In this episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle podcast, Anton shares a recap of the 2019 Drop Ship Lifestyle Retreat in Prague!
Listen in to hear what went down at the 6th Annual Drop Ship Lifestyle retreat.
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Hey, what's up everybody? Anton Kraly here, from eCommercelifestyle.com, and welcome to the episode of the eCommercelifestyle.com podcast. So, I apologize the past, what, probably 10 to 14 days or so. I hadn't posted many podcasts and it's because we've had the retreat and been traveling. I'm actually out in Milan now. I'm back in Italy, but the retreat is complete. That's a wrap, year six of the Drop Ship Lifestyle Retreat.
I guess first, if you're listening to this and you have no idea what I'm talking about, I run a company called Drop Shift Lifestyle. We help people build online businesses that are highly profitable, semi-automated stores using the dropship business model, specifically a very particular way that I've been doing since 2007. So, again, if you're new, you want to learn more about that, just go to dropshipwebinar.com, D-R-O-P-S-H-I-P webinar.com. I have a free, three-hour training there that will show you what this is all about.
But with that company and with this community at Drop Ship Lifestyle, I've been holding live events where we do our best to bring everybody together. And I've been doing them for six years now, this was just the sixth event. We've done them all over the world. This past weekend we did one in Europe for the first time and it was in Prague, in the Czech Republic. Amazing city, and honestly, I got to say, but before this retreat I'd only been to Prague one time, that was probably four or five years ago where I was traveling with my buddy, Johnny. We did a Europe tour for the summer and I just remember thinking, "Wow, Prague, this is special. This is a nice place, I want to be back." So that's why we chose Prague for this year's retreat.
And I've been traveling through Europe now, this trip as well. And I got to say, Prague was still just as amazing as I remember it, if not even more amazing. It just really feels authentic because it is. All of the buildings there, everything really held up over time. To not get into a history lesson, but it's because Prague was one of the only places in Europe that was extremely built up that didn't just get totally destroyed in World War II. So, it kind of got spared, so you really do feel like you're actually going back in time. Just a gorgeous place with amazing food, amazing people, so thank you to everyone over there who made the trip amazing.
With that being said, for everyone that didn't go, let me just take you through what we did over the three days of the retreat there. And then give you some of the biggest takeaways that I had. What we did on Thursday, this was September 5th, is we just did our normal welcome party and the registration event. We do this the night before presentations start. And we do it just so everybody can hang out, get some food, get a drink together and not just show in the morning and walk into a conference room and be like, "Okay. I guess we're going to start."
So, what was really cool, and what I noticed during the welcome party and the registration is that I saw of lot of familiar faces. Probably about half of the room, half of the attendees had been to previous retreats, which I love. I love seeing new people, but I also love seeing that obviously people are enjoying these things if they keep coming back. Just a really cool chance for me to catch up with people in person. Again, shake people's hands that I haven't met yet, but also hear from people that maybe came to their first retreat last year, or two years ago, or three years ago and see how far they've progressed.
Even in a year, a year, you can get a lot done in a year. But it goes by fast. Some people that I only met once, literally a year ago, just talking to them now, from then to now, seeing how far they've come, that's the reason that I really love these events. To be able to meet people in person, to be able to hear the stories, to be able to hear how they're implementing things, and if I need to help, where I need to step in and help, I'm happy to do so. But also, where I could hear how far people have come, that really motivates me and just inspires me to continue to do what we're doing here, and continue to make Drop Ship Lifestyle the best e-commerce program there is online. So, that was pretty much the first night. Just, again, meeting people, just getting to know as many people as I could before the fun began.
So, the second day was Friday, September 6th, and we started up at 9 a.m. So, pretty early, especially for all the people that were out enjoying the Prague night life after the check-in party. But the first speaker was a buddy of mine named Josh Stanton. And actually, I just interviewed him for the Podcast. It might have been the most recent episode, either one or two ago. Josh Stanton I met in Thailand when I was living in Chiang Mai, about five years ago. Just a totally awesome guy, runs all different types of businesses. I think he's based in Canada now, but location independent. Him, his wife and their son are always traveling all over the place. And his talk was about 10 lessons that he learned from 10 years of running location-independent businesses.
And what I loved about his talk, it wasn't drop-ship specific, but why I wanted him to talk and what I loved about it is that it was more about mindset. But not fluff-mindset stuff, just the way you really need to be prepared when you're going to build a business and one that's going to be successful. Because one thing I notice, people ask me at Drop Ship Lifestyle with our coaching program, why do some people succeed and why do some people just fail? And I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it's because of mindset. It's because of how people go into this. It's because of what they expect from it and it's because of what they expect from themselves, and what they actually put into it.
So, Josh's talk really hit on that. I think it maybe turned the lights on, is a better thing to say, for a lot of people in the audience. And gave them the motivation they need to really start seeing traction. And by the way, if you're a member of Drop Ship Lifestyle, I'll definitely be posting an update when we have slides and whatnot, and some of the videos even, from the presentations available. That's again, if you're a member of Drop Shift Lifestyle.
