Greentoe.com – A New Way to Shop | Review and Experience

I recently discovered greentoe.com and thought I’d write a review about my experience. A site where you can place a dollar amount offer on products and greentoe will go out to authorized retailers willing to accept the order. If a retailer accepts, the offer becomes an order.

How does this work you might ask?

Retailers are usually contractually obligated to the manufacturers to keep MSRP pricing. This is why you’ll see the same pricing for products throughout multiple retailers. However, manufacturers do not control retailers if they choose to sell under MSRP. Just as long as the price isn’t advertised publicly.

You’re probably still wondering what the catch is? Well, I did the research into questions that automatically popped into my head:

  • Q: Are these reputable resellers?
    • A: Yes, from my research, greentoe only works with reputable retailers in the United States. They do not make any arrangements with grey market retailers. There is no worry about fake or stolen products.
  • Q: Is there warranty?
    • A: Yes, warranty is in place with the original manufacturer of the product you wish to purchase.
  • Q: How do I return the item if it’s not to my satisfaction?
    • A: Returns are 30 days from the ship date. The extensive return policy can be found here.

My experience with greentoe.com

I have been looking around for a Sony Alpha A6400 camera for a while. Pricing around the internet remains the same. The best available deals are usually ones that are packaged with junk add-ons. You’ll see these deals include an ugly case, a way too small SD card, software that you won’t use, and possibly a tripod that’ll tip over from someone sneezing.

I’ve searched through multiple websites, forums, and deal pages looking for the best pricing. From that, I stumbled upon greentoe.com.

Registration was fast and simple. I was able to submit my offer within a minute. You set how many days the offer stands(2 to 7 days) and greentoe.com does the rest. It’ll also ask you for payment information once you set your offer. The payment is charged and the order is processed once the retailer accepts.

The current MSRP for the A6400 with the 16-50mm Lens is $998, pre-tax. I sent an offer for $750 just to see if anyone would bite. Before I could even write this article, I received a counter offer. The results is over $200 in savings!

As you can imagine, you can accept the counter offer and your order will be processed. I think I’ll let this offer sit in case there’s a better deal.

Perhaps you can use greentoe.com to purchase the best ultrabook out there.

Dropshipping Problems in 2020

2020 has been rough. If you’ve just started dropshipping, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, these are my dropshipping problems in 2020. No discouragement, just my trials and tribulations.

What is dropshipping?

A dropshipping business is when a website sells a product that it does not produce or hold inventory for. Instead, when buyers make a purchase on the seller’s website, the seller turns around and makes the order with a dropshipping supplier. The dropshipping supplier then blind ships the product directly to the customer as if it came from the seller’s website. Usually this means that the customer will receive the product without any supplier branding or information. The customer is none the wiser.

I started dropshipping in late 2019.

First, I signed up for Shopify to create my store and modified the aesthetics to my liking. Simultaneously, I was developing business contacts with suppliers in China to sell their products on my store that fit my niche. (You can find suppliers for any niche on Alibaba or Aliexpress.) I also tried hiring a graphics artist on fiverr to create my logo and product artwork, however, this was a waste of time and money.

Learning multiple platforms and combining it together.

DISCLAIMER: I’m by no means an expert. I quickly learned how to use Shopify, Google Ads, Facebook Ads. I got reacquainted with using Photoshop and Illustrator. Also had to learn how to write ad copy that was SEO friendly. Typically, each item is its own specialty or job. If you’re just starting out with little to no budget, you’ll have to do everything yourself. Luckily, there’s tons of guides out there with step by step information on getting started.

In January, I started ramping up my marketing budget. I increased spending on Google Ads and Facebook Ads. This drove a lot of traffic to my site yet I was not converting much. At the time, my focus was on getting my brand out there and adding new products to my site every day. Sales weren’t too important yet because Chinese New Year was fast approaching.

Chinese New Year is probably the most important holiday in China. Most businesses completely shut down for 2 weeks or even up to a month. Anyone who’s worked with a Chinese supplier knows that they need to prepare weeks prior for business continuity or deal with delays in shipping in handling.

The rising number of infected.

Two weeks after Chinese New Year when most businesses were set to return to full function, [due to Covid-19] some Provinces in China decided it was best to extend the holiday and keep businesses closed. During this time, suppliers responded to communications days or weeks later and orders were not immediately shipped out.

As a new dropshipping business, this was a nightmare. Experts in dropshipping suggested pausing stores and halting advertisements. For the entire month of February, my store was at a standstill.

learning new platforms

Then came March.

