Yep, you guessed it... it was all too good to be true.
Posted by Chris Thomas on December 05, 2014. 1 Comment
With any plan, you set goals.
Well, I do anyway. Not sure about you.
In fact, every day when I wake up and swing into action (i.e. making the kids lunches, getting them breakfast and then taking them to school) I come back to our apartment and start my 5 hours of work before I set off to pick the kids back up from school again.
I have a very short 5 hour window of 'getting stuff done'.
As soon as I sit down with coffee on hand, I print out my daily task list and write down my daily tasks that need to be accomplished that will get me closer to my medium and long term goals.
If you like you can download my task list here. It's not particularly interesting nor high tech, but it works for me and has been a successful 'habit' for many years. It keeps me on course amongst all the daily distractions, emails, Facebook, reading the news an so on... there are many, many ways to procrastinate when you work on your business alone...
And this is the actual view from my home-office in Hong Kong. True...
It can be distracting...
Anyway, I just got sidetracked about the real reason for this post...!
I'm really sorry.
I messed up with the shipping schedule (one of my goals was to get onto Amazon before Christmas). It simply means that we won't have product available through Amazon before Christmas.
Before I explain what stopped me achieving the goal, let me say that sometimes, like in sport, you might line up for a goal but you miss the shot. But hopefully you worked hard to get yourself into the position where you were able to at least take it.
To explain (and this bit is a little dull) I didn't realize that I need to have a company in the United States to receive the goods from China. Amazon FBA flatly refuse to accept international goods on your behalf unless they're 'delivered duty paid' (DDP) for international shipments.
I'm certainly learning a lot, and fast, about international freight, customs, the IRS and logistics lately.
It's really important if you want to ship things from one country to another (and you're not really set up in those countries physically) to get 'set up' or try and find someone to act as an agent (expensive) who will work for you and accept goods freighted to the US on your behalf.
That's often too risky for them anyway because all of a sudden they become the 'importer of record', i.e they're responsible for the contents of the goods you're shipping to them. If you've laced your goods with contraband, they'll take the hit.
So obviously it's almost impossible to find a company prepared to take on that risk. You need to get organised.
This has meant that I've applied for an EIN number from the United States IRS for a company that Dillon (amazing Kickstarter partner), Libby and I set up in October last year Hibermate LLC - through https://www.delawareinc.com/.
Delaware Inc are currently organising a EIN number to 'help' Hibermate LLC receive the goods into the US, but it's going to take another 10 days or so from today (04/12/2014). We can't put anything on a ship until we have the EIN, and even then it'll take at least another 3 weeks before it's all cleared and in an Amazon FBA warehouse ready for sale.
This was completely my fault as I wasn't experienced enough to ask the right questions to my freight forwarding company here in HK (NRR). Then again, they could have maybe asked me before we hit this stumbling block. But that's life. We're learning together. Stuff happens.
I'd really like to recommend Delaware Inc as they're amazingly responsive and extremely helpful in getting you set up with a US company fast and quite inexpensively. They offer a myriad of additional services like mail forwarding and a whole bunch of stuff to make setting up and incorporating in the US, from outside the US, as easy as possible.
The really good news (if anything can be salvaged from this terrible, heart-wrenching situation) is that no one has died or anything.
In addition, we're still shipping on schedule to Australia and the shipment will be leaving tomorrow.
It'll take about 17 days to reach Melbourne, Australia which puts it on track to arrive with my amazing colleague Paula to start fulfilling new Hibermate orders at Christmas, but, in reality more likely in the new year.
I'll also be receiving about 100 new Hibermates in all colours here in Hong Kong tomorrow or Monday and have arranged for a professional photography company to help out with some shots for advertising and promotional work next week.
Looking forward to posting some of those shots in my next post!
In the mean time, here are some photo's of the Australian shipment waiting to go on board the ship in Hong Kong...