Hey everyone, it’s Q&A Tuesday #3 with Jo
My son is sick and he is my priority over everything until he gets better. As he rests, if offers me the opportunity to do my Q&A in writing:
1. What is the most important aspect that will give you the best chances of success?
There are tons of strategies and speculations as to what eBay’s Cassini search is all about, etc… but I like to bring a more organic approach to the business. Why do I do that? Because for one: you can definitely google all that information and there are many people out there that do a much better job articulating their understanding of eBay’s search engine.
I like to pretend that tomorrow eBay will disappear and I have to move my business to a different platform; I don’t want the core of my business to suffer, because all my strategies relied on eBay. A platform is simply your vehicle to run your business on, but the one that you should focus on is the DRIVER of that vehicle. Which is YOU.
Your tools, your analysis and the platforms change, the thesis stays the same. – I was inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk’s THE MISSION OF GETTING PEOPLE TO DO | DailyVee 177
So, to answer your question, there are actually 3 aspects that I always focus on:
- SEO titles and description
- listing every day
- taking care of my “people”, which include: customers, sources and employees
Analyzing and researching is great, and you should definitely spend time google-ing away, reading up on discussion boards and test new strategies, but that should take a very small portion of your time. DOING the actual “day in and day out” business gives you a practical window of understanding of what the market wants, what they buy, their impulse value (how badly do they want it).
2. Fulfilling orders with non U.S payment options – what is the best way to overcome this obstacle when a source does not accept non U.S Paypal/credit card? Purchasing gift cards from the source is also not supportable.
As someone that is starting out to do business in US (and anywhere for that matter), you have to prove that you are not going to do anything illegal. It IS more common for people to run online businesses in 2017 than ever before and it’s important to always do it ethically and legally.
Especially as someone from outside US, you should feel fortunate and grateful that you have an opportunity to do business in US! So it’s imperative that you treat yourself as a professional at all times and ensure everything that you do follow the absolute best business practices. It’s also even more important for you to realize that you more likely have to wait longer than someone running this business from within US to grow your business, you will make lower profits, pay higher fees and have lower limits. But if you are in it for the long run, that shouldn’t be a concern, right? 🙂
So with that in mind, when you start out your drop shipping business, you should focus on dealing with sources that do allow international methods of payment (debit card/credit card/PayPal). I know David Vu suggests a number of sources in his course, and I can assure you that at least one of them accepts international payments.
Also, know that you can place orders using gift cards that you can purchase directly from the source, which is done through a different system that accepts international method of payments.
If a specific source does not accept your method of payment, then move to a source that does. So find a sources that is completely on-board with international payments and start listing! Don’t worry so much about wanting to work with sources that only accept US payments, simply because you heard other students make money off them. Focus on YOUR path and put yourself in the best position to succeed.
Grow your store by working with these sources and after a period in time, if you want to work with other sources, your instincts will show you exactly what you need to do to approach them.
There are sources that will initially refuse to do business with you strictly because you are an international dropshipper. HOWEVER after several months, if you can show you have a good track record in your dropshipping business, they will reconsider their decision and remove the flag. Allow time to give you the necessary experience and knowledge so you can trust your decisions. Allow your customer service interactions to teach you lessons about the business.
They teach us the HOW. The profit teaches us WHAT. And the grinding every day work in the store is the WHY
DON’T RUSH THE PROCESS!
3. How to handle the phone calls with the source when they flag your account for suspicious activity – I always have the fear of telling them the truth that I am a reseller since I think this is frown upon.
As per eBay official statement that can be found here: drop shipping or product sourcing is “allowed”. You can find out more information here: eBay Product Sourcing
Having said that, it doesn’t mean shady business IS also allowed, which in turn usually give a bad reputation for us “drop shippers”.
What this translates to is: if you conduct your business as a professional, you take care of your customers, you watch your DSR score and you have an optimized store, and do so in an ethical and legal matter, than eBay will work with you in any circumstance.
Therefore, if a source asks what you do, then you tell them the truth. You run a drop shipping service on eBay. You are, aren’t you? Legally? Ethically? Then what exactly are you afraid of when asking?
Be proud you are running your business and express that to your source when they ask you. They are asking because they are running a business themselves and they are trying to understand your motives. Are you here to make a quick buck, get a bunch of sales, take out the money from your PayPal account and run away? Because it has happened and it’s not fun for a source.
If a source flags your account, it just simply means they want to get to know you, so contact them, introduce yourself and your business and thank them for their time.
Be a professional!
4. What are the strategies you have been talking in the post?
I will provide a practical example to understand it better.
eBay has a Marketing section where you can create promotions and promoted listings.
They are both very different and I have ran 2 promotions and 2 promoted listings. I seem to have gotten better results with the promoted listings. Here is one I started Feb 21 until March 15th and while I only got one sale, I noticed that I got sales from the SAME category from a listing I selected to be promoted.
This is my first try at this, so I have very limited knowledge on it, but it seems to bring traffic to the store, and traffic is always good. Try something like that and see what results you will get. it took me 4 tries to really get results, you only learn as you do more.
Let me know in the comments below if you got any sales or results from your marketing promotions or promoted listings. Give it a minimum of a month, so you gather some data. Try either or, maybe promotions will work better for you.
5. Would love to know how many hours you spend a week and how many hours you outsource to VA’s. Also, to you think it’s possible to outsource more of the work, similar to what David is doing (I have not gone through his VA course yet, but it’s next on my list).
What a great question!
I personally treat this business as a full time, since it is my main source of income. I dedicate 8 hours a day to it, so while that might sound like something that is not feasible to everyone, it shouldn’t be. Not everyone wants to do eBay as a full time gig, and that’s totally fine! You can spent 2 hours a day or 14 hours a day, just understand that if you dedicate less time, it might take a while to reach your goal. And that’s also ok, because everyone wants different things in life. 🙂
It’s important we talk about goals, because you should define them first and then reverse engineer back to the # of hours you should invest in your eBay business.
Do you want to quit your full time job?
Do you want to buy a nice car, or you need down payment for a house?
Do you want to buy an engagement ring, do you want to pay for your wedding, or other personal expenses?
Do you want to go travel the world and make money to sustain that lifestyle? Do you want to live in another country and run an online business that is location independent?
DEFINE YOUR WHY.
Ask yourself why you want to do drop shipping and be as honest as you can with yourself, because that will determine the amount of hours you need to work at this per day.
I will give you my reason and you may adjust based on your needs and wants. I am doing this full time, because it’s my main source of income and it allows me to live in beautiful Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I don’t want to work a corporate job and I don’t want to work for anyone, really. I really enjoy selling, because it allows me to learn the psychology of the customer and it teaches me how to run an online business from “ground up”. I am an “apprentice” at this entrepreneurship, and I have a lot to learn.
When you first start out the business, you have to take the time to learn the process for yourself and once you do it for a while (minimum 6 months), you can decide if this something you want to do fulltime and you are making enough to allow you to invest in hiring someone to help you. Whatever you do, don’t hire a VA because you want to speed up the process, because it will not benefit you or your VA in the long run.
At this point in my business, several tasks have been passed on to my team, but I allowed them to grow in their role first. I do not compensate on hour, so I would not know how much time they spend daily, but they all have been hired on a premise to finish a number of listings a month.
If you are considering hiring a virtual assistant, I encourage you to check out David Dang Vu’s amazing udemy course on it, which goes over everything: How to Train your Virtual Assistant for eBay Drop Shipping
If you are stuck, have questions and are looking to learn how to make money online, check out my coaching services link below: