6 things I did to generate over $150k in under 16 weeks. (Repost from Reddit)

6 things I did to generate over $150k in under 16 weeks.
Four months ago I started a company called Hewlbern. I had spent years on this company and I wanted to prove that what I learned from Decisive would work.
Data is the lifeblood of Hewlbern. It helps me make decisions faster, and get the most out of all of your work. So before I launch I ensure that my business is instrumented.
Here’s are the analytics that I set up before launching:
Add Google Analytics tags. Set up Goals in Google Analytics. Goals tell me what channels are driving customers. Here’s a great explainer for how to set up goals.
Ensure that I have heatmap tracking. It’s extremely important for me to understand how people are interacting with the site. Heatmaps allow me to do this. I usually use Mouseflow because they have a free plan to get started.
Set up Google and Facebook remarketing pixels Every visitor from the day I launch likely has some level of interest in what I’m offering. I want to be sure I can reach those people after they’ve left. Remarketing can be an extremely cost effective way to do this. Here’s an explanation for how to set up Google Remarketing tags. Here’s an explanation for Facebook remarketing tags.
Set up link tracking. As I post across social media make sure that I’m tracking links. Bitly is awesome for this.
Once the site is set up I wanted to put ChallengeBox in front of as many people as fast as possible. Before launch I always ask where will I distribute this product? I think of myself as Starbucks or McDonalds. Where are the busiest street corners with the right people to place my store.
I tested the following free channels:
Product Hunt
I also emailed a number of blogs and I was able to get ChallengeBox written up a blog post for Style Magazine.
For paid tests I ran advertising campaigns across: * Facebook * Google * Twitter. More on that later in the post.
The goals of testing distribution are three-fold
Understanding whether people will actually pay for your product.
Getting feedback (both likes and dislikes) about your product.
Listening to the actual words people use as they describe your product. You can use these in testing landing page copy and ad copy in the future.
After running all of these tests I determined that Facebook was the best place to spend my time. Our audience was there, and I knew that it could scale.
I spent a few days in Facebook groups just listening to what people were saying, what jokes they made so that I could understand what types of content to create.
I created three anchor pieces of content:
A blog post that was 100 awesome resources that will make you happier with your Fitbit.
A eBook that was meant to be a comprehensive manual for how to use your new Fitbit.
A fun personality quiz with memes called “What is your Fitbit personality”.
These allowed us to get started with promotion of the site, and make it feel like our customers were getting value even if they didn’t buy anything from us.
With ChallengeBox I wasn’t immediately sure if it actually would work. I wanted to prove it to myself. So I set my goals in various milestones to prove that I should continue with building the business out.
1-10 Customers – The first ten customers I got were based on some manual work. I interacted with people on Twitter who were interested in Fitbit and fitness and posted to forums. This was great to prove that someone would actually pay for Hewlbern. It was also key to learning about what I needed to say as I thought about how to reach even more customers.
10-100 Customers – I determined that Facebook would be the best channel to focus on here. I achieved this through testing out of variations of Facebook ads.
100-1000 Customers – After a couple of weeks of testing I was able to determine out which content and which targeting worked best to acquire our first 100 customers I began to increase our daily spend to about $300-600 per day
1000-10,000 Customers – We’re putting in place the infrastructure to scale to our next 5x. Facebook alone won’t get us there so we’ll start to expand to investing in, and optimizing other social platforms.
With content and ads I test everything. I look at Hewlbern as one huge experiment. I tested different content formats. Images versus video. I test different images, headlines, descriptions. I tested multiple variations of landing pages.
We found that videos definitely work better than images, for driving conversions. If you can test basic videos for Facebook I highly recommend it.
Adespresso is also an invaluable too to helping you quickly test and iterate through Facebook ads.
Through testing I’m always looking for two things.
Does a channel work?
Is it scalable?
It seems that finding scalable channels is where companies hit a wall. Influencers are an awesome way to jumpstart a community but they may not scale cost effectively.
Most people are afraid of spending on advertising. However if you get it right it is one of the best ways I know to truly accelerate your growth. I was able to generate over $150k by spending $40k. Worth it? I think so.
The key is finding what works. For Hewlbern so far, after our initial tests we ONLY focused on Facebook on Females in the US on iPhones. These users have converted the best.
WHAT’S NEXT? There is still TONS of scale here, and once we are ready we will expand beyond this target audience to Android, and then males and then International.
Building and scaling successful subscription business is not easy. There are so many mistakes I’ve made over the last 6 months, but it’s a fun challenge to be learning the ins and outs of a physical product business.


