Scaling A High Ticket Dropshipping Store To A Full-Time Income with Robert
Scaling A High Ticket Dropshipping Store To A Full-Time Income with Robert
MEET MY HIGH TICKET DROP SHIPPING MASTERCLASS STUDENT
I want you to meet Robert who is my high ticket drop shipping masterclass student. He has been doing high ticket drop shipping for some time now and he scales his store really big.
HOW HE STARTED
Robert started with eBay and discovered Amazon which the traffic is way better, it got 10x better than eBay. He used the same principle and that is to dropship on Amazon using retailers. He got his leverage when he got outsourcing, he was able to scale to the point he is comfortable living his job about 4 years ago. Before dropshipping, he used to manage restaurants for 11 years.
Almost two years ago, he started High Ticket Drop Shipping, he gets to have his own website. High Ticket Drop Shipping has less transaction but very profitable.
WHAT HELPED HIM SUCCEED
- Motivational Speaking (youtube, podcast, and networks)
HOW HE FOUND HIS NICHE
He found his niche by listing all the different products/niches and narrowed it down to a few that seem good to him. One of them just stands out because it has a lot of search volume, at that time, it did not have a lot of competitors but he still thinks it is a pretty good niche. He made sure to build a relationship with 6-8 of suppliers.
WHAT HE THINKS ABOUT SHOPIFY PLATFORM
He can describe Shopify to be a userfriendly platform for beginners. It is easy to start with it. When he created his own website, he does not do it all in one day, instead, he works on it one to two hours a day and eventually he was able to build the store.
EXPERIENCED DROP SHIPPER'S TIPS
- Rewrite the product description and make sure it will stand out from the rest of the competitors.
- Get the best customer service.
- Call back if someone calls and you were not able to answer.
- Having a mentor is really important to succeed.
Trevor Fenner: Hey guys, welcome to the eCommerce Paradise High-Ticket Drop Shipping podcast. I have a special guest on the show today, and his name is Robert. He is a student of mine actually in the High-Ticket Drop Shipping Masterclass, but he has been doing high-ticket drop shipping for some time now, and he scaled his store really big. So, I'm super excited to talk to him, and ask about his story, and let him share his stories and wins with you guys, and also some of his struggles. Welcome to the podcast, Robert.
Robert: Thanks Trevor. Happy to be here.
Trevor Fenner: Yeah, totally. If you want to just start it out, how did you get started with eCommerce in the first place?
Robert: That's a good question. So, initially I got started with eCommerce, I started with eBay like most people do. eBay is the most forgiving platform I would say, so started out drop shipping actually on eBay using retailers and I did that for, I would say about a year, year and a half. I had a full time job at the time, so all the money I made from that, I saved all of it, I didn't spend any of that money. Then I discovered Amazon, which the traffic is way better, probably 10 times plus better than eBay. I used those same principles to drop ship on Amazon using retailers, and I got into outsourcing. When I got into outsourcing that's when I really got leverage, and I was able to really scale to the point where I felt comfortable leaving my job, which was about four years ago.
Robert: So, I did drop-shipping full time. I've done a little bit of FBA, that's like retail arbitrage, going into stores and scanning products to see if they're profitable on Amazon. I did some online arbitrage. I did private label, failed miserably at that, but I tried it. I still want to do that, that's still something else that's in the pipeline. And then I discovered high-ticket drop shipping probably about two years ago, maybe a year and a half to two years ago. I knew about it, but I didn't actually get involved with it. I just liked that it's high ticket, you can make good money with not as many transactions. That was really appealing to me, and then having your own site as well because when you sell on Amazon and eBay, you're kind of playing in their sandbox. There's a lot of rules with that.
Robert: So, I decided to go into the high-ticket drop shipping with my own site, and it's actually much better. I like it a lot more. I still do the Amazon drop shipping, but the landscape over there is a lot different and it's not quite as profitable as it once was. It used to be a really, really profitable, but it's still profitable enough that I keep it around. I have a team of VAs that take care of that for me, so I don't really mess with it too much.
Trevor Fenner: Gotcha. I'm curious, what did you do at your job before you started eCommerce?
Robert: I used to manage restaurants. I did that for like 11 years and hated it. When I first got into eBay initially and drop shipping, I used to come home from work and I just smelled like greasy food and I stunk. I used to walk right in the door and my laptop was on the kitchen table, and I wouldn't even take a shower, take off my work clothes, I'd just walk in the door and go right to the kitchen table and start listing products. I did that for like a year.
Robert: I did it almost every day, probably put it in a good... I was working 50 hours a week plus, and then I'd do that three hours a night, three or four, sometimes more. I'd gotten in a groove of it, and that was my why. I think that's important for people to know if they want to eventually take a leap of faith and leave their job, or if they want to be successful with any eCommerce venture, I think you have to have a why. Why you want to do it, and that was my whole why. I hated my career path, and I thought I was pigeonholed that industry, and I wasn't going to get out of it.
Trevor Fenner: Yeah, I think that's why a lot of people end up quitting. They just hate their job and want to escape the rat race, do their own thing, work remotely, be location dependent. That's great that you're able to achieve that, and that's a huge achievement. I think a lot of people really want that, and in my opinion I think most of what holds us back from doing it is our own beliefs and our own insecurities about whether or not we're actually going to be able to be successful doing it, or whether we should just stick with what we know, and what's safe.
Robert: Yeah. A lot of it really is mindset, and another thing that helped me was just getting into self-development, and motivational speaking, and things like that. I know you're into some of that stuff too Trevor, a lot of entrepreneurs are, and I personally need it because just day to day life, most people are just negative. They're just naturally negative, and they don't even realize that they're negative. So, that's something that I just need, I listen to podcasts or YouTube videos almost every day. Also just having a network of people that are on the same page as you, to keep in contact with them because that keeps you grounded too. It's easy to go off on the deep end and let those thoughts overtake you.
Trevor Fenner: Yeah, true. I think one of the most impactful things that ever happened to me was, number one, when I was able to become a part of mastermind groups, and work with other entrepreneurs side by side, and get their stories and their takes on things, and stuff like that. That really helped a lot. And then two, was finding a really good mentor, somebody who knew the path. Already had been there, done that, been successful and was able to help me. Those things totally changed my life.
Robert: Yeah, and I think also having a mastermind... I think the reality is, it's kind of hard to bring it every day. You have those days you just don't feel like it, you get unmotivated and hit bumps. When you're in a mastermind like that, someone else might be motivated and inspired, and they're just working on whatever it is, and they're telling you about it, and you feed off of that energy and vice versa. They might be in a funk or they're not feeling it, and then you're really motivated, you're working on something, and they feed off of that. So, you help each other more than you even realize just being around these people, and talking to them.
Trevor Fenner: Yep, 100%. Let's talk about how you got started with your high-ticket drop shipping store now. How did you go about choosing your niche, and doing the market research, and stuff like that? How long did that take you, and what was it that you finally decided? Was it something that you saw that was really profitable and had a good opportunity, or was it something you were maybe more passionate about, or it just fit you better as a personal decision? What was it that made you choose the niche that you got into?
Robert: I wouldn't say that I was passionate about it. I would say that I made a list of different niches, and I narrowed it down to a few that seemed good to me. One of them just kind of stuck out because it had a lot of search volume, and at the time it didn't have a lot of competitors. There's more and more competitors coming in the space, but I still think it's a pretty good niche to get into. That's pretty much how that came about for me.
Trevor Fenner: Cool. Yeah. You saw a lot of volume with fewer competitors, and the products were high priced, so they're profitable. That's good. I think those are the main things. Were there a lot of suppliers as well? Did you see that there were plenty of suppliers or was it limited?
Robert: Yeah, there's a good bit of suppliers. I would say in the market or the niche that I'm in, there's probably about four that are pretty hard to get. They're going to tell you no, and you have to really be persistent with trying to get them. We were talking about this before this interview, but you have to be persistent but in a respectful way. You don't want to be annoying, and if they say, "Oh, we're going to reevaluate it in two months." Well, put that on your calendar and go back to them in two months and say, "Hey, I just want to follow back up again." That's what you have to do if you want to get those kind of suppliers.
Trevor Fenner: Did you end up being able to get any of the suppliers in the long run, that's hard to get?
Robert: Yeah. I've gotten pretty much all the major ones, I would say, in my niche. There might be a couple, but I think I've gotten majority of them.
Trevor Fenner: What were some of the things that you did that you were able to land those accounts eventually? You mentioned having to follow up a bunch of times. Is there anything unique that you did that maybe other eCommerce store owners weren't doing that actually landed you that account?
Robert: One of the most recent ones I got, the supplier is probably one of the biggest ones in the space and in the industry. I had been trying to get them for probably a year, and they would just always say no. Their corporate headquarters is kind of close to me, it's several hours drive, so I convinced them to meet with me. I drove up and met with them, and we had dinner, and at the end I wasn't sure how... I felt like it was going pretty well the whole time, but I wasn't quite sure what they were going to say. Then at the end, it was the senior director... I can't remember what her position was, but it's pretty high up in the company, and at the end of our dinner she was like, "Yeah, we'll give you a chance and see how it goes." That's been pretty important, having that brand's been pretty important.
Trevor Fenner: I think that's a really amazing thing, is to actually go and meet with the supplier, and have dinner with them. It's something that a lot of the eCommerce entrepreneurs that are new to this space, I don't think they really grasp how that works but that's how the wholesale and retail industries work, usually. Usually these manufacturers work with big distributors, which sell to hosts, which sell to retailers, and then retailers sell to the consumers. Without the distributors in place, basically we're the go-to, so you have to actually establish real relationships with them. That means phone calls, lots of phone calls, lots of emails, and also maybe having to meet up in person. I think that's really cool that you actually went out of your way for that.
Robert: I think also, you have to bring a skill set, and they have to recognize that, but they also have to like you. I think it is about building relationships. You can't be an annoying person. I think it's important that they like your personality because it is about relationships too.
Trevor Fenner: Yeah, 100%. Cool. That's awesome. Let's talk a little bit about when you first launched your store. How many suppliers did you have on board, and what was it like when you first launched it? How well did you do?
Robert: I would say when I first launched, I maybe had eight suppliers. Six to eight suppliers, or something like that. When I first started, I ran the ads myself and I had a general understanding of how to run the ads, but I wasn't doing the inverted funnel that you teach. I did make a few sales but nothing earth shattering. When I got the inverted funnel and I set that up, that's when things got much better. That definitely helps. I know as far as, if you want to maintain good growth, one of the easiest things to do is to keep getting suppliers. Just consistently try to work on getting suppliers. That's one of the easier things to do to help grow, because it's kind of like you're going fishing and you have a bunch of hooks in the water, the more hooks in the water, the more likely you're going to catch the fish. So that's, I think, the same thing with getting all the suppliers.
Trevor Fenner: Yeah, 100%. I feel like every single product listing you put on your website like a little salesman, and you're putting little salesman out there selling your products across the whip. The more products you have, the more products you sell.
Robert: Yeah. It's that easy. It really is.
Trevor Fenner: Yeah. So, it sounds like you're able to take your experience with all the eBay and Amazon drop shipping, and started applying it to your own store, which you have on Shopify, right? That's what you're using.
Robert: Yes. Yes.
Trevor Fenner: How do you like Shopify compared to listing products on eBay and Amazon? Is it easier, is it just different, how would you compare them?
Robert: I would say it's more difficult, but comparatively to other platforms you can use, it's one of the more user friendly ones. I think for people that are starting out, I think there's a lot of people that are like me, and despite being an eCommerce entrepreneur for several years, I'm really not that computer savvy. People think that I am, but I'm really not. So, as far as building a demo store, that was not an easy thing for me to do even though it might be easy for some people, but you just have to figure it out.
Robert: I've seen people in some Facebook groups that struggle with that, and I think the key is to just, don't sit down and do it all in one day. Just do it incrementally. Sit down for like an hour or two each day, and just chip away at it, and eventually you'll get it done. I think it is a daunting thing, but it's not as bad once you get into it. And this is coming from somebody that's really not that savvy with that kind of stuff too. I'm a little better than I used to be, but I'm really not that great overall, I would say.
Trevor Fenner: It sounds to me like you're basically doing a lot of the work yourself. You're calling suppliers, you're getting those accounts, you're filling the dealer agreements out yourself, you're adding products to the store, you're running the ads. That sound right, you're doing most of the work yourself here?
Robert: Yeah. Well, I have one VA, she'll list products for me. I don't do a bulk upload like some people do with an Excel file, I list products individually, product by product. Me personally? I think that's better to do it that way, because it all suppliers give you different information. She's Filipino, so she speaks broken English, but she understands my directions. She'll list the product, and then she'll make it unlisted so it's not live on the website, and then I'll come in, and I'll just make some tweaks and edit it to where I feel like it's a good product listing, and then make it live. But, she does all the heavy lifting for me. I just do a few edits and make it live.
Trevor Fenner: Yeah, I think at least having somebody do the annoying data entry work, and then going through and editing the rest of it, and enhancing it with your own personal touch is a really good way to do it.
Robert: Yeah. Sometimes I might have, I don't know, I'm trying to think of something else. Maybe something specific like, on all my listings maybe I had an H3 tag somewhere, and I want it to be an H2 on all those listings. That's a really mundane kind of task, so I have her do that like, "Go into all of these and make them all H2 tags." Stuff like that, that makes a difference. You don't want to do it, so you hire someone else to do it for you.
Trevor Fenner: Yeah. I think honestly as business owners, we need to consider that our time is very valuable and if something can be outsourced for $3 an hour or less, then obviously we should hire somebody to do it for us so we can focus on the bigger picture. Things like hitting bigger accounts, and planning things out, and stuff like that. I think it's important.
Trevor Fenner: Outsourcing has been a big thing for me too. We've been building a team, and it's been a journey trying to figure out how to manage people. To actually get them, to train them properly, and to get them to do work done. But, it's been a game changer for sure, not having to do the actual mundane tasks ourselves. Even just having a team of VAs do everything for us is pretty crazy.
Robert: Yeah. That's another thing I need help with, customer service. We were talking about that too before this call, but I know it's what I need to do. I've known this for some time, but I am just a control freak about that, and it's just how I am with it. I feel like I do a good job, but obviously if I want to really grow, I can't do it myself, and I know that. So, it's coming eventually.
Trevor Fenner: That's the entrepreneur's dilemma. When I had my bicycle website out, it was the same thing for me. I was doing all the customer service myself, processing 10 orders a day, and we were making $10,000 a month net profit, and I was just freaking out like, "God, I can't believe I'm doing this right now." But at the same time I realized, geez, I'm working eight to 10 hour days just going through doing sales calls, customer service fulfillment, all this stuff, and then trying to update the website. It was hectic that summer, and I finally realized that even though it might take more work upfront for a little while, at least in the long run it'll save me effort or allow me to scale in other ways. Outsourcing is key, but I think you're right, you need to do it right still. Doing it slowly is important, and just the fact that you know your target markets so well, I think that's really cool. [crosstalk 00:18:26].
Robert: I think a lot of people get into the outsourcing... Oops, knocked my earpiece out. I think a lot people get into outsourcing, and they get too comfortable thinking like, "Oh, everything is just automated, and I don't even have to do anything." I think that's when stuff really backfires. You can have things 100% automated as much as you think, but it's never going to be 100% automated. You still have to be in the trenches with them a little bit, I don't think I'll ever be able to fully just step away from the store.
Trevor Fenner: It sounds like you're doing pretty well in your store, so your store is pretty much providing you a full time income right now. Right?
Robert: Yeah. I have that, and Amazon.
Trevor Fenner: That's awesome. You talked a little bit about it earlier, but what was the main tipping point that got your store from part time to full time income? Was it just the ads or was it a combination of things like ads, and getting more suppliers, adding more products? Were there other key points there as well?
