Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Me
Hey guys, welcome to today's episode.
In today's episode, I am going to talk to you about my story. I want to tell you some things you might not know about me and my past and kind of have some fun with it today.
I learned how to use computers way back when they had MS DOS and Windows 3.1 as the main operating system. MS DOS was basically just code. You know, you turn on your computer and get a black screen with white text and it just commands what you're sending to the main computer operating center. I honestly don't even know how it works. All I know is I had some pretty cool video games I used to play. One of them was called Jewel of the Jungle. That was a fun one. And I think it was kind of like a Tarzan video game, but a girl.
As the computer advanced, I think Windows 95 came out a few years later I started messing around with EA Sports. I really liked playing the baseball video game a lot.
For school, since we don't have the Internet back then, we use Encyclopedia Britannica to research stuff. That was pretty much how we got our information. They would tell us to go to the libraries and open up the whole Encyclopedia Britannica books.
That was my computer experience at a young age. I'm glad that I got into it. My dad gave me my computer. It was really cool because I learned how to read his works, learn how to type, learn how to use a computer operating system, and learn how to create reports and stuff with computers. So it was an amazing experience.
I definitely feel blessed.
The elementary school I went to is actually alternative school number one. I don't think it's even around anymore, but it wasn't a regular school as an alternative school. I went there, I between third and fifth graders, I think.
They had a computer room there. And the computers, I think we're some original Mac computers. They had the inserts for the four floppy disks, and some of them were even windows. They had big boxes that would take the big black five-inch floppy disks.
I remember it was ridiculous. The games were so simple that some of the programs were super simple, and it was just funny.
Looking back, it's crazy. And that was when the original Gameboy came out and everything. Good times. It was a good experience.
They did not grade us. There were no grades at this alternative school. Instead of a grade, they gave you a report every quarter or every semester. It was just a teacher talking about a student with how they were doing and performing. It's really interesting.
Fast forward to high school. I helped produce a TV show. It was a daily TV show. My mom and my sister and I were all in it. Some of our buddies from high school were there, too. And the main host of the show is Dustin, who is a pretty cool dude.
We produced it. It was a daily TV show. So every day was a closed-circuit TV show, every day and every room. The TV show would pop up on the monitors probably right after everybody would stand up and say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Then the TV show would come and do a little report. We get different things for different school departments and the sports team and little congratulatory things and all that. It's pretty funny. It was a good time. But part of that was my main, the weekly segment called the Schweitzer Mountain Snow Report.
The local mountain near my high school is called Schweitzer, and it has a ski snowboard resort. I used to be into skiing and snowboarding, and I used to snowboard my buddy up there so my mom would actually get us out of high school to go up for an entire day. Once a week in the wintertime, there were tons of snow up there. And we filmed the whole day. We filmed a whole intro segment. And then we would film ourselves snowboarding all day long and do different runs. And then we go back and film an outro segment. It was like a promo for the resort, but also a lifestyle kind of thing, because many people at school were sort of into that. It was really fun, and awesome.
They've got to get out of school for one day a week. And we got some really good experience creating videos, directing, producing and all that. So it's a really, really good experience back in high school.
I got into skateboarding, and let me tell you about that really quick.
So I got into skateboarding because I was actually riding a little push scooter around like a real razor scooter. And my buddy had escape where he has an old flex sport you get at Walmart or something. And he came over one day and my parents own a two-story house. The bottom floor had an airplane hangar. And what happened was my parents never got an airplane because they were going to a grass airstrip in Idaho's boondocks. They never got an airplane, so they just ended up having it like, "Hey, I want a skateboard here and there."
I had them built a box with them, and we built a couple of mini ramps and even got a rail made at one of the local welding facilities. So that was really cool. I got into skateboarding and started going to skate. It was kind of slow at first. And, after about a year or so, I actually wanted to make a skate crew. Kind of like a skate team. The brand was called Trinity because that was my mom's name for her. She called it, her pines ranch or whatever, extreme pine stables. She had horses, and we did too much stuff.
I made some stickers that were like paper stickers. They were made on an Avery sheet, and we used to put them up and stuff on our binders. We kind of made it a big thing at school and gave stickers to everybody. They're all psyched for it. We were making videos, and they were all psyched for it. And then we just never really went anywhere from there. It was a fun thing. And then the next you know we graduated high school, and that was it.
I just kind of gave up on that.
It was still pretty cool that I got that going and got into sort of an entrepreneurial thing. And I was putting up ads and stuff, kind of promoting it like a skateboard company. And that's what I was going off with all the skateboard magazines that I was reading when I was growing up in the early mid 2000. Skateboarding magazines were also all about skateboard ads and photographs. And then, of course, there were videos. So all that stuff would help sell all the skateboard merchandise that these brands would create in the skate shop. So that's how I was going for.
You know, things happen. Not every entrepreneurial venture takes off if you don't have business experience. You know, it's probably not going to go anywhere. So that's all right.
One cool short little story. I arrived late for my typing class exam, final exam in high school, and I was like halfway through the class. I was pretty bad about waking up on time for my entire first semester that I went to Saturday school because I would show up about a half-hour late to school every day. I was tardy, and I would have to go to Saturday school. Saturday school suck. I had to sit there for about four hours every Saturday, just read a book, and I felt drained.
