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or anyone having a full-time job but wanting to have a reliable source of income via part-time dropshipping, this case study from one of ShopBase users, Aaron Jackson, might be helpful.
He’s a full-time programmer and a part-time dropshipper - Started his side business a year ago, in the middle of the pandemic. After one year, starting from 0, reached the point of desperation, now his monthly revenue has reached the height of $30k. Not a big number for many merchants, but for him, it's a satisfying achievement as the second source of income.
As told to ShopBase by Aaron Jackson. From how he started, to the point of losing A LOT of money, then gradually learned and achieved the goal for the monthly revenue.
Going into this field, I had no advantage: No knowledge in business, no skills in advertising, and a very limited network in the dropshipping field.
I kickstarted the business by taking some online courses about Facebook ads & Google shopping, build a business plan on spreadsheets, join dropship communities, go to websites to have better product senses such as Aliexpress, 1688, Taobao, etc.
I'm a fast learner so things were going pretty well. It took me about 2 weeks (While still working) to get the hang of dropshipping and basic skills to set up a store, run Facebook Ads & Google Shopping, and fulfillment…
It was pretty fine and dandy until I decided to start dropshipping Hiking gear (the niche that I really liked). I was overwhelmed by "an ocean of similar products" and did not have one clue on browsing and choosing which supplier to proceed with.
It went from bad to worse when Facebook Ads campaigns turned out to be a disaster. First 3 days, no orders came back. At the end of the first 2 weeks, I already spent $5000 on the advertising budget and just a fraction of revenue returned.
Another problem was my ad accounts being disabled “left and right” due to various reasons, from violating content policy, wordy images to unusual advertising activities, etc.
Basically, it was a house of cards. I’d get things running, but I had to be VERY careful to make sure one little thing didn't go wrong that would just take everything down.
It was not over-exaggerated to say it’d take some magic for my business to take off.
So I started researching closely on dropshipping communities because I knew at that point I needed to do something. I had just read a post on the ShopBase fellow dropshipper community, and the advice hit me like a tornado: "As a seller, 80% of your time is to find & test for winning products"
Applying the 80 - 20 rule, we gotta find the 20% work that drives in 80% revenue. I learned that a lot of my effort invested in planning, coming up with business models, designing, finding the best suppliers, etc. all became in vain. What really contributes to my success and earns me money is to find & test for winning products.
So here's the process I used for testing products:
Testing & scaling process
To sum it up:
Only when 2 winning products are already chosen will I find & contact the suppliers. I then send a message to my customers who already ordered, apologizing & telling them to wait for 5~7 days, giving them a discount for their patience. It’s that simple!
I love the saying from one of the dropshipper fellows in the community “With winning products, you’re already 50% guaranteed for success”.
Because I already had 2 proven-winning products, the next goal is to find the best supplier, scale up ads budget and optimize the conversion rate for your store.
When choosing a supplier, always pay attention to the 3 factors, including Pricing, Location and shipping options, and their reputation in the marketplace. There's a list for great dropship suppliers out there like Oberlo, CrossPanda, CJ, CROV, etc. They all provide great services and customer support, so it was smooth sailing.
When I got more and more familiar with the process, in addition to the effortless fulfillment from PlusBase, I was able to have 3, then 5, then 8 winning products simultaneously, improve the brand assets (images, videos, storefront, etc.), and scale up the budget to $1000 per day.
It was a pretty interesting & intensive experience to start dropshipping and still have a 9-to-5 job: Failed in the beginning, then learned along the way about the simple yet most important dropship rule. One of the coolest things was seeing my income during Covid-19 is not going to fully depend on my job. It was like, “Oh, this is cool. I’m having 2 reliable sources of income now” So it's neat to see where things are going.
And one last thing for you guys:
"You gamble, if you have the knowledge, it's like investing. But if you invest, without knowledge, it's like gambling."
Aaron Jackson is one of many merchants that are currently using ShopBase as their dropshipping platform. With great functioning platform, customer services - training courses & the winning product lists provided monthly, he’s currently having 4 stores for 4 different niches on ShopBase, enjoying a great ROI.
At ShopBase, it’s our job to help you create a profitable dropshipping business. Get started now!