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Why my First Ecom Business Felt Like Flushing Money Down the Toilet…

December 29, 2023 / Multichannel Kenshi
Cash flow was so good I could buy a Money Gun just to flex on my 9-5 friends.

It felt like I was printing money.

My ego was through the roof and I needed a wake up call.

That day eventually came and it’s the day every dropshipper dreads.

My store averaging $3k a day dropped to 1.4 ROAS out of nowhere and never recovered.

I tried every trick in the book all the self-proclaimed ‘experts’ taught me, to no avail.

And to make things worse off… I was running out of options…

It felt like my back was always against the wall. I started dropshipping to try to make some money as a student, but it ended up draining my bank account dry from countless ad campaigns that rarely broke even. I started falling behind in class, because of all the time I was spending trying to figure out what I was doing wrong..

There were nights I laid awake waiting for my ads to get approved, just hoping my account wouldn’t get banned for some unknown reason, or my payment wouldn’t be denied.

I was just about ready to cut my losses and give up… I couldn’t watch my money burn away anymore, feeling that maybe I should just focus on school and get that 9-5 job in the rat race that my parents and girlfriend kept talking about.

It felt like I had been taken advantage of by the gurus who only teach beginner dropshipping strategies discovered by Dan Dasilva in 2017.

I guess what they forgot to tell me was I would be paying $4,997 to watch useless videos of old strategies that haven’t worked in YEARS. I could’ve learned all of that stuff on YouTube for free.

I quickly realized I had been taught dropshipping all wrong and that I was really only printing 1 dollar bills this whole time.

What my brand needed was REAL marketing work, you know…

… like the tactics used by Don Draper in Mad Men.

… I needed to Learn The REAL Industry Secrets…

I wanted to Learn the Ruthless, Cutthroat Tactics that the Gurus were Excluding from their Courses NOT The ones in their high-ticket courses‘ or ‘masterminds‘…

… but The Ones They Didn’t Even Know Existed Yet

Usually, the guys who are making real money with their actual Shopify Stores don’t even have the time for coaching in the first place

Which leaves intermediates like us to fall victim to beginner level Ecom Gurus who only teach you how to make a quick buck.

I needed to switch my approach before falling deeper into the rabbit hole of inconsistency, anxiety & despair.

after bouncing around many forums, even trying to ask ChatGPT.. eventually my research led me to stumble upon a Free Private Facebook Group

… by a dropshipper turned programmer that records himself scaling stores, training models & coding SaaS’s in 9 Languages

… where he reveals core fundamentals & innovative strategies for dropshipping, automation and AI – to be on the cutting-edge in E-Com in 2024.

  • …that he learns from studying those he considers ‘REAL Gurus’ such as: The people Coding the Pixel, and Writing the Facebook Marketing API

What made this group stand apart from the biggest like Ecom Empires and Facebook Ad Buyers was that the guy who runs it produces super high-level systematic videos for his members for FREE. I’ve never seen ecom content this valuable

So My Goal Today is to Show YOU How to:

Transform your current (or next) dropshipping business by Unveiling The Systematic First-Principles Framework

Along with The Core Underlying Principles Behind Winning Creatives & Ad Sets (“Buckets” & Pockets)

…that I Curated from this Facebook Group’s FREE Videos…

Which brought me back to Cracking Winning Products & Scaling Them Like It Was 2016 Again.

Even though he’s posted Plenty Of New 2024 AI / E-com Strategy Videos To his group by now…

If you’re NOT A Programmer, but a dropshipper like me… His Older Videos & Frameworks on Psychological Marketing are reason he was able to turn this all into code… and the main reason I was able to start Consistently Finding Winners Again. Every Single Video I am about to dissect for you can also be found here in the Facebook Group Completely Free.

I Named this Free Course – “First-Principles Dropshipping

(Winner Extraction Framework 0)

The First Video That Caught My Attention in the group was called:

Painkiller vs Vitamins

(product research / filtration framework 0)

  • A Vitamin is any product that slightly improves the customer’s short-term condition (non-necessity)

  • A Painkiller is any product that reduces pain in the customer’s life (necessity)

  • This is considered a simple Binary Classification Framework. You’ll notice in the Facebook Group that Logical Math-Based Frameworks are at the Core of getting AI’s to Output with greater Accuracy & Consistency.
    • Once inside, you’ll also catch an example of a Simple MultiClassification Framework when watching the November 2023 ‘Categorical Targeting‘ Series – (where he Codes the AI Models into a Full Live Custom Application)

This simple framework lets you greatly fine-tune your product research filters. Once you learn how to identify potential products as either a vitamin or painkiller, you will save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on testing.

The ‘key’: to a winning product is…

Its Ability/‘Value’: to REDUCE (*NOT Always Cure or Solve) At Least 1 deep physical or emotional pain for your customer.

A branded T-shirt is considered a vitamin because It’s NOT That essential to survival. It isn’t really minimizing or solving any major problems for people, which makes your task of Ethically Persuading Customers to Purchase at Scale FAR more Difficult than it needs to be.

By selling a (physical OR emotional) pain solution product, like a back brace or snoring device, it becomes much easier to tap into the emotions of your customer. To make them Feel. Their mind naturally goes into instinctive mode, surpassing their subjective logic and objections. This behavior often compels people to buy products or make decisions on impulse.

Tapping into the emotions of your potential customer is the key to the dropshipping purchase conversion event. Help them reduce their pain, while harnessing it as leverage, relatability & motivation in your marketing, and you will be blown away at how effective it is..

The next section of the video goes into how exactly to do this, I suggest checking out the full video here.

After watching that video I immediately started changing my product research strategy and saw amazing results.

I was able to cut out 75% of the products on my list that I was about to launch…

…and More Importantly, Completely Rewired my Approach from Hopelessly “guessing” Winning Products, to Psychologically Engineering Them…

Eager to learn more about this style of marketing, I looked more into the group and found this video that changed my entire perspective on advertising:

🦎 “Reptilian Copywriting”..

  • …a Psychological, Formulaic & Variablized Product Copywriting Framework You Can Build On…

Once you choose your pain point product, you must apply Reptilian Copywriting Techniques to Draw Your Customers in.

You do this by appealing to their subconscious mind.

The GOAL with your copy is to surpass the logical decision-making part of your customer’s brain and focus your words on connecting with the reptilian brain…

Every basic dropshipper and proclaimed guru writes copy for their Facebook Ads Using Logic, they are essentially ONLY speaking to & connecting with the Neocortex part of the customers brain. The part of the brain that will effortlessly object to your product.

“X% OFF!” ❌

“Better than XYZ!” ❌

“Only X Left in Stock!” ❌

“Flash sales, FREE Plus Shipping” ❌❌

  • NOTE: Always Have Some Correlated Promotion… But DON’T Make it the Center of your Angle

“Ergonomic, Quintessential, Iconoclast, Seminal, Exemplary, Multifaceted, Etc” 🤮❌❌

You’re NOT Their Local Ivy League Politician that ALSO Sells Used Toyotas, You’re Their Community College Therapist.. Be Yourself.

YOU have to go deeper, in order to appeal to the primitive and incredibly powerful reptilian brain.

You do this by appealing to their subconscious mind.

You DON’T Want to Ignore Any of These Parts… But if you want the highest chance to Systematically Programmatically Grab Attention, Evoke Impulse and Turn that Feeling into Conversions

…then you should Tactically Speak Directly to the Reptilian Brain, while Using Emotional Dialogue, to Activate the Limbic Brain Simultaneously.

& THEN Follow it up by Rationalizing to the Neocortex AT THE END.

Dropshipping is NEVER Won on the Product Selection Side, Since you must Logically Win Facebook Auction, Stop the Scroll, and Entice The Click… BEFORE The Customers analyzes the Product Page Copy

To Make a (split-second) Decision, about Whether They FEEL YOUR Product Remedy, will EVEN Reduce 1% Of THEIR Pain (worth at least 1 unit of value).

It’s Not Won in Product Research But Can EASILY Be Lost… Therefore Systematically Select the FIRST 10/10 Product According to the Framework, to create a Foundation to Deploy the BEST Psychological Angles (coming next) & Copywriting.

Enough Data on EVERY Product Exists on Amazon & Aliexpress Alone, for you to Identify 1 Product that Reduces MANY Physical & Emotional Pains within 30 Minutes. It’s COMPLETELY Fine To Take An Extra HOUR If Needed, save yourself the future decisions minutes hours days weeks TIME

Start by Researching (*extracting) through Aliexpress and/or The Other Large E-Commerce Databases, and FILTERING Out THE Newest MOST Effective Remedy YOU CAN Find To A Mass Pain. Then VALIDATE It ACTUALLY Does The Thing…

In a previous group video, he mentions additional criteria… such as sales from the US, Canada & UK. As well as a few other data points, including what he considers ‘saturation’ & ‘profit’ indicators.

But above all the SINGLE Main Priority is that it is a world-class mass-market pain-killing solution, which is validated by a sizable amount of customer review data.

Since we’re not inventing products here, the explicit goal is to filter a highly marketable & effective solution from Aliexpress (of which there are endless), then Validate it Actually IS.

How? Just Like The REAL Ecom Guru Bezos Always Says …. “OBSESS Over Customer Happiness”.. “like actually”…

He set up a Review Database called Amazon you can leverage for this. I still think One Of HIS BEST Inventions Is the Customer Review… This invention contains ALL Data YOU Need to Generate the Effective Reptilian Copy Required to let Customers suffering from this Pain Know… That A Better Remedy DOES NOT ExistOnce you first Validate It Here.

Do YOUR Job as a Dropshipper to Filter & Select His BEST Everything Store Remedy for your customers’ specific pain… and Leave it to the REAL Gurus who are coding the Pixel to Deploy your Effective Angle-Laced Remedy at Scale to People Who Actually NEED It.

Stand on the shoulders of REAL Gurus, Maximize the Architecture They’ve Built.. and Deploy their Best Solutions, in a reptilian fashion, to Scale As Much Customer Happiness & Value as Possible.

Once you’ve selected the most Reptlian, Proven & Mass-Market PainKiller Product that you found, after 30-90 minutes of researching the massive E-Commerce Databases

…and you’re able To Systematically Map the Behavioral Pains, Desires & Emotions of your Niche into the Simple, Structured Reptilian Framework from the group video.. Can Logically & Systematically Iterate them into Angle Variations

(Angle Framework 0)

  • Meet the Fundamental Particle Behind Winning Creatives: Buckets
    • “A Systematic Framework to Permuting Through Angles & Cracking Winning Creatives on Autopilot

    • Buckets represent Sub-Sections of People in Your Niche with Shared Experiences, Around 1 or More of the Specific Different Pain Points Addressed by your Product.

    • For Instance, I have back pain because I sit in a chair programming & copywriting all day. My uncle’s back pain is caused by his Obesity. We both could use YOUR Lumbar Support Pillow… but it will take Separate Angles, since We’re in COMPLETELY Different Buckets & Don’t FEEL The Same Emotions or Share the Same Experiences regarding Back Pain..

    • He HATES When you bring up how he can’t fit or sit properly in restaurant booths anymore, but I couldn’t care less since I’m sitting in a gaming chair…

Here’s Another Example: If you are in the sleep-help product niche… you have to realize people buy this product for different reasons and therefore are split up into different groups / buckets:

  • Anxiety about their physical health

  • Improve performance at work due to lack of sleep – Career pain

  • Reduce agitation at home from lack of sleep – affects their Family as well

You must use many different marketing angles if you want to resonate with each group of buyers in your Facebook audience. You do this by catering your ad copy to the desires and pain points of each individual Bucket of buyers.

There’s Endless possible Angles… but now you can Apply the Reptilian Framework as a Sorting Mechanism for your Angles (reptilian, descending), to Systematically Iterate through them

The World’s Greatest Facebook Marketers, at The API, also Coded an Insane Tool to Help us Robustly Test Angles, via Marketing Assets such as Ad Copies…

They created the Dynamic Creative tool. It’s brilliant because it will self-optimize for the best creative (angle), while also functioning as a PERFECT EvenlyDistributed Marketing Asset Framework.

Maximize the 5 Headlines, 10 Creative Slots, Etc, Cleverly with Angles

It’s on us as marketers to leverage this tool to split-test different Buckets in your Niche… To Perform True BUDGET-MAXIMIZED Testing & Data Analysis on your Product.

Here’s a Simple Framework to Cracking the Perfect Angle:

Create one audience and split test it against 5 different ad angles each targeting a different PainPoint

  • 1 Generic E-commerce Ad Angle (Features, Discount, Ivy League Politician Used-Car-Salesman Vibes, etc…)

  • 4 Reptilian Framework Angles each targeting a separate Pain-Point of the niche

Once you notice the best performing angles/groups you then build a new campaign testing 5 variations of the best angles combined into one.

The winning ad from this test will become the Perfect Ad Angle.

This simple testing framework for tapping into Buyer Buckets via cracking the perfect angle & ad… is also helpful for other Types of Campaigns & Verticals…

Dig into your Consumers Core Survival Instincts AND How They FEEL. YOU have the product that can make a slight difference in protecting their family and/or themselves, from physical and/or emotional harm. You just have to be tactical enough to make them FEEL that slight difference, and the rest is history.

Here’s A Lead Gen Example from the Facebook Group video of a line he used in an advertorial, from a Solar CPA Campaign: (he has a bunch of lead gen content too)

“Your utility company is withholding information from you that could be harming your children”

Reptilian Headline (Video Example – Solar Lead Gen)

In This Sentence we do 2 things:

  • Instill Curiosity by Speaking to an Unknown Fear, by Saying “withholding information” and “harming”

  • Reveal to the reader their children may be at risk. Family is one of the most effective ways of tapping into the Reptilian Brain with REAL Feeling & Emotion, especially when positioning around an Unknown Fear

When you use Reptilian Copy, you have the ability to evoke a “Fight or Flight” response within someone.

This is an immensely powerful tool when used ethically & effectively by clever marketers. Please use this ethically and within ad policies ONLY!

Now let’s get into how to harness the power of Facebook Ads, so we can take Full Advantage…

…AND Effectively Deploy our Reptilian Copywriting, around our Painkiller Product.

The video is called: “Profits Are In The Pockets

This video defines ‘Pockets’ as a very small section of your Facebook Audience that the pixel has identified and chosen to spend your daily budget on.

Therefore, small budgets and unseasoned pixels often struggle, because they might have chosen a bad pocket of the audience. (they have less data to predict the correct pocket)

A $20 a day budget up against a 2.5 million person audience creates unstable performance, and oftentimes makes you lose money.

The Success of your Ad Set is really dependent on it being in a good pocket of your audience that day.

The Facebook Pixel AI is One of the Best in the World, but it’s not Magic. It’s making Quick Batch / Chunk Predictions…

The Lower the Ad Set’s Daily Budget (which is the case during testing), the Higher The Likelihood The Pixel Predicted The Entire Pocket At Once…

Learning How to Manipulate or Variate the Pockets in Your Ad Sets will Help you In MANY Ways, but most of all with Keeping Promising Ad Sets AliveSo you can scale them to the moon.

An easy switch you can make in your ads to Gain Consistency with Pockets, is the switch to CBO:

Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO)

  • (Now Rebranded To Advantage Campaign Budget, Same Concept / Logic on API Docs)

CBO is the answer to unstable ad sets. It prioritizes your daily budget only on the most profitable pockets of your audience that day.

Rather than blame your audience for not producing results, give your audience the tools it needs, to maximize its chances at spending your money only on converting pockets.

Testing Method: CBO (Pocket) Testing

Keep EVERY Single Categorical Targeting Audience / Ad Set within Its Own CBO.

Duplicate all your testing ad sets once (maybe twice) right off the bat

Why..? Because we’ll NOT ONLY Be Structuring our Campaigns to Test EVERY Single Interest in the Niche…

… Flexed Specifically to Map Behavioral Purchasing Patterns, Logically like Lookalikes… (categorical targeting upcoming)

…BUT TO ALSO Test Them 3-Dimensionally on the Pocket-Level Too.

