How to start dropshipping while having a full time job
It’s possible to start a dropshipping store while having a full time job. This is because a dropshipping business can be managed only a few hours a day and when necessary, you can easily outsource selected roles to freelancers.
Starting and scaling a dropshipping business on the side is nothing that hasn’t been done before! It all boils down to how you set your schedule and your consistency!
What is a dropshipping business;
A dropshipping business uses an e-commerce fulfillment model where a dropshipper, lists products on a website and promotes it. Orders that come to his website are filled by a third party supplier who owns the products. The Dropshipper pays the supplier for the fulfillment of the products orders and keeps a profit margin.
My experience managing a dropshipping while having a full time job
The first year of running my dropshipping business, I was able to manage it as a side hustle while working a 9-5. It was just me (the founder) and my teammate. A committed team of 2 people.
I didn’t have any prior knowledge about dropshipping so, I mostly had to self educate myself to learn the ropes. I had so much interest in researching, designing the business strategy and running ads! Those were my grinds and I was very much enthusiastic about it.
I really didn’t have the bones for creating graphic designs, motion graphics or video editing. Don’t get me wrong, I could try to do them myself but I didn’t think I was great at it. I knew that if I proactively learned about it, I could get better at it but since I had a full time job, It wasn’t a convenient option.
I had my partner do a professional logo and all that video ad creative and that’s how we were able to run ads and spread the word about the store.
That’s a little story about my experience. Just in case you are wondering if that website became a successful no, it didn’t. I made a hurtful one sale.
It was a one product store and I learnt after several ad spends and that the product wasn’t all that marketable, what changed the outcome was tweaking my product offer and offering the product as a bundle.
I remember how excited I felt to finally get traction on that store. I think the best part of it was I didn’t really run ads before I saw the traction.
I just posted the bundle offer on the store’s Instagram page and got some orders from people who were already following the store’s page. I immediately knew that I had found my winning product!
Managing and scaling that store was something I did while keeping my full time job!
Here are some tips to starting a dropshipping store while keeping a full time job;
Choose an e-commerce niche;
You’d have to choose to choose a niche whether it’s gardening, home improvement, pets etc
This is important because you’d need to build out your store’s brand to reflect that niche.
I understand that many people advise creating a one product store, but in my experience, that didn’t work.
This is what I recommend if you’re just starting out; you should choose a niche based domain name or a unique domain name. I don’t advise making your store name to be about one specific product.
Do product research and list some products within your researched niche on your webstore! I’m basically saying have a niche ecommerce site instead of a one product ecommerce site. Also have a Facebook page for your niche and if you start running Facebook testing ads and find that a particular product offer is not marketable, you could easily switch and test for another product until you can find your winning product!
Choose a dropshipping platform;
You’d need to choose an e-commerce platform! There are several platforms you can dropship on and this includes; Amazon, Ebay, Woocommerce, Shopify, Ecwid etc
You can refer to this article to see how each platform compares to the other! Once you’ve chosen your preferred platform you’d need to create your ecommerce store with it!
Source dropshipping products;
You’d have to source your product from a supplier. You should check your platform’s Terms of service to avoid any violations. For example; Amazon’s policy does not allow a merchant dropship from another online retailer. You can’t basically dropship from Walmart to Amazon.
There are some trusted websites where you can source products from suppliers. These suppliers become your business partners and make it easy for you to run a dropshipping store while having a full time job! They basically ship your store’s orders to your customers.
You can source dropshipping suppliers from the following sites;
- Local EU, UK and North America based suppliers; there are number of websites that have a Shopify app, Woocommerce plugin and other integrations. They serve as a good resource for sourcing quality fair priced products from EU, UK and North American suppliers. This means faster shipping of products (1-5 days) to customers within those regions.
- Using a dropshipping Chinese Agent; this is great if you want more control, for example; if you would like an agent to repackage your product and private label it before shipping it to your customers. Also if you’d want to buy the products cheaper and ship them even faster from China.
- Aliexpress; This is a Chinese e-commerce marketplace where you can get variety of products from Chinese suppliers. Most products on Aliexpress are very cheap and most suppliers on Aliexpress support dropshipping. The only downside is that shipping to North America, UK or the EU with Aliexpress shipping lines takes 2-3weeks.
- Using a 3PL; 3PLs are called third party logistics. They basically have warehouses and provide shipping and order Fulfillment services. You can purchase products in bulk from Aliexpress or a Chinese supplier and ship them to a 3PL such as Shipbob. Shipbob has a warehouses across North America, Europe and the EU. They could then ship products to your customers from their warehouse.
Ensure faster dropshipping and smoother customer experience
If you are dropshipping, you’d need to understand the competition. For example; Amazon makes sure it’s prime customers get 2 days shipping and with its good customer service, that’s difficult to compete with! However if you dropship outside of Amazon, you could still be very profitable!
It’s pertinent to ensure that you give your customers a good experience. This could mean speeding up your delivery time and ensuring that your customer support is responsive. You should answer customer queries and carry customers along.
You also need to make sure your customers can easily contact you!
If you are dropshipping in a country you do not reside, for convenience, it may make sense to get a virtual phone number of that country! For example; you can get a USA virtual number if you were dropshipping from outside the USA.
If you are dropshipping in the USA and you don’t live in the USA, then getting a US virtual bank account number would enable ease of payment! Your customers can easily pay you in your US bank account like a local.
You can use a payment gateway to process debit card transactions on your ecommerce site.
Finally, running a dropshippping while keeping your full time job is very possible! Many have done it successfully! Most of the processes can be automated!
Running and tweaking ads and promotions for your dropshipping business is something that can be done within a couple of hours a day! You just need to set your schedule as it suits you and stay consistent.
If you ever need extra hands, you can affordably outsource a role to a freelancer on Fiverr
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