Welcome to the Steve Jobs based Join Up Dots Free Podcast Interview with Anton Kraly
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Introducing Anton Kraly
Anton Kraly is my guest today, on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview.
He is a guy who has gone through the kind of journey that makes Join Up Dots what it is.
He was raised in Long Island, New York where he grew up as a regular, middle-class guy.
However even as a child, Anton Kraly was dreaming of doing big things.
How The Dots Started Joining Up
After graduating from college, he started his first business venture when he bought a cookie delivery route.
Yes, he spent his early 20’s bumper-to-bumper in NYC selling baked goods.
The cookie delivery route was his first business but was neither the “lifestyle” nor “business” he imagined.
Eventually, he grew tired of the tiny margins that came with selling cookies.
He knew things had to change if he ever wanted to make serious money and gain the freedom to travel.
So he started asking the bakeries to fulfil the orders for him instead.
He set up an online cookie shop where customers could order cookies and the wholesalers shipped the orders for him, efficiently freeing up time while increasing profit.
At this point he thought the drop shipping model had real potential, especially back in the early days of the internet.
That’s when he took a chance and tried selling higher-ticket items online.
He began selling items such as athletic equipment and furniture, finding immediate success.
“I remember telling my parents when I made my first high ticket (for about $480) sale online and they said “You’re going to be rich!“’
He has now built a passive million dollar business in only four short years, with a $29 investment.
And that ended up being all the encouragement he needed to keep working hard.
When Everything Came Together For Anton Kraly
With just a $29 investment on an eCommerce hosting package, Kraly made $300,000 in his first year.
By the second year, he had pulled in $680,000.
The next year, he hit seven figures when his store did $1.2 million in sales.
The next year, he sold his first million-dollar business.
The best part? He only needed to spend around 20 hours a week working due to the passive qualities of a drop shipping business.
But for our guest, it’s not all about the money.
When he learned how to make a lifestyle business, he achieved a level of freedom that changed his life forever.
After experiencing first-hand how amazing that kind of life could be, he made it his mission to pass on that knowledge and help people find their own success.
So what is his life like now, humble guy to rockstar, or humble guy to still humble guy?
And where do people go wrong when starting a business, as it certainly seems that investment should not be the problem?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Anton Kraly.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Anton Kraly such as:
The moment that his life changed forever when he realised that selling a $100 product is just as hard as selling a $1,000 product…so why not go for the bigger piece of the pie.
Anton gives great advice by suggesting we should all find an industry where products are not being sold by others but you know there is a market waiting for them…..seems obvious??
Anton shares the story of investing $25,000 into his baking route and realising that he hated it after just one day….and of course the steps he took to rectify that issue.
We delve into the seven steps that anyone can take to start an ecommerce business, and believe me you will want to take notes for this piece of the show.
How To Connect With Anton Kraly
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Audio Transcription Of Anton Kraly
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK David Ralph
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes. Hello there. Good morning, everybody and welcome to join up thoughts. This is David Ralph Of course it is. And normally I do a little bit of a preamble. But today God I’ve got an intro and a half. So let’s get straight into it. Because he is a guy who has gone through the kind of journey that makes join up dots what he is, he was raised in Long Island, New York, where he grew up as a regular middle middle class guy. But even as a child, he was dreaming of doing big things. Now after graduating from college, he started his first business venture when he bought a cookie delivery route. Yes, he spent his early 20s bumper to bumper in NYC selling baked goods that a cookie delivery route was his first business but was neither the lifestyle nor business he imagined, eventually grew tired of the tiny margins that came with selling cookies, and he knew things had to change if he ever wanted to make serious money and gain the freedom to travel, so he started asking the bakeries to fulfill the orders for him. Instead, he set up an online cookie shop where customers could order cookies, and the whole sales ship the orders for him efficiently freeing up time while increasing profits. At this point he bought at the drop shipping model had real potential especially back in the early days of the internet. Now that’s when he took a chance and tried selling higher ticket items online. He began selling items such as athletic equipment, furniture and finding immediate success. He remembers telling his parents when he made his first high ticket for about $480 sell online. And I said kid, kid, you cannot be rich, his mom at a very deep voice. He has now built a passive million dollar business in only four short years. We have a $20 million investment and that ended up being all the encouragement he needed to keep working. With just a $20 million investment in an e commerce hosting package. He made 300 grand in his first year by the second year he pulled in 680,000. And the next year he hit seven figures when he store did 1.2 million in sales. But next year he sold his first million dollar business and the best part he only needed to spend around 20 hours a week working due to the passive qualities of a drop shipping business button for our guest. It’s not all about money. Of course it is not. When he learned how to make a lifestyle business he achieved the level of freedom that changed his life forever. And after experiencing firsthand how amazing the kind of life could be. He made it his mission to pass on that knowledge and help people find their own success. So what is his life like now humble guy to Rockstar or humble guy to still humble guy? And where do people go wrong when starting a business as it certainly seems that investment should not be the problem? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start joining up with the one and only Anton Crowley.
Good morning. Anton how are you sir?
Anton Kraly [3:04]
I am doing well. Amazing intro. Thank you very much happy to be here.
