I know what you’re thinking:
How could a 17 year old lose $40,000? yet have that much to start...
In the last video I showed you how I worked with the world’s biggest creators… and earned $30,000.
This is the story of how I lost it all… and then some.
Let me explain.
It’s now April 2019. I had left my job with Preston.
And I had $30,000 to my name.
So what did I do?
I did what any 17 year old would do, and blew a third of it on an elaborate gaming setup.
—full of the best performing tech money could buy.
And while it did provide value when I worked, I did not realize the full impact of what I had done.
Next, I needed a game-plan.
How was I going to make my way into the “real world” without the previous opportunity?
I came up with a brilliant idea: Dropshipping.
What is dropshipping you may ask?
It’s the business model where goods move from the manufacturer to the customer without going through standard channels.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1. Customer places order with your store.
Step 2. Store places order with the manufacturer.
Step 3. Manufacturer fulfills and ships order to the customer.
So your store acts as a middleman, you never touch any inventory, and it runs from anywhere.
Sounds great, right?
I could already hear the Shopify cha-ching sound racing through my head.
In fact, I was marketed with dropshipping ads left and right on social media for the past year…
…promising to “get rich quick” with $5 Facebook ads.
It seemed like the holy grail, and I was willing to give it a try.
Plus, it seemed like every online teenager was making money with it, right?
There was only one problem: I needed a business.
And at 17 years old, it’s a bit tricky to open one.
I wasn’t going to use my home address. I needed a businesses address to open a limited liability corporation, or LLC for short.
I knew it must a place to collect or sent out shipments if necessary.
Where better to go than the post office?
That’s exactly where I went.
And it just so happened to be April 15th —the last day to file taxes in the United States.
As you can imagine, the line was out the door, I could barely peak inside.
So I waited and waited for what felt like an eternity.
And in the remaining few minutes of the day, I reached the front of the line and asked the postal worker to open my P.O. Box.
He refused immediately.
Why? Because I was underage, I was “not eligible” to open a P.O. Box.
Things were not going as planned.
Yet, I asked to show specifically in post office manual where it states I was not eligible.
To his surprise, he was not able to do so, and needed the postmaster to sign off on it.
But he was out sick.
No 17-year-old had ever asked to open up a P.O. Box there before, and his confidence was sinking.
So with only a few minutes to spare, and a growing line behind me, I got the signature I needed.
And was open for business.
Now, with any business, you need a solid business plan.
Here was mine: I was going to follow all the dropshipping gurus and apply their teachings to launch own store.
My budget? $5,000 —not a penny more.
I saw people selling anything from car phone holders to fidget spinners to inflatable halloween costumes.
I needed to find a “winning product” that people would think, “wow!” and buy immediately.
So I searched through product after product, until I found a guru selling something that caught my eye.
It was a portable blender you could take anywhere to blend smoothies with.
I saw the traction his store got and decided to test something similar on my own.
So I opened my first Shopify store and landed on a catchy name, BlenderByte.
I setup the necessary apps, themes, and settings in order to launch my store.
Then I went to work creating advertisements by gathering footage of the product from Chinese manufactures
…or ordering it on Amazon to film it myself.
I finally had everything I needed to launch.
My plan was simple.
I would run ads of my product on Facebook and Instagram to funnel traffic to my site for people to buy.
All that remained was to switch it on.
But I was scared.
Up to this point I had spent maybe a few dollars on a website, a domain, and some startup costs.
To be honest, everything sounded good on paper, but I had no clue if this worked in reality.
Regardless, I took a leap of faith and turned on the ads.
That night I went to bed stressed, knowing only for certain that I would be spending dollars on marketing.
But what happened the next morning changed my life.
I got my first sale.
For the first time, my belief had been shattered, it now seemed possible to replicate this again and again.
Could this turn into a legitimate business?
Over the next few days I continued to get sales from around the world.
Once the store got sales, I would then fulfill orders through the Chinese marketplace Aliexpress.
