EFP 121: Creating a Drop Ship Lifestyle With Anton Kraly
Building drop shipping stores might just be one of the most viable and inexpensive ways for website builders to get started with their online journeys.
Introducing Anton from Drop Ship Lifestyle
Today, I sit down with our good friend Anton Kraly from Drop Ship Lifestyle to discuss how he’s built and sold massive drop shipping empires, created a course that went from selling at $37 to nearly $1,000 bucks in a couple short years, and discuss some of the successes and failures he’s had in building his own online empire.
Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:
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Topics Discussed This Week:
- How and why Anton started Drop Ship Lifestyle
- Successes and failures in building his community
- Criticism of the drop shipping route
- Why Anton includes lifestyle as part of the marketing
- Who is drop shipping for or not for?
- Featured Listing 40117 – Machines & Equipment Site – $607/mo. – $12,138.40
- Anton’s Drop Ship Lifestyle
- Derek Sivers’ TED Talk: How to Start a Movement
- Johnny FD
- Drop Ship Lifestyle’s YouTube Channel
- EFP 78: Leveraging Storytelling In Your Business – Interview With Sean Buvala
- Drop Ship Lifestyle Exclusive $300 Discount
- Email Anton
- How to Self Publish a Book on Amazon: 23 Steps to Launching a Kindle eBook That Makes Over $100 a Day
- Flippa Auction Mentioned
- Empire Flippers Twitter
- Leave an iTunes Review!
Spread the Love:
“Don’t use PayPal as your only payment option. Don’t rely on them. Don’t keep your money on there.” – Anton – Tweet This!
Are you interested in drop shipping? Do you have any questions for Anton? Join us in the comments!
Justin: Welcome to the Empire Podcast episode 121, Building drop shipping sites might just be one of the most viable and inexpensive ways for website builders to get started with their online journeys. Today I sit down with our good friend Anton Kraly from Drop Ship Lifestyle to discuss how he’s built and sold massive drop shipping empires, created a course from scratch and went from selling at $37 to nearly 1000 bucks in a couple of short years and discuss some of the successes and failures he’s had in building his own online empire. You can find the show notes and all links discussed in this episode at empireflippers.com/dropshiplifestyle. All right, let’s do this.
Automated: Sick of listening to entrepreneurial advice from guys with day jobs? Want to hear about the real successes and failures that come with building an online empire? You are not alone. From San Diego to Tokyo, New York to Bangkok, join thousands of entrepreneurs and investors who are prioritizing wealth and personal freedom over the oppression of an office cubicle. Check out the Empire Podcast. And now your host, Justin and Joe.
Justin: All right, Joe. As you know, there is no magical process that’s going to work for everyone to make them successful. There’s no magical blueprint you can follow that if you follow the exact steps, it will always work. And the product or info creators like to say, “Well, the reason it’s not successful is because people didn’t do the work, right? Or they didn’t follow the process exactly or they didn’t follow through.” And while I think that’s part of the story, I think that is sometimes true, they didn’t do the work, or they got distracted by other things, or didn’t follow the process exactly, I mean, there are plenty of people that do that. But I think that’s not the full story. There are people that do follow the process directly and they follow it all the way through, but there’s always a subjective piece to these processes, right?
So even when we’re building niche sites, and we explained to people how we built niche sites, when it comes to selecting a niche, Joe, there was a feel for it that you get better at over time.
Joe: Yeah. It’s amazing how many people still think that there’s an absolute formula you can follow to success, and not just for business online, but just life in general. They just think like if I do X, Y, and Z, I will have the same success as the last guy that did X, Y, and Z. There’s just a lot more that goes into it than that.
Justin: Yeah, I mean, it’s good to follow a process and kind of what Anton talks about today is this process is kind of like an SOP, right? So it tells you step A to Z exactly how to build and monetize a drop ship site. But there are nuances in there that even if you do all the work that you just have to get better at, right? And so we talked a little bit about this, like there’s a creative aspect that comes with building a drop shipping site in terms of understanding your target customer and being able to match your kind of design to what they’re looking for that not everyone gets, right? And they just can’t necessarily do. So with us, there are advantages. So, we have plenty of experience with working with outsourcers and building teams, not everyone is able to build a team and scale up building the niche site process. So I think that was one of the advantages that we had.
And sometimes as someone who is putting out content, you take some of these things for granted, right? Some of the skillsets you have and you don’t realize that not everyone has those same skillsets or abilities.
Joe: Yeah, I mean obviously, that’s going to play into a big portion of your success.
Justin: So today, in talking to Anton, we cover quite a few things. This is actually a pretty long interview, longer than usual, but there was so much to talk about and we got into so many things that I didn’t really want to cut it down to be more topical. So, we get into things like his background in building and selling drop ships sites. I mean, he’s sold a drop shipping empire that was doing a couple million dollars a year in sales. He ended up selling that. We talk about the process for that. That kind of worked out with his partner. We get into like why he started Drop Ship Lifestyle, which is his course on getting people up to speed. We talked about successes and failures he had in building up a community, which is over 3000 strong. You and I both went and saw them in Chiang Mai and met with a bunch of drop shippers, and I think that’s kind of where this is stemming from.
We talk about some of the criticisms about drop shipping and the industry, like guys like Andrew Youderian talking about is there enough margin to really use paid traffic? Is it really the best way to get an eCommerce? These types of things. And then we actually get into like the lifestyle business in general.
This is the third city I’ve met up with him in and we’ve been traveling around Southeast Asia and bumping into each other, so I thought that’d be kind of interesting as well.
Joe: Yeah, sounds like a great interview. Definitely, I hear you on the criticisms of the drop shipping industry. It’s amazing what a bad rap it gets some times, even though it’s probably one of the easiest ways to be successful these days if you’re going to make money online.
Justin: It seems like some of the eCommerce guys are really passionate, it’s like a real for or against. When it comes to drop shipping, I think it’s a really interesting space right now. And so I talk to Anton about like is Amazon, crushing drop shippers and is that something they’re particularly looking to target? I think there’s an article I read up post by Justin Gilchrist over on the Flipper blog talking about drop shipping and how he hates it. And so I was thinking about setting these two up in kind of a debate format on Empire Flippers talking about the merits or the disadvantages of drop shipping. I think that’d be interesting. So, I’ll reach out to them. We’ll see if that goes out.
Before we get into any more of that buddy, let’s talk about your featured listing of the week. What you got for us, man?
Joe: Yeah. We’re talking about listing 40117, it’s actually in the machines and equipment niche, specifically portable power generators. It talks about different models of portable power generators, pros and cons, that sort of thing. It’s monetized with Amazon and it’s making right now about $600 a month fully on autopilot. This site was actually sold on our platform about six to eight months ago and the guy who bought it is now turning it around, made some money with it and is looking to sell it again. So, it’s one of those interesting Flipper Fred kind of situations.
Justin: Yeah, I see it’s getting about 7,000 page views a month. A fair amount of that is search traffic, probably about 60% of it is search traffic or so. It seems pretty straight forward as an Amazon affiliate site. I mean, I think again, this is one of those ones that could potentially be turned into a drop shipping site. I think it has some legs. So, if you’re looking for an Amazon affiliate site, potentially something you can turn into the drop shipping site, I’d definitely give this listing a look, and we’ll link to it in the show notes.
Joe: Yeah. And the seller is very open to working with the buyer, kind of showing him what the ways are that you could improve the site. So, I definitely think at a sales price of just over $12,000, it’s a good pickup.
Justin: Done buddy. All right, let’s get into the heart of this week’s episode.
Automated: Now, for the heart of this week’s episode.
Justin: All right, Anton. So, the first time I heard about you was when Joe gave me a call on Skype, and he said, “Look, I’ve got this guy, he does these drop shipping sites. Pretty sharp dude, we should talk to him.” And I remember telling him, “No, dude. That shit’s … I don’t know. Really dude? We do ads insights. Why do we want to get into drop shipping?” He said, “No. Look, you need to talk to this guy.” And this is first time I’ve told you this, but I really wasn’t all that into talking to you. I just wasn’t. He said, because I think he had talked to you first, right?
Anton Kraly: He did, yeah.
Justin: And said, “Well, this guy’s pretty sharp. You should talk to him.” And we ended up talking, and you sold me a little bit. Like I could tell that you were a guy that knew … I didn’t know that much about drop shipping. I’d done some drop shipping in the past, I didn’t know about drop shipping sites, and I knew what you were talking about when it came to selecting niches, when it came to building out sites. So, I’m really excited to have you on the show.
I want to get into drop shipping sites overall, but I want to talk about kind of your journey in building Drop Ship Lifestyle, kind of your reasoning for it, what you were thinking, and kind of where you’re going. So, tell me like what was it that inspired you to get started with drop shipping sites? Like what was it? Some person, was it a website, was a guru? What was that?
Anton Kraly: No, it was actually I was in-boarding and it was a transition away from that. Spending a lot of money buying inventory every month. I had a warehouse in Long Beach, California that I co-rented space in. It wasn’t my own, but I paid for space there. Expensive shipping costs from China, returns. I sold expensive items, so I was dealing with a lot of items coming back that then either had to be maybe fixed or repackaged, and there was a lot of overhead, not to mention insurance when you’re importing yourself.
So I was spending a lot of money every month, and actually at that point, really, I can’t complain, I was making money, but I started to have companies contact me that saw what I was selling online that had found my websites and they offered basically their products for me to sell as kind of a middleman as a retailer. And they said you could sell our products that are similar to what you’re offering and here’s your wholesale price list, if you get orders, we’ll ship them to your customers. And this is before I knew what drop shipping was. I hadn’t even heard the term.
Justin: What year was this?
Anton Kraly: Maybe 2008, so I’d been in business for maybe a year and a half. And yeah.
Justin: Okay. Up to that point for about a year and a half, you were doing import, export?
Anton Kraly: Import, yeah. Importing.
Justin: Okay. And you were selling your own products. How did you get into that? What’d you do before that?
Anton Kraly: Yeah. So, if you’re going to go back to when I actually first started in eCommerce, it was 2006. I was straight out of college then, I graduated from University at Albany in 2006, and I bought a delivery route for a bakery in Brooklyn. So, I was basically driving into Brooklyn every morning and driving around Long Island selling basically like cookies and cakes and things like that to grocery stores. So, I bought a route, it came with a truck, came with a bunch of accounts. Obviously, I would buy at wholesale, sell them to the stores, going there, stock the inventory, and I made a commission for every box I sold. I was doing that business, absolutely hated it, but spends about 25 grand on it so I couldn’t just walk away from it.
As I was doing that, I read the book, The 4-Hour Workweek, so this was early 2007-
Justin: So, you buy yourself a job.
Anton Kraly: I bought myself a job, yeah.
Justin: A job that you couldn’t walk from.
Anton Kraly: And the reason I did that is because I had a friend of family who was doing very well with delivery routes. So, I saw opportunity and I saw a very low cost of entry basically. A lot of businesses, you sell websites, to buy a real business, it costs a lot of money. I saw this as an opportunity, get in cheap, by a route that’s a few days a week-
Justin: A mini-business.
Anton Kraly: Exactly. And build it to a big business, then flip it, and then do something I really wanted to do. I didn’t want to own a route my whole life, I just saw a business I could buy for cheap and hopefully build up, but I hated it. So, I did that for maybe, I don’t know, a few months. Then I read this book, The 4-Hour Workweek. It introduced eCommerce to me, it introduced Yahoo Stores that platform to me.
Justin: Yahoo Stores. That was back in the day.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. And what’s funny, they still look the same as they did then, they still look like they’re from like 1990s. But yeah, I read the book, I saw how easy it was to actually build an eCommerce store. So I built one, and it’s not up anymore. The guy that bought it from me shut it down, but it was called thinknewyorkcookieshop.com, and the way I promoted it is I private labeled products that I had bought from this bakery. It had been around since I think the 1950s, very historic, famous place. And I targeted people through ad words and through SEO that had moved out of New York that wanted those like fresh baked product that you can only get from New York. Did very well with that. Got a lot of orders, but they were cheap products, 15, 20 bucks. I wanted to sell stuff that was more expensive.
Basically started doing research, went on eBay, checked completed listings for very high priced products, so what sold the most, so what sold at high prices, and then I went on Alibaba. So, I know they’re being talked about mainly now, but I was using them back then. I went on it and found suppliers in China and without ever going there, without ever talking to anyone on the phone. Basically, I put up a site, and I would consider this like the Kickstarter of back then before there was crowdfunding. I put up a site, didn’t have that much money. I had spent 25 grand on the route, I was still a kid, I was 21 years old. Put up a site that was selling these expensive items and listed on every product page that the shipping time would be about six to eight weeks because I was importing from China, so yeah, it was costing me time.
Justin: Of course.
Anton Kraly: Put it up, sent a lot of ad words traffic to it, and yeah, did very well.
Justin: That’s some textbook 4-Hour Workweek stuff.
Anton Kraly: It is, and it’s risky, but when you’re 21 and you have nothing, why not? So, I think we’ve got about 30K in within a few weeks, placed an order with Spire in China, ordered a 20-foot container, and crossed our fingers … I had a business part at this point, and crossed our fingers that it would come in. And then we got the shipping notice, I remember, from our customs broker a few weeks later that it was on the water. And at that point we still thought we would get this container, go open it up and just have an empty thing like no products in there. That’s really what I was expecting.
Justin: These guys in China are counting the dollars.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, I was expecting the worst, but it worked out. We got the products in, and again, this is without seeing a sample or anything. We opened a few packages, everything looked better than we expected it would. Shipped to our customers, everyone was happy and built from there. That’s how I got into eCommerce, starting off that very small bakery products, transitioned into more expensive products, and then as I on those sites and sold those products, other brands started approaching me saying I could sell their products, which turns out to be drop shipping.
Justin: I like how you got into this based on a route you had where you were buying low and selling high basically. So, that kind of showed you that there is profit and margin in doing that. So like the idea of shipping items in and buying it for much cheaper, and including the shipping costs to make sure you were able to. It made sense to you because you were already doing something very similar-
Anton Kraly: Right.
Justin: … and so it was just kind of an extension or expansion from that. One of the things you mentioned about The 4-Hour Workweek that he actually takes some shit about is that he showed, I think Tim Ferriss showed like how easy it is, right? And a lot of people argue, “Well, it’s not really that easy.” But I think the interesting part, at least for you, right? Was at least he made it seem easy to you, easy enough to do, right? So he got you to actually go out and do it because you we like, “I can do that.” You were 21, 22 years, “I can do that too,” right?
Anton Kraly: And I tell people, I mean, yeah, he takes a lot of shit for it to say yes. So, it is easy, it takes work, so to me, they are not the same things. Easy and hard work aren’t like the same thing. So yes, it’s easy. Nothing that I’ve done with eCommerce was because, “Oh, this guy is so smart,”-
Justin: Brain surgeon.
Anton Kraly: … not even close to that. Yeah. That the learning curve is there, yeah, but do the work and stay committed to it and it works. So, it is easy. It doesn’t mean you’re going to start getting sales tomorrow or you’re gonna own a million dollar empire in a year. But it’s easy. I really believe that.
Justin: So, let’s talk about this a bit. Now, for someone who’s not familiar with drop shipping, the basic idea of drop shipping is you put up a website or you’re selling on eBay or whatever. People buy the product. Once they’ve paid you the money, you’re then buying the product from the actual supplier and paying them, hopefully less money than they paid you, and then you’re making the margin on that.
Anton Kraly: Right.
Justin: So, you’re not out of any the cash up front, they’re shipping and they’re shipping it in your business’ name.
Anton Kraly: Exactly, yeah. And the thing with drop shipping, like I use the word, like that’s how it’s referred to unfortunately. A lot of brands and suppliers, they don’t even like that term, and the only reason that I still refer to it as that is because people wouldn’t know what I’m talking about if I didn’t say that. But what I really am, I’m an internet retailer. So, I don’t know, let’s say you go into a department store, you went to Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s, they’re not selling you like a Bloomingdale’s suit or a Macy’s jacket, they’re selling for other companies. So, if you’re an internet retailer, there’s two different ways it could work and there’s more than that, but the main two are that you could have your own products and you could sell them to the customers, you could warehouse them and sell them, or you could sell for different brands that keep their own inventory in their own warehouses. And that’s what I do.
I sell for brands that keep their own inventory, that don’t sell to the public. That’s not their responsibility. It’s not their job. They build brands and they look for people like me that could get them customers. So, I take the orders and then I place the order at a wholesale cost.
Justin: I actually did a little bit about drop shipping back in the day, it was via eBay. I actually did have a website. I think I did like one or two orders there, most of them were through eBay, and I was doing, at the time it was Baby-G watches. So, I was buying Baby-G watches wholesale for like five bucks or something and selling it for like 25 retail or something like that. eBay took up a bit of my margins, but the problem I found, even though I had good margins, I wasn’t making much money, and the reason is I was handling all these like customer questions, and all these issues, and I was pretty young. And this was like 2003 or something, this was pretty early. And you said you were selling small dollar items too and you started looking for bigger items. Was that the problem that you ran into? Like you weren’t making enough money on a sale to make it as worth it or do you just want to move up?
Anton Kraly: Yeah, it was making money, and it was making a lot more actually than I was from driving around to all these different stories, so it overtook that fast. But what I saw immediately was how easy it was to actually … and it was much easier then. So, I will say, things have changed. Like ad words is more expensive now. But when I first started, it was so easy to send tons of traffic and get it to convert, and this was with my ugly Yahoo Store that I built myself one night on my old computer from back in the day. So, I saw how easy it was, so I just thought, if I’m doing this with these products, I don’t know, maybe an average of $20, why can’t I do it with an average of $1,000? It wasn’t that I wasn’t making money, it was that I saw a potential, I had time and I had nothing but motivation to make more money.
Justin: Well, let’s move back to where you were warehousing products, you were selling those products, and then you were contacted saying, “Hey, would you like to sell our products? We’ll ship under your name.”
Anton Kraly: Yup.
Justin: Generally, margins are higher when you’re sourcing products yourself. Why did you see that as a good opportunity? Were you just sick of holding warehouse and like all the hassle that’s involved?
Anton Kraly: No. Like when the first company contacted us and asked for us to do that and like kind of made that proposal, I wasn’t even that excited about it, but we got their price list. They sent a whole kind of like welcome packet basically, and showed what we should sell for, and what we would buy for, and what their shipping costs were, and I just saw the potential. Yeah, the margins were smaller but I didn’t have to do anything. I had to upload products, which is the easiest part of the entire process. So we thought, okay, we’ll put them on our website and see what happens.
Justin: So, you were thinking more automated, right?
Anton Kraly: Oh, yeah.
Justin: Less work for me, yes, and also less money but I don’t care [crosstalk 00:17:04] too much.
Anton Kraly: And much more potential. When importing, I mean, at least for me, and I will import again, so I’m not saying no one should import, but-
Justin: You can eat it if you take a bad order or something.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. But you also don’t want to have too many SKUs, because you don’t want to start importing and say, I don’t know, I’m going to sell like pillows and order 1000 variations of pillows. You don’t want to do that. Maybe you’ll pick like one or two good sellers, because you know they’re going to sell, and you’re going to stock them and you’re gonna keep selling them. So, I think at the point where suppliers started contacting my company, we had maybe 30 to 50 SKUs, something like that, that we would warehouse and stock ourselves. But when these companies contact you, they have a lot more money than us, they had been in business a lot longer. They have hundreds, some of them have thousands of different products. So then our product offering goes from this very small thing to wow, now we have anything you could possibly want-
Justin: Much wider.
Anton Kraly: … this niche. Exactly. So yeah, our sales, the first year that we were in business, we did 380,000, the second year it was over 600,000. When we switched, that was the year, 600,000 was the year that we started adding in these new product lines, the next year we did 1.2 million in sales. So yeah, the margins did go down, but we doubled the the amount of money that was coming in. We made a lot more money. We started using credit cards for all of our suppliers, the drop ship suppliers, and we pay them. So we built up tons of free flights and it just made sense, and it was less work. So it was less work, more money, free travel, I mean, it just made sense.
Justin: It’s almost like if I’m manufacturing shoes, right? And I’m having them shipped over. It would be awfully expensive to carry all the different sizes. I’m not going to have size 13, I’m not going to have size six, I’m going to have the most common size, that’s it. You’re now presented with an opportunity for them to warehouse everything, just ship it all for you, deal with all that hassle, and widen that selection so you can service a larger audience. And so that’s where you saw the opportunity.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, exactly. And even the same audience that wanted other items that we just maybe didn’t want to experiment with by purchasing or maybe they wanted from us but-
Justin: You don’t want to take all loss, or you order all that inventory and you can’t dump it.
Anton Kraly: Exactly. Or there were products that customers would contact us that we knew they wanted, but yeah, we would get back to them. Yeah, it’ll be, maybe there’s still that six to eight week lead time because we don’t have it right now. So we were leaving money on the table in a lot of situations. So this allowed that problem just to be filled right away, and then it allowed us to get traffic instead again from maybe 30 to 50 SKUs. So literally within a year, we went from one supplier, a supplier in China to, I think it was … I can’t remember, this is back in like 2008, but it was like 50 or 60 suppliers that we had within that first year.
Justin: Is this all on one store?
Anton Kraly: No, it was spread out. It was spread out and maybe, I don’t know, four to six different stories.
Justin: Was this targeting specific niches or were they kind of the all you can eat?
Anton Kraly: No, they were all different. They were all different. Every store that we built was these groups were all very niche specific.
Justin: Now, at this point, were they related or were they just kind of separate?
Anton Kraly: No, it was different. There are a couple of related and then a few branched out in different categories but a few related, yeah.
Justin: Okay. So you had these different stores, and you go up to 1.2 million in sales, and then what happened to the business at that point?
Anton Kraly: It kept growing. Yeah. The next year we did 1.8, and yeah, that group of stores that I’m talking about, the initial ones that I had started with the business partner, we sold after the year they did 1.8.
Justin: Okay. Good time to sell. You had been growing.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. Yeah.
Justin: So, you sold, and did you continue doing drop shipping or what was your …?
Anton Kraly: Yeah, and I was at the same time simultaneously doing it. Part of the reason that we had sold these businesses … I’m from New York, I had moved down to North Carolina. My business partner was still in New York, and we weren’t really putting enough time into the businesses. They were doing fine. They were making money, they weren’t going down, it’s not like business was crashing, but we were both kind of doing our own things on the sides and making good amount of money as well and not splitting it with someone. So, if I have maybe eight hours of working time in a day and I’m going to put six hours into that or six hours in my own projects, which I see more potential in, I’m going to put it into my own project just like he was doing with his own. So, we were maintaining, but we stopped growing.
Justin: Did you take investment for that company or no, it was just the two of you?
Anton Kraly: No, no. I mean, the investment was selling products before we had any, and yeah, we didn’t have any cash. So we pre-sold products, got cash, and then from there it was profitable from then.
Justin: Were you taking most of the cash and reinvesting it or were we pulling cash out of it?
Anton Kraly: No, we were pulling cash out. Yeah, we were reinvesting some but we were definitely paying ourselves.
Justin: How’d you guys come to the decision to sell?
Anton Kraly: So, it got to that point that neither of us were doing what it takes to make a business really thrive, and again, still doing well, but we knew it had much more potential. So, we started talking about buying one another out just be so like again, if I had 100% ownership, I could devote more time because I’m getting 100% of that money coming in, I’m going to put a lot more time and effort into it. He thought the same way. It’s fair. So, we both again, had side projects that were doing well for us, so we started talking about buying one another out. Threw some numbers to each other, and I said, “No,” he said, “No way.” And the numbers were low, they were really low. Then we started calling website brokers to kind of put a valuation on it, because we’re like, “What are we doing?” You know, like, “I’m making up a number,” like yeah, “I’ll take this to walk away.”
And yeah. So, we called some people, we gave them our numbers, and we found out that the business was worth a lot more than I would’ve never even guessed. When you build eCommerce stores, whether you’re importing or drop shipping, literally these groups of stores were all Yahoo Stores back then, I’m on Shopify now, but they were all stores that we started for $29 a month on one of Yahoo Stores, I think their starter plan. So, it wasn’t something that we saw … even though they were making tons of money, it didn’t see it as like going from $29 to three years later that now it’s worth what? Like no, like we couldn’t justify it to ourselves. So we thought, okay, let’s just find a third party buyer. The brokers we had spoke to told us that people are always looking for these kinds of investments, and they got us some good calls. They got us different funds that collects money and try to buy websites that they add to their portfolio.
We spoke to someone really kind of higher level at Amazon that was looking to leave and start their own businesses, people that own other eCommerce stores in related niches that want to just add to their portfolio.
Justin: Strategic, yeah.
Anton Kraly: Right. So yeah, just because for us, just because I wouldn’t pay my partner that or he wouldn’t pay me that, we found that other people were more than happy to pay because they got great value from it.
Justin: Looking back, if you could have raised the money or if you could have got some kind of a loan, would you wish you would have take that or no?
Anton Kraly: No, because again, if I had nothing else, then maybe, but that wasn’t the situation. The reason that we were looking to kind of sell or the reason that we weren’t putting the time into it is because I was building other eCommerce stores that were doing very well for me. At that time, I actually had an offline company, a digital advertising company that I had invested a good amount of cash in, and I was doing pretty well with that. My business partner had gotten into real estate, he was investing in commercial real estate and he was doing well with that. So, it wasn’t like this was our one source of income and we’re like oh, that’s gone.
Justin: You guys had these other things going on. You were like, “Look, we’re not really devoting the time to really grow it out anymore,-
Anton Kraly: Exactly, yeah.
Justin: … why hang on to an asset that we’re not growing. It may grow, it may decline, we might as well sell it while it’s making money and actually grew over the last couple of years.”
Anton Kraly: Right.
Justin: We see people on that situation where like they have a business and they’re like, “I’m going to go ahead and just kind of like let it go. So, I’m just not [inaudible 00:23:31] any more,” and it starts to decline, decline, and then they’re trying to sell the asset after it’s declined for a year or two, and it’s just that they just lost so much value but by not getting out. And so when you’re done with a business, that’s actually a good idea, sell it.
Anton Kraly: Definitely.
Justin: Or maybe if your partner still wants to roll with it, fantastic. But if both of you guys are doing separate things that make sense.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, it’s fine to sell. If you look at it from the way a business owner should look at it and not have that personal connection, if I don’t want to let it go, if it’s a business and you want what’s best for the business, which we knew there was potential, we were growing a lot every year, but then we saw more potential elsewhere for ourselves, it doesn’t mean just to like let it die or hold onto it because it’s yours because you started it. Again, like the brokers explained to us very clearly that people are more than happy to pay because it’s going to add to their portfolio.
Justin: So, who ended up buying it?
Anton Kraly: It was a company that owned multiple eCommerce stores in related niches. Yeah. And they actually, what they did, they still do, they buy websites, they build them up and then they sell them again for more money. So, they have, I think, like a small team that kind of knows how to run eCommerce stores, and yeah, that’s what they did. I’m not sure who owns it now.
Justin: Did you go through a broker or did you end up finding [crosstalk 00:24:32].
Anton Kraly: No, we went through a broker.Yeah, we went through the broker, went through the whole process-
Anton Kraly: We Sell Your Site.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, went through them, and I’m not sure what the company has done with it now. I’m pretty sure the ownership has passed hands at least once, but I don’t know. I don’t really follow up with it. There’s no need to.
