Start and Scale Review (Gretta Van Riel)

Start and Scale Course Overview

If you have ever looked up how to make money online or anything related to making money with eCommerce, then you have probably seen a few ads of Start and Scale by Gretta Van Riel on your social media. 

In the ads, she shows how she has built multiple million-dollar eCommerce businesses with social media and how you can do it too. 

But before you read what I have to say about Gretta Van Riel (Start and Scale course) let me give you a brief synopsis of what I think. What Gretta is going to teach you is how to setup a very large business. You will need a lot of up front money for inventory and you will need to store your inventory. This is NOT a dropshipping course, she teaches you how to keep and store all your inventory yourself. On top of that, you will need staff to manage all the details.

Here is a much better business model where you can replace your day-job all by yourself, without needing to hire anyone. On top of that, you own all the products, keep all the profits yourself, and takes less time to setup than ecommerce. I have a free video showing this business model here.

Now we are going to talk about Start and Scale, the course that Gretta Van Riel and Foundr claim can help you build your own profitable eCommerce business by providing you with all of the system, training, and framework that you need. 

This course, Start and Scale, will teach you how to build an eCommerce business from scratch even if you do not have any experience in making money online before. 

They claimed that it is the exact system and framework that Gretta used to launch her multi-million dollar eCommerce brands. 

If you think that this course is about dropshipping, then you are in the wrong place. The course is mainly about building your eCommerce brand with your custom-made products while storing the inventory on your own. From this point, we know that this business model is going to require some money to start and operate. 

Some of the things that you will learn in this course are how to come up with ideas for products, technical training on how to build an online store, where to manufacture your products, influencer marketing strategies to promote your products, and more. 

The course is priced at $1,000 and currently, you need to sign up to their waiting list before you can access their course. 

Now, let’s move to who is Gretta Van Riel and what is her achievement in the eCommerce field. 

Who is Gretta Van Riel?

Gretta Van Riel is a 31 year old millionaire entrepreneur and eCommerce guru that has been widely featured by Foundr and Forbes. 

You might say that she must have some great credentials to be featured by Foundr and Forbes 30 under 30 in 2018 right?

Absolutely! She started her eCommerce journey when she was 22 years old with only $24 in the bank. From that age, she started her first million-dollar brand which is SkinnyMeTea. SkinnyMeTea has sold 11 million cups of tea worldwide in just 5 years. 

The surprising thing about her is that she achieved success in the eCommerce space in a relatively short time. She went from $24 in her bank account to over $600,000 in sales per month for her first eCommerce business, SkinnyMeTea, in just 6 months! 

She has also won the Shopify Build-A-Business competition in 2013 from her first eCommerce brand. 

Her achievement does not end there, she later founded a new eCommerce brand the 5th Watches that has a whopping big sale of 1 million dollars in just one day. That is an amazing stat for an eCommerce business. She also stated that on the first day of the 5th Watches, it generated 100,000 dollars in sales. 

Not only that, she founded many more eCommerce brands after her big success in the industry, one of them is DropBottle. 

Other than an eCommerce business, she has recently founded a platform called HeyInfluencer that helps connect business brands with social media influencers. 

She is quite a master in social media too. Some of her Instagram brand accounts are @detoxwater, @nutrition_planet, @befitfoods, and more. With total followers of more than 16 million users in all of her Instagram accounts, she is one of the few top Instagram brand influencers out there. 

Now that we know who she is and her achievement, would you think that you will be as successful as her in the eCommerce industry? 

It will not likely happen but you might be able to create some profitable eCommerce brands with her guidance and training. 

Now, Let’s look at what her course has to offer. 

Course Modules Breakdown

This is what the dashboard looks like when you are inside the course. Inside each module, there are multiple short video lessons about related topics. 

Gretta is not present in all of the videos, she has partnered with other Foundr members to teach you in this course about launching a successful eCommerce business. 

With a total of 6 modules, 38 videos, and 16 workbooks that you will have access to, that makes the entire main course. There are some bonuses too in the course which we will explain down below along with the main course content. 

