Episode 009: $40k in 20 Days | FaceBook Dropshipping Success Story | Philip Sin

  • Selling Products on FaceBook

  • $40k+ in 20 Days Dropshipping on FaceBook

  • $20k from mobile apps

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Episode 009: $40k in 20 Days | FaceBook Dropshipping Success Story | Philip Sin Summary

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  • Philip Sin: Normal Text

Hey everyone, it’s Mateen here from ecommerce9, where we interview different people from ecommerce. Today I have a good friend of mine, now his name is Philip and Philip’s done some dropshipping and Facebook stuff. Hi Philip, how are you?

Hey, hi. How are you?

Yeah, good to have you on the call, man. Thanks for doing this for us. 

My pleasure.

Yeah, so I know you’ve done a lot of Facebook and drop-shipping and we’ve talk before and I also know that you’ve done some, many business things in the past. But I think I’ll start off with asking you about your background. What did you study at school and did you go to college and things like that?

Yes, I had my bachelor’s degree in business communication systems and I have my master’s degree in marketing design.

Right. 

And I came across some elementary business courses like accounting, economy, finance, marketing, etc. However, I was actually not a business minded person. I chose my major because I did not know what I should do at the time. You know, I got poor grades in all those business subjects. In fact, I like, I just like play, I like video games. Yeah, I programmed books as early as when I was thirteen, you know. And the time when I was programming some games, I sent it to my classmates and when I see their happy face, I saw their happy face and I was very happy. I didn’t sell my games, but I just, like, programmed some games for me, for my classmates.

Were they simple games or what kind of games were they?

Like, some JRPG. Japanese role-playing games. Some very simple things, but I wrote a whole story. And I enjoyed writing the story and my friends like just like it. When I got some feedback from my friends they say “oh, this is fun.”And I was very happy. So I took many courses like game design, marketing design, game programming, such as my courses in the university. They were not required by my bachelor program but, you know, we got some free credits that we can spend on some courses that you really like.

Oh, that’s good. 

So I chose that. Because I have core subjects like those business related subjects like accounting, marketing, finance…

Did you like those subjects, or not really?

I don’t like the subjects.

It’s too much information you don’t need to know really. 

Actually, but because I was studying information systems there.

Yeah.

This is programming. So I got some solid skills from programming from those courses. Actually I want to make use of my skills somewhere I really liked, so I took many courses like inDesign, marketing design, then programming. And I got all A’s from those.

Really good, man. 

I’m not showing off but I did good because was very into it.

It’s always good to study something you really like. A lot of people when they do their studies, you know, they’ll do civil engineering or they’ll do business or accounting, but they don’t like the subject. But it’s good that you like game design, you did it for your friends. 

Yes. You studied civil engineering in your college?

Yeah, I did civil engineering for four years. And then… yeah.

May I ask some questions to you?

Yeah, go for it. 

Just curious. How did you tap into this field?

How did I get into marketing?

No, no, no. Engineering.

Oh, engineering. I actually like a lot of art and drawing and things like that. So I thought, well doing art itself is not a very good subject. You can’t make that much money drawing.

Oh really?

Yeah, I like drawing and painting and stuff like that. 

Ah, no wonder. No wonder why you started from teespring.

Yeah, makes sense. That’s why when I found teespring, I was like “Oh wow I can, you know, make designs and make money at the same time.” So… 

Yeah, plus you didn’t look like “I can draw” from your videos. You get some talents on design.

Yeah, so my first youtube channel was drawing anime and stuff like that. It was fun. 

Oh, but I’m just curious, so civil engineering is about drawing?I thought that..

No, civil engineering. I thought, because what I wanted to do was architecture. Right?

Ok. But did you end up being in the civil engineering field?

Yeah, because for me and because of my family, you know, being Indian and all that, they think that being an engineer or a doctor, that’s where the big money is and the profession. So I was thinking architecture, that’s ok, but maybe civil engineering is the same thing. Similar thing. 

It’s fine. You know, I didn’t know what I should do when I graduated. So, my parents just told me that you have to guess, you have to go in business.

Oh, that’s good.

Yeah because I was raised in Hong Kong and Hong Kong is a business city. So, every industry is related to business. So my parents just raised me to get something in business. So, that’s why I chose business even with assistance.

Yeah, that’s very different to me. My parents always told me to do engineering, some big qualification instead of business. If I told them I wanted to do business, then they’d be a bit scared.

Really?

Yeah.

Is your father an engineer?

No, my father is a toolmaker.  So, it’s like basically when you work in factories and you take care of the tools and make sure that they’re running well. So that’s what he does. 

Oh, I see.

Yeah, back in his day, he wanted to be an engineer, but I think the family, they didn’t have that much money back then. And my dad has eleven siblings. Ten brothers and sisters. 

How many siblings did you get?

Me? I have only two. 

I’m the only child.

Are you?

Yeah, I’m the only child.

Wow, must be a different life compared to with siblings. 

Actually, it’s because my family is not wealthy enough to have more children.

Oh right. Yeah. My dad’s family didn’t think about that. They just had ten children. But they weren’t wealthy also. So, my dad wanted to do engineering but my grandpa didn’t have enough money for that. That’s why he did toolmaking.

