In this video, I sit down with John to interview him about his entrepreneurship journey into high ticket drop shipping.
Questions I asked John in the podcast
1. whats your story and how did you get into high ticket drop shipping?
2. how long did it take you to find your niche and why did you decide to go with it?
3. how long did it take you to start your store and how much did it cost?
4. which ecommerce platform do you use?
5. what were some of the things you did to optimize your store? which theme do you use?
6. what is the #1 shopify app you recommend?
7. what have been your results?
8. how has working from home changed your life?
9. what is a parting piece of guidance you have for people just starting out?
10. how did you setup your business overseas?
Trevor: All right guys, welcome to the eCommerce Paradise Podcast. Today I have a special guest on the show. His name is John. He's been high ticket drop shipping for quite some time now and I've really had a chance to talk with him and help him through his store startup process. Welcome to the podcast, John.
John: Thanks, Trevor. It's a pleasure to be here. I'm usually the one watching these videos, so I've never actually taken part. It's pretty cool. It's exciting.
Trevor: Good, man. It's all good. Happy to have you on board and really excited to talk to you about your success with high ticket drop shipping. You've been doing this for some time now, and just want to start off, just kind of get the viewers and the audience a idea about your story, your background, and how you got into high ticket drop shipping in the first place.
John: Yeah, well, I guess I started off about two years ago. I figured I needed to be able to work from anywhere I want, just for family reasons. I wanted to be able to work from home, wherever that was going to be. If we wanted to relocate once a year, I could just keep ... I could be my own boss and be independent instead of having to try and reinvent myself every time we moved cities. What I did was I had read the 4-Hour Workweek, and I was just like, "Wow." It was like a aha moment for me. I was like, "Oh my god. I need to figure out how to do that."
John: Actually, what I did was, I tried to figure out what drop shipping was. I came across the term, and I was looking at it. I did, I think, what everybody does when they first discover what drop shipping is. They get a store, they go into Oberlo, and they start checking AliExpress stuff and trying to sell that online. I didn't really know what I was doing starting off, because drop shipping is not something that you can just figure out by yourself. You need a course, or you need somebody to say, "This is how you do it, and this is how not to do it."
John: Actually, my first store was terrible. I mean, I lost money. I think I made like $50 sale in a month, and I'd spend a lot more just trying to get those ads because I was trying to drop ship $50 items. It wasn't really great, but I figured there must be an easier way, so I tried to ... I think I enrolled in a few different courses, actually. Then, when I finally found out there is a blueprint out there ... there is a couple of blueprints. I got a niche, and I followed the procedures, and I did everything that everybody told me to do. It's now starting to work.
John: I mean, I launched my current store on July 31st last year, so it's been a year exactly. It actually didn't work out very well. I was losing money every month. I made two sales. I made one sale last year. Last year, one sale. I made one sale in February, and then I was like, "How long can I keep this up?" I think most people would've quit before, but I really needed to make it work.
John: Then in March, I think it was on the fifth of March, because I was looking at my Skype recap and I saw our last call was on the fifth of March. Since then, it's working, I figured out. I still have lots of room to grow, because I mean, there's still lots of things I need to do. There's lots of improvements I need to implement, but it's working now, so that's a relief.
Trevor: That's good to hear, yeah. I know. When you finally get it working, it's just the most amazing feeling, like, "Okay, this actually works. Yes. Let me do it. Let me dive into it." I remember that feeling when I first got my sale back in 2011, very first sale I ever made. It was a bicycle, and I was just so psyched. I was like, "Wow, somebody in New York literally bought this thing off my website. I'm in Los Angeles. I never talked to this person. They just drove ..." The eCommerce platform I was using is called eCreator. It's like an eBay alternative, but it's kind of like Shopify before Shopify.
Trevor: The cool thing about them was they actually drove Google shopping ads to the listings. Shopify doesn't even do that unless you use an app and you pay for it yourself, but they actually paid for it, so it was pretty cool. I was just lucky I stumbled upon that. I sold the product, and they bought it. We had the supplier, and they shipped it to the customer. I made like $35 or something, because it was a low priced bicycle. It worked out, man. I was so happy about that. That feeling is so awesome. It's just so glad that you're finding success with it now and stuff like that.
Trevor: I want to go back a little bit though, and talk about, not specifically your niche, but how you found your niche. What were the steps you took to decide on your niche and how did you decide it was the right one for you and that you wanted to pursue that as opposed to something else?
John: Well, I mean, I followed ... There's a certain criteria. There's a blueprint. There's a way of finding a good niche. The first time, I did it wrong. I took a guess. I figured, "I think this will be a really good niche," and I went for it. It was a prepper niche, like survivalist, prepper gear. What was I selling? Survival kits. You know, like if there's an earthquake and you've got this go bag. I figured that that's going to work, and it is a big niche.
