relished membership in Soka Gakkai. I confess that playing in the Brass Band was always an embarrassing chore. Discipline was strict and not always administered by wise leaders. Yet, the core of my Buddhist practice remained chanting.
"In 1980, American Soka Gakkai members were not aware that the Nichiren Shoshu clergy and the Soka Gakkai administration had become entangled in a dispute. The clergy alleged that Soka Gakkai was secretly planning to establish itself as an independent sect of Nichiren Buddhism. The scandals and controversies that resulted were documented in the Japanese press but not in the American press. Possibly as part of Soka Gakkai’s plot to secede, American members were given new versions of the prayers of gongyo that included homage to Soka Gakkai founders. George M. Williams announced that a new Head Temple might be constructed on a tract of land purchased in the Rocky mountains. Otherwise, Soka Gakkai of America asserted that nothing out of the ordinary was happening.
"My friends and I eventually learned about these things from a young Japanese who had been appointed chief priest of the Nichiren Shoshu temple in New York. He was amazed that Soka Gakkai in this country continued to deny the problems in Japan, especially because he believed that knowing about them was essential to an American member’s understanding of the practice.
"With the information provided by the young priest, and from copies of an English-language Japanese newspaper, I began to discuss this situation with the thirty or so active members in the group I headed, and with my senior leaders. Rather than answering my questions, my seniors admonished me, declaring that I was slandering Buddhism.
"When efforts to force the American Soka Gakkai to openly discuss the implications of the political situation failed, the young priest decided to publish the details on his own. Eventually, he printed a heavily documented pamphlet and mailed it to as many members as he could locate. Soka Gakkai successfully pressured Nichiren Shoshu to fire him.
"My friends and I were similarly dismissed. Our dismissal was carried out in a particularly Japanese manner.
"Instead of being thrown out publicly, our group was simply not included in the next reorganization of groups that define the Soka Gakkai membership. We became, so to speak, nonpersons.
"During these last twelve years of solitary practice, I have had to answer questions I might not otherwise have had to confront had I remained in Soka Gakkai. How deep have the dynamics of mass-movement culture affected my understanding of Buddhist experience? How much of my knowledge of this religion, for example, is knowledge of Buddhism, and how much is Japanese cultural bias? There are no easy answers, although my ignorance makes me a comrade in arms with the many other American students of Zen, Tibetan, and Theravadan Buddhism who wrestle with these same questions.
"But in front of the Gohonzon those questions don’t feel very important; nor do my friends’ descriptions of vulgarity or materialism. I am left where I began: by myself, at my altar, conscious of a larger truth—that the Great Assembly of bodhisattvas described in the Lotus Sutra is a reality taking place now, at every moment of our lives. " By Sandy McIntosh Winter 1992
Singing "Have a Gohonzon" in 2020 would send people running for the exits. Hence most older members don't do that anymore.
submitted by Qigong90 to sgiwhistleblowers [link] [comments]

CASE STUDY - Growing Another Purchased Affiliate Site - Attempt #2 - Month 1 (April 2020)

Here we go again! I did a very active Case Study on this subreddit of taking a site from $1,000/mo to now $13,000/mo, selling it, retaining 25% equity, and still managing the site for a fee. Read all of that here in Month 10 of the Case Study. That site is doing well. We closed in on $13,000 profit in April 2020
I am back with another case study. Similar to the first case study, I also purchased this site very recently. Let's get started with where the domain stands as of when it was purchased.

Case Study Website Details

Why Did I Buy This Site

Let's get started on what I did in April 2020 right after buying the website.

Month 1: April 2020

I had a full month in April 2020 to stabilize the site, plus a few days in late March 2020 as well.
Let's start with some April 2020 stats and then we can get into the nitty-gritty of what I did to increase income:
Monetization:

Quick Wins for April 2020

Whenever I acquire a website, I like to go for quick wins. Here are the quick wins that I did within April 2020.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

If a website has traffic, it's easier to increase income through Conversion Rate Optimization. That's exactly what I did.
  1. Add more affiliate links: Affiliate links were missing on a few critical places on the main landing page of the website.
  2. Added Comparison tables above the fold
  3. Added Amazon Native Ads at the bottom of each post

Improve On-Page SEO

  1. Increase page speed, caching, etc: Changed server hosting to Digital Ocean with plugins like WP Rocket, and services like Cloudflare to make the site much faster
  2. Optimize Image size: Ran the site through ShortPixel to reduce image size
  3. Related Articles: pages on the website did not have any related articles at the bottom of the articles. Users were left with a "dead end" after reading the article. Adding a Related Post plugin increased the Number of Pages view, and decreased the Bounce Rate on the website immediately.
  4. Interlink Articles: Installed Link Whisper plugin. Use the plugin to easily link all of the articles to high-traffic potential articles.

Keyword Research

Using AHREFs, I found hundreds of product-related keywords. Since my domain is strong, I don't really care how much competition the keywords have as my site is an authority in the niche and it will take the top 3 positions rather quickly.
My focus now are keywords with the following format "Best X...", "X vs Y", and "X review". These are easy to rank for and very lucrative.

Content, Content, Content

Using the same process as in my first Case Study, I immediately hired a team of writers. Currently, I have 8 writers. Of those, 3 writers do hands-on reviews for brands that want to sponsor reviews. The others have some background in the niche but I do not give them products to review.
As I said, all of the writers are experts in the niche. Therefore, they actually have many of the products being reviewed. I make sure they write in the 1st person, share personal experiences, provide actual images of the products, etc. This provides a much more valuable article!

Integrated More Amazon Affiliate Links

The previous owner was not strongly promoting Amazon or any network for that matter. They were doing it as a hobby.
Comparison Tables: I immediately implemented comparison tables. I created my own HTML+CSS table so that I can embed both Amazon and other affiliate network links. I use AAWP to create the Amazon links that get embedded into my handmade tables. The tables look great on Desktop and Mobile.
Amazon Native Ads: I usually put one of these at the bottom of each post.

Applied to Other Affiliate Networks

Amazon cut commissions in April. This has caused many affiliates to diversify income. This was part of my plan anyway since most of the manufacturers I am promoting have private affiliate networks through Impact Radius, AvantLink, or Commission Junction.
Therefore, I applied to these networks. I currently am accepted to over 80 company affiliate programs through these networks.
The challenge that this site has is that most people buy random stuff in the niche when going to Amazon. Therefore, other programs will only work if these criteria are met:
If these are not met, then it makes no sense to promote such a product. Smaller priced products should be promoted through Amazon since you have a high chance of extra products being purchased.
Each niche is different. Do your own research on this.

CPA Offers

The niche I am in has many CPA offers through private networks, Clickbank, etc. Of the revenue generated above, $500 or so is from CPA offers.
I was accepted to a private CPA network with specific offers for this niche. Looking to expand into CPA offers over time with this site.

Email Newsletters

There are over 3,400 email subscribers. I have everything set up in Aweber costing about $50 per month.
Using Elementor, I setup popups on the site to capture email subscribers. I am getting about 10 subscribers per day average.
The email list has generated about $200 of revenue so far. This is how I structure the email blasts:
The email list generates traffic back to the site plus gets some revenue coming in. I will be testing the email list over time to see what sticks.
This is my first time with email lists so if you all have any suggestions do let me know.

Social Media

The social media following is above 180,000 for this site on it's Facebook page. The strategy is simple. Using Buffer.com, I schedule out articles 1 month in advance, 4 times day.
My strategy is as follows:
  1. Share Informative articles on the site
  2. Share Buying Guides
  3. Share CPA offers
  4. Share Product review articles with a link to Amazon or another network where the user can buy the product. hoping to generate a nice income from the Facebook following as well
Trying to continue growing the Facebook page. Any advice on how to grow apart from what I am doing, please let me know

June 2020 Plans

Here is what I plan to do in June 2020:
What do I expect in June 2020:
Thanks for reading! I hope you found some tidbits here that was useful. Questions, comments, and criticism welcome!
Edit:
I started a free newsletter where you can read more details of my case studies, how to buy grow sell sites, and more. I have 12 years of experience in this industry and sharing my expertise through the newsletter.
You can join here: https://websiteflipping.substack.com
submitted by msar123 to juststart [link] [comments]

bprs07 Case Study Month #17

Hello again /juststart -- welcome to month 17 of my case study.
My posts are primarily stats-driven updates of my first foray into affiliate marketing. I'll also touch on anything notable I've done since my last update, but please don't hesitate to comment with questions.
Sorry for the late update, I traveled a lot during the first week of August and have been getting caught up.

Past Updates

Supporting Graphics

Overview

My affiliate site made $8,551 in July. This is my biggest month by far. In fact, I totally skipped the $7,000s and jumped straight to the $8,000s. However, it should be noted that a lot of that jump can be attributed to Prime Day when I earned around $1,370. A typical two-day period in the middle of the week would earn me around $450, so Prime Day was around a $900 bump from normal business. Add in the extra day in July (31 vs 30) and you get a perfect storm for a huge month. August absolutely will be more in line with my recent typical months.
Note: While this is being published on August 13, 2018 I will still write/report as if it's August 1, 2018 and disregard anything that's happened since then. This includes the confirmed early-August Google update.
The breakdown of earnings is as follows, with all amounts converted to USD:
Let's talk about Mediavine (again). Last month Mediavine ads went live on my site on June 6, which meant 5 days of no ads on June 1-5. Still, my RPM last month was $32.81. This month it rose to $34.29. Because the first few days of last month were a "warming up period" where my RPM crept up day by day, I'm pretty much considering the two months as being even. Mediavine reports a typical RPM drop of around 13% so I was expecting to see my RPM fall to $28, but clearly it didn't. I also elected to lift many page-level ad restrictions because I haven't really noticed a significant drop in affiliate link clicks and Amazon conversions since adding the horrendously intrusive Mediavine ads. In June I made around $63/day. In July I made $74/day. Even when adjusting for the temporary Prime Day boost, my revenue per day still rose to around $70/day. That's about +$7/day mostly from increased ad impressions on my existing traffic, which is around $200 extra in my pocket at the end of the month assuming traffic remains constant.
I My writers published 4 articles and around 7,900 words in July. This cost me $770. I have begun doing a week-by-week lookback on this content. I'll make sure to report back with the results. I promise I'll do it!
I continued working with my freelance link builder. I ordered 14 links including 6 low tier nofollow links to help balance out my link profile. (Paranoid? Maybe.) My link builder delivered again and placed great, trustworthy links on active blogs in shoulder niches that have their own organic traffic. The total cost was $1,645 for all of the links at varying price points (based on requested tier of linking domain). I really enjoy working with a freelancer like this guy for 3 reasons:
I can't recommend him enough. If anyone wants his contact details send me a private message, I highly recommend him and am always happy to throw more business his way.
Edited to Add: Average DA of dofollow links was 34 and ranged from 11-67 based on the tiers I ordered. I didn't calculate the average DA for nofollow links but it's probably lower, around 20?
I filed the paperwork for my own business! Currently my target "quit day job" date is November 2, 2018. That's less than 3 months away! I'm nervously excited. After consulting with some tax people I elected to form an umbrella LLC with each domain I own registered as a DBA under that LLC. Ultimately I think I'll switch to an S-Corp and pay myself a reasonable salary -- thinking something along the lines of $60,000 per year, which seems to be on the low end for Director of Content Marketing or Director of SEO based on my research. There are tax benefits to this sort of structure if my gross profit each year exceeds my salary, which I expect it to. For a few reasons starting with an LLC and changing to an S-Corp later is better for me right now.
I'd be interested in hearing how some of you have set up your businesses.
I crossed $1 million in shipped item revenue on Amazon! Sort of a meaningless number, but still -- wow. I also crossed 500,000 organic visitors.
My social traffic is super underwhelming. I have never really cared about social media traffic, but now that I monetize my content with ads I'm starting to think maybe I should? With my full-time job I don't really have the time to develop social media strategy while developing Site #2, which I've been doing, so I'll have to backburner this until I go full-time in a few months.

