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From a Tomato Stand to Saving Dressbarn: The Success Story of Tai Lopez

Learn more about the journey and many success stories of Tai Lopez

Time and time again, the internet has demonstrated how it can be a great equalizer. Some of the most successful pop artists today, for example, were discovered on YouTube. Even if you have no ambitions to become the next Shawn Mendes or Alessia Cara, there are huge opportunities to find success in all sorts of different industries and niches. Tai Lopez is a prime example. 

He may have started out with a humble tomato stand, but Tai Lopez has gone on to amass an estimated net worth of $60 million, fueled heavily by his online businesses and career on YouTube.

How It Started with Tai Lopez…

When you look at the early life history of Tai Lopez, you might not think it’s all that remarkable. He reportedly dropped out of college, lived with the Amish for a couple years, and crashed at his mom’s place when he ran out of money. This was his wakeup call and it was around that time, in his early 20’s, that Tai Lopez started looking for bigger opportunities.

Tai Lopez worked at GE Capital for a couple years before co-founding LLG Financial, a wealth management company. After becoming a Certified Financial Planner, Lopez worked with several multi-million dollar businesses, but it wasn’t until he made his way onto YouTube that Tai Lopez really gained a following in the public eye.

…And Where It’s Going Now

Today, Tai Lopez is a hugely successful investor, advisor, and social media influencer, best known for his videos on YouTube. He’s been involved with social media marketing as early as 2008, using Facebook for organic and paid marketing. But, it was when a YouTube video “Here in My Garage” went viral in 2014 that he shot onto the scene. 

It is with YouTube that he has experienced the most success, particularly with longer form content. Alongside YouTube, he creates and sells a variety of online courses. The most notable is his 67 Steps program, a video-heavy course meant to help people get “anything you want out of life.”

Another big part of Tai Lopez and his success story is what he was able to achieve with Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV) partner Alex Mehr. They’ve made a business for themselves by buying dated, struggling companies with brand equity, and revitalizing them for the modern economy. They took Dressbarn and breathed new life into it, transforming the withering clothing brand into a successful ecommerce-only retailer. 

The timing was an interesting one. While the typical Dressbarn shopper is an older woman, who may not be as keen about online shopping, REV relaunched Dressbarn.com in early 2020. This was right when the pandemic started closing brick-and-mortar retail stores. Shoppers were forced online and Tai Lopez was ready to cash in. Sales grew quickly, nearly tripling year-over-year by early 2021. 

The Secrets to His Success

An article on Forbes breaks down five of the biggest steps responsible for Tai Lopez’s success, and a lot of it has to do with his mindset and approach to business and to life in general. 

Give the People What They Want

Tai started selling cherry tomatoes with his mother around the age of six. He saw that they weren’t selling enough tomatoes, so he took the initiative to make and sell lemonade himself. 

“In the time I had sold one bag of tomatoes for 25 cents,” Tai Lopez said, “I was able to sell ten times more with my lemonade stand.” The people didn’t want tomatoes; they wanted lemonade. And he was able to deliver. In business, you need to give the people what they want.

Start With the End Goal in Mind

Tai is a firm believer in working backwards. He says to begin with a vision of what you want your life to look like, the kind of lifestyle you want to lead, and then you need to reverse-engineer your life to get there. If you want to travel and meet smart people, what can you do to make that happen? What would the business look like? And how do you launch such a business?

Prioritize Your Own Development

Tai Lopez  has stated that he reads a book a day. As important as it is to invest in your business and to grow your opportunities, the biggest investment you can make is in yourself. Lopez, a college dropout himself, feels that people can gain more from reading books and listening to mentors than they can learn from earning a college degree.

“You have to make the time, and invest that time wisely,” he says, “no differently than if you were to invest any amount of money in yourself.”

Follow the Data

We live in a world where you can absolutely take the guesswork out of your business ventures. Analytics, insights and data are all around you if you take the time to collect, analyze and test them. There are so many tools available for split-testing campaigns across numerous variables, so there’s no excuse to avoid testing and optimizing everything that you do.

Yes, luck and skill will still play vital roles. But, you’ve got to follow what the data is telling you and continuously work to improve.

Be Authentic

When you look at YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and other platforms, you might see that a certain personality tends to rise to the top and get the most attention. Even so, if you’re simply putting on a performance and being inauthentic with your followers, they’re going to see through your act eventually. You need to know who you are, be true to who you are, and build your personal brand around that. 

“It has to be authentic, otherwise no one is going to get on board.”

A High VRIN Score

In a culture dominated by social media influencers and online content creators, what does it take to succeed? Building on that last point about authenticity, Tai Lopez also recommends viewing the opportunity through the lens of a high VRIN score. In an interview with Entrepreneur, Lopez defines VRIN as “value, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable.”

Your content needs to provide real value. And that value needs to be rare, something that people probably won’t find elsewhere. And once you do put it out there, it needs to be difficult for a competitor to imitate or copy it. Finally, some other channel or creator can’t substitute for what you’re offering. There are success stories from flamboyant and conservative creators alike. The key is having a high VRIN score.

When you start with the ideal lifestyle in mind, identify what the people want, and stay true to your authentic self, you just might be able to turn your tomato stand into a multi-million dollar online empire, too. 

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Written by Kristel Staci

Kristel Staci is an entrepreneur and freelance writer that focuses on everything related to social media, online marketing and finance. To see what Kristel is currently working on, you can visit her blog at KristelStaci.com.

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