“What on earth is dropshipping??” I hear you whispering to yourself.
Don’t worry, there’s no such thing as a dumb question around here. In fact, the whole reason for this post was to enlighten myself on what dropshipping was all about and how dropshipping was helping scores of people around the world build location independent lifestyles.
You see, I don’t run in the typical digital nomad circles where dropshipping is all the rage, and so I had to consult with an expert on the topic to get the juicy details. This is where my friend Johnny FD comes in.
Johnny FD is a name that’s well-known in the digital nomad world. I’m personally a huge fan of his no-nonsense approach to entrepreneurship and his willingness to share his knowledge on everything from affiliate marketing to dropshipping to creating digital products.
Not to mention, he’s an open book about his finances–he’s been publishing income reports since 2014 so you can see exactly how he’s earning money–and he even saved and invested enough to be able to retire at the age of 35 (and he shares how he did that, too). Of course, a huge factor that allowed him to do this so quickly was his choice to live in low-cost places like Southeast Asia, a common way for digital nomads to get their businesses off the ground with minimal funds at their disposal.
His entrepreneurial endeavors have led him to be featured by the likes of Business Insider, Entrepreneur, and Fast Company, as well as my very own e-book, Take Your Life Back: Finding Freedom Through Location Independence.
Now, he’s generously agreed to be interviewed by me yet again to explain what the heck dropshipping really is and to clear the fog around some of my most burning questions. Without further ado, here’s what Johnny had to say.
Dropshipping FAQs With Johnny FD
In laymen’s terms, what exactly is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a super easy way to sell physical products online without having to buy the products upfront or deal with the shipping!
By having a company dropship for you, all you have to do is email them whenever you make a sale, and they’ll send out the item directly to your customer, and then send you an invoice for the wholesale amount.
You collect the money from the customer, and keep a profit, while the manufacturer does the work!
How did you get started with dropshipping yourself?
I was living in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2013 and barely making a living, scraping by off of $200-$600 a month from selling books on Amazon Kindle when I met a guy named Anton Kraly who was dropshipping expensive furniture from the U.S. while traveling around Thailand.
I took his course www.AntonMethod.com and basically just replicated his success in a different niche.
How much money needs to be invested up front to start a dropshipping store?
The best thing about dropshipping is that you don’t have to buy any inventory upfront, which means for less than $1,000 total, you can have a store up and running, full of hundreds of products, and even have money left over for paid advertising to kick-start your sales.
What makes this an attractive business model for someone who wants to become location independent?
I’ve always wanted to sell physical products as it was easier to wrap my head around when I first started an online business. With digital products, it was hard to figure out how someone could price an ebook at $299 while others would have a similar book for $2.99 or even free.
With dropshipping, you can sell physical items which in my opinion is easier to do as people are already looking for them to buy, without having to deal with the importing, manufacturing or shipping aspects of running a physical products business.
What are some of the biggest challenges people face with dropshipping?
It’s funny that 4 years ago when I first got started the biggest challenge was the lack of information, but now in 2017, the biggest challenge is the sheer amount of info out there, a lot of which is contradicting.
It’s really easy to get stuck somewhere and without being a member of a group, or having a mentor, a lot of people just give up when they face a roadblock or challenge. That’s part of the reason why I’m such a big fan of dropshipping courses, as it forces you to stay on track even when you have obstacles, gives you a place to ask questions and get help, and shows you what to do next.
I wrote about all of the different course options here in this blog post How To Start a Dropshipping Store, some of which are even free.
Where do you find your dropshipping suppliers and how do you choose who to work with?
There are two main ways to find dropshipping suppliers, the first of which is through Aliexpress if you want to sell cheaper items that are shipped from China. Check out the following video for more info:
Or, you can sell items that are shipping from the country you’re selling to, so if you’re American like I am, you’ll be finding U.S. suppliers. This video explains how to find U.S. suppliers:
I look for suppliers that ship quickly, have high-quality products that customers won’t want to return, and have at least a 25-30% profit margin.
How do you choose what products to sell in your store? Is it important to have a niche?
You should always have a niche. Unless you plan on hiring 30+ employees to manage a megastore like Walmart.com, you’ll want to focus on just around 100 or so products and become the expert in just one niche, whether it be Hemp Yoga Mats, Festival Clothing, or Bamboo Furniture.
Personally, I always choose products that I’ve personally bought and used myself and recommend everyone do the same.
You recommend people use the e-commerce platform Shopify to build their store–why is this the best option?
Basically, Shopify is easier than doing it yourself on WordPress. If you aren’t willing to invest $29 a month for an all-in-one e-commerce platform, you most likely aren’t dedicated enough to start a real business.
Once you start making over $1,000 a month or even a few hundred dollars a month from your store, paying $30 is just the cost of doing business. Plus if you use my link shopify.com/johnnyfd you’ll get 20% off Shopify to help you get started.
How long does it take for most people to start seeing significant profit from a dropshipping store?
Out of the hundreds of people I’ve now met with successful stores, they’ve all done it around the 2-month mark. For me personally, all of the stores I’ve built have started making $1,000 or more a month in profit within 2-3 months.
With so many options for purchasing goods online, how can an independent store compete with big names like Amazon and eBay?
You’ll never want to compete by having the lowest price, so forget about people on eBay.
Find products that don’t sell well on Amazon, such as heavy or bulky items. There is always a way you can add value to the market by niching down and being the expert in your field.
An example would be creating a cool yoga accessories store. Sure, some people will go to Amazon or Ebay to buy the cheapest yoga tights, but there will be plenty of people willing to pay more to shop at a cool online store that is dedicated to the lifestyle, has better selection and photos.
Is dropshipping a good way for someone to start a location independent lifestyle in 2017?
Yup, it’s probably the hottest online business model in 2017 and for good reason. With new software, plugins and apps within Shopify to make it even easier, there’s really no reason to get started with anything else.
As much as I love making money through blogging and even teach people how to do it inside my course Income Boss, I still recommend most people start with dropshipping as it’s much faster to start making money and it’s more straightforward.
Here’s a video of why dropshipping is the best business model in 2017:
A HUGE thank you to Johnny FD for answering these questions about dropshipping and for his ongoing commitment to helping others succeed at building location independent businesses. For more info on dropshipping and all things location independent, head to JohnnyFD.com.
Still have questions about dropshipping? Leave a comment below!