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023: would i recommend eCom to a friend?

ok so 100,000+ products sold worldwide through e-commerce - but is it a good idea for you to start? it depends...

Howdy folks,

this week i thought i'd try something a bit different.

a friend dropped me a message on X wanting to know more about eCom

i've spent a good amount of time chatting about life design things and haven't spent as much time on selling online & entrepreneurship etc.

so let's change that up this week.

here's the dm i sent my friend.

i didn't edit anything so there might be the odd inside joke‍ (about 🧑‍🌾 's)

my honest thoughts on eCom

what is up A-A-Ron.

I’ll just drop you a bunch of thoughts for eCom if it’s something you’re interested in.

let’s clear the air 1st tho!

- i don’t have anything to sell you
- this is just my personal experience
- i won’t pretend I’m an expert or guru

but as a dude speaking to another person I’m just happy to share what I know

eCom is awesome. I do think more people should sell something online.

there’s a lot of diff ways to sell online. physical products, white labelling, fba, affliates, drop shipping, pod.

I’ve met enough people on my travels to know they can all work and work well. saying that its not a quick, easy money making thing - don’t believe the socials.

maybe it can work fast. but I’d say that’s luck. and I never rely on luck and this isn’t what worked for me.

I’ve tried a few things but the one that worked the best was Print on Demand.

the reason I say it’s passive is because if I sell on platforms like Amazon
- they handle production
- handle shipping
- handle CS & returns etc

I just get paid a royalty % per sale. So all I need to do is just put up products and try to get them to sell.

that’s the sexy bit on paper but here’s the other side to this too

- low barrier to entry + high competition
- small profits so need high volume
- there will always be upfront costs

Upfront costs
- time, energy and resources

You need a lot of all these from my experience.

It took me 1 1/2 years of putting up products daily. I hired multiple designers, multiple assistants to upload. This did cost $10,000s over the years.

I don’t say this to put you off but to give you the full picture!

that being said you don’t need $10,000s to start. The upfront costs can be 0 with just needing to put time into this. That’s what I did but I kept putting money back in along the way.

If eCom is something you’d love to do I’d say go for it! It’s a wild ride but can be a lot of fun and benefits too.

At the same time it is the same with anyway you make money online. You probably need the same skills, time, energy and resources.

It’s the same as building a SaaS from what I see. It will work. You see it working super well for people. But there’s just the time, energy, effort and resources in making it happen.

That’s my exp with PODs thought someone else might say something different.

I don’t really like to recommend anyone anything. But if I had to say a tip would be to do it if you are genuinely interested and would love to do it - not if you think it’s an easy way to make money.

I’d always suggest for people to find their angle with selling online and lean into that more. If you’re a dev that is how to sell dev things online for money. You already do it, skills, passion, experience. Unless you hate it and want to try something else.

I got into eCom + POD because that was the only way I knew how to make money online. Was also an advantage me being a designer + nomading with a low cost of living.

Now that I’ve done that I’m moving to things that I can enjoy doing daily and make a living from. eCom pays the bills but I’m working on what I love to do.

hope this random brain dump is helpful

If you’ve got any more questions happy to answer but hope that gives my overall thoughts + vibe

also just to follow up with a general thought an idea about eCom.

I’m just a big believer in finding what you just love to do and just find a way to sell that online.

I think no matter what you do you can use ideas in eCom to make a living, but it’s nicer to just make sure you enjoy it.

if I was a dev.
- SaaS is 1 way but then
- productise your services
- sell digital products - like templates or code?
- sell knowledge & experience
- affiliate income from product recommendations

there can be multiple streams within your area of expertise. I’d say the same if it was to a designer, illustrator, plumber or Santa

don’t make a big pivot unless you absolutely want a work path change.

because either way it will probably work with just a lot of time, energy and resources.