Traffic Stats (All Countries)

Month Organic Referral Social Direct Total
Month 1 (Mar) 10 2 1 n/a 13
Month 2 (Apr) 121 37 44 n/a 202
Month 3 (May) 436 76 57 99 668
Month 4 (Jun) 2,646 124 211 194 3,175
Month 5 (Jul) 6,793 155 531 421 7,900
Month 6 (Aug) 11,456 169 441 590 12,656
Month 7 (Sep) 19,113 209 368 1,218 20,908
Month 8 (Oct) 27,228 242 370 1,583 29,423
Month 9 (Nov) 49,744 405 415 2,929 53,493
Month 10 (Dec) 67,372 537 651 3,361 71,921
Month 11 (Jan) 54,739 496 669 2,991 58,895
Month 12 (Feb) 48,324 564 395 2,312 52,203
Month 13 (Mar) 56,566 489 396 3,106 60,559
Month 14 (Apr) 53,509 513 440 3,069 57,531
Month 15 (May) 51,455 439 319 3,120 55,333
Month 16 (Jun) 45,545 334 343 3,385 49,607
Month 17 (Jul) 53,818 289 340 3,556 58,003
Total 548,875 5,080 5,991 31,934 592,590
  • Month 1 includes last few days of February; case study began 2/24/17
  • Direct traffic in Months 1 and 2 listed as "n/a" because it was too high and almost exclusively my unfiltered visits

Earnings Stats (US Only)

Month Clicks Ord Items Ship Items Conv Revenue Earnings Rev/Ship Clicks/Sess
Month 1 (Mar) n/a 1 1 n/a $23 $1 $22.97 n/a
Month 2 (Apr) 42 3 2 7.14% $246 $11 $123.33 20.8%
Month 3 (May) 113 15 16 13.27% $490 $27 $30.63 16.9%
Month 4 (Jun) 408 35 31 8.58% $871 $41 $28.10 12.9%
Month 5 (Jul) 1,229 188 160 15.30% $6,780 $335 $42.38 15.6%
Month 6 (Aug) 2,945 387 382 13.14% $13,703 $643 $35.87 23.3%
Month 7 (Sep) 5,419 757 720 13.97% $22,365 $1,062 $31.06 25.9%
Month 8 (Oct) 7,855 964 916 12.27% $32,008 $1,532 $34.94 26.7%
Month 9 (Nov) 17,206 2,176 1,985 12.65% $73,477 $3,618 $37.02 32.2%
Month 10 (Dec) 24,142 3,262 3,148 13.51% $110,104 $5,290 $34.98 33.6%
Month 11 (Jan) 20,407 2,776 2,823 13.60% $93,151 $4,508 $33.00 34.6%
Month 12 (Feb) 19,468 2,475 2,520 13.22% $93,373 $4,525 $37.05 37.3%
Month 13 (Mar) 24,038 3,065 2,972 12.75% $113,452 $5,461 $38.17 39.7%
Month 14 (Apr) 22,748 2,849 2,779 12.52% $116,830 $5,555 $42.04 39.5%
Month 15 (May) 25,152 3,134 3,088 12.46% $117,387 $5,743 $38.01 45.5%
Month 16 (Jun) 21,702 2,800 2,706 12.90% $102,219 $4,935 $37.77 43.7%
Month 17 (Jul) 24,637 3,196 3,147 12.97% $123,442 $5,954 $39.23 42.5%
Total 217,511 28,083 27,396 12.91% $1,019,921 $49,241 $37.23 36.7%
  • All earnings stats are from Amazon.com (US only)
  • Month 1 includes last few days of February; case study began 2/24/17
  • Month 1 clicks are almost exclusively my clicks to test links, so I'm omitting them
  • Clicks/Sess and Earn/Sess refers to Amazon clicks and earnings per session from the traffic table
  • Total row includes a few days at the end of February, which is not explicitly shown in the table above
  • Clicks/Sess and Earn/Sess included non-US traffic; in Month 11 I had excluded non-US traffic but I just can't agree with myself on the best way to represent all the nuances in one number!

Money Stuff

Earnings Breakdown (All Countries)
Month Amzn Aff Non-Amzn Aff Ads Total Rev Rev / 1K Sess %Amzn
Month 1 (Mar) $1.03 $0.00 $0.00 $1.03 $79.23 100%
Month 2 (Apr) $11.09 $0.00 $0.00 $11.09 $54.90 100%
Month 3 (May) $27.08 $0.00 $0.00 $27.08 $40.54 100%
Month 4 (Jun) $41.79 $0.00 $0.00 $41.79 $13.16 100%
Month 5 (Jul) $340.63 $0.00 $0.00 $340.63 $43.12 100%
Month 6 (Aug) $651.98 $0.00 $0.00 $651.98 $51.52 100%
Month 7 (Sep) $1,072.27 $0.00 $0.00 $1,072.72 $51.29 100%
Month 8 (Oct) $1,580.79 $0.00 $0.00 $1,580.79 $53.73 100%
Month 9 (Nov) $3,712.11 $0.00 $0.00 $3,712.11 $69.39 100%
Month 10 (Dec) $5,462.91 $0.00 $0.00 $5,462.91 $75.96 100%
Month 11 (Jan) $4,683.20 $0.00 $0.00 $4,683.20 $79.52 100%
Month 12 (Feb) $4,615.08 $0.00 $0.00 $4,615.08 $88.41 100%
Month 13 (Mar) $5,677.08 $0.00 $0.00 $5,677.08 $93.74 100%
Month 14 (Apr) $5,720.14 $114.54 $0.00 $5,834.68 $101.42 98%
Month 15 (May) $5,899.66 $129.26 $0.00 $6,028.92 $108.96 98%
Month 16 (Jun) $5,095.16 $107.51 $1,571.70 $6,774.37 $136.56 75%
Month 17 (Jul) $6,260.25 $80.45 $2,290.57 $8,631.27 $148.81 73%
Total $50,852.25 $431.76 $3,862.27 $55,146.28 $93.08 93%
Expenses
  • ConvertKit (emails): $49.00
  • Backlink Building: $1,644.88
  • Outsourced Content for My Site: $770.00 (4 articles)
  • Ahrefs: $99.00
  • Business Registration: $329.00
  • Speaking With Tax Accountant: $52.50
  • Month 17 Total: $2,944.38
  • Case Study Total: $10,503.58
Net Income
Period Income Expenses Net Income
Month 17 (Jul) $8,550.82 $2,944.38 $5,606.44
Total $55,146.28 $10,503.58 $44,642.70

Let's Talk About Site #2

Site #2 is in Month #5.
I've finally got the ball rolling on this site!

Supporting Graphics

Site #2 made $5.51 in Month #5. In terms of the amount of time dedicated to this site, it's best to think of it as being in Month 2 or 3. However, it is outside the typical "Google sandbox period" (if you believe that's a thing).
I published 5 posts and 16,300 words. This now brings Site #2's total up to 15 posts and 42,800 words. And most of the content from this past month was true "buyer-focused affiliate content" that targeted low competition, profitable keywords. Most of the content from the first few months was what I'd call "informational" or "linkable assets." Basically the stuff that you have to have as an authority site in this niche and which I will use as the foundation of infographic or backlink outreach campaigns in the coming months.
As mentioned last month, I am trying to use non-Amazon affiliate programs where possible, so I've been working a lot with AvantLink affiliate programs. For July, only 3 clicks on AvantLink affiliate links (2 programs) versus 64 clicks on Amazon affiliate links, where all my sales were from.

Traffic Stats (All Countries)

Month Organic Referral Social Direct Total
Month 1 (Mar) 6 0 0 8 14
Month 2 (Apr) 6 2 4 68 80
Month 3 (May) 17 40 11 34 102
Month 4 (Jun) 30 85 30 57 202
Month 5 (Jul) 61 41 7 19 128
Total 91 126 37 76 330
  • Direct traffic is almost all just bots and spiders that I haven't been able to filter out.

Amazon Earnings Stats (US Only)

Note: I am trying to decide the best way to report Amazon + AvantLink affiliate stats. Because I don't have much AvantLink affiliate stuff to show right now I'm not going to worry about it for this update. I'll develop new/better reporting formats for future months.
Month Clicks Ord Items Ship Items Conv Revenue Earnings Rev/Ship Clicks/Sess
Month 1 (Mar) 2 0 0 - $0 $0 $0 14.3%
Month 2 (Apr) 3 0 0 - $0 $0 $0 3.8%
Month 3 (May) 11 10 10 90.91% $174 $14 $17.43 10.8%
Month 4 (Jun) 32 1 0 3.13% ($38) ($3) ($38) 15.8%
Month 5 (Jul) 64 6 5 9.38% $112 $6 $22.40 50.0%
Total 112 17 15 15.18% $248 $17 $16.53 36.9%
  • All earnings stats are from Amazon.com (US only)
  • Month 1 includes last few days of February; case study began 2/19/18
  • Clicks/Sess and Earn/Sess refers to Amazon clicks and earnings per session from the traffic table
  • Total row includes a few days at the end of February, which is not explicitly shown in the table above
  • Clicks/Sess and Earn/Sess included non-US traffic
Expenses
  • Month 15 Total: $0
  • Site #2 Total: $262.56
Net Income
Period Income Expenses Net Income
Month 5 (Jul) $5.51 $0 $5.51
Total $16.42 ($278.98) ($262.56)
Thanks as always for reading. Comment below with any questions/clarifications.
submitted by bprs07 to juststart [link] [comments]

Things To Do - Week of 12/03

Welcome to December. Some hella interesting things I've found this week is that Pecan Lodge Holiday Tamales Are Back and there's a new Tex-Mex Themed Dessert Shop I need to go try out

Top picks from do 214
Editor's Pick from Guide Live
D Magazine Critics Pick
Concerts happening in Dallas

ONGOING EVENTS
Dallas Symphony: Christmas Pops until Dec 16 at Meyerson Symphony Center
Irving Berlin's White Christmas until Dec 16 at Firehouse Theatre
Christmas Spectacular until Dec 22 at The Star Frisco
Christmas at the Anatole until Dec 23 at the Anatole
MRT Presents: A Christmas Carol until Dec 24 at Downtown McKinney
Ben Stevenson's The Nutcracker until Dec 24 at Winspear Opera House
A Bur-Less-Q Nutcracker until Dec 26 at Addison Conference and Theatre Center
Enchant Christmas until Dec 30 at Globe Life Park in Arlington
Holiday Lights Trolley Ride until Dec 31 at Mockingbird Station. Corner of Worcola St. & E. Mockingbird Ln.
The 12 Days of Christmas until Dec 31 at Dallas Arboretum
Dallas Zoo Lights until Jan 1 at Dallas Zoo
Vitruvian Lights until Jan 1 at Vitruvian Park
ICE! - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer until Jan 1 at Gaylord Texan
Dalí: Poetics of the Small, 1929–1936 until Jan 6 at Meadows Museum
The Trains at NorthPark until Jan 6 at NorthPark Center
Illuminate until Jan 6 at The Perot Museum
Deck the Halls and Welcome All: Christmas at the White House until Jan 6 at George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Skate the Square until Jan 7 at Frisco Square
Panther Island Ice at Coyote Drive-In (Fort Worth)
Dinosaurs Live until Feb 16 at Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary

THIS WEEK
Ballet Frontier of Texas: The Nutcracker from Monday Dec 3 to Tuesday Dec 4 at Granbury Opera House DFW Auto Show Fort Worth from Thursday Dec 8 to Sunday Dec 9 at Fort Worth Convention Center BMW Dallas Marathon Weekend from Friday Dec 7 to Sunday Dec 9 at Downtown Dallas A Merry Little Christmas Show with Ricki Derek from Thursday Dec 6 to Friday Dec 7 at Scat Jazz Lounge Jingle Bells on Bishop from Friday Dec 7 to Sunday Dec 9 at Bishop Arts District Indique Dance Company: Svabhava from Thursday Dec 6 to Saturday Dec 8 at Winspear Opera House Dallas Repertoire Ballet: 'The Nutcracker' from Friday Dec 7 to Sunday Dec 9 at Eisemann Center Christmas at the Beach from Saturday Dec 8 to Sunday Dec 9 at Little Elm Park KwanzaaFest 2018 from Saturday Dec 8 until Sunday Dec 9 at Automobile Building at Fair Park

MONDAY DECEMBER 3 (High 55 Low 33, Mostly Sunny)
Dallas Stars vs. Edmonton Oilers at American Airlines Center Gingertown Dallas at NorthPark Center Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: Handel's Messiah at Bass Performance Hall Lancaster Christmas Tree Lighting at Lancaster City Hall Menorah Lighting at West Village Community Menorah Lighting at The Shops At Willow Bend Arin Ray at House of Blues Freddie Gibbs at Trees Chris Isaak at House of Blues Drab Majesty / Emma Ruth Randle at Club Dada A Clint Black Christmas at Winspear Opera House Code in the Brewery at Texas Ale Project

TUESDAY DECEMBER 4 (High 53 Low 36, Sunny)
Speedway Childen's Charities Tree Lighting at Texas Motor Speedway Next Town Down at House of Blues Free 30th Annual Dallas Observer Music Awards Ceremony at Canton Hall Emerald City - Toys for Tots Drive at Lava Cantina

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 5 (High 56 Low 46, Mostly Sunny)
East Dallas Menorah Lighting at Casa Linda Plaza Light Up the Night at Texas Live A Christmas Story at Box Garden at Legacy Hall Holiday Family Movie Night: Polar Express at Texas Live There is a TON of Repeal Day Parties going on around the area: Celestial Beerworks, Whiskey Cake (Las Colinas & Plano), Bird Cafe, The Standard Pour, The Stoneleigh Hotel, Tricky Fish Krampusnacht Denton at Bearded Monk Andrea Bocelli at American Airlines Center Dave Barnes at House of Blues Royal Teeth at The Cambridge Room at House Of Blues The Devil Wears Prada at Canton Hall

THURSDAY DECEMBER 6 (High 57 Low 45, PM Showers)
JumpstART: Deck the Halls, Y’all at Irving Arts Center Grand Prairie Christmas Tree Lighting at Grand Prairie City Hall Highland Park Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Highland Park's Big Pecan Tree Grapevine Parade of Lights at Downtown Grapevine Stories and More at Texas Discovery Gardens Noche Cosmica at Wild Detectives Colter Wall at Granada Theater Amine at House of Blues Chad Prather at Theatre at Grand Prairie Maggie Rose at Sundown at Granada

FRIDAY DECEMBER 7 (High 51 Low 41, Rain)
First Fridays at the Farm at Nash Farm Disco Kids at It'll Do Dallas Grand Opening K9 Cinemas at K9 Cinemas Free Play Richardson Turns Three! at Free Play (Richardson) Frisco RoughRiders' Winter Wonderland at Dr Pepper Ballpark Irving Arts Center Annual Holiday Open House at Irving Arts Center Cleburne Whistle Stop Christmas at Johnson County Market Square Ballet Concerto's A Holiday Special at Will Rogers Memorial Center Holiday at Hogwarts at Viva's Lounge The Wrecks at 2513 Deep Ellum The Price Is Right Live! at Theatre at Grand Prairie Kurt Vile and the Violators at Canton Hall Martina McBride at Majestic Theatre American Aquarium at Billy Bob's Dallas Stars vs. San Jose Sharks at American Airlines Center UNT One O' Clock Lab Band Holiday Show at McDavid Studio

SATURDAY DECEMBER 8 (High 48 Low 34, Cloudy)
A Day in the Life: Gemologist and Curator at Perot Museum of Nature and Science Dallas Cowboys Rally Day at AT&T Stadium Coffee Brewing Basics at WRC Brew Lab Hogwarts Orientation at J. Erik Jonsson Central Library The Helio Sequence / Wild Pink at Lexus Box Garden at Legacy Hall Joy Williams at Kessler Theater Anderson East at Rustic Brian Regan at Toyota Music Factory Myles Kennedy and Co. at Canton Hall Plano Lions Christmas Parade at Plano ISD Administration Building Lantern Light - A Victorian Holiday at Heritage Farmstead Museum Reindog Parade at Frisco Square Lancaster Christmas Parade and Festival at Lancaster Square Arlington Holiday Lights Parade at Downtown Arlington Flower Mound Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting at Gerault Park McKinney Christmas Parade of Lights at Historic Downtown McKinney Winter Wine Walk at Texas Live Swizzle’s Hawaiian Holiday Popup at Industry Alley Bar Geek the Halls - Holiday Party at The Black Ivy Avant Chamber Ballet: Nutcracker Suite at Moody Performance Hall Peppa Pig Live! at Winspear Opera House Dallas Bach Society: Baroque Christmas at Zion Lutheran Church Dallas Videofest 31: Ernie Kovacs Award featuring Amy Sedaris at Alamo Drafthouse (Richardson) Dallas Millennial Gala at Omni Dallas Hotel

SUNDAY DECEMBER 9 (High 47 Low 31, AM Clouds/PM Sun)
Sugar Plum Fairy Tea at Westin Stonebriar Jingle Bells on Bishop Poinsettia Walk at Bishop Arts District Rockefeller Christmas at Majestic Theatre John Butler Trio at House of Blues Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium Lauren Sanderson at The Cambridge Room at House Of Blues Krampus Nacht 2: Winter's Return at The Church Dallas (Lizard Lounge) Metalachi at Trees


I do realize that I sometimes use Facebook event links and some Redditors do not use Facebook. If there's any events you'd like more details on that's a Facebook link I'll be happy to help out. I try and avoid using Facebook links and go straight to the source but some venues strictly use Facebook for their events.

If I missed anything or would like to showcase an event, feel free to comment below.
submitted by drkachie to Dallas [link] [comments]

bprs07 Case Study Month #16

Hello again /juststart -- welcome to month 16 of my case study.
My posts are primarily stats-driven updates of my first foray into affiliate marketing. I'll also touch on anything notable I've done since my last update, but please don't hesitate to comment with questions.

Past Updates

Supporting Graphics

Overview

My affiliate site made $6,774 in June. This is my second consecutive $6,000+ month and is a huge increase over last month. However, the increase isn't due to more traffic or better Amazon performance. Actually, my affiliate revenue remained the same on a per-session basis, and my traffic actually fell by 10%. Instead, the large increase is due to finally monetizing my traffic with ads. I joined Mediavine. The breakdown of earnings is as follows, with all amounts converted to USD:
Why did my traffic fall 10%? I don't know for sure, but I think it's a quartet of things:
Let's talk about Mediavine. I have been trying to get some sort of ad revenue going on my site for months. I tried direct ad buys from companies but couldn't find any takers. I tried Google Adsense but the payouts were peanuts. In May I began the process of registering with Mediavine and my ads finally went live on June 6. In the 25 days the ads were live I made $1,571. That's nearly $63 per day. My Revenue Per 1,000 Sessions (RPM) was a robust $32.81. I tried to do some research on typical Mediavine RPMs to benchmark myself, and I think the average is around $11-$12. My site is highly buyer-focused so I'm not surprised I'm higher than the average. I am surprised I'm nearly triple the average. I want to make a few comments about Mediavine:
Overall, I'm pumped by my Mediavine performance. However, June concludes Q2 for advertisers, and Mediavine reports they tend to see a drop in revenue in July. Last year that drop was 13%, which would put me at around $28.50 RPM. I'll still gladly take that.
Is Mediavine for you? If I was trying to build a community where user experience mattered, I might not go with Mediavine. However, my UX signals from Google Analytics didn't really move too much and I haven't seen any drops in the rankings from page load speeds being a little slower (yet), so I'm pretty pumped about being a Mediavine publisher.
I decreased my reliance on Amazon! This has been a goal of mine, as it's risky to have all my eggs in Amazon's basket. 75% of my June revenue was from Amazon. The other 25% was from Mediavine ads and other affiliate programs. That's still Amazon-heavy, but it makes me feel much better. I have a new table below tracking some revenue source metrics.
I My writers published 4 articles and around 6,500 words in June. This cost me $646.30. I have been very happy with the stuff these two have produced. It's been about 2 months so it's getting to the point where I need to do a lookback on their ROI. Amazon's new revenue analyzer thing will be useful in doing that (though it doesn't capture all of my revenue, only like 50%).
I deleted 4 articles. Many moons ago I wrote 18 articles that were things like "Model X vs Model Y," "Model X vs Model Z," and "Model Y vs Model Z." Cumulatively these articles have lost about half of their traffic over the last year. I don't know exactly why -- more competitors is definitely one reason as I sort of paved an easy path to traffic for sites that have sprung up after me -- but I think keyword cannibalization may also be a factor. For example, if I have "Model X vs Model Y" and "Model X vs Model Z" I'll rank both pages (on page 2/3) for "Model X." Even worse, "Model X vs Model Y" is pulling in like 1-2 visits per day. I just deleted the poor performing posts and tried to reduce how much keyword repetition I had. Results TBD.
I hired a freelance link builder. Through a referral I met a freelancer who runs his own guest post outreach business. He handles all of the outreach, link placement, and content production. All I have to do is order the links. His prices were only a touch higher than what it was costing me to build links with my VA and shitty content writers, and I don't do any work now. I ordered a 10 link trial batch, which consisted of links that were all DA 40+ that were in shoulder niches, weren't spammy, and had decent or good traffic. This cost me around $200 per link. This is expensive, but I value two things about it: (1) The links seem very trustworthy, and (2) it's 100% hands off. Overall I'm happy with the results. I sent 5 links to my home page with branded anchor text and 5 to money pages with semi-optimized anchor text. However, I feel like my link profile needs more nofollow links as my own outreach efforts from months back and the new link building efforts have resulted in a lot of dofollow links. I'm thinking of ordering 10 more links for July with 5 nofollow from low-DA domains (these are like $60 a pop) and 5 dofollow links from more premium domains. It seems wrong to pay for nofollow links, but it would just take me way too much time to try to build them naturally on forums and in comments. I'm curious to hear everyone else's thoughts on this or what you all do if you use backlink services.
If anyone wants his contact details send me a private message, I highly recommend him and am always happy to throw more business his way.
July 10, 2018 is AMAZON PRIME DAY! Just another reminder. I've gotta publish a post this week and promote it to my email list. I have no experience with Prime Day though and have to figure out how Amazon advertises their promotions.

Traffic Stats (All Countries)

Month Organic Referral Social Direct Total
Month 1 (Mar) 10 2 1 n/a 13
Month 2 (Apr) 121 37 44 n/a 202
Month 3 (May) 436 76 57 99 668
Month 4 (Jun) 2,646 124 211 194 3,175
Month 5 (Jul) 6,793 155 531 421 7,900
Month 6 (Aug) 11,456 169 441 590 12,656
Month 7 (Sep) 19,113 209 368 1,218 20,908
Month 8 (Oct) 27,228 242 370 1,583 29,423
Month 9 (Nov) 49,744 405 415 2,929 53,493
Month 10 (Dec) 67,372 537 651 3,361 71,921
Month 11 (Jan) 54,739 496 669 2,991 58,895
Month 12 (Feb) 48,324 564 395 2,312 52,203
Month 13 (Mar) 56,566 489 396 3,106 60,559
Month 14 (Apr) 53,509 513 440 3,069 57,531
Month 15 (May) 51,455 439 319 3,120 55,333
Month 16 (Jun) 45,545 334 343 3,385 49,607
Total 495,057 4,761 5,651 28,373 534,487
  • Month 1 includes last few days of February; case study began 2/24/17
  • Direct traffic in Months 1 and 2 listed as "n/a" because it was too high and almost exclusively my unfiltered visits

Earnings Stats (US Only)

Month Clicks Ord Items Ship Items Conv Revenue Earnings Rev/Ship Clicks/Sess
Month 1 (Mar) n/a 1 1 n/a $23 $1 $22.97 n/a
Month 2 (Apr) 42 3 2 7.14% $246 $11 $123.33 20.8%
Month 3 (May) 113 15 16 13.27% $490 $27 $30.63 16.9%
Month 4 (Jun) 408 35 31 8.58% $871 $41 $28.10 12.9%
Month 5 (Jul) 1,229 188 160 15.30% $6,780 $335 $42.38 15.6%
Month 6 (Aug) 2,945 387 382 13.14% $13,703 $643 $35.87 23.3%
Month 7 (Sep) 5,419 757 720 13.97% $22,365 $1,062 $31.06 25.9%
Month 8 (Oct) 7,855 964 916 12.27% $32,008 $1,532 $34.94 26.7%
Month 9 (Nov) 17,206 2,176 1,985 12.65% $73,477 $3,618 $37.02 32.2%
Month 10 (Dec) 24,142 3,262 3,148 13.51% $110,104 $5,290 $34.98 33.6%
Month 11 (Jan) 20,407 2,776 2,823 13.60% $93,151 $4,508 $33.00 34.6%
Month 12 (Feb) 19,468 2,475 2,520 13.22% $93,373 $4,525 $37.05 37.3%
Month 13 (Mar) 24,038 3,065 2,972 12.75% $113,452 $5,461 $38.17 39.7%
Month 14 (Apr) 22,748 2,849 2,779 12.52% $116,830 $5,555 $42.04 39.5%
Month 15 (May) 25,152 3,134 3,088 12.46% $117,387 $5,743 $38.01 45.5%
Month 16 (Jun) 21,702 2,800 2,706 12.90% $102,219 $4,935 $37.77 43.7%
Total 192,874 24,887 24,249 12.90% $896,479 $43,287 $36.97 36.1%
  • All earnings stats are from Amazon.com (US only)
  • Month 1 includes last few days of February; case study began 2/24/17
  • Month 1 clicks are almost exclusively my clicks to test links, so I'm omitting them
  • Clicks/Sess and Earn/Sess refers to Amazon clicks and earnings per session from the traffic table
  • Total row includes a few days at the end of February, which is not explicitly shown in the table above
  • Clicks/Sess and Earn/Sess included non-US traffic; in Month 11 I had excluded non-US traffic but I just can't agree with myself on the best way to represent all the nuances in one number!

Money Stuff

Earnings Breakdown (All Countries)
Month Amzn Aff Non-Amzn Aff Ads Total Rev Rev / 1K Sess %Amzn
Month 1 (Mar) $1.03 $0.00 $0.00 $1.03 $79.23 100%
Month 2 (Apr) $11.09 $0.00 $0.00 $11.09 $54.90 100%
Month 3 (May) $27.08 $0.00 $0.00 $27.08 $40.54 100%
Month 4 (Jun) $41.79 $0.00 $0.00 $41.79 $13.16 100%
Month 5 (Jul) $340.63 $0.00 $0.00 $340.63 $43.12 100%
Month 6 (Aug) $651.98 $0.00 $0.00 $651.98 $51.52 100%
Month 7 (Sep) $1,072.27 $0.00 $0.00 $1,072.72 $51.29 100%
Month 8 (Oct) $1,580.79 $0.00 $0.00 $1,580.79 $53.73 100%
Month 9 (Nov) $3,712.11 $0.00 $0.00 $3,712.11 $69.39 100%
Month 10 (Dec) $5,462.91 $0.00 $0.00 $5,462.91 $75.96 100%
Month 11 (Jan) $4,683.20 $0.00 $0.00 $4,683.20 $79.52 100%
Month 12 (Feb) $4,615.08 $0.00 $0.00 $4,615.08 $88.41 100%
Month 13 (Mar) $5,677.08 $0.00 $0.00 $5,677.08 $93.74 100%
Month 14 (Apr) $5,720.14 $114.54 $0.00 $5,834.68 $101.42 98%
Month 15 (May) $5,899.66 $129.26 $0.00 $6,028.92 $108.96 98%
Month 16 (Jun) $5,095.16 $107.51 $1,571.70 $6,774.37 $136.56 75%
Total $44,592.00 $351.31 $1,571.70 $46,515.01 $87.03 96%
Expenses
  • ConvertKit (emails): $49.00
  • Backlink Building: $2,009.22
  • Outsourced Content for My Site: $646.30 (4 articles)
  • Ahrefs: $99.00
  • Month 16 Total: $2,803.52
  • Case Study Total: $7,559.20
Net Income
Period Income Expenses Net Income
Month 16 (Jun) $6,774.37 $2,803.52 $3,970.85
Total $46,515.01 $7,559.20 $38,955.81

Let's Talk About Site #2

I did some work on site #2! But I'll be honest, I do feel some complacency from the success of Site #1 above. I just haven't had the urgency I did a year ago and I know that. I mean, I spent more time playing Civilization 5 this past week than I did working on both Site #1 and Site #2 combined over the last month. I need to come up with a plan to dedicate more time growing this second site.
Site #2 made -$3.04 in June. Yes, you read that correctly. I had 1 ordered item (it didn't ship) and 2 returned items from May.
I published 2 posts for a total of 9,000 words. Not bad, but I really should be pounding out 20,000+ per month right now. This brings my total up to 10 posts and 26,500 words. That's a poor showing for 4 months of work. I did that in 4 weeks on Site #1!
I am trying to avoid using Amazon's affiliate program where possible. Instead, I've signed up for a lot of affiliate programs through AvantLink. I haven't sold anything through one of these programs yet, but AvantLink reports some average revenue per click numbers for each affiliate program and most seem comparable/better than Amazon. Further diversification will be nice. This is the primary reason why Site #2 is so important to me.

Traffic Stats (All Countries)

Month Organic Referral Social Direct Total
Month 1 (Mar) 6 0 0 8 14
Month 2 (Apr) 6 2 4 68 80
Month 3 (May) 17 40 11 34 102
Month 4 (Jun) 30 85 30 57 202
Most/all of the direct and referral traffic is probably bogus. I tend to look at just Organic traffic. Uptrend is nice. Need to pound out content to hit that inflection point.
I won't bother with any additional sales/revenue/expense info on this site as there basically isn't any yet. Just need to buckle down and get stuff done!
As always, thanks for reading and comment with any questions/comments!
submitted by bprs07 to juststart [link] [comments]

Problems and Opportunities in typically the Context of Internationalization regarding Higher Education

The Apple Bank's 1991 'World Development Report' has fabricated a actual absorbing ascertainment that the accurate and abstruse beforehand and added abundance in any nation accept a abutting hotlink with investment in animal basic as able-bodied as the aloft of the bread-and-butter environment. Accurate and abstruse capabilities are, however, anyhow broadcast in the apple and are affiliated with the apprenticeship adjustment in a nation.
The 21st aeon has apparent absolutely massive changes in academy apprenticeship systems both in agreement of complication of the systems and aswell in agreement of its account for converting apprenticeship into an able apparatus for amusing and bread-and-butter changes. A actual absorbing accord is arising a allotment of education, knowledge, about-face of ability into adequate entities from barter point of view, abundance and economy.
Internationalization of apprenticeship includes the behavior and practices undertaken by bookish systems and institutions-and even individuals-to cope with the all-around bookish environment. The motivations for internationalization cover bartering advantage, ability and accent acquisition, adequate the chic with all-embracing content, and abounding others. Specific initiatives such as annex campuses, cross-border collaborative arrangements, programs for all-embracing students, establishing English-medium programs and degrees, and others accept been put into abode as allotment of internationalization. Efforts to adviser all-embracing initiatives and ensure aloft are basic to the all-embracing academy apprenticeship environment.
The academy apprenticeship adjustment beyond the apple has witnessed two added absorbing revolutions. The aboriginal is affiliated with the appearance and use of computers in teaching and acquirements as able-bodied as assay and the added is affiliated with advice revolution. Today, apprenticeship transcends beyond the bounded boundaries. Besides, the anatomy and ambience of bookish plan aswell has undergone a amazing change. Apprentice assortment and the authoritative and pedagogical demands of new modes of curricula supply characterize the academic's accustomed alive environment.
The ability of any educational change is affiliated with the address of agents to apparatus new methods and avant-garde practices. The present cardboard is an attack to accept the role of agents in internationalization of academy apprenticeship in India. The focus of the present cardboard is to be acquainted with the challenges and opportunities for adroitness in the ambience of internationalization of academy apprenticeship and their affection to acclimate the change.
Review of literature:
A growing aggregate of affidavit and studies certificate the abounding means in which the university acquaintance of students, bookish and authoritative agents has been radically acclimatized [Chandler & Clark 2001, Deem 2001]. Apprentice assortment and the authoritative and pedagogical demands of new modes of curricula supply characterize the academic's accustomed alive environment. Identities as academics are beneath connected claiming as bookish agents yield on assorted and about adverse roles as consultants, researchers, teachers, attorneys and all-embracing marketers. Support for academics circuitous in all-embracing activities is deficient and the axial cardinal ascendancy of assets with its demands for adaptability compromises the aloft of bookish life.
A qualitative abstraction examines the role of all-embracing acquaintance in the transformative acquirements of changeable educators as it relates to able development in a academy apprenticeship context. It aswell investigates how the acquirements productions of these adventures were transferred to the participants' home country. Nine American changeable adroitness and administrators who formed at universities in Arab countries in the Gulf arena alternate in this study. The after-effects beforehand that the transformative acquirements of the changeable educators was reflected in three themes: changes in claimed and able attitudes, experiencing a new classroom ambiance that included altered students' acquirements appearance and alien classroom behavior, and adorning of participants' all-around perspectives. Another abstraction approved to appraise how and why some academy apprenticeship institutions accept responded to aspects of globalization and, in accurate how authoritative ability influences universities' responses to globalization. Application a predominantly qualitative, mixed-methods approach, empiric assay was acclimated to assay the appulse of globalization at four Canadian universities. A multiple, case-study admission was acclimated to accomplish a abyss of compassionate to authorize the universities' culture, institutional strategies, and practices in acknowledgment to globalization.
Context of the study:
Political & educational context
Everyone recognizes that India has a austere academy apprenticeship problem. Although India's academy apprenticeship system, with added than 13 actor students, is the world's third largest, it alone educates about 12 per cent of the age group, able-bodied beneath China's 27 per cent and bisected or added in middle-income countries. Thus, it is a claiming of accouterment admission to India's accretion citizenry of adolescent humans and rapidly growing average class. India aswell faces a austere aloft botheration - accustomed that alone a tiny admeasurement of the academy apprenticeship area can accommodated all-embracing standards. The accurately acclaimed Indian Institutes of Technology and the Institutes of Management, a few specialized schools such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Assay aggregate tiny elite, as do one or two clandestine institutions such as the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, and conceivably 100 top-rated undergraduate colleges. About all of India's 480 accessible universities and added than 25,000 undergraduate colleges are, by all-embracing standards, characterless at best. India has circuitous acknowledged arrange for reserving places in academy apprenticeship to associates of assorted disadvantaged citizenry groups. About ambience abreast up to bisected of the seats for such groups, places added accent on the system.
Capacity problem
India faces astringent problems of accommodation in its educational adjustment in allotment because of underinvestment over abounding decades. Added than a third of Indians abide benighted afterwards added than a bisected aeon of independence. A new law that makes primary apprenticeship chargeless and compulsory, while admirable, it takes abode in a ambience of absence of accomplished teachers, bare budgets, and base supervision. The University Grants Commission and the All-India Council for Abstruse Education, amenable appropriately for authoritative the universities and the abstruse institutions, are getting abolished and replaced with a new accumulated entity. But no one knows just how the new alignment will plan or who will agents it. India's academy apprenticeship accrediting and aloft affirmation organization, the Civic Assessment and Accreditation Council, which was acclaimed for its apathetic movement, is getting annoyed up. But, again, it is cryptic how it ability be changed.
Current affairs cover the establishing of new civic "world-class" universities in anniversary of India's States, aperture new IITs, and added initiatives. The actuality is that bookish salaries do not assay agreeably with accomplishment offered by India's growing clandestine area and are uncompetitive by all-embracing standards. Abounding of India's top academics are teaching in the United States, Britain, and elsewhere. Even Ethiopia and Eritrea recruit Indian academics.
Welcoming adopted universities:
Very afresh it is appear that the government of India is advancing itself for allowing adopted universities to admission the Indian market. The foreigners are accepted to accommodate the abundant bare accommodation and new account on academy apprenticeship management, curriculum, teaching methods, and research. It is hoped that they will accompany investment. Top-class adopted universities are advancing to add authority to India's postsecondary system. All of these assumptions are at the actual atomic questionable. While adopted transplants away in the apple accept provided some added access, they accept not badly added apprentice numbers. About all annex campuses are baby and bound in ambit and field. In the Persian Gulf, Vietnam, and Malaysia, area adopted annex campuses accept been active, apprentice admission has been alone abundantly afflicted by them. Annex campuses are about abundantly baby and about consistently specialized in fields that are bargain to action and accept a accessible audience such as business studies, technology, and accommodation management. Few annex campuses accompany abundant in the way of bookish innovation. Typically, they use approved and accurate management, curriculum, and teaching methods. The branches frequently accept little freedom from their home university and are, thus, deeply controlled from abroad.
Foreign providers will accompany some investment to the academy apprenticeship sector, decidedly back the new law requires an investment of a minimum of $11 actor - a affectionate of admission fee - but the absolute aggregate brought into India is absurd to be actual large. All-around acquaintance shows that the ample majority of academy apprenticeship institutions entering a adopted bazaar are not celebrated universities but rather low-end institutions gluttonous bazaar admission and income. Top universities may able-bodied authorize collaborative adjustment with Indian associate institutions or study/research centers in India, but are absurd to body full-fledged annex campuses on their own. There may be a few exceptions, such as the Georgia Institute of Technology, which is allegedly cerebration of a aloft investment in Hyderabad.
Indian apprenticeship is a collective albatross of the Axial and Accompaniment governments - and abounding States accept differing approaches to academy apprenticeship about and to adopted captivation in particular. Some, such as Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, accept been absolutely interested. Added States such as West Bengal with its antipathetic government may be added sceptical. And a few, such as Chhattisgarh accept been accepted to advertise admission to university cachet to the accomplished bidders.
Significance of study:
The airy bearings in academy apprenticeship adjustment vis-à-vis internationalization of academy apprenticeship creates abounding opportunities as able-bodied as challenges to the agents of academy education. Pressures for change in the acreage of abecedary apprenticeship are ascent decidedly as allotment of systemic apprenticeship ameliorate initiatives in a ample spectrum of economically developed and developing nations. Considering these pressures, it is hasty that almost little abstract or empiric assay of acquirements and change processes aural abecedary apprenticeship programs accept been undertaken. The present abstraction considers this bearings and makes an endeavor to accept the challenges faced or advancing by the teaching adroitness in the ambience of internalization of education.
Aims of the study:
The present abstraction is aimed to accept and assay the position of academy agents in accepted and those of alive undergraduate colleges.
Data collection:
Locale of the study:
Data for the present abstraction is calm from the academy agents anchored at Hyderabad. Colleges in Hyderabad are about affiliated to Osmania University. In accession to assorted colleges, the city-limits is home to three axial universities, two accounted universities, and six accompaniment universities. Osmania University, accustomed in 1917, is the seventh oldest university in India and the third oldest in South India. Indian Academy of Business, an all-embracing business academy ranked aggregate 12 in all-around MBA rankings by the Banking Times of London in 2010 is aswell amid in Hyderabad.
Colleges in Hyderabad action graduation and column graduation and column graduation programmes in science, arts, commerce, law & medicine. Academy of Engineering - Osmania University, Jawaharlal Nehru Abstruse University, Indian Institute of Technology, etc. are some of the acclaimed engineering colleges in Hyderabad. In accession to engineering colleges, assorted institutes accepted as polytechnics action a three year beforehand in engineering. Gandhi Medical Academy and Osmania Medical Academy are the centers of medical apprenticeship in Hyderabad. Colleges and universities in Hyderabad are run by either by accompaniment government, axial government or clandestine individuals or agencies. Hyderabad Axial University, Nalsar, NIPER, Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Maulana Azad Civic Urdu University, English and Adopted Languages University, Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, are some of the added universities amid in Hyderabad.
Universe and sample:
There are 146 amount colleges alms undergraduate courses [B.Sc., B.Com, and B.A] anchored at Hyderabad. Agents alive in these colleges are taken as cosmos for the present study. A lot of of these colleges are accepting bookish consultants whose administration is bound either to one appellation or one bookish year. Bookish consultants are not adequate for adroitness development programmes of the University Grants Commission. Assorted programmes meant for adroitness development are accessible for aided academy teachers. Hence, the present abstraction has alleged aided academy agents alive at Hyderabad as a sub class of the universe. At the outset, a focused accumulation account is conducted in adjustment to aggregate advice as to the alertness to alternation oneself for internationalization of academy education. Out of 150 advisers alternate in this focused accumulation account fifty were alleged as sample for the present abstraction by application accidental sampling method.
Data for the present abstraction is calm by application all-embracing account adjustment with the advice of a schedule. Advice as to the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents, educational achievements, acquaintance of civic and all-around career structures, assay culture, alive conditions, advice as to the strategies acclimatized by the academy in adjustment to accouter for internationalization is collected. Data accumulating is done during the months of march-may 2010.
The qualitative advice on acquaintance and availability of civic and all-around career structures, strategies for amalgam the all-embracing dimension, able development, needs post-doctoral assay culture, refresher courses and alive altitude was calm by application case abstraction adjustment by application all-embracing interviews.
National and all-around career structures:
Kaulisch and Enders [2005, pp.131-32] agenda that adroitness plan is shaped by three overlapping sets of institutions: 1] the all-encompassing science system, and systems in anniversary conduct which to a capricious admeasurement are cross-national, accent the freedom and advancement of researchers, and beforehand antagonism based on bookish arete and prestige; 2] rules about work, antagonism and careers, area bookish plan is anchored in civic action and cultural settings; and 3] the authoritative operations of universities, which both reflect civic and bounded traditions and are affected by accepted trends such as massification, growing expectations about amusing appliance and the nationally-parallel all-around transformations. A fourth aspect in the mix that ability be of growing accent is the appulse of internationalization and globalization on bookish careers.
The present abstraction finds that the accessible opportunities for the teaching adroitness are based on all these four elements. A lot of of the respondents accomplished coaction of all these elements in their plan life. Added than fifty per cent of the respondents acquainted that the massification of apprenticeship is crushing and acting as an obstacle for adroitness improvement.
Faculty advancement has continued been a absolute able barometer admitting capricious by nation and acreage [El-Khawas, 2002, pp.242-43] and aswell capricious somewhat in motive. A baby aggregate of advisers accept ability and reputations that advise aloft opportunities in abounding countries. However, a lot of teaching adroitness accept primarily civic careers and use cross-border acquaintance to beforehand their position at home, traveling mostly at the doctoral and postdoctoral stages and for abbreviate visits. A third accumulation consists of adroitness with bottom opportunities at home compared to abroad, due to accomplishment or altitude of work, the abnegation of civic careers due to amusing or cultural closure, or an bread-and-butter benumb on hiring. This accumulation has beneath transformative abeyant than aristocratic researchers.
Excellence in apprenticeship will crave beforehand in infrastructure, well-crafted courses, e-learning materials, admission to laboratories, computational accessories and aloft all acquiescent and awful motivated teachers. When asked about the availability of assets and opportunities for research, 78 per cent of the respondents opined that there are abounding bottlenecks. In a lot of of the colleges, e-learning, internet accessories are not available. Even their academy libraries mostly will accept books advantageous for the undergraduate acceptance rather than advantageous for added assay by the teaching faculty. A lot of of the respondents acquainted that they are not apparent to the pedagogical methods adequate internationally. Hence, their acquaintance about the teaching methods is not much. At the aforementioned time, they were not accomplished in teaching-learning action accordant for internationalized educational adjustment while accomplishing their post-graduation or pre-doctoral/doctoral level.
Strategies for amalgam the centralized dimension:
There are abounding means to call the initiatives which are undertaken to internationalize an institution. They are about referred to as activities, components, procedures or strategies. In the action aggressive admission to internationalization, accent is placed on the abstraction of adequate and comestible the all-embracing ambit of research. A lot of of the colleges in general, free colleges and colleges with abeyant for arete are afterward the action aggressive approach. Yet, the adroitness is not accessible to accouter themselves for this internationalization. The affidavit mentioned by the respondents cover added work, abhorrence of accident job, diffuse alive hours, top aided-unaided teaching adroitness ratio, low job achievement levels and abridgement of accessories at the institutional level.
Professional Development Needs
Faculty members, or bookish staff, as they are alleged in abounding countries, aggregate a analytical additive influencing the aloft and capability of academy apprenticeship institutions. Universities in the developing apple cannot acknowledge to alien changes and pressures after the captivation of capable, committed, and abreast adroitness members. The claiming for abounding adroitness members, however, is that they are getting asked to accomplish tasks and accept roles for which they are not abundantly prepared. Besides, there are not abounding training centers to able-bodied accouter them. Bookish agents colleges are accouterment refresher and acclimatization courses but these courses are abounding by those whose promotions are affiliated with accessory refresher courses.
Post-doctoral assay culture
Unlike the avant-garde countries, area a ample basin of post-doctoral assay advisers carries out the aggregate of high-quality research, there is a abreast absolute absence of a post-doctoral ability in India.79 per cent of the respondents bidding their alertness to accompany post-doctoral assay but said that they are not able to do due to banking problems.
Although the aggregate of women at post-graduate and doctoral levels in assorted universities is high, actual few of them accomplish acceptable beforehand in their careers for a array of amusing reasons. Women agents and agents advised in colloquial average acquainted that admitting they are absorbed their ancestors responsibilities and botheration of accent and advice act as aloft challenges for them.
submitted by SyedaHabiba to u/SyedaHabiba [link] [comments]

