The basic idea behind an online drop shipping business is that, as a small business owner, you don’t have to maintain a large inventory (or any inventory whatsoever) of products or handle any delivery to your customers. That eliminates the financial cost and risk of having a warehouse full of stuff you might not sell, and the hassle of arranging to send orders all over the country or the world. In fact, you don't have to manufacture or store any products at all.
If you have a knack for creating unique images, there’s no need to fuss over your own inventory. If your creations can be easily printed onto a product, then you can make money. Upload your designs on a variety of websites like CafePress. If someone likes them, the company prints them up and ships the product. You could create unique designs for calendars, books, T-shirts, bags, hats, greeting cards, or posters and get a commission for each one sold. Some of these sites include Zazzle, Teespring and Lulu.
Obviously you would pursue standard marketing techniques like internet marketing, search engine optimization, posters, banners, fliers, etc. depending upon the nature of your business; but all of these marketing techniques have a turnaround time and fairly lower success rate for businesses which are not quite popular. Thus, the people in your vicinity and personal network will be vital for getting that initial revenue. You will be surprised to know that happy clients get you more clients! Most of the successful entrepreneurs have reported that about 50% of the clientele came from the initial clients they had successfully served.
Jon is the New York Times best-selling author of five books, including Do Over. He’s helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose and Staples. Now, he speaks to hundreds of thousands of people annually and reaches over 4 million readers on his blogs. Here's his business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business:
"Many new CEOs are hyper-focused on making their MVP, but they don’t really have a long-term vision for how to make their companies profitable. I would recommend designating marketing and sales as a day-one priority. This will help your business earn fans before the MVP ships and ensures that what you create is truly something that a customer will want to pay for."
Not to worry—online thrift shops and consignments stores, like thredUP, are just one model you can follow to achieve that goal. There are other businesses that crawl through sites like eBay to find cool, unique, interesting objects, then present them in compelling ways. Good copywriting and a strong brand can go a long way to separating you from the crowd here.
Creating a jobs board website can be another profitable venture. The ‘jobs’ field can be quite saturated, so it is important to find a niche that is still crying out for a jobs board website. Monetize this type of site by charging businesses to list their jobs on your site. Those searching for jobs could also be charged a fee to access the higher paying job adverts.
But don't make the mistake of thinking this will be a passive source of income—you're on call whenever you have a guest and you'll always need to keep the place clean for incoming visitors. On top of just renting on Airbnb, consider offering your guests paid add-ons, like Lauren Gheysens', Royal Day Out in London, England—where she gives visitors a local's only tour of the city, complete with bespoke 18th century costumes.
If you offer freelance services or have a physical services business, then creating a blog is a must. On your blog, you can write about the services you offer and how they will benefit your clients. Importantly you can add a ‘Services’ page, outlining the services you provide, what they include, and any other important information potential clients may need. This is an effective way to promote your services, generate leads, and increase your revenue.
The marketing blogs and websites below are juicy, well designed and easy to read. Many of them have handy newsletter subscriptions and all of them have engaging Twitter feeds. I have listed only six websites (with a few extras), because sometimes less is more. Keeping up with relevant, up-to-date industry news is essential for a well-balanced marketing professional, and even more valuable when the whole team is participating! Press the subscribe button on these digital marketing blogs and make them a vital part of your daily routine. Forward them to your colleagues, pour yourself a cup of coffee and read on.
Also, entrepreneurs will often keep personal and work finances separated. In order to set budgets and pay yourself properly, it is recommended that entrepreneurs have separate bank accounts for money that belongs to the business and money that belongs to the person. This might seem like a trivial difference, but it can affect how you work and how you spend.
Be professional. When you submit a résumé, don’t type it in ALL CAPS and please don’t avoid the caps lock like the plague. Know how to use it without looking incompetent. Write in complete sentences with proper grammar. Of course, there will be exceptions, but even with the exceptions, you must keep it professional. You’re building their view of you.
“Ask more questions, always. Assess whether “the one method” people are telling you is the only way to go, even makes sense for you and your topic or audience. I’ve found more engaged audience members and more sales waiting on the other side of ignoring traditional advice and focusing on key questions about what my audience needs than through re-creating systems that others have used. Ask more questions, always. Does it apply to you? How can you use it without the elements of it that you don’t like? What would utterly surprise your audience at this point? If you’re asking yourself “Should I do webinars or a 10-day challenge to promote my course?”, ask instead, “In a world where webinars/challenges don’t exist, how would I ideally help people and share my product with them?” – Regina Anaejionu