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Q&A: This Amazon Entrepreneur Started A $1.2M Dropshipping Store. Here’s How He Did It (And How You Can, Too)

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The pandemic’s been tough on everyone, crippling economies and leaving the world in disarray. However. It’s also forced mass pivots, mass adaptation, leading to more mass opportunity. 

One of the ones who’s actually been able to keep his business afloat is Andrew Loucks—AKA the Manimal (what an epic name, just for the record)—who runs a seven-figure dropshipping store on Amazon.

Obviously, as people stayed in the house, online shopping (i.e. Amazon!) has gone up. In fact, Amazon recently became the first company to be valued at over $2 trillion dollars.

Yes, we know what you’re thinking…

Amazon dropshipping is one of those scammy get-rich-quick setups those YouTube hucksters peddle in their ads, doing little else but syphon cash from eager wantrepreneurs.

In reality, however (and you know we don’t interview pretenders ‘round these here parts!), there’s always a reality from which these dreamy plots are concocted.  

And one of the real ones is the Manimal who legitimately teaches people how to dropship on Amazon. He also is a bodybuilding BEAST and has a super strong Instagram following.

So we had a chat with him about how to get that set up.

To people who don’t know you, what do you do and what are your biggest accomplishments?

I am a seven-figure Amazon seller in the e-commerce business. I started my own Amazon Dropshipping business a year and a half ago and have done over $1.2M sales on my seller account. My store does over $150k sales per month. Now, I mentor and teach other people how to set up their own six or seven-figure Amazon dropshipping stores.

This pandemic has seen lots of chaos in the public markets. Did you invest during the pandemic—and if so, where?

I have been consistently investing into getting more funding for my Amazon store, the stock market, and researching real estate to reinvest some of my profit from Amazon dropshipping.

How has it affected business? Tell us a bit about Manimal and MegaFit Meals!

The great things about selling on Amazon is that it’s a market that will continue to get sales no matter what the economic conditions are. When the pandemic hit, I wasn’t worried about keeping my job, or worrying about getting a paycheck to pay the bills. I had my Amazon store running 24/7 getting sales, and direct deposits coming in every two weeks. 

Love that. Passive income all day.

Exactly. My profit margins and store sales actually increased during the pandemic. People were ordering even more products online that usual! 

People are shopping from home. Unlike physical retail where people have to manage a store, I assume it’s easier to run a digital store?

One of the biggest benefits about my Amazon store is that it doesn’t require any of my time to run or manage. I have it automated, which means everything is managed for me. 

Explain. 

A team handles all the product research, listings, shipping, returns and even the customer service. I did months of research before getting into the business, which gave me the knowledge to not only set up my own store, but to help others set up their own as well. 

How does it work this dropshipping thing?

Throughout the past year and a half in the e-commerce business, I have gained a lot of experience. Mostly through trial and error, but also through my own successes and failures. I am continuing to learn more every day as I’m helping new sellers get started with stores of their own. Just shoot me a message on Instagram and I will show you how my store works, what profit margins to expect, and what you’ll need to get started with your own.

 

There are tons of parallel correlations between health and wealth, especially from a discipline standpoint. Do you find your athletic background gives you an advantage in life, business and so on?

Health is wealth! But yes, absolutely. Being healthy and having a routine will teach you how to develop the dedication and drive you’ll need to become successful with anything. Taking care of your body is just as important as taking care of your mind. Keeping both sharp will take you far in life. Having the discipline to stick to a workout and meal routine for months or even years, has given me the dedicated mindset that I have today. 

I always say that pro sports, fitness and military are the best preparers for business success. Just because of the commitment and discipline both require.

If you are willing to put in the time to build and change your body’s appearance, then you can do anything. Fitness has given me a platform on social media to share my business ventures with others. Not only am I able to share my workout routines, meal prepping, and other fitness tips, but I’m also able to help others make a living and start their own businesses.  

Switching gears slightly to fitness. What are some basic pointers you give people that come to you asking how to get in shape?

Make sure to get your nutrition right. That’s the most important factor with any fitness training program. Depending on your goals, your training and diet will vary. Lift heavy, train often, and get your protein in.

We now live in a digital world, increasingly virtual, especially because of the pandemic. Do you use social media assets professionally?

Yes, I use my Instagram and Facebook pages. Mainly my Instagram, which is where I post most of my fitness and business-related content.

What’s next for your industry? Will we return to normal or has that ship sailed?

I keep hearing phrases like “the new normal”, but honestly it’s hard to tell where the economy will go from here. However, in my industry, I’m not worried. The good news about investing into the Amazon dropshipping business model is that it’s continuing to grow. That’s one of the main reasons why I invested in this business and recommend it to others. 

Love that. I think now more than ever it’s important to have recession-proof business models.

Right. Even if the economy continues to stay on the same path it has been on for the past five months, that has only increased my store’s sales and profit margins for my business. I’m all for reopening society and all the businesses. But when we’re talking about investing money, I know I would rather invest into a business model that will succeed in all economic conditions, even during a global pandemic. 

I’m a real estate guy. Residential is cool but office, hospitality and retail asset classes are suffering. And you’re gonna see a bloodbath here that won’t end anytime soon.

