Is dropshipping dying?
I feel like that is a question I'm always have to explain. While it's asked frequently, the answer has always stayed the same...
Dropshipping isn't dying. The way we do business is changing.
If I ran my businesses the same way I was five years ago, none of them would exist. And it's the same looking five years in the future.
What about right now? Well, right now, I'm investing heavily in to the future. Not just because I don't want to go out of business. I'm investing now because I want to stay at the top of all my niches in the future.
In this episode of The eCommerce Lifestyle podcast, I'm talking all about how we're future-proofing our businesses. I'm sharing specific examples that you can use in your business right away.
Listen in if you want to learn how to set yourself up for long-term success!
Hey, what's up, everybody? Anton Kraly here from eCommerce Lifestyle, and welcome back to another episode. Today, I'm going to talk about how to build a lifestyle business that lasts.
If you're listening to this, you're probably aware of what a lifestyle business is. It's a business set up to generate you profit so that you can live what type of ever lifestyle you want.
Ideally, you don't have to work 80 hours a week and you don't have to be constantly stressed out. But you can build a business that provides you with a nice income, and you can, again, have freedom. You could have time. That's the point of this. That's everything I've tried to do since I started with eCommerce.
I want to talk specifically about what I'm currently working on to set up our stores, our online businesses for success, not just now, but for the next five years. These are things, before I give you some tips, these are things that I constantly think about.
These are things that I'm always trying to spend my free time thinking about, and they're things that we implement to make sure that we don't take the lifestyle side too literally and get to a point where the business just drops off a cliff because I've been in this business now, eCommerce, for I think 13 years, and trust me, I have seen a lot of stores pop up and fade away.
The reason that happens is because people build them, and they think whatever the thing they did that's working, they think that's it. They figured it out. They're making all this money. They are set, and now they're going to run on autopilot, and they're set for life.
But in reality, business evolves, commerce evolves, especially with the speed of the Internet, which could be a curse for some people, those that are lazy, those that don't innovate, but it's also a blessing for people like me and people like you because you're part of eCommerce Lifestyle so you can stay ahead of the curve and you can use that speed to your advantage. But the key point is what worked five years ago isn't what works now.
Five years from now, what we're currently doing is going to shift, so never rest. I don't mean don't take time off, don't enjoy life, but never just think that you're made and you're set for life because this isn't a lottery. This is business.
What I want to talk about... I kind of hinted at a couple of times in my episodes about why I closed Drop Ship Lifestyle and what I'm personally working on.
I want to talk to you about the main things, like the overarching theme, then get into examples. Personally, what I believe five years from now will allow our stores to stay the authority in the industries that we're in is taking as many things as possible and having them automated.
You might think, "Oh. Okay, well, can't automate the whole business," or you might even think, "Oh, you already do a lot of automations," and that's true, but what we've been able to do, even in the last six months, is automate some things that, honestly, we just never had fully automated before. What they've allowed us to do is save up hundreds of human hours per year.
Literally hundreds of hours between multiple people and people that are paid well because they're good at their job we're now able to have that for free, basically, for $20 a month within automations we set up, so now, it doesn't mean everybody gets fired, and it doesn't mean that I run a company by myself or that you should either as you grow, but what it means, this is two-sided, is we are automating everything that could be automated.
Some things that are only possible starting now to automate because if you would have tried even last year, it would have cost you tens of thousands of dollars if even possible now you can do for a relatively low price with some technical ability.
Then the people that you already had been paying or the people that you might have paid in the future to do these tasks, now you can restructure the resources and the time and the energy of the human effort and put that towards what's really going to help you grow, and that is human interaction.
I'm going to talk about what we are automating now more than ever, what you should too, and then, again, I'm going to talk about how you could restructure existing resources, being people and time. Again, if you don't have them yet, you'll have them in the future, and talk about how you can best leverage them so as every other store starts to decline or stay flat, you grow and grow and grow, and you're in a great place five years from now.
By the way, if you are a member of Drop Ship Lifestyle and you go into your members' area at courses.dropshiplifestyle.com, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised because as I'm creating all of these things, I'm updating videos and adding new ones in, so go check it out, and you'll see a lot of the technical things about what I'm about to talk about in the members' area.
If you're listening to this and you're not a member yet, go to dropshipwebinar.com, D-R-O-P-S-H-I-P webinar.com, and I can give you more of a preview of this and show you what some of this stuff looks like. Again, dropshipwebinar.com.
