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EXECUTION From Drop-shipping Wantrepreneur to Fastlane

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by Xolorr, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Hey Fastlane fam.

    Here's my progress thread/brain dump diary for my future business & life. I'm writing this to help clarify what I actually want to do and how I'm going to achieve it, as well as to gain insight and advice from everyone on the forum! Any criticism is wanted please, I believe it's the best way to grow.

    Anyways, onto the important stuff.

    Past: I wrote my intro thread as a reference for this. Basically, I come from an entrepreneurial family, with a very solid background. I could just chill, join the family business, and be able to live a very very comfortable life if I wanted. F*** that. I hate the thought of living life as a result of my families hard work and just reaping the benefits. I'm here to build something myself and get the most out of life.

    Current: I'm at a weird point currently. At the moment, I'm a photographer/videographer, or "content creator". I'm self-studying a marketing degree as a way to get a college education without actually going to college, (the truth is I have probably failed these exams, as I really did zero studying for them) and learning as much as I possibly can on the side. Copywriting, WordPress, basic coding, marketing, social, etc. Through my photography, I've arranged an "internship" of sorts, which lets me travel the world for free with two social media rockstars. They will cover all my costs, and in return, I take photos and make videos of them traveling. This is my dream. Not from the narcissistic, displaying life better than it is side, but more from the experiences it will bring and the places it will take me.

    Business: This is my true passion. I've been studying business and successful entrepreneurs since 10th grade. I even got kicked out of my Geography class in 10th grade for reading TMF under the desk. My biggest success business-wise is my current venture. Kind of.

    At the end of my school career, I got on the Shopify dropshipping train, with the unscripted mindset of skewing value as much as possible. My store was a hit, and I made $5000 in two months, netting about $2000. The problem? It wasn't a productocracy, and it defied nearly all of the CENTS commandments, and I felt it.

    I made money, but I had zero return customers, sales were driven strictly by shoutouts / FB ads, I was getting complaints of slow shipping times, and had to refund a bunch of orders because they just never arrived. I wasn't even able to create content for the product because I didn't have it (I ordered 10 but they never arrived). I slowly lost all motivation to keep it going. I loved building the business and the brand, but once it was established there was little I could do except buy more shoutouts and do sh*tty customer service, ensuring the customer that their products were on the way, when I had no clue where they were. I killed off the store and threw all of my money into a savings account to think about what was next.

    One huge thing this did do, was it proved there was actually demand for my product, as well as funding the venture.

    Last month I went on the search for a supplier, and ended up finding one through Alibaba, and made the plunge with $1000 to get 300 units of the product, in custom branded, luxury packaging. Looking back on it, I should've done a smaller order, and got the boxes done through a different supplier, with a smaller MOQ, and less risk. They probably would've come out even better then. From what I've seen through the photos, the packaging looks good, but didn't hit that luxury appearance I was going for. Lesson learned.

    My situation.

    I leave to travel and take photos on the 18th of June, and won't be back until August, if not later depending on whether I carry on with the social media guys. My product just arrived in the country, and is with customs waiting for clearance.

    With South Africa you never know how long that could be.
    Luckily I did it through a courier so it should be quicker.

    However, when I'm traveling I won't be able to fulfill orders... The will be HUGE for my marketing, as I'll be meeting huge influencers in my niche, and intend on taking a bunch of products with me and giving them out in return for post/content as I go.

    At the moment I'm trying to find a fulfillment service that can handle my orders and warehousing while I'm gone, as it's the only way I'll be able to make sales while I'm traveling.

    If that doesn't work I'll have to sit on 300 units of stock until I get back.
    Not ideal.

    To do:

    Rebuild eCommerce site:

    Previously I used Shopify, but I recently built my personal site/blog with Divi and Wordpress, and am looking at using Woocommerce for the business site. This is because I intend on having a large blog, free digital downloads, and other features which are just easier and more customizable with WordPress. Really struggling with Copy. Things like the "Our story", etc is challenging. I'll do a course on copy through udemy or skillshare I think.

    Grow the social:

    The Instagram page has been sitting dead for a month or two. It's currently sitting on about 1300 followers. I deleted all of the old posts, and refreshed the bio, telling people what's happening. (coming soon, etc) I intend on growing it through influencers and an Instagram bot to follow/like. No spammy comments. Maybe even just based on liking. The influencers will be huge I think. Not looking for shoutouts, but rather sending them the product to use and take photos of. Also looking into YouTubers and bloggers, but I think that will come later.