One thing to mention is that you will receive just one module every week, so for 6 modules, you would need to wait for 6 weeks to complete the course content. For me, I can complete one module in 2 days while watching it as a part-time thing. 

Yes, the course is quite short but it packs full of useful information and training once you have access to it. 

Now, let’s go to the first module, shall we? 

Module 1: Finding Your Ideas 

It all starts with an idea. In this module, Gretta will take you on how to find a profitable niche for your eCommerce business. 

A good idea that you can monetize profitably is unarguably the most important thing when you are trying to launch a good scalable business. 

Gretta stressed in the module on looking for something that you are passionate about and on top of that, it should always be a solution to a certain problem. 

For example, Gretta’s first eCommerce company, SkinnyTeaMe is a tea product that can help people to lose weight. Her product is tea and it is a solution to the consumer’s weight problem. 

This is the idea that Gretta shares with you in the first module. 

If you already found a product example in the market that is similar then what you are going to create, ask yourself how you can make it better and innovate it slightly so that it can come up as a better product in the eyes of your future customer as well as being a solution to their problem. 

It is recommended for you to look inside yourself and find what is the problem that you have that a physical product can provide you a solution with. Then, figure out a way on how to improve the solution to make it better. 

Some sites that Gretta mentions where you can find inspiration are Kickstarter, Trend Hunter, and Fancy. 

Module 2: Branding & Getting Your Store Setup

In the second module, you will learn how to set up a brand that is different from others and the step-by-step training on how to set up your store with Shopify. 

The lesson starts with Gretta’s advice on creating a brand that will stand out to your customers and be different from your competitors. 

She then teaches you more branding stuff such as setting up the right name for your brand, the right product for your brand, and your brand business logo. 

According to Gretta, all successful brands have a distinct brand archetype and that is what makes them successful. This is one of Gretta’s keys to building multi-million dollar eCommerce brands. 

If you are planning to go big, you need to invest your time in branding and how your brand will look in front of your future customers. 

The module ends with some lessons on setting up a store on Shopify, it includes technical training such as buying a domain to basic setup of Shopify store. 

Module 3: Developing & Planning Your Idea 

This is an extensive module where Gretta takes you on the steps that you need to do to take your idea into reality. 

The first lesson starts with Gretta teaching you on creating your product prototype exclusively for you. This is important as you want your desired product to match what is in your mind. 

You will also learn about how to find a manufacturer for your products, she covers lessons on China’s manufacturers as well as United State’s manufacturers. 

A concept that she teaches in this module is a minimum viable product, which means a product with just enough features so that you can collect feedback from customers on how you can improve them later on. 

From there, she takes you into product packaging and pricing. From a pricing standpoint, she talks about the profit margin that you should aim for in this business and the importance of not selling too many variants of your product early on. Her recommendation is to sell one type of product and the max is 3 in the beginning. 

Module 4: Building An Audience 

Well as you know, Gretta is a social media marketing master. In this module, Gretta shares with you some of her strategies to build an audience/product market as you build your brand. 

It is important to know who are your ideal clients before you start promoting your product.

She encouraged you to build a list of hungry customers before the launch day of your store. 

This is done mainly through Instagram influencer marketing where she teaches you to reach up to Instagram influencers and pay them to promote your upcoming product. 

From this strategy, you will create a waitlist of customers that are hungry for your product to be released. 

This is the strategy that Gretta used to generate 100,000 dollars in sales on the very first day from one of her eCommerce businesses. 

Not only that, she teaches you how to collaborate with influencers on Instagram to build your brand exponentially and make it grow in the long term using Instagram’s marketing strategy. This is called Million Dollar Influencer Marketing Blueprint in this module.  

Module 5: Launch & Operations

In this module, she takes you on her launch guide checklist that you need to do before launching your store. Most of the training here is related to Shopify settings. 

Firstly, she shows you how to take payment from the customer, the options suggested are PayPal and credit cards. 