4th Annual "History of Naming Conventions" (Part 2)

NOTE: This is Part 2 of the “History of Naming Conventions”, which contains the breakdowns for both the Numbers used in club names as well as the non-city words used by a majority of the teams worldwide. You can find Part 1 by clicking HERE.

History Of Naming Conventions: Part 2

The Numbers:
Occasionally, you will find numbers within the both the full and proper name of a club as well as the commonly used name for the club. Below is a description on what they mean:
Number Structure Meaning
XXXX - four digits Found throughout the world, this number is almost always the founding year of the club. An example of this is TSV 1860 München.
XX - two digits Found throughout the world, this is the last two numbers in the given century of their founding. Bayer 04 Leverkusen is a popular example of this.
1. - as a precursor Found primarily in Europe, the “1.” in front of the club's name indicates that that club was the first club founded in a city. It is often a source of pride for these clubs, and are still used to this day. An example of this would be 1. FC Lübars.
The Words:
This section focuses on words that you'll often see in names of several clubs. These words may be to help differentiate between clubs from the same city, they may be tied to their history, their formation, who founded the clubs, or even professional versus amateur status. Like the initials, these rules are not always 100% true, and are to used as guides to help understand the history behind the name for the most teams possible. Yes, there are exceptions to possibly all of these, but the exceptions are much less frequent than the rule - hence using exceptions.
Please note that words that are “one-offs” – meaning words that only exist for one team – are not included. Those teams are unique and therefore do not have “rules”, nor a "history" governing their use, nor do they even necessarily have a meaning that transcends their own club. Often, these are clubs that include a team nickname in their official long form of the name (New England Revolution), a business sponsor (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), or even a specific geological feature near the club (Fuji Club 2003). I chose not to delve into them as they are outside the scope of what this guide is for, but the study of them is still intriguing enough to me so that next year's post may include a list dedicated to those unicorns of team names.
Word Purpose
Academia (various spellings) Clubs that have historical ties to universities. Found throughout the world.
al- Arabic for the the word “the”, used as a prefix proceeding a noun.
Alemannia or Germania An old name for Germany.
Ajax A reference from Greek mythology. Some clubs in Africa and the Americas with the name are affiliated with Ajax of Holland.
Albion A very old name for Great Britain. Used to denote a specific team in a community with more than one club. Found worldwide.
Apollon A reference to the Greek god Apollo. No other significance.
Arsenal Used throughout Europe, these clubs have a traditional association with Weapons manufacturing.
Astra or Asteras Greek for "star," used all over Europe.
Atlas Usually a reference to Greek mythology, occasionally a reference to the mountain range by that name. No other significance.
Athletic Just a general term if used without any other modifier. Found everywhere.
Borussia Latin for Prussia, used by clubs in Germany
Brown A reference to Guillermo Brown/William Brown, an Irish/Argentinian Sea Captain. Argentina only.
Calcio Italian for "football," no special significance if used without another modifier.
Casuals Often used to denote a club's "amateur" status.
Celtic These are clubs that are often founded by members of the Celtic Diaspora and are found throughout the world.
Chernomorets (various spellings) Local language name for the Black Sea, no special significance. Found in Ukraine and Bulgaria.
City Usage of this denotes that the club represents a specific city, and is used to identify a specific club within a city of multiple clubs. Also denotes clubs that are a part of the “City Football Group” - Manchester, Melbourne, and New York City.
Collieries Clubs that were founded or supported by miners or mining companies. Primarily England.
Corinthians References the town of Corinth in Greece, and is often used to allude to the Corinthian ideal of amateurism in sports. Also used to denote an "amateur" club.
Cosmos Short for Cosmopolitan, represents the ideal of multiculturalism. No other significance.
County Denotes a political level of government, often preceded by the official name of the county. Primarily England.
Days (Specific days of the week) Used to specify specific sporting clubs in communities with more than one club. Can be tied to the original day that they played, or used as a nickname.
Douanes Clubs that are supported by national Customs and Taxation departments. Found in French speaking nations.
Dutch Lions These are clubs owned by the Dutch club F.C. Twente, found only in the U.S.A.
Dynamo (various spellings) Most of these clubs were originally a part of the “Dynamo” Sport society, founded by the Soviets in the early 20th century. Often attached to the Department of Interior Security.
En Avant French for “forward,” no other significance.
Eintracht German for "united," no other significance.
Energy (various spellings) Used throughout the world to denote a connection either sourcing materials for energy or to the local Electric/Power provider
-ense Used after a city's name, used to indicating the club belongs to that city/place. Found in Portuguese speaking nations
Español Simply refers to the country of Spain, although it has been used by members of the Spanish diaspora.
Espoir (or Espérance) French for "hope," no other significance. French Speaking nations only.
Estudiantes Clubs that have historical ties to universities. Found throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
Excelsior Means “higher”, no other significance
Ferroviário Meaning "rail" in English, it is used to denote a railway-founded club. Found most often in Portuguese-speaking African nations
Fortuna The Greek Goddess of fortune, used throughout the world
Gimnasia (various spellings) Implying Gymnastics. These clubs often have ties with Gymnastics clubs or groups.
Górnik Sometimes abbreviated as GKS, these are clubs that were founded or supported by miners or mining companies. Primarily found in Poland.
Hapoel An Israeli sporting association that can links to various trades unions. Often left-leaning historically. Israel only.
Hercules or Heracles A reference to the Greek God of strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess. Worldwide.
Hibernian These are clubs that are traditionally founded by members of the Irish Diaspora and are found throughout Scotland, Malta and in Ireland itself.
Hilal Arabic for "Crescent", usually tied to the new crescent moon at the beginning of each month in the Islamic calendar. Found throughout the Arabic speaking world.
Hotspur Tottenham uses the name "Hotspur" in tribute to Sir Henry "Hotspur" Percy, a fierce 14th-century warrior filed with courage. Other clubs most likely use Hotspur as a nickname pilfered from the more famous Tottenham
Inter or International Denotes clubs that are founded by either immigrants to their location or are using the term to identify themselves differently from other clubs, sometimes by way of splinter groups forming their own club.
Ittihad Arabic for “union,” with the implied meaning of “United” in English.
Juve (also: Juventus, Jeunesse, Juniors, Youth) A reference to youth, no other significance.
Lokomotiv (various spellings) Clubs founded by Railways or railway workers, these clubs can be found throughout the world. Most are professional, but some still have actual railroad workers on their rosters.
Maccabi A reference to the Maccabees, Maccabi is often a "Sporting Society" in Israel. Found in several nations with large, Jewish populations. Often affiliated with youth outreach sports.
Mestský Slovak for the word “City”, and is used to denote the club's location.
Metallurg Clubs that have a history with steelworks, founded by a team consisting of players from the steelworks. Usually Russian-speaking nations with this spelling.
Metalurh Clubs that have a history with steelworks, founded by a team consisting of players from the steelworks. Primarily Ukrainian clubs with this spelling.
Mineros Clubs that were founded or supported by miners or mining companies. Primarily found in Spanish-speaking South American nations.
Mohammedan Denotes clubs founded in the principles of the Muslim faith, usually as youth outreach groups. Found everywhere.
Nacional (various spellings) Means “national”, but usually denotes nothing. Occasionally used for teams of the army, but more often used to identify specific teams in larger markets. Used everywhere.
Old Boys Clubs that were founded to provide football at an age past school age for a particular school.
Olympic (various spellings) References the Olympic Games, but bears no other significance.
Perse- or Persi- A prefix meaning "Football Association" attached to clubs, often found in Indonesia
Petrolero Clubs that have were founded by either workers in the Petrol/Oil industry or by the companies themselves. Found throughout the petrol/oil producing world.
Police (various spellings) Clubs that have an affiliation with governmental policing groups. Often consist of active members of the police force, but some do have professional footballs within their ranks.
Politehnica Clubs with ties to a specific university. Found primarily in Eastern Europe.
Preußen German for "Prussia," no other significance.
Racing References a historical relationship with racing - either Track & Field events, rowing, sailing, or even horse racing. Oftentimes, these clubs used the middle of the racing oval as their original home ground.
Rangers The name occasionally implies a tie-in towards the military or policing, however this is a rare occurrence, as the name traditionally means nothing of significance for the club.
Real Spanish for “Royal”, these clubs have the direct patronage of the Spanish Monarchy. Found in Spanish speaking nations. Excludes Real Salt Lake of the MLS.
Red Bull Found throughout the world, these are clubs that are not only sponsored by the Red Bull Energy Drink company, they are often founded by them. Most people detest the names, even their own fans.
Regatas (various spelling) Often used to denote clubs that have an association with either rowing or sailing, these are mainly found in Europe and South America
Rio Branco A reference to José Paranhos, His Excellency The Baron of Rio Branco. The Godfather of Brazilian diplomacy. Found only in Brazil.
Rovers This denotes a team that was founded without a specific home ground. They are found primarily in the British Isles.
Royal A word that Belgian clubs can use after 50 years of continuous existence. Can use the German, French, Dutch or English version of the the word.
Ruch Meaning “movement” in Polish. No other significance.
Saint/Sint/Santos/San/São Almost exclusively used as part of the name of the city, it's a title given to people deemed worthy by various religious denominations but are mostly Catholic in origin
Shamrock A national symbol of Ireland, used in both Ireland and the U.S.A. No other significance.
Shakhtar (various spellings) Referencing miners and/or mining, always found within the former Soviet states
Slavia Just refers to the Slavic people, Found in Eastern Europe and supported by men in matching tracksuits squatting on the sidelines.
Society Almost always denotes a community-based and often community-funded youth sporting program that also fields a team for adults. Can also by put on by non-athletic professional organization, such as worker's unions and employers
Sparta Referencing the Greek town of Sparta, but has no special significance.
Spartak A reference to Spartacus, the slave-turned-leader of a revolt almost two thousand years ago. Found throughout Eastern Europe and Russia.
-spor (ending of a name) Means “sport,” and is found in Turkey.
Sporting This implies that the club is a part of a larger group of teams in various sports. If a club uses the name “Sporting”, it is the name of the overarching group for all the teams in all of the sports that it participates in.
Steel/Stål (various spellings) Clubs that have a history with steelworks, founded by a team consisting of players from the steelworks. Found worldwide.
Stade The French word for “stadium.” These clubs are often named after their original home ground.
Swifts The plural for Swift, a type of bird. No other significance.
Synthonia Found often in communities where Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) of England were active in large-scale employment and sponsered and/or founded the club for its' workers.
Thistle A national symbol of Scotland. No other significance.
Torpedo A reference to the Soviet Volunteer Sports Society, indicates a historical tie to Russia.
United (various spelling) Historically, this is indicative of clubs that were usually founded by the merger of two or more clubs. However, this is used more frequently in communities to denote a different club if more than one club either currently exists within it or has a history of folded clubs in succession. Found everywhere.
Universidad (various spellings) Clubs that have ties, usually founding ties, to a University. These are found throughout the world.
Wanderers This denotes a team that was founded without a specific home ground. They are found throughout the world, but primarily English-speaking nations.
Welfare A reference to the “Well-being” movement of the early 1900's. These clubs are usually small and community-based. Mainly in England.
Wolves Just implies the animal, no other significance.
Young Boys Clubs with ties to a local school, often used to differentiate between multiple clubs.
Zagłębie Clubs that were founded or supported by miners or mining companies. Only in Poland.
Zenit A reference indicating that the club was once a part of the Zenit Soviet Sports Society or an alliance with the Zenit itself.
Happy Holidays, you glorious bastards.
-FCVD
submitted by FreeCandyVanDriver to soccer [link] [comments]

