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GOLD! The Chronicles Of DDall - A Progress/Execution Thread (Damn $3Mg/$700Knet!)

The-J

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It's been a long time since I've made an update.

Things are growing well, I am expanding into another brand and going deep in my initial niche outside of Amazon. I am working with over a dozen products and have 7 more in development, same niche.

In a few months I am going to make a very concerted effort to make sales off of AMZ.

Sponsored ads by Amazon are going up considerably over time. See image.
You're killing it man! Hope to see you at the next Toronto meetup.
 

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ddall

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Quick update...

I finally quit my job this past Christmas after profit per day closed in on $2K/day. December sales were $600K. I've also hired an employee and my work/life balance is superb after the last few years of grinding. 2016 was $3M US in sales, roughly $700K profit, 90% of which went right back in or paid off borrowed funds.

I spend my days now learning/reading/watching (course and YouTube)/listening( to podcasts), looking for new opportunities, devising new ideas and implementing high-level tasks (mostly, still some emails here and there). Great insights come at the intersection of what initially seem to be unrelated ideas/knowledge/experience, and so I am continually trying to expand my view and thus the opportunity for new insights/blue oceans.

Have expanded to Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.Ca.

Monthly revenue right now (have about 30 odd products, 5 out of stock, with 15 more in production) including the .ca and .co.uk is around $350K/month, but I'm really hoping to dial things up with the implementation of a new website and warehouse and a very aggressive product expansion. Things are moving slower than desired due to, as usual, China.

All products in development are a custom design.

Hiring an employee was a great choice, and I also believe working my job until it became irrelevant (from a financial perspective) helped mitigate risk and allow me to weather the massive delays with production and other issues. I would suggest all entrepreneurs consider keeping their day job as long as possible (studies also show these entrepreneurs are more successful, they have a longer runway and can withstand the difficulties of getting momentum and profitability). I think the burn the boats mentality leads to failure more then it provides further incentive.
 

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Rep transferred! Badass thread Dude - congrats for all your hard work and focus paying off.
 

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Quick update...
2016 was $3M US in sales, roughly $700K profit, 90% of which went right back in or paid off borrowed funds.
You're killing it man. Love seeing the progression as the years go by.

Ordering 1000 units at one time for $16k must seem like ages ago.
 
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ddall

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You're killing it man. Love seeing the progression as the years go by.

Ordering 1000 units at one time for $16k must seem like ages ago.
It really does. What is interesting is the desensitisation to amounts of money. What once seemed momentous, now seems insignificant. What once seemed impossible, now seems realistic.
 

Drew D

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Any tips for fixing the inventory management problem you're constantly having? Did you finally solve it? Maybe that's just the consequence for having a successful business and selling stuff fast. Sounds like a complete pain in the a$$ always running out of stock and missing out on sales and waiting a long time before being able to restock.

And please tell me you did all that reading + the courses AFTER you started the business and not before, using it as prep. Lol good thread though, amazing progress.
 
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ddall

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Any tips for fixing the inventory management problem you're constantly having? Did you finally solve it? Maybe that's just the consequence for having a successful business and selling stuff fast. Sounds like a complete pain in the a$$ always running out of stock and missing out on sales and waiting a long time before being able to restock.

And please tell me you did all that reading + the courses AFTER you started the business and not before, using it as prep. Lol good thread though, amazing progress.
Great question. This has been a particular challenge and is fundamentally one of them most important skill sets an entrepreneur/ceo can develop: Capital allocation. So the balancing act has been ensuring enough inventory so product sales proceed smoothly, yet not so much that significant sums of money are locked in inventory for significant lengths of time (not to mention Amazon's ever increasing warehouse fees, which is why I also stock a third-party warehouse). With limited capital, the other challenge is feeding the fire (of successfully established products by loading up on inventory) vs making new fires (new products). I tend to push things as far as possible, and this has included expanding as rapidly as money allows without depleting existing products. Often however as other variables exist such as the unpredictable market demand to new products (and to a lesser extent even establish products) it is difficult to move this fast, with limited capital, and not go out of stock. The other huge variable in this has been production and shipping issues and delays.

