Shortly after attempting to make my first Muse, Instant Stretch, (click here to read about it) I had some issues with my new Corvette I’d bought. This car has Tire Pressure Sensors in all the tires and mine were not working. I researched the cost to replace them to realize they cost $250 each for a total of $1000. What really struck me as odd is the only thing that was wrong with them was a $2 coin battery that simply looses it’s charge over time.
Inspiration for My First eBook
My friend called me to tell me he was reading a good book by Yanik Silver. It’s called Moon Lighting on the Internet and goes over a list of different ways people make money on the internet. I quickly went out and purchased my own copy. The book doesn’t really go indepth about any one internet money making method but rather provides a few examples of each method along a tips to get started.
One of the money making methods that really appealed to me was writing an ebook. These could be automated such that you can write the book then sit back as they sell and the web server emails them out. It’s a true residual income!
I thought of my problem with the Corvette Tire pressure sensors and realized that many people own Corvettes with the same problem. This was the beginning of my first eBook on how to rebuild your own tire pressure sensors and save hundreds of dollars in the process.
Producing My eBook
I rebuilt a couple tire pressure sensors taking lots of pictures and notes. Once I had the process down I downloaded a copy of Open Office (a free program similar to Microsoft Office), opened up my 8 year old laptop computer I had bought off a friend in college and started writing.
It wasn’t long before I had completed the eBook. One of the coolest things was I had my new product, the eBook tire pressure rebuild guide, in just a few short weeks after finishing the Book by Yanik Silver. But this was just the start of the work to come…
Testing the Market and Refining Materials
I reflected on some examples Tim Ferriss gave in the Four Hour Work Week where the individuals tested their products on eBay. The way they tested them was…
- Create an advertisement on eBay for your product.
- Run the ad tweaking one parameter such as the headline / ad title or picture to maximize visitors to the ad.
- Modulate the price until you can start getting sales or maximize volume. This step fascinated me as my eBook sold for much more than I figured it would. I would have been happy to get $5 for a copy but testing showed it sold best at nearly $30 per copy!
- Answer questions from customers and tweak your ad copy (as well as product) to boost sales while decreasing customer questions.
This process actually took a few months but was pretty fun as I made my first hundred bucks or so. At that point things were rolling and I figured why bother with a fully automated webpage even though that was my original goal.
The current eBay sales guidelines required I print and mail eBook to them. I was actually in violation of this eBay policy as I was emailing the book to them instead. But nobody seemed to mind…
Back Stabbing Competition
I stated to notice competitors on eBay. There was another guy rebuilding the sensors for a little less than my eBook costs. Despite he was cheaper it didn’t seem to effect my sales volume at all. My customers continued to buy and all provided shining feedback.
In nearly ten years of selling on eBay I had actually never gotten anything but great feedback. That’s because I’ve always made it a point to help my customers as best as possible. I always have very lax refund policies, make sure to answer all questions at all times, and put out every single fire making even upset most upset customers happy they did business with me.
Then the disastrous happened. Somebody bought but they weren’t like the other customers. They completely burned my product with bad feedback but despite I tried to follow up with them they never responded. Nor did they ever request a refund which I thought was odd and still gave them one.
After receiving the bad feedback my sales completely stopped. My competitor couldn’t sell a single rebuilt sensor and my thinking is though I cannot prove it they placed an order through a rouge account to give me bad feedback and shut my product down. I could be wrong on this but either way I could have cared less because…
Building the Automated Money Making Website
I had after all proved that there was a demand for the eBook and my original goal was to fully automate it. So I went out and bought a domain (http://www.rebuildtpms.com) and here’s how I automated the eBook delivery…
- I found a site called https://www.payloadz.com/ There they will archive your eBook, link to your Paypal account, and once the payment is clear email your eBook out. They charge a hefty fee something like %15 of the gross sale price for something they simply do with a little code. However, it is invaluable to get setup and running as quickly as possible so I chose to use them as apposed to writing the code.
- Next I put my eBay ad into an HTML document using an open source webpage editor called NVU. You can use this or even just save a document in HTML with Microsoft Word or a free copy of Open Office.
- At the bottom of my ad I explained the payment and fulfillment process then placed the buy now button Payloadz gave me on the page.
One last thing worth mentioning is I had heard about something called SEO. However, I knew very little about it. All I knew is that I had to have some “keywords” on the page to get traffic and visitors from the search engines. Otherwise nobody would find the page.
So I did a little keyword research. I used Google’s Keyword Research Tool (would provide the link but they keep changing it, do a search on it) to see what people were looking for in Google. I then wrote down searches related to my eBook and made sure to mention these keywords on the webpage.
I sat back and waited for my Paypal account to fill up with money. I waited, and waited, and waited some more. Nothing! Then I put a tool on the webpage called Google Analytics. This tool tells you how many visitors you’ve had to the site (and some more visitor metrics). To my horror, nobody had visited! My novice SEO skills weren’t enough to net me any traffic so I gave up again.
I Made Money and Didn’t Even Know About It
About a year went by. I had been in my new job and was getting comfortable. Then the unspeakable happened. They laid me off. It was a blessing in disguise though. Because ultimately I had wanted to build my own products but had put that aside to take on the more traditional responsibilities associated with a career in corporate america.
Now was my opportunity to pursue my passion full time! Interestingly I had not given my eBook a millisecond of though, I’d actually completely forgot about it. I sat down to research building my next muse and logged into my Paypal account for the first time since giving up on the eBook.
The account was full of Paypal transactions! I had made a couple hundred bucks off the eBook… Nothing to brag about but it was a real eye opener to realize I could literally make a fully automated hands free income!
A Successful Failure
My eBook was selling. Some months I’d get one sale, other’s two, and then many months had no sale. I learned that each visitor to my webpage over the life of the product was worth $0.25. This important number told me I couldn’t afford to buy traffic to the page. But it none of that mattered because the product was a dead end and here’s why…
The problem with the eBook is the market was too small. This made competition nearly non-existent and allowed my novice, OK seriously crappy, marketing effective. I very quickly saturated the market and had few if any individuals left to make sales to. After all my eBook only applies to a couple years of Corvettes, and of those cars only a very limited amount need sensors at any given time. Plus as great as my book is, many people are still going to choose to buy new sensors for whatever reason instead of rebuilding them with my book.
My job had ended and despite I wanted to work my own business it didn’t seem like a good time. I had just bought a house and the mortgage was hefty. However, my searches for a new job were fruitless. Many individuals had been laid off with me and they had exhausted job openings in my town. Plus the economy was slow and very few companies were hiring professionals such as myself.
I needed a new product and some money fast to support my mortgage. I was concerned with my situation but had every confidence I could raise money on my own and very quickly to support myself. Within a few weeks I was earning more money than I ever had in my life in just minutes a day. But in my hardest lesson yet I learned that there’s no such thing as easy money…
FYI. If you buy either of the books from my links, I do get a meager commission, at best. But then again I think you probably already know that and honestly that’s not why I write these. So if you want to buy directly from Amazon it doesn’t offend me and actually doesn’t save you anything in the process either. They’ll charge you the same either way.