At some point in time after working in a corporate world for a while, i thought how nice would it be if i start a side hustle to increase my potential of earnings combined, so that i need not fret about my financials too much and able to retire early.
I took some time to research any possible side hustles that doesn't require huge startup capital, can be easily setup and long term maintainance was not too demanding. Finally, i decided on e-commerce dropshipping because i could possibly create my own brand, learn business opportunities, get to express my own creativity through promotion campaigns and selling throughly unique items and the structure was simple:
- I create a website
- I list down the items i want to sell from a supplier in aliexpress, there is no inventory management on my side, just leave it to the supplier
- Promote my items via facebook ads or Instagram promotions
- Customers purchased from my website
- I used customers' money to buy the actual item from the supplier
- The difference between the selling price from my website and the cost price from the supplier will be profit
Most importantly, it fit the criteria of low capital startup and the long term maintainance was within my tolerance range.
I spent weeks watching youtube tutorial videos on creating shopify dropshipping store, analyzing other top dropshipping stores to gain inspirations, look through the catalogues of items in aliexpress, i decided to start out a general store, selling storage items, general small home equipements and water bottles instead of a niche because i'm still not sure what exactly i want to sell. Upon finishing the previous sentence, you could already sense some sort epic failure coming ahead, well you're right, my first dropshipping store failed miserably, let me explain why.
- My website was not aesthetically nice and the flow of the website wasn't right in anyway and the fact that the free website theme shopify provides did not have much options to refurbish so it didn't help anyway.
- Products description were arranged nicely in point form but only consist of small vital details like the measurements provided in aliexpress supplier's webpage, there was no other informative information that could bring life to the products.
- I was using product photos provided by the suppliers and then i realized there were tons of other dropshipping stores using the same exact images.
- The selling price i set was cheap, roughly around 3 times the cost price the supplier was selling but the catch is, shipping times was terribly long using the standard shipping.
- I didn't know how to target my audience properly using paid facebook ads and paid instagram properly.
- My website did not have any unique personality which set itself apart from others.
- In general, my website looked like you are lost in Jurrasic World😅
So first store fail, closed down with no single sale after 6 months, paid a few hundred bucks on shopify subscriptions and paid ads. I took a break and re-analyzed my mistakes and continue studied those successful dropshipping websites.
In the end, i narrowed down my next project would be women's clothing store because most of the top selling clothings belongs to the womem's side in aliexpress so i reckoned i can focus on something that had higher chance of conversions. I decided a new name to my new store and bought a premium theme so i could have more options to make my website super nice. I don't want to have multiple suppliers to keep track so i chose one which i felt i could communicate with, their products were great and their service was great based on other customers' reviews. In order to give my new store a better look, i invested in brand marketing like making custom packaging and clothing tags with my store logo. It cost quite a lot, i guessed around more than $1k because i needed to purchase from a packaging supplier in lots in order to make custom, and to purchase a fix amount of clothes from the clothing supplier in order to have my logo tag in it. Coupled with facebook ads, instagram promotions and influencer marketing, my second try already cost me more than $3k😭
Then i failed again after another 8 months, my social media wasn't getting enough followers and attention, my ads were not converting, even the influencer that i am proud to worked with couldn't generate sales, i knew somewhere i did was not right but i do not know how so i engage shopify experts for advice and this was what they told me:
- I need to improve my graphics and the quality of photos from my website and social media.
- I need to find a supplier who provide cheaper premium delivery services so products could be shipped faster and cheaper.
- They can offer their service to write social media contents for me to post because they mentioned mine was not attention-capturing enough.
- They will also recommend services such as professional website designer, social media packages, facebook ads services etc.
I was kind of reluctant to follow through all their instructions because i'm earning peanuts from my primary job and after spending quite a sum, now the solutions was to spend another bomb...I knew if i wanted a successful third attempt, i needed to drastically improved myself.
To be continued....