But let's go through the first thing I want to give you some practical examples on, which is how we're becoming leaner through automation, again, taking what used to take people's time and hours and energy and turning it into automations that run on autopilot nonstop in the background. Now, the biggest one, or I should say the biggest realization I had was ads. We love paid traffic.
If you follow this podcast, you know that. What we've been able to do, again, in the last year, but more specifically, in the last six months or so, is get it to a point where all I have to do is just have an overview of our ad accounts. I could just log into Facebook. I could just log into Google, and I could just see if everything's working. More often than not, knock on wood, it's working without having ad account managers anymore, without having someone on the team at a full-time job that's extremely high paying that's in there every day.
Some of the ways we're automating things on the Facebook ad side is we are leveraging CBO, campaign budget optimization. I have previous podcasts on that I can link to below. Definitely listen to them, but again, if you want to see actually what our account structures look like and how we set it up, then look in Drop Ship Lifestyle in the members' area to see that, but CBO campaigns, which allows Facebook to spend our budget where it makes most sense, and then also by using dynamic ads.
Previously, we would constantly have to cycle out different ads, so, "Okay, let's try this one this week. Let's try this one that week." Different copy, different creatives, so images and videos, and now, what we're able to do is give Facebook a whole bunch of different media, a whole bunch of different copy for the ad text, a whole bunch of different headlines, and then Facebook will cycle through it automatically.
What's beautiful about this is they'll find the winner pretty quickly, and they'll show that, but when Facebook's algorithm notices that something maybe isn't doing that great anymore, and maybe our cost per acquisition is going up, then it's going to start to cycle in the other ones again, and then it'll find a new winner and so on and so on.
This has allowed us, again, to not need a person that's in there constantly doing this manually. It's happening automatically. It's happening right now when I'm making this podcast. It's going to be happening later when I'm out to dinner with my wife. It just happens in the background, so definitely leverage campaign budget optimization and leverage dynamic ads. Again, if you want to see what our accounts look like and how this is set up, just login at courses.dropshiplifestyle.com. If you're not a member yet, go to dropshipwebinar.com.
Now, something else that we're doing on the ad side is with Google. I will say, Google we don't have as hands-off yet as with Facebook, but there are things that we're doing that make it, again, pretty much run on its own. A big part of that is with Smart Campaigns. Now, this is for Drop Ship Lifestyle members.
You know that we love Google Shopping ads, and Smart Campaigns for Google shopping we don't have matching our results from our actual Alpha/Beta campaign structure, so don't use this for your Google Shopping campaigns, but when you get into different YouTube ads that you want to run and display network ads, our Smart Campaigns are doing amazing there. Again, they're doing it by themselves.
They're optimizing right now while I'm making this podcast, and they're making us more money than they ever have before. That's one of the examples for how we are automating ads and replacing people, what they used to have to do, on those two ad platforms.
Now, another thing that we have automated to the point where it's almost totally hands off is order processing. When orders come in, making sure they're getting to the correct vendor or vendors. If you're a member of Drop Ship Lifestyle, you know that we actually have built an app for this, the Drop Ship Lifestyle app, but now, I'm using some other tools, not paid, other free tools that I've figured out a way to get to work almost perfectly where you don't have to do anything.
An order comes in. It's always going to go to the right supplier. It's going to get shipped as fast as possible.
Customers can get their item as quickly as possible, and no one has to do this anymore. Not a virtual assistant, not an employee, not you. It happens automatically. That training is in module seven, the updated training of the Drop Ship Blueprint. I think it's either 7.2 or 7.3, but you'll see that there if you're a member of Drop Ship Lifestyle, already been updated.
Now, some other things that we are automating that are saving a ton of time is content distribution. Again, the training on this is now in module seven of Drop Ship Lifestyle, but this is when we have new content created, and we're getting it in all of our different Facebook platform groups, on the Facebook page, when we're getting it into Facebook ads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on Instagram. It's happening automatically.
No longer need somebody clicking into each platform, uploading again, again, again. Hours are being saved every single week because of these automations we put into place there.
Then another one is cycling promotions. We love offering special offers because it drives sales like crazy. Where it used to have to be something that was manually updated, we've actually just built a brand new version of the Drop Ship Lifestyle Shopify theme, which, again it's available already for members.
