Good things come to those who wait, but only what’s left by those who hustle.
Often the money as an entrepreneur is made by seeing opportunities other people can’t. This is a practicable skill set, it’s just not practiced by many.
I’m going to talk about a few examples of how I’ve done this in the e-commerce store space.
I constantly hear, “oh, you’re so lucky,” when people are referencing deals I’ve done.
Sure, no argument here. On a lot of my deals, I am “lucky.” However, as you’ll see from this post, I’m constantly doing things to put myself in positions to get lucky. I’m creating the situation I’m in, and not waiting for a ‘standard’ deal to cross my plate. I’m creating my own luck, and you can too.
Let me walk you through some examples so you can see what I mean.
I was looking at purchasing a package deal of 7 sites. I thought I may have found a diamond in the rough.
There was one store in the deal that was being treated as a throw-in, but had a lot of traffic in a high priced niche. I called the owner to find out why. They had previously bought this site for $18,000.
Why was it being offered up for close to nothing?
Turns out, the main supplier had discontinued working with them, and refused to sell to any company that didn’t have a brick and mortar store.
Seems easy enough right, just find a new supplier? Well, not quite that easy. See, the brand was by far the biggest in the niche, and basically what everyone was looking for. So, I tried to see if they’d make an exception.
The supplier made it clear they were not interested in working with ANYONE that didn’t operate as a brick and mortar store. I obviously wasn’t going to start a retail store, but there had to be another way.
I had to think outside the box.
It was time for plan B. This is where you make your money as an entrepreneur.
The supplier said they would only deal with brick and mortar locations, but they didn’t specifically say we had to own the location 🙂
I decided to call local stores in the same industry, and see if they’d help us out. The pitch was, “I don’t want to start a brick and mortar store and compete with you. Can you help us out?” That was it.
Just one phone call into plan B, we got a “yes”. It looked like that site was going to be back in business.
We called back the supplier and told them we had a “partnership” with a brick and mortar location. They agreed to supply us if we could provide pictures of the location with their merchandise in it to confirm we were selling products there.
At this point, I pulled the trigger and wrapped the deal up with the person selling the sites.
Then, I made a small purchase of inventory(under $5k), brought some into the local store that agreed to help us out, took some pictures, and we were in business!
The month before I purchased it, the store made $0. Last month alone, that store brought in $8,339.13 in sales.
Again, this store was just thrown in with the package.
The person who sold it saw it as basically worthless, since they weren’t allowed to sell the products anymore. Instead of working out a solution that would change that result, they left a lot of money on the table.
In less than 1 day of work, we turned something that was nearly worthless back into a 5 figure asset. I was handed this asset for pennies because the seller didn’t see the angle.
You can train yourself to think outside the box. It won’t happen overnight, and it may not be easy for you if you’re not used to doing it, but it is something that can, and should be practiced. There is such a substantial amount of money to be made “outside the box”, because so few people operate there.
All these little hurdles in business are where most people stop. The people that make the money are the ones who figure out a way to get over them, and more importantly, follow through on it once they figure out a potential alternative.
“Wait, but how did you find this deal?”
The whole reason I was in contact with this seller was a bit unique. See, I wanted to start scaling up my e-commerce store business quickly. Starting stores from scratch was one way, but it was scaling slower than I wanted since I was getting all of the traffic organically through SEO, which takes time. So, I started buying stores.
Instead of just going after people who owned single stores, I was going after people with e-commerce empires.
It’s substantially more efficient. Not just because I could buy more than one, but because the pricing was often better.
Here’s the reasoning:
Single store owners often operate their store as:
A. a main source of their income
B. something they’re emotionally vested in
C. something they’ll overvalue the multiple it should sell for
Often, it was all three of these things.
So, I started seeking out companies that owned a large number of stores. I would contact them with the pitch that I was interested in any stores they no longer had time to work on. Basically, I wanted their “junk”.
Doing it this way usually cuts out the potential for A and B, which makes it easier to come to an agreement on C. So, the plan was that I’d be able to buy stores cheap and quickly scale them up, due to the stores being neglected by larger companies.
Here is another site that was in the deal I picked up in the 7-site package.
The store was ranking on the 2nd page for the majority of it’s main keywords. I knew if I spent some time on SEO it could substantially affect the income on the site.
Here’s an image of my thought process. (read under the image for explanation)
The numbering shows what % of traffic each ranking position receives from organic searches. For example, if you ranked #5 organically for a keyword, you would expect roughly 6.1% of people searching Google to visit your site.
This image is just an example for one keyword, for how I do the ‘traffic-potential math’ for organic search. This specific site had 4-5 main keywords that were getting almost all of it’s traffic, and all of them were on the 2nd page. So, after viewing the competition from an SEO standpoint to see where I thought I could take them to, I ran the same calculation for all of the keywords.