Justin: Yeah. How was the turnover? How long did it take before they took complete control? Did you do on an earn-out?
Anton Kraly: This was about three years ago, so it was fast. I would say the whole process, three to five months, maybe closer to three. It was very quick. Right away, they put together like a prospectus for us of the information they needed, like the profit and loss statements, our tax records, all that stuff. Sent it out to whoever they send it out to. We had a bunch of calls. I mentioned some of the people we had spoke to earlier, and then yeah, one company made an offer and we accepted it. There was no ongoing payments. It was a cash offer, all up front, one payment.
Anton Kraly: They wired the money to our lawyer in New York. We transferred over the-
Justin: How was that like waiting for the wire, like, “Oh my God.”
Anton Kraly: Yeah, it was nerve wracking.
Justin: “Just get it in, man. What’s going on?”
Anton Kraly: Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, I was a little nervous, but yeah, they wired the money, our lawyer said it was there. We asked if wires where refundable just to make sure that the money wasn’t going anywhere before we transfer over all these domains.
Justin: It’s not PayPal, right?
Anton Kraly: Exactly, yeah. But then we transferred everything over, and obviously you know when you sell sites there’s usually like the support that goes with it. Like you tell someone we’ll offer maybe 20 hours of support the first month and then 10-
Justin: Did you use an escrow company or just the attorney.
Anton Kraly: Just the attorney’s escrow account.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, but we were planning on offering all this ongoing support to the buyers just because that’s what’s included in the contract so you can train them in how to run your business. But since they had experience with eCommerce, they had bought the sites and then they barely asked anything. I think we had one or two calls. So it was the craziest thing.
Justin: That’s perfect.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, it was amazing.
Justin: Because you’re not stuck like six months or a year like kind of walking them baby steps through the process. How long were your processes documented? I mean, how much work did you have to do? Did you have it or not as well?
Anton Kraly: That’s the thing. It wasn’t that much work. It was like it could have been more work if we were still in that growing phase. I was maybe putting it in two to three hours a day, same with my business partner, and I think they had two or three people that were working on the site. So it wasn’t all that much work for them when they took over. And with drop ship sites, the processes are super, super easy. We gave them our list of suppliers, who has what products, who our point of contact is, what are the payment terms, if there’s any. And the one thing that maybe took the most time is getting the accounts with our suppliers because we had so many, I think over 100 were included with the sale, well, they weren’t included, but we had 100 contacts that we had to transfer over.
And the way we did it, what our broker recommended, which was awesome and it works well, it was scary because when you sell a site that runs off of suppliers, like not our own products, well, what if this new company doesn’t get approved? What if they buy it and then yeah, the suppliers-
Justin: Will they raise the price?
Anton Kraly: … yeah, or something happens. Yeah. But what our brokers recommended and what we did is we explained to all of our suppliers that we had a partner coming on, it’s basically like add capital into our business. It was a new partner that was going to just basically help us grow and we’re going to switch everything to their accounts. And you know, it’s true. They brought in money, they had more money than us, and they were going to grow the business. So, that was our introduction to our suppliers. They got approved with everyone and yeah, that was what we had to kind of work on together with the new buyer. But haven’t spoke to them since, I’m sure they’re doing fine.
Justin: Gotcha. That makes sense. A lot of times when people that have suppliers or whatever, and especially if they have one supplier, we recommend if you’re three to six months out, at least find a second supplier that they could use. Because that’s one of the concerns is that what if your seller, the retailer, is actually the supplier on the backend, right? So they’re giving themselves extraordinarily low rates to get their margin up so they can sell the business for more, and then they raise the rates on the backend. So we say to have a second or even a third supplier, maybe you’re not using them but they’re there and available.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. That scares me. Leaving one supplier, two suppliers, when people ask me for advice that want to get into drop shipping, I say, “Find at least 10 potential suppliers before you start, at least.” Just because, well, what if one supplier runs out of stock? Yeah. What if they go out of business? What if someone stopped shipping items because they’re low on inventory? You never know. So yeah, at least 10, and not selling the same products, again, not 10 people selling the same pillow, but 10 different pillow suppliers so you could always have variety.
Justin: So, your suppliers are diversified-
Anton Kraly: Exactly.
Justin: … you are not so reliant on one particular supplier.
Anton Kraly: Right. Yes. Your business isn’t directly connected to one company.
Justin: Okay. So you sell your business, and this is all of your, at least as a partnership, this is all of your drop shipping stores, right?
Anton Kraly: Yeah. We had an S corp, and that was that corporation’s assets basically.
Justin: So, you sold asset, it was an asset sale, not stocks.
Anton Kraly: It was.
Justin: Okay, so you sell the business. What year was this?
Anton Kraly: Just over three years ago. So, what’s that? 2011.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: You sell the business, you’ve still got the digital marketing that you’re working on you got some of side projects, when do you start your next on your own kind of drop shipping business?
Anton Kraly: Well, I still had some then, and yeah, continually since then.
Justin: What did you do the digital marketing? Because I know that you-
Anton Kraly: We sold that.
Anton Kraly: That was not a good business. I don’t recommend going offline if anyone’s. What happened is we were making-
Justin: And that was just yours or that was-?
Anton Kraly: No, I had partners.
Justin: A different partner?
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Anton Kraly: What happened is we were making good money from eCommerce stores, I wanted to invest offline. So we had started this company, and we made money. We ended up selling it, we did okay, but it was not fun.
Justin: Never took off.
Anton Kraly: Not only it didn’t take off, I mean, you could say it did because we had a lot of contracts that we didn’t actually fulfill just because we didn’t enjoy it because there was so much that went into it, and the amount of money we were making compared to what I could do online for such a small investment was just ridiculous.
Justin: There’s an opportunity cost there.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. Just a brief overview of how this worked is we would go into Dunkin Donuts locations. We had a contract for over 30 of them on Long Island. We’d install LED displays up by their menus, we wouldn’t replace their menus, we put them next to them, and we would show like relevant news and weather, but then we also sold local advertising on those displays. So most Dunkin Donuts on Long Island are on street malls, so you know, the pizza place, the pet store, the nails place, they would pay us like 200 bucks a month and get to show a little video ad that played every 20 minutes, whatever it was.
Justin: It’s cross promotional local business.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. And it worked and we did okay, but the amount of money going in hiring electricians to going to install these things, making sure that advertisers were paying their bills, hiring salespeople.
Justin: Ah, yeah. And you got to sell them.
Anton Kraly: It wasn’t what I wanted. Yeah.
Justin: You need to go in there and explain to them the value. It’s not like they know that they need that or know that they want that, you have to go in there and explain that, show that to them.
Anton Kraly: Right. It’s a nightmare. It really wasn’t fun, but we got lucky. What we started doing is offering it like a kind of extra service where if any company wanted to install these displays in their own locations, we would host them for a monthly fee. So we would put their little … we used the Mac Minis back then, connect into the LED TVs and our server would send the ads to them.
And we had a company in Queens, I’m from Long Island, we had a accompany in Queens that set up five locations and we hosted them all for them and they were paying a good amount of money every month. And the guy just said to us one day, he’s like, “Can I just buy this thing can I buy the server?” And we said, “Yeah, you want to buy our business, like you’ll get all of our locations on Long Island plus this.” And yeah, so we sold that. Thank God. I think it was like a year and a half from when I started it to when it was sold. Made a little bit of money, but definitely learned a lot. So, I am happy I did it. Learned that I don’t want anything to do with offline.
Justin: Looking back, that’s actually a really interesting industry I think, because some of the facial recognition stuff and supplying ads to you based on who you want, and that’s the future of where that’s all going. It’s kind of interesting that you were in the space, but yeah, I can see how.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. You can see so many moving parts.
Justin: Yeah. I know some startups are working on some interesting stuff in that space, but I think as a bootstraps guy, you weren’t funded or anything for that, right?
Anton Kraly: No. I was making a lot.
Justin: You funded it.
Anton Kraly: I funded it.
Justin: Yeah. Yeah. I can see that being difficult. So anyway, so on the drop shipping, so you continue with that. At what point do you decide to start Drop Ship Lifestyle? Or at what point do you decide to put a course together to help other people?
Anton Kraly: This course I put together I think just over two years ago, maybe a little less, maybe a little more. And basically, after I had sold some businesses, not that first rounds, but another round of sites that I own myself-
Justin: Were these smaller sites or bigger sites?
Anton Kraly: A little bit smaller, but yeah, pretty big. I had sold them and then I actually was kind of bored, and I was living in North Carolina, and I was going on the Warrior Forum where there’s a lot of nonsense going on there and people just trying to sell stuff to everyone. And I was on a eCommerce section on a drop shipping section, and I was reading through it, and this was like the first online community that I ever found out of boredom. All these years that I owned profitable businesses offline and online, I had never been part of any kind of online forum. But I saw this, and I saw what people were posting, and I saw the answers and I was like, this is ridiculous. Like the misinformation that was being passed around made me [inaudible 00:32:29].
I started like posting responses to people’s questions and said what really works or what I really do. And people liked what I had to say because it was true and I was just like, “Oh, buy my ebook and I’ll show you how to drop ship on eBay. But when you buy from Amazon, stuff that doesn’t work like that.” And then I started getting a lot of PMs, a lot of people asking me questions, responding to my threads. So I thought, man, I should just like record videos instead of having to answer all these questions. So it wasn’t really like we’ll talk about when will I start charging for it. When I first started it, it really wasn’t a way to make money, it was just something to do.
Justin: It was something to do.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. So, I put it together in like a week, like a weekend, maybe, I don’t know, three or four days. I put up the website, I linked it with clickbank, and I started selling access to these videos that go through my process of what I do, and put in the link in my signature on Warrior Forum, and when I first sold it, the first 100 people got in for 37 bucks and got access to these videos, got access to my private forum. And then instead of posting on the Warrior Forum, I was helping people kind of that had paid and actually learned the way I do things. So, instead of me answering questions from someone that learned something that doesn’t work at all or someone that doesn’t know what they’re doing, it made it much easier for me to help people because they had went through my system.
Justin: Yeah, that’s interesting. So okay, so first off, whenever I get on the Warrior Forum, I start answering questions, I wonder if I’m just pissing in the wind really. You know what I mean?
Anton Kraly: Yeah, it feels like it.
Justin: I’m like, why am I even bothering because some of the responses are just absolutely ridiculous? But then you talk to some people that they’re really trying to figure some stuff out, but why is that worth your time?
Anton Kraly: I was just bored.
Justin: Like why not do a new drop shipping site? Why care about the Warrior Forum?
Anton Kraly: I do that too, yeah. I’d say the whole process of me posting to me doing this course-
Justin: Were you looking to just connect with people?
Anton Kraly: Kind of, yeah. It was winter, I couldn’t play golf as much as I liked to. I was sitting inside, didn’t really … The whole process of me like answering questions to creating the course was probably two weeks. So it wasn’t like I was on this forum for like a year just like messing around and talking to people. I joined it and really quickly realize that people didn’t know what they were doing, so I don’t know. I’m always thinking of different things to do and I thought, “Oh, why don’t I just throw this together and make a little video course?”
Justin: How much time did you spend on the course?
Anton Kraly: It was seriously like three or four days. I started just by pen and paper. I wrote down the steps that I go through when I start a new store and turned out to be seven main step, I broke it down into. Then when you do something over and over, it makes it very easy to teach. So I recorded it all with ScreenFlow and now that was on a PC, I used Camtasia. I recording my screen as I do each thing and uploaded it to the members area. So, it wasn’t some huge production like, “Oh, I’m going to be an internet millionaire selling courses. I’m going to hire a sales copy guy.” There was no sales copy.
Justin: You didn’t do this crazy launch strategy and everything?
Anton Kraly: Not at all. Like you clicked a button and I think it went to PayPal or something and said like, here’s the … like yeah, it was not like that at all. It was just, again, I wanted to help people, but I saw it very quickly that the Warrior Forum, like it was almost impossible to help people. So I thought, well, if they go these videos, if they see what I’m actually talking about and watch me do it, then have questions, then I can actually help them because instead of just coming out of nowhere and being like, oh, like it’s much easier to help someone when they have the same mindset as you and know your process.
Justin: It’s crazy to me because I’m thinking about you, and I know you’ve done, I’ve seen the sites you’ve built, I’ve seen the success you’ve had. I’m thinking about you on the Warrior Forum and putting this video together and putting up a WSO in this section where all these other are like just sketchy stuff. And so you put this up and you just built the W site, did you set up affiliates for this to start or no?
Anton Kraly: No, no.
Justin: So, you just put it up and put a signature on your link, and you were answering questions and communicating that way?
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: And that’s how you got your first sales. And your first 100 you said were for 37 bucks?
Anton Kraly: Yeah. And they came in fast too.
Justin: Why that price point? You just figured it was kind of-
Anton Kraly: Because I wanted to validate the idea and also I want it to see like the feedback on what I have to say. So, not that I thought it was worth $37, but I didn’t want to say, “Hey, give me 500 bucks, give me 1000 bucks,” and then when people joined are like, “What the hell is this?”
Anton Kraly: You know, I want it to validate it.
Justin: What was the early feedback?
Anton Kraly: It was great and I was really nervous about it. With any eCommerce store, like when you’re not the face of it, it’s very easy for me to launch businesses like that. I have lots of other sites too that I have that my name’s not on, so with that, I don’t know, like I’ll throw it up all day, and see what happens. But with this, it was very personal because the account is in my name and I’m saying my name is Anton. I’ve been doing eCommerce for this long. I’m going to show you how to do it.
Justin: Yeah. I think this was about the time that you talked to Joe or maybe shortly after this.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. So, this is funny. When you started this, you said that you didn’t even like want to get in the phone, I didn’t want to get on the phone with you guys. So yeah. No, because Joe emailed me and I knew who you guys were because I saw actually some of your posts on the Warrior Forum going to adsenseflippers.com, and Joe had messaged me, he’s like, “Oh, can we get on Skype?” And I was like, “Oh man, like shit, I don’t want to talk to these guys,” because I knew that you had a whole team in place that was just cranking sites and I was thinking like, “Man, I’m going to show them how to do this and my business like it’s going to be gone.”
Justin: They’re gonna crush me.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. I pictured you guys building like thousands of drop ship stores and like just that’s it, because I teach a process, and you have employees, so I pictured you going through the process and just scaling it to the point where like, wow, okay drop shipping is done. That’s what I thought was gonna happen. So yeah, no it was cool. It was cool talking to you guys though. Yeah.
Justin: Yeah, it was cool. So, after talking to you, I was like, “Wow, okay this guy is just interesting.” And Joe was for the process. We ended up going in different directions. We just didn’t see that as our highest values. That’s the reason we didn’t chase after the drop shipping. At that point, I think Joe was going to do drop shipping and I was to do something else and we were going to start exploring different methods and then kind of like tossed the losers role with the good ones and we end up scrapping all of that to focus on the buying and selling. But yeah, it was interesting. And so I stayed [inaudible 00:37:42] you, and it’s weird because we saw kind of your growth. So, like you had this kind of smaller course, and we’re like that’s interesting, and you kind of continued on. And you were selling at 37 bucks. When did you raise the price? When did you really start to see kind of the tip of the scales? When did things start to take off for that?
Anton Kraly: The feedback, like I said, the feedback right away was great, but once I started getting the testimonials of people like, “Hey, I’m making X amount of dollars,” some people were like, “Hey, I left my job.” Once I started get that feedback, then I was like, “Okay. Obviously not only has it been validated with me, but now I have other people that I can actually refer people to like, ‘Hey look, this guy says he’s doing well too, this woman says she’s doing well too.'” That was the point where I knew then it was time to raise the price basically.
Justin: So, you started getting feedback, you were getting testimonials from people that are saying, “I was able to quit my job,” that kind of thing. There was a girl on one of your testimonials, she was talking about going to school to study entrepreneurial management. So she went to school for four years, I think her degree costs her $200,000. She said she walked from school not knowing much about starting an eCommerce store, which is why she went to school in the first place, she wanted to get into that. Ended up taking your course and within a year, she felt she was in a good enough position to be able to quit her job, a full time job and focus on online full time. Are those the types of things that like kind of like made you realize I’m onto something here?
Anton Kraly: Yeah, and there’s like tons, like that’s one thing. But like if you go to the forum, on my private forum, I have these like the progress threads.
Justin: Yeah. That’s a big thing in your forum.
Anton Kraly: So, back in like 2012 … it’s huge, and that’s like the whole forum. And that started with Johnny, one of the guys from the course that’s the most vocal because he’s a blogger. He started a progress thread when he started the course and then other people saw his progress thread then started starting their own progress threads. But if you go back to like two years ago and look at a lot of them that had started, you’ll see people’s progression. Like I joined, I made a sale, I made two sales, you could just basically like just follow through people just like what they’re up to. And what’s good is you can kind of see what works, what doesn’t, who’s failed, who’s succeeded. It’s a way to really just track [crosstalk 00:39:34].
Anton Kraly: Yeah, it’s accountability, and I think that’s the biggest asset in the course right now is definitely the forum. They go through the videos again, but now on the forum, there’s so many people that have been through the course that kind of know what they’re doing that help each other, that are supportive.
Justin: It’s like that group thing that Crossfit has for drop shipping basically, right?
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: You know what’s funny though, like going back to Johnny for a second, right? So I don’t know if you’re familiar with that Derek Sivers’ first follower video or Ted talk, it’s really interesting, you should watch it. But he talks about how it’s not always about the leader, right? Sometimes it’s about the first follower. And he shows a video of some guys, some kind of crazy guy dancing in a festival and he’s by himself, and by himself, he looks kind of like a crazy person, right? He’s actually the leader. He’s the one that started everything. And then the next guy comes over and they call him the first follower, right? And he starts doing it too. And one person dancing by himself was kind of crazy, two people looks like kind of fun, right? And the second person is the one that starts to get other people involved, says, “Hey look, come over here and do it like this. Follow this guy.” And he’s actually the one sourcing people.
And I see a real similar connection to what Johnny I think did for you and others in the course, but Johnny specifically with this blogging in terms of getting people over and being more vocal about driving people. And it’s really interesting. If you haven’t seen that, you really should see it, Derek Sivers first follower video. It’s a great, great talk on Ted anyway. But I see some similarities, and one of the things that’s interesting is I thought Johnny did a sneaky little thing there as he did the Anton method, right?
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: Like he basically branded at the antonmethod.com or whatever, that’s his site, and he’s an affiliate for your Drop Ship Lifestyle.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: That’s it. He’s like, “Yeah, just check out the Anton method,” he like rebranded it or something.
Anton Kraly: Some people like when I go Chiang Mai-
Justin: I’ve asked you, isn’t that your site?
Anton Kraly: Yeah. Johnny lives in Chiang Mai, so sometimes when I’m there people are like, “Why did he name it the Anton method, that’s so like weird. Why would he call it that?” But it’s not called that. It’s not the name.
Justin: Like, “I wouldn’t do that.”
Anton Kraly: Yeah. Johnny is definitely an influencer. If anyone goes to Chiang Mai or if you’re there, it’s crazy how many people you talk to that are in Chiang Mai because they found Johnny’s blog. He’s been blogging about life there for two years or so doing Muay Thai and stuff like that. And what’s really funny is when he started the course, it’s like the best social proof you’ll ever ask for as a business owner that’s teaching someone something, because he blogged when he was living in $100 a month apartment like trying to live for no money at all. He wrote a book about how to live with no money and he says in the book it’s because he had no money.
And then he met me and I taught him how to do this and he built this huge business that he’s doing like 35K a month in sales with I think like I don’t know, five to 8K profit depending on what month it is. And like his progress didn’t start when he joined the course like “Oh, sign up for antonmethod.com because it works like out of nowhere, like you could see his progress from, “I wrote a book about how broke I am and now I’m living in Thailand.”
Justin: To trying to make a little bit of money to start that. Like, okay I’m putting some money away.
Anton Kraly: Yeah right. The whole journey, yeah. So, some people have asked me like, “Does anyone else have a blog like that?” I’m like, “No. No one in the world.” So like, I can’t think of anyone else in the world that like blogs or wrote as much as he did. He had a book about living for cheap before he started this course.
Justin: Yeah. It’s great testimonial case study for you.
Anton Kraly: Definitely. Yeah.
Justin: Yeah. One thing I think is interesting about Johnny is that, honestly, people that like kinda do the bling, bling and kind of do that, “Oh, look at my car and my house,” I get that creepy infomercial vibe from that stuff. And I’ve heard that criticism about Johnny like he’s like a little too … But here’s the thing, I think it’s like the difference with him and why I’m cool with it is because it’s genuine.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: Like the guy actually was broke as balls and started making money he was like, “Dude, I’m making money right now.”
Anton Kraly: Yeah, “I’m buying myself an old watch. I’m making money.”
Justin: I’m cool with that. That’s okay. It’s the cheesy guys that are using it just for marketing I think that bugs me. “Hey, I’m on my car,” well, it’s a little … but it’s cool, it’s cool because he did it, right?
Anton Kraly: Right. Yeah.
Justin: So, yeah. So anyway, first follower, man, you should check that out. Tell me about some of the successes you had with Drop Ship Lifestyle and setting that up, the course, and some of the things that didn’t work out so well.
Anton Kraly: Well yeah, the successes I mean, again, like the social proof, that’s when I knew the price was time to raise. Like once I started getting testimonials in the Warrior Forum, like different members posting, “Hey, I’m making whatever amount of money,” that’s when I knew like, okay, now I could raise the price and people can’t just say, “Well, Anton’s telling me I’m gonna make money,” but like you said, like Johnny’s most vocal, but then I have all these … like if you go to my Drop Ship Lifestyle YouTube channel, there’s I think like 40 reviews now after the retreat of people’s stories on it.
So, once I started to get that stuff in, that’s when I kind of validated it, raise the price. So that was like a success, I guess, for the business. Then I actually started making more money and I could put more time into it.
Justin: How did you realize that like there are certain things that people weren’t getting and how did that affect change and kind of your videos and kind of your presentation on what you were offering?
Anton Kraly: Yeah. Well, the forum, the forum definitely. I think if anyone is going to start a membership site or like try to teach people something, forums are so huge because if I didn’t have that, there’d be so many questions kind of just like up in the air that I would have to respond to personally all the time, instead, I have a forum with like 15,000 posts or something like that now that is full of content that completely is only related to this course, and to drop shipping, and to eCommerce, and even to Amazon, and to private labeling, there’s some posts on importing. So, it’s the best way to build a community around you, and when people have questions, you know where they’re stuck because they’re posting it, and if anyone else is stuck, they’re going to post the same question, they’re going to reply to that thread.
And what that led me to do is create kind of this ongoing video series. So I do update the main videos, but the main thing I do is add in new ones.
Justin: Were there any videos you did where like people were following along go, “I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about here”?
Anton Kraly: The the biggest one, and I didn’t realize this until the retreat we just did, like that was obviously the biggest success. We had like 120 people up in Chiang Mai, and thank you for speaking there. Justin and Joe came and did a really good presentation on outsource and selling your websites. But yeah, that was a huge win. But I obviously spoke to everyone that was there and I asked them like, “Out of everything in the course, what do you think is most difficult or where do you get stuck?” And everyone said on the web design part, that was the one thing that everyone said they had the most trouble with.
So, at that point, I had one video in the members area on how to customize a Shopify theme and make it look like a store that would convert. So, nothing too crazy but like make it look like a niche specific store that’ll convert visitors into buyers. But I guess it wasn’t detailed enough, and I get it. If you’re looking at Shopify or BigCommerce or any of them for the first time in the back end, it could be like a foreign language. So, to kind of make that not an issue anymore, I had my sister who also does my web design, create a new 22 video course that’s now in the members’ area, it’s included for everyone. And it literally goes step by step by step the screen share presentations on how to customize your store and make it look, not only like a good store, but like an amazing store, like one of the stores she built.
Justin: So, it gives you kind of a primer on design, what goes with what, that kind of thing?
Anton Kraly: Everything. Yeah, it takes you step by step from-
Justin: Maybe there was something that you just took for granted-
Anton Kraly: It is.
Justin: … that you had an eye for, right? And you’re like, “What are you talking about? It’s so easy.” And I’m going like, “What dude? I don’t understand how that match is.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. And even beyond that, just in the back end, like the user interface, like I’ve done it so many times that to me it’s like, like when I’m recording the ScreenFlow for that, it was like, okay, click here, then you click here, and to me it’s nothing because I do it all the time. But for other people, when I had Laura create this course, I called it the Shopify Video Course, it’s included in Drop Ship Lifestyle. But when I had her create it, I said, “When you’re going through this, do it like you’re talking to someone who only knows how to use like Google Chrome or Internet Explorer, like they have no idea. So, it’s so basic but people love it. Like the feedback since I launched it has been amazing because people don’t know what they’re doing when they start.
Justin: You’re also going to appeal to the largest and the widest audience, and the people that do know or whatever they go, “Okay,” they’ll sit through that part because they know there’s gonna be a part they’re coming up to that they don’t get. One of the things … this actually isn’t much of a criticism for the course because Joe’s been through the course and I’ve seen some of the videos, and I think what’s really interesting is that sometimes like practitioners aren’t the best teachers, right? So they can do it, but the way they explain it isn’t fantastic and I think you’ve got that really well. So, you really simplify the process and like show people step by step how to get it done. And I think that’s kind of missing a lot of times in the online, especially in the informational space on like how to do it. It’s kind of like they’re vague in parts and your course isn’t that one. I think that’s why it appealed to so many people.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. One other thing I hear about that is some people when they make these online courses, they actually put too much in there to the point that it overwhelms people.
Justin: Or they talk over someone’s head because they do it every day, right? And they’re like so used to it that they’re just like, “Okay, you just blah blah blah this,” and the other people are like, “What? That doesn’t makes sense to me?
Anton Kraly: Yeah, exactly.
Justin: So okay. So, you build out this course, you were having some success, you started raising the price. Whenever you build like a formula like this or process, this is kind of like standard operating procedure put into kind of a training manual or training guide, videos, there are parts of it that are just process, right? Just do this, step one, step two, step three, and there are parts of it that are like more creative or it’s objective. And with us, when we were building the [inaudible 00:48:10] sites, it was kind of the niche selection. There’s a certain formula you follow and some of it just has to be like gut and feel. You get it over time. What parts of your course do you feel are very objective and which parts are kind of the more creative gut and feel?
Anton Kraly: Okay, so like the niche selection, when I walk people through that, anyone could follow along with that. Not that complicated once you watch the videos, it’s not that complicated. Market research, I’m going through the different modules in the course right now. Market research, not complicated at all. I share it via screen share videos exactly how I do it, going to real websites, finding real suppliers, not hard to do. The web design, that one people can get stuck on, but again, I’ve solved that problem by adding this new course in. The biggest part that I would say takes being creative would be in module four in my course, which is about actually getting approved with the suppliers. You can email them. I never would. I would always call. You kind of have to sell yourself, you have to sell your business. You have to know what to say. You have to be confident.
Justin: You’re on the phone?
Anton Kraly: Yeah, you’re on the phone. You got to be confident about it and some people can’t do that. Not that they can’t, but it takes a lot of work.
