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How To Start Dropshipping And How Much Money Can You Make From It?

How To Start Dropshipping And How Much Money Can You Make From It?

Learning how to start dropshipping can be a great way to make some extra money or even replace your current income. 

Dropshipping is a business model in which you sell products without carrying any inventory. This provides a substantial advantage over traditional eCommerce businesses, which often require significant stock investments. 

That said, dropshipping doesn't come without difficulty. To be successful, you'll need to put in the time and effort to research products, build a reputable brand, and create a system for fulfilling orders quickly and efficiently.

If you're up for the challenge, learning how to start dropshipping and putting it into action can be a great way to start your own side hustle.

In this article, I will give you all the information you need to know. Keep reading to find out more.

What Does Dropshipping Mean, And How Do You Get Into It?

Accurately answering the question, "what does dropshipping mean?" is key to understanding how it works. In short, dropshipping is a business model in which eCommerce entrepreneurs are solely responsible for marketing and selling products, while a third-party supplier manages inventory and fulfillment.

There are several reasons why you might want to start a dropshipping business:

  • Low barrier to entry: You can get started with very little upfront investment, which is perfect if you don't have much to start a business.
  • No need to carry inventory: Since you don't need to take any merchandise, you don't have to worry about storage costs or managing product stock.
  • Easy to start: You can launch your dropshipping business relatively quickly and easily without all the red tape associated with starting a traditional business.
  • Location independent: Dropshipping businesses can be run from anywhere in the world, which makes it an excellent option for entrepreneurs who want the freedom to work from anywhere.
  • Flexible hours: Since you're not tied down by inventory or physical store locations, you have the flexibility to work whenever you want.

Now that you know what dropshipping is, let's look at how it works.

How To Make Money Dropshipping: Understanding The Key Players In A Dropshipping Business Model

The dropshipping business model is straightforward. There are four leading players in a dropshipping transaction:

  • The retailer (that's you): You find and market products to customers. When a customer places an order in your store, you contact the supplier, and they ship the products directly to your customer's doorsteps.
  • The supplier: A supplier is someone who manufactures or owns the products you want to sell in your store. Most suppliers are wholesalers who offer retailers discounts for bulk orders.
  • The customer: Customers are the people who visit your store and purchase products from you.
  • The platform: The platform is the infrastructure that enables the entire dropshipping transaction. In most cases, this platform is an eCommerce store builder like Shopify, but it can also be a marketplace like Amazon or eBay.

How Much Does It Cost To Start Dropshipping?

Now that you know how dropshipping works, you might be wondering how much it costs to start a dropshipping business. The good news is that the startup costs for dropshipping are relatively low compared to other companies.

Here's a breakdown of the typical costs associated with starting a dropshipping business:

  • Domain name and hosting: $2-$100 per year
  • E-commerce platform: $0-$299 per month
  • Payment gateway: $0-$10 per month
  • Dropshipping directory: $0-$60 per month
  • Product photography: $0-$100 per product

As you can see, the costs of starting a dropshipping business are very manageable. Launching a successful dropshipping business with less than $500 in startup costs is possible.

How To Start Dropshipping For Free

If the above startup costs are too much for you, don't worry – there are ways to start dropshipping for as close to free as possible.

Here are a few tips on how to start dropshipping with no money:

  • Use a free eCommerce platform: The combination of WordPress and Woocommerce is a great way to launch a dropshipping business with minimal upfront costs. While you will need to pay for hosting and a domain name (which can be as low as $2 per month), you can use a free Woocommerce plugin to set up your store and start selling products.
  • Find free or low-cost suppliers: There are plenty of supplier directories that offer free or low-cost membership plans, such as AliExpress, Oberlo, and Dropship Direct. These suppliers typically offer discounts for bulk orders, so you'll be able to keep your product costs down while still making a profit.
  • Get creative with your product photography: If you don't have the budget for professional product photography, you can use your smartphone, a friend's camera, or a free stock photo site like Unsplash or Pexels. Ensure the photos are high quality and show the products in a favorable light.
  • Use free marketing channels: There are many free marketing channels you can use to promote your dropshipping business, such as social media, blogging, and SEO. If you're on a tight budget, focus on using one or two channels with which you know you can succeed: channels that require sweat equity rather than financial equity.
  • Launch a "minimum viable product": When starting a dropshipping business, you must keep your costs low. One way to do this is to launch a "minimum viable product" (MVP), a stripped-down version of your store with a limited selection of products. This will help you keep your costs down while you validate your business idea and build up your customer base.

How To Make A Dropshipping Website: Choosing The Best Dropshipping Platform To Achieve This

You can use a few different platforms for dropshipping, but when it comes to learning how to make a dropshipping website, the two most popular software to consider are Shopify and Oberlo.

Shopify is the leading eCommerce platform, and it's perfect for dropshipping because it's very user-friendly and comes with everything you need to launch and scale your store. Plus, there are a ton of apps and plugins that make it easy to add products and automate your business.

Oberlo is a Shopify app that simplifies the dropshipping process by connecting you with suppliers who offer products you can add to your store with just a few clicks. Oberlo also allows you to place orders directly on their platform, so you don't have to worry about contacting suppliers or managing inventory.

Similar to choosing the best CMS for online businesses, the best platform for you will come down to your personal preferences and business needs. Try out a few different platforms before settling on the one you consider the perfect fit for your business.

Why Shopify Is Great For Those Just Starting Dropshipping

When creating a dropshipping website, Shopify is the most popular eCommerce platform on the planet as it fits in with the dropshipping business model quite well. It's also user-friendly, comes with everything you need to launch and scale your store, and many apps and plugins make it easy to add products and automate your business.

Plus, Shopify's themes are some of the best-designed and most modern you'll find anywhere. If you want your store to look good, Shopify is the way to go.

Another reason Shopify is great for dropshipping is that it offers a 14-day free trial so that you can try out the platform without any risk. After your trial ends, Shopify has a very competitive pricing structure that starts at just $29 per month.

Choosing Your Dropshipping Niche

Before setting up your store, it's vital to consider finding the right niche. Many people mistake thinking they can sell anything and everything and be successful.

This isn't true.

The most successful dropshippers focus on a specific niche or group of products. Not only does this make it easier to find suppliers and market your store, but it also allows you to build a brand around your products.

When customers come to your store, they should know exactly what you sell and what kind of products they can expect to find. If you try to sell everything under the sun, you'll confuse potential customers and drive them away.

To choose a dropshipping niche, start by brainstorming ideas. What are you passionate about? What do you know a lot about? What kind of products do you think would sell well online?

Once you have a few ideas, it's time to start researching. Use Google Trends to see if people are searching for the types of products you want to sell. Look at other dropshipping stores to see what kinds of products they're selling. And most importantly, talk to potential customers and get their feedback. The best way to find a profitable niche is to validate your idea with real people. 

In addition, consider the concept of high ticket dropshipping. This is one of the best tips for wealth as it allows you to make significantly more per sale, which gives you more freedom in your business.

The best dropshipping niches for high ticket sales include the following:
  • Home décor
  • Furniture
  • Art
  • Kitchen Appliances
  • Fashion
  • Vintage items

Knowing How To Find A Dropshipping Supplier

Dropshipping suppliers play a crucial role in your business. They provide you with the products you sell and handle all the shipping and logistics involved in getting those products to your customers.

Finding the right supplier is one of the most critical steps in starting a dropshipping business. Conversely, your business will never take off if you can't find a good supplier.

There are a few different ways to find suppliers for your dropshipping business. The first is to use Google to try and solve this. This is probably the easiest way to find suppliers, but it's also the least effective.

The problem with Google is that anyone can claim to be a dropship supplier. There are a lot of scams out there, and it's tough to tell who's legitimate and who isn't.

Another way to find suppliers is through dropshipping directories. These are websites that list dropship suppliers in one place. While this can be an excellent way to find suppliers, you still need to be careful.

Many of these directories are filled with outdated information and don't do an excellent job vetting their suppliers. This means you could waste a lot of time contacting suppliers that don't even exist.

The best way to find suppliers is through referrals. Talk to other entrepreneurs in your niche and see who they use for their dropshipping business. If they're happy with their supplier, you will be too.

Another great way to find suppliers is to attend trade shows. These are events where manufacturers and wholesalers showcase their products. This is a great way to see what's new in your industry and to find suppliers that you might not be able to find online.

