How to Start a Dropshipping Business in 2020 Guide

how to start a drop shipping business image

Here is my quick guide on how to start a dropshipping business.

And get this:

I’m about to show you how to set you your dropshipping biz in a single day. How cool is that? (thank me later).

I’m talking specifically about 2 things:

  1. getting yourself a store
  2. getting products to dropship into your store.

And yes, those 2 things can be done in a day (in less than 1 hour) and those 2 things are the ‘core’ of the business. Without products to dropship and a way to sell them online, there is no business.

Now, before we get started, let me add that some people spell it dropshipping and others spell is drop shipping, so I may weave in and out of each spelling, not to be an arse, but to try to serve each type of reader.

Seriously, according to my research, most people are typing the misspelt version online, and I don’t want the grammatically-challenged to miss out (what can one do!)

And whilst we’re here, if you’re looking for how to dropship on Amazon, check out my 101 guide on how to sell on Amazon using FBA as that’s a slightly different model.

Ok, let’s do this! Let’s dig into…

Starting an Online Dropship Business from Home

Let’s start by taking a brief look at what dropshipping is.

Here’s what WikiPedia says about drop shipping:

Drop shipping is a supply chain management method in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock but instead transfers customer orders and shipment.


Here’s a high-level view of the drop shipping model:

  1. you find a manufacturer with a cool product
  2. you agree on a dropship deal with the manufacturer (or vendor)
  3. you sell the product on your website
  4. you give the order details to the manufacturer (or vendor)
  5. the manufacturer (or vendor) then sends the product to your customer

So Why Start a Dropshipping Business Versus Selling Direct?

This is a good question, and ultimately it’s a business decision, but let’s look at the main benefits of the dropshipping model:

  • you don’t have to buy stock in advance (massive saving in cash flow)
  • you don’t have to stock inventory (no rooms full of boxes)
  • you don’t have to deal with shipping items to customers
  • you pay only when you make a sale, removing the risk of buying stock that you can’t sell

Those are pretty attractive benefits, wouldn’t you say?

Here’s how I look at it:

If you want to get into eCommerce, dropshipping is the safest, easiest and fastest model with the lowest risk.Click To Tweet

You can always change models down the line, but this model enables you to get into selling online with very little start-up and running costs.

Additionally, the experience you can gain from this will serve you well in future online ventures.

OK, so now that’s out the way, we’re about to get started on the nuts and bolts. I promised you at the beginning to show you how to set up your dropshipping business in a day, so I’m going to bypass giving you a dropshipping 101 and I’m going to give you the easiest and fastest method I know of.

Sound cool?

I will also go into the traditional way of doing things, but seriously, you want to get started quickly selling online, so there’s no need to crawl over glass (but I will also show you how you can crawl over glass if you really want to).

Ok, so let’s do this!

How to Set up a Dropship Website in 1 Day

Here’s how:

Step 1: click here to get yourself a Shopify store

sign up to shopify
sign up to Shopify

Just enter your email address to get started on your 14 day trial.

Step 2: log in and go to Apps

Shopify apps
Shopify apps

Step 3: search for and select the Oberlo app

get the oberlo app
get the Oberlo app

In my case, the app was the number 2 app displayed. If this is not the case for you, use the search box (highlighted in red) to search for Oberlo.

Step 4: click the app. That will take you to the Oberlo page. Once there, click the Get button.

get the app
get the app

Step 5: you will be prompted to log into your store. Just click the log in and (if you’re already logged in) you’ll go straight to your Shopify apps area.

Step 6: once in your Shopify app area, click install to install the app.

install Oberlo
install Oberlo

Step 7: once the app installs, you’ll see a wizard with 4 tasks, 2 of which are already completed. Click on the Find product button.

find dropshipping products
find dropshipping products

Step 8: on the next screen, type in a product (e.g. watches) to see what’s available.

dropshipping products
dropshipping products

Now, take a look at those prices. Do you think you could make a profit selling these?

Are you wondering how many of these products are available for dropshipping? Take a look…

products for dropshipping
lots of products for dropshipping

And that’s just one search.

Step 9: to select a product you like, hover your mouse cursor over it and you’ll see a green button named Add to import list appear. Click the button.

select your dropshipping product
select your dropshipping product

Step 10: once you’ve added all the products you like to your import list, you can click the label icon on the left-hand navigation bar and then click the Import List menu item. You can see in my example that I have 1 product in my import list.

import product
import product

Step 11: in the import product screen you can edit the title, description, and just about anything else. You’ll want to change these to suit your own store.

edit your product
edit your product

Step 12: finally, click on the Variants tab and change the price to include your profit. Yay!

change prices
change prices

In this example, I’m going with 2 variations of this product. A variation can be colour or size.

Step 13: When you’re happy with your changes, click the Push to store button on the top right.

push products to yoru dropship store
push products to your dropship store

You can push all the products in your import list or just the one you’re editing. Once pushed, I can return to my Shopify dashboard, click on Products and see the product I just added:

product added
product added

And if I now visit that product on my storefront I see it’s live and ready to be sold!


This product is now available for sale, at my markup price.

How easy was that?

If you want an almost hands-off dropship business that runs on autopilot, pay the small monthly fee to Oberlo and they’ll do this for you:

automated dropshipping
automated dropshipping

If you want to dive deeper into finding suppliers for a specific product you have in mind, check out Shopify’s guide: How to find a supplier for your product idea.