Justin: Not when they’re brand new, their first time.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, I get it. I get it. So one thing I say, like I’d mentioned to you earlier, I won’t start a store now unless I find at least 10 suppliers, when other people, when new members are first starting for their first store, I just [inaudible 00:49:22] with like 100 suppliers that you could potentially contact.
Justin: And cold call them.
Anton Kraly: Exactly. Exactly. Because if you only have 10, every one-
Justin: You [crosstalk 00:49:27].
Anton Kraly: Yeah. You call them and you say the wrong thing, it’s denied, denied, denied, your store is not looking that good. If you have 100, you can make some mistakes. So, that’s one of the things I recommend. And after that, it’s about optimizations and tweaks that I make to my stores to get them to convert better, very easy to follow along with. The traffic module, again, very easy to follow along with, walk people through exactly what to click on, and then kind of some automation stuff, not that complicated.
Justin: One of the things I like about drop shipping is that it’s very hard to be too deep in the hole, right? So, you’re never going to be, or it’d be difficult where you’re putting more money in than you’re making, right?
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: I mean, only I think with paid traffic marketing, it can happen there, but other than that, you’re not because you’re receiving the money up front and you’re paying for the goods after the fact. I think that’s interesting because that’s a scary piece for people, that when they’re dumping a whole bunch of money into something and hoping it’s going to work, right?
Anton Kraly: Oh, yeah. It’s like you said, you’d be overspending on paid traffic, and I kind of got myself into trouble once with PayPal. I had them holding 50K for like six months and that wasn’t fun.
Justin: Oh, PayPal.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. So, I tell people when they’re first getting started, don’t only use PayPal, don’t leave any money in there if you use it. I still do use it, but I don’t recommend having it as your only payment option. Shopify integrates with Stripe, now it’s just called Shopify payments powered by Stripe, but I recommend using them as your main processor and then having the PayPal button there for people that need to see it and need to use it, but definitely don’t rely on them and definitely don’t keep your money in there, especially if you’re just getting started, because once you hit a certain volume, they will hold it. There’s no questions asked.
Justin: As a newbie travel hacker, screw PayPal anyway. You want to be putting this money on credit cards, maybe accept PayPal a bit for payments, but oh my God. I see this as so much opportunity, and you know I had Eric [inaudible 00:51:01] was on our show or whatever. I know you’re going to be talking to him soon for your community. But with drop shipping sites, especially let’s say a site makes $10,000 a month gross revenue, and maybe it’s making $1,500 a month in profit, the [inaudible 00:51:14] community says, “Oh my God, that’s $8,500 a month in credit card spend. That’s great. I’ll get a ton of miles out of this thing. So yeah, I mean I see there’s opportunity there too. It’s really interesting.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: So, let’s talk a little bit about … so we talked about getting started with Drop Ship Lifestyle, let’s talk about your community a bit. So, was the forum something that was planned from the beginning or was that kind of an afterthought?
Anton Kraly: No, it was there from day one, again, that was the point because I spent a couple of weeks in the Warrior Forum and just like really I couldn’t help people. I would post these great answers, some people would love the feedback, then the people that were selling other products like these $7 eBooks would write this whole BS post about like how selling on eBay from Amazon or whatever is better and why you should buy their $7 book, and it was just ridiculous.
Justin: [crosstalk 00:51:56].
Anton Kraly: Yeah, I felt like I was trying to help people, but you can’t.
Justin: I’ve seen it as a hustle. I think it is a cashflow hustle but that’s not even close to the business.
Anton Kraly: No, no. But yeah, but that’s why with this, the point was to get people through my system and then be able to actually help them [crosstalk 00:52:10].
Justin: And now they’re speaking your language.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. Yeah. Now they know what’s real and what’s not. And I tell them like everything else that you’ve learned about drop shipping, because unfortunately, that’s why I don’t like the term drop shipping. When you do Google it, most of the companies you find if you look drop shippers-
Justin: Are not actual drop shippers.
Anton Kraly: They’re not, they’re all scams.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. They make money by charging monthly fees. So I tell people when they first sign up, like forget that all. This is what you should learn, and then, yeah, okay, eventually branch out, do some side research, work on your own things too, but go through this and when you start,-
Justin: Trust the process.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, and then start making money, and then if you want to start testing stuff, do it, but start making money first, because if you go through this, then you’ll be able to.
Justin: Advance and move on.
Anton Kraly: And that’s why since I’ve launched it, I’ve edited videos on private labeling, videos on importing, because it’s all great ways to really make more money and own more virtual products, and it makes sense. But for people just starting, I don’t think it does. So it’s something that I teach like kind of advanced level stuff. Get up, start making a few grand a month and then move on.
Justin: So, how do people know the forum? So, when you start off, let’s say you had a couple of sales, 10 sales or whatever, people go to the forum and they’re like, “Hello, I’m here,” and there’s nobody there. Did you precede it with questions and answers?
Anton Kraly: Yeah, I think I made like three fake accounts and just posted like basic questions that I knew everyone would have, responded as myself, and people signed up fast. So, I don’t know how long it took me to get to 100, I would guess within a month. The people were signing up really fast.
Justin: So it didn’t take that long. There were new people joining saying hello.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: Okay. Those new people were like … were any of the people that are still really active in your forum from that first batch?
Anton Kraly: There’s not really. What I see happening, and it’s funny, but you’ll see the forum, like if you check all the progress threads, like I don’t know how many pages of threads are on the forum, but if you go in and click like way back to like the first few pages and go through them, you could see people’s progress, like “I’m making sales and doing well,” then they stopped posting. And honestly, I think what happens is people start making money and then they don’t want to share anymore. And I get it. Like if I went through a course and I like figured something out and it was working, I’d probably leave a testimonial if someone asks me because I’d feel grateful but I wouldn’t want to tell everyone exactly what I’m doing because it’s replicatable. Like one thing that I show on the courses had a copy of other people’s businesses, so people were like, rightfully so, they get nervous.
Justin: People are sketchy about their niches.
Anton Kraly: And that’s the reason. Yeah, they don’t tell anyone. And that’s the reason the price keeps going up too, because I don’t want to have a community that I charge $100 for it and have 20,000 members in that are all trying to do the same thing. I’d rather charge a lot more and have people that get in actually get to ask me questions and get answers because I’m not getting bombarded with questions, and so they don’t have a million people trying to do the same thing as them. That’s one of the reasons the price is so high.
Justin: I think you’re gonna have both, you’re gonna have some people that had success, they’ll go, “Look, I don’t want to go back. I’m focusing on my business. I don’t want to deal with the forum. I don’t want to answer their questions. They’re all newbies. I don’t want to deal with that.” The other people that failed, right? Didn’t work for them or whatever, and they’re embarrassed.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, oh definitely.
Justin: They don’t want to come back and say, and then they’re kind of like, ah, or they’re just chasing the new shiny new object, right? They’re like, “Oh, Ooh, let’s do AdSense sites,” or “Ooh, let’s go do Alibaba or whatever,” right?
Anton Kraly: Yeah, that’s the worst. When people email me kind of a like presale questions and they’re like, “Oh, well, I’m looking into like selling on Amazon, or building AdSense sites, or building an Amazon affiliate site, or doing drop shipping, what do you think I should do?” And I’m just like, “I don’t know man. This is what works for me. I don’t do all that.”
Justin: Yeah. I always tell people, “It doesn’t really matter to me, just pick one. Don’t even pick mine,-
Anton Kraly: That’s good advice.
Justin: … just take one and do that.
Anton Kraly: I’m going to use that.
Justin: Don’t do anything else, put the blinders on, put your head down and just knock it out. And if you choose mine and you come back start talking about something else, I’m going to say, see, I told you so. Just pick one thing and go with that.
Anton Kraly: It’s a really good idea.
Justin: You’ll be much better off. So let’s talk about … so you had this community building up, but at some point I remember you threw out the idea of, you know what? I’m going to have a couple of buddies up to Chiang Mai. You were going to rent a house, you’re going to put a few people up, I think it was like five to 10 people, you’re going to put them up in a nice little house and you’re going to have a nice little meet up in Chiang Mai.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: What happened to that, man?
Anton Kraly: I got big. Yeah. So, I don’t know. Chiang Mai, I was based in for almost a year.
Justin: What were you thinking? You were thinking it’d just be cool to get people out to Chiang Mai? You were staying in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. Some of the questions I get are, “Hey, how’s Chiang Mai? should I come out? Is it livable? A lot of just people that are kind of on the fence.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, they were curious about it, so I figured like what can I do that will make them come? So, when I first announced this, I said, “I’m renting the house, I’m paying for everything.” Get your own airfare, fly out here and you’re going to get like a week of kind of masterminding, I’ll go through your stores with you. If you people had success, people that are making money, like I’ll help you guys out because that’s what I do with the course. I really do want help people make money. So that was the plan. I announced it on Johnny’s podcast and yeah, then a lot of people said they wanted to come.
Justin: You told me, well, I think the first year or whatever, you said it’s going to be free.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, I did. That was the plan. I really did want to have like a small group of people that were really just killing it and kind of work with them one on one and also show them what Thailand was like, so that way they had an excuse to come out there.
Justin: And it was free. You didn’t charge the first people or whatever.
Anton Kraly: No, I didn’t, I didn’t. I think, I don’t know what it was, 50, 20 people, they didn’t pay anything. So yeah. And then people still wanted to sign up. So I said, okay, well, if I’m going to rent the conference space, if I’m going to like organize all these events, I’m not going to cover it for this amount of people. It was still cheap. It was $297, so for what they got, it was very cheap.
Justin: So, for the people that paid, it was 297?
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: Yeah. I remember what you did and it was for the week or whatever.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, four days.
Justin: You probably didn’t make much money on that if you made any at all.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, Chiang Mai is cheap, but I didn’t. Chiang Mai is cheap but not that cheap. Yeah, it was 120 people ended up coming out and it was what started, like Justin said, a plan for five to 10 people to Mastermind for a week. Instead, we rented a conference center, had [crosstalk 00:57:23].
Justin: It was ridiculous. I was out there at the time. I remember, I wasn’t sure whatever, I told you, I said, “I think I want to do it.” You were like, “If you can make it, that’d be awesome, dude.”
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: And like a couple of days later, I was like done, done, I’m there. And then, so we come out there and like over time it built up, and all of a sudden you’re telling me, “Dude, I think like a hundred and something people are coming,” and I met you for like beers before the conference. I was like, “What are you doing?” It was like, “I don’t know.” I was like, “Everything’s set up?” You’re like, “I think so. I’m not sure.”
Anton Kraly: Yeah. For anyone that knows me, they know I’m very laid back and I try not to get too stressed out, but this was a little nerve wracking. Thankfully, I had my sister fly out who’s much more organized than me. Gave her the list of all attendees. Thank you too. If anyone’s in Chiang Mai right now, I highly recommend Coffee Monster, which is a coffee shop/coworking space because they put me in contact with our office manager who is a Thai woman that speaks English, and she hooked me up in a big way as far as the afternoon activities. The mornings and the presentations, that was all taken care of, but we did crazy stuff. We went to Tiger Kingdom, we went to the Sticky Waterfall, we went to the Elephant Nature Park, we went to Doi Suthep. So we had like two huge buses driving around all these people. That was crazy for me on my own, but thankfully to Coffee Monster and Leon over there, they have really hooked me up.
Justin: It was amazing. I actually was like sick for a couple of days of your conference or whatever, I missed the first couple of days, and then I got to meet up with everyone at the dinner. I thought that was amazing. And one thing being at the conference and we were doing a presentation, and originally we had the workshop set up for maybe 10, 15 people, and so we adjusted it for a larger audience, I thought it would be a better fit.
But one thing that struck me was really interesting about the community and you know, we’re part of the Dynamite Circle too. They did a meet up a couple of weeks later in Bangkok, and what was interesting about your community is they’re all new and like they’re all excited, right? For a lot of them, it was their first time in Thailand. They were either just starting with their new websites or they’ve got their website up and it’s just starting to make money, and they were looking to grow it. And so is this really kind of like young, and I don’t mean young in age, but like young entrepreneurially community that were just getting started and so fired up to be there. The energy in the room was pretty interesting. And so I could tell you were really into it. I think that you are a good event man.
Anton Kraly: Thank you, yeah.
Justin: For your first one hour, I was really impressed. I know you’re doing it again. You said that’s already happening next year.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: So yeah, it was really interesting. What did you learn about in-person events from doing this one? Like what would you do differently next time?
Anton Kraly: Yeah, so I do think everything went pretty smoothly. So, I didn’t want everyone to come out and not have things to do. A lot of people still work, still work full time jobs. Like you said, a lot of people are just getting started out, so there were people the first day showing up with their luggage, walking into the conference room hadn’t checked into their hotel yet because they didn’t want to miss the first presentation. So I didn’t want anyone to feel like their time wasn’t filled. I didn’t want people to go to a conference for four or five hours then sit around the rest of the day trying to figure out what to do.
So I booked so many activities and we literally went someday it started at 7:00 AM, someday it started at 8:00 AM, and we went until some nights, 10:00 PM, some nights, 9:00 PM. Basically, the way it worked is the mornings were actionable presentations followed by an afternoon activity, followed by a nighttime party. So there was a lot, and these people were jet lagged because a lot of them flew from the states, and I’m dragging them around like, “Hey guys, the bus is outside. Come on gotta be there on time.” So, I felt bad a little bit, I feel like I definitely wore people out.
Justin: Well, they didn’t have to go, right?
Anton Kraly: They didn’t. And some people told me like, “Sorry man, I just can’t keep my eyes open.” But yeah, if I did it differently, so next year, the two things are I probably will leave some more gaps, maybe like an hour or two here and there instead of just filling days completely. Not like huge extended periods of time, but give some people some downtime if they want to take a nap or just chill out for an hour or so.