    Fulfillment:

    This is the biggest issue. There are very few fulfillment services in RSA, and some of them have stopped accepting new clients. Hmmm. Opportunity? Anyways. I'm worried that I won't have the credibility to get in on one of these services. Although I have 200+ sales through dropshipping, none of them were local, and I have no presence here. I'm worried about minimum sales requirements for these services. Anyways, I've emailed a bunch with no responses. Going to start calling ALL of the services I can find tomorrow. Thinking about it, if worst comes to worst, I could "employ" friends or family to drop off products with the couriers while I'm away, but this is less than ideal.
     
  2. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    So I called some fulfilment services today, the one wouldn't accept me because I had no customers in the country yet, but one did, which I'm super stoked on.

    Disclaimer: All dollar values are rough conversions from my currency.

    They charge a fixed monthly fee of ~$20 per cubic meter of product at the end of the month. Ie: you send them 3 cubes and you sell 2, you only get charged for 1 cube storage.

    They then charge a variable cost for pick, pack, and courier.

    Pick & Pack is <$1
    Courier is ~$3/4, depending on where the order is from.
    All in all, a variable cost of ~$5 per sale.

    Tonight I'm going to add this to my costing and do a break-even analysis on it to see how the numbers come out. These were rough figures from our phone call, and the guy said he can give me exacts as soon as I have the product to show him.

    I'll also need to ship the product to the warehouse, which will have additional costs incurred. In the future, I could get my supplier to ship directly to the warehouse and save costs.

    My landed cost of the product is $5 per unit, and I aim to retail at $25 to start with. (Worried about this slightly. There are no alternatives to my product lower than $45 on the local market, but mine is significantly easier to make. It also has no exact variants of it in the country that I could find.) Amazon prices for my exact product are ~$10, but I'm not too stressed about that as that doesn't include shipping, and it is unbranded/generic. Amazon is also not a competitor as they won't ship to South Africa.

    I'm sick at the moment which sucks. I spent most of the day sorting out some computer problems I was having, and then setting up an Instagram bot for both my personal brand & my company account.
    It seems to be working fine, now I just need to optimize. I only plan on using likes & follows as generic comments are way too obvious, and decrease brand value. Further along the line I won't even use follows, only likes based on hashtags and competitors followings. I also finished editing a video for my personal brand, which is also vital to my spot on the trip. Now I have to edit a client video, which will take a while but I will get $300 more from it, so it's worth while.

    To do:

    Create a very brief landing page with an email opt in, & start promoting via Instagram. Once I have the product (hopefully early next week), I will take photos myself and start posting, and then move onto shipping out to influencers. I think I will build hype first while I build the Ecom site and get everything going there. I also have a lot of paperwork to do with the fulfilment agency, so it makes sense to build some credibility/social presence while I get the logistics in place.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
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  3. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Remember when MJ said that the market mind will speak and you should listen? The craziest thing just happened.

    When I was back in the drop shipping days, I sent one of my products to an influencer in the space in return for promos/review. He is a VERY unbiased and blunt influencer, which I loved, and he even loved the generic product from Aliexpress. (He did call me out on the shipping time & packaging in his IG stories though) Well, I was sitting on my computer now, and I got a notification for being tagged in one of his stories (on the business account). Turns out, another company sent him a very similar product to mine for review. He did a whole review AND comparison to my product on his story tonight, pointing out everything which could have been improved on both products!

    He basically just told me how I can add more value to my product.

    Now as far as the review went, mine came out better in all categories except one, and he identified a major pain-point he found while using mine. The best part? I can do a quick fix for this by simply adding a simple stainless steel key-ring to each product. This isn't the fix the other product had (they went into a large licensing deal with another company who has patented a quick-release system), but it's still better than nothing, and it's a huge thing to keep in mind for the next batch.
    In other news, I'm really struggling with filling my personal site with content. The "about me" page is so damn hard to write, but writing is a skill which I want to really expand on, so I'm pushing myself to get through it and consistently post blog posts around my videos, which also give HUGE free value. I should be able to then funnel this into my business if need be, but none the less, it's good for getting more freelance work.
    Then I'm going to finish up the landing page and put it up on my hosting account. Currently, I'm using a Hostgator plan to host my personal site, my dad's site, and I'll add the business site to that. I need to investigate whether this will cause issues/security risks, and maybe move it to a plan of its own, but it will be fine just for an email capture page.
    Doing a brief run through a Skillshare class on blogging, and another one on copywriting. Also going to go have another look at Sinister Lex's threads now (couldnt figure out how to @ him, so i just linked instead), as well as @IceCreamKid. (I just love his outlook on life and the world so much!)

