Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What About Dropshipping?

In the last post, before the "Ike Interruption", I wrote about Looking to Yesterday to Find Tomorrow. Well, shortly after experiencing the "feeling good" that resulted from gaining a more clear perspective about who I was, where I had been, and where I wanted to go, I still couldn't help, at the same time, but to begin feeling a bit low and frustrated at my inability to connect with a way to make money on the internet. My husband was aware that I was trying to find my own niche, and one morning we started doing a little brain storming on this subject. Knowing I have a special love and connection to a certain "interest", we started discussing how I might focus on that area in a way I could build a business online. Now, we both agreed that the key that would best fit our lifestyle would be to find a way to not have to deal with physically pre-purchasing inventory, or, if avoidable, even personally being involved in the shipping of tangible products. So, our thoughts drifted towards the idea of dropshipping. In theory it sounded promising. Sell products, send orders to the wholesaler, and then have them to drop the order directly to the consumer. It could work. Hailing back to some of what I had learned in the Auctions For Income program, I headed to the computer to find what companies carried the specific types of products I would want to sell, and more importantly, which ones dropshipped.
To do my research, I began to check out the dropshipping companies I had bookmarked that had been suggested in the Auctions For Income course. A few had some products that fell under the category I was researching, but the quality and style was not at all what I had in mind. Also, the prices did not strike me as being anywhere close to what I thought would be wholesale. The more I looked, the more I began to suspect that many of these "dropshippers" suggested by the Auctions For Income program were probably people who had put together their own "dropshipping" store of products sold by other dropshippers…for not only did the higher prices make me think this, but also because the same products were showing up over and over from one vender to the other. Ok, so with my initial list of dropshipping companies exhausted (and removed from my computer bookmarks) the next step was to start looking at the specific products that I wanted to represent and see if I could deal directly with the manufacturer.

After a day of research and finding who to contact then sending e-mails to see if the companies did dropship, I began thinking about the fact that to do this, I would need to build a website. This website would have to be able to take orders, so I'd need a shopping cart program. The question of sales tax tugged at me…who would collect it and pay it? Where should I host my site? How will I drive traffic to this site? Oh yeah, how would I successfully build this wonderful website dedicated to my very special purpose when I'm not a web designer? Ok, no pressure. (Right!) About this same time my husband and I had been seeing a TV commercial advertising a company selling pre-constructed websites. They were promoted as "ready to go money-making sites". You would get some pre-built, and others you could fill with content of your choosing. Well, highly suspecting this offer would turn out to be nothing but a bunch of malarkey, I decided to finish off any speculations by calling the number. The pre-recorded message was such a hard sell "give us your credit card number now", without any live person to talk to or even a website to go to (yet remember, they are selling websites), I was very motivated to check them out on the internet and see if they had been reported to RipOffReport.com . Not only did I find they had already been reported, but I was able to find a few "scam" reviews of the company as well.
I really wasn't that bothered that the company came out to be as much a scam as we suspected it would be, but, I was a bit disheartened that I felt like I finally had an original idea (my special interest "niche") and really didn't know how I was going to do anything with it! Oh, and after checking my e-mails, I found that most of my ideal manufacturers did not dropship, though a few did. One even mentioned something called their "affiliate program", but since I had no idea what they were talking about I didn't dig into it any further. Before I contacted any more companies, I wanted to figure out how I would be able to build and promote my business. The last thing I wanted to do was create some good business contacts then let them grow cold because I was not prepared, educated or knowledgeable about how to proceed and actually do business.
Since my mind was "warmed up" to be searching online, I started researching for any and all pieces of information relating to building an online business or for work at home opportunities I could find. Oh my stars, what a minefield. Have you ever just sat down and searched online for terms like "work from home", “make money online", "how to make money online"? If you try it, you'd be wise to put yourself and your computer on high ground first, for you will be flooded with a sea of opportunities…mind you, I didn't say good opportunities. With all the results that reeked of hype, get rich quick schemes, and shady looking sites, I decided that a bit more fine tuning of what I wanted to find was in need. Instead of continuing to wade through all this waste water (just to stay in line with my little analogy I have going on!), I decided to go offline, and think. What did I want to achieve? What was it I was really searching for online? In order to keep myself from falling victim to a poor choice or worse yet, a scam, I had to have a well defined idea of what it was I was seeking to obtain at this point of trying to build my online business.

There were two points I was clear on:
1. I had a solid idea on what I wanted to build my business around.
2. I accepted that I had little to no knowledge on how to get started building my online business.

What I was seeking online:
1. I wanted a program that would teach me how to build an online business.
i. The program would have to offer me true knowledge, details, explanations, examples and instructions.
2. I wanted a program that was honest.

With my goals clearly defined, I set out to find my teacher.


Dustin said...

*Whew* ok, now I'm all caught up on all your posts!

I like that you seem to be writing this as an autobiography of sorts with each post being another chapter. I can appreciate, too, what you were saying about an online business continuing to run even if you have to evacuate! The same thought had crossed my mind considering that I too live on the gulf coast. When Ike was still several days out, it had people all around here scrambling!

So, out of curiosity, are we in the present with your story yet? Is that still a little bit of a way to go?

Annie T. Baxter said...

Hi Dustin! Thank you so much for reading the blog from the beginning...that's a lot of reading! Regarding where we are in the timeline, we are still "out to sea" with the story.

As to when the entries will be "real-time", making that prediction is about as certain as saying where a hurricane will make landfall! Stay tuned, for more installments are on the way!

Thanks again, Annie