How do you start an online business if you live in Eastern Europe? Who do you target it at and what promotional channels do you use? How do you make it legal? There are many questions that an ecommerce newcomer needs to deal with!
Today, we’re talking to Vladimir, an owner of 2 online stores, and discussing his personal experience in the field. As a successful dropshipping entrepreneur, he surely has some bits of wisdom to share. Let’s welcome him and ask how he started his business from Ukraine!
Hi, I am Vladimir, born and raised in Ukraine. I’ve been working online for over 12 years and making money from online marketing and advertising on the Internet. 3 years ago I also started my own drop-shipping business.
I chose the drop-shipping business model because it’s one of the few ecommerce strategies that lets you make decent profit without experience and spending much time and money. My education is technical and I wasn’t taught how to be a businessman. But my long history of doing digital marketing was more than enough to help me start.
I first heard about drop-shipping quite a long time ago but didn’t initially consider it as a serious business. It was only in 2017 when I changed my mind after I came across some Drop-ship materials explaining how this business model works. I liked that there are instruments that make dropshippers’ life easier and a qualified support service that helps a lot. The knowledge base was also detailed and priceless for a beginner with no experience. So that’s what convinced me to try it.
My first drop-shipping sale happened in 2 days after my store started working. It was a client from the USA who bought a multi-functional screwdriver set. My net income from this order was almost $20. I was really happy and satisfied with it.
In fact I did nothing extraordinary or complicated to achieve this first sale. All that I did was buy a domain, pay for hosting, import products from drop-shipping portal using the free extension from drop-shipping portal and post links to these products on social networks. And the result was not long in coming.
Now I have 2 drop-shipping stores. Here are their recent performance numbers:
When I was choosing business niches, the most important things for me were the products’ demand, popularity and price. Now I constantly monitor drop-shippers to see new arrivals and add them to my stores if I like them. I pay attention to suppliers’ rating, number of orders and customer reviews when I choose products. A reliable and proven supplier is very important if you want the business to work well.
Usually I double prices and get a 100% price markup. But sometimes it’s less than 100%: I compare final prices to Amazon and eBay prices and try to make them not very high.
I spend 1-2 hours every day on management. Mostly I spend this time to create interesting video reviews for my products. Sometimes there are business tasks that demand a lot of time and I look for solutions to help me complete them quicker. For example I use Drop-ship plugin, Social Rabbit plugin, Google Merchant and Facebook Business. These instruments are of great help when I need to import new products, create ad materials and see detailed analytics on store visits, sales and profits.
When I started my business I was placing paid ads in Google Merchant and Facebook. Now I try to step away from paid advertisements. I mainly promote my stores through social media: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and some others. Mostly I post video reviews of the products on social media. And I have a very diverse target audience. Even my returning customers are people from different countries, of different ages and genders.
I set up my business in a way that minimizes customers’ complaints. So buyers don’t usually have any problems with their orders.
There was a difficult case last year. A person mixed my store with some other store where he previously bought something and got scammed. So he wrote to me and demanded to return his money and insisted on it even after I explained that he’s wrong. He then wrote a complaint to PayPal but PayPal didn’t take any actions on me because I truly never received any payments from this person. And he even wanted to sue PayPal after this!
I asked him to make a screenshot of his payment with the name of the product he bought. After he sent it to me, I typed the name of his product in Google search. From the search results, I selected several sites with products matching the product name from the screenshot and sent them to him. I asked him to look at them and remember which one he really bought. In a few days, he wrote to me and said that he really was wrong and apologized a lot.
Yes, my business is 100% legal. I registered it in the USA, in Wyoming. There are simple requirements, especially if you are a non-resident. Now I only have to pay the registration fee and the payment for intermediary service. It is about $200 per year.
In many ways! First of all, I earn more now. I am not dependent on a fixed workplace, I have no boss, I plan my free and working time on my own, and I am emotionally satisfied with this business.
I plan to keep working on the business, develop it further and improve my sales and profits. Also I am thinking about new strategies that I can try to promote my products better.
My family helps me run the business and my friends are also interested. They constantly ask how it’s going but none of them have yet decided to start their own business.