Then, she teaches you about customer support desk setup and outsourcing virtual assistants to do all the work for you so that you can focus on other components of your business. 

This is where you will test all of your store’s basic purchasing systems and customer sales flow. This is important as you are going to launch your store to a huge list of hungry customers soon so any technical problem from your side is going to hurt your launch day a lot. 

Another important point that she mentions before launching your store is that to get as many people as possible on your email list. Once you have a huge email list and it is ready to go, you are also recommended to contact Instagram influencers to promote your product on your first sales day. These can be the influencers that you have worked with before. 

With this strategy, you are more inclined to make huge and massive sales like Gretta did on her watch eCommerce store. 

Make sure everything runs smooth, this is what the module focuses on. 

Module 6: Scaling Your Store

In this module, Gretta shares with you what you can do to scale your business after you launch your first store. She also shows the steps that she took on one of her eCommerce businesses to go from 0 to $600,000 in monthly sales in just 6 months.

She will show you some advanced marketing tactics and tips that will exponentially increase your business sales once you apply them. 

One of them is Facebook Ads retargeting, which retargets people that have visited your store but have not purchased any product from you yet, this ad is quite cheaper than the normal Facebook Ads because you have already known them previously and they are included in your Facebook marketing campaign database. 

Another scaling strategy is store optimization, one of the examples is how to utilize abandoned carts and reach the customers about their carts as well as giving them incentives to complete their order such as discounts and coupon codes. 

Module 7: Bonuses 

There are a couple of bonuses that you will get along with the course which is as follow: 

Influencer Marketing Mastery 

In this bonus, they show you an interview with Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic of HiSmile where they give some lessons on how they build their multi-million dollar brand. 

Exclusive & Private Facebook Group 

This is just a Facebook community where you can discuss some other ideas or ask any question related to your store with other members and the Foundr team. 

Copy and Paste Templates 

She gives you a template and references that you can use when reaching out to influencers about your brand and establishing a contract with them, an Email Launch campaign script for your eCommerce store launching phase, and a Cart Recovery email to encourage the customers to complete their purchases. 

Facebook & Instagram Ads Mini-Course 

This is just a Facebook and Instagram Ads training where she shares with you how to quickly launch your campaign using these platforms either through your smartphone or your laptop. 

Pros and Cons 

Pros 

  • High-Quality Videos as they are hosted on ClickFunnels. 
  • Information-packed videos that are straight to the point. 
  • Gretta uses her business as an example for most of the lessons which are good as we want to model from what’s working in the industry. 
  • Very helpful support and a Facebook community that will answer any of the problems and questions that you have regarding the course and your store. 
  • Promising refund policy where you can claim your money back if you go through all the training and it does not work on your store, in the time frame of 60 days. 

Cons 

  • It is an expensive course even with the provided monthly payment plan
  • The training on running paid ads is not extensive and in-depth, everyone knows that paid advertisements are the quick way to make big money with eCommerce 
  • Most Instagram influencers do not accept commission-based incentives anymore when promoting your product, thus you would need money to pay them for every shoutout. Trust me, it is not cheap especially when you are dealing with big Instagram influencers. 
  • Too much waiting, you need to wait to get into the course and once you are inside the course, you need to wait every week to unlock the next module which can be quite frustrating for some people. 

Final words and Verdict 

In my honest opinion, I think that Start and Scale is a good course if you want to start your own eCommerce store from scratch. 

Every beginner needs guidance from someone that is already an expert in the business model and what works. With Gretta’s advice and strategy, you can go further ahead than most people that only learn from trial and error or Youtube videos. 

This course is the lessons and the steps that she implements in her eCommerce store that generates the amount of money that she makes today with her multi-million dollar eCommerce brands. 

However, if you do not have at least $5000 for all of the costs including the course, early product manufacturing, and prototype, Shopify fees, and marketing budget, then I strongly suggest for you to try dropshipping first or another online business model that requires less capital than this one.