Jordan Bourque is optimistic. “I definitely think anyone can learn to be an entrepreneur.”
And you can take it from someone like him.
With no previous experience, he’s grown his outdoor hobby ecommerce store into an enviable success.
He built his business on a lean budget, using the dropshipping business model. This model allows him to operate without any investment in inventory, meaning that it was easier to get his business off the ground quickly.
In one year, Jordan’s store has generated over $100,000 in revenue and has processed over 10,000 sales. In one month alone, he was able to pull in $20,000 in sales.
During our chat, his phone constantly buzzes ‘ka-ching!’ as another order comes through.
Jordan has always felt passionate about entrepreneurship. “I would say to myself when I was early on in university, ‘One day I am going to start a business.’ I just had no idea what, and I had no direction on where to go.”
But it wasn’t until his last semester of studying business at university that he decided it was time to take the plunge. “I started to feel that pressure of you either have to get a job, or go back to school, or figure out a way to make money.”
But what is it that makes Jordan and other successful entrepreneurs do so well? I spoke to him about the secrets behind his success, and some of the traits he shares with every successful entrepreneur.
Editor’s note: To help protect Jordan’s business from extra competition, we’ve chosen to not reveal the name of his store.
Find Your Motivation
Every entrepreneur has their own why.
Their motivation helps them kick start their journey, and pushes them through the inevitable bumps and challenges along the way.
For Jordan, the motivation to choose an entrepreneurial life was clear.
“It was control, being in control of your life, right?” he says. “I wanted to do something where I made the decisions, where I had control over what I was putting in and what I was getting out of it.”
While life as an entrepreneur certainly isn’t going to follow a straight line, and there are no guarantees of success, hard work often has a direct impact on your results.
But in a more traditional employee role? Your compensation wouldn’t always match your output, Jordan says.
“Say I got a job right out of school and had a friend that was working the same job, if I was working a lot harder than he was, we’d still get compensated the same way. Opposed to if I’m doing my own project, if I’m working a lot harder on it, then I’m going to get rewarded for it as well.”
Don’t Wait, Start Now
Just do it.
While it might have been created to sell running shoes, this mantra is also a powerful reminder for entrepreneurs.
It’s easy to feel nervous about taking the leap into entrepreneurship, and natural to feel like you want to be well prepared before taking action. But all successful entrepreneurs know that the most important thing is to just do it. Take action and get started.
“That’s the biggest advice I can give to someone starting out: don’t overthink things at the beginning, take action right away,” Jordan says. When he started, he got to work building his store almost immediately after discovering dropshipping with Oberlo. “It literally took 12 to 24 hours before I started to take action.”
When he began building his store, he focused on taking small steps, instead of overwhelming himself by trying to do too much at once. “I first watched a video on how to build a store. I would literally watch the video, pause it, add a little bit to my store.”
Eventually though, his progress stopped. A few months into his dropshipping journey, Jordan faced what he calls ‘analysis paralysis.’
“I would over consume content and learn strategies from a bunch of different so-called gurus, but just be overwhelmed with the material. I would forget to implement it into my business. When realistically what you should be doing, is learning a little bit, and implementing it, learning a little bit and implementing it.”
When you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything you don’t know, and how much there is to learn, he suggests giving yourself a dose of reality. “Don’t expect to know everything, because the fact of the matter is that you never will.”
Focus on What You Love
When it came to deciding what to sell, he turned to his own interests – the outdoors. “I had no prior product research prior to picking the niche, I just picked something that I kind of knew about and was interested in,” he says.
He suggests that this maybe isn’t the best advice, and thinks that new entrepreneurs are better off first doing some research into their products to determine if it’s a viable product niche. Still, he recognized the benefits of selling products that he genuinely likes, “I think that was one of the reasons why I stuck with it, I picked a niche that I’m interested in.”
While the life of an entrepreneur might conjure up images of fast cars, expensive watches, and cocktails sipped from fine crystal glassware, the reality is a little less dazzling.
In reality, it more often looks like long days hunched over a computer, sitting at a desk littered with empty coffee cups, half-eaten pieces of toast, and piles of crumpled sticky notes.
