How I Built a Multi-Million Dollar Brand with $300Jul 19, 2022
Wow!! For the last year I've debated sharing all of this info (imposter syndrome never goes away, so take it from me, your fears are the main reason you're holding yourself back). Can't believe I'm about to spill this, but here we go (eek!)...
Hi there! Glad you're here :)
So, let's start with where I came from. I used to think my dream career was to become a professor. I love learning things and teaching others certain skill sets that I enjoy. In 2017, I graduated with my Masters of Science, and started the very next semester as a PhD student in Carbohydrate Chemistry (yes, ultra science nerd and I'm proud of it). BUT.. during my first semester in the doctoral program, I was bored. A few months went by and I was more miserable. Showing up to the same dungeon office, doing the same lab protocols on a day to day basis... I couldn't do this for another 3-4 years, could I?
After the first PhD semester, I left the program voluntarily and decided that I wanted something more. Something that tested me and taught me irreplaceable skills that I could profit from. I wanted to be my own boss. But I was a PhD dropout with a science background. Not business. Not marketing. Literally nothing that led me to believe I could build a multi-million dollar brand within just a few years. But there I was, 6-figures in student loan debt, and leaving my entire career that I *just* graduated with completely in the dust. Was I crazy? Absolutely. But something told me that I just had to go for it. Even though I had no idea what I was doing and had to just teach myself along the way.
Fast forward to January 2019. I had a product that I made with my own two hands in my tiny apartment. I was hand-sewing headbands. With $300 to my name, and nothing but this big grand idea for the brand I wanted to build, I was relentless to figure out how to build a brand and get out of my own trenches. And let's just say, my gut was right.
Beginning a brand in my tiny apartment (well, my friends apartment. My only designated space was this tiny bedroom that I let my entire business take over).
- 2019: My first year building my brand. $130,000 in sales. 6-figures! I was ecstatic. (You can see I made some sales starting in 2018 - at the time this was hobby income before I decided to go full-force into building this brand).
New apartment, who dis. A little more space for me to work on my inventory. Half way through 2019 I just couldn't keep up with demand and starting working with manufacturers to help me keep up!
- 2020: 2nd full year building my brand. Over $1,800,000 in sales. Almost 2 MILLION in sales. At this time, I was working with new manufacturers and my "warehouse" was my new apartment that I purposely secured a 2nd bedroom for (see pics below).
I had to upgrade my apartment to a 2-bedroom just to store my inventory! It even started overflowing into the kitchen, and that's when I knew I had to commit to a warehouse.
August 2020 - secured a 3,000 SF BRAND NEW warehouse. I was so excited to have my apartment space back haha!
- 2021: 3rd full year building my brand... a whopping $5,000,000 in sales - absolutely insane! The graph below only accounts for direct website sales and doesn't even include the additional income I got from wholesale/B2B accounts. At this point we even secured our first BIG wholesale account - Free People starting selling our products (my all-time favorite store).
Filling up the entire warehouse!
- 2022 ytd: crossing the official 8-FIGURE MARK. Stay tuned for stats ;)
How did I do it? Here's what I DIDN'T do:
- I didn't get lucky.
- I didn't take on debt or loans.
- I didn't take on investors.
So, what's the secret?
- #1: I hired help. I couldn't scale to huge numbers by doing it all myself. When I made enough profits working alone, I hired on a customer service rep, then an order packer to get orders out faster, then someone to help me hand-sew my inventory, then a manufacturer, then a warehouse that eventually led to me hiring multiple full-time staff.
- #2: I stopped trying to do everything manually and implemented automated systems. Like email and SMS flows/sequences and customer self-serve portals.
- #3: I tried various marketing strategies and leaned in on what was working. Strategic giveaways, microinfluencers, and paid advertising.
- #4: I hired mentors. This was perhaps the most exciting yet expensive investment in 2020. I paid nearly $50,000 for mentors to help me get to the next level (from 6-figures to my first $1,000,000). The things I learned in this mentorship are truly priceless, and I've kept all my brand-building secrets that I've learned hush hush... until now.
- #5: I diversified my marketing efforts. Focusing on only one platform for your brand just isn't going to cut it. You need to leave your branding breadcrumbs across the internet (surprisingly, it's a lot easier than it sounds).
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: What I learned along the way.
- Finding a product to sell online is actually really easy. So is finding manufacturers (literally at the click of a button). And you don't need to start hand-making your product to get the ball rolling. Your product doesn't have to be revolutionary. I started by selling HEADBANDS! Absolutely not revolutionary, but I found a way to make them unique. You can now find our website here.
- You can set up your website in as little as a day, FOR FREE - no coding experience required. What a time to be alive (and a business owner)!
- You can outsource all of your warehouse and shipping needs and only focus on selling. Want to hire your own team and be in charge of your inventory? Securing a small warehouse is simple and cost-effective. Don't want the liability or management of a warehouse? Hire a 3PL to handle everything for you. Literally.
- Learning marketing skills is difficult and takes time if you are new, BUT I've got the entire ready-to-implement blueprint so you can take out the guesswork.
- It gets lonely at the top. If you're like me and you don't have close friends that run businesses, chances are the people closest to you will have a hard time understanding your entrepreneurial problems and won't be able to provide valuable advice. I've gathered my network, filled with entrepreneurs who are new, and entrepreneurs who are producing 6, 7-, and 8-figures in revenue that will be able to provide insanely valuable feedback to our community. You go a lot farther, and faster, when you surround yourself with experienced entrepreneurs.
- You can't do it alone. When you want to do big things (millions of dollars worth of things), there will come a time when you feel stuck, when you can't crack the system, and you need to hire help. Take it from me - I hired mentors for $50,000 just to get to the first million in sales using my profits I already generated. Hefty investment! Running the entire brand operation and figuring out how to scale is like working 10 full-time positions every day. It is exhausting, confusing, and I always recommend outsourcing help to make your life 100X easier. If you are working 12+ hours a day on your business, like I was in the beginning when I was self-teaching myself everything, you aren't using your time to your advantage and it will take you longer to reach your goals. You need to implement automatic systems and flows ASAP. Now I work 2-3 hours a day on my brand and produce better results. Can you imagine being handed this entire brand building blueprint?
Now, I'm spilling all my secrets on a FREE webinar on July 28, 2022. Due to software limitations, there are a limited number of spots available - so get in while you can! Click the link below to reserve your seat :)