• April 23, 2024

How to Make Money Dropshipping? 10 Proven Steps and Rookie Mistakes to Avoid

As a business model, dropshipping is low risk, has low upfront costs, and offers time flexibility. Due to its very low barrier of entry, thousands of aspirant entrepreneurs enter this industry every year. 

Unfortunately, it’s estimated that 90% of dropshippers eventually fail in the craft, as it takes well-defined steps and strategies to excel as a dropshipper amidst the intense competition in the eCommerce space

In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to make money dropshipping through the proven-and-tested steps compiled by Sup Dropshipping agents, who help thousands of dropshippers succeed annually. 

The dropshipping business model explained 

dropshipping business model
Source: Unsplash

Dropshipping is a retail business model where you, as a seller, act as the bridge or middleman that connects suppliers with customers.

Although you’re the store owner, you won’t be directly handling the products you sell, so you don’t need to hold inventory or fulfill orders. 

The easiest way to understand this earning venture is to explain how it works, so here’s a very simplified overview of the dropshipping process: 

  1. Find dropshipping suppliers
  2. Create an online store that hosts products offered by your suppliers
  3. When customers place an order, inform the suppliers of the order details
  4. The suppliers will pack and ship the items directly to your customers

As these steps have clearly hinted out, dropshipping is very reliant on the suppliers. 

As the store owner, your primary responsibilities are more on creating an enticing storefront and keeping customers satisfied with their purchases.

How profitable is dropshipping?  

Dropshipping’s profitability varies widely from store to store. Some dropshippers have mastered this craft and reached their goal of earning hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month. 

However, just like any other business model, dropshipping has pros and cons, so not everyone can excel in this business model. In fact, some entrepreneurs haven’t even made a single dollar as a dropshipper. 

How to Make Money Dropshipping: 10 steps

Let’s outline the exact steps to make dropshipping profitable. 

Step 1: Learn the basics of dropshipping

No matter how many times you’ve heard that dropshipping is “for everyone,” this idea is simply not true.

Sure, this business may be relatively cheaper and easier to start than others. However, dropshipping still has a learning curve, and if you don’t anticipate this, you might unexpectedly fall in the process. 

That said, before you even start planning anything about your future dropshipping biz, research as much as you can about this venture. 

Watch videos about dropshipping, join dropshipping forums to learn from the real-life experiences of other dropshippers, and, of course, just like what you’re doing now, read informational articles about this business.

Pro tip: Try not to rush this step. 

The more you know about dropshipping before you proceed to the next stage, the easier the entire process of establishing your dropshipping store from scratch will be. 

Step 2: Know your target market 

know your target market
Source: Unsplash

Have you heard the saying: “If you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch any of them”?

In a nutshell, this means that if you try to prioritize everything, you won’t actually be able to achieve any goal you may have.

Now, this principle applies to almost every aspect of life. However, it notably has a very significant impact on businesses such as dropshipping.

That’s because, as a business owner, you can interpret this quote as:

“If you try to make everyone your customer, you might end up not getting any customers at all.” 

Focus your energy on catching the attention of a particular target market. To do that, you first have to decide on what niche or industry you want your dropshipping store to focus on. 

For example, you may sell anything coffee-related, stuff that’s related to fitness, or high-end skiing equipment. 

Exclusively selling products that fit your chosen niche allows you to be more desirable to your target market. They’ll perceive you as an expert within your industry and trust that you’ll only sell products that are consistent with your store’s perceived quality. 

Step 3: Research the competition 

Dropshipping is one of the most saturated business models, and if you’re not going to take a good look at the market you’re entering, then the competition will eat you alive.

That said, keep your friends close, but your dropshipping enemies closer. 

Invest time in researching the competitors within your niche using competitive intelligence tools or by going the classic route of stalking their business operations. 

Take note of your competitors’ strategies for customer acquisition, marketing, and product procurement. Having this type of information will help you identify the strategies that work within your niche and avoid mistakes your competition may be making. 

Step 4: Select products for your business 

select product for your business
Source: Unsplash

When people visit your dropshipping store, your product selection is one of the first aspects they’ll notice. So, it’s crucial to ensure that your product line is only composed of top-quality, trendy, and in-demand items.

Trust me, customers are very likely to turn away when they realize that you’re selling every item possible within your niche, with no regard whatsoever for the quality you can deliver.

So, how exactly can you choose products for your dropshipping business?

Well, there are numerous methods to do so, including: 

  • Spying on your competition
  • Using product research tools 
  • Keeping up to date with eCommerce trends 
  • Mimicking the best sellers in eCommerce platforms like AlIExpress and Amazon

However, the easiest and most efficient way to shortlist which dropshipping products to sell is to install dropshipping apps, such as Sup Dropshipping. 

Sup Dropshipping, for example, acts as an all-in-one tool for dropshippers, allowing them to find profitable products, choose the best suppliers, and communicate with professional dropshipping agents inside the same platform. 

Not to mention, this free app lets you list multiple products directly in seconds at your online store. 

Step 5: Choose a reliable dropshipping supplier

As mentioned earlier, dropshipping heavily relies on suppliers and not the dropshippers themselves. 

Hence, which supplier you choose for each of the products you sell will directly affect the success or failure of your dropshipping business. 

Now, I’ve already covered 5 different ways to find good dropshipping suppliers in a previous article, so I’m not going to delve too deep into this topic this time. 

But my personal rule of thumb is that your dropshipping supplier must meet the following criteria to be considered reliable enough to become part of your business:

  • Offers competitive prices
  • Supports returns and refunds
  • Has high product quality standards
  • Offers fast and reliable shipping time
  • Has years of manufacturing experience 
  • Responds on time and has strong communication skills
  • Backed by 4 to 5-star reviews inside eCommerce platforms

Finding suppliers that meet all of these requirements is often harder than you think, so don’t be too surprised if you end up spending days, weeks, or even months simply trying to find suitable suppliers for your dropshipped goods. 

Step 6: Build a branded dropshipping store

Many dropshipping guides will just tell you to create an online store where you can list products, receive payments, and manage orders.

But, here at Sup Dropshipping, we always encourage our clients to avoid creating a basic online store and to gear towards establishing a brand instead. 

Don’t just create an online storefront where buyers can purchase your goods. 

Instead, build a branded dropshipping space where buyers can have an unforgettable purchasing experience from a brand that’s reliable, trustworthy, and truly cares. 

To do that, make sure that your online store has a:

  • Cohesive color palette 
  • Logo that effectively incorporates all your business elements 
  • Relatable brand story (the reason why you started the business
  • Brand name that’s strongly relatable to its niche, products, and target market

By ensuring your website has all of these elements, you guarantee a strong brand identity that can stand out even when compared side by side to its competitors. 

Now, of course, in order to strongly brand any eCommerce store, you need a high level of customizability. 

Because of this, I highly recommend creating your dropshipping store through eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Ecwid, and Wix instead of marketplaces like Etsy or eBay. 

Read next: Ecwid vs Shopify: Which Online Store Builder Is Better?

Step 7: Start marketing efforts

set your marketing strategy
Source: Unsplash

When you open a physical business, your existence itself can already be a form of marketing, as your storefront becomes a visible advertisement in the community.

However, when starting an online store, virtually no one will know that your products even exist if you don’t put in enough effort to share your website or offerings with the world.

That said, you must go full force in marketing your dropshipping business, especially in the beginning. 

To start, you might want to create social media pages for your dropshipping brand, contact micro-influencers within your niche to promote your products, and invest in paid ads to increase visibility. 

These are just a few examples of how you can effectively market your dropshipping store, so make sure you also explore other effective marketing strategies. 

Step 8: Live up to customers’ expectations 

If you’ve built a strong brand and poured considerable effort into your marketing strategies as recommended, it won’t be long before orders begin flowing into your dropshipping business.

Of course, this is where the excitement truly kicks in, as you’ll start to see revenue coming in. 

However, keep in mind that your responsibilities to customers don’t end once they’ve placed an order. 

In fact, this is only the beginning of what could potentially be a long-term customer relationship, so do your best to live up to their expectations.

You may be thinking: 

“But Jack, how exactly can I do that if my suppliers are doing everything?”

Well, you’re still in charge of the most crucial aspect of customer-seller relations, and that’s customer support. So, always respond promptly to customer questions or inquiries. 

If you can address their concerns quickly, more often than not, customers will appreciate your store, even if there are slight hiccups along the way because of your suppliers.

Step 9: Know your financial obligations

manage your financial obligations
Source: Pexels

When your dropshipping business starts to consistently rake in profits, it’s about time to consider the financial obligations of having a business. 

Tackling this task relatively early on will allow you to scale up your business without stressing about potential legal complications later.

Now, I’m no legal adviser, so I won’t go into too much detail about the legalities you need to do to register an online business.

But the key things you should set up first are your financial accounts, business registration, and, of course, arrangements to pay taxes.

I highly recommend reaching out to a financial advisor to help you out through this process if this is your first business so you have peace of mind that you won’t run into legal issues.

Step 10: Continue scaling your business 

The “final” step of this process is, ironically, the never-ending aspect of growing a dropshipping store or any other business. 

Yes– dropshipping does fall under the “passive income” category. But the more you’re actively involved with the operations of your business, the better your chances are at becoming a more successful dropshipper who continuously drives sales.

In fact, once you’ve successfully stabilized the earning potential of one dropshipping store, you can always expand to new markets by creating a new dropshipping brand. 

Of course, this is optional. But if you really want to make money on dropshipping, as this entire article has talked about, don’t be afraid to take your dropshipping journey to another level. 

Rookie mistakes to avoid

I’ve seen hundreds of aspiring dropshippers fail to last a single year due to rookie mistakes that would’ve otherwise been 100% avoidable. So, I’ll take this chance to discuss the most common rookie mistakes that you should avoid if you want to succeed in dropshipping. 

Setting unrealistic expectations 

A common trap for newcomers setting their foot in the dropshipping world is the idea of instant success. 

You’ve likely heard the opposite from influencers or dropshipping gurus. But I hate to be the bearer of bad news—dropshipping is by no means a “get-rich-quick” scheme.

Sure, there are legitimate dropshipping success stories of people immediately earning 6 digits after a month of dropshipping. However, this is a very once-in-a-blue-moon scenario and one you shouldn’t use as a blueprint for your own journey.

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, but you also have to set realistic goals that you can achieve one step at a time. This way, you can progress steadily and not let the weight of unrealistic expectations hold you back.

Providing no or bad customer support 

Customers love to support a brand that makes them feel genuinely heard. Therefore, regardless of how small their issues may seem, always be responsive, show that you care for them, and, above all, maintain a human touch.

Think about it: each time you fail to resolve even a single minor issue, you miss your shot at earning one extra loyal customer. Even worse, the lack of customer support may even prompt unhappy customers to leave negative feedback on your site, ultimately damaging your reputation as a seller.

Now, I don’t 100% agree with the saying, “Customers are always right.” 

But as much as possible, try to impress customers, as they’re the lifeline of your business. 

Not putting enough marketing efforts 

Just like a car needs fuel to move, your dropshipping business relies on effective marketing efforts to thrive. 

Without marketing, you’ll struggle to attract customers, drive sales, and, of course, grow your business.

Don’t just take my word for it; look at what the big brands are doing.

They’re always spending millions to promote their company names everywhere, from advertisements and billboards to social media campaigns.

Even extremely successful companies, who already have millions of loyal customers, still prioritize marketing, clearly demonstrating how crucial continuous marketing is to a business’s sustained growth and success. 

Is marketing not your best skill? 

Don’t worry, that’s totally relatable.

But the good news is that marketing isn’t actually too hard to learn. So, try to learn the craft through paid or free online marketing courses until you’re confident enough in your skills. 

Don’t really want to study marketing from scratch?

Then, if you have the resources to invest, you can outsource the entire marketing of your dropshipping business to professionals who can bring your business to its full potential. 

Remember, marketing is the net that catches the attention of your potential customers. So, investing in effective marketing is also directly investing in the success of your dropshipping business.

Make money dropshipping with Sup Dropshipping 

By following the ten steps I’ve outlined above and avoiding the rookie’s mistakes mentioned, you can no doubt start earning money in dropshipping.

However, truth be told– this entire process can be slightly intimidating, especially if you’re a complete beginner in the world of eCommerce. 

If you want professionals to guide you throughout your entire dropshipping journey, contact our agents here at Sup Dropshipping, as we’re always happy to help.

Our web application, which is currently used by thousands of dropshippers, can make your product procurement process stress-free, and our agents can personally ensure your dropshipping store is headed in the right direction, which is none other than success.

About the Author

Jack Han
Jack Han

Jack is a SEO manager and blog writer at Sup Dropshipping. He holds an MA in Linguistics and Education. He has got over 10 years experience in E-commerce, and 5 years of experience in SEO. Jack is an enthusiast to share his recent knowledge learnt from peer experts in the industry.

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