Do you want to start drop shipping online?
I ran into that position while I was a sophomore studying at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. Go Bobcats!
I was studying Economics, Math, and Business figuring out the building stones that all business owners need in their knowledge tool belt.
The basics…accounting, finance, econ, entrepreneurship, resume writing, email communications, management, leadership…you probably know the classes that I’m talking about.
My First, First Business in High School
Prior to going to college, I had started my first business landscaping after learning how the business ran by working with my older cousin for a couple of years.
So, I had a small, small taste of what it felt like to run my own business, earn my own money, and get my own customers, and I had no desire to join the rat race of corporate America where I wasn’t in 100% control of my future. It just didn’t gel with who I was and what I stood for.
This attitude of not wanting to work for anyone kept me on the look out for new opportunities where I could get in on the ground floor and build a business that added real value to the world.
Meeting My Business Partner
In one of my Business Law classes, there was another kid in the class that I knew through mutual friends and I had heard that he was starting a new business. I had also heard that he was looking for people to join in and help him grow it.
“Perfect opportunity”, I thought to myself.
As the story goes, we were sitting a couple of rows away from each other and I AIM’ed him asking about the business and how I could get involved. (Yes, we were using AIM.)
I don’t remember much of the conversation, but I remember knowing that it was going to work out.
From there on, Nate would pick me up from the main campus every day after classes so that I could go over to his place to learn the different aspects of the business and help him grow it. I didn’t have a car at the time so he was forced to be my college chauffeur 🙂 Thanks Nate.
It went on like this for the rest of the year as we worked more and more together and became better and better of friends. The company started to grow from our efforts and the efforts of the other team members and it became really exciting.
Running a million dollar revenue business out of your college houses can really get the adrenalin running on a daily basis.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
How I Start Drop Shipping Online
In the very beginning, I started drop shipping online by researching and finding products that were popular on Amazon and other sites, but that didn’t have much competition on the Amazon listing.
My business partner and I would find the best place to purchase that product for a cheaper price and then we listed the product on our newly opened Amazon store.
As we received orders for the products that we had listed, we would go to the supplier, order the product to the customer, and make sure that the Amazon customer was happy with their purchase.
We made money on the difference between what we charged the customer on Amazon (less Amazon’s fees + shipping) and the price that we paid the supplier for the product.
Everything got off to a slow start as we tested different products, learned more about selling on Amazon, and understood what it took to scale the business from the ground up.
Looking Back on Starting to Drop Ship
Looking back on how I got into drop shipping is quite interesting…
I wasn’t looking for eCommerce to be the next big phase in my life.
I didn’t know what would come of sending an AIM message to this kid that was in my business law class.
And neither of us knew what we were even doing when we started finding products, listing them on Amazon, and then having the supplier ship them to the customer.
I kid you not…we didn’t know that it was called drop shipping when we started, but we loved it because we didn’t have to touch the products.
Before we started drop shipping, we were selling text books on Amazon and we HATED holding the inventory in our dorm rooms, packaging them up, and going to the UPS or Fedex or USPS to ship it out to the customer.
How “Lucky” Were We?
I just recently finished reading a book by Jim Collins called Great By Choice and there is an entire chapter about how “luck” plays into how great companies become.
Jim makes an argument that it’s not about how many “luck” events you get as a business, but more about how you capitalize on the “luck” opportunities that do come into your life as an entrepreneur.
Looking back on how I got started drop shipping online makes me think of his findings through his years of research. It was lucky that we fell into the world of Amazon and drop shipping, but it was our determination and our recognition of a major opportunity that allowed us to build a company that sold over $25 million on the Amazon Marketplace.
Luck may play a role in the start of one of your businesses, but don’t plan on riding it into eternal greatness.
Building a business online takes grit, strategy, patience, and consistency.
If you’re going to start a business, make sure that you embody those values and take every step of the journey as an adventure towards becoming a smarter and more capable leader for your company.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or email me at Connor@ConnorGillivan.com.