One of the ways that I use to make money online from home is dropshipping. If you are looking to become an online entrepreneur, then you may want to consider it. In my opinion, it’s one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to start an online business.
As a matter of fact, dropshipping is one of the fastest growing online industries. Today, more and more people are looking for ways to become their own boss and achieve more freedom with their lifestyles. As a result, many people are using eCommerce as their escape plan. Some are even using it as a way to fund their retirement.
What is Dropshipping and How does it work?
Now, you may be asking yourself, what is dropshipping and how does it work? Maybe like most people, you’ve heard the term floating around, but wasn’t exactly sure what it involved.
In the very simplest terms, it’s the process of listing a product in your store from a supplier. Once the product sells, the supplier ships the product to your customer from their warehouse. You never physically touch the merchandise. Actually, many of the top retailers like Zappos, Sears and J.C. Penny, have been using this method for years.
For a quick overview of how the process works, check out this video:
Why It's a Good Way to Make Money Online
Dropshipping is a great way to make money online for a number of different reasons:
- It’s simple to setup and extremely easy to get started.
- It’s an ideal business for newcomers, even if you have never made money online.
- There is no inventory involved, so you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of cash upfront on products.Or storing products.
- No overhead – all you need is a computer and access to the internet.
- Vast array of products to choose from – almost every product you can think of can be dropshipped. Plus, you can sell a wide variety of products because you don’t have to worry about warehousing them.
- Easy to grow- you can grow as fast or as slow as you like.
- You are in control of your profit margins.
- You are free and independent, you can run your store as you please.
- Flexibility- you can literally work the business from anywhere. You can manage your store from your bedroom, the kitchen table, your cubical at work, heck anywhere in the world!
Disadvantages of the Dropshipping Business Model
Although dropshipping is a good way to make money while working from home, it’s definitely for everyone. For one thing, it’s not a perfect business model. For every advantage, there’s a disadvantage:
- High competition- since it’s so easy to get started, you will find some niches more crowded than others.
- Can’t control quality of the product- from time to time, you may run across a supplier that sells poorly made products. Which could reflect badly on your store.
- Lower profit margins- in order to be competitive, in some case will need to lower your profit margins.
Of course, on the upside is, compared to starting a traditional business, you are still coming out ahead by opening your own dropshipping business.
What is AliExpress and Why Would You Choose It for Dropshipping?
AliExpress is a gigantic Chinese base marketplace that brings manufacturers and sellers together from all over the world. Although, there are many online companies that you can use to stock your store, in my opinion, they are by far one of the best ones.
Here’s a Few Features that Make AliExpress Ideal for Dropshipping
- 100% Free to Use – unlike many other online wholesale companies, you don’t have to pay any fees to use the platform.
- Easy to Start– you don’t have to jump through any hoops to start selling, is just a matter of registering for a free account.
- Wide Selection of Products– they have over 100 million products listed on their site, therefore, you can easily choose from any product category to start your store.
- Competitive Pricing – since most of the sellers are overseas manufacturers, you will find that compared to most online wholesalers, their prices are very low.
- Easy Shipping Options– sellers ship products to any country in the world. As a plus, you have the option of setting up free or express shipping. In fact, you will find many manufacturers offer ePacket services, which ships packages in 7-14 days.
- Free Resources– one of the coolest things I like about AliExpress is that most sellers have great pictures and products descriptions readily available that you can use on your website.
- Generous Cashback Program– allows you earn up to 12% cashback for purchases made on your dropshipping site. Once the products are delivered, part of the cost is deposited into your affiliate account. That’s extra money on top of your sales!
Setting up Your Business to Make Money Online
Before starting your dropshipping business, here’s a few things you will need to have in place. Keep in mind, not all of them are necessary right away, but you will want to put them in place as soon as possible, if you are serious about running your business for the long term.
- a PayPal account– preferably a business account. If you don’t have one, you can register here for free.
- an EIN number– Federal Tax Identification number. This is a free unique nine-digit number, similar to our social security number, assigned by IRS to businesses for tax reporting and identification purposes. You will need one if you decide to make your business an LLC or Corporaton. You can apply for one online here.
- a Business Bank account- it’s a good rule to keep your personal funds separate from your private funds,especially for tax reporting purposes.
- a Professional logo– having a professional logo gives credibility to your shop. You can create one for free on Canva. If you are unsure about your skills, you can always have one made for as low as $5 on Fiverr.
Are You Wondering "How Do I Start a Dropshipping Business"
As I stated earlier, it’s easy to start a dropshipping business. Actually, you can get started by following these 5 steps:
- STEP 1: Decide on a Niche – this step is very important. You will want take your time and brainstorm niche ideas. As you know, there’s no way you can compete with large retailers like Amazon, so you will want to find products that cater to smaller shoppers like: model train collectors, pet lovers, knitters, bikers, etc.
Tip: It’s a good idea to stick with ideas that are popular and you at least have a general interest in. That way you won’t get bored. Moreover, you are more likely to be successful selling something you’re interested in.
Here’s a few niche ideas:
- Dog breeds
- Luxury items
- Home and garden
- Organic/Eco -Friendly
- Boho- Hipster
- STEP 2: Research Your Product Ideas- here you will be deciding what products you want to sell in your store. Basically, this step involves, searching keywords to see if people are looking for the products you intend to sell. For example: if you plan to go into the yoga niche, you will want to research keywords like yoga mats, yoga pants etc.
To conduct your research, you can use sites like:
- Google Trends
- Amazon – Best Sellers List
- Google Keyword Planner (You will need a gmail account)
- AliExpress Best Sellers
- Ebay Daily Deals
- Search social media platforms like Redditt, Facebook and Instagram.
- STEP 3: Decide on a Store Name/Domain – there are a few things to pay attention to when deciding on a name. For starters, choose a professional name so shoppers will trust you and take you seriously.
Even more, here’s a few tips to help you with this step.
- Short and Sweet is always a good choice. Try to use a name with less words, that identifies with your products or is catchy and easy to remember.
- Go with a Personalized and Specific Names. For instance you can use your name or your city, For example: JonesPantsNYC.
- Buy a Established Domain. You can find pre-owned domains for sale on sites like Flippa, GoDadday auction, etc. The prices vary and depend on the value and age of the domain.
- Be careful and avoid names with symbols, hyphens, or anything confusing or hard to remember, etc.
To help you get started, you may want to use this free cool website to help find a name for your store, NameMesh.
When you are ready, you will want to go ahead and register your domain name. I recommend NameCheap or SiteGround. They are two of the best online hosting companies. Similarly, they both have excellent customer service, and you can purchase domains starting from as low as $1.99.
Once you register your domain name, you will want to go ahead and set up a business email account for your store, like: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.
- STEP 4: Register with AliExpress – all you need to do here is register for a free account and apply for the affiliate program, so you can earn cashback.
- STEP 5: Decide on a Dropshipping Platfom- this is the software you will use to build and operate your store. Fortunately, there are many good affordable options.
Consequently, here’s the two best eCommerce platforms available today, that you can use to open your own dropshipping store with AliExpress.
Shopify is a powerful all-in-one eCommerce solutions. It provides everything you need to start your own dropshipping store, including the Oberlo app.
Accordingly, Oberlo is a plugin that allows you easily import products, pictures and products descriptions from AliExpress.
Benefits of Using Shopify with AliExpress
- Get Started for Free- Shopify offers a free 14 day trial, which is ample time for you to check out the platform to see if it’s a good fit for you.
- Affordable Pricing– plans start as low as $29.99 a month.
- Vast Array of Marketing Tools
- Free and Paid Professional Themes
- Hosting is Included in Price
- Excellent Customer Service
It’s an all-in-one solution that allows you to build your own dropshipping store with AliExpress using wordpress. Using the Alidropship plugin, you can import products, photos and descriptions directly from AliExpress.
Benefits of Using AliDropship with AliExpress
- No Monthly Costs – you can purchase the plugin for a one time price of $89.00
- Free Professional Themes
- Easy to Setup
- Built in SEO