    Edit: Changed the title after watching a lesson on headlines in copy, keen to see if it gets me more clicks. Was cautious as I don't want to come across as action-faking, wantrepreneur, and I felt the last title seemed a bit "guruish".
    Old title: Possible to build a business while traveling?
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  4. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I really hope my continual posting/brain-dumping isn't an issue here, but I love tracking my progress, and I get a push from the fact that people can look at this any time, it kinda makes me feel more accountable for my actions. Mods please feel free to edit this thread or something if it's too off topic!

    Anyways, I ended up going DEEP down the rabbit hole of this forum last night. Not productive for my business, but I think it was beneficial. Ended up just zoning in on my computer until late into the night and my eyes were stinging. I skimmed through this thread about productivity systems, and have taken today to create my own variation/system to keep track of my tasks and projects. Spending time learning how to use AirTable, (no affiliation, it was recommended in the GSD thread). It's on a free trial now and downgrades to free after two weeks.

    Kinda worried that the free plan won't have any good functionality, but I'll research it and see.

    Also ended up back on this golden nugget from MJ, which hit home huge. I've been floating around with just a mental to-do list, and not focusing in enough, and often forgetting important things. This also links up to the productivity system, as I need to outline my long-term goals, and break them down into smaller goals, daily habits/actions, and "action blocks".

    I know I'm posting a lot now, but I know as soon as I leave for my travels next week, I won't have this much time, so I'm trying my hardest to get the groundwork in place now.

    For a business update, I emailed the fulfilment agency with all the info they needed to get started, as well as asked them if they can handle international shipping. This would be huge if they could. I would probably have to charge customers for this as it won't fit into my margins (breakdown of that coming soon), but it would make a huge difference to my market size and brand image. It's the weekend and my product should be arriving next week. That's when things will really start to happen as I can create content and start promoting. Also investigating which payment gateway to use on my site. It's tough because I can't use Stripe (they don't support RSA), and all of the local gateways act as redirect payments, which I really dislike because it looks scammy/unprofessional... I'm going to try a direct gateway for Woocommerce, and if not (or if they are too expensive) I'll use a commision based redirect and worry about direct when I'm actually making sales.

    Cool. To do today:
    - Develop a productivity system with AirTable
    - Write the About Me on my personal page. I'm halfway there with this, but I'm a natural perfectionist, which I'm trying to break. With all my creative endeavours, I tend to hype things up so much in my mind that I can't replicate it in reality, and it either demotivates me and I put it off completely or I spend hours longer than I should be trying to get it right.

    Done is better than perfect.
     
  5. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Nailed today's work. I fell in love with Airtable, and I've set up a productivity system (inspired by @HackVenture) to manage my tasks and to dos, as well as adding my financials to it, and my profit projections & break even analysis. These aren't done as well as they could be, as they still require me to punch in some values and don't auto-calculate entirely based off raw values, but hey it's fine for now. Done is better than perfect.

    As far as the productivity goes, it works like this:

    Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 16.28.17.png
    I have "bases" for different topics. Here I have "Business", changed to brand name after the screenshot was taken, then "Fitness", to track my eating & working out, and finally "Golden Nuggets", which acts as a brain dump for all the little bits of greatness I find on the internet.

    Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 16.19.27.png

    The software is spreadsheet-based, which makes it really easy to dump out a load of information at once. It also doesn't matter about order, because you can group anything by any of your field types.

    Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 16.19.57.png

    It also then lets you change how you view all the info. I love using boards like Trello does. My tasks are split up like this, with an "Inbox" which I dump every task that comes into my head into. Then I pull into my "To Do" list. This is only the best and most beneficial for me from the inbox. The rest gets trashed. All based on the GSD system. I know it's early, but so far I love it.

