How Two Work From Home Moms Made A $1M/Year Store During The Pandemic

There isn’t a thing that a work from home mom can’t do. Anna and Maria, two AliDropship’s employees, teamed up to launch and skyrocket an outstanding dropshipping store while staying on maternity leave and dealing with the lockdown. Anna found a moment for a little chat – and told this story in detail!

Hi, please introduce yourself to our readers!

Hey, this is Anna speaking 🙂 I’ve been working for AliDropship since 2017 as a digital marketing specialist who promotes dropshipping stores and tests various advertising strategies. Earlier, I’ve shared my insights on Facebook ads targeting, Google Shopping, setting up a store from scratch – go and take a look!

In summer 2019, my life took a whole new wonderful turn: I became a mother!

In summer 2019, Anna became a work from home mom

I kept working part-time, however – and in the spring of 2020, together with my colleague Maria, we managed to create a dropshipping store that now brings over $100K A MONTH!

The Automerch monthly performance

Woah! We’ll get back to the numbers a second. Is Maria a work from home mom, too?

Mostly, yes, even though she visits the office whenever possible. And as an experienced mother, she’s a pro at multitasking 🙂

Maria went from a product importing/editing freelancer to a full-scale marketer, and I couldn’t have been more grateful to her for basically being my right hand. Now, Maria is responsible for creating and picking ad creatives, making perfect product pages, editing and updating product assortment, and even social media management.

And together, you created this Auto Merch project…

Yes, exactly. It has started as a regular Premium Store: a dropshipping website that is developed and managed within AliDropship until it becomes profitable, and then gets available for copying. So the idea is, anyone can get an exact copy of such a website – and even our pre-tested marketing materials – to repeat our strategy and achieve great results, too.

Of course, we wanted to create a super cool website that everyone will be happy to get – but got carried away a bit 😀 Just check out its DAILY performance!

The Automerch daily performance

First things first, how is The Auto Merch made from the technical point of view?

The Auto Merch is built on WordPress and powered with AliDropship original plugin. We use the plugin’s functionality to the fullest and bombard the developers’ team with our ideas on how to make it better 🙂

Thanks to the plugin, we do tons of things in a blink of an eye:

  • Import new products to keep our product range wide and relevant
  • Process orders in 2 clicks, literally
  • Edit product pictures (remove sellers’ logos, add our ‘sale’ stickers) with the built-in Image Editor
  • Analyze traffic and sales data through the Reports tab
  • Create coupons for different promo channels and remarketing campaigns
  • Deal with sellers super conveniently (sometimes, we have a separate supplier per every variation of one and the same product)

So definitely, it’s a time-saver which is a huge blessing since both Maria and I can work only 4-5 hours a day.

We use a bunch of other AliDropship solutions to automate the business process even more:

It lets us upload our whole product catalog on Facebook and connect Facebook pixel to the website. Therefore, in Ads Manager, we can easily track the buyers’ actions, create new audiences, analyze campaigns, and do remarketing.

We increased the average purchase volume MORE THAN THREE TIMES thanks to it as we found just the right products to offer together with any purchased item.

It helps us get back the store visitors who have changed their minds at the very last moment and left the store empty-handed.

It’s a great helper for Maria because it generates quality content for social media, boosts posts’ engagement, and lowers down the ads’ cost.

With its help, we can easily test the performance of multiple product page variants and pick the one that converts best.

Why cars? How did you choose this niche?

I wanted a challenge! 😀 To be honest, I know nothing about cars at all.

I followed the ‘reverse’ niche choice strategy and started with defining my target audience. We were looking for some men-oriented products because these are buyers whose shopping behavior and psychology I understand well.

But you know what?

The majority of our buyers are women anyway! 🙂

Wasn’t the store influenced by the pandemic?

It was – but in the way we didn’t quite expect 🙂

We thought shoppers would start saving money and buy less, but… For many people (me included!), online shopping turned into a ‘therapy’ to cope with the lockdown and isolation. It’s a form of an entertainment and a pastime now, so customers are okay with buying products that aren’t even the first priority. And with everyone going online, I’d say we have an even larger customer segment now.

Due to the pandemic, many car owners are spending more time with their vehicles. It’s a safer way to move around, and it’s a great way to travel within your local area, relax and ‘recharge’ in a secluded place. Of course, that means there is more attention paid to equipping the car in a proper way – and therefore, we have more customers interested in rethinking and rearranging the things they keep in their car. That’s where all sorts of our car organisers come into play!

So, you picked a niche that’s unfamiliar to you. How are you choosing products, then?

Oh, my absolute favorite strategy is to sell items that are actually useful and problem-solving. First, they are easy to promote because you can physically demonstrate solving a buyer’s problem in an advertisement. Second, they are simply great if you want to sell multiple items per order. Such items are commonly purchased as a gift for friends and family.

And even though I’m not really familiar with the niche itself, I know the product picking algorithm very well! Here’s what we do to create a killer product range:

  • Find the buyers’ feedback wherever possible: AliExpress, Amazon, Facebook…
  • Read their reviews super carefully and pay close attention to the ones with real-life photos
  • Analyze competitors’ product pages and ads for the same item
  • Find out the average product price on the market to see if we can triple the original seller’s price: this is necessary to compensate for the advertising costs.

And the strategy of suppliers’ evaluation is well-tested, too:

  • Research their page to learn the rating and actual buyers’ opinions
  • Make sure both the seller and the product has a rating of 4*+
  • Check if the buyers’ photos match the images posted by the seller
  • Use AliDropship extension to see if there are similar products offered by other sellers
  • Make sure the seller has some affordable shipping option with tracking available.

And what about your promotional strategy?

Oh, buckle up 🙂

We pay a loooooot of attention to improving a product page BEFORE we launch a promo campaign and start driving traffic to this page. It’s an absolute must to:

  • Optimize the page and reduce the images’ size to make it load faster
  • Fill the image gallery with high-quality photos from multiple angles
  • Make sure the product variations (if any) are clear and understandable
  • Write a catchy description
  • Set proper prices
  • Import at least 35 client reviews with photos

With so many things to work on, it’s cool we can run split tests and check which exact texts / prices / variations work best for the buyers. Eventually, the store gets the highest converting product pages!

Then, we analyze the potential target audience through researching Amazon reviews and users’ comments under competitors’ Facebook posts. Also, we use Breakdowns in Facebook Ads Manager to check the users’ demographic data.

And when it finally comes to advertising, we invest most of our marketing budget into paid Facebook ads as they work best. It’s the 80/20 principle: 80% of the budget is spent on the channels that are already proven to convert well, and 20% goes on testing new strategies. There is, actually, a smaller segment of buyers who come from email marketing and organic traffic from social media and Google. We plan to also try advertising on Google and launch Pinterest and TikTok promotions.

To measure the ads’ efficiency, we also use Ads Manager and Google Analytics to check CTR and CPA.

So… how can a work from home mom deal with such diverse and critical tasks?

Like I said before, the AliDropship plugin is responsible for the ‘boring’ tech stuff, so it leaves us enough time for the creative part. The plugin’s autofilling feature makes orders’ processing a super quick task to complete, and our customer support efforts are not so time-consuming, too. We’re keeping our buyers updated on the order status / tracking info with the automatically generated emails, so it’s not a big deal. That means, I can focus on promoting the store and optimizing the marketing strategy.

As a work from home mom, I have not more than 4 hours every day to dedicate to our ads strategy and analytics. Here’s how the whole routine looks:

  • I wake up (the first one in my family!) and check sales reports and the running campaigns from my phone
  • While my coffee is getting ready, I think what we can improve in the campaigns
  • It’s time to make breakfast for my husband and my son Ted! Meanwhile, I’m messaging Maria to discuss the daily plans and goals
  • My husband is off to work, and my morning routine with Ted begins – at the same time, I’m launching new promo campaigns 🙂

And then, it’s everything at once – working, cleaning the house, spending quality time with Ted… He’s always my +1 on daily meetings!

A daily online meeting of two work from home moms

The most time-consuming part is analyzing the ads performance. Sometimes, it’s so tricky to decide: should we give a campaign a chance, or should we switch it off when its efficiency is dropping. Of course, ads themselves are an uneasy part, too: 90% of our ads are videos, and you need to pick source material and then edit and process it.

Maria spends lots and lots of time managing the social media accounts as she needs to answer all messages and comments. Her product page improvement efforts take hours, too, as she needs to analyze competitors’ actions and optimize lots of details on the pages.

Any final words of advice to our readers?

The absolutely most important thing is that DROPSHIPPING IS NOT DEAD! I’ve been talking about this since 2017, I guess 🙂 And now, the industry prospects and the future of ecommerce look brighter than ever because everyone’s going online. Don’t be afraid to start now: it’s not too late, and the timing is great! Analyze your business performance, give it the best you can, and NEVER give up!

With a store created by such passionate, dedicated, and extremely professional work from home mom, it doesn’t seem like an impossible task! And with a readily available exact copy of this store, you’re simply bound to succeed 🙂

Read how to make a profitable store during a pandemic.

How An Internet-Based Business Works For Sunit: Meeting Again A Year Later

Do you remember Sunit, our guest from not so long ago? It’s always valuable and insightful to talk to store owners from time to time and see how their Internet-based business is evolving! So, let’s see what’s new – and what are the changes that an online store can bring to one’s life.

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please introduce yourself to our new readers!

Hi, I’m Sunit Das, from West Bengal, India. I am 29 years old, an electrical engineer by profession who never had any business experience in real life. But thanks to dropshipping, I have been doing my online business for the last 2 years.

Briefly speaking, how did you start working on this Internet based business idea?

I was looking for alternative ways of making money since I started working full-time. But with a regular 8 am – 6 pm, 6 days a week job, there aren’t many options other than launching an online business.

For a long time, I was searching on Google, YouTube looking for a reliable and convenient way to work on and finally found a discussion on dropshipping on a forum page. I got curious about this internet based business idea and started researching it further. And that’s where the journey began.

My first dropshipping efforts started with Shopify and Oberlo fulfillment service. But I didn’t get enough sales from that store, yet I was paying about 50$ every month to Shopify to keep my store running. Even spending 50$ was hard for me in those days.

So, I closed that store after a few months and started looking for an alternative dropshipping platform where I didn’t have to pay monthly fees. Then I found an article about WooCommerce and discovered AliDropship plugin that has no monthly fees (one-time payment only).

Which solution are you currently using to run your Internet based business?

My business is based on WooCommerce and is powered by AliDropship plugin. Honestly, without AliDropship, I wouldn’t use the WooCommerce platform. As I already mentioned, I don’t have an internet technological background. And still, AliDropship enabled me to open my dropshipping store and have a stable amount of sales every month. I would say it is a must-have tool to automate the dropshipping processes. It made my entire dropshipping business easy and time-efficient.

How does your business perform now?

You can see it from this screenshot:

A performance screenshot of an internet based business

Did you change anything in your promotional strategy?

Like I did earlier, I continue to promote my store through a dedicated Instagram business page. It has gained over 50 thousand followers since we last talked, so the total subscribers’ count is 450,000+ users now. Many thanks to my supportive wife who helps me run the account!

These days, I don’t spend a single dollar on the promotion – this page is my main and only source of customers. As I see from my clients’ data, my buyers are mostly my page followers.

Is there anything special about providing such an audience with quality customer service?

Customers are always concerned about getting their packages as fast as possible. But dropshipping from AliExpress takes time.

So, to keep my audience satisfied with the shopping experience, I do frequent communication with buyers and keep them updated. Thankfully, I haven’t found any ‘difficult customers’ yet.

In general, how has your life changed?

As I mentioned before, I used to consider dropshipping as my passive source of income. So I wasn’t quite aggressive in promoting my products to get the maximum potential of sales. I was quite happy with a few orders in a week… until I lost my job in the UAE in February, 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak.

I’ve relocated back to India from the UAE and kept running my business from there. Thankfully, since it’s an internet-based business, I can run it from anywhere in the world regardless of my actual location.

And that’s how the business that I used to consider as a secondary source of income became my only source of income. Even though my sales volume went down during the first phase of the quarantine, I was still getting sales. Surely, I am so glad that I have a dropshipping store to earn my living during this difficult time when I became jobless. And I hope this little story will inspire readers to start their dropshipping journey.

So, for Sunit, getting a dropshipping store turned out to be something more than just a smart Internet-based business idea. Having launched this independent ecommerce venture, he is now able to provide to his family even in times of uncertainty and a challenging economic situation. We appreciate his courage of sharing this story and wish him the best of luck with pushing the business forward!

Read how to make a successful internet-based business.

$20,6K+ In 2 Months: How An Entrepreneurial Mindset Helps Mary Run Her Online Business

Mary, our today’s guest, is the type of person you immediately recognise as an entrepreneurial minded one. Let’s see what she did to create her independent online business with almost zero experience – and how she’s changing the world around her, helping those affected by the pandemic to make their first steps in ecommerce.

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please introduce yourself!

Hi, I’m Mary Masambo, a Kenyan by nationality, currently living in Finland. I moved here for my Bachelors in Business Information Technology and graduated in 2017. Currently, I’m in my last year of Masters majoring in International Business. My choice of studies makes it obvious I’m highly interested in business!

I am very entrepreneurial minded, a content creator, a risk taker and hard working as well. It’s what I do best: quickly recognize situations that can be turned into business opportunities. I can proudly call myself an entrepreneur.

As an entrepreneurial minded person, did you have any business experience before you launched a dropshipping store?

Entrepreneurship has always been a thing for me.

A couple of years ago I was working as a technical specialist in an advertising company in Kenya. I had this one unique manicure set that I always placed on my desk. Once, one of my colleagues saw it, and her impression was “Wow, this is such a beautiful and portable manicure set. I’d like to have one of my own and also get one for my sister too. Where can I buy it?” Without a second thought, I told her I was selling them. In 2 days, I fulfilled her order. I knew where to source this set, how much it would cost me and how much I would sell it for. And I made 70% profit from that product!

On that same day, I took this set with me around other departments, and over 70 people made a pre-order in just one day and I fulfilled their orders in 2 days as well. Later, I got recommended to some other people and I made more sales. They also had friends who they wanted to give such a set as a gift, and so on.

While doing my Bachelors in Finland, I had an idea of a book lamp branded with the school logo on it, and it was a success. I integrated the northern lights story into my promotional message for this book lamp since the university is located in Lapland. The lamp was purchased in hundreds of units as a university gift for the guests!

All these stories happened before I created my first online business. This right here made me use every opportunity I got to sell.

How did your ecommerce story begin?

My Bachelors was IT and Business-related. I created my first online store using WordPress as an assignment for my Content Management Systems course. This was actually our final assignment and we had to make sure that it was hosted and up and running.

Once I passed the content management course, I thought of what I could do with the website I had created. So I went online and I found some amazing women outfits from different websites and I posted them on my site and put my markup price. I made sure that my payment gateways were working and I was good to go.  And truly, I had zero idea that what I was doing was actually dropshipping!

There was some inconvenience, though. It was a struggle to add products on my site manually and process the orders. So, when I saw a Facebook ad for AliDropship, it changed a lot in my business practice. You have no idea how much time it saved me, and how well it all reflected on my returns.

Do you remember the first sale made from your online store?

Yes, I do. That day, I sold a blue top to a buyer from Germany. It happened 2 weeks after I posted an ad for my business on Pinterest. I took my time to learn and make myself updated with ecommerce trends to make it happen. There wasn’t much information about this business as compared to now.

And still, I felt like it was the best day of my life, and right there I knew there was something big coming – a huge opportunity.

So, how does your business perform now?

I have 3 stores now, and two of them are pretty young. Here are the numbers for the last 2 months for my best performing stores:

Online store performance screenshot from an enrepreneurial minded owner

I currently use AliDropship Plugin and most importantly, a whole range of add-ons. My favorite ones are the Upsell, Facebook Business, and Recent Sales Popup. They have helped me increase my sales so far. I am able to utilize my time more in marketing or creating content since the rest is easily taken care of.

What is your product strategy?

My niches are mostly based on my passion and the current trends. And the products I sell mostly target women of all races: that makes it easier for me to focus.

There are a number of factors I consider when choosing the products. Most importantly, I evaluate the product quality, the number of orders for this item, shipping periods, and check whether there is good positive feedback. It takes me a while before I get a profitable product. However, good things take time. Once I get it, then more dollars are in!

I tend to update my website with new product offers constantly, focusing on some unique products that are currently trending because they sell well. While setting the prices, I make sure I have at least 45% profit margin.

How do you promote your stores?

I use Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads and Pinterest. Definitely, paid ads on Facebook are the most efficient marketing channel for me. On the other hand, Pinterest has done a good job in bringing in organic customers. In addition, SEO has also played a big role as well. Now I am also getting myself in the Tiktok world which looks promising.

So, broadly speaking, there is a promotional opportunity in each and every marketing channel for an entrepreneurial minded store owner. You just need to understand how all these channels can work for your business and use that to grow your stores. It costs me about $2,000-$3,000 per month on average to promote my business.

What can you tell about managing your business?

I spend at least 8 hours a day to keep an eye on all my 3 stores. The most time-consuming part of it is providing customer service. Connecting with customers is key and if you are successful in that, then your business future is bright since they will keep on returning.

The customer is always right. However, being polite and diplomatic always makes the situation better. It doesn’t matter how rude some customers can be but it’s important to be professional always.

Being positive in every situation is the best way to keep yourself going. The last thing you need is something to pull you down or hinder you from being successful.

How have your and your closest ones’ lives changed since you launched your dropshipping business?

I became a legal business owner, first of all. Business registration is a simple process here that only requires your identification. You can easily do it online and have all the paperwork ready and sent to you via post. In addition, the tax and VAT registration takes place in the same system making the process much easier, so there was no trouble at all.

I can proudly say that ecommerce has opened new doors for my growth. Last year, I was able to travel to Asia and live in 6 countries for 1.5 months. There’s a form of freedom that comes with this business.

There are opportunities in this digital era. We all know how hard the pandemic has hit businesses and many of them are looking for solutions to survive. Some people have simply lost jobs. I am now helping out friends whose jobs have been affected by Covid 19 and who are looking for a way to earn online. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and helping others as well. Currently, I am training my small sister through the process and she has her first website up and running. My whole family is very supportive, and I am working on some new stores together with teaching others.

Any final words of wisdom to other entrepreneurial minded dropshipping newcomers?

Do not give up. Failure is part of this business. However, we don’t consider it as a failure. We call it lessons. So keep pushing. If you’re about to start, don’t wait. Just do it, and welcome to the club.

Whether you’re an entrepreneurial minded individual or an experimenter simply curious to test ecommerce out, dropshipping is just the perfect online business model to begin with. Mary’s experience of running her own business and launching stores for newcomers proves it perfectly – and shows how beginner-friendly this venture can be.

View the source.

From 0 to $59,600+ In 2 Years: How To Monetize Your Passion With Zero Ad Costs

If you’ve ever wondered how to monetize your passion, our today’s guest has some curious first-hand experience to share! This entrepreneur runs a business dedicated to something he’s genuinely interested in. And, judging by the track record of his business, this is a great strategy to follow!

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please, introduce yourself!

Hi, I’m Abderrahman, 30, a full stack developer from Morocco.

How and why did you monetize your passion?

I started as a freelancer in oDesk (Upwork) when I was 20. So, for about 10 years, I have worked as a freelancer, doing stores and websites for customers, working mostly 10-12 hours a day, and got really tired… Then I had an idea: why don’t I create a service/store that can generate money for me on its own?

At some point, I even tried crypto trading, but the market was unstable then, and things aren’t much better now. I invested $2,000 in it, but all I have from it now is $450! So… I needed to find something else.

And as I’m Anime addicted, I thought this is time for me to start something related to Anime. I decided to launch a store that would sell thematic products – not copyrighted items or replicas of the original merch, just some cute Anime-inspired things that would make fans happy.

To make such a store work, I looked for a WordPress ecommerce dropshipping solution and discovered AliDropship. Its WooCommerce version seemed like a right fit for me as it made things easy for everyone and didn’t have monthly payments: for someone who has just started, it’s a huge advantage.

Do you remember the first sale made from your store?

Yes! It happened in about a week after the store was launched. Shortly before that, I set up some push notifications on my site, and got some visitors – and eventually, customers – from them.

There was a person who asked me a ton of questions on chat support, then he disappeared, and after a few seconds I received a PayPal purchase notification, I was so happy! With a $8 product cost, my first sale brought me $4 in profit. I know it’s nothing, but it pushed me to add more and more products.

How does your business perform now?

I have 2 stores now: one is niche-specific and another one is general – it’s a new one.

Here are some performance numbers of my first store:

A store performance graph showing over $59,600 in gross sales in 2-year period

And here is the data on the organic search traffic:

Google Analytics graph showing the dominance of organic search traffic for Abderrahman's store

What product strategy do you use to monetize your passion?

I work with all sorts of products related to my niche: figures, decorations, clothes… To find new products to add to my store, I look for a specific Anime name and see if there are new product arrivals there. I try to focus on the products related to ongoing and new Anime series, as well as the most popular ones, because that’s what people look for. For the pricing, I go with AliDropship’s default markup formula.

How do you promote your business?

With SEO! I figured out that the best buyers are the ones who come from Google and search engines because they look for these specific products deliberately. As I use Google Analytics to analyse my audience, I can say that my buyers are mostly parents who buy gifts for their children. That’s why there’s no point for me to promote the store on Instagram or other social media. I tested an Instagram shoutout once, but it didn’t work for me. So yeah, I get most of my traffic from search engines (Google, Bind, Yahoo), from push notifications, and from social shares of visitors/customers. That’s why I spend nothing on advertising!

Also, at the beginning of my dropshipping journey, I was promoting my website on forums and in anime streaming websites. I was taking part in episodes discussion in the comment sections and forum boards, and offering a welcome coupon to new customers. Of course I was promoting items related to that particular anime being discussed. So, most of the visitors clicking on my links were truly interested to see the offers!

I also work a lot on creating a good on-site experience. As I was a freelancer for many years, I know what clients like when they shop online, what they don’t like, etc. This is why I created my own WordPress theme and some plugins myself: I wanted to achieve a better optimisation and user experience. I would say that my success is 80% due to the visitors loving the design and UI that is cool and easy for them.

What can you tell about managing your business on a daily basis?

It takes me about 1-2 hours every day to complete the tasks. What I do is search and add new products, process orders and answer customer queries. By the way, I strongly recommend business owners to use a chat support widget on their websites. For users to trust your store, they should be confident there is someone behind the monitor who can assist them and answer any questions at any time.

That’s what I do all the time 🙂 I constantly have to deal with AliExpress orders, lost parcels, delayed shipments, extended shipping times, etc. Now, it’s happening because of Covid as orders tend to be delayed and people keep asking about the reasons, ask for refunds, etc.

It still can be managed, though. I offer buyer protection and 60 days money back guarantee. If my clients don’t receive their orders, I refund them to avoid any problems because I believe customers must trust you. Then I ask AliExpress sellers to refund me, too, per AliExpress buyer protection policy. The funny thing is that sometimes I refund orders because of shipping delays, then my buyers receive their parcels in the next 3-7 days, and they say nothing 🙂

After you figured out how to monetize your passion, has your life changed in any way?

Of course! I don’t have to look for customers to work for them, or stay behind my PC 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now, I want to start boosting my second store with general products to make it a success, too. As for now, it seems a bit hard to do, but I view it as a new challenge for me!

Any final words of wisdom for those willing to start their ecommerce businesses?

The most important things in a store are the website theme and the niche! Look for a good and simple theme, avoid popups alerts and fake alert notifications or fake sales boosters, just be honest with visitors! I also recommend using some WooCommerce SMS solutions. If you send a SMS confirmation when order is placed, shipped etc., your store policy will look more professional and people will trust you more

Still wondering how to monetize your passion? Hopefully, these business insights serve as a great starting point for your first steps in ecommerce! We are beyond grateful to Abderrahman for taking part in our interview, and wish him the best of luck with his enterprise!

Read about how to monetize your passion.

Life After Starting An Online Retail Business: Where Can Your Ecommerce Journey Take You?

When starting an online retail business, what should you expect your life to become? Today, we’re talking to Angel, an online business owner from Bulgaria, who is now able to pursue bigger dreams thanks to his venture.

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please introduce yourself!

Hi, my name is Angel, I’m a digital marketer from Bulgaria.

 

Since I moved to Varna to study Computer Science and Technologies and started to learn the basics of programming, I realized this is not for me and decided to start applying for all suitable jobs. I got hired by an US company with an office here in Varna where I learned to create WordPress websites and do basic SEO optimizations. I even tried to do business, but didn’t like the Bulgarian market and moved to work for another big company doing SEO and Digital Marketing, which I am still working in.

So, it’s safe to say that by the moment I was starting an online retail business, I had enough experience in creating WooCommerce and OpenCart stores, though there wasn’t much experience in the actual digital marketing.

And what’s your story of starting an online retail business with these skills?

In mid-2017, a very close friend of mine shared his plans to launch a dropshipping business. I liked this particular business model because it requires not that much money to start, no warehouses or stock monitoring, etc. So I started looking into the opportunities, too.

I love working with WordPress and WooCommerce, and I was googling a lot to find a proper solution. There were several options I tested, and in terms of WooCommerce and AliExpress dropshipping functionality, I liked AliDropship plugin the most.

It proved to be really helpful later on. Can’t imagine if I had to manually check and sync stock. Same goes for the products uploading and all the other automated things. Besides, the built-in premium themes I use give me what I need (at least for now).

How did your first sale happen?

I still remember that first PayPal notification I saw! Felt like I got a big shot of adrenaline.

It was really cool to see the business finally started working. To be honest, it happened not as soon as I expected. It took me over 4 months to find the right products and to show them to the right audience.

How does your business perform now?

Currently, I have 2 stores. The first one is on hold as for now, and the second one is giving me a good passive income. The average gross sales per month are $892 with no ads running.

Starting An Online Retail Business In Bulgaria: A Screenshot Of The Store Performance Data

What was your product strategy when you were starting an online retail business?

I have a small 1 year daughter, and I think this tells why I decided to go with that specific niche I’ve chosen 🙂

To pick products, I was following AliDropship tips: I was entering the keyword in the AliExpress search field, sorting the products by the number of orders, and checking the reviews.

Then, I was focusing on the products that seemed cool to me personally. I reviewed their pages manually and checked the sellers’ stats. Also, it’s a good idea to check the related products: this is how I found some of my best selling items.

Now, I keep adding new products to my store from time to time. Usually, I add many products to my AliExpress wish list from my phone during the day when I have a moment. Then, after work, I review them on my PC and group them in wish list categories. It’s closely related to my promotional efforts. I make a new post on Instagram every day, and when there is nothing to post, I go and add more products to show them in the Instagram feed. I just start uploading as much as I can, but because I am perfectionist, I am able to add no more than 10-15 products at a time.

Can you tell us more about your promotional strategy?

To promote my business, I rely on organic social traffic. Instagram and maybe Pinterest are my main marketing channels (Facebook didn’t work for me). Thanks to Social Rabbit, I got my Insta page to 20k followers. And actually, my first sale happened after an Instagram shoutout.

Also, I am following best SEO practices even though I am not pushing it at the moment (the niche is overcrowded with big stores).

On the plus side, thanks to my business niche, it’s easy for me to understand who’s my audience, and target them. Even though I live in Bulgaria, I target buyers from the USA and the United Kingdom. The good thing here is that I don’t pay for promotion mostly – I just spend my time (about 20-30 mins at a time).

What else can you say about managing your business?

On average, I don’t spend more than half an hour a day to manage my store. The most time-consuming task there is choosing and uploading products. And the most challenging part is being consistent even if there are no results yet. Meditations help sometimes 🙂

If there are difficult customers, I simply refund them. I don’t want them to go and submit a PayPal refund request as this might cause my account to be suspended. And on a brighter note, I get a lot of people tagging my store with lovely photos.

My business isn’t registered officially as for now. Registering a company doesn’t cost much in my country. Taxes are also low as for this model of business we just pay 10% flat taxes. I don’t think there are any specific requirements on top of that because with this model we don’t keep stock and stock never enters our country.

How has your life changed with starting an online retail business?

I changed mentally if you know what I mean and became more disciplined and purposeful. Finally, I have a bigger plan which I am following passionately. Money isn’t that important for me even if I am able to save more for my daughter now.

Interestingly, my friends and family support me even though they still are skeptical about this business 🙂

My plans for the future are to establish more connections with Chinese sellers, brand my products, and – why not! – open a store on AliExpress with the same brand.

What can you advise our readers thinking of starting an online retail business?

Don’t start if you are just after the cash, don’t quit if you don’t get your order fast.

Remember not  to rely just on your opinion about the products –  ask your audience, they know better. Be a perfectionist and don’t skip work. Don’t listen to negative people (both in forums or people you know): they just don’t want you to succeed.

Thank you, Angel, for such an encouraging experience of starting an online retail business with a life-changing potential! We wish all the best for your business and your family, and can’t wait to see you building your own ecommerce empire!

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How A Single Mom Works From Home While Keeping A Part-Time Job: Anne’s Story

How can a single mom work from home while combining it with a demanding part-time job and raising children? Moms are superheroes, for sure!

Today, we’re talking to Anne, a mother of two and owner of a young yet promising online business. Being a newcomer to ecommerce, she’s already making progress with her online store – but how?!

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please, introduce yourself!

Hi, I’m Anne, a 38-year-old single mom from France. I work part-time as an animator for children in a town near my home, which leaves me enough time to manage my dropshipping store.

What was your ecommerce experience at the moment you launched your online store?

Before I started dropshipping with AliExpress, I had little experience in trading. I was previously reselling second-hand things that I own on sites like Vinted and LeBoncoin, but that has nothing to do with the ecommerce company I later created.

Why did you choose the dropshipping business model, after all?

I chose the dropshipping business model for several reasons. I live in a home where I don’t have an opportunity to keep stock. With dropshipping, there are no storage worries! Also, I save on shipping costs because it is the AliExpress dealer who takes care of it; I do not have to pay for new shipping between my home and the customer. Finally, my wish to combine my part-time work with a business activity requires that I work at home. With my rather home-like personality, I am delighted there is an opportunity for a single mom to work from home!

How did it all begin?

It all started in January 2019 when I was looking for a business activity to run together with my part-time work as a children’s animator.

I had difficulty finishing the end of the month and badly needed a second job to provide for my two children. Doing business on the Internet was the idea that came to my mind immediately. I have no training in sales but I love this activity: managing my accounts, seeing the benefits, etc.

I began with searching for the best types of products to sell. It took me a long time, and the things that I finally found were the products that were appealing to me, matching my personality, my philosophy of life.

Then I did a lot of research on how to sell products on the internet. I wanted to figure out: what’s the best platform for me to use? A marketplace, or second-hand sales sites, or my own online store? I was familiar with the dropshipping business model from a little past experience and I knew that there was the right choice!

And during my Google search, I discovered AliDropship. I came across bloggers’ articles describing how AliDropship functions, and it sounded really tempting. There was nothing I knew about coding and creating an internet store. Alidropship seemed to me THE solution for a person who is new to sales and isn’t familiar with WordPress. As I wanted to get a turnkey store, I chose the basic package with accommodation. So I ordered the basic custom store  in November 2019 and, to my great joy, it all started!

Do you remember the first sale made from your store?

My first sale was made by a friend. To my delight, he was my first fan! He bought two items from my store and I was super happy! I took a little time to be sure of the good handling that I had to do so that the order was placed on AliExpress.

It happened a few days after the store was ready and I advertised it around me. To achieve this first sale, I talked a lot about my shop in my entourage: family, friends, colleagues, as well as to career professionals that I could meet during my job searches .

This was something important, that first sale. It proved that what I sell corresponds to the demand, to the real needs of customers.

I felt reassured and rather confident for the future of my store. I am rather anxious by nature about my choices and very far-sighted, so this first purchase was proof for me that the creation of my dropshipping store and the products that I sell are very good choices.

How does your business perform now?

I have only one store at the moment and it has only been operational for a few months.

Online store performance screenshot shows that Anne runs her business quite successfully

There was the Covid-19 pandemic which also slowed down my sales for two weeks. Still, I hope this is just a bad period and that sales will increase in the future. So for now, I prefer to focus on this only store and polish my advertising on social media and the internet. But afterwards, I want to open a second shop with another niche that I am thinking about!

What is your product strategy?

As I already mentioned, I focus on the products that seem attractive to me personally. Also, I make sure these are trendy products that people need.

When choosing the products, I focus on those that seem to have a high quality, positive customer reviews, and ratings over 4.5 stars. The same is true for suppliers: I look for the best rated ones.

I add new products when I notice that, for example, at home there is a product that I would need. Or when I see a product in my supermarket that I never thought of, and when someone around me asks me if I sell this or that item.

I set the prices according to the margin I want to make. I don’t inflate prices too much because I want my products to be accessible for people who don’t have a lot of money.

How do you promote your store?

I chose to promote my store with Google Ads: it’s the most effective channel for me. I have created several ads for Google searches and for affiliated sites (YouTube, etc.). Also, I promote my products on Facebook regularly.

I use Google Ads and Facebook statistics to understand who’s my target audience. It clearly shows the age groups, gender and locality of the people visiting my store. It’s really very practical. On average, the promotion of my store costs me €60 per month.

I would say that constant acquisition of new customers is the most challenging thing for me. There are some limitations because my niche is quite specific and I’ve chosen to only target buyers from France. I take my time but I know that I will have to accelerate my efforts and use Pinterest, Instagram, etc. to reach new customers.

In terms of management, would you say that this business model lets a single mom work from home conveniently?

AliDropship goes a long way in helping me run my business. It makes everything clear, efficient, and easy for me. I could never have done it alone!

Without it, I would have had to hire a WordPress specialist, then a marketing specialist, and that would have cost me a lot more. The plugins I bought with AliDropship in addition are perfect to go at my own pace in the development of my shop. Everything is accessible for a novice like me.

Every day, I spend between 4 and 8 hours on managing my store, and I like it! I refine the descriptions of the products, improve my SEO, add or remove products, follow the statistics closely, respond to customer messages, keep my accounts and draft invoices, etc.

The task that requires the most time for me is writing the descriptions of my products. I am quite a perfectionist and therefore like everything to be perfect both for a customer and for SEO purposes.

Like any other entrepreneur, I have dealt with some “difficult” clients. I have always been courteous and polite, and offered several solutions for the client to choose. When we come up to a solution quickly, I like to offer a discount coupon to make up for the client’s inconvenience.

Did you register your business officially?

Yes, I officially registered my business. There are many legal requirements in France. We have to register with Customs and have insurance. It is necessary to make declarations of turnover every month or every three months. GDPR must be displayed on the site according to very specific criteria. You must open a specific bank account for the company. Invoices must be drawn up with a certain amount of legal data, etc.

How has your life changed?

Thanks to the creation of my store, I found another goal in my life. Having a lot of free time with my part-time job, I was going around in circles. And now, with my store, I take great pleasure in starting my day. I love being there for my children without rushing in the morning, then when they have left for school, I sit in front of my PC and manage my store at my own pace until the evening! My family and friends find it very good that I do this business. Some give very good advice.

I’m not selling enough for my taste yet, but I know and hope that the work I do will pay off soon. For the future, I hope that my shop will “purr” like a good well-oiled diesel, and that my sales are so regular and consistent, that I can open a second store!

What can you advise our readers – those who already run their stores and those who didn’t start the business yet?

My advice would be: trust yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Go for what you like, what brings you happiness! In any case, this experience is so enriching personally, that we are necessarily winners!

So… Can a single mom work from home and enjoy an extra passive income while taking care of her family and maintaining a part-time job? Anne’s experience proves that it’s quite possible to become an independent online business owner in these circumstances even if you don’t have much background experience. Needless to say, it’s an honor for us to be a part of this life-changing ecommerce journey, and we wish Anne the best of luck with her further achievements!

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64K+ In 1.5 Years Of Ecommerce In Morocco: Anas Is Back With New Records!

Do you remember our friend Anas, a dropshipping store owner who works with ecommerce in Morocco? Almost a year later, we’re talking to him again to see what’s new. Surely, it’s super insightful to see how one’s business grows and thrives in time!

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please introduce yourself to our new readers!

Hi, I’m Anas, a civil engineering student living and running an online business in Morocco. I hate to be told what to do or to live a boring life – after all, this is what made me start my own business.

I had no IT/ecommerce experience when I started and wanted to discover this whole new world all by myself. Turned out, the dropshipping business was quite suitable. It is easy, saves a lot of time and money, and gives you a large choice of products you can sell.

To make the most out of this model, I use AliDropship Woo plugin and Social Rabbit add-on. AliDropship literally does most of the work: imports products, updates and changes their prices, places orders, sends tracking codes, and more. I am sure it’s impossible to not come across this plugin when you look dropshipping up on Google!

How does your business perform now?

I have one more store now, so there are 2 websites I manage. Take a look:

Store performance screenshot from an ecommerce entrepreneur from Morocco

Second store performance screenshot from an ecommerce entrepreneur from Morocco

In your experience of ecommerce in Morocco, what have proven to be the best product and marketing strategies?

To choose products and suppliers for my store, I check the number of orders on AliExpress and the supplier’s rating. I focus on the niches that simply never die and let me always be innovative and adapt to the current market needs. Keeping an eye on other stores also helps: I tend to set my prices lower than the competitors’ ones.

Also, I always use Instagram and rely on my followers’ opinion to add new products to the stores. In time, the more you get engaged with your audience, the more you understand what they want.

To promote my products, I now use Facebook and Instagram ads and try making collaborations when possible. Earlier, I used to put much effort into SEO, but I don’t do that any longer. It costs me about $3,000/month to promote my stores.

Looking back at how all of this started, I realize that the only key to succeed is to never settle and always be ready to take risks. For example, I never used Facebook ads at all before because I thought it is a waste of money. And it can happen when you don’t know what you are actually doing! But once I learned how it all works and how you can use custom audiences to target potential customers or how you can use attractive ads to bring attention, everything changed.

On the other hand, I worked more on improving the user experience on the websites by focusing on customer support and categorizing the products. It is all about showing the right products to the right people at the right time!

Has anything changed in your ways of managing the business?

Now, I have a partner who works on customer support tasks. It’s really helpful as it lets me focus on the main work and now, I spend about 6 hours a day working on my stores. The most time-consuming tasks here are orders management and customer support, while adapting to the market changes and keeping every customer satisfied is the most challenging part. I learn a lot and develop new techniques to cope with these issues. And when it comes to customer service, good manners and proposing multiple solutions always works.

In general, how has ecommerce in Morocco influenced your life?

To begin with, I registered my business officially as an LTD in the UK. My friends and family are proud and happy of the new person I became.

I would say that after a while I realized that I am still far away from my goals. In the previous story I shared how I made about 7,000 dollars a year of ecommerce in Morocco which honestly seemed like much for me. But after another year of working hard, I understood that there are no limits. The harder you work, the more you earn. And once you are financially independent, your life changes A LOT.

My life itself has improved so much during one year of hard work. I still remember how I struggled to make my first sales, but now everything seems easier than it was before. So, for every beginner reading this: Please do not give up, you are capable of making great things and achieving greater goals than me if you focus on what really matters!

DO NOT GIVE UP, I know how hard it can seem, but trust me, we all have been there. And remember that if it was that easy, everyone would do it. Do not think to stop, learn new things, try new methods and understand how it works.

You will make it ♥

That’s a passionate and powerful message! We are beyond grateful to Anas for getting in touch with us again and sharing his rocky road to establishing a successful ecommerce venture in Morocco. Best wishes to you and your closest ones!

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Is Dropshipping A Good Home Business For Moms? Let’s Ask Valery!

What does it take to launch and run a profitable independent business when you’re raising kids? Which type of home business for mom is the one that’s worth it?

To get first-hand insights from an actual business mom, we’re talking to a special guest today. As a full-time mother and a part-time online entrepreneur, Valery certainly can share a thing or two about a newcomer’s experience in ecommerce!

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please introduce yourself!

