How a Former Navy Veteran Turned E-commerce Entrepreneur Made $55,544 in Sales: Insights on Overcoming Roadblocks, Choosing Winning Products, and Building an Online Business

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Your background

My background is largely formed from serving 20 years in the Navy.  I served on submarines, was a recruiter, and more recently a defense acquisition professional building hardware that is being installed on the next generation of submarines.  I am also a buy and hold real estate investor with properties in 4 different states.  I have a bunch of degrees but no formal or even informal experience in E-commerce prior to Kibo Code.

Why did you decide to join Kibo Code?

There was a growing trend in companies removing brick and mortar stores and pivoting resources to direct to consumer online sales.  Then when the surprise of COVID hit it was pretty obvious that the market share of retail sales going to online and direct to consumer was a huge growing trend.  I looked around for opportunities to venture out on my own like shopify but knowing that I didn’t have any experience I needed a training program to go along with that endeavor and that’s when I found Kibo Code.

Were there any roadblocks for you? What did you do to overcome these?

There were plenty of road blocks and still are to be honest.  I started with Kibo Code and our first store never made any sales.  Our ad account from google got flagged and we were never approved to run ads.  It was a huge disappoint and the money invested in the training was a sunken cost.  Given the fact that online sales were still growing at outrageous numbers we decided to double down and sign up for Kibo Quantum.  It was a very long road to get our first sale, in fact it took over 9 months from our first Kibo Code session to get our first sale with Kibo Quantum.  More recently we are having extremely poor google search and google shopping conversations to the point where we had to shut off those ads.  We identified a miss in our process where we weren’t using follow emails to get product reviews posted to our website.

Your tips for choosing winning products?

Our biggest tip with choosing products is to follow the eBay sellers top products and then making sure you can sell at a good margin on FB marketplace.  Price seems to be a big driver for sales on FB marketplace especially for the really popular items.  If there are a lot of the same product listed, same photos, same titles, etc there isn’t a market for you on FB, it’s been saturated with other sellers.  Instead, try to find an eBay best seller but in a smaller niche or a product that doesn’t have as much competition on FB.  You’d be surprised at what people are willing to purchase on the marketplace.

Your top traffic and advertising tips?

Our traffic has been almost exclusively on FB marketplace.  Our model was to take all the margin from the first sale of a product and re-invest it into boosted listings.  For instance, if we sold a product for $100 and $30 profit we would turn around and boost that listing for $1/day for 30 days to see if we got anymore sales.  If no other sales, then it was onto the next product.  If we got sales then we increased the boost per day and adjusted the ad budget to ensure we were still making money.

Your top 5 recommendations for building your ecommerce business?

  1. Find good products 
  2. Cash flow is king
  3. Commit to the grind
  4. Be accountable to your goals
  5. Don’t be afraid to take the leap of faith in hiring out time consuming actions

Any other tips or nuggets of wisdom?

I would say that you need to have a plan with what your goals are, what your metrics are, what you going to do with your income and how much to reinvest in the company, and when your decision points are to advertise, and hire extra help.

A day in the life of a top-selling Kibo Code student

The day in life sentence made me laugh, this is definitely not the TV show the lives of the rich and famous.  The days are pretty routine now, respond to customers on FB, track ad accounts (boost, re-targeting, shopping, search, etc), search for new products, and then fulfill orders on eBay at night.

Your best sales day, week and month… and how did you achieve these?

Total sales to date is 507 orders and $55,544 in sales.  Average order is $109 and just below our metric target of $125. Our best day was $944, our best week was $3,853, and our best month was $10,846.  Our best day, week, and month all came during the summer time when there was a big need for window A/C units during the wildfires.  We were able to find a small supply of these and sold them quickly.  The seasonal aspect of those sales is outlier compared to other months.

What advice would you give to someone interested in joining Kibo Code?

My advice is that if your going invest in the education you need to be committed to the business.  I would recommend that your first financial goal be a return on investment where you make back you KiboCode fees in a certain number of months.  If you can stay committed through the ups and downs to the point where you’ve made your money back you’ll be on the verge of proving out a viable business model.  

Your Objectives – 2022 & Beyond

We have pretty specific goals for passive income and then follow on goals for our e-commerce store.  

  1. $33,000 in passive income per month by 2027 from 4 streams of income
    1. Military Pension 
    2. Rental Property Cash Flow
    3. E-Commerce
    4. Affiliate Marketing
  2. E-commerce road map to $2 million/year in sales stretch goal
    1. Sales Goals:
      1. 5 sales/day at $125 per sale
      2. 25 sales/day
      3. 50 sales/day
    2. Lead Measures for Product Listings
      1. 10 new products per day
      2. 20 new products per day
      3. 30 new products per day
    3. Organizational Decision Points
      1. Hire overseas VA
      2. Hire 2nd overseas VA
      3. Hire US VA
    4. Advertising Goals
      1. 10 products on Bing and Google Shopping
      2. 10 products on Bing and google search
      3. 25 products on Bing and Google Shopping
      4. 25 products on Bing and google search
    5. Income Milestones
      1. $1k/week profit
      2. $5k/week profit
      3. $10k/week profit
      4. $2 million in gross sales per year

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