The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

GOLD! Selling my Ecommerce Business

G-Man

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jan 13, 2014
1,763
9,498
2,186
She thought importing was a horrible idea, especially given my track record of $11,000 to scams in the previous year.
Can relate to this - I had about 25k out on a terrible idea last year, and got it down to about 12k as of last week. Finally convinced the wife to hop on board with starting something else, and now she's helping me develop a branded product for e-commerce. I think I was also subconsciously using the fact that I had money tied up elsewhere as an excuse not to move on and start something else. Your thread has helped a lot to get me motivated to cut my losses and move ahead. Thanks, amp.
 

Become a Fastlane INSIDER to view the forum ad free.

ZeroTo100

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Feb 2, 2016
340
569
255
New York City / New Jersey
I took a 1 month maternity leave when my daughter was born. Her being born set off a switch in my brain, and I knew I needed to start a business. I had already been thinking about importing because of the threads on this forum at the time.

I did the Import Jumpstart course by startupbros (which was only... $300ish at the time) and found my first product at the end of that first month. I called my school principal and extended my maternity leave another 2 months, and did my first order. I did not tell my wife about my first order until it was almost sold out. She thought importing was a horrible idea, especially given my track record of $11,000 to scams in the previous year.

I launched in November 2014 (holiday season) and my first order sold out in less than a week. I was hooked.



I did the importing thing. Mostly sold on Amazon. Amazon was down to 80% of my sales by the end, as the wholesale-side of the business expanded to 100 stores this year.

And yes, being a new importer was scary. It was actually much less scary for me than probably for most, as nearly all of my product comes from Eastern Europe, and not China, and so the manufacturer actually had a really nice B2B website, spoke perfect English, etc. I'm still using the same supplier that I used for that first sample order 3 years ago. Also, my products are small, and every shipment is done via DHL Express. So, for the most part I haven't had to deal with freight forwarders.



No, I had no doubts. After 40-50 hours of product research, when I came across my first product it was an instant YES. It checked all of my criteria that I had at the time including, hot niche, few competitors, tiny & light products. 6 months later the niche was flooded. I was at the top because I got in early, with good branding. You would be crazy to enter this niche now.

I got traction immediately. 20-30 sales a day for the first few days.


I actually had a progress thread running for a little bit at the very beginning. I eventually stopped updating it. If anyone's curious about what I was doing when I started out, give it a read. It's been a couple of years since I looked at this thread:

https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/5-products-5-5-sales-a-day-5-countries.57132/
Appreciate the answers...

So when you found your product, did you make any modifications to the product or did you just kind of slap your logo on it and sell it?

You mention other sellers coming in selling products like yours...were they from the same manufacturer? Were there any products identical to yours that you may have had to shut down?

If entering the ecommerce world now vs when you started, would you say that there is still room for other businesses in different niches to enter the space - given the changes in Amazon and the amount of competition that importing has brought about? I understand that there are other ways to sell a product such as ads, other platforms, etc.

Super cool journey man. I'm certain these answers and your journey will help a lot of people.

Thanks for doing this man.
 
OP
OP
amp0193

amp0193

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2013
2,619
11,257
2,454
United States
Can relate to this - I had about 25k out on a terrible idea last year, and got it down to about 12k as of last week. Finally convinced the wife to hop on board with starting something else, and now she's helping me develop a branded product for e-commerce. I think I was also subconsciously using the fact that I had money tied up elsewhere as an excuse not to move on and start something else. Your thread has helped a lot to get me motivated to cut my losses and move ahead. Thanks, amp.
I totally get it man. My recovery time from my 1st scam ($6,000 lost on "bulk iphones" :bored:) was about 6 months. I spent those months day-dreaming about revenge and feeling sorry for myself. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to learn my lesson (which is do your F*cking due diligence), and I then lost $5,000 buying a scammy website with no traffic on Flippa. My recovery time was faster the 2nd time, and I haven't made any due diligence related mistakes since.

Trust no one. Trust nothing. Verify everything.

I was smart enough, however, to not use any of our W-2 money. All the money I lost, I had earned myself through side-hustles, so we were never hurting financially, it was only my pride that was hurt. I also didn't have a family at the time.


But, as @AgainstAllOdds would say, I look at it as an $11,000 investment in an education for myself.


Hopefully with $25k gone, you learned this lesson well enough the first time ;)
 

G-Man

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jan 13, 2014
1,763
9,498
2,186
Hopefully with $25k gone, you learned this lesson well enough the first time ;)
I got 12 of it back, maybe can get another 5 or so. I'm hoping to get the total loss down to 7-8. Fortunately, the only money I risked was bonus money from the days when I had a "good" job :frown:
Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to learn my lesson (which is do your F*cking due diligence)
Right on the money. If I'd done do diligence (or even employed a small amount of rational thought for that matter) I would not be in this mess.

I think the lesson I learned: I lost a bunch of money, and you know what happened? Absolutely nothing. I think long term this has been an investment in helping me get over the fear factor (and stupidity factor also, hopefully).
 
OP
OP
amp0193

amp0193

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2013
2,619
11,257
2,454
United States
Appreciate the answers...

So when you found your product, did you make any modifications to the product or did you just kind of slap your logo on it and sell it?
No modifications at first to the core product. I just packaged up really nicely, with an accessory product into a nice little gift set. Turned out to be a good choice, because while the competition has turned the niche into a price war, I'm still on top with a good healthy price.

That's one reason I sold the business though... because in many ways, it's a "me-too" product, that isn't really different than what anyone else is selling.

If I knew then, what I know now, I wouldn't have entered into this niche.


You mention other sellers coming in selling products like yours...were they from the same manufacturer? Were there any products identical to yours that you may have had to shut down?
I never shut down anyone else's product. There was a few months in that first year that my manufacturer started selling on Amazon. Thankfully, they sucked at it, got suspended, and didn't come back. There are so many manufacturers for this kind of product... I don't know if anyone else is using the same one as me or not. There are probably some.

If entering the ecommerce world now vs when you started, would you say that there is still room for other businesses in different niches to enter the space - given the changes in Amazon and the amount of competition that importing has brought about? I understand that there are other ways to sell a product such as ads, other platforms, etc.
There will always be space on Amazon. If you think otherwise, you are really not grasping how truly immense the platform is. Maybe there's too much competition now to sell silicone spatulas, or other such high volume, low barrier to entry, copy cat products. But there are tens of thousands of products, just waiting for someone to come in, and shake up the niche.

My next product doesn't even exist on Amazon. So yes, there's opportunity.

Find a product idea, and post it in the following thread and @biophase will give you a thumbs up or thumbs down: GOLD - I will help you find a product to sell on Amazon
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
amp0193

amp0193

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2013
2,619
11,257
2,454
United States
I got 12 of it back, maybe can get another 5 or so. I'm hoping to get the total loss down to 7-8. Fortunately, the only money I risked was bonus money from the days when I had a "good" job :frown:
Oh cool, glad you got some of it back. At some point, you just need to write it off and move on. I watched a friend try to fight and claw for more than a year to get $10,000 back on a bad deal, and it caused him nothing but anger and frustration. It was just unhealthy. I eventually convinced him to just let it go, and move on to the next thing.

Right on the money. If I'd done do diligence (or even employed a small amount of rational thought for that matter) I would not be in this mess.
It's amazing how all the holes in the plan start to show up once your money is gone. If I had spent 15 min doing some basic fact checking, I would've uncovered the lies. In my case, and probably yours, my judgement was clouded by optimism and wishful thinking.

I think long term this has been an investment in helping me get over the fear factor (and stupidity factor also, hopefully).
Yup. If you didn't learn anything, then it truly was a waste.
 

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
28,562
96,353
3,751
Fountain Hills, AZ
getUnscripted.com
Amazing how actual results makes people a believer.

If you're one of these people who say "How do I get my parents/GF/Wife to believe?"

Get results.

When you roll in with a $12,000 check or a $100k car, it's hard for them to no longer believe.

I'm going to have a $12,000 check for my mom, to pay her back for the car she bought me 6 years ago. She's not expecting it.
Nice, would love to hear that story when you present it.
 
