I believe that if you want something very badly, you will get it no matter what the world has to say about it.
I wanted to document my entire process of building, launching, and running a drop shipping business, so you can follow every decision that I made, and use my journey to fuel your success.
Let me be clear; I am not a genius. I’m just an entrepreneur who doesn’t give up.
The journey was tough, very tough. If a guy like me who had 0 experience of how advertisement works can do it, you can do it, I can guarantee it.
So, follow along with my journey from selecting a product, learning advertisement, and the challenges that I faced, if you are starting drop shipping or planning to do so, it can save you from multiple future roadblocks.
How it all started
Let’s start from the beginning when I first heard about dropshipping I was a 19-year-old kid who just came out of high school
with bad grades because of which no college was willing to give me admission.
So I have no other option to sit at home and presume my graduation via correspondence.
While I was sitting at my home, I was depressed and wanted to do something because All these Netflix and stuff gets annoying when you have no other thing to do the whole day.
So. I searched on google “how to make money online sitting at home” as a result, multiple blogs came up.
I started reading. . .
And this dropshipping thing sounded very interesting to me. So I thought why not give it a try.
From there it all began,
Learning how this works
I wanted to start drop-shipping but, I Was Scared. Why was I scared?
I didn’t know sh*t about dropshipping what I knew was it works. I used to watch videos on YouTube ( As I didn’t have enough to invest in curses) 12 hours a day for like 1 to 2 months.
Before I launched my first store. I used to watch every youtube you name it
After a bit of learning It was a time to start doing what I have been learning for months now
So I started with . . .
This is one of the most crucial things which will determine your success, and I suggest you spend as much time as possible in researching a product and selecting a niche. <link>
This is where I went wrong in the beginning.
I was so pumped that I didn’t do any research I just got on AliExpress and found a product with the most amounts of orders, and that was my research at the beginning.
Don’t do that…
Instead, find products from AliExpress verify them with google trends, check if someone on fb has advertised those products before you.
As we are drop shipping, your product must qualify as a problem solver, not readily available in-store or a unique product in a passionate niche
Coming Up With a Name
Don’t come up with random names, because this is the most underrated part about dropshipping store and most of the times name can play a very crucial role in customer’s mind.
Try to find a name which is memorable, as well as brandable at the same time. Don’t use numbers in a domain name or – or _
These are very hard to remember, and the customer might also not trust these king of the store.
In my case, I name my store like this an animal + a color, and that was my store name. (I can’t reveal my store name because I am afraid people will copy it, and it is currently profitable)
Test orders are also very crucial,
When I first started running ads to the product, I didn’t have any idea that my payment provider was not connected to my store.
And I never made a test order when I was running ads I say a lot of traffic but no sales.
People were dropping from the checkout page, and that’s when I figured out I had some issue with the payment provider and payment were not going through.
Building The Store
Then comes the part where all your research and knowledge will go into action.
When I first created my store, it took me two days to build a decent looking store, well I thought it was respectable looking.
Have you seen those colorful stores having all the colors and look like a rainbow? Yes, that was exactly what my store looked like in the starting of the journey.
Product description Copywriting
When it was time for product description I copied and pasted it from my competitor not a single edit
Well, it was horrible to do that.
Because what works for them is not guaranteed to work for me. And bluntly copying and pasting is not ethical and won’t lead you somewhere.
So, for you, I suggest you take inspiration from the successful stores and change it. Make It more readable, engaging, funny.
Highlight benefits rather than features. For e.g., people don’t need a drill, they want a hole, and people don’t need a mess they need to hang their belongings on the wall.
So don’t sell a drill to sell what they want.
A product video is the key to success in dropshipping because most drop shippers are advertising on facebook to the cold audience you are disrupting their routine
So you need good hooks as people go lightning fast in their timeline and you only have 5 sec to grab their attention.
If they get hooked in those 5 secs, you chances of a sale will increase
Advertisement Try #1
After all the things set up a store, social media pages, and business manager for Facebook, it was finally time to see what I have been working for works or not
I ran ten ads set with $5 budget each and went to sleep.
When I woke up, I checked my phone, and I saw a sale of $29 for a unique alarm clock.
I was up in the clouds, and I Made it was the thing that came in my mind. What happened next?
Was a disaster
The next day when I woke up and saw my phone there were no sales, the ads were running my money was getting drained my facebook.
But no one was buying, and the same went for days, weeks, and a month. Yes, a month
For one month I had no sales whatsoever,
Because I got my first sale from that alarm clock, I was attached to it and thought it should sell. Well, this gamble leads me to lose $500 on that first product.
A lesson to be learnt here – Don’t get attached to your product, if it is not successful kill it or change the creative and description try new ways to advertise that product.