This increases the chances of finding profitable ad sets because you are testing multiple pockets within each audience, all while keeping things Cost-Effective within the Categorical Targeting Framework. But as an Added Note, this Works Great for Lookalike Audiences Too.

Resetting Pockets: Reviving Winning Ad Sets

Before giving up on an audience that fizzled out, duplicate the ad set multiple times.

The ad set most likely lost momentum in locating profitable pockets. Duplicating will give you another chance at finding profitable pockets again within that audience.

Amplification / Scaling: Pocket-Tapping CBO Strategy

  • Simple Principle that lets You Scale Ad Sets Inwards (pockets) as well as Outwards (budget)
    • (achieve consistent ad set amplification with the Same Principle Your Camera Uses When ‘Duplicating‘ Electrons to ‘ScaleBrightness Probability 101)
  • Doubling a photograph’s brightness isn’t about doubling the number of its electrons. It’s about multiplying them intelligently, checking the result, and holding off at just the right brightness.
  • Think of scaling your Facebook ads in the same way. If an ad set drives great results, you wouldn’t necessarily just double your budget or duplicate it twice to get twice the results. You duplicate multiple times, continually assess, and fine-tune.
  • This let’s you ‘ScalePerformance by intelligently duplicating ‘Profitable Audience Pockets‘ – a Simple Game of Probability.

Leveraging the Campaign Budget Optimization algorithm is how to effectively spend every dollar on Facebook, by only allocating budget to ad sets that hit a profitable pocket on that day.

Pocket-Tapping Is A Low-Maintenance & Risk-Averting Campaign Structure, that maximizes every inch of your Audience.

In the simplest form of practice, you can start by taking your most successful ad set, duplicating it 5 – 10 times within a single Advantage Campaign Budget / CBO, and closely monitoring the results.

Utilizing CBO to your advantage is the key to high ROAS and minimum stress.

Phew… 👀 now that was a lot of knowledge Data!

It’s probably a lot to take in right now, so that’s why I urge you to check out the Facebook Group here where you can find all of these videos.

After taking in all this great free content, I felt the need to reach out to the guy that put this all together to see if he offered more coaching and I was disappointed to find out…

He doesn’t even have 1 course currently on offer…

I’m not going to lie, I was still expecting a sneaky course link… turns out in true nerd fashion, This guy’s in a cave somewhere with his team glued to their screens, trying to keep up with all the new features being pumped into OpenAI & AWS API Docs on the Daily.

And at the core, his Free Facebook Group Helps YOU Do Exactly That:

  • Solving E-Commerce from FirstPrinciples

ECOM HQ: E-Commerce Automation Agency

Compared to literally every marketing or e-commerce Group on Facebook, ECOM HQ produces the highest level dropshipping content for free.

The variety, skill-level, and value of content this Free Group is not even matched by paid courses. For Example, In one post from December 2023:

  • He pinpoints the exact mechanism behind IOS 14.3 which causes event data to appear to ‘drop off’

  • Explains Why IOS 14.3 Forces Half (or more) of Pixel Events to be Hidden‘ in Your Ads Manager as a ‘PageView

  • Dissects the Javascript Fallback Mechanism, in the default Facebook Pixel Code, That you need to fix in order to ‘Reveal’ these Hidden PageView Events Again

Keep in Mind, this was just the Intro to Method #1/7… from his upcoming ‘Event Recovery Series

..meanwhile in the SAME Facebook Group, if you just scroll back, you’ll find equally insane Free videos where… Unlike other people who try to hide their profit margins, he shows his Shopify screen and Facebook ads manager to be completely transparent…

He First Finds a Pain-Killing Hair Product Winner using his Painkillers vs Vitamins Group Video

Using the principles he taught in the Painkiller vs Vitamins video, he was able to quickly choose a product that helps women deal with hair problems. He considers it a physical painkilling product.

He then prepared various angles for his Facebook ads, using the lists of Psychological Desires & Mammalian Emotions that he provides in his Free Reptilian Copywriting Group Video, to connect with women dealing with hair problems.