I’d ask whatever you’d like to be doing 1,2 or 5 years time if just invest in that goal.

if that’s a being a dev that’s awesome

Or if the idea building and designing a physical product excites you go for that

or it’s just to be a farmer

feel free to ask anything else but hopefully there’s a picture of both sides there for you

that's the entire message i sent, but it is the same thoughts i would say to anyone if they ask me about eCom, my experience and if they should start or not.

i'll probably forward this post to them if people ask me :)

i hope you got some little nuggets in there if you've ever been curious about eCom

in general i think it's great but i'd say more people would be better off using ideas of selling online & putting that into the things they do every day

but that's what i'll be talking more about over the weeks & months ahead

but as always, thank you for reading if you’ve got this far.

i’ll chat to you next week

stay awesome



let me share some dope things that have been happening the past week

1. life design: an introduction

slide show chats starts at 4:50

last week i launched the life design check-in tool 🥳

i'm actually blown away that people not just tried it out but gave me some messages & feedback saying that it was actually helpful

i just never know when it comes to putting out an idea in the world if it's just me who thinks it's cool or if other people think so too.

but so far so good

the main question i got back was

"okay that's great, but what's next"

honestly, this wasn't something that i even thought about. i just wanted to build & launch this tool as it's been in my 'would love to do' list for so long & i thought it would be cool and helpful

i didn't think it would lead to more questions that needed answers!

but this is great (and a big part of why sharing your work/building in public is so cool)

i decided that the next logical step would be to give an introduction to the idea of life design.

it's something that i broadly talk about but haven't really said it out there plainly so anyone could get it and understand

so i threw together a quick set of slides and did a bit of talking to the camera during our weekly live accountability session to go over the basics

the goal is to just give people an idea of what it's all about so they can decide if it's for them or not.

if they are interested then give them a few pointers in how they can get started.

if you're interested in my ramblings i start the presentation around 4:50 in the video above

live videos/workshops are pretty fun and something i'll probably do in future again

maybe once a month i could do one on 'life design: introduction' and 'online selling: introduction'

just with the intention of being a good starting place for anyone who is mildly curious and giving them resources to get started after that.  

2. current life design strengths & weaknesses

and for anyone who's interested and as a bit of fun here's some of my scores.

3 of my strongest areas of my life right now

  1. 🏃 Body
  2. 🧠 Mind
  3. 🏝️ Lifestyle

makes sense - i spent more time on these than anything else over the last 4 months.

3 of my weakest areas of my life right now

  1. ❤️ Love
  2. 🧑‍🚀 Work
  3. 🤝 Friends

these are my main 3 priorities this year & i will build steps to help me grow in each areas

if you want to find yours out you can try it out: Life Design Check-In

2. a boat lost out at sea

midjourney prompt: a beautiful childrens illustration of a boat with a few people lost in sea --v 6.0

here's my little boat story that i talk about in the video above it basically sums up my thoughts on how to design a life you love

You can feel a bit lost in life, it’s like being stuck on a boat in the middle of the sea.

some days might feel okay, sunny calm, other days it might feel tough with big waves, wind and rain.

without having a plan you can just keep paddling but with no real idea just hope. Maybe you rely on motivation, discipline, enthusiasm. Which works some days but other days it doesn’t.

The idea of life design isn’t that it will magically transport you to land. But it is a toolset of thinking that can help you get there.

  1. Clear. how many people are on the boat? where do you think you are vs where you want to go? how much food do you have? Etc what direction would you like to go, can you make an agreement that this is the way you’ll go, even if you have to adjust and change coarse over time, how will you get there?
  2. Cut - what does it look like in its most simplest form, can you say it in 1 sentence, how can you make sure you will be able to do it and stay consistent?

3. Cheer - how do you make it fun? how can you celebrate the journey? How can you get support from other people? How can you support other people?

4. secret: happy people = happy people , we all live on this planet together. but the secret is that we all want the same things. body, family, love etc. the secret is that happy people = happy people.

If you are happy with your life you will naturally want to other people to be happy to. Everyone wants to get to land by helping and supporting each other everyone wins.

and that is it for this weeks newsletter folks

i hope this week change-up about eCom was interesting for you

but wishing you a great week ahead as always

let's chat soon



Stay awesome  ❤️

P.s  i haven't set up email responses to this newsletter just yet. if you ever want to contact me with any questions you can drop me a dm on any of the socials or email over at metalabs. all links are here

P.p.s if you haven't subscribed to this newsletter yet come join in the fun. it's a direct line to my brain every Monday. we'll chat about the latest in life design, online entrepreneurship, digital nomadism, and whatever else catches my curiosity & that i think you'd find interesting too. it's the best way to kickstart your week - but i would say that 🙈  


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