After a whole month of consistent failure, the thought of giving up came into my mind
As I was a young kid with only a little money in my bank account. Then when someone on youtube released a video on how testing can help you succeed
TEST as many products as possible till you find a winner
I thought that guy for correct, so I started testing the product in batches. I was researching and publishing and advertising five products a day
Which included writing description, making videos, choosing interest on facebook.
I was working 12-19 hours a day, and I used to work at 5 am till late at night. With no brakes
Yes, a few sales came in in the way, but I was not making enough money to cover up the losses I was making
After nothing worked, I just had one thing in mind I don’t want this burden rest of my life. I don’t want me to fail at my first business.
That was the thing that made me go.
I started learning more, watching videos on how to edit videos, how to write a description that sells and ho to market the product.
Now it was time to implement what I have been learning for a long time now,
I again started researching product’s, and strangely, I was scrolling down my Facebook feed and found the video of this product which had 200,000 views and ethical engagement.
It was In the hardware niche, and I knew nothing about
I found as many competitors as I could and saw what they were writing in their description and how were they marketing the product.
I reverse engineered everything about this product I want on amazon and read reviews of people in the tool niche what problem are they facing and all that stuff.
Finally, after I did my research ( it took one week by the way ), I launch the product
Initially, it was not that big of a hit.
I got 1 or 2 sales from it, I installed a hot jar on my account and analyzed where the visitors are leaving.
And tweaked the landing page accordingly.
And on the next day BAM, I had $300 in sales it was a $60 product, And finally, I tasted a bit of success
That’s where I learned yes the product is relevant no doubt, but the way you are marketing it the pain point you are hitting with it is more important.
Logic tells Emotion sells. I made this quote randomly
Roadblocks #1 Cashflow
Then It came time to scale, I was making money for sure, but multiple problems were coming down the way
First, I didn’t have enough capital to scale rapidly.
That was the first roadblock, I started to spend more than $300/ Day and didn’t realize I didn’t have enough funds to pay for the goods.
Because the money I made was in PayPal and it takes 1-4 business days to arrive in my account.
And because my account did not have enough money, Facebook was not able to charge my mind because of which my ads were getting paused
And whenever the ads get pauses, you lose all the optimization Facebook made.
I needed a solution to this as fast as possible. So I came up with a unique solution.
I started running ads only on Saturday and Sunday. Yes, that’s correct Saturday and Sunday. In those two days
I started my ads on Friday night, and Sat was the optimization day.
On sat the ad set which was not performing I close them all and duplicate and double the budget on the ones which were performing
And on Sunday I used to spend $1000 and get sales worth of $3000+ on Monday I was getting my money from PayPal, and I was paying for my goods.
This thing was going smooth for a month.
Roadblocks #2 Accounting loss
After selling for a month, my Shopify dashboard shows $15,000 that month alone. Its glittery right
For some of you, that might be a lot of money and some of you, that’s nothing.
But. . . That money for a just dropout high school kid was a lot.
I was in the clouds; it was not long enough. I fell to the ground pretty quickly. WHY?
Because I thought I was making money, but I was not I was draining down my bank account and was at a huge loss
I didn’t consider payment provider fee, currency conversion fee and much more (don’t ignore it, it will save you from future losses)
That was the second problem I have to face. I have to deal with this as fast as possible because I didn’t have much left in my account.
That’s when I launched upsells, down sells, email marketing.
And with that, I started getting recurring customers up to 12% which is a very high percentage for a dropshipping store average is around 2-3%
And the upsell increased my average order value to $120 / Product with a profit margin of $70 / product.
Yes, that’s correct $70/product
It took me a while to recover from it, but I was in cashflow positive here, and that’s where I was making money
Roadblocks #3 PayPal holds
Everything was going very smoothly, I was making good money, and that’s when PayPal hit me hard.
I checked whenever I made a sale PayPal emailed me you have this money but it on hold till the time product is delivered to the customer or 21 Days.
I was shocked,
I called PayPal and talked to the representative after 2 hours of an intense talk; he told me there is nothing I can do you have to wait.
That’s how our algorithm works.
And I was so stressed I was searching for videos and articles on how to tackle this issue. And after a bit of research, I found out the reason for this hold in the PayPal terms of service agreement
I found how if we don’t add tracking to order or if our sales volume increase rapidly, then PayPal can hold the money to eliminate the risk of fraud.
On the same day, I have added 300+ tracking numbers to PayPal for all my old and new orders.
There is an app on shopify known as PayPal tracking on autopilot which I got to know about later. It automatically updates tracking for your order with a meager fee.
I was relaxed now because all the new orders 1 out of 10 were getting on hold and rest were there for me to withdraw.
Everything was beautiful and fixed until the next day
As PayPal sends an email to the customer whenever the tracking is updated, every old customer.
I have started to email me that they have not ordered a new product ( they thought they were charged for a new product, but it was an old product) and started doing chargebacks on PayPal.
Again the money I had for product fulfillment was now under hold hopefully I have transferred a little earlier to my account that day that saved me a bit.
I maxed out my credit cards to pay for goods, and my money was still on hold as PayPal takes a lot of time to review the claim.
But I wanted the money as soon as possible because I needed to run ads and I had no money to do so because of this block.
I wrote an email mentioning all the details and sent to all of my past customers, and hopefully, 80% of them withdraw the claim
And I had the money now to spend on ads.
Does the journey sound hard? Not yet there are many more roadblocks I have to face, and frankly, those roadblock is the only reason I have a good story to share here
Roadblocks #4 Inventory
Yes, that’s correct. I also had an inventory issue. Its like when I look at it I have faced so much I get proud of myself of not giving up.
This was after three months, the product was still working correctly, but I ran into inventory issues. The supplier I on AliExpress had little inventory left like only ten units, but I had an order of 50.
That’s when I thought of giving up because there was no video on you-tube explaining to tackle this kind of issue.
I have checked all the suppliers there were only 2 of them on AliExpress, and both were out of stock.
I had made decent money I was happy with it, so I thought why not stop it now and move on to a new product.
Then something strange happened the next day when I woke up there was different energy I had I can’t explain it to you, but it made me try one last time
I texted 100 suppliers on AliExpress in hardware niche and 50 on Alibaba. After a lot of chit chat negotiating and all, I found one supplier.
Who was willing to give the product to me at a reasonable price and I was shocked others on AliExpress were selling it for $55, and I got it for $39 from that supplier
So I was having a lot of margins to play with
After two weeks, I was faced with another roadblock.
Roadblocks #5 Bad supplier
The supplier I was working with played with me a decent game to make more money.
As she saw, I was making good orders per day, and I was dependent on her because there were little to no suppliers of the same product.
What she did, was so pathetic that from that day, I stopped trusting people in business no matter what they say.
What did she do?
As Saturday and Sunday were my big days, I use to get 50+ sales on these two days ( as it was a high ticket product)
I send supplier CSV files on Monday usually she fulfills the order within 1-2 days, but this time she didn’t send me the tracking number.
I asked what’s going on she told its all okay we are packing and have many orders and fewer workers it is taking time.
Because I trusted her, I never bothered to ask more of it seven days passed. And I was angry because I did not have a tracking number as of now
I asked her what’s going on? she told I am sorry, I am out of inventory
I said, what do you mean? You just told a few days ago you were packing it
She replies we don’t have this product anymore, and the price we are giving it to you have increased if you want to buy from us you need to pay $20 more for each product
I was so pissed because the order had already been delayed seven days
I said okay, I have to pay $1000 more for the same orders. That’s when I realized no one gives an sh*t about how much you care it’s a business and people will do anything for a quick buck.
I started searching for more suppliers, and I couldn’t find any with the same product
I found the best supplier.
I followed the old strategy I again messaged multiple suppliers in tools niche. That’s when I found my new supplier a guy that’s fantastic amazing.
I will tell you why
Because, first of he gave me the product at the lowest price in the market, second of all he shipped with priority line that means 7-12 days shipping, he had warehouses in US, Russia, Spain, etc.
And the best part, I was reading about a lot of branding those days. That’s when the branded store became popular in dropshipping.
People were white labeling those products I thought, why not do the same but by a cheap way.
I call it Indian Hack.
As a branded store and white labeling cost a ton of money and I was not willing to risk it this time I found an incredible way of doing it
I told my supplier to print out my brand logo on a paper and stick it on the box and add a thank you note inside the box.
And to my luck he did that with no extra money, he printed it out and pasted on the box and used to send me images of my good every day before shipping.
I suggest you if you have a supplier you are dealing with out of AliExpress ask him to send you images every day of the packed goods.
I didn’t hire a freelancer.
Everyone says paying $5 for a non-productive work that’s time consuming is worth it. Yes, outsourcing is worth it $5 / hour will lead to $1000+ spent on just fulfillment.
I found an incredible hack to save that money (Don’t do it if you don’t have an honest supplier)
I had a good bonding with this new supplier I gave him access to my Shopify orders and asked him if he can fulfill them for me and updating tracking to my Shopify store.
Yes it was that simple I have to ask, and I saved a lot of wasted time plus I don’t have to explain to a freelancer how to do it
Yes, I know many apps can outsource the order fulfillment process, but they cost a fee every month, and it adds up quickly.
And by doing this, I saved $3469
A Very Important Lesson
Things are going to be tough; you will face roadblock after another. You will have times when you are depressed and want to give up.
Just Don’t Because if it were that easy, you would see everyone succeed
Not everyone is willing to hustle that hard people quit after the first roadblock, not knowing how close they are to succeed.
Remember what’s easy won’t last and what lasts won’t be easy.
Keep Hustling, Keep Learning