This made it much easier for him to crack the perfect ad for his audience. He was able to resonate with a large part of his audience because he marketed each group of buyers by targeting different pain points in his ads.

To summarize the logical steps he took into a Replicable Framework:

  • 1st Used Core Painkiller vs Vitamins principles to choose a product quickly and efficiently off an Aliexpress Search Tool. He barely looks at the product…
    • He just confirms it actually reduces one or more of the high-value psychological pains from objective customer review data & watching Youtube videos of it in action.
    • Take the extra moment to ensure there’s plenty of proof the product overdelivers on psychological value. This is Mandatory Dropshipping is won in the Facebook Auction, where you’re bidding against others selling the same product.
    • Although you can cook up better offers out of thin air by Bundling with ‘Finishing’ Upsells, as he shows here in his ‘The Perfect Upsell Free Group Video you can give yourself a MASSIVE Head Start by Tactically Choosing a Pre-Built Winner
  • 2nd Reptilian Copywriting to position & frame the product effectively, to Connect Emotionally with his Target Customers, and Engineer Angles that Stand Apart in the Facebook Auction
    • Since he literally knew nothing about Types 3 & 4 Women’s Hair… he started from first-principles, by dissecting and researching his target market / niche. It was ‘Make Or Break’ that he was able to accurately to determine which is the best Angle to take, in order to connect emotionally with them on this pain.
    • This is where you take the SAME product everyone else has access to, and Make It YOUR Winner by Making Your Customers FEEL Emotion.
  • 3rd Categorical Targeting Cold Product Interest-Targeting Framework, To Map EVERY Hair-Related Interest on Facebook into Precisely-Flexed Audiences, such that the TWO Audiences with ALL the Buyers were Identified within 36 Hours & $28 Ad-spend
    • (this is the special targeting strategy which he literally turned into math, and coded into a SaaS in the most recent Group Video Series. It’s also the point where you are DEPLOYING ALL Marketing Assets that you’ve generated within the testing framework thus far. So it’s time to watch this entire series in the Group, along with its end-to-end case study… to ensure you do this properly and do not corrupt your testing data)
  • 4th Cracked the Perfect Ad via Angling to resonate with different Buckets of buyers allowing him to scale effectively

  • 5th Pocket Tapping Scaling Strategy for how to Consistently Amplify Initial Winning (Categorical Targeting, Lookalike or any Type/Size of) Audiences – which if your Free Membership Request is Accepted… You’ll be able to see a case study from when he still did stores manually, where he used Pocket-Tapping to scale a brand new winner… like many of the current 11,400+ free group members are daily…

  • “First-Principles Dropshipping

    (Winner Extraction Framework 0 ✅ Lesson 0 ✅)

    It’s pretty incredible to see someone not only put out an insane amount of free value videos, but to also apply these same principles to build a successful store as a case study to show that it works.

    Join his Facebook Group if you want to learn all of this in full.

    I am super grateful for him — I highly recommend joining his group if you want some more next-level strategies & frameworks on digital marketing.

    There are already over 11,400+ members in his group taking advantage of his free content… so it’s not like I’m doing him any favors here with this Article..

    (so just a reminder so you guys don’t miss out on this free content, since he has tons of requests coming in… ➡️ dropping some comment data at the source which routed you here gets you re-routed ↗️ to the front of the line for the python bouncers 🐍)

    Meet the AIuthor, Multichannel Kenshi, the peerless fencer of Ecom Cloud Dojo…

    ..wielding not one, but multiple katanas of e-commerce.

    Master of many platforms, he dances through the digital marketplace with the nimbleness of a ninja, maintaining a seamless brand presence across all channels.

    His every move is a symphony of perfect coordination….

    Kenshi cuts through platform differentiation, ensuring your messaging remains consistent, yet tailored perfectly for each unique environment.

    He harmonizes your business across different channels, creating a cohesive brand experience that charms your customers, no matter where they engage.

    Join Multichannel Kenshi on his relentless pursuit of e-commerce excellence as he parries challenges, strikes opportunities, and propels your brand towards unprecedented multi-platform success. (if you want him to do your group next, he’s listening to the comments 🐍)