If I Knew Then What I Know Now, I Would....
Welcome guys. You're with eCommerce Paradise.
In today's episode is going to be all about,
"If I knew then what I know now, I would..."
Is it all the things that I wish I wouldn't have done or I would have done differently, or I would have started back then?
It's seven different things, and I'll go over them with you right now.
The first thing is, I wish that I would have chosen a niche that was a little more profitable and less of a headache to handle.
I'm not going to go into the specific niche that I started with in this episode, but I will tell you that it is a pain in the butt. Unfortunately, customers had issues with the products sometimes. It is a complicated product. It requires assembly, it is a pain in the butt to ship, and it's not as profitable as I wish. The net margin on it is somewhere between like seven to 10 percent, depending on how much traffic we pay. It's not as profitable as other niches where you're making, you know, 15, 20 percent net.
What we do is high ticket dropshipping. It can be very painful when a customer wants to return a product. Painful for the customer, for the supplier, and us. We had to develop systems to eat that revenue, unfortunately. Judging from the new Amazon Associates affiliate commission structure where they are based upon the profitability, the product, not necessarily how many products you are referred to, I think the HomeGoods category is the most profitable.
There are tons of product verticals within HomeGoods - just look around your house, and you'll see all these products. Every single one is known as a product vertical, meaning there are multiple suppliers and multiple products, versions, and competitors about any one product. Some examples are dining room tables, bathtubs, kitchen islands, and bar stools. Anything around the house you can think of.
I will say that the initial we're in is a sporting outdoor stuff. Those kinds of things are generally less profitable. On the Amazon Associates list of commission structures, it's four percent commission on that kind of stuff instead of eight percent on HomeGoods. It kind of shows you right there that it's almost double, which is great.
If I knew then what I know now, I would choose HomeGoods as my niche.
The way it worked out, it was just, you know, a happenstance that we happen to get chosen. The guy I was working with saw the products being used a lot around our local area. And he thought that it might be really cool to sell those things, and it was. It worked out well. A few years later, we became successful, but scaling was complicated because of the products. The more we sold, the more headaches we had to deal with, more hassles we had to deal with, more issues with shipping damage and warranty and returns we to deal with.
We didn't have the skills to manage a remote team, and my partner had a full time job. I was trying to work my butt off to try to get the website profitable, but it just wasn't profitable enough; that was the biggest issue.
If you're gonna start with high ticket eCommerce, don't necessarily do something you're passionate about. Choose something profitable, something of high demand.
If I knew then what I know now, I would create more videos and podcasts, and blog content about my lifestyle.
When I first got started with entrepreneurship, I started a blog and did daily or weekly articles or started a YouTube channel or started a podcast of some sort and just not cared what people thought. I would just get out there and help people and have fun with it. I offered advice or offered stories or whatever experiences and some kind of doing that now with my YouTube channel and these podcasts.
My goal is to do that in the future and do it as often as possible, as often as life permits, and as often, I feel inspired to offer good advice and experiences and stories. At least I'm doing it now, but I wish I would've done that back in 2010.
Stick to My Niche Product
If I knew then what I know now, I would stick to my niche product on my one website.
I started expanding beyond just the one product selection because I saw other opportunities. Greed got the best of me.
In a way, I really wanted to make more money from other product verticals. I started offering a lot of different sort of verticals that weren't exactly relevant to the market of my initial product vertical. That's dangerous because if the person interested in your initial market is nowhere near the type of person interested in the other market that you're going to be pitching, you definitely shouldn't have that on the same website.
You have to be really careful with your marketing. You have to have segmented email lists, and you have to have different blog verticals of content, different video content verticals. I see people out there doing these general stores and I don't know how much success they have, but I've tried to do it myself and it's really a pain in the butt because I have to do a lot more technical marketing. It's better to keep it simple. It's really nice to make separate websites for different categories instead of combining them into one site. By making separate sites for different categories, you'll be targeting one specific consumer segment and a couple that is very similar to it.
You have to study your niche market enough and your niche product enough to know the target consumer that you want to be targeting with your content, because copywriting is all about talking to the right person. If you know who you're talking to, your ideal customers, then that site should just be specifically for that target customer.
If you're going to have a different customer that is interested in different things like old versus young or male versus female or a different demographic, you should make separate websites. That separate website could have categories that are even related to it within that site. And sure, you can link from that one site to the second site, but don't be combining multiple categories in one site that are beyond that one specific niche. It could get complicated.
Start Building a List
If I knew then what I know now, I would build a list and segment that list.
When I first got started and I didn't really start doing this until like 2013, 2014, in 2010, I just didn't understand this building yet. And even in 2013/2014, I really didn't understand much either. I was doing it, but I wasn't taking advantage of my list in, like asking people and segmenting those people and quizzing them and sending them more offers.
You can do a lot with an email list that you can do the same kind of stuff on social media. Social media is getting harder to use organically without paying for your post to be put in front of people, whereas a list you can send people email, and it'll show up in their inbox right away, depending on how you targeted your emails. You might get thrown into the promotions folder, but still people will see your email just like they see a post on their social media feed.
One email isn't any different from the other one. They all look the same in the inbox, so they're very likely to click yours. In the beginning, I didn't understand this either. But providing value and asking permission first is always the key before you sell somebody something. If you try to start just selling somebody something without them wanting to be sold, they're going to label you as spam. You always got to ask a question, and if they say yes, then great, go ahead, sell them, because now they're telling you that you can sell to them.
