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Dropshipping – a business with little to no start-up cost

You may know little about dropshipping, but this could be the answer to your business dreams. I know the score, you want to be self employed, an entrepreneur, in charge of your own destiny, taking orders from no one! But wait… you have pretty much no money, so how are you going to start a business? You can’t buy stock, you can’t buy materials to create items, so is that the end of the entrepreneurial dream? Introducing the simple concept of dropshipping!

Okay, I have your attention right – so what is dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a relatively simple process. From the customers perspective they purchase an item and then receive it. From your perspective there are a few more steps to the process;

  1. Customer places order and pays
  2. You receive the order. You forward the order to your dropshipping account. You pay wholesale price at this point for the item.
  3. Your dropshipping supplier then ships the product to the customer.

So basically you don’t pay a penny for the item until an order is placed, you forward the order to a dropshipper and pay the wholesale price and dropshipping fees and they get it to the customer.

Practically it could look like this;

Customer pays £30 for an item
You pay £10 for item to dropshipper

You retain £20 profit.

How to get started in dropshipping

The first thing you will need to do is find a dropshipping company and decide on your products. There are a few considerations here. Are you shipping overseas? If you are UK based are you shipping to the US? Or vice-versa? Keep an eye on if your dropshipper can fulfil these orders? Will they charge more fees? What does the shipping time look like?

If any of this is presenting an issue, then look for two dropshippers, one in your country and one overseas, this may be more cost effective and allow you to retain more profit.

Where will you sell?

You have quite a few options here, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Facebook & Instagram and your own website.

It’s commonly known that Amazon isn’t a fan of dropshipping as they feel it impacts customer service – we’ll get onto this later. So this can be a risky option worst-case scenario they’ll shut down your account.

But the others are all worth a try. Remember eBay and Etsy have sellers fees, so this is going to take a little hit on your profit, Facebook and Instagram are free options, your website will have an up front cost. (You can set up a website for £5 for the 1st year, £36 each year after here – with full WordPress integration)

Obviously, it’s worth putting the product in a few different places to maximise sales. I really like NinjaSeller for managing lots of platforms and products, you can start with a free trial or even the free account so it’s not going to cost you whilst you grow.

What will you sell?

There’s a few factors here to consider;

  1. what products can you get from a dropshipper?
  2. whats popular and is going to sell?
  3. what’s not going to create lots of questions and/or customer service issues?
  4. what has a decent markup –  and therefore going to earn you lots!?

You might find it easier just to go with a ready built catalogue giving you a list of products, profit to be made and dropshippers available until you get your confidence up. Salehoo is a fab resource, it gives you everything including market research on the popularity of the item, what you’ll pay and what you can typically retail it for, so for under $5 a month it’s pretty handy. If you use any resources like these check they have a money back guarantee just in case of scams etc.

So what’s left to do?

You now need to get selling! Go find your profitable items, get them listed and get orders in! Keep an eye on customer service. Who will handle customer queries and complaints? You or the dropshipper? You may want to start handing them so you get to know more about your product. You can then produce an FAQ to deal with the main ones, then test if your dropshipper can handle the issues, this way your income becomes less stressful and time-consuming.

I wish you the best of luck with your dropshipping business, it truly is a great way to start exploring your entrepreneurial dreams and starting to build capital for future dreams, or you may even become a dropshipping expert! Let me know how you get on!

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