Welcome to my part of the internet, most people know me as James, though a few still call me Jim.
A 30 (yuck) something British person who lives in the arse end of nowhere..
I have a degree in Business & Management, and even though I run this awesome blog, I am still a full time business consultant. In the words of the guy from Man Vs Food - 'I have held nearly every job in a business that you could have'. I am one of those guys who really does enjoy starting and running online and offline businesses.
So, what do I know about being an online entrepreneur and go-getter...Got a spare 5 mins?
When I was 16 I started my first ever business. It was a car cleaning round. Yep, I set up a weekly car cleaning round. I wanted to go on a School trip, but I had to raise £2,500 to go on this month long trip of a lifetime. So I knuckled down and knocked on every single door in my local village, giving out leaflets, taking on clients, scheduling them in to get as many people done every month as I could. Every weekend I would walk with my bucket and sponge, wrapped up in warm clothes and wellies to my neighbours and spend the weekend hustling away for £5-£10 a car. I was making around £50 every weekend without fail and I set myself the target of raising the full £2,500 through this (I had a year to do it).
I can happily say that I raised the money that I needed, and as soon as I got back from the trip of a lifetime. Could I have carried on? Of course, I could, but, I was starting to become older, and I had just got my first 'real' job. I worked part-time in the evenings as a cleaner and then moved on to a local supermarket - Why? Because I needed a CV and really wanted to go to University in the future!
University was the place that I really started investing time and money into the online world. eBay was my target, I had a friend's Mum who had made a huge amount of money off of a craze, and I wanted to cash in on the next one! So I started researching around, looking at the top selling items on eBay and looking at where I could source them from.
Back then, phone cases were becoming all the rage - Mobile phones were more popular than ever before, and people wanted to show them off with cool phone cases. So, I looked up different places to source them, until I found the golden goose that was Alibaba. I spent weeks searching different suppliers until I eventually found one that looked good. I learnt how to negotiate and how to barter down prices (though I was pretty crap and I still got stung!) In the end I spent £500 on my first shipment of iPhone case - 500 in total. I was nervous. I waited 5 weeks for them to arrive, and once they did I was left with a HUGE box of iPhone cases. They were black and made of silicone, hardly sexy...but at least they were practical.
I then learnt the ins and outs of eBay, working out how to list items up, take photos (or use the ones from Alibaba), how to package and ship them (I even borrowed my parents to help with a lot of it). After a while, I started to buy up other smaller peoples leftover stock, to expand out my own range - That way I could cross-sell, or upsell with cables or screen protectors. My university room was basically my own stock room, full of phone accessories (not to mention my room at my parents home...).
I finally started to close the operation down once eBay opened up the floodgates to allow China to ship directly to the UK and other places, the profit started to dry up and I got my first taste of leftover dead stock... I had to offload 70% of my stock at a wholesale price and flog the other 30% at car boot sales.
University Part 2
Once I had got over being bitten with leftover stock, I decided that I didn't like stock and I started to read about DropShipping. I found a guy online who would print me any case and any design I wanted for £4 and ship it for £2. I jumped at the deal, and opened my first every Shopify store - One that I still run to do this (though a little different these days).
Thankfully both of these endeavours helped me get through University with minimal debt, and that included spending huge amounts of money of parties, clothes and a number of interesting ideas!
After leaving, and graduating I found myself full-time employment. I still kept my Drop Shipping business, but at this time it wasn't 100% automated. I found that I was spending all of my evenings and weekends fulfilling orders via email, on top of working 11 - 16 hour days in one of the worst jobs I have ever done!
I eventually let go of my last DropShipping store, to focus my time on an online venture that could be more 'passive', without having to deal with customers, returns and dealing with orders.
And this was the moment I found my passion, blogging, a way to truly earn a passive income, while still spending 50 - 60+ hours a week at a job. I still have my full time job, because blogging allows me to be flexible, without having to spend hours per day talking to people, or faffing around with ecommerce orders or dreaded refunds.
If you want to learn how to build your own authority site, and get your foundation built, even if you have a 9-5 job, then be sure to check out BlogFocused!