Category: Uncategorized

The first stages of our Start-up (and how we got out of $30k in debt)!

This is a small summary of how my husband and I became entrepreneurs and what it took to get a full-time income from our business.

It started out as a small idea from my husband. He wanted to resell items to his country, Norway. While he researched, he saw an online shop that resold clearance and coupon items from stores in the U.S. to Norway.

He was bummed out that there were competitors initially, but then he realized there must be room for us too.

Committed to the end

We had a plan (sort-of). The hubby would work on the website and then get inventory for us to add in our shop. We set aside $10k for inventory and he worked on the store, translating to Norwegian.

One mistake and another

Our first mistake was spending too much time “perfecting” the website: it took 4 months. Our second mistake was the platform: prestashop. It was impossible to make the smallest changes and it took a lot of money to hire web coders.

The website looks like a million bucks to this day because of the design, and I invested a lot of time taking product photos.

Our third mistake was starting too big: we got 170 different products that all needed 3-5 pictures for optimal selling.

By the time we launched, we were $30k in debt, and got ONE sale.

We celebrated our first sale and then realized we were in deep trouble…. $30k worth of trouble and zero sales.

Our sales were slow, and we tried giveaways and advertisement.

Then we stumbled onto our first success, we looked into ways to just move our inventory as fast as possible, making all our money back as quickly as we could: we looked for more channels.

We tried selling our products on a Norwegian equivalent to eBay, we also run promotions through a Norwegian deal site. Then, we tried eBay and Amazon.

Stumbling onto Retail Arbitrage

Finally, we caught on to the fact that what we were doing was called “retail arbitrage”: to buy items from any physical store and resell them at a profit.

Getting out of debt

Once we realized our channels were bringing enough money, we decided to supercharge our efforts into paying our $30K debt, it would take a while before we could do it.

The timeline went like this:

  • March 2015  -$30k in debt
  • August 2015- debt paid off!
img_1306
That year, we both graduated into success by learning a key lesson: cashflow!

It took a lot of work: we returned products that were slow selling, we sold some at a loss and kept our eye on the fast-movers best sellers.

Growing, growing, grown?

Once we were fully out of debt, we managed to start making a profit and finally, we paid ourselves. We kept our expenses really low until the business was out of debt completely and we were operating in the green.

At this time, my husband worked 10-15 hour days, we both got very little sleep. I stayed at home with my 1 year old and had him ALL the time. Meanwhile, I would bag and help with the shipping of all our products. We were both exhausted but we finished 2015 with +$25k.

We, of course, reinvested it all on inventory.

The tipping point

Once January 2016 came around, we decided to automate our business. We hired 3-5 employees, moved into an office and put our child on daycare.

Our work hours have lowered since we made this decisions, and it has decreased our stress by 1000x.

We now have $140k in inventory, a steady income, and an almost automated business that can run without us.

We’ve been able to “take time off” for a month to travel to Norway and Spain. We never stop working, as our business still depends on us checking in and working a few hours a day.

What might 2017 bring for us? 

We don’t know yet, but we are certainly gearing up for the holiday season (Q4) which is a huge selling season for retailers.

Wish us good luck during the holiday craziness!

The ultimate guide to Norway (with or without kids!)

Want to have all the knowledge of a local? Here is a guide to all the quirks about Norway to get you prepared for your trip.

The official coin in Norway is the kroner (NOK).

TIP: When you are at supermarkets, an easy to way to convert crowns to dollars is to put in a coma decimal, or take away a zero. For example: 25 kroner is about $2.5 dollars. It’s not exact, but it’s an easy way to approximate. For more accuracy, type in google “25 NOK to USD” and you will get a currency converter.

Getting a SIM card might be tricky. Since my husband is Norwegian, we got two SIM cards for our unlocked iPhones on CHESS (They are on the Telia Network). You order it online and pick it up at the post-office. Since you show your ID, it is proof that you received it and that you are liable for billing charges.

My husband was asked for his National ID number, so we are not sure if you can get them as foreigners. If you are an EU citizen, you might not have any trouble with this.

Chess is $25/month, for unlimited phone calls and text, and unlimited internet (up to 2GB, then it slows down). You can cancel anytime without penalties.

If you are roaming in Europe, you have to pay per MB ($0.03 per MB).

