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How the Millionaire Fastlane literally changed my life.

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Flyleaf

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This letter was originally written to MJ directly on Facebook as a private message. I've never been one to really brag about my accomplishments and that isn't my goal here. MJ asked me if I would share this with the Fastlane community as he felt it would encourage other members. I will preface the letter by simply saying this - the book "The Millionaire Fastlane " changed my life. Every part of it. I have given away numerous copies of the book to friends and family because of the profound impact its had on me. I don't consider myself anyone special. I'm not the most brilliant person and I was able to cram 4 years of college into 5. If I can do this, then truly anyone can do this. Have faith, believe in yourself and trust the process. I also have to mention that before I read "The Millionaire Fastlane " I was at a very low point in my life. I was desperate and really did pray to God for an answer to what was wrong with my business. 30 days later I found MJ's book on my Amazon Kindle. I believe God answers prayer and for me this was the answer. Be blessed on your journey....



Hey MJ,

So I didn't necessarily want to post this on the forum, or as a AMA, but wanted to drop you a line to say thanks. I'm currently listening to the audible version of Millionaire Fastlane and have now read it twice. I've given away multiple copies and its always what I recommend as the best business book I've ever read.

2 years ago I read your book for the first time. At the time I ran an online business on eBay that was struggling badly. Things had gone okay for about 4 years and was able to live off of the profits, but things changed and my source of inventory started drying up. I had to go to work for my father and hated every minute of it. I had about $50,000 in credit and car debt and was miserable in the work I was doing. After reading your book though a light bulb went off in my head and I changed the way I was doing my online business. 1 year after implementing changes that you talked about in your book my business started making more money then my job. It's been about a year and a half now since I quit working for my dad and I'm now at home with my kids everyday. I have 6 employees, a programming team, as well as part time workers in India.

This year for 2014 things are heading in the direction of me making $1,200,000 (net profit)- on eBay alone. lol Honestly, I never thought this was possible. To give you an idea, my business taxes owed for 2012 was $6,000. My taxes owed for 2013 that I'm paying now was $110,000. Our little company is still growing but its still hard to believe. I remember years ago that I thought if I could sell 300 products a day that my life would change forever. Well I now average about 1,000 sales a day, with my biggest day coming this last December when on Cyber Monday I sold 2,441 items in a single day.

This past year I paid off the $50,000 in debt that I owed. I was able to take my wife and 2 kids to Disney World twice, Hawaii twice and also to Las Vegas. I personally also traveled to Qatar, London and India. I've sat courtside twice and watched my favorite basketball team (Go Thunder!) and I'm now building my dreamhouse that I plan on paying cash for. Much of the travel was with free airline miles that I get every month because of the volume of orders from my business.

I'm not a millionaire yet, but I am close. What I thought was an impossible goal at one time I am now about to achieve. MJ, in all sincerity, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your book changed my life and the life of my family. When I do hit the million dollar mark it would be my greatest honor to come to Arizona, meet you and buy you a beer to celebrate.

I hope this message finds you well and is a reminder to you of just how much of an impact you have made in the lives of some of your readers.

God bless you my man.

- Ben
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Reading stuff like this literally makes me relive my own experience and gives me chills. Thank you for posting it!

Also, I'd like to mention that YOU changed your life... my book just pointed in a direction and gave some guide markers. Give yourself credit and congratulations. Certainly beats waiting around for the stock market to go up or down.
 

Y.B.

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Great story. Can you specifically share some of the recommendations you implemented to your business from MJ's book?

What's even stranger for me to contemplate is people still use ebay. I haven't used it in years and just assumed it was much less active these days than in previous years.
 

Flyleaf

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Hey Yury,

haha yeah people still use eBay. :) Their fees are somewhat absurd, but you are basically paying for traffic to your items.

For me one of the things in TMF that hit me the hardest was when MJ talks about hitting the ceiling or limits of what you are selling. He gave a couple of examples like owning a hot dog stand outside a hardware store, and realistically how many hot dogs you could sell in a day. For me one of the biggest bottlenecks was the limit of inventory my supplier was capable of providing me. I started asking myself questions like, "What if I wanted to sell 3,000 items in a day?" and realized it wouldn't be possible with my current model. I had to spend time making new connections and new relationships. But where I used to have about 1,000 items listed on eBay I now have about 25,000 items listed.

The other big one was when MJ talks about the Commandment of Control. I realized that I had all of my eggs in one basket. If eBay went down, so did my business. I was a hitchhiker in someone elses car. I had to expand to other channels and branch out into other areas. Now if eBay closed shop tomorrow, it would still suck, but it wouldn't be the end of the world.

The last big one was automation. I used to do everything by hand because I thought I was saving money and who better to do it then myself. Let me tell you, once you invest in programming that can do a lot of tasks for you every day and night you will never go back! I actually found my programming team on freelancer.com. They work out of Columbia but speak great english and are about half the price of what you would pay in the U.S. I can check in with them everyday on Skype on my laptop or phone. It's been a fantastic setup and the amount of time and money it saves you is unreal. Now I think of everything in terms of "could this be automated?" lol
 
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Y.B.

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Thanks for that info. Btw not sure if you are willing to share but do you stock these items in a warehouse and arrange for shipment or is it all dropshipped directly to your customers.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Thanks for that info. Btw not sure if you are willing to share but do you stock these items in a warehouse and arrange for shipment or is it all dropshipped directly to your customers.

If someone is taking time out of their busy day to answer your questions, you should "Like/Thanks" their contribution. Or better, send them rep $. Thank you. :tiphat:
 

Flyleaf

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All of it is now dropshipped. It didn't used to be, which was part of my problem. Prices would fluctuate while I still had 50 pieces of XYZ product still sitting on my shelves and now I would be losing a dollar on each one. I know this model works for some, but for me it didn't. My thought was that if someone else already has a warehouse that the product is sitting at, then what does it matter if its sitting at my place. I made arrangement with some companies to pay extra for the product if they box it and ship it for me. Since they ship all day long anyway most were fine with this. I would print off PDF's of all labels going out that day and load it into a shared Dropbox folder with the company. They print off the PDF, slap it on the box and out it goes to the customer.

For me the beauty of it is that there's virtually no overhead. I don't have to reinvest the profits into more inventory to hold while hoping some overzealous moron on eBay doesn't slash prices so everyone is making 10 cents.

I used to have packing employees, scheduled pickups with UPS, FedEx and USPS, allotted time to drop off international packages at the Post Office (loads of fun), pay for packing supplies, storage for inventory, etc. All of that is gone now. It's a much more efficient system, but it takes some time and patience to set it up right.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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If someone asks him who his suppliers are, or the name of his products, Ill rip your head off. :hungover:
 
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Flyleaf

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If someone asks him who his suppliers are, or the name of his products, Ill rip your head off. :hungover:
LOL! :tiphat:

You just have to ask companies. The worst they can say is no. If you make your case right though you'd be surprised how many will say yes. For example, the first company I ever worked with like this was a company called - evertek.com (its ok I don't use them anymore but it can give you an idea of how this works). We ended up doing so much business with them that they actually began working on a dropshipping model themselves for their company. I just told them I could do a lot more business with them if they would let me buy one piece at a time instead of bulk, and just charge me a bit more then the bulk price. I became one of their biggest clients.

Even if companies don't want to participate in shipping straight to your customers, ask them if they will offer local pickup. Almost everyone will do that. Then just hire a local stay at home mom to drive over pick up your stuff, pack it and have UPS come pick it up. When I first started, this was how I did it. I live in Chicago and Evertek is near San Diego, but I did this for years with 2 different stay at home moms (I got references and background checks for both). It worked beautifully. The amount I saved in shipping the product to myself for storage I turned around and paid them to pickup and pack the packages. Customers got their items faster, I didn't have to hold items, and 2 women got jobs while still staying at home with their kids. I know its a little outside of the norm, but when you're first starting you have to get creative sometimes.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Pay attention folks. Notice how he is solving problems and challenges.

So ... did you start with thousands of dollars? Or was this entirely bootstrapped?
 

Magik

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Flyleaf,

Excellent post! I just posted last week in a thread about how I'm not a fan of drop shipping, but your results have proven my argument weak (when I'm hit with logic in the form of results, I tend to listen).

I do have some questions about drop shipping. I've always had an interest in it and felt that it was a WAY better system than renting warehouse space and having a ton of employees. My issue has always been that by drop shipping, you give up a certain level of control over your customer service. If the drop shipper drops the ball and ships the package late, the customer is mad at you. If the drop shipper ships the wrong product, the customer is mad at you. If the drop shipper doesn't ship the product at all, the customer is REALLY mad at you. The element of control you give up has always seemed risky to me. The other factor is that a lot of drop shippers sell their products at very high prices, to the point where it seems scammy.

-How have you ensured that drop shippers do as they say and don't botch up the consumer experience (and your brand) when it comes to fulfillment? I would personally have some trust issues.
-Are your drop shippers third parties and you buy your goods from someone else, or are you buying your products and drop shipping from the same company (I don't need specific company names, just curious how you coordinate this)?
-From what I can tell, you've arranged the ability to drop ship with companies who didn't currently do it, as opposed to searching for companies that already drop ship. Am I understanding this correctly?

The distaste for warehousing my own products has been the main reason why I have avoided physical goods, but you are making me rethink this, as I see A TON opportunities within the physical products space, but I hate the operational/logistical nightmares that can come along with it.
 
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Flyleaf

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Pay attention folks. Notice how he is solving problems and challenges.

So ... did you start with thousands of dollars? Or was this entirely bootstrapped?
I started small and then focused on growth. My main source of funding was Mastercard with my first order ever being for about $150 of product and it grew from there.

I remember my first month ever finally making some money on eBay (eBay was where I first started). I thought I'd made $500. Then my wife and I started counting up the fees we had to pay and realized that we had just broken even. It was extremely disheartening but we figured we could make it work.

The times I got in trouble was when I tried to do too much too quickly. Usually this was in the form of trying to expand too fast in the form of financing everything on a credit card.

Be real with yourself. If you are only selling 10 products a day to start then work on getting to 20 first before shooting for 100. My biggest problem sometimes was actually optimism. Optimism is great in focusing on the long term but too much of it can lead to stupid decisions. I remember one time importing some digital cameras from China that were 5 Megapixels (great image quality at the time) and paying about $5,000 for about 100 pieces. Even though they were 5 Megapixels the quality ended up being garbage and we had to liquidate them for a loss. It's always better to test a little first. Be patient, make sure its working then invest more. When you find a model that works the growth will happen naturally and quickly, you won't have to force it.
 

Flyleaf

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I'll be happy to come on again later and answer any questions asked. I only hope it helps some of you. Today is my wifes birthday so I have to run out for dinner. Again, the biggest things that helped me in my business were all inside of TMF book. :brb:
 
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Silverhawk851

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This is one of those posts that are Inspiring, life-changing, warming and re-assuring all at the same time.

Huge congrats to @Flyleaf for the success he's worked for, and MJ for having put out so much value to receive letters like this.

Rep++!
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Must be the week of anonymous donors... :D

I'm happy to announce that another anonymous donor has come forward and paid for a 3mo INSIDERS Subscription for @Flyleaf -- congrats! I'm sure I can speak for all of us INSIDERS, I hope we can hear from you more in there. :)
 
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Gale4rc

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Can you give some advice on what you look for in a company when trying to find someone to drop ship for that I assume isn't already drop shipping?
 

Y.B.

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One of the things I never figured out with dropshippers was the problem of having 1 person order multiple items from you which come from different dropshippers. You end up losing a lot of $ on shipping that way. For example a customer buys 3 products but pays 1 shipping cost. If those 3 products are from 3 suppliers, you take a loss.
 
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Flyleaf

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Hey everyone,

Let me make a couple of things clear that I think may not have been in some of my previous posts...

I've been doing e-commerce now for about 9 years. During those 9 years I made a ton of mistakes that I learned from. I was full time selling online for about 5 years until things went south and I went to work for my father for 3 years. During those 3 years I spent all my time off work refining and building up my business. It was during the last year of my job that I read "TMF " and applied its principles to my business. I have now been dong this model for almost 2 years now and the results have been phenomenal because of the principles outlined in the book.

Something else I want to make clear from my first post is this too. I do like to travel and I do like nice things, but there are many things I am holding off on because of still having to ask myself the question - "Can I afford it?" All the flights I take are paid for as I mentioned with airline miles from running inventory through on my business. I got to fly business class to India and back to Chicago with airline miles and it was incredible, but at this point in my life I would never have paid for it outright. Another example would be that my wife and I have just one car between the 2 of us with 115,000 miles on it. Why? Because it works, its paid off and its all we need right now. I personally want to own a Tesla, and even though at this point in my life I could go pay cash for one there are other things that are more important right now. This kind of attitude probably stems from mistakes I made in years earlier. When I was in about $25,000 of credit card debt do you know what I did when I moved back to work for my dad? I financed a $30,000 Infiniti G35. Boy did I feel cool.....for about 3 months. I actually sold it once my business started taking off just because I was so sick of the debt!

My story is that I started off years ago doing just eBay. I originally ordered items straight from manufacturers to my house and then shipped them myself. I continued doing this and reinvesting profits at a rate of growth that seemed too slow for me. Being young and stupid I used credit cards to purchase a bunch of inventory all at once and moved into a small warehouse. This led to a mounting debt and a business that wasn't keeping pace. The main problem being that I was trying to live off the profits when they just weren't enough to sustain me.

In 2007 I hit a wall of credit card debt that I had to deal with. My wife and I went for a long walk and had the idea of "pre-selling" the items from our vendor on eBay. By pre-selling, the plan was we would sell the items on eBay without actually having the inventory. Once the item sold we would turn around to our vendor and order the items we sold that day from them, ship them to our house, and the day we received them we would pack them up that day and ship them to our actual customers. There was about a 2 day lag to get the items to our home but otherwise things moved fast. The amazing part about this was it worked and really opened my eyes to the possibilities with dropshipping. For the next 3 years we did this model of business and averaged making about $50,000 a year. The only thing that changed was during the last year was that we hired stay at home moms in California to pack the items for us instead of shipping them to ourselves. The whole time I wanted to grow more and always tried thinking of new ideas but I had 2 big problems that didn't become apparent until after reading "TMF ". Problem #1 was I was relying on only one vendor for all of my inventory. Problem #2 was I was only selling on eBay with no other websites or channels that I received traffic from. In essence I was hitchhiking and eBay was driving.

Fast forward to April 1st 2010 and eBay announced many changes that had a drastic impact on my business. Faster shipping times for better search placement, lower search placement for longer handling times, etc. Overnight my sales were cut to 1/3 of what they were before. I tried scrambling to come up with a fix but it was too late. All I had was eBay. It wasn't until 3 months later with credit card debt mounting that I admitted defeat. I called my dad and asked if he had any spot in his company I could work in. My wife and I packed up and moved back to Chicago, leaving our friends and my wifes family behind in Tulsa, OK. As much as MJ talks about how much he hates Chicago in his book, I think I hate it more, lol. The next 6 months the vendor we had been using decided to open a retail division to compete with us directly. Our own vendor ran us out of the marketplace because they saw us as a middleman that could be cut. This was a dark point in my life. The next 3 years I worked a job I hated while still trying to think of anything to make work online.

Finally in December of 2011 I read "TMF" while on Christmas vacation. Parts of the book hit me like a sack of bricks and I immediately realized some major gapping holes in what I had been doing. I thought of the idea of using several major retailers to use as our dropshippers, but I knew I would need some automation to make this work profitably since the margins would be low selling retail from one site on another retail site. We spent 10 months working on developing the programming with only test sales so we invested the almost the entire years profits from selling online into programming. We hit a lot of walls with this method, every month it seemed we hit a major issue that seemed like we could not get past, whether it was eBay or our product sources. But I was determined this time and saw the potential, so we all put our brains together and figured out work arounds for the walls we hit.

At the point I'm at now most everything is run with programming except for things like emails and returns. The thing I focus on most now is just growth into new channels and finding new sites for inventory.

Something I should make clear here is that I never go out looking for "dropshipping companies". If a company advertises that they are a dropshipping company then I stay away. Many of them are scammy where they want a big fee up front, or even if they are legitimate then everyone else and their brother is already using them. Where I have found a lot of success has actually been using companies as drop shippers that sometimes don't even realize it. For example, I know of online sellers who use walmart.com as a dropshipper. Crazy? Maybe but I've seen sellers on eBay making $100 a pop on patio furniture doing this very thing. "Won't buyers be pissed though?" I can hear people asking. The sellers feedback doesn't reflect it. Most people are just happy to receive their item. Now most things people only make a couple of bucks on, but it depends on what you are selling. If you are interesting in doing a drop ship model here is where I would recommend that you start - retail arbitrage. Retail arbitrage is simply taking something for sale off of one website and promoting it on another. In my opinion, in this day and age there is really almost no reason to have to stock your own products if you don't want to. Go on any major search engine or shopping comparison site and look up a product. Now go look that product up on eBay. Chances are that had you looked around you could have found the product cheaper somewhere else. If you can exploit this difference in prices from one site to another then that is where money is to be made. You just have to think outside the box.
 

Flyleaf

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Must be the week of anonymous donors... :D

I'm happy to announce that another anonymous donor has come forward and paid for a 3mo INSIDERS Subscription for @Flyleaf -- congrats! I'm sure I can speak for all of us INSIDERS, I hope we can hear from you more in there. :)
haha you guys are incredible. I've snooped these forums for a couple years now but always just read and never posted. thank you, whoever did that. :tiphat:
 
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Gale4rc

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Awesome stuff I read everything. Still a little unclear on how to do this and i'm wondering because I have a small e-commerce operation i'm trying to expand and i'm open to anything.

So if I were to use target.com or walmart and find a good price - Would I basically list that on ebay, then when sold, buy it from target and use the buyers info?
 

Flyleaf

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Awesome stuff I read everything. Still a little unclear on how to do this and i'm wondering because I have a small e-commerce operation i'm trying to expand and i'm open to anything.

So if I were to use target.com or walmart and find a good price - Would I basically list that on ebay, then when sold, buy it from target and use the buyers info?
Sure, that would probably be easiest. If you want to even test it locally to see how it works you could always throw an ad on Craigslist, then just go pick it up locally or have it delivered to your local store. Again the amount of profit won't be astronomical, but if done in volume it can become more. The idea is to test and see what works.
 

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