To get you through those decidedly unsexy moments, you’ve got to focus on what you love. A successful entrepreneur thinks of their business as a puzzle, and it’s their responsibility to solve it. “You have to enjoy it, you have to be interested in it,” he says.
Surround Yourself With Success
You’re a combination of the people you spend the most time with, right?
If you’re trying to make it as an entrepreneur, it pays to surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs.
But this can be difficult, especially if you’re from a small city or town. Jordan is from a small city in New Brunswick, Canada, that’s home to only 55,000 people. “No one is doing this where I’m from,” he says.
Thankfully, there is the internet. Now, even entrepreneurs in the most remote locations can find each other online. Jordan found his fellow entrepreneurs in dropshipping Facebook groups. “I’m in a bunch of groups. You can share ideas there which is definitely a good thing as well.”
The harsh reality is, other entrepreneurs may be the only ones in your world who understand why you’re doing this. They know what it’s like to be exploding with energy when you’re pursuing a new idea, and why you’ll be happy to sacrifice all your nights and weekends just to see it come to life.
“You need to be ok with having those close to you not understanding, and having no idea what the hell you are doing,” Jordan says “That is one thing I have definitely noticed, but I just kept doing my thing and working away.”
Accept Failure as Part of the Journey
Failure. It’s an inevitable part of life as an entrepreneur. But the most successful entrepreneurs accept failure as part of the process, and take responsibility for the circumstances that lead them there. “The thing about dropshipping, for example, or entrepreneurship, is that you get out what you put into it. You have no one else to blame,” Jordan says.
Failure has happened throughout his journey as a dropshipper, in big and small ways. “I have failed so much throughout this past year it is hard to keep track of all of them,” he says.
Product launches that failed. Advertising campaigns that ultimately flopped. Missed opportunities to scale winning products. Suppliers who ran out of stock just as you’ve sold a bunch of their products.
He’s faced headaches and frustrations over and over.
Even after all of that, he still thinks of his failures in a positive way. “Failing is definitely part of the process and you need to fail to find out what works and what doesn’t. You can’t expect everything to be smooth sailing because that will never be the case.”
The flipside of owning your failures is that you get to own your successes. “There’s an endless possibility of what you can achieve, and there’s no salary cap on what I’m making. You can make as much money as what you put into it.”
Set Goals for Yourself
Success doesn’t happen all at once but is series of small achievements built up over time. Successful entrepreneurs set goals for themselves and always move the goalpost a little further once they’ve hit it.
For Jordan, getting his first sale was the first project.
“It took about month to get my first sale, and yeah it was definitely a great feeling. I remember it was an Instagram influencer that got me my first sale, it wasn’t an Instagram ad. I paid an influencer to shout out my product. It was a $200 sales day which was insane to me.”
Then, he decided to aim higher. “One of my first big goals last June was to get $100 a day in revenue by the end of the month. So I hit that, and I thought that was insane! My next goal was $500 a day in revenue, which not too long after I reached that. And then $1,000 a day was another goal that I hit.”
While Jordan says it felt great to keep making progress and hitting the targets he set for himself, he says he realized that it’s equally as important to take a moment to look back at how far you’ve come. “Obviously it’s a great feeling setting these goals and achieving them, but what I realized about entrepreneurship is that it’s just one constant uphill climb of always seeking more, and never being fulfilled with where you’re at. So it’s kind of a scary thing when you think about it, you’re never being fulfilled, you know? You kind of have to put on the brakes and look back and see what you’ve already accomplished. So that’s what I’m doing now.”
Always Keep Learning
When you’re just starting out, there’s a lot to learn, no doubt. But the best entrepreneurs know that they even if they’ve been at it for years, they should never stop learning. They devour books and articles, obsess over learning from their data, and are quick to seek out advice from others. “That’s the whole part of entrepreneurship that I like, you’ve gotta be constantly learning and growing as a person,” Jordan says.
A year in, his store is already a great success. But he knows that the journey of learning is still going. He admits he doesn’t know where the store will take him, but he’s staying open minded and curious about its potential.
“Right now for me, it’s about still learning and trying new things. It’s not about settling down and staying comfortable. It’s about still learning and trying new things, and experiencing as much as I can.”