The next talk that started at 10 a.m. was from Ireia and Josh. And they are awesome people. They've been to a couple retreats in the past. They're a married couple and their talk was called, Share the Hustle: How to Build a Business with Your Spouse. And they did a great job. What I love is, everybody that speaks at our events is not a speaker. We're just all people looking to share value, and that's exactly what they did. They basically talked about how they went from nothing to, now, two very successful stores, while running the businesses together. Some people, the things I hear are, "Oh, I wish my husband (or my wife) supported me." And that's why I wanted Josh and Ireia to talk. They really talked about how they worked together and how they made it better than if it was just one of them working separately.
I don't know if you could hear this. I have church bells behind me right now. See if you could hear this. I'm literally in an office in the Airbnb where we're staying in, you could hear that in the background. Pretty cool, love Italy. But, yeah, after their talk we took a little break. Then we came back with Michael Erickson Facchin. And you probably know Michael Erickson if you're part of our communities. He has previously done some of our AdWords trainings. Because he runs a company called Search Scientists that manages just tons of Google shopping campaigns for some really big e-commerce brands and they have a lot of data.
Anyway, his talk was called, Scale Sales with Robots: What to Automate in Your PPC. It was just really cool, talking about what to take advantage of when it comes to automating your ads, and what not to automate. So, how to make the best out of what Google gives you to automate, but how to keep the things in your hands that you need to control, if you want to see maximum return on an investment in your ad. Great talk as always there, by Micheal.
After that we broke for lunch. Then we had Anastasia. And Anastasia gave a talk called, Less is More: How to Set Up Your Business So That You Can Work Less, and Enjoy Life More. Really great talk about hiring, about business process. And what I loved about it is that Anastasia's been running her store, it's a Drop Ship Lifestyle store, she started it after joining our program. But she's been running it for four or five years now. And she was doing everything herself until last year, she got pregnant and realized, "I can't do this all myself. I'm about to have a baby." So that kind of forced her into having to hire somebody. And she just shared some before and after of how much time she puts in and how her business is growing. Just pretty cool to see the systems that she put in place when she knew she had to outsource, how that's led to growth and how everybody could replicate it.
So, definitely, people loved that presentation, I know I did, as well. And that's a big thing. That was also kind of a theme of the retreat, was hiring virtual assistants. And people's processes for it, people's processes for tracking, how to give yourself the best shot, how to hire, how to fire, and I think there was a lot of value shared there, definitely from Anastasia's talk, as well. So, we had one more talk the second day. That was from me, and it was called, New Money Machines. This was about how to, basically, add more revenue streams to your dropshipping store. I shared five of our top money machines.
I'm not going to get deep into it into this podcast just for sake of time. Like I said, I'm in Italy so I got to go out and enjoy some things. But what I think I'm going to do is, over the next five days or so, I'll probably do a podcast everyday where I talk about one of these money machines in each one, just to break it up a bit. So, if you're interested in hearing about that, again, it's extra revenue streams that you can strap on to your store. I think I'll release one new episode everyday for the next five days, sharing a money machine each day. So, if you want to hear them and you're not subscribed to the podcast, definitely go into whatever podcast player you use. Just click the subscribe button and you'll get notifications as I release all of these new insights from, well, my first speech at the retreat.
Moving right along though. Oh, well, let me tell you about the afternoon, right. At our retreats, it's not just conference, conference, conference. It's speeches, then go out and have fun. So, what we did the afternoon of the second day is we had a couple huge buses pick us up. And they took us to this place called Action Park, where we were doing this, basically, paint ball with bow and arrows. I don't know what they call it. It was archery in a paint ball arena with soft tips on the arrows. But, yes, you really shoot each other and it was a lot of fun, so, we did that. We were playing bubble football. We had giant beer pongs set up and a whole bunch of other fun games.
So, good food, good beer over there and really good networking with everybody that was at the event. So, just a good way to meet people, again, at a deeper level, talk about what everybody learned in the morning, and also start trying to figure out, "Well, do I want to be in a Mastermind with anybody here? Who am I going to keep in touch with after the retreat?" So that's what we did in the afternoon.
Day three was Saturday. The first talk on Saturday was from Andy Allaway and he's the chief operations officer, yeah, for Empire Flippers. If you don't know Empire Flippers, you should. I talk about them all the time. Go to empireflippers.com. They're a website brokerage. They sell all different types of online businesses ranging from, probably starting around $20,000.00, all the way up to millions. They sell a lot of stores for our students, and just a great company with a great team. Andy spoke about how to turn your store into a rock-solid asset that buyers will love. So, how to prepare your store if you want to ever flip it, so you can make sure you get maximum value. Great talk there by Andy.
After that, we had David Semones. I think that's how you say it. The last name, it's Portuguese, so I can't get it. But David is from a company called, Sounds Good Agency. They are a Shopify partner that does amazing work, highly recommend them. Again, Sounds Good Agency, and they're actually based in Czech Republic, which is cool. And we worked with them in the past and we were like, "Okay, this is a great fit." David came and he spoke about conversion rate optimization, about the best practices, about mistakes to avoid and about what works in 2019. So, thank you, David, awesome talk, I know everybody got a lot of value.