The world is face with a pandemic. Supplier factories were closed or were operating at a fraction of their potential. Communications were slow or non existent all together. Even if you were able to place an order with a operating supplier, the shipping times were terrible.

Dropshipping from China typically comes via ePacket. A Chinese shipping service that allows packages to reach destination around the world at a very low cost or no cost to the dropshipping store. With ePacket, packages from China are shipped in the extra space of passenger airlines and not commercial shipping flights. This is how ePackets is able to keep shipping cost so low.

You get what you pay for.

Low prices meant slow delivery. Even prior to the pandemic, ePacket was slow to reach its destination. Typically, it can take anywhere from 3-10 weeks to reach certain countries.

Slow got even slower. With the current pandemic, many passenger flights have been cancelled as countries lock down international travel. This extended ePacket ship times to a few extra weeks.

Imagine ordering something and receiving it 3+ months later. Yea, me neither.

Present time.

I’m unsure of the future of my dropshipping store. I believe that this pandemic will most likely wipe out beginners and/or small stores who face the same issues. It’s hard to operate an ecommerce when your supplier isn’t responding in a timely manner or shipping within an acceptable time frame.

Unless you are doing huge volumes or have a personal supplier contact, small piece orders will take much longer than usual to get to your customers. You can address this by letting the customer know of the extended delays or you’ll most likely face a charge back.

Hopefully when the world returns to normal, I can then consider the next steps for my store.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from attempting to start a dropshipping business by any means. This blog entry is just to go over the current issues I’m having as a new dropshipper.

man in navy suit thumbs up

Read about why I started this blog.

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is the Best Ultrabook in its Class

As a seasoned system administrator, I’ve gone through many laptops. Laptops for personal use, business use or business testing. Dell, HP, Lenovo, IBM, Acer, Apple, Microsoft, Google; you name it, I’ve tried it. I recently purchased an early 2019 Razer Blade Stealth 13 as my personal device and it is by far my favorite laptop ever.

Powerful, compact ultrabook.

My Razer Blade Stealth 13 comes with an Intel Core i7-8565U, 16GB of ram, 256MB of SSD storage and a Geforce MX150 graphics processor. Plenty of power for using Adobe Creative Suite for photo and video editing. It also allows me to play light gaming. Of course, it’s way overkill for task like managing this blog.

It’s attractive.

I love the sleek design. It reminds me of a Mac book without the shitty operating system price of an arm and a leg. The ultrabook chassis is CNC’d from aluminum. It’s thin yet feels very sturdy but not heavy.

The RGB back lit keyboard is editable featuring 16.8 million colors. You can pick specific colors or color spectrum and the way the lights change. The Razer Chroma can also sync with your Philips Hue bridge and Hue peripherals so that you can immerse yourself in your game or work space.

Zoned in with superior sound and picture.

The front facing speakers are a nice touch. Especially when listening to music or watching video. Featuring Dolby Atmos, you’ll experience 3D sound to plunge yourself into your groove.

The 1080p screen is nice, bright and crisp in color. Great for gaming, movies or media editing. There is also a 4K touchscreen option if you so prefer.

You need Thunderbolt 3.

I love that it has a Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB-C port and two additional full sized USB ports. This is sufficient for all of my laptop peripherals on the go. Alternatively, when I’m home, I’m able to connect my laptop using a Thunderbolt 3 cable on the TB3 port to a Thunderbolt 3 capable monitor. Meaning a single cable allows me to connect my peripherals to the monitor instead of directly to the utlrabook. This charges the laptop and the monitor acts as a docking station. There is no clutter of a monitor cable, power cable or docking station.

Razer has since upgraded the Blade Stealth 13 with a new Intel i7-1065G7 and optional NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 if you so require. I highly recommend that you check out their laptops. I’m sure you’ll make the switch like I did.

Freelance Labor – Task Rabbit

With the current global health situation, people are staying home for extended periods of time. Staying home means the need for supplies. Food, toilet paper, soap or whatever else you may require. Running basic errands might not be an option to complete as of this moment.

You might be thinking that you can simply order supplies and have them shipped to your door. Well, have you tried to buy anything online lately? Shipping supplies to your front door, in some cases, is delayed up to a month!

If only you had a personal assistant to do your bidding.

You’re in luck! With Task Rabbit, you can hire freelance labor to help you out. Task someone locally with picking up supplies or to run your errands for you! Task Rabbit has a wide selection of tasks to help you manage your life from the comforts of your own home. Most daily errands are available for hire on Task Rabbit.

Maybe you’re not in need of picking up supplies or running errands. Perhaps you require help around the house or office with cleaning, moving or handy work. Task Rabbit has got you covered on all that and then some. Check out the extensive list of popular tasks below. I’m positive that you can find someone to carry out your task.

task rabbit - popular task

Be a tasker.

Alternatively, if you’re unemployed and wanting to get back to work, join Task Rabbit as a tasker. Choose from a list of tasks that you’re capable of completing successfully and name your own price! It’s that easy to be your own boss. Set your own schedule and get back to work!

The Task Rabbit app is available on both Android and Apple app stores. Hire freelance labor on Task Rabbit today!

Speaking of being your own boss. Read about why I started this blog.

Top Things to do in Cartagena, Colombia

I recently attended a bachelor’s party that I don’t think anyone else in my circle of friends will ever be able to top. My buddy wanted a destination where we can party in a club, on a yacht and back at the rental property. The destination was Colombia, the city; Cartagena.

We booked almost all of our itinerary and stays through Hi Cartagena. This group will accommodate all of your needs. This includes tours, stays, food/drinks, illegal stuff, and any type of entertainment. You get the picture. The prices linked below might scare some off, but it’s the price of convenience, safety and peace of mind.

Stay at a mansion inside of the walled city.

With 16 dudes, it’s hard to coordinate places to stay. We decided on a 15 room mansion inside of the walled city. This allowed us to party together but also keep our distances over the long week. I highly recommend going this route if you have the budget for it. The mansion came with its own maids, cooks, and security. Of course with Hi Cartagena, we also had our own host to get us what we needed.

Rent a yacht and party with your friends and other yachts anchored nearby

A 56 ft Pershing yacht was ordered for our group. The skipper and his first mate will sail you off to a nearby small island and anchor with other partying yachts. If I remember correctly, it was about a 30 minute ride out from the port. Don’t be afraid to order food from the local fisherman passing by. The fried fish is delicious after all that drinking. Remember to hydrate during the 8 long hours of partying.

Hop on a boat and visit Isla Baru (Playa Blanca)

With the weekend towards a close and our group size reduced, we rented a small speed boat to take us to the Isla Baru. It took about 45 minutes from the walled city on semi rough waters to get there. Man was it worth it. I wasn’t too impressed by the Cartegena beaches but Playa Blanca was different. The water was a bright beautiful turquoise similar to that of the Caribbean. Choose from bar hopping or relaxing on the beaches. Avoid the beach side masseuse at all cost. They’ll start massaging your neck as you walk by and then charge you an absurd rate.

Visit the Walled City

Probably the most cultural part of the trip. You can walk around the walled city and see architecture that dates back to the 1500s. It’s super touristy so there’s plenty of shops, restaurants and bars to explore around this area.

The long weekend was crazy. If you ever have a chance to, these are the things to do in Cartagena.

For more pictures and videos, see my Cartegena instagram story here.
Check out my Colombian packing list here.

NordVPN Is the Most Trusted Name in VPN

You care about browsing the internet privately and securely. because you don’t want people to know about that weird porn you tend to drift towards. Or maybe you watch way too many cat videos at work? Whatever the reason is (probably porn) stop using an internet connection without a VPN! Enter, NordVPN. The most trusted VPN service.

Why do you need a VPN?

Without a VPN, your internet browsing and traffic goes through the device you’re connected to and through the internet service provider. Assuming you’re connected to the internet at a coffee shop or hotel, your internet traffic could be logged by the establishment and the internet service provider. This data can be used for marketing/advertisers, handed over to government agencies or to other third parties without your knowledge. Instead, a VPN redirects your internet traffic through their servers. Your traffic is encrypted and your privacy is secured. You’ll just be an anonymous user.

That’s not the only thing VPNs are good for!

You can also use a VPN to access online resources only available to specific regions. e.g. with the current corona virus, pornhub is offering all Italian users free premium membership. You can connect to one of NordVPN‘s Italian servers to watch pornhub for free! Perhaps there’s a movie on Netflix only available to another country. Simply connect to NordVPN‘s server in that country and access Netflix again.

NordVPN has been around for since 2012 and has been the name that you associate when thinking of VPNs. With over 12 million users and thousands of servers world wide, it doesn’t take a genius to realize it’s the most trusted VPN.

Join NordVPN for as little as $5/month and live with peace of mind knowing that your sick internet browsing traffic is secured and anonymous.

NordVPN 1 year deal with 58% off for $5.00/mo

Read how I got started in affiliate marketing here.

A Personal Affiliate Marketing Blog

Let’s be honest. I’m not a very public person. As an introvert, starting this blog was very hard. My obvious motive was compensation. This goal got me started with affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is promoting products that I like and earning a small commission on it for every user who follows through with a purchase using my link.

