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Hello and welcome to The Candid Cashflow Podcast Episode 8! It’s me, Ava!
Today’s episode is sponsored by Shopify!
Shopify is the leading ecommerce platform for building online stores.
It is designed to make selling online via social media, in a store, or out of the trunk of your car a seamless and professional experience.
Get started today with a FREE 14 day trial…no risk and no credit card required!
Full disclosure: I’m not an expert in dropshipping.
The beauty of this business model is that you don’t have to be an expert. We will discuss how to get a quick and dirty start later in this episode.
Let’s talk numbers for a minute…
Ecommerce, which was a $1.9 trillion industry in 2016, is expected to reach $4.5 trillion globally by 2021. That is only 3 years from now.
If you look at Google Trends for the term “dropshipping”, you will notice an uptick in interest starting in mid-2016. By January of 2018, that interest has tripled.
Dropshipping is not new by any means. In fact, I learned about dropshipping very early in my Internet marketing education. It was probably circa 2006 when I experimented with dropshipping laptops on eBay. It didn’t go well because I really had no idea what I was doing. I got a lot of scam messages and no sales.
That was it for me until early 2017. I jumped on the fidget spinner bandwagon. If you don’t understand the hype, then you’ll probably never understand fidget spinners, but as someone with ADHD, I totally resonated with the calming effects of those little devices.
If you want to know more about that, I’ll go into a little more detail in the show notes, so be sure to grab those at https://heyyoava.com/Episode8.
I set up shop and made a nice chunk of change, so let’s chat about that and how you can do it too.
What is Dropshipping?
For anyone wondering what dropshipping is…
Dropshipping is when you list a product for sale, a customer buys that product, and you in turn, purchase it from a supplier and have it shipped directly to your customer from that supplier.
The thing that attracts most people to this model is the low cost of getting started. You don’t need to carry any inventory. You also don’t have to handle shipping for the items you sell. Your supplier covers that for you.
Dropshipping offers these two easy solutions to a couple of major obstacles of any retail business.
If you use a selling platform like eBay, you can run a dropshipping business with no upfront cost. It’s tricky though, or everyone would be doing, right?
What Should I Sell?
So what in the world do you sell?
Well, what do you want to sell?
With any online business you start, I always advise that you start with your passions and interests because you are going to spending a lot of time in the niche you choose.
You don’t want to sell basket-weaving supplies if you don’t care about basket weaving. It will show in every aspect of your business.
I just want to go on a little side rant here…
With pretty much every business opportunity that I’ve discussed on The Candid Cashflow Podcast, there are people killing it in niches they have no interest in.
If you have enough money, you can pay other people to be interested for you.
I want to appeal to those people…the ones being paid, you can get rid of the middle man, and be the one making a killing.
Being passionate about your niche goes a long way. You’ll have more ideas and innovation to build a long-term, sustainable business if you are in it for more than the money.
So, what should you sell?
I had a guy reach out to me recently who has started out in Kindle publishing…an excellent place to start.
If you’re new around here, I discussed self-publishing in Episode 5 of The Candid Cashflow Podcast.
So, Mike is his name…shout out to Mike…anyway, he said he is interested in sports, but had doubts if there was a market for that.
There is a market for everything under the sun, my friends.
This past year, 2017, the global sports market was a nearly $91 billion industry according to Statista.com. That is a $15 billion increase since just the year before.
I also relayed to Mike the story of the popular sports site, Bleacher Report. The site was started by 5 high school classmates and sports fans in 2007. In 2012, they sold the website to Turner Broadcasting for $275 million!
There’s a ton of niches to consider, but I think you could do a lot with sports. Just off the top of my head, and taking into account the topic of dropshipping, you could probably have a really lucrative business just supplying your local school sports teams with cheaper equipment.
In fact, I’ll take that a step further in the show notes by linking to a video of me searching real-time for equipment for that exact business.
Also, in the show notes, I will include a list of dropshipping suppliers. Most of them will be free.
If you haven’t noticed, I LOVE FREE.
Where Do I Sell My Products?
You’ve decided what to sell, now where do you sell it?
Let’s talk about existing platforms first, the most popular being eBay and Amazon.
eBay is kind of obvious. You create your account, list your products, and you’re in business. Make sure you’re familiar with eBay’s seller rules.
Also, a word of caution with eBay, there will be a delay in them releasing your funds, so be sure you can afford to buy the product out of pocket on the first few transactions.
Selling on Amazon is a little more complicated.
While Amazon does allow dropshipping, purchasing products from another online retailer like AliExpress and having them ship directly to your customers is not allowed.