David Ralph [3:07]
Hey, it’s lovely to have you here. So um, can I borrow some money? That’s the first question you’re doing all right.
Anton Kraly [3:13]
You got to send me a term sheet of what you’re looking to have the investment in and then we’ll take it from there.
David Ralph [3:17]
Ah, thought was just going to be a friends loan just dealt with over the internet and it would work out really well. But it’s been a rocket ship. Hasn’t
Anton Kraly [3:26]
I learned my lesson on that a long time ago.
David Ralph [3:28]
Yeah. Now I can imagine you have Yeah,
Anton Kraly [3:29]
you could say that. There. It’s been more more of a roller coaster than a rocket ship. But it’s still trending upward. So can’t complain.
David Ralph [3:37]
So is it? Is it something that you look at getting right to the cut, you know, the cut to the chase? Is it something you look at and you go, actually, I was bloody lucky. Or actually, there is a simple system to follow if you only know it.
Anton Kraly [3:51]
So it’s a little bit of both. There’s definitely a system. But the luck, I would attribute more to being stubborn and forcing it to work. So I think you know, you hear about all these different business models and all these different ad strategies and all these different things you can do online. And I’m convinced that everything anyone talks about works, it’s just a matter of how stubborn you’re going to be to make it work for you. So I, you know, again, gotten kind of at the right time, but so did a lot of other people and they didn’t make it work. So more about just pushing through every day. And just knowing success was inevitable.
David Ralph [4:24]
So it is persistence more than anything
Anton Kraly [4:26]
you think hundred percent. Yes,
David Ralph [4:28]
that that’s that’s one thing that we both got is that we all we should have. Everybody’s got that it doesn’t cost anything is not a certificate, it’s just in us. So why have you done it in spades and other people give up after the first month? Well,
Anton Kraly [4:42]
that’s the thing. So anybody can have it, but everybody doesn’t have it. So the biggest thing, you know, you mentioned this in my intro, which was awesome, by the way, thank you. But a lot of people when they’re, you know, they’re starting a business and it’s their first time in entrepreneurship, they are used of the traditional work X amount of hours get X amount of money. And when you’re getting into business, I don’t care what it is, if you’re opening a McDonald’s franchise, or if you’re building an e commerce store, just like any business, you’re going to have to put in that time, you’re going to have to put in that work those hours, those days, those weeks, maybe months before you see any money out of it. And even then you still have years of learning ahead of you, right where you can be profitable, but you’re still learning. So it’s a big flip. And you really have to, you have to kind of have delayed gratification, be willing to do the work now, put in the time now learn the new skill sets now for a better future. And for a lot of people that have kind of that fixed mindset of I’m going to work eight hours, and that equals X amount of dollars. It’s a hard shift to make when you’re not getting paid for your time right away. But of course it pays off in the future. So it’s well worth it. I was
David Ralph [5:46]
just interviewing a guy from California, I think he is and he’s a branding expert. And he basically said from the moment he decided to where I was interviewing him was 10 and a half years. And he had ups and downs. But it was 10 and a half years but just had to be dealt with he had to grind through there was no shortcuts. You seem like you’ve had a shortcut. But maybe you didn’t.
Anton Kraly [6:10]
Yeah, you know, the the shortcut. It’s funny, I think for me, when I was originally starting in business, I got out of school in 2006. So late 2006, early 2007 is when I was first looking into different business opportunities. And back then I really did think I was going to go that franchise route. And I was going to open, you know, maybe a Gold’s Gym, or even a subway right one of those stores and then try to build a whole bunch of them up. And that’s all I knew back then was offline business. So I think for me, the shortcut was just doing everything on mine and reducing almost all of those startup costs and being able to reach the world instead of the people in your local town or city. So the shortcuts available to everybody. And you know, I definitely made some right decisions. Because of course, if you just start an e commerce site, and now in 2018, if you go to Shopify and just build a store, it doesn’t mean you’re getting guaranteed to have success, you obviously have to do a lot of things right and have to. I mean, in my opinion, what we do now is just follow a proven system. But yeah, for me, the main shortcut was realizing I didn’t have to have an offline business that was limited to X amount of hours in the day and X amount of customers in my area.
David Ralph [7:15]
So so let’s give it to the listeners out there. They’re sitting here and they’re thinking, I’d like this, or 20 hours a week and to get all this passive qualities of a drop shipping business. Is it really a 29 investment? Or was that when you did it? Is it a lot more expensive now? Or was it still something that they can bootstrap to success?