John: Well, I didn't really know what I was doing, so I went straight into it, and I couldn't find suppliers with [inaudible 00:05:38]. I just didn't know what I was doing. I was feeling around in the dark, and it was a failure, so I started again. I figured I would use the, let's say the niche. Some criteria that you teach in your course. Let's say the criteria where, let's see, is it really heavy? Is the shipping cost ... Everybody in the US expects free shipping now. Is that going to take up all of the margin? Let's see, the price point. I was looking for something around $1,000, right? I know that, let's say, people say anything over $500, there's still a bit of margin. I was thinking, "Let's go for about 1,000." It turns out that the niche can go from anywhere between 500 to I think my highest is like five and a half grand. It can vary.
John: Actually, I did make a few mistakes, even following the criteria, because being in Italy. I didn't use a VPN, so when I was looking to see how many drop ship stores there are, I found like maybe two or three, and I thought, "I think there's room here." Then it turns out now there's like 40. It's insane, there's so many. It's just really saturated now. I think that's also where some of my sales are going. They're going to everybody else that's trying to get the same portion of the pie.
John: Yeah. I mean, I did use a criteria. I started off with 100 random options, and then I started applying all the criteria. Price point, weight, are there US suppliers? Obviously, I wanted to ship from the US, because I serve from the US even though I live in Italy. What else? What else was the criteria? How many stores there were, if they were drop ship friendly. I know I've seen your videos where you go and verify whether they are drop ship friendly or not, because if there are other stores doing it, then you can too.
John: I followed all of those steps, and I found my niche. I only made that one mistake about I didn't use a VPN so I didn't find Google Shopping all of those other stores that were already selling all of the things that I wanted to sell. What I did is I got like 9 out of the 10 criteria correct and I found my niche. Even with that amateur mistake, rookie mistake, still, I made it work anyways.
Trevor: Yeah, that's cool. I think, honestly, I won't say every niche, but most niches are very competitive now. The more time goes on, the more people enter the marketplace. Some stores fail, some stores kind of just stagnate, some stores grow. It really depends on the person, you know? If you're growing as a person, if you're learning marketing, if you're learning better ways to reach your audience, talk to your audience, and better ways to close sales, like conversion optimization stuff, better ways to do back end sales and stuff like that, you're going to beat the competition. No matter how competitive a market it is, even if it's something like furniture, which is crazy competitive, you can still compete there if you just learn these really important conversion optimization and sales techniques. Some of which the big companies just can't offer.
Trevor: Like you were saying before on the expensive shipping stuff, some of these companies, they're just not willing to do it. Whereas, you can come in, and if you're willing to handle these things, then you can definitely do it. It's awesome that you chose your niche and that you got going with that. Really quick, let the viewers know which eCommerce platform that you use for your store.
John: Yeah, well I use Shopify. Isn't Shopify is, what, like the Ferrari of platforms anyway? I mean, it's been easy for me because I'm useless with computers. I'm not very tech savvy, and I can figure it out. If I can, anybody can. It's fairly ... I wouldn't say it's cut and paste, but it's foolproof.
Trevor: Yeah, I agree. It's a lot easier to-
John: I love it.
Trevor: ... use than the more complicated platforms.
John: Yeah, and they have their support system, their support chat. If there's ever a problem, 24/7. They're really friendly, really helpful. They're always cheerful. It's great.
Trevor: Yeah, they have a great company culture.
John: [crosstalk 00:10:03].
Trevor: That's true.
John: They really do, yeah. They really do. I actually don't mind contacting their support team, because I know it's going to be a good experience, which it's really unusual. I mean, in Italy, anyway, if you try to pick up a phone call and try to call utilities, whatever, you know it's going to be like a two hour argument, and then you're not going to get anything resolved, and then you're frustrated for the rest of the day. It's a disaster. Shopify have it figured out, so it's cool.
Trevor: Yeah. I think Canadians in general are just really nice people, so being that they're based in Canada, maybe they've got that going for them, too. Right?
John: Yeah, that's what they say. Yeah. That's very important as well when you're considering what platform that you use. If you know that they're going to be there for you, and they're going to cheer you up as well. They're really helpful. They're always really happy. It's a really good experience. For me, that was very important, not understanding anything about computers, [crosstalk 00:11:00].
Trevor: Yeah, true. Yeah, the full support, I like the manage toasting feature, because I used to use WordPress and WooCommerce, and it was hosted on GoDaddy's servers. Sometimes, and it seemed to happen like at least once a month when you're getting really steady sales and traffic, is the whole website would just go down randomly. I would wake up one morning with like five emails like, "Hey man. Your website's down. I want to order a bike." I'm like, "Dude. Are you kidding me? I wonder how many people didn't decide to call and just went to another website." I had to hire a developer and have them on hand at least once a month to fix our files or something, just some weird things that would happen that I had no idea how to control.
Trevor: Anyways, that was just kind of a headache for me, where I'm sure there's better hosting, and there's better hosting and there's [inaudible 00:11:39] WordPress that people can use for WooCommerce and stuff like that, but I still prefer Shopify, just because it's an all-advantage solution. I've even used Volusion in the past, I've used BigCommerce, and as far as simplicity goes, Shopify, in my opinion, is just way easier to use. Especially, like you said, for people, like you and I, that just, we're kind of tech savvy, we're getting there, but we're not like crazy developer status tech savvy.
John: Yeah, like once you take on this job, you think that, "Okay, you just have to learn how to sell something," but you have to learn everything. You wear like 15 different hats in this job. You do have to then sort of get in the trenches also, and look at the code. Shopify makes it as easy as it can be.
Trevor: Yeah. Their coding system called Liquid is a lot easier to use, in my opinion than ... WordPress uses PHP, so if you want to do custom stuff with WordPress, you have to learn PHP, which is a pretty complicated code. Honestly, I don't even know PHP. I never took the time to learn it because by the time I was about to, I decided to sell that site and get on with the Shopify store instead. I know Liquid pretty well now. It's actually really easy. They have a whole library, so for people thinking about which platform to use for custom stuff, Shopify's awesome.
Trevor: Cool, man. What were some of the things that you did to optimize your store? It takes people a long time to finally get sales. Can you go through maybe just a few of the biggest things that made the biggest difference in your store?
John: Yeah, well around January, I actually changed theme. I was using a standard theme for the store, and I ended up buying Shoptimized, the theme. Just because it had all of the things that I would have to use add on apps to get anyway. I think a lot of the Shoptimized themes, the aspects that they have, a lot of it was centered around urgency, social proof. There's the popup that says, "Trevor has just bought this one hour ago," or, "Four people are looking at this product right now," or, "Five sold in the last 24 hours." It does something to you, you know, when you're looking at it.
John: I know when I'm looking at buying something, and I'm thinking, "Okay, there's two left. Do I really want it? Because it's now or never." It can really help the people make the decision right there instead of just saying, "Okay, I'll look back later," and then they don't. Not everything on the theme, I think, is high ticket drop shipping ... If you were to throw it on ... When I go to Shoptimized, I go, "Okay." There's all these pages. I turn everything on. It was like a Christmas tree. It was just ... It was like flames flashing, and colors, and bing, bing, bing. It was hard to watch. I mean, if you're selling something like a $50 product that's trending on Facebook and it's the hottest thing, like fidget spinners or something, you can just turn that thing on and it'll sell itself. It's great.
John: For high ticket drop shipping, you have to be a bit more selective. Shoptimized has all of those features, so you can choose whichever one you want. I think a lot of the social proof was what made it, because I wasn't making any sales. I didn't have any reviews. There was no popup saying, "This item has sold in the last four hours." There wasn't anything to tell the customer that, "This guy's legit. This store is good. It sells. Other people are using him ..."
John: [inaudible 00:15:25] credit cards. Now, it does. I think that's made a big difference. People have to feel safe. People have then written to me on the chat and said, "How do I know you're legit?" All I can say is, "I'm legit. Trust me. Give me your credit card and find out." Understandably, there's a lot of skepticism. The more comfortable you can make people feel about using your store over somebody else's, the more likely you are that they're going to pull the trigger.
Trevor: Definitely. I agree. For the listeners and the viewers, I wanted to throw out there that I've done a-
PART 1 OF 3 ENDS [00:16:04]
Trevor: I agree. And for the listeners and the viewers, I wanted to throw out there that I've done a full Shoptimized review and breakdown so you can understand this thing a little bit more. If you just type in ecommerceparadise.com/shoptimizedreview into your web browser or iPhone, you can see that review. It's really in depth. And like John said, it's one of the best themes for conversion optimization. You can use it for high ticket drop shipping. You can use it for express drop shipping, you can print on demand, all this stuff. There's a lot of different features in there, so you don't want to definitely turn everything on at once. You probably want to just turn on a select few features and then split test them and see what converts better for your audience and stuff like that.
Trevor: Shoptimized theme is also the one that I use, and I actually teach that, how to use that theme in the course in the master class that I teach. So if you want to learn exactly how to set that up for a high ticket drop shipping specifically, how I do it for the case study, you can go to the master class ecommerceparadise.com/masterclass. So let's get into the next question, John. Now there's a lot of different Shopify apps people can use out there to enhance their store and stuff like that. A lot of them are used for conversion optimization. Others are used for other things like customer service. What's the number one Shopify theme or Shopify app that you use and recommend, you like the most out of all of them?
John: I think probably the ... Well, actually when I started using Shoptimized theme, I started removing some of the apps, because in Shoptimized the social proof popup was on app. That countdown timer was another app. So I had four or five different apps that once I started using Shoptimized I actually removed because Shoptimized does them all. So I think it's a collection of all of the social proof and urgency that works. I don't have one app that I've added on that I think is what makes a big difference. I had been using the Bold Upsell app. In theory, I really liked the idea, but actually I just took it down a few days ago, and I'm probably going to replace it with ... They have another app.
John: It's like an upsell app, but I don't know if they're going to call it an after sale app, because instead of suggesting an accessory to go with the item during your checkout, it's an add-on at the end. So it's like, as soon as you have checked out, you go, okay, you've just bought this product. Here's what you can do, and would you also like to add this? So you've already paid for it. You've already checked out, so the sale is complete. And if they move on to then add the accessory, you don't have to go back and add credit card details again and check out. It's basically a one click, yes, I'll have that, too. So that will help. So I think that I'm going to put that on this week's supply.
Trevor: What's the name of that app again, the one you were talking about? Do you know?
John: It's one of the Bold ... It's Bold Upsell. I think Bold Upsell app is the one, but it is the upsell during checkout, which I just took down, because I didn't see an increase conversions, and it was an extra step for people to check out.
Trevor: So after the checkout is when they do the upsells on this app.
John: So they have one called ... I don't remember what the name is, but they have this app, and it's free, and it's called Bold Brain. And Bold Brain works with all your Bold Brain, all of your Bold apps as well. It sort of intelligently predicts what your customers would like to do based on their behavior on your store. In that app it also explains which apps will work well for upselling or after sale upsells, with Bold, anyway.
Trevor: Yeah, that's awesome. You can grow your store in a number of ways. It's either get more suppliers and add more products, or you can try to reach new marketing channels, do more content marketing and that stuff. Or you can sell more stuff or sell more expensive stuff, raise your average order value. And like you're talking about, man, that's one of the best ways to do it is to sell more things to people who have bought from you in the first place. That's awesome. That's a great tip. Thanks, John, for that. And also if you don't mind talking about what your results have been. I know you kind of talked about that in the beginning, but can we get a little bit more in depth as to what your progress has been since you first started? I know you said the first year you made like maybe one sale, but what's it been like after that?
John: Yeah. Well, yeah, so last year in the first six, seven months, actually, I only made one sale, which was ... Oh, actually I made two sales. It was like $5K, just below. It was like $4,900.00. And the margin was very small because I was losing money every month. So really I didn't actually make any money. And then in February I made one sale, which I didn't even break even in February. And then I reached out to you and said, "Trevor, I need your help. I know I'm doing everything that I'm supposed to be doing, but it's not working. What do I do?" We had a one hour call. That was on the 5th of March.
John: It took me about 15 days to implement about 90% of all the things that you ... I remember, because when you looked at my site, you were like, "Oh, John. What are you doing? Okay, change this, this, this, this, this. Then do this, this, this." I had a list of I think 15, 20 things to do. And once I started implementing them, around mid March I started making sales consistently. Since mid March ... Actually I woke up this morning and there was a sale, so I'm at $108K sales since the end of March. So let's say the beginning of April would be April, May , June, July ... So four months and a few days, and it's $108K sales. I just closed-
John: Yeah, I'm averaging about $25K sales a month now. We're about 25 to 30 orders a month, which is almost like one a day. July, the month just closed, it was my record month. Because since March, since I made all of those changes that you gave me, I made a few sales closing March, then April had a full month where I was having full effect. And then May, June just kept improving. And then in July, the month just gone, I made 32 and a half thousand sales. For the first time I broke 10 thousand visitors. So I'm hoping it just keeps going.
Trevor: Yeah, that sounds great, man. I'm so glad you're on the up and up with your story.
John: Yeah. It's a relief.
Trevor: That's wonderful. I love that. The $30 thousand mark is really cool, especially for your first store, because with high ticket drop shipping you're maybe 10, 15, 20% margins at the most. But $30 thousand dollars in sales means about $2,500.00 to $3,000.00 in net profit margins at the end of the month, and that's just amazing. That's like quitting your job status.
John: Yeah. I mean, if that was consistent it would be very, very ... Because obviously at the end of the day, my goal is to be able to do this full-time. And then start a second store. Because then in half a day I could manage two stores. And I already work from home, so it would be a very, very ... That's what I want to do at the end of the day. I've only been making sales for four months, so it's too early to start talking about quitting the day job and stuff. Also, because I'm living in Italy, it's a bit more complicated because if I don't work I'm not entirely certain things like if we ... let's say like a doctor or ... the pension.
John: There are other things to look into, but the goal is to be able to be financially independent and location independent. This is a huge step forward for me. So it's great. It's been four months consistent sales and four months it's consistently improving. So the signs are all very positive, and I'm hoping August is an improvement on July. I still have a list of things that you recommend that I do. I still have to do them. I'm still working off that to-do list, and it's working.
Trevor: Awesome, man. So great to hear.
John: So fingers crossed.