DropShipping for Beginners

Hi everyone – Hewlbern here.

Today I wanted to share with everyone a bit of information on dropshipping. My own website is http://www.Hewlbern.com and I sell light up shoes. It’s been a journey putting it together and I thought it would be useful for others to have access to some of the information that led me to creating it.

I’ll be using someone elses dropshipping store, WorldofHarry.com and some of the information they’ve shared online to get this information across. This site uses wordpress but I actually recommend using shopify as it’s been the easiest to use in my experience.

so…how to find a good niche for AliExpress drop shipping store?

1. Popularity and Trend.

Choosing a niche for your drop shipping website you should focus only on products that are always in demand and have positive or at least stable trend.

Go to https://www.google.ru/trends to get better idea about selected niche. For example, we are going to build a store that will sell ‘Harry Potter’ products for Harry Potter fans.eCbKjwu


We can observe a small decrease since 2004 but the overall picture looks good, there are no dramatic falls and the trend is rather stable. So, Harry Potter niche seems interesting to me for a drop shipping site.

Or let’s take ‘GoPro accessories’ as an example:c3BTE9M

Here we see the trend that is increasing year by year starting from 2011. This is a good niche to be taken and tried.

Below you see the niche (‘Nokia’) that is not worth trying:YajRZp2

2. Competition.

It is impossible to find any popular niche with a good trend without competition of course. Before launching your drop shipping store it is strongly recommended to search for similar web stores in the Internet. If you find many good sites offering the same products (especially by good prices), probably you should think about another niche and products, which are generally more hard to find. Obviously, there is no point to create another usual “Shoes”, “Car parts”, “Gardening” stores. It’s better to take some narrow niche and try to be creative.


3. AliExpress Stock.

Before starting building your web store, make sure there are enough categories and products available in the niche. Go to AliExpress.com and enter necessary keywords in search bar. In my case with ‘Harry Potter’ everything looks fine.

4. Prices.

Generally, AliExpress offers very competitive (often unbeatable) prices for many products. However, I would always recommend making a small research about the products’ prices you are going to sell on your site. Ideally, AliExpress prices should be twice lower the prices of your competitors.

You should pick at least 5-10 products in the selected niche and find best prices for these items on AliExpress. Then go to search.aol.com, enter shopping section and search for the same products in order to compare their prices with prices at AliExpress.

Let’s take an example.

I found such Harry Potter Scarf on AliExpress for $9,05/piece.Nt9TPAK.png

Then I went to search.aol.com and found the same item sold by other sellers.ZFFKFwr.png

As you can see the prices are much higher. In my opinion, it’s a good item that is worth adding to my store.

How to choose categories and products?

To find best categories for my drop shipping site I use Google Adwords.

With the help of Keyword Planner I usually start checking different niche related keywords targeting all locations and English language.

For example, I take “Harry Potter wands” and see the results.SZscgAQ.png

In spite of the fact that this keyword has high competition its search volume looks rather good.

One by one I select 10 main categories and add them to my site.


Among these 10 categories I also select 3-4 most popular ones to add them to the slider.H958WlJ.png

After my categories are ready I go to AliExpress.com to find necessary products.

To find the best and most demanded products I filter all products by orders and pay special attention to feedback score.


I get product ID of a desired item and add it to the plugin that automatically finds the product and imports all necessary information (images, description, parameters, variations, etc.) in my site.


Or I can make all the process (search, filter and upload products) work through the plugin.


That enough to begin with. I’ll include more details over the next few weeks!

Disrupting the Law Market

This week on Hewlbenomics; lets talk about a relatively untouched niche. Recently applying for the Melbourne Accelerator Program, my team tried to create a solution for this problem, but found many difficulties in implementation. I’ll give you a picture of what we were trying to do next week but now I’ll try and explain the market and the opportunities in it as a whole.

This was my team’s logo for our, as of yet unsuccessful, business idea.


From the logo you can probably guess.. I’m talking about the legal services market.