Anton Kraly [7:34]
So it’s actually I mean, it’s pretty much the same now. But overall, it’s less now. And that’s because technology has just come such a long way. So when I had started off, I was using a platform called Yahoo stores. And I think they’re still around, but they look like they’re still in the 90s. And that cost $29 a month. So now, yeah, Shopify is hands down the best ecommerce platform. That’s why they’ve just taken over ecommerce hosting over the past few years, and are also starting at $29 a month, but they give you like a month free trial. And then the where it gets cheaper is when you want to add all kinds of cool functionality and things like you know, email marketing to your store, and things like a customer wish list and things like you know, up cells and down cells, they have apps for that, that are either free or maybe 510 dollars a month, so it’s more affordable than ever. The thing is with drop shipping, especially now if you go on YouTube, or you go on iTunes, you go on Google, and you search for it, you’re going to see a lot of people talking about drop shipping products from China, and kinda like selling you know, cheap little trinkets and bracelets and jewelry and things like that via Facebook direct response ads, so that you could still start for cheap. But in my opinion, that’s not a way that you’re going to build a lifestyle business, because there’s just not enough margin there. So one of the other, I guess, you know, secrets are things I figured out early on that I think everyone could have as a takeaway, whether they’re selling physical products, digital products, whatever, you should try to work your way into higher price points as soon as possible. Because again, another thing I realized early on is it takes the same amount of work to sell $1,000 item as it does to sell $100 item, except you’re going to make 10 times as much money for the same amount of work. And the same way, you’re going to build a website and you’re gonna acquire the customer the same way, you just make a lot more money and have to do a lot less work. So that’s a huge lesson that helped me early on, and I think it helped anybody. Now one
David Ralph [9:26]
of the things that I think would be a stumbling block for so many people in e commerce, especially what we’re talking about here is what they can drop ship. Now it’s like a blank canvas on air, certain things that you run a mile from, with your experience on a certain things are just now saturated, and you wouldn’t get into it.
Anton Kraly [9:45]
Yeah, so with saturation, people, kinda, I see where they get confused, they might think something like, let’s just say, I don’t know, modern office furniture. If you go on Google, and you type in modern office furniture, you’re going to find a whole bunch of online stores, and a lot of them probably drop ship. So by default, you might think that means well, too many people are selling this, I can’t be part of it industry. The thing is, with drop shipping, the way that we do it, at least in my businesses, is you don’t compete at that that industry level, right. So I wouldn’t be competing technically, for modern office furniture, I’d be trying to find different brands and different products that are, you know, quality products in that space that aren’t being sold on the other 20 websites or so. So another key is to again, find the industry find something where people are already buying where people are spending their money, and then try to identify different brands and different products in that industry that many people aren’t selling or aren’t selling yet. And those are the ones you could really capitalize on. Because you’ll get more of the search traffic organically, you’ll be able to basically buy all the AdWords at super cheap prices, because there’s no competition, and you’ll be able to build a pretty big business off not many products.
David Ralph [10:55]
Now that that same simplistically genius to me. So you’re basically finding the sort of data hidden gold within a saturated area, you know that there’s market value, you know, there’s customers, but you’re bringing to the fore products sort of stuck at the back somehow covered in dust waiting to be found.
Anton Kraly [11:14]
Right or about to be released. And sometimes maybe one of your, let’s say that you wanted to get into that modern off office furniture, maybe there’s some competitors that have been been in business for five or 10 years. And they just, you know, they have so many brands and their businesses kind of just rolling along. So they’re not regularly updating their website, they’re not you know, but they’re not hustling as hard as you would be. And then if you get approved with the same brands they sell for, and they send you their new, you know, call it fall 2018 lineup of new colors they have in new sizes of desks, new stand up desks, and you get them on your website first, or you know, maybe you’re the only one that gets them on your website, because everyone else just doesn’t upload them, you’re going to get all that traffic from day one again for next to no money because there’s no competition yet. So even though it’s a super, you know, competitive, which again, I think that’s a good thing, it means people are competing, because people are spending money there, you can actually stand out and get leverage by being almost a first mover. And by being more on top of your business, then people that have just been around forever and kind of got lazy with it.
David Ralph [12:14]
Right? Okay, so we’ve got a listener, we’ve got a listener here. And I imagine he’s listening to this thinking is brilliant, I’m going to do this. And he rushes home tonight. And he speaks to his wife. And the wife says, Now I don’t want the flat filled up with boxes all over the place, is that an issue I stored elsewhere? Or do they all come to your place, and you’ve got to put stamps on them and send them out and I do to classic a by route because has a plane in there?
Anton Kraly [12:40]
It is it is. So after that that cookie business that I had that you mentioned earlier, I first wanted to get into these more expensive, you know, product types, but I still wasn’t aware of what drop shipping was. So back then I found Alibaba com. And I was actually importing containers full of all different products from China. And I was doing just what you’re talking about, I was having them go to, at first my garage, then to storage units. And I would go there with some employees, and we put labels on everything and get it picked up, it was a mess. But after a few years of doing that I was introduced to drop shipping. I mean, that’s a technical term for it. But really all we’re doing which eliminated the whole need to import, which eliminated the whole need for stuff around my house and in storage units is forming relationships. So the way that everyone should think of this is me, and you if you want to do this are really just a retailer. So picture any retailer that you know, has a store in your local city, when you go in there and you want to buy products more often than not, they’re not selling their own branded products they sell for other people. So that’s exactly what we do on our stores is we if we want to sell office furniture, we go out there, we find all the best office furniture brands there are, we reach out to them, we say hey, we want to sell your products, we get approved to sell their products, we put them on our website, but we don’t buy them until we sell them. So that’s the beauty of this. People come to our websites, they see the products for sale, they buy them, we get the money. And only after that do we reach out to our suppliers and say, Hey, we need you know, to have these skewed number 123, blue standup desks shipped to you know David over and over in the UK and then boom, it’s done. So that’s a that’s how it works. You don’t have to see or touch anything.