Trevor: Yeah, definitely, man. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your results as well in the future. Like you said, four months. It's still early, man. You've got another five, six months until the end of the year, and then we've got all of 2019 as well. So just getting started.
John: And you know that at the beginning of the year I thought, okay, this is my year. It was like the 1st of January. I actually downloaded one of those printable calenders, every day is a different month. And I actually started off, I had here 2018 goals. You can't really see that. And down at the very bottom I had ... I don't if you can see that, $50K sales, it says.
John: $50K sales. And so what I tried to do was I tried to break down the $50K sales divided by 12 months. How many sales would that need to be on an average order? And I was thinking it's going pretty bad. So if I can turn this around, I make $50K sales, I might make a very small profit, but at least I can prove concept and then build it from there. And then I'm at $108K sales now in four months.
Trevor: That's some powerful stuff right there. Goal setting is one of the best things you can do. And you did the right thing. You wrote it down. You highlighted it. You made it real. You made it so real to yourself that you manifested it in your own life. I think that's some really cool wild attraction stuff right there, and that's powerful. Listen, take notes, guys. That's how you do it. You might find all sorts of weird confusions and doubts in your mind about whether something works or not, and really it's just your belief about whether it works or not. So if you find a course out there that's step by step, like the master class I teach, and you jump in there and you do it, and you take it and do every single little thing I say to do, this can happen. It will happen. It's just pretty much will happen. You just have to see it. You have to surround yourself with it, and then believe it. And once you believe something you manifest it.
Trevor: One of my favorite books that is all about manifestation is The Secret. The Secret is all about wild attraction. It's about putting yourself in that place, physically feeling the emotions that you're going to feel in your heart and your mind, breathing ... all that stuff that the physical emotions are going to feel when you have that success, and so you make it more real for yourself. You manifest it. And Napoleon Hill also wrote an amazing book called Think and Grow Rich that I read when I was probably 21 or 22. It just changed my life absolutely, because he really does talk about making things real. Because you have to believe it, right? And then you can achieve it. You have to really know that it's going to be true.
Trevor: So definitely check those books out for the listeners. And, John, this gets me perfectly into one of the last questions, which is how has working from home changed your life? I know you were talking about just before the interview, we were saying how you've been able to figure out how to make a remote working agreement with your employers so you've been able to work from home, and it's allowed you to work on your drop ship store. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
John: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if I was still working in the office and I would leave the house at 8:00 in the morning, get there by 9:00, leave at 6:00, get home at 7:00, walk the dog, go to dinner, there wouldn't be any room for drop shipping. Otherwise, I'd be doing maybe from 10:00 to midnight. And not a lot gets done by the end of the day, because my best hours are the mornings. I don't think I would have made any progress or a lot less progress. By working from home I basically gained two hours a day because I don't have to leave the house. I don't have to iron a shirt. That's all time. Because for me, I used to think when I used to get the train to work, I would walk to the train station, and I would think, okay, I'll get the train. Then I walked to the train station, I was thinking that's dead time. I used to think even if I was able to iron my clothes on the train to work, which is a ridiculous concept, but at least the time would be more useful.
John: But you can read a book or you can try to learn stuff using podcasts or that sort of ... But you can't sit down and apply and build concepts. You can't be on Shopify things or internet because there's no wifi anywhere. So it's dead time. So just by transitioning to working from home, I can now if I want to use my hour lunch break, I can just get on my store and do a few things, respond to emails, do whatever I want to do. As soon as I'm off the clock from my day job, I'm already then online for the store There's no transition. There's no time lost. And I'm home all day. My computer is on the whole time. So for as long as I'm awake, let's say, I'm online. So it's very efficient time. And now I just have to try to figure out how to cut out those eight hours a day that I feel is also dead time. But anyway, that's a different story. Because I could be a lot more productive working on my business rather than somebody else's business. But that's probably for next year.
Trevor: That's all right. A lot of people when they're just starting out, they have their day job, and you have to have full-time income of some sort before you start your own business so you have a budget so you can invest that budget into your business. It's just kind of how you have to do it in order to find success, in order to stick with it for the long run. So I think you're doing the right thing. Everybody has to go through that. I know I went through it for a full three years before I was able to quit my job. I was working before work. I was working after work. Like I said, weekends I was building the site. But I also figured out how to get in the sales department at the company I was working for and get my own cubicle in the corner where they couldn't see my computer screen. So between phone calls and stuff like that, everybody thought I was just typing up emails to customers. I was actually building my Ecommerce site and just not saying a single thing about it to anybody.
Trevor: The other salesmen were watching stupid YouTube videos and stuff, and they were getting caught by the managers. And they didn't even think a thing about me, because I was being nice and quiet and taking phone calls right away, so I was being a good boy at work and stuff like that. And doing that allowed me to escape faster and just do it under the radar, which is really cool. But really quick, you were able to do this without having to go through that, and you were able to start your remote work agreement with your employer. Can you go a little bit over that just so people maybe who are interested in that and want to figure that out can gain from your experience with that? So you have a remote work agreement with your employer?
John: About trying to transition? Well, in my case ... Everybody's situation is different and certain jobs you need to be around your team and your colleagues. But I don't. I work as a financial annalist. My team, I've got a couple of guys Manila, two people in North American, one in Dubai, and then I'm in Europe. So I've never even ... I met my boss once when I flew over to Tampa to see him, but other than that I could have been sitting in the office in Florence or in my house or on a beach resort with wifi. And so it wasn't a huge transition for me. Basically the way it works is because I work for an American multi-national, they already understand the concept of remote work, the flexible agreement, so it wasn't a huge shock for them. Because lots of companies in the US have two days a week where you can work remotely. So it's not a huge leap to go to five days.
PART 2 OF 3 ENDS [00:32:04]
John: ... Remotely and so it's not a huge leap to go to five days. In my case because my wife has a high profile job and sometimes we relocate, what would happen was is that if we had a really good opportunity to relocate 'cause it would advance our lives, it could still mean that I would have to maybe quit my job, relocate and then start again and look for another job there.
John: When I was working, when I'm working for this company, there were lots of changes and what can also happen in big companies is somebody leaves and instead of hiring somebody, then you get their job as well. So you get your job and you've got their job, so then you've got, like so much responsibility, you feel, you're being torn, pulled from everywhere. So, it was a problem because I was running two different roles, wearing two different hats, two different emails. Like, I was basically two different people in the company.
John: So, when I found out that we were gonna relocate again, I figured, you know what, what I'll do is, I'll ask. I don't even know if my, if the company does this as a policy but I'm gonna ask. And then they realized when I asked, they were like, hmm, let me think, if John leaves, because he's basically saying I'd really like to continue working, I basically put it to them and said, "Look, I love my job, I would like to continue working but I have to work remotely because we're moving 300 kilometers away from here. Is there anyway we can work this out? Because I don't want to leave and what do you think?" Basically, they figured it out that to replace me, they would have to hire two people because I was doing two jobs.
John: So then they realized how much that would cost to hire new people - two new people, to train two new people and they said, "Yeah, probably, let's give it a go." And they were saying, you know, I'm not sure if it's gonna work but let's see, maybe we'll think about it in the future. And I said, "Well, I mean, it's not really that negotiable 'cause I have a deadline because we're gonna be, we pay a mortgage in Florence but when we relocate, we have to keep paying the mortgage but we have to pay rent so we can't keep both places. So, it's not financial viable that I stay so I have to leave, so why don't you just give me a trial, let's try for, I don't know, six months or try for a year and let's see how it works. If you're unhappy, we'll discuss it then and see what we can do but just give me the chance." And he said, "Okay. Let's try for a year."
John: And then after a year, I mean, everything went fine, I still did my job. There were no like, huge dips in productivity in my role. So they realized that I was actually working from home and not just doing nothing and sitting in my pajamas watching Netflix. So, they were realized that, I mean, I was still working, I was a responsible guy and the job got done and after a year, it came round to be renewed and they just signed off for a renewal. There wasn't even a negotiation or a review. It was like okay, sure, as you were. So, it worked.
John: So, I mean, I think if anybody is in that position and they want to look to start working remotely so they can get back those extra one hour or two hour commute so they can apply it to something productive like starting a store, have the discussion. Just say, "Look, this is what I need to do. For personal reasons, I need to be at home or at least, I need to be able to be home a few days a week, if not all the time. Why don't we try three months, six months trial and if you see that productivity hasn't [feigned 00:35:44] ], maybe we can look at doing it on a more like, full time basis." I mean, what are they gonna do, they're gonna say no? At least, have the conversation.
John: I mean, what I did was I found out that when I was home, I was working more than I was in the office because I felt like people are obviously thinking that I'm not working. So I was working longer hours, I was having more meetings, I was trying to prove to everybody, like, here I am, you see I'm online, I'm sending these emails, look, it's nine o'clock in the evening and I'm still available. It took me nearly a year to remember that I don't have to prove that I'm working, the job is getting done, the results are there. As long as I do a good job, at five o'clock or at six o'clock, if I'm no longer available, I mean, that's okay because I would have left the office by now anyway.
John: So, I actually, in the first year, I was working longer because I felt like I had to prove that it was a good idea. But I was able to reign that back and use the time more productively to make shit happen, as they say.
Trevor: That's great, I'm so glad that you had that experience and I'm sure the listeners really appreciate that you were able to share that experience right now 'cause anybody that works for a company like you do can definitely do something like that if they just aren't afraid to ask and they put their mind to it. And like you said, like prove yourself, maybe for the first year and work overtime a little bit and then after that, reign it back in and establish the respect upon your time more.
