I follow a lot of Twitter people that talk about e-commerce. A lot of them are heavy on selling their own courses and marketing material to people who are just delving into the world of e-com. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m not sure anything they’ve written has convinced me enough to buy their courses, even when I was just starting my e-com journey. Today, I acknowledge myself for building and scaling a 10k/month generating business without the help of any Gumroad course from the e-com gurus. Half of what I learned was online with the help of a few key guys in the Youtube e-com space with some golden nuggets about running and scaling your store. The other half? People don’t really tell you this because they want you to buy the information from their course. But for me, half of what I learned, I learned by myself. The tough part of e-comm is that you probably won’t know many people in your personal life that have gone through exactly what you are going through. Each day there is a new problem you have to solve and no one is going to be there to hold your hand and get you through it without paying top dollar for a mentorship from guys who probably don’t have your best interest in mind anyway.
The truth is that the majority of problems you will face in e-com are the small ones- not how to run Facebook Ads or how to build your store. That’s the easy part. The problems I’m talking about are really random, chaotic problems that don’t have a Google search linked to them. I’m talking about problems like what to do when your sourcing agent’s credit card processor stops working for a day so you have to figure out how to place a bulk order payment when it won’t let you use your card (for some reason Paypal worked, by the way). Or if you have a hundred dollar order that the customer put the wrong address information in for and it’s already been shipped. (Lose hundreds of dollars to make the customer happy?) There are problems like these that don’t come up in any “course” but they are solved on a person-to-person basis. These are the result of running and scaling a business on your own with very little outside help.
The people who really do a good job with e-com are pretty involved in it. It’s all they do, all they think about. Dropshipping is often referred to as a “dog-eat-dog” world. I want to believe most of them try to run their business as ethically as possible. I’m not talking about scammy websites that sell $2 items for $75 or never refund their customers even after their order hasn’t been delivered for three months. I think the big guys really try to grow a sustainable long-term business since it’s the only way to do it nowadays. (I personally give refunds as liberally as I can if there’s any sort of consolation — it used to be a lot before I got a sourcing agent that does quality control and ships in half the time).
For example, the question of using someone’s images that aren’t from a supplier website but an actual, real person’s product image is a very interesting topic with these guys. I once saw a guy on Twitter post a screenshot of a conversation with a woman who asked if he could remove the image because it was her own, original website photo. This guy proceeded to respond with something along the lines of, “I will gladly take the image down if you have a valid copyright claim and legal proof the image is yours” (It clearly was). If it was me I would’ve just filed for a DMCA takedown on that guy and keep refreshing the page until it said “image unavailable”. I personally find this type of behavior a little over the edge. It doesn’t have to be a dog-eat-dog world. Even when I see a store in my niche with similar products I don’t go crazy trying to be better. They probably aren’t running Ads to the same audience anyway so it doesn’t really matter what other stores are doing.
Most people don’t get past the 10k/month part. They get disabled on Facebook and can’t figure out how to overcome it or they can’t get more than a few sales because their website is poor and they have terrible customer service. But it shouldn’t be that way. Everyone should have the opportunity to create a business and see their hard work paying off. It’s one of the best feelings in the world. Competition only means there is a hungry market on the other side.
Here’s a great quote to sum up this post, from Charlie Chaplain in the Great Dictator Speech: “In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate. Let us fight to free the world — to do away with national barriers — to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. In the name of democracy, let us all unite.”
Samantha Fudens xx