I was able to increase the traffic by a 3x multiple very quickly due to that simple math. This caused the income on the site to increase from $300/month, to around $1,000/month:
These deals are out there for the taking. Most of the time when things seem too good to be true, they are. But sometimes they aren’t. Many people won’t recognize them, so you’ll often find yourself in untapped territory with little to no competition. Usually when people do come across these deals that are “too good to be true”, they figure something must be wrong with them because “why would someone sell a site so cheap??”
Some people are so caught up in the fact that THEY wouldn’t sell something for a certain price, that they fail to see things from the other person’s perspective. They expect that just because they wouldn’t sell for that price, the other person shouldn’t either. This is obviously horrible logic.
Maybe they have bigger projects that are a better use of their time. Maybe they need the money quickly for something. Maybe they are tired of it and just want to get rid of it.
Failing to see things from another person’s perspective is a huge blunder that most people seem to make in business(in life as well). It’s extremely important to learn this. Once you’re able to clearly see things from another person’s perspective, it becomes a lot easier to create a win-win scenario where you can both get what you’re looking for out of a deal.
note: I mentioned this store briefly in the Ferrari post, in the EV calculation. A few people wanted to hear more details about how I got it.
The first e-commerce store I purchased I got for $4,000. The site was making close to $1,000 profit per month.
I can remember looking into it initially and thinking that something must be wrong if they were willing to sell for that low. “There must be some sort of catch”, I thought. Was I going to buy this site and then lose all my rankings, meaning I’d have paid $4,000 for a site that might soon become worthless?
That’s usually the type of thought process that stops other people from doing the research necessary to determine if something IS off, or if it’s just a good deal that other people have passed over because of incorrect assumptions. I did my due diligence, and everything checked out.
I purchased the site, and since buying it last year, have made over $15,000 on that $4,000 investment.
“But how did you get it so cheap???”
The lady selling really needed money for something else she was doing. She didn’t want to wait 4-5 months for the money to pay for it, and wanted it sold. Once I found out her needs, I did my best to create a win-win, and cut out my competition. The other buyers were doing some research/deciding if they wanted to spend the money. I told her if she sent me the documents I asked for I could do my research, and if it checked out, wire her the money immediately.
So, she did, and I did.
It killed the chance of the competition getting the deal because I was willing to put money up on a deal that seemed “too good to be true”. That’s the only reason the other buyers were hesitating, because it was too good of a deal. After I purchased the site, she said multiple buyers wrote her offering her a higher amount for the site if she’d sell it to them instead. Instead of making her wait for me to do research, have it sit in escrow, and tie up the process for a week or two, I gave her what she wanted- quick money. She wins, by getting money way faster than anyone else would have given it to her, and I win, by getting a site for a very low price. Going through a standard process will get you standard deals.
If you’re doing things the way everyone else is doing them, you’re doing it wrong.
Here’s the backstory on a store I started from scratch:
I couldn’t find many stores offering glass roses (not the actual product– changed for privacy) for sale. The few that were, their sites sucked.
After doing some initial due diligence, I found out why. Glass roses were very hard to ship, and would often break. So, many sites only sold locally.
This is where many people give up and find an easier niche. In my mind, this was great! Because of this barrier to entry, there was less competition, so all I had to do was figure out the issue and solve it, and it’d give me a mini moat in the space since no one else was willing to go through this process. I cold called companies all around the country who made glass roses. Most just refused to do business with me because of the shipping issues. After a lot of cold calls, I finally found someone willing to take a chance. They agreed to ship me a sample.
Well, the next day I got a call from them while they were at UPS. The cost to ship was going to be four times the amount of the actual product! Well, that wasn’t going to work! They’d put so much protection around them that they had to go in a huge box. They agreed to go back to the drawing board on packaging. We brainstormed a few ideas, and a day or two later they went to ship it out again. This time, it was at a price that would potentially work. Well, I got the box and the roses were shattered. There was glass all over. We brainstormed again on the packaging. Also, I figured if we could get them into a slightly smaller box, we could do flat rate shipping through the post office, which would bring our high shipping costs down. After receiving one or two more samples, it looked like we had a good solution.
I was able to launch the store, and have done very well on that business. The hurdles that could have kept me out of that business, are the same hurdles that allow me to operate with less competitors and make more money, simply because people refuse to look for creative solutions. Again, those solutions are where a lot of money is made. You should crave these hurdles, because that’s where your competitors will stop.
The next time a situation comes up that seems like it’s too good to be true, or that there doesn’t seem to be a solution for–try thinking differently. Think as far outside the box as you can, and you may make a lot of money simply from tweaking the way you think. Once you learn to think like this on a consistent basis, you’ll begin to see opportunities all over that you’ve probably missed in the past, because you’ll be able to see them in a new way.
There’s an absurd amount of money to be made in business, and a large amount of that money is made where others don’t see it.
Train yourself to see it.
Let people call you “lucky”. It’s the only explanation they’ll have… but you’ll know what led to it.