And hard to really figure this one out, but I wanted to do this year, this previous year, a lot of what I was calling open office sessions where everyone in the room would set up their laptops, get online, and myself and a bunch of other volunteers, people from the course doing well, would go around and take a look in person, really help you out, point things out easy because we do it all the time, do this, do that, do this. And the WiFi was great when it was tested, but of course, we tested it with one person, not 100 people in a room. Yeah. So the WiFi was really bad, so our open offices kind of turned out to more of just like socializing and talking to people, which was still cool. Everyone got to know each other, but I wish that we could have that one on one time because I know that has a huge impact on people.
Justin: More business focus.
Anton Kraly: Right.
Justin: You did all these events and you were at every one, right?
Anton Kraly: Yes.
Justin: You were going to every single one, I’m sure that must’ve been pretty tiring for you.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: You were like, “Oh my God.” I think maybe letting other people run like many groups and kind of let them kind of go off and do their own things, that might be interesting. I know that DC does like the dinners or whatever and like have a big functions with everyone that you can do, and then let people do the smaller groups and let them interact with each other. It might get you off the hook a little bit.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: So you’re not stuck doing every single-
Anton Kraly: Outsource the conference.
Justin: Yeah, not stuck doing every single thing. Anyway, man. I thought it was really interesting.
But I want to get into some criticisms about drop shipping. I’m interested in drop shipping. I think it’s an interesting way you do business, but there are some critiques I think that are interesting. One is, Jeff Bezos said, “Your margin is my opportunity,” right? And they run on awfully slim margins and they crush eCommerce stores. How is Amazon not just going to crush these drop shipping sites the next couple of years?
Anton Kraly: So, I wouldn’t try to build a site, and it sounds stupid, but I wouldn’t try to build a site that competes with Amazon, I wouldn’t build a shopping mall type site. Amazon sells anything you could ever want plus more, that doesn’t make sense to do because you can’t compete. What you can do, what I do, what people I work with do, they build very niche specific stores.
So the example we were talking about earlier, let’s say model trains, you’re gonna sell model trains online on a drop ship basis, at least at first, and talk more about this later, but let’s say you’re going to do that, your whole site, and I have a whole video on this in my course, you should be targeting that demographic. You should be targeting exactly who was going to buy model trains online. Find out who they are, what companies they are buying from your. We talked about this earlier, but your color scheme on your website, take the brand logo from the most popular brand that sells model trains, use that for your website. Make your logo looks similar. Don’t rip them off, but when someone comes to your model trains site-
Justin: Same color scheme, same look and feel generally.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, right. When someone comes to your website, you want that instant connection like, “Oh, this looks just like …” you don’t want people to confuse the two, but you want them to think like that instant association in your brain that you are in that niche. You’re not Amazon, that you see an ad for, I don’t know, a spatula next to the model train when you’re on that page. Your copy, it should all be written targeting that person, that buyer, especially your generic pages, your about us page, I talk about this in the course in a lot of detail, but it should be telling a story about how your company and you specifically are involved in that niche. How it’s been a hobby of yours. Show photos. And if it’s not, you make it up. Use fake names. I have stories on my eCommerce stores, the owner’s name is not me. Like it’s okay, it’s your copy.
Justin: Yeah. So, I got two things there. So the one thing is that the leader in the niche, is already going to have the demo figured out. They’re going to have the color schemes, they’re going to have the general look and feel targeted. And for model trains, it’s not going to be a 16 year old girl in high school, right?
Anton Kraly: Right.
Justin: It’d be some 45 year old, 50 year old guy hobbyists with a disposable income that is willing to spend a good amount of money that wants a particular look and feel. And so the guys that have this, they’re selling millions of dollars’ worth of model trains and parts and whatever, they’ve got that shit figured out. So why not look at their color schemes, their logos, and build something similar, right? That has a similar look, feel and vibe? That’s interesting. So I get that. And the second piece was, tell a story, right? And your argument is that if you’re telling a story about how you started off as a young kid with model trains, your dad’s spent time with you and how it’s been very … and you show pictures of when you were a kid with these model trains, these amazing … there’s a story there that people are gonna relate to and make you more buyable. So, it’s a way of injecting personality into your business that Amazon simply can’t, they can’t do that.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, it’s impossible. And I have built shopping mall type stores in the past and they convert, they’ll get buyers, but they do not convert even close to the way niche specific stores do, so there’s a huge benefit. And when people are starting out, I get it, if you’re using Shopify, like I recommend, I think their starter plan is 29 bucks a month, and someone just starting out and maybe they don’t want to like start three stores, they’re thinking like, well then, if I want 10 stores or whatever, I’d spend $200 a month. Yeah. But if you put all of those niches on one store, your conversion rate isn’t going to be the same as if you had 10 stores and that’ll complete, like the increase in conversion rate will easily justify that extra spend.
Justin: I did an interview with a guy, this might be interesting to you, God, it’s many episodes we got, but I’ll put a link in the show notes. This guy that calls himself a storyteller, right? And like his whole goal is to help companies, help individuals, professionals craft their story, which is really interesting. So if you were interested in like hearing about how to tell a story or whatever, especially for these types of stores, I think it’d be an interesting podcasts to listen to. I think there’s always something to that, right? If you’re able to tell a story in business, that’s always valuable, it always makes sense because people relate to that, and people want to buy from people they know, like and trust.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: One more thing I’ll add is I talked to Andrew Youderian on eCommerce too, and one of the things he mentioned that I think that is really valuable is when you’re selling an eCommerce product or an eCommerce store, if you’re able to give information and relate different products in the niche better than Amazon can do, because you know and understand your niche, right? Because you’re talking to your customers, especially early on, you’re finding out what their needs are, you’re able to offer additional products or side products, this goes with this, and you’re able to answer that better than Amazon is because you understand the industry where Amazon is just throwing up products.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, and I’ll steal some of Johnny’s content. He gave a great talk at the conference. He’s been in eCommerce for like I guess a year now, year and a half, doing very well again. And one of the things he mentioned as part of his talk was about competing with Amazon. And when Amazon uploads all these products, most of the time it’s just a generic copy and paste what the supplier gives them, so their copy isn’t great at all, and they list product features, right? So some examples, I forgot which example Johnny gave, but I’ll modify it for trains. Maybe like the voltage that they run on, they’re very like specific numbers, like very just generic things that you could take and you could rewrite.
Justin: Yeah, who cares?
Anton Kraly: Yeah, exactly. Make them sound great for that person looking at it, so turn the features into benefits.
Justin: You can use this both in the US and also in European stores-
Anton Kraly: Yeah, exactly. right
Justin: … and whatever, blah blah blah.
Anton Kraly: Right, exactly. Yeah. So there’s ways to do things like that. And again, with the copy, like a lot of these brands that do provide it, some of them don’t provide it at all.
Justin: And images too, that’s gotta be a big thing, right?
Anton Kraly: It is. But one thing with Amazon that I have noticed, some suppliers that don’t provide any copy, they’ll provide the product price, the features, maybe like a list of like three or four bullet points, and there won’t be anything. Amazon will just upload it and then just leave it as it is, and they don’t have time I guess to go through and do this all, and if they do add any content, it’s very generic, it’s like one line that basically says the product features. So it’s very easy especially on these niche stores to customize it for your audience. Now, my average eCommerce store has over 3000 SKUs, so to go through 3000 products and do that, yeah, would be a nightmare. I don’t do that. So if anyone’s like thinking like, well I don’t want to go through and rewrite all this copy-
Justin: You’ll get a [crosstalk 01:07:59] do that. It takes time and it’s expensive.
Anton Kraly: [crosstalk 01:08:00] you can, but even better, I mean the way that I do it is, when I first get approved with suppliers, I upload everything. So I do what Amazon does. I take that information from the supplier, I customize it into Shopify’s format for their CSV, I upload it all, I send paid traffic to the site, and then I just check my analytics and see where pay traffic is hauling.
Justin: Top ten products.
Anton Kraly: Exactly. You go in there, like most of the time, even if you have thousands of products, you’ll probably sell the same 30 or 40 over and over and over, those are the ones you optimize. Go in there and you can spend the time in there.
Justin: That’s cool. Yeah, 80/20, yeah.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, totally. I would never go through every product. I mean, it wouldn’t help them sell better, no one’s going to them anyway. Optimize what’s already selling. Yeah.
Justin: Yeah, that’s interesting. I like that.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: And another valid criticism I think about drop shipping is that if I’m sourcing the product, generally I’m going to have more margin, right? It’s just generally true. And a lot of times with drop shipping, paid traffic is difficult because it’s hard to sneak that into the margin, right? I know you talked about this in the course to make sure you’re getting the right margins. But if I have more margin, I have more money to play with, and I have more potential and more opportunity for paid traffic, doesn’t that allow me to scale the business quicker?
Anton Kraly: Yes and no. It depends how much you got.
Justin: I’ve got cash upfront, there’s an outlay.
Anton Kraly: That’s what I’m saying. Yeah. If you have tons of cash then yes, but then you also have to buy the inventory, and I mean, as you grow, it’s expensive, especially if you’re selling a lot or selling expensive items. This is what I would say, I never would tell anyone don’t import. I’ve made a lot of money importing. I’m going to do it again when I’m back in the states and I could be at a warehouse or be close to it. I still have friends that are building huge brands by importing, so I would never say don’t do it.
Justin: You won’t do importing without being there?
Anton Kraly: Not at first. I want to be there at first maybe for a year or so and then I can leave again.
Justin: Yeah. So then you’ll dock it up.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, exactly, exactly. I want to get the processes down and then I can go. But what I would say for anyone starting out that doesn’t have a solid vision or a proven product that they’re going to import or a ton of cash, start with drop shipping, sell other products that are similar to what you’re thinking about, learn with sales, get paid for it. You basically get paid to get data. You could use the credit card points, you could bank some cash, you could see what’s selling. And then when you’re creating your own products, your own products, basically compile like the top few sellers into like the perfect product.
Justin: Improve on them
Anton Kraly: Yeah, survey. So again, go to your analytics, go to your Shopify back end, look at your top selling products, survey all the people that bought that, ask what was wrong or what they would improve upon, and then make that product. Do it after you’re making money, after you have a business. I teach this all in the course, but once you have your store up, you have whatever, your 10, 20, 30, 40 brands, you’re getting sales, you know what sells. Once you want to start importing or private labeling and you create your own brand, it’s so easy to add another brand to your site knowing though is that your store owns it, it’s not your store name as your brand, you create your own brand and you promote that, make it get the best sections. When someone clicks onto a product category-
Justin: Premium placement.
Anton Kraly: Exactly. Exactly.
Justin: This one’s out but this one’s available.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And plenty of people do that for a good reason, but I don’t think … unless you have tons of cash and a proven idea that you know is going to make money and you want to start importing, I would say the way to go, unless you can do a Kickstarter or something like that, I would say the way to go is start drop shipping and then find a product.
Justin: Kickstarter lets you cashflow it up front, which totally makes sense, it’s different.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, right.
Justin: So I hear what you’re saying. If I’ve got more time than money, that’s the sliding scale, right?
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: I’ve got a ton of time, no money, I got a ton of money, no time.
Anton Kraly: Exactly.
Justin: The guys with more time than money, I think drop shipping should be the way to go.
Anton Kraly: Definitely.
Justin: I see like the guys in the middle of the road, they’ve got a bit of time, they got a bit of cash, like buying shipping stores and converting, potentially convert them or just keeping them and converting them to full on eCommerce stores, eCommerce stores that make sense too. There’s a cost there though too, and the time it takes to find the products, to make sure you’re creating the product. So, even if you’re improving the margin, if you’re going from a 15% margin to a 30% margin, you have to account for the time it’s gonna take to get those product in, and have them warehoused, and like, is it worth it? Is the worth of work I have to do? And those are ROI numbers you have to do on your time.
Anton Kraly: Right. And like that’s why I’m not doing it right now.
Justin: It’s not worth it for a site that’s making 1000 bucks a month in net profit and you can bump it to 2000 bucks a month. I mean, if it’s going to take you six months and a ton of work to do, probably not.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. Well, also for the whole lifestyle thing, like I’m living out in Southeast Asia right now. I love it. So yeah. Can I go back and add all my own brands to my stores and really just started scaling it. Yeah, of course. But right now, I don’t want to do it. So it’s a matter of what you feel comfortable with as far as how much time in you want to put.
Justin: What about the question of you not having control of the product. Isn’t it risky to build a business based on the success of someone else’s product? Like what if their product is defective? What if they don’t deliver? What if they’re not delivering what they said they were going to? What if they go out of business or raise their prices outrageously?
Anton Kraly: Yeah, we didn’t hit on that a little bit earlier. I would never start a store, and especially if you knew like at least 10 suppliers. Even now, I don’t want anything less. There’s some exceptions, but you should be looking much bigger, and there’s plenty of niches with a lot more than 10 suppliers. Never build a store where you have one supplier, never use a company like Doba that is a middle man that’s going to give you everything and you won’t make any money with.
Justin: Let’s say one of my suppliers though and I have 500 SKUs or whatever, I’ve only got 10 that are doing well, and for whatever reason, this one supplier has have half of them, right? I meant risk.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, definitely.
Justin: Would test out new suppliers, see if I can get backup suppliers.
Anton Kraly: I mean, always add. I try to get every supplier within a niche and then I will end up removing some of them, maybe they don’t sell, maybe their customer service is bad, maybe items get damaged in shipping, but it’s kind of like you learn as you work with it. So I have had to cut suppliers before, they’re not responsive to emails, there’s reasons to do that. And like you said, maybe one is half the sales. That happens a lot. Some stores have a dozen suppliers, half the sales will come from two or three of those suppliers. So it’s more than likely that’ll happen, and yes, again, it’s part of the business.
Justin: What do you think are some of the risks with drop shipping that maybe I didn’t address or that you see as fairly valid criticisms that you’re not really sure.
