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MythOfSisyphus

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Great story @MythOfSisyphus, thanks for sharing.

How soon do you think people should make their first sale? How important was that to you in hindsight?
Good question. To be honest I don't even remember exactly when mine was but I think it was within a day or 2 of going live (the first 10 or so were ebay sales and my first website sale took a week or 2 from memory).

I think it's important to get the first sale within a month. Personally I think a bit of doubt would have crept in by that stage and possibly either a loss of momentum or an unnecessary change of direction.

I do remember being pretty excited by the first few sales. It was immediate justification for starting the business and gave me a belief that all I needed to succeed was to keep going and scale it.
 

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p0stscript

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I think it's important to get the first sale within a month. Personally I think a bit of doubt would have crept in by that stage and possibly either a loss of momentum or an unnecessary change of direction.
As someone who has just started I must totally agree with this. My first sale has only just come near the end of my first month and I was definitely having doubts, looking at changing all sorts of things, considering changing direction unnecessarily. It has certainly kept the faltering momentum going.
 

MythOfSisyphus

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Jan 15, 2018
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As someone who has just started I must totally agree with this. My first sale has only just come near the end of my first month and I was definitely having doubts, looking at changing all sorts of things, considering changing direction unnecessarily. It has certainly kept the faltering momentum going.
Congrats and good luck scaling up your success!
 

Ginto

New Contributor
Aug 5, 2016
9
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Next I started to talking to suppliers on Alibaba, looking at ebay and shopify fees, postage rates etc to work out the margins involved. I figured most products (there's a huge number in this niche & we currently have over 500 SKUs) would cost about $4 to produce and ship here, another $2.50 in shipping (I initially ate the shipping fees so we could offer free shipping on ebay) and then another $2 or so in fees. These products retailed for around $17 so we would profit around $8 on each sale. Given that beauticians in this niche regularly order anywhere from 1 to 10 of these in each order (these days we have customers who order 100 at a time) there seemed to be some good money to be made.

This is where I am stuck right now. I've been reselling for over 10 years on ebay. I made some decent money but the supply is never consistent.

When you $4 to produce and ship here, do you mean you had to find a supplier to manufacture a unique product or atleast label their products with your own branding? Thanks
 

Qkimhock

New Contributor
Jun 3, 2015
3
1
23
29
My Story

I’m 38 years old, married, 2 kids and have been driving in the fast lane for about 2-3 years (for the previous 4 or 5 I dicked around in the slow lane while admiring the fastlaners going by).

Despite first reading the millionaire Fastlane a few years ago, it kind of got mentally lost in a sea of self help and wealth books I was tearing through at the time. I recently rediscovered the audio version 2 weeks ago and listened to it twice through (now almost through unscripted as well).

On the first re-listen I realised that at least some of the lessons from my first read through must have sunk in because I’d applied so many of them to my business without even consciously thinking about them.

I first became interested in entrepreneurship around 7 or 8 years ago after following some bro marketing courses for the Amazon Affiliate program. I didn’t make much money (although I still cash amazon checks today) but I learned how to build websites, do SEO, copywriting and quite a few other skills that I fully utilize in my business today.

Despite seeing a little success with the program (I had a lot of failures over those few years too) my desire wasn’t strong enough and neither was my self belief. I chased after various shiny things in the marketing world, life got in the way and I was sidetracked for a few years. I always intended to start a proper side business but then would always find excuses to put it off.

Fast forward to around 3 years ago and my wife, who is a beautician by trade suggested that I should look into importing and selling some of the products she regularly buys for her salon. Not exactly the business I dreamed of owning but I thought f*ck it, why not at least look into it. I also soon realised that as MJ points out, you don’t have to be passionate about the niche or even know much about it to be passionate and obsessive about building a business around it.

So I started looking around at what was selling on ebay and the websites that showed up when I entered search terms for these products. I discovered that there were quite a few sellers who were making sales despite some poor quality pictures, poor descriptions with no copywriting skills. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was a great niche. The barriers to entry were high (knowledge of these specific beauty products) so it kept away professional marketers and was mostly dominated by beauticians who decided to sell a few things part time, with the exception of some of the more professional websites at the top of the search rankings. The niche also impacts millions as it involves selling to beauticians and beauty salons who in turn have hundreds to thousands of customers themselves. I knew then that I could at least start out making some money on ebay.

Next I started to talking to suppliers on Alibaba, looking at ebay and shopify fees, postage rates etc to work out the margins involved. I figured most products (there's a huge number in this niche & we currently have over 500 SKUs) would cost about $4 to produce and ship here, another $2.50 in shipping (I initially ate the shipping fees so we could offer free shipping on ebay) and then another $2 or so in fees. These products retailed for around $17 so we would profit around $8 on each sale. Given that beauticians in this niche regularly order anywhere from 1 to 10 of these in each order (these days we have customers who order 100 at a time) there seemed to be some good money to be made.

Despite my research showing promise I was still extremely doubtful and nervous about starting this venture but also extremely excited so I ploughed ahead. I was working full time in a decent but slowly soul devouring IT position so I used my nights, mornings and break times to obsessively go through shipping options, packaging options, website hosting options (I went with shopify) etc etc.

My wife tested the products and we initially found 2 suppliers to purchase from. I put a full 3k into our first batch of stock and got to work setting up the website, mailing responder etc and coming up with the business name, logo, colour scheme etc. I found a short memorable business name where the .com was available and paid an online company 37 dollars to come up with a logo (in hindsight I wish I’d paid more and got a better quality design but the one we have isn’t too bad)

With the products in hand I set out to photograph them as professionally as I could by myself (I researched this for days and the results were very good). I also spent a long time on copywriting, keyword research and SEO so that I could hit the ground running.

A week or 2 before launch I was fired from my IT job of 10 years. And while not a surprise as the company was downsizing it was still a bit of a shock to the system. I did end up getting a pretty good payout however that I figured would last me at least 6 months while I got this business off the ground

While this was a very tense time it was a blessing in disguise. Losing my job gave me both the time and the added motivation to get this sh*t working. Otherwise it was most likely back to a worse paying even more soul crushing IT job than the last one and worst of all back to life in the slow lane.

I got to work and my initial strategy was to beat all the competing ebay sellers in this niche on price, quality, copywriting, service and basically everything I found I could do better. I would then filter the buyers over from ebay and get them buying direct from my website where the margins are better for me by using discount offers. Being business 2 business this niche works on repeat sales so I decided my customer service would involve doing everything I could to keep the customers happy and coming back. To this day we give no hassle refunds and exchanges etc and bend over backwards for our repeat buyers.

Within a few days of launching I’d made a few sales and it was an awesome feeling. While looking back now there were many things I’d do differently in the beginning, those few sales represented validation of my decisions and gave me huge confidence going forward. Over the next few months sales gradually increased to the point where I was profiting a few hundred each week (not even a quarter of what I made at my 9-5 but it was a start).

I worked my a$$ off in those first few months, obsessing over SEO and expanding our product range and in the coming months it paid off. My knowledge of SEO catapulted the website to the top of google for quite a few competitive keywords and traffic increased. Within 11 months from start I was making more than I made in my old IT job and felt amazing.

I remember being at the beach with my family lying on the sand watching my son play while in the background my phone dinged a chime sound every few minutes for a new sale. Oddly enough only 4 or 5 years before that I remember being on the same beach reading ‘Think & Grow Rich’ by Napolean Hill and dreaming about such a day.

Fast forward to today (business has been going for 2 and half years) and profits have skyrocketed to almost 7 times what I made in my old day job. I’m making more money each week than I ever would have dreamed despite now working only 30 hours a week (I have worked a lot more than this at times over the past 2 years however).

The business outgrew the small home office it started in and I now operate from a large office and storage facility I had built in our backyard and am about to hire my first employee to handle the packing and shipping.

While I’m extremely happy and grateful with my current situation, my latest listen of the millionaire Fastlane has lit a fire in me. I now want to shoot for “great money” instead of just “good money” and so I’ve set some lofty goals for this year and a solid plan to reach them.

Anyway. I apologise for the long, unedited rant but after anonymously stalking this forum for a couple of weeks I thought posting up my story might help to inspire some of you who are in the first stages of starting your journey.
Thank you for sharing your success !

May I ask on what is your approach towards doing Seo or what kind of resources are you utlizing to get your site ranked for those keywords ?

As in all whitehat stuffs regarding your Seo approaches?

Looking forward hearing from you and kudos to your success again !

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk
 

MythOfSisyphus

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jan 15, 2018
201
984
331
40
Australia
Thank you for sharing your success !

May I ask on what is your approach towards doing Seo or what kind of resources are you utlizing to get your site ranked for those keywords ?

As in all whitehat stuffs regarding your Seo approaches?

Looking forward hearing from you and kudos to your success again !

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk
Sure. I spend time researching which keywords buyers are likely to use when looking for our products and then prioritise them based on search volume. I try to use the best ones or a combination of them in page headers.

I first write my copy in a way that sounds natural and then I go back to see where I can fit keywords in. I make sure all the image names have proper descriptions and also apply alt tags with the appropriate keywords.

I also make sure that my images are below 100kb in size to keep all my pages loading fast as Google is big on page speeds.

I don't have a blog, which seems to be all the rage for Ecommerce stores these days but do have a large FAQ section.

I don't so guest blogging or any link building at all. In the beginning just after launch I did spend time adding the website to various directories for businesses.

My advice is to keep it white hat as google will always catch on to the new scam eventually and focus most of your time on getting all the on page stuff right.
 

Gracious

New Contributor
May 20, 2018
4
1
13

Very inspirational story @MythOfSisyphus.
Thank you for posting such detailed account of your experience.
I respect you very much for your incredible hard work and doing a niche which is not very popular to most men. It shows that every thing is possible if you put your heart on it. I am curious to see your website which I'm sure will inspire me and fastlane members more. Hope you don't mind.
Thanks beforehand.
 

Victor Cezar

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 29, 2018
58
100
131
Brazil
Wh
My Story

I’m 38 years old, married, 2 kids and have been driving in the fast lane for about 2-3 years (for the previous 4 or 5 I dicked around in the slow lane while admiring the fastlaners going by).

Despite first reading the millionaire Fastlane a few years ago, it kind of got mentally lost in a sea of self help and wealth books I was tearing through at the time. I recently rediscovered the audio version 2 weeks ago and listened to it twice through (now almost through unscripted as well).

On the first re-listen I realised that at least some of the lessons from my first read through must have sunk in because I’d applied so many of them to my business without even consciously thinking about them.

I first became interested in entrepreneurship around 7 or 8 years ago after following some bro marketing courses for the Amazon Affiliate program. I didn’t make much money (although I still cash amazon checks today) but I learned how to build websites, do SEO, copywriting and quite a few other skills that I fully utilize in my business today.

Despite seeing a little success with the program (I had a lot of failures over those few years too) my desire wasn’t strong enough and neither was my self belief. I chased after various shiny things in the marketing world, life got in the way and I was sidetracked for a few years. I always intended to start a proper side business but then would always find excuses to put it off.

Fast forward to around 3 years ago and my wife, who is a beautician by trade suggested that I should look into importing and selling some of the products she regularly buys for her salon. Not exactly the business I dreamed of owning but I thought f*ck it, why not at least look into it. I also soon realised that as MJ points out, you don’t have to be passionate about the niche or even know much about it to be passionate and obsessive about building a business around it.

So I started looking around at what was selling on ebay and the websites that showed up when I entered search terms for these products. I discovered that there were quite a few sellers who were making sales despite some poor quality pictures, poor descriptions with no copywriting skills. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was a great niche. The barriers to entry were high (knowledge of these specific beauty products) so it kept away professional marketers and was mostly dominated by beauticians who decided to sell a few things part time, with the exception of some of the more professional websites at the top of the search rankings. The niche also impacts millions as it involves selling to beauticians and beauty salons who in turn have hundreds to thousands of customers themselves. I knew then that I could at least start out making some money on ebay.

Next I started to talking to suppliers on Alibaba, looking at ebay and shopify fees, postage rates etc to work out the margins involved. I figured most products (there's a huge number in this niche & we currently have over 500 SKUs) would cost about $4 to produce and ship here, another $2.50 in shipping (I initially ate the shipping fees so we could offer free shipping on ebay) and then another $2 or so in fees. These products retailed for around $17 so we would profit around $8 on each sale. Given that beauticians in this niche regularly order anywhere from 1 to 10 of these in each order (these days we have customers who order 100 at a time) there seemed to be some good money to be made.

Despite my research showing promise I was still extremely doubtful and nervous about starting this venture but also extremely excited so I ploughed ahead. I was working full time in a decent but slowly soul devouring IT position so I used my nights, mornings and break times to obsessively go through shipping options, packaging options, website hosting options (I went with shopify) etc etc.

My wife tested the products and we initially found 2 suppliers to purchase from. I put a full 3k into our first batch of stock and got to work setting up the website, mailing responder etc and coming up with the business name, logo, colour scheme etc. I found a short memorable business name where the .com was available and paid an online company 37 dollars to come up with a logo (in hindsight I wish I’d paid more and got a better quality design but the one we have isn’t too bad)

With the products in hand I set out to photograph them as professionally as I could by myself (I researched this for days and the results were very good). I also spent a long time on copywriting, keyword research and SEO so that I could hit the ground running.

A week or 2 before launch I was fired from my IT job of 10 years. And while not a surprise as the company was downsizing it was still a bit of a shock to the system. I did end up getting a pretty good payout however that I figured would last me at least 6 months while I got this business off the ground

While this was a very tense time it was a blessing in disguise. Losing my job gave me both the time and the added motivation to get this sh*t working. Otherwise it was most likely back to a worse paying even more soul crushing IT job than the last one and worst of all back to life in the slow lane.

I got to work and my initial strategy was to beat all the competing ebay sellers in this niche on price, quality, copywriting, service and basically everything I found I could do better. I would then filter the buyers over from ebay and get them buying direct from my website where the margins are better for me by using discount offers. Being business 2 business this niche works on repeat sales so I decided my customer service would involve doing everything I could to keep the customers happy and coming back. To this day we give no hassle refunds and exchanges etc and bend over backwards for our repeat buyers.

Within a few days of launching I’d made a few sales and it was an awesome feeling. While looking back now there were many things I’d do differently in the beginning, those few sales represented validation of my decisions and gave me huge confidence going forward. Over the next few months sales gradually increased to the point where I was profiting a few hundred each week (not even a quarter of what I made at my 9-5 but it was a start).

I worked my a$$ off in those first few months, obsessing over SEO and expanding our product range and in the coming months it paid off. My knowledge of SEO catapulted the website to the top of google for quite a few competitive keywords and traffic increased. Within 11 months from start I was making more than I made in my old IT job and felt amazing.

I remember being at the beach with my family lying on the sand watching my son play while in the background my phone dinged a chime sound every few minutes for a new sale. Oddly enough only 4 or 5 years before that I remember being on the same beach reading ‘Think & Grow Rich’ by Napolean Hill and dreaming about such a day.

Fast forward to today (business has been going for 2 and half years) and profits have skyrocketed to almost 7 times what I made in my old day job. I’m making more money each week than I ever would have dreamed despite now working only 30 hours a week (I have worked a lot more than this at times over the past 2 years however).

The business outgrew the small home office it started in and I now operate from a large office and storage facility I had built in our backyard and am about to hire my first employee to handle the packing and shipping.

While I’m extremely happy and grateful with my current situation, my latest listen of the millionaire Fastlane has lit a fire in me. I now want to shoot for “great money” instead of just “good money” and so I’ve set some lofty goals for this year and a solid plan to reach them.

Anyway. I apologise for the long, unedited rant but after anonymously stalking this forum for a couple of weeks I thought posting up my story might help to inspire some of you who are in the first stages of starting your journey.


What are the top 5 books about SEO that you already read?
 

MythOfSisyphus

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jan 15, 2018
201
984
331
40
Australia
Wh



What are the top 5 books about SEO that you already read?
I actually wouldn't have read a single one. There were a few short ebooks I may have read a long time ago, but everything I know about SEO is readily available all over the internet. Sites like SEOMOZ are great resources for information but really it's just a matter of learning the basics and applying them a few times.

I don't do anything special... Research your keywords well and use them well, build a fast, easy to navigate site that keeps your customers engaged.
 
Last edited:

100k

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Oct 20, 2012
1,383
1,953
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...every time I wake up and find I've made more money in 1 night while I was sleeping than I ever did working a whole week in the slowlane :D

Happy for ya bro. Keep scaling!!! TO THE MOON!!!!!

 

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Last edited:

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
30,818
113,643
3,751
Fountain Hills, AZ
I often think back to when I first heard the statistics about how happiness only increases so much beyond a certain income level. I used to think that it must be true, but now it doesn't add up with my own experience.

You mean you now realize that the idiots who preach "money doesn't buy happiness" are full of shit?

I think it's probably more to do with the fact that most of the people earning the large incomes were either still wage slaves, or weren't actively creating something.

Bingo. They don't have freedom, they usually lost autonomy, and many times, they don't feel like they have a meaning. Without that, money is only a bandaid that works on the weekend.

1. I wish I'd spent more money on having a great logo designed.

Wow, thought I'd never hear that!

For instance... I outgrew the spare room the business was running from after about a year and built a new office attached to a shed in our backyard (yes, I run this thing from my backyard) and I outgrew the new office in about 6 months. I've just had the shed converted into a storage facility and predict the business will outgrow that withing a year.

Very exciting.

What are the top 5 books about SEO that you already read?

There are RARELY books with respect to internet technology that are worth anything. Because the mediums and strategies change so quickly, by the time they get to a book, the strategy is outdated, or doesn't work.

The only reliable source is recent information posted on the internet.

Thread upgraded to NOTABLE.
 

KeepGoin

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Mar 17, 2016
88
121
134
32
I'd imagine you are shipping to the states as well? Do customers mind the shipping times?
 

MythOfSisyphus

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jan 15, 2018
201
984
331
40
Australia
I'd imagine you are shipping to the states as well? Do customers mind the shipping times?
We don't do a lot of sales internationally at this point. To the US probably 1 sale a week and yes, I find we get a lot of people asking why their order is taking so long.

I've been toying with the idea of opening up a distribution centre in the US or possibly finding a distribution company to send our products. It's little more than a fantasy at the moment though.
 

James90

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Jul 2, 2019
42
48
110
Hawaii
My Story

I’m 38 years old, married, 2 kids and have been driving in the fast lane for about 2-3 years (for the previous 4 or 5 I dicked around in the slow lane while admiring the fastlaners going by).

Despite first reading the millionaire Fastlane a few years ago, it kind of got mentally lost in a sea of self help and wealth books I was tearing through at the time. I recently rediscovered the audio version 2 weeks ago and listened to it twice through (now almost through unscripted as well).

On the first re-listen I realised that at least some of the lessons from my first read through must have sunk in because I’d applied so many of them to my business without even consciously thinking about them.

I first became interested in entrepreneurship around 7 or 8 years ago after following some bro marketing courses for the Amazon Affiliate program. I didn’t make much money (although I still cash amazon checks today) but I learned how to build websites, do SEO, copywriting and quite a few other skills that I fully utilize in my business today.

Despite seeing a little success with the program (I had a lot of failures over those few years too) my desire wasn’t strong enough and neither was my self belief. I chased after various shiny things in the marketing world, life got in the way and I was sidetracked for a few years. I always intended to start a proper side business but then would always find excuses to put it off.

Fast forward to around 3 years ago and my wife, who is a beautician by trade suggested that I should look into importing and selling some of the products she regularly buys for her salon. Not exactly the business I dreamed of owning but I thought F*ck it, why not at least look into it. I also soon realised that as MJ points out, you don’t have to be passionate about the niche or even know much about it to be passionate and obsessive about building a business around it.

So I started looking around at what was selling on ebay and the websites that showed up when I entered search terms for these products. I discovered that there were quite a few sellers who were making sales despite some poor quality pictures, poor descriptions with no copywriting skills. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was a great niche. The barriers to entry were high (knowledge of these specific beauty products) so it kept away professional marketers and was mostly dominated by beauticians who decided to sell a few things part time, with the exception of some of the more professional websites at the top of the search rankings. The niche also impacts millions as it involves selling to beauticians and beauty salons who in turn have hundreds to thousands of customers themselves. I knew then that I could at least start out making some money on ebay.

Next I started to talking to suppliers on Alibaba, looking at ebay and shopify fees, postage rates etc to work out the margins involved. I figured most products (there's a huge number in this niche & we currently have over 500 SKUs) would cost about $4 to produce and ship here, another $2.50 in shipping (I initially ate the shipping fees so we could offer free shipping on ebay) and then another $2 or so in fees. These products retailed for around $17 so we would profit around $8 on each sale. Given that beauticians in this niche regularly order anywhere from 1 to 10 of these in each order (these days we have customers who order 100 at a time) there seemed to be some good money to be made.

Despite my research showing promise I was still extremely doubtful and nervous about starting this venture but also extremely excited so I ploughed ahead. I was working full time in a decent but slowly soul devouring IT position so I used my nights, mornings and break times to obsessively go through shipping options, packaging options, website hosting options (I went with shopify) etc etc.

My wife tested the products and we initially found 2 suppliers to purchase from. I put a full 3k into our first batch of stock and got to work setting up the website, mailing responder etc and coming up with the business name, logo, colour scheme etc. I found a short memorable business name where the .com was available and paid an online company 37 dollars to come up with a logo (in hindsight I wish I’d paid more and got a better quality design but the one we have isn’t too bad)

With the products in hand I set out to photograph them as professionally as I could by myself (I researched this for days and the results were very good). I also spent a long time on copywriting, keyword research and SEO so that I could hit the ground running.

A week or 2 before launch I was fired from my IT job of 10 years. And while not a surprise as the company was downsizing it was still a bit of a shock to the system. I did end up getting a pretty good payout however that I figured would last me at least 6 months while I got this business off the ground

While this was a very tense time it was a blessing in disguise. Losing my job gave me both the time and the added motivation to get this shit working. Otherwise it was most likely back to a worse paying even more soul crushing IT job than the last one and worst of all back to life in the slow lane.

I got to work and my initial strategy was to beat all the competing ebay sellers in this niche on price, quality, copywriting, service and basically everything I found I could do better. I would then filter the buyers over from ebay and get them buying direct from my website where the margins are better for me by using discount offers. Being business 2 business this niche works on repeat sales so I decided my customer service would involve doing everything I could to keep the customers happy and coming back. To this day we give no hassle refunds and exchanges etc and bend over backwards for our repeat buyers.

Within a few days of launching I’d made a few sales and it was an awesome feeling. While looking back now there were many things I’d do differently in the beginning, those few sales represented validation of my decisions and gave me huge confidence going forward. Over the next few months sales gradually increased to the point where I was profiting a few hundred each week (not even a quarter of what I made at my 9-5 but it was a start).

I worked my a$$ off in those first few months, obsessing over SEO and expanding our product range and in the coming months it paid off. My knowledge of SEO catapulted the website to the top of google for quite a few competitive keywords and traffic increased. Within 11 months from start I was making more than I made in my old IT job and felt amazing.

I remember being at the beach with my family lying on the sand watching my son play while in the background my phone dinged a chime sound every few minutes for a new sale. Oddly enough only 4 or 5 years before that I remember being on the same beach reading ‘Think & Grow Rich’ by Napolean Hill and dreaming about such a day.

Fast forward to today (business has been going for 2 and half years) and profits have skyrocketed to almost 7 times what I made in my old day job. I’m making more money each week than I ever would have dreamed despite now working only 30 hours a week (I have worked a lot more than this at times over the past 2 years however).

The business outgrew the small home office it started in and I now operate from a large office and storage facility I had built in our backyard and am about to hire my first employee to handle the packing and shipping.

While I’m extremely happy and grateful with my current situation, my latest listen of the millionaire Fastlane has lit a fire in me. I now want to shoot for “great money” instead of just “good money” and so I’ve set some lofty goals for this year and a solid plan to reach them.

Anyway. I apologise for the long, unedited rant but after anonymously stalking this forum for a couple of weeks I thought posting up my story might help to inspire some of you who are in the first stages of starting your journey.


Very interesting story! Not sure if this is part of your niche, but my girlfriend has been looking at importing wigs that derive from "virgin" hair. From a brief look at what she showed me, the margins and quality were very healthy if you source them from Vietnam and India. As a guy, I was blown away by how much quality wigs were worth on the consumer market.:wideyed:

I wonder if you have any insights on that?
 

TimC

Contributor
Oct 5, 2019
23
21
14
My Story

I’m 38 years old, married, 2 kids and have been driving in the fast lane for about 2-3 years (for the previous 4 or 5 I dicked around in the slow lane while admiring the fastlaners going by).

Despite first reading the millionaire Fastlane a few years ago, it kind of got mentally lost in a sea of self help and wealth books I was tearing through at the time. I recently rediscovered the audio version 2 weeks ago and listened to it twice through (now almost through unscripted as well).

On the first re-listen I realised that at least some of the lessons from my first read through must have sunk in because I’d applied so many of them to my business without even consciously thinking about them.

I first became interested in entrepreneurship around 7 or 8 years ago after following some bro marketing courses for the Amazon Affiliate program. I didn’t make much money (although I still cash amazon checks today) but I learned how to build websites, do SEO, copywriting and quite a few other skills that I fully utilize in my business today.

Despite seeing a little success with the program (I had a lot of failures over those few years too) my desire wasn’t strong enough and neither was my self belief. I chased after various shiny things in the marketing world, life got in the way and I was sidetracked for a few years. I always intended to start a proper side business but then would always find excuses to put it off.

Fast forward to around 3 years ago and my wife, who is a beautician by trade suggested that I should look into importing and selling some of the products she regularly buys for her salon. Not exactly the business I dreamed of owning but I thought F*ck it, why not at least look into it. I also soon realised that as MJ points out, you don’t have to be passionate about the niche or even know much about it to be passionate and obsessive about building a business around it.

So I started looking around at what was selling on ebay and the websites that showed up when I entered search terms for these products. I discovered that there were quite a few sellers who were making sales despite some poor quality pictures, poor descriptions with no copywriting skills. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was a great niche. The barriers to entry were high (knowledge of these specific beauty products) so it kept away professional marketers and was mostly dominated by beauticians who decided to sell a few things part time, with the exception of some of the more professional websites at the top of the search rankings. The niche also impacts millions as it involves selling to beauticians and beauty salons who in turn have hundreds to thousands of customers themselves. I knew then that I could at least start out making some money on ebay.

Next I started to talking to suppliers on Alibaba, looking at ebay and shopify fees, postage rates etc to work out the margins involved. I figured most products (there's a huge number in this niche & we currently have over 500 SKUs) would cost about $4 to produce and ship here, another $2.50 in shipping (I initially ate the shipping fees so we could offer free shipping on ebay) and then another $2 or so in fees. These products retailed for around $17 so we would profit around $8 on each sale. Given that beauticians in this niche regularly order anywhere from 1 to 10 of these in each order (these days we have customers who order 100 at a time) there seemed to be some good money to be made.

Despite my research showing promise I was still extremely doubtful and nervous about starting this venture but also extremely excited so I ploughed ahead. I was working full time in a decent but slowly soul devouring IT position so I used my nights, mornings and break times to obsessively go through shipping options, packaging options, website hosting options (I went with shopify) etc etc.

My wife tested the products and we initially found 2 suppliers to purchase from. I put a full 3k into our first batch of stock and got to work setting up the website, mailing responder etc and coming up with the business name, logo, colour scheme etc. I found a short memorable business name where the .com was available and paid an online company 37 dollars to come up with a logo (in hindsight I wish I’d paid more and got a better quality design but the one we have isn’t too bad)

With the products in hand I set out to photograph them as professionally as I could by myself (I researched this for days and the results were very good). I also spent a long time on copywriting, keyword research and SEO so that I could hit the ground running.

A week or 2 before launch I was fired from my IT job of 10 years. And while not a surprise as the company was downsizing it was still a bit of a shock to the system. I did end up getting a pretty good payout however that I figured would last me at least 6 months while I got this business off the ground

While this was a very tense time it was a blessing in disguise. Losing my job gave me both the time and the added motivation to get this shit working. Otherwise it was most likely back to a worse paying even more soul crushing IT job than the last one and worst of all back to life in the slow lane.

I got to work and my initial strategy was to beat all the competing ebay sellers in this niche on price, quality, copywriting, service and basically everything I found I could do better. I would then filter the buyers over from ebay and get them buying direct from my website where the margins are better for me by using discount offers. Being business 2 business this niche works on repeat sales so I decided my customer service would involve doing everything I could to keep the customers happy and coming back. To this day we give no hassle refunds and exchanges etc and bend over backwards for our repeat buyers.

Within a few days of launching I’d made a few sales and it was an awesome feeling. While looking back now there were many things I’d do differently in the beginning, those few sales represented validation of my decisions and gave me huge confidence going forward. Over the next few months sales gradually increased to the point where I was profiting a few hundred each week (not even a quarter of what I made at my 9-5 but it was a start).

I worked my a$$ off in those first few months, obsessing over SEO and expanding our product range and in the coming months it paid off. My knowledge of SEO catapulted the website to the top of google for quite a few competitive keywords and traffic increased. Within 11 months from start I was making more than I made in my old IT job and felt amazing.

I remember being at the beach with my family lying on the sand watching my son play while in the background my phone dinged a chime sound every few minutes for a new sale. Oddly enough only 4 or 5 years before that I remember being on the same beach reading ‘Think & Grow Rich’ by Napolean Hill and dreaming about such a day.

Fast forward to today (business has been going for 2 and half years) and profits have skyrocketed to almost 7 times what I made in my old day job. I’m making more money each week than I ever would have dreamed despite now working only 30 hours a week (I have worked a lot more than this at times over the past 2 years however).

The business outgrew the small home office it started in and I now operate from a large office and storage facility I had built in our backyard and am about to hire my first employee to handle the packing and shipping.

While I’m extremely happy and grateful with my current situation, my latest listen of the millionaire Fastlane has lit a fire in me. I now want to shoot for “great money” instead of just “good money” and so I’ve set some lofty goals for this year and a solid plan to reach them.

Anyway. I apologise for the long, unedited rant but after anonymously stalking this forum for a couple of weeks I thought posting up my story might help to inspire some of you who are in the first stages of starting your journey.


Thanks for this story it has really inspired me , I recently joined this forum, and my wife is a home hair stylist and I have been thinking of ways to scale her business without having her work more hours . I did mention to her we need to sell more product but I am now going to look into where she is getting her supply now and takes things from there. Thanks again!
 

Walter Hay

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Very interesting story! Not sure if this is part of your niche, but my girlfriend has been looking at importing wigs that derive from "virgin" hair. From a brief look at what she showed me, the margins and quality were very healthy if you source them from Vietnam and India. As a guy, I was blown away by how much quality wigs were worth on the consumer market.:wideyed:

I wonder if you have any insights on that?
Be very, very, cautious about importing and selling any products made of virgin hair. I have helped quite a few people who have wanted to start such a business, and a common story is that you don't always get what has been described.

A sample might be great, but once you start ordering more, the quality is not there. This can happen with any product, but hair seems to attract a disproportionate number of scammers.

I know of one lady who has built a very successful business importing wigs and hair extensions, so it can be done. She took my advice to proceed with caution, in effect suspecting that all suppliers she was dealing with were not genuine.

Walter
 

Walter Hay

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@MythOfSisyphus

I am very late to the party but only found your thread after another member drew it to my attention.

Your story made me think of a husband and wife hairdressing team that my wife and I regularly visited in Australia. He was a real go-getter, always looking for a way to increase his income.

Seeing all the beauty products he used, and being the owner of an industrial chemical business I suggested that he should capitalize on his great reputation by producing his own brand products, which he did with enormous success.

He has long since retired and returned to Italy, where he lives in considerable comfort.

The main purpose of my post is to make to you the same suggestion I made to him. Have the products made for you and packaged under your brand. I might even be able to remember a toll manufacturer that I recommended to him.

Australian made sells well in Australia, but also, as I found with industrial chemicals, MADE IN AUSTRALIA opens a lot of doors in the USA. I exported to countries all over the Asia/Pacific including the USA, but also had customers come to me from as far afield as the Nordic countries.

Industrial chemicals are totally different to beauty products, but the principles can be applied to both. I too built a brand.

Walter
 

MythOfSisyphus

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Very interesting story! Not sure if this is part of your niche, but my girlfriend has been looking at importing wigs that derive from "virgin" hair. From a brief look at what she showed me, the margins and quality were very healthy if you source them from Vietnam and India. As a guy, I was blown away by how much quality wigs were worth on the consumer market.:wideyed:

I wonder if you have any insights on that?

It's not part of my niche but is related and a lot of the suppliers we deal with also sell these products.

As long as the quality of product is good I think it could be an excellent venture. There does seem to be a lot of competition and I think the upfront costs of trying to compete directly would be quite high as the main players seem to have huge amounts of stock (barrier to entry) and quality images featuring models for each wig.

My suggestion would be to start out specialising in a very small sub-niche (branding the business in such a way that you're not completely pigeon-holed into that sub-niche) and expand from there. You could do some keyword research for ideas on popularly searched for sub-niches, for example - straight bob virgin wigs and target keywords related to that.

As far as sourcing the products go... I echo Walter Hays advice in exercising caution, however if you spend some time finding a reputable supplier on somewhere like Alibaba then you're off to a good start. Try to avoid trading companies (smaller companies who sell all sorts of related products brought in bulk from actual manufacturers) and deal direct with manufacturers then you should reduce the risk of quality issues.

I've had some unreliable and unprofessional suppliers on alibaba but in 4 years have never been ripped off or scammed.
 

MythOfSisyphus

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@MythOfSisyphus

I am very late to the party but only found your thread after another member drew it to my attention.

Your story made me think of a husband and wife hairdressing team that my wife and I regularly visited in Australia. He was a real go-getter, always looking for a way to increase his income.

Seeing all the beauty products he used, and being the owner of an industrial chemical business I suggested that he should capitalize on his great reputation by producing his own brand products, which he did with enormous success.

He has long since retired and returned to Italy, where he lives in considerable comfort.

The main purpose of my post is to make to you the same suggestion I made to him. Have the products made for you and packaged under your brand. I might even be able to remember a toll manufacturer that I recommended to him.

Australian made sells well in Australia, but also, as I found with industrial chemicals, MADE IN AUSTRALIA opens a lot of doors in the USA. I exported to countries all over the Asia/Pacific including the USA, but also had customers come to me from as far afield as the Nordic countries.

Industrial chemicals are totally different to beauty products, but the principles can be applied to both. I too built a brand.

Walter

Hi Walter,

We do actually have quite a few products produced now with our branding although all are actually made overseas (China, Korea & UK)

It would be great to have them produced in Australia, however I'm not sure if we'd still be able to compete with the costs of producing here.
 

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Hi @MythOfSisyphus

Fantastic story, thanks for sharing. Coupled with my first cup of coffee this morning it was a one-two punch of inspiration! How is the business these days, what new challenges are you working on?

Also had a few more tactical questions:
  • For someone just starting out, would you recommend using a platform like eBay to validate the market and start the flywheel (or replace "ebay" with amazon, etc)? Or just make your own site? Or both?
  • Can you give any best practice tips for finding a niche? I see from your own chosen area that you have a couple things going for you: Good ROI %, small items that aren't heavy to ship... etc, do these make up a greater list of criteria that you used? (I did see your point about finding something that isn't marketed well, point taken there, just wondering if you had more considerations).
  • When you started up, did you ignore the big players or just not find any? If the former, what was it that convinced you that you could beat them at their own game? (i.e. how did you stay confident knowing they were around?)
Thanks!!
 

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MythOfSisyphus

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Hi @MythOfSisyphus

Fantastic story, thanks for sharing. Coupled with my first cup of coffee this morning it was a one-two punch of inspiration! How is the business these days, what new challenges are you working on?

Thanks. I update it very rarely these days but I have a progress thread here...


Also had a few more tactical questions:
  • For someone just starting out, would you recommend using a platform like eBay to validate the market and start the flywheel (or replace "ebay" with amazon, etc)? Or just make your own site? Or both?
  • Can you give any best practice tips for finding a niche? I see from your own chosen area that you have a couple things going for you: Good ROI %, small items that aren't heavy to ship... etc, do these make up a greater list of criteria that you used? (I did see your point about finding something that isn't marketed well, point taken there, just wondering if you had more considerations).
  • When you started up, did you ignore the big players or just not find any? If the former, what was it that convinced you that you could beat them at their own game? (i.e. how did you stay confident knowing they were around?)
Thanks!!

1) I don't think there's anything wrong at all validating on a 3rd party platform like ebay or amazon. It's a cost effective way of testing the market. If you're not selling something completely original however, you can simply gauge the market by whether or not other people already making money from inferior products or services in your niche.

I did both ebay and the website in the beginning, however that was mainly because of the nature of the niche we were in meant I'd already committed 4k to stock to start with so the additional cost of the website wasn't that much.

2) To be honest I didn't have a comprehensive list in the beginning, however I had started quite a few affiliate websites previously and had an inkling of what makes a good niche to go into.

I think one of the main ones is the commandment of entry... Find something that prevents others, but enables you to compete in that niche. Anyone can order a bunch of usb cables from alibaba and flog them on ebay for a small margin, but not everyone has the knowledge to sell homebrewing equipment or a book on cross-fit for people over 40. You'll find that most niches with low barriers to entry are dominated by expert marketers or people willing to make tiny margins on their products. If you find a niche with a higher barrier for entry however you'll be far more likely to find businesses that you can overtake or at least compete with. And it doesn't necessarily have to be something you're an expert in. It could simply be something obscure enough of boring enough that others don't think about it.

3)To be honest, in the beginning I didn't even think of ever competing with the big players in our niche. I just knew that I could compete with the other smaller players which we did. I stayed confident by watching the business grow month on month. That basically validated what we were doing.

As the business grew and we overtook the smaller players I then started looking at the bigger players in the market and finding areas where we could outperform them.

We're still probably number 3 or 4 in the country in our niche (it's hard to know exactly without seeing their profit & loss statements) but I just focus on incrementally improving every part of the business and let the rest take care of itself. It's important to watch your competitors and know what they're doing but you can't be better than everyone at everything.
 

Anda el Diablo

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Great info! I appreciate reading posts like this. Not only does it give me a little boost of confidence to hear other success stories, but I feel like I took a lot out of this. I’m kind of in the situation you were in before you started your company, I’ve done a bit of research but have failed to pull the trigger. It’s been tough to fully commit to a project as when I’ve saved, I’ve had other things I’ve needed to spend my money on. I’m finally to where I have a little stash of cash that is slowly growing and have no obligations. I’m secretly hoping I get laid off with a decent severance package so that I can find more time to work on my own business and stop making others rich at the expense of my free time. Many other companies in my field have been laying off and I am recently employed by the company, so it seems that a lay off could be right around the corner.

What I really like about reading this post is I can see you have nothing to gain from any of us by telling your story. I’m looking for avenues to learn how to start up an online business, but I’m finding that many of the resources I try and turn to have something out there to gain and don’t really care how the client performs. One for example wanted you to sign up. They stated that they have 100 people sign up a month and space is limited. When you go to sign up, it shows 3 people “signing up” in a minute. That clearly doesn’t equate to 100 people signing up a month, so that was kind of a red flag to me that they are trying to sell you something. I could be wrong, but that’s what it seems to me.

Do you have any resources you could suggest that could help me to learn setting up an online business? Any aspect would help. A lot of the info I have taken in so far has been more motivational than execution (like I said, just from this small, but very valuable thread I feel like I’ve taken a lot away from this). I’m ready to dive in, but I’d like to go into it with a little knowledge. I don’t want to throw away 5 grand.
 

Jemmalee

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My Story

I’m 38 years old, married, 2 kids and have been driving in the fast lane for about 2-3 years (for the previous 4 or 5 I dicked around in the slow lane while admiring the fastlaners going by).

Despite first reading the millionaire Fastlane a few years ago, it kind of got mentally lost in a sea of self help and wealth books I was tearing through at the time. I recently rediscovered the audio version 2 weeks ago and listened to it twice through (now almost through unscripted as well).

On the first re-listen I realised that at least some of the lessons from my first read through must have sunk in because I’d applied so many of them to my business without even consciously thinking about them.

I first became interested in entrepreneurship around 7 or 8 years ago after following some bro marketing courses for the Amazon Affiliate program. I didn’t make much money (although I still cash amazon checks today) but I learned how to build websites, do SEO, copywriting and quite a few other skills that I fully utilize in my business today.

Despite seeing a little success with the program (I had a lot of failures over those few years too) my desire wasn’t strong enough and neither was my self belief. I chased after various shiny things in the marketing world, life got in the way and I was sidetracked for a few years. I always intended to start a proper side business but then would always find excuses to put it off.

Fast forward to around 3 years ago and my wife, who is a beautician by trade suggested that I should look into importing and selling some of the products she regularly buys for her salon. Not exactly the business I dreamed of owning but I thought F*ck it, why not at least look into it. I also soon realised that as MJ points out, you don’t have to be passionate about the niche or even know much about it to be passionate and obsessive about building a business around it.

