Travel, relocation, music, THREE (of my own) weddings, and scaling the business…
2016 was all about growth.
This was a huge year for progression in almost every area of my life… when I look back at these past 12 months it almost doesn’t seem real that so much has changed in such a short amount of time… I have a new home, a new office, and a wife!
Last year I documented my company’s growth on our blog. Since then I’ve made a habit of sharing weekly posts to help others grow their drop ship stores… but I haven’t shared much of my personal story or what’s really been happening “behind the scenes”. This post will be different.
As you already know, my company, Drop Ship Lifestyle helps people create freedom through entrepreneurship so this post will reflect on those things… but it will also share a behind the scenes look into the business and into my life.
So here it is: Drop Ship Lifestyle 2016 Year In Review.
If you haven’t looked back at your year and done some reflection, I highly recommend it. Alright, now let’s start with the very beginning….
January 1st – New Year’s Eve in Singapore.
I can’t say that Singapore is my favorite city in S.E. Asia, but I can say that they know how to throw a NYE party… my fiance (now wife.. More on that later) celebrated at the Marina Bay Sands and it will certainly a night to be remembered.
The firework show in Marina Bay is something everyone in that part of world should make an effort to see. The lights and sounds all reflect off of the water and the surrounding high-rises which make it a truly unique experience.
February – Wedding #1: Qui Nhon, Vietnam.
Wedding number 1 took place on the other side of the world… in Qui Nhon, Vietnam. It’s a small beach town in central Vietnam and it also happens to be where my wife is from. We had a traditional ceremony out there to celebrate. Which was interesting, to say the least! We were also lucky enough to have a HUGE group of friends from all around the world attending.
My sister (and Drop Ship Lifestyle web designer) Laura has visited me in Thailand and in Vietnam a few times in the past, but this time she brought my mom along. I’ve got to say – it felt great to be able to fly them both out on an Emirates A380 thanks to all of the credit card miles that I receive.
For anyone wondering – Credit Card miles are a HUGE hidden benefit from running a drop ship store. My card of choice is the AMEX Business Platinum. I’m not big into travel hacking but this card has a good rewards system. It includes a ton of travel benefits and overall makes leveraging points easy. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is drop shipping.
March – Honeymoon in Da Nang.
The Intercontinental in Da Nang is hands down the nicest resort I’ve stayed at. We spent one week with some good drinks (coconuts for my wife and something stronger for myself) and an amazing view of the ocean.
I also had a webinar scheduled on one of our days there so I decided to do it from our balcony… I’d have to assume that this sets some kind of record for “most relaxing place to host a webinar from”.
April – Launched Drop Ship Lifestyle 1-on-1 Coaching.
Drop Ship Lifestyle took a massive shift in direction when I decided to open a beta version of my one-on-one coaching program. I wanted to do something for my drop shipping community that would give them more confidence when building their drop shipping stores for the first time.
I experimented with doing some one-on-one coaching myself – and the results were amazing.
In a short 30 minute call, my Drop Ship Lifestyle students could ask about anything they had been struggling with, then get an INSTANT answer. They could then implement whatever had to be done and move onto to their next step…
As soon as I started providing this type of support our success stories sky-rocketed.
I knew I needed to offer this coaching to all of our students, but I also knew I didn’t have the bandwidth to offer it to everyone.
This is when I reached out to my successful students who had already proven to provide massive value in our online communities to see if they’d like to become Drop Ship Lifestyle Certified Coaches. Luckily for me, some great people said YES, and they’ve been provided massive value to our new students ever since.
May – Move Back To The States.
After 3+ years living in S.E. Asia it was finally time to return home!
This was ultimately a business decision but another motivation for the move was to spend more time with family and friends. Also, I’d be able to attend more events and music festivals… that leads us to June.
June 3rd – Governors Ball.
Even while living abroad, I’ve traveled home for the Governors Ball Music Festival for the past 3 years… and yes, it’s been on an a380… and yes, it’s been with AMEX miles!
This year we got a bunch of rain but that just added to the experience. If anyone lives close to NY I’d highly recommend attending in 2017… and even if you don’t live close you should go anyway. I’ve been flying in all the way from Vietnam!
June – Moved to Austin & Began The Search For An Office.
Things got real in late June when we got to the office. It was time to find an office, a warehouse, and new team members.
Looking for office space in a booming entrepreneurial city is a lot more stressful than I thought it would be but I got lucky.
July – Opened Office In Austin.
In early July I found a company who was subletting their space which was the perfect size, was already furnished, and only 5 minutes away from my apartment. Win, Win, Win.
We moved in over a weekend, had a few walls painted, and got to work.
July – Married My (Other) Best Friend In Florida.
So here’s something I never thought I’d be doing… MARRYING someone on a beach in Florida!
One of my best friends asked me if I could do this for them a few months back and I immediately said yes. I don’t know why he thought of me for this, as I had no experience and no certification. I quickly learned you can get that online in about 5 minutes.
So I became a Minister, wrote a speech, and went to Florida to spend an amazing week with great friends in West Palm Beach. It was a great success.
For anyone wondering – I used a modified version of my webinar script and killed it! 🙂
July – Wedding #2: Austin, TX.
After flying back to ATX – we had our “official” marriage in a courthouse!
July – Flew To Hawaii To Plan The Retreat.
With only 4 months before the Drop Ship Lifestyle Hawaii Retreat – we had to shift into planning mode. Luckily for me – my friend Michael Coghlan from FBAEmpire was born and raised in Kona and he offered to show us around.
This resulted in the easiest to plan retreat we’ve ever had. A few connections, a few conversations, a few shaved ices, and the retreat plans were finalized.
