Isaac's Journal - A Family Man's Progress into Drop Shipping (Anton's Forums)
In Anton's private member forums there are are some incredible stories that don't get to get shared with others. But after following along with Isaac's progress, I couldn't help but smile as well as want to share it with the wrong. Here is a sneak peek of his story so far.
Like all the others I'm starting a follow-along journal. They seem to be the best way to share struggles and successes with others, and to give newcomers a bit of inspiration and realistic expectations. I've been glad to read others' journals, so I hope to help other people as well. I'm sure also that just writing helps to make yourself accountable and figure it out on your own.
I hope you all don't mind a little more personal back story with my journal than you've seen with some of the others. I think it was Tim Ferriss who said you can do anything if you have a big enough why, so I figure that's where I should start. If you lose sight of your why, what's the point of doing any of this?
My Why -
Warning: This is long.
I'm 33 years old, married to a fantastic woman and have an incredible little girl. I'm an architect at a boutique firm in Washington DC that does custom houses for some of the wealthiest people this glorious American bureaucracy can support. So why in the world would I want a change? My profile pic encapsulates it pretty well.
It didn't take long after I started working to find out that architecture is not as awesome as I thought it would be. It's partly my fault since I didn't do any internships before I graduated, and if I did I would have learned that there's so much red tape, regulations, codes, financing problems, obnoxious clients, etc. that it takes all the fun out of the profession.
Architects are glorified by popular culture, but in reality live a pretty sub-standard life compared to equally educated professionals. We are notoriously over-worked, hilariously under-paid, and given very little credit or thanks for the hard work we put in. Plus the building industry pretty much stopped building for a few years after 2008 and we've had a lot of job security induced stress. If I had to guess I'd say close to half the architects working in those years got laid off.
2 years into my career I was very excited to take a job with a very prestigious firm. Of course they didn't tell me that they would make me work ungodly hours, insult me, and nearly give me a nervous breakdown. The pay was okay, but compared to my friends who were in other fields with similar education levels were making 1.5-2 times what I was making. My younger sister with less education was making more than double what I was and working only 3 days a week as a nurse. I regularly worked 60-90 hours a week. I think my record week was 96 hours. I once worked 36 hours straight without so much as a nap or a walk outside the office. And I worked those hours without a thank you from the bosses.
I had just bought a condo (bad idea) and my daughter was born about a year into this job. I was so sick of not being to spend time with her I just had to get out. This was not the life I wanted. Long before I started reading any entrepreneur blogs or books, I thought a new job was the answer. It took me about a year of sending out resumes before I got an offer.
The offer I got was for the small firm I'm still working at, now three years later. And as jobs in architecture go, I hit a home run. This job is much more laid back, and I have never worked more than 45 hours in a week. Still, my wife and I struggle to pay the bills. She works as well and is always stressed out because she has to race home from work to pick our daughter up at daycare, feed her and get her ready and in bed on time for her to get enough sleep. I don't even get home from work until 7-7:30 even with my reasonable hours. Then I have about an hour to spend with my daughter, most of which is getting her ready for bed. There's never enough time for all the cleaning, shopping, home maintenance, etc. that we have to do - the typical modern family lifestyle.
What do I want? Simply put - I want to spend as much time as humanly possible with the people I love. My wife and daughter are at the top of that list obviously, and who knows, maybe have another? I'd love to take the family to Thailand for a few months a year, travel around the world, etc. I've already had a taste for travel. My wife and I spent a year teaching English in Korea and traveling Asia. I loved it. I've also been to a bunch of places Europe to study architecture.
Enter Tim Ferriss' 4 Hour Workweek, Robert Kiyosaki's (spelling?) Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and about 1000 other blogs, books and podcasts. Somehow I stumbled onto an interview with Johnny on one of the podcasts and that's when I knew I had to sign up. I started the course, super-motivated (and continue to be) on New Years Day of this year. I spend every free moment, when I have the energy, working on this project. When I'm not working on it, I'm thinking about it.
I'm a bit further along than most people when they start these journals, just because I figured any free minute I have writing a journal is a minute I'm not working on my site or contacting a supplier. But now I see the benefit, and hopefully I will write regular updates, though I have pretty serious time constraints. I am also hoping to be more active in the forums in general.
Thanks for all 2 of you willing to read this far. Hopefully some of you can identify with a bit of my struggle and we can help to motivate and encourage each other.
So that's all for tonight. Next time I'll get into what I've actually done and what's on my goal sheet.
Fast forward to June 04 - First sale!
Later that same day...
That was easy wasn't it? Nope. If you do the math, the first post was written on April 6th and his first same acme in June 4th. In those two months he made over 20 updates to his progress thread, put in the hours of hard work, on top of having a full time job and raising a family.
But even with emails like this, he never let doubts slow him down:
It's some sort of sweet poetic justice because the supplier for sale 2 left me a voicemail today saying, "you've had this account since April, are you going to send any orders in? If not, let's close the account" etc. He's actually nice and said it in a nice way, but I left him a message saying, "oh yeah I plan on sending orders in very soon. I'm really hitting the marketing hard, I'll call you tomorrow." That's going to be a beautiful phone call.
Thanks everyone! Thanks to all of you who have helped me along the way, and you guys whose progress journals I have read. I have learned a lot through all of your experiences. And especially thanks to Johnny because if it weren't for hearing you on Terry Lin's podcast I wouldn't even be here.
I know it's only 2 sales but I feel like I've made it. It could be that I'm still riding that emotional high, but I'd like to think otherwise. After I decided that I wanted to do this drop shipping thing I have really poured myself into it. After that I've never doubted that it would work. I feel like this is a major milestone. Now I know that people will buy from me. I have proof that if I just keep working at it, this will be successful, and it feels awesome.
I think it's good to look back a little at this point. It's been almost 5 months to the day since I started this program - on New Years day. A few years ago I had a miserable job where I had to work ridiculous hours, sometimes 90 hours a week, but even those crazy hours would only last a few weeks or a couple months at a time. Since I started this I've become completely absorbed in the work. Even though I only have a few hours a day to work on it max, I'm staying up till 12 or 1 AM or later every day working. I've given up my lunch hour to work on it. I've given up almost everything I do for fun. I don't play any videogames. I watch very little TV, and I like to keep my mind focused so I haven't listened to many non-entrepreneur related podcasts (which I love) since I started this. I'm exhausted and it's taking a toll on my body.
About the only thing I do to relax is I take Saturdays off. I go to church and spend the day with my friends and family. Sundays lately I have let my wife spend time job searching while I watch my daughter, and soon I'm going to start taking Sundays back to work. That's about it.
Edit: I realized this isn't really true. Between the time I come home from work and my daughter goes to bed, then dinner with my wife is family time.
My friends and family tell me I should take it easier and go to bed earlier. But I tell them no - if I do that I'll never have the success I want. But somehow, I'm not as worthless as I was when I was working all those hours at the crap job. I can still function at work, even though I don't want to go, and I'm generally in good spirits. I know it's because I'm doing this for myself and my family. It's what I want to do and I'm in control. The only thing I wish I had more energy for is playing with my daughter. Sometimes I have to tell her I'm too tired to run around with her, and though that hurts a little I know it's only short term. And because I'm doing this now I will have unlimited time to play with her soon.
So I hope I can inspire newcomers and those that need a pick-up like so many of you have inspired me! I'll get back into the numbers tonight.
The best part of Anton's forums is the motivation, help and encouragement of the fellow members.
Best of luck to Isaac for his continued success, and a big congrats and thank you to him for doing so well and sharing his story with others. It took me exactly two months to start making sales as well for my first store. But the best thing is, once you start making that first sale they just keep coming.
I sincerely hope that Isaac continues to post and help other members on the forums even though he's now set. But I have a feeling that he will.
The next day
One of my stores:
It's been a year since I started my first drop shipping store and they are continuing to do well. Here are the stats from one of my stores. I sincerely believe that anyone willing to put in the hard work, dedication and follow directions can be successful as well.
Anton's Drop Shipping Course/Forums: www.AntonMethod.com
Build My Online Store Podcast Interview: Episode 72
Isaac will be a future guest of the Travel Like a Boss Podcast, but in the meantime, check out fellow course member, Michael Coghlan's interview. He was in a very similar situation and has recently become successful with his stores as well!
Best wishes to everyone!