When Becky Beach got pregnant with her son, she was working 60 hours a week as a web developer for a pain and injury clinic in Dallas, Texas. “I was tired everyday,” she says. “I wanted to find out a way to stay home with him and not have to go back to work. After three months of maternity leave, I was forced to go back to work due to financial circumstances.”
One Friday, after a long week, Becky was winding down by watching YouTube videos. “An ad came on for a dropshipping course,” she remembers, “I watched the ad and became interested in watching other dropshipping videos. That weekend, I bought a dropshipping course and set up my own store.” Becky paid $29 a month for a Shopify store and spent about $200 on ads. She made about $1,000 in sales by Sunday night.
That was enough to turn a profit, if a small one. A month later, Becky quit her job to pursue dropshipping full-time. That was three years ago.
The road has not been without obstacles. While Becky started her dropshipping career in a fruitful niche—women’s fashion, specifically purses and wallets—she branched out into a different niche that didn’t serve her well. “I decided to open another store that sold dog accessories and that was a failure,” she says. “I sold that store and started focusing on my women's fashion boutique instead.”
Becky says her personal experience with the product she sells has informed her business success. “I understand what kinds of handbags women want, so that aids my success in this niche,” she says. “I personally own over 200 designer handbags and wallets. Women want handbags that resemble the designer brands without paying the high cost.”
One of her early challenges was dealing with customers, which she found emotionally challenging. “I had a negative email from a customer who had been waiting a month for their item to ship,” she says. “It made me cry and I didn't know what to do. I ended up refunding the customer. A week later, they told me their item came so they repaid me. I was shocked at how nice and understanding this customer was. From that day on, I decided to give top notch customer service and go above and beyond to ensure everyone that does business with me is happy.”
A challenge of drop shipping is that the seller’s reputation is largely in the hands of the suppliers from whom their products are sourced. Suppliers on a number of wholesale directories such as SaleHoo are put through vetting processes to ensure that they are legitimate and can be relied on to work in the interests of dropshippers.
Simon Slade, founder of SaleHoo.com and dropshipping expert, stresses the importance of good working relationships with suppliers.
“As a dropshipper, your supplier is your most important business partner. You rely on them to keep your product in stock, to uphold product quality, and to ensure orders are shipped in a timely manner. You want to make sure you can rely on them at all times.”
In her first year of dropshipping, Becky made $100,000 in sales. “That was double my salary at my full-time job,” she says. “I was able to pay off all my family's debt by the second year of dropshipping.”
Despite that remarkable success, Becky says she doesn’t feel a sense of climactic achievement. “I know this business can take me to higher levels,” she says. Becky’s sales revenue for last year was $500,000. The goal for this year, her third year of running an online store? $1 million in sales.
Becky says the key to success is not necessarily a mindset, but a habit. “You make it a habit to spend time on your store every day, even if you don't feel like it,” she says. “I get up at 4 a.m. to work on my store so I can get things done before my 4 year old son wakes up.”
She adds that, while her success has given her a flexibility she never imagined, it also takes effort. “It is hard work to run a business—it’s not a get rich quick scheme,” she says. “You get what you put into it.”
A chance at the success Becky has achieved has seen many try their hand at dropshipping, however Slade too warns newcomers that they need to be wary of the bigger picture.
“You wear all the hats. As a business owner, you’re an incredible team of one. You’ll take on the roles of accountant, marketer, web designer, as well as everything else. You shoulder all the responsibility. If something goes wrong, you can’t blame anyone but yourself.”
However, risk equals reward. “Don't be afraid to lose money,” Becky says. “You may lose money in the beginning because you are learning what works and what doesn't. Knowing your product and how to market it can guarantee success in this business.”
Learn more at Mombeach.com.