Just go into module three of the Drop Ship Blueprint, get our brand new theme, and you'll see in the training that we attached to it that you can set up promotions that are automatically cycling, so you're never in there thinking, "Oh, do I have to update this now?" It's just happening in the background. No app needed. It's happening through the new Drop Ship Lifestyle Shopify theme that you have access to if you're a member, again, saving a ton of operational time. That's kind of the ways we're getting leaner and the ways we're automating more, just an overview of it.
But let's talk about now what we're doing with these new found resources, the time that we have back and the people that we have now with bandwidth freed up, like what are we doing with it? Again, this works hand in hand. We don't get rid of them. We use everyone's energy towards things that are more personal.
This is why human interaction is so important. One huge thing that we've had a huge focus on, and I recommend either you do this as you get time back or you have an employee do it, is crafting different offers, so what offers are you going to run now that we're getting into the busiest holiday season of the year?
Don't just think about it for a minute and post on Facebook, "Hey, here's our promotion," but now you can actually spend your time, your hours that you're saving on making great offers, on making a great campaign for social media, for your email marketing, for your website, on the homepage, in your banners, everywhere, and you can make a lot more money because you can actually have the bandwidth to execute properly on that, so we're putting a lot of time into that.
Also, creating content. There's no AI, there's no automation yet that makes content anywhere near the level that a human can, so start either yourself or having someone on your team making expert level content. These could be different pages on your website. It could be your blog. What we like to do, priority-wise and what I recommend you do, is put that energy and that effort into your product pages and build them out.
We have the training on this in Drop Ship Lifestyle already as well, but turn those things into something that your competitors will never match. Use the human time on the content for your website and the content that will be distributed on social media. Again, you're going to set it up so it's distributed there automatically, but the creation of it still requires the human element, so that's where you can work or your team can work.
Another huge thing that so many people neglect, and this is literally how great businesses are built, and that is human interaction. This could be live chats on your website. This could be responding to customer emails. This could be on Facebook Messenger. This could be in your Facebook comment section. This could be on your blog responding to comments.
This could be anything, just responding when people actually take the time to reach out to you and not doing it in a quick copy-and-paste answer, but actually having conversations with your customers, both, and this is really important, both before they buy and after they buy.
After they buy is so often overlooked. One of the episodes I did maybe last month, what... it was one of the new money machine episodes. I dive into why this is so important and how we leverage it not only to build stronger relationships but to increase our average order value as well, so have people's time to go into those interactions. That's just with customers.
On the flip side of that as well, use your time and your team's time on strengthening your relationships with suppliers. This is another thing that's going to really set you up for success over the next five years because what I see happening is the best suppliers, the top tier ones, they're going to work with less and less online retailers just because they've, now going to be more established, there's going to be more people in the space.
What you want to start doing not only is getting approved with all of your silver and your gold suppliers, but actually building a real relationship with them. This is covered in module four of the blueprint on how we do that in-depth as well.
Then something else that you and your team can now do with your freed-up time is test new ad platforms because now that Facebook is going to be running 95% on its own, now that Google is going to be running, call it 75% on its own, you can actually do what we're doing and have somebody on your team or, again, maybe it's you, that's putting time into testing different ad channels because the time is now there.
Instead of just using your time to do the order management and to do the normal day-to-day operations, now you can leverage it into new opportunities. You can combine that with leveraging it into deeper relationships with customers, with website visitors, with suppliers.
That's what's going to keep you around. That's what we're doing. That's what I'm investing a ton of time into and the energy, and I highly recommend you do the same because, listen, it's a lifestyle business, again, but it is a business. I don't want to see people that are even successful now have a few years roll by and then realize they're making half they made now.
There's no reason that should happen if you put time into your business, so treat it like a real business. It is a real business. It does take real work, but the rewards are so, so, so worth it.
Again, if you're a member of Drop Ship Lifestyle, go to courses.dropshiplifestyle.com, and you'll see new trainings that are integrated with the current system, and more trainings are popping up every day. In fact, after this podcast, I'm finishing up a brand new Google Shopping module that's going to be edited in there, so get excited about that. If you're not a member yet, go to dropshipwebinar.com where you can learn more.
As always, guys, if you got value, please do leave the podcast a review over on Apple Podcasts. It means a lot. It helps the word get out. Appreciate you. I'll talk to you all on Monday for the next episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast. See you.
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