Robert: I would say taking your course helped a lot. So, your plug there, but it really did help. I felt like I've taken a few different courses in the high-ticket space, and I would say yours is just easier to understand for the average person. You kind of dumb it down for people like me. You have your email flows, the thank you series, and little things like that really make a big difference because people do... If you started this, you probably experienced this. People might buy something from you, and it's a high-ticket item, and then a lot of people do get buyer's remorse. If you follow up with that thank you series, it kind of reassures them like, "Hey, we're a legit company." And just kind of give them a story about your site, and send followup emails thanking them, and hold their expectations. Things like that definitely make a difference. They're not going to really necessarily make you money, but it helps with that after-sale support too.
Robert: So, little things like that. I would say another thing that helps was, and I know you're big on this too, but rewriting product descriptions because most people copy and paste exactly what the manufacturer, or the wholesaler, or supplier has. That's fine to start out, but once you to start getting an idea of the products that are getting clicked on, I would say it's pretty important to rewrite those product descriptions because you stand out from your competitors if you do a good job with that. So, that has been helpful for me too.
Trevor Fenner: That's awesome. Let's talk a little bit about scaling now. You've gotten to that point where you're scaling, you're getting bigger, you're trying to expand, and stuff like that. Some entrepreneurs go the route of, instead of just scaling their store, they try to open a bunch of stores. Have you gone that route or are you just kind of more focusing on your one store? What's your longterm plan, your scaling plan, right now?
Robert: I started another store, but this current store, I felt like I shouldn't be neglecting it. Some people I think can handle that, if you have a good system in place with a team of VA's, I know that you have multiple stores, someone like you maybe. For me personally, I just felt like I just want to stick with what works, and what I know. I think there's a lot of potential with my store, it could get pretty big if I want it to, but I know it's going to take work. So, if I want it to get it to the level that I want it to get to, I don't think I should be distracted with other stores right now. That might change in the future, but right now I feel like that's what I want to do.
Trevor Fenner: Cool. Yeah, I think that's smart. Honestly, the more you spread yourself thin, the less you're ever going to focus on one big thing. If you have one big thing happening already, you're right, it is kind of a bad thing to neglect it, and try to build something else from scratch in a different niche. You got something good going on right now, I think it's a really, really good idea to scale it slowly, and keep growing that one thing. I think you're doing a smart thing. It's awesome.
Trevor Fenner: Robert, do you have any tips for absolutely beginners? People that are just starting out with high-ticket drop shipping, or with drop shipping in general, and don't really know where to get started, some tips for them?
Robert: Yeah, I guess a couple things that come off the top of my head, and this might be why it's hard for me to give up the customer service is, and it's something that doesn't get talked about a lot, I think it is customer service. You need to do a good job with that, and you need to make people feel comfortable about who they're doing business with. Another thing that helps is, if someone calls and you can't answer the phone, and they leave a message, obviously call them back. But, there are plenty of people that call and don't leave a message, and call those people back too. Call anyone back that calls you, even if they don't leave a message. That makes a difference. I've definitely made sales from people that never left a message. Some people just don't like leaving voicemails, I guess. I don't know. I think that's pretty key, just following up.
Robert: Having a mentor or a mastermind group is critical too. It's important to be around people that are doing the same thing that you're doing, so you can bounce ideas off each other, and just a mentor, someone that has done it, and has had results. Just have that person to come to for questions and help. So, those are a couple things, I guess. Those are two things that kind of stand out in my mind.
Trevor Fenner: Cool. Yeah. It sounds like those are two things that got you to where you're at now, so that's really good tips. I hope you guys really got those tips. I think he's right, customer service is key. Building trust is key when you're making sales online. Thank you so much, Robert, for being on the podcast and offering your advice, and wisdom, and experiences to the community. Best of luck with your store.
Robert: Thanks a lot, Trevor.
Trevor Fenner: Cool.
Enroll in our step-by-step High-Ticket Drop Shipping Masterclass where I take beginners from scratch to launch in 30 days and then teach how to scale past 7-figures. Click the link to know more about it: https://ecommerceparadise.com/masterclass
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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