The amount of time it takes to start and run a dropshipping store is what makes it one of the best online business ideas out there.
Ever wonder how much time it takes to run an online business dropshipping?
Well, time is money, and money is time.
The good news is the amount of time spent running a dropshipping store is one of its biggest advantages. Running and managing your online business should only take you two to eight hours a week.
In this post, I want to talk about where to spend those hours to give yourself the best chance at success! Keep reading to learn why dropshipping is one of the best online businesses to start.
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Dropshipping is One of the Best Online Business Ideas, Here's Why:
This post is not going to be about the actual setup time for a dropshipping store or other online business ideas. Meaning, the amount of time that goes into niche research, web design, securing suppliers, and configuring traffic. We'll save that for another time. Of course, that's all covered in detail in detail in my Drop Ship Blueprint.
I don't want to talk about all the best online business to start or about other online business ideas.
Specifically, what I want to talk about today is how much time it takes to manage a dropshipping store on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month basis. What are you actually doing with your time running an eCommerce business?
How Much Time Does It Actually Take To Manage a Dropshipping Business?
This came up as I was sitting in a hotel room during a recent trip to New York City. I was there for just a few days but I started thinking about all the stuff I would be going out and doing. Things like going to a museum and showing my baby around the city. Just kind of enjoying life.
So, while I'm doing that, I'm still running my businesses. I’m not technically on vacation. I'm still in business, I'm still running everything. And that’s what you get to do day to day with a dropship business.
Now what does that actually look like? Let’s get into how much time it’s going to take to manage your business.
As Soon as Your Store Starts Making Sales, You Should Hire Your First Employee
First thing I should mention, once you start to see any type of success (meaning making sales and profits) it’s time to outsource. I know personally one thing I wrong in the beginning was putting off hiring people for way too long.
I'm not talking about getting an office with a bunch of employees or anything. I'm talking about hiring someone that's going to be in your email inbox all day, answering the business phone if it rings, responding to live chat tickets and Facebook comments.
And that should be the first person you hire. Once you’re established, most of the day-to-day work goes into all of those things. Which to me falls into sales and customer service.
Where we are right now in 2019, sales and customer service are very, very similar. Especially when you have an inbound based business. Which is what we do with Drop Ship Lifestyle stores. It’s what you'll be doing if you follow Drop Ship Lifestyle.
An inbound business is one where the people that are buying from found you from ads that you ran. They're going to get to your website, and they're going to contact you. It’s going to come inbound.
You're not going to be cold calling people trying to sell them stuff. You're not going to have an employee cold calling people trying to sell them stuff.
Instead, people are going to search for what they want on Google. They're going to find your website, maybe they'll see the phone number, they'll call in. Maybe they'll send you an email, maybe they'll live chat. But again, just being there for those people to make sure you can convert them into customers is what takes the most time.
Now, maybe if you're a new store, if your business hours are say eight hours a day. Then maybe only two hours of that time will be needed to actually have these interactions with people.
Still, once you start making money, I think you should have somebody virtually to help. My recommendations is hiring someone from the Philippines. That's where most of our support staff is from. You have to find good people.
Once you hire someone, have them work that full shift. That way, as soon as someone contacts your business, they will get a response.
Now, if you do that, that means that you can still have the sales coming in but you could be away from the computer for those business hours.
Does that mean that every single day when your business hours online say you open you should leave and not be there? No, of course not.
You could, in theory.
That’s true. I work more because I enjoy it. I could work only four if I wanted to. There's been plenty of weeks that I've worked less than four hours.
It's because that's what it's about, having that option. Not building a business where you're literally never doing anything. Though, if you want to for any reason, if anything comes up, if you want to go anywhere, if you want to see anybody, you can have that freedom.
Once customer service and sales is off your plate, you have more availability in your day to live it how you want.
Now, does that mean that, again, you don't have to do anything anymore? No.
I'll tell you what I think a good schedule is for an established dropshipping store. And one that already has someone managing the day-to-day tasks such as:
- Inbound sales calls
- Inbound customer service updates
- Order processing to send to suppliers
Again, somebody could do all of that for you, and you could train them very fast. Realistically, maybe between $300 and $600 USD a month salary to have somebody do that for you. And that price gets you amazing employees in the Philippines.
What To Do With Your Time After Setting Up Virtual Assistants
Now, once that is all set up, what do you do?
Well, first you have to make sure things are working.
You are the business owner, so if your new employee fails miserably, or if one of your ad campaigns breaks, or if a supplier has a new product line, then you need to get it updated on your website. These are all things that you are responsible for.
I do recommend spending at least 15 minutes a day, probably more like 30 minutes a day, reviewing what happened in your business.
If your employee is answering live chats, look at the live chats, see how those conversations went.
Are they giving the right answers in the questions? Are they being responsive? Look at the phone logs. How many people called in? Were the calls answered in time? How did those conversations go? And you can have them recorded and just listen.
Same thing with your email inbox. Is it cleared out, or are your customers satisfied? Were all the orders that came in that day processed?
That's where you should spend your time as far as now being in the manager role. You're overseeing that employee to make sure everything was done as efficiently as possible throughout the day.
Side note… If they didn't, it doesn't mean they're a bad employee. It doesn't mean that they're failing. It doesn't automatically mean they're trying to screw you or anything. It might just mean that they need training. That is something you should dedicate your time and auditing what happened so you can then train that person.
Online Business Ideas and Where To Look For Growth Opportunities
Really where the bulk of your time is going to go running your dropshipping business is growth.
Maybe you're only making a few thousand dollars a month and you have this business now that takes you 15 to 30 minutes a day to manage. (I told you dropshipping was one of the best online business ideas!!)
Well, what you should do with your extra time is look for growth opportunities. What that means is:
- New traffic
- BETTER traffic
- New suppliers
- BETTER suppliers
- Improving promotions to existing customers
- Optimizing conversion rates
- Growing your customer lifetime
Let's just say that you decide that you want to work two hours a day on your dropship store. Then your hour and a half of time that's not overseeing what's already happening should be auditing your ad accounts to see what's happening.
Here are some things to get you started:
- Going through online courses to see what other people are doing that you could model successfully.
- Researching your competition.
- Surveying people that are on your website to see what they like and what they don't like.
- Researching your competition to see if they're changing how they're marketing and see if they're running any promotions that you should match.
Again, that's where most of your time should go. Seriously, if you want to put in eight to ten hours a week for research time, that's enough to get plenty done!
The Bottom Line About...
Whether you want to do work on your business two hours a day, or you’d rather have one full workday a week, you should spend most of the time out there looking for new opportunities to make more money.
I don't want to say you can't overdo it, because you can. That's when you get into these people that only listen to podcasts, and only watch online courses, and never execute.
What you should do in your “growth time” is just try to find the best of the best, implement it, and then see what happens.
Is your online business getting better? Is it getting worse? How can you adjust from there? That's where I recommend you put your growth time, that's what I do.
As far as managing what's already in place, 15 to 30 minutes a day should be more than enough once you have that first employee. If you grow and you need two employees because they're overwhelmed, you get two. Then three, and four if you need that much.
It makes sense. You grow as you need more hands. Don't just hire a bunch of people because you think you should. Do it when people can't get the work done any more on their own or you notice things start to slip.
Other than that, I mentioned auditing ad accounts. I went into details more in a recent episode on my podcast. It explained how (and why) we audit all of our accounts every two weeks.
That's just something else we mark on the calendar. It takes a few hours, but we go through everything to make sure everything's working and nothing is broke.
If we notice that something isn't working, or seems like it broke. We identify the problem so we can fix it and have it work in the future.
Wrapping Up My Thoughts on Why Dropshipping is One of the Best Online Business Ideas Out There
As you can see, it does not take that much time to run a dropship eCommerce store.
What I will say is if you stick at 15 minutes a day and you just do that for a year your sales will flat line or taper off.
Make time for your business.
It doesn't have to be all the time in the world. I do recommend blocking time so that you're not going back and forth and losing hours wondering where your work went.
What I mean by that is dedicate a block of time for management, and then dedicate a block of time for growth. While you're doing either of those things, you're doing that and that alone. This just makes it easier.
So I hope you find that useful and you have an honest answer to how much time it takes to run a dropshipping business.
Now it’s your turn… Let me know in the comments, how much time do you spend working on your store each day? If you have any questions, drop them below too!