How This Entrepreneur Earns $600K/Month at 22

Hey guys I'm Greta and today I'm going to be chatting with you about my startup story so how I was selling $600,000
worth of tea a month at the age of 22 [Music] [Applause]
[Music] so my story's a good one to chat about because I literally had no background in
business I didn't study business my parents are social workers I didn't come from a family that had like a lot of
business knowledge or money nothing like that I didn't even know what the word a Commerce was at the time I remember when
I first started skinny meaty I had to Google how to create an online store so I just had no background in it so I feel
like if I could do it at that age without kind of any sort of leg up that means sort of anyone can so when I
started skinny meaty I was working full-time at a media agency in Melbourne I was a digital marketing manager it was
the first role that I just got out of uni I think I started there in like January or February and I started skinny
meaty in May so I was not employed for a very long amount of time I studied media and communications at
Melbourne Uni I did a few subjects I guess in marketing but a lot of my course was on communications so I was
studying things like semantics and linguistics and I guess communications is a bit of a backbone of marketing
anyway because marketing is basically applied semantics so without knowing it I guess I was preparing myself quite
well in that way but when I started this media agency I started working 9:00 to 5:00 and I used to work really hard
throughout high school and uni I swam competitively at the same time so I would be working swimming and doing uni
full-time all at the same time so I was used to having pretty busy full day's so when I started nine-to-five at this
company I was like okay but what do I do when I'm done there do I just go home like I don't have any homework I'm not I
wasn't swimming by that point anymore so I was like oh maybe I could have like a little hobby Lord like side project at
the same time so I created like a list of ideas and I had all these different ideas so I had I can't even remember
some of the things were like the first thing that I started selling on Instagram actually was my clothes so I
just found this good way of building an account where I'd put up more exclusive kind of
items and then people would comment like hundred comments being like sold sold sold trying to buy it and then I'd just
put up a thing saying sold so that would attract a lot of attention and would build a bit of an audience around that
and so I had quite a few followers I think like at about 1300 or 1400 followers on that account so when I
would put up any item they were so used to me you know putting it up and then it was suddenly sold that they would buy
like whatever I put up so one of the ideas was like an apple or something like that where you could like shop or
swap people's wardrobe so I know that that was one of the things there was just a few different ideas and I ended
up stumbling across this product really organically I almost didn't even know that it was one of the business ideas
while sort of at the same time knowing that it was so I've been doing a lot of detoxes and I felt like me and one of my
girlfriend's Ella who's now actually my general manager she and I had been doing a lot of detoxes from the chemist but it
felt kind of unnatural to be detoxing with you know big pills and things that contain toxins so if I started mixing up
tea basically I'd always drunk a lot of tea I remember in year 12 exams I would just sit there all day and drink like 20
cups of green tea a day because I'd be kind of half distracting myself and half studying so I'd always kind of been
interested in the effects that herbs have on the human body as I said I just one quote competitively so I was always
looking at different ways to kind of performance enhance but legally so I started mixing tea blends by hand and I
took them into the office and people would be like what are you doing and I was like oh I'm just like doing a little
tea talks like a detox with tea now or like oh that's cool can I try and then sorry my office colleagues were trying
the tea then their friends were trying the tea my friends were it got to the point where I had $24 left in my bank
account because I really didn't know how to ask people for money it was kind of awkward like I've just been making it
for them so then why would I charge you know their friend or their family member or whatever and I was like oh okay so
what would be an easy way to start asking these people for money for me to make the tea because it wasn't that
cheap to make so I googled as I said how to create an online store Shopify came up so I just listed the
product online I think like the entire store took me something like eight hours and the majority of that eight hours was
creating this like little spreadsheet thing for the website that had our ingredients and what their effects were
on your body it's got that live credit an Instagram account for it because like I said I'd already been you know I'm
building a bit of an audience around selling my clothes online so I kind of knew how to build a bit of an audience
on Instagram at the time on Instagram as well there were no right limits so what I did like that first day was I followed
like literally I think like three or four thousand people which took quite a while maybe like a few hours because
Instagram was nowhere near as popular at this time this is back in 2012 and like big celebrities weren't even on the
platform at the time so I basically went through I followed my friends then I followed all their friends and I
followed all their friends until I felt like I'd followed like the whole of Melbourne and then I was like who do I
know in Sydney and I was like ah that girl and so I feel it her her friends their
friends Sydney was done went on to Brisbane just covered like a lot of ground in Australia because quite a
large percentage of people were following us back and there were no right limits on Instagram so like it
didn't block you from following mass people people just kept following us back and following us back until we had
like a few thousand followers and that meant that people were even more likely to follow us back because it was social
proof and they'd be like oh what's this Instagram with like 4000 followers doing following me like I'm gonna follow them
back so literally we got up to the point where we had about like a 70 to 80 percent free follow rate so it was so so
simple at that time to kind of grow a following on Instagram because it was really the early days of the platform so
by the time we launched we probably only had by then maybe 500 followers something like that and I posted the
fact that we were launching he is our online store and I went to bed and the next morning I woke up and Lee had four
sales to our ecommerce store and I was like God well that's good like that was I think it was
about 25 or $30 for a packet a so that was like $100 I was like cool five times what's in my bank account so basically
from that point onward I just kind of kept growing the Instagram profile because that was what I knew was working
for us so so it was all just about finding different ways to grow to begin with I was just doing that following and
then unfollowing method which again probably doesn't work as well today because people have definitely used that
one up next I discovered influencer marketing I felt like I discovered it for myself because
basically a girlfriend Tasmania bought our team she had like a thousand followers on Instagram at the time which
was basically an influencer back then and she posted about our tea because she'd had a good experience I think she
did like a before and after and we had our biggest day of sales yet this was like a couple of weeks in and we made
like a thousand dollars in a single day and more like okay well every time I'm doing my follow unfollow thing and I see
a girl that has like a thousand plus followers and makes sense is in our demographic in Australia I'm going to
comment on her pic that weren't even direct messages at the time I'm going to comment on her pic and be like hey I
would love to send you some tea and like 90 percent of these influences again we're writing back to us because that
was unheard of they were like I just have a thousand followers on Instagram and you're gonna send me free tea yeah
sure of course I'll do it and then they would you know post about their results post about the effects that the tea was
having on them and we would make more sales it was literally just a lot of intuition like it was a lot of just like
throwing things against the wall and seeing what stuck definitely like leaning into the things that did stick
and is doing more and more and more of that I had no problem doing the work as long as it was like working in general
so we were doing our follow unfollow we'd started with influences then I started running tag to win giveaways and
I mean I I don't think I had never seen another brand do them to this point so I don't know if I like invented them so to
speak I'm sure other people were doing them they just weren't on my radar I just thought like if I give away a pack
of tea and a lot of people are tagging somebody on our post and we get more followers like that
win-win I was like how do we give away tea to get more followers so basically what we'd do is we'd get someone to tag
a friend on our post they could tag as many friends as they wanted we trialed all different types like we'd be like
tag 5 friends you could mention up to 5 people per comment they didn't work as well as when we just asked people to tag
one friend because it was such an easier kind of barrier to entry and so all I was doing was growing and growing and
growing our following so at the end of 2012 started 2013 we had around 200,000 followers and I think Justin Bieber had
joined the platform at this point and had about 400,000 followers so we were literally like half the size of Justin
Bieber I remember Nike had joined and had like 8,000 followers and we had like 200 K
and we're like this is great that was up to the point where we got hacked so our Instagram account was hacked the whole
thing was taken down it was like a nightmare I remember I was in Hong Kong at the time and they changed the bio on
our account I remember people were like Oh Instagram took your account down because you know you were selling a
weight loss product that was 100% not the case I don't think of Instagram took our countdown they would have put the
caption you skinny meaty in our bio first and then deleted it so we ended up losing the entire account because the
Instagram was still a tiny company like this is before they'd sold to Facebook I think they had like eight employees or
something and they had like millions and millions hundreds of millions whatever of users so there was definitely no way
they were getting back to us so we just had to kind of write that account off I just worked my ass off trying to grow it
again but that was actually when I discovered the importance of building kind of other accounts in your niche I
was like how do I not let this nightmare happen to me again like I need like a backup account and so I started this
page called detox tips and I was like oh good like we can always change its name to skinny meet Abe when we get hacked
again so I started building detox tips and that was when I started building my entire kind of suite of vertical
accounts or different accounts in the and fitness kind of national category so now I have close to I think 10 million
followers across the health and fitness niche on Instagram so accounts like detox tips detox water be Fit foods
nutrition planet they fit recipes benefit babes be fit guys there's like 25 different accounts that myself and my
team manage outside of just our brand accounts so that was actually even though it was a horrible thing to have
happened it kind of helped because at the end of the day I wouldn't have built my following combined following on
Instagram up to the 16 million point if that mistake hadn't happened the other thing that I was doing at that point was
I built these vertical accounts and there was this platform called kik at the time where everyone was messaging
and what I would do is I would trade influences a shout-out on my vertical accounts in return for an ad about our
product so I wouldn't even send them out the product I could literally get like twenty to fifty influences in one night
and just feel like hey I'll repost you on be fit babes you'll probably grow like five to ten thousand followers
because it was way easier to grow them because there were less shout outs so you'll probably grow five to ten K as
long as you know you'll post about our products being like hey I just discovered this T I'm gonna try it out
and let you guys know how it goes and so we're basically trading ads for shout outs so we're getting free ads with
influences that we weren't even having to gift our product in return for shout outs on those accounts so even though it
was like this horrible thing that happened I'm actually kind of happy that it did in a way wish I hadn't had to go
