Current Location: Hamburg, a nice little park. Sorry about average pic! 27 Degrees though!
Plans this week: Heading to Berlin tomorrow for a few days, pretty keen to see something really weird – Berliners do weird things no?
Huge response, bigger thank you!
Firstly, massive, massive cheers to all the messages of support!
Turns out this actually was worthwhile as so many of you seem so interested and driven to follow the journey, and some of you even starting your own business as the blog steps out the steps – super cool.
On the other hand, you’ve really put some pressure on now – ya bastards! I’ll now be trying extra hard to make sure everything on this blog is relevant, honest and of course accurate!
Dark (but true) fact to start your day:
Despite the overwhelming support you will probably receive when you make yourself accountable and throw yourself out there, lots of people want you to fail. Yep. Even some of your friends.
This is still one of the strangest things I witness when people embark on new ventures. When someone throws themself out there, takes a risk or pursues the unusual, a portion of people, be they friends or foes, internally wish the person to fail.
Why? It could probably be explained through a bunch of psychology theories, for example by Schadenfreude (German phrase for pleasure in others misfortune), however more than anything in this context, I simply see it as a personal justification for that person’s own inaction.
They think “I’m going to sit back here, watch the stresses and difficulty they encounter, and when they don’t succeed, I will feel justified in not taking similar action myself. I will feel smart in my prediction and theories for why they would not succeed.”
Don’t get me wrong, many (and hopefully most) people do feel genuine enthusiasm and encouragement for a person to succeed, however, clearly not all!
If you do ever find yourself thinking in a way comparable to above as you follow the ventures of others, be it a business, a sporting endeavour or anything else, remind yourself to always channel your thoughts into positive encouraging thoughts rather than critical thoughts of doubt and negativity.
As discussed last time, there is no limited availability of success out there. Why not genuinely wish success on others, and then channel your positive thoughts and wishes into a sense of energy in your own life.
Anyway, enough of this deep and meaningful hippy riff-raff for now, time to talk about starting a business again.
Sourcing products to Dropship
I do have a bunch of ideas for products I would like to sell, and I have been doing some general preliminary searches for the market trends on :
- Google Trends: search for what has been ‘trending’ on Google – look for rising or steady products, avoid anything that has peaked, for example, you’d be crazy to enter the market for fidget spinners now (see screenshot below);
- Pintrest; and
- Through what I’ll call looking up, a.k.a., talking to other human beings and looking at people in the street (but not in a creepy way, not always anyway).
However still, I still have to decide and locate the actual specific products I want to sell, and this will involve narrowing the availability of suppliers to one which is a compatible with ‘dropshipping’.
Dropshipping: The low down
Again, when I am talking about ‘dropshipping’, it is a business model whereby the store doesn’t keep its own stock, but rather, when a customer buys from my store, my supplier will ship the item directly to them. The result being, I don’t have to buy anything until my customer does.
The key to quickly starting a dropshipping business lies in hubs like AliExpress or even more high-end portals like Modylyst. There, you can find thousands of suppliers selling all kinds of goods, all which can be synced up automatically with your online store to allow orders to connect between the consumer and the supplier seamlessly.
I’m going to talk more about the technical side of setting up your dropshipping system and also the checks you should do for your favourite products next time, but for now, the main advantages and disadvantages of a dropshipping system should be noted.
- Minimal investment + Minimal risk: No requirement for large bulk orders, no risk investing in hundreds of items that may be faulty, no hefty shipping fees. Literally, don’t pay until you are paid.
- Quicker road to profitability: Simple, you’ve spent less, so it will be easier to hit that break even mark rather than chasing down your first 500 sales to make it worthwhile.
- Flexibility: Work from anywhere – you have no storage requirements, no trips to the post office and no reason to be glued anywhere really! This is the enticing one for me.
- Test the market: As there is no contractual commitment involved, there is no barrier to you trying to sell a product for a little while, and simply taking it down if it is not doing well. Test and change products and find out what your customers want. And if you find something they really like, then at that point, sure, consider getting some made cheaply yourself and boost those profit margins!
- Supplier headaches: It really can be a nightmare trying to explain to your manufacturer the problems you have, the prices you want, the service you are trying to offer and the list goes on. I’ll prove this with some pretty funny screenshots soon!
- Shipping times: You lose most control on how quickly your orders will get to your customers, sure, you can choose a supplier that makes some promises, but can’t really trust them. Generally, your supplier will be in China, so expect the shipping to take longer than competitors, especially against “Mr I destroy all small online businesses having a crack” a.k.a. Amazon.
- Packaging: You lose the opportunity to have the products wrapped in nice trendy tissue paper with ribbons and consequently lose the ability to leverage that customer satisfaction. Instead, it is possible it may arrive in tacky packaging which is clearly shipped straight from China. *Keep an eye out: I have worked out a bit of a creative solution to stop the customer being overly sour about the packaging / straight from China issue, stay tuned.
- Brand image: It’s much harder to keep your brand image cool and professional when you don’t have 100% control, simple as that.
- Profit margins: Margins will be low due to the limited investment into the purchase, and also high amount of competition possible.
Keep in mind here that you do not have to choose dropshpping, there are other options, check it out here.
If I wasn’t travelling and perhaps had a bit more money to invest, I may choose to purchase / manufacture the products myself, so if you do have a really specific product in mind to make yourself, go for it!
However again, drop shipping is the key to starting with minimal risk, investment, and time. So if you’re not ready to dive straight in and commit to either bulk purchasing or bulk manufacturing of products, test the market with dropshipping a little first! You can always change it as you go.
Anway, this is your dropshipping intro for now, just to avoid usual”wait, you’re starting a store before you have the products made?” confusion.
Next I’ll be getting a little more specific, and will discuss:
- searching for products based on the brand personality; and
- setting up the business structure (something daunting for a lot of people)
From that point, I’ll be setting up the site, the links, the products, and hopefully up and running in a few weeks!