At a young age of around 16 or 17 I was a broke high school kid with no job and no time to make money doing anything else either. There was school, soccer practice, homework and all that combined made even having a social life extremely hard to squeeze in. I had just moved to North Carolina from New Jersey after my parents divorce and I was living in a small house with my single mother, two older sisters and my younger brother. Money was tight, time was short and I had no way of doing anything at all to help my family with the clashing of all our busy schedules.
It got so bad at one point that I decided to up and quit the soccer team to pursue my first part time job so that I could at the very least minimize the burden of my mother having to buy me food and new clothes all the time. I landed my first gig at the restaurant my oldest sister worked at. The food was tremendous, the customers were kind and at the start of it I thought it was going to be a really great experience. Boy was I wrong.
Food service is one of the worst industries you can ever be a part of by popular opinion. You work hard for long hours, get fussed at and get screwed over daily by management or cheap customers. Don’t even get me started about what happens behind those kitchen doors. After three months of this nonsense I quit my job and set out looking for another means of income. Anything would be better than working for a business full of snotty coworkers and ill-experienced management.
The Beauty of Freelance
In order to avoid another disaster like this one, I Google searched different ways to make money in a neighborhood without actually going out to sign up for a job. I found all sorts of creative ideas ranging from a lemonade stand to startup lawn mowing and pet sitting businesses, but the competition was far too high for a young guy like me to make any real moves in endeavors. So I searched on.
I came across an add for a website called Freelancer that was promoting a posting for an experienced writer. I have always been told I have a very special way with words and my grades in English were straight A’s across the board, so I figured my talent for writing would be enough to score me a job like this. After signing up for a free account I applied for the job and within the first 24 hours I got response and was awarded the project. The job was to write a couple of articles on various subjects for the buyers blog. I did so and earned five stars and $50 for my efforts.
This was when things started to get interesting. Freelance work opened up a whole new world for me and immediately I was able to start making money from the comfort of my own own. I applied to five different jobs a day and on average I was awarded two or three a week. I felt like king earning money from doing practically nothing. Little did I know that was only chump change compared to what I stumbled upon next.
How I Discovered Drop Shipping
First things first. What exactly is drop shipping? Check out this definition:
Following the same routine, one day I was requested to apply for a project that was looking for an experienced drop shipper for eBay. Having no idea what a drop shipper was, I applied for the job regardless. I had bought plenty of things from eBay before so I figured I was pretty comfortable with the whole site as a whole. Minutes later I get a response and the buyer wants to check my eBay account. I sent him the link to my profile and he gave me the go ahead. We began discussing what he expected of me in this position and highlighted the fact that it would be a long-term relationship, which delighted me.
Here were the rules and guidelines of our discussion:
- Must be located in the USA
- Required 15-20 positive reviews (no negative)
- Ability to receive funds immediately after purchase
Even though I was already living in the United States, this was a general rule because it made the products appear higher in quality. Buyers were convinced they were getting a better deal as opposed to department stores and online retail. For this sole purpose, whether I lived in the USA or not, I was told to make my location the United States of America.
Having at least 15-20 positive reviews without any negative feedback was key to profiting in this business. Once you surpass that many orders (buying or selling) you unlock a feature called Standard status that gives your account access to immediate funds when buyers purchase your product. This is eBays way of establishing you as a trusted account on their website and mobile app. Users without a Standard status or above will not have access to this feature. Follow this link for the best practices to achieve faster eBay payments.
The Process of Being a Drop Shipper
- PARTNER WITH SUPPLIER(S), IMPORT PRODUCT LISTINGS
- DRIVE CUSTOMER ORDERS TO YOUR STORE
- ROUTE DROPSHIP ORDERS TO YOUR SUPPLIER(S)
- SUPPLIER(S) FULFILL ALL DROPSHIP ORDERS
After the buyer sent me a list of instructions. Here is a copy of the actual email:
Hi thanks for getting back to me.
Here’s a brief description (make/model) of my stock for your perusal, there will be mainly handsets, Navigators, AV’s and Fish-finders:
- Lowrance hds12 Gen3/Gen2/ Samsung Galaxy note/edge/s6/ Alienware m18 laptops / Motorola droid turbo and many more.
- The stock is NOT limited to the above listed. All items are 100% genuine, with manufacturer warranty.
- As I have mentioned before, your share will be: 40% + eBay & PayPal fees, final value of the weekly sold items will easily bring you OVER $1,500 USD dollars/week profit.
- I will provide you 10 to 30 items per week to list on ebay.com / worldwide. (Usually are the same items, it will be just a matter of relisting them)
- The items pictures and description will be sent as templates, all you’ll have to do is copy/paste them. I want them listed as “Auctions”, NOT “Buy it Now” NO “Reserve Price” to attract more buyers and receive a good bid. You will have to manage the sales. List items/send invoices to the winning bidders/receive payments/contact me with buyers details for shipping after payment cleared in your account / wait for buyer positive feedback or confirmation that the item is okay as described then you will send me my share of the money, easy as pie. Not needed to respond to buyer questions, all items are brand new with full warranty and description have all details there / we ship worldwide with free shipping to USA so lazy buyers who don’t read description will be left behind.
- Please Note: I will bear the items. All items are housed and shipped from United States. I will give you my location and you will have to add it as item location in your eBay auctions.
- Payments from all items will be collected in your PayPal account, you will send my share ONLY after 45 days, and therefore you will be covered against any buyers complains. As I mentioned previously, before you send me the money you will deduct your 40% share from sales.
So, please let me know if you’re ready. We will start with 5 trial items for the first time to see how it goes and we’ll follow from there if you’re happy and want to continue.
As you can tell from the email, he had me selling high quality items such as phones, laptops and fish finders. Basically, every week he would send me all the necessary info to create the listing, as well as unique images and a professional template to format the whole thing. Then once I posted the product, it would sell out less than 24 hours later. I was instructed to keep 40% of all profits for at least 45 days in order to avoid any trouble with buyer complaints (for whatever reason it may be). I did this for a couple weeks and eventually the guy who hired me completely disappeared on me and I never heard from him again. Naturally I ended up keeping all the profits that totaled well over $5,000. But this was just the beginning.
Entering the Big Leagues of Drop Shipping
The guy I was working with was an amateur. But of course I was new to the game and had no idea what true potential I could milk from this process. Thanks to my experience with my previous employer, it was not hard to find more work as a drop shipper on Freelancer, as they are always in high demand. Sellers are constantly looking for listers to help sell their hundreds upon thousands of products each and every day. Going back to what I said about my skill for writing, I was able to convince almost any seller that I was the man for the job, and I eventually scored the perfect gig.
I met this guy off the freelance website who started me off similar to the last guy. We ran a couple of test products on my account in order to boost my ratings and check to see if my account was worth his time (which I played along with because I knew he would be impressed). Once that was complete, he had me creating up to five listings a day, all included with their own descriptions, images, templates and settings.
These products were far from ordinary. I was listing premium products that were as expensive as you can imagine an item being on eBay. I’m talking Michael Kors purses and Burberry scarves. These were hundreds to thousands of dollars each, all incredibly high quality and 100% authentic items. At 40% commission, one sale of an item listed at $500 would be $200 in the bag. All that from a single sale with little to no effort behind it.
I know what you are thinking. Why would somebody miss out on $200 to do something they can do themselves in just a few minutes? Let me explain why.
These sellers are in charge of an undisclosed number of products that are being stored as inventory ranging from hundreds to thousands to even millions of different items. There is no possible way they can keep up with it all. So they enlist in support from freelancers like you and I. They are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a day working with dozens of freelancers, so a couple hundred dollars in expense here and there does not bother them. Plus if they kept their freelancers happy, their business will flourish, thus increasing their overall profits.
Once I found the right seller, I was easily making over $10,000 a month with this method alone. The best part about it all was that I was doing a minimal amount of work and getting paid an unreal amount of money! When you start achieving success with this trick, make sure you don’t get ahead of yourself and do something to jeopardize your relationship with your buyer. As I previously stated, freelancers are in no short supply and you can easily be replaced. All you have to do is create the listings, document the sales and forward all the information over to your employer. It honestly could not get any simpler than that!