So I started looking around at what was selling on ebay and the websites that showed up when I entered search terms for these products. I discovered that there were quite a few sellers who were making sales despite some poor quality pictures, poor descriptions with no copywriting skills. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was a great niche. The barriers to entry were high (knowledge of these specific beauty products) so it kept away professional marketers and was mostly dominated by beauticians who decided to sell a few things part time, with the exception of some of the more professional websites at the top of the search rankings. The niche also impacts millions as it involves selling to beauticians and beauty salons who in turn have hundreds to thousands of customers themselves. I knew then that I could at least start out making some money on ebay.

Next I started to talking to suppliers on Alibaba, looking at ebay and shopify fees, postage rates etc to work out the margins involved. I figured most products (there's a huge number in this niche & we currently have over 500 SKUs) would cost about $4 to produce and ship here, another $2.50 in shipping (I initially ate the shipping fees so we could offer free shipping on ebay) and then another $2 or so in fees. These products retailed for around $17 so we would profit around $8 on each sale. Given that beauticians in this niche regularly order anywhere from 1 to 10 of these in each order (these days we have customers who order 100 at a time) there seemed to be some good money to be made.

Despite my research showing promise I was still extremely doubtful and nervous about starting this venture but also extremely excited so I ploughed ahead. I was working full time in a decent but slowly soul devouring IT position so I used my nights, mornings and break times to obsessively go through shipping options, packaging options, website hosting options (I went with shopify) etc etc.

My wife tested the products and we initially found 2 suppliers to purchase from. I put a full 3k into our first batch of stock and got to work setting up the website, mailing responder etc and coming up with the business name, logo, colour scheme etc. I found a short memorable business name where the .com was available and paid an online company 37 dollars to come up with a logo (in hindsight I wish I’d paid more and got a better quality design but the one we have isn’t too bad)

With the products in hand I set out to photograph them as professionally as I could by myself (I researched this for days and the results were very good). I also spent a long time on copywriting, keyword research and SEO so that I could hit the ground running.

A week or 2 before launch I was fired from my IT job of 10 years. And while not a surprise as the company was downsizing it was still a bit of a shock to the system. I did end up getting a pretty good payout however that I figured would last me at least 6 months while I got this business off the ground

While this was a very tense time it was a blessing in disguise. Losing my job gave me both the time and the added motivation to get this shit working. Otherwise it was most likely back to a worse paying even more soul crushing IT job than the last one and worst of all back to life in the slow lane.

I got to work and my initial strategy was to beat all the competing ebay sellers in this niche on price, quality, copywriting, service and basically everything I found I could do better. I would then filter the buyers over from ebay and get them buying direct from my website where the margins are better for me by using discount offers. Being business 2 business this niche works on repeat sales so I decided my customer service would involve doing everything I could to keep the customers happy and coming back. To this day we give no hassle refunds and exchanges etc and bend over backwards for our repeat buyers.

Within a few days of launching I’d made a few sales and it was an awesome feeling. While looking back now there were many things I’d do differently in the beginning, those few sales represented validation of my decisions and gave me huge confidence going forward. Over the next few months sales gradually increased to the point where I was profiting a few hundred each week (not even a quarter of what I made at my 9-5 but it was a start).

I worked my a$$ off in those first few months, obsessing over SEO and expanding our product range and in the coming months it paid off. My knowledge of SEO catapulted the website to the top of google for quite a few competitive keywords and traffic increased. Within 11 months from start I was making more than I made in my old IT job and felt amazing.

I remember being at the beach with my family lying on the sand watching my son play while in the background my phone dinged a chime sound every few minutes for a new sale. Oddly enough only 4 or 5 years before that I remember being on the same beach reading ‘Think & Grow Rich’ by Napolean Hill and dreaming about such a day.

Fast forward to today (business has been going for 2 and half years) and profits have skyrocketed to almost 7 times what I made in my old day job. I’m making more money each week than I ever would have dreamed despite now working only 30 hours a week (I have worked a lot more than this at times over the past 2 years however).

The business outgrew the small home office it started in and I now operate from a large office and storage facility I had built in our backyard and am about to hire my first employee to handle the packing and shipping.

While I’m extremely happy and grateful with my current situation, my latest listen of the millionaire Fastlane has lit a fire in me. I now want to shoot for “great money” instead of just “good money” and so I’ve set some lofty goals for this year and a solid plan to reach them.

Anyway. I apologise for the long, unedited rant but after anonymously stalking this forum for a couple of weeks I thought posting up my story might help to inspire some of you who are in the first stages of starting your journey.

This is such a great story and very inspiring
Thank you
A newbie!
 

MythOfSisyphus

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Great info! I appreciate reading posts like this. Not only does it give me a little boost of confidence to hear other success stories, but I feel like I took a lot out of this. I’m kind of in the situation you were in before you started your company, I’ve done a bit of research but have failed to pull the trigger. It’s been tough to fully commit to a project as when I’ve saved, I’ve had other things I’ve needed to spend my money on. I’m finally to where I have a little stash of cash that is slowly growing and have no obligations. I’m secretly hoping I get laid off with a decent severance package so that I can find more time to work on my own business and stop making others rich at the expense of my free time. Many other companies in my field have been laying off and I am recently employed by the company, so it seems that a lay off could be right around the corner.

What I really like about reading this post is I can see you have nothing to gain from any of us by telling your story. I’m looking for avenues to learn how to start up an online business, but I’m finding that many of the resources I try and turn to have something out there to gain and don’t really care how the client performs. One for example wanted you to sign up. They stated that they have 100 people sign up a month and space is limited. When you go to sign up, it shows 3 people “signing up” in a minute. That clearly doesn’t equate to 100 people signing up a month, so that was kind of a red flag to me that they are trying to sell you something. I could be wrong, but that’s what it seems to me.

Do you have any resources you could suggest that could help me to learn setting up an online business? Any aspect would help. A lot of the info I have taken in so far has been more motivational than execution (like I said, just from this small, but very valuable thread I feel like I’ve taken a lot away from this). I’m ready to dive in, but I’d like to go into it with a little knowledge. I don’t want to throw away 5 grand.

Sorry I didn't reply to this earlier. I still lurk here a bit but posts are infrequent and I unfortunately miss things. Did you end up getting laid off?

You were right to avoid signing up. BS scarcity tactics like that definitely should be a red flag to anyone. So many "guru's" have never built a proper business and instead simply make money selling bullshit to people who genuinely want to learn.

As far as resources I'd recommend... MJ's books are a great place to start as far as mind set and the foundations of a successful business go. I think they alone are enough to get you moving toward finding a business you'd like to pursue. Once you have an idea of the type of business you'd like to own I would then look at what you need to learn and break down which resources to delve into from there.

For instance if you decide you'd like to sell online then you need to learn about how to start a website (shopify/wordpress etc), how to get traffic to it (SEO/Adwords/FB Ads etc), and how to make visitors to your website convert (user experience & copywriting). Almost everything you need to learn is available free of charge on the internet so if you're the type of person who likes to figure things out for yourself and learn hands on then you'll do well. Just stay clear of any paid courses unless you're certain they offer some value to you.

Having said that, there are some really good books that helped me along the way...

Think & Grow Rich - I recently learned that the author was most likely a scam artist, yet the principles in the book (most of them anyway) still hold up pretty solidly. This book got me excited about starting my own business and planted the seed in my mind long before I actually started. Great for setting the right mindset.
Cashvertising - Terrible title, great book. Great resource for learning how to sell
The 22 Immutable laws of marketing - Another great resource on how to sell
The E-Myth - Leave this one until you've got your business off the ground. It will help you take your business to the next level by systematising and scaling up.
 

Ing

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Thanks for sharing!
Have you found a reasonable way to sell in USA?
Im looking for a way myself. Other niche.
 

MythOfSisyphus

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Thanks for sharing!
Have you found a reasonable way to sell in USA?
Im looking for a way myself. Other niche.

Not anything that's easily achievable. International shipping is quite slow (painfully so with covid) and reasonably expensive which is a major barrier. Our customers are businesses that need their products to arrive promptly so it's tough. The only way I could see our business taking a strong foothold there is to either find a distributor or to set up our own distribution centre.

The distributor option is probably the most attractive and realistic.
 

Mark_Entr

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My Story

I’m 38 years old, married, 2 kids and have been driving in the fast lane for about 2-3 years (for the previous 4 or 5 I dicked around in the slow lane while admiring the fastlaners going by).

Despite first reading the millionaire Fastlane a few years ago, it kind of got mentally lost in a sea of self help and wealth books I was tearing through at the time. I recently rediscovered the audio version 2 weeks ago and listened to it twice through (now almost through unscripted as well).

On the first re-listen I realised that at least some of the lessons from my first read through must have sunk in because I’d applied so many of them to my business without even consciously thinking about them.

I first became interested in entrepreneurship around 7 or 8 years ago after following some bro marketing courses for the Amazon Affiliate program. I didn’t make much money (although I still cash amazon checks today) but I learned how to build websites, do SEO, copywriting and quite a few other skills that I fully utilize in my business today.

Despite seeing a little success with the program (I had a lot of failures over those few years too) my desire wasn’t strong enough and neither was my self belief. I chased after various shiny things in the marketing world, life got in the way and I was sidetracked for a few years. I always intended to start a proper side business but then would always find excuses to put it off.

Fast forward to around 3 years ago and my wife, who is a beautician by trade suggested that I should look into importing and selling some of the products she regularly buys for her salon. Not exactly the business I dreamed of owning but I thought f*ck it, why not at least look into it. I also soon realised that as MJ points out, you don’t have to be passionate about the niche or even know much about it to be passionate and obsessive about building a business around it.

So I started looking around at what was selling on ebay and the websites that showed up when I entered search terms for these products. I discovered that there were quite a few sellers who were making sales despite some poor quality pictures, poor descriptions with no copywriting skills. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was a great niche. The barriers to entry were high (knowledge of these specific beauty products) so it kept away professional marketers and was mostly dominated by beauticians who decided to sell a few things part time, with the exception of some of the more professional websites at the top of the search rankings. The niche also impacts millions as it involves selling to beauticians and beauty salons who in turn have hundreds to thousands of customers themselves. I knew then that I could at least start out making some money on ebay.

Next I started to talking to suppliers on Alibaba, looking at ebay and shopify fees, postage rates etc to work out the margins involved. I figured most products (there's a huge number in this niche & we currently have over 500 SKUs) would cost about $4 to produce and ship here, another $2.50 in shipping (I initially ate the shipping fees so we could offer free shipping on ebay) and then another $2 or so in fees. These products retailed for around $17 so we would profit around $8 on each sale. Given that beauticians in this niche regularly order anywhere from 1 to 10 of these in each order (these days we have customers who order 100 at a time) there seemed to be some good money to be made.

Despite my research showing promise I was still extremely doubtful and nervous about starting this venture but also extremely excited so I ploughed ahead. I was working full time in a decent but slowly soul devouring IT position so I used my nights, mornings and break times to obsessively go through shipping options, packaging options, website hosting options (I went with shopify) etc etc.

My wife tested the products and we initially found 2 suppliers to purchase from. I put a full 3k into our first batch of stock and got to work setting up the website, mailing responder etc and coming up with the business name, logo, colour scheme etc. I found a short memorable business name where the .com was available and paid an online company 37 dollars to come up with a logo (in hindsight I wish I’d paid more and got a better quality design but the one we have isn’t too bad)

With the products in hand I set out to photograph them as professionally as I could by myself (I researched this for days and the results were very good). I also spent a long time on copywriting, keyword research and SEO so that I could hit the ground running.

A week or 2 before launch I was fired from my IT job of 10 years. And while not a surprise as the company was downsizing it was still a bit of a shock to the system. I did end up getting a pretty good payout however that I figured would last me at least 6 months while I got this business off the ground

While this was a very tense time it was a blessing in disguise. Losing my job gave me both the time and the added motivation to get this shit working. Otherwise it was most likely back to a worse paying even more soul crushing IT job than the last one and worst of all back to life in the slow lane.

I got to work and my initial strategy was to beat all the competing ebay sellers in this niche on price, quality, copywriting, service and basically everything I found I could do better. I would then filter the buyers over from ebay and get them buying direct from my website where the margins are better for me by using discount offers. Being business 2 business this niche works on repeat sales so I decided my customer service would involve doing everything I could to keep the customers happy and coming back. To this day we give no hassle refunds and exchanges etc and bend over backwards for our repeat buyers.

Within a few days of launching I’d made a few sales and it was an awesome feeling. While looking back now there were many things I’d do differently in the beginning, those few sales represented validation of my decisions and gave me huge confidence going forward. Over the next few months sales gradually increased to the point where I was profiting a few hundred each week (not even a quarter of what I made at my 9-5 but it was a start).

I worked my a$$ off in those first few months, obsessing over SEO and expanding our product range and in the coming months it paid off. My knowledge of SEO catapulted the website to the top of google for quite a few competitive keywords and traffic increased. Within 11 months from start I was making more than I made in my old IT job and felt amazing.

I remember being at the beach with my family lying on the sand watching my son play while in the background my phone dinged a chime sound every few minutes for a new sale. Oddly enough only 4 or 5 years before that I remember being on the same beach reading ‘Think & Grow Rich’ by Napolean Hill and dreaming about such a day.

Fast forward to today (business has been going for 2 and half years) and profits have skyrocketed to almost 7 times what I made in my old day job. I’m making more money each week than I ever would have dreamed despite now working only 30 hours a week (I have worked a lot more than this at times over the past 2 years however).

The business outgrew the small home office it started in and I now operate from a large office and storage facility I had built in our backyard and am about to hire my first employee to handle the packing and shipping.

While I’m extremely happy and grateful with my current situation, my latest listen of the millionaire Fastlane has lit a fire in me. I now want to shoot for “great money” instead of just “good money” and so I’ve set some lofty goals for this year and a solid plan to reach them.

Anyway. I apologise for the long, unedited rant but after anonymously stalking this forum for a couple of weeks I thought posting up my story might help to inspire some of you who are in the first stages of starting your journey.
Thanks for sharing
 

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