CJ Dropshipping had a video call with Michael Mackay, who generated $757k in sales in his first year, and made almost $2M in sales in two years with Shopify dropshipping. Watch the video to learn how Michael overcomes all the difficulties every dropshippers will meet, and find a way to succeed.
- D: Demi, Youtuber from CJ Dropshipping
- M: Michael Mackay
D: Hi Michael, thank you so much for coming to our channel, and so nice to have you here with us, and could you please give a short introduction of yourself and your e-com business, please?
M: Of course, my name is Michael Mackay, I’ve been doing Shopify dropshipping and e-commerce full-time now for two years, and I started probably three years ago with not much luck, it took me about a year to get into it. But after that, I’ve been doing it full time and for a large part of that, I’ve been working with CJ Dropshipping exclusively to fulfill all my orders for my customers.
D: Yes, so how many stores you are running now?
M: That’s a tough question that answers, currently three are operating. I had one store that I started with CJ Dropshipping back in December of 2018 when I started working with CJ, and since then I’ve added six or seven stores I’ve been fulfilling all the orders through that. And currently, we have three that are working with CJ, and hopefully four to five by the end of Q4, that’d be great.
How was the business run?
D: So how was the business run, I mean the revenue, can you share with us about it?
M: Yes, from the time I’ve been doing it full-time since June 2018, we’ve hit almost 2 million in sales, it’s around 1.7 million dollars in sales total. And the biggest store I’ve had so far was over the year 2019, it was a general dropshipping store named tidesupply.com, and by 2019 we did around 800k dollars in sales with that one store all fulfilled by CJ Dropshipping and as of this year I kind of transitioned more into one product store dropshipping where you know you pick one product and build the whole website around that and market, just the same product.
what product do you sell?
D: Okay, well that’s impressive. So you really made it very successful in dropshipping. And you mentioned you’ve transitioned into one product store dropshipping this year, do you mind sharing with us what the product is?
M: Yeah, the first one product store I built, so I still do the general dropshipping, though you do need to have a little more capital in order to be successful in that now just because it’s getting more competitive, so in order to kind of pivot of that I think one product stores are the way to go just because you can put a lot more effort into the marketing aspects of that store design which is really important these days.
So the first one-product store I did this year was on this website tacticaldraw.com where I saw this, it was a gun holster that fits around your waistband. It was a concealed carry gun holster and I did really well and within three months we hit like 600k dollars in revenue.
How did you make some much profit?
D: Wow, three months 600k dollars, that’s crazy, how did you make this?
M: That’s a good question because I think it really kind of went along well with the coronavirus, so I think when coronavirus hit, all of us in e-commerce all the people working between Chinese and US relations kind of got hit hard in the beginning, so I just saw kind of a need for it and I thought you know even the gun stores by me were like all sold out so I thought gun accessories were going to be a big niche over the next couple of months it still is.
I saw a product on YouTube I thought would fit really well so I spent one week making the website one week coming up with a couple of different advertisements random on Facebook and yeah it’s kind of magical from there.
What’s your future plan?
D: That’s cool. Can you talk more about your plan in the near future?
M: Yes, I do really love the one product store method, kind of how I just mentioned. The general dropshipping store is great for beginners, just because it’s way easier. You just go to Aliexpress or you’re going to CJ Dropshipping, and you just pick out the products that you think look the most interesting.
And you know if you’d be like okay my mom would buy or my brother would buy this, then you can run a test for it. And you’ll eventually find a winner, but in order to become successful in that now, I think you need to have tens of thousands of dollars testing budget, and test 100 to 200 products before you find that winner.
Two years ago you would run maybe 20 products and one would hit and your life would be different after that. So I think now that there are so many people involved in dropshipping and in e-commerce in general, even all these brick-and-mortar stores that were struggling with coronavirus, they’re all switching to e-commerce.
And one product dropshipping, you know picking one product that you know has high demand, is going to work if you watch it and spending as much time and focus and doing customer research on that as possible is going to be the way to go from here.