OP
OP
amp0193

amp0193

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2013
2,619
11,257
2,454
United States
If you're one of these people who say "How do I get my parents/GF/Wife to believe?"

Get results.
It's actually pretty funny how I broke it to my wife on what I had gotten into.

She was pregnant, so was reading up on a lot of different baby products. She said, "hey, have you heard of these Products before? It sounds like something we should try."

And I said, yeah... I just sold 100 of them this week, and have have another few hundred in the closet!

And you're right, she had no complaints once she saw I was making money hand over fist! She wasn't even mad that I ignored her advice.

Nice, would love to hear that story when you present it.
Will do. There might be tears.
 

TomSac

New Contributor
Sep 25, 2017
6
7
13
45
Long Island, NY
OP
OP
amp0193

amp0193

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2013
2,619
11,257
2,454
United States
Very interesting. Did you spend the 40- 50 hours just looking through catalogs and comparing them to Amazon?
No, that was just time spent on Amazon. Looking through niches. Looking for product opportunities.

Not having done it before, I was pretty slow and inefficient.

It doesn't take me long now to find a good niche. There are just so many opportunities.

Once I've got an idea of a niche and where the brand could go, then I'll start looking through supplier catalogs and seeing how easy it would be to expand.
 

Become a Fastlane INSIDER to view the forum ad free.

Cableabe

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Feb 1, 2017
16
28
25
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Congratulations, a great read following this thread and an incredible motivation to those of us starting a similar journey. Thank you for sharing your story.
 

TheSmokey1

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jul 11, 2017
39
122
131
The World
And.....

The ACH hit my bank account this morning!




:smile::smile::smile:
That is awesome. Hope you take a minute and celebrate your success, and then keep going.
 

G_Alexander

Does it Cash Flow?
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jun 7, 2008
470
3,851
879
Congrats! Well done. You're on your way up! Thanks for doing the thread.

Definitely take the time to reflect on and appreciate what you've just accomplished. And then set phasers to stun on the next target! :cool:
 

Chazmania

Silver Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 23, 2013
468
773
299
USA
Congrats @amp0193!!

I need to go back through and read all the details etc but I see you closed the deal and I'm thrilled for you. You're an inspiration on here thanks for sharing your journey - great work man!

Can't wait to see what you do next!
 

Become a Fastlane INSIDER to view the forum ad free.

KLaw

Gold Contributor
Speedway Pass
Aug 4, 2012
918
1,032
391
ohio
@amp0193

"I did the Import Jumpstart course by startupbros (which was only... $300ish at the time) and found my first product at the end of that first month."
Would you recommend this course for a beginner?
Congrats on getting that cash!
 
OP
OP
amp0193

amp0193

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2013
2,619
11,257
2,454
United States
Is this goose another amazon product? And Congratulations go out and celebrate with friends and family.
No. I will be selling on Amazon, but I think that will be a small percentage of my business.

My website and wholesaling to B&M stores will be the bulk of the business
 
OP
OP
amp0193

amp0193

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2013
2,619
11,257
2,454
United States
@amp0193

"I did the Import Jumpstart course by startupbros (which was only... $300ish at the time) and found my first product at the end of that first month."
Would you recommend this course for a beginner?
Congrats on getting that cash!

Not at the price they're charging now.

It was well worth $300 though.

Everything you need to know has been posted here by @biophase and @Walter Hay.
 
OP
OP
amp0193

amp0193

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2013
2,619
11,257
2,454
United States
Today will be the 3rd day I've spent training the new owners on how to run the business. We'll have worked 9-5 Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Adding in a 30 minute commute... I'm having flashbacks to when I had a job. This week's schedule sucked!

You know, because I only spent 2-5 hours a week running the business, I thought it was pretty simple, and that training would be a breeze. However, having to explain every granular detail of everything, and explaining the most basic stuff, has made me realize that it's all quite a bit complex and overwhelming.

The business is simple to run, but it's explaining how all of the behind the scenes automations/software are set up that's taking much longer than I expected.

