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Case study

How this college student generated $224,923 in 3 months by dropshipping with Spocket

By
Enina Bicaku

Many of us have found ourselves daydreaming of the day we can be our own boss, set our own hours, and create our own success. You may be a secret creative sitting in a daunting office waiting for the clock to strike 5, or an avid traveler with an insatiable desire to go where the exotic winds take you.

Either way, the thought of entrepreneurship gave you a rush, brought a sparkle to your eye and added a bounce to your step. It may very well be the reason that brought you here today! 

Being an entrepreneur in the digital age has become easier than ever, but not without its trials and tribulations. We wanted to give you proof that starting a dropshipping business can help you become an entrepreneur. But most importantly, we wanted to show you how to be successful at it.

We spoke to fortified dropshippers like Kyle Borawski, who used Spocket to make this very dream, a reality. He started his online store back in his senior year of college, and had continued to grow his store after he graduated in May 2019. He generated over $224,923 in sales from August to October 2019. With over $85,205 generated in October alone, he managed to be wildly successful with his online store by dropshipping products with Spocket. Don’t believe us? Here’s the proof:

How to make money online with Spocket

But before we continue with Kyle’s success story, we will ask a burning question. 


What in the world is "Dropshipping"?

We're glad you asked! Dropshipping is the solution a budding entrepreneur like yourself might be looking for. 


Let's say you've managed to create a catchy website with a beautiful aesthetic. You’ve got your niche down, and you're ready to start making some money. The only problem is, where are you going to find these products, and how are you supposed to manage inventory and shipping, along with screening dropshipping suppliers and products for quality? 

 

The best way to answer that question is, you don't have to!

Spocket has bridged the gap from you to the supplier. You can pick and push an array of the best dropshipping products for your niche market, and from the first order to 1000’s of orders daily, Spocket will control the quality and ensure timely shipping to your customers. All without you having to deal with any of the inventory, upfront costs, supplier relationships, and headache.


How does dropshipping work

To make things short and sweet:

  • You never have to handle inventory or deal with upfront costs
  • The world is your oyster! - Everyone can be your customer
  • Access to handpicked high-quality dropshipping suppliers with products from the USA and Europe 
  • You have the flexibility of a remote job from home
  • You save time and effort so that you can focus on your eCommerce and marketing

With Spocket, your only concern now lies in taking the leap and starting your eCommerce business. So, we’ve decided that we can help you out with that as well! 


We asked Kyle all of the questions you may have on starting a dropshipping business to give you a first-hand perspective on how you can start, and what steps you can take to get you one step closer to the life you dreamed of. 


Dropshippers take many forms and in the case of Kyle Borawski, he was a college student with an innate need to have flexibility and a remote job from home. He gives us a first-person perspective on his journey, along with his secrets to a successful dropshipping business. 


With these tips and tricks, we hope to inspire you to take the leap into entrepreneurship, and help you make your dreams a reality.


Kyle’s Story: From $0 to $85,205 a Month


Planning an eCommerce Business

Why eCommerce?

I have always aspired to generate a source of income, whilst working remotely. eCommerce allows this, and this is the main reason why it appealed to me and why it appeals to so many others. The idea of working nine-to-five was always scary to me, and I wasn’t interested in going down that route. 


You need the drive and the aspiration to succeed in online business. For example, I graduated from Coastal Carolina University. But during that time, I was more interested in starting a dropshipping business. My interest was making my side hustle as successful as possible, and I was going to put the majority of my energy into that. 


And a lot of patience and putting in the work, It paid off.


How did you choose a name for your eCommerce business?


When choosing a name, you have to consider your niche. Every time you think of a name, it has to resonate with the people within that niche market. This can be as simple as two steps:


  • Do your research. This is crucial in all steps of developing and maintaining an eCommerce business. But when choosing a name for an eCommerce business, it’s essential. 
  • Choose a name and logo that means something to you; that creates a feeling for you. That’s how I have come up with my names. If I don’t feel it, I don’t start it.

KB // MEDIA logo

Source: Sample logo created by Kyle

I consider myself an artist first, and this gave me a competitive advantage. The execution of the store name and logo are the most crucial parts. It’s also important to create a story with each visual that connects with your target market, this will strengthen your legitimacy and brand.

How did you decide on a niche for your eCommerce store?


Finding a niche may not seem easy, but for me, it was more organic; my niche was something where I could be creative and enjoy what I do. If you want to start a dropshipping business:


  • Sell something you can imagine yourself selling in 10 years. 
  • If you are thinking of selling a fad, or trendy product, like a cat necklace, can you envision selling that for 10 years? Can you embrace that?
  • Ask yourself whether this niche market is profitable. To answer this, Conduct a market analysis on what other companies are doing and how you can do it better than them. Do you have the same confidence in your niche?


Ultimately, believe in what you want to sell. Love it, and make sure it makes you feel something.


How did you plan and set goals?


Venturing into an eCommerce business blindly, with no budget, no business model, and no goals would be foolish and also a waste of time. 


“The only goal I set for myself is to get 1% better every day.”


This is a goal that shows progression and improvement but is also reasonable. Be realistic when setting goals, as this makes them more manageable to achieve. 


If I’m improving at that 1% I aspire to each day, then chances are it’s going to keep growing. Then before you know it, this 1% becomes 2%, 3%...365%. 


But don’t run before you can walk. 


In terms of planning, when starting a store, do your research: 

 

  • Research the website, look at social media, look at the email flows and the store itself
  • Know your target market
  • Know your products
  • Know your potential customers and audience.

How did you decide on a Budget?


It would be unwise to say that you could start an eCommerce business with absolutely no money, but at the same time, you may not need as much as you anticipated. It varies for everyone. 


I recommend finding a budget that you are comfortable with but, at the same time, maintaining an income from another source. 


I would cut hair and budget how much I would spend on ads based on how many haircuts I did that day.


You may not get rich quick doing this; however, you can make little differences on a small budget like $30 a day. However, if you want to start a successful ecommerce business, I would say you need at least $1,000 minimum to start up. 

Now I have multiple stores, so on average my revenue is $75,000 to $100,000 per month. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I always look through my ads and expenses and see the profit margins I have per week.


You have to evaluate your revenue so that it’s more about the profit margins for your life, and that’s better than a higher revenue. Don’t be fooled by high revenue if the profit margin is slim, always focus on a higher profit, not revenue.


What are some essential factors to consider when selecting dropshipping product(s)?

With dropshipping, you don’t need to acquire products before selling them. However, I would always order the product I was selling beforehand to check the quality. You must understand what you're selling.

How to find a product to sell


Spocket has an “Order Samples” functionality that allows you to order samples of products in your niche so you can test it out. With Spocket, you also get access to USA dropshipping suppliers and products. Not everything has to come from China. 


Know what you are selling- it will give you confidence. Below are some factors to consider:


  • Quality: Make sure the dropshipping products you intend to sell are of high quality. Finding products on Spocket, you should be assured of quality. 
  • Manufacturer: Make sure that the dropshipping suppliers are trustworthy and competent at business. 
  • Communication: When selecting your products, make sure the dropshipping suppliers are good at communicating, are trustworthy and reliable. Spocket has a supplier page that lets you know the order fulfillment success rate for every supplier.
Spocket products


  • Ethics: Ethics are essential in any eCommerce business. Yes, increasing your profit margins is a goal and there’s no shame in striving for it, but you want to make a brand that can last forever. A lot of people come into the dropshipping business without really thinking about the customer.
“You’ve got to always think about the customer.”

How to Build and Maintain an eCommerce Business

Do you write your own product descriptions?


Yes, I do. My secret is that I’ll keep the description simple. 


Utilize the panel effect on the landing page, and make it easy for someone if they want to know something specific about a product or how it’s made. You want to attract your readers, so write in a way that will do this.

Spocket products


Do you create your own product photos?


Visuals and creativity are my specialties.


 I’m good at getting the attention of Instagram users, by creating crisp visuals and presenting them with something completely unique when they’re scrolling. 


Content marketing on social media is an attention game. The only way to get someone to stop scrolling and pay attention is for them to see something that catches their eye, and to click on your link or video. 


