My desire to make money on the internet from anywhere in the world dates back to 15 years ago, in the days when I was getting scammed paying for access to survey website database, where I quickly realized it would take me forever to build enough survey points to cash in any dollars. It was after reading Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Work Week and discovering about drop shipping that I started feeling a burning desire for something more. Luckily today the legitimate sources of making an income online are more known, and if you’re still unsure about the legitimacy of e-commerce and drop shipping, have a look at online shopping trends or the stock performance of Shopify (SHOP).
It took me about 4 months of online research and watching youtube videos until I was convinced drop shipping was a legitimate business model that I wanted to try. I then researched extensively the various e-commerce and drop shipping courses available out there, and was honestly set on doing it all by myself without purchasing any course. Learning from many different sources at a time, I enrolled in Dropship Lifestyle’s free 10 day mini-course, and saw high-quality and incredibly well-organized information, so much that at the end of the course I enrolled in their premium package which required me to build my own Shopify e-commerce store from scratch (which in retrospect I’m glad I did because I learned so much from doing it), but included coaching calls to guide me through the process, which were very helpful. There are other courses available to teach you how to drop ship and run an e-commerce store, and I will make a more in-depth review soon, but for the sake of clarity I will here list the steps I personally used to create my first ever online business, a drop shipping e-commerce store.
The skills I’ve learned since starting my online e-commerce journey are too many to name, but one thing for sure is that it’s changed my entire perception of how I now work and live my life. Don’t believe anyone who tells you you can make money online quickly. You may come up with a really creative idea that will be successful from the get go, however you should tackle this new venture of yours as a long-term project, and as such work at it consistently.
Drop shipping from Huanchaco beach in Trujillo, Peru, with my friend Kike ahead of an important football match
Here are the steps I followed to start my semi-automated online e-commerce drop shipping store.
Step 1: Find a source of learning and stick to it.
Sign up for any drop shipping course out there, because even *with a course setting up your first e-commerce store will be a steep learning curve that will require time but also organization, knowledge, walk-throughs, advertising campaign set-up, etc. I personally opted for www.dropshiplifestyle.com because I felt they offered the best training. I can guarantee if you put the time to learn and do the work (like with anything in life), you will start making sales. It’s really not rocket science, and nowadays you don’t need any advanced programming or coding skills because everything is template-based which you then tweak to suit your store, but you have to treat it as a real business (because this is what this course teaches: how to build an e-commerce store not selling cheap products from China/Ali Express, but rather how to sign real dealership agreements with actual brands in your target market and build long-term business relationships with them).
Step 2: Set up your business, whether you’re going sole proprietorship or LLC, and start the process of obtaining the proper business Tax ID and banking accounts that you will need to do business in your target country.
As I wanted to sell in the USA I created an LLC via www.myusacorporation.com. They offer an all-inclusive package where they take care of setting up your LLC, obtaining your EIN or Tax ID, but also offer a postal address service as well, and having all my business set up and address in one place was appealing to me. Make sure to get a credit card with either a great rewards or cash back program as you will be using it a lot for order.
Step 3: Start Building your store using an E-commerce platform.
I and many others use Shopify as it’s currently the leading e-commerce platform and the company has spectacular customer service. You can literally call them to talk about anything related to your store and they will help you. You get a free trial of 14 days when signing up which is enough to build your store.
Step 5: Choose and buy your domain name
Watch my how-to video on domain name selection here. Once you’re set on your domain name choice you can purchase it directly from your Shopify store back-end which is what I personally did. Other popular options to purchase your domain name, which may be cheaper at certain times of the year depending on promotions, include namecheap.com and godaddy.com
Step 6: Get a logo designed
Here again you have different options. Where starting out I recommend first getting a 5$ logo made on Fiverr.com (just search for “logo” or “e-commerce/business logo”), then after 6 months in business you can re-invest a small amount of your profits into having a nicer (say 35$ or more) logo designed, or even go for something even more professionally made on 99designs.
Step 7: Put 20 demo products to your store and sign dealership agreements with real brands/suppliers/manufacturers
Dropship Lifestyle does a really good job of walking you through how to talk and what to say to suppliers to have them want to list their products on your store, and I’ve also written an post on the topic.
Step 8: Turn your Advertising On
Sign up for Google Adwords so you can list your products on Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs). After creating your ad campaigns you can then re-use them in your Bing ads, which is giving away 100$ in free credit when signing up!
Step 10: Start making sales, optimize your store & tweak your ad campaigns
Focus on giving great service to your customers in fulfilling your orders, optimize your website with apps etc, and increase your product catalogue. It will be a lot of hard work to start hitting 10,000$+ in sales / month, but once you do reach that point don’t become complacent; instead you need to stay abreast of developments in your niche (new products) and in e-commerce as a whole.
Don’t forget to reach out to me with your questions and progress updates 🙂