I only recently heard about Harry Coleman's Shopify success story and after hearing about what he'd done I had to get an interview with him immediately. Luckily he agreed and here we are. The other thing I liked about Harry is the lad is an Arsenal supporter, and that, to me, is worth something! ha.
In any case, you are going to learn quite a bit from this young lad. From his app stack to his scaling techniques and how he was about to generate in excess of $1,000,000 in 2 months! No matter where you are in this game, beginner, intermediate or a dropship veteran, that is no small number.
So, I present to you the Ecom Beast, Harry Coleman.
Q. Firstly, Your App Stack. What is it
- Mailchimp – A MUST HAVE or Klayivo
- Abandon Cart Protector – a MUST HAVE
- Coin Currency Convertor
- Massfulfil – A MUST HAVE
Q. Where are you based? Do you have a family? What do you do for work and fun?
- I’m born and raised in the UK, more specifically in the West Midlands. I have always wanted to live a laptop lifestyle so I could have the time and location freedom to do what I wanted and travel places while still being able to create an income.
- I first got into ecommerce through selling on eBay, I used to import snapbacks from the US and sell them here in the UK as they were starting to trend and more people preferred them over the older New Era fitted hats. Here in the UK, no one was really selling them and you could only get them from the US so I started making my first ecommerce sales.
- When not working I enjoy traveling and seeing the world. I think as online entrepreneurs sometimes it’s easy to just sit all day in front of your laptop working away on new things. This is great of course and needed, but sometimes it’s important to step outside, get some fresh air and just travel. I’ve been to a fair few countries but still have a massive bucket list of places I want to visit so I am working my way through them all!
Q. What did you do before getting started online?
- I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit (if that’s what you want to call it). I used to buy and sell bicycles, taking the best bits off each one so I could build one with a high spec then sell it and start again.
- From school, I went on to university and graduated with a first class degree in business & management. I always wanted to be in business so it was the natural path to follow. Throughout uni, I have various online attempts to make money but none took off at all.
- As mentioned previously my first online sales came from eBay, importing and selling snapbacks. I was doing great until the supplier I had said he could no longer supply me, at the time I had exams at university so didn’t have to time to look for another supplier.
- After university I had to get a 9-5 job, I went through a few and was even a toilet cleaner at one point. I ended up in a marketing role, which was ok but I was still trying to make money online.
- I read a forum thread on the Black Hat Forum about Shopify and how one guy made like $5000 a month selling free products (Free + Shipping). I read the thread top to bottom and decided to give it a go. I was excited to get my first store all up and running and launched and made NO sales for about a week. I didn’t give up and knew that all I needed to do was to get my first sale. About another week went by and I then got my first sale, it was a feeling like no other, and to this day I still think it’s the best feeling regardless of any other milestone you hit.
- One day I got called into the office and was told that they had to let me go and that I was being made redundant. I had to call my parents and tell them I had lost my job. It was at that point I decided to try and give ecom my full efforts.
Q. What do you sell on your store? Who’s your target audience? How long have you been selling online?
- I have been selling online successfully for around over 2 years now.
- My store is a general store, I run a few of them, each store focuses on 2-3 niches. With a general store, you can test a lot more products without any restrictions. You can then, of course, move your winners into a niche store and build on that.
- My audience is very much wide open, more females than males and mainly in first tier countries such as the big 6 (US, UK, AUS, CAN, NZ, IRE).
- I initially started like everyone else buying from Aliexpress, and still do test products from there now. But once I find winners or products I want to scale higher, I have two suppliers/agents in China who source the products for me at a cheaper price than Aliexpress who can ship faster too.
Q. How often do you launch new products?
- We test products on a weekly basis anything from 3-5 a week. We don’t just throw crap at a wall and hope it sticks so we make sure the product has been researched and we believe it’s worth advertising. My VA’s present me with products, plus I like to get my hands dirty and browse myself.
Q. Where do most of your customers come from? Google search? Social Media? Other sites?
- Most of our traffic comes from Facebook paid advertising (Including Instagram ads). That is where I am a specialist plus it’s a lot easier to scale up something working on Facebook & Instagram.
- I have used Instagram influencers before and had success but for me, it’s not as scalable as paid Facebook traffic so I like to still do that as much as possible.
- I have also recently been looking into and using Google Adwords. I think for dropshippers the majority of marketers use Facebook to market their product so over the years the costs have been rising. I also think that Google Ads, Google Shopping Network, and YouTube Ads are highly un-utilized right now for dropshippers so if done correctly you can make a strong return there.
- I also do a lot of email marketing and think it’s the backbone of any business. A lot of dropshippers focus so much on the front end sales that they neglect their back end. You have to remember, people who already brought from you are the easiest to sell too.
- Sending out emails on a weekly basis giving out discounts, introducing new products and free shipping offers work great to bring in additional revenue.
Q. How do you scale? If you have a product that’s going off, what action do you take to make the most of it?
- Scaling is an art and it’s not a one size fits all sort of thing. With that being said I can spot a winner from a mile off after 2-3 days of testing. If the CPPs (Cost Per Purchases) are super low and your ROAS is 3-4x you know it has potential. The next stage is to push it to see how it reacts, this will be make or break as most products do well up until it’s time to scale it further. Once you push the budgets and the CPPs stay the same or rise just slightly but ROAS stays the same then you have a great product.
- I like to use manual bidding to get the crazy numbers. I have done $40K and $50K days doing manual bidding. The money is in building up your LLAs and taking your winning autobid into manual bidding adsets and scaling them like crazy. You will, of course, lose a bit of your margin but the volume more than makes up for it.
Q. I’d love to hear more about your ecommerce successes to date. What great things have come to you through building your success and growing your store? Would love to hear a story.
- I have come a long way, I have done over 7 figures now which initially started as a goal to hit just $100K. Has it been easy? Of course not I have had ups and downs.
- One thing that has set me back is merchant holds and restrictions, more specifically PayPal. There has been at times when I have had close to $80K on hold and 70% rolling reserves and thinking my business is going to finish. How would I pay all of my suppliers?
- It’s important to plan ahead for these things if they happen. PayPal can be ruthless and I have heard horror stories so be aware when scaling that they could sting you. I would advise trying to hold the least amount of money in PayPal as possible so the blow isn’t as bad if it ever happens.
- This year I wanted to help others achieve what I have done. Dropshipping has changed my life and know if can change others too so I decided to start a YouTube channel putting out quality content to help people. The feedback has been amazing so far and it’s growing rapidly which is fantastic.
Q: What platform/tools do you use for your business?
- Shopify, Google Suite, Mailchimp
Q. What’s your number 1 tip for new dropshippers getting into the industry?
- Don’t come into this game thinking you will get rich overnight. A lot of so called guru’s make out like it’s as simple as doing XYZ and banking but in reality that is not the case.
- YES you can make tons of money but you have to put in the work and test things. It’s great to learn things but you have to spend the money to know what works and what doesn’t. REMEMBER if you want to learn to swim you have to get in the water.
- Another thing is staying in your own lane, a lot of people get frustrated or too caught up in what other people are doing. It doesn’t matter if you and someone else started at the same time but he’s making $1000 a day and you’re doing $100. Everyone has their own personal timezone and you will get there, just focus on being better than you were the day, month and year before. You will get there.