With product photos, just make them real. Of course, it depends on your niche. The authenticity of the product photo is huge.


Do you think there are any aspects of store design that are absolutely essential for an eCommerce Business?


I like things to be congruent. When a website is segmented, it gives a much cleaner look. I also like to have a guarantee which says:


 “we’re here because we care about you” [and] “if you have a problem, contact or call us.” 



The customer needs to be reassured that you are real and that you care. I’ve never believed in the gurus that say the “buy now” button needs to be green. If you’re selling something real, that button could be pink. It shouldn’t make a difference if your product is legit. 


Some store design essentials to consider: 

  • The view of the catalog from your store
  • The grid layout when you’re scrolling
  • White or black background
  • All photos should be from the same photo shoot. 


Consistency matters. Create something harmonious and beautiful.


Online thrift store


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Marketing

How did you reach your target market?


It’s essential to have a demographic in mind for your products. 


My target market is people around my age, who are in tune with culture, whether that be in sports, music, or fashion. 


My primary way of getting information to my target market and advertising what I had to offer was via social media:

  • I also believe that you need to keep on top of your backend such as your abandonment flows and text marketing.
  • Have an “abandon cart” option or tempt them with a post-purchase upsell to draw them back to the brand.


When a customer doesn’t purchase at checkout, have two follow-up systems in your backend and always have marketing automatons running. 


Do you have one main tip for researching your audience’s interests?


Researching your competition would be the best tip I could give you. 


Find similar dropshipping websites, and conduct a market analysis on what customers are interested in. By doing this, you are getting a better idea of what your intended-audience wants from your eCommerce business. 


You want to stand out, so even if you find their branding is successful, you need to find a way to differentiate yourself from them. 


Also, use the information gathered from ads to your advantage. Even if you don’t get sales from these ads, they can collect a lot of valuable data. Facebook ads, for example, need time to gather information on who's interested in your company and who isn’t.


Are there any specific steps in your marketing plan that you can outline?


I have a seven-step process: 

1. Be creative: In business, creativity is a must; let your creative side come out, and your business will benefit. 


  • Being creative is where my strength lies, and it allows me to be unique. Creativity is essential for creating ideas, branding, and maintaining your ecommerce business. 
  • If you feel you are not creative, it would be worth hiring someone to handle the creative sides of the company.
  • if you can’t find somebody in person, fiverr.com is a great resource to locate many creatives who can provide value to your eCommerce business. 
  • You should also check out the Facebook ads library of big companies, preferably in the same niche to see what ads they are running. Chances are, they are spending a lot of money on that ad, which obviously means it is working.

2. Conversion ads: You want to set up either a conversion ad on Facebook or a PPE (Page Post Engagement) ad. 

  • The latter is a more cost-effective option if you have a more modest budget. It also has the advantage of being able to retarget those views and increase lead generation. 
  • Optimize your Facebook purchases - by checking off the “conversions” button, your ads get optimized to entice people to register, to add products to their cart or to -hopefully- check out and buy items. 


3. Research: Do a lot of research, it will pay off.

  • Choose your interest
  • Choose your target market
  • Discover what your target market likes and wants


4. Run Ads: Turning on your ads and letting them run is a great way to increase lead generation on your target market. Let them run for at least 7 days, and then evaluate based on analytics. If they’re giving you a return, it’s worth the investment.


5. Analyze and evaluate: This is a fundamental step in understanding if your ad is performing as you would like it to. 

  • You’re able to see which age group is most interested
  • Which group is interacting with your ad the most
  • Which demographic is making the most clicks. 


6. Re-targeting: If you want to make money, Retargeting is essential.

  • The more someone sees your ad and brand, the more relevant you become to them, which increases lead generation. 
  • These are the 5 people I retarget:
  1. Users who engage with your Instagram
  2. Users who view your Facebook
  3. People who see your video ads
  4. Emails you’ve collected
  5. People who have visited your dropshipping website.
  • Retarget your potential audience with deals, offers, and content marketing that they can’t resist, and they will purchase from you.

7. Repeat: Every eCommerce business is different, but each of these steps will need to be maintained and repeated to achieve a successful business. Don’t stop being creative, run your ads, analyze them and retarget.


What about the traffic to conversion ratio, and what do you think drives the most traffic to your store? 


My Facebook marketing strategy brings the most traffic. When you first start off, the conversion rate won’t be good, but then you consolidate your ads, and you’ll find the audience that works. 


  • It usually takes between 14 to 30 days before you start to notice improvements in your conversion rate. 
  • Don’t make the mistake of cutting ads short because you don’t think they’re getting enough sales. 
  • When I launch any store, I put an opt-in on the site to enter their email, then they get a sales promotion of 10% off. If they buy something, it drives traffic to conversion.

How do you target new customers?


Whether it be a video or a photoshoot, choose who your target market will be. 


For example, the five audiences I spoke about in step 6 of the marketing plan, is a good indication of who I should target. 


If you have loads of traffic, and you’re spending a lot on Facebook ads, then you could have all of those people on your site in the next 3 days or 14 days. 


It’s also vital that you browse abandonment and email flows to figure out new customers to target.


Have you used SEO and influencer marketing?

It’s crucial that SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is covered, but as it isn’t my expertise, I outsource it. 


With every store, I make sure each page is SEO optimized. The more hits you get through Facebook, the higher you rank on search engines.


In terms of influencer marketing, the secret is in the content. You want to make sure you choose the right influencer, with great photos.


  • Choose the best of the best; I always select the ones I know will get me a good return on investment. 
  • When reaching out, be confident in your brand and product. I reach out to influencers through DM. 
  • I’ve not paid an influencer yet, and usually, just send out the product. 
  • The product and brand identity are generally enough to entice them to work with us. 

Did you have any difficulties setting up your eCommerce business? How did you overcome them?


When you start a dropshipping business, there’s going to be difficulties. But you have to stay the course, be patient, and keep going. So many people give up, but as I said, I might not be getting any sales, but every day I get 1% better. 


You have to concentrate on your success, and improve on your shortcomings.


Most people have the misconception that it’s going to be easy, but it’s always going to be a process. A few notes on overcoming difficulties: 


  • You're going to learn as you go. The best way for me has always been learning and being consistent.
  • Register your dropshipping business. I registered as an LLC. 
  • Outsource things that aren’t your specialty

How Does Spocket Help Kyle's Business?

How has Spocket helped in your success?


Using Spocket has helped me cultivate better and stronger customer relationships. Namely, because by dropshipping USA suppliers, Spocket can provide faster shipping, which certainly builds trust with the customers. 


I found Spocket when Oberlo cut off their US suppliers, and only used AliExpress. I found that Spocket allows merchants to make their own accounts. I needed Spocket to do that in order to secure my dropshipping business. 


In the age of Amazon, you can’t have your product taking 30 days to reach a customer.


Did you have any expectations when you joined Spocket?


No, I just knew it was going to work. 


I reached out to my supplier at the time and asked them to be on Spocket. They didn’t know about being a USA dropshipping supplier at the time, but I explained how we could use Spocket to both our advantages. 


Once we worked out the process, I started using Spocket for my order automation process.


It was smooth sailing from there.

What Spocket features are the most important to you? 


One of the things I like about Spocket is that it doesn’t need a Chrome plugin, as Oberlo did. 


Also, if you have the Unicorn plan, you can check out several customer orders at once with just a click. So, you can devote more time to your marketing campaign instead of wasting your time manually filling orders.


What are you waiting for?


Now that you’ve got the tools, the knowledge and Spocket by your side, there’s nothing stopping you from taking the leap. 


If entrepreneurship runs in your veins, and the thought of being your own boss gives you a liberating feeling, then you already know what you need to do next.


Dropshippers like Kyle,  Erin, and Marc along with many others started their dropshipping business and have made their dreams a reality and used the tools available to them to build the lifestyle they’ve always wanted. 


So what’s stopping you? With a free 14-day trial and a dedicated 24-hour support team, we’re here to watch you soar and tell your tale of dreams turned to reality. 

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Enina Bicaku

Enina is an avid writer with a passion for eCommerce, technology, and self-made stories. Her work revolves around inspiring others to take the leap Into entrepreneurship and sharing stories on doing so.

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