through that first night of horror but yeah so we basically were just growing on Instagram growing on Instagram
growing on Instagram then Instagram was starting to kind of drop off a little bit more like Facebook had bought it by
this point this was probably about 2013 or for 2013 early 2014 it was just getting a bit harder to grow as easily
on there and I was like okay what's another way to get in contact with our customers like email so we started to
really really focus and hone in this we would have really started focusing on email at the start of 2013 I'm
so it was actually quite a while until we discovered the power of email and were like oh my god like how have I not
been doing this the entire time this sells even better than social so then our goal was to convert as many of our
social followers across into email subscribers we created like all these viral sort of challenges full of social
media like I remember we did the squat challenge that was like our 14 day booty challenge or something it was basically
just like a progression of more and more squats every day for 14 days and we got like 8000 email signups in our first
night or something like that and then we'd create like an email sequence out to them being way our 14 day squat
challenge is best paired with our 14 day detox and here's you know how to maximize the results of the challenge
and that's how we kind of incorporated our product into that series so that was really when we started focusing heavily
on email and that would have added like an extra 20 to 30 percent revenue for us as well
even though Instagram was kind of starting to drop off a little we were on email probably like the biggest
highlight maybe of skinny meaty as a whole but at least of 2013 was winning the Shopify build a business competition
they flew us to New York we got to meet these incredible mentors I remember I'd actually I was sorry I was not in the
business space at all I was like who's Tim Ferriss who's Daymond John my god and once I heard of they're like like
Daymond John was the founder of FUBU for example and I was like oh yeah like the naked chicks
sitting back to back yeah I know that one I was like reading up on them on the plane and my mentor was Eric Rees who
wrote the Lean Startup and I remember I was just out it's quite a confident kid I guess at the time I remember reading
the blurb and being like Lean Startup yep so you do this and then I was like oh we're doing that I don't need to read
the book it's fine so we flew to New York though it was my first time in the US and we were staying
in Times Square which was pretty cool like it felt like the center of the business world kind of because it was
like all these huge brands the billboards up there and lights and I guess it was like a very aspirational
sort of time for me I think it was like the first time that I realized how important
like mentorship and surrounding yourself with other people who are doing what you're doing as well or who or kind of
where you want to be is so there's like that's saying that you're the average of like the top five people you spend the
most time with which does kind of make a lot of sense 2014 was the year that we first had to do our tax so in Australia
you don't have to do your tax for like the first two years after you've started the business and more like we'll get to
only get to it it'll all be fine but the issue was because we started out so scrappy for the first like I think
nearly a year I hadn't formed a business entity so I was just operating as a sole trader so I ended up having to pay about
fifty percent tax which was insane it was like a couple of million dollars like between two and three million
dollars in tax you know as opposed like the thirty percent plus all the deductions that you can get from being a
business as well so that was like a bit of a slap in the face at the time I've had so many different business learnings
and lessons and I think there were advantages and disadvantages of starting out with such little knowledge like I
guess like an advantage was I wasn't trying to like do what other people were doing I wasn't looking you know at
business books and being like God says that you need you know to do like a SWOT analysis or it says that you know you
need to incorporate here you need all these trademarks or you need these certain things like I was just kind of
finding things out as we went and being like you know I wonder how you'd go about finding a tea manufacturer I
remember when we first switched from like hand making it so it's like basically up to the six-month mark but
more doing six hundred thousand dollars a month that was about twenty thousand orders a month we were still hand making
and shipping the tea out from my house and I remember I lost the entire bond on the house for example because we'd
scratched up all the floorboards so badly cuz we had like 20 people in there crammed into like our kitchen area that
which was open plan packing tea and all the floorboards were screwed because we had all those like fold-out chairs
basically like the cheap like AZ ones I remember the whole team all they do is like pack tea and they watched like an
entire series every week like sit there packing tea watching Walking Dead for example it's a pretty
good setup so then we kind of moved to manufacturing the first place you would think for tea would be China and so I
was like okay let's go over well in cooperate in Hong Kong that'll help solve you know some of our
like business and corporation problems whatever else well incorporated in Hong Kong and we'll start to manufacture in
China and so we started testing manufacturers we placed some initial orders and everything was kind of you
know going along nicely and then like one of our major problems was in kept running in and out of stock like I could
never keep up with the demand and while it was a problem it was also kind of like forced scarcity as well at the same
time like a lot of the things that were issues or a lot of the things we're learning they were marketing techniques
or strategies I just didn't realize it really at the time like I'd be like if I tell everyone we're gonna sell out
because we are going to sell out we have our biggest day of sales like ever like every single time who wouldn't own
basically yes so we started working with this Chinese manufacturer he was actually he wasn't a Chinese guy is
actually an Italian guy and we started working with him we'd got a few great initial and I was like how good would it