You have to go around eight a.m.. It's torture. I decided that for the second semester, I'm never going to be late again. And I was on time every single day, but during my typing exam, unfortunately, I was late. So I started the exam late, but I am good at typing. I type really fast that I finish the exam before everybody did. I finished the exam around 10 minutes earlier than everybody else. That was kind of a precursor to what I end up doing later in life, which is blogging.
When I graduated high school, I moved to Los Angeles, California. I wanted to pursue a skateboarding career and become a professional. Skateboarding is what I really wanted to do. Unfortunately, the skill level in Los Angeles is high. A lot of people skate together and learn from each other. It's challenging to compete. I took a few hard slams. I was doing a lot of partying with my friends out there. I met a lot of skaters, and we were partying a lot. And so I wasn't really focused on it. I wasn't meeting the right people. So I just kind of had to throw in the towel on that.
I decided to take a warehouse job at a security hardware distribution company. It's kind of my only way to have stayed in L.A. I did it, and I was able to keep skating and make new friends, and I actually ended up working really well. Because of that job, I learned how a company works and what a distribution company does from the inside out. I was able to learn, and ironically enough, I took one of the worst slams in my life.
Just a few months later, and even more ironically, I met my wife that same day, which is pretty crazy. I literally almost broke my neck. I skated a ten stair handrail, and I hung up at the very top of it and flew down, and it was all tangled up. My legs were tangled up the wrong way, and I wasn't able to roll out of it. And I literally scraped right on my head for about three feet on the ground. And I don't know how I survived it, but I survived it.
My friend hit me up. And he's like, "Hey man, you have to go to this party with us. It's in Hollywood. It can be really cool". And I was like, "no, I can't do it. I just took a really hard slam". But he was very persistent. And so I ended up going, and sure enough, I met Julianna that night. And now we're so awesome. You know, things happen in life like that. So you just got to go with the flow and if people want you to do something, just say yes. Don't say no. Some of the best things in life have happened because I said yes to something I was unsure about. So if you're ever in hesitation about something, just say yes.
My first e-commerce experience was after I went into about five thousand dollars of debt. I was pretty far into debt. I actually had credit cards because I signed up for credit cards right out of high school because U.S. bank just wants to give kids credit cards. And I like your rack em up and we'll make some good April off. I'm really glad I did because I started establishing credit and my parents are really friendly.
I got a job so I could help pay it off. But it was a bad thing, obviously, to get in that much debt. So I asked my dad for help. And before that, I guess I asked him for help because Bank of America, which I had the credit card debt with, literally doubled my interest rates one year from December to January. It went from I think it was like a twelve or thirteen percent to 26 or 30 percent.
I started paying over a hundred dollars a month just in interest payments, not even the minimum. So I was pretty messed up, and I was scared. I needed a way out. So I asked my dad for help. And fortunately, he was actually in a good situation. He was just given a bunch of computers, old computers that his company needed to get rid of.
And he said, "Why don't you just sell these and keep the money for yourself?" And he's like "You know, you're in debt. Why don't you sell them for me on eBay? I don't really have the time to". He was working a full-time job, and "I would ship them directly to your customers for you. And I'll even let you keep the cost of shipping. And I just charge for shipping". I was like, "Wow, that's an amazing opportunity". I've never sold on eBay before. And I wanted to do it.
I set up an eBay account, and I listed the products. I looked around at what other people had sold. They were like really high-end hospital computers. There were five, six, seven hundred dollars each or whatever was the average. So I started listing them at the high point first and charging like a hundred fifty or some like that for shipping. And they started selling, and there was, I think, twenty or twenty-five of them.
After everything was said and done, I think the first few computers I sold were close to a thousand dollars. In the last two, I sold were close to a hundred dollars. And everything was done. I paid off all the debt, and it really worked out. My dad shipped everything out. He even went out of his way one time to ship one of them the next day to a guy. So I was able to keep an extra few hundred dollars.
My dad taught me. He was my first drop ship supplier until I had my very own eCommerce site.
In 2010, four years later, I took what I learned from selling on eBay. I learned market research and product page optimization. I started looking for suppliers that would actually dropship for me, and I started my own site.
I met a guy who I partnered with, and I was able to meet a guy I met a guy who was a locksmith who was one of the customers at the business. And we started talking. And all this had to happen because I went backpacking in Washington that summer and had an epiphany. I wanted to start my own business finally and learn how to do it online. I wanted a skateboard business or some other kind of business online where I could get out of my day job.
I met a guy who was interested in partnering with me on it, and he had heard a document too. We were both interested in doing something like that together. We found a few different suppliers and different niches.
First, the skateboarding niche, which didn't work out because the products are not profitable enough. Then we found a new niche that was actually a little bit more money for each product. It was profitable, and we were able to secure the supplier by issuing their products upfront. So we get an account with them. And then they willing to drop ship for us for a small fee.
Then I searched around. I didn't want to pay the 10 percent eBay fee or nine percent eBay fee. I found ekrater, which is an eBay alternative site. And back then, it was free. I put up a site, and they put up a few listings. Then we made our first sale within a couple of months. It was really cool.
