I started this side hustle journey 18 months ago. After I spent the summer of 2018 bing listening to podcasts about side hustles, I came up with 9 ideas to pick from to pursue. Here was the list:
1. Sell non fiction ebooks on Amazon
2. Create an online store and do drop shipping
3. Create a website and blog
4. Do podcasts
5. Start an after school enrichment class
6. Become loan signing agent (notary)
7. Be a virtual assistant (VA)
8. Teach English to kids in China via video chat
9. Create online videos to sell about anything you know to sell i.e. teaching, tutoring, parenting etc.
Since then I have done #1 with my ebook Everything I learned about sales I learned from my dog & #3 with my blogs on my The Ordinary Mom and The Side Hustle Journey websites. I have had so much fun unleashing a creative side of me that’s been bottled up for too long due to working in corporate America, kids, kids activities bills, life, more kids activities and exhaustion due to all of the fore-mentioned things.
For the last year and a half, I have been doing those passion projects and loving it. However, the sad reality is that often passion projects are not money makers. I believe in slow and steady so I will continue to write and I hope that ebook writing and blogging will pay off someday but I’m not anywhere near quitting my day job because of them.
The one thing I have been thinking about as a potential money maker from my original list is drop shipping. In a nutshell, drop shipping is where you sell someone else’s product on your website, when you get the money from the customer, you order it from your supplier at a discounted rate and then supplier ships the product directly to the customer. The beauty of this method of selling is that you don’t create or build the products and you never have to carry any inventory.
To me this sounds like an interesting business and one that I could hopefully be successful at with my business background. For a lot of my career in Silicon Valley, I worked at a big software company and dealt with resellers and retailers who would sell our products for us. I always thought that was an interesting business model as they were riding on the tail of our product and brand. Not that they didn’t work hard- they did- but they didn’t have to worry about coming up with product ideas, creating the product or shipping the product. They could just focus on marketing, sales and customer service.
My biggest hesitation about drop shipping is that I don’t know if I’d be passionate about it. I’m currently allocating 2 hours a week to my side hustles so I don’t know if I want to take that precious time away from my passion projects of writing books and blogs and put it to something that might actually bore me. I think the business part would be fun i.e. researching a niche, building a website, learning SEO etc. but I fear that I’d be selling something I thought was boring and just adding another job to my life.
That said during my summer of binging podcasts on side hustles in 2018, I ran across Anton Kraly. He has a brand, course, passionate followers etc. called Drop Ship Lifestyle (https://www.dropshiplifestyle.com). I have been on his mailing list for a while and occasionally read his emails. Recently I saw that he had a free introductory webinar and I decided to sign up for it.
The bottom line of his free webinar is that he gives a quick teaser of his program and how you can make money drop shipping. At the end he offers a discount for those who sign up right away. The thing is, his program is expensive. He says the value is ~$10,000 but if you sign up on the day of the webinar, it’s ~$1,500. We’ve all been to time share talks to get a free trip and know the pressure sales pitch of “you’ve got to buy it today or the deal goes away”.
From listening to the webinar, I do believe he has a tried and true system to help you set up a drop shipping business. His philosophy is to sell expensive products so you have good margins, find products that people are already buying, develop relationships with high quality domestic suppliers and market to people who are at the bottom at the sales funnel (i.e. those who are ready to buy a specific product). For someone who has never set up and run an e-commerce site, I think I’d find value in the support he offers (8 modules to teach you the business, support through a closed Facebook group, monthly group calls with Anton, templates to use to create a website and emails with the right call to actions etc). I know you can probably get the same information by researching it yourself for free but I’m trying to think if a ~$1,500 investment would be worth it if I could really make this a profitable side hustle and, eventually, my main job.
I went online and researched Anton and his course and saw a lot of mixed reviews. Basically, what I want to know is this…is he a charlatan or is he the real thing? As a sales person, I can say he’s an excellent sales person. He’s got his business of selling his course down to a science. He sends emails to his list every few days with teaser titles like “Last chance- 50% off”, “1 order for $8k, is it a fraud?” or “last month Adam made $102k”. His teaser titles get you to click the email and read them (or at least I do when I’m intrigued).
It was the email that said, “$24k with just one sale” that got me to click and then sign up for the free webinar. Once I signed up, I got the confirmation email with the webinar details and what looked like a personal email from Anton’s assistant, Anna, saying she had just talked to Anton and he was excited that I signed up for the webinar. There was a photo embedded with Anton next to a computer that said, “Welcome Julie!” on the screen. Then I got 4 other confirmation emails with titles like “Webinar starts in 1 hour” and a text from “Anton” saying that he saw I registered for the upcoming webinar. As a salesperson, I know that these are all generic emails that get customize based on the person’s name but wow, he does a great job making you feel they are excited that you signed up for the webinar. The webinar was also too polished and smooth to be live so he must be pre-recorded it but would say things like, “Type yes if you agree” and then say, “I see a lot of yes’s so I guess you agree”. The beauty of that is that he can run this webinar as many times as he wants and only had to do the really hard work of recording it one time. Brilliant. I look at this as if he is this good at making you feel great about signing up for and attending his webinar, he probably has a well thought out and effective drop shipping program.
After I got off the free informational webinar where he finally shared the shared the cost at the end (a bit of sticker shock there and I’ll make you wait a bit like he made us wait), I decided to research him online.
Here are some reviews of his course:
They vary in whether or not they recommend him but the themes are:
- It’s expensive so not everybody can/should buy it
- He has done his homework and the class is extensive
- It’s a good step by step for people who haven’t done e-commerce before
- He doesn’t spend enough time on product niche selection or SEO
I am still thinking about what to do. I do believe the same information is out on the web if you want to learn it and I also believe that there are cheaper courses out there.
Here are a few alternatives:
My current thinking is that I am going to put some serious thought into diving into drop shipping but I am not going to make any decisions for a few months. If I do end up buying the Drop Ship Lifestyle course it will put me out ~$1,500 (yikes!) and I need to make sure I have the time and the energy to take the course and take starting this side hustle seriously. I’m currently putting two hours aside a week for my side hustles. I don’t want to give up my passion projects of writing so I need to decide if I could put aside another hour or two a week and, if so, how I would allocate that time between writing and drop shipping.
Stay tuned and I’ll update you in the next few months on what I decide to do. If you have any experience with drop shipping or have paid for any drop shipping courses, drop me a line (bad pun, I know) at julie@theordinarymom and let me know what you’ve learned.
P.S. I took myself out for Sushi for a working dinner to write most of this blog. When I got the bill, they gave me a fortune cookie and the fortune was, “The only way to find yourself is to play hide and seek alone”. I’m not exactly sure what that means but I’m taking that fortune as a sign for two things 1. It’s good to take myself out for a working dinner sometimes and 2. I should keep on this side hustle journey until I can be my own boss.
P.P.S. Growing up, whenever we ate chinese food, my dad would read his fortune and then turn it over and say, “Look. On the back scribbled in pencil it says, ‘Help, I am trapped in a chinese cookie factory”. All five kids would do the obligatory laugh and then we’d roll our eyes behind his back. If you have ever eaten at a chinese restaurant with me, you know that I have carried on that tradition. I can’t help myself, it’s just ingrained in me. Please make sure that if you ever eat chinese with me in the future, when we get to the end of the meal and I turn over the fortune cookie and say that stupid line, make sure to do obligatory laugh and then roll your eyes where I can’t see it.
- My 2018 blog about top 9 side hustles:
- My business ebook: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-learned-about-sales-dog-ebook/dp/B07Y5VQJ6Z/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=julie+hickey&qid=1579746416&sr=8-1
- The Ordinary Mom website:
- The Side Hustle Journey website: