20-year-old makes $100K a month online
He started with a small-time eBay business at just 14 and now the 20-year-old from Adelaide is making a staggering $100,000 a month by selling products online.
Lukas Tsimopoulos from South Australia starting selling items on eBay as a teenager driven by "boredom" at school.
"When I first started my business ventures I was 13 or 14 and still at school. I started with eBay selling random products on the side sourced from suppliers. I did it on and off to make enough money for a 14-year-old to get by," Lukas told news.com.au.
What started out as a distraction eventually led towards an unexpected lucrative online business.
As a teen, the young entrepreneur from Adelaide was working in the family restaurant his parents ran until they sold the business.
Faced with the decision to continue working in hospitality for someone else or to try something new, Lukas decided to go out on his own, using his previous experience with selling on eBay.
"I started diving deeper into it when I was 18, almost 19, when I decided to do this long-term," he said.
Lukas turned to "dropshipping", which involves shipping products from the manufacturer directly to the customer without the supplier or retailer ever seeing it.
"I didn't think it would turn into a $100k-a-month business," he added. "I was just trying to make enough money to replace a normal income. I just wanted a decent income like $1500 a week."
Making that decision just over a year ago, he said the growth happened much quicker than he expected - and the six-figure-a-month business is bringing in way more money than he ever imagined.
Acting as a middleman, dropshipping does't require a business to keep products in stock. Instead, the store sells the product and passes on the sales order to a third-party supplier who then ships the order to the customer.
"For businesses, it means they don't have to outlay thousands of dollars to hold stock," Lukas explains.
The 20-year-old said he did his research to find trusted suppliers in Australia and the US, which he said offer faster delivery speeds than some suppliers in China.
Because of the time he invested into researching how to make the e-commerce business a quick success, Lukas said he is approached all the time by young entrepreneurs who want to do the same thing.
"Because I was selling on eBay at a young age since 14, I have a good understanding of how things work," he said.
"Friends approach me and say they want to start dropshipping. But it takes time and work, it doesn't just happen overnight," he said.
Lukas offers a "blueprint" program to help get other entrepreneurs started with dropshipping, which involves detailed advice on how to create stores and validate products to be able to sell online successfully.
"I've had a lot of people reach out. I offer a lot of free advice on my profile as well as open mentorship programs," he said.
A key piece of advice he offers is that going to university to study business is probably not the smartest route to entrepreneurship.
"Unless you're going to uni to do something that requires a degree, like to become a doctor, going to uni for four years to learn about business is pointless," he said.
He added that he has friends studying business at uni who are learning "outdated" theory that isn't applicable to the real world.
Lukas said that with an education system that offers a cookie-cutter approach to learning, these days it's more about "being able to learn to unlearn".
He points to mentors he finds online to get business advice instead of school, and suggests going to work for someone who owns a business to get first-hand, real-life experience rather than relying on a theoretical approach offered at tertiary institutions.
"When we're in school in the education system, we're fed the same information but it's not suitable for everyone because we're all different," he said.
Lukas points to YouTube for his learning. "There's a lot of good content online on YouTube," he suggests. "You don't need to pay for a uni degree."
He also recommends making investments that might help with learning, whether it's a short course online or simply using some money to try something to see if it works.
"When you're first starting out as a beginner you won't experience any level of success," he said.
"Many people will spend a few hundred dollars and not see anything come from it and see it as something they've lost, but I see it as learning opportunity, an investment into their knowledge.
"If you can learn something from that money you spent, then it's worth it," he said.
Despite his huge success, Lukas said he's had his challenges and hiccups along the way, which he takes on the chin as learning experiences.
Making up to $100,000 a month on his e-commerce platform was something he never expected. "There's been hiccups along the way but I've had a pretty good run so far," he said.
"I was really low key in high school but my friends from school knew I was business-minded," he said.
His plan for the future is "to continue to scale up and better myself".
"I've earned money but that's not my overall goal," he said. "It's to build brands and to continue to grow the business."
Lukas's personal brand on Instagram has grown to 110,000 followers.
While he posts pictures of himself with his brand new Audi, Lukas is adamant he isn't about splurging.
"What I give to myself is no different. Just because I make more money doesn't mean I spend more. Nowadays it's easy to get caught up in that but I don't think that's a good path to go down," he said.
Lukas has plans to invest in real estate and the stock market with the money but said he is in no rush.
Lukas said that e-commerce has grown at such a rapid rate which was bolstered this year by changing consumer behaviour due to the COVID-19 pandemic which turned shoppers away from bricks-and-mortar stores to online.
"E-commerce has grown exponentially and COVID has positively affected my business," he said. "People can't go to bricks-and-mortar stores and more people are resorting to online."
While he started selling products in all niches, from pet accessories to fitness products and tech items, Lukas found the most success in the health and beauty sector. "It's an evergreen niche that sells at a rapid rate and it's not seasonal," he said.
Lukas uses social media advertising like Facebook and Instagram ads to drive traffic to his online store.
One of his most popular items is a do-it-yourself IPL hair removal kit which Lukas sells on his platform for almost $100 a pop, as well as a microdermabrasion kit for around $79.
Beauty products like these are a huge problem-solver for those who want to continue beauty treatments at home during COVID restrictions.
Lukas said it "feels great" to not have to work 9-5, but he's no stranger to hard work - starting out working in the family restaurant as a teenager and learning how to make money on the side on eBay from a young age was the beginning of his business journey.
He said he wants to avoid becoming complacent and to continue to grow the business and strive for better.
"I definitely want to grow the business beyond $100K a month," Lukas said.
Originally published as 20-year-old makes $100K a month online