I just built a new general dropshipping store, I don’t want to share the name of that just yet, but that’s going to be running in the background, and I have my team that’s kind of got that automated now and then on the side I will be building one product stores probably once every two to three weeks.
How do you manage multiple stores?
D: Wow, fancy plan. So you’re going to establish many one product stores. So once you got a winning product that got crazy sales, you will seize that product and then you set up a one-product store for it. So you will have many one product stores, how could you manage it?
M: It’s tough and it’s still a learning experience for me, I have roadblocks all the time, so even a good example is tacticaldraw.com. You know that during the virus and with a lot of Chinese manufacturers that product just could not get stocked in time, and I remember the best week I had I think we did around it was like 110k dollars in sales every single week.
And like the manufacturer did not anticipate that many sales so those orders got put like on the delayed delivery, and it ran into a bunch of payment processor holds, they’re into Facebook Ad account bans just because of customer feedback so I ended up having to shut that store down.
It’s still a learning experience to me, but I always hire people in the network as much as possible, I think I have like six customer service reps working for me now and I’m gonna try and hire as many as possible just so I don’t run into these problems. It’s definitely not easy but if you wanna make a lot of sales, it’s you gonna treat it like a real business.
What made you quit your job and start with dropshipping?
D: Yes, so you’re going to make it really big. At the moment you are spending all the time scaling up your business, and before you start your dropshipping business what job did you do, what made you quit your job and start with dropshipping?
M: Yeah, it’s an interesting story, I think a lot of people can kind of relate to it. I was pretty young, I was a couple of years out of college, I got a sales job, working for a pretty pretty, a tech startup at the time, they’re a pretty big company now. I can’t(say the name) because I’ll probably get into trouble with them, It was in sales.
I was one of the early employees there, and they were paying great, it was like an 80k salary with up to 120k dollars per year in commission which was phenomenal I was like 24 at the time. But one of the requirements was I had to move to Manhattan so that I didn’t have to spend so much time commuting and I can work longer hours.
So I was like 24 and I moved to Manhattan and I was paying so much money in the room, it was terrible, I was living in an apartment that was like smaller than this room right here. When I was living in Manhattan it was 300 square feet, it was over 2k a month in rent, and I have no savings, I really need to find a way to make more money.
I started YouTubing so I started looking into affiliate marketing, I started looking into Amazon FBA, and something just drew me to Shopify dropshipping. So I started a couple of stores failed miserably and around April of 2018 I started to find some success and that’s where I am now. So it was purely out of desperation I just was trying to make more money as a side hustle and now it’s business.
D: So you didn’t succeed on the first try right?
M: Yeah, I know a lot of people in the space give up so easily. Yeah, I don’t know it’s crazy, it’s a weighted, tough business to succeed, and it really is. But once you understand the skills, then it does get easier until you hit some of the problems when you’re scaling up.
I started probably, I can’t even remember how many stores I started but it was 4 or 5 stores and I wouldn’t mix that sporadically, but never made a profit. I was actually losing money on all those stores around for a whole year almost until I started tidesupply.com, and it’s been good ever since.
D: Yes so in most cases you will not succeed on the first try, you keep trying, learning at the same time so finally you find a way to succeed.
M: Exactly, yeah, face a lot of problems in order to succeed.
Have you tried any other business model except dropshipping
D: Did you try any other business model before you decided to focus on dropshipping?
M: Yeah, like I mentioned I looked into affiliate marketing and Amazon FBA, and I initially started with affiliate marketing through Clickbank, it was like, it’s such a spammy site, that’s the thing is like. I was never confident promoting any products that I tried selling, and I think I made one sale for the amount.
I bought so many courses, I’ve spent so much money advertising on trying to build email lists and things like that, I think I made one sale total. It was like for sports betting program that I was like, it’s just a scammer so I quit that just purely because I didn’t have the passion for it, I just didn’t like it at all.
Why did you decide to focus on dropshipping?
D: So why did you decide to focus on dropshipping finally?
M: The thing I like about dropshipping compared to like the other business models that are similar to space, like affiliate marketing and FBA, and you know social media marketing and things like that is, with dropshipping you just have the most control over the business.
You have the ability to find a product that you like, and if you don’t like the product you have to sell, there are literally millions of products on CJ Dropshipping that you can scroll through and pick out the ones that you think you can sell. If you don’t think anything you can sell, you just move on to the next one.
From there you even have the option to customize the product, or you can get customized packaging, you can customize the whole site design, run the Facebook Ads like the way you want to, and you are definitely at the mercy of these companies like Facebook and your Stripe and PayPal and things like that, but it gives you the most flexibility determining and determining how you want to run your business.
Which was really appealing to me, also the money too. I think it’s the most scalable business there is today. So you can have one good store running, you could start a second store you could start a third store, and the income potential is eliminated from there.
What are the difficulties that make dropshippers give up?
D: Okay great, can you talk about what the difficulty you’ve met since you started the dropshipping business, what the top difficulty you think that makes newbies give up?
M: Yeah so I mean if we want to go into all the challenges I face, we can probably spend like the next 30 hours here, but I know we’re on a time limit. As soon as you start making some sales you know you gotta make sure that your customers are happy off the bat which, to be honest, it’s something I did not like to have down pat when I first started until I started scaling. So the reason I found CJ Dropshipping was because I was working with Aliexpress suppliers.
When I was doing a general dropshipping store, I was running so many different products and testing so many different products. Every time I made a sale I had to contact a new supplier or new manufacturer to get that product shipped. It was terrible so Aliexpress is, I think an absolutely terrible place to find reliable suppliers, and that’s how I found CJ Dropshipping.
Since then I run into a lot of problems that other big dropshippers face. Anytime you started making sales in a quick amount of time your payment process is going to shut you down, they’re going to put a lot of your money on hold that you need to fulfill orders, and sometimes you have to rely on credit cards and you know maybe sometimes sucking it up and treating the holds like a savings account.
All the times your Facebook Ad accounts are gonna get shut down. I know that’s probably the biggest reason why newbies quit. If they’re not getting sales, it’s because Facebook shuts them down and they think it’s the end of the world.
But there’s always a will and a way, so you can always overcome that and find success. The thing about newbies if I can give them one piece of advice is every face, 1000 and more people have faced the same problem and I’ve overcome it. So don’t let one minor roadblock stop you from running a real business that you enjoy.
D: Yes, dropshipping may be an easy way to succeed than other business models, for everybody can start dropshipping with a limited budget, but it’s never easy to achieve success right?
M: Yeah, I mean kind of just similar to what I said you know just don’t give up every problem you face, just get better and keep trying.
D: Very valuable suggestion. I know that some of our big clients on CJ tested many products at the same time, and once a product got good performance, they seized the product at once, so this is a way to success, right? Keep on trying, keep testing.
M: Yeah you know competitors are going to pop and they’re going to steal your Ads, they’re going to steal your product description, store design and that eats into your profit, so the next best thing to do is launch another product and make money, and don’t quit on the last one until you know you’re absolutely out of all options but you know just keep the punches and keep testing products on Facebook and scaling them.
Did you ever work with other dropshipping agents?
D: Yes, so next question. Did you ever work with other dropshipping agents and how was your collaboration?
M: Yeah, I had and even like a few products recently where I think I can get a better price, and I get an agent to tell me they had better shipping times and things like that. And literally, it never works out. The thing I like about CJ Dropshipping is you guys are a legit company with multiple warehouses and multiple employees and offices.
You have dedicated account managers to respond to every problem, my customer services reps can just message the account manager and figure out what issues there are with some orders. A lot of the other private agents I work with, it’s really taking a risk, you don’t know who they are, you don’t know if they have good recommendations.
Yeah, I had a horrible experience with a lot of private agents where some just completely lie about their shipping times, others just flat out or refuse to send the products and they just pocket the money and you got to go through all these disputes, and it takes months to get that money back.
So I mean some people have success finding private agents you know maybe you travel to China and start looking for agents but I haven’t got the chance to do that, so CJ Dropshipping has been the best option for me, and I don’t plan on stopping that.
Suggestions for CJ Dropshipping
D: Yes, I’m so glad that CJ helps with your business. Though CJ is a young company, and it is growing, we are trying to make our system easier to use and try our best to offer better services. So do you have any suggestions for CJ so we can serve better to you and other dropshippers? Like what aspects we can improve and what new services you expect us to provide.
M: Yeah I mean it’s kind of a tough question to answer just because I think as a beginner CJ Dropshipping is perfect, it really doesn’t need any suggestions. Aside from like maybe during the busy times when like let’s say Q4, like two weeks before Christmas, you have all these newbies that are fulfilling their works for the first time and it’s getting bottlenecked and slower delivery times which obviously hurts.
But everybody in the world involved in e-commerce understands that when Q4 busy seasons come around and holidays come around, it can get slowed down so I think you know obviously just like improving processing times occasionally every here and there and then.
Also, I’m really excited about the US operations you’re gonna have, soon I know you guys are building warehouses and things like that, so I actually haven’t taken advantage of shipping inventory to the warehouse because it seems so complicated. I would love it if there’s a more streamlined position or streamlined solution to helping higher-level dropshippers you know get faster shipping times by shipping thousands of units to the US and helping out with it greatly.
D: Yes, that could be a very important problem because customers need faster delivery time, faster processing time, this is the main work we are doing now because now we are launching more and more warehouses around the world. Now we have 8 warehouses you know, yes around the world. And we are now launching a plan of overseas warehouses.
If you have a warehouse or basement that you can join our supplier plan, you can be a supplier, so we can ship from the USA to the USA, from Europe to Europe. So that could be a much faster time if this plan is launched. Yes, more and more suppliers joined, so we can expect it, which makes a much faster delivery time, and much more product listings for you to choose from.
M: Yeah that’s phenomenal I mean especially since Q4 is right around the corner, you know this year I need to buy inventory in bulk and ship it to different warehouses across the world rather than relying on China to ship. So excited about that.
Do you think dropshipping is still promising in the coming years?
D: Yes and the US is also the biggest market for dropshipping also for CJ so we really pay much attention to this market. We are working to offer faster time, delivery time, and better service.
And do you think dropshipping is still promising in the coming years and why?
M: Absolutely, I was pretty worried when coronavirus came around. Sometimes there are always ways to overcome the challenges, but the dropshippers like made that you know kind of test really quick, scale really quickly. I thought that business model might be coming to an end with coronavirus coming around.
But I was proven wrong even by myself. So yeah it’s definitely I think going to become more competitive which personally to me is a good thing because there’s going to be so many more people running products and as soon as I see a product that’s doing well on Facebook Ads, I have more products to test myself.
So as long as you put more effort in and you refine your website better and you put better effort into marketing it better on Facebook, then you’re gonna always succeed. There’s literally no reason you’re not going to do that if you put more time and effort. So I’m excited that I’m always willing to put the work in there. I’m here for the next five years at least doing what I’m doing so I’m excited.
D: Yes, great views Michael. Very appreciate you for sharing your success story with us and everyone out there I think it’s very helpful to hear from someone who succeeded in dropshipping, and that’s really a great lesson. Yes, I really appreciate that. I think many of our audiences could learn a lot from your sharing.
M: Yes, of course, I imagine people watching this video right now were in the same position I was in, so you see all these big YouTubers flexing all these big sales days and I used to look at them and think it was impossible. But I found a way to do it, and I think everyone should, I think everyone should try it at least and you know just don’t give up until you succeed.
Suggestions for Dropshippers
D: Yes so okay thank you. Any final comments you want to say to our audiences?
M: Yeah, I had said it like 14 times in this video but just try it, don’t give up when you do, you know that success is right around the corner. I thought about quitting so many times and I’m happy I didn’t because like we talked about earlier I just moved into a new apartment.
It’s 30 minutes outside of Manhattan, a great place, the biggest place I’ve ever lived in the nicest once I lived in and it’s all because dropshipping and having CJ help me scale along.
If you have a lot of experience with dropshipping or have an interesting story to share, just send an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us your story.