Starting From Zero by Fred Lam 2.0 is out now. The new edition is slightly longer with some new sections added, and it comes with an audiobook (in mp3 format). I kind of liked the first edition, though I found it a little too long. Today in this Starting From Zero review I'll show you what the book is about, and compare the two versions.
What is Starting From Zero by Fred Lam about?
In short, it's a complete guide to drop-shipping, particularly made for beginners. Fred explains the importance of owning a website and how you can leverage ads to drive traffic, as well as a step-by-step guide to open a Shopify account.
Overall it's quite hyped up. Fred repeatedly explains how your business can potentially earn 6, 7 figures per year. He goes on and on about how monstrous internet business industries are. So some users might feel agitated, "I know how huge Facebook is! Just get down to the business, will ya?" Then Fred does get deep down for you, giving some thorough and comprehensive guides.
In terms of the audio file - it's a whopping 7 hours 41 minutes long. I don't travel to work so it's hard for me to judge, but you can listen to it while you're commuting or driving and make use of some parts of it. Fred himself is reading out the entire book, by the way.
Starting From Zero - The Contents
Chapter 1: The 30,000 Foot Overview
It's the overview of the book. He never explains what '30,000 ft' refers to though.
- Step 1: A website store is a must
- Step 2: Inventory arbitrage
- Step 3: Traffic makes perfect
- Step 4: The Profit Multiplier
- Step 5: Scale Up, Then Rise and Repeat
Chapter 2: Your Opportunity Within The Falling Empire Of Retailers
- Why E-commerce is right for everyone.
- You only need $100 investment to start with.
This is the most misleading chapter in my opinion. Fred says "The beauty of e-commerce is that you can work any time of the day. You can make money while you're asleep", which is true.
But then he says "Your website is open 24/7. It doesn't matter if you don't have anyone working on the site or filling the orders 24 hours a day" which doesn't make sense. In my opinion, "Your website is open 24/7. So you need someone working for you, in case you are away"!
E-commerce/drop-shipping business requires customer service, requires you to update the product listings, shipping and return management constantly, at ALL times. You'll never be able to go on vacation if you work on your own. You need at least one assistant. So half of your e-commerce job is about teaching the job to your assistant(s) and that's missing from this book.
Chapter 3: The Digital Goldmine Opportunity - The Multi-Billion Dollar Industry
- How e-commerce industry is huge, how social media marketing is vital.
- How to choose your niche - go to Amazon and decide.
- Tips to buy a domain name from either GoDaddy or Namecheap.
- Create your logo - Fotolia.com and create it yourself, or get someone else to create one for you on Fiverr.com (It will cost more than $5 though!)
An entry level of internet business. This chapter should be useful for a total novice, and the "what to do on Day 1 essentials" are explained. You can't get a decent logo from Fiverr for $5 though - you need to pay a lot more.
Chapter 4: The Wizard Behind E-commerce - Technology Turns Any Newbie Into A Store Owner
- Shopify or WooCommerce?
- Shopify Tutorial (15-page in depth)
- Processing credit cards (Stripe, Shopify Payments, PayPal)
I personally find this chapter useful - it's been a while I last used Shopify, and I find some of the Fred's tips valuable.
Chapter 5: The Inventory Arbitrage
- How the "inventory arbitrage", i.e. drop-shipping works.
- Introduction to AliExpress - buy a watch from AliExpress for $0.67 and sell it for $9.95 (massive profit).
- Shopzie (shopzie.com) automation tools for your e-commerce store.
- Doba, another drop-shipping company
- How to find products that sell - check Amazon Best Seller items, New Releases, Movers & Shakers, Most Wished For items. Also on eBay and Facebook.
- How much you should charge - 4 times of the cost of sale. If a product costs you $2.50, sell it for at least $10.
- How much should shipping costs be - between $4.95 and $9.95.
- How to add shipping cost on Shopify
This section is also useful for those who've never had knowledge or experience in the drop-shipping business. I think he's referring to wholesaler prices when he says "sell it for 4 times the price", and it only applies to some products, not all. When Amazon sells something for $100, nobody will buy it from you if you price it for $300-400.
Chapter 6: “Build It and They Will Come” Is False
- How to attract potential customers (1. Offer discounts, 2. Use the word 'Free' and offer free products, 3. Offer discounts.)
- The 3 ways of getting traffic (social media, contact influencers, Facebook ads)
Now the actual tips to sell. It's useful for those who wish you learn Facebook marketing (more later) and also about Instagram. I'm not sure about influencer marketing though - if you buy trash from China for less than a dollar and resell it for $10, it will be extremely hard to get influencers' approval!
Chapter 7: The Magical Alignment of Your Buyers
- How to "stalk" (find your target audience) on Facebook
- Ask your drop-shipper to ship products by "ePacket" (if they're Chinese!) to cut down the costs.
- How to describe a product in your store page (description, free offer, then delivery time)
- How to use Facebook Business Manager account and embed your Facebook pixel code on your site.
- Facebook Ads the easy way (in-depth step-by-step).
- The 3x3 Facebook Ads Formula - the advanced way.
- Carousel ad, video ad.
- Understanding the psychology of your customer's journey
- The 4 levels of optimization system
- The #1 Advertising trick that lifted Amazon's sales
It's not only useful for those who have no experience in running Facebook ads, but Fred gives good technical advice. Unless you know the FB ads inside out, it may be worth reading. This is the section that's mainly been updated for the 2.0 edition.
Chapter 8: Scaling Up to Multi-Millions
- Fred's case study
- Scaling Up With Emails
- Find affiliate products (Google search, ClickBank, OfferValut.com)
- Average order value, volume discounts, upsell, coupon
- Scaling up your traffic
- Importance of using PayPal
- Strengthening your brand
- Diversifying your product line
- Rinse & Repeat
- Flip your store like real estate
- Final thoughts
How I "Finally" Make Over $6,000 Monthly Income
"The most valuable thing I've ever done!"
New Edition (2.0) - What's Changed?
Not so much, to be honest. Facebook ad placement format has changed, so Chapter 7 has been updated accordingly. A few more sections have been added to the same chapter, where Fred shares new tips, including his "3x3 Ad Formula" technique. And of course, for $1.99, you can download the audio version.
Starting From Zero Pros and Cons
Starting From Zero Review - Conclusion
As I mentioned at the beginning, the book is all about the drop-shipping business, which I'm not personally keen on from my own experience (because the customer orders ruled my day!)
Throughout the book, Fred talks a lot about the e-commerce industry; how huge it is, therefore how successful you can be. Which can motivate you if you're brand new to internet business. But you shouldn't be blinded by these sweet words of invitations - your success is not guaranteed. Possible only if you're really at it. The actual tips and advice (which I listed above) are only half of the content, and you should focus on learning.
You know what, sign up with Fred Lam's newsletter and you can get the old version of Starting From Zero for free. Now the new version's been released, I don't know how long it'll be available, but try it from his site: https://fredlam.com/starting-from-zero
And if you're interested in getting an updated advertising technique, the new version is only $1.99, I'd say it's worth paying for.