With a growing family, Jeff Neal knew he had to increase his income.
“My wife wanted to stay home, so I had to take full responsibility as the sole provider,” he says.
However, between a full-time job and raising his children, he didn’t have a lot of extra time for a second job. Instead, he decided a flexible side hustle would be a better option for his schedule.
Since he already worked in ecommerce, he focused his research on similar ways he could make money online. He ended up launching The Critter Depot, a site that sells live crickets.
He now makes over $600 per month from his business. Best of all, he never deals with crickets himself. Instead, he makes his money by drop shipping.
What is drop shipping? It’s a great way to start your own retail business. Like Jeff, you could turn it into an excellent source of extra income.
What is drop shipping?
Using the internet to sell products can be a lucrative way to make money. However, acting like a retail shop means you have to store inventory and manage shipping. It can be incredibly time-consuming, and you could even run out of space in your home while storing things you intend to sell.
A drop shipping business solves this problem. Instead of stocking inventory, you don’t have to store any products or ship items to customers. As a drop shipper, you simply sell the products — a wholesaler or producer stores, packs, and ships the items on your behalf.
In Jeff’s case, drop shipping was an ideal solution for both his site and his wholesaler’s bottom line.
When he did his research online, he found that there was a real need in the niche pet care industry. Reptile and exotic pet owners needed live crickets to feed their pets, but they can be hard to find and expensive, especially in rural areas.
Jeff discovered that selling crickets in bulk could be a solution to many pet owners’ problems, but raising them can be tricky.
“I don’t know anything about raising crickets,” Jeff says. “They have short lifespans and unique nutritional and environmental needs. It’s a lot of work that takes a lot of knowledge.”
Instead of breeding crickets himself, Jeff found a cricket farmer to care for and ship the crickets for him. Jeff provides his expertise and web skills to sell the crickets, and the farmer gets more exposure and sells more insects. Jeff says his website generates approximately $3,000 a month in sales, and he takes home $600 of that amount.
How to get started
If you’re intrigued by the idea of starting a drop shipping business, it isn’t difficult to get started. Some research and planning are all you need.
1. Identify a product
First, you need to identify a product to sell. Although there are hundreds of drop shipping businesses that sell clothes, books, or shoes, some of the best-performing drop shippers follow Jeff’s approach and cater to a niche market.
For example, instead of selling just shoes, targeting customers with hard-to-fit shoe sizes can make you stand out from the competition, netting you more sales.
2. Locate an experienced supplier
Before you can get your business off the ground, you need someone who is experienced in fulfilling drop shipping orders, will use your name on all shipment materials, and can complete orders on time.
There are many supplier lists you can purchase online, but be cautious before spending the money. Because those lists are so widely available, using a supplier from them can mean you’ll face intense competition from other drop shippers for the same products. If many people are trying to buy the same items, the prices can rise and cut into your profits.
A better idea is to attend trade shows in your industry. You can meet a number of excellent suppliers at once and identify several who might be willing to work with you on your drop shipping business.
If trade shows aren’t common in your area, search online for suppliers in your region by looking for your target product and keywords like supplier, wholesaler, or dealer.
3. Create a store site
Once you have a source for your product, set up your store and start selling. Jeff originally sold his crickets on Amazon, but found that their requirements for drop shippers were too stringent. Instead, he transitioned his shop onto his own website.
If you have coding skills, you can build your own site and online store with services like WordPress. However, that doesn’t mean only skilled webmasters can create a drop ship site.
Sites like Oberlo allow you to create a drop shipping site quickly and easily. Best of all, Oberlo is free if you fulfill 50 orders or less a month. If you sell more products than that, you’ll need to sign up for a higher-tier plan.
What to consider before jumping in
Although drop shipping can be a lucrative side hustle, there are some drawbacks to consider before opening your store.
Just because you don’t have to worry about inventory or shipping doesn’t mean there’s no time commitment. Building your store and getting traffic can take a lot of effort, which can make finding a balance between work and your personal life stressful. For example, Jeff still spends a couple hours every day on his site.
“I don’t have a television, so when I come home from work, I just spend time playing with the kids and catching up with my wife,” he says. “Once they’re in bed, I work on optimizing my websites, contributing to forums, and building links to my sites.”
Before pursuing drop shipping, make sure you have the time to dedicate to building your business.
Making extra cash
When you’re struggling to make ends meet, a side gig can be a lifesaver — but finding one that pays a decent wage can be tricky. That’s what makes starting an online business so appealing.
If you have the time and energy to invest in getting your business off the ground, drop shipping could be the key to earning money on your own. For more inspiration, follow these side hustle blogs.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|