    I did a bit of research of the previously stated competitor, and his branding SUCKS. He has a website with some terrible copy ( a lot is spelt wrong and doesn't make sense) and bland images, which then links to his eBay store. Not sure why he does this. His Instagram is pretty weak as well. He only has photos of his product on white backgrounds, and just posts three of each to fill his feed. His bio is: (all caps, I won't do it here) "We are on vacation, back in early July. All orders after June 9th will have to wait till July. Please don't ask for free *product name*!"

    As far as his product goes, the extra value comes from a licence from another (big) company for a quick release mechanism. A bit of research shows that the company sells just the quick release for $35 a pop. Now he might be getting a wholesale price, or he might be buying retail, I'm not sure, but his are selling at $50 - $100.

    This has shone some light on my pricing situation. I was worried that I was too high at $30, but I think I might push it to $35 or $40... That would push my break even point from 60 to 46, and increase total profit to ~$10000 from $8000. (Maths may seem wrong to you because I'm doing mental conversions, all the maths is correct in my local currency.)

    Anyways, NONE of this actually matters until I start making sales. On that note, tomorrow I'm going to dive deep into making my eCom store, and finish up my personal site and start thinking up some blog posts. Then I need to plan out which influencers I would like to target for my inital run. I'm thinking of doing something inspired by @IceCreamKid and interviewing each influencer I use for a blog post. I think that would be huge in driving traffic to the site, as they would link it everywhere because it makes them seem more credible.

    This is kinda going on the notion of Gary Vee's Jab Jab Jab, Right hook, and I will pump out free value in the blog section of my site to be the top end of the funnel.
     
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  6. CoolBeans
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    CoolBeans New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    It's awesome to see a fellow South African taking a shot at Ecommerce, I hope you succeed in your venture.

    I just wanted to ask, how would you receive payments from your ecom store? Last time I checked it was a bit difficult to set up a PayPal account in South Africa.
     
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  7. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    No ways! So sick to see other South Africans on here! Aren't we a patriotic bunch??
    I've never struggled with it. I used paypal for my dropshipping site and had no issues. You just have to bring the money back into the country through FNB within 30 days else it's considered money laundering.

    I intend to use payfast or peachy payments for the store. I'm trying to find a way to make it not redirect customers, which I think Peachy may be able to do, but I'm not sure yet.
     
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  8. HackVenture
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    HackVenture Digital Marketer, Crypto Guy Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Glad that you found Airtable useful, awesome that you're getting up to speed with it so quickly, it took me alot more time to figure out how to use it properly lol.

    Good luck with the dropshipping business! Though I think it's harder to get a fulfilment agency to work with you unless you can promise certain volume, so in the beginning it's still better to fulfill via Aliexpress, set a volume target for yourself to switch to working with fulfilment for branding.
     
  9. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Thanks Hack!

    Yeah, I did dropship for a while, and have since invested the money into the product being private labelled. The issue is that I'll be travelling for the foreseeable future, which wasn't the plan when I ordered the product, but it's an opportunity I can't pass up. It might not be fastlane as I'll be working for someone else, but the memories I'll make are invaluable, especially at my age.

    If the fulfilment falls through, my family have volunteered to run orders to the courier service in my absence. I'd prefer not to do this, but it is still an option.
     
  10. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Things are starting to get REAL!

    I just received all of my product, and I am beyond stoked!! It's a lot.
    (wtf was I thinking when I ordered 300.)
    Anyways, I'm confident I'll be able to move at least 50 of these. (my BE point)
    My 10X goal is to sell 3000 this year, and my monthly goal is to make my first sale, weekly, to get the site setup and functioning.

    Numerical goals so they can be tracked.

    But as my dad's favourite saying goes, bite off more than you can chew, and then chew like hell!

    The product came out really good, and the packaging is INSANE! It's a gloss black logo on a matte black box, and I think I nailed it for the first run. For the next set, I want to change the material to a smoother one and add a label with some copy and pictures on the bottom, but that will come in the future.

    Now it's time to sell.

    Cool. Plan of action:

    • First I need to set up the online store, which I'll start now. I already own the domain from my dropshipping, and I'll just link it to my hosting, and try using one of Divi's premade layouts to speed up the design process. I can always change the design later, now I just need to get the site up because that should've been done ages ago! Filling it with content and getting the backend working will be the biggest part, I'm fairly comfortable with design.
    • Next I need to go out and take some killer product photos. I already have a couple existing photos, but I'll go and shoot more. This should be fairly easy as I take a lot of photos and am pretty good at it. These will all be interesting and focus on the details of the product.
    • Post on Instagram and start growing. I pushed the bot aside as it's taking a while for me to set it up on my server, but that will come later. I think it's better to get the account established organically anyways and then transition into bot so that the Instagram algorithms don't pick it up as spam.
    • Reach out to a bunch of influencers and send them products for review, as well as interview questions. I may be able to drive to another city later this week and meet with an influencer I personally know for the first try. This would let me interview in person, and try solidify the brand with him, as well as take photos myself of him using the product. I'm going to push hard for this!
    • Once I'm somewhat established I'm going to dive into digital marketing. I found a Udemy course that covers just about everything, so I'll plough through that, then give Fb ads and AdWords a bash!
    I promised my freelance client that I'd have his video ready by the end of the week, which sucks because I want to solely focus on this, but that extra $300 will be great for comping the costs of shipping products to influencers.
     
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  11. HackVenture
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    HackVenture Digital Marketer, Crypto Guy Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Any reason why you decided not to go with Shopify? I'm thinking that would accelerate your process on setting up the site alot.
     
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  12. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Hey Hack,

    The reason I chose to use Woocommerce is just the customizability, as well as trying to get a direct payment gateway. All South African gateways redirect customers to their websites to complete payment, and it doesn't happen in the store.

    Meaning my customers will put their details in at "myshop.com", and then pay on "mypaymentprovider.com", and all of the gateways have pretty terrible UI and look like they'll steal all your money.

    This redirect cause a HUGE dropoff in the conversion of customers, and especially for international customers, they would've never even heard of it before. It's overall just a terrible user experience, and I'd like to avoid it if possible.

    Even with the use of PayPal, it still acts as a redirect. While it is more known, there's still the conversion issue.

    Not to mention the monthly fees involved with shopify...

    However, I must say I am considering just getting a Shopify store up for now, and then put time into building the exact site I want for the brand locally over the next few months, and update when possible.

    I don't know. Tonight sucked, I got super in my head about some stuff in my personal life, and was completely unproductive. It's probably from staying up untill 2AM for the last couple nights. I'm just going to go to bed and go through a WooCommerce class tomorrow and make a decision after that.

    Thanks for the interest! @HackVenture
     
  13. Thomas Baptiste
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    Thomas Baptiste Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    As I've seen with you, action is the best motivator. Keep doing even if you don't want to. Stay on track and keep disciplined. Even if it fails at first, don't stop man. You're on the road to success. You're taking it seriously and things are shaping up. The more effort you put the more progress you'll make. You're inspiring me really. I've been so damn lazy lately.
     
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  14. HackVenture
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    HackVenture Digital Marketer, Crypto Guy Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Icic, I'm not familiar with the ZA payment issues but shopify supports both stripe and PayPal, with they not be appropriate?

    Yes costs will be higher with shopify but imo if it allows you to keep up the momentum it's worth it especially since your products are ready.

    Would hate to see the momentum watered down from taking woocommerce classes etc but if you're confident of pushing through then by all means stick to the plan, just my 2 cents :)

    Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk
     
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  15. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Okay, so from a bit of research about my payment gateway thing, I won't be able to get a direct gateway without paying $30 setup, and $25 per month after that.

    It really grinds my gears, but I think I'll put together a Shopify store now, and the WooCommerce can come later. I'll use PayPal (I'm only able to use PayPal express, which also redirects. God I hate this country sometimes) as well as a local gateway so that users have a choice. The added costs aren't nice, but I'll deal with it for now.
     
  16. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Thanks Thomas,

    Yeah I just couldn't focus last night and hit a low.

    I think it was exhaustion, things are better now!
     
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  17. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Update:

    Logged into the Shopify account from my dropshipping operation and everything is saved and still synced up. Website DONE.

    Now all I need to do is change out the products and update the copy, and then start promoting the crap out of it.
    Huge thank you to @HackVenture for making me re-evaluate this. Saved me hours and hours of setup!