Now there have been a few attempts at this, but basically none of them have received much traction either at the corporate / commercial end of the market or even much at the consumer end (where the idea is much more saleable as the man in the street has no idea who they should get as a lawyer when they need one so a marketplace with lawyer ratings an testimonials and fixed price standard documents etc. has more obvious appeal and there is a clear place for an intermediary).

See below for some relevant articles from a quick google search.

The problems at the commercial end of the market, even for medium size businesses, is that law firms are astute enough to see the dangers in being intermediated/ UBER-ised (and so it is hard sell to get them involved) and on the client side, legal work is a relationship business – it’s about who you trust. Businesses are reluctant to change lawyers for the same reason people are reluctant to change dentists when they find one they can live with (I find this idea ridiculous due to the expense it creates but it is a fact). It is a similar situation say for business loans, where brokers and other intermediaries haven’t gained much transaction compared to home mortgage brokers. It is hard for a business to break free from its bank.

One area that seems to be working much better is online agencies handling secondments. Essentially, there are lots of lawyers who want to work for themselves but don’t want to start their own firm or work full time. Similarly there are lots of legal departments (and smaller firms) looking to engage lawyers on a short term basis for specific projects, to fill absences (maternity leave, long service leave sabbaticals etc.). There are a lot of different models in this space, but the ones that seem to be getting traction are more along the lines of a virtual firm that are basically a bodyshop fronted by some credible lawyers. http://proximity.com.au/ is one example, but there are plenty of others.

Basically these firms can offer would be freelance lawyers the same or more than they are getting as a wage slave in a firm for working only part time and on a flexible assignment basis (e.g. pick up jobs for 8 months of the year and travel the other 4). At the same time they can offer clients a daily rate well below what normal firms can charge because they have low overheads (the lawyers work on site with clients, so they need no office space and as the lawyers are subcontracted freelancers, they don’t have to pay them if there no assignments for them). http://www.virtuallaw.eu/ is another. It is a bit harder to find these with a google search as it harder to work out a good search term, but there are at least 3 operating Canberra.
Another area that is a problem currently without a solution is a service aimed at legal departments for managing performance of external lawyers and the processes of managing placing work with panel firms.

Most lawyers hate doing performance management, but all legal departments know they need to justify their existence and be seen to managing costs effectively. Set up the right way so it doesn’t threaten either the legal department team or the external lawyers (so it would be more of a consultancy doing the dirty work but making the legal department was seen to be calling the shots by considering the services fact based assessments and recommendations) this would give you a lot of information about both skills and rates of law firm lawyers across a broad spectrum of firms and about how legal departments shoos lawyers and assign work. If your terms of service are written in a way that allows you to use data collected ‘for the purposes of provision of services” or other broad brush terms as used by Facebook and Google etc. this could be a springboard that could be used for other services.

Aside from what I’ve just mentioned there are far more potential gaps in the legal services market. With the amount of profit these firms bring in every year, it really is a industry that deserves some sort of disruption.

While I don’t expect the legal market to become UBER-ised anytime soon, technology will no doubt takes it’s foothold in this, much like any other market, soon.

Hope I gave some interesting information out.

I’ll be putting up some more information on drop shipping over the next few weeks – using http://www.hewlbern.com as my case analysis.


Google search for ‘law firm work bidding service’

