How to Start a Dropshipping Store on a Budget or Even For Free!

Learning how to start my first dropshipping store was the the best thing that had ever happened for me financially. I went from making $200 a month with my online business to over $5,000 during my best months. From running and selling my dropship stores, I've been able to save up over a quarter of a million dollars which I have now used to start other businesses and create passive income. But honestly, you shouldn't think too far ahead as if I did when I first started, I never would have actually did it. The problem when I first started dropshipping in 2013 was that there was little to no information out there on how to do it. The problem now in 2017 is that there is way too much info and it's confusing and sometimes contradicting.

Here's everything you need to know about starting a dropshipping store. I'm going to show you how to do it with or without the help of a paid course, and teach you everything I learned from starting and running multiple stores myself as well as helping dozens of people with theirs. In total, my stores have made well over $1 million dollars in sales, and combined with my partners, we've made close to that amount in profit as well. My goal is to be able to help everyone start a profitable dropshipping store regardless of your budget, experience, or situation as dropshipping truly changed my life, and I to give you the same opportunity to change yours. Keep reading and get ready to take action as this is the only post you'll ever need to get started.

What You Need:

Starting a dropshipping store is now easier than ever and I'm going to give you everything you need to start, even if you have much money to work with. When I started three years ago, the only source of information was Anton's course which even though is still very good today, a lot of people complain that it is expensive and that they wish there was a faster, cheaper, and easier way to start dropshipping. The good news is, there is, and I'm going to share it with you.

However, that doesn't mean Anton's method is bad or not worth the price tag. His is still the only course out there that teaches you step by step through over the shoulder video walkthroughs how to get approved by U.S. based suppliers who sell expensive items (think $300-$3,000 items). He's also the only course that shows you how to use google ads as your primary way to advertise. It's with his course that I was able to build two very solid businesses that I have been able to make over $250,000 in profit from running these stores and flipping them for profit. You can read more about selling my stores here

So if Anton's Dropship Lifestyle course is so good, why am I sharing these other free and low cost courses with you today? Well it's mainly because, if you had the money to sign up for DSL, you probably would have already. The fact that you're still reading this means you probably don't have $1,000+ to spend on a course and want to learn how to do it for free or on a budget, so here it is, everything you need to know to start a profitable dropshipping store on a budget. 

Ecommerce Platforms

If you're on a budget, you might be tempted to use Woocommerce or build your dropship store off of a free platform like Wordpress. However, trust me on this, you'll end up spending way more money buying the plugins, templates, and software you'll need, not to mention the developer time and trouble shooting when things break, than if you just used an affordable dedicated ecommerce platform solution instead. If you plan on using Wordpress, aside paying for hosting, you'll also need to pay a developer to troubleshoot issues that will definitely come up, and you'll need to pay for themes and plugins that come for free with Shopify built in. 

Shopify has hundreds of developers on staff which basically means your $29 a month is paying for you to constantly get upgrades, software updates, new features, and your site running smoothly because of them. With Woocommerce, you'll need to pay $59 for a decent theme, $49 a year for important plugins, $59 a year for add on extensions, plus $10-$50 an hour for a wordpress developer to fix things or update your site as it gets outdated or has issues. 

Even then your woocommerce store probably won't look or convert as good as a basic Shopify store using one of their free themes and only using free apps, which is why for the past few years the industry standard for online stores has been Shopify as they really are the best, easiest to use, and most affordable. So just trust me on this and use this Shopify Free Trial Coupon to get a discount off your first 3 months and a free trial when you create your store. This is step #1. 

Hint: You can just choose a generic store name for now, as you can change always it later. I'd suggest something like "YourNameStore01" to start.

Find Dropship Products

The easiest way to find products from suppliers that are willing to dropship is to connect your Shopify account with Oberlo which will help you find and add products from places like Aliexpress to your dropshipping store with just a couple of clicks. You can also manually find and add products from Aliexpress yourself by watching videos like this and searching for items that ship using fast epacket instead of slow economy shipping that takes 4-8 weeks, which I explain why in this video. 

If you want to learn how to find U.S. suppliers you can watch this video or go through Anton's course as that's what he specializes in. But if you're just getting started, especially if you're on a budget, then going through Aliexpress using the free Oberlo app is definitely the easiest way to get started. If you have no idea what any of that means, or just want a video tutorial to walk you through it all and show you how it's done, I would recomend watching the free webinar training course that Shopify made in house with one of their team members as it's probably the best free resource out there right now.

If you want to learn more, Oberlo has some decent PDF guides on starting a dropshipping store that you can check out below. 

Free Dropshipping Courses

The biggest difference between a free and paid course is going to be how much detail your instructor goes into in making the course itself as well as answering questions afterwards. If you think about it, if your instructor actually knows what they are talking about, they better have a big incentive to take the time to teach beginners how to do the same as not only is it a big use of their time that they could be using to build their own stores, but it also creates competition. That being said, if you want your handheld, phone coaching, or even a done for you package you can pay guys like Anton to build the store for you in his "done for you package" build a store, add products, drive traffic, and hand it over to you when it's done. Those are options if you want things done for you and your hand held.

If you don't mind doing things yourself or don't have the budget to have it done for you, the best free training is definitely Shopify's Webinar as they have an incentive to help you as much as possible as they only get paid if you build a profitable store as the longer you are profitable, the longer you'll continue paying the $29 a month hosting, or possibly even upgrade to their $79+ a month plans once your store makes enough sales to justify the higher plans. 

How to Get Traffic

The hardest part of running a successful dropshipping store is getting profitable return on your investment for paid ads. When I first started following Anton's course, google shopping ads were less than 70 cents per click which means I was only spending on average $200-$300 a month in ads while making over $20,000 in sales for my stores. With my most recent store I was spending over $1,000 in ads to make a similar amount. This is a huge reason why I was pushing Anton's course so hard over these past few years even when no one believed dropshipping worked and the entire internet called it a scam or some type of con-artistry. Now that there are literally tens of thousands of people with successful dropshipping stores, it's pretty hard to deny that it's always been a great business model. 

Aliexpress sellers primarily sell lower priced items that don't do well on google shopping use facebook ads an instagram to promote his products and recomend you do the same with your stores. Whatever you do, don't make the fatal mistake of trying to combine bits and pieces of information from different sources to do it on your own. The reason why so much information out there seems contradicting is because it is. You need to run different traffic for different types of products. This is why if you want to be successful and profitable, you need to follow one system and don't sway from it. Where you follow the free course by Shopify, the dropship lifestyle course by Anton, or even my free Dropshipping Labs course choose one and don't listen to any other information until you've done everything they said and built yourself a profitable store that started to make sales. 

If you need some motivation, make sure you join the member's only facebook groups for each course after you sign up as it'll give you some inspiration while you are building your first store. 


Get Started Today

If you don't have some type of online business and dream about being location independent, being your own boss or being able to work from your laptop wherever you are. Get on it! Dropshipping is the best way to start an online business and regardless of which of the three paths you take to do it, you will have success as long as you follow the steps exactly, don't make excuses, and actually put in the work. 

Dropshipping isn't easy, but neither is any real business, online or off. But if you ask me if it's worth it, the answer is YES. If it wasn't for me building my first two dropshipping stores, I never would have had the money, time, skills, or confidence to do what I do now. I've been saying it for 3 years now and still believe from the bottom of my heart that everyone should start by selling physical products through dropshipping as it truly is the easiest, most straightforward way of making money online, while teaching you valuable skills that can be transferred to other businesses down the road. It's never been as easy to start, and who knows what will happen in the future, so get on it today. Scroll back up, choose a method, and promise yourself that you'll build your first store and stop putting it off any longer. 

If you don't have the money to join a course, just start with Shopify's free webinar training. You have no excuses on why you can't start today.  And if somehow you didn't get enough info from the above post, here are free videos I made that teach you dropshipping. 

My Advice to Friends:

If you're a citizen of the U.S., Australia, and maybe other places like Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, you can start with building a real business as Anton teaches as it's something that you can sell or scale up in the future, just like an actual business. 

If you're not from one of the above countries, don't have the time or money to invest to start a real business and just want to make some income on the side, then start with dropshipping from aliexpress as I shown above.

If you really don't want to learn how to do any of that, and don't' want to have to learn how to use shopify, facebook ads, google ads, etc, and just want to see if it's even possible to make a few hundred dollars a month online quickly and easily, then start with David Vu's ebay course.

Either way, use the money and experience you learn from any of the above to then scale up in the future. This is what I earnestly and honestly recomend to everyone, including my personal friends and family. I've even created a 100% Free Dropshipping Course for everyone to learn from. 

I hope all of this info helps!

P.S. If you want to save some cash on everything you'll need to start your dropshipping store, you can download my Dropshipping Discounts PDF here.

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. Thanks, Johnny. I had not heard of Dropship Legacy and will check it out along with the other info (videos) you posted.

    I appreciate it. Dropshipping is still my dream (I recently started an affiliate site but I'm gung-ho for a DS store).

    1. Happy to share, I still think dropshipping is the best first online business so it's definitely the most straightforward way to start. Let me know how it goes!

  2. Hi Johnny!

    What exactly do you mean with "building a real business", is it having your own inventory or what?

    Kind regards from Sweden.

    1. In this case, mostly building a business that you can sell for 27x monthly profit after a year if you chose to.

  3. Hi Johnny, thanks for sharing your road map. Is dropshipping possible in smaller countries like South Africa?

  4. Hey Hanro, Dropshipping in S. Africa and other newer to ecommerce countries will 100% be possible and very profitable one day. I don't know if that day will be today, this next, or in 5 years but whoever figures it out first will be very rich and have a great headstart. However it'll take a lot of work as you'll be a pioneer. That being said, for most people, I'd start with dropshipping from aliexpress instead, and if you can make that happen, then try it with Anton's method after.

  5. Thanks for the great article Johnny, you made this new venture fun & exciting!I do have a question about something you had mentioned earlier with Shopify, though. You indicated that we are able to change our domain name later on. Do you mean within the store once you have created the initial one to have access or do you mean by opening a new store/account? Your help would be very appreciated as I have created a domain to access my free 14 day trail the way you had mentioned above, but would like to change the domain completely now. Any suggestions? I have only created the account, nothing has been imported.

  6. Hi Johnny, this post has been informative. :) Could you share the time commitment required of this business, like how much time you spend running your shopify store after it takes off? And for yourself, how long did it take before it starts to take off?

    1. Hey glad to help. For me it took 2 months to go from start to having my first sale, but that was with taking a course that helped me through the process step by step. ( for those who try to figure it out on their own, they often get stuck and take longer.

      After the store is running, I usually spend 10 hours a week on it if i'm just maintaining it and not adding new products or growing it.

  7. Hi Johnny, I really appreciate what you are doing to teach people about drop shipping but what's in it for you? Why teach all this for free?

    1. I'm happy to help as a lot of people helped me when I first got started. I also sign up as an affiliate to anything that I am going to recomend anyways like books, courses, hosting, software, etc, so I can get a referral credit if you sign up using my links.


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