If you’re thinking about pursuing dropshipping as a business model—and you want to make money—it’s critical to understand what actually goes into making a dropshipping business successful.
Most of what you’ll find online about dropshipping only markets the lifestyle: dropshippers sitting on the beach, flying business class, and driving expensive cars. However, many people don’t realize what’s happening behind the scenes.
While it’s completely possible to achieve multiple streams of income, travel the world, and work on your own terms, you have to be willing to truly do the hard work. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking dropshipping is all about minimal effort with maximum reward, when in fact, it takes commitment, dedication, and strategic thinking to make a dropshipping business thrive.
As nice as it would be to press a magic button and make a lucrative living dropshipping, at the end of the day it’s all about being willing to put in the boring work (and doing what other people aren’t willing to do).
This article will walk you through the top four things you need to do to make money as a dropshipper:
#1) Be Consistent and Persistent
One of the most important things you can do to become a high-earning dropshipper is to consistently and persistently follow-up with top-tier suppliers in your niche. In order to do this, you should look for:
Once you’ve identified who you want to purchase your products from, it’s time to start reaching out. As you begin this process, you’ll quickly realize that not everyone is going to want to sell to you, and that rejection is a big part of running a fledgling business.
The key here is to continue reaching out, following up, and not letting these (normal) challenges impact your business strategy. Many people who are new to the business will make the following mistakes when they don’t get the results they want right away:
All of these mistakes stem from people wanting to take the easy route, and not wanting to do the tough, boring, and often disheartening work it takes to build a profitable business.
If you’re serious about making money dropshipping, you have to keep reaching out to suppliers, whether that means making 20 calls or 100. Finding the right suppliers and becoming an authorized seller will make your business more well-rounded, attract better customers, and set your business up for a long and prosperous future.
It’s also important to recognize that this process never ends—even if you’ve been dropshipping for years. While it’s not going to get any less boring or more exciting, it’s worth it once you see the value it brings to your business.
#2) Upload Your Products Properly
Once you get approved by suppliers, the next step is to put time, effort, and care into uploading the products you’re selling. You might be uploading 300 products or 3,000, but the same attention to detail needs to go into uploading every single one.
This process is undeniably tedious, labor intensive, and often frustrating, but it has to be done correctly in order for your store to make money. As tempting as it may be to be lazy or careless as you carry out this process, it’s essential to pay close attention to this step.
Here’s a few things you should focus on when uploading your products:
Taking the time to do this can mean the difference between a customer clicking ‘purchase’ or navigating away from your page when they visit your store. Customers will notice sloppy work, and you don’t want to lose a sale because you didn’t want to put in the effort.
#3) Talk to Your Customers
The value of engaging with your customers can’t be understated, especially when you’re first getting started. Not only will this help you foster customer loyalty and drive repeat business, but it's also a way to find areas where you can improve operations.
The first thing you should do is respond to emails in a timely manner. Once again, this can be laborious. However, it will help build your brand, expand your network, and increase your credibility.
Next, you need to ask for reviews—even if you think you’re doing a bad job. It’s all too common for people to hide from their customers, but oftentimes a negative review can be more helpful than a positive one. Getting honest feedback can help you identify what’s going right in your business, as well as what’s going wrong.
Responding to live chats, listing a phone number on your site, and actually taking phone calls are also good ways to build relationships with your customers and boost your store’s reputation.
In the early stages of the process, this is going to take up a lot of your time. The good news is that once you start reaping the benefits, you’ll be able to outsource this type of work, and eventually put in fewer hours. The bad news is there’s no way to by-pass the process in the beginning, and trying to take shortcuts won’t get you anywhere.
It’s also helpful to keep in mind that as you grow your store and start selling more expensive items, the volume of inquiries will naturally go down (while your profits go up).
#4) Do the Work
The most important thing you can do is remember that dropshipping is not a lifestyle, it's a business—and running a business takes work. This might sound obvious, but it’s a fact that many people neglect or forget.
The people who make real money dropshipping are putting in the hours. Even if you see them leading luxurious and glamorous lifestyles on their YouTube videos, when they aren’t filming, they’re handling the nitty-gritty.
Unfortunately, there’s no magical way to start making a profit. However, following the steps above and committing to working hard is a foolproof way to achieve your goals. Whether your goal is to drive a Lamborghini to the beach in Miami, or to invest your money into an index fund and retire early, you won’t get there without doing the work.