Hey, guys. Welcome to the E-Commerce Paradise Podcast. Today, I'm going to talk about how I really feel about e-commerce, and these are some life lessons that I've learned, and I hope that I can impart upon you as you grow your business.
Now, first, before I get started, I want to ask you definitely to subscribe to the channel. I'm making these videos on almost a daily basis, and I really want to help reach a wider audience. By subscribing to the channel, and liking and commenting on the video, you'll be helping me spread my message to a wider audience, so that'd be really cool if you could do that.
All right, so the first thing is this talk is going to be all about ... that going from launching to six figures, so like the first time you actually launch your website to growing it to that level where it's almost at the level where it can support you full-time, maybe part-time, depending on what part of the world you live in, but going from zero to the first six figures in sales, not six figures profit because ... Okay. First of all, lets just make that clear. E-commerce. When people say, "I'm making six figures," that means they're making six figures in sales, not profit, and profit is usually around 10% after all the fees are paid for, so if you're making six figures, $100,000, you're taking home $10,000 a year.
Obviously, that's not a full-time income, so you have to be really discerning when gurus are saying they're making six figures and stuff like that, but with that said, if you are taking home $20,000 or $30,000 a year, you can live full-time in parts of the world, certain parts of the world on that money like Bangkok, Thailand. You could live out there, and I'm actually here right now. Here, I'll pick up the camera and show you guys outside. That is the view from our eighth story apartment in Bangkok, Thailand. Pretty cool.
We're just out here for 20 days, and we're going to be working, and living, and having fun, and doing some skateboarding. That'd be awesome. Here's the deal. When you get, finally get to that six figures mark, it's a pretty big milestone. You've basically created your entire foundation to your business. You probably added a lot of products, and started running ads, and done your email marketing, and you've basically shown that you're able to help people on a wider scale throughout the United States or whatever country you're operating in, and that's really cool.
Scaling from making that six-figure milestone to past that like half a million or a million dollars in sales per year is really, really time consuming and difficult. The reason I say that is because it takes a lot more work, and it takes a lot more networking and content creation to get there. You can start making a buck online just throwing up some products and running ads to them if you know how to optimize your website, but you're not going to make a sustainable business. The business is always going to be like this, and you'll have like a whole week without sales, and then all of a sudden, you might get a spike because you get lucky.
If you want to build a long-term sustainable business, you've got to build out all your funnels, so you start at the bottom of the funnel, but you've got to work your way up to the top. You've got to build out a content that's going to help people that are in the middle of the funnel, looking for brands, and stuff like that, and what products they offer, and which ones are better, so comparisons. You've got to build out a product or information for the top of the funnel, so they want to learn about your niche, how the products work, comparing different types, and stuff like that, and price points. All right? There's a lot more to it than that, and I'm going to get into that right now.
Here's the key. Scaling from six to seven figures or higher, you've got to dig deep into your niche. All right? Whatever your niche market is, literally, your life has to become almost all about that. Having an e-commerce business is not like this fairytale thing, unicorns and butterflies, and you get to hang out all day at the beach and sipping piña coladas while people order on your website. Although that does happen and people do do that periodically, it's not always like that.
What happens is that, yeah, we'll go on vacation and we'll be on the beach taking pictures because we're on the beach, and we might as well take a picture. It'd be really fun, and that's the reason I started doing e-commerce in the first place. It's so I could go to the beach more often and take pictures, but the fact is that we have to spend a lot of time working, so nights, mornings, they're usually spent in the apartment, at a café, or something like that. Very rarely, we got a co-working spaces, but usually, it's the apartment or cafes nowadays, and we work a lot. Juliana does customer service. I do a lot of marketing, and yes, it's a pain in the ass.
That's the thing is that like you have to make that pain in the ass something that you love doing if you want to grow and scale. We've hit this milestone, and we want to go up to the next level, and I'm going to discuss with you some of the ideas we're working on to do that. All right?
Digging deep in your niche basically means you got to start creating a lot of content. Content marketing is the key to success long-term. You got to create videos, articles, and podcasts. While I'm not doing all of that yet, I'm working on it, and I'm building out the foundation for it. One of the big things that's been holding me back is feeling whether the content is going to be good enough, and so I've been looking at other avenues like doing whiteboard explainer videos for the informational content or I've been thinking about doing things like hiring somebody else do talking-head videos.
At the end of the day, I realized that I could just do the talking-head videos as good as anybody else, so I'm probably just going to end up doing that because it's the quickest to launch, cheapest, and it's still going to provide value and get a foundation of content built for us so that we can move forward.
In the future, as my skills improve and I learn new skillsets, I can, of course, grow that and improve that, but for now, I'm probably just going to create videos like this one for my niche YouTube channel. The beauty of that is that I can just read off the blog articles that we made on the website that I've had writers write for me on the website to the video audience, and it will make perfect sense to them.
Then, as soon as I go and get a chance to actually get one of the products I sell in my hand, I can show them, and that will obviously build credibility and trust, but it doesn't need to be that way, so you can just do talking head videos about the blog content. You just want to explain to people what is up, and by explaining to people and then meeting them in person like this, you're going to be building trust, a lot, a lot of trust, and they're going to feel way better about buying from your business in the future.
Then, you can turn those videos, those informational videos into podcasts and put it on a podcast. People can listen to that in their ears, and you'll have your niche keyword as the podcast name, and that's going to be really helpful for you to reach a wider audience, and people will be really interested, so content marketing is key.
Now, in parallel with content marketing, you have to have email marketing set up. If you have a blog post, you got to have, at the end of the blog post, an email opt-in for a free guide. People can sign up for that, get the free guide, and then you can send them all your content again periodically, and then it will get them coming back to your blog. Eventually, they'll feel comfortable about it so much that they'll want to buy the product from you, and that's the point is that you want to build goodwill with people and you want to teach them. If you're the person building goodwill and teaching them as opposed to somebody else, you're most likely going to make those sales.
See, buying cycles, they last quite a long time on expensive products. People have to do the research, the top funnel research, the brands research, and the products research, and they have to take a long time to do that usually. By reaching somebody when they're at the top of the funnel and teaching them there, and then following up with them periodically, you're going to be following up all throughout their buying cycles, so it could take up to a month or two, three months sometimes for someone to make a decision, depending on how expensive the product is and whatever, how complicated it is. By the time you get to the bottom, they're looking at you, and your brand, and what you sell, so that's the way to do it.
Now, the next thing to do is to understand you shouldn't just be focused on your customers. You have to also be focused on the industry leaders. I learned this from an internet marketer who does a lot of industry leader content. He basically creates resource posts and tries to pitch them to industry leaders to get him, and his blog, and his content linked to from the industry leader's blog, and YouTube channel, and stuff like that.
I think it's really smart, and I haven't been doing that yet, so I'm headed that direction. I created some posts to review the blogs I've done, but it didn't give me much traction, so I think that doesn't really make sense. I think what makes more sense is doing these really big beautiful resource posts, these roundup posts, and then sending those to the industry leaders, "Hey, you're linking to this one already. Link to mine too. It's really good resource," because people like one post as a bunch of links in it like a search engine because it just makes it easier. When you save people time, it creates value for them, so do that.
One thing that we're starting to do more of also is to work really closely with our suppliers and so special promotions with them. That's one of the keys to really growing your business is actually keeping close contact with your suppliers, and then always running promotions, special promotions just for those supplier's products that nobody else is going to be able to offer because you have that close contact with them.
You being a commissioned sort of salesman in a way, being a drop ship dealer, you want to definitely be emailing them weekly and saying, "Hey, what products are you trying to clear out?" because those products, they need to clear out for their inventory so they can get new ones in, and those ones, you can put on your ... send to a VA to put on your website as discounted, and then run some promotions on social media or email that way.
That's the key is you want to be doing email marketing because people at the top and middle of the funnels, they'll be interested in stuff like that usually, so if you have people on an email list, and you have a special promotion, and you know the person is interested in that product, then you can send that promotion to that person, and it's likely that they might purchase.
All right, and the next thing is grow your supplier base. That's one of the keys here. You want to definitely be reaching out to new suppliers consistently, and usually, I like to do this quarterly because it takes a lot of time to bring a supplier onboard. You don't want to do it too often, but quarterly seems to work pretty well for us.
What that means is emailing or calling a supplier maybe a competitor has on their website that you don't. Reaching out to them. Letting them know that they'd be a great fit for your website and that you like to bring them onboard, and then send them your seller's permit. Usually, they'll say, "Yeah, that's awesome. Here's our dealer application. Go ahead and fill it out, and we'll get you guys set up with a price sheet and UPC code sheet."
From there, you can put them on your website, and then have the normal process of marketing done, but what I really highly suggest before you do that is that you create a system for onboarding dealers or suppliers. By that, I mean, making the checklist, making video trainings, and then having a virtual assistant who can actually go out and do that work for you.
You get a new supplier. You just send them the supplier's information that they sent to you or upload it to a spreadsheet, and then have the VA go and do the actual work for you, but you have to videotape each step along the way, so that's one key to getting this done quickly without taking weeks or months to get it done.
The next step is go to industry events. These are the best places to meet new suppliers and build stronger relationships with your current suppliers. Obviously, there's a lot of benefits to that. Suppliers will want to do more business with you and give you better deals on their products if they meet you in person and they like you.
If you're creating content, one of the best ways to create content with the supplier is to do an interview with them for your YouTube channel. Like for us, we're going to be going into our industry events this coming year in the States and in Europe, and we want to go and interview our suppliers, and so we're going to create a YouTube channel right now with a lot of good content, and then go from there, and actually go and interview them, and put them on the channel, so you're blasting them out there. You create really good content for your channel as a dealer, and it really does help build trust with a wider consumer base, and you can build your company bigger as well, so I recommend doing that.
Next step is for people that are interested in really building their business. I mean, all this stuff is great, but you're still promoting other people's products. If you really want to create a brand and you really want to build a business, you have to create your own product. Yes, it's scary because you just don't know if it's going to sell someone else ... The cool thing about drop shipping is someone else is selling that product. Someone else is creating that product. You're selling it.