Some trial and error might happen when figuring out how to find suppliers for dropshipping. However, the less of this, the better, as mistakes can be costly and takes time and money to resolve. Doing your due diligence is critical at this stage.

The Business Of Dropshipping: How To Set Up Your Selling Platform

Now that you know how to find suppliers, it's time to start setting up your store. The first step is to sign up for a Shopify account.

As mentioned earlier, Shopify is the leading eCommerce platform, perfect for dropshipping businesses. It's easy to use, has many built-in features, and integrates with all the significant dropshipping suppliers.

Once you have a Shopify account, you must choose a store theme. These themes are specifically designed for eCommerce stores, and they're optimized for conversion. Many great themes are available, but I recommend using one from Shopify's theme store.

The next process to consider revolves around how to build a dropshipping website on Shopify. The platform makes it easy to add products to your store, so you'll be able to get your first few products up and running in no time.

After all that is done, the final step to creating a dropshipping website is setting up your payment processor. Shopify integrates with all the major payment processors, so you'll be able to accept credit cards, PayPal, and other forms of payment.

How To Start A Dropshipping Business: Marketing Your Company

Now that you have your Shopify store set up and know how to find suppliers, it's time to start marketing and promoting your store.

The first step is ensuring your website is optimized for search engines. This means adding keyword-rich titles and descriptions to all of your products.

It also means creating informative blog posts and articles about the products you sell. You can use these blog posts to drive traffic to your store and generate leads for your business.

Whenever you create content that isn't intended for your website, make sure to include links back to your site so people can easily find your store. Another great way to generate traffic is through social media. Create social media accounts for your business and start sharing your content with the world.

You might also want to run ads to your website. Google and Facebook are both great platforms for running advertising campaigns. Just make sure you target your ads to people likely interested in the products you sell.

The final step is to start building an email list. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate sales, and it's a great way to stay in touch with your customers.

Offer something of value (like a coupon code or free shipping) in exchange for people's email addresses, and then start sending them regular updates about your store.

How Much Money Can You Make From Dropshipping?

The answer to the question, "how much can you make dropshipping?" is never as simple as one might think. Dropshipping is a business; like any other, your success will depend on several factors.

That said, a dropshipping business can potentially make a lot of money. The key is to choose the right niche, find suitable suppliers, and build a strong marketing strategy.

If you can do all of that, then there's no reason why you can't be successful.

The best way to determine how much money you can make from dropshipping is to set up your store and promote it. You'll quickly get a feel for the potential of your business, and you'll be able to adjust your strategy accordingly.

 What's the typical timeframe to make money with dropshipping?

The time it takes to start making money with dropshipping will also vary depending on several factors.

If you already have an audience (through a blog, social media following, etc.), you'll be able to start generating sales more quickly.

But if you're starting from scratch, it will take time to build up an audience and generate traffic to your store.

Generally, it takes most people 3-6 months to start seeing significant results from their dropshipping business. But if you're patient and you put in the work, then there's no reason why you can't start seeing success sooner than that.

Various Types Of Dropshipping Models To Consider

There are a few different types of dropshipping models that you can consider for your business. The model you choose will depend on your chosen niche, your target market, and your goals for your business.

Here are a few of the most popular types of dropshipping models.

The Standard Dropshipping Model

This is the most basic type of dropshipping model, and it's the one that most people think of when they think of dropshipping. In this model, you find a supplier who agrees to ship products directly to your customers on your behalf.

You then list the products on your website and market them to your target audience. When someone places an order on your website, you simply contact the supplier, and they ship the product directly to the customer. In some situations, it will be evident that the product didn't come from you as it will have the supplier's branding.

The Branded Dropshipping Model

The branded dropshipping model is a bit more advanced than the previous model. In this model, you still find a supplier who agrees to ship products directly to your customers on your behalf.

But instead of simply delivering the product when a customer makes an order, you also create your brand and marketing materials for the products and send this to the supplier. This way, when someone buys a product from your store, they're not just buying a generic product – they're purchasing a product associated with your brand.

Amazon FBA

There are a few key differences when it comes to dropshipping vs Amazon FBA. First, with Amazon FBA, you must buy the products upfront and then send them to Amazon's warehouses.

With drop shipping, you never have to carry any inventory – the supplier ships the products directly to your customer on your behalf.

Second, with Amazon FBA, you're selling your products on Amazon's marketplace. You have to compete with other sellers selling their products on Amazon.

