How I built and marketed my own dropshipping company in 28 days!
*I ended up closing the store after running it for 50 days*
I decided to grow my marketing, sales and customer success skills this month by creating a dropshipping company. I was interested in creating an online store after hearing testimonial after testimonial about people as young as 20 years old creating successful dropshipping companies. The more research I did, the more I realized the amount of work that goes into setting up and operating an online store. One thing that seemed to be a common theme surrounding the most successful dropshippers’ stores was their preparation.
I broke it down into just 5 Steps!
I created a handbook for setting up a dropshipping company from product research to site maintenance, suggesting modifications to improve the process for beginners. Read that that handbook here!
I set a goal!
Make a million dollars in a month! Joking obviously, my goal was to generate over 1800 store sessions through social media marketing and continuous improvement principles developing my site. I set this goal to measure how accurate a statistic sent to me by Shopify was.
I tracked my progress week by week!
Each week I documented the work I had done to evolve my branded dropshipping store.
View Week 1
I spent the first week researching all the elements surrounding building a dropshipping store. I chose a niche-market to sell to and trend-checked it. I then found a product to sell that solved a pain point for the demographic of my niche-market. Easy-peasy six hours of product research, so much fun! 👌
View Week 2
The next week I set up my store and launched it making it publicly accessible. Doing this involved creating a logo, playing with color codes, acquiring a domain, and shopping store plans. It was a startup shopping spree!
View Week 3
We’re here at the start of the second half… of the month where I had tested my store’s operation when my first customer ordered from my site allowing me to fulfill the order on my end. I created an ad and wrote a copy on Facebook with a call to action button and promoted it to generate enough traffic to hit my goal. Full disclosure: my first customer was my mom…
View Week 4
In my “last week” I ran a second set of digital ads and reviewed the analytics from both ads documenting how to interpret them to find a way to increase sales. I say “last week” because it is the last week of creating a dropshipping company for me but I intend to keep the store open and continue with documentation. I believe it may be valuable information one day. 💲
I Like Cost-Effective Research
I’ll give it to you straight, to bypass paying for $1k-$3k courses that are pushed on you throughout the entire research process surrounding dropshipping, you’re looking at a minimal five hours of video to watch, as well as about three to five hours of additional blogs and product research to dive into pre-startup. That was just to get started. Each week I spent about two hours or more a day researching and documenting how to use applications to build a site, market the product on social media and tailor typography and color codes to improve a customer’s experience in my store.
Skills I Learned
- Planning & Research
- Graphic Design
- Web Design & Development
- Marketing Strategy
- Data Analytics
- Digital Marketing
- Social Management Skills
- Project & Time Management
A Message From The Founder and CEO
I’ll be completely honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when creating a dropshipping store. I spent a lot of time researching and planning pre-launch. When taking on a project like this you have to organize your time and create an attack plan to reach your goals, you can checkout my project outline here for reference.
Yet even when carefully creating a detailed task list to go off of, road blocks pop up. I originally set up my to-do’s week by week so that I would have enough time to get them done, for example I planned to learn and use Canva to create my logo the first week and build my site the second week. However as I ran into problems I would troubleshoot them and find myself an hour later down a rabbit hole of research. Roadblocks are going to come up and push tasks back, so my biggest piece of advice is to label your tasks like I did from hardest to easiest and then attack the hardest ones first. That way if you fall behind in your work doing research, only the easiest tasks are left to finish in order to hit your goals at the end of your day/week/month.
No housing inventory because the dropshipper never has to touch the product they’re selling and acts only as a marketing middle person.
You can work from anywhere because there is no physical store or warehouse to manage, anywhere that has a steady wifi signal can be a dropshippers base of operations.
There are a variety of products as well as a variety of suppliers and dropshipping apps to choose from which allows for dropshippers to try different markets out.
Low overhead and startup costs because dropshippers don’t deal with production, inventory management, labor, or shipping.
Slim Gains because a dropshipper doesn’t worry about production or shipping. They have to pay a supplier rate marked up from the manufacturer rate and then sell at a marked up rate in an online store. This produces a very low profit margin for a dropshipper.
Customer service falls completely on the dropshipper. If a product doesn’t ship from your supplier or gets sent to the wrong address, the customer isn’t going to reach out to the supplier. The customer is reaching out to the dropshipper and it’s on them to deal with refunds and solving the problem for the customer.
You have to register your brand so that you can legally sell products. I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, but the fact of the matter is you have to legalize your dropshipping company either as a Sole Proprietor or LLC before you start making any real sales. Again I made one sale to my mother and never registered the business, however if I intend to scale this company to bigger heights then I will have to acquire an LLC.
Marketing will not only be your biggest expense but a time consuming endeavor. It is unlikely you will generate high volumes of traffic to your site without marketing. Social media is one the most popular platforms to market off of at the moment. However you can’t just sign up for Facebook business and start creating and paying for ads. You have to maintain your social media otherwise your pages will look like spam accounts.
How it Started?
This picture was taken a month ago as I was watching videos on how to start a dropshipping company. I toyed with the idea of using popular Chinese manufacturers and suppliers like Alibaba and AliExpress only to find out their shipping times were in some cases 20 days. I actually had to do alternative research to find SPocket tutorials because they are not as commonly used as Alibaba and AliExpress. When I started I was so concerned that by the end of this month I would be sued and my personal assets would be at risk because I hadn’t registered my business. I definitely didn’t know a thing about how marketing ads ran on social media, I had built ads before but only mock versions and had never tested them out for a real purpose. I had never created a logo nor an online store but was ready to dive in head first and start learning as I went.
How it’s Going?
I may have added some products from my supplier. Yeah, poseidonshop.store sells all kinds of luxury drinkware including wine tumblers and a variety of reusable stainless steel straws (for the ladies who don’t want to mess up their lipstick-Poseidon has your back) as well as the original four luxury water bottles. I had fun creating the site and designing a logo, I was up until 3 A.M. the night before I launched changing colors and product orientations to make it more attractive. I ran ads and studied analytics to make educated guesses on what to switch up in order to increase click through rates and content views.
Update: I have not been sued and did not reach my goal of 1800 sessions. With that being said, it’s still going and will continue to run until I hit that target or run through my budget. I may miss my shot but to quote the infamous basketball player, Micheal Jordan — “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.
Table Of Contents:
In case you just wanted the cliff notes
You Get 3 Wishes
To do it over
- More Time
- Food…Late Night Snacks For Sure
- Started This at A Younger Age
Not to steal the first two from a fellow entrepreneurial minded individual who attempted a similar feat almost a year ago, but Theo Luciano had a point. Not only do I wish I had more time in my schedule of working 40+ hours a week, but if I had attempted this when I was younger, I may have had a successful operation up and running by now.
The truth is it takes time to scale a business. The first ads are going to suck, the second ones will improve and the third might even generate a sale. That takes time with trial and error.
Early mornings before work, tweaking things here and there on the site and late nights after work writing documentation so you don’t lose your work. Theo said it best when it came to the late night stomach rumbles:
You Liked This?
Check out some other cool projects I’ve worked on here! (link coming soon)
I learned a lot of skills for this project. Skills that I can put to work for your company!
If this post interests you I would love to connect about possible opportunities.