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“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
Who is Ronnie McKenzie and why on earth would I be sharing such valuable content for free?
Well, with the rise of Shopify and Facebook eCommerce it appears there is a massive trend, nay a revolution taking place.
We are in the age of the entrepreneur.
With such a low barrier to entry, there has been a massive shift in the mentality of the masses. All of a sudden we can launch stores, and be making a real living within days. Literally, days.
So why is this a problem?
With the low barrier to entry, a lot of poor quality marketers walk through the Shopify revolving door and chase the easy wins.
The easy wins, you would have noticed, is the ability to plug into AliExpress and literally sell any product immediately without any due diligence. Products from dodgy suppliers, products that are themselves dodgy…
This is a MASSIVE problem, and it's a problem Facebook has become well aware of. The days of being proud of the businesses we create have gone, and now we build businesses to burn and move on.
The problem with burning those businesses is what is actually happening is the user experience on Facebook is waning, the customer's trust disappearing and the sales thinning.
Why would people want to go and spend time on a platform that markets shitty quality products with shitty quality ads with shitty quality customer service?
So what's going to happen? Facebook will remove the drop shitters. They will push them out by not only disabling ad accounts but personal accounts as well. I should know, I have been banned from Facebook in the crossfire.
To back up this statement Facebook as introduced the Customer Feedback score with the aim to improve the user experience on Facebook. Fall below a 2.0 and Facebook will start squeezing you out of ecom until it sees you're making an effort to improve your business.
Stay below a 2.0 and there will be no coming back.
Clearing caches won't work let you back on, changing names or payment methods…won't work, deleting cookies and changing your IP address…won't work.
YOU WILL CEASE TO EXIST ON FACEBOOK & eCommerce.
But what about Instagram? Maybe we could just hit up users there…not a chance, it's common knowledge now that Facebook owns Insta.
The focus needs to be on providing and improving on an exceptional customer experience.
Enough of the rant…
Who am I, and why am I blogging?
I began my eCommerce career way back in 2010 when I launched a baby and maternity flash sales site, Bambino Brands. This was the land before Shopify time, I spent $35,000+ dollars on the website plus hundreds each time I wanted an update.
Things that we take for granted on Shopify (like the Hurrify countdown timer) cost a hell of a lot more to implement back then.
In any case, the launch week went off with a bang and we netted over $10,000AUD. I believed I was onto a winner…then it just got harder…and harder. I still got wins, but every other month.
Long story short, I got myself into over $120,000 debt and for 18 months hustled to get every bit of money paid back to the suppliers and debt collectors.
Debt collectors hounded me, letters of demands were received daily and solicitors would call constantly.
I was a stoic nutcase through that time and decided to do the credit card shuffle.
I went from transferring from credit card to credit card to get the interest free terms to just hang in long enough for the opportunity to present itself. I wasn't going to go bankrupt, I had to pay back my suppliers as I had built up trust with them and didn't want to let them down.
Then, the opportunity presented itself…
January 2014 – Teespring
At the time my business partner and I had been working on building super cheap websites… we bought a business off flippa called www.cheapwebsitedesigns.com and built about a dozen or so sites before moving on…
Customers at that entry-level price expect the world for a dollar and trying to make one was hard. We weren't happy and I believed there were bigger opportunities elsewhere.
About 6 months before I actually launched a campaign on Teespring I'd seen Wilco de Kreij and Donald Wilson advertising claiming ludicrous profits off selling shirts. I was skeptical…but interested.
So January came around and I started testing some different designs to different niches.
In Australia, there was a pretty hot topic in a certain demographic (that I'm not willing to divulge, not for fear of competition but for other reasons) and I launched a clip art shirt. It was my first success… the goal was 25 and we ended up selling 130+ units or so in that first week.
A few weeks later I jumped onto the Age Campaigns and together with my partner, very quickly made over $300,000 in around 6 weeks.
It was insane the amount of money that was hitting our PayPal account…INSANE. I knew the money always existed out there, I just had never seen it in my own wallet.
We were hooked and sold the website business as soon as we possibly could.
We thought we were made men and together went on a holiday to Bali with our families. We closed everything down, went away for 2 weeks and came back to crush it…
Facebook at that time had started clamping down on age campaigns and changed the rules so we couldn't target by age.
Working closely with a Facebook rep they informed us to move into Europe and jumped onto Fabrily (which Teespring later acquired). We did and made another $100,000 in 10 days selling into Germany and continued to have success in other areas through that time.
In all, we spent about 2 years on Teespring and (in the process of ramping up again now), met a lot of amazing people, made lifelong friends and eventually moved on to greener pastures.
The time with my business partner had come to an end (at that time).
Shine On…& Teespring – Rolling Solo
After parting ways. I had started getting success by selling custom 3d Jewellery. It was amazing with much better margins than selling shirts.
Part of the initial challenge was to prove that a brand new ad account could be scaled immediately. By the fifth ad, I was scaling hard.
I had created a bunch of “LOVE” necklaces which spelled the word with elements of the niche. They were a massive hit and I scaled them out across multiple niches.
I had also turned these designs into prints on Teespring and linked the two. It's a no, no on both platforms, however, I was able to get permission.
It certainly wasn't a bad way to cross promote. The hoodies were about half the price and still gave all the meaning of the necklace.
So in 6 months, I had grossed over $325,203 AUD of which barely half of that was ad spend and the cost of the VA and designers working with me I would have netted $162,601.50. I miss the simplicity.
My First Shopify Store…and 2nd.
With a bit of experience under my belt, I knew it was time. I needed to diversify my income and build some security.
At the end of March 2017, I started Velocity Bicycle Co on Shopify.
A novelty, cycling apparel line (which I am still quite fond of tbh). As a first attempt, I didn't do too badly and managed to make just over 7k in a month or so.
It currently sits dormant until I decide to actually do something…like running ads to it again.
My second attempt was much more impressive, Need Those Sneakers took off incredibly quickly and had all the makings of a brand that I could scale to the moon.
The scaling was short lived and after Facebook had wiped out any of my scaling attempts I decided to move on again after 6 months at the helm.
I sold the business to focus on helping other eCommerce stores crush with their advertising. Building an agency was what had been in the back of my mind to do for quite a while.
After doing a course with Cat Howell, Facebook came through and disabled my personal account which I believed to be a blessing in disguise. It forced me to focus on this blog and educate new marketers in a much more meaningful way than most marketers have tried educating in the past.
The banning literally wiped out 90% of my income so I had to think on my feet and this blog is what I decided would make up the shortfall.
I have immense knowledge in and around eCommerce and it would be an incredible waste to not give back to other people in the industry. It is my goal along with other industry experts to provide the best practices and hints & tips on how to scale your ece-commerce business easily and ethically.
Through Storehacks, together with other experts, we'll help you create a brand that will give you a comfortable life, give customers an amazing experience and hopefully, just hopefully, help you help the world be a better place.