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To drop ship or to build a personal brand. That is the question. Both of these businesses can generate a 7-figure income, but it’s more important to understand how both of these businesses differ fundamentally.
What do You Enjoy?
If you want to start an online business with drop shipping or leveraging your personal brand, you need to enjoy the process. A lack of joy will limit your enthusiasm. Without enthusiasm, what’s going to be your drive to do work it takes?
Many people HATE their day jobs. They go to their job, do what they can to get to the end of the day then wait for a check to show up. This is detrimental not just to your wellbeing but to your health also. Ohio State University did a study that proved those who hated their jobs had a higher chance of developing depression and sleeping issues.
Things work differently in the online business world. When running an online business, you don’t get paid to show up and just “get by”. You have a direct impact on how much money your business generates, and that means your business can make no money or even go into the negative. Take a minute to seriously think about that…
This is why I always advise people to pick a business model they enjoy. If you don’t enjoy your business, you will mentally shut down resulting in your business completely dying.
Drop Shipping Tasks:
- Finding new products
- Editing product descriptions
- Sourcing proper product images
- Dealing with customer service
- Ordering products to ensure quality meets your standard
- Learning ad management
Personal Branding Tasks:
- Being engaged with your audience
- Creating a website and writing blog content
- Posting on social media
- Being creative
- Constantly improving your brand
- Creating and recommending products that you believe in
Drop shipping and personal branding are two completely different animals. In my very biased opinion, personal branding is far more enjoyable but requires a lot more engaging work depending on how you have structured your personal brand. The work required for personal branding though is much more enjoyable than the work required for drop shipping.
The Money is in The Products and Services
In order to make money, you gotta be able to sell stuff. Duh! Nothing new there. What needs to be considered in this section is, what will you sell? Drop shipping and personal branding offer different products.
Let’s start with Drop Shipping. With drop shipping, you are selling physical products. You find a manufacturer on AliExpress, import the product into your Shopify store using a store filler like Oberlo and then fulfill the orders as they come in.
Depending on how hot the product is, you may be able to sell a lot of units. More times than not though, you won’t make many sales because you are selling generic unbranded items.
This requires time sifting through manufactures, testing the quality of their product, and playing around with the prices because you are competing with hundreds of others using the same manufacturer to sell the same products.
Physical Products Limitations:
- Refunds are a hassle as the item has to be shipped back to the manufacturer.
- Items can be damaged upon arrival
- Item may not meet the quality customer expects
- Higher competition on unbranded physical products because… Amazon.
Let’s take a look at personal branding now. Personal branding allows you to diversify the type of products that you can sell. They don’t all need to be physical items. You can sell services, digital products, and even affiliate products.
Another benefit to personal branding is no one can replicate your personal brand. This equates to much lower competition when it comes to selling products.
I would also like to add that there is no better feeling than to know you are selling products that impact your audience. When you sell drop shipping products, there’s really no connection between you and the person purchasing from you. They don’t know who you are or care to find out. They just want their product at the cheapest available price so they can carry on with their life.
On the other hand, when you sell items from a personal brand, there is a deeper sense of trust, connection, and joy knowing you are solving a problem based around something you’re passionate about.
The best comparison I can make is purchasing an item from Walmart, vs purchasing an item from a close trusted friend.
As a bonus, if you do decide to sell physical products, you can brand it under your personal brand and they will sell better than generic drop shipped items.
The Cost to Get Started
The next big element to consider the startup cost. Starting a drop shipping store or building a personal brand all require money. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking you can get started “free”. Sure, some software and tools provide a free 14-day trial, but this won’t be nearly enough time to build any kind of worthwhile business.
When building a drop shipping business, you will need a platform to sell on. I highly recommend Shopify for its simplicity and maturity. It’s not a free platform though. Depending on your budget, you will need to select a plan that best fits you. This doesn’t include any additional plugins you will need to keep your drop shipping store running.
Now when building a personal brand, this too has associated costs. This involves purchasing a WordPress theme (even though you can use a free theme, I don’t recommend it), hosting, and tools to help you monitor certain aspects within establishing and growing your personal brand. In my honest opinion, these two business models have a very similar startup cost.
You can start both of these businesses for about $500. Many will disagree and say you don’t need that much and it’s true, you don’t. I just prefer being upfront and honest and don’t want to give the impression that it’s free or dirt cheap to start. Too many individuals start out gung-ho thinking everything will be free and then run into a brick wall once they find out certain services require some cash.
For either business models, I recommend budgeting aside at least $500 for upfront costs and about $30-$50 for monthly expenses when starting.
Personal branding takes the cake. It just makes ways more sense.
Personal branding gives you the flexibility to sell different types of products. It gives you the opportunity to create your own products. Many drop shippers fail because they don’t have a brand and run out of money before they hit a home run on a winning product. Theirs is so much less competition with personal branding because no one can be you better than you can be yourself. The work is far more enjoyable and you really get to help individuals on a personal level. You just don’t get the same sense of accomplishment when you drop ship products you’ve never seen and your customers want a refund. To top it all off, the costs of starting a personal brand is equivalent to setting up a drop shipping store. If you’re still unsure of on how to get started with your personal brand you can ask inside the Facebook Community.
Catch ya later,
Nathan Mensah, Make sure you don't miss any critical aspects to building your personal brand by using this FREE 5 step checklist!
Founder, WiFi Mocha
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