4 Steps to Start a Dropshipping Business and Make Money Online

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The internet is full of success stories of people who started a dropshipping business and are now making hundreds of thousand dollars with it. Reading these, you are probably asking yourself: Can this really be true? Can you really make that much money with a simple online store and zero experience?

From my own experience I can tell you: Yes, it can work. A few years ago I’ve worked for a client who just started with his dropshipping business. Not even two years later, he made a five-figure profit each month! But this does not come from pure luck. In fact, it takes a lot of hard work and a good strategy. This guide will tell you step by step what he did to become so successful.

What is dropshipping?

Are you just starting to take this path? If that’s the case, let’s take a look at what having a dropshipping business truly means. The dropshipping experts at Shopify define it like this:

“Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the merchant never sees or handles the product.”

That means for you: You don’t have to buy the products beforehand or stock them somewhere. That makes an online business much easier.

Advantages of dropshipping

  • As people do not need a stock of products, they do not need a lot of money, to begin with. The investment does not mean to be high.
  • It’s a lot simpler than any other type of business because you don’t need to think about how to stock, pack, ship the products, or anything related to this.
  • You don’t have to stick to just one economic activity. That means that if a niche is not profitable, you can simply switch to another because you haven’t bought any products that you need to sell now.
  • As everything can be managed online, this makes it a perfect option for those who like working remotely.

Disadvantages of dropshipping

  • As we have seen, it’s very simple to know how to build a successful dropshipping business. This also means a lot of competition. If you are all selling the same products, you have to come up with marketing ideas that are better than your competitors.
  • You completely depend on another person or manufacturer (your provider). If they have any problems when producing the products, you will be the one to blame. Clients will only see you, and you will be the one who has to deal with problems such as delays, issues with shipping, bad quality of products, and so on.

Does Dropshipping Still Work?

As you can see, dropshipping has both negative and positive aspects. Yet, I think that the advantages greatly outweigh the drawbacks. If you:

  1. learn as much about this type of business as you can,
  2. start with the right shop provider,
  3. won’t stop until you find winning products and
  4. are willing to constantly adjust your strategy,

I’m convinced that a dropshipping business is still a fantastic way to make money online. Every issue that appears can be overcome with careful planning and a lot of effort.

 

How to Start a Dropshipping Business?

If you would like to know the basics steps on how to start dropshipping with Shopify, you will find the information below.

 

Step 1: Choose a Niche

It’s true, you can just try and sell any type of product. You don’t necessarily have to choose a specific niche. Yet, it is not so easy to have success when you don’t. If you stay within one field, you have the possibility of become an expert.

That means that you can select the best products and providers available on the market. In addition, prospective customers will get to know you and understand how much expertise you have. You will get to know a lot about the products you are selling. This is invaluable in the dropshipping field.

Some Things to Take into Account:

  • Try to focus on a niche that has prospective profits. In the dropshipping business, you have to put in the same amount of effort to advertise a product that you will sell for 3 USD as for a product you can sell for 100 USD. This means that the higher priced products, the higher the profit can be. Only make an effort for something that will pay off in the future.
  • Try to sell products that people cannot easily find. Competition is fierce, and you may want to avoid it. Why would you want to order online something that you can find on every street corner? Read more on how to find the perfect products for dropshipping.
  • Go for products that can make you profit but that aren’t too expensive. For instance, bikes could make a lot of profit. However, you’d only buy a bike if you really need one, right? Even if it is on sale you’d think twice about buying it. On the other hand, products like clothing or accessories are a different story.
  • Always think about the period of time that it’s going to take to ship the goods you sell. Shipping is a crucial feature of this business, especially if you would like to go international. If you are selling products for Christmas, like decoration, you need to start advertising it early enough so that it will arrive before the holiday season. There’s no need to start with it mid of December.
  • Always know what your competitors are doing, and try to strike a balance. There are two extremes in this continuum. If nobody else is selling a particular product, it’s probably because there is no market for it. On the other hand, if there are too many vendors, it could be difficult to be successful when selling them. So a wise thing to do is to take a look at what the competition is doing and try to identify what they’re doing wrong so as not to make the same mistakes.
  • Have a passion for what you are doing. If you sell something you are keen on, you will probably know a lot about the product. Also, it keeps motivation high. Those who truly love their business will always (or at least very often) be motivated to keep on going, even if things get rough.

Step 2: Select a Good Supplier

After choosing the field you would like to work in, the next and crucial step is to find the right supplier. That’s not as easy as it seems, so it will take you time to find a reliable one.

Suppliers are excellent when making a product, but they are not that good when it comes down to marketing and SEO, for example. That’s why you need to dig deep to find reliable ones.

As a beginner (and even as an expert) it’s a good idea is to use marketplaces like AliExpress or Alibaba. These are the most popular choices for dropshippers to find thousands of products for their business. You can order your products straight from there and don’t need to find the manufacturer. That makes it super easy.

