24 Nov 2017
Have you ever typed “how to make money online” into Google, desperately hoping that somewhere in the 192 million search results, you’ll find a way?
In 2016 my life completely changed when my girlfriend told me she wanted us to move from Israel to Germany to do her master’s degree. And whilst I was super excited to live with her in another country, there was one huge problem I found out soon after we landed… it was IMPOSSIBLE to get a job without speaking German.
So instead of learning German, I did what most people do when they’re stuck, I turned to the internet. I found all kinds of scams, get rich schemes and online courses promising you’ll be a millionaire in 3 days.
But amongst them, I saw a YouTube video talking about how to become an eBay dropshipper. I admit, at the time I laughed at it, and wondered how anyone could possibly make money competing with over 168 million eBay sellers.
However, with no luck finding anything else, and my bank balance getting lower by the day, I decided to put my skepticism aside and try to learn how to drop ship on eBay...
I soon found that trying to do it alone was much harder than I first thought...
I couldn't even answer basic questions like; What products would I sell? How would I find them? How much profit should I make to cover eBay fees? What happens if a customer complains? What’s a “niche”?
So I joined a small online eBay to Amazon dropshipping community. It offered some basic training videos to get me started, and soon after, with some excitement, I started listing my first items.
So I tried 2 different methods:
1. I’d go straight to Amazon and search through different category “best sellers”, copying the titles into eBay to see if they could be sold for more. If they could, I’d list them.
2. Alternatively, I’d go to eBay and see what hot selling items my competitors were selling. Then I’d copy the item into Amazon to see if there was a big enough price difference to make a profit.
I was managing to list 180 items/month but only about 20 of these “hot selling” items were actually selling. That was less than 1 per day - and whilst occasionally I’d get lucky and make $5 profit on an item, sometimes I didn’t make any profit at all.
For my first 4 months, I persisted, trying exactly the same thing but still, I was only making between $60 - $100, and my inbox was filling with emails from eBay saying “sorry, your item didn’t sell”.
And as Christmas approached, I began to get frustrated. I was convinced that dropshipping could work. As a business model it was exactly what I’d been looking for, low cost, low risk, very scalable and could be run from anywhere.
What was more frustrating was that I’d managed to sell a few items for a decent profit but the problem was that I didn’t know how to consistently find profitable items. For every great item I found, 20 more in my store weren’t selling.
So one day I reached out for help…
Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I noticed a post similar to this in the dropshipping community I’d joined:
How was it that this guy was finding all these items that were selling like crazy whilst I was struggling to even make $100 in profit?!
He wasn’t working 10x more than me, so what was I missing?
I fired off a message to him:
“I need your help, I’ve been trying for 4 months now, what’s your secret?”
And to my surprise, he actually replied.
Sadly he didn’t tell me his secret. But instead, he sent me a link to a phone, told me to list it on eBay and then use it to work out what I was doing wrong myself.
Curious by this, I took his advice. When just 4 hours later, I heard the distinctive eBay noise:
It had sold...for $5 profit.
And 2 hours after that...
Another sale! I’d struck GOLD!
I felt fantastic, but still, I was confused. Why was it that this phone could be sold for such a $5 profit and how could I find other items just like this?
So I made it my mission to find out.
The first thing I noticed was that Amazon restricted me to only ordering 4 phones.
And then it hit me.
All this time I’d been searching for items by checking the “best sellers” list on Amazon which focuses solely on demand. What I hadn’t been doing, was looking at the supply. Think about it, if a product sells 100 times a day, it might sound great, but how would I know if it really was without looking at the total supply too?
So I created my own formula. I’d find an item, then copy the product title back into eBay to find all the listings. From that, I’d use eBay to tell me the total amount sold and the total amount listed.
Quite quickly a pattern emerged. Every item that was worth dropshipping was selling at least 60% of the total supply.
Finally, I had a way to check if an item should sell before I’d even listed it!
And then by sheer luck, I saw a seller with only 96% positive feedback that stocked a tiny phone with the title as “the world’s smallest phone”.