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Tips and Advice for First-Time Dropshippers

Chapter 7 by Amanda Gaid & Adeel Qayum

Congratulations on dipping your toes in the world of dropshipping. It takes courage to try something new. And we truly believe that this business model has the potential to change lives for the better with the prospect of significant returns. 

But with more and more people exploring the space – and launching ecommerce stores on the fly – you want to do everything you can to both start on the right foot and get more eyeballs on your business. 

That’s where good business advice can be a godsend for first-time dropshippers. 

 We asked our Dropshipping Masters: “What dropshipping tips and advice would you give to someone just starting out in the field?”

Here’s what they had to say. 

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Balance passion with longevity when picking a niche

When starting an ecommerce business, a lot of people will just pick a dropshipping niche they’re passionate about. 

Although that’s a great place to start, long-term success requires a careful evaluation of whether the products within a niche resonate with consumers.

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Why? Because passion alone isn’t going to cut it.

In fact, you can have the best-looking website in the world and still fail if there’s no audience for your product. So, instead of betting it all on your passion, dig into your store’s data early to see if the products that you intend to sell have the potential to generate long-term revenue.

Ashley Banks knows the importance of balancing passion with potential. Here’s his advice:

first-time dropshipping advice

Ashley Banks says,

“Find a niche that you are actually interested in and that you can kind of continue with longevity. Mine was a thermos, but I quickly got bored with it because it wasn’t my passion.

And also, don’t think that’s it. It’s very easy just to go on to AliExpress, pick a product and import it through Oberlo and then just try and market that. Don’t be that person. Learn from the data in your store’s dashboard rather than just picking a product.”

Set aside a few hours each day for learning

While dropshipping looks simple on paper, there’s a bit of a learning curve at the start. As someone doing this for the very first time, you’ll need to get familiar with the moving parts of this business model.

For example, you may not be aware that most ecommerce platforms allow you to set up and automate email marketing campaigns, or the fact that Instagram Stories are one of the best ways to engage prospective customers. The best way to learn all this is to set aside some time each day for education.

Andreas Koenig and Alexander Pecka remember the time they put into learning the ins and outs of the dropshipping business and advice first-time dropshippers to do the same.  

Andreas Koenig says,

“Go to bed with your journal, watch videos, read articles, and learn everything you need to for two or three months. Doing this will help you acquire the basic knowledge. Block time for this, because it’s time-consuming. But it’s worth it, really.”

For those working in a 9-5 position and thinking of starting an ecommerce business on the side, Alexander recommends killing the expectation of free time for the next few months.

Alexander Pecka says,

“When you want to do dropshipping, you have to do it 100%. It’s not possible to say that you’re going to work in your other job at a company, and then play football, then go to the gym, then in the evening spend 3 hours or so on the business. It’s not possible. You must do it 100%.”

Learn to be patient and consistent

Success in the world of dropshipping can be a slow and lonely climb. Whether you’re working with an influencer or running Facebook ads, it’ll take time to start seeing results. Be patient, as it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme.

If patience isn’t one of your virtues, try developing as much of it as you can by having a frame of mind that whatever you’re doing is eventually going to pay off.

Also, try being consistent with your approach by offering the same branding, marketing, and communications to both desktop and mobile consumers.

dropshipping success requires patience and consistency

Jeffrey Ho says, 

“It’s all about patience and consistency. You are, to the core, operating a business. It’s unrealistic to expect it to return you $1,000 when you put $500 in, just in the bat of the eye. It is going to take time, and it also takes some prior research. But as long as you keep at it, it will pay off in the end.”

Master bonus: Wanna hear more from Jeffrey? Check out this video where he gives dropshipping tips on five products to sell in 2019.

Get creative with your social media content

To build multiple sources of traffic that drive visitors to your store, you need to create an effective social media strategy. With more and more people using platforms like Instagram and Facebook to connect with businesses, these sites have become great places to promote an online store.

But going into social media requires plenty of creativity. With attention spans shortening and competition at an all-time high, brands today need to do more than just post about their products to make people take notice. 

The easiest way to stand out is to get creative with your posts. Instead of sharing a product picture and saying, “Hey, we’re selling this for $X. Come check it out,” try doing something different.

For example, John Robb posted lighthearted memes on his Instagram account to get more eyeballs on his fashion apparel. Below is his advice for first-time dropshippers.

John Robb says, 

“Instead of being intrusive and annoying, try to fit it into the user’s feed. Post a cute little meme or a joke. People are so tired of seeing ‘Buy now! Shop now! Go check this out!’ You just have to do something different.

Mine would have an image and above it would say something like, ‘My boyfriend bought me these.’ You need to just make it lighthearted and a joke. Then your followers will read it, and look at it, and give it that extra time.”

Be practical about scaling up

No matter the operating model or industry, scaling a business – particularly one that has a marketing side to it – requires money. While you don’t have to get a second mortgage, you’ll need to inject some money into your dropshipping store before it can put money into your bank account.

In our interview, Yuanda Wang made sure to highlight the importance of having enough money to scale a dropshipping business.

Yuanda Wang dropshipping mistake

Yuanda Wang says,

“I think a really important piece of advice is you need around $1,000 to start. If you don’t have the funds, and you want to start your own business, you need to find ways to make money.

Because I have been in that zone, where I had no money to spend on my dropshipping website, even though I had made sales with it, I wasn’t able to scale it.

Eventually, I landed a part-time job working in an office. And it was the exact time that I landed this position that my second dropshipping store started making incremental sales. I think it happened because I had gained confidence in the fact that I have cash coming in, I can actually spend on ads without being worried or overwhelmed.”

For a more specific breakdown of where you’ll be spending the money, watch our YouTube video.

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Now get out there and make some sales!

Friends, our time together has come to an end.

Throughout this ebook, our Dropshipping Masters have shared their stories, insights, and advice for:

Hopefully, you’re feeling inspired and juiced up to finally start that store you’ve been thinking about – or improve the one you’re already running.

In the meantime, you can always drop us a line with questions and comments.

Happy dropshipping until we meet again!