This is Why I Had To Shutdown My First Ever Business Despite Making $1000 With It

Rahul Thakur

Yet, it was one of the best decisions that I made when I was 20

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Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

In 2017, I was into my final year of college, where I pursued my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. But to be honest, I didn’t know a jack sh*t about mechanical engineering and what a mechanical engineer is supposed to do in real jobs.

As I was into my first month of the final year, I was sensing that my life as a student was over, and I needed to get a job to earn money. But since I was dumb and lazy enough to show any interest in careers. I knew I had to earn money to make a living, so I researched online, watched tons of YouTube videos.

Most of the YouTube videos suggested few cheap and quick ways to earn online income by doing surveys, data entry, and so on…..

But after trying every option out there, which could be done for free, I figured out that all of those were either scams (or) didn’t work at all.

What was my first business, and how did I land that idea?

After months and months of trying to earn online money through multiple free websites and accessible ways, I was fed up. Thus I decided to go for something which can withstand me for the long-term and is legit.

Somehow, I made up my mind to invest money in learning skills through some courses (or) better accessible and profitable business.

Thus, I choose ‘Dropshipping’ as my first business

It was mid-2017. I was in my quest to find any businesses that can be done online and don’t need much experience. Soon I saw a video of an Indian YouTuber who was talking about dropshipping as a business model.

He explained how to sell products on eBay by copying Amazon listings and selling them for a higher cost to the buyers. At that moment, I was so dumb that I didn’t realize the guy on the video was faking it to make me believe that I could earn potentially 1000’s of dollars from home.

Firstly he (the YouTuber) didn’t own any dropshipping business besides that he was also claiming how we can list 100’s of products to make 100’s of dollars without any showcasing any real proof. Right now (as I am writing), I realize that dumb shit was blabbering words in the air.

But as most business people say — you don’t know what you don’t know and I actually didn’t know what I was getting into, and after watching couple more videos on dropshipping, I opened my store on eBay and started dropshipping with no second thought.

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eBay.in (Screenshot by Author)

How I earned close to $1000 and still failed at my business

I agreed that $1000 isn’t a big deal for many of my western readers. But since I am from India and I was still in my final semester, staying in my college hostel was $50–70 (3500–5000 INR) as my pocket per month was more than enough for me. Thus, earning even $70 on my own was a big deal for me, and it was a statement to show that I am financially independent even well before I could complete college.

I took a GST number (Good and Services Tax) to start my business because eBay didn’t allow me to list any products to sell without a GST number. Thus I had to get one, which meant I had to hire a CA(chartered accountant) and pay my taxes.

When I understood I was doing it ‘wrong’

A few months into my business, I understood the whole dropshipping business model that I was into was nothing less than a scam. Because this is how I ran my business:-

  1. I would select trending products from Amazon and copy it’s listing on eBay to sell with a profit margin
  2. I would optimize every listing with keywords to show up in searches, whenever someone types on the eBay search
  3. If a buyer orders a product from me, I would place the order from amazon to his/her shipping address
  4. Thus buyer receives the product from Amazon, and I will get paid through eBay for selling it.

There was a big loophole in this approach. When my buyers ordered products from eBay they got deliveries from Amazon with all their labeling and packaging. On some occasions, the package consisted of price tags, which were according to Amazon.

How I figured out to do it ‘right’

After few successful orders, I was getting negatives reviews (as expected) because people came to know that it was from Amazon, and they also knew that they bought products that were more than they cost.

Soon, I got in touch with the negative reviewers, and I handed them the refund, and at this point, I was cursing myself on how dumb I became by believing those YouTube videos and how I taught I could get away with that.

I went on a pursuit of doing it right and I watched multiple more videos which could teach me to do dropshipping in the right way.

After I realized how the actual dropshipping business works, I was looking for an online retailer who could ship my products to my customers (or) else I needed to own a warehouse to store my products in advance and ship it by myself.

Since I was a college student with a low budget, I choose to go after an individual online retailer who can ship the products to my customers with my labeling, prices, and tags.

This time, it was all authentic, accurate, and legit. As soon as I found an online retailer to do such business with me, I removed all amazon listings and listed products which were available at my retailer’s warehouse.

To my advantage, I got better price margins than amazon listings, and my retailer was okay with shipping individual packages at a time instead of bulk shipping.