$20k/mo keeping backpackers organized.

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Chez Brungraber of Gobi Gear, a brand that sells outdoor gear.
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi guys! Thanks for stopping by. I’m Chez, the founder of Gobi Gear. I started Gobi Gear about 4 years ago to make organization easier and more fun, specifically focusing on the outdoor adventure and travel markets. Rummage less, explore more!
Our gear bags are designed to make staying organized easy, no matter where the adventure takes you. We take pride in selling high quality gear - expecting our items to last. We are a 1% For the Planet partner, and we use no plastic in our packaging - having saved over 70,000 plastic bags (and counting)!
Our first product was known as the Hoboroll - a super cool bag that works as a stuff sack or a day bag, with 5 inner organizational compartments and a secret stash pocket. Made of ultralight, water-resistant nylon, this bag fits in the palm of your hand but is ready for adventure at the drop of a hat.
Even though we design our gear for the outdoor adventurer, our fans also use our bags in everyday use, from the gym to their kids soccer games. Thus we are launching a brand new line of every-day bags! Ready to serve anyone with an active lifestyle, from mom’s needing diaper bag organization to gym-goers and kite-boarders alike!
The best measure of success for isn’t just the bottom line, but rather walking through an airport and seeing a stranger with a Gobi Gear backpack on. Or learning that the owner of other, big brand name outdoor gear companies have heard of you. The idea of outfitting all kinds of people with our gear, all across the world, and putting smiles on their faces - that is what success is to us!
A better organized sack

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I started Gobi Gear just before my big trip through Asia. My husband and I had a 3 month trip planned - also known as “travel until the money runs out”, and we were starting out with a 100-mile trek in the Nepali Himalaya. We had already decided we wouldn’t use porters and instead carry our own gear.
I had also committed to collecting botanical specimens, as part of my volunteering for the local University in Kathmandu. Never collected plants before? It’s waaaay slow. Ever the impatient hiker, I had to come up with an idea to still be able to cover a lot of ground even while collecting. I realized that the slowest part of the day would be packing/unpacking every morning/evening, and looked for a solution to make this go faster.
When I was not satisfied with the solutions out there (stuff sacks mean scattered gear, plastic bags rip and = trash later) I decided to just make my own. I thought a stuff sack with inner dividers would be great - all my gear in ONE place, yet still separated. I got after it on my sewing machine, using leftover curtain fabric, and made the world’s heaviest stuff sack. But it worked!
Thanks to my nifty divided stuff sack, I was always ready to go, knowing where my gear was. Packing was a non-event. I was ready to go each day before everyone else! Lots of time for flowers.
I showed the bag to other trekkers, who immediately wanted their own. Shortly after our trip I decided to put the idea to work, and created a version that could sell to other folks who also wanted to stay organized while on-the-go.
Soon Gobi Gear was born, and I embarked into a crazy world that I had never know - branding, marketing, web design, graphic design - whoa! I have a dual degree in Biology and Economics, and thus knew nothing of how to grow a company. My full-time job at the time was botanical work (and still is). Gobi Gear has been an incredible journey of learning and being pushed outside comfort zones.

Describe the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing the product.

Turns out… manufacturing is one of the hardest parts of running a business. Not only does inventory mean you are cash poor (or vice versa), but any delays or issues with manufacturing can drastically hurt your bottom line.
Gobi Gear started slowly, very slowly, as I was limited to a small initial investment ($20K), meaning a small quantity order to begin (3000 units). In retrospect this was good for us - it allowed us to not overextend early, and maneuvering to meet customer wishes was easy.
We found our first China factory on Alibaba, through months of research and prototype samples. We have also worked with agents, local to China and the USA, and in the end, decided it best to just work directly with the factories.
Manufacturing is a complex thing, especially for our ultralight product line - we have to specify everything down to the type of thread, and lead-times on fabrics can be up to 9 months. This complexity, however, is why we found it best to ditch the agent - things got lost in translation, and the questions were still just as numerous, only filtered through the agent and thus adding to the complications.
A manufacturing disaster
In fact, we had an agent out of Boston that turned from great into total disaster, from one thing to the next. They were late on a very important order of 25,000 bags - meaning they had to air freight the goods instead of ocean freight them.
Then they messed up our packaging for 5000 units: a hole had to be cut into a cardboard tube to allow for a hang-tag, and the samples we received had burn marks and ash stains.
I brought this up as a concern and the agent assured me it was only for sampling; the final product would not use that technique. But of course, when we finally received the goods, what do we have? Burn and ash... And not just the packaging, but it damaged the bags inside, rendering them unsellable. It was a huge waste of time and money.
Later we then found that all of the products in one color scheme had the cord-lock and drawstring mis-threaded, so we had to pay USA labor costs to get those fixed, too. To be fair, the agent did pay for a lot of these issues, but wasted no time in pointing out “errors on both parties”, implying a lot of this was our fault. All we did was place an order…
Playing the waiting game
When Gobi Gear gets ready to place an order, we now work directly with the factory, and hold the production spot 6 months in advance with a down payment, even if we aren’t sure exactly what we are making! Then we start sourcing as many of the product parts as possible, such as gray drawcord and cord lock, leaving the other details for later.
Word of advice: The factories are just about always late on big orders - if they quote you August, you count on September. Just the way it is. Never have a promise date of early March if you’re EXW-China - their Chinese New Year is not only several weeks long, but there can also be a lot of employee turnover, meaning upon vacation return, there aren’t enough workers to finish the job in time.
Once production is done, and 166 emails have changed hands, the goods get shipped! And then the real fun begins.

Describe the process of launching the business.

Just launch it! So many people want it to be perfect the first time - and it probably won’t be. Once on the market, your customers will have ideas or thoughts that you’ll want to add to the next production round - so just get started! That is for us what helped - we dove it!
Launching Gobi Gear was a moment of excitement and trepidation - as well as one full of opportunity to learn. We built our first site on Dreamweaver, long before Shopify. And here is the thing - it could always “be better”, but honestly, it’s probably good enough! I fussed and tinkered so many times I finally broke the site, and had to just go back to basics. *New rule: if it is too hard, we don’t do it. *
The first orders that come in are so exciting! Even if it is friends and family… and then the one dude whose name you don’t know. Who is this hero??!
Over time we re-launched our website on Shopify, but eventually left that for WooCommerce and WordPress, as they allow much more flexibility in design (and hey, gotta put all of my coding skills to work now, right?). Might go back to Shopify. TBD :-)
We also love Amazon - first we sold as “seller fulfilled”, but I still recall the day we got approved for Prime. What a difference! Now we ship boxes of 100s of units to Amazon and they do the rest (okay, not that easy, as they make errors too, but it is still awesome). Amazon is a huge marketplace, and who doesn’t live Prime?
To get started, I financed the business with my savings. As the business grew, we sold our inventory (recovered our cash), but then needed more inventory, and thus more cash. The best platform was Kickstarter! We launched in July of 2014, and raised over $80,000! This was great cash as it allowed the funding of a new inventory order, as well as other things such as a new patent, a website redesign, and paid for a good PR team for a year.
From the beginning, Gobi Gear has always been very good at paying its own bills from its sales; but pushing growth forward is where the extra cash comes in - always finding that next customer.
So we learned three important things about launching and money spent:
1 - Do it as cheaply as possible.
It is so easy to spend it big to get started, but you don’t need to! Word-of-mouth, referral campaigns, and 5-star reviews are great ways to get new customers. Good customer service keeps the previous ones coming back for more.
2 - Have multiple products or colors.
As long as they are curated and not just any old thing. It really helps sales, as customers like choices.
3 - Get your brand out there from the start!
We did not know this, and didn’t have a logo that was prominent or even have our website on our packaging! How do you find us? We now have a backpack with our logo on the outside - this is huge.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Google, Facebook Ads
Marketing used to be far outside my comfort zone, but I am getting a lot better at it. And we really have tried it all - Google Ads, Facebook, YouTube, paid PR and social media teams to do it for you.
In general, I have not seen a good ROI on most paid advertising. It could be that my ad graphics and messaging are not spot-on, so they don’t convert as well, or that our products are not super photogenic.
It could also be that our average product sale is $20 - not a lot of meat on that bone. Our ad spend hit $16k/mo at one point, and barely moved the needle. Bummer. At least we tried!
Amazon Ads
We have had success with Amazon ads, as well as with retargeting ads on Google. We spend about $200-600/mo now, and get and ROI of 1.5-6x, depending on the season. Advertising on Amazon is so much easier than Facebook or Google.
You don’t add graphics or copy. You can only bid on keywords, and they do the rest. Either it works, or it doesn’t. I actually love the simplicity. I find better than changing keywords is changing the time of year that you run the ads - some months, like September, are just quiet, so we don’t bother running ads anymore.
Amazon Sales
Amazon itself is a fascinating sales channel - they do a lot of the work for you, and you get in front of a huge marketplace.
But there are knock-offs, and Amazon has mixed up our inventory more than once, then shut down our account because customers were receiving products “not as described” - well, yea, because they mixed them up!
Detangling these issues can cause a lot of headaches. Overall? Worth it.
Editorials
But our biggest success for attracting new customers has been bloggers and editorial reviews of our product - we’ve had some as big as the Chicago Tribune, Men’s Journal (print edition), and Cheap Flights work with us! That brings the product to new eyes.
Pop-ups
Another huge marketing tactic that turned a corner for us was pop-ups on the website. By not having a pop-up, visitors who aren’t ready to purchase are lost forever.
This may seem “duh” now, but years ago it wasn’t so. Sumome made it very easy to get your own pop-ups that integrate directly with automatic email campaigns.
SEO
There are other things that I feel are necessary but harder to quantify: SEO is something you always need, and could spend thousands if you aren’t careful - or you can download Yoast (Wordpress sites) and do it yourself. Better than nothing yea? After obtaining numerous quotes on SEO, and deciding it was unaffordable, I went with Yoast and took it upon myself to learn all about it.
Moving forward, I think Google, with its overly complex platforms and too many ways to track tiny variations of the same thing, will be losing ground to Amazon and Facebook - which are much easier to advertise on. So, I did the SEO myself, and didn’t worry about the rest. I am focusing my energy instead on easier platforms. If it’s too hard, I don’t pull my hair out trying to make it work - I just move on.
Viral Contest
When launching a new product we have found that viral campaigns or giveaways really help get a solid email list. Before our last Kickstarter we gained 2500 new email addresses through a viral campaign & landing page we made through KickoffLabs. We sent out an initial eblast to 5000 people, and got 2500 new email addresses - so a 50% increase!
Email List
Once grown, our email list has been the best for sales. We cherish it, nurture it, offer special discounts and sales, and encourage social sharing and referrals to friends.
Customer Service
Taking good care of customers is important to us and helps our sales - many times I personally reply to customers, and not just about their particular issue, but I ask for pictures of their last vacation or find out what adventure they’re looking forward to. Gobi Gear is a company, but it is also an extension of me, and I am just another adventurer like you :-)

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Our gross margins are 58%, on average. This is after cost of goods, shipping and fulfillment costs, and include a blend of B2C and B2B sales.
Most of our business is B2C (direct to customers), through our website and Amazon. While we do have retailers and work with subscription boxes from time to time, we enjoy the higher margins of direct sales.
One variable for us is ad-spend, which as mentioned before is usually relatively low, but can increase during holidays or during a Kickstarter event.
We have a new website visitor rate of about 85%, and they usually browse for over 90 seconds, with a bounce rate just under 50%. Monthly traffic averages 2500 users.
Once we get new customers to our website, we do the following:
1. Obtaining their email
We use SumoMe to offer various discounts or sales in the form of a pop-up. We have an average of 4% opt-in during most of the year, and 15% during Black Friday and Christmas sale events. Even if the customer doesn’t convert right away, we can follow up later with emails, offering incentives.
2. Upsell
As the customer adds goods to their shopping cart, we have little messages that appear letting them know they “only need to add $15 more to get free shipping”. This helps us sell more goods in each order, keeping fulfilment costs down.
3. Follow-through
After the customer makes a purchase, we send them follow-up emails to ensure they are happy with what they received and suggest uses for the product they just purchased. We feel this helps them make a more meaningful connection to the company they just made a purchase from.
Email marketing is huge
I mentioned it already, but our email list is our biggest converter! We use ActiveCampaign to enter customers and potential customers into email funnels, sending them various messages based on their behaviour - we can get more targeted this way, instead of sending out a generic message to everyone over and over.
Our daily routine involves checking new orders and getting them shipped out, replying to customer service messages (if any), some social media posting, outreach to a few key retailers/checking in on current ones, PR outreach, and planning for the release of our new product line in 2019. Perhaps a little accounting if I need a nap (just kidding).
New Product Line
Gobi Gear will be entering the lifestyles marketplace - taking the high-quality, durable gear to the everyday consumer, with a new line of affordable, multi-purpose organizational day bags and tote bags.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

You know your brand better than anyone
In the beginning, it is easy to outsource, thinking that other people will be better than you are at various tasks. But in the early stages it behooved me to do those things myself. Outsourcing costs money, which is tight for a start-up. And they’ll never be quite as good at selling your brand as you are. I know because I tried it both ways. Others might seem more professional or have all the “tricks”, but everything more genuine when it comes from you - and early on, that is what customers want, to connect with you and your brand.
It also helps you really dive in and understand what your value proposition is and what you are providing to people. And it allows you to be a better manager later, having some understanding of the task you have just assigned.
Resisting outsider money
To this day, I am still resisting the offers of investor money, and instead keeping it all in-house and in family. That is really hard on the bank account sometimes, and we are strapped for cash more oft than not, but, you learn to get scrappy, get clever, and get by. No one owns us - I have no one to answer to, and that freedom is worth a lot!
This might not be the best path for everyone; we are a small family business and I am happy to keep it that way. Aggressive growth would be very hard without extra inputs from investors.
Manufacturing is always going to be a headache
It seems that no matter how on top of it we are, things always come up. Whether it is hiring the wrong agent, or having the factory deliver an entire month late (and missing your subscription box deadline and losing the entire sale - eek!), these things are out of your control sometimes and the best you can do is damage control. And that in itself can be very important. How you respond to issues can make or break your business.
We have learned over the years to 1) work with the factory directly for as long as possible; 2) add in 2 months cushion; and 3) have a contingency plan!
Don’t try to do everything perfectly
When I first got started, I would get paralyzed sending out a MailChimp eblast to my 146 subscribers, because I didn’t love the font, or the border color, or maybe “this image could be brighter”. In the end, what mattered was that I sent the email in the first place.
Fretting over the details - from emails to product features - wastes time. Just get it out there. Don’t overextend yourself on your first product production. Just go for it! Your customers will tell you what they think. Then you can make necessary changes.
Helpful Skills
I taught myself web coding and design, graphic design, marketing, branding, and how to automate as many processes as I could. These skills have greatly helped me because I do not need to outsource, and now that I’ve given up on perfection, I am very happy with where the company stands today and the lack of cash burn.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We have tried both Shopify and WooCommerce. I prefer Woo as it is more flexible and you host your own domain, which is better for SEO.
When you are on Shopify, your site is actually “website.my-shopify.com” - meaning Shopify gets a lot of your SEO. That being said, Shopify is way easier to use as everything is all part of the package deal.
With Woo, you need to download plugins and connect the dots. We are considering a homepage in Wordpress and a checkout cart in Shopify.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I really like books that pull out my creative flow. There are of course books that were great for me as it directly relates to business, Poorly Made in China is one, but in general I find it more valuable to get lost into books about the botanical explorations of the Amazon, or journies by motorbike through the Congo. These type of books allow me to relax and step outside of my world, and then later I find it easier to focus on the creative flow of Gobi Gear.
I also dive deeply into daily meditation, yoga, and exercise. These activities help me clear my mind and give me the ability to tackle issues that may arise, as well as have the right perspective going forward.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Just go for it! The products you see today are not the first iteration - but you have to start somewhere.
Listen to others, but in the end, remember to hear your own voice. You will know deep down what is best for your company. At least for me, it seemed that everyone had an opinion. Some were right, some not. And be wary of those just trying to sell you their services. Their advice may be skewed (naturally).
Don’t worry about the mistakes - and use it as a chance to bond with customers. Some of our biggest fans today were our angriest customers - good service and old fashioned caring turned them around.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are not looking to hire, but anyone who is interested in marketing/branding and has clever ideas for us - we’d hear you out, and possibly work out a gear-for-work exchange.
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos.
submitted by youngrichntasteless to Entrepreneur [link] [comments]

Avant Affiliate Program: Overview. Avant offers personal loans – it’s what they do best – which has garnered more than 600,000+ customers within its relatively short time in the industry. Avant is a disruptive company to the loan industry providing better terms, faster decisions, and better access/service to its clients. Avant is looking for affiliate marketers to help us grow the business and continue changing the face of consumer finance. If you own websites or companies that can refer personal loan applicants, join the affiliate program today. Change the way you borrow with loans through Avant. Loans ranging from $2,000-$35,000. APR ranges from 9.95% to 35.99%. No Prepayment fees. We have a simple online loan application. Checking your loan options won’t impact your credit score... The Avant affiliate program offers unsecured personal loans from $1,000 to $35,000. They aim to give affordable, personal loans to responsible people who should not have to settle for an expensive borrowing option or take hours to travel to a loan store or bank. Their customers borrow for debt consolidation, home improvements and unexpected expenses at APRs … Avant Affiliate ProgramRead More » Life Fitness Affiliate Program. For more than 45 years, Life Fitness has been dedicated to creating fitness solutions that benefit both facilities and exercisers. Every day millions of exercisers around the world, from elite athletes to those just starting a workout routine, take a step to improving their lives by using Life Fitness equipment.

[index] [11888] [13409] [4775] [4679] [9865] [15274] [13939] [14329] [1401] [10760]