Paid Ads and Get Target Leads
If I knew then what I know now, I would learn how to use paid ads to get target leads.
A long time ago, I was so scared of paid ads for a long time because they cost money and I was scared to lose money and waste money. But the truth is that paid advertising is really cool because it puts you at the top of the search engines above everybody else, above all the organic stuff. Google and even Facebook will put the paid ads first before anything. They'll be picture ads. There'll be no text ads on staff. And then you got to scroll down to get to the organic stuff.
More and more these days, people are actually clicking on those paid ads and trusting them more to get what they want need. And more and more Facebook and Google is having to crank down on advertisers and kick them off their platform because of certain things like bait and switch tactics and false advertising. If you stick to white hat stuff and you do only good things, you run a good business.
You can use paid advertising. It's super targeted leads, and really build a business fast, get sales fast instead of having to wait a long time for organic sales to come through.
Manage a Remote Team
If I knew then what I know now, I would have started learning how to build and manage a remote team from the Philippines to do customer service for us from the beginning.
We didn't really become profitable enough to do this until 2014. But if I would have started at least messing around with it more, it probably would have gotten used to it as much as I am now. It took a long time to understand how to structure people's work schedules, how to create due dates, and how to create projects actually can get done. Took a long time to understand how to pay people. What I know now about outsourcing is key stuff. I'll be making a separate episode on this, but just over it really quick.
I pay people hourly for customer service, and per project for anything that's not customer service like writing blog articles, adding products on the site, any web development stuff, any emails I need written, I pay them per project on that. I don't pay hourly for that kind of work. I'll do a separate episode on that.
I Would Have Never Sold My Business
If I knew then what I know now, I would have never sold my business.
It's nice getting a big cash influx and all, and you can take a mini-retirement, but the truth is the money goes quicker than you think it will. It always does because you get comfortable and you get used to having a lot of money and intended just travel a lot and get lazy and not want to do work. The problem with that is it's just like working out. If you don't flex your marketing muscles, if you don't flex your research muscles and your work muscles, then you get weak. Every time this has happened, I got kind of weak. I just ended up not minding spending so much money.
I would spend money on all sorts of stuff I didn't need and took online courses, software, physical products. I wasn't really tight with my budget and stuff like that. And so, you know, it's like selling a business is cool, and it hits awesome to get the money. But really, I wish I would have focused focus instead on scaling the business or just starting new businesses or even just starting different passive income streams with affiliate marketing and information products, which I'm actually working a lot on now.
I did eCommerce Paradise and finally started again because I just really like to help you guys understand what mistakes not to make in your business and in your life.
I hope this episode really did help you. Keep in mind, once you get to that level where you can sell a business deal for like fifty thousand or even a hundred thousand dollars, just understand that money will go a lot quicker than you think it will. Having money in the bank is nice. It feels comfortable. It really is a pleasure, but when that money's gone, it is the worst feeling in the world. And yes, you have to get back to work.
It will like going down from a mountain down to the village again to work, but it is what it is. You've learned a lot in the process, and you can always start and build new businesses and learn everything else over again because you've already done it, and you know how to do it.
In my opinion, now, I'll just be scaling and starting new businesses and doing passive income streams and affiliate marketing and information products. That's the kind of lifestyle I choose because I do know that it takes a long time to build these businesses, and these businesses will work whether you're there or not. They do sell while you sleep. The beauty of that is that if they are outsourced properly, they can be considered somewhat of a retirement plan. You can even get better returns to come from eCommerce stores than any investment in the stock market. If you're looking at an eCommerce store that gets a lot of organic sales, upwards of 20 percent return, whereas your averages are down in the tens with the stock market.
I hope you enjoy this episode. These are just kind of my things and my sort of regrets, I guess. Regrets are really never good to have. Instead, I just look at it and see them as part of my journey and to where I am now. I'm really glad that I did get started on this journey seven years ago and almost eight years ago now because if I hadn't, then I wouldn't have ever gotten to the place where I could say I wish I would've done this or this or this or this. It's good that I know this now, and then I'm working in this direction. You can do niche sites and do email marketing. Do paid advertising, build and manage a remote team, choose niches that are more profitable and less of a headache, and create more videos, podcasts, and blog content.
I'm also curious to hear what your regrets are like - things you wish you would have done from the beginning.
If you're watching this on YouTube, definitely comment below. And if you're on the podcast, you can go to YouTube and find the video and comment on that one as well. I really hope you guys enjoyed this.
Step-By-Step Training for High-Ticket Drop Shipping
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eCommerce Paradise was created by Trevor Fenner of Seattle, Washington in 2015 to help you, the entrepreneur, to start and scale your own eCommerce business selling high-ticket products online with the drop shipping fulfillment method so you can make more profit per sale, have a sustainable and evergreen online business, get started with very little upfront investment, and live a location independent lifestyle. Trevor owns multiple 7-figure High-Ticket Drop Shipping eCommerce stores and is a digital nomad, traveling the world while working remotely with the help of his team of over 10 virtual assistants from around the world. Trevor is currently located in Bali, Indonesia. Trevor is also a passionate skateboarder, surfer, scuba diver, photographer, environmentalist, outdoorsman, fitness and tattoo enthusiast.
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