With drop shipping, you're in control of your store and don't have to compete with anyone else.

Third, with Amazon FBA, you have to pay Amazon fees which can eat into your profits. With drop shipping, there are no extra fees – you only have to pay for the cost of the product and the shipping.

Dropshipping is a bit more hands-off than Amazon FBA and is often seen as a more straightforward way to get started with selling products online.

eBay Dropshipping

Like Amazon FBA, eBay dropshipping involves listing products for sale on eBay and then having the supplier ship the products directly to your customers.

One of the most significant benefits of eBay dropshipping is that it's easy to start, and you don't need to invest in any inventory or even create a store up front.

Another benefit is that you can use eBay's huge customer base to help drive traffic to your listings. But one downside is that you have to compete with other sellers on eBay, making it difficult to stand out.

eBay dropshipping can be a great way to start selling online, but it's not necessarily the best long-term option.

The Importance Of Realistic Expectations When Dropshipping

While attempting to answer the question, “how do I start a dropshipping business?” being realistic is critical. As with any business venture, it's essential to have the right expectations when starting a dropshipping business. While it is possible to make a lot of money dropshipping, it will not happen overnight.

Time-wise and profit-wise, dropshipping certainly has potential. But it's important to remember that any business venture comes with some risk. And even if you start making good money, there's no guarantee it will last. So if you're thinking about starting a dropshipping business, make sure you do your research and understand what you're getting into.

How Much Can You Make From Dropshipping: The Income Potential Of Dropshipping

The income potential of dropshipping is really up to you. It all depends on how much time and effort you're willing to put into it and how successful you drive traffic to your store.

That being said, a few factors will affect your earnings potential. First, the margins on dropshipped products are usually smaller than traditional retail margins. So you won't be able to make as much money on each sale.

Second, the competition in the dropshipping industry is fierce. Many people are selling similar products, and it can be hard to stand out from the crowd.

And finally, advertising costs can eat into your profits if you're not careful. You'll lose money if you're not generating enough sales to offset your advertising costs.

Taking Dropshipping Full-Time

If you believe in your business and are willing to put in the work, then taking dropshipping full-time can be a great decision and indeed a real possibility.

At the same time, dropshipping is not for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be successful. But if you're up for the challenge, dropshipping can be a great way to make a living.

One of the best tips for happiness to consider if you're thinking about taking dropshipping full-time is to make sure you have a plan, and you're organized.

Creating a business plan will help you map your goals and target market. And being organized will help you keep track of your inventory, orders, and customers.

How To Start Dropshipping - FAQ

How Much Money Do You Need To Start Dropshipping?

You don't need a lot of money to start dropshipping. You can start with as little as $100, but you'll need to invest more if you want to scale up your business.

How Do You Start A Dropshipping Business?

There are a few steps you need to take to start a dropshipping business:

  • Choose a niche
  • Find a supplier
  • Create a website or online store
  • Promote your store
  • Fulfill ordersFulfill orders

What's The Best Way To Learn How To Start Dropshipping With No Money?

There are a few ways you can learn how to start dropshipping with no money:

  • Read articles and blogs about dropshipping
  • Watch YouTube videos about dropshipping
  • Join Facebook groups about dropshipping
  • Use Google to search for information about dropshipping
  • Ask questions in forums about dropshipping

What Are Some Great Dropshipping Niches To Consider?

There are a few great niches to consider when starting your dropshipping business:

  • Fashion
  • Beauty
  • Electronics
  • Home Decor
  • Fitness

Also, if you already have a site or blog related to a particular niche, you may want to consider dropshipping for that niche. For example, if you offer tips for traveling on a budget, you could dropship travel-related products like luggage or travel adapters.

Conclusion: How To Be Successful With Dropshipping

Like any business model, dropshipping has its pros and cons, which you should be aware of before getting started.

Doing your homework and being realistic about your expectations is the best way to approach this business. When learning how to start a successful dropshipping business, always remember to stay focused and learn to adapt as the industry changes.

This will give you the best odds of success.

Want more ideas on how to make money? Check out The Lazy Man’s Guide To Living The Good Life to find out how you can make money without working too hard.

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is an author, investor, and speaker known for building a business from zero to $1.5 million in 12 months while traveling the world.

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