Are people REALLY making a living with dropshipping?

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chevril
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6 Apr 13 09:00:17 am
Hi, I'm very new here and to be honest this is all a bit scary. I am unable to work outside my home due to narcolepsy..the boss doesn't like it if you are asleep on the job. Because of this I must make a real living from home...where I can make my own hours.
So, now to my big question...can it be done?I have almost no money to work with.

Are there people who are making a living with dropshipping in 2013?


Thanks!

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fudjj
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7 Apr 13 10:04:55 pm
Hi chevril, and welcome aboard, nice to have you with us,

Are people really making a living from drop shipping? Well the simple answer is yes, however qualifying what making a living is can vary vastly between people. I'm sure far more make what would be called a contributing income, more so than a fully sustainable income.

Make no mistake about it, Drop Shipping is no easy ride, especially if you are thinking of Ebay as you sole distribution avenue!

I think Ebay has to be a part of any successful drop shipping platform, but more so as a sales funnel these days. Just simply far too much competition to make a full time income from it, but that's just my opinion.

I think going independent and marketing the backside of it is the way to go with drop shipping personally. 100 times more work that just using Ebay, but 100 times more work that at least gives you a chance of getting a reward for the work, just no guarantee unfortunately!

: )


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richelle_salehoo
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8 Apr 13 04:27:27 am
Hello and welcome chevril,

The output is directly related to the input you make, so the amount of income you will make dropshipping products will depend on the amount of time and effort you put in researching the right type of products to sell, on creating professionally looking listings and working on your listings SEO to ensure that you have traffic to convert to potential customers going to y our listings.

Please find your time to go through our guides and don't expect that it will be easy especially as you are new to the game. It'll be hard at the start but as soon as you get the hang of it you should find most of everything relatively easy.

All the best!


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chevril
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8 Apr 13 06:48:25 pm
Thank you both for your answers. I am just so cluless when it comes to bussiness termanology...when you talk about going independant and operating on the backside, just what does that mean? Also, what about Amazon..it it just too expensive to sell on?

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chevril
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8 Apr 13 07:16:56 pm
Oops, I forgot to ask about the "sales funnel" thing...what do you mean? I feel like hanging my head in shame from lack of knowlege right now. I'm being a bit dramatic there I guess, but there is SO much to learn!

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fudjj
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8 Apr 13 09:22:42 pm
Oops, I forgot to ask about the "sales funnel" thing...what do you mean? I feel like hanging my head in shame from lack of knowlege right now. I'm being a bit dramatic there I guess, but there is SO much to learn!


Don't worry, you'll pick up the terminology quickly enough, that's the easy part lol.

Going independent, refers to establishing your own website. For example, a SaleHoo Store platform is independent as you are not competing with other sellers on the same platform as you are with an eBay.

Now of course there are pros and cons to any online selling platform. An eBay format means you have a lot of competition to deal with, but you have high traffic flow to make the most of.

It can be the opposite with an independent platform because it's up to you to generate the traffic flow, so now marketing the online store effectively comes into focus. No traffic, well it doesn't matter about having no competition because no traffic equals no sales anyway!

I think as a newbie, an independent platform should be something you aim towards, but keep it as a longer term goal. Using platforms like eBay will be the absolute cheapest way into the market and give you the highest traffic flow.

This all feeds into the next term "sales funnel" This is a marketing term, meaning for example that if you were doing business on eBay, nut also had your own independent platform, you can then try to use eBay to generate traffic for your own website (using it as a sales funnel)

One of the most asked questions we see is "why are ebay prices the same price as I can purchase for"

Well, there are a few factors as to why prices on eBay can be insanely cheap and near impossible to compete with at times, but the factor I'll concentrate on here is the Sales Funnel!

People buying in large volume so give them the lowest possible purchase price, then using eBay to market the products at their cost or even a little below cost (often called loss leading because the product is being sold at a loss in the hope of that sale leading to other sales on other products with margin)

This is where the sales funnel comes into play. If you can funnel traffic from your eBay platform to your own website effectively, you then have the traffic in the environment where you have far more flexibility to make money. Of course with your own site, no listings fees or final sales fees to eat into your profit margin, so you're already in front!

Lots of different techniques, just give yourself some time and spend a lot of time reading through our guides and our forum here and you'll learn all you need to really plug in for sure!

: )


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chevril
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10 Apr 13 10:26:30 pm
Thank you again, fudjj. It's a lot to take in, but it really helped to have you explain this. With the funneling...does ebay allow you to put a link to an outside store in your listings ? We have sold on eBay,but mostly antiques and collectables and on a very small scale. I never had a clue about marketing so I never noticed if people were able to link to their own outside websites(stores).

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fudjj
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12 Apr 13 01:21:12 am
eBay won't exactly make funneling easy, after all it's designed to put more money in your pocket, not that of eBay. You won't get away with external links in general listings, but there are simple things you can do.

The first I suggest is using you website's email for eBay. So let's say your website was called "lotsoflittlethings.com", then your email address would be something like, "info@lotsoflittlethungs.com" Now you can use that email address in your eBay listing, anyone with half a brain will be able to tell that you have a website and what it's called!

You can of course make mention that you do have a website in an eBay listing, you are just unable to promote the actual URL ......... unless, and here is a little sneak ......... you are using classified advertising!

With classified advertising, you are in fact able to market your URL in your listing, so you can drive traffic direct to your store off eBay. Now not every category gives you a classified listing option, so you may have to be a little creative as to how you connect the dots there.

Another option to funnel off eBay is by developing a newsletter. Creating a monthly newsletter and making it enticing for customers to sign up is a great way to use eBay as a funnel.

Of course your newsletter would be sent directly to them, not through eBay, so again, open marketing platform for you.

It's also worth noting that once a customer has emailed you through the eBay system, you are able to openly market an off eBay site to them, even through the eBay system, but only once someone has first emailed you.

The idea with this idea is of course to minimize the amount of money you are giving to eBay, while maximising your traffic flow off site. This is an area where you have to be a little smart as well. For example, not mush use fully stocking your eBay store with the exact same stock as you have in your site, everyone will just buy through eBay if you do that.

You need to identify key products in all your genres, choosing a limited amount of products from your stock profile to best target customers. What I mean is choose products that you know customers are looking for.

My suggestion, list them at break even on eBay, unless you find you can afford to list higher, still being competitive. This is an important part of funneling however, you have to remember that you're key objective in using eBay is not to make money, it's to generate traffic to your off eBay store. So if that means listing at cost to ensure you are getting the sale, then that is a successful sale.

Of course there are two benefits to this method to consider, you're not only developing your sales funnel, but you are also hurting your competitors on eBay as well. Especially those short sighted ones only using eBay as their sole distribution channel!

Starting from scratch, it's a long term strategy for success for sure, not short term. That said, the sooner you start planning for ultimate success, the sooner you can make it happen : )

I hope there is some tips in there that you'll find handy!

Cheers


Mark (fudjj)

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chevril
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12 Apr 13 01:39:43 am
Thanks again Fudjj...the advice you give is worth the salehoo fee alone. I didn't even know that eBay has classifieds! It's been awhile since I did much on eBay. I think it will take some time to absorb all this..it doesn't come naturally to me, but maybe if I think of it as a game it will help. So, if I have my own website, would you recommend a salehoo store or are those insanely cheap under $5 a month web hosts good if I can manage to make a decent looking site? Sorry to put you on the spot like this!

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fudjj
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12 Apr 13 06:12:41 am
More than welcome, that's what we're here for : )

I would first build my eBay profile to be honest, even if I had to sell at cost or close to it, I would be considering the long term goal as the end game, not making money at this point. Now that of course means a lot or work for not much of a return, but again ....... thinking long term strategy!

You have to tread a little carefully with this, you don't want to get into a position where you are selling items at a price on eBay that are going to be more expensive on your own site ultimately of course, so just always bare that in mind when trying to develop a business profile.

I think a SaleHoo store platform would be absolutely fine to develop as your own site, it's flexible enough to do what you need for sure, but again, I don't see that as being your first step. I would work on building up my profile on eBay, but on other sites as well. Check out the bonanza and ecrater sites as well, not the traffic flow of an eBay, but they offer free listings.

First up, really concentrate on building that profile. Develop your long term strategy and then put that into play.

One quick tip for you from a business plan stand point. Lots of people will tell you you don't need a business plan in this type of business, I'm not one of them. I believe planning is key in any business, online is no different. The better you plan, the better your chances of success!

S.W.O.T.
In marketing terms it means STRENGTHS - WEAKNESSES - OPPOSITION - THREATS!

Doing a SWOT analysis should be the second step in making any business plan, straight after identifying your product profile. Analyze your strengths, identify your weaknesses, research your opposition and clearly identify your threats. Now a threat could be anything from a competitor, right through to a supplier not being reliable and so on.

Tick off those processes and you will get a very clear look at the path you have ahead of you and then you can take steps to increase your positives and reduce your weaknesses.

That then gives you a solid platform to develop a business from!

: )


Mark (fudjj)

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chevril
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14 Apr 13 10:16:43 am
Thanks again fudjj, you always go that extra mile in your answers. Sorry to keep asking so many questions..you're probably getting tired of this thread, but I think I need to ask one more. At what point would you consider a profile to be built up enough to go on to the next step of getting a store website? Like I mentioned before, I have sold some antiques and collectibles on ebay in the past. Actually, my mother, son and I all use the same account, but it's under my mother's name (we live in the same household). We have 700 + positive feedback, but my mother is very elderly now and when she is no longer here I fear we may lose our feedback because the account is in her name. It's intimidating to think of starting all over...it took many years to get that feedback since we weren't selling on a serious level and didn't know how to market, but if I have to start again I'm wondering what a realistic target would be. The power sellers have feedback in the thousands...do I need to reach that level?
Thanks again, Dee

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fudjj
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15 Apr 13 12:18:28 am
Ask as many questions as you need Dee, we just get bored and doze off at the desk if we're not assisting members : )

You've got a very well established eBay profile there, the fact that it isn't in your name is no issue. So long as you have permission to use the account and the account holder (your mother) is happy in the way you are using it to do business, then no issues at all.

In the event of you mother passing in the distant future, you can still maintain the same account yourself, no problem there at all. All you need is the login information.

If you've been collecting emails on all of your customers so far, I would be suggesting that you get your self a website straight away, especially in the product genre you've indicated that you deal in. Repeat business is so important to over all success, the more customers you have coming back looking for other items, the less new ones you need to be constantly converting to build a customer base.

That doesn't mean you don't need to get new customers of course, but generating a good volume new customers constantly and having the old customers still buying .... well that right there is pure gold in business terms.

Reading that last email, I think you're much further advanced in taking this to the next level than you actually think you are : )


Mark (fudjj)

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chevril
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15 Apr 13 07:23:24 am
Thank you fudjj,

You've given me a boost of confidence and taken a huge load off my mind. I really thought we would loose the feedback. Sadly, I don't think I'll be able to retrieve many emails...the email account we were using for a long time had some sort of a security breach and they froze everyone's account and assigned us a new one. I never dreamed at the time how important those customer emails were or I think I would have sobbed when this happened. I hope this isn't too high a hurdle to get past.
Well, just to keep you awake...Maybe another question? You think we should stay with the same niche? We always sold some misc. items too and my son has sold refurbished mac laptops (he's good at that sort of thing), but primarily it has been dolls, antiques and collectables.We used to go to yard sales, thrift shops, etc..to get stock, but everbody started selling their stuff on ebay instead so our supply pretty much dried up. Also, not much money to invest. I guess I could see if there are some new items in the directory that are related to collecting or maybe antique style items and maybe there are some dolls that could sell, even if they're not old. It's a new approach for me. Sorry to ramble...maybe I'm getting a little more excited now. So, you think it's important to stay with the same niche or niches?

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fudjj
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16 Apr 13 07:35:28 pm
Hi Dee,

You use an interesting word "confidence" That actually plays a very large role in any business, including this one. Without confidence we question ourselves, and while that in itself isn't a bad thing to do, we need to be confident in the way we answer ourselves.

OK, sorry for going all Doctor Phil on your there lol, but the confidence you need comes from great planning in the early stages, which in turn helps you to not only identify good markets, but to understand them.

Seasonal influences, trends and so on. The more attuned you are, the more confident in your decision making you can be!

OK, so onto the meaty part of your question lol. No issues with your feedback, that's as safe as houses so long as you do nothing to start bringing it down with negative feedback. So long as you have access to the account, the account is considered to be yours.

The area you need to be sure of is the PayPal account that is connected to the eBay account. You need to make sure you have that sorted or that's where you'll find trouble trouble in future.

It is a real shame you lost all that information, wow, 700 potential customers right there for you. That is the kind of platform many dream of launching a business on, but that's now in the past, so time to building to the future.

I wouldn't call what you were doing so much of a niche market, in fact the reason I was so positive about it was that it has a massive market, and one that just continues to grow. If you can make a dent in that market, then I would think it's a really good one to be in.

Do I think you should stay in it?, well that's something only you can ultimately determine the value of doing such. If you do that little business plan S.W.O.T. exercise I told you about, you will most likely find your answer right there.

Should you diversify?, I have a very simple theory with business diversity in general. If you can make money from it, then why not, but you have to ask yourself one simple question. Will diversifying in any way have a negative impact on your current business?

Will it impact on cashflow, will it impact on time, do your S.W.O.T. to get the answers and then make your judgement based on those results. If the positives out-weight the negative impacts, then you need to seriously consider it. If the negatives are top heavy, see if you can put processes in place to change the balance, and again, seriously consider it.

If the negatives are such that you can't balance the analysis, then you'll have your answer right there.

Trust in that analysis, it's a very well proven formula in business planning!


Mark (fudjj)

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chevril
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17 Apr 13 11:10:21 pm
Thanks again fudjj. I guess it's time to figure out what to sell and get to it. What you said about paypal Is it because any money in the account could be frozen when that time comes? Thanks

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