David Ralph [14:17]
They say it sounds too good to knit. And I’m amazed that there’s not herds of people running down the street to start these kind of things.
Anton Kraly [14:26]
Yeah, you know, people do it every day. There definitely are again, there’s there’s competition pretty much in every industry, but it’s for a reason. It’s because there’s a lot of people buying every day in every industry. And I think one big Well, a few big things. I’m making it sound easy guess the actual concepts are easy. But again, you do have to put in the work to make it happen. So upfront, a lot of time goes into market research. So to actually identifying who those big brands are to seeing if the stores that are selling them currently are actually making money to see if it’s worth your time to see how much competition there is on the places you’re going to be average. And then even from there, you have to build your website. So if you don’t want to learn Shopify yourself, it’s pretty easy. But if you don’t want to learn it, you have to hire someone to build your website, then you have to reach out to the 20 plus brands in your industry to get approved to sell their products, then you have to upload their products and you have to get traffic then you have to fulfill orders. So you know it is a real business. And it’s very, it’s simple. The concepts are simple, but it still is a real business that takes real time to to create.
David Ralph [15:26]
Well, okay, so take us back. And Tonya, you’re lying on your bed. And you’ve been you’ve got cookies everywhere. Yeah, coveting crumbs, and you’re fed up with the business. And so where did it leap from there to there because in the introduction, it literally seemed like it was joined up dots. It went from there to bear to bear and it was a linear path. But as we know in life is never linear. So was there was a scrambling period where you were walking around scratching your head growing a beard and thinking I don’t know what to do with my life. But I don’t mind doing this.
Anton Kraly [15:58]
Yeah, 100%. Right. I got out of school again in 2006. And I spent $25,000 on this delivery route for the the bakery and it was in Brooklyn, New York. And I, I don’t know what I was thinking, I thought maybe I had, you know, about 20,000 my own money saved up, I borrowed five from my parents. And I thought, Okay, this is a business I could buy. I’m going to, you know, get more stores that I could deliver to I’m going to build up the value. I’m going to sell this business the route, and then I’ll invest again into a gold franchise, or I’ll open a bunch of subways or something like that. That was my plan. But after a few weeks of having this this delivery business, I was like, What did I get myself into? Like, I don’t want to do it. I don’t want
David Ralph [16:38]
Anton Kraly [16:40]
It was just for managers. It was Oh, it was probably that was probably the first day I knew it. Was it for me. Yeah, yeah, almost immediately. But I had bought the business from someone. So you know, I couldn’t return it. And again, I had spent everything I’d saved up I borrowed money. So I didn’t want to look like a failure and like tell everyone like, Wow, my first business decision, right, as someone that’s always wanted to be an entrepreneur, I didn’t want to just say this is a complete failure. And I mean, it really it was, and again, yeah, within within a couple of weeks for sure. I knew I didn’t want any part of it. But I didn’t really have an out like that was everything to me at that time. So the big the big first shift that kind of linked me to ecommerce was the book The the four hour workweek from Tim Ferriss that came out in 2007, early 2007, as I was going through this, as I was trying to decide what can I do to get out of this delivery business. And that book, The Four Hour Workweek, there’s like one chapter in it, that talks about how to sell stuff online. And it mentioned that you could build a Yahoo store for $29. Then there was like one basic chapter on AdWords, which said, you know, you put up these ads, and you choose who you want to see them. So I thought, you know, what, what do I have to lose, right? I have this van outside my house full of cookies. I have this connection with this bakery in Brooklyn that’s been around for you know, hundred years and people know it. So I went to Yahoo stores. com, I set up a website, I took a bunch of low resolution photos of boxes of cookies, put them on the website, I set up an AdWords, and within a few days of that of building that online business that was making more money than the business that I paid $25,000 for. So that was the first huge shift for me like, Whoa, yeah, I didn’t need to spend this money. I don’t need to sit in traffic. I don’t need to deal with these store managers who are miserable and don’t want me there. I could sit in my apartment and watch orders come in. So that was a massive, massive turning point for me. I think that book, The
David Ralph [18:33]
Four Hour Workweek is has been such a game changer for so many people. It certainly was for me as well. I ready. And it’s the only book ever. I think that I read for limey there’s something in this and so I read it again, and I read it four times back to back, which I’ve never done, but it became like a Bible to me. And I haven’t read it for years. I don’t know if it would still be that common. Maybe it’s a sort of moved on a pace. But certainly the amount of people that quote books me right,
Anton Kraly [19:00]
yeah, I think maybe the the mindset parts and just, you know, opening people’s eyes because again, for me, I thought offline, traditional businesses were the only way that you know, the normal person could could get into business. And that just gave me like, I guess the the vision to that I could build a website and actually do it myself for not a huge investment. And it’s funny, you mentioned that how many people that book affected I spent like four years plus living in Southeast Asia. So between Thailand and Vietnam, and over there, there’s a community of thousands of digital nomads, if you want to call them that, all over the world that are running, you know, some e commerce stores, some software, some little of everything. And almost everyone that I talked to same thing, they read the four hour workweek it changed their life. So that book definitely had a massive impact on a lot of people in this world.