They're creating it. They're taking the risk in creating it, and you just get to sit back, and sell it, market it, and keep a commission if you sell it, so it's much lower risk for us as e-commerce drop shippers. That's why we do drop shipping, right? But if you really want to scale, if you really want to take your business to the next level and make a big impact in your industry, you have to focus on product creation, creating your own product, and that's key, so definitely think that direction.
It doesn't have to be a big, heavy, expensive product if your products are big, and heavy, and expensive. It could be a small product within that part or an accessory, so think that direction too, and it's definitely possible. Definitely, try to be unique, but not too unique, and definitely try to prove first by using maybe a platform like Kickstarter to launch your product and to make sure there's enough people interested in actually buying it and spending money on it before you go and manufacture it.
All right, and the last thing is, guys, a lot of the people out there and including myself like to take the easy way out and shortcut our ways to the future. Of course, that's not really going to work out that well for you. It's like being in a video game and using cheat codes. You really are just cheating yourself. You're not really getting the full experience, and you're not really going to see the full results from that, right?
If I play video games all day and I use cheat codes, and boom, I beat the video game, well, I'm not really learning anything about video games. I'm shortcutting myself because I'm not going to ever going to be able to understand video games fully in depth and how they work, so I'll never be able to be a video game developer, or anything like that, or even a video game tester. I would never be able to go to video game industry events and play video games really well because I'm just not a video game player. I just use cheat codes, right, to make it easy for myself, so don't use cheat codes in life, guys.
Cheat codes are silly. They might be a way to see what it looks like at the end, but go back and do the hard work, right? That's really important, and one prime example I'd like to give in the drop shipping world is that creating new stores before your one store is finish is like trying to shortcut your way to double that income, but what you're really going to do is you're actually going to create less income for yourself because what is happening is you're now spreading your time thing, so you don't get to focus on the more advance marketing techniques as you need to be doing, and the advance networking techniques, and the advance content marketing techniques, and stuff like that in your one store, and so you spread your time out thin throughout multiple stores.
The only time when you should be creating a new store, which is basically an entirely new business, which means that someone is going to have to do customer service and marketing just like you are already doing is when you have systems in place and a team. Right? Don't start another store until you have a system and a team in place to do it.
For me, I have a team, and I have lots of systems, so I'm creating a second store while I'm doing marketing. I'm having them upload the products, having them get the keywords, create content. I'm having a person customize, make banners for the website. There's all sorts of things I'm having different virtual systems do for me so that I don't have to do it all the time. I spend a little bit of time, and that website is going to be built over the course of about a month, and then we'll launch it, and I'm really excited about that because that's a very, very profitable niche for us.
Now, our main store though, I'm focusing on the super advanced stuff like figuring out the email marketing, going in-depth with the content, making sure it's really optimized content, and then figuring out how to get more suppliers, go to industry events, connect with the influencers and get them to feature us, and then create content for our brands and stuff like that for our YouTube channel.
There it is, guys. I really feel that e-commerce is not like as easy as it's made out to be by a lot of gurus out there. You can't just go and start making a hundred bucks a day randomly on Shopify. There's all these videos out there that just get on my nerves because they're really ... It's not a get-rich-quick thing. Yeah, you can make a buck, but you're not going to have a sustainable income, so you have to differentiate. Are you going to try to just go make a buck right now, and then a week or two, or two months in the future, you got to figure something else out again because that is not working anymore, or are you going to go and try to create a sustainable business?
Yeah. You might not see as much results right away with the sustainable business model as you would with the make-a-buck model, but you really have to focus that direction to see long-term results. If in three and six months, you want consistent sales on a daily basis, which feels awesome, and it's really cool, and you can sit back on a beach and sip a mai tai and feel comfortable, create the sustainable business. That has a foundation of content, and then a foundation of marketing that content, and a system built to market that content with virtual assistants helping you market that content, right, and then you have to build out your connections and your network.
That's key, guys. I really do truly believe that building a sustainable business is the way to the future. It's harder, it's not as easy, and it is a pain in the ass, but if you love what you're doing, if you love what you're selling, you have to be really into your niche to make this happen. You have to be so into it that you're just like the raving maniac about it, and you go to the events, and you talk to the suppliers, and they're surprised that you're so into it.
If you're not that person, you're probably not going to scale, so it just depends like how much value are you willing to give to your industry, to the market? How much value are you willing to give to people looking to buy those products? If you're willing to give a ton of value, you're probably going to increase your income. If you're not, then you're probably not going to increase your income and it's just bottom line, so go out there, guys. Create lots of value in your niche, and let me know how it is.
Comment, and let me know not what your niche is, but let me know what it's like in your niche and what your journey has been like. I want to know what you're working on right now, if you're going to use any of these steps to actually implement in your business, and yeah, what you've got from this video. I really appreciate it. Like and definitely subscribe to the channel, guys, so I can reach a wider audience. I'm really working to get more views on these videos so people can learn more and really grow their business. All right, guys. Well, thanks for watching, and we'll see you next time on the E-Commerce Paradise Podcast.