How to start a Dropshipping Business in 14 Steps (In-Depth Guide)

Why would you want to start a dropshipping business?

Ah, the laptop lifestyle
You work when you want, where you want.

That kind of freedom seems like the life, doesn’t it?

Dropshipping can enable you to live a liffe of freedom, to work when and where you want.

That’s why it’s such a popular business model.

Reality check!

Dropshipping can enable you to live a life of freedom, to work when and where you want.

That’s why it’s such a popular business model.

Reality check!

Dropshipping has a 90% failure rate

90%!

But why do so many dropshippers fail?

The answer is simple: they start a dropshipping business blindly, knowing nothing about it.

Is dropshipping still a viable business option in 2020?

Of course it is! You just need to know how to go about starting your dropshipping business.

So. Want to know how to start a dropshipping business the right way?

You’re in the right place! In this step-by-step guide I will show you how to get started with dropshipping in the most successful way possible.

I wrote this guide for beginners are looking to start a new online business as quickly as possible. But done the right way, without taking shortcuts that will hurt your business.

This easy-to-follow Dropshipping Guide includes effective steps, methods and tips to increase your chances of success.

TOP TIP: Don’t skimp through this content! Read this entire post, from start to finish.

I spent well over a 140 hours compiling this dropshipping guide for you. Open the separate post pages of each the 14 Steps.

Step pages contain Top Tips, Advanced Tips, Links to more resources and even FREE downloadable content to help you start your dropshipping dream.

If you’re serious about starting dropshipping, then you have to meticulously work through this guide.

It will help you.

Will this dropshipping guide change your life?

In this guide, I answer all the burning questions you might have about dropshipping, such as:

  • What is dropshipping and why is it so popular?
  • How does dropshipping work?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of dropshipping?
  • Is it still possible to make money with dropshipping?
  • How do I start a dropshipping business?
  • Where do I find dropshipping suppliers?
  • How do I choose dropshipping products?
  • What is AliExpress dropshipping?

I answer these key questions and much more!

Itching to make money? But how do you get started with dropshipping?

  • In this section I highlight the 14 steps you should follow when starting out.

  • I will regularly update these as time goes by, so check in from time to time.

  • Each Step has a link to a separate page with more detailed info .

  • Read them all, and apply what is taught.

Build your dropshipping dream with these steps

You cannot build anything without a plan.

Over the years, I learned that there are certain steps to follow that will help increase your chances of success.

It doesn’t guarantee dropshipping success (there are no guarantees in business), but if you’re willing to put in the effort and follow advice, then you have a better chance than most.

How to start with dropshipping? 14 Steps to start a successful dropshipping business.

Step 1 Are you ready?

Before you even start, you need to have the right mindset .
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You need to be up for the challenge and willing to persevere and work hard at your online business. If not, then there’s really no point in even looking at the Dropshipping Steps…

Remember the famous Vince Lombardi quote:" The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary."

You need to put in the hours and push on during the hard times.

To get this done, you need to have the right mindset.

You need to know your strengths, weaknesses and be able to stay positive when the going gets tough.

And you have to do a lot of reading, which may seem daunting to you.

BUT…

Knowledge is power. The more you know about dropshipping and business in general, the better your chances at success. There’s now way around it, sorry…

Advanced Tip: Reading through the steps on this page will not suffice. You need to visit each Step’s separate Page to get more detailed insights. These pages contain pro tips, free downloadable content, and links to additional resources.

Step 2 Do your due diligence

You can’t expect to be successful at a business if you know nothing about it. If you’re not sure what dropshipping is or why it such a popular business model.

Educate yourself about the dropshipping business model before you even think of starting out.

Don’t start with a course right away, but go through some free resources out there and familiarize yourself with dropshipping.

You also need to know if dropshipping will be a good fit for you. In the accompanying Step 01 Post on Due Diligence (click on the button below), I included a " Dropshipper Profile ", which will highlight the character traits and skills needed to succeed at dropshipping.

Step 3 Spy on the competition

It’s important to research your competition before you enter your niche.

It’s good to know who else will vie for the same customers and what they do to attract those customers.

Just don’t copy everything they do!

Note what works for them and use your own unique twist to your web design &/ content &/ marketing.

That is what will differentiate you from the competition.

Step 4 Be unique

Don’t jump on the bandwagon and try to sell the latest craze. Stand apart from the crowd!

Trending products don’t have a very long life cycle - you’re only able to cash in at the very beginning. Being only a few days late to the party can be detrimental to your success.

It’s better to have a unique approach to marketing/web design/or the products you sell

This will distinguish your dropshipping store from others.

Unique stores stand out and are much more memorable than the hundreds of cookie cutter dropshipping sites out there.

Step 5 Choose a niche

It helps if you have a niche you are passionate about - it makes things easier when the going gets tough.

Find a niche you love and only then think of products.

Become an expert! If you’re an expert in your niche, that will drive sales in the long-term, making it a much more viable option than the endless chase after trending products.

Step 6 Choose the right products

It’s not as simple as it looks on the dropshipping videos.

A lot of thought and research need to go into your product choices.

Try for a combination of trending and evergreen products as opposed to focusing on only one product.

Most important: your products must either solve a problem, or appeal to a passionate audience.

Step 7 Sourcing the right suppliers

There are thousands of suppliers out there and the wrong supplier can easily sink your business.

Make sure you vet any potential suppliers carefully. If your dropshipping business is successful, you will walk a long road with them.

If you go to the Step 7 page, you’ll find much more detailed information. It also contains a FREE downloadable PDF Supplier’s Guide. It includes tips, Supplier Contact Script Template and a Supplier Checklist.

Step 8 Building a brand

Building an online store is child’s play these days. What’s more important is creating brand identity.
It’s easy to change a store, but not so much a brand.
Choose your store / business name carefully. It will link to the lifelong brand that you will be promoting.
There are other elements to consider, such as a logo and/or a slogan, the use of specific colors, font type and size, content.
These elements all work together to create a lasting and memorable brand.

Step 9 V&V (Values and Value)

Just like any other business, you still need to conduct yourself in professionally (Values). This includes being ethical and honoring your commitments and operating within the legal framework of a registered business.

To stand out from the competition, offer your customers Value . I’m not talking about merely offering a great deal on cheap products.

You should add value by offering your customers the best shopping experience.

Think of how you can make it worth their while to buy from you and then to continue buying from you for years to come.
In addition, it’s a good idea to start your business on the right foot - as a legal entity. There are many benefits to registering a business as opposed to running things as a sole proprietor.
Local laws and applicable taxes will differ from country to country (and even state to state), so it’s always a good idea to find out what the legal implications are of starting a business in the area where you live.

Step 10 Have a game plan and exit strategy

Have a game plan in place with realistic goals and reward yourself when you reach these goals. Start small and build up to more lofty objectives.
Remember why most dropshippers fail. Even the successful ones didn’t get it right the first time.
Writing a business plan forces you to think ahead and set your goals, and how you’re planning to reach them.
To make it easier for you, I have included a Dropshipping Business Plan Template that you can use to get started. Just follow the link to the separate Step 09 post.

Step 11 Build your store

Many courses suggest that your first step of dropshipping should be to build your online store.

There are some, however, (including myself) that strongly suggest you only build a store AFTER you’ve done all your homework.

This approach makes more sense to me.

You’ll save a lot of time and heartache if you do proper niche, product and competition research before you haphazardly dive into the deep end.

Step 12 Marketing

Facebook Ads are pretty complicated. It’s the go-to method for most dropshippers, but what happens if your FB Ad Campaigns are not converting?
You need to have several advertising campaigns, on different media platforms in place. Don’t put all your marketing eggs in one basket…
Oh, and you need a bit of money to throw at it.

You might have heard of the dropshipping favorite: $5 per day Facebook Ad Campaign.

If you have, don’t believe the hype. It only costs $5 on the first day. After that, you need to scale and that gets expensive…

Step 13 Be realistic

Don’t get fooled by the gurus and their sports cars.
Success doesn’t come overnight.
It requires a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make a success from dropshipping.
The laptop lifestyle only comes after a lot of trials and tribulations

Google the following statistic and you’ll see it pop up a lot. Success only comes to those who know the risks and are prepared for them. There are “…12-24 million online stores in the world, but only 650,000 make more than $1,000 of annual sales.”

When you worked through Step 9: Have a Plan, you should have come up with your business goals.

It is important to have your goals and equally important to be realistic about them.

Set short-term goals and work at attaining them. The short-term small victories will lead to attaining your bigger goals.

Don’t set out to " Getting $1 million in sales ."

Break it down into smaller pieces. " I need $100k sales in the first year. $200k in the second " etc. Break each of those smaller. To get " $100k sales, I need to… "

Remember that your first 3 - 6 months will most likely be difficult. That’s why you need a plan and need to be realistic. Go back to Step 9 if you need to review.

Google the following statistic and you’ll see it pop up a lot. Success only comes to those who know the risks and are prepared for them. There are “…12-24 million online stores in the world, but only 650,000 make more than $1,000 of annual sales.”
When you worked through Step 9: Have a Plan, you should have come up with your business goals.
It is important to have your goals and equally important to be realistic about them.
Set short-term goals and work at attaining them. The short-term small victories will lead to attaining your bigger goals.
Don’t set out to “Getting $1 million in sales.”
Break it down into smaller pieces. “I need $100k sales in the first year. $200k in the second” etc. Break each of those smaller. To get “$100k sales, I need to…”
Remember that your first 3 - 6 months will most likely be difficult. That’s why you need a plan and need to be realistic. Go back to Step 9 if you need to review.

Step 14 Decide whether dropshipping is for you.

Hopefully, you’ve gone through all the steps, before deciding. I hope you also read about my dropshipping experience that I presented to you as a case study.

So, yes. Dropshipping looks very attractive on paper. It has a lot of positives going for it. But you also need to weigh the positives against the negatives.

I urge you to make your own list of the two and see which one, outweighs the other.

Remember to add things like your available capital and the time and effort you’re willing to put into your new business venture.

Are you going all-in, doing dropshipping full time, or will it be a side hustle?

What will your goals and aspirations be for this business?

And finally, decide how long you’d be willing to carry the business financially, before you show a profit. You need to know how long you can survive before throwing in the towel.

I know that last bit sounds terrible. But you need to remember that only 10% of dropshipping businesses succeed. You need to know when to call it quits, if things don’t go according to plan…

Tip for new dropshippers :

  1. Use this guide to start out

I’ve used the knowledge gained through experience and taken the best from what I’ve learned from dropshipping courses to compile this guide.
Trust me, it will save you countless hours and many dollars.
I’ve spent the time and money so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.

2. Learn as much as you can.

Although I tried to make this guide as comprehensive as possible, no guide or course will ever be able to teach you everything there is to learn about a subject.

Gain as much knowledge about dropshipping as possible. There are a lot of free resources available on the internet, but stick to the well-known dropshippers who have been in the game for a while.

Good choices are Oberlo and Franklin Hatchett’s YouTube channels. Adrian Morrison’s Profit Power Hour is also a good option. All of them post new videos on a weekly basis.

Oberlo offers a host of free resources, including e-books, a dropshipping hub, podcasts, videos, dropshipping related stats and an FAQ section.
3. You need not spend thousands on a dropshipping course!

This guide gets you started without having to spend additional money and time.

I’ve compiled this guide so you don’t have to pay exorbitantly for advanced tips and methods.

Most of the gurus will offer free tips on their YouTube channels or websites, but not the finer details. They keep these “trade secrets” exclusively for their students, forcing you to pay for that information.

I won’t be doing that. I’ll be offering all the secrets I’ve picked up over the years, for free.

Just a side-note: If you’re dead broke though, you shouldn’t try dropshipping. You will need between $2,000 and $4,000 minimum to get going…

Test the waters!

You need not go all in. The great thing about dropshipping is that you can start your dropshipping journey as a side hustle.

Because it’s such an easy business to start, you can try it out without committing all your time and effort (and money).

It’s a good idea to start with a general store , selling several products . You can then test these products to find a winner, rather than starting off with a single niche product.

No matter how great you think a product is, it’s not advisable to start with a single product store. You can consider this option at a later stage when you’ve gained some dropshipping experience.

Be wary…


I can’t stress this enough. Dropshipping has a high business failure rate.

Based on this alone, I would be very careful going into this business model if I were you.

You can still make money with dropshipping, though. No doubt!

Just know of the difficulties you might face and know that it will not be a walk in the park.

3 Likes

Thanks a lot,this is very useful for people who want to monetize their pages.

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Thank you. I will sharing more knowledges.

Nice guide sharing. Liked the budget guide explaining. It’s kind of refreshing to know that how much you need to invest to be safe

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I will have some sharing for you. Let’s follow me.

I have some Key of Best Selllers. You can contact to me. I will give them for you.

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Hello,

Thank you for taking the time to write this guide.

A lot of useful things can be found here.

I would definitely recommend everyone interested in dropshipping to read this thread.

Best Regards

Thank you. I will post some Guide and Case study about Ecommerce. let’s follow me.

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Yes, we’re waiting your post guy