The main networks in Norway are called Telia and Telenor. Chess is a low cost carrier that uses one of those networks.

Gas is $4.5 per gallon as of this post (double the price in Florida!). In Norway, they use the standard  measurement of liters instead of gallons.FYI: 3.8 Liters is one gallon.

Navigating Oslo Airport with kids

Oslo Airport has an amazing service for parents.


After you go through airport security lines (5-10min thanks to Norwegian efficiency), you can grab a stroller for free to use inside the airport and leave it at your gate before boarding planes.

Super tip: The baby changing tables are in the disabled bathroom, along with a special diaper trash bin. I found it super unusual because usually they are located in the women’s bathroom but not here.

Next, The Norwegian culture.

The following are my observations being around Norwegians in the 5 trips I made here.

Efficiency

  • Norwegians love efficiency and fast service. The population is small, even in large cities like Oslo. There are seldom any waiting lines in supermarkets or pharmacies. This in turn means that there is very seldom chit chat while you are in line with the cashier.

Going to the supermarket

  • Most Norwegians use debit and credit cards that have a chip and enter a 4-digit PIN number.
  • You will find that if you have an American credit card and have to slide it, the cashier will look at you like you grew a second head.
  • You will also need to let them know that your card doesn’t have a PIN number so they need to let you sign for the purchase. You will get the crazy look again😅.
  • You will need to pay for your plastic bags at the supermarket every time. The cost is about $0.15 per bag. You might end up spending a dollar on plastic bags if you have large purchases. However, this are NOT you crappy Walmart bags, they are really solid and can take a lot of weight.
  • In some supermarkets, you might need to put in a coin (10 kr) to get a shopping cart.
  • Chain supermarkets
  1. REMA 1000 – Cheapest supermarket
  2. KIWI -Another cheap supermarket
  3. Co Op Xtra– new chain, has beat others in competition.
  4. SPAR– runs great sales, they had a sale for 10 Kr ($1 items), but they use this to attract customers. They usually have higher prices.
  5. MENY– More selection, great fresh meat and salad, a bit pricey.
  6. JOKER– really small store, pricey, only essentials, that is the only one that opens on Sundays!
  7. Obs– not a store widely available, more selection of goods.

Alcohol and Tobacco

  • Make sure to buy alcohol and tobbaco at the Duty Free shop at the airport to avoid the heavy taxes. There is a limit of about 2 bottles or 1 bottle of hard liquor per person through the Toll at the airport (Customs). There is also a limit of 200 cigarettes per person to bring into the country at the airport.
  • You will need to show ID when you buy alcohol or tobacco at the supermarket, you must be over 18 years old.

Sunday’s OFF

  • Sundays, everything is closed by law. All supermarkets and pharmacies are closed. Make sure to get all your shopping done on Saturday. There might one small kiosks open on Sunday.

Playgrounds

  • The best part about Norway is the nature. If the weather permits, you will love it outside. There are many forests and beautiful lakes.
  • There are also many playgrounds for children, usually with swings, slides and some have sandboxes.
  • You will also find picnic tables and bbq grills where you can use coal.
  • I will post a picture about a super easy bbq kit that you can buy:

Baby and toddler items

  • Diapers are cheaper than in the U.S.
  • You will find Pampers diapers, but not Huggies.
img_0043-1
Norwegian diaper next to Huggies Toddler Pull-Up Pants
  • Don’t be afraid to try generic diapers. They are very solid and thicker than most U.S. Brands, comparable to Pull-Ups thickness.
  • Huggies is not available in Norway, but it is available in Sweden.
  • Baby wipes (most of them) are VERY thin, like you can see-through-them thin, including the Pampers brands (very disappointed).
  • The closest baby wipes I found to Huggies are called Libero.
img_0041
Norwegian diaper next to Huggies Toddler Pull-Up Pants
  • A great diaper cream I found is called: “Zinc Salve”. My toddler has really sensitive skin and this has worked amazing! It’s also NOT as sticky as Desitin is.

img_0042

  • There is also baby shampoo, toddler toothbrush, toddler toothpaste. Don’t expect a ton of American brands in Norway. I have not seen any toddler electric toothbrushes, humidifiers, etc.

Keep checking back for new updates on how the doctors/hospital systems work.

Let me know if you have any question on the comment section. Happy travels!

How to rethink your life strategy


Are you letting life make you it’s bitch? (Pardon the language).
Here are a few things that you can do to take back control of your life:

Step 1: Acknowledge the problem

So you are miserable. Or perhaps you think you get strokes of bad BAD luck… Let me tell you a secret: there is no such thing as “luck”. Bad things happen and you have control over them: you can control how you react and respond to them.

As a fun exercise, list all the problems you are having in your life in the following areas:

*when you go through each section, think: why am I not happy with this area?

  1. Financial: all your money issues, list each one no matter how angry/depressed they make you feel. Are you broke? Do you have an emergency fund? Have you established any goals for saving? What are you financial goals (buy a house, get out of debt, buy a more reliable car, save for baby expenses).
  2. Love life: partner/spouse. How often do you fight? What are the fights about? Do you have different personalities (link: how taking a personality test improved my relationship with my husband)? Are you near divorce? Do you have different parenting/financial/extended family/lifestyle ideas? Are there irreconcilable differences? List ’em all!
  3. Family life: separate kids into this category. Where does the stress come from? Are your kids really unruly or do you have way too much on your plate?
  4. Extended family: how are your connections to your mother/father/siblings/etc? Is there any relationship that could be improved?
  5. Work and career: are you working
  6. Dreams and hopes: what are you trying to achieve in your life that has not happened?
  7. Hobbies
  8. Time management: how much free time do you have? Are you happy with the free time you have?
  9. Organization: do you constantly feel overwhelmed?  Is your life chaotic? What is causing it to be this way?
  10. Fun: have you had any fun lately? Why did you chose against having fun? What are some obstacles to you having fun?

It may seem overwhelming now, but you can make it work because there is a simple way to fix it.

Focus on 3 aspects of your life

Now, pick only three aspects of your life that you would like to focus on improving.

Make SMART goals for those 3 issues

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-sensitive

For example, if you are trying to lose weight, make a goal like this: I will lose 10 pounds by the end of August.

Put a deadline of your goal, and make sure that it is realistic. You cannot, say, lose 10 pounds in a week or fix your relationship with your husband in a month.

For relationships, try habits instead of goals. For example, if you are always short on time and stressed about always being late, remedy this by waking up earlier. Find a good enjoyable reason that motivates you to wake up and work on making it a habit. For example: I will wake up at 7:30am every morning and exercise for 30 minutes. Follow through with it even if you don’t feel like going through with it that day. For more motivation and ways to establish great habits, read “6 months to 6 figures by Peter Voogd”.

Another example to improve your relationships are: make a weekly meeting with your spouse, have a weekly date night that you will not skip, or practice being more patient or a better listener.

Get an accountability partner

Find someone who will not cut you any slack when you miss your goals. Having someone else to answer other than yourself for your actions makes you need those goals.

Finally, celebrate your wins

When you do accomplish a goal, or if you are trying to establish a habit, don’t skip the celebration. Make it a point to tell everyone how proud you are of your progress so that you don’t feel tempted to slack. And reward yourself when you reach your goal or for every week of completed habits.

A note: don’t be too hard on yourself. Change your goal as needed.

If you didn’t meet your goal, don’t just give up and throw your hands in the air. Think why your failed and adjust your goal. Make it more attainable, give yourself more time or a new deadline, seek help reaching your goal, identify possible obstacles and new ways to get past them.

Leave a comment below: what is the one goal that you would like to accomplish that can change your life for the better?

Is it worth ruining your marriage?

Next time you have an impulse to fight about any subject with your spouse, ask yourself the following question:

“Is this [insert issue here] worth ruining my marriage over?”

It could be a big or small issue. If it is a big issue, then you probably have to rethink your life strategy (post).

However, if it’s a small nagging issue, such as your partner being late all the time, or how he leaves his underwear on the floor (always missing that frigging laundry basket!), then it’s probably not worth bringing up a fight and making both your life’s hell.

Step 1: Breathe! (And get over your anger)

Step 2: let the issue go. Find any global issue that makes your issue feel insignificant and petty.

(more…)

Learning to be the second wife

You know how there are men who get married twice and it just seems like their second marriage was a complete success?