    I'm going to do a crawl of any competitor, no matter the difference in product and pick out as much as I can about their branding and what's working for them, and try to implement that into mine.

    So far:
    • Logo and all artwork is done (from the dropshipping)
    • Product and packaging is branded with said artwork etc.
    • Website building is done, now I need to populate it with content
    • Instagram is at 1300 followers, going to investigate how real/fake these followers are.
    Marketing plan:
    • Ship products to 10 micro influencers (5K to 30K)
    • Post influencer photos + my own on Instagram.
    • Facebook pixel my traffic
    • Run facebook & YouTube ads targeted to my market
     
  18. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Okay, so today sucked, business wise.

    I had to go see a doctor in a town 1 hour away for a checkup (post surgery). I then spent the entire day shopping with my mom, as she wanted to get a whole bunch of stuff before my trip. I live on the other side of the country, but came home for the surgery and to see my family before I leave. I would've prefered to have the day to work, but I feel guilty if I don't spend time with them.

    Anyways.

    Didn't manage to get any photos done today, so I posted another one of my old photos on the Instagram. This particular photo had a semi-viral effect last time I posted it, so I'm hoping it'll do the same.

    My posting methodology has been this:
    • Post high-quality photos, with a caption related to something OTHER than the product, and #brandname in the caption
    • Tag as many "repost accounts" (more on this below) as I can find in the picture itself, all in one corner to keep it neat.
    • Copy & paste 29 hashtags into the first comment from Display Purposes. It's a great tool for Instagram and generates sets of hashtags filtered from spam
    "Repost accounts, wut??"

    These are KEY! (in my opinion, by no means a pro) They're basically those huge accounts that post about a particular niche. Now, these guys don't actually make content themselves, they just leverage other peoples content to grow an audience. That's how they're able to post so frequently and grow so quickly. For example, if my customers were cat lovers, I would be trying my hardest to get my photos on cats_of_instagram or catloversclub. Now, these accounts are HUGE, because it's such a broad niche, but there would be tons of smaller accounts similar, who I would target (either by tagging or using their hashtag).

    They're ALWAYS on the lookout for more content (and this is why quality photos are key), so why not give it to them? If they repost your photos its an insanely effective (and free) way of reaching a new audience, and helps with the virality effect. Here's to hoping some of mine get reposted!

    What else have I done??

    • Called a couple courier companies while I was in the car to get rates for delivery. One of them wanted to meet with me before they would release pricing, which was weird, and couldn't meet me before I left. Another said they'd email me their price list, but I haven't received it (just emailed a followup)
    • Messaged an influencer, and he's actually coming to my town tomorrow! Going to buy him a coffee and interview him, as well as shoot some photos and give him my product.
    • Bought a udemy course on digital marketing and have started going through it. It's now become a part of my "Kaizen checklist", and I have to do at least two lectures on this a day.
    • Touched up the website copy. It's not proper copy, because I have very little knowledge about copy, but there's a brief section on copywriting in the course I'm doing, and I can always change it as I learn more. Done is better than perfect.
    • Emailed the fulfilment company with the dimensions of my product, but haven't heard back from them. It'd be great if I can work with them, but I'm not going to rely on them, hence my courier research.
    In other news, this client project is taking much longer than I thought it would. I've barely made any progress there, and need to finish it by the weekend. For tonight I'm just going to grind on that and see how far I can get. I'll also do my udemy lectures tonight.

    I'm making notes on everything I can business related, and I want to have a look at all the notes I made on unscripted sometime soon. I think this will probably happen while I'm on the plan, and I'll have a lot of time to think/plan what I will do.

    Achieved my monthly goal of having a fully functioning ecom site.
    Now reset it to "make my first sale outside of friend groups", then looked at it again and said F*ck it and 10X'd it. 10 sales might not sound like a lot to some of you, but I think I'll be ballistic if it happens.

    Side note:
    I find it so easy to write here, and I think I'm pushing myself to do it more as practice. I really want to grow my personal brand, and do blog posts based around my travels (This isn't business related, just because I want to), but find writing for a blog so intimidating. Weird.
     
