Trial and Error
When I had the opportunity to interview an entrepreneur this semester we had a lengthy conversation about how he started in the beginning, the mistakes that were made and how he learned from them. My entrepreneur Darren, is involved heavily in online business selling various products online ranging from weight loss supplements to now his own line of beauty creams and anti-aging products. He told me about the very first product he began selling online.
He had heard of a product called Meizitang which is an herbal weight loss supplement that also increases your energy while curbing your appetite. While Darren was attending school he knew of another student who was selling it online and making around $12k a month as a fulltime student. He thought “Why can’t I do that too?” and so he did. He created his online store, found out where to order it in bulk which was Allibaba online and began having it shipped directly from a supplier in China to his doorstep. Soon he sold out of it and ordered another shipment but larger this time, and then again, and again. Each time he ordered his order size increased substantially and he also received better pricing. He decided to make his biggest order yet and spent $5,000 on his product. While he was waiting for his shipment to arrive he began looking into other products to sell as well. He got those from a local supplier and began selling.
More than 3 weeks had passed and still no shipment. Finally his package arrived which was supposed to weigh around 50 lbs. There was the large box sitting on his porch. He picked it up…and it was completely empty. He opened it and there was a letter from U.S. Customs addressed to him. More or less the letter told him that they had seized his shipment and would be destroying his product because unbeknownst to him, the FDA had banned his product along with 72 other popular products. His options were to sign the paperwork and allow his product to be destroyed or he could meet them in court for charges of International Drug Smuggling. Just like that, his business was over and he was out over $5,000.00
Darren was devastated and had never lost that much money before, let alone spent that much money at one time on his business. Luckily, he had a strange feeling to try and diversify his business by selling other products. It saved him. He began picking other products and creating weight loss stacks which became his best sellers. He looked for every way to safeguard his business to avoid something like what had happened in the future. In the weight loss industry next to none of the products are FDA approved and they could ban anything at any time. He began selling a product called HGH and he had caught lightening in a bottle.
Though that seizure of his product cost him a lot of money and took him time to build on his other products, he said he learned so much from that experience. He learned to operate his business even leaner than before; he is always searching for the next big thing and making sure he can withstand any one of his products becoming unavailable at any time. He had not been saving as much as he should with his young company so he worked hard to set aside emergency funds for future circumstances. Now he has been on the quest of learning to run his company as an executive and working on his business and not as much in it. He has hired good people to take care of the tasks that occupied too much of his time and can now focus more of his efforts in building the company and others.