My father had four siblings and my mother had over ten.

Oh wow.

And many of them, some of them, I haven’t seen some of them to be honest. Never seen some of my mother’s siblings.

Are they in Hong Kong or in different parts of the world? 

I think in Hong Kong. Because the father of my mother has three wives.

Right. 

In the modern society of Hong Kong, you’re only allowed to have one wife. But my grandfather was allowed to marry multiple women.

Oh wow. Interesting. So, good background we did.

So, after I graduated from marketing systems, I recognized my true talents, true interest, are actually in the game design field. Or some programming related. I can control that. So I chose automated design as my major in master degree and I did well and after that, I went to Beijing. Maybe because I did not find any jobs before I went to Beijing, and then I just went there. And I asked a friend of mine to look and help me look for a hotel with a room for one month. And I kept sending resumes to different companies and to look, to seek jobs in game design.

So, is it easy to go from Beijing from Hong Kong?

$4 on an airplane.

Why did you go to Beijing? Can you be a game developer in Hong Kong or is it because Beijing is where all the big development happens?

Actually, the chance of being a game designer isn’t good. Wasn’t good and isn’t good, it’s true now also. Why Beijing? Because the cost of living back in that time was very low.

Oh ok. Even now it’s pretty cheap, isn’t it? In China, in general?

I think, nowadays China got better living standards. I’ll ask my girlfriend. (Asks girlfriend). Yeah my girlfriend says so. Yeah, I think China went up quite a lot this year.

Right, right.

And some cities, the living standard is close to Hong Kong.

Interesting. So, did you find a job in design and development?

Yeah, I found some jobs. I found a job as a game designer.

Ok. So, that’s exactly what you liked?

Yeah, it was very interesting. I worked as a game designer in the company and back at the time the company was just developing some java games.  You know java games?

Yeah, the computer ones right?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. By the time, there was iPhone, but they were not very popular, so I was suggesting to my boss that we should look into this market…

Phone games? Like apps and things?

Because this is the future. Yeah. Because you know like the old java games are just like old school stuff. They would tire very soon.

You know not many people play java games anymore. It’s all phone apps and computer game. 

I think the majority in China were still playing java games.

Mhmm. Ok. 

But I told this to boss. I said I really don’t want to work on java games. And they said “wait.” They didn’t think so and thought they could still earn quite some money from that. And finally they agreed to open an iPhone team for me.

Oh right that’s good.

They never allocated a programmer for me.

Right. So, you had to do everything.

They allocate an artist for me and I’m the game designer. I wrote game documents, but not programming games, and they said “We can’t allocate a programmer to you right now, you just work on document first.” But I want to have things done as soon as possible. ASAP. Right?

Right, yeah. 

And at the time I know programmer skills but to be honest, I never programmed any iPhone games. I never programmed any games that sells. So, I googled it.

Is it the same language or is it different coding language?

By that time, actually, google was banned in China. I had to just google and learn and I had my first IM game finished for my company and they were amazed. This designer can program.

Did it take a long time to make the iPhone game?

No, just one month.

Wow. 

Because I had an artist and he was a person who could put… I think he earned us quite a lot for my past company. Actually, it was a clone of some public game. But back in the time, clones worked. 

Interesting. S,o you made some iPhone games. How did you find ecommerce from that? Like did you do that for a while and then you started looking to business or…?

So, as I worked in Beijing and I started at a company, it isn’t good for me. So I quit my job and I started to work on my own because you know what, because I work less than game designer, but I had to program.

Yeah.

And work I was doing was just allocate an artist for me. So why did I need to be staying in that company? I can make a game on my own. So, I started to make games on my own. I quit the company and I stayed for half an hour in Beijing. I was doing actually just some sightseeing and stopped in Beijing because I decided I have to leave this place.

Right.

So, after that half year I was back in Hong Kong and I went for some office.

Just you designing in that office?

Yeah, it was very small, very tiny. Just like ten square meters. Yeah, so just a tiny space, so I made some games and I look into many Japanese games at the time and I came across one niche that would engage… a virtual girlfriend.

A virtual girlfriend?

A virtual girlfriend.

Oh wow. 

Many games, they are free games. They featured some Japanese girls in anime style. These girls, like when you touch the screen, they talk to you.

Oh, right. 

So I think wow, wow this has got a great credential because I know this may not be good to many people like you and like me. We may not be the right audience for this but I know many people are the right audience.

That’s true. 

I just made an English version for this one. I finished it within the next few weeks, including all programming, drawing, and voice recognition. My girlfriend helped me with this out. She’s doing the voice dubbing for the game.

Interesting. So, you said it took you four weeks to develop that. Is that… 

Yeah, I earned $30k from that.

Oh wow, you earned $30k from that?

Yeah, $30k.

That’s huge, man. 

Yeah, there’s quite a lot pay… it’s not a pay out in the first month, but over the time spent of the game in total, it earned me like $30k.

So, thirty thousand dollars. Can you make the same kind of games today or is like the rules changed or something? Because that was a very special game, right?

Actually I made a second attempt but this market is very easily saturated.

Yeah. I think maybe were you like one of the first people to make this fully western market? 

Yeah, I was the first one. I’m sure I’m the first one. You know, I made a second game on this, I made more girls. The first game, there was just one single girl. One single girl in there. On the sequel, I have six girls in all throughout the course of the game. You have six secretaries and you can… (laughter). I think I earned, too, but not that much. I think like $2k.

Right. That’s interesting. 

Because this market is very easily saturated.

Yeah, I think phone app games is kind of like that. You just make a game, you make as much money as you can and then you develop a new game. Is that how it works?

I don’t know, because, actually, I didn’t get much of a sense in game developing. Just $37k.

That’s pretty good though. So how did you make money from the game? Did you up-sell the apps or did you sell the app for $2, or did you sell ads…?

I think at the time, pay apps were still popular. Nowadays, we have free apps and we have in-app purchases, right? At the time we had pay apps. For a game you have to pay before you can get access to the game. It’s easy, but now I think it’s not the case now.

Yeah I think when iPhones were new, you know, everyone used to say “Oh wow, games are $2 or $3.” Everyone used to buy games because they were so cheap. But now its become normal for all the games to become $1 or $2 or even free, so…

I will say full time developer, at the time, I did no marketing at all. I just built the game. And many people would browse through the app store with some keywords… I did some SEO, we called it ASO, App Store Optimization.

I see, yeah. 

Actually, it’s the same concept.

I think everything just turns into one big search engine at the end of the day.  

You just put the keywords, you have to update the keywords like every two weeks and so you keep your keywords updated. I only did that and I haven’t done any paid marketing.

Oh wow. That’s interesting, man. Because, when I first started making things like that, I remember I made some phone apps. Actually, I made only one phone app. Very simple app. It was when someone called you and you had a ring tone, basically the app would flash. So, it would flash to the same tune of the ringtone. So, it was like sound sensitive flash. 

I bet this is an android only app. Apple phone or iPhone wouldn’t let you do that.

Yeah. I think mine was only Apple at the time. 

Only Apple? Oh?

Oh no, no, no I think I had Android also. 

Oh, really?

Yeah, but I was selling it. I made it free and I don’t think…I was getting some downloads but obviously I wasn’t making that much money. So, then I changed it to $5 per sale.

$5? Wow! Ok.

But for me it was… I spent $200 for my developer to make that game. So for me, I started to learn about internet marketing and all that kind of stuff after I made the game, so I was thinking in my head I just want to make my money back. 

Before I made games I just did some SEO. Now with marketing, I think I can do better.

Yeah, definitely, man. A lot of people make games and promote it on Facebook, so if you had promoted that game on Facebook, you would have been…

But I never did. But what was the year when you put your app on app store? What was the year?

Uh, this was six, maybe five years ago?

Five years ago? Oh.

Maybe two thousand and… actually, no it was 2013. That wasn’t five years, maybe only four years.

Had you done any advertising or marketing or anything like that?

No, no marketing. I just told my friends. That was my only marketing.

Nice. So you are an app developer.

So, but, I think now both me and you, we know a bit of marketing so sometimes when we think of these things, we think about doing it again because we know how to market it well. Right?

Yeah.

Anyway, so you did phone apps. How did you find drop shipping?

Ah, ok. So, you know Pokemon Go, right?

Pokemon Go? Yeah. 

Yeah, that was a very good game and that is a disaster. It destroyed all other games, all indie games like last summer. I was a fan of Pokemon. I anticipated this game for very long, for a total of a whole year. Because, before this game was out for the whole year, there was news and I like this game very much, but after this game was out, my game was earning me like $1k a month. Just $1k a month. Barely I can survive with that, survive with $1k. But after the Pokemon Go released, I was earning $100 a month.

Oh, on your game?

Yeah, I couldn’t survive at all.

Wow. Is it because everyone was spending money on Pokemon Go? Probably. 

That’s because Pokemon Go has a very different model. If you play this game, you have to go out. You don’t have any time staying at home for any other games. I was a player of Pokemon Go and I got up at 6am every morning. I went to on streets capturing pokemons and then I went back home, then I check out what I scored and, like, do some kind of management. I did the management. So, you went out, you walk in the daytime, and right when you are back, you manage your pokemons. You don’t have time for any other games. Yeah, so, this is really a powerful game. I like it but I hate it at the same time.

It must have happened to a lot of people who have game apps. 

I think this happens to many game designers.

Well, I used to also play Pokemon Go. When I was in India on a holiday, I think that’s when it got released. And I played all Pokemon games. Every single one that’s come out. 

Oh, so you like Pokemon?

Yeah, I love Pokemon. Because when I was smaller, I used to draw, like, animals and dragons and things like that, so when Pokemon released, it was like my favorite, favorite anime. I used to watch every episode. I used to sit there and draw Pokemon and I started playing it so I was also waiting for Pokemon Go. But the problem was in India when it got released, I used to play it all the time because in India, we have these three wheel cars. They’re called rickshaws. I don’t know, maybe they have them… maybe they’re called took tooks, you know, in Thailand. You know took tooks? Yeah they’re like small cars. They’re like the taxis. So, in India whenever I used to go from, you know, my Auntie’s house to, we used to go on a big day tour or something for a holiday, I used to just be on my Pokemon Go because it used to drive really slowly, so I could catch all these Pokemon along the way, so I didn’t have to walk around. But the problem was, in my city in India, because Pokemon Go was officially released I think only in America, or Japan maybe at the time. I can’t remember. 

Actually, it was only in Japan, but in Italy I could play that.

I don’t know how that happened. I think because I had to download it using the APK or something with the Android app. 

I think at the time I was using iPhone. Yeah.

Yeah, so that’s what happened to me because I was playing that in India, where it wasn’t released yet, and then what happened is they caught everyone and then they stopped…some of the cities that didn’t allow Pokemon, they stopped…

It happened in Hong kong before.

So, I lost all my Pokemon and then I got really annoyed, so I stopped playing it. And by the time I came back to Australia, I was told that all the gym leaders were, like, level 30. I couldn’t catch up. 

Yeah, so after Pokemon Go released I was so broke. I had to pay for the bills, so I recognized I need some passive income because I know I’m not an office guy. I don’t like to work in offices from 9-5 and I want, you know I’m game minded and passive income is just like passive skills, if you know how the system works, you know? Passive skills you don’t have to try hard to have skills. They’re passive, that means they’re automatic, right? So I googled a lot on some passive income methods, ways. And then I recognized, first of all I have to get some capital. I have no money. So, I look into Fiverr. I was in Fiverr for like four months. I earned like $1k per month. It’s not very much.

That’s not bad. 

I know I can do a lot if I have some initial capital but I can’t do anything like teespring or drop shipping. I read some articles on that, I recognized I had to get some ideas like $2k in capital. So, I started my Fiverr journey. Yeah, I work on Chinese-English translation.

Chinese to English translation? Ok. So, was a lot of people doing that or were you one of the first to do that also?

There were lots of people doing that so I found some of the best selling profiles and I recognized that many of them are putting beautiful girls on the cover page.

It happens everywhere. Not just Fiverr, even in Upwork and outsourcing websites. All those pretty girls getting the jobs. 

So I did the same. Actually not pretty girls, just my girlfriend’s picture. She understands (laughs).

I’m sure your girlfriend is pretty. She must have got you a lot of business. 

So, after like two days, a guy from Singapore who owned a blog, he wrote a blog in Chinese.

So, he wrote in English and he wanted the blog to be in Chinese. 

Yes, but he wanted to have the blog in English.

Oh, he wanted the blog in English. Ok. 

Yeah he wrote in Chinese. I would say his blog was very difficult. It was like, poetry.

Oh right. Very professional. 

Very abstract. I said I have to charge like six times more because that’s not an ordinary article, that’s poetry.

That’s very hard. 

And then I just started. I was charging like 4oo words for every $5.

Is that normal? That’s not bad. 

That’s very cheap. And later I switched to 200, and then later, now its 50 words.

50 words?

Yeah.

For $80?

Yeah.

Oh wow. 

No, for $5.

Oh, for $5. 

Because in Fiverr, you know, everything is $5.

But in fiverr now they have a lot of up-selling. You know, if i want to buy this gig for $5, then they tell me, “Oh for HD quality, it’s an extra $5. To be delivered in 2 days, it’s an extra $5.” So, by the end of it, I end up spending $20. 

I think now my gig is like 50 words for $5, and if you want me to do it in one day, you have to add $15 more dollars and limit it to 400 words only. If it’s more than 400 words, I cannot do it in one day. The article for like 500 words, I have to charge ten gigs, that’s $50.

Is it a lot of work though? Because you have to sit there and translate all this stuff. 

It’s a lot of work. Everyday I’m translating. I translated the audiobooks for a museum.

Ok cool. They found you on Fiverr?

Yeah, Fiverr.

Wow, very interesting. Ok, so then after all this then you started drop shipping? Or did you do something else after Fiverr?

After four months, I got some savings so I stopped. I started my job to save money. So, back at the time I still hadn’t come across your website. I just liked googling and just youtubing for some videos. Then, I just tried. I set up a niche store. I’m selling, like, gamers products because I like games. I’m more familiar with this industry so that’s why I started this way. On my first campaigns, I got no sales.

Yeah, that’s how it is. Your first twenty, thirty campaigns you get nothing. No sales.

But I read the stats. I found that some of the campaigns that were getting more engagements, just low engagements in low thousands. Some of them are getting quite a lot of engagements, but I wonder why there are barely any sales. So I google again for something like a lot of engagement and no sales. So I browse on google and I found the engineer.

So you were doing drop shipping before you found the blog?

Yeah, I did. But I had no sales. But I find the blog and I remember the first blog entry I saw was you were doing a necklace for a tattoo artist.

Yeah, I remember that. 

You got some sales. And there was a click. Oh, I had to do it this way. So, I read all of your entries that night and I didn’t sleep until morning. And I didn’t recognize your forum at the time. I just tried to leave a message. I think you saw me at the time. I left a message.

Yeah, I think I’m pretty sure. Email, you sent me an email. 

I didn’t send you an email. I left it on the blog.

Oh, you commented right? On the blog. 

On some entries because it’s a blog. I kept refreshing the box to see if you replied to my message.

I did reply, right? I reply to everyone. 

Once every two days.

The blog, it gets so many comments. And then I’ve got the forum. It’s so much to do. You know, the blog then the forum. Then obviously my own ecommerce stuff. Back then I didn’t know how to manage it all. 

So, then I just kept browsing and I found the forum button. And then wow, it said it’s free. You said it was free from, I forgot the date, but it was just like a few days before I pressed it.

Yeah, I remember you joining when I think I just made it free. 

I just signed up and joined your blog and I post all my experiences on the forum and yeah, it’s really great.

But you found success very early. Did you continue just doing the same what you used to do like launching the same campaigns or did you change some things like your research method?

I can’t say, maybe it’s just my way, but I don’t like to work on public products. I only have very few sales now. Because before, I just launched as many campaigns as possible. I don’t think this is a bad tactic. In fact, it’s a very good one because it’s a guaranteed one. The chance of earning is very high if you follow this tactic. But I just found it, I got very much better innovations. As you can see I post in the online forums that my chance of breaking even is even high. About 40% breaking even products. You know, when I list the product and launch the app, 40% of the product I got sales.

Right, that’s a lot. 

It’s just one sale. $2. But it’s breaking even.

Yeah. At least it pays for its advertising cost.

At least I didn’t lose any money. But, actually, I don’t recommend this way because it’s just my way. When I launched campaigns my CPCs are always very low.

Do you think its because you have launched so many products on Facebook and you know you spend so much time on your on Facebook and thats why your CPC is low or do you think it’s because the items are now better?

Because of the items.

That’s right. Interesting. 

I can say the product is better. And then add photos. And then the web design of your website. You cannot get a website that looks very…very…

Plain?

I don’t know how to say it. You cannot make a website that looks like a scammer.

Yeah, that’s right. 

And then you pay for some money for people to drive traffic to your website and then it looks like a scammer. Why don’t you buy on Ebay or Amazon, right? That doesn’t cost you any money. You have to look professional. If you want to take this way.

You’re right. But the good thing about Shopify is that pretty much all the themes are very professional. You just need to make some small modifications and you know, the themes that you can use on Shopify, they’re pretty good. 

Actually we can do it better. Ok, for some tips like, always use PNG over JPG.

Right. JPG is less quality isn’t it?

Because I was in the gaming industry, I know. PNG is more incise and always better. It’s a lot less compressions. JPG is mostly compressions.

Oh, right. Nice tip. Ok so cool. You found the forum, you did really good with a couple of products. Did you find the product that you chose, it worked straight away, you were getting sales, or did you have to optimize it to make more sales or was it just because the product, it sold like really good?

I think out of 60 products I had ever tried, I tried some break evens and I got 5 winning products. By 5 winning products I mean, those sell over 50.

Right. 

Over 50 sales. Do you think this definition is ok?

Yeah. It’s about the same. 

My greatest win product I got sales, like 2 or 3 sales, within 24 hours. But to my surprise some products I got 9 sales within 24 hours but I got sales after I killed the campaign.

So you actually launched the campaign and then killed the campaign. 

Yeah because the stats weren’t good. But I got sales after that, so I turned it on again. I think this may be related to the time I launched the campaigns. Because over the time I recognized I got very few sales on Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, and then I got more sales on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and maybe Monday.

Yeah, Facebook is very complicated like that, you know. Sometimes also…

Today, I just launched some campaigns, it hasn’t spent any. It was approved but it wasn’t getting sales. And then in just like ten minutes, its amount spent was like $5.

It does that sometimes. 

Ten minutes for me and then the rest was just like 80.

80? For $5?

For those campaigns, I would keep that. I won’t kill. Because I know this is some bug on Facebook. You have to keep those campaigns for real numbers.

Yeah, you’re right. There is some bugs on Facebook. 

You have to keep. So, you have to look for at least one day of ordinary stats for any campaigns.

Maybe it’s good if you just give it that 24 hours of spending. So, you know, 12 to 24 hours. I usually keep it at $5 because unless it has a bug like that. But usually I find if I launch the campaign maybe midday American time, if I’m launching to America, then, yeah, it does ok. But sometimes if you launch it in the last one hour of the day, then it will just suddenly spend everything or do something like that. 

So, back to the topic. Or where were we?

We talked about drop shipping. I wanted to ask you, like, your research strategy. So let’s talk more about the strategy. For you, how do you research products?

So, of the five winning campaigns I got, none of them were very popular products. Because I read many entries on the forums, not only yours, but like when I googled they let you look for popular products. They sort by the sales. But I don’t think this a very good strategy because, you know, I tried it and I failed. If I went back in time, I got some product, a product called Harry potter brushes. I saw a winning campaign on Facebook. I bet you saw it before too, right?

Yeah. 

So, I tried to launch that product as well, but I barely got any sales. I think I select two or four. But it’s leveraging a winning campaign, a breaking even campaign. Maybe I didn’t do the targeting because I was never a fan of the product. I didn’t know what to target.

I think these days when I select a product, I make sure that I know exactly how to target it. So if the product is too broad or I cant think of how, you know, which interests I would put or if there’s any magazines or clubs I would put. If there’s none of that for that niche or that product, then I don’t select that product. 

I think Harry Potter is not a very hard target. I think it’s easy.

Once you get used to it, it’s not bad. 

At the time, maybe I was not very familiar with Harry Potter. I think I targeted some movie titles of Harry Potter, but I didn’t know if this was very general or not, because I never watched Harry Potter. But, like two weeks ago, I tried it and that got much more engagements but barely any sales but I felt like I did better because I tried to target the colleges, the college names, the schools in Harry Potter.

That’s a lot more better than the movie names. The targeting makes a big difference. You have to really, you know, once you launch 30, 40 campaigns, you start to learn what is good targeting and bad targeting. 

I never got any good selling products. I mean, they were never selling good before I did.

So, the ones that worked good for you were the products that did not have many sales on Ali Express. 

All of them. All of the 5 winning products.

All of them?

Yeah, all of them. I never sold any products that sell more than ten.

Right. That’s a good strategy because a lot people think “Oh this one is selling thousands, it must work really good on Facebook.” But it’s probably selling thousands because someone else is marketing it on Facebook.

It’s just like a big pizza. It’s a good pizza but you have a thousand people sharing the pizza. Right? And I get a tiny pizza and I’m the first to eat it.

I see. Good comparison.

The strategy for me to search for new products…Honestly I would search on Facebook search bar sometimes but I never do the exact products that I come across. Sometimes I will go to Ali Express and then you scroll down and then you can see your recommendations. Then, you can see a thousand, try your luck and based on your history. You don’t have to follow the exact product they show you, but just get some inspiration. Maybe you see a Pokemon style hoodie, ok? So you search Pokemon hoodie, maybe search Pokemon shirts, maybe search Pokemon tee. I just want to demonstrate that you need not follow the exact product on the suggestions but you want to, based on your suggestions, you think of some words you can search in the search bar. I want so share one more useful worksite. I sometimes go to randomking.com

Random King?

Yeah, Random King. It shows random products on Ebay or Amazon. On Ebay, I think. Maybe you can try it.

I think you’re right. You need to just get inspiration from somewhere. Whether it’s Facebook, or a website. Alright so, that’s basically your research strategy. Let’s talk more about the actual Facebook advertising. So, I know theres a lot of people that say “I do clicks to websites” and “I optimize by purchases” or “I do PPE” ads. Do you find there’s a specific type of ads that work well for you, or do you try all of them?

PPE works really well for me, but just before you were calling, I was talking to another drop shipper and she just suggest to me to try WEC. Is that under PPE campaign I have tried on taking products before. I just switched to WEC. I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ll try it.

You have to, I guess, try everything. I know there’s some people that say the clicks to websites work well and I think nowadays a lot of people are doing manual bidding. Have you heard of that?

Yeah I just heard from you. Can you tell me more?

So manual bidding, you know how when we make our campaigns on Facebook, we let Facebook set how much they charge us for the clicks or how much they charge us for add to cart, etc. But with manual bidding you can tell Facebook that you only want to bid $5 for every add to cart. So then, it’ll try and find that kind of an audience for you that will give you that conversion rate. And if it can’t give you that value, or that price for the add to cart. So you can say “Oh, I only want to spend only $5 for add to cart” or “I want to spend only maybe $0.80 per click to my website,” so you can control these things. So if Facebook can’t send you this traffic that cheap, it just won’t spend for you.

But, like, ok. I never saw it in this way. Because everyone else is bidding at a higher price.

I’m not sure. I haven’t tried it. But I’ve heard of that, so I think the next campaigns I’m going to make, I’m going to do manual bidding just to see. 

Interesting.

I think it’s also good for when you’re scaling your campaigns, so say you are running it $5 per day and you increase it to $10 per day. Now, if you increase it for $10 per day you can increase the manual bids to make sure that it’s only spending the same price for add to carts and the same price for each purchase. So maybe that might work when you’re scaling just from the budgets. There’s a lot of testing to be done. 

Oh. Interesting. I may have to give it a try.

Yeah, so is there any product that you avoid, that maybe don’t work for you? I know jewelry doesn’t work for me, but seems it works for some people. But is there any product, maybe clothes?

Yeah I sold some jewelry in my second store.

Oh right. It depends on the type of jewelry, right? It can’t be general jewelry, it has to be something very specific?

You have to be professional, because like imagine, always imagine you are the customer. You’re a girl, you’re a woman, you come across a site. Maybe you’re selling for jewelry and then at the same time, you’re selling games. Would you be confused to buy from that site? You would. Yeah because my case is different. I have a women’s store. I sell many awesome women’s stuff and they feel safe there. They feel safe to spend there. I guess if I put the jewelry on my first store, the general store, the gamer store, and I put the same targeting, the same ad, they won’t sell.

I think you’re right because in your case it’s like a branding thing, the whole web store is made for that type of fashion, right?

Yeah it’s true. How about the products I avoid. Actually, I follow random products, but I choose, somehow choose my products based on my self interest. Like the gamer store . And I don’t have to do much on that. 

So you’re just the middle man. 

It’s a no brainer, yeah. But my general store, I have to choose the product myself. I avoid product that I’m not familiar, I avoid popular products, products that sell more than 400 or 500. 

Alright, very interesting. I guess I have interviewed maybe 2 or 3 people doing drop shipping on Facebook and it’s interesting, so many different ways of thinking. You know, because I’ve been doing it for so long, you know, I have a very specific strategy but I talked to Damian, I talked to Phil and Harrison, and they all have a little bit different ways that they do things but they still make good money. I don’t think it’s really one strategy works for everyone. 

Yeah I don’t mean to say my way’s the only way. I think that there are many, many, many different ways. What you provided for newbies, newcomers, some strategies that have the biggest chance of earning, I think. Because you think we should test as many campaigns as possible because as a newcomer, you won’t have intuitions of choosing products. What may sell well on Facebook may not do very well, but what you think may not sell, but indeed they may be winning products. So, for newcomers, I suggest, they should try as many products as possible, as well. Don’t follow my strategy because I really know how to target the people, what products will do on Facebook, what products won’t do on Facebook because I’m also guiding another drop shipper right now. And I can find that his problems, like, he has two problems. One problem is that all of his products are very popular ones. I can easily stress that on Facebook I can type the products in the Facebook search bar and I see tons of advertisements for the same products. The second problem is that the product itself is very difficult to target.

I think once you launch, like you said, once you launch like 30-50 products, you start to learn the small things. 

Many newbies would seek to like products on Amazon, Ebay, and for popular products. But the model is different, completely different. On Amazon or Ebay, the people get ready to buy something. They got their money prepared and they want to search for something and they want to get it ASAP. So I want a hi-fi speaker in my house, so I search hi-fi speaker on Ebay and yeah, you allocate some money for that. You just compare the best deals and you get the product right. So some people are just browsing through their friend’s feed and browsing some news, and then you interrupt people and say “Hey, you have to get this!” The product itself cannot be those selling good on Amazon or Ebay. You have something unique, something that the people have never seen before.

Yeah, that’s very true because if people are just browsing Facebook, they’re having fun, so if you want them to pay attention to your product and pay for it, it has to be very, very unique. 

Yes, unique to someone, right?

Yeah. I think that’s also what you realize once you’re selecting product. So nowadays, I don’t select any products that I feel doesn’t make me interested in the product. If it’s just a very general product like say, you know, an elephant pillow or something like that, then I don’t select it. Like, it has to be something like “Oh wow, what’s this thing?” And then I click into it. And if I have that kind of feeling, then I think maybe this will work on Facebook. 

Yeah I can say out of the five products I have, four of them are very unique. One I had never seen before. I can offer a very good price. Because I know the price level. I shop once in a while. I know the prices of different products. One is very cheap in China but it costs a lot in Europe. So, it also works if you have some sense of what the price level is in different countries. 

Definitely, man. What do you think separates people that make money to the people that don’t make money because there’s so many people that join the forum or I see them in the groups and they say things like, “Oh, I’ve already spent thousands of dollars and I still haven’t made, I haven’t found a campaign that’s making me money.” Do you think that these people are doing something wrong that you can spot that easily or maybe luck or what do you think?

But actually you are providing a solution to them. Because you say you launch as many products as possible and you suggest that maybe you got like $3k in your bank account before you’re doing that, right?

Yeah. 

And actually what you’re doing and I’m doing are the same but I just skip the selling products. But for people with their intuitions on Facebook, they have to like as many as possible. You don’t know what products can sell and what can’t and so you have to, like, try them.

I think the most important component for all these, you know, whether you’re doing PP ads or click to website ads, whatever it is you’re doing, the main thing that makes the biggest difference for me has always been the product. 

Yes, the product.

So these people that I see sometimes that have spent a thousand dollars, when I ask them how many campaigns have you launched, they may say “Oh, I launched five or six.” So, some of these people spend $500 on the one product, but it doesn’t work like that, right?

I don’t know. What is strange is that they spend $500 on a single campaign or product. Maybe it’s better if you spend like $500 off 100 campaigns off the same product with different countries. It’s better.

Definitely. 

Sometimes, when I stop making product, I would spend like $20 or $25, $30 a day but on 5-6 campaigns. On different targets, entirely different countries for the same product.

Yeah. You know, I also learned recently, I think I was talking to Damian, and Damian, I don’t know if you’ve seen his posts on the forum, but he’s busy doing some other stuff now. He doesn’t comment much. But I interviewed him and he was saying he was selling phone covers, right? 

Phone covers?

Yeah, phone covers. So, he found that the phone covers worked better when you were split testing them with Android. So, you know in the Facebook targeting, you can select your “only add to Android users?” 

Actually, just before you were calling, yesterday I tried a phone cover.

Right.

Because I noticed one very strange thing. In China, phone covers are very cheap. They really don’t cost anything. But in Italy here or in Naples, I see many stores selling phone covers. I don’t understand why. How can a store survive on only selling phone covers? Because some covers cost a lot here.

How much do they cost there?

People are willing to spend 20 euros.

Right. They’re expensive. 

Yeah, for one cover, yeah.

Yeah, so even in Australia I think they’re about 30 Australian dollars. 20 to 30 Australian dollars. Very expensive.

But you know in China, it’s like 20-30 Chinese dollar. That’s like five or six bucks. It’s crazy. So I came across a case with a very cute, illustrated lion.

Right. 

And I tried an angle. I tried to advertise as a new phone cover. But, I didn’t get any success I but maybe I still haven’t figured out ways to target.

The phone cover thing, so Damian was saying that he found out that, so he had a campaign that was breaking even for him or not making that many sales but he found out that most of the sales were coming from Android users. 

So, Android users will spend more on phone covers?

Well, apparently. That’s worked for him for the product he was testing. I don’t know if it’s the case for all of them. 

A cover yesterday was only available for iPhones but I wonder how do you only target Android users because Android has many different models.

No, I think in Facebook you can type a Samson Galaxy S4 devices. 

But you can’t get all the models.

Yeah, I’m not sure, I have to double check. I think you’re right, that you can’t get all the models. I’m sure maybe with custom audiences you can do something. I don’t know, I have to double check. 

But the most popular models out there are Android.

So I think even when we’re split testing campaigns, if you have a break even campaign, I think it’s also worth it to split test the device. So maybe Apple users buy more than Android users for that, even if it’s not a phone cover. Who knows, maybe it’s a toy or something. It’s a good split test to do. 

Can you give me some feedback on the targeting of my phone cover campaigns I launched yesterday. I targeted birth months July and August and I intercepted an interest in Leo astrology and many things related to Leo. And I nailed down online shopping…

That’s pretty good targeting. 

…to people who like drop shipping and Ali, not Ali Express. I excluded people who like drop shipping and Ebay and Amazon.

I think that’s good targeting but you have to sell some products to, I think they’re called, people who follow star signs I guess. And they like things with quotes on them, like phrases, something nice about that Leo. So if it’s just a picture, I would also suggest maybe type something that, you know, Leos…

That’s a very specific one because you feature a very cute lion.

I’ve never been able to sell something with just pictures. Usually they have…even when I was doing teespring, it was a very big industry selling things to that Leos and Sagittarius people, but all the products had some phrase on them. Even if it was a pendant, or something like that. 

So, are there any more questions?

Let’s see. Well, I’ll ask you the last question. It’s always good to know what your plans are. So do you want to stay in ecommerce, maybe you want to build a brand. Where do you see yourself going?

Yes, I want to combine ecommerce with my interests. I want to design some games on Kickstarter and yeah, ecommerce.

Yeah, now that you know marketing, I think it’s more fun working on games because you think exactly how you are going to market it, right? 

I want to be in the card games. Yeah because although I’m a programmer, I think the cost of card games is very low. 

It is. I think it’s all paper and cardboard. 

Yeah and I have many degrees for that. I can design very well game structure… Maybe I have to hire some artists to draw the cards, but I can do that all as well.

Maybe, we’ll see. I think there might be a way to make a phone app and also like a physical board game maybe there’s some way to make that. Work together or something. 

Future playing is to make some games on Kickstarter an I would also launch the mobile phone version of the game. But I want to say something, because I communicate a lot with my suppliers and I can tell that one of my main products is actually a board game. So I have very well communications with the suppliers on board games and I found out something very interesting. I told him I may want to invest on my board game or card game later.

So you give them the designs and they will create the board game?

Lowest price, but what is holding me back is because I’m selling well in games and board games now and I tried to find some other games on the internet that may be fun and I showed them the pictures of the games and they told me “this game is made in China. You don’t have the original copy, we cannot manufacture.”

Oh right. 

You know what? Why are there many games on Ali Express because they manufacture them in China?

Yeah, like the original board games they manufacture them in China. Is that what you’re saying?

The Chinese guys make them. They just go on Ali Express. So if you are the person to design the game, you have to think twice whether you want to have it manufactured in China or elsewhere.

Oh wow, very interesting. I guess these are things you only learn once you keep in the industry and keep making new things. 

Yes because I communicate a lot with the suppliers. Really.

Yeah, it’s good. Not many people communicate that much with their suppliers. Once I have a winning product, that’s it. But I also like to talk to them and see if there are other things we can do together, because once they start to like you or they trust your business, there’s lots of things you can do with suppliers. 

Yes. And the last thing I suggest is to learn Chinese. When you use Chinese to just talk to suppliers, they have very strong sense of civilization. You know what I mean? They see you can speak Chinese, they see. Because I’m mostly Chinese, it’s not my native language but I can speak quite well Chinese. But they tend to have lower supplies for me. Because you are also Chinese we are willing to do more business. 

I think you’re right. If you learn some Chinese, you’ll do good business with them, show them that you’re good to work with. I think it’s important now to learn Chinese because so many…

It’s a powerful language, powerful culture. If you speak Chinese they think that you pay respect and then they’re willing to give you a lower price.

Alright, Philip. I think we might end it there. Any last tips or did we cover anything?

I think it’s ok.

Alright, thanks for doing the podcast for everyone. 

Please let me know when you have your podcast ready.

I will. Alright guys, that was Philip from the forum. We shared a lot of good information on Facebook and drop shipping so make sure you comment and share and subscribe to the podcast. I’ll be releasing this one soon. Join me in the next podcast. 

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