Achieved $200k in Earnings During College Years
I recently got my final numbers and I was amazed to find that I had 8x'd my income between 2021 ($25k) and 2022 while still in college. Though it has not made me any happier, I learned more about business and life last year than any other year.
My business is an ecommerce business that buys containers of white-labeled products from a manufacturer in China and sells it online. My day-to-day activities include sitting behind a computer at my desk, answering calls, visiting the warehouse, etc. The goal has always been to support myself and build equity.
My first experience in business was a drop shipping business that I started in 2020 but sold for $15k in the summer of 2021. After two months of applying for jobs and internships, I couldn't handle going back to school and decided to start something new. I looked for a product idea that had high AOV ($500+), no local competition, and was related to my existing product/industry knowledge.
Scaling My Business
By March 2022, I had sold out the second pallet and ordered my first 20' container. This was a huge jump in order size, and my entire net worth was riding on this shipment. Unfortunately, the manufacturer made a mistake and sent 35% of the inventory in the wrong color with a terrible finishing material. I was devastated, but after some deep breaths and a few prayers, I put the product on the website and hoped for the best. Despite some complaints, the "terrible" inventory was sold out within a matter of weeks, and we even received some positive reviews.
I continued this process of ordering product, selling it, getting feedback, making changes, and selling more. I sold $80k/month from June to September, $100k in October, $200k in November, and $120k in December. I closed out 2022 with $800k in revenue and a net profit of 25%. I have no employees, only contractors for odd jobs and a 3PL.
My Business: Ecommerce with a Twist
My business is an ecommerce store that sells white-labeled products sourced from a manufacturer in China. Unlike the stereotype of a business owner sipping cocktails on a beach in Bali, my day-to-day is similar to a 9-5 job. I spend most of my time behind a computer answering calls, visiting the warehouse, etc. However, the fact that I'm making enough money to support myself and build equity is the most important aspect of my business.
From Drop Shipping to Direct-to-Consumer
In 2020, I started my first business venture in drop shipping, which proved to be a stressful experience. However, I managed to sell it for $15k in the summer of 2021. After taking some time off, I returned to school in the fall but quickly realized that I couldn't sit still for another two years of classes. I began searching for product ideas with the following criteria: high average order value ($500+), no local competition, and related to my existing product/industry knowledge.
In November 2021, I found the perfect product and decided to go all-in on starting my own direct-to-consumer business. I purchased one pallet of product from China and started running ads, sending out samples to customers, and improving my website. To my surprise, I sold out the entire first batch of inventory before it even arrived.
I kept repeating the process of ordering product, selling it, calling customers for feedback, making changes to the product, and selling more. My revenue increased from $80k/month from June-September to $200k in November and $120k last month. I closed out 2022 with 800k in revenue, netting about 25%.
Starting a business was not easy, but I was able to 8x my income while in college. Despite the initial setback with the wrong color product, I was able to overcome it and grow my business.