The Final Result
When I started this project my goal was to make enough profit (not revenue!) to cover the average living costs of the members of my Facebook group. Additionally, I wanted to create a business which only takes 1-4 hours to run per day. A pretty tough goal.
Let’s see if I made it.
$6,242.21 in sales. Not bad, right?
However, this is not the profit. I had to deduct quite some costs:
- Giveaway costs
- 1 month Shopify
- Product costs
- Shipping costs
- PayPal transaction fees
- Shopify transaction fees
- 10% return rate (on-hold)
I had total costs of $2,265.84.
My goal was to make $2,512.12 in profit!
At the end of this one month and deducting all costs, I made $3,635.65 in pure profit!
I achieved my goal – heck yeah!
Considering I still work 9-5 have, have my own e-commerce businesses and doing this case study on the side of all of that should give you a real confidence boost that you’ll also be able to make something like this happen! I have no doubts about that!
Let’s talk about the time it took me to build and run this business.
This was very hard for me to track. However, on average I didn’t spend more than 4 hours per day on that business.
To be honest, there were some days where I worked 6-7 hours and on others 1-2 hours or even nothing at all. But whenever I worked, I worked very focused and didn’t play around with unnecessary things. This was the key to my success.
Overall, I achieved both of my goals and I am very happy about it. Actually, I’m super excited about it!
It’s the proof that…
- You don’t need a single dollar to start a profitable business.
- There are no so-called “saturated markets”.
- You can start and run a profitable business on the side of a fulltime job.
- There are many amazing free tools available (or at least free trial versions).
There’s no doubt about that.
It’s now up to you what you make out of this in-depth case study. You have the knowledge and you have the proof – what are you gonna do about that?
How to Grow a Profitable Dropshipping Business in 2018
Even though I never had any intentions to keep the business after this case study project, I always treated this business in a way which I would have done it if I would like to keep it.Note: I don’t keep this business because I have other businesses which need my attention. In addition to that, I want to keep creating killer content like this case study. Another online store wouldn’t help me achieve my other goals.
There are quite some things I would like to grow this business:
How to Grow a Profitable Dropshipping Business #1: Start Blogging
Content marketing is, in my opinion, the very best marketing strategy out there. Even though I personally don’t have fashion knowledge and don’t know what to write about for this niche, I would hire a freelance writer (paid from the profits of the first month) and create some great articles for me.
Even better: Find an established blogger and hire her/him for a guest-post on my store’s blog.
How to Grow a Profitable Dropshipping Business #2: Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is hot.
Even though I am personally very careful with doing it lately, it is always worth a shot. Spending a couple of hundred dollars from the profits on an influencer campaign can not just help spread the words, but may even end up in making sales.
Pro tip: Run a giveaway with them so they share the giveaway with their already existing audience.
How to Grow a Profitable Dropshipping Business #3: Facebook Ads
Having some Pixel data and some money to invest, I probably would slowly but surely start running Facebook ads.
Paid ads, however, are risky at this early stage if you don’t know what you do. Please be careful. Remember, I made $3,635.65 in profit without spending any money – there’s not necessary a need to think about paid advertisement at this very early stage of a business.
How to Grow a Profitable Dropshipping Business #4: Social Media Marketing
As I haven’t done any proper social media marketing, this would be one of my first steps to grow my business in the next months. Posting niche relevant content on all platforms, sharing customer’s images/experiences and simply engage with my audience.
A great way to gain real followers on Instagram is Gary Vaynerchuk’s $1.80 Strategy.
How to Grow a Profitable Dropshipping Business #5: Add More Products
Having more knowledge about the niche and my customer’s needs, I am able to add more products which they like. This will give me the opportunity to create cross- and upsells.
A great cross- and upsell app is Product Upsell by Bold.
How to Grow a Profitable Dropshipping Business #6: Hiring Virtual Assistants
Once I am on a very steady level and really want to work on my business’ growth, I would hire a virtual assistant to help me out with certain things. This will give me more free time I could spend on the beach… erm… on the business (of course!).
Please be super careful when hiring a virtual assistant and giving her/him your credit card credentials.
If you never worked with an assistant before, asking friends or family to help you out can be a good start. You’ll learn how to explain certain tasks very clear.
How to Grow a Profitable Dropshipping Business #7: Keep Doing What Works
I know what works. I simply would do more of that.
Even if I would stop all of the efforts which have been proven to work and fail with all my new ideas, I could always go back to the things which I know worked out very well in the past!
I honestly believe everyone who can read these lines can achieve the same or even better results. No matter if you already have an online store up or just thinking about starting your very exciting journey to become an entrepreneur, I tried my very best to keep things as simple and practical as possible!
However, there’s no doubt about the fact that you actually have to work. Even though dropshipping is not very time consuming compared to other business models, it’s still not passive. Especially not in the beginning when it’s only you.
Maybe I’m a bit more experienced than you are right now, but believe it or not, there was a time where I had no business knowledge at all. I never even worked for a real company in my whole entire life. I dropped out of college and joined the army – and trust me, you learn a lot of bullsh*t in the army, but definitely nothing you need in the real life.
Don’t let missing knowledge stop you from pursuing your dreams! If you really want to have your own e-commerce business, this post can be the foundation of it. But it always has to be you who has to put in the hours. You have to be the one who says “no” to your friends when they ask to go out. It has to be you who find the time in your day to make this work!
That said, I asked a few dropshipper/entrepreneur friends if they could share their thoughts on “the single most important thing to find success”.
Here’s what they came up with:
“It is true that most people think of success as marking 5 6 7 figures sales but the reality is profit is the real indicator of success. Will the profit help you reinvest in your business for it to grow or be enough to live out of it. Keeping that in mind, patience, realistic goals and commitment to hard work is the ingredients for success. There is no overnight success so work smart, work hard and be willing to accept that with time you will reach your goal”
-Jean-Luc Kouassi, Dropshipping Entrepreneur (United States of America)
“The most important thing to remember when it comes to dropshipping is to market your product on the right platform. If you’re selling impulse buy products – focus on platforms like Facebook (posts, groups or ads), Instagram (hashtagging your posts or ads). If you sell search based products and you’re on a tight budget, you need to play the slow and steady SEO game. You’ll not only want to optimize your product pages for search but you’ll also want to create niche blog content as well. Once you’ve got more budget to play with you can spend some money on retargeting ads on your blog content (don’t worry, they’re the cheapest ads to run) and it’ll allow you to monetize your blog content as you can run an ad that shows your best-selling, relevant products. However, building out that blog content will help you drive relevant qualified traffic to your blog. It’s more work so people don’t do it but it’ll allow you to outperform your competitors.”
-Nicole Martins Ferreira, Dropshipping Entrepreneur (Canada)
“I think the most important thing to have is a burning desire to create a successful business/life. You can’t simply want it, because most people do and most people don’t create successful businesses; you have to “buy in” to the idea that you will become successful and have a successful business no matter what. This commitment and belief will allow you to go the extra mile, be persistent, and be creative.”
-Paul Lee, Shopify Mentor (United States of America)
“Consistency: In my humble opinion, the biggest factor that determines your success (or failure) is consistency. No successful business was ever built on inconsistency, no matter how good the branding or how clever your marketing is. Neither your competitors nor the market will wait for you to work on your business. You have to be consistent in order to grow your business”
-Tarek Borhan, Dropshipping Entrepreneur (Austria)
“To get success, I always believed in one quote “Clear the basics, Trust the process and put in the work” because in the end all matters is how hard did you tried for it.”
-Garvit Maheshwari, Dropshipping Entrepreneur (India)