As retained earnings has grown significantly in the last 6 months this balance has become easier as the rate of expansion is more limited ( I alone cannot expand by 100's of products at a time even if I had the capital, without losing focus/vision etc) until if /when I increase the team. So now my priority list is 1) Always ensure the 20% of products doing 80% of revenue will NOT go out of stock 2) Create new products looking for home runs 3) Maintain inventory of the 80% of items doing 20% of revenue. These are all important together, but if I had to prioritize, this has been the order. I hate going out of inventory on anything mind you.

The reading/courses never stop. This is my greatest ROI (besides my health) and has been ongoing since day 0 until now and going forward.
 

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@MJ DeMarco I know this thread isn't that long but this is amazing progress. Maybe notable? There is so much in here for others to follow.

@ddall Thanks for all this info, I have been sharing this thread like crazy.
 

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MJ DeMarco

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I finally quit my job this past Christmas after profit per day closed in on $2K/day. December sales were $600K. I've also hired an employee and my work/life balance is superb after the last few years of grinding. 2016 was $3M US in sales, roughly $700K profit, 90% of which went right back in or paid off borrowed funds.
Holy crap, I missed all the goodness in this thread!

GOLD!
 

Roli

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Have expanded to Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.Ca.
Hey man, great thread; I am probably where you were a few years ago, right at the start... I was wondering when you say you've expanded to co.uk and .ca. Do you have to send your products to the UK fulfillment or do they have an international warehouse?

Also, my instinct was that I would not be in a position to expand to different Amazons for a while, however wondered if I was missing a trick with that mentality?
 

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What an incredible thread! It's awesome to watch the progress from selling 20-30 units a week to seeing you pull in a $600k December!

Rep++ for sure! Hope you'll have more time to be around the forum now that you've only got one job. You'll have a lot to share!
 

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I was looking at the statistics today and saw that user @ddall earned $475 in reps today. I said wow, who is this guy? Clicked your name, then thread and another wow, an amazing entrepreneur speeding down the Fastlane. Awesome work man, inspirational stuff. Killing it.
 

The-J

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Man...

I was just thinking about how it must have felt to be deep in the hole while the business was running.

Could you describe a little bit about what that was like?

It surely worked out for you. $3m/yr in sales ain't no joke.

More rep+ for you. You're killing it. Hope to see you at a meetup sometime, but... you must be busy as hell lmao
 

MJ DeMarco

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It really does. What is interesting is the desensitisation to amounts of money. What once seemed momentous, now seems insignificant. What once seemed impossible, now seems realistic.
FEATURED!

I think once one experiences the correlation of money to value/solutions, the limiting beliefs break down. There was once a day when I thought $5K/mo was an incredible amount of money. Now $5K a day isn't all that rare.
 

Denim Chicken

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Great question. This has been a particular challenge and is fundamentally one of them most important skill sets an entrepreneur/ceo can develop: Capital allocation. So the balancing act has been ensuring enough inventory so product sales proceed smoothly, yet not so much that significant sums of money are locked in inventory for significant lengths of time (not to mention Amazon's ever increasing warehouse fees, which is why I also stock a third-party warehouse). With limited capital, the other challenge is feeding the fire (of successfully established products by loading up on inventory) vs making new fires (new products). I tend to push things as far as possible, and this has included expanding as rapidly as money allows without depleting existing products. Often however as other variables exist such as the unpredictable market demand to new products (and to a lesser extent even establish products) it is difficult to move this fast, with limited capital, and not go out of stock. The other huge variable in this has been production and shipping issues and delays.

As retained earnings has grown significantly in the last 6 months this balance has become easier as the rate of expansion is more limited ( I alone cannot expand by 100's of products at a time even if I had the capital, without losing focus/vision etc) until if /when I increase the team. So now my priority list is 1) Always ensure the 20% of products doing 80% of revenue will NOT go out of stock 2) Create new products looking for home runs 3) Maintain inventory of the 80% of items doing 20% of revenue. These are all important together, but if I had to prioritize, this has been the order. I hate going out of inventory on anything mind you.

The reading/courses never stop. This is my greatest ROI (besides my health) and has been ongoing since day 0 until now and going forward.
Very inspirational, great thread.

What is your take on Amazon's reviews in order to rank higher? I know in the past there have been use of review groups and essentially buying reviews with free units so essentially you need to also take free giveaways and allocation of those items into the equation along with the overall inventory management. From what I see, amazons fake reviews are all but dead now.

Out of curiosity how many products did you have a go at before you found one with that's a hit?
 

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This is one of the most fascinating threads I've read on this boards!

Just reading through your posts, always checking back on the date just to see another year has passed where you consistently put in the effort to make it work, always mentioning new barriers which seemed so huge at first, yet so small in the next update a few months down the road. Truly an awesome display of dedication, consistency and tenacity and what someone can AND will get out of it.

Also your last post, mentioning that you kept working your daily job until you crossed 2k/day blew my mind. Considering the amount of action you took, the number of books you read, the neatly balanced diet and workout scheme you followed plus having a family, led me to the conclusion that you quit your day job and worked full time on your project and self improvement. This alone is impressive enough, but adding, or better said, subtracting, another 8-9 hours work and still sticking to your goals is on another level of dedication.

Thank you for sharing your amazing progress with the forum, I truly believe it will help new members / future entrepreneurs realize how important consistency is by genuinely showing the difference of taking massive action and therefore "receiving" events!
 

KSR

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I stumbled upon this thread and I read the first post - seems awesome but it's 2am so I'm commenting to keep this for later (not sure how to do it otherwise).
 

Yockel

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funny how this thread went under the radar like it did. good job @ddall !

a few questions if you don't mind:
1. Do you only use AMZ or do you sell through your website as well? If not, do you send people from your website back to AMZ?
2. Are all your products (15 was it?) in the same niche supporting each other? Seems like a big amount of products. nice job there!

Much success to you! Rep transfered
 

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Almantas

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Although there are multiple valuable threads, this thread is my favorite so far!!! Have no words to express how empowering and influential your progress has been!
 

AdamMaxum

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I commend not only the Action w/the business, but sticking with a thread for 3 years! Definitely inspiring to see the progress and hard work pay off. Hope you continue to kick a$$!
 

KSR

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Just saw the update - what a momentous feeling that must be. I hope one day I'm in the same boat as you.
 

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I remember reading some of those posts back in 2014. Crazy and Amazing how far you've come in such a short time.

Truly inspirational man.

The quote on money destinations rings true for me as well. 50k revenue a month was my unicorn. I struggled so hard to get it up from 30k. Now, I'd shit myself if I only sold 50k in a month, and 100k isn't really all that exciting either.

Funny enough, my reaction to reading your 600k December, was "holy shit that's a lot", but when I get there in a year or two, it'll be no big deal.

One's perception of what's realistic is a sliding scale. It would be beneficial for the more inexperienced members of this forum to think bigger.

Starting out, I used to check my sales multiple times a day. 10 here, 5 there. When it got above 100 units a day, the numbers started to blur, and it wasn't really all that fun anymore. You just get used to it.


You've got me thinking about reviving my ancient progress thread!
 

KSR

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I remember reading some of those posts back in 2014. Crazy and Amazing how far you've come in such a short time.

Truly inspirational man.

The quote on money destinations rings true for me as well. 50k revenue a month was my unicorn. I struggled so hard to get it up from 30k. Now, I'd shit myself if I only sold 50k in a month, and 100k is right within my grasp for March, totally doable.

Funny enough, my reaction to reading your 600k December, was "holy shit that's a lot", but when I get there in a year or two, it'll be no big deal.

One's perception of what's realistic is a sliding scale. It would be beneficial for many of the more inexperienced members of this forum to think bigger.