Yesterday's big project was forecasting and ordering all of the holiday inventory. That's literally my #1 least favorite thing to do each year, and it feels great having it behind me now. It also feels good not having to pay for any of it. "Sure... let's add 300 more units of this, why not?" ;)


So now, it's all downhill from here. Today we go over customer service, and a couple of other small things, and then I'm nearly free from this business for good.

Per the terms of the contract, I'll be available for 15 hours more worth of training in the next 3 weeks, as issues or questions come up.



Also, the terms that we set for escrow (per the buyer's request), has the money for inventory hitting my account 3 weeks from now. They wanted that so they could verify the inventory's existence at my 3pl warehouse. In all likelihood, they'll authorize escrow to release the rest of those funds to me before then. The inventory cost represents 1/3 of the total purchase price, so that will be a significant deposit.


It was a good feeling yesterday to finally have the first 2/3 of the deposit in hand. A huge weight is off my shoulders, and the stress is gone.
 

TheSmokey1

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jul 11, 2017
39
122
131
The World
Today will be the 3rd day I've spent training the new owners on how to run the business. We'll have worked 9-5 Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Adding in a 30 minute commute... I'm having flashbacks to when I had a job. This week's schedule sucked!

You know, because I only spent 2-5 hours a week running the business, I thought it was pretty simple, and that training would be a breeze. However, having to explain every granular detail of everything, and explaining the most basic stuff, has made me realize that it's all quite a bit complex and overwhelming.

The business is simple to run, but it's explaining how all of the behind the scenes automations/software are set up that's taking much longer than I expected.

....
In hindsight, do you think it would have helped cut down on the training/transition if most of the stuff you did were documented better? As in, more of a handoff of "here is exactly how I run things, review it and I'll be available to fill in the gaps and provide explanation"?

I was talking to someone in M&A recently who seemed to put a pretty big emphasis on this, to help with the transition.
 

JAJT

Ha Ha! Business
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Aug 7, 2012
2,640
13,679
2,806
Ontario, Canada
In hindsight, do you think it would have helped cut down on the training/transition if most of the stuff you did were documented better? As in, more of a handoff of "here is exactly how I run things, review it and I'll be available to fill in the gaps and provide explanation"?
If you read "The E-Myth Revisited", that is exactly what the author heavily recommends throughout the entire book - record processes for everything so that literally anyone can be trained to run the business in the exact same way. Basically run your business like a franchise.

In practice though, this is almost never done because you are too busy doing almost anything else. It's also not fun or sexy or immediately helpful to do this kind of thing. It's one of those things that often gets forgotten in the "important but not urgent" part of your priorities. Like exercising, eating well, and accounting :p
 
OP
OP
amp0193

amp0193

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2013
2,619
11,257
2,454
United States
In hindsight, do you think it would have helped cut down on the training/transition if most of the stuff you did were documented better? As in, more of a handoff of "here is exactly how I run things, review it and I'll be available to fill in the gaps and provide explanation"?

I was talking to someone in M&A recently who seemed to put a pretty big emphasis on this, to help with the transition.
Yes, absolutely. Having SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) would've made this way easier. Also, potentially, they would've allowed me to hire out a general manger for the business to run the business in my place, while I retained ownership.

I did make 15 or so training videos which were screencasts of me doing the most common tasks, which helped some.
 
OP
OP
amp0193

amp0193

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2013
2,619
11,257
2,454
United States
In practice though, this is almost never done because you are too busy doing almost anything else. It's also not fun or sexy or immediately helpful to do this kind of thing. It's one of those things that often gets forgotten in the "important but not urgent" part of your priorities. Like exercising, eating well, and accounting :p
Ironically, documenting to outsource, or documenting for your own benefit for tasks you do infrequently, saves you so much time, that you are then less busy afterwards.

It is definitely hard to put in the time on that sort of monotonous stuff though.
 
OP
OP
amp0193

amp0193

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 27, 2013
2,619
11,257
2,454
United States

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Post New Topic

Please SEARCH before posting.
Please select the BEST category.

Post new topic

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Monthly conference calls with doers
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom