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Aug 29, 2019

Finding a niche can be one of the most difficult tasks you take on when you’re building a business. If you want to be in a space where you’re competing with billion-dollar companies, how do you set yourself apart? Dean and I talk about the cosmetics business that he and his wife started—and how they found success when they finally zoned in on a particular niche.

If you are ready to take your business to the next level this episode of Just the Tips will be right up your alley. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:35] e-commerce lessons in cosmetics, with Dean. 
  • [4:22] The story behind their start in cosmetics
  • [9:30] From the ground up: Alibaba and eBay
  • [14:15] How the proper mentorship is a kickstarter
  • [18:00] The importance of choosing a specific niche
  • [25:00] Don’t be afraid to embrace change
  • [26:45] How Facebook advertising catapulted their sales
  • [31:20] Every problem solved creates a new problem to overcome

The evolution from internet sales to cosmetics

Dean’s wife, Robyn, worked in internet sales and was killing it with her commissions. But as she became more successful her bosses took notice—and ended up funneling away profits she was supposed to get. She would call Dean daily over lunch in tears because of what they were doing to her. He repeatedly encouraged her to quit. One day when she came home he handed her an envelope and told her to hand it to her bosses. He had written her a letter of resignation.

She mustered up some courage and the next day handed in that letter. She finished the month out at her company, and that was that. She was free to do whatever she wanted. After a conversation with Dean, she decided to take her experience with cosmetics and build an e-commerce business. Keep listening as we walk through their experience with Alibaba, selling on eBay, and the struggle of a start-up. 

Trying to compete with a billion-dollar brand? Start by finding a niche.

Purchasing a product from Alibaba and selling it on Amazon wasn’t proving to be as successful as they hoped. When they first launched, they were only making 1-2 sales a day—definitely not enough to earn a profit. Robyn joined a mentorship program and began learning the ins and outs of selling a physical product. She built a website, created sales funnels, and began developing unique products. People loved the products and she was getting stellar reviews.

But they had only progressed to making a couple thousand dollars a month.

They weren’t truly competing with other successful brands and something needed to change. They took a step back and realized their niche was too broad. The business was selling something everyone else sold! So they shifted from being a cosmetics brand to a brand that only sold the greatest product for any skin conditions. As an entrepreneur you have to realize you aren’t just selling a product—your product is the pathway for someone to get their desired result. In their case, they realized they were selling confidence.

Overcome discomfort and embrace ‘Ch-ch-changes’

David Bowie anyone? You can’t be afraid to embrace needed changes. They may just be the turning point your brand needs! Robyn was hesitant to stop selling products that were getting good reviews and I don’t blame her. But Dean knew she would find more success narrowing down to a very specific niche. 

Being comfortable is the biggest reason you aren’t creating something spectacular.

You have to be willing to abandon what is working just okay and constantly strive for excellence. There is never a finish line as an entrepreneur—every problem you solve creates a new challenge to overcome. This is the never-ending growth cycle that is business! And you know what? Once they chose their niche, things shifted for the better quickly.

This year's success is ALL about the ads

Robyn and Dean took her product line and began advertising on Facebook—the only ad medium they’re using right now—and watched product sales skyrocket. They had been averaging 30-50 customers a day and their peak sales day was approximately $600. Now? They’re averaging 200-300 customers a day. They spend $400 daily on advertising and are making a return upwards of $2,500 daily!

They can barely keep up with the demand for their product!

Robyn is making more in two days then she was during a good sales month at her previous job. They started at the bottom of the barrel but with three years of hard work and challenges to overcome they own a successful e-commerce business. So the thought we want to leave with you today is this:

Figure out who you want to sell to and why. Then, find the ultimate solution for them, and find a way to get your product in front of them. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Music for “Just The Tips” is titled, “Happy Happy Game Show” by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Connect With James and Dean

James P. Friel:

Dean Holland:

Audio Production and Show notes by