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Scaling up ecommerce - Feedback and suggestions

Discussion in 'Dropshipping & Wholesale Hookups' started by GiorgioB, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. GiorgioB

    GiorgioB Supreme Member

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    Hi guys

    I'm currently running my own ecommerce website, selling about 1000 different products since around 6 months. It's really started to kick since about 1 month, I get about 3-4 orders a day and I dropship everything so once I get the order from my customer, I purchase the products, package and ship myself. I don't have any employees (just my gf/business partner who helps a bit), I don't rent an office or warehouse, I do everything from home, have no stock, etc.. so its pretty much all profit.

    I'm kinda stuck though for the following reason:

    - I'm starting to do serious enough business to have to work my ass off and deliver for my customers fast.
    - I'm not making enough money to quit my 9-5 job.

    The result is that since 1 month I'm working from 9-5 at my job, then come home and have to process orders, reply to customer emails, write invoices, package and ship parcels and basically working from 9am to 1am everyday except weekends. Does anyone have any similar experience? I'm thinking about employing someone to do the invoice/package/shipping part and I operate in China, so finding a cheap part time staff shouldn't be a problem but I would like to get some feedback, possibly some advice.

    Also, if anyone would like to replicate my business model and needs products dropshipped from China, let me know, we can arrange that, if I am going to scale up, I need to do so fast.



    edit: 3-4 orders a day doesn't sound like much but most customers order like 3-6 products, so that's quite a lot of packing...
     
  2. VintageAude

    VintageAude BANNED BANNED

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    What kind've products are they?
     
  3. GiorgioB

    GiorgioB Supreme Member

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    Mostly clothing, but also other gadgets. cheap and light, easy to ship.
     
  4. tribes21

    tribes21 Newbie

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    I'm in same situation as you.
    It's pretty funny to hear that your girlfriend helps you because my helps me too in the same way. :) Also as you I still can't leave my 8-4 work.
    I don't make a drop-shipping as I had not a good experience with that. Probably my supplier was bad. But I know that this model works and works very well if you have a reliable supplier.
    As for me, I obtain my products from a physical stores.

    PM me so we can share our experience. And finally to let our girlfriends to rest a little bit. :)
     
  5. Revolate

    Revolate Regular Member

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    Now this makes me ask what kind of ecommerce platform are you running? I run quite a large ecommerce site and I can get things packed and sent off in about 20 seconds.
     
  6. GiorgioB

    GiorgioB Supreme Member

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    I use magento. What I mean is that I have to physically check the products (since I dropship) pack the parcels myself, and write the invoices in triplicate, update the tracking number in magento, and sometimes I have 8 parcels in 1 day. I'd say 1 parcel takes me around 15 minutes if for example there are only 2 products in the order.

    So that can be quite time consuming, then I have to answer customer emails and all that sh*t. luckily most customers are cool, don't open paypal disputes and are not too asshole-ish. What kind of platform do you use?
     
  7. scallen37

    scallen37 Junior Member

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    Your processing time is perfectly average for manual dropshipping (I run 200+ sites, each based on specific suppliers in China)

    You are at that hard equity stage, where your money isn't great enough for you to employ someone, but its good enough that its worth working towards building your business so that it Will be profitable once you attract more sales. In your situation, I would continue to sweat it out and save every penny you can for at least 3-6 months. Take that money, and your own money if you can afford to, and put it towards marketing/SEO. But before you build your budget, you need to figure out how much money you need to either:

    1) Be self employed and no longer needing your 9-5 job ($2500/mo ?)

    2) Hire 1 person to handle your business. ($600/mo in China, more if English is required)

    I greatly recommend option 1, and becoming self employed and then making the hiring of assistance your next option BECAUSE Chinese employees have to be well managed in order to function at all most of the time and the time you spend now running your side business will then be dedicated to writing up a list of "To do's" and verifying orders were sent out among other things. Only You can really take this thing "to the next level" and you will be surprised as what you can do by dedicating your time to building your business.

    So, say you determine that you need to pay the overhead of your site, and you figure out that in order to replace your current 9-5 job, you need to bring home $2500/mo. Your average profit per item is $25.00 so you need to make 100 sales a month to break even. Now is when you want to take your money from this business that I mentioned above and and dedicate it towards SEO. The results (even if they take a couple months) will determine if this business is Really worth it to you. If SEO doesn't impact your business in a positive way, then I would probably consider stepping away from it and probably selling it. If you think you can take the risk, and by you being able to dedicate 8 or more hours a day to this project that you could grow your business, then I would recommend saving up to support yourself for 6-12 months with money earned from your 9-5 (mostly done by cutting corners and being frugal) and going the route of working on your business every day and leaving your 9-5 on good terms.

    2-4 quarters after doing so, you can sit down and chart your growth, have some kind of prediction of where you are going to be in the next year at your current rate, analyze your expenses, and bring all of your records together and form your business plan. Now you could seek out a loan from friends, family, or a bank/lender that you feel would get you from being Self Employed to being an Entrepreneur by hiring people to grow your business and handle your tasks with minimal supervision from yourself and also invest in more inventory and marketing.
     
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