be if we could just order like a year's worth of tea how good would that be to stop running in and out so I kind of did
some like basic projections and was like okay that's about this much tea it was about 1.3 million US dollars worth of
tea and so we placed the initial order we paid our 50% up front we had to pay the other 50% before he'd like then send
it out to us so we paid the other 50% always well you know he'd been sending us little progress updates and photos
and stuff or more like just you know excited to get the table about to run out in like three days or something but
at this point so we received the tea in Australia it got stuck in customs for a while I think like two weeks or
something like that and because it was so much – it was like a ton of teeth weird to pay like $80,000 or something
like that to get it out of customs and into our like warehouse factory space that we had by that step
and so we got it in the doors opened it up checked it out and it was like compost it's stunk like rubbish was full
of metal bolts it was just not only unusable basically untouchable we sent it off to be tested
we knew we couldn't use it already but we're like let's just see what's in there and there was all kinds of
bacteria e.coli like it was absolutely disgusting I wouldn't even touch the tea without gloves on for example then we
had to get it thrown out which was another fourteen thousand dollars and it was just it was a huge nightmare a lot
of people are like how dumb are you from the you know buying 1.3 million dollars worth of tea like what in the world were
you thinking but you have to think it's all kind of relative at this point like up until that stage yeah weird more
making six hundred thousand dollars plus US a month so really it was only like two months of our revenue so it's the
equivalent of like someone who's got a small business that's making like a hundred thousand dollars a year losing
twenty thousand dollars so it is all relative but at the same time it's seriously hurt like it's still 1.3
million u.s. dollars it may be relative but also you have to remember that like less than a year ago I had $24 in my
bank account as well sorry even though it was relative it didn't feel relative it was the biggest screwup to date I
guess I got legal advice that basically just said you will be in court for the next like five years if you try to
pursue this like you are a Hong Kong company with an Australian director trying to like engage us on behalf of
you know a Chinese entity like it was just it was too many different jurisdictions who would have had to go
through like three different country courts like it was actually with some of the best advice that I've received just
drop it cut your losses and move on which was difficult but at the same time like I
think what this really taught me like each mistake has taught me like a huge lesson I think this one taught me that
you need to learn to fail fast like when you make a mistake you need to cut your losses and move on as quickly as
possible because if you're still kind of reading that previous loss there's so many problems like in e-commerce in
business you're constantly putting out fires every day and if you were still like upset about the last 12 fires you
wouldn't be resilient enough you wouldn't have the like mental energy or capacity to be able to put out the next
five kind of thing so I guess that taught me to fail fast cut your losses move on I understand that it was a
mistake grieve the loss and then start focusing on the solution so I think that's a good example of the first two
or three years of the business like how much we lost how much we learnt like but the exciting amazing times as well like
I said if everything's relative like if you've experienced the lowest low it really does make the highest high that
much better so I think you do need to have a certain personality type to succeed or I guess just to be resilient
enough to deal with business and I think that the amount of stress that you can personally take on is relative to the
amount of success that you're going to be able to achieve in business so you can't think of course like you know the
title of this video or like twenty two two years old twenty four dollars in the bank
six hundred K a month like it all sounds fun and exciting and cool and it is fun and exciting and cool but at the same
time people need to realize of course that there's like a lot of hard work that has to go into it a lot of
learnings so the cool part was working with founder has been that I have kind of been out of distill a lot of those
learnings and lessons and a lot of I guess what became my framework for e-commerce I did talk about skinny meaty
I went and repeated that three more times after with the fifth Watchers drop bottle and skin talks I've got two more
ecommerce brands launching this year actually so watch this space so it has really turned into a framework that I'm
able to repeat again and again and so we've work together to create a course it's called start and scale in fact for
the two new e-commerce brands I'm actually going through our course again because it has created such a great
framework I wanted to be able to go through and make sure that I didn't even miss any of the parts like it took quite
a while working with founder to be able to kind of take all of those learnings and all of that
information out and create that into a framework that is repeatable so now we've had thousands of students go
through successfully some of them are doing seven figures in revenue now some of them are excited you know making a
thousand dollars in their first day or you know thirty thousand dollars a month is like there's some incredible success
stories and I'm honestly so proud to be able to work with founder in this way and help so many different people create
and run their stores it's like it's this little micro community like I said like if you are the average of the five
people closest to you imagine being a part of a group with thousands of people doing this all at the same time all
varying levels there's just there is so much knowledge and information just from the group alone I would join the cause
just to be a part of this group so guys I hope you enjoyed this video it was actually quite fun to share and if you
want to get some more actionable tips on how exactly I built these businesses what my exact repeatable framework is
I've done a free ecommerce training with founder which you're able to access via the link below so hit that now and if
you did like this video be sure to comment below and subscribe to our Channel
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