12 September 2016 –
You may (or may not) have noticed that I’ve been a little light in posting new material for the past few weeks, but it’s been a busy time for me.
I’ve been building an online business. Yes, after reading about all of the millionaires created from building online stores, I knew that I just had to have a go and to join their club. Move over Jack Ma* Well, maybe not.
My first thoughts were to research what people are buying online, what the latest online sales trends are, and develop a site that would sell whatever’s ‘hot’. Easier said than done. But after reading a lot of news stories, and doing plenty of digging, I think I’ve come up with a requirement, a need, for a growing issue here in Australia.
“But hang on a minute, Mr Get FIRE’d. I thought you were retired. This sounds like a job to me.”
Well, yes…..and no. Since I now have a lot of spare time and am not weighed down by the burden of a regular 9 to 5, I wanted to develop a side-hustle that would give me something challenging to do as well as provide, eventually, some side income as well.
There’s a significant problem, worldwide, with the increasing use of methamphetamine (also known as meth, speed, ‘P’, ice, and numerous other street names). In some countries, such as New Zealand, it’s become an almost epidemic-like scourge. Australia is not far behind and catching up fast as the drug becomes more plentiful and cheaper to buy.
Meth is a highly addictive drug that can be relatively easily manufactured using commonly available household chemicals. It’s also becoming easier and easier to source from any number of local dealers chasing the big bucks to be made from selling the drug.
But the problems caused by meth are not just affecting the users but the entire community. Houses contaminated by meth residue are being sold and rented to unsuspecting families who only realise when they start getting previously un-experienced sicknesses such as asthma, skin rashes, headaches and more, or the neighbours kindly inform them that the house was recently busted by police, for being a meth lab.
Other issues are the rise in meth-fuelled domestic violence, crimes committed by users to fund their habit, violence and occasionally death to users for unpaid drug debts. Meth is even making its way into high schools, often sold by fellow student-dealers who need to fund their own habit. Almost every day, there’s another meth-related story in the news.
As I said before, the meth problem in Australia has not yet reached the level it has in New Zealand but we’re not far behind. One of the ways to help you to avoid becoming one of the innocent victims of this insipid drug is by testing a house before buying or renting, or if you’re a landlord, testing at the beginning and end of a lease as well as regular testing during the tenancy as a deterrent to your tenants using or cooking meth in your property.
The same process can be used before purchasing a used vehicle. Yes, people may have regularly smoked meth in the very car that you’re now considering buying. And think about how long you spend inside that car each week, possibly breathing-in the toxic chemicals found in meth residue.
And these are only a few examples of where meth contamination is being found. It’s being cooked and used in rental vehicles, motels, storage units, charter boats and rental holiday homes.
Now there are a number of products on the market to conduct testing for meth but many of them are relatively complicated to use, take several minutes to produce a result, can be expensive, and only test for one specific drug type.
So I researched for an alternative that would have to meet several criteria; be inexpensive, simple for anyone to use without training, test for more than one drug type (so that it can also detect the precursor chemicals used in manufacture), and be quick to get a result.
And I found just the product which ticks all of those boxes. What’s more, there’s virtually no one selling it in Australia, and it’s one of the leading drug test products in New Zealand so there’s plenty of credibility there as well. Most importantly, the Aust/NZ distributor was looking for expressions of interest from businesses wanting to sell the product in Oz. Step right up, I say.
Following successful discussion and negotiation with the distributor, I became a reseller of this leading drug testing product.
So I’ve been developing an online shopping site to market this product, known as a surface drug test kit, as well as a small selection of saliva and urine drug test products to round-out the range.
It’s been an education. I’ve not only had to learn to build an e-commerce website, but deal with local and offshore suppliers, learn ‘everything’ there is to know about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and revisit my almost-forgotten marketing skills from years gone by. Who would have thought I’d ever need them again.
Now, the key to having a successful online business is, wait for it………being found online!! And how do most people looking for a product find what they want? Yes, Google, and to a lesser extent, Bing.
If you’re not appearing on page 1 or 2 of a Google search, you might as well be on page 50. Just ask yourself, when you search, do you ever go past page 2? Probably not. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you re-search using different keywords don’t you.
So began learning the art of SEO. I did initially pay a company to build an AdWords campaign which, if you’re not familiar with AdWords, means that when users do a search, your site comes up as one of those ads you see at the top of the Google search page.
Unfortunately, Google considers keywords containing words like ‘meth’ and ‘drugs’ to be in violation of their ‘family-friendly’ policies and hence, won’t allow them to be used. It appears that whether you’re selling items that are anti-drug, you get lumped in with items that are pro-drugs. Not much help there so that was a waste of money. The site is going to have to find success from organic, keyword searches which is why clever SEO is so important.
So, setting up a search engine, findable website as well as other non-web related marketing has been keeping me busy for the last few weeks. But it’s also been a great learning experience especially when it’s been done on the smell of a greasy rag in keeping with my own frugal living philosophy.
So that’s the short version of how my online store been developed, along with plenty of trial and error. To see the finished site, just go to http://drugdetectionkits.com.au/
If you have any helpful feedback or ways that you think I can improve the look and feel of the site, do let me know. It’s easy to become a bit blinkered when you’re working on your own material so any constructive comments are more than welcome.
And if you’re planning to build your own e-commerce website, I am now a self-proclaimed ‘expert’ in building a fully functioning online shop for the lowest possible cost. Feel free to contact me if you’d like any advice for your own site.
And now that it’s up and running, perhaps I’ll get to dedicate some more time to writing for Get FIRE’d asap.
And if you, or someone you know, is considering renting or buying a home, or purchasing a used car, send them my way. It may avoid the possible financial and emotional cost of being yet another innocent victim of this drug.
* Jack Ma – Founder of Alibaba