Some people are born with a love for the #hustle.
Harry Coleman has always had a knack for coming up with clever ways to make money.
As a kid, he channeled his love of bikes into a mini business. Together with his friends he would find old bikes and swap out their parts before fixing them up, giving them a new coat of paint and selling them on.
Then in university, he started selling online. He spotted an opportunity to start importing snapback hats from the US to resell on eBay to people in the UK. It was a small-time gig, but it was enough for him to catch the online business bug.
“I’ve tried everything from Forex to affiliate marketing. Doing weird and wonderful, stupid things.”
But it wasn’t until he began dropshipping that the dream of turning a side hustle into a full-time venture began to materialize.
Since then he’s started, grown, and shut down multiple stores. What began as casual dabbling quickly turned into a full-blown obsession. For months he was surviving on a few hours of sleep as he spent his nights growing his business.
Now he’s the owner of three stores, and the manager of up to 10 staff. His stores combined to generate over $5 million revenue in 2018. (Seriously – $5 million. I had to double check.)
But Harry’s the first to tell you that the journey was anything but an overnight success.
The reality involved pushing past failure upon failure, picking himself up when he was down, and years of sacrifices that he never expected to make.
This is his story.
Harry’s First Steps into Dropshipping
Harry’s dropshipping story starts in 2016. Back then, he was spending a lot of time on online forums, researching different ways to make money online. It was here that he first heard about dropshipping.
“There was a thread of some guy who was doing dropshipping, sourcing products from AliExpress using Shopify as a platform. He was using Facebook ads, and making something like $10,000 in a month,” he says.
Immediately Harry was curious. He read the thread from top to bottom, trying to soak up as much information as possible.
“I just thought it just sounded completely ideal,” he says. “He didn’t have to have any warehouses, and he could do it from his laptop.”
So Harry, always confident and optimistic, decided to give it a go for himself.
For his first store, Harry chose nail products. They were cheap to buy from suppliers, meaning he could add a healthy markup when he resold them. He used Oberlo to connect his Shopify store to a supplier, pulling in details like the product photographs and inventory levels.
The Exhausting Reality of Growing a Business
Just as Harry prepared to launch his next store, life threw him a curveball.
“I lost my 9-to-5 job,” he says. “I got made redundant unfortunately.”
At the time, he had been working full-time in franchising sales and building his business at nights and on the weekends. It was a pay-the-rent kind of job, and Harry hated the drudgery of it all.
So when the redundancy came and he suddenly had more free time, Harry took the opportunity to double down on his new store. He was pouring all of his free time into growing the business.
This meant that by the time he found a new job, his general store was beginning to pick up steam.
“I started to find more products, and eventually got better at finding products. That’s when I had what I consider my first winner,” he says.
It was about two months into running the general store when a product finally began to pick up and generate a lot of sales. At the time he was selling a lot of animal and pet-related products, and a particular cat-themed ring began to sell really well.
Soon there were others too. Jewelery for horse lovers, cat-themed rings and necklaces, and LED dog collars all began to bring in sales, and soon he was making $100-$200 in revenue a day.
The Future is Looking Bright Now
It’s taken Harry almost three years of sweat, exhaustion, and sacrifice to build up to his level of success. But he’s not ready to rest yet.
Along with his team, he is continuing to grow his three general stores (including the first one he started back in 2016) as well as preparing to launch several more niche stores. He’s eventually hoping to be the owner of a suite of multi-million dollar ecommerce businesses.
“Once you kinda have success with one store, and once you’ve got your customer service in place, once you’ve got your email systems in place, you know how to run your adverts, it’s easy enough to replicate success over different stores.”
Harry has also spent much of the last year growing his YouTube channel and personal brand Beast of Ecom, where he educates other entrepreneurs how to grow their ecommerce businesses.
Even though his businesses have given him the opportunity to live a lavish lifestyle of expensive cars and flashy clothes, he’s careful to not take his eyes off his long term goals.
“You’re not gonna get any more value in my videos from me wearing a Gucci t-shirt or driving a Lamborghini. So I just play long game and know where I want to be in 10 years time. And all the flashy stuff can come later, because they’re all just liabilities, they’re not generating any money,” he says.
“So the money that I make from ecommerce goes into property and making that money work for me in the long term.”
In the end, Harry’s got one thing firmly in mind. He wants to do whatever he can do set himself up for the future so he’ll never have to go back to the drudgery of corporate office life.