Anton Kraly: The biggest thing is that it’s so easy to copy someone. Now, what I’ve seen, like I am worried about that, that’s why I don’t talk about stores that I’ve sold. I don’t want my previous buyers to get competition, that’s why I don’t talk about stories that I have now because I don’t want people to copy them. The thing is like if you do want to copy someone, which you can, it still takes a lot of time and a lot of work. Again, it’s easy but it takes time. So luckily, a lot of people aren’t motivated enough to go through that process, but that’s a big issue, and I have had lots of companies come in to my other stores and try to copy them, but way before I started this course just part of being in business.
Justin: Oh, that’s even worse.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: If Anton did it, it’s got to be great.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Other problems, I have had one store that I started, this is funny too because it’s the one time that I broke kind of my pricing rule. I don’t like to sell items less than 200 bucks unless the margins are really good. And my thought process there is my margins are usually about 20%, I want to make at least 40 bucks per sale. I want 200 or more. If the margins are really good lower, I’ll go there. But I started one store that was drop shipping from China, which is a bad idea to begin with, but I was contacted by someone that basically presented a really good opportunity and they showed me their numbers of what they were currently doing in the states and wanted me to partner with it. So I did that and I took a lot of orders, AdWords were super cheap for it. So this was even like four years ago. So, it was after like way-
Justin: Oh, you’re not doing it now?
Anton Kraly: No. It failed.
Justin: What was that?
Anton Kraly: I don’t want to talk about it.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, but the items were about 50 bucks, the average was about 50 bucks, and my margins were good. I was making like 20 bucks per order and it was easy because AdWords were super cheap and I had tons of orders coming in, and for like a few months, I was fulfilling them all, everything was going great. I had it set up so my supplier had login access to the backend, so there was only one supplier. I didn’t have to track anything.
The orders came in, the supplier would go in and fill them up and it’s shipped, and then maybe like two or three weeks, after being in business for a while, I started getting emails from customers saying like, “Hey, like my item didn’t come, whatever.” So, the supplier was supposed to handle all of this. I started contacting the supplier, they stopped responding completely. I had all these customers’ money for like weeks and then like I had a lot of orders coming in. It was a lower priced product. So like on my expensive stores, I got like a few orders a day. This store, we had just so many orders coming in. So I had so many customers I had to follow up with. I had to give refunds too. People were pissed.
Justin: So you felt like a dick.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, I felt like a dick and the people were really pissed. Like it was really bad, and it cost me a lot of money. So yeah, that was pretty shitty. So, I would not recommend drop shipping from China and don’t sell cheap products because it’s just, you do get more orders, so yeah, I guess, I mean, if you’re selling something that’s like recurring, it could be a good thing if you want more customers. I’d rather have less customers.
Justin: The more customers you have, the more likely that you’ll get someone that is outrageously upset, right?
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: And if you have a higher likelihood of someone being outrageously upset over a smaller priced product, a lower price product, damn, right?
Anton Kraly: Right. Yeah. And they were pissed. And like some of these orders were like 30, 40 bucks, and I’m getting these emails, people that hated everything about me. And I was like, come on. This was even worse. It was around Christmas. So I found out like maybe like two weeks before Christmas that no orders had went out for the previous two or three weeks. So it was so many orders that people like didn’t get and I knew they wouldn’t get them. And then I was trying to kind of hope the supplier would get back to me and have like a good excuse and be like, “Yeah, here’s all the tracking numbers. It’s all good.” And it just didn’t happen. It was a mess.
Justin: It’s interesting you’re talking about the ease … going back really quick, you talked about the ease of copying drop ship sites and as that being a risk and that’s why all people won’t share the niches for drop shipping sites. I found that to be the case too both in your forum and other drop shippers I talked to. And we talked about that like as the moat around the castle.
Anton Kraly: Yep.
Justin: How deep is the moat? How wide is the moat? Like how protected is your business? And there’s a sliding scale of that too. I’d say like a niche AdSense site that is ranked for only a couple of keywords or whatever, that’s based on those keywords, is much easier to copy. It’s less work, right? It’s easy and it’s less work. So those are probably the easiest. The most difficult would be this like sourced product that’s been in business for a long time. They’ve got name recognition in the brand, they’d been around for five years, they’ve got a head start on you. Yeah. Here’s my product, here’s my name, good luck. Good luck trying to catch up to me, right?
Anton Kraly: Right, Exactly.
Justin: But there’s a lot of things in the middle. I think drop shipping is in the middle depending on how really that business is, it can be further down the spectrum or it can be a further up the spectrum if they’ve got some name recognition, and that’s one of the reasons that we protect the site when we sell the sites, we protect the URL from the general public because we know that some of those drop shipping sites need a little more time to mature. They’ve been incubated, maybe they’ve hatched, but they’re not yet full grown. We want to give the new buyer time to get their, I think, legs to take it a little further and build a bigger moat around their castle basically.
Anton Kraly: Right. Yeah. One of the ways I started to really scale up was I would go in a different brokerage sites that actually show the [crosstalk 01:17:58]
Justin: Oh, you’re one of those guys.
Anton Kraly: I’m one of those guys. Yeah, and it works. I built huge businesses that way, but you know, I wasn’t the only one. But again, the thing is, and the thing that I’ve realized is that a lot of people aren’t motivated to follow through with something. So I would track obviously what other people were doing too. So I don’t know. I wouldn’t say, but let’s say like I chose one of the niches and I start building a store in it, obviously like do the research, so you also started at the same time, and then I would see what would happen. People would get maybe one supplier, maybe never get any suppliers and just like these websites would fizzle out.
And even people, like I’m saying, I still get competition, and I see what people do and like they’ll start and they’ll get some suppliers that I have, and I’ll get worried, and I’ll get nervous about it, and then like they’ll never get any more. And then they’ll stop showing up on Google.
Justin: Oh yeah. They’re gone.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, they just give up. So the thing with I think any business, but especially with drop shipping, if you want to know the true potential of a store, and again, like I build niche specific stores, you won’t know what it’s actually capable of until you have every single supplier, until like those top ones that are getting traffic to until they optimized, until you’re answering customers phone calls, until someone’s on live chat, until someone’s answering emails. Especially selling expensive items, it’s very easy for people to give up in those early stages because you have to see it all the way through till you build this huge thing, then you’ll know what it’s capable of.
Justin: Yeah, it’s interesting. Let’s talk a little bit, Anton, about lifestyle businesses.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: Now, it’s the Drop Ship Lifestyle. So, you talk a little bit about the life, so we’ve talked about you had the retreat and Chiang Mai, you’ve lived in Chiang Mai, we’re hear in Ho Chi Minh now, we hung out in Bangkok, so obviously you travel similar path or whatever, doing similar stuff. Why do you include the lifestyle aspect? Is it just a marketing gimmick or is it something different for you?
Anton Kraly: I mean, it’s what I do and drop shipping has allowed me to do that, so I mean, that’s really why. It’s a course for people that either … it applies two ways. It applies if you work already and you don’t have that much time or if you want to build a business that doesn’t take up all your time. So yeah, I just really wanted to communicate to those two groups of people and there’s a lot of us out there. You could see here in Ho Chi Minh City, there’s about 100 people like this that are not from Drop Ship Lifestyle, but just doing their own thing.
And this course I think is perfect for people that want to do it but are still in their jobs or just have no idea where to go, it’s really a great starting point. And it doesn’t mean you can’t turn it into something huge, but it’s a great way to take your free time every day, two to four hours and really build something that actually replaces your income enough, so you can live in a city, I don’t know, somewhere in South America, or Central America, or out in Southeast Asia, and you can live a good quality of life while you’re still growing your business. So, that’s what the course is all about.
Justin: It’s interesting. So like most of our audience, especially … Let me rephrase that. [inaudible 01:20:22] it’s most of our customers, the people who are buying sites, people who are selling sites, a lot of them don’t particularly care about the lifestyle stuff. I don’t care. I’ve got a site that makes sense and fits their budget and what they’re looking for, the buy a site, Justin and Joe and go screw with their lifestyle. But some of our audience, some our podcast listeners and blog readers care about it, and it’s because we talk about it, and they found it, and they like it, it’s because we promote it. And we don’t really promote that because it helps our buying and selling business, we promote it because it’s interesting to us. We love kind of the movement that’s happening.
And one of the things I love about Drop Ship Lifestyle, I told you this privately, but I view you guys as kind of like the tip of the spear, right? So, you’re really giving people an opportunity to kind of get into this lifestyle which we love, right? Which has changed our lives and other lives of people that either listen to our stuff, or that are peers, or friends, or even mentors of ours, and it changed their lives as well. And so it’s just something that Joe and I want to promote and I know you want to promote me because it’s something we do and we love, right?
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: Where do you see yourself in kind of the bootstrap lifestyle business movement like now and in the future? I said right now that you’re kind of getting people into it, which you’re doing the Lord’s work, getting people excited, but where do you see that growing?
Anton Kraly: Yeah, people ask me that. And with Drop Ship Lifestyle, when I started it, there was no plan. I can’t really say there’s really not any plan moving forward besides keep it current, try to get people to be more successful than I ever am, that’s really the goal with it. I want people to do better than I do. And yeah, the future, I think I’ll be traveling for the next year or so, and I do want to get back into importing. Some of my stores are doing well now and I see a lot of potential.
Again, I want to be in the states when that happens, but not for that long, just enough to make sure it’s working and then leave again. So yeah, the whole lifestyle thing, the reason I share it just like you. I mean, I mentioned earlier the 4-Hour Workweek, that book introduced me to this whole world, eCommerce, and then the whole ability to really live wherever you want. And if Tim Ferriss didn’t write that book, I wouldn’t have started my first eCommerce store, I wouldn’t have started traveling, I wouldn’t have built so many big businesses. It was because one guy wrote one book. So I figured I’d create a course and see how that played out. Can I change people’s lives by teaching them something, and yeah, so far it’s worked out so good. So, I’m gonna stay on this path for a bit. I’m having fun and people are learning.
Justin: I like to challenge you to continue doing it. I think it’s interesting because as your community kind of grows and matures, and you’re getting some people that are at that point where they’ve had some success, they’ve quit their jobs or are working on their online businesses full time and they continue to expand, it’s interesting because you’re going to have still the people that are new in the community, you’re going to have the people expand. What are you going to do with your community where you have almost two different audiences, right? You have the mature advanced entrepreneurs and kind of the early stage entrepreneurs. How are you going to fix that? How are you gonna bring those together?
Anton Kraly: Yeah. On the forum it’s easy, in the course it’s easy because you go through the main, what I call the core modules. So people go through that. That’s for the beginners that want to learn the system I use, then there’s more advanced videos that I add whenever I do something new or want to just teach something else. So, people know, go through the core modules, learn that, then when you want to get more advanced, go through this. on the forum itself, it works because people start new threads like the progress threads. Unfortunately, I think you’re right that people do leave for a couple of reasons.
Justin: You could just let them go.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, I know.
Justin: What you just say is like, look, you’ve gotten to the level where you want to move on, you can go, or … because personally, I’m just injecting my own thing about this. But I would think it’d be kind of fun to help grow with them and help kind of like continue on, but you might be alienating some of the newbies that are getting in too.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, and that’s one thing, I think the biggest concern it’s the forum. I think I can make a sub forum or like people could kind of make their own topics, but the one thing, my big concern is the retreat. So did it, like you said, like thought of it randomly one day, I ended up putting together this pretty big event, and everything wasn’t, I don’t want to say it’s entry level because it wasn’t, but it was all stuff that like we’re not going to teach again next year. Like I don’t want everyone to come and give same presentation. They were great. If everyone comes back and we learn the same stuff again, like how did that help? So yeah. So that’s a big struggle for this.
Justin: Yeah. Different tracks maybe?
Anton Kraly: Yeah. What I’m thinking for this next one is going to be more about that next step, and I can get much more into private labeling and into the importing aspects and help people that have already advanced and really try to help them go to the next level. Now, the problem is the people that didn’t go to last two years that are starting, I don’t want them to miss out on that whole kind of like community things, so it’s very difficult.
Justin: Yeah. It was interesting. Like our talk actually, I felt like we weren’t speaking to the majority of your audience. I felt like it was a much smaller minority we’re speaking to. There were some things I think that connected and others that probably weren’t the best, and I think if we’d have tailored kind of an earlier lesson that would have been better. Yeah, interesting.
Anton Kraly: Right. So, maybe the track method, because I don’t want to announce it and only have the people from that. I want everyone that came last year to come back, it was so cool and we had such a good time. So I don’t want to tell them that.
Justin: That would be interesting. I think though if you did have like advanced courses and beginner courses, not for the whole thing, but different sections, like here are the advanced, here are the beginner, and people can choose which ones they want to go to, right?
Anton Kraly: Yeah. I think that’s the way it’s going to have to be. Yeah. So, that’s the one problem I see with moving forward with actual live events.
Justin: Cool man. Well, as you know, like anyone who is looking to get into drop shipping, especially just getting started off, I recommend your course on a regular basis. It’s over at dropshiplifestyle.com. Tell me a little bit about who Drop Ship Lifestyle is for. Someone who wants to get into this, who is kind of the person that you’ve seen have some success or are seeing be interested in this and find a home?
Anton Kraly: Yeah. So, the people that I think do the best are people that … You know, it sounds bad to say, but if you’re desperate, not like you’re broke desperate, but if you hate your job and you need to make something work, and you have the passion, you know if you try hard enough that you could see something through from starting to fruition. I mentioned earlier, you might go through a month or two of working like crazy and not making any money, but you have to build the business first. So that’s why I say if you need to make something work, I mean, it works, it’s been proven over and over, but the people that do it aren’t people that have these cushy high paying jobs that are like, “Oh yeah, my spare time. I’m just gonna throw together this business.”
