I studied interior and furniture design in high school, and very soon I figured out there was no money to be made. I wasn’t the next big designer to make it in the interior and furniture design world.
This led me on a path of a never-ending search for the perfect career, in this rapidly changing world. I worked for many different businesses for the first 7 years, and eventually, I started a 3D design studio. Making high-quality visuals for (interior) architects and the like.
This gave me the first feeling of freedom because now I worked on my terms. But after a few years, it started to look like my old job. It required me to work for countless hours, because of the heavy models, while regularly fixing new problems that would present themselves, which slowed down the process even more.
One day I stumbled upon someone during my 3 monthly long trip to New Zealand. He was driving a Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder from ’57. This was the most beautiful classic convertible I ever saw, and the craziest thing was that the owner didn’t work that much anymore. He had systems in place.
In the coming years, I made it my mission to gather as many resources as I could to find out how he did it. I read many books on business, with a few of them changed my entire perspective on making money. One of them was The Millionaire Fastlane from MJ DeMarco.
This made me look into online business for the first time, and let me into the path of eCommerce. Along with a friend, we tried the dropshipping model, in the hope to gain some traction and make great money which we could use to live off and build some real private label brands.
Now, this went nowhere near as ideal as we hoped for, and over the time span of 2.5 years, we burned $9k in the ‘learning’ process. Eventually, we got some success with a small private label, once we ‘dialed down’ all steps in the brand and website building, and selling process. But it was a very crowded niche, and there was not enough margin to really be able to live from it. And it took much of our energy to run it. So we sold it.
The biggest problem with physical product brands is the fact that most of the time you’re dealing with Chinese manufacturers, that make products for anyone to buy. A friend of mine recently told me his last private label, selling on Google in the US, had one good month before multiple other people stepped in and sold exactly what he was selling. So after this first good month, he has no profits and doing break-even ever since.
On top of that, 2 of his last 3 deliveries from China to the 3rd party logistics center (3PL) located in the US disappeared! The logistics partner (DHL) says the orders were delivered (with a signature and everything), but his logistics center says it’s not to be found anywhere. Also, in my opinion, logistics are only going to get worse over the coming years, due to the turbulent times we’re currently in.
The other things that bothered me the most about eCommerce are that they’re very cash-intensive, and require you to be a logistics specialist, along with a gazillion other tasks you need to be great at, in order to make it as a successful private label brand owner. Plus they’re extremely competitive eventually, once the niche is getting more mainstream. Sometimes they’re competitive from the get-go, due to the drop shippers, which often results in a price war. I always had the ambition to build and run multiple brands. Which would become a huge pain in the ass at some point.
So after being in the space for the past few years, the only way forward for me in this space was to design my own products, make 3D renders, find investors and then find contract manufacturers. This way you could achieve long-lasting success with a few high-quality products that are unique. But this is pretty advanced, as I was ready to learn Autodesk Inventor as a first step.
This made me dive head first into researching every single way to make money online and eventually stumbled across John Thornhill. I heard about a digital product many times before already. In fact, I bought a few amazing digital products the last few months myself. But I always thought digital products were too difficult to make myself. But John Thornhill’s funnels and my research around digital products and John Thornhill himself as a marketer eventually made me pull the trigger to start my digital products career.
To your success, Frederic Huybrechts