Maybe they are on to something. Not necessarily about ditching the first wife and trying to make it work, but about picking a women with the qualities that make a great second marriage.
The second wife does not complain

Great things come from not complaining, starting with your financial future getting better, as described in The Millionaire Mind. However, not complaining doesn’t mean keeping it bottled up and keeping a negative score towards your spouse. It just means: do the hard work that you don’t feel like doing, do it despite your ego telling you not to do it, no work is beneath you, and then once it is done, let it go and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Period.
Second wives ask for the host’s name

It’s all in the details: second wives will have to go the extra mile to make a good impression upon everyone, so they are in their top behavior. 

There is no RELAXING when you are a second wife, there is only keep yourself at top shape, looking your best and not letting anything get under your skin.
Second wives are not fat.

Sorry, not sorry. Second wives keep themselves looking like a million bucks and so can you. Start with this post I made about how to take care of yourself in ten super easy steps. This means doing everything you dread: keep a healthy diet, exercise, wax, put on makeup everyday, keep your nails looking polished and dress to be the nicest dressed person in the room.
Second wives do not get jealous, build up resentment or pick up fights

They do not have a “hill to die on”. Second wives are easy going, they do not pick up fights, they let shit that rubs them the wrong way GO. They let it go. It’s not easy, it’s a continual fight against all the annoying little voices in our heads that say “you can’t lose this argument, you have to win!”. But second wives learn to let it go and live another day in the name of keeping a marriage in peace. They accept people have different points of view
Yes, it’s not easy being a second wife, so have some respect for them! It’d be ideal if I could apply the “second wife mindset” to my first marriage, so I have made a challenge to myself to do just that.
This post was inspired by “16 ways I blew up my marriage”. 
And you, are you a first wife or a second wife? Did this article rub you the wrong way? Let me know about all of it in the comments!

Stop complaining: be thankful

After reading The Millionaire Mind, by T Harv Eker, I made a resolution to stop complaining and start being more thankful.

img_9795
From slideshare.net

In his book, Eker tells us that complaining is a way in which we victimize ourselves. By complaining, you are slaying your financial future.

img_9794
From quoteaddicts.

For the next week, every time I catch myself complaining, I will replace that thought with another one where I am grateful for a blessing in my life instead.

Are you ready for a challenge? Try it out now: leave a comment below with your biggest complain or justification AND one thing you are grateful for.

Choosing a car seat

I just finished cleaning up my toddler’s car seat, a Britax Roundabout.

One thing that irritates me is that most car seats have all this tiny crevices where food stays, or if your child happens to get car sick or have a diaper blowout, you are screwed.

Nothing fun about cleaning up the car seat on a Monday😅

Helpful tip: Use resolve laundry stain remover or laundry detergent [mixed with water] and a brush to clean the belts. Disinfect the surface with Clorox cleaning wipes.

(more…)

How I lost 20 pounds in three months for free without a gym membership

Disclaimer: This article is not meant as medical advice. You should consult your doctor regarding your health and how to best manage your weight.

What follows is my individual plan of action over 6 months to lose 40 pounds of weight.

I start being 164 pounds, at a height of 5’2″ and have already lose 20 pounds. My current weight is 145 pounds.

I’m sure there are many ways to lose weight, but this is a simple, FREE way that worked for me that should be fairly easy to replicate by anyone.

(more…)

The toddler guide to traveling

There are likely many articles on how to bring baby traveling with you, which I don’t recommend.

However, once you child hits their one year old birthday, it gets slightly easier to bring them along.

Maybe it’s that you are no longer a newbie anxious mom, or maybe your child is just more independent and doesn’t run to you, the savior, for help all the time.

I’m a serious gadget lover because I love to try new gadgets all the time. However, when traveling, you really want to keep it as light as possible!

KEEP IT LIGHT

If you get any piece of gadget, go for lightweight, highly portable items. Also, sometimes there are ways to avoid some gadgets all together.

Here are my recommendations:

STROLLER

I hate strollers, but they’re unavoidable. Go for an umbrella stroller. 

I like this one with a carrying strap that is ultralightweight.

Summer infant stroller

Yes, there are pricier options, but please GET IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD: no stroller lasts for a long time, even the pricey ones!. 

So please, do yourself and your wallet a favor and skip the expensive useless stroller that you will grow to hate in some months.

INFANT CARRIER

Your child is no longer an infant, but you can still use a carrier. I tried different carriers and I can highly recommend Lillebaby. However, at this point in time, you really should not be carrying your toddler- let them run and get your steps in versus paying for a gym.