I'm thinking about starting a physical service or selling a physical product

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As some of you might know, I have some health issues following a concussion. Lack of concentration and ability to focus on intellectual work for more than a few hours a day.

I've been doing a little part time courier work this last month, cause I wanted to reinvest all my money in the business.

I found I quite enjoyed that actually. Dealing with happy customers, smiling people. It also allowed me to work more hours in the day, when my brain shut down, the legs fortunately work.

That has made me reevaluate my goals and purposes a little bit.

I think I would be much happier in my current life situation, if part of my work was physical, concrete, people oriented. I'm thinking I could kill a physical niche with my online abilities.

The problem is I don't have any marketable craft skills. Those can be learned sure. You can hire people.

I was thinking in the past of maybe combining farm work with online work. Like sell farm products and leverage online skills to do that.

It could also be something along the lines of a courier service. I have some ideas there. I could do some of the work myself to begin with then. That just seems like a capital intensive, labor intensive business model.

Maybe I could produce some hobby niche equipment. I like to fish, for example. Hmm... produce a product there. That would be feasable.

I don't know, but I'm thinking this could be the best for me.
 

Ryuzaki

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Selling a physical product won't look or feel any different at first if you put the horse before the cart. You likely won't get any meaningful shelf space in any stores with enough foot traffic to matter before you can prove you're making lots of sales at a high ROI with a positively viewed brand. And that'll start online.

I'm real intrigued by the people with tiny Shopify sites who grind out sales on niche forums and PPC on social media. I remember some guy with 3 types of lug nuts for wheels on cars. It might have been 1 type with 3 color options. But that's all it was, and the dude was slaying it because it was so narrow it was easy to find buyers.

To take it to the next level, I'm really blown away by the queen of the mommy bloggers. I was dating a girl many moons ago and she'd read mommy blogs, but one she really liked was The Pioneer Woman. She'd post great, personalized content, created an entire mythos where her family were all the characters, and otherwise it was crafts and recipes. I've watched her from the early days, and then my girlfriend at the time ordered her physical book. I was like "damn" as a full time SEO, observing this process.

Now, if you walk through Walmart, there's an entire slew of Pioneer Women products. Everything you can think of, from pizza cutters to tumblers to utensils to place mats, whatever. Even pre-cooked meals in the frozen food aisle. She's absolutely killing it. And little did I know but I just Googled it to see, yep, she has a TV show on Food Network now.

But as far as like... starting a physical service based business, the ROI is pretty low and the barrier to entry much higher. Unless you're doing something big like starting a wine distribution company or manufacturing medical adhesives, etc. The kind of business that'll require a big loan and some connections.

Anyways, I'm just drinking my coffee and thinking out loud. Maybe something in my rambles will help.
 

DD1

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I found I quite enjoyed that actually. Dealing with happy customers, smiling people. It also allowed me to work more hours in the day, when my brain shut down, the legs fortunately work.

That has made me reevaluate my goals and purposes a little bit.

I think I would be much happier in my current life situation, if part of my work was physical, concrete, people oriented. I'm thinking I could kill a physical niche with my online abilities.

The problem is I don't have any marketable craft skills. Those can be learned sure. You can hire people.
Except for the concussion part, are you me? For me, going outside and doing physical things with my hands helps a lot.

A few years ago, I made wine - as in picking grapes, crushing them, monitoring the fermentation, waiting the few months, and going back to the big barrel to refill a couple of bottles a time and drink it throughout a season. It was a very different feeling for me because I was raised in an apartment - and there I was, picking grapes and making wine.

Selling a physical product isn't my thing, however your post reminded me of an elderly couple I met at the beach a couple of years ago. They retired early and had a small plot (1,000 m2, around 11,000 sq ft) with a few fruit trees. They live 6 months of the year in Italy, picking their own fruit and making jams and pickles, canning their own tuna/anchovies/tomato sauce, making their own olive oil, and so on. The other 6 months of the year they live in an apartment in a ski town in Austria, eating everything with their family.

You don't need a farm to do that. You can visit the local farmer's market, buy a case of whatever is in season, and cook.

That's also first hand experience growing a Youtube channel, shooting and editing video, having your cookware review site, and so on. The videos could be split in sections with tips and tricks and become branded GIFs for leaking traffic from Imgur and old-school cooking forums, mini videos (and photos) on Instagram and Facebook, a written article in your website, and so on.

I wish I could convince my stupid cousin to do just that. He's a chef who is currently leeching off his wife. He pays ingredients costs (with money he doesn't have) to be featured on TV about twice a month, and that nets his website 2,000 visitors per month. Oh, and it feeds his giant ego. He could leverage that to grow an audience online and leverage that into having his own TV show, but he's too busy living off being 5th place in a reality TV cooking show from years ago.

What I am currently doing is helping my widow mother accomplish something similar, in our native language. It's the first time she's been excited since my father passed away. She's defined a niche and got started writing articles already, which will also become video scripts. Ultimately, she wants to make a deal with a manufacturer and sell cookware in a certain niche that is (severely) underserved in our local market and open her store on our local version of Amazon using the equivalent of FBA.

I took a (wide) tangent there because I started to talk about food. Personally, I'd buy an old farm house with a small piece of land and renew it one room at a time, wabisab-e style (google it, I can't link it due to some bug).

I hope you find your way. I do know my own way necessarily involves doing something more physical and meaningful to balance my online/computer life.
 
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As a hobby I've been making some physical products, some of which I've sold. I used to think about taking it to a more serious level (maybe I'll do it in the future as a side thing), and so I've looked a bit at other people who sell self-made/designed physical products online.

It's actually quite a competitive market (just look at how many people try to sell on Etsy) and you really need to stand out one way or another. Either you need to have this really unique idea (can still be a simple product) or you need to have some real knowledge/experience to create a quality product.

In the first case you can do it as a beginner, but you can expect to be copied really quickly. For example, I know one guy who made this creative wooden Christmas tree. Clever idea, looked decent, easy to manufacture, and he sells quite a lot. But there are now a dozen of competitors, so it's hard to sustain. But if you can leverage your online knowledge you may be able to rank for these specific terms better than the competition.

Then there are some people who have advanced knowledge of a subject and can come up with clever solutions that other people cannot think of nor design. Doesn't have to be engineering knowledge, it can just be spending a long time on a hobby and knowing exactly what is missing and what users need. Still not too easy to turn it into a business, but at least these people have some sort of barrier to entry and a good product that will last. The problem here is that the products are usually a bit more complicated, so more investment costs to scale...

One strategy these 'inventors' often use is showing their build and design process on youtube, which creates a fan following and gets some early feedback. They then leverage this following with a kickstarter campaign for the funds for initial production and already have a guaranteed initial market.

The downside is that with a hobby you can really focus on the relaxing physical process, whereas if you really want to turn it into a business you'll end up automizing, outsourcing, etc. which is in many ways more like what we are all already doing on this forum.... But if it is a product you stand behind I can imagine it will feel much more rewarding than an anonymous online business.

Maybe this helps a bit with finding an idea..
 

Andrewkar

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Well, this is interesting subject, to me at least. This summer I was in mountains (just for few weeks), and we meet really cool poeple over there. Mostly they sell physical handmade products, made of what they can gather during sunny time. For long I was thinking about doing exactly the same thing, and so I have managed to secure a deal with one of local farmers. Most likely, at the begining, we will go there just for a season (april-spetember) and if business is good, we will take it for a whole year adventure. They do some great products you can't buy anyweher else, and thsoe products are pricy, but... Usually they suck on search and SM marketing. So we are going to join forces, that mean building website with good presence, and upgrading what they have already in their place (frontiersman houses etc.). It's really a nice place to take some rest from corpo etc. and most likely for people who are looking for frontiersman's experiance, that means Bears, wolfs etc. Plenty of them around. That's the plan for upcoming spring.

What we want to sell?

1) Experiance. These mountains are not very high, but really hard to walk due to terrain.
2) Experiance. You might be lucky and see bears....
3) Experiance. Living in a trapers house (no light, only candles and fireplace). Build of wood, the old way.
4) Experiance. Food! Local... Herbs, animals, cheese, fruits (apples are great!) etc.
5) Experiance. Music! Guitars, campfire, grilled meat etc.
6) Experiance. Raids to mountains. We have upfront two mountains that are considered "wild". Not many people is going there, and many more feel uncomfortable to go there without guide).
7) ...

And so on...

There is a lot job to be done before we even think about taking some clients, but we are on the stright I think (and already late...).
 

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I’d say go for it, trying new things can lead to a whole new life. Good luck bro
 

mikey3times

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Either you need to have this really unique idea (can still be a simple product) or you need to have some real knowledge/experience to create a quality product.
I disagree. I’m fascinated by people and companies who sell old technology or commodity items. For instance, Field Notes. These guys sell tiny notebooks (made of paper...in 2019). What sets them apart? THE STORY. Their brand is incredible. Tell a great story and build a brand...you don’t have to be all that special.