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I made $1,000,000 in sales at 18 years old.

But it’s not how you think.

Here’s the story:

It's September 2020, the middle of the pandemic.

I spent the last year and a half starting dozens of online dropshipping businesses, only to lose my entire life savings, and land in over $10,000 of debt.

I was enrolled in online community college, taking the same Gen Ed classes I’d completed in high school.

And the world had shutdown. I was getting hundreds of chargebacks for delayed orders, and business was going downhill fast.

Life was miserable. I needed a way out.

Now, I had one trick up my sleeve.

Earlier in the year, I used half of my PPP loan to gain access to a $6,000 / year eCommerce mastermind.

The group was filled with the best eCommerce entrepreneurs and experts I’d ever seen.

…and it helped expand my knowledge tenfold.

I had access to more resources than ever, but I knew from leaning the hard way, dropshipping was not the answer.

So I reached out and asked for help from the group to make room for improvement.

I noticed some were dropshipping like me, some ran big name brands, and some were doing something I’d never heard of…

It was called Print on Demand.

…and it’s exactly as it sounds. Merchandise was printed for customers on demand.

The business model took the low-risk aspects of dropshipping, and added fast shipping times with quality products — all fulfilled in the United States.

Instead of placing orders from China only to arrive months later broken, customers received premium merch delivered in a few days.

…and it had great margins. I could buy a hoodie for $12 and sell it for almost $50, leaving room for marketing.

It sounded much more promising. I saw people like Travis Scott or Logan Paul sell their own merch, so it knew it was legit.

But I’d just lost $40,000 dropshipping, and I needed to warp my head around it.

Was this another scheme I couldn’t recover from?

How was I going to find a product-market fit?

Was I really in a financial position to do this?

How was I going to pay off my debt?

Maybe my parents were right… maybe I should get a “real” job, and call it quits.

The more I thought about it, the deeper I dove, and asked more questions to the ones doing it themselves.

They had great resources like where to find the best print quality, how to launch your store…

…and I already knew how to run Facebook ads.

So what else did I have to lose? —besides the dropshipping stores burning a hole in my pocket.

I was intrigued enough, so I shut down my dropshipping stores to learn more about launching my own clothing brand.

What was it going to be about?

Who was it going to be for?

How was I going to market profitably?

I had a slight idea, but I knew it had to be something people were passionate about.

Sports apparel was off the table —all the branding was trademarked.

Maybe an animal brand? I didn’t know much about animals.

Outer space, perhaps? —also trademarked.

Then it hit me.

Since I turned 18 that year, I’d vote in the upcoming election.

Now I didn’t know anything about politics, and made the conscious decision to stay away from it entirely.

I saw how it divided people and lead to pointless arguments.

But I needed to research anyways.

And then I thought, “Why don’t I create an American clothing brand?”

Aren’t people passionate about our country? The American Flag wasn’t trademarked last time I checked.

So I came up with a snappy name like AmericanWaffle, bought the domain, setup the store, slapped an American flag on a hoodie, and ran some ads.

To my surprise, I got a few sales, but it was nowhere near profitable.

I’d gone in with the intention of trying to bring people together with their love for country, but it was leading nowhere.

Maybe I was doing this all wrong?

Maybe the biggest spenders were the ones most passionate?

Say what you want about Trump, the guy knows how to sell merch!

So I switched my designs to whatever was going on in the news at the time… Chumps for Trump, Chief Clown Pelosi, funny Biden gaffs.

And you know what?! People were buying them up like hotcakes.

I realized all I had to do was test designs until one of them took off, and advertise it like crazy.

To make my job easier, Biden was spewing out ideas like an unhinged sprinkler.

But forget Biden, Trump would flat-out sell them to his audience so people were certain to buy!

I sent shirts to actors and influencers actors to level up ads.

I added upsells to increase average order value.

I collected customer feedback, and tested new designs.

Finally, I started seeing some traction, but things were heating up.

People were rioting like the hunger games, or locked in their homes, the debates had started…

I searched the internet day and night trying to find designs that sparked a flame… on Instagram and TikTok and Etsy.

Until I can across a sort of meme that had gone viral in a Facebook group.

Written were the words, “We The People Are Pissed Off”

It was brilliant!

Clear and direct – exactly what people were looking to express.

And because they were being censored across social media, wearing the message was the only place they could express it!

With this in mind, I tested the design and it exploded.

People could not get enough of! I put it on shirts, on hoodies, on tank tops.

And would later go on to be responsible for almost 80% of the revenue.

So because the return on investment was so great, I started scaling up ad spend to reach more people.

I tested different ads and copy to see which worked best.

And gained more of an understanding about our community —loyal, hardworking blue-collar Americans.

Things were really starting to come together.

Then crisis struck.