Ass money, cheap!

For this blog, I started by buying a domain name and hosting with Namecheap.com. With Namecheap you can register a .com domain name for a year and get a year of web hosting for $10. That’s ass money! Build a website, start a blog, start an ecommerce or do whatever you want, it’s only $10. If it fails, you lost the price of two coffees.

After signing up with Namecheap, I used their super easy control panel to install WordPress. By super easy, I mean WordPress was installed in three clicks of a mouse . If you’re somehow still stuck, Namecheap‘s customer service is excellent. The chat support is an introvert’s dream!

Get a FREE domain when you buy Shared hosting!

Alternatively, you can also just sign up directly with WordPress. WordPress has a free account but you won’t be able to use a personalized domain name. The next step up is the personal use version coming in at $4/month (with a custom domain). This is a bit more expensive but you don’t have to manage any web hosting settings. Go with this option if you are not very tech savvy.

Finding affiliates

Then sign up for affiliate marketing programs from Amazon, Target or join a program with like Commission Junction with hundreds of affiliate marketing companies. Most companies will also have their own affiliate program available. Just google the company name plus the word affiliate.

When everything is setup, ramble on your blog about how cool the product or service is. Readers tend to be aware when you’re lying about your actual experience with a product or service. I recommend only writing about products that you have had first hand experience with. Don’t be afraid to jump in and don’t put it on the back burner. Get started with affiliate marketing today!

Ok, so you’ve got your domain and WordPress setup and you want to start working remotely, I highly recommend using a VPN from NordVPN. Work securely over VPN rather than an open coffee shop connection. After all, you do care about privacy and your new affiliate marketing business.

NordVPN 1 year deal with 58% off for $5.00/mo

Read more about NordVPN here.

Self Improvement / New Year’s Resolution 2020

Everyone comes up with self improvement / new year’s resolution that they tend to follow for a few weeks and then veer off. For me, it was a little different.

The last quarter of 2019 was rough. My 6 year relationship ended, I lost my job and I had to find a new place to live. All three events occurring within a span of a few days.

2020 celebration

For 2020, I decided that I needed to make drastic changes.

  • Waking up at 6 am every morning. As a night owl my whole life, this was something I wanted to test. I wanted to see if I was more productive waking up early to try to get more done.
  • Morning meditation was something I wanted to try and is now part of my daily routine. This gives me peace of mind to begin my day. It also puts me in the right head space to tackle all of my tasks.
  • Finally joining a gym. Since moving out from a place with my ex, I no longer have a home gym. As of writing this on 3/17/20, all gyms in LA County have been forced to shut down for the time being.
  • Being positive and pushing out negativity. This is something I have always struggled with. My attitude has always been blunt and truthful. I joke about matters that I shouldn’t and I can’t help myself. Now I tend to catch and stop myself from veering into negativity. I still make crude jokes though.
  • I stopped being reliant on others. Before, I used to wait on people to set my plans. This year, I booked two separate vacations on my own, to be by myself.
  • Moving away from the 9-5 and working for someone. After losing my job in 2019 and going through rounds of interviews at places I dread to think of working at. I decided that I wanted to work for myself. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never fully took the initiative. In 2020, I have launched or plan to launch the following:
    • Drop-shipping brand. Read more here.
    • Print on demand brand
    • This blog as an affiliate marketing. Read more here.
    • Amazon FBA – soon to come
    • Digital downloads on Etsy – soon to come

My outlook.

Hopefully, I can keep up with these changes throughout the year and perhaps it might make me a better person.

As for my business goals, I know it’s very aggressive and may be too ambitious, but I’m up for the challenge. I’ll post more details about my business progress and challenges down the line.

The new year has been off to a very rocky start. The corona virus has halted daily life and operations globally. I had a plan to tackle 2020 a certain way but I’ve had to make alterations. I plan to stay on the correct path for self improvement / new year’s resolution.

Read about why I started this blog.

This is Crazy – Panic and Overreaction

I just returned from Colombia back in the States where everyone is freaking out over the Coronavirus. It’s like I’m in another third world country. Markets, drugstores and shopper’s clubs are sold out of bottled water, toilet paper among other goods. Highlights of social media show people fighting and stabbing each other for said products.

As I write this(3/13/20), sporting events have been canceled indefinitely. The governor of California has imposed a ban on gatherings of over 250 or more people and our President has just declared a national emergency.

This is serious panic going on here all while I sit at a Starbucks sipping on coffee writing this blog and editing my videos. This will blow over soon; yea?