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6 Lessons From $0 TO $5.4 Million - Shopify Print On Demand

Published on: December 8 2022 by Chris Conrady

6 Lessons From $0 TO $5.4 Million - Shopify Print On Demand

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6 Lessons From $0 TO $5.4 Million - Shopify Print On Demand

September of 2017 my business partner
Julia and I decided to start an
e-commerce brand with print-on-demand
a growing model at that time this was
after I quit my three jobs had some
moderately successful Aliexpress stores
and was just determined to make
ecommerce work long term 2017 with the
new store we did about three hundred
thousand dollars in revenue it was a
great time of the year to test things q4
and that was the only sign that they
needed if that I wanted to do this stuff
forever 2018 came and we did 2.9 million
dollars that year most of the year we
hovered around 160 K a month eventually
had days as high as $200,000 these sales
to come in we work with I'm not a really
big influencers one that had 20 million
on Instagram and end of that year we
built a pool of cash to shovel into the
business coming into 20 20 large profits
as well a good payday but we were more
concerned about the long-term game 2020
comes and business is up like over 100
percent we added a marketing team a
brand manager a couple other roles that
we deem necessary is gonna be to model
the meeting and we're making about 350
thousand dollars a month pretty
consistently had a few product lunches
post with big influencers things are
just on the up and up and all this
brings us to current day at five million
dollars in revenue and half way to being
an eight-figure e-commerce brand it
sounds crazy to say what's going on guys
so aside from all the success that you
just witnessed at the beginning of this
video I want to make it very clear that
there were a lot of lessons learned
along the way both good and bad in to do
this kind of e-commerce especially
nowadays it it's not for everybody it
takes a lot of willingness determination
and really the willingness to take a lot
of risks you have to obviously have the
mindset of wanting to play the long game
by to invest in this video I want to
outline six lessons the lessons we
learned on the journey to five million
in revenue I think it will be relevant
to you no matter where you're at in your
e-commerce journey beginner or advanced
I think it'll help you save some time
energy and money I get a lot of messages
that consist of things like I'm not
profitable or I can't seem to get this
to work however after looking deeper
into what they have going on it usually
discover the problem lies with their
product strategy it does not make any
sense for me to go out there and solve
this with the twelve dollar profit
margin when I can sell something like
this from my fulfillment partner for a
forty dollar profit margin and this
brings us to lesson one are you guys
back when we first started the store we
first tested socks that was our winner
here here and here
money in the bank I was actually able to
buy this Lamborghini okay maybe not that
part however we quickly realized it
wasn't going to be sustainable a long
term and be at scale so we dumped it
prior to the sacks we tried t-shirts and
just lost money with ads we were in the
red the product might be great we sure
thought so but the cost nowadays to
reach potential buyers is going up so to
compensate we had to go with a product
with more room for customer acquisition
our two best sellers right now have a
margin of about twenty to thirty dollars
and that's without any upsells we're
using a lot of upsells and back when I
used to do client work same parameter we
started with the margin on the front end
I'd recommend selling things like
tumblers canvases posters even metal you
can find a metal supplier on Etsy or or
a private manufacturer really anything
but a t-shirt on the front end if we
look at MC for product inspiration
you'll notike right away that we rarely
see t-shirts as a listing now I know I
always tok about using a mainstream p
OD supplier like printful however ANSI
is a great place to also find suppliers
if you're looking for a more unique
product to sell generally these are just
mom-and-pop shops in a garage and they'd
be happy to fulfill at scale more unique
the product you have hitting the
marketplace the more success we'll have
if I go out there and sell something
like this right here a star map
millions and millions of people have
already seen this on social media
can I still sell it absolutely is it
gonna be much harder yes it is there had
been many stores that had built their
entire brand around this sole product
right here when we started our store
there was not a lot of people doing what
we're doing there was one of the store
we decided to take it do it a little bit
differently innovated a little bit
further and had success with it and
after years and years of now going on it
and doing it anybody that tries to do
what we're doing for example it's gonna
be much harder for them okay lesson
number two don't be an idiot like myself
let me back up
I oversee the marketing for the business
and maybe abrupt decision to partner
with a model on Instagram that had 15
million followers for a story post I was
expecting it to basically rain and Julie
and I would have a good payday
fast forward the post goes up and it
failed like actually builds the point of
losing $8,000 this is an actual traffic
screenshot we did four thousand dollars
in sales that day which was a normal
sales day for us so who knows how much
we even did off this quote-unquote
influencer I mean you got a little bit
excited because the influencer had lots
of followers
lots of likes but what happened was the
image that she gave off didn't fit our
customers all right I have to admit
Julia is right when she says they got a
little carried away so what should I
have done what's the lesson here
number one make sure the influencer you
want to work with matches your brand to
ensure it resonates with their audience
by doing this the product feature will
look more like a personal recommendation
by the influencer let's take Kylie
Jenner for example she's a mega model
influencer with 142 million followers on
Instagram yep that's a big fat number
you see I'm like Kylie and she has a
lifestyle she's trying to portray with
her thousands and thousands of photos in
the advertising world brand will come
along and say hey her lifestyle matches
our customers let's do a brand deal if
she did a promotion with a nice smile
it'd be a very close match and has
however if she promoted crest her
audience would probably just laugh and
keep scrolling number two make sure the
influencer is actually an influencer and
I know it sounds really counterintuitive
aside from the number of flowers and
likes and photos do they actually have
the pole to get people to potentially
purchase from you I determine this by
looking at the influencer on all their
active platforms suffer it for example
if I were to work with Kylie Jenner and
I look to see if she has a YouTube
channel which she does and her videos
get millions of likes comments and views
and this tells me that she isn't just a
fly by the night Instagram influencers
she has a reputation and a relationship
with their millions of followers I mean
just look at Kylie cosmetiks it's
estimated to be worth a nine hundred
million dollars by Forbes like what we
have to have major influence to pull
that off and if you guys want my more
detailed influence of strategy to get
returns like this check out the link in
the description
lesson number three the work you do now
will always pay off with consistency and
I know this sounds really redundant but
hear me out to give an example
nope with most of ecommerce a lot of
sales and profit will come in q4 but the
entire rest of the year you're putting
in that work building an audience
building brand equity enhancing your
email marketing the amount of
consistency and repetition you put in
outside of q4 is from our experience the
variable that determines how successful
that holiday time will be right now July
of 2019 were actually focused on
acquisition now this time of the year
would be considered the slow time for
many of ecommerce stores including
ourselves however we're still focused on
bringing people in and getting people
into the funnel and establishing rapport
with all these customers by the time q4
comes around these people know who they
want to purchase from it helps out
immensely on the actions you do prior so
for example inside of my ads manager
November of 2018 we spend one hundred
thirty three thousand dollars on
Facebook ads and about 50km
influence and marketing to do a million
dollars in sales we had a ton of sales
happen outside of any advertising and
had we not spent the previous months
doing the more tedious tasks like
improving email marketing or investing
thousands of
dollars into content and website
development November in this case would
not have been this successful investing
in your brand and being able to see the
long-term payoff is a powerful skill so
massive multi six-figure profit but even
more cool is the 4.2 X role as we've
seen on Facebook all the rest of the
year we were just seeing a 2x lesson
number 4 your e-commerce business will
thrive with a good email marketing
strategy notike how he just said good
the problem here is that many store
owners just focus on acquiring customers
and not their back-end and unfortunately
this used to be us here's the reality
though we're in a new age of e-commerce
and it's survival of the fittest we have
somebody comes along doing what you're
doing it has a better email marketing
strategy they'll pass you up simply
because they can spend more to acquire
customers and invest into their brand on
top of that they built tighter
relationships with their customers
suddenly I realized how much we're
losing by not utilizing email marketing
there's so many stores out there even in
our niche that are spending a lot on
advertising and investing into their
store simply because they have
fine-tuned their email marketing they've
given themselves all this extra revenue
and profit to work with after months and
months of putting in the work and
fine-tuning our email marketing and
flows April of this year was our first
month hitting the goal and we landed it
32% 32% of the revenue came from email
marketing let me break this down for you
off of three hundred ninety four
thousand dollars in revenue that month
127 thousand came from email forty eight
thousand dollars came from our automated
flows and seventy nine thousand dollars
from campaigns if for example I'm seeing
a 30 percent profit margin off of 127 K
that's an extra thirty thousand dollars
in profit I'm trying to remain calm
right now but this is a big deal with
our Facebook Ads we break even a lot of
the time which is not a bad thing the
real money the real profit comes from
these emails and our repeat customers
lesson number five you're running a
business obviously but like view point
is that a lot of the money that you make
should be shoveled back into the
business to keep it growing and getting
better long term investment
is what will separate you now as an
example if you need to spend money on a
custom theme that we feel the positive
long-term results do it if you think you
should spend a few hundred dollars to
use clay vo instead of MailChimp do it I
think that there is so much propaganda
out there when it comes to e-commerce
and profit you see the Lamborghinis you
see them mansions and it really just
paints this false perception in people's
minds especially if somebody is new
getting into e-commerce and of course
you can go out there and buy those
things with e-commerce however it's my
viewpoint that you could be investing it
into growth and becoming an industry
leader and investing it into your
products and for example let's say you
make $200,000 profit you know a couple
months you make $200,000 profit would
you rather profit the entire 200k or
invest a lot of it make your brand the
best it can be and selling your later
for a million dollars and that's really
what it ultimately comes down to with
our business right now we're building it
to sell finally a lesson number six do
not be afraid to spend with paid social
in many cases this will be Facebook Ads
if you lag funding that is a personal
problem that needs to be solved my first
business my partner and I we took out a
loan I think loans are grave they really
help you they give you the kickstart
that you need either way removing the
limitations to your success is crucial
and it wasn't until the end of 2019 when
we had done like three million dollars
with this store in revenue that we
realized we still have these limitations
I have a friend in my hometown that does
ecommerce which is quite odd I live in a
small hometown and he got any commerce
and I saw him at the grocery store and
he came up to me and he said man Chris
I'm really really struggling I can use
some advice I think I found something
that worked and he wanted me to look at
his ad account so I opened up his an
account inside of the grocery store and
I seen what was going on and I notiked
that he did indeed have a product that
was working he had a profitable campaign
he was making some money it was a lot
but he was making money however he was
only spending like $50 a day on ads and
I'm like man what's going on why have
you not scaled this yet and he replied
simply saying I'm afraid to lose money
I'm afraid to sign a work I'm afraid of
Maps here's the reality anybody that's
successful with this and if you really
want to make money with this you have to
be relentless in your pursuit of scaling
something that works and just going with
you can't just settle and this goes with
finding products as well and testing
products you have to be relentless in
your pursuit of doing that and you have
to be willing to lose money you are
going to lose money regardless you can
not stop that if you do stop that you're
not gonna get anywhere far alright guys
I really hope you enjoyed this video and
you got value out of it if I can shed
light on anything if you have any
questions go ahead and comment down
below I'll make sure to get to that so
with that guys thank you so much for
watching I'll see you in next week's

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