Our worst case scenario became reality. We were censored, a total blackout.

Payment processors froze our money.

Google stopped us from advertising.

Our Facebook page was banned.

Instagram shadowbanned us.

Snapchat was useless.

But worst of all, our email service provider shut us down – all because one woke employee complained about our content.

And because opt-in laws prevented us from easily switching providers, we’d just lost 12,000 customers overnight.

I was terrified with no clue what to do.

So I hired a specialized consultant on the matter.

It seemed the only thing we could do was start from scratch on an alternative platform or launch an texting community.

It was less than ideal, but I was able to create a new Facebook page to start running ads again.

As a result, sales started climbing back up.

By withstanding the chaos, it seemed a true product-market fit was proven, people couldn’t get enough of it.

I was slowly but surely putting the pieces back together.

I hired a developer, outsourced customer service, and switched to shirts Made in the USA.

That’s when, what can only be described as a miracle took place - January 6th.

But Sam, January 6th was no miracle! An angry mob stormed the capitol, people got hurt, democracy was in danger, etc.

And that’s what I felt waking up to the news that morning. The images were horrifying.

In fact, I was at the capitol just few months before —you were not allowed in with an empty water bottle.

Then I checked Shopify and screamed, “HOLY SH*T."

Each day, I was spending $1,000 on Facebook ads.

That morning I made $10,000, three days straight.

Since the President was thrown off social media and Parler was banned from the app store, our competition was wiped off the face of the earth.

We were eating everyone else’s lunch, and people were STARVING!

That month of January, I went on to make $50,000 profit.

I was still in college, wasting my time being lectured by woke activists, and presenting business presentations to professors that never ran a business.

I had to get out! And now I could.

After being locked inside the California prison for over a year, I had to escape —go somewhere, anywhere else.

There was one place I had in mind.

Somewhere I’d always dreamed of moving —before the snowbirds or crypto cowboys made it cool.

That place was Miami.

Why Miami?

There’s handful of reasons - sunshine, opportunity, people - but at the time, it was the only place advertising freedom.

I made a list of 10 apartments, and booked the next flight out.

By the time I landed, seven of the ten apartments were completely sold out - it seemed like others had the same idea.

Regardless, I toured a few, found one I liked, and put down a deposit.

When I flew back, I had a choice to make.

Either stay in community college down a path of dread and despair, or risk it all and move to the magic city.

Growing up, my parents always said, “go to college get a job” —just as their generation had.

Otherwise, I’d be forced to pay rent.

I didn’t want to make a rash decision, so I waited until I saw six figures in my bank account and said

F*ck it. I ain’t doing either.

The next day I dropped out of college, packed up everything I had into my 2002 Honda, and drove six days across the entire United States.

From Sacramento to Las Vegas.

From Las Vegas to Santa Rosa

From Santa Rosa to Dallas

*running out of gas near Dallas*

Dallas to Pensacola

and Pensacola to Miami.

And one thing about Florida, is soon as you cross that Pensacola border, all hell breaks loose.

The drivers here are absolutely loco —and I LOVED IT!

So it was only fitting to attend an exotic car show as I arrived.

Compared to California’s lockdowns and hysteria, I felt free from the doom and gloom of the pandemic.

The yachts, the beaches, the supercars —it seemed like this extravagant lifestyle affected everyone.

I had my dream apartment.

I bought my dream car.

I had a successful business.

I earned millions of AMEX points.

I took business trips around the world.

I attended private events.

I survived RollingLoud, Astroworld, and more.

Life was absolutely bonkers!

But as crazy as it was, the job wasn’t finished.

I had yet to hit my goal of reaching 7 figures.

And was focused on scaling up by improving systems.

That is until Apple decided to drop an iOS 14.5 nuke on small businesses by not allowing Facebook to track data.

On some days, we were spending dollars blind. I had no idea if money was made or lost.

This guessing game was not sustainable. Performance was dipping and I realized my business was mortal.

I could not rely only on one ad platform for marketing. I needed a stronger foundation.

That’s when I tried TikTok Ads.

At the time, their ad platform had just been revamped with far less competition than Facebook.

I started testing creatives and experimenting with different audiences.

It was difficult to get things approved at first, but as spend increased we got access to our own rep who was able to pre approve ads for us.

I started ramping up spend until we hit ten’s of thousands of dollars per day.

And with the power of both Facebook and TikTok ads combined,

On September 23rd, 2021, the business crossed $1,000,000 in sales in one year.

We went on to have our best month ever.

And I’d finally accomplished what I dreamed of achieving.

I was now a 7 figure business owner with almost 30,000 customers served and thousands of 5 star reviews.

I had everything I’d ever dreamed of…

And then it all came crashing down.

…or did it?!

Click Here to watch part 4: How I Sold My $1,500,000 Business