David Ralph [19:46]
And does it surprise you with with e commerce, the fact that you have got a global stretch, you’ve got customers that you may never see you’ve got customers everywhere? Why so many people are still opening brick and mortar shops in high streets, we’ve got a road near as a high street, as we call it in the United Kingdom. And it’s full of the shops. And I think to myself, if you get a customer that you’re going to be lucky who is going to be buying that stuff, you know, why is it that people don’t see the upside of e commerce?
Anton Kraly [20:18]
I don’t know, the only thing I could say to that is I think that the people that are doing it, I guess smart right now or making the right decision with retail are people whose primary business is online. And maybe they have something that you know, let’s just say they sell the newest, you know, trendy watches, right. And they want to have a store in Soho so people could walk by and so they could take photos of it and post it on Instagram, but they don’t see that store as their money maker if their main business and they know this is still their website is still internet retailer. And the store is more of like a marketing expense, then I think it makes sense. But yeah, the person that wants to sell pet supplies, and thanks, let me go look around town to see what’s for rent. I think they’re destined to fail, if not now in the next five to 10 years.
David Ralph [21:03]
Yeah, I think he’s madness. Well, let’s play some words now. And then we’re going to delve back into Anton story. He’s Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [21:09]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [21:35]
Now, tell us about that time you go back to your mom and dad and you say Guess what? Yes. Well, I’ve only gone and made $480. Did they think it was a flash in the pan a one off thing? Or did they really go? Wow, you’ve you’ve you’ve struck gold here and on go out and conquer?
Anton Kraly [21:53]
Yeah, they were super supportive of it. And I think it was because at that time, you know, I didn’t have it was very short after the time when I opened the New York cookie shop website. But that one, they just saw that that was making so much more money than that business that I had bought for 25,000. And I was kind of just replicating what I did with that cookie shop website, except I was selling items for $500, $1,000 $2,000. So I think they thought, Well, if he just did it with this one thing, why can’t he do it with this other. So I kind of had a little little track record, even though it was only maybe a month or two. It just it really took off fast. And again, like it didn’t take time to build. And I know that sounds like Oh, this is so easy. But it’s really because it’s a very simple concept. You know, I had products that people wanted. And then I set up Edwards two people that wanted those products. So back then to you, you there was a lot more margin for error. And you didn’t have to be as good as you have to be now. Because back then in 2007, there was a lot less competition. So clicks were cheaper you can get in front of more people. So you know, even though I was brand new to it, I was able to succeed really fast with that knowing anything like before I had to learn the hard way. And so I think because of that, yeah, that my parents were super supportive from day one. And excited. They really were excited about it more excited than me probably. Right. Okay,
David Ralph [23:10]
so we things like and I’ve experienced myself, just recently, I used to be quite good on Facebook ads, and I went over to Facebook recently another locally, it’s totally changed. And I thought I can’t be bothered to learn base again. And every time you go on to these different platforms. So yeah, it seems simple in concept, but the upscaling is, is quite massive. should somebody hire a marketing expert to run the AdWords campaigns? Or would you know, just do your homework, do your research and really get to understand that yourself?
Anton Kraly [23:41]
Yeah, at first, you don’t have to be the best in the world. But I think everybody should have their own campaign setup, and try to have it at least, you know, somewhat profitable, because there’s just so many companies out there right now that, you know, say, Hey, we’re Facebook experts, or we’re AdWords experts, and they don’t know anything. And they have so many clients to begin with, or they you know, are constantly just churning clients, because they’re not getting them results. So they’re like, they’re giving you 10% of their time, that’s not even that valuable if you had 100%. So I think what everybody should do is learn it themselves, learn the basics. So even you know, when you want to outsource, you actually know what you’re outsourcing. And you have a track record. So any of like the reputable companies that we’ve ever worked with. And again, I’ve learned this the hard way by hiring the wrong type of companies. But all the good ones we’ve worked with, they won’t even take clients on until you already are profitable until you already have stuff set up. Because then their job becomes Okay, let me go in there. Let me look at the data. Let me make it better. And let me add in, you know, new targeting or new ads and try to be what you’re already doing. So it’s really hard to have a new business or even an established business and just say, I want to use Facebook ads. Now let me hire a company on Facebook ads and have them get your results from day one, it’s a lot easier if you have something yourself proven to work, and then have them try to beat that and then manage it moving forward.
David Ralph [24:56]
But of course, in that testing period, you may not be hired them but you are putting the money into actually running the ads. Yes, damn, damn, I thought he was gonna be the perfect thing beg someone to do all the work for you. And when you swap at the last minute and titled How to be nice, it would be very nice. So So wait, where does it go? When does it just get bigger and bigger and bigger? Or are you sitting there, because what I’ve seen running through over 1000 shows on join up dots, that people start with an idea and then after a while no matter how profitable it is, they start to divert into something different and I start to go into giving back somehow. And so that being the case with yourself,
Anton Kraly [25:40]
it has it has you know, so we have Drop Ship Lifestyle, the website, but with you know, with the ecommerce businesses, the way that we have is adapted over the years is things always do change. Like you mentioned, you go into Facebook, six months later, it’s a totally different show, new advertising sources come out new traffic sources open. So what I’ve tried to do with our commerce, businesses for growth is always just try to grow within our industries. So for example, if I had that modern furniture website, I would just look for different product types that I could add in as up cells or down cells, I would try to get extended warranties on furniture, so I could sell that to my customers, I would look into ways to ship faster, I would look into ways to stand out. So with the e commerce stuff, it’s always about just trying to dominate whatever industry we’re in. Because it makes a big difference if you’re everywhere. And your site just looks like number one, because you beat everyone on shipping on options on customer service. So that’s what we’ve done to grow the e commerce side of things. But then in in 2012, actually, I had sold out like pretty much a network, you can call it an e commerce stores that I had. And after I sold them, I went from having to work about 20 hours a week to I don’t even know one or two hours a week. So I was really bored for a while. And that’s when I started trying to connect with other e commerce store owners. Yeah, like other people and try to fix you’re out like what’s next for myself at that time, I still had a handful of stores, but I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. And that’s when I discovered a bunch of websites about e commerce, where I just it was it was obvious to me that the people had no idea what they were talking about, and that they were just trying to sell info products or masterminds or just stuff that wouldn’t help anyone. So that’s when I kind of started contributing to, you know, podcasts and YouTube videos and blogs and forums and started to share a little bit about what I had learned at that point in my previous five years of e commerce experience.
David Ralph [27:31]
And so he sees a money maker yourself, I imagine it is to Drop Ship Lifestyle, or is it more a passion project.
Anton Kraly [27:38]
So it’s definitely a moneymaker. I didn’t expect it to become a huge revenue source, but it has its we’ve started again, I think it was late 2012, maybe 2013. I’m not I’m not sure I’d have to look back. But it it’s become, you know, massive at this point, we have over 10,000 students over 25 different countries. So it’s just it’s a huge community, people obviously pay to enroll in our courses. But the passion part of it is still there, I still post a new blog post, every single week, I posted a YouTube video every single week. And I do that because just like when I started it to begin with, I know that there’s so many people out there in this world, like I was, you know, when I didn’t really know what path I was going to take in business. And for me, I feel like I did get lucky, I guess in the sense that the four hour workweek came out. And I read that and that changed my trajectory. So what I tried to do with Drop Ship Lifestyle is put out enough content to try to reach people in that situation like where I was back then. So hopefully they can have that shift and not get sucked into, you know, one of those websites that I originally found that give information that I know is not going to work. So it’s largely passion. That’s why I’ve been doing it so long. And that’s why I’m more consistent with that than anything else I’ve ever done.
David Ralph [28:48]
So So how can you create that much content? and on about drop shipping? I think after about two months, I would have dried up?
Anton Kraly [28:57]
Yeah. So drop shipping, I guess is the hook in the sense that you know, they are our ecommerce stores, we fulfill orders on the drop ship model. So that is the main overarching theme for everything. But that’s again, just the way to fulfill orders. So I and again, I get questions every day from our students and from people on our social channels. So there’s always something to talk about whether it be how to pick products, how to get suppliers, what trade shows you should attend, how to optimize Shopify, if any new apps came out what to do for email marketing, you know, the fact that the Fourth of July is coming up. So what promotions Can you set up? It just it goes on and on? Like it’s drop shipping, again, is that mean thing, but to have an e commerce store that does, you know, ideally, if people really want to do this, that’s doing multiple, seven figures a year, it goes a lot more than it goes beyond just saying like, Okay, do these five things. So really approaching everything we do from different angles and making sure everything’s always up to date? Because things do change?
David Ralph [29:55]
I would say. So. A lot of that information is an evergreen.
Anton Kraly [29:59]
Yeah, unfortunately. So it’s funny, you mentioned earlier, you know, the Facebook example. So we actually put out a Facebook course, I have someone on my team, she does all of our Facebook ads, and she created this Facebook course. And it’s awesome. But she spent like a month making all of these videos and like everything in the ads manager that we do for all of our ad types for all of our messenger ads and everything. And literally, it seemed like as soon as she was done, and we published it, the whole thing changed like the whole back end. So like the strategy again, doesn’t change. But where things are how things look, that changes. The evergreen part is a techniques usually don’t die, but yeah, yeah, interfaces do.
David Ralph [30:36]
Okay, so so let’s summarize this vein. So can we can we do a sort of 10 step guide to drop shipping e commerce building a site? can we can we do that?
Anton Kraly [30:46]
Yeah, yeah, sure. Sure. So yeah, let’s go through it. So the first step, obviously, is you need a product to sell, right? So when you’re doing product research, there’s a few things that I would recommend you look for. The first one is being price point. So you do want it to be, we say at least $200, our average order value on our stores is closer to 1000. So, you know, at least 200. But try to find a product type that the average order value will be around 1000 bucks. Once you have that, and you know, like, okay, I want to sell this product type. The next step really, is to do your market research. So for step two, you’re looking at every website that sells that thing. So again, if it’s modern office furniture, you’re just going on Google, you’re searching for modern office furniture, you’re going to everyone’s website that sells it, and then you’re going to things like their contact us pages, they’re about us pages. And what you’re trying to identify at this point is, are these online stores, extensions of retail stores? Or are they online only? So you don’t want to see things like, Hey, we have, you know, five showrooms or our warehouse is located here. You want to find sources that are online only guess that’s who we’re really competing with?
