The convenience of the dropshipping model makes it a relatively easy business to set up.
With no inventory to deal with and thus no orders to fulfill, these are two big worries off the plates of dropshipping merchants.
That’s why many first-time ecommerce entrepreneurs gravitate towards the model when deciding to start a business.
And as they progress and gain experience, many of them eventually move on to other set-ups and ventures.
It’s certainly a recurring trend with many of the successful entrepreneurs we’ve spoken to.
But what do they advance to and what pastures lie beyond their initial affair with dropshipping?
In this post, we take a look at how dropshipping has served as a stepping stone for entrepreneurs and what they’ve dabbled and found success in since their first store.
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1. Traditional Ecommerce
By and far, traditional ecommerce is one of the most common business structures dropshippers progress to and a very natural next step.
For Cole Donovan, it’s what he plans to do for the rest of his life.
Following his success in dropshipping, he decided he wanted more control over his supply chain. He’s now working directly with suppliers from China, sourced through contacts he made from the ecommerce community.
In the mid-term, he plans to launch his own fully US-based product line to further differentiate himself from his competitors.
“So completely US fulfillments, US manufacturing, my own product lines that I have copyrighted images to that no one else can sell, and custom packaging,” says Cole.
The end goal he’s working towards, however, is to be able to build a business that he can sell “for multiple millions.”
“I think that should be the end goal for anyone that actually wants to build a business to sell.”
2. Marketing Agency
The heavy emphasis on marketing for any dropshipping business means it’s a skill that you need to not only pick up but also excel at for your store to be profitable.
Once equipped with all that knowledge, one of the best ways to put it to good use (other than on your own business) is to impart it.
That’s exactly what business partners and friends Rodney and Kory have done.
After driving their dropshipping business to self-sustainability, the pair started a marketing agency.
“Because we learned so much from kinda just doing this whole business, we’re like, ‘Why don’t we just help other businesses out there that have no idea what they’re doing?’” says Rodney.
And the transferability of marketing skills means they’re able to help more than just dropshipping and/or ecommerce stores. Their clientele includes local retail and service businesses like painting companies, brick-and-mortar jewelry stores, orthodontists, and chiropractors.
3. Ecommerce Website Design Course
When talent flows through your veins, it’s hard to not want to dedicate all your time and effort to it.
Like Cole, entrepreneur Chester Lee has also transitioned to private labeling his products after first starting with dropshipping. But that’s not the only project he has since started.
Coupling his dropshipping experience with his passion for design, the latter of which he says is his secret to success, Chester has also created his very own website design course aimed at ecommerce businesses.
With around a dozen students signed up, Chester is giving it his all, tailoring his course content to them.
His long-term plan?
To eventually expand the course and “make the best course out there for design for ecommerce” so ecommerce entrepreneurs have the skill and knowledge needed to drive their online business to long-term and sustainable success.
Failing – multiple times – before finding success is part of the entrepreneurial journey and dropshipping is absolutely no exception to this unwritten rule.
Once the steep learning curve and its challenges involved are overcome, it’s natural to look back and think: If only I had help.
This is why many dropshippers start to offer mentoring services. After all, they, more than anyone else, understand where help and guidance are most needed.
Some, like Rodney, Kory, and Emma, have created a Facebook group to bring together those who are on the same dropshipping journey.
Others, like husband-and-wife team Shishir and Namrata, started The Dropshipping Council, a community of experts brought together to coach mid-level dropshippers.
There are even those like Kamil Sattar, who is doling out free dropshipping and ecommerce advice on his YouTube channel.
Whatever shape or form it takes, mentorship is definitely one of the most common post-dropshipping ventures entrepreneurs embark on.
5. Other Income Sources
Many pro dropshippers agree on the importance of building systems to turn the business into an efficient, self-sustaining machine.
Once that’s done, most outsource part of the work and only dedicate a couple of hours a day to ensure the wheels are oiled while they spend the rest of their time on other projects.
And if there’s anyone who’s squeezing every drop of knowledge and skill gained from dropshipping, it’s Kamil.
With five streams of income and his dropshipping business counting as one of them, the Ecom King has used the experience gained to create new money sources.
Among them are a resale business, which he started before his dropshipping store, the above-mentioned YouTube channel, from which he can earn up to $5,000 a month, a mentoring program, and a web development company.
Your options are endless.
Whether you want to keep dropshipping as a passive income source, move on to private labeling your product, or start a complementary business like a marketing or design agency, the business world is your oyster.
And the very first step to these endless possibilities is to just start.