I had over 100 people fly out from all around the world for 4 days of networking, learning, and fun… but I’ll share more that later…
August – Launched Drop Ship Weekly.
If you haven’t tuned into to Drop Ship Weekly yet, you’re missing out on some of the best training online…
Click here to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and you’ll get training on:
- Niche Selection
- Supplier Sourcing
- Shopify Design
- Paid Traffic
And whatever else I am thinking on Thursday mornings when I hit record!
The show has been a great experience for me as it helps me connect with the community. Everyone submits weekly questions on our Facebook group and the show gives me a chance to provide personalized support. It also helps me learn how I can better assist the community. It’s something I’ll continue to do as long as it continues to provide value to you.
September – Vegas Baby.
I love Vegas and I have been traveling there for tradeshows and industry events for the past 10 years or so. Good entertainment, good food, and good pools always equal a great time… that’s why I jumped at the chance to book a trip there when my wife told me her favorite band was playing.
We saw Coldplay perform at the T-Mobile Arena and it was amazing. They really know how to perform and it ended up being one of the better concerts that I’ve experienced.
Here’s an episode of Drop Ship Weekly that I filmed from our hotel:
September – Started Planning IMx.
IMx stands for Internet Marketer Expo – this is an event I am deciding to host after being sick of seeing conferences designed for “gurus” to get on stage and try to sell you the next best thing… IMx is different. IMx is being created to make you a better marketer.
I originally had the idea for this event after spending well over $100k on different software and online tools over the past couple of years. Some were great for me, some were not, others were never used. That’s because I didn’t get a chance to fully understand how to use them, despite how powerful they can be…
These are the types of companies who will be at IMx.
At IMx, you will get a chance to use hands-on demos of some of the most powerful marketing tools on the planet.
You also have the chance to network with over 500 of the smartest marketers from all over the world.
The dates are picked, the conference center is booked, and the planning is ON.
IMx is happening May 20th & 21st in Austin, TX and if you want to scale your business in 2017, you’re invited! 🙂
You can learn more about our expo (and subscribe for updates) by going to our official site:
October – Hawaii Retreat.
Another year lead to another amazing Drop Ship Lifestyle Retreat.
As always, I have to thank everyone who helped make this event possible, Thank you to:
- Thao for working with the hotel and all of our vendors
- Michael Coghlan for showing us around Hawaii and making all the connections
- FBA Empire for showing us how to private label profitably
- Johnny for helping beginners stay focused
- Michael Erickson for giving us a 6-month traffic game plan
- Black Card for showing us how to profit via publishing
- AJ for teaching how to secure suppliers and close sales
- Jon Warren for teaching how to build a virtual team
- Michael Erickson for giving us a 6-month traffic game plan
- Earnest Epps for sharing tips on Conversion Rate Optimization
- Laura for sharing tips on USPs
- Alejandro for sharing tips on niche selection
- Alison for showing people how to use paid social traffic
- Everyone on our team for making this event possible…
and of course – to everyone who traveled out to Hawaii to hang out with the whole Drop Ship Lifestyle team! It goes without saying but without you, our community wouldn’t be what it is today. So THANK YOU, sincerely, to everyone involved.
November – Wedding #3: Long Island, NY.
As you can tell by now – I’ve kept myself pretty busy this year. 😉
After a few days back in Texas, we flew back out to New York for our wedding (this is number 3 if you haven’t been keeping track)…
It was a gorgeous wedding near my hometown on Long Island with family friends. We had a huge dinner, an open bar, and a 7-piece band. It was a celebration that I think everyone will remember for years to come (especially because we gave them these t-shirts):
November – Grew The Team To 10.
Last year I had a team of 4 working from our office in Saigon. Now, I have a team of 10 working from our office in Austin.
Growing the team has really helped streamline our processes, I’d be lying if I said it was easy… but nothing good ever is 😉
On a positive note, we are all working great together and our level of quality output is increasing exponentially. We’re not exactly where I want to be yet (the warehouse still isn’t a reality) but we’re scaling up quickly. I know 2017 will be a huge year for growth with the company and everyone involved. Keep an eye out for updates in Drop Ship Weekly.
November – Launched Drop Ship Lifestyle 5.0.
If you’re part of my Drop Ship Lifestyle community, you already know how big of an update 5.0 was to the online courses!
This updated included:
- Update To The Drop Ship Blueprint
- Update To The Drop Ship Lifestyle Shopify Theme
- New Shopify Video Course
- New Paid Social Traffic Course
- New Doing Business Abroad Course
- New Outsourcing Course
Plus a lot more extras. We rebuilt our members’ area from the ground up and I hope you’re enjoying all of the new content!
December – Started Instagram Stories.
Instagram has been a lot of fun to use and I’ve been adding stories every day.
You can follow me here: https://www.instagram.com/dropshiplifestyle/
This is probably the best place to keep track of what we’re up to if you really want a behind-the-scenes look into the business. Follow the account and I promise not to post (too many) pics of food. 🙂
December – Signed Contract For IMx.
I’m happy to say that our Internet Marketer Expo is 100% becoming a reality. I’ve just paid the deposit and signed the paperwork!
This event represents a massive shift in the type of event that we hold and the results that we’re trying to get for our students. If you really want to scale up this year and learn from the best marketers in the world, you should come and join me here in Austin on May 20th and 21st.
I wouldn’t be hosting this event if I didn’t think it would have a massive impact on everyone’s business (including my own). Hopefully, you’ll come and join us to keep the 2017 progress moving in the right direction. I’ll be there as a teacher, but also as a student, and I look forward to making a lot of connections.
Alright, so that’s a wrap! 2016 was indeed an exciting year, but I think 2017 will be an even better one. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you did, I’d appreciate it if you shared this post with a friend.
Thanks and HAPPY 2017!