David Ralph [31:58]
Well, why is why is that?
Anton Kraly [32:00]
Yeah. Because the the suppliers that you want to get approved with an LCD example, let’s say again, let’s keep using office furniture, if there were 500, companies that make things like desks and office chairs, and lamps and monitor stands, and all that, if there’s 500 of them, maybe there’s 300 of them, that will only work with with traditional retail stores. So if you went online, and you found, I don’t know, some, you know, office furniture depot, and they have 50 locations, that’s not a good site to try to source suppliers from, because those suppliers very likely only work with companies that have offline stores. So the ones that I call your future competitors, the ones that you’re really going to be going up against are the other ones that are online only. And the way you can tell if they’re online only, again, is by clicking around their website and seeing if they say they’re online only or not
David Ralph [32:51]
well, okay, so I can understand that now. So what would be the next stage in the process?
Anton Kraly [32:57]
So I’ll type it and that goes into step four. But that’s so that’s step two, in that market research. And after there, the third step is actually setting up your website. And people always said, Why would I build my website before I have suppliers or anything? And it’s because again, this isn’t, you know, we’re not drop shipping from China, we’re not using all the express or anything, we’re actually presenting ourselves to different retail to different manufacturers, different brands, and we’re saying, Hey, we want to sell your products. And you can’t just call them and say, Hey, this is Anton, you know, can I drop ship your stuff, they’re going to say no, so we have to step three set up our Shopify store, and we build it as if it was our you know, completed store that we were proud to call our own, that we were ready to send traffic to. But because we don’t have real products yet, and step three, we’re simply uploading a few generic product types. That way, when we go to Step four, which is actually getting approved with suppliers, we could tell them Hi, this is Anton calling from modern for modern office furniture. com. You know, I’d love if you want to check out our website, we’re about to launch next month, and we’d love to have you your product line included. So that’s the fourth step is when you’re actually you know, establishing these relationships, getting approved and getting product information from the brands you want to sell for. And from there, step five would be getting those products uploaded to your site. And then also making things like different tweaks and changes to your site to optimize it for conversions, meaning to get people to actually buy from it when they get there. So that’s Step five, optimize for conversions. After that the sixth step would be getting traffic. So now you know your site’s up. It looks great, you have products uploaded, you’re selling for all these brands. And then in Step six, you’d be setting up things like Google product listing ads, maybe some generic search text ads, you’d be doing Facebook remarketing, and you would basically turn on traffic and turn on sales. And from there, there’s really only one more step, which would be the second step, which is to try to automate as much as possible. So that’s what I’d recommend, start using virtual assistants to handle things like live chat, maybe to do order processing for you to respond to emails. And you know, from there, once you have your business up running, it’s making sales and those day to day tasks are kind of off your, you know, off your hands, then it’s time to just focus again on the business from a high level overview and think, Okay, what else can I do to increase the value from everyone that comes to my site? So maybe add an email marketing, email marketing, maybe add in more traffic sources, maybe add in better product pages, whatever you gotta do to get as much value as possible from everyone that visits your site? That would be the the eight step?
David Ralph [35:31]
And would it be better to go and a collective route? Is it better to have a sort of shop store that has gotten loads of different things in or just focusing in on one sort of tight niche?
Anton Kraly [35:42]
Yeah, we go specific. So and again, we will stick with a with a prototype. So if I was going to sell surfboards, I would have surfboard city calm. And I would have every surfboard I could find from every brand I could find. But I would keep it to that. And then other things like you know, it’s accessories and whatnot, I would have them as upsell or add ons and product pages. But I wouldn’t build because I have done both. I wouldn’t build like a generic what I call a shopping mall type store, because they just don’t have as high of a conversion rate as yours, your product specific store.
David Ralph [36:14]
Wow. Okay, so I can totally understand that. So I bet there’s thousands of people out there scribbling it down thinking I could do this, this, this seems that this seems a win. For me, this is the business but I’ve been looking for. It’s amazing to me that I have done 1000 shows, and you’re the first person really that has spoken about this.
Anton Kraly [36:34]
Yeah, you know, I’ve been doing it for a long time. And again, if people go on google and type in drop shipping, they’ll find a ton of information on it. But most of the time, what you’re going to find is not what we’ve been talking about with really just becoming a retailer and selling for brands, what most people are talking about is that model of being a kind of a middleman or you know, using a website like overload or Ollie Express, whereas what we do again, other people do it. But as far as I want to say talking about it and teaching it, that’s not really a thing. And I don’t think anybody you know, like that’s not bragging, but I really just don’t think anyone’s been doing it for as long as me. And I’ve been again, helping people do this since 2012 2013.
So we definitely have the most experience with it.
David Ralph [37:16]
And then when to look back as the early days of the internet, as we were talking about in the introduction. At this point, he bought a drop shipping model had real potential, especially back in the early days of the internet. When did you first be aware of the possibilities
Anton Kraly [37:30]
really, as soon as that that that cookie store started started making money, I just, I saw it right away. I actually I wasn’t sure if it was like fraud or what but I had ad setup. And then I saw money coming in. And I mean, that was it. Like as soon as that store launched and my ads returned on sale started coming in, and I haven’t looked back since that’s good
David Ralph [37:49]
stuff. It really is good stuff. Well, I’m going to play the words. Now the man who created the whole theme of join up dots, he’s no longer with us. But we have to listen to these words, again, is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [37:59]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [38:33]
And as your dots joined up, do you look at it now and think to yourself? Yeah, I can see. I can see how I went from there to bear to there. It may not have been easy. It may not have been linear. But Steve Jobs word certainly come true. How you present? Yeah, yeah, there’s been lots of steps along the way. You know, some slip up some lessons learned. But I could definitely see how everything is connected, looking back on it. And what would be a big story. If you look back on everything. What would be the moment? Would it be that first sound you made? Or maybe you’d be something else?
Anton Kraly [39:02]
Yeah, I think I mean, from day one, like the first thought would be my one of my uncle’s is a business owner. And you know, my parents, my dad was a butcher, my mom did inside sales. But one of my uncle’s is an entrepreneur. And I always saw that kind of what he got out of life and what he had as far as actual, I guess, time and actual things. And he always told me like Anton like, the only reason I’m successful is because I have my own business do I should say the only reason why I’m so successful and I have these things is because I made the decision to leave my job and do my own thing. So he always said, like, if you want that type of lifestyle, you have to be your own boss. So that would be like my starting point. And from there, the second thing would be buying that that first business that the traditional cookie delivery business, and from there that connects to the the first e commerce store and the four hour workweek came out, which connects to me just knowing that I don’t want to make five or $10 per order, I want to make, you know, $500 per order, and just moving my way up the value chain, which just connects with so many people that I’ve met over the years that have led to different partnerships and different lessons and just the Drop Ship Lifestyle being created to us being here today.
David Ralph [40:12]
And is there anything that you look back with regret? and wish you could change your Do you think no, without any of it, I wouldn’t be where I am.
Anton Kraly [40:20]
The only regrets are nothing, nothing crazy, but things that I learned that if I maybe marketing techniques that work really well that I didn’t do in the past, you know, that would have resulted to some businesses be becoming bigger earlier on. But I can’t say anything that I you know, really regret, like everything is a lesson learned. That’s how you got to look at it.
David Ralph [40:41]
Absolutely. And it gets you to where you are brilliant stuff. Well, you have gotten to the point of the show where we’re about to send you back in time back to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Anton, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give him? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the music. When it fades. Europe, this is the Sermon on the mic
with the best
man on the
Anton Kraly [41:26]
Alright, so yeah, we’ll take it back to when I was maybe 2324 years old, so about a decade ago, and that was after I had transitioned from cookies to the much more expensive products, everything you know, was going well and making money and growing. But for years for years, maybe four or five of them, I didn’t go big enough, meaning that I was spending money on traffic, I was getting sales business was good. But I was afraid to try anything different. And it was because I was making, you know, money that I didn’t think I would ever make with one of my traditional businesses that I thought up. And I kind of just felt like, Well, why would I change what’s working, and I just got comfortable. And when you get comfortable. And when you don’t take it to the next level. When you don’t risk more when you’re not willing to risk it all. At very best, you’re going to stay stagnant. So the lesson I would tell myself is really, you know, really think about this, like where do you want to be and what goals do you want to get to as far as revenue goes for the company? And if you really do want to get there are you willing to risk everything, even though it’s great, because that’s the only way it’s going to happen. It’s not by luck. It’s not by time, the only way you’re going to to x your business five x your business 10 x your business is by taking huge risks. That really might mean you lose it all. But if you’re not going to go for it, then what’s the point? That would be my lesson to myself?
David Ralph [42:49]
Okay, Antonia was the number one best way that our audience can connect with you. And yeah, you can go on, I guess if you just go to drop, ship, lifestyle, calm, there’s links to all of my stuff, profiles and whatnot. That’d be the best one. And we will of course have over links in the show notes as well. And, Tom, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots of your life. And please come back again when you’ve got even more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Anton Thank you so much.
Anton Kraly [43:20]
Thank you David that’s fine.
David Ralph [43:23]
But I sounded good to knit drop shipping business, not having to be bulked up with products that you find the product you link to a supplier, you then run some ads and they do all the work and you take some some of the money think that’s a good business for anybody out there who’s looking for a new online e commerce and venture or maybe it’s your first one, then I think that is one that I would put myself firmly behind because it doesn’t seem to have much downside. Yeah, you might waste some time on advertising, you might lose some money that way. But certainly once you get it going, you just increase the ad spend and brings money in good stuff. Thank you so much for listening as always to join up dots. Thank you so much. And then as I always say really or most of the time I say if you could tell somebody about it, just one person it will make all the difference to our business. Thank you so much. Cheers. See
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to join up.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow.