One question I hear the most is "Does dropshipping work?"
To answer this question, we must first take a look at the e-commerce industry as a whole and what it's going to look like over the next few years.
According to Statista, e-commerce sales will grow from almost $4.9 trillion in 2021 to $6.4 trillion in 2024.
Within 3 years, there will be an increase of $1.5 trillion in sales.
For the purpose of the article, let's think for one second that we're in a communist world.
Now assuming there is a total of 1 million e-commerce businesses in the world (there are a lot more, however, only 650K make $1000/year or more), then each business would be able to have $1.5m in annual sales.
We're not living in a communist world and capitalism is very much alive.
Therefore, the chances of this happening are very low.
Either way, this growth in e-commerce should be an indication that there is room for more and more businesses, including dropshipping businesses.
In fact, there is nothing that says you can't build a $1M-$10M per year dropshipping business.
When I first decided to become an entrepreneur, I decided to start an e-commerce dropshipping business.
When I was introduced to dropshipping, I couldn't believe it, it sounded like exactly what I was looking for.
In reality, it is exactly what lots of people are looking for.
However, with growing competition, you need to do things slightly differently today to succeed tomorrow.
That's why we're going to be discussing how to start dropshipping with no money in under a week, and still make a profit.
We're going to cover the step-by-step process you can follow to find your dream e-commerce dropshipping business.
The product is the most important thing when it comes to dropshipping.
You need to be careful because there are a ton of products that may look like the perfect product but they won't sell.
Common mistakes I see and one that I did when I first started the dropshipping business are:
- Looking for a product you like
Although you may find a product you like, it's important you remember that you're not going to be your market.
You need to pick a product that fits your target audience's profile.
Something they will use.
You're not going to be the one who buys the product, it's going to be your customers so it's only logical to buy something that they like and need.
When you pick a product, make sure you're not biased with your options.
It could be difficult, however, it's important if you really want to make this work.
Most products will sell, you can sell almost anything.
However, some products will vastly outperform others and those gems are what you're looking for.
- Picking a product that's trending
Remember the fidget spinners?
Those are what you call trending items. They were all over social media not long ago.
Although you might be able to make a quick buck off them when you sell them at the right time, you're going to struggle to make nearly as many sales when the trends die down.
It's important that you avoid looking for trending items to sell.
You want to look for something that's evergreen meaning it will always be in demand.
This way, you'll know that your business is something that many people demand.
This also applies to seasonal things.
You don't want to sell something like Christmas decorations.
You might make a lot of money during the last few months of the year, but you're going to struggle from January to October.
Evergreen products can be anything like plant pot decorations, kitchen equipment, etc.
Pick something that doesn't die with a trend or season, that way, you'll have a valuable business on your hands.
- Picking a product, not a problem
Finally, you're going to want to build the business the right way.
I feel like every time I talk about dropshipping, everything I've learned about business gets thrown out the window.
This time around, I'm going to do things with all the experience and learning I've gained over the year or two in business.
The biggest mistake people make when they're looking to start dropshipping is picking a product first, then an audience to match it.
This is the completely wrong way of building a business.
You first need to find a niche that has a problem that you can solve.
What is the problem you're looking to solve?
This should be the first thing to think about.
From here, you're going to want to find a product that solves the problem.
When you execute this first step the right way, you're ensuring that there is demand for your product.
However, when you pick a product first, you won't be sure if there is demand for it.
You could use things like Google Trends, Ahrefs, and more, to see trends and patterns for the product you're looking to sell.
You can find out how many people sell a product like this, the demand for it, and so much more.
Once you've picked a product with all these factors in mind, we can move on to the next step of starting a dropshipping business with no money.
The first time I ever looked for a supplier, it was a new and interesting experience.
It was difficult to find the right one due to the language barriers, however, once I found my supplier, it was very easy to get along with them.
You're going to want to search for suppliers on platforms like Alibaba or Aliexpress.
This is where you're going to be able to maintain the highest profit margins at the beginning whilst making it very simple to get started.
The reason we use platforms like Alibaba and Aliexpress is that they offer cheap goods and services which are usually of great quality.
Make sure that the suppliers you look for have trade assurance and trust badges to make sure you're dealing with legitimate businesses.
From here, you're going to want to message as many suppliers as you can.
Try to get their numbers on Whatsapp for an easier mode of communication.
There will be a bunch of suppliers who don't understand what you're looking for due to language barriers, however, there are some that will be able to help you out.
Ask them questions and figure out if they're the right fit for your business.