Trevor: And then I'm sure at that point, they respect your time a lot because like you said, the job's getting done. They don't need to pay the overhead cost of having an extra office and having all the equipment for you and stuff like that so it's less cost for them. You're now using your home office which is really cool. So, it's a win win, you know? It totally is.
John: Yeah. And also my office, because it's still part of the American multinational [inaudible 00:37:33] in Italy so there is still a bit of an Italian mentality. So, they weren't all very accepting but I think I was the first guy in the office in Italy to get flexible working arrangement. At one stage, they saw the potential. Now, like half of the office have at least two days where they have flexible work arrangement and now they've got a smaller office and they can rotate.
John: So, nobody has a fixed position, like it's not desk, John's desk or Mary's desk, it's desks. You come in, you put down your laptop and you work and everybody knows John, let's say, on Fridays isn't in the office so I'm gonna use his desk. So, it's like a rotational office, it's great. It's almost like a remote working café.
John: So, it's good for that.
Trevor: I was gonna say, it's like a coworking space, man.
John: Yeah, well, it's like a coworking space.
Trevor: It's just funny 'cause they have coworking spaces everywhere out here in Thailand. It's very popular-
Trevor: For the entrepreneurs. Like, it's probably just people like you too, that work remotely for different employers all over the work, tech companies, financial companies, all sorts of stuff. So, that's interesting to know-
John: I didn't know that [crosstalk 00:38:39].
Trevor: That a financial company has the same work space as the coworking space and stuff. I didn't know that actually. That's kind of cool.
John: Yeah, they just don't want to call it like, a coworking space.
John: They still call it the office.
Trevor: Yeah, yeah. You gotta maintain the frame of you go there and you work, you don't go there to hangout, yeah?
John: Yeah. Exactly.
Trevor: Cool, man. Well, that's awesome, man. Your story is so inspirational and it's really cool to see your success so far and I can't wait to learn more about your success. Can you offer like, one parting piece of guidance to people who are just starting out? Maybe they were in your position a year and a half ago and they want to be where you are now. Like, what's the number one tip you would offer them?
John: The absolute number one tip is get a mentor. Find somebody that knows what you're trying to do and somebody proven that has done it before and ask them for help. I mean, you don't have to say, "Please help me." And then you don't pay them. I mean, you just look for, whether it's your course or whether it's just coaching calls or somebody like you, find somebody had knows what you're doing and knows how to give that information to you in a structured way where you have clear action items and then go and do the work.
John: 'Cause when I started, I thought this sounds too good to be true but also because I was thinking of it almost as like a get rich quick scheme. I figured, you know like the movie The Field, if you build it, they will come. That's sort of what I thought I was getting into. I'll build a website and then visitors are just gonna show up and they're just gonna buy from me and I'm gonna sit back and watch the money come in. Yeah, that's not exactly how it works.
Trevor: [crosstalk 00:40:12].
John: Yeah, that's not how it works. But I mean, 'cause there's so many things you have to learn and this stuff you don't learn in school, you don't learn like, there are some books but they're more conceptual. There's no manual out there. You need to find a mentor or a course that can say, step one, this, step two, this, step three, this and that way, you can just say okay, thanks. It takes the guess work out of it. And just do the work and put in the work exactly as you're told and you will make huge progress.
John: Because I spent a year, I spent almost a year like, basically feeling around in the dark trying to figure it out. I did take [inaudible 00:40:51] courses and they were absolutely instrumental. Courses for email marketing and ad words and I've done courses on everything and they've all been very, very, very helpful. I think the number one thing is find a mentor and just do exactly as they tell you to do because that's when you can just take the guess work out, apply the rules and the criteria and it will work. If you put in the work and you follow the criteria, you will see results. I mean, obviously there are waiving factors but find a mentor. That's my parting piece of wisdom.
Trevor: Yep. I wish I would have known about the power of mentorship back when I first started. I honestly am very lucky to have found a business mentor when I first started, when it was 2010 - mid 2010. I was all about starting a skateboard company 'cause that was like, the one thing I wanted to do was start a skateboard brand, you know? My friend had started one and so it kind of gave me the impetus to start one and I talked to him and he said, "Look man, you need to find somebody who's gonna help you with business because if you haven't taken business classes, you don't know how business works, starting a business is gonna be ridiculously complicated, you're probably gonna fail."
Trevor: And so the first thing I did was start talking to people about it, like everybody around me, I just like, talked about all my ideas about business. And one of those guys got really lucky, he was a locksmith, he's in his, like 50s, he's a business owner, a long time business owner his whole life, self employed and he was like, "You know what, man? Your idea sounds great. Let me go buy you a website domain." And I was like, "What? A website domain? Why would I get a website domain?" This was back in 2010 and I didn't really understand the power of websites yet. I just had kind of gotten into Facebook. And so like, he bought the domain and I was just tripping out, you know?