Clients up for auction – Lawyers Weekly
1. Cached
May 20, 2015 – A new website allowing lawyers to bid for clients could change how firms offer … Firms could use this service to gain access to a previously untapped market, … to have law firms bid and compete for their work,” Mr Jasper said.
How Do Lawyer Bidding Sites Work? – eLawyering Blog
1. Cached
2. Similar
Nov 30, 2011 – Your service request is then posted or published to a lawyers who have registered for the service so they can bid on your work. When a lawyer …
the Advent of Reverse-Auction Lawyering – College of Law
1. Cached
Posted on October 13, 2015 at 7:30 am | legal practice … of recording a day’s work in six-minute increments is viewed by many lawyers as an … a platform through which lawyers could bid for the opportunity to provide legal services for clients.
Reverse Auctions Are Here to Stay for Law Firms – Strategist
1. Cached
Jun 2, 2015 – Reverse auctions continue to change the way small firms get work. … that a business would engage in competitive bidding for legal services.
Taking the stress out of tenders and proposals – Law Society …
This is especially true if your firm works with government, banks, insurers, listed … Before you put pen to paper, make sure you have properly sized up the bid … Tender turnaround times for legal services are becoming increasingly truncated.
Solicitors offer to work for free on new legal bidding site …
startupbeat.com › News
1. Cached
May 29, 2015 – It doesn’t cost lawyers to bid on a job – they only have to hand over an agreed … “The UK is crying out for a service like this,” says Lucy.
Lawyer’s new business bid: a bidding service for lawyers …
www.theglobeandmail.com › Report on Business › Small Business › Startups
Dec 2, 2011 – That’s what Jeff Fung found when he launched MyLawBid in July, an online service that allows lawyers to bid on legal work submitted by …
[DOC]OUTCOMES: professional and OTHER BUSINESS services
1. Cached
TPP countries have also agreed to work cooperatively to foster enhanced … Australian lawyers and law firms will benefit from the following commitments by TPP … be able to bid for government procurement contracts for legal services in Brunei …
Bid & Sales – Resources Group
1. Cached
7 Jobs – Senior Bids Executive – London – Top Law Firm £40,000 – £43,000 The … Pitch Jobs, Client Manager Jobs Professional Services, Marketing Jobs Legal, …
Innovating Professional Services: Transforming Value and …
Alastair Ross – 2016 – Business & Economics
This approach was successful in enabling the law firm to move the client’s … Now that is differentiation in practice. seek To exTend your servICe working at this … of firms, following a bidding process, which they will use to perform all this work.



3D Printing in Construction – An overview

Hi everyone. Hewlbern here talking about about 3D printing… but not as you know it. It’s been used in plastic, medicine and a variety of fields but right now innovators around the world are designing and preparing for it’s newest use – Construction.

But just in case you live under a rock and have no idea about 3D Printing here’s the basics. 3D printing is among the top trends in the construction and manufacturing industries in recent times. Demand for custom-made, rapidly produced and cost effective materials and components has proven 3D printing to be a viable and effective form of manufacturing objects and materials – companies can now rapidly product prototypes using the technology.

This technology has begun taking on traction in the construction industry via a method of printing called Fused Deposition Modelling, or FDM for short.


Now FDM is pretty limited in what it can do at the moment – but that’s not to say what it can do now isn’t pretty amazing, or that innovation will solve many of it’s problems. Andrey Rudenko in the Philippines put one together last year and built a castle for himself. The company WinSun has shown more of it’s capabilities in building 10 houses in under a day. Pretty amazing stuff right?


This has the potential to be used in the construction industry, with reduced costs and environmental sustainability making it an attractive alternative to traditional methods of construction. No more formwork (a part of construction that carries a significant cost), significantly reduced labour requirement, and up to 80% less cost.

Now this hasn’t been validated to a great extent in industry yet but already we have companies like Winsun, and others in worldwide, looking into investing in this technology.

So what does this mean for the future of housing and construction, as well as the jobs of tradesmen who currently fulfil this soon to be automated role? Well not much good. But the faster we take on new technologies the faster new jobs can be created and workers retrained.

I’ll be linking some more of the research I’m doing into this topic over the coming weeks. But here’s a glimpse of the future of housing and architecture.

Holbenomics. E-Commerce and Execution.


Hi all,

I’ve been hard at work for the past few years and left this blog in the dust behind me.. until today!

Over the next few weeks I’ll be creating more posts with a specific focus on e-commerce, automation, philosophy. Also I’ll be sharing how I’ve managed to be more productive in my life and how I’m still moving forward with enhancing my motivation.

I’ve been working on http://www.hewlbern.com most recently and just finished up working at IBM and researching in India for Engineer’s Without Borders.neon-sign2

Here’s hoping I can provide some value to the internet community!



Friends poem (Australian poem ;D)

The times they are a changing” 
for the worse: and we carry social justice in a hearse.
We are travelling backwards, rediscovering all our bitterness;
When we restricted blacks to settlement- to fringe camp or the mission;
where we denied them their entitlement..
We took their children crying,
And left the old people dying,
men and women sighing,
as we hid beneath the lying
of “progress” and “development”..
As we opened up the wilderness 
with chainsaws and D9; 
employing brutal ruthlessness,
and white law that said, “It’s mine”.