What were you doing after you graduated high school? Maybe you were gearing up for college. Maybe you were working a summer job. Maybe you were just enjoying the last summer of your teenage years. For Cameron Heinz, he’s been managing an online mobility store that pulls in $30K a month, built all by himself using a website builder as he was studying for finals.
Mobility Nest is the newest of many Shopify stores run by Cameron, with his first being when he was only 10 years old. Since then, he’s learned a lot and now plans to forgo college so he can focus on his business.
But how does an 18-year-old run a whole company? Through hard work and determination. Cameron managed his time well, finishing homework during lunch so he could get back and continue running his business. He was even part of numerous school band practices. Whether it was contacting suppliers, dealing with customer complaints, or building the site itself, Cameron managed everything – and even graduated from school with the highest academic diploma.
We were fascinated by Cameron’s seemingly super-human hustle, so we sat down with him to discuss how it all started, where it was going, and how Shopify was there every step of the way.
“The best thing about my job is that I can work from home. Just that freedom. If I want to sleep in until 1:00 pm, I can. I’m not going to because I would miss out on a lot of customers but that freedom is there.”
- Industry: Mobility
- Website Founded: 2022
- Website Builder: Shopify
- Education: High School Diploma – 4.2 GPA
- Article Highlight: “I’m going to work hard when I’m most focused. Then relax.”
“I would say that the desire to help people in need. It’s sort of a selfish opinion, because that feeling of helping people is rewarding on my end, which is sort of selfish if you think about it. But I would say the desire to help people.
I first saw a patient lift on YouTube. I had no idea what it was – it sort of looks like a mini crane that picks up a person and transports them to bed. So I looked more into this niche and got the idea of combining this with mobility scooters and then I got the idea of combining that with wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs and walkers and then all of a sudden I got this whole mobility sort of niche built out in different product types.
I’ve always had a business sort of mindset, and it’s quite challenging at times just because I’m so young, especially when it comes to legal aspects. I had to create Mobility Nest all under my mom’s name because when I first started, I was 17 years old. And then when I turned 18, I switched it all over under my name and I got banned from Shopify Payments because they realized I was under 18 the whole time. So I had to switch payment processing providers. But yeah, definitely can be challenging just because I grew up using slang language or whatever, and then I [have to] go into this business environment and act professionally.
I did talk with one supplier who lived about 20 minutes from me. He came to my house because he thought it was the business and he was going to a mobility store to drop off some flyers. I was at school when he came, and my mom opened the door and he said, “Hey is Cameron home?” and she went, “No, he’s at school” and he just was so shocked.”
“I’ve always had a business sort of mindset, and it’s quite challenging at times just because I’m so young, especially when it comes to legal aspects.”
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“My parents got divorced when I was pretty young, and my mom worked very hard to try and provide for us. And I think I saw that. She was a realtor so she worked on commission whenever she’d sell a house. There’d be times when the fridge would be empty and there’d be times when it would be stuffed. I saw both ends of the stick and wanted to always have the fridge full essentially.
I set up my first business when I was 10 years old. It was called Marvel Mania. I shut it down quickly because I got an email from a Shopify representative asking for proof and documentation if I could sell Marvel products. I would sell these 2D light figures of Captain America, Iron Man, etc.
They were drop-shipped from China. I was scrolling Instagram and I would follow Iron Man pages because I was a big fan of Marvel and I saw this one Instagram account called @adkessio. This website would sell these light figures and I essentially got the product idea from them and just tried to replicate it. But I didn’t have legal proof. So I got super scared because I was using my mom’s information and I shut down the business.
My second one, I started my sophomore year of high school. So this was 2019 – 2020, I think. It was called Soulmates Co. This was my first successful store. I would sell necklaces and bracelets to couples. I did about 50K in revenue which is pretty good profit. Margins weren’t the best so it’s not as good as 50K sounds.
My third store was called Heez Watches. I spent all the money I made from Soulmates Co. to make this watch company – but I didn’t have any money left for marketing so I had to shut down the business. But I had all the inventory already. It took a long time to design it and get the molds. So I currently have 300 watches sitting in four massive boxes in my room.
If I could go back, I would not do that. Just because I spent so much time and money.”
“I spent all the money I made from Soulmates Co. to make this watch company – but I didn’t have any money left for marketing so I had to shut down the business.”
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“One major factor with Mobility Nest and the whole niche is it is a need and not a want. [Originally] I thought about selling grills, even though I knew nothing about grills. I also knew nothing about watches, but I still tried to sell them. Watches and grills – those are desires rather than needs. And I wanted a product that could have longevity. And last year, during the winter months, I didn’t have a business. I wanted consistent, occurring revenue. So that’s where the sort of mobility area sort of came in.