Questions you could ask are:
Do you support dropshipping?
How long do you deliver to [Location]?
How much is delivery to the [Location]?
Can you send product images?
Can you show us your product packaging?
Do you do custom packaging?
How is the quality of the products?
You don't want to rush this process.
You're not looking for a supplier, you're looking for a long-term, reliable business partner here.
Take this part seriously and talk to lots of suppliers before picking the right one for you.
Keep delivery times and costs in mind as well.
All suppliers are different from one another.
Some may take months to deliver goods, others may take a week or two.
Generally, if you can deliver products and services within 14 days or less, you'll be good to go.
However, any longer, and people just won't be interested.
On the other hand, some suppliers may charge a very high shipping fee.
Try to negotiate with all suppliers and see if you can get a better price from them.
The third step in the process is going to be your businesses' branding.
You're going to want to think of a name for your business, create social media accounts, and a website.
Branding is very important and you want to make sure that you have a congruent design across all platforms.
The most important accounts will be Instagram, Facebook (for the next step), TikTok (can be used for the next step), and then your site.
When it comes to creating the website, you're going to want to use something like Shopify.
Shopify is the best e-commerce platform and it makes it simple to create a site and sell your product.
You'll want to ensure you've got a good site, not something that was glued together within an hour or two.
When people land on your product site, they'll want to feel like they're on a real platform.
They'll want to feel like they can trust your site.
It's okay to build a rough MVP, however, keep quality in mind.
You could have the best product in the world, highest demand, but if people don't trust your site, they won't buy.
Similarly, you're going to want to check out various online e-commerce sites that are doing well and see what's working for them.
You don't need to do something that's never been done before.
Don't reinvent the wheel - just follow what already works.
Instead of trying to completely reinvent this, I copied what was working and took a page out of their books.
Large businesses spend millions on design, copy, and branding. Leverage this to your advantage.
You don't want to copy - but just follow winning examples.
This is where you can start to make some money for what you've created.
You've found your niche.
You've found a product that solves that niche's problem.
You've found a supplier who will help you fulfill the product orders.
You've even gone ahead and successfully branded your business.
We did miss a step and that is to order samples of the product for testing.
However, if you find a good supplier, they will help you shave weeks off of waiting for the product by sharing videos, images, and anything you need to do your due diligence.
Now, we're onto the final step.
There are a bunch of ways you can get your product in front of people and start to make sales.
The first way is by using influencers.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the top 3 marketing channels not many people talk about.
Micro-influencers were on the list.
Micro-influencers are people on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks who have followers that you can sell to.
You're going to want to find influencers in your space who create content about the same industry as you.
For example, if you started a home decor dropshipping company, you'll look for home designer influencers.
Instagram and TikTok currently work best for this sort of advertising.
You may need to ship your product to the influencer so they can create a video about it.
Simply reach out to them, tell them you like what they're doing, and think they'd be a great fit for a new product launch for your store.
You don't want to make it seem like you're a brand new business because they'll be less likely to reply.
Find out their pricing, figure out their engagement rates, negotiate with them, and get your product out there!
Next, you can try doing giveaways.
Giveaways are a great way to get people to share your content around the internet.
Make the giveaway enticing and something people will be interested in participating in.
The steps of this could be:
- Follow our [social media] accounts
- Share this post on your [story, timeline, etc]
- Tag x friends in the comments
You'll be getting free traffic, and some orders coming in from everyone who sees your product.
Finally, another great way to get sales fast is to simply run advertising campaigns.
Although you can focus on free SEO and organic traffic, 99% of people won't be able to make this work in the beginning.
Paid traffic using things like Facebook ads or Google ads will be a great way to get eyeballs on your product fairly quickly.
The problem here, however, is that running an advertising campaign doesn't mean you're guaranteed sales.
You'll need to look over the metrics and figure out what's working, where the metrics are falling, and figure out what you have to change to make your ads perform better.
For example, if you're getting a high click-through rate but no sales, it could be a problem with your site's copy.
Change your messaging and measure the results once again.
Paid ads are like a science experiment.
You try and try until you've got the perfect formula.
Keep in mind that every ad will reach fatigue at one point and you'll need to change it.
Therefore, it's important to stay on top of your paid advertising and delegate it to professionals once you've scaled.
(If you're an e-commerce store owner looking to grow, find me on my social media for a free marketing consultation).
Once again, check out the article on the 3 underrated marketing channels to learn about the best alternatives to these advertising methods.
That's how to start dropshipping with no money in under a week and make a profit.
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Till next time,