Starting out, I used to check my sales multiple times a day. 10 here, 5 there. When it got above 100 units a day, the numbers started to blur, and it wasn't really all that exciting anymore.
I guess you could say it's all relative and circumstantial. It's like being in shape, when you're out of shape and start working out - you notice every little difference; however when you're in shape and have been working out for a while - the differences are pretty blurry. Bad metaphor but still relevant...ish!
 

amp0193

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I guess you could say it's all relative and circumstantial. It's like being in shape, when you're out of shape and start working out - you notice every little difference; however when you're in shape and have been working out for a while - the differences are pretty blurry. Bad metaphor but still relevant...ish!
No, it's a perfect metaphor.

I was a skinny a$$ bean pole for 28 years. Then I started rock climbing and doing weight training for the first time in my life about a year ago. It was like "oh my god, is that what a bicep looks like?" every time I looked in the mirror for like 3 months. But.... now I'm just kind of used to being in shape. Still improving, but it's not as cool as when you're just starting out.
 

KSR

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No, it's a perfect metaphor.

I was a skinny a$$ bean pole for 28 years. Then I started rock climbing and doing weight training for the first time in my life. It was like "oh my god, is that what a bicep looks like?" every time I looked in the mirror for like 3 months. But.... now I'm just kind of used to being in shape. Still improving, but it's not as cool as when you're just starting out.
Exactly, I guess you just become accustomed to the lifestyle that's in front of you. However, I love progress and that satisfaction you get when you work your a$$ off and get results is so damn wonderful. Congrats on improving your body too, how long have you been working out?
 

JasonR

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Came here to say awesome thread and awesome job.

You're probably not thinking about exiting, but remember that's always on the table as an OPTION for you. I'm in the middle of exiting my 7 figure ecom business...if you need any help PM me.

Also, start thinking about off Amazon sales asap. That will increase your valuation by at least 2x. There are plenty of strategies that work for taking Amazon customers to your own website/funnel without pissing Amazon off.

Gold thread for sure and rep transferred.
 

biophase

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2016 was $3M US in sales, roughly $700K profit, 90% of which went right back in or paid off borrowed funds.
For people not in ecommerce and reading this thinking that he's out buying a lambo, going from $0 to $3m in sales in 2 years and $700k in profit pretty much means that you are break even, and will be in the hole another few years.

If you assume a 30% COGs, that means that he sold $900,000 worth of inventory in 2016, so where do you get the $900,000 to buy inventory at the beginning of 2016? You borrow it. So as he mentioned, he did have to pay back borrowed funds. I never borrowed money so my business grew slower as I had to pick and choose which inventory to buy more of.

We also know that Ddall is not doing $3M in sales again, he's probably going to do $5M. So he needs $1.5M in inventory. Guess where that is coming from? Yes, the original $900,000 and $600,000 of his $700,000 profit (which was probably $500,000 after taxes).

Just wanted to point this out. Ecommerce is very cash intensive once you get going. It took me years to actually get cash out of the business. If you are growing, even with healthy margins you are always catching up to your inventory.
 

Denim Chicken

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For people not in ecommerce and reading this thinking that he's out buying a lambo, going from $0 to $3m in sales in 2 years and $700k in profit pretty much means that you are break even, and will be in the hole another few years.

If you assume a 30% COGs, that means that he sold $900,000 worth of inventory in 2016, so where do you get the $900,000 to buy inventory at the beginning of 2016? You borrow it. So as he mentioned, he did have to pay back borrowed funds. I never borrowed money so my business grew slower as I had to pick and choose which inventory to buy more of.

We also know that Ddall is not doing $3M in sales again, he's probably going to do $5M. So he needs $1.5M in inventory. Guess where that is coming from? Yes, the original $900,000 and $600,000 of his $700,000 profit (which was probably $500,000 after taxes).

Just wanted to point this out. Ecommerce is very cash intensive once you get going. It took me years to actually get cash out of the business. If you are growing, even with healthy margins you are always catching up to your inventory.
Good point. If you're constantly leveraging to put up with demand, how do you know if you're overextending? It seems like at those numbers the risks are so huge.
 

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