Take a moment to absorb the above information and you’ll appreciate that what we just covered here is pretty astonishing.

You can set up a dropshipping store ready to sell in 1 day using just 2 tools. That's pretty amazing.Click To Tweet

You can literally set up a store and fill it with products to sell, and somebody else will take care of the picking, packing and shipping for you, in less than an hour. Whaaa!

Of course, you’ll want to prettify your store a little (add some banners and such) but the 2 core components of your dropshipping business are now in place!

For your reference:

guide to dropshipping

Now, as I mentioned earlier, there are more ways than one to do this, but this is the easiest and fastest by far.

A traditional way of doing this looks like this:

  1. decide what you want to sell (research)
  2. find wholesalers or manufacturers or vendors (more research)
  3. contact suppliers and ask if they will dropship for you

If you do things this way, be prepared to spend a week on the above 3 points, and good luck wooing dropshipping companies if you don’t already have a store or a website.

With my fast method, you can skip having to search for suppliers and having to contact them and wait for a response and avoid the back and forth.

If you really insist on taking a look at the traditional method, then let me show you how that works, but you already have all you need to get started quickly with the above fast method.

The Traditional (Slow) Method of Starting a Dropship Business…

Step 1: Decide What You Want to Sell

You can literally sell anything online, so let’s start with that. You may already have an idea (in which case, yay!). If not, then choose something.

If you need ideas for your dropshipping biz, go to Amazon’s best sellers and check out what’s hot right now. To do this, simply to do a search in Google for Amazon best sellers and click the relevant link.

Amazon best sellers
Do a search for Amazon best sellers

Other ideas can come from just looking around you at what other people are buying. Look at tv ads, look at what stores are selling. Ideas are everywhere.

Step 2: Find Wholesalers With The Product You Want to Sell

Once you decide what you want to sell, it’s time to look for our supplier. Suppliers can be:

  • manufacturers
  • wholesalers
  • vendors
  • agents

Things to avoid: I recommend avoiding agents. Ideally, you want to go straight to the manufacturer, that way you remove all the middle guys. The problem is finding a manufacturer that’s clued up and set up to work with vendors and wholesalers.

Manufacturers are (hopefully) good at manufacturing but typically suck at sales, because that’s not what their game is.

In the 5+ years that I worked 1 on 1 with eCommerce clients, I dealt with many manufacturers and I’ve yet to find more than half a dozen that are set up to dropship.

Typically, you will be dealing with wholesalers who buy the products in bulk from the manufacturer.

So how do you find manufacturers and wholesalers?

You simply search for them online. Type the name of the product you want to source, and add the word manufacturer or wholesaler.

Here are some examples:

  • pram manufacturers
  • pet supplies wholesaler

You can get fancy and use search operators like + and “” but Google is pretty smart at figuring out what you want. And if search operators mean nothing to do, don’t worry – you’re not missing anything.

Tip: you may also want to try adding your location or country, like this:

  • pram manufacturers US
  • pet supplies wholesaler UK

So, at this point, you have an idea and you’ve identified some potential suppliers. Now it’s time to contact them.

Step 3: Set up Your Store

I recommend that you set up your store before you contact suppliers. Why? Because you want to be taken seriously! Trust me: I’ve been doing this a long time. If you contact a supplier and you tell them you’re about to start a dropshipping business, you may as well give up on that supplier there and then.

They are busy, just like you and I, and they don’t want to be dealing with wannabes. It’s too much hassle and most wannabes ask a million questions to find out if they should start a dropshipping business in the first place… and the supplier is not there to educate people.

So let’s not be like the wannabes and let’s get ourselves looking professional.

Here’s how:

  1. click here to get yourself a Shopify store
  2. choose a free template and set up your information

Tip: there are a million Shopify tutorials online that you can look at and they have seriously good 24×7 support, so contact them via live chat for anything you need.

Step 4: Contact Suppliers

Never mention that you’re about to start a drop shipping business. That will get you immediately disqualified. You want the supplier to be confident in you for them to put in the effort to work with you, and that means conveying professionalism.

Tip: if you really want to do things this way, you could set up your Shopify store and follow my fast method to populate your store with products very quickly. That would make it appear as though you’re already in business and carrying inventory (to suppliers).

Is Dropshipping the Easiest Online Business Model?

Below is an Ask Hoz session where I answer this great question:

[table id=3 /]

And a cool infographic so you can visualise the process:

How to Start a Dropshipping Business in 5 Steps Infographic

How to use this infographic on your own site or blog:

  • visit Slideshare by clicking here
  • in Slideshare, click on the Share button at the bottom of the infographic to get the embed code, like this:
how to get the amazon fba infographic


There is a fast way to do this, and a slow way to do this. With my fats method, you can get up and running in a day and you don’t ever have to contact suppliers.

Once you’re up and running, you can always contact a specific supplier directly. At that point, you’ll have a store populated with products and some experience, so you’ll come across like a true professional, which will increase your chances of doing business with your dream suppliers – if you ever wanted to.

I hope you enjoyed this guide and I hope you take action and get yourself setup! You can get a store with a 14 day free trial and the extension you can use for free… so the bar couldn’t have been lowered any more for you!

If you haven’t already, check out my guide, where everything you need is on one place:

guide to dropshipping