  19. Xolorr
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    • Took some photos yesterday and they came out really good! Going to start putting those up as time progresses on the Instagram and Facebook pages.
    • The store isn't live yet which sucks. This is because there was an issue verifying my residence, because of all the utility bills being in my dad's name, not mine. I emailed customer support last night, so hopefully, this gets solved and I can go live this weekend!
    • Met with & interviewed my first influencer. I was really nervous about this, but, it went amazing! His story is amazing and I think it will work really well with my brand. He was an amazing guy and so supportive of my brand. He said he will take photos for me and push as hard as he can promoting my product on his page as soon as the site goes live.
    • Going to photoshop some white background images for the products, and write their product descriptions now, and push those to the site.
    • Two of the repost accounts posted my photo! And I got a nice boost in followers for it. One of them refused to tag me, which sucked, but oh well. I wish the site was live when that happened so that I could've directed the traffic somewhere and tested the market. SHould've thought of this before hand.
    Things have been insane leading up to my trip, and there is so much that I've been doing for that, it makes me a bit mad because it's so much time I could've spent sorting out all the issues I'm having at the moment.

    Oh well.

    The courier service came in a lot more expensive than I was expecting... At about $7 nationwide and $10 worldwide, which fluctuate depending on the region. This is going to cut down my margins a lot, but I think it's definitely worth absorbing the cost and offering free shipping for the customer experience.
     
  20. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Progress has slowed, a lot.

    At the moment, I'm sitting at the airport about to board my first flight, and my store isn't live yet. I'm still waiting for verification from the payment gateway, and it'll only come through once the week starts I guess.

    My site is finished, with the best copy I could do at the moment, I guess it'll evolve as I get better at it. Products are listed and all is good to go, just needing verification.

    Still ploughing through the udemy course, and reading all the different threads on this site specific to ecom/branding.

    This week was stalled a lot due to personal drama with an ex. Top tip: relationships can destroy your mindset and motivation. It's no excuse, but damn it's hard.
     
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  21. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Update:

    I am currently in the UK, and am still waiting for my payment approval! This sucks because I can't make sales until I have it, and they're taking forever to get back to me!

    Being in a first world country is INSANE. I love it. It's really kick-started my motivation cycle, because this is the end goal for me. To move somewhere first-world, but it would need to be much hotter than here, lol.

    Anyway, very sidetracked, but it's been in my thoughts a lot lately.

    My product photos are done, and I think the site is looking good. Going to work on my copy while I have this down time, and read a lot about writing product descriptions.

    Keeping focused is really hard here, because I'm staying with a friend and his family, and none of them are entrepreneurial. They spend most of their free time sitting around watching TV, and I'm sitting at their dining room table editing or working on the business. It'll change when I go onto my internship thing ( I don't know what else to call it), because I feel that they are much more similar minded to me.
     
  22. AllanB
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    Did you already made sales (with another product) thanks to Instagram or Youtube?
     
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  23. Xolorr
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    Xolorr Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Yeah, I made 200+ sales while I was dropshipping the exactly the same product. Now I have just custom branded and imported the product
     
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  24. AllanB
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    That looks good! For sure you will make money.
     
  25. David247
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    Hey man. I'd love to help you out with your copy and help you with growing your Instagram page if possible (free of charge of course). Just want to give value so I can practice these skills that I have learned myself through a few mentors (via courses, books, etc.) and self-learning and practice. Let me know if you're interested and shoot me a PM. I'm also working on my own e-commerce venture and I too was in the Dropshipping game not too long ago. I'm moving away from that now because it was not sustainable (nor did it have the potential for a productocracy as MJ mentions in Unscripted) and I felt like a fraud selling drop shipped products that I couldn't control or add real value to my customers.

    For a few tips on writing copy: Writing copy requires some research into your target market and requires that you understand their emotions and pain points. Of anything I can recommend to you for a fast tip, it would be that. Your copy MUST transfer emotions over to the reader of that copy. Speak your market's lingo/language. Tell your authentic story. Stories sell. Transfer emotions into your copy and frame your about us section in a way that makes it beneficial to your reader. ("What's in it for me?"). Show them that there's a real person behind the brand, that you aren't just another big corporation or big brother out to take their cash and run with it. Again, this will all depend on your market, niche, product, etc. But, this is the foundation to writing good copy. Understand what the potential customer needs/desires/wants and hit them emotionally to get them to take action (i.e. CTA) from your copy (e.g. buy your product, sign up to your email list, follow you on IG, etc.).
     
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