Unlike traditional retail with bricks and mortar stores, e-commerce businesses aren’t confined to walk-in person traffic. People are always buying things on Amazon, regardless of what’s going on in the world. This business has been one of the best investments I have made so far.

Entrepreneurs

[INFOGRAPHIC] How To Start (And Grow) Your Business With $10,000

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Today, starting a new business is easier than ever. With Fiverr, Upwork and social media, you can get started in a weekend—and for very little money.

(What you’re reading right now was created in a week, by the way…)

But if you actually have a little nest egg saved up?!

Awww, man, you are off to the races! SO without further ado, here’s how you can kickstart—and grow—your business with $10,000, courtesy of this oh-so-pretty Infographic from Intuit.

Source: [Intuit]

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Entrepreneurs

VIDEO: Warren Buffet Bets Big On These Traits To Become Rich

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With a net worth that crosses a whopping $100B, it’s hard to question Warren Buffett’s investment moves. Here are the traits that the super investor believes can get one to be financially independent and significantly rich.

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Entrepreneurs

[Q&A] This Entrepreneur Founded A $50B+ Company—And Then Helped Startups Raise Money From The Crowd

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Howard Marks is one of the most influential entrepreneurs in the modern, digital age, a rare founder who’s actually innovated before said innovation truly mainstream.

And not just once, but twice.

As founder of Activision, Howard helped kick off a gaming bonanza that’s become a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, birthing an entire new industry known as eSports.

Largely driven by Fortnite—a gaming franchise owned by Activision—eSports is expected to top $1.1B this year in global revenues, according to Forbes. Today, Activision is worth over $54B, trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

(In fact, had you invested $10K in Howard’s IPO, your investment today would be worth well over $700K.)

JOBS Act IPO revolution

Later on, as founder of Startengine, Howard helped kickstart the equity crowdfunding trend, opening an avenue for early-stage startups to raise money and redefine public offerings.

Back in 2012, President Obama signed off on the JOBS Act, allowing companies to go public, taking investments from non-accredited investors (essentially anyone without a net worth of $1M), without having to go through the tedious process of listing on New York Stock Exchange.

As head of Startengine, Howard’s built one of the market leaders in the equity crowdfunding space, with $43.72M in total investments in 2019 alone. 

More recently, StartEngine made a coup, joining forces with one of the most influential investors in the form of Shark Tank’s “Mr. Wonderful” Kevin O’Leary, as reported by Crowdfund Insider.

Crowdfund Insider, the online authority for all things crowdfunding, recently did an exclusive Q&A with Howard, touching on the new deal with Mr. Wonderful, his business and the future of crowdfunding.

Here’s what he had to say.


Challenges of crowdfunding…

One of the biggest challenges we face as a company is that equity crowdfunding is not well understood by the general public. If you walk down the street and ask a stranger if they know what equity crowdfunding is, odds are they say they’ve never heard of it before.

Doing a deal with Mr. Wonderful…

Over the past few years, we’ve had several Shark Tank alumni raise capital on StartEngine, and we eventually got connected to Kevin. When we learned that he had been following the equity crowdfunding space for a few years and wanted to help inform others about the opportunities for raising capital using equity crowdfunding, it was an easy decision to form a partnership with him.

Mr. Wonderful’s role…

Kevin O’Leary is StartEngine’s strategic advisor and a StartEngine shareholder. His focus will be on creating more awareness about StartEngine and equity crowdfunding in general. Kevin believes in the equity crowdfunding model and our business and is helping to spread the word. He is even encouraging the companies in his own portfolio to use StartEngine for their next funding round.

Deal flow during the COVID-19…

Our entire team is operating remotely and staying safe during the pandemic, and our business itself is thriving. We’ve seen a good increase over the last 30 days in the companies applying to raise on StartEngine.

From both the company and investor side, StartEngine’s business has proven to be resilient to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

On the SEC and raising the cap for what startups can raise…

We support the changes wholeheartedly. It’s clear that $1.07M is too low a ceiling for Regulation Crowdfunding [Reg CF], given the average size of seed funding rounds today, and it’s time that we increase the limit to help small businesses achieve their goals.

In fact, we encouraged all 10,000+ of our shareholders to write letters to the SEC a month ago to encourage them to increase the limit of Regulation Crowdfunding from $1.07M to $5M to help small businesses today when they desperately need access to capital.

Accredited investors vs. non-accredited investors…

Howard Marks: Our business, and the business of equity crowdfunding, is bringing investment opportunities to non-accredited investors. We do not focus on accredited investors. An expanded definition may encourage those new accredited investors to feel more confident making investments on our platform, as well as increase the amount they can invest in a given year, which would be beneficial to the investing space. However, I don’t believe this would have a large impact on equity crowdfunding.

On changes he wants to see…

Howard Marks: The change we are most excited about at StartEngine is the proposal to increase the limit of Regulation Crowdfunding from $1.07M to $5M. Of all of the proposed changes, I believe that one will have the biggest impact for small businesses and will encourage more entrepreneurs to turn to equity crowdfunding.

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