Trevor: And he came up with a name, he called it Beatnik Boards. And I thought, okay, that's kind of a weird name. I don't even know what that means really but let's just go for it. Like, I mean, this guy sounds like a go getter and I was just down, you know? I knew that like, having a mentor in business was so cool 'cause none of my family is into business, none of family is like, entrepreneurial at all. So, like, I just couldn't go to family, I couldn't go to any of my direct friends. None of my friends were really entrepreneurial that much. So, he was like the only guy that like, I had and so I went and met with him like, every single weekend at Denny's and sat down and we talked business ideas.
Trevor: And finally, like, we went through a lot of struggles trying to get the first start up going but then when he finally saw this niche of these like little single speed bicycles kids were riding around North Hollywood, like in these huge packs, like a hundred kids were like jamming down these roads and I think they're still pretty popular like that. But he was like, "You know what man, like, let's go sell those things online. Let's figure out this drop shipping thing."
Trevor: So apparently, someone at GoDaddy had talked to him and he asked them, "Hey, how can I make money online?" He said, "Hey, check out drop shipping." So, this all kind of just fell together. We found a supplier in L.A and we had to buy, like kids' bikes upfront just to get the account with them and all this crazy stuff. And we got the account, I was just really lucky, man. Like everything fell into place. I found the eCreator thing I was talking about and-
Trevor: They actually drove Google shopping ads. So like you were saying, you can't just put up a website and expect people to come. You have to drive traffic but I just got really lucky that I found a website builder and then I didn't even understand what was going on but they actually drove traffic with Google shopping ads. And this was back in like, 2011 where like, I had no idea how Google shopping ads even worked. I knew ad words existed but I didn't really know how it worked. And I just got super lucky that we started getting sales and like, there you go, man. Like the number one thing for sure, getting started is getting a mentor of some sort.
Trevor: That he was able to supply me with the credit and the capital I needed to get started. Like, I didn't have a credit card back then. It was maybe, like a $500 dollar limit, you know? Like I would have never been able to afford these products without him. He had credit established so he got us a credit card, like $5000 dollar limit or something for the business and we were just off to the races at that point, you know? So yeah, for sure-
Trevor: I agree 100%, John. Like, getting a mentor, man-
Trevor: Is awesome. And couldn't had done it without him, you know? Really lucky.
John: I'm actually still running my store without a credit card.
Trevor: What! How do you manage that?
John: Well, because I'm not a U.S citizen, I don't have a social security number, I don't have any credit history, they won't give me a credit card. So, I actually had to fly to the U.S to open a bank account because they don't open bank accounts easily remotely. So I flew over and they said we'll give you a debit card and I was like, "Okay, well can I still make purchases online and can people like, charge, can people charge me like a credit card?" And "Yeah, yeah, as long as you have money in your account." So I did have to like, transfer, I think a transferred like, $2500 dollars over because at the time, obviously, I wasn't even expecting to make a lot of sales. I was thinking well okay, let's just, it needs to be in there just so if I get an order, I can fulfill it immediately instead of waiting a week for Shopify to then send me the forms. And I got one or two sales but I didn't get like, five sales all at once so I wasn't caught out. Because obviously it would have been better to have like, five or ten times that one item. So i got one or two sales and then that money came in and so with the margin, my balance kept slightly increasing and then my sales started increasing. So, it sort of rolls together. So, I was lucky. So, I use my debit card because they won't give me a credit card yet. So.
Trevor: So, it's kind of a good thing-
John: I'm still working on it.
Trevor: Your sales kind of took a little while to go up because now you're-
John: Yeah, yeah.
Trevor: More well prepared for the sales when they come in now, the big ones.
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Trevor: That's cool, man. Well, John, it's been, it's a crazy journey, man. It's been a lot of fun talking to you today. Thanks for sharing your entire story. I'm really excited about your success in the future.
Trevor: And for the listeners, if you guys are looking to get started with high ticket drop shipping, I have a niches list. It's kind of the best way to get started 'cause if you don't even understand high ticket drop shipping but you really want to get into it and you're starting to really get used to it, niche research is the first step of the entire journey. So, get the niches list at ecommerceparadise.com, just click the link at the top for the niches download or go to ecommerceparadise.com/99niches. 99 profitable niches and they're not just like fake BS niches, these are actually real niches that real stores are selling, so it's a really good list to start with.
Trevor: And like John was saying, get a mentor and I offer mentorships so you can click the link below, the niches list is down there, you can get coaching at ecommerceparadise.com/coaching, ecommerceparadise.com/masterclass is where you can find the high ticket drop shipping masterclass.
Trevor: John, thank you so much for being on the podcast. I really appreciate it, man.
John: Thank you, Trevor. It was a pleasure. A real pleasure. And thanks a lot for you help.
Trevor: Yeah, any time. Hey, excited about, to see your results in the future, man.
John: Yeah, I'll keep you posted.
Trevor: Cool. Sounds good. Alright, have a good one.
John: Right, take care.