Heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Heading

Heading

Text Link

How to Start a Shopify Dropshipping Store And Make $1,000 in 4 Weeks

In this series, you’ll be right on my side during the process of building a new dropshipping business from scratch. Every Thursday, for the next four weeks I will update this post with a new section. From the beginnings of how I find products to actually making sales.

I have no idea if this will work out, but I like some good challenges and believe a real behind the scenes story is an interesting read for you.

The best part: at the end of this live case study, you can win that store and continue to make sales.

Here’s the deal:

  • Four weeks
  • Less than 15 hours per week
  • Goal: $1,000 USD in profit
  • Build a brand new store from scratch
  • Budget: $2000 USD

The business I’m building is not here to keep me busy. I will only work on it as much as I need to to achieve the $1k goal.

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

The Business Model of Dropshipping

If you’re new to this website and dropshipping, here’s a brief explanation and example of the dropshipping business model:

  1. You sell a product for $100 in your online store
  2. The order information will be forwarded to your supplier
  3. You only have to pay $30 for the product you’ve already sold to your customer
  4. The supplier (not you!) will ship the products to your customer
  5. You keep* the difference of $70

*Taxes and transaction costs are not applied in this calculation.

You don’t need to buy any products upfront, so there’s no financial risk for you. You only pay for products when you already received money from your customer.

How to Find Products to Sell

When it comes to finding products, there are basically just two approaches:

  1. Find trending products with a very high demand right now
  2. Find evergreen products that are steadily selling good over a very long period of time1

The big benefit of trending products is the ability to make a ton of sales. The combination of a super trending product and a great Facebook ad campaign is crazy. But, as you can imagine, finding these products and running a successful Facebook ad campaign is very hard. It can take months and will eat quite some budget.

With evergreen products you probably don’t have the ability to make a crazy amount of money in a short period of time. BUT: it’s a no-brainer to find and sell these products.

Therefore, starting with an evergreen product and going the easy path is, in my opinion, the better approach when you have a limited budget. Since I only have $200 to spend on my complete business during this live dropshipping experiment, I will go with evergreen products.

How to Find Evergreen Products

There’s no real necessity to “find” such products. Everything that you know have been selling well during the last years is considered to be an evergreen product.

Here are some:

  • Bracelets
  • Necklaces
  • Watches
  • Earrings
  • Sunglasses
  • Phone Cases
  • Scarfs
  • …and so on!

No need to get fancy.

To find out which products I want to sell, I did two quick checks.

Step 1:

Enter the main-keyword on AliExpress into the search bar, sort by “orders”.

Pick the top three products.

Step 2:

Go to the AliExpress Dropshipper Center and paste the links of the top three products into it.

If the products still performing well (couple of sales every day), you’re good to go.

Want to know more about the AliExpress Dropshipping Center? Read this post.

That being said: I’m good to go with 9 products (Bracelets, Necklaces and Earrings)

Finding a Name & Creating a Logo

I didn’t want to overthink this part.

All I did was to hit my space bar a couple of times on a free name generator, picked one that I liked and checked some domains for their availability.

Turns out, “cezyjewelry.com” was still free and so I bought it.

Logo-wise I signed up for Canva’s free 30 day trial, set a calendar reminder to not forget to cancel the free trial, and looked through their logo templates.

Nothing special but it gets the job done:

I created a couple of variants, a favicon and a few social media banners and moved on to the next step.

Start Building The Dropshipping Store

With all the previous work done, I signed up for Shopify’s 14 day free trial*

*Disclaimer: This link is an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase or register for a tool.

I immediately started to set up the fundamentals:

  • Shipping Zones and rates (free shipping)
  • Legal Pages
  • Tax Collection + VAT ID
  • About us + Contact Us Page
  • Facebook Pixel
  • Google Analytics
  • Payment gateways (Shopify Payments + PayPal)
  • Limit tracking for customers in Europe (enable custom banner)
  • Limit the third-party sale of my California customer’s data

Some important notes:

Shipping zones:

For this business, I only sell products to Germany and not worldwide. It’s easier for me to do my taxes.

Legal pages:

This is very important and I highly recommend spending money on a lawyer or legal text provider. Personally, I use a German service called IT-Recht Kanzlei. It’s only €9.90 per month. If you need English ones, a quick Google search will help. 

Payment gateways:

If you can only collect money in one way, don’t worry. It’s 2020 and most people have multiple ways to pay you.

Essential Apps For The Store

To set up my store for success, I installed a few apps.

Whenever I start a new store, I keep it simple and only install apps that are essential. More apps come later as soon as I start making money.

Apps I installed:

  • Customer Privacy Banner
  • Klaviyo
  • Oberlo
  • ReConvert Post Purchase Upsell
  • Simplio: Simple Invoice

I didn’t need more at that point.

Products: Titles, Descriptions, Pricing and Import

I already knew what I wanted to sell, so all that was left was to import the products with the help of Oberlo, give the product names, write some descriptions and calculate the prices.

I started with importing the products from AliExpress to the Oberlo import list.

Since all of the products are products for women, I gave all of them female names. Here’s a list of female names.

Description-wise I removed the default description and just described in simple words what I could see on the product images. I focused on getting the store started, not writing down some amazing sales copy. This might come later, let’s see.

Note: because of legal reasons, my store is in German language. Here’s one product description, translated from German to English:

“The Caitlyn bracelet set consists of five beautiful bracelets, which also work flawless wearing them individually. Combining all of the bracelets from the set, you will get a combination that radiates love for detail.”

Next, I calculated the prices with the help of my self-developed product calculator.

I calculated all of my prices in a way that allows me to A.) offer free shipping and B.) offer a 50% discount.

In order to have more products in my store, I split the products in Oberlo into its variants.

I ended up with 196 products. A bit overkill but I don’t care for now and so I pushed all products to my Shopify store.

In Shopify, I created nine different collections. One collection for each parent product.

Since I’m a lazy boy, I set up automated collections so Shopify automatically push all products that have a certain product title into one collection.

That’s it – onward!

My Email Marketing Autopilot

I can promise one thing:

You will regret not collecting emails from your store visitors from day one!

It’s an incredibly cost-effective way of marketing. Whether you set up automations or send broadcast campaigns.

For my ecommerce email marketing, I prefer Klaviyo. With Klaviyo, you can collect up to 250 emails for free. That’s a good start.

I set up two automated emails in a “Customer Thank You” flow:

  1. Order confirmation email
  2. Post purchase upsell email (trigger: 3 days after first order)

I wanted to have my customers smile after they purchase. So I wrote a confirmation email that is “different”.

Here’s the order confirmation email (translated from German to English):

“Peter, our logistics manager, who fell asleep on his forklift after his break, didn’t even notice (as expected) that you ordered…

And the men from the shipping department also extended their break a little and played table tennis in the break room.

We don’t even need to start with our intern Hannes…

Luckily we have Marina in the team!

Seconds after we received your order here, she jumped up and ran from her home (she is currently working in her home office) into the holy halls where our products are stored!

A loud “HEY! Wake up! [CUSTOMER’S FIRST NAME] has ordered!!” was enough to startle and motivate everyone. You should see what is going on right now! You rarely see the people here so motivated. And all this just for you!

Your order will now be processed personally and shipped in the next few days – but you will receive a separate email from us again, so don’t worry.

We promise you that Marina will keep an eye on your order so that nothing will go wrong!”

The free earrings offer is actually a free + shipping offer. My customers get the earrings for free and have to pay €9 for shipping and handling. Usually, these offers won’t make a big difference on your bank account but hey – I only have one month. Let’s see if that works.

In addition to these emails, I set up three abandoned checkout emails.

  1. After 24 hours
  2. After 3 days
  3. After 5 days

Since I had little interest in coming up with an abandoned checkout series on my own, I went to reallygoodemails.com, looked through some abandoned checkout inspirations and set up my own series.

Want me to write your order confirmation email (for free)? It’ll be unique and something that stands out from the crowd. Leave a comment at the end of this post and with a little bit of luck, I will pick you.

Setting up Instagram (Without Taking Images of Products)

Setting up social media for a dropshipping business with a very limited budget is tricky. Especially Instagram. There are not many pictures you can post and taking the raw AliExpress product images and upload them on Instagram is something I definitely want to avoid.

So what’s left? A theme-based Instagram account.

I picked a topic I think can attract my target audience (neon) and downloaded some free stock images.

To level up the my neon-game, I also signed up for Adobe Stock’s 30 day free trial to get some high quality images (for social media and my website).

I also wanted to have at least some product images on Instagram. To add these, I downloaded a phone app called “Neon“, did some editing and uploaded the pictures on Instagram.

Same as before, I also didn’t want to overcomplicate things here. All I need was a solid store. Nothing special.

The only thing that was left before setting my store live was picking a Shopify theme and designing it.

Choosing a Shopify Theme

I picked the free theme “Narrative”.

With my “neon-style” from social media in mind and the images on my computer, it was time to customize my theme.

Click here to watch a timelapse video of me customizing my theme.

After finishing the “first draft” of my online store, I went to bed, woke up the next morning, and was still happy with the result. Especially considering it only took me around 15 minutes. I only changed a few things (mostly wording) and finished everything I wanted to get done in week one.

The store will go live in week number two.

Time spent in week one: Around 3.5 hours

Money spent in week one: €23.90 ($28.12)

Week 2: Marketing Plan + First Sales

After some nice days off, I went back on it, removed the store password and set the store live.

I picked Shopify’s $29 / month basic plan. I didn’t need more at that point.

Before I start promoting the store, I wanted to make sure everything is running smoothly. Especially the order process. So I did a test order to check all the payment gateways.

In the past, I often had issues with Klarna. And again, Klarna actually didn’t work (for whatsoever reasons). I tried to call them but couldn’t reach anyone. So I was forced to start without Klarna and find a solution to that later.

Overall I was happy with the store. Nothing special but I was confident that it will work. However, the more I looked at the logo, the more I hated it.

So I downloaded a simple neon logo from Adobe Stock (I still had free credits from the trial) and used this as my logo.

Creating a Customer Persona

Having finally set up the complete store, it was time for me to think about the target audience.

But who are the people that will buy my stuff?

To answer this question, I created a customer persona (aka. my “dream customer”). This person is totally made up and had the purpose to help me get the right message to the right people.

I opened Canva, picked a template and create my customer persona.

Say hi to Melissa:

From now on, I will have Melissa in my mind whenever I create something new for my business. Whether that’s an email, a social media post or adding new products.

I will always ask myself “will Melissa like this?” if the answer is “yes!”, I will go ahead.

The Foundation of my Marketing

Having everything set up and live, it was time to think about my marketing and starting the first attempts to make sales.

When it comes to marketing, I always have the same approach:

  1. Set a goal + deadline
  2. Create a marketing idea plan with all possible ideas
  3. Pick 2-3 that seems the most promising
  4. Execute (every day for at least 14 days)

It’s very simple and effective.

If it works out, awesome! Double down! If it doesn’t work out, don’t worry: Just pick something else.

At some point, something will work out. It’s actually that simple. You just have to continue.

Okay, enough motivational speeches for now…

So I set up my usual marketing idea plan. I did this in Notion.

Click here for an explainer video.

You can access this marketing idea board for free. Just enter your name and email below:

Considering all the circumstances of this live case study (just a few days left, no real budget), It turned out that running a giveaway, email marketing, and having an own affiliate program seemed the most promising.

It was time to execute.

Building my Affiliate Army

The first thing I wanted to do was to set up my own affiliate program.

Set up wise it wasn’t that hard. I just had to install an affiliate app from the Shopify app store. I picked “Affiliatley”. It has a nice 90-day free trial and has all the features I need.

The “issue” with own affiliate programs is the promotion. Where do I find people who want to promote my store?

Usually, affiliate marketers are well educated people who know their stuff. Winning these people for my store would be the best. Unfortunately, these people also know about dropshipping. This means they don’t need someone like me who’s in the middle.

That being said, I need people who haven’t heard about dropshipping but also could be able and willing to promote someone else’s business. Easier said than done.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Friends of mine
  • Micro influencer
  • Students
  • Customers

Except from customers, I could do all of it straight away.

I asked a few friends:

Translation:

Me: “Yo, interested to make some money? I just started a new online store and need some help promoting it. I will give you 20% of the sales you’re making.”

Him: “Sounds nice, what do I have to do?”

I reached out to micro-influencer on Instagram:

Translation (opening message):

Me: “Hey Sarah, how are you? We’re currently looking for a promotion manager for our online store. Meaning you can promote our products to your audience and will get 20% in commission from us. How does that sound to you?”

I also wanted to post something similar to German student Facebook groups. But all admins deleted these kind of posts instantly and I even got banned from 6 out of 8 groups I joined. Seems I have to find a different way to approach students.

At the end of the day I had 3 friends and 5 micro influencer joined. Not bad at all.

Note: I sent Instagram direct messages to around 141 people to get 5 join my affiliate program. Be careful when sending DMs on Instagram. You can get blocked very fast.

Running a Giveaway

Who doesn’t love free stuff? Right, everyone loves some good freebies.

My plan was to start a giveaway that attracts many potential customers. To enter the giveaway, people have to enter their email address. I will then use these emails to promote my store. It’s a pretty straight forward plan that worked out very well in the past for me.

Since I’m limited on the budget and only had $176.10 left in the pocket, I didn’t want to spend more than $70 on the prize.

When it comes to running a successful giveaway, the prize itself is super important. It should be something your audience loves and isn’t very useful to the vast majority of people (don’t give away Amazon gift cards).

Finding such a prize can be tricky.

I grabbed my customer persona and thought “what kind of things want Melissa in her life?”

  • Expensive candles
  • Make up
  • Designer software
  • Things for artists
  • Creative coffee mugs

Honestly, I had no idea.

Candles and make up seemed the most interesting to me. Without any further thinking I picked the make up and looked up some potential prizes.

To run the giveaway I used KingSumo

After designing a cover with Canva and embedding the giveaway on my store, I was (almost) ready to promote it.

Doing giveaways can lead to some good amount of new email addresses. Unfortunately, most of them are trash and will never be interested in what you do. Since owning a big email list that isn’t very active can become expensive and hurt my overall deliverability, I don’t even want them to be part of my main email list.

Here’s what I did:

First, I created a free SendFox account (up to 4,000 free emails), then I connected KingSumo to SendFox so I can send all emails for the giveaway through SendFox. As soon as the winner is picked and I can see what emails can be useful for my business, I will only export the good ones and push them into my main list.

Free Giveaway Promotion

I had no traffic on my site and just hoping that someone will stumble upon this giveaway isn’t very smart. So I picked a few websites and communities where I can promote the giveaway for free.

Note: My giveaway will only run in Germany. Unfortunately, there are not many good sites where you can promote a German giveaway. However, if you run an international giveaway (especially USA and Canada), there are TONS of websites where you can promote your giveaway for free.

You can download a full list of websites where to promote your giveaway. Just enter your name and email below.

For Germany, I could only find one legit looking website and a handful of Facebook groups.

I wasn’t sure about this but since all participants will get bonus entries for referring people there was a fair chance to attract at least some people. Also, my giveaway will run for 14 days. This is enough time to make adjustments if things won’t work out.

To make sure every store visitor will know about my giveaway, I installed the Sumo Shopify app and created a call to action pop-up.

In addition to that I also set up an automated email (trigger: 1 day after subscription) that is letting customers and subscribers know about the giveaway.

The First Sale(s)

I wasn’t working on the store when a notification on my phone popped up.

I just made my first order!

3 products worth €35.88 ($42.42)!

Two days after launching the store, still in the free trial and without spending any money on ads.

This first sale came from a micro influencer (1,531 followers) who did 14 stories on Instagram.

Want a list of 100 micro-influencers who could join your affiliate program? Guess how many sales (number of sales, not revenue) I made after 3 weeks in the comments below. Everyone who gets it right will receive a unique micro-influencer list.

Luckily, the day wasn’t over. At the end of the first day, I made €76.75 in sales. Solid start.

The other three sales came also from other affiliates. So far, the affiliate program was working.

The first sales are always exciting. No matter how many sales you’ve made before with other stores. And with that excitement I stopped working for that day.

Time spent in week two: around 5 hours

Money spent in week two: €71.90 ($85.04)

Revenue in week two: €76.75 ($90.78)

Week 3: Outsourcing + New Products

As you know, the goal of this new business is not to keep me busy (or make me super-rich).

So I reached out to a good friend (whom I trust), asked him if he is interested in doing some simple work and get paid for it. He agreed.

I pay him €10 / hour (around $12 USD). Since the amount of orders and the time it takes to fulfill them is very low at the moment, this won’t hurt my overall profits not that much. I assumed this will cost me €15 – €20 per week.

Important: Outsourcing a process that requires sensible data (like account credentials) should contain a contract. I’m not a lawyer and therefore can’t show you the contract I made with my friend.

To show him how to fulfill orders I could have jumped on a video call with him but since I’m one lazy boy I sent him a link to Oberlo’s help docs.

I gave him access to everything he needed and we were ready to roll!

Setting up a Partner Program Site

Since my marketing was heavily relying on other people’s work and not on ads, I needed to find a way to (slowly, but surely) outsource the process of finding more and more people who can promote my business.

The first step to achieving this was to create a dedicated site on my store where people can “apply” to become a partner and earn a commission by promoting my products.

To create a good looking site I installed the Shopify pager builder app Shogun. They have a solid 10-day free trial which should be enough time to see if this dedicated application page will be worth the $39 a month for Shogun.

I picked a template, downloaded some free stock images from Unsplash, made a few changes and had my site up and running in a bunch of minutes:

Note: Even though the purpose of this site is to explain potential partners that they can make money, I think it’s important to mention that I wanted to avoid any image with money on it. It’s always weird and untrustworthy to show money pictures on the internet.

The applications buttons are linked to a simple Typeform survey where I tell potential partners a little bit about the program and ask for their email address so I can communicate with them.

To make sure store visitors can find this site, I also linked it up in both header and footer.

A New Hope: SMS Marketing

Everything was working smoothly. I didn’t spend too much time on the store and my affiliates were making some sales.

Time to try a new sales acquisition strategy: SMS marketing.

Personally, I never tried it before but know from friends it can be very powerful. So why not give it a go?

I did some research to find a good SMS marketing provider and went with SMSBump. They seemed the most promising.

To make sure I’m collecting phone numbers in a legal way, I read through their guides, completed all the necessary tasks (like updating the privacy policy) and set up a phone number collecting pop-up:

Translation:

“Want More Discounts?

Sign up for our free SMS newsletter and never miss special deals again. Your number is safe with us.”

In addition to that I also set up an abandoned checkout series.

From what I heard, SMS marketing is one of the most powerful tools in ecommerce. But it takes some time to really take off. So I’m excited to see what it will do for me in the future.

More Sales With a Custom Upsell Script

Even though I like the business model of dropshipping, it has quite some downsides. The most obvious one is the long shipping time of products (at least if you’re dropshipping from AliExpress).

Dropshippers from all around the world are afraid of customers who want their money back because they no longer want to wait. But the actual amount of incoming refunds are pretty low. It’s mostly a misconception. The vast majority of customers are actually willing to wait longer. All you have to do is to communicate this.

The BIGGEST downside of long shipping times are not the refunds. It’s the lack of repeating orders from existing customers. People don’t want to order from stores again if they have to wait a long time.

That’s why you have to do everything you can to get as much out of new customers as possible. Especially as a dropshipper. You may never see this customer again.

For that reason, I installed an upsell app on my store. Unfortunately, the loading times were incredibly long and the design wasn’t what I was looking for. Not a good service for $14.99 / month. So I uninstalled it and tested a script one of my team members coded. And boy was I impressed!

Very fast loading times (so my customers won’t miss the offer), a design that is focused on conversion and – most and foremost – it was working!

On the very first day of testing this custom script, I had my first repeating customer (upsell)!

Even better: a few days later I had my second upsell.

2-minute set-up, no extra marketing costs, and already two extra sales. What a great ROI (return on investment). It outperformed the upsell app I previously installed.

More Products = Better Results?

With three weeks in, I couldn’t really tell which products are preferred by my customers. My top 5 products all had 3 sales.

To see a difference I had to add more products.

I went with products that aren’t really matching with the existing ones. Just to see if there’s a difference.

  1. Print on demand products
  2. Products for men

Print on Demand:

I installed the app “SPOD” (because they print in Germany), set it up and thought about this one important question:

“What kind of designs should I sell?”

I remembered my customer persona and figured I should do something creative.

So I grabbed my iPad, installed a free painting app called “Painter”, did my first ever drawings and came up with a product:

“Done is better than perfect” …that’s what they say.

I had (and still have) doubts about it because of the profit margin. But since I don’t have to invest into the product upfront I’m good with that.

Products for men:

I just added a few fashion bracelets, put them on my front page and told every affiliate that we know also have products for men.

Some liked the idea, others didn’t.

Let’s see what the customers will say.

Tumblr: The Forgotten Social Network

I was happy with everything. There was not a single thing I could complain about.

A few things were already automated (or semi-automated) and I could test other things. I’m a big fan of trying platforms and communities the vast majority of other people won’t use.

So I gave Tumblr a go. Even if it seems that they’re continue to lose users, they still have 292.5 million active users. That’s around 3.5 times the population of Germany.

My first impression of Tumblr: “oh boy, this is one dark place…” (and I’m not talking about the color). When Instagram is a fake “my life is perfect” place, Tumblr seems to be the counterpart.

The real-life seems to be somewhere in the middle (at least my life).

Anyway – I wanted to use Tumblr to promote my business. So I had to get use to it. I never used it before. I played around and watched a few YouTube videos to get a basic understanding of it.

#1 takeaway: If Tumblr users have to choose, they prefer to be Slytherins.

Alright, bring it on, Voldemort fan boys!

I created a page/blog for my business, followed a few accounts I thought could be part of my target audience and started to send messages to some people and tell them about my store.

Since I just started this two days prior to publishing part 3 of this case study, I don’t have any results yet. Next week, you’ll see how Tumblr performed.

BONUS: Get a Free Micro-Influencer Bundle

If you’re interested to know how to find and approach people who can promote your business, you should enter your email below. You will also get legal contract templates which can be helpful when working with influencer and/or brand ambassadors.

Get the free templates (and more) by entering your name and email below.

Results of Week 3

At the end of Week 3, I had 27 orders and made €693.76. And still, I haven’t spent any money on ads.

Time-wise, I only spent around 10 hours for the whole business (around 3.5 hours per week).

Let’s see how the story will continue!

Week 4: Halloween + Final Results

With Halloween right around the corner, I knew I should take advantage of it.

For me, it was the perfect time to test a sneaky little e-commerce tactic:

Increase the prices + give a higher discount.

In the end, my customers had to pay pretty much the same amount as always.

On the day of Halloween, I changed the front-page design accordingly:

Translation (Headline): “Are You Scared?”

Translation (Button): “Don’t click here”

When a customer was brave enough to click on the button, they landed on this site:

Translation:

“Not so scary.

Because you’re brave, you receive a 70% discount your order. Click on the button below and the discount will be automatically applied. You can shop whatever you want. ONLY TODAY! [SAVE NOW]”

To also get some more attention to this offer, I created an Instagram story for my affiliates:

It was a simple process but it worked. €233.34 in sales ($273.11):

Halloween… spooky for some, profitable for me. 

More Sales, Less Ads

In week three, I tested a custom upsell script. It worked very well and I’m still impressed how good it is.

To this day, around 10% of my sales coming from upsells!

That’s why we decided to make a Shopify app out of it: Core Upsell

This app is not yet live. Today, November 5, it’s under review. We’re expecting it to be live in a few days.

We created it to specifically serve dropshippers who don’t have own product images and are afraid that customers won’t order again because of long shipping times.

If you want to see what this app can do for you, you can join our early access list below:

Results of The Giveaway

The giveaway (makeup set) I ran in week number two came to an end and I had to pick a winner.

76 people participated.

I have to be honest: it’s not the result I was hoping for. The reason for that is probably because I haven’t put in any real effort.

Running non-international giveaways (especially in Germany) need way more work than doing worldwide giveaway. Without proper promotion, it’s very hard to make a giveaway actually a success.

Lesson learned.

My original plan was to send emails to everyone who didn’t win and give them a discount. I didn’t do this because I couldn’t see that I will make a sale. The time it would have cost me to write the email wasn’t worth it.

I will use the collected emails for further email marketing anyway.

Let me Give You This Idea...

In these four weeks, I tried a couple of things to make sales.

But I still had one idea left that I wanted to try but didn’t do. Maybe you can take use it:

Dedicate an own collection to an “influencer”.

I wanted to create some kind of a “VIP Status” and give some people the opportunity to have their “own” products in my store.

To make this possible you can install a Print on Demand app (Printful) and create a few mockups.

Before setting everything up, you should took screenshots of the mockups and send them to some influencers who could be interested. Offer them a cut of the profits.

Just ask and see what happens. If they like it, set it up.

The Final Results

After four weeks and around 15 hours in total 3,75 hrs / week), it’s time to look at the results.

Before we do this, I have to say that I’m very happy how everything went. I actually put in the least possible amount of work to see some results.

This business didn’t make me rich. But I hope it gives you some confidence that…

  • You don’t need a trending product to make sales
  • You don’t need Facebook ads to make sales
  • You (yes you!) can start a business and find success

Here’s the final result:

€1,227.20 ($1,449.81). What do you think? Good or bad? (leave a comment)

Deducting the commissions, product, and shipping costs, I made slightly above $1,000 USD in profit (before tax).

I think it’s fair to say that things could have been faster if I would have been willing to invest more time into this.

How to Grow a Dropshipping Business (Without Ads)

Before ending this post, I want to share a few thoughts on how to grow this store:

  • Sell internationally
  • Do another (international) giveaway
  • Do real influencer marketing
  • Niche down and start a blog (I can highly recommend this)
  • Email marketing
  • Real social media marketing
  • Stop dropshipping and move to branded products (this will be a game changer in terms of customer support)
  • Interview influencer
  • Focus strong on SMS marketing
  • Work with more affiliates (probably hire someone who find affiliates for me)

I wouldn’t run ads at this point in time.

In any way, I would invest 100% of the profits into this business, try small experiments and see what works. It’s that easy.

In the beginning, I said I will give away the store in a giveaway. But during this case study, a company (I can’t tell the name, yet) approached me and asked if I’m interested to continue the case study… 

That being said… this is not the end. I will continue to work on this store, keep documenting everything and publish one big post in a few weeks with everything I did to grow this business.

And then… someone can win this business (make sure to sign up below so you won’t miss this giveaway).

Want to stay in the loop and get more ecommerce content that will actually help you start, run and grow your business? Enter your email below.

If you enter your email above you will sign up to the corefront email list that will give you case study updates, courses, software to run your business and more.