How an Entrepreneur Makes $38,000 a Day From a Sticker Business That Started Off as a Side Hustle
When Jayson Siu's car accessories hobby gained unexpected popularity, he was caught off guard. In October 2021, a TikTok video showcasing one of his products, a rearview mirror with LED lights, started gaining traction, translating into substantial sales worth $12,000 in a single day.
Beginnings of Invalid.jp
Following a surge in viral fame, Siu, then a freshman at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, had to improvise and rushed to Office Depot, spending hours printing and manually cutting labels to address the sudden spike in orders. A year later, another video featuring an LED-backed light-up sticker went viral, accumulating over 9 million views.
This time, Siu's venture, Invalid.jp, generated $38,000 in revenue within the next 24 hours. According to the documents reviewed, the business raked in a total of $512,000 in revenue in 2022. Siu estimates that around 30% of these earnings constitute profit.
Generating significant income from a hobby
What began as a side hustle is now a full-fledged commitment for Siu, who dedicates at least 40 hours a week to the business alongside a full class schedule. Prior to leasing a warehouse in the summer, he managed operations from his parents' two-bedroom apartment in Honolulu.
Stickers & car mirrors
While still a high school senior and employed by a valet company, Jayson Siu initiated Invalid.jp with the aim of earning extra money to buy accessories for his Nissan Rogue SUV. Recognizing the popularity of stickers among his peers, Siu invested $300 from a previous side venture in a vinyl printer. He began selling stickers on Snapchat, pricing them between $3 and $5 each.
During his research, he stumbled upon an LED-backlit rearview mirror on Instagram and saw an opportunity. After purchasing a $20 mirror from a Chinese factory, he modified it by placing LED lights and his best-selling "drive safe" sticker inside, making the sticker visible when the glass was replaced.
Upon a friend's suggestion, Siu turned to TikTok to boost sales, posting videos regularly. As orders started coming in, Siu began contemplating the possibility of turning his venture into a legitimate business. Following his first taste of online fame a few months later, Siu decided to leave his valet job behind.
Challenges of social media
After the initial buzz died down, so did Jayson Siu's money flow. Trying to find a steadier income, he tested out social media ads. It was a real struggle as he was pouring in thousands of dollars and was barely breaking even, while losing money for some months.
Ads on Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitter (now X) weren't helping his sales, so he shifted his ad money to TikTok, Google, Facebook, and Instagram. According to him, this move improved his ad game.
Siu also diversified his product range, adding things like cupholders, visors, and license plates. He bought them wholesale, gave them a personal touch, and then sold them for a profit. Even though stickers and LED mirrors were still the big sellers, Siu got creative and combined them to make customizable light-up stickers. These stickers can change colors with a tiny remote, but Siu warns against leaving them on while driving.
Managing Work-Life Balance
When things go viral, they bring in good money. Social media ads help keep the cash flowing for Invalid.jp throughout the year, according to Jayson Siu.
To manage college and business, Siu schedules most of his classes in the morning, leaving the rest of the day for Invalid.jp. He spends $1,500 monthly on a warehouse and upgraded to a Toyota 4Runner SUV to cut down on post work trips.
Handling orders is a team effort with his mom and girlfriend, and recently, he hired contractors for TikTok video production.
Acknowledging there aren't enough hours to balance a booming business and a typical college life, Siu puts the business first. Looking ahead, he wants to hire more and spend less time in the warehouse.
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