My main goal from the beginning was to take the money that I profited from eCommerce and make a skateboard company. So in 2012, I kept selling on eBay and started taking advantage of some returned merchandise that the manufacturers I had worked with told me to throw away. I handle the returns, and they told me, that the merchandise was either defective or they just want it back. And they just said, throw it in the dumpster. And I was like, wait a second. It's still a pretty good merchandise. A lot of it some of it was an open box.
The company didn't want it, but they didn't want to sell it because they figured it lowered the value of the new merchandise they had in stock. So they're like, yeah, do what you want with it. So I did. And I sold it all on eBay and made a bit of money. And I didn't even have to mess with the profits from the dropship company. I took that money and invested it in creating my own skateboard company called Beatnik. Unfortunately, I bought some boards, and it wasn't that great of a design. And I did it wrong.
I bought way too many boards upfront before I sold them. That was the biggest mistake. I didn't like to focus on selling first before about the boards. I didn't get feedback from people. I didn't build a community up that much. There were a lot of mistakes, but I learned a lot from it.
I recruited a bunch of my friends to ride for me, and gave them boards. We went around and did pretty cool videos. It was crazy with those guys. I just watch the skaters.
After that, I learned some HTML skills and used WordPress and Woommerce, a free web site building software, and GoDaddy Hosting. I built my eCommerce site to sell on the internet. And I just focused on that.
I started doing a lot of content marketing, keyword optimization, and our site grew. In 2013, we were pushing really hard that we hit a hundred thousand by the end of the year.
And that same year it was right around January of that year, I was able to quit my job, and they laid me off. I was unemployed. I was able to afford to live without having a full-time eCommerce business. But luckily, in 2014, we took off and started doing a lot more revenue with five times as much revenue. So it became my full-time job.
I right around early 2014. I told my wife to quit her job. It worked out really well. And that same year, we decided to open a brick-and-mortar store to sell our products. It was the next big step because our industry, a lot of the suppliers, only sold on brick and mortar stores.
We did that and tried to get those suppliers. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that they require a big sign up investment, like around twenty thousand dollars. I didn't do enough research ahead of time.
After that, I learned that we just need to try what we could with the shop. Then we realized six months later, it just wasn't going to be profitable. We sold the same products online, but because we sold them for cheap, there wasn't enough profit to support a shop.
We ended up closing down six months later, and that was that. We learned a really good lesson there.
Early 2015, after the shop was closed, we sold that business, and we got mid-five figures for it. We sold all our stuff and started traveling as nomads. It was kind of cool.
Juliana's sister, who had lived with us for a long time, was a teenager. Unfortunately, her dad went to prison, and her mom wasn't able to support her. We took her in and did what we could, and raised her until she was about 18.
Then she turned 18, and she started to go to college. And it's really cool because she had a friend that was able to give her a place to stay. She went and got separated, and we were able to start traveling.
We did a little bit of traveling that summer. We got married later that summer, too, and went on a honeymoon. But when we came back, a lot of our money was depleted, and we didn't have another business yet. We tried to start a new business. We settled back down to Los Angeles for a little while, worked, and started a new store.
But I didn't know what I was doing still. So I was going to shoot it in the dark, and nothing was working. And then I found a course called Dropship Lifestyle and decided, even though it's costly, it seemed like there were many good reviews and a lot of success stories. I signed up for it, took the courses within a few days, watched all the videos, and started up a new store.
That new store was profitable fairly quickly. But the products ran out of stock, and we had stock issues. We didn't get them any other orders because I didn't know what I was doing. So, unfortunately, we had to shut that first door down.
We realized that the next store that we've put up was going to be successful. It was in the same niche as our other store was. The guy we sold it to, actually resold it. So the non-compete agreement was void. So we're really happy about that,
We started a store, and I was really successful. We started selling on Amazon and Shopify and driving traffic with Google AdWords. You can listen to the other episodes. I talked more about how we do that.
We started making quite a bit of money at full time, but we realized that even though we were making money, we're spending it all because we're still in Los Angeles.
We decided right as soon as our lease was up in around October 2016 we'll actually go ahead and sell all our stuff again.
We moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand. This time we found a blog about a guy named Johnny, and he's like a digital nomad and living in Chiang Mai for a long time. He knew all the spots. And he told us how to get our visas and all that. He taught us a lot of other things. We took his advice and did it. And we haven't looked back since.
So we've been traveling, and I'm actually recording this episode right now from San Juan Del Sur in Nicaragua. We're out here for another week, and then we're flying back to Chiang Mai. We're going to be out there in November then we're going to Bali. After that, we're going to be in Vietnam, then Cambodia. We're going to do Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. It's going to be a fantastic trip, and we can't wait.
That's pretty much my story. Probably a lot of blanks in there, obviously, but there are around ten main points I wanted to make. And I just want to let you guys know a little bit about my background and the things you might not know about me.
If you have any questions or want to tell your own story, join our free Facebook mastermind group and drop it in there.
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Thanks a lot for listening. Take care, talk to you later.
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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