In order to dropship on Amazon, you have to go through the Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA program. In this case, you would need an initial investment to buy inventory and have it shipped to Amazon to warehouse and ship it.
Needless to say, this isn’t ideal. In fact, I’d caution you against using dropshipping with Amazon, especially by itself.
If you want to take a “toe in the water” approach, then go with eBay. If you are cash-strapped, start small and cheap, then work your way up.
Building Your Own Online Store
Have you ever thought about building your own store online?
It’s much easier than you might think.
If you follow me for any length of time, you will learn that I am a huge fan of WordPress. I don’t even bother with other platforms at all. There are many marketers out there who use services like LeadPages or ClickFunnels in tandem with WordPress.
I just don’t get it. You’re already paying to host your WordPress site, why pay another service just to host your landing pages because they happen to make page creation a simple process?
There’s a WordPress plugin for that!
It’s called Thrive Architect, and it’s a one-time payment of $67. Let’s compare that to these other services…
LeadPages is $37 per month! As if that’s not ridiculous enough, ClickFunnels is a whopping $97 per month!
You can get access to all Thrive’s themes and plugins which include top-notch lead capture tools and so much more for just $19 per month. I love a company that knows how to pack in the value!
I’m telling you all of this to convey the point that I very rarely recommend platforms outside of WordPress because it’s usually all you need.
However, in the case of ecommerce, Shopify is an exception. I’ll talk more about that in a minute…
As I mentioned before, I did a little bit of dropshipping in early 2017. Because I’m a WordPress loyalist, I used WordPress for my shop.
I ran into some problems. While the plugins and services I used were great, they just weren’t the best or easiest to use for ecommerce.
I started with WooCommerce only to find there was an issue with specifying colors and sizes that they had no ETA on fixing. That was a deal-breaker for me, and I’m sure that was the case for many people!
I went with Ecwid, a lesser-know platform which worked well; however, I had to upgrade to a $15 per month plan pretty early on so I could add more than one or two product categories.
I always had my eye on WooCommerce because it was free, and I would have more control over the SEO of my products. They did eventually fix that issue and I converted my store, but I quickly ran into problems with shipping costs. It just never ran smoothly, so I ended up shutting down the dropshipping side, and just sold my own handmade products.
Build Your Store in Minutes with Shopify
Shopify solves all of those problems.
A basic Shopify plan is $29 per month. They take care of the logistics for you. If you use AliExpress as your supplier, you can use the free Oberlo app in Shopify to populate your store with products in a matter of minutes.
This is the quick and dirty method I mentioned at the beginning of this episode.
While Shopify isn’t free, you can get a 2-week head start with their 14-day free trial. It may seem like I’m just hawking Shopify, but I honestly think if you’re doing dropshipping, it’s the best option.
If you’re selling digital products, do WooCommerce.
The Pros and Cons of Dropshipping
As usual, I’ll start with the Cons…
Dropshipping and ecommerce is not a set it and forget it business. It’s very hands-on.
It can very easily be a full-time job for at least 2 people. You have to deal with customer service, returns, product listings, and getting traffic to your store.
You can’t just build it and expect people to magically arrive and buy your products.
In my business, I used Social Media mainly to drive traffic…specifically Facebook and Instagram.
Setting up your store is actually the easy part. It’s managing the machine that takes skill. There’s a lot of competition. In fact, by building your own store, you can welcome the likes of Amazon and eBay to your list of competitors.
It’s not for the faint of heart!
You need some creativity and great products that a lot of people want, but can’t get just anywhere. If you can hit the right combo, you will be golden. I know people making 6 figures a month doing this.
It’s not easy, and the income is not passive unless you hire someone to run whole thing for you.
This is an incredibly simple business model to set up. You can have a working store inside of a few hours or even less.
It’s fun. Exploring products and deciding what to sell is a cool experience.
Dropshipping can be very lucrative, and it’s very low cost to get started if you go with the eBay method. It’s pretty much free.
That’s a Wrap!
So what do you think?
If I were in a pinch financially, I might give it a try just to get some cash flow.
In my opinion, the best approaches are to test the waters with eBay first, or solve a local problem like the sports team thing I mentioned earlier.
I came across a quote recently that I jotted on a Post-It that says,
“You’re not selling a hammer, you’re selling a hole in the wall.”
Solve problems and you’ll get paid. It’s as simple as that.
If you give dropshipping a try, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment for me below.
Remember, I come out with a new episode of The Candid Cashflow Podcast each Wednesday. The show notes are available at http://HeyYoAva.com/Episode8.
Thanks for tuning in! Until next time…turning your passion into cashflow!