I spent the next months learning everything there is to know about Facebook ads and Shopify like
- Custom audiences
- Lookalike audiences
- Email marketing
- Upsells, downsells, cross-sells
- Conversion rate optimization
- Social proof
- User Generated Content
…and so much more
I started to get a feel for cashflow. Money would hit my account on Tuesday of each week.
Payments were processed via Stripe or PayPal and left via my bank account.
All I could use to pay for ads was a single debt card.
Things were shaky.
And although I had generated thousands more in sales, overall, I was breaking even or losing money slowly.
So after testing different ads and landing pages, I came to the conclusion that it must be that the product was no longer working.
So what did I do?
I tried selling the store, thinking, “if I can’t do it, maybe someone else can”.
Unfortunately, the quality of buyers and sellers for stores worth a few thousand dollars is not serious.
I ended up shutting the store down.
Then I starting another, and another, and another.
In hopes that one product was certain to hit.
This cycle of starting and stopping different stores went on for the next several months.
I sold products from AirPods cases, to car armrests, to portable Beauty cases, to pickle-jar openers, to infrared heating vests, to shovels, and more.
I spent thousands more on courses, mentors, and communities.
At this point, I was still in high school.
I’d check my phone every waking moment to monitor the results of my ad spend.
To a point where some teachers may have been suspicious of me cheating in class…
…when in reality I was launching Facebook ads every other day.
It was not a healthy situation.
But because I structured my schedule well, in December 2019 I graduated high school early.
I had six months to make this work.
So time went on, I realized things were not scalable as they were.
Facebook was cracking down on Dropshippers by sending out surveys to past customers.
People hated waiting weeks, sometimes months, to receive their orders from China.
And I had lost nearly all the money I have earned before.
That’s when the impossible happened…
Covid hit, and it hit HARD.
Shipping ports closed, states locked down, the world was in a state of panic.
For the first few weeks, people stopped spending at all —they were in a state of constant unknown.
And then it flipped.
Because most of retail had shutdown, people needed to get their toilet paper from somewhere, right?
Where best to turn to than the internet?
eCommerece took off, on a scale comparable to Black Friday, every single day.
It was an eCommerce revolution, people made millions selling masks and hand sanitizer, before it was banned off Facebook, of course.
I knew I needed to give it one last hurrah.
But there was an issue: I was out of funds.
So what did I do? What could I do?
I needed to problem solve.
I had to take a different approach this time, not to repeat the same thing again.
So when I came across a certain eCommerce mastermind, I was shocked.
They approached eCommerce in a professional way I’d never seen before —using realtime data to measure success.
They had a team of eCommerce experts and a community of like minded entrepreneurs like no other.
I had to get in.
But how could I with not enough left in the bank?
I had an idea, but it was risky.
Due to the coronavirus, and manually shutting down the economy, the US government was giving out payment protection plans via the Small Business Administration.
These loans were the best of their kind with little to no interest.
And many took advantage of them, sometimes a little too far.
Each business could only receive so much based on their status.
It was worth a shot. So I applied.
Weeks went by. Nothing.
I was still losing money slowly but surely.
And then it hit.
I had been approved for $11,500 from the Uncle Sam himself.
I could now afford the $6,000 annual mastermind, but boy was I playing with fire.
I asked myself, “what do I have to lose?” Less than nothing it seemed.
So I held my breath, took a leap of faith, and joined the mastermind.
Immediately I got access to an exclusive, super-optimized Shopify theme.
Weekly calls with eCommerce experts
And a community of entrepreneurs on a similar journey —some pulling 8 figures a month.
This sped up my eCommerce journey by miles, and changed my entire perspective of the business.
So with everything improved, I re-launched my newly optimized store selling knock off g-shock watches expecting to see improvement.
But no dice.
In my total time, I generated over $60,000 in sales, but lost over $40,000 overall.
I finally came to the fact that while dropshipping sounds good on paper, Dropshipping from China is not a sustainable business model.
And with $1,500 left in the bank, plus $10,000 in debt, I felt the earth crumbling before my feet.
My back was up against the wall.
…and that’s the exact moment, it clicked.
Click here to watch part 3: How I Made $1,000,000 at Age 18