So it’s true. I manage an ecommerce store that sells live crickets, superworms, and other bugs. I’m not passionate about them, nor did I know a lot about them when I started. However, the burden of debt can lead to some creative plans and adventures. And that’s how this journey began.
In 2016, my wife became pregnant with what would be our 3rd child. We were excited. But also needed to make some updates. And transportation was the biggest. So before the birth of our third, I took out a personal loan to buy a mini van. It was a nice mini van: 2010 Dodge Caravan. At the time, it was the newest car we had ever owned. It was spacious, comfortable, and a surplus of bells and whistles. Perfect for a growing family. But this perfection came at a hefty price: an $8,000 loan with an interest rate of 27%.
I wasn’t so bogged down by the loan. It’s a necessary cost. But that interest rate was a real killer. That interest would eat up thousands of additional dollars over the span of 5 years. But I also needed the van, so I was willing to take out the loan. But I didn’t want to get stuck paying that interest rate for the 5 year duration. So I made it a personal mission to find a way to pay that loan off asap. At first, I tried doing some gigs off Craig’s List. This brought in some money extra money, but not enough to make much of a dent in that loan. So after some much needed meditation, it dawned on me that a drop ship site could be a viable solution.
I worked for an ecommerce store the first few years after I was deployed from college. I learned about internet marketing, web design, and drop shipping. And I knew if this was going to work, I had to find a niche product, with a lot of search volume and low competition. I studied keywords, products, search terms, and anything else I could get my hands one. And after a few weeks of researching, it appeared that crickets were going to be my saving grace.
I thought finding cricket suppliers would be difficult. But it ended up being the easiest part of the journey. There are numerous cricket farms across the country, and each one is more than will to establish some drop ship terms. I put together a list of products, with retail costs, and launched a Shopify store within a matter of days.
Setting up the site is only a fraction of the battle. Because If you’re not gaining sales, then you’ve done everything in vain. I didn’t want to spend big bucks on paid ads. So I went to reptile forums, and started letting people know about my products and prices. I had to offer some knowledge on the products, so I studied crickets, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, and anything else related to the pet industry. And after a few days of communicating, I slowly started to generate sales. For the first year, my site only made about $150 in profit per month. But the next year, it increased to about $350. And then at the end of 2017, I increased my monthly sales to $1200, which earns about $700 in profit.
I managed to pay off that loan in about 12 months, saving several thousand dollars in interest. And although the website wasn’t the sole provider to paying off the loan, it certainly helped relieve enough bills that I could put more resources towards that loan. And now the extra income from the site is more money that I can add to our savings, or put back into the site.