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My e-commerce adventure, and what I have learned (and earned) so far. – Unchainable

My e-commerce adventure, and what I have learned (and earned) so far.

It is for a good reason that this blog has had so little activity recently. Over the last 8 months, I have immersed myself in the world of ecommerce – particularly dropshipping – and have learned and earned up to $20,000 in this period. This is nothing compared to what others make in this field, so in this post, I want to share an overview of my journey and every step I have taken so far to get to this point. 

So basically, in April of last year, I was happened upon an e-commerce-related post on my feed. Someone was making $2,000 a day and was worried that he had been unable to scale past this amount in his store. This of course piqued my interest – I know many people who would be more than happy with $2,000 a day. Why is he looking for more if he is underperforming? I started to dig, and I added myself to a few dropshipping/ecommerce groups. I learnt that dropshipping was a system of owning a store without holding inventory. You own an online store and market your products, when customers make a purchase, you contact suppliers and they ship the goods on your store directly to your customers. 

This sounded amazing because :-

  1. I could live a true “4-hour workweek life”
  2. I could resign from my paid job and look after my kids without sacrificing my earnings – probably earning even more than a fixed salary could give me. 
  3. I could grow a lot quicker than I could grow in my normal job. I saw people making 0 – $30,000K in sales in a matter of months, so this thing was possible.

So I threw myself into the deep end, signed up for a Shopify account and opened a store for some kids eczema bath packs I was making. So while there are other store-building tools out there, I chose Shopify for several reasons. There was a free 14-day trial that helps me test the platform to see if I could understand it. I could.  I also noticed that there was a lot of potential to add “apps”to your store (same way you can add apps to your phone to help you do extra things). One of these apps (called Oberlo) helped me add around 50 products to my store in an hour. I have owned a custom built online store before, so you can see why this excited me. In my previous store, I would have to write a description, save photos to my computer, upload to the site, and then make it live. With this app, I just added everything I liked to one page called “Import list”in Oberlo. Then I just went to the list, add my product descriptions, prices and once I finished, push all the products to my store. Mindblowing. I knew I had this option when I needed it but I didn’t need it as I was selling handmade products. 

Anyway, over the next few weeks, I ran a few Facebook adverts, ran a few giveaways and every single one of them flopped. I think I think I sold 5 packs for the price of 1 or something silly like that nd soon after I decided to go back to the drawing board. I learnt about a lower risk system called POD (print on demand) where basically, you advertise your artwork, and when someone makes a purchase you send it to the printer, print and send. I looked at some trending products, and decided to print a few trend-related items and I actually did get one sale on Facebook. So step forward in the right direction but not a big enough step to make difference. I imported a few items using Oberlo and tried to advertise them but nothing. So I shut down that store as well and went back to the drawing board. 

Third attempt, I decided to reduce my risk and try to improve on some existing success. From the groups I was it, it was evident that many first-times spent thousands testing ads and stores before they started gaining any sort of traction, so I decided to do the same. I figured out that since I did not have the time to test product after product, I would look for someone who has made some sales, had a social media presence, and then build on that. If it was going to take the same amount to find initial customers anyway, then why not spend the money and save the time to get initial traction? 

So I purchased an already running store for $2,000 – I will break down the buying process later. Looking back, now I know I must have been crazy, but at the time, that was the level of my dedication to this. I think part of my motivation came from the fact that I had joined a few ecommercegroups where folks were making posts like “Help, I can’t seem to break the $5,000/day barrier – how do I scale?” – when I was still trying to get one sale. I had found a community of people who had what i was looking for, and I knew it was possible.

Many success coaches say that the biggest determinant of your success is your mindset. If you believe that you can do it, you can. The easiest way to believe that you can do it is to see other people (the more ordinary they are, the better) do it. Once I started immersing myself in these communities and watching others succeed, I knew in my heart that I could do the same.

I was  more determined than ever in the resolve that if there was $5k/day to be made online, I would find it and make it.

My number 2 goal was to fix my mindset. I have accepted the fact that I have operated under a limiting mindset for so long. There are so many reasons why I should not succeed – I am a woman, I have a fulltime job, my name doesn’t sound trustworthy, my kids don’t sleep, I haven’t done this before. I found myself telling myself to shut up multiple times a day.  It became obvious that the most important thing I needed to change to change my outcomes was my mindset so here are the steps I took to start:

  • Joined around 15 active eccomerce groups and online advertising groups on Facebook. If I can’t get off Facebook and increase my productivity, I’ll stay on an use it to get what I want.
  • I bought books on business psychology and marketing psychology – notably “Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Influence by Robert Caldiniand Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson. Purchasing these books made me realise that I couldn’t put a price on the knowledge I needed if I wanted to succeed. I became free and buying and reading these books became little investments that made way for the big investments to come.

The previous store owner saw a lot of success on Instagram, so I started to advertise on Instagram. The first few sales started to roll in, and soon I started getting sales daily. I noticed that a lot of my customers were leaving without making a purchase and I needed to find a way to convert these visitors to buyers. I started searching for ways to convert was also committed to learning, and in August, I implemented one hack that changed my conversions dramatics (more about this in a different post). I think it took me around 3 months to make my money back, but I stuck at it and kept learning and advertising. By November (6 months after I started advertising) I had managed to get my sales up to almost $9,000 for the month of November alone. Of course, the Christmas rush had a lot to do with it but nonetheless, the sales were good. 

So now that I have seen the potential, I am dedicated to doing more with my store. I know that it can be done, and this blog is just a way to keep myself accountable throughout the process. If along the line, I manage to inspire someone, then mission accomplished!

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