Build a dropshipping empire without losing your mind

Starting a dropshipping business is easy. It takes less than a day to create a Shopify or Magento online store. One would think that's all it takes and go to Hawaii only occasionally checking the bank account. However, those who have tried to make at least one sale are well aware that it is very hard to find time off work (especially, during the first year). Yet you can make your Hawaii dream closer to reality by delegating the main laborious and monotonous responsibilities to assistants. I'd like to share some solutions which we've managed to discover while simultaneously running several online retail services.
What happens to the time? Where does it go away? Every sale is the result of hard work. This is what lies behind the fast pace of time. It will take some time to find the product which can be sold for the margin that is enough for the business. A drop shipper often has to test dozens of various products until he finds the one generating enough profit. He also has to add new products to the website, set their prices, write descriptions that make the brand's style unique and, possibly, edit photos on a daily basis. Once this is done, the next step is to launch a small advertising campaign and get the first traffic to the product page. Doing this 30 times over and over again can make any online entrepreneur lose his mind. On the other hand, this is the only way to decide which goods are profitable for the business.

This is why, after following this pattern second time through, we decided to record a screencast with all the guiding steps from the moment of adding the product to leading a Facebook micro-campaign. The third time around, I asked my assistant to follow all the steps and show me descriptions, social media texts and the parameters of the audience and advertising budget. As a result, the standard several hours routine turned into 5 minutes of joint efforts.

Dropshipping requires spending a great amount of time on monitoring purchases, ordering products shipping on time from the supplier, tracking inventory and communicating with the customers. All these processes can be delegated step by step which we, actually, did! To start with, you should describe the desired workflow so that the assistant will know what working principles he should stick to. To illustrate: sending the product within an hour of ordering, changing the order's status to 'fulfilled', answering emails within an hour, etc. If you have already communicated with clients and answered typical questions like 'When did you send me my products?' or 'Excuse me, can you expedite the delivery?', you can share your experience with the assistant so that he will know how to answer. You will have to discuss the answers to new and unknown inquiries which will automatically increase your knowledge.

Order tracking, shipping and changing the order's status can be described in one screencast. During the first week, you should keep a close eye on how this workflow is implemented. From the second week on you can try to agree with your assistant on when and in what portions he or she should make work progress reports. It's getting much easier, isn't it?

Let's move on. Every online retailer has its customer database and the respective newsletter advertising schedule. How much time does it take to write a letter about the three new products from the store? Should you repeat this operation each and every time? Can you record a screencast? The answer is obvious - delegate this function. It is very convenient to have a single copywriter responsible for writing texts for the online shop. The assistant can communicate directly with him and send you the final version of the letter with images for your approval. The same thing should be done when you launch successful advertising campaigns for the second time with the same settings and oriented at the same audience. Just take a look: it is way faster to ask your colleague 'Set an 18% discount for the whole Christmas, please' than to turn on the computer, go to Shopify and log in and do the entire thing on your own.
The result is we have delegated almost every business operation including setting the discounts, changing the price, adding and hiding products, working with orders and communicating with customers. But there is more! There are some other functions outside your online outlet that can be entrusted to an assistant. Someone has to upload all the invoices and bills to the spreadsheet. Sometimes this procedure takes several hours a month. You can also ask your assistant to help make a preliminary selection of interesting products that suit your shop. This is especially helpful when you work with Aliexpress or any other shipping platform where you can search for goods by categories and sort them based on user rating.

After delegating all the above-mentioned responsibilities we saved about 80% of the time which we later spent on business development and new projects. Among other things we managed to start a project called 'Donetown' – a service providing assistance for entrepreneurs. We came up with this idea because prior to that we had a positive practice of hiring assistants. We believe that you should have time for ideas and hypotheses, for seeking new opportunities and additional audience segments, for self-improvement and research. If you do all the routine on your own, you won't be able to find time for those.
In the beginning, you can hire an assistant for a couple of hours a day. Then try to estimate how it works and how much free time you get from this. If you see progress during the first month and you have a lot of things to delegate, you can increase the number of your assistant's working hours. This is why 'Donetown' offers two tariffs: Pool (2 hours per day) and Genius (8 hours per day). You will see incredible progress during the first month of working with an assistant and, so, have more free time. Most importantly, you will forget about the routine and come up with new business ideas.
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Let's discuss your workload and we'll help you to determine the jobs you can effectively delegate to assistants.
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