Last year, I skyrocketed my profits to levels I didn't consider currently possible for me. Imagine having to shut down your stores just because you're making too much money, too fast. Crazy, right? Well, that happened to me. I've weathered storms, made mistakes that cost me thousands, but also stumbled upon strategies that can turn your e-commerce game upside down. Want to know the hard-earned secrets? Today I'm sharing the lessons that could save you years of trial and error.
1. Think Big from the Start
I was always satisfied with my modest online arbitrage and part-time wholesale business. Then, I discovered drop shipping and was astounded by its revenue potential. I scaled my Amazon and Facebook Marketplace drop shipping operations beyond anything I had done before. However, the growth was so rapid that I had to shut down my stores for two weeks just to keep up with cash flow. Had I thought big from the beginning, I would've been prepared for such explosive growth.
2. Diversify Your Revenue Streams
Don't put all your eggs in one basket; I learned this the hard way. I got so caught up in the success of Facebook Marketplace that I neglected other platforms. Then, the worst happened: I lost my main Facebook account, which vaporized about $20K in consistent monthly profit. Had I been more diversified—scaling Amazon drop shipping alongside Facebook, for instance—I could have mitigated the loss at the time.
3. Search for Hands-Off Scalability
The allure of drop shipping, particularly on Facebook Marketplace, can make it seem like a dream. But the reality is that once you pass a certain point—say $10K in monthly profits—it starts to feel like another high-paying job. Managing listings, customer service, and even managing virtual assistants became incredibly time-consuming. Going forward, I’m keen to focus on businesses that are scalable and less demanding on my time (like Amazon dropshipping and Etsy print on demand), which offer better automation.
4. Adapt or Die
The ability to adapt is key to long-term success in any business. Changes are inevitable, and how you adapt to those changes determines your staying power. It's not the strongest who survive, but the most adaptable. So always anticipate the worst and hope for the best. As they say, "only the paranoid survive."
5. The 80/20 Principle: Focus for Success
I love to experiment, but I've learned to concentrate on a few platforms that yield the best returns. Not every platform that turns a profit is worth your time. The 80/20 principle holds: 80% of your profits will likely come from 20% of your efforts. And that's true in ecommerce too. You'll have best products, best websites, etc... Streamline your focus to make the most of your time and energy. And when something works, double down on it.
6. Choose Your Mentors Wisely
Listening to too many voices can lead to confusion and a lack of direction. There's a million and one ways to be successful. But if you're listening to lots of people at once, the only thing you'll end up spinning your wheels trying to implement a bunch of counter intuitive strategies. I've learned to select a few mentors and tune out the rest. The clarity that this focus brings has been invaluable.
7. Humility is an Asset
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know it all, especially when you're succeeding. The best antidote is to be aware of our limitations. Knowledge lies in understanding how much we DON'T know. This openness to learning is critical, not just in e-commerce but in life. And often the best improvements I've made in my business came after a bout of curiosity and in depth niche research (even if I already thought I was an industry leader in that niche).
8. The Power of Delegation
Mastering the art of outsourcing has been a game-changer for me. I was able to delegate tasks that freed up my time, enabling me to focus on strategy, R&D, and scaling. Trust me, you're not the only smart, capable person out there. Well-defined systems and a competent team can take your business to new heights.
9. What You Don't Know Can Cost You
I discovered the value of tax exemptions with suppliers a little too late, missing out on an additional 5-10% profit per order. Likewise, I could've saved a lot on labor costs had I outsourced to the Philippines sooner. What you don't know can indeed cost you BIG, so always be learning and never take anything at face value.
To sum it up, these are the hard-won lessons from my journey so far in e-commerce. They've shaped my strategies and approach moving forward.