You hear about people making money online. They talk about how they make thousands and thousands from the comfort of their homes, but most people can’t help but think it’s a scam.
“If it was so easy, why isn’t everybody doing it?” you might think.
The general mindset of our society is that you should go to school and get a job. What makes making money online difficult is overcoming the mindset that you can’t do it.
Today, we’re going to talk about Dontez Akram, a 20 year old from Cleveland, Ohio who became a father in high school and became the owner of a 6-figure business before his 20th birthday.
How Dontez Found Success in eCommerce
For the past year and a half, Dontez Akram has been building his eCommerce empire.
He started out by selling durags after he discovered a market that he could tap into in his local community. A trip to his local beauty store helped him realize that the shops that he could provide people with durags pretty much on demand.
Dontez had little retail experience, but he negotiated with the local beauty store owner for a discounted rate on durags. He worked the owner down to a price that was several dollars below retail price.
He started buying the durags in bulk and selling them to the people of Cleveland. Even though he had customers in some rough areas, he took the risk to go out and hand deliver the products to their doors.
Eventually, the special delivery became unfeasible. For starters, he had a daughter at home and couldn’t be out on the streets.
He began to experiment with eCommerce. This way, his products could still be delivered directly to his customers, but the business would not be entirely reliant on him. Implementing this system was a main ingredient in the recipe for scaling.
Getting Into eCommerce
When Dontez decided to take the step to take his physical business to the digital realm, he was absolutely clueless about eCommerce. He saw something pop up on Youtube about eCommerce and he decided to check it out.
He found himself on Sebastian Ghiorghiu’s channel and started watching one video after another. While many people insist that you need to invest in expensive courses and coaches to make it in eCommerce, Dontez disagrees. He is building his empire with knowledge that he gathered for free on Youtube.
Dontez skipped a major step in building his eCommerce business that many people struggle with. He had a product that he knew would sell, and he had a decent customer base. Rather than starting from scratch, he was able to build on what he already had.
Social media played a huge role in his success. A loyal following, an inspirational story and a viral post helped him to take things to the next level with his brand.
H3: Learning and Using Paid Ads
Dontez’s social media allows him to be an active member in the community he has built, but it is also where he runs paid ads. When it comes to ads, it took Dontez a bit of experimenting before he got the hang of it.
He started off with Instagram running $10 worth of ads at a time. He’d go through the promoted posts and see what was getting the most likes. This obviously is not a super technical analysis, but it helped him ease into the ad world.
Eventually, Dontez began to use Facebook Ads to advertise more directly to his target market. This allowed him to optimize his ads to reach his target audience and his lookalike audiences.
Basically, how running ads on Facebook works is you initially tell Facebook who you want to target, and then they start to collect data and help you narrow down your audience.
Building an Online Presence
As we’ve discussed before, having a solid online presence is absolutely essential to being successful in the eCommerce realm.
The ForTheWxnners team actually had the honor of coaching Dontez through the process of building his Twitter profile, and we built his website.
He posts content that is branded with his logo and relevant to his niche. One of his main types of content is educational posts. He believes that his provides the most value to his audience.
In addition to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, Dontez is experimenting with Pinterest to drive traffic to his site.
Navigating Entrepreneurship as a Young Dad
Kids are a great responsibility no matter what age you are, but they also serve as a great inspiration.
Many people use their decision to become a parent at a young age as an excuse that hinders them from success. Dontez calls bullshit on this.
His baby girl has lit the entrepreneurial spark within him. Everything he does is done with the intention of giving his child the life he did not have growing up. He says that if it wasn’t for her, his business wouldn’t exist.
While you may have to jump over a few more hurdles as a young parent, your child is not a roadblock. The fact that Dontez has begun to build his empire while navigating parenthood is quite impressive.
He is a phenomenal example for young moms and dads who think that they’ve come to the end of the road. Looking at your child as an excuse to avoid taking the leap and creating a phenomenal life for you child is such a shame.
Connect with Dontez Akram
Want to stay connected with Dontez? Check him out on social media.
Personal Twitter: @dontezakram
Personal Instagram: @_therealtez
Business Instagram: @snagarag