Anton Kraly: Yeah. There are people that come home from work and they’re like, “Man, work was terrible. I’m going to get on the computer-“
Justin: I’m going to make this work.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, this is going to happen. Those are the people that really kill it and those are the people that they do the best, and that’s why, they have motivation.
Justin: They give a shit.
Anton Kraly: They give a shit, they give a shit. It’s not like a side project, it’s not like a passion, “by the way, this would be cool if I learn how to drop ship on the side.” No, they want to get out of their job, they want to maybe move to Thailand, or move to South America or they want to have freedom. So, that’s who it’s for. If you’re thinking of just buying it and seeing what happens, it’s not gonna work, I’ll tell you right now.
Justin: Or the trying other jobs, try this one out, I’m going to try something else there.
Anton Kraly: Yeah, it’s not going to work.
Justin: Again, I must use earlier blinders, don’t pick this one, pick something else, or pick this one and just do it, right? Now, it is pricey at 1000 bucks a month.
Anton Kraly: No, no, not a month. One time.
Justin: All right, sorry. Not a month. It is pricey at $1000 one time, but Joe’s been through the course. I’ve watched a bunch of the videos. I’m a member of your community. We’ve met a bunch of your members to Chiang Mai. I’m telling you, it’s worth it. I’m actually not a big fan of paying for information generally because I think most of the information you can find online, I think most of information for your course you can find online.
Anton Kraly: You can find anything online, yeah.
Justin: It would take a while to put together and you wouldn’t have the community support, I think that helps them out.
Anton Kraly: Yeah.
Justin: Now, let me ask you a question. Are you going to do a discount for Empire Flipper listeners?
Anton Kraly: I will, I will, yeah.
Justin: I put you on the spot, man.
Anton Kraly: No, I will, I will. I’ll send you a link. I’ll send you a link, and I won’t tell you what it is yet, but you guys find the link and they’ll be a good discount for you guys. And you hooked us all up for Drop Ship Lifestyle for the listing fee, so I’ll hook you guys up.
Justin: Yeah, buddy. Next thing, by the way, I’ll say to our audience just in case they’re wondering, I don’t get anything out of this. So, I’m not doing an affiliate deal on this, I’m not getting any payment, I’m going to get a discount for you guys and let you sign up for Drop Ship Lifestyle, and I don’t get paid, I just I really do believe in it.
Anton Kraly: Yeah. And to add to that, when I first saw my Google alert come up for Drop Ship Lifestyle linked from Justin and Joe’s website, from Empire Flippers, I saw they linked to it, so I reached out to Justin and I said, “Hey man, thanks for the link. This is a affiliate product. You guys can earn money if you want to put as an affiliate.” And he said, “No man, I’m just promoting what works.” So, I really appreciate that, and definitely it’s a lot of-
Justin: You were like, “Dude, that’s kind of cool.”
Anton Kraly: Yeah, it’s was like, okay, thank you. Yes, very cool. Yeah.
Justin: Anton, thanks so much, dude.
Anton Kraly: Thank you.
Justin: So if someone wants to reach you on the Twitters, you do the Facebook? What’s your deal?
Anton Kraly: Facebook, I guess.
Justin: Yeah, Facebook.
Anton Kraly: I have a Twitter account, I don’t use it. And if you want to send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, that’s the email.
Justin: Cool. Thanks so much for being on the show, man. I appreciate it.
Anton Kraly: Thank you.
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Justin: All right, man. So I actually worked out a deal with Anton. We talked about it after the show, and he’s going to give any new signups $300 off the course, and this offer is going to be good through January 15th. So, it’s only 697 to sign up through our link. That would be you go to dropshiplifestyle.com/empire-flippers, or you can go to the link and check out the show notes. If you just want to check out the course and check out more about it, you can just go to dropshiplifestyle.com, check it out and make sure to use our link for the discount. As I mentioned before, we don’t get any affiliate deals on it or whatever, I just want to make sure we were able to give you guys a deal on signing up.
Joe: Yeah, that’s awesome. It’s really cool of Anton to do that, and as a guy who took the course myself, well at least a part of it, I can tell you it’s absolutely worth it.
Justin: Cool man. All right, so let’s do some news and updates buddy. First thing I want to mention is we’ve got a great case study over at Niche Pursuits about his kind of process for publishing a Kindle book. So, he followed Steve Scott’s process. Steve Scott’s been killing it with Kindle books for a while now, and Spencer and [inaudible 01:29:26] want to see what they could do for building out basically Kindle books and see if they could publish them and make money.
So they did it kind of on the slide, they didn’t mention it on Niche Pursuits, they didn’t want anyone finding it, they didn’t want to use their audience to promote it, and they’ve done really well. So, they went through the whole process and the case study like really lays out step by step what they did, but they offered the book up for free, got some reviews, got a bunch of downloads, got it kinda hot and moving, raised the price point to make sure that people were willing to pay for it. It seemed to be still a good value for pay, and then they raised it from a dollar up to the $3 so they can get the full 70% on that, and they’re going to continue with that. Spencer bottles a big win, so I think he’s going to continue rolling it out.
Joe: We should go back to our business face off and now I feel vindicated. My crazy idea.
Justin: You know what is really funny, Joe, you were going to … oh my God. I almost don’t want to say this on the show man, I really don’t want to say it, but our buddy Tom, you know Tom, right?
Justin: So, Tom has been creating niche eBooks, he has a whole team, he’s got a process like a team like we had building niche sites. He’s doing it for the Kindle books, and he does it in similar niches to the ones you mentioned. I’m not going to call it out, but yeah, I did. He’s doing really well with it, dude, building these crazy little kindle books, having people write them and just knocking them out. And some of them make three bucks a month, or 10 bucks a month, some are making 150, 200 bucks a month, it really just depends. But he built enough of them to where overall just getting ROI. So, Joe, I don’t know man. Your little Kindle book process with the crazy fiction stuff might’ve worked.
Joe: It might’ve worked, I’m telling you. I think as long as you can get the keyword research down, and that was a great part of the case study done by Spencer where he extrapolates some of the Google Keyword research into the Amazon keyword research, it’s pretty awesome stuff. So, I definitely think that there’s a viable way to do it. You’d have to have a little bit of startup money, I’m not sure you can start from zero, and you’d have to be patient, but as like a massive scale and kind of just self publish and get it done on Kindle.
Justin: All right, buddy. So, we did get a couple of mentions this week I thought I’d let you know about. On Zendesk, Jody said she was good, satisfied. She was a brand new buyer, so she wanted to mention that she had good communication with the [Team 01:31:39]. There was a little issue with the name push, but they get figured out. Overall, team has been doing better with communication. I’m glad I finally got to buy a site from you guys. I’m now a little addicted. So, that’s kind of feedback from buyers, they’re kind of not sure, and they have questions, but once they pull the trigger, they’re like, “Ooh, that’s kind of interesting. I’d love to do more.”
Joe: Yeah, Jody, it’s great to have you as a customer. We met in Las Vegas this last October and had a great time and I’m glad we were able to get you to do that.
Justin: We had Michael. Again, good. I’m satisfied, it’s been great. Process is a bit more drawn out than expected, but that’s fine. The support has been clear and fantastic. And this is from a brand new seller, so this is from someone who hasn’t been through our process before, he’s going through the steps as a seller and he’s finally getting his site listed. So, it’s good to see that he’s happy with the process as well. And when he said drawn out, I think it’s because the site earned a bit more on the modernization was a bit out there, so instead of taking two weeks, it’s been about three weeks to get them listed. So there was some back and forth in terms of trying to get everything clarified for the vetting process, but it looks like he’s through that now and we’re ready to get them listed.
Joe: Yeah. I think it’s kind of funny the way we do things because we do so much vetting up front, the due diligence process by the buyers tends to be a little bit less or a lot bit less actually. And talking to sellers that use other brokers tends to be the due diligence process could be months. So maybe we’re a little bit of an advantage there making sure that we get all the documentation upfront.
Justin: Yeah, it’s interesting. I think one of the reasons buyers and sellers like working with us is it’s less hassle overall, but it doesn’t mean no hassle, right? So, in some of the other brokers, it’s like, all this paperwork, and it’s all this, they got to sign this, and they got a triple sign that, and sign this and triple clear, and it gets really messy. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing with us, right? We have to make sure that we’re able to vet the site that it passes our qualifications to get listed, and if we don’t have that information, we simply can’t get it vetted. So, there has to be some back and forth, and for some sites, that takes a little bit more, on Amazon or AdSense sites, obviously that’s a little easier. A drop shipping site can be a bit more complicated or a source products site can be a bit more complicated.
So Joe, I want to tell you about, I mentioned we got in a forum, there was a guy that was thinking about selling with us, reached out to us, asked us a question really quick and then ended up going with Flippa. I thought that was interesting because it’s very clear the guy had a write up on his site and success of a site over in the fastlaneforum.com, that’s a forum by MJ DeMarco. It’s interesting though that his reasoning for not selling with us is he thought it might take too long, right? And so the feedback he got from us is that, this is going to take a couple of weeks to do the vetting and he thought it might take longer to find a buyer if he went through us. And [Bruce 01:34:16] was like, “Hi.” And you said something about that, you were like, “Oh, what’s going on with this?”
But in looking at the site, I think that he’s probably right. I mean, the vetting wouldn’t have taken too long, but he did want to sell it relatively quickly, he wanted to get it off his plate, and if he knew that if he listed at Flippa with the dollar, no reserve, that was absolutely going to sell. The problem I think is he’s going to get significantly less from Flippa than he would have gotten with us simply because of the way he positioned the listing, and there there’s some downsides too, like the site is definitely declining, the last couple of months had been much lower than they were previously, he hasn’t really been paying as much attention to it, so it’d be interesting to see how this one shakes out.
Joe: Yeah, it would be interesting to see how this shakes out. I’m definitely going to follow it, but one of the big problems of the site is when working with buyers, if I say the seller really wants to sell quickly, and the site is on the decline, and the seller is neglecting the site, like those are the three combinations of things that are just very bad for buyers. They don’t like to see that kind of stuff.
Justin: Yeah. I think it might have taken us a bit longer to find the right buyer that wants a declining asset, or we would have had to sell it on a discount if he wanted to sell a little faster. I still think though even selling at a discount, he probably would’ve got more than he gets on his own. This is something that we’ll follow up with because the auction ends in a couple of days, and we’re going to put links to this in the show notes too if you kind of want to follow along and check it out yourself as well.
All right, that’s it for episode 121 of the Empire Podcast. Thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be back next week with another show. You can find the show notes for this episode and more at empireflippers.com/dropshiplifestyle, and make sure to follow us on Twitter @empireflippers. See you next week.
Joe: Bye-bye everybody.
Automated: Hope you enjoyed this episode of the Empire Podcast with Dustin and Joe. Hit up empireflippers.com for more. That’s empireflippers.com. Thanks for listening.
I live in Canada, was wondering about shipping across borders, isn’t there a large amount of information I should know about customs/duties?
I am building my store buy i am scared that my website is very ugly. I am not a great designer. Will customers buy from an ugly website?
You will be surprised. Many ugly sites outperform pretty sites. I would split test it. You might not have the money right now to turn an ugly store into a pretty store, but as you are building up your store, hunt down some designers that CAN turn your store into a beautiful design. Then when you are ready, pull the trigger, and see what happens.
I have an online store set up and ready to go. I’ve contacted a few manufactured who said they already have partnerships with online stores. Before I contact another manufacture, I want to know if there are SPECIFIC items I should emphasize in my pitch to them. What do they want from me that will make them want their products sold in my online store?
One thing you might try is to find out WHY they formed the partnerships with those online stores. Do they have a big audience? Some kind of leverage you’re not thinking of? If so, you might be able to duplicate that offer to those manufacturers who would then be more then happy to work with you.
Hi, I have a website created but having a hard time finding good suppliers (and relatively inexpensive) for volleyball equipment to ship within the US states.
I like drop ship lifestyle business but i want to know it fees first
This was a great interview with Anton. I’m a member of Drop Ship Lifestyle, but this was the first time I had heard Anton say that he copies the supplier’s description first and then If the product gets traction he updates the description. Isn’t this risky because of a potential duplicate content penalty?
Probably a bit of a risk/reward cost benefit analysis going on here. If the product’s a “hit” he’ll go back and build it out properly. If not, he can let it die.
I think the worries about duplicate content get a bit overblown. Yes, if your entire site or article is an exact copy that’s not good – but copying product descriptions isn’t as risky as some think? Interested to hear Anton’s thoughts here.
Me too. If you’re running paid traffic at it then no biggie for the short term. Just don’t expect any organic traffic with a dup content issue.
Absolutely outstanding episode! Great questions and high-value content. Anton is a trustworthy and knowledgeable guy I’d love to learn from. I finished listening only minutes ago and feel lightheaded thanks to all the ideas and exciting potential. I’m checking out the quickstart guide on his site now and will pull the trigger early next month ( It looks like I missed the Christmas sale by 11 minutes! – can’t win em all)
I fit into one of the categories of people mentioned at the end of the episode. I’ve come to a point in my life where I have one overall goal and need a way to accomplish it – a lifestyle biz with a specific aim. All of the components are in place and its on me to boldly take action.
Thanks Justin and Joe for this stellar episode, you guys continue to knock it outta the park.
PS the site redesign is nice too : )
Glad you got so much value out of this one, man!
I really think dropship sites are a good way to get started and Anton’s approach is extremely clear and relatively “easy” to follow. There’s plenty of work to do and a learning curve, but it’s not brain surgery and Anton does a great job of simplifying the process overall.
Show 121 was awesome, awesome, awesome! Your conversation with Anton got me thinking not only about drop shipping but many other business areas. Epic episode!
Great to hear, Odell – glad you dug it!