I would say there were two big learning curves. Working with real United States-based suppliers was certainly one of them. I would previously just use dropshipping from China so having to communicate with US-based professionals has all been a first for me. It’s awkward because I am sort of like an introverted person and calling someone, especially a professional business, was odd. I would first go to a competitor’s website and see what suppliers they have that I don’t. Then I would look up their supplier on Google and I would reach that to them via phone or email. I would follow up a couple of times because they tend to not respond. Even to this day, I’ve reached out to some suppliers probably a dozen times and they just haven’t responded.
The other learning curve was legal issues. I had to get a registered retail merchant certificate in my state, which involved getting my mom’s accountant involved. We just did it together. I needed it for my suppliers as it’s essentially a form saying that they don’t have to charge tax on us.
To be honest I still don’t know a lot of stuff, [for instance] anything related to taxes. I’ve never filed a tax return because I’m 18 right now.”
“To be honest I still don’t know a lot of stuff, [for instance] anything related to taxes. I’ve never filed a tax return because I’m 18…”
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“I don’t know if I would say anyone in my exact personal life, but I think when it comes to inspirations I want to say rich influencers. That makes it seem like it’s a cool luxury life. Seeing the freedom that they have. I think that is an inspiration, the Youtubers. I’ve never really left the country. I would like to move to Miami, but I’m not sure if I’d like that whole party scene.
For other kids my age, I don’t think I would give advice such as starting a business, don’t go to college, etc. I think realistically a lot of kids don’t have that sort of hustle mentality that I’ve always had as a kid. I think you’re either born with it or not. If you’re not doing it for the money reasons then I think you should not go down that path and focus on some other things.
I am motivated in the right tasks. So most of the stuff in school like homework and all that nonsense, I forced myself to do it. But when it’s something that I think is beneficial to myself, in terms of gaining knowledge on how to run a business or something, then I will be motivated and feel the hustle to work towards that.
It’s hard just because I was in so many band programs and my time after school is pretty slim. But I would use my time very efficiently in school. So, during passing periods, I’d do homework during lunch. Then, I could get home and just focus on what I need to focus on and spend my time how I want.
I’ve always been doing business things like this, so it doesn’t feel off. But I guess if you compare it to other teenagers, it’s pretty different because I never go to parties. I might hang out with some of my friends once every couple of months outside of school. I don’t think a lot of people do that. I’m on my computer getting work done. They always say, “Enjoy your younger years” but I have not been doing that because I feel like if I focus right now when I have the freest time, I can just work hard for a couple of years then the rest of my life spend being a “teenager”.
In terms of success, what I would like is a big number. I’ve always wanted to be a billionaire. But I would say 100K profit a month, every month – that would be insane, So that’s over a million a year, but it’s doable because some people in the mobility field do that. So I know it’s possible but just really hard.
Right now we make about 30k a month but we’re still growing. I hope to get to 50K a month and keep growing. We’ve done a little over 80k in sales, so far. The first half of the business profit was non-existent because we were not optimized and it was pretty slow. But if you look very recently, when we do have profit, I would say, profits may be around 20%.”
“They always say, “Enjoy your younger years” but…I feel like if I focus right now when I have the most free time, I can just work hard for a couple years then the rest of my life spent being a ‘teenager’.”
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“I don’t do everything myself. I do have a business partner who’s around 22. He’s 35% of the company and he does everything related to Google Adsense. We met through networking. I would ask him questions originally as he ran a business that does better than Mobility Nest. He’s very smart when it comes to this whole thing.
Eventually, he just pulled the question of if he could be part of Mobility Nest. I thought about it hard because by that point I was not making much profit. I said yes and that was a good turning point in my business, honestly. He did all the Google ads very successfully, and the growth was pretty rapid. Things have started to slow off again but I know this is a long-term sort of business so I’m currently focused on getting more organic traffic. Which is something that just takes months and years at a time.
There wasn’t as much capital required for [starting up] Mobility Nest as Heez Watches. But I would say it cost…maybe five grand before it started to be profitable, which is a lot of money to burn through. 90% of it was my money, but there were times when I needed to ask my mom for money. I couldn’t run the business without those small little loans. She’d immediately without a doubt just hand it over because she knew what I was spending it on. I don’t ask for anything on Amazon or want new shoes – she trusts me, and she’s the safety net.
But besides that, I do all of the labor and stuff. Once we reach 50K a month in revenue, we’re gonna hire our first VA to handle customer service, just so I can take that off my plate and spend the time doing things to expand the business.
I would say I work pretty hard. I don’t want to exaggerate it but I spent a lot of nights working up to 2 am just to get things done. I know not many teenagers can sit their heads down for a year and just do work. So I’m pretty grateful for that. I don’t do vacations or anything like that. I’m just in my room every day.”
“I don’t want to exaggerate it but I spent a lot of nights working up to 2 am just to get things done. I know not many teenagers can sit their head down for a year and just do work. So I’m pretty grateful for that.”
“I wake up at 6:30 a.m. I usually go to the gym and then should be back by nine. I sit at my desk and essentially do work until either midnight or 1 a.m. Of course, I eat food in between there and stuff like that. But for the most part, it’s wake up, go to the gym and just come back home to work.