Hi, my name is Val Grace, I’m a full-time mum from the UK. I had a good job, but after I had my children, I stopped working and that was when I started looking for the opportunities to work from home.

Why did you consider dropshipping to be a suitable type of home business for mom?

I was looking all over the internet (and YouTube in particular) for work from home ideas. Mostly, I was interested in the options that would suit me as a person with no previous business experience. Of course, there was another important factor: low costs of starting such an enterprise.

YouTube videos about dropshipping caught my attention – and I thought that’s a business model accessible and promising enough to try.

How did you launch your home business?

One of the countless YouTube videos about dropshipping that I watched was made by AliDropship. I really liked that their solutions required a one-time payment only, and bought the Woo plugin to create my online store all by myself. It took me a while: with 0 experience, I was building the store slowly, and frankly speaking, I am still learning 🙂

But, I registered it officially already. I know this is not a must-have and you don’t necessarily have to register a company if you want to dropship, but if you desire to create a large-scale business, it’s best to make it all 100% legal.

Do you remember the first sale made from your store?

Oh, it took a while! I was a newbie, so my first sale happened about 5 months after I bought the plugin.

I was reading guidelines on dropshipping SEO from AliDropship blog and understood that this part needs to be improved on my site. So I used the step-by-step guide to make the store more SEO-friendly, and soon afterwards, the first sale happened!

It felt awesome. I was so excited! It was true proof that dropshipping profits can be real 🙂

How does your business perform now?

I still keep running the only store. Here are the numbers for the first 2 quarters of the year:

A graph showing Valery's business peformance

What is your product strategy?

To make the right niche choice, I followed AliDropship advice on niche evaluating methods.

And to get the right products for the store, I used and keep using DropshipMe. It’s super convenient because the products are already selected and edited, and it saves huge loads of time.

Besides, by now, I already have a number of trusted suppliers I partner with. So, from time to time, I ask them what’s new and which of their new arrivals they can recommend. And for such products, I use the recommended markup formula to set up new pricing rules without much trouble.

How do you promote your business?

I rely on free traffic heavily: as I figured it out from my first sale experience, SEO can work magic. Plus, I don’t have that much free money to invest in paid ads, so technically speaking, I have to pay for the business promotion with my time.

I also do my best to make catchy posts on social media, and from this point of view, Social Rabbit is fantastic. It saves a great deal of time and is very cost effective. I only made a one-time payment, but these social media entries have already proved to be one of my most beneficial marketing channels.

Does this home business for mom take a lot of time to be managed?

As I already mentioned, like any other business, dropshipping requires time and effort – especially if you can’t afford some paid solutions or services to manage it easier. I spend about 3-5 hours every day to improve SEO on my site and to work on social media activities like making friends and thinking of post ideas.

For sure, marketing is the most difficult challenge for me in this business, even trickier than customer relationship management!

Has your mindset changed in any way since you started your home business?

Sure! It gave me hope. I enjoy the kind support of my friends and family, and I hope to grow my business to a larger scale in the future. Anything is possible if you don’t give up!

It’s encouraging to see that Valery managed to find the exact type of home business for mom that meets her criteria and helps her family head to a brighter tomorrow. We are humbled to be a part of her ecommerce success story, and we wish her the best of luck!

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How Alex Makes Money With SEO – And His 9 Dropshipping Stores

Do you remember Alex, a dropshipping newcomer from Russia we interviewed some time ago? We asked him a couple of questions again to see how his business is going, and, *SPOILER ALERT*, seems like he discovered a winning strategy to make money with SEO! Let’s see how it works for him.

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please introduce yourself to our new readers!

Hi, I’m Alex, an IT professional from Russia working for myself. I am a huge fan of dropshipping: it’s perfect for me as I prefer automated business models.

Wouldn’t say my journey was super smooth, though: I developed more than 8 different stores until one of them started making profit. But the first sale was unforgettable: it proved that the business works, and gave me the perfect motivation to continue.

So, how does your business perform now?

I have 9 stores these days, and each of them has 3,000-12,000 unique visitors every month: here’s the data from Google Analytics.

[slider_1]

And here are the performance numbers for 3 of my websites:

[slider_2]

It might seem like not too much, but please note: I do not spend money on advertisement at all. No marketing expenses! No ads, no promotions, just natural search: my buyers come from organic traffic.

What exactly do you do to make money with SEO?

Here’s the thing. Before I decided to switch to SEO promotion, I tried using many advertisement methods:

  • Facebook ads / Facebook groups promotion
  • Amazon sales
  • Instagram ads
  • Promotion through YouTube channels

Nothing worked fine for me! It was a signal for me to stop wasting my money on ads.

Thanks to these experiments, I discovered that the only thing that works fine for me is Google Natural Search. And surely, I noted that it takes SEO 3-9 months to start working, which is why a new website cannot get enough traffic for sales at first.

To speed up this process, I started improving SEO:

  • Improved hosting speed
  • Added AMP support
  • Worked on images optimization 
  • Improved cache performance and so on

As a result, my Natural Google Traffic is growing and this strategy is working fine even though it is absolutely free!

And to help my sites perform better, I also invested some time and effort into their security. I installed the WordFence Security plugin on all my websites and also blocked visitors from some countries with the highest attack rate, fraud orders and low profit rate. It was a necessary thing to do because I noticed a recent increase in the attack rate and didn’t want to put my income sources at risk.

Which other solutions do you use to keep your business operational?

I read a lot about new IT solutions and I always try to use the best ones of them. As I don’t spend money on ads at all, I have spare money I can safely invest in my stores automation, hosting, and SEO.

Many of my websites are powered with AliDropship Woo Plugin, Social Rabbit plugin, and the free Abandoned Cart add-on. I also tried to use multiple other solutions (including the ones from external developers), but there’s nothing more I can recommend.

It’s also important to note that I transferred all my websites to WooCommerce. I liked the experience of working with AliDropship Woo because it helps me a lot, and thought it would be great to upgrade all my websites to Woo with this plugin.

What is your product strategy that helps you make money with SEO?

It’s a really hard thing to choose the right niche! After lots of experiments with my stores, I stopped using the openly available results of market researches because most of these analyzed niches are too popular and competitive.

Instead, I look for unique products that I like personally and check if they have many orders on AliExpress, a 98% rate, and a rising trend on Google Trends. I add new products every day! To get a better understanding of my target audience and their expectations from my store, I use Google Analytics – it helps me a lot.

My pricing policy is really flexible. There are no common rules because everything depends on the product and its initial price, and I have different extra charges for different websites and niches. Sometimes I can add $5 to each product, and sometimes +$50 to the whole order.

What can you tell about managing your 9 stores on a daily basis?

I spend about 2-3 hours per day on this. The most time-consuming task is answering buyers’ emails: “Where is my package?”, “I want a refund”, “Incorrect package received” and so on, you know… Like any other seller, I have a fair share of funny and sad stories with clients, but try not to worry: some beers can solve almost any problem… :))) And refunds, of course!

How has your life changed?

I’m working for myself and all by myself. I can choose a day, place and time to work, and work 0 hours a day or 20 hours a day if needed. It of course helps my relationships with friends and relatives. My wife likes everything that makes money for our family, and my friends are happy that I have more free time to share with them.

It’s a business where everything depends on me and my skills. I do not have anybody to blame or praise – there’s only me who’s responsible! Just waiting for COVID-19 to finish to plan my future…

What can you advise our readers – those who already run their stores and those who didn’t start the business yet?

Working for yourself is the best decision you can make in your life. You should not work for somebody if you can work for yourself!

Well, if you ever wondered how to make money with SEO, it seems like Alex just gave you some priceless beginner tips! We are thankful for his detailed and interesting feedback, and are pleased to see such positive dynamics of a recently launched dropshipping business.

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Online Business In India That Made $52,000+ In 7 Months: Ankit’s Story

Can you launch and run a successful online business in India? What do you need to do to make it happen? Today, we’re talking to Ankit, a 21 year old online entrepreneur who kindly agreed to share his first-hand experience – so, welcome our guest!

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please, introduce yourself!

Hi, I’m Ankit Patra, a Bachelor in Computer Science, and an owner of an online business in India. I run 3 dropshipping stores mostly targeted at the buyers from the United States.

Why did you decide to launch an online business in India?

Frankly, it all started when I was looking for sources of income to become more independent in college. It is very normal and customary for Indian students to be in college and still be totally dependent on their parents for their tuition and literally all of their expenses. I was no different but, I dared to think beyond just to at least pay for that meal on my own, you see it’s simple…I didn’t want to be dependent.

What motivated you to try AliExpress dropshipping model for your business?

Freedom. Isn’t that the reason why everyone enters into the online space in general? Well, the dropshipping model was the most welcoming with tons of content online and a lot of guides (not courses) available which made the initial process a breeze and I could literally search for any of the topics and there’s always more than 10 results to help me out with my problem. That gave me confidence as a newbie that okay, I can do this and there will always be people who can help me out.

How did your online business in India begin?

For my first store, I went with simple WordPress hosting and WooCommerce – I felt Shopify was too expensive. I used AliDropship Woo plugin to get this store going and with its help, my first store got off the ground.

I didn’t have much experience, though, and AliExpress was my first platform to experiment with. Maybe that is the reason for my initial failure, but trust me, I learned a lot from my failures to reach where I have reached today.

I have worked for months without success and testing tons of products only to be met with my fair share of failure. But I am a pretty disciplined individual and take my work seriously, so I kept going.

How did it all change? Do you remember the first sale made from your store?

Yes, I do remember the first sale: it was on the 9th of December, 2019. I just started running my ads and chi-ching! I got a sale for $29.95 (including shipping) for only $5 in ad spend and that was the motivation I needed. Frankly, I was elated and I am sure anyone would be. I am not very expressive with emotions but I won’t lie that I let that tear drop down when I saw my first sale.

It was only the month of August, 2019 when I entered into the whole dropshipping scenario. Day in and day out, I had been researching and testing products and already spent $1,000 with no returns or so I thought. I kept watching 4-6 hours of YouTube everyday and implementing whatever I learned in the Facebook ads and store. So, it took me about 4 months of rigorous testing and $1,000 to get my first success. For some it might happen sooner or later, but, I guess I got the right amount of time to hone myself to be able to run a proper business and I am glad it took me 4 months.

How does your online business perform now?

Here’s a performance screenshot I want to share:

So, you see nothing goes to waste, you just have to stay till the end, which I did and at the age of 21 I currently have a net worth of $50,000 and no liabilities.

How did you get the right idea for your online business?

To find a winning niche, I did research with the help of Google Trends. Also, checking out popular Facebook videos turned out to be really helpful to see what users want and expect to get.

While choosing the right products to add to my stores, I analyzed the AliExpress stats. Both the product and the supplier must have an average rating of 4.8 stars or more to make me interested. I keep adding new products to my stores from time to time: after an initial check, I test them with Facebook ads. To set the new prices, I usually multiply the original price by 2 – or even by 5 if it’s a low-ticket item.

How do you promote your online store?

I use Facebook and Instagram ads only, didn’t even try any other channels. Getting the right audience for my products is one of the most difficult challenges, so I test out several creatives and copies and do A/B testing to discover the best performing ads. Also, I test several interests at once to determine the best audience for my ads. On average, it costs me around $5,000/month to promote all my 3 stores.

What can you say about your business management?

It takes me around 2-3 hours every day to manage my stores. The most time-consuming task apart from ads testing is product research and product pages editing.

Sometimes, customer service can also be tricky. Usually, about 1% of customers are very difficult to deal with, so I try to keep enough margin to give out refunds. I just price my products as such that for every 100 orders I have at least enough money to maintain my 2x margin even after refunding 5 of them. But buyers are different, of course: my biggest order was for $518 without even a $1 discount. Probably, that guy thought that the price was too low…IDK

What about the legal side of running an online business in India?

Well, I registered my business officially. It’s not really difficult. You must be over 18 years of age, have a government issued ID, and have a rented place with proper lease agreement. Simple and no fuss!

How has your life changed?

Speaking of my daily life, nothing much has changed. But, I have been able to get that dream machine 16″ MacBook Pro and my dream Sony headphones. Just the best combination to get my work done. I don’t want any liabilities or whatsoever and want to invest this money in my future business ventures. You see, in the future, I plan to start my own advertising and marketing agency. I have a long long way to go and be much more successful.

What do your friends and family think about your business?

They couldn’t have been happier. As an Indian family, my family couldn’t believe that I had acquired this much wealth just over the period of 6-7 months. Just to give you a broad picture, in India an entry level software engineer at say Facebook earns only $17,000 base salary in a year. So considering that I had almost earned 4 times of that in just a few months…that was a big feat.

What can you advise our readers – those who already run their stores and those who didn’t start the business yet?

I would like to tell all of the folks out there, to never give in and just keep going on. I know you must have heard this from everyone. But, trust me you never know when you will get your first taste of success and frankly it won’t come if you are just waiting for something magical to happen. You have to work hard and put the money where your mouth is (Facebook ads and any apps).

Remember, in dropshipping time is of essence. Imagine you are trying to advertise a product which recently went out of trend: you would hardly be successful! So, my advice is: invest money wherever necessary, and don’t try to do everything on your own. Not good at building stores? Pay for it if you can and save your time for other things… don’t break your head over petty things, you can’t be a master at everything so let others – specialists, apps, subscriptions – do their work for the money you paid.

Good luck!

We are beyond grateful to Ankit for his kind and detailed feedback! His experience proves that launching an online business in India is totally worth it – and hopefully, it will encourage you, our dear readers, to make your first steps in dropshipping, too.

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