My professional work experience start after completing a degree in General Science and Math, with a plan to teach high school. As those jobs were scarce when I graduated college, I shifted and followed my passion for technology, joining a high performing software business and working in their customer service department. Promotions came quickly and inside 5 years I was in mid level management, where I spent another 5 years. When the economic collapse hit around 2009, it caught up to my company and I lost my job, which became an opportunity to pivot and enter the teaching profession.
I moved states, signed on as a math teacher and quickly picked up a number of other duties along the way. Within a year, I realized my management background fit well with educational administration and 2 years later, finished a masters degree in educational leadership and began my current career as a school superintendent.
Why did you decide to join Kibo Code?
I have always had an interest in business and at one point, entered the real estate business, having bought a property and rented it with the plan of building a large scale business. Unfortunately, the timing was not great and the economy crashed, which took my fledgling business with it.
Having followed business podcasts on the side for the last several years, one of them promoted Kibo Code. At the time I was not interested in creating and manufacturing my own products, but the prospects of running an ecommerce business selling other peoples products seemed like a perfect match for my lifestyle, so I signed on.
Were there any roadblocks for you? What did you do to overcome these?
There definitely were roadblocks, but life always presents challenges. The first was the cost of the Kibo Code program. It has taken a while to recover financially from my job loss in 2009. I was unemployed for almost a year and put out over 1000 job applications before finally deciding to pick up and move out of state. The impact on my finances was significant. As such, I borrowed the cash to pay for the course, determining it was a risk worth taking. Within four months of making that first sale, I had already earned that money back.
The next big challenge, which continues to be an obstacle, is time. After breaking even and earning more cash, it became clear that between my family, my job and pastoring on the side part time, there just isn’t enough time left to grow a product catalog. I hired two VA’s and put capital into them and advertising, working to grow the business more. That took my catalog from about 40 products to over 500.
Your tips for choosing winning products?
This is going to sound clique, but follow the program! It gives a great foundation to get real results in short order. Watching current marketplace trends and seasons can give ideas and combining that with the analytic approach taught in Kibo Code, with the use of the Profit Genie app helps identify profitable products.
Given my time constraints, I chose to focus on higher dollar products with more profit per sale. I don’t have time to process 1,000 orders that make $5 at a time. Instead, I put my effort at the upper end of the price range, selling products with sale prices of $200-$300 dollars. While my sales volume hasn’t been huge, making anywhere from $1000-$4000 a month in profit with a fledgling business built in my spare minutes has been great!
Your top traffic and advertising tips?
I am still trying to get advertising figured out. Again, time constraints have kept me from putting in the effort I would like to on this. While I have experimented with Google Ads, Microsoft Ads and Pinterest, it is clear to me that you can go through a lot of money fast with minimal results if you are not careful and closely watching the campaigns.
As such, I have kept it simple so far. I have had nearly all of my success so far by simply boosting Facebook Marketplace products that get enough views. Sometimes I gamble and throw $5 at a product I think is ready, but I have more success waiting for a product to rack up at least 50 views on its own before starting to experiment with boosting. One mistake I have made is that at one point I got way too aggressive on advertising and did not keep a close enough eye on the profits, burning up earnings way too quickly. Once I realized the error, I slowed down the advertising and developed a way to keep better track of the bottom line. On a side note, I picked up a hotel credit card along the way and have been using it to front the money for my purchasing. I have acquired a crazy amount of points, leading to a bunch of free hotel stays, which my family has definitely been enjoying!
Your top 5 recommendations for building your ecommerce business?
- Sign up for Kibo Code, period.
- Don’t wait, take action. Small baby steps are better than dreaming about a business you may have one day. There is great value in small efforts made daily over time. Tomorrow’s dream happens through today’s action.
- Know you will take some hits; realize it is just part of the deal. Have a support system in place to help you through.
- Track your wins, measure and celebrate your records. It builds your motivation and feeds the drive to grow..
- Waiting for those first sales is agonizing. When I got my first customer online that wanted to order, I was so excited that my emotions overrode my brain and I sent the wrong purchase link 3 times in a row..which caused the customer to bail out. All that to say, be patient, the system works. Be calm when the first sale comes and don’t rush through it!
Any other tips or nuggets of wisdom?
Overcoming setbacks and dealing with irate customers has nearly sucked the life out of this business a few times for me. Because people can’t see you and don’t know you through online sales, they tend to assume the absolute worst of you when things go wrong. Sometimes they can be extraordinarily mean and over reactive. Keep perspective. Resist the urge to respond immediately. Don’t fight fire with fire, in that case everyone gets burned. Take a step back, recall all of the prior sales that have gone beautifully and realize there are others sales after this one, many more in fact, that will go extremely well. Remember this is about them, not you. Put aside their accusations, express empathy and commit to resolving the problem for them. Stay in frequent communication and follow through. Get it behind you and look forward to the many more sales and happy customers to come.
Another nugget for free that I picked up along the way, do not process new orders immediately. Respond to the customer, thank them for the order and set their expectations as to the next step, like when they will get a tracking number. Wait for them to at least read that communication before placing the order. Several times I have had them cancel at that point. Had the order been processed, then time would be wasted in dealing with the refund.
A day in the life of a top-selling Kibo Code student
My day begins by responding to customer inquiries and processing orders over breakfast, then off I go to manage a school system. During lunch I will check in and respond to customers. In the evenings I will catch up on any customer communication, process orders, update the financials and touch base with my VA. At the end of the week is when I typically work on advertising. Some days are busier than others.
Your best Sales Day, week, month…and how did you achieve these?
My best day was $1,200 in sales. The best month was $11,427 in sales. The key was paying attention to which products were getting views and then boosting those products aggressively.
What advice would you give to someone interested in joining Kibo Code?
In three words or less, sign up now! I was very nervous about committing the cash, worried that it would be washed out. I’d heard the stories of people spending $15,000 plus in advertising, getting no sales and watching their fledgling business burn to the ground. The Kibo Code system does an excellent job at minimizing those risks. My skeptical side question if Steve and Aidan were trustworthy, given I have never met them, caused me to question their training and methods. In the end, I chose to trust. I found them through a source I already trusted and they were willing to offer a solid money back guarantee period, long enough to get in and see a sale. When I hit the first $10,000 in sales, my wife nearly had a heart attack, she couldn’t believe it. Then I hit $20k, $30k, $40k, and now $50k in sales all over the last 9 months. When I started, I could barely get my mind around the prospect of selling $10,000. It seemed like unclimbable mountain, especially while trying to make my 1st sale. I chose to suspend doubt and instead chose to trust the system. I poured effort into it, followed their advice and still look back in shock at how far things have come. The best advice I can give you, just jump in and do it.
Your Objectives – 2022 & Beyond
My trajectory currently is all about the numbers game, continuing to add products and look for the year round winners. My most success so far has been in seasonal products. The plan right now is to hunt out products that can sell well year round and build a solid income stream on those for the next few months. Come the spring, I plan to capitalize on some seasonal sales and use the profit to fuel the product search and build up the winners I have come across along the way. Given the effort that has gotten me this far, I figure if I can bring on another VA and put in a little more time next year, I think it is reasonable to expect that I can nearly double the sales made this year. Eventually, I do plan for this to replace my job income.