I don’t ever have a plan [when it comes to work] just because if I set the morning to answering emails it’s all I’ll do. Whatever comes up as a priority, I will focus on that. So if a customer sends me an email while I’m doing some work, I’ll respond to them right away.
But there are just so many things to do in the business to grow that there are times when I’m like “What should I work on, what should the next thing be?” And I just delay myself because I’m not decisive enough to choose what I should focus on.
But my life hasn’t necessarily changed all that drastically just because of how much we’ve done so far in sales – in terms of profits, I don’t spend it on anything when it comes to anything for myself. I just need money in my bank account right now, because if an order comes in, I need to be able to fulfill that order and pay for the order.
So right now, I’m just collecting the money essentially…but it has changed the path that I’m on. I’m not at the end of the path which is where I want to be, but I am on the path which I know will lead to success eventually. But in terms of my life changing, I am fully self-employed right now and it’s still growing and I hope to scale that to be essentially the biggest one in the space.”
“I’m not at the end of the path which is where I want to be, but I am on the path which I know will lead to success eventually.”
“A typical mobility scooter will range from $600 to $12,000, and I would say our typical clientele is a senior citizen. In terms of it varying I’d say there are three other groups. So missing legs, they’ve had a stroke, or they’re paralyzed, or the fourth group, which is a young caregiver that’s reaching out for either a patient or a loved one. But I’d say about 70% are elderly or disabled.
At least once a day someone asks for help. They think they’re calling either from the company they purchased it or they think they’re calling the supplier. Some customers are either very rude or frustrated and honestly a hundred percent of the time it’s the supplier’s fault.
Some brands just have bad products, so we try and limit our focus on those brands, but even yesterday, a customer got a product and there’s a paint issue. I reached out to the supplier and they said they can refund me $50 because I purchased from them and then I can refund the customer $50. It’s frustrating.
But I’d say our USP is our exceptional customer service. Every other business in this nation will take hours or days to respond. We also give a free guide for most of our products with a purchase. It explains how to take care of your mobility scooter, wheelchair, or whatever the case may be, for as long as possible to make it work.
I recently had a customer that I talked with for a few hours. He was very happy with the service, we provided at Mobility Nest. He has Parkinson’s, so he’s in many Parkinson’s groups. This customer told me he was going to be on a Zoom call with Michael J. Fox, and he said he would shout out my business to him and everyone on the call and tell people to shop at Mobility Nest.”
“But I’d say our USP is our exceptional customer service. Every other business in this nation will take hours or days to respond.”
“One of the main reasons [I chose Shopify] is because the people I would watch on YouTube would all use Shopify. When you think dropshipping, you think Shopify. And no code’s required for its drag and drop. So it was very easy for a 10-year-old like I was to get started with it.
With the plugins too, I can customize my website. One which is very important for my niche is called Accessibly. This app gives more options to those with impairments. So someone on our website can click a button and make the website text much bigger or can increase the contrast in the colors or whatever fits their needs. The fact that an insane improvement can be made on my website by installing one app and clicking one button is amazing. I’m very thankful for Shopify and its apps that allow that capability.
You have everything you need right on Shopify. I could never have imagined writing the website I have now with code or hiring someone else to build it with code. I immensely like how the orders are directly front and centered in Shopify. I feel like when I think of a website builder it’s just a website and it’s not necessarily focused on orders for products. I also like how easily I can look up a customer via an order and have everything right there. So the order management system is pretty good.
I’d say one thing to keep in mind is to know about the fees because they are pretty high. We sell expensive products, like a thousand dollars plus, so the fees drastically add up. Maybe if you’re selling something that’s not as expensive the fees don’t come into play that much, but for us, that’s a big cut into the profit.”
“When you think dropshipping, you think Shopify”
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“I’d like to own this business for a couple more years probably because there’s still so much room to grow in this niche. I’d say my ultimate goal is to sell the business. I would like to sell the business at as high as I could get it. Usually, you can sell a business for x35 the monthly profit. So if I make five grand profits a month, I could theoretically sell it for $175,000.
I don’t want to do that right now because I want recurring revenue to come in and just have a safety net essentially. I don’t want to just take the exit and never be able to start another store again because it doesn’t work. So I’d say just getting it to six figures and profit would be amazing.
I don’t know what the next path is for Mobility Nest, just because I’m so young and have so much time. Whatever comes up, we’ll just play it by ear.
I probably wouldn’t ever take a normal office job now. I’ve never worked a real 9-to-5 job. In my school, the other kids work at Taco Bell and all sorts of places and I don’t want to do that just because I’m sort of introverted, so I couldn’t even imagine communicating with real customers. I’d rather just have my own online business and my freedom essentially.
The best thing about my job is that I can work from home. Just that freedom. If I want to sleep in until 1:00 p.m., I can. I’m not going to because I would miss out on a lot of customers but that freedom is there.”
“I don’t know what the next path is for Mobility Nest, just because I’m so young and have so much time. Whatever comes up, we’ll just play it by ear.”