Thanks to those Amazon listings, I learned how to optimize my eBay product listing and add keywords correctly in my product titles and descriptions.

Once I listed every item that I had, I waited for the orders to come. Back then, I was mostly selling mobile accessories like screen guards, headsets, mobile pouches, chargers, and much more.

I was using my friend’s laptop to do all my work related to business, and I used to spend hours and hours staring at my eBay stats to observe, how many people are watching my products, how many people have added it to their carts, and how many people actually ordered.

This time, the process for smooth — I get the order, and I place an order with my retailer and share my customer details like address, invoices, and I choose customized design packaging for all my orders. My customers were happy with me, and I got few positive reviews from them.

I had to shut down my business as I approached $1000

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eBay.in Earnings (Screenshot by Author)

As time went by, within four months, I sold close to $1000 worth of products. Even though not all $1000 will go into my pocket as I had to pay my online retailer, eBay selling charges, gave some refunds, and re-invested profits in the next month.

But during those four months, I didn’t borrow any money from my parents and I even paid my taxes (which was a fantastic feeling).

But as they say, everyone has to face a tough time, and I did. I started spending the money at the wrong places by hoping to expand my product catalog by getting into deals with multiple other online retailers.

By mid-2018, I was shocked to see an announcement on my eBay

Inside the portal, it said the site was being closed due to their issues in the Indian market. Even though most of the people on YouTube said that this particular announcement wasn’t final, and I had my hopes on it too (what a shit head I was)

I remember by November 2018 eBay.in was closed and as a seller on eBay, I had to move to international selling and shipping, which was quite confusing for me, and meanwhile, I listed my products on Amazon to explore other options.

But Amazon was filled with whole other reputed and huge sellers, where I barely got any traction to my listings. Thus my business was standing still in between nowhere to go; meanwhile, I tried ebay.com which proved to be as competitive as Amazon.

Thus, I hit my financial peak by then, and I couldn’t afford to run a business being a jobless graduate who needed to earn money for living all by himself.

Conclusion:

Today, I don’t own any dropshipping business, but I got myself into learning skills like digital marketing, thanks to that step. I assumed SEO and marketing would help my business grow and I still have a plan to start my website for selling products, but that day is far from today.

Since you’ve read my journey till here, I wanna thank you for reading this and I also wanna share some of my key learnings from my mistakes:

1) Never start a business without a proper understanding of the whole concept

I am sure you might have a lot of business ideas in your head and you wanna launch one right off the bat. But running a business is not as simple as it seems and if you’re starting a business with half and half-knowledge like me, then you’re gonna fall into multiple pitfalls even before making money.

Thus, I recommend you to follow and look up-to-the advice of industry veterans in your space who are experienced and knowledgeable about your business idea. Follow someone who can literally show you what’s your business is going to be like even before launching it.

2) Throw your initial business dreams in the dustbin

The one thing that stopped me from going hard after my business was the lack of work motivation and excess daydreaming.

Yes, every time I got an order (or) any positive review from my customer. I used to lay back and think that my business is gonna pick up and be profitable overnight.

But in reality, it’s the actual day-to-day grind that you need to go through to build momentum and this momentum makes you go serious with your business.

3) Always think as if you’re business is gonna fail

I know this sounds like a piece of advice from someone who wants to indulge a negative mindset within you. But trust me, there are around 90% of businesses that fail online and you shouldn’t be surprised if your business is gonna be among one of them.

Such attitude is not meant to demotivate you (or) doubt yourself, but in fact, thinking that your business is gonna fail tomorrow will help you establish backup plans to assure financial stability and you can work on your future ventures if needed.

In my case, since I had no idea that eBay.in was gonna shutdown and as it was shutdown I was left stranded. Despite working on my business day and night with no proper backup plan, in the end, I had to pay for the consequences.

I hope I didn’t bore you with my journey, and I would like to hear your’s if you’ve something similar to share!

This article was originally published:- https://medium.com/be-unique/this-is-why-i-had-to-shutdown-my-first-ever-business-despite-making-1000-with-it-56bf9940b5eb

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Rahul Thakur is a freelancer who is specialized in digital marketing and content writing. He offers services related to SEO, Guest Posting, and Content Writing. You can contact him on rahul.thakur11071997@gmail.com

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