Johnny FD is a 36 year-old digital nomad from San Francisco who currently spends 11 months a year traveling abroad, while running online drop-shipping businesses and an online course, making a strong 6 digit annual income.
His story is one of following your passion and taking on opportunities when they present themselves – he quit a boring corporate job, then became a scuba diving instructor and a professional Muay Thai fighter in Thailand, then became completely broke, which eventually led him to starting a drop-shipping business and becoming a full-time digital nomad.
It all begins with a passion for traveling.
Being Broke Can Lead to a Successful Online Business
At the age of 26 Johnny decided that working a corporate job from 9 to 5 was not how he wanted to live his life any longer. That same year he quit his job as an account executive in California and spent 3 weeks traveling around Southeast Asia.
Then he decided to settle down in Thailand, where he became a full-time dive-master and scuba diving instructor, while also training as a professional Muay Thai fighter after work.
This new life he found himself in was extremely exciting, however at some point he got exhausted and broke: “I was running out of money while living in Thailand, my body was getting too beat up from scuba diving and fighting but I didn’t want to go back and get a corporate job in the United States. So I decided to find ways to make money online and continue traveling at the same time. That led me to writing my first Kindle book, titled “12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on The Cheap”. It was a lot more successful than I imagined and since it made quite a bit of money, I realized I could find other ways to build up my online income”.
Johnny started looking into other ways to make money online and eventually made friends with this guy called Anton, who had been drop-shipping furniture in the United States for years and was still making money while traveling. The same day Johnny purchased Anton’s online course that taught how to launch and run a successful online drop-shipping store.
How to Market Your New Drop Shipping Store
Right after finishing the online course, Johnny decided to set up a drop-shipping business and had his first sale within two months: “The way it worked was simple – I built an online store on Shopify, got approved by manufacturers and suppliers in my niche to get the wholesale pricing and would upload their products on my store. Every time someone ordered anything from my online store, I would forward those orders directly to the supplier, who would take care of picking, packing and shipping, whereas I would keep the profit. The best thing about the business was the fact that since I wasn’t warehousing or shipping any of the products myself, I could run it from absolutely anywhere. So I chose to run my business while traveling around Thailand and Southeast Asia.”
When it comes to running a successful drop-shipping store, customer acquisition is the absolute key. You don’t need to do any software development, because Shopify takes care of that; you don’t need to search for suppliers, because Oberlo takes care of that; you don’t need to do any picking, packing and shipping, because your suppliers take care of that; however, finding customers is entirely your job and this is what will make or break your business.
That’s why I was keen to learn how Johnny managed to acquire his first customers and how he grew his customer base further. This is what worked best for him: “When I launched my online store, I started running Google AdWords campaigns. Then I would retarget those customers via Facebook ads with special offers and coupon codes. After a while I realized that the customers who were buying my products had friends and colleagues that were also my potential customers so I would do all I could to make sure the buying experience was excellent to get the word of mouth spreading. To achieve that I rewrote all of the standard e-mail notifications to be extremely personal and friendly, so getting an e-mail about your FedEx tracking number would be like receiving an e-mail from a friend. I also included little gifts with each order that didn’t cost me much money, but made my customers feel appreciated and valued.”
These little optimizations all added up and Johnny’s online store became profitable the very first month he went live and kept growing every month after that.
$60,000 Profit For a Few Months of Work?
After some success running drop-shipping businesses, Johnny came up with this idea to focus on starting, optimizing and selling online stores as opposed to running them himself. In that case he could make 1-2 years worth of income for just a few months of work: “The 20% effort that made me 80% of the profits was definitely starting, optimizing and selling the stores as I get paid for 1-2 years worth of profit (sometimes even more) upfront for zero additional work after the sale. My model has turned from running multiple drop-shipping stores that made $2,000-$5,000 monthly profit per store to starting them and running them until profitable, optimizing them for maximum value and eventually flipping them for $60,000 or more, which means the total profit including running the store and the sale ends up being healthy five figures or more for just a few months of work.”
I personally know quite a few people running successful drop shipping businesses, but no one ever told me about the upsides of flipping stores versus running them yourself. Good stuff!
Interested In Following Johnny’s Footsteps?
Here are the top 3 books that helped Johnny quit the 9 to 5 and become a digital nomad:
- The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss;
- Rich Dad/Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki;
- The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone.