How Do I Start A Dropshipping Business For Free?
So you’re asking yourself, “how do I start a dropshipping business for free”. I wondered the same thing myself, so I did some research.
I’ve always wanted to start a dropshipping business and obviously, you do too because you’re reading this article. There seems to be a lot of guides out there for creating a dropshipping business, for around $1500 or even $500. What’s lacking though is a guide on how do I start a dropshipping business for free? Dropshipping is a great business model to get into and you can make some serious cash. Let’s look into how you can start a dropshipping business for free.
1. Choosing a niche
This may seem like the hardest part, but it doesn’t have to be. What I’ve found works best is looking up top lists for hobbies. I suggest choosing a niche that has to do with a hobby because you add will have access to a passionate audience.
Some examples could be:
- Cell phone repair
- Board games
- Video games
- Listening to music
- Playing a musical instrument
Again, you can find top lists easily by searching Google for “top 100 hobbies”. Once you’ve chosen a general niche, what you want to do now is go even smaller within that niche. For example, if you were to choose woodworking, you could niche down to handcrafted ducks. Choosing cooking, you could niche down to only recipes that focus around peanut butter. What about playing a musical instrument? You could focus in on 46-key keyboard pianos.
2. Getting your domain
Now, you can go with the free Shopify extension domain, but I highly recommend purchasing an actual domain. Don’t worry though as www.ionos.com only charges $1 for their domains for the first year. Then it’s $15 after that per year. With some sweat equity, your business should be bringing in far more than $15 per year by the 1-year mark to pay for your domain.
3. Getting your website up and running
For those of you asking “how do I start a dropshipping business for free?” this next section is going to blow your pants off. So many guides tell you to purchase the $40 per month Shopify plan to get started. What the makers of these guides don’t understand is that most people wanting to get into dropshipping don’t really want to invest $40 per month among other things for their first time getting into the business.
After some immense research, I found out that you can create a Shopify store for FREE! Well, basically free. What you do is sign up for a developer account through https://developers.shopify.com/ you create your store and your first 50 sales are free to process. You only have to start paying after your first 50 sales.
That’s pretty *** good because I’m sure most store owners by the time they’ve gotten their 50th sale they know how to run things okay by then.
4. Choosing a free theme for Shopify
Next, you’ll need to choose a free theme for your Shopify website. There are plenty of free themes out there to choose from. Here are some great free options.
- The demo version of the website suggests that the theme is a popular choice among stores that are in the market of selling equipment related to winter sports: skiing, snowboarding, and other exciting winter sports shops will find success from using the Snowdevil theme.
- Boundless is a great option for shops wishing to sell clothing and fashion related products. The theme is great for giving the individual focus for each of the products you’re selling.This can be a very good option if the products you’re selling have a high visual aspect to them. That’s because the best thing that stands out about this theme is it’s huge image slides on the home page.Another great thing about the boundless theme is that it has a very modern look. With this modern look, however, it’s nice and minimal too. This helps your website look especially good on mobile.Looking good on mobile is extremely important because around 45% of online shoppers use mobile.
- Star is a very great theme to get started with. And down the road when your shop becomes successful, upgrading to the premium star theme will greatly increase conversions.That’s because Star’s premium theme is one of the best premium themes that Shopify has to offer. It’s very sleek and modern looking with endless options of cool features.The free version is more than enough to get you started though. It still looks very sleek and modern just with a bit less functionality.Some of the many features offered by Star are it’s a great look on mobile, parallax effect, Google Maps, color swatches, slide-out cart, and product reviews. Also included are the all-important social media links and share buttons, announcement bar, Google rich snippets and top of the line SEO (search engine optimization…more on that later).
- Sports Store
- Sports store is by far one of the most professional-looking themes you can get. It lets customers know exactly what they need with truly amazing navigation as well.You want your customers to easily focus on good related items so you can do upsells with ease. Sports Store does a very good job of achieving this.This theme is made for stores that have a lot of items to sell. So, if you’re really dedicated to starting and running your Shopify dropshipping business, this theme is for you. That’s because you can easily upload hundreds of items for sale and they’ll be presented very nicely.Another great point about this theme is that its header and footer have plenty of room for you to stuff in promotional material or ads.
5. Setting up your theme
This is where you make the magic happen. This is where you’ll finally see thoughts become reality. How do I start a dropshipping business for free is no longer a pipe dream.
Make your website have good contrast. It’s worth putting thought into color psychology as well.
To see an in-depth look into color psychology you can read here.
Next, you’ll want to make sure that the shopping experience is smooth for your customers. Make sure it’s easy and obvious to browse items, add them to the shopping cart, and complete the order.
6. Adding products
This is also another part that is often over thought but doesn’t need to be. It’s a lot easier if you originally chose a niche that you know a bit about. But still, with choosing a small enough niche within a niche, you should be good at selling anything that’s in demand.
I’d recommend sourcing your products through https://www.aliexpress.com/. I know I’m based in Canada and a lot of my readers are from Canada too. But, I recommend only allowing sales to the USA and no other country, even Canada. That’s because shipping is often limited and or more expensive (not free) for Canada on Ali Express. Unfortunate, yes, but it’s something you need to be aware of.
If you do really want to sell to Canada, it’s quite easy to create different shipping costs for countries. Just make sure you charge enough for shipping to any country that Ali Express doesn’t offer free shipping to.
Another reason why only shipping to the USA is the best option is because of shipping times. It is very common for a lot of products to take 30-45 days to show up from Ali Express. However, sticking with shipping to the USA really opens up doors for much lower shipping times.
It’s quite common to find products that take anywhere from 3-8 or 7-14 days shipping. Those types of ranges are completely acceptable.
You may wonder if people are willing to wait for these long shipping times. From my research, it seems people are very willing to wait for an item they really want. The trick is you want to try and sell items that aren’t commonly sold on Amazon or at Wal-Mart so people are forced to shop at your store to get the products they desire.
It’s completely okay for different websites to sell the same or similar products as you. Just try to steer clear of common items sold from big box stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon and such.
I’d recommend choosing 4-6 categories of products and placing 10-15 products within each of those categories for sale. There is an Oberlo Google Chrome plugin you can get. It lets you quickly and easily add items to your queue on Shopify directly from the Ali Express website. There will simply be an Oberlo logo over an item when you view it. All you need to do is click the Oberlo icon and the product will be added to your queue to be added to your store.
When you’re on the Shopify platform, the items you added from Ali Express will have automatically added their associated photos.
Usually, there are dozens of photos for every product on Ali Express. I recommend only selecting the best photos that represent your product. I can’t say exactly how many photos you should select for each product because it varies on how complex your product is.
Use your best judgment when selecting the images and how many you want to showcase. You can look on Amazon to see similar products (remember, don’t sell too similar products) to get some ideas of the types of images and angles of shots they have showcased.
This part is often overlooked by most people. Your sales copy is the biggest thing that’s going to sell your products apart from the images. You don’t have to write a book either though.
I’d recommend looking through the original listing of each product on Ali Express. Often enough, there is plenty of useful information you can borrow.
Remember, focus on benefits, not features. Customers don’t care if their laptop stand is made of aircraft aluminum. What they care about is that it’s stable which allows them to type with speed and not have to worry about their laptop wobbling. Also, good airflow that keeps their laptop from overheating and slowing down.
Amazon listings are a good comparison for how you should structure your product listings on your Shopify dropshipping free website.
A good example is to write 2-3 short paragraphs of 2-4 sentences each. Below that, have 4-6 bullet points that go into great detail about your product. After, you can list the benefits within these 4-6 bullet points.
8. Your free Shopify dropshipping website is now on its way
There are some other things you’ll want to set up like payment and shipping options. This stuff is fairly easy if you’re only shipping to the USA because of most Ali Express products ship for free to the USA.
Also, for pricing, try your best to only sell items that you list for at least $20 USD. For profit margins, aim for around 50%. Remember to calculate currency conversion fees if you live in Canada and are getting paid in USD as well as withdraw fees from Paypal. There are other payment providers you can use, but Paypal is the easiest and most trustworthy, so stick with them.
Next, you’ll want to start driving traffic to your new dropshipping Shopify business free website.
By far the best way to start driving traffic to your store is to also have a blog on your website. Following Income School’s project 24 method, start out by writing 10 posts around 1500 words each. These articles will be answering questions that don’t really have an answer on Google yet. Then link your related products throughout the article.
Next, write 10 2500 word articles that are more medium competition questions. Again, link your products throughout the articles but don’t go crazy. 1 product link per 500-1000 words is plenty. Otherwise, it’ll feel like you’re just writing the article for the sole reason of selling something to the reader.
Now, while you do want to sell stuff to your readers, you need to focus on adding value to their lives first. After you add value, sales will come naturally.
Last, write 10 3500 word articles. These articles will be answering questions that may very well have high competition for their keywords on Google. But, these will be questions you need answering in your niche no matter what. Very common questions that simply must be on your site.
It’s crucial you follow that order of the number of words per article. That’s because you slowly build trust with Google and they’ll eventually start sending you more and more traffic.
Try your best to get all 30 of those articles written within the first 6 months of your website opening up for the best results. Any longer than that and you risk not building enough momentum to get your site rolling.
After that, try your best to write at least 1 article per week. These articles can be like your original 10 around 1200-1500 words each.
If you’re sick on writing by this point, you can cease writing and receive more passive traffic. Just know you won’t get nearly as much traffic compared to if you keep writing regularly.
Releasing videos about your sub-niche is a very great idea too. People love videos and so does Google. Just upload them to YouTube and embed them on your website.
These videos can be product demonstrations (a lot of listings on Ali Express provide these), review videos, common Q & A videos, recent news in your niche like a new type of technology being released.
On top of writing these articles, I’d recommend getting started on 2-3 social media platforms. If you’ve followed the video advice, you’ll already be on YouTube. The 2 other I recommend are Instagram and Pinterest. These are 2 very powerful platforms that are very image-focused.
Being image-focused is perfect for a freely built Shopify dropshipping store. On Instagram, you can follow tons of people, in the beginning, to build up your following. After a week just unfollow who hasn’t followed you back. Do this until you have at least 1000 followers and then your followers will start to grow naturally.
For Pinterest, build 10 boards related to your niche and put 20 pins in each of these boards to fill them up. Then, have 1 board for each of your 4-6 categories of products. Having those 10 filled up boards will show you’re active on Pinterest. Keep your product boards at the top of your board feed.
Make sure to make your social media profile professional. Have a good photo, put a great description of your business, drop some hashtags, and link to your Shopify dropshipping freely built store.
9. Fulfilling Orders
This is the easy part. Whenever an order comes into your website, just place an order on the Ali Express product your customer ordered with their shipping details. Remember, if there are different variants of that product to order the right one.
You can also request Ali Express sellers to not put any pamphlets into the product’s box to not indicate you’re dropshipping. This also helps avoid the customer seeing the originally paid price of the product.
Some customers don’t like to know that they’ve been upsold. However, if you avoid this they will likely be very happy customers.
10. Repeat steps 6 – 9
Now, your store should be bringing in some decent sales. While nothing is guaranteed, this formula has worked for thousands of people. This is not a get rich quick scheme. You’re required to put in a lot of sweat equity if you want to solve the issue of “How do I start a dropshipping business for free?”.
Remember to have patience, especially with driving organic traffic from your blogging efforts.
I feel like I’ve answered “How do I start a dropshipping business for free” quite well. If you have any further questions, I will try my best to assist you. Feel free to reach out to us through our contact form.
Well, I hope you’ve learned something. I feel like this post will be a great reference page for when you’re making how do I start a dropshipping business for free come to reality.
If you did learn something, please share this post with your friends on social media. I’m sure they’ll find as much value out of it as you did.