Turning Failures Into Assets

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Sometimes, business opportunities sound too good to be true and turn out to be misleading – and other times, they sound too good to be true and yet remain absolutely true. Amit Melamed’s story is part of the latter group. While others complain about the ubiquity of constantly being marketed to, Amit took matters into his own hands – and built a sustainable business model. Now a mogul in the high-profit dropshipping industry, Amit outlined some of the reasons for his success in a recent conversation with me.

Dropshipping is a specific business model that has been made possible with the rise of the Internet and increased capacity of technology. With increasing numbers of customers comfortable shopping from their phones, eCommerce has exploded. However, the traditional supply chain model still dominates, with merchants placing orders to manufacturers, waiting for the item to arrive in the country of sale, and then selling the items to customers. Therefore, the traditional model involves customers placing orders with merchants who have stock on hand. Dropshipping cuts out the stocking phase such that customers place an order through a merchant, but the order is fulfilled directly by the manufacturer. Because this model reduces costs by eliminating the need for storing merchandise and because it utilizes a model similar to other “on-demand” models, it has caught on – especially for those launching what could generously be called “lean” startups. For example, Amit started his first dropshipping store with $5 – which is not even enough for many items at Starbucks!

Amit’s journey began, humbly enough, when his immigrant parents pressured (or “encouraged”) him to get a job in high school. Irritated by all the ads he saw on social media, he assumed that if he could not beat them, he should join them, so he learned to advertise on social media. After developing some talent with it, he began to realize that he could sell items instead of just advertising them. With only a few dollars, he launched his first dropshipping store. Immediately, he was hooked – and more importantly, his customers were, too.

Amit describes the appeal of dropshipping in tantalizing ways: “Imagine selling inventory that you do not own. Imagine securing customers from all over the world without saying a word. Imagine hundreds and thousands of dollars of sales occurring while you sleep.” In contrast to more traditional retail models, dropshipping is low effort and has a lower cost of entry, and it can offer the kinds of experience that most associate with CEOs or executives after a long career. However, Amit achieved it before his high school graduation. He insists that others refuse to let constraints such as age dictate what they can do.

Seeing opportunities everywhere is the most important piece of advice he would offer to others. While Amit claims he has failed many times, he also emphasizes that there is success in failure because his failures offered information on what not to do next time: “Every failure taught me something new, a pitfall to avoid, a step not to take.” Therefore, aspiring dropshippers should keep in mind that while opportunities are everywhere, failures can be instructional with the right attitude. In fact, the advice Amit wishes he had been given is to persist through failure, instead of giving up or even just “taking a break.” By eighteen, he has multiple companies earning revenues in the six-figure range each month.

Now, Amit helms several dropshipping stores and also offers consulting services for other businesses. His persistence has allowed him to stay working, even when others might give up, and this has turned into a valuable asset that he leverages to help other businesses succeed. The attitude that every setback can be a future asset is a powerful one in dropshipping or in any other business.

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