So, after that, we took a coffee break. Then we went into Johnny. You probably know him as JohnnyFD.com, one of my good buddies, Johnny Jen. He was actually one of the first members of Drop Ship Lifestyle way back in 2013 when I created the thing. But he spoke about freeing up your time and freedom while running your dropshipping store. So, basically, kind of like a mix of what you would hear in the four-hour work week, but then, actually applied to the stores we built here at Drop Ship Lifestyle. And how to set yourself up in different parts of the world. Not only to be running a successful business, but to get the maximum amount of freedom in your life and from anything you do. So, awesome talk. I know it opened up the eyes of a lot of people in the audience about what they can actually get out of their business.
Then we took a lunch break and then I was onstage again where I went deep into our Facebook advertising playbook. I went for about an hour and a half to two hours, sharing exactly how we structure every single thing in our Facebook ad campaigns to get ridiculous returns on ad spins, like 200-plus. So, that, I'm not going to be sharing publicly. It will be incorporated into the newest version of Drop Ship Lifestyle, which is version 8.0, which will be coming soon. If you're not part of Drop Ship Lifestyle yet, and you want to make sure you see that, be sure to go to dropshipwebinar.com. D-R-O-P-S-H-I-P webinar.com, where you can learn more about how to get enrolled in the program. And then you'll get the access to our whole Facebook ads playbook when that releases in version eight of the blueprint.
So, after that, we took a couple hours as a break. Then we went to have our final party at this place called The Medieval Tavern. It's a bar, obviously, in Prague that's on the steps up to the castle. They say they've been open every single day since 1325, which is insane. 700 years, they've been open every single day. It's a bar that Mozart and all the famous composers used to hang out at when they were performing and working in Prague. And I just thought it was the coolest thing. Everybody had a great time. They had sword-fight shows and they had belly dancing, and they had fire shows. It was just this crazy time, again, just celebrating the event, celebrating the week, just bonding further with everybody. So, just really loved that.
And then, for anybody that's wondering, like, "Well, Anton this sounds awesome. I want to be at your next retreat. When is it going to be? Where is it going to be? What's going on?" I'll tell you, we were thinking of different possible locations before this event started. But I wasn't really sure. We were thinking Puerto Rico was probably going to be it for next year. And I was talking to some people about it before the event started, the day before people show up. So I was just hanging out at the networking party the first night. I was talking to people and I kept mentioning Puerto Rico, and people were like, "Oh, that's cool. But have you thought about this place, or that place?" And I was like, "Yeah. It's still up in the air."
And then, what I decided to do on the third day of the retreat was to do a survey in front of the room, in front of everybody when I was presenting. So I said, "All right guys, listen. We have three options in mind for next year. Where do you want the retreat to be?" And I said, "Option one, Puerto Rico. Close to the states, affordable flights, all-inclusive resorts, we got that." Then I said, "Option two, Italy. Great food, again, pretty easy to travel to, and just beautiful scenery." Then I said, "Option three, Portugal. Good cost. You still have to fly overseas for most people, but flights aren't that bad. And it's like somewhere we've never been before." Then we did a vote. I said, "How many people want Puerto Rico?", and some people put their hands up. And I said, "How many people want Italy?", and about half the room put their hands up. And I said, "How many people want Portugal?", and it seemed like everybody in the room had their hands up screaming. So, I don't know why, I didn't really sell it, but people sold it on themselves. And the more I look into it, the more I think it was a great decision.
So, that basically had us decide, Portugal is it for 2020. That's where we're going to be for the retreat. Still have some research to do, obviously. You have to find the perfect location as far as the center and hotel that could hold us all. So, we will be diving into that with the team, and new information will be coming to Drop Ship Lifestyle members within the next month or so. But I just want to say thank you to everybody that was there for an amazing time. We sent out a feedback survey just because we want to see how we did. And so far the results have been, just way better than I even thought they would be. So, appreciate you, I'm happy you all had a great time.
If I could say anything for everybody that was there, the biggest thing that I want you to do is stay in touch with everybody you met, everybody you clicked with. Because next year ... Again, a year is kind of far away, you can get a lot done, but it's going to be here before you know it. And what I want for you is to be bouncing ideas off people that you met. If you get stuck, if you learn something, share it with them. If you need help, ask them. Support one another, network with one another, motivate one another. And hopefully next year when I see you again, and I shake your hand at the networking event and check-in event in Portugal, you are going to tell me, "Anton, this last year has been nothing short of amazing. My store has grown leaps and bounds and I couldn't be happier." That's what I want for all of you.
So, look forward to seeing you again next year. And if you're brand new, again, you want to be part of this, be sure to go to dropshipwebinar.com, register for my free training. Learn what this is all about. Get started and hopefully, I will see you next year as well. So, thank you everybody. I'm going to go out and enjoy Italy a little bit more. And I'll talk to you all tomorrow where I share the first money machine. See you.