When I turned 18, I was finally able to incorporate my first official business, Tacticorps LLC. I've created many businesses and projects in the past, but none have come close to the success of Tacticorps. I learned how to negotiate with foreign suppliers, design product labels and barcodes, import goods through U.S. customs, market my products online, partner up and negotiate with local businesses, run advertising campaigns, and so much more. Without a doubt, Tacticorps was one of the most fun and education experiences of my life. Although I closed shop in late 2019, this was my first real business, and therefore means a lot to me. And so, this post will serve as motivation for my future, a record of my ambition, and a memory that I will never forget.
So how did it all start?
I started Tacticorps very soon after selling my previous dropshipping "business". I've written an entire post on why I'm no longer a fan of drop shipping, but here's the recap on why I quit: I couldn't stand selling products I wasn't truly passionate about, and I felt like I was taking advantage of my customers because they weren't getting a good deal. However, dropshipping helped me learn two things about myself and my business interests: 1) I genuinely enjoy delivering physical products to people around the world through the power of the internet, and 2) I dislike being limited in terms of product customization and shipping logistics.
Those new personal discoveries are exactly what influenced the creation of Tacticorps. So, after I sold my drop shipping store, I decided to act upon my new realizations by creating my own custom products that I would be in complete control of. This was a BIG step for me in a lot of ways. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing at first, but I went right at it.
I chose the airsoft because it was something I was (and still am) passionate about. Since this was a market and I understood, I knew my chances at success would be higher. And so, I started looking for suppliers that could produce what I had in mind for my first product. After a bit of searching and some back-and-forth communication with suppliers that could barely speak English, I found one that agreed to produce a prototype for me: A 0.20g bottle of biodegradable airsoft BBs.
After a long journey from Ningbo, China all the way to my front door, my product was here. The first bottle design wasn't what I would call "aesthetically pleasing", but after holding it my hand, there was no stopping me from starting this business... All I needed was $3,000 dollars to meet the minimum order quantity required to purchase from that supplier.
I hadn't spent this much money on one thing in my entire life... And in business, there is no guarantee of returns. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have been able to afford it, but I happened to have one of the most generous grandpas in the world. Before he past away, my grandpa deposited $5,000 into my savings account, which was supposed to be used for college or something similar. Since I decided not to go to college, I convinced my parents to let me use the money on this business venture. The rest was history.
Fast forward a year or so, and I had successfully launched a total of 6 different airsoft products on Amazon. There were MANY bumps along the road, but I eventually reached a point where I was profiting at a ~10% margin. I'm not sure how good that is for the airsoft industry, but I was proud anyways; it took a lot of work to get there.
After traveling across the ocean, my very first import was finally at my house.
Three prototypes I designed before launching my first product.
A bulk shipment to one of my local customers.
More of my supplies/boxes.
Although my definition of success is usually solely based on how much I learned, this Tacticorps may have been my first business that had monetary success as well. I sold my products in-person and through an online airsoft marketplace, but the best financial records I have are from Amazon.