Starting Over with $1,000 & NO Connections!

If you’re interested in starting a dropshipping business, but don’t know if it’s logistically or financially possible, you’re not alone. Many people know they want to break into this incredible industry, but don’t think they have the budget or connections to do so. 

However, it’s entirely possible to start a dropshipping business with just $1,000—even if you don’t know a single vendor, supplier, or other business connection. More importantly, it’s also entirely possible to start a profitable dropshipping business in just 30 days. Putting even a small amount of time and money into building a dropshipping business is the fastest way to start generating real returns. 

This article will dive into how to start a dropshipping business from scratch with just $1,000. Read on to learn how you can change your life, your business, and your finances—and start profiting in the first month: 

Choose a Niche

Regardless of whether you’re starting a dropshipping business with a thousand dollars or a million, you need to choose a niche. Choosing the correct niche can make or break your business, so it’s crucial to take a few key parameters into account. Take a look at some things you should keep in mind that will help set your dropshipping store up for success: 

  • Average orders in your niche should be at least $2,00
  • Your niche should not have any brand loyalty
  • It shouldn't be seasonal
  • There should be substantial market demand
  • You should be able to find at least 20 brands and 100 products within your niche
  • It’s dropship-friendly

Sticking to these guidelines will help make sure you don’t waste your time, and will put your business in a position to start making money right away. Being strategic about your niche will pay off throughout the lifespan of your business, so don’t take this step lightly!

Build Your Store

As important as choosing a niche is, this step is where you really start to take the plunge—since it actually requires spending money. You should start by signing up for Shopify, which is $29 a month. However, to save on initial costs, you can enroll in a free 14-day trial, and build the store yourself.

Designing your own store rather than outsourcing it in its initial stages will save you a significant amount of money. And it’s completely doable even if you don’t have technical or design expertise.

You can make this DIY approach work with a few handy tips and tricks. You might not end up with the store of your dreams. But the result will be a store that works for now, and will start generating profits that you can use to spruce up your site. Then hire a professional web designer down the line.

Here are the basics:

  • Colors: Every website needs a color palette. An easy way to find one is to simply Google a color palette that’s related to what you’re selling. For example, if you’re selling surfboards, you could search for ‘ocean color palette’ and then view the image results. Your search should bring up collections of color swatches that have been professionally paired to work cohesively together. Once you find one you like, you can use the color codes on your own website.
  • Logo: Investing in the services of a professional designer is probably a good idea down the line. But, as you get started you might be surprised to find out how easy it is to create your own logo. You can do this by going to and creating a free account. This site has a plethora of logo inspiration and templates you can use to design your own. Canva is extremely user-friendly and they have a variety of tools you can use to customize your logo. You can also use Canva to create a homepage image and any other digital design asset you may need.
  • Contact Options: This is where you’ll need to start shelling out some money. But it’s essential for your site to have avenues through which your customers can reach you. You’ll need a live chat feature, a phone number, and a professional email account. You should also sign up for Google G Suite to consolidate all of your email domains. Although signing up for these services will probably cost you about $100, they’re extremely necessary expenses (and many offer free trials!).

Putting the time, effort, and money needed into building your site will make your business look and feel professional. In return, this will translate into sales and profit once you get up and running.

Set Up Your Business

The next thing you need to do is spend about $100 to register your LLC. To do this, all you need to do is go online and register. You’ll also want to register for a free EIN number. Even though your business might be small now, it’s going to grow and eventually snowball into something huge. So it’s better to be prepared from the very beginning.

start a dropshipping business

It might be tempting to save that $100 and work as a sole proprietor. But you need to keep in mind that this is a long-term business, and treat every decision and investment related to it as such. Not to mention, switching from operating as a sole proprietor to an LLC would mean having to change information with your vendors and suppliers. Which would cause you major headaches in the future.

Find Suppliers and Upload Products

The idea of finding suppliers can be daunting. The good news is, it doesn’t cost any money at all. The only thing you need to do is reach out to suppliers by simply calling them and explaining why they should work with you and your business. If you’re uncertain on how to go about this, there are plenty of resources available at

Once you’ve found your suppliers, you need to start uploading products onto your site. Once your budget increases, you can outsource this laborious task, but for now you’ll need to do it yourself.

However, let’s say you have 3,000 products to upload—there’s no way you can do that in a month and turn a profit. You need to be realistic and focus on uploading a select number of products that are actually going to sell and make you money. To do this, you should ask your suppliers what their top-selling items are and limit your initial uploading to these items.

An 80/20 approach works well here, so rather than uploading 3,000 products, you can start with 200, which is totally doable. As time goes on, you can always circle back and start chipping away at the remaining 2,800 products.

Generate Traffic

The next important step is optimizing your product pages to start generating a profit. At this point, you’ve only spent about $200, so you have plenty of money left to devote to this process.

To start, you should set up a Google Shopping campaign using the alpha-beta campaign structure and set a budget of $30 per day. Then, set up a Facebook campaign for dynamic remarketing ads with a $5 per day budget. With your remaining $800 budget, this will give you 23 days of paid traffic (if you never make a sale, which you will). You should also take advantage of the free ad credits you’ll receive from various sites.

start a dropshipping business

The strategy here is to spend less money per day than you would if you had a bigger budget so that you can run your ads for longer and then collect (and act on) data. You need to run these ads for long enough to see what works. Once you start making sales, you can reinvest that money into more ads, and watch your business blossom.

Grow Your Business

It’s no secret that the way to increase your budget is to make more money through sales. What you might not realize is that you can make this happen faster by using Craigslist. Here’s how:

  • Find the most popular/heavily trafficked sections of Craigslist for your industry. For example: if you sell surfboards, try California or Florida
  • Create natural-sounding posts in the ‘For Sale’ listings of these sections
  • List one of your best products and provide a phone number
  • When people call the number, tell them you’re from your dropshipping business and that you will ship the product to them
  • Be sure not to spam Craigslist, or else your account may be flagged or removed

This strategy might not be the most efficient. But if you capture even an extra $500 in sales, you can use it to boost your paid advertising budget and generate more traffic to your site.

Watch the Hustle Pay Off

When you’re working with a small budget, there’s undeniably more work involved in getting your business off the ground. If you follow the tips above, you’ll be happy to see that your hard work will pay off, and things will start to get easier.

As you begin to make more money, you’ll be able to start outsourcing and paying for professionals to take on some of the heavy lifting. You can invest in things like a new logo, web design, and for someone to handle uploading those remaining 2,800 + products to your store.

The best part is, as you grow your business, you’ll be making money the whole way!

  • Fallon Thomas says:

    I have made my website on Shopify and my niche is products & apparel for equestrians ( horses & riders) as an equestrian myself I know how important QUALITY riding gear & apparel is, but i have only been able to find dropshippers where the items are made in china or india, I know from my own experience that they are not QUALITY items that I would even use. How can I find U.S dropshippers where the products are actually made in the U.S??? I’ve been trying to catch up & read all your blogs but this is one thing I need to figure out asap! Any advice is truly appreciated from a single mom working 2 jobs just to provide! Thank you so much!

  • Alex King says:

    Im 16, and i live in my own, ive been researching dropshipping for a almost a year, my question is how can i get started without being 18. How do i lie without getting caught?

    • Anton Kraly says:

      “How do i lie without getting caught?”

      You don’t…

      My advice would be to get a parent/guardian to open Shopify and ad accounts for you and then transfer them over to you on your 18th birthday.

      I am happy to hear you’re starting so young though and I’m wishing you nothing but success on your eCommerce journey!

      • Listen to this guy, rule number 1 in good business – don’t lie… to anyone, customers, suppliers, the delivery guy or someone who is asking you for advice. Period.

  • Ramachandran says:

    I appreciate your talent

    • Anton Kraly says:

      Just sharing based on personal experiences. But thank you!

  • Juan Petter says:

    this is lowkey the best content I have read this month

    • Anton Kraly says:

      Happy to hear that, Juan!

  • Hey Everyone,

    As many of you already know I created Drop Ship Lifestyle after selling a network of eCommerce stores and then trying to find a community of other store owners to network with… What I found was a bunch of scammers who promised newbies they would get rich quick by following their push-button systems!

    This lead me to create a new community along with an online training program that shares how to build a REAL online business.

    I’d love to hear what you think… it’s a 2.5-hour training designed to help you drop ship profitably… all for free.

    Be sure to click here to check it out and send me your feedback!

    If you go through the “How To Start & Grow A Hyper-Profitable Online Store” webinar and still have questions just contact me and I will help you out.

    • Jonathan Anest says:

      I am skeptical, however I am going to give this a try. I am an older dislocated worker.

      • Nothing wrong with being skeptical as long as you’re willing to put in the work!

        And I’m glad you’re getting started. Welcome to the Drop Ship Lifestyle family.

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