 

Step 3: Build your Online Store

Build a Dropshipping Store with ShopifyE-commerce sites are a must today, especially if you want people to buy your products with ease. If you have a lot of money to invest, then you can hire a programmer who can create a store according to your needs. But if you don’t, there are many ready-made platforms, like Shopify, that can help you.

Let’s take a look at some of the perks of starting dropshipping with Shopify:

  • You don’t need to have experience or be tech-savvy to create one. It’s user-friendly and easy to set up.
  • It has a lot of integrated plugins and useful apps to adjust our store to your needs.
  • The basic plan is very reasonably priced, so users do not need to spend a lot to get started. There is even a free trial that lasts two weeks for Shopify. This is great for you to see if this site works for you before paying for it.

Set up a Shopify Store, Get a free 2 weeks trial

Creating an Account

Shopify is one of the most famous e-commerce software is available online. It is the same platform that my former client uses to make 70,000 USD per month. Setting up a shop is super easy:

  1. Set up a new account. You can easily register with your details, such as email and name.
  2. Select a theme. The platform has many of them and you can select the one you like the most. There are also paid themes out there but I think the free ones work just as good so no need to spend the money here.
  3. Customize it. There are a lot of aspects that can be personalized. Some of them are color combinations, fonts, pictures, and so on. It’s very simple and the process is not time-consuming. Choose something that you like and that adapts to your branding strategy.
  4. Start filling in your site. Now you have to start uploading your product descriptions and photos. Remember that marketing is essential. Try to convince your clients that your product is essential and that they should buy it soon.
  • Learn about copywriting. You need to learn how to write top-notch product descriptions that will ensure sales. Alternatively, you could hire someone to do it for you, e.g. from Upwork.
  • Visuals are king. True, pictures catch people’s attention, Videos, especially if they are reviews, help you sell more.
  • Don’t overcrowd your site. Sometimes, something simple can sell a lot more than overcrowded websites.

5. Try to give your clients as much information as possible. There are some sections that should be on your page.

  • Contact us. It’s essential that prospective (and existing) clients can contact you and ask questions.
  • Shipping information. This is fundamental in a dropshipping business. Everybody wants to know how long it will take for their product to arrive, the name of the delivery service, the shipping costs, and so on. Include information about your refund policy if problems arise, and the circumstances in which returns can take place.
  • About us. Here you need to include data about yourself and your business. Tell the story of your inception and of the people who work for you so as to build trust.
  1. Don’t forget about paying attention to analytics. Analytics are crucial to see where you could improve your performance. Google Analytics, for example, gives you information about the gender, age, location and so on about the people who visit your store.
  2. Test that everything works fine. Before sharing your website with the public, try it for yourself. Test that you can buy your products easily and that the store works as it should. What do your analytics say? Is the website running smoothly?

All in all, these are the basic things that your store should have to start. Of course, you could spend days customizing it, changing the colors and images and font sizes and so on.

However, don’t aim to make it perfect! Because it probably will never be. You will always have to make adjustments along the way, especially, if this is your first shop.

But don’t worry too much about the small things. Take care of the fundamentals and leave the details for later.

Bonus tip: Check out this blog post to learn how exactly you can set up an online store with Shopify.

Build a Dropshipping Store with Shopify

Step 4: Marketing

No matter how great your store is, if you don’t promote it, you’ll never sell a single product. Without a good online strategy, nobody will be able to find your store.  Here are some of the options that you should make use of:

  • Design a social media strategy. We all know how relevant social media networks are today. Not a single day without Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Even buying products and services! It can be a good idea to market your business there. However, be careful not to sound too promotional. Try to create quality content for people to read. If they trust your expertise they are more willing to buy from you.
  • Facebook/Google ads. You should have a budget for ads. Especially in the beginning when your store is brand new you need to have a way of getting traffic to your shop. Paid ads are a brilliant way to do so. There are plenty of videos on YouTube on how to create selling ads so make sure you check them out.
  • Learn SEO. This is of crucial importance nowadays. Without SEO techniques, search engines will never rank your website, and so visitors will not find you either. Identify the most important keywords in your niche and use them in your articles.
  • Email Marketing. Gather up a list of previous clients and prospective ones (from the persons who visit your page). Send them updates and offers for your products, to ensure they will not forget about you.

Build an Online Store Today!

As you can see, the steps of starting a dropshipping business are pretty straight forward. It is easy to set up a Shopify store, which is going to be your foundation.

However, you will have to do quite a bit of research to find the right products to sell. You will also need to experiment with ways to promote your shop. Whether you are already experienced in that field or not. You have to find a method that works for you and your shop. This is going to be a lot of trial and error so you need to be patient and don’t give up.

Because if you manage to find a winning product and can promote it properly, your earning potential is literally endless. But only if you are willing to put in the work.

 

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