Like most people on this planet, I would love to sit around all day sipping margaritas on the beach while Tom Hardy rubs me down with baby oil.
Unfortunately, money does not grow on trees. I have bills to pay, and things that I would like to do that require financial investment.
That’s where Dropshipping with Aliexpress comes in.
Like I mentioned in my previous post Stealth Camping 101, living in a car, van, or RV is much cheaper than owning a house, but it’s far from free.We still have things that we need to pay for every month like insurance, gas, and the occasional overnight adventure.
Restaurant Life is Draining
My boyfriend is an actual upstanding member of society and works a full time job 50+ hours a week. I, on the other hand, have been slacking. Hard.
But before you get all huffy about my newfound life of leisure, lets talk restaurant work for a second. It’s been my life for the past fifteen years.
Think of the show Hell’s Kitchen. Gordon Ramsay is kind of a douche, right? Well, in professional kitchens, real life chefs act like that ALL THE TIME. Sure, he’s being dramatic for TV, but his behavior has rubbed off on an entire generation of cooks.
These guys think that because they can cook a chicken breast they now deserve to treat everyone else like garbage.
Have you ever had a steak thrown at your head? I have, and I didn’t even cook the damn thing! I was plating up a dessert in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught in the cross fire.
In the immortal words of Roger Murtaugh “I’m too old for this shit”
Falling for Internet Scams
I walked away from that life back in November, and I hope to never go back to it again, which got me to thinking..
How the hell do I make money without working?
First thing I did when I got home, was to consult the internet. What I found, was a mess of multilevel marketing, and get rich quick scams aimed at moms.
Because I’m a woman of a certain age, I am in a group that is often susceptible to pyramid schemes. Everyone I grew up with seems to be involved in some plot to sell shakes, wraps, oils, or leggings. The fact is, that stuff just doesn’t work.
Well, the leggings work...they’re just REALLY ugly.
I’ve seen first hand how Herbalife preyed on all my low income Hispanic coworkers over the years, so when the women in my friend groups started having kids, and began peddling Rodan & Fields, I saw through it right away.
Clearly, that was out of the question.
Next on the list was dropshipping. If you don’t know what dropshipping is, here’s a quick run down:
Find a supplier with a cheap product- usually something from China
Build a Shopify Website to sell that product, but pretend it’s yours and charge 3x more for it.
Talk customers into buying the product.
Once a purchase is made, you buy the product cheap from China and have it sent directly to your customer.
Keep the difference in price.
Easy peasy right? Well if you’re Sarah from Wholesale Ted, sure! You just go online and suddenly you’re balls deep in hundred dollar bills!
If you’re me on the other hand, you dig yourself into a logistical nightmare of Chinese New Year, and unhappy customers.
The only reason I decided to give this a go, was because there was no upfront cost. I got a free two week trial of Shopify, and after that, it was only $29 a month. Everything else was totally free. The only thing I had to pay for was the item once my customer ordered it.
Now, I’m not saying droppingshipping doesn’t work for anyone, but for the majority of people, it’s way more hassle than it’s worth.
My Personal Experiences With Dropshipping
I started my site on January 24th. In the first weekend, I made 4 sales, and over $100 bucks in profit. Not too bad considering my site looked like crap. So I figured, if the sales were coming in, I should make my site as beautiful as possible.
Over the next two weeks, I spent 50 hours working on item descriptions, optimizing my photos, and editing my code so my site would look flawless. But after those 4 sales guess what, I never had another sale again.
I am totally stumped as to what I did wrong. I followed Sarah’s advice, and spent so many hours on SEO, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. But still, the traffic never showed.
I was given $100 credit to use for Google Adwords when I started my site, and I know a good portion of my initial traffic came from that, which I’m ok with. What I’m not ok with, was matching that $100 and not getting 1/5th of the traffic that the first $100 did, even with using the same campaign.
Was I sabotaged by a fellow dropshipper hell bent on destroying the competition?
To top off my dropshipping experience, two of the four customers are now returning their items because the shipping is “taking too long.”
Customers Can Suck
Did I forget to mention that the shipping time associated with these orders is insane?
Not true. I have disclosed my shipping times on each item page, the shipping page, the checkout page, and on the Thank You email that gets sent when they place an order. But for some reason I have two of four people returning items, because they are taking too long to arrive. Go figure.
I’m now stuck in a limbo. I still have this site up and running, hoping maybe the SEO will kick in at some point and I’ll suddenly get a huge bump in traffic for free. But now it’s Chinese New Year and apparently everyone takes three weeks off work. Do I go back into each of my pages and amend the shipping to say 4-8 weeks? I’m confused!
It’s a no win situation.
My “no cost” business venture has now cost me almost $200 in advertising, returned merchandise, and Shopify fees.
I can’t believe I drank the Kool-Aid.
I’m curious, have any of you tried dropshipping with Aliexpress? If so, have you made any money from it?
I’m willing to be a part of it for the long haul, but I have this nagging feeling that something isn’t right about this business model. I should have trusted the feeling in my gut when Aliexpress themselves put a hold on my credit card. It’s something they do to all new buyers apparently.
Eventually I got it cleared up, but it all just feels so…wrong.
Maybe I need to test more products and try something different.
Either way, tell me about your experiences in the comments below, and let me know if you think I should just close this Shopify account completely and move on to Amazon FBA 🙂
My boyfriend and I live in a 1989 Ford Econoline in a fairly large city on the West Coast. We didn’t know anything about vans before we moved into one, but we have learned a ton over the past two years.
Vancognito is a website where we can share the knowledge we’ve accumulated along the way with you. We will share tips and tricks, as well as certain life hacks we’ve picked up along the way.
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