I am sure everyone has done this little homework when you are still a child. Who would you want to be and what kind of career path do you want? My answer is still vivid and clear to me after years. I want to make an impact to the world and take good care of my love ones. I want to be a policeman so I can protect people from danger and make the world a better place. (I know it’s a bit cliché but that’s my dream when I’m still a kid.) But when I grew up, I realize I can help people in a different way.
The old traditional education system has always asked us to go to college and find a 9-5 job and live happily ever after. I still remembered last year I was working as an intern in an accounting firm, hoping to build up my resume and hopefully find a job that could pay off my bills and take care of my parents. But I just couldn’t bear with the boredom and the meaningless work. I asked myself the purpose of working my butt off, I just can’t get an answer. Maybe it’s about the money, but there is absolutely no fulfillment and joy. So I decided to make a change. I googled “how to make a living online” when I’m on my way home. I remembered reading an article, there’s ton of options like: completing a survey and you can gain some money, Dropshipping, Affiliate marketing, Amazon FBA etc. So I took the plunge in Dropshipping.
Credit: Oberlo. For more details, pleaes visit: https://www.oberlo.com/blog/dropshipping-vs-affiliate-marketing/
The Model of Dropshipping with Aliexpress:
Basically you need to build a decent looking website and sell cheap products from China. The way of making profit is to mark up the product and gain profit from the difference.
- little start-up investment – literally you just have to build a decent looking shopify website and uploading products from Aliexpress.
- No technical skills required. – As there are lots of apps to help you upload products from Aliexpress to your Shopify website, like Oberlo.
- The logistics is simply out of control – When you place an order on Aliexpress, normally it will take 2-6 weeks to your customer. You can imagine US customers are not very happy with it as Amazon Prime offers 2 days FREE shipping. There are literally angry customers emailing me every day and asking for an update on his/her products. Sometimes the China post office will just never deliver your products. Some of my orders just never shipped out after 6 weeks of placing an order.
- Lots of refunds. – As they never receive the products or tired of waiting, they will just ask for a refund. So you will be the person who take the lost.
Biggest Expenses for Dropshipping:
Shopify Website hosting: $29
Total costs to start: $500 +/-
Average time to profit: 1-3 Months.
Conclusion: The whole business is just not for me. The whole business model requires a massive amount of customer service as you will have to check on the status of delivery. I know there are people who are very successful with it, but it’s just not my thing. Because of all the refunds, basically I have lost over $12k. But I will never quit because I know it’s the right path for me. Serious entrepreneur will never quit, when they fail, they will just rise back up and do whatever it takes to be successful. You really need to know your WHY.
Selling on Amazon requires a minimum of $3000 but most likely closer to $10,000-$20,000 as you will have to factor in importing goods, buying inventory and giving away free review products, also advertising to get you to the front page of Amazon’s search results. After the initial investment, you will also need to reinvest your first 3-6 months’ worth of profit into buying more inventory so most people don’t acutally start getting paid for closer to a year.
However, the reward is huge as I have heard people who have built 6 figure FBA business.
Biggest Expenses for FBA:
Total costs to start: $10000+
Average time to profit: 4-6 Months.
I think affiliate marketing would be the most feasible way for people to start an online business even with a small amount of cash. There is basically two types of affiliate marketing, you can build your audience through blogs and reviews or you can use paid traffic like Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Bing, Google to send traffic to your landing page and build a list. So if you are starting out with little cash, you can use the Free & Low Cost method: Writing blogs and building backlinks. If you have more cash to invest, you can utilize paid traffic to send traffic to your landing page or blog.
Pros for Affiliate Marketing:
- It takes no marketing skills to get started – Basically you just have to focus on your primary talents and incorporate your affiliate marketing into it in a way that makes sense. A few add-ons, if you know SEO, it can help your site rank higher. If you know social media, you can make your site go viral. But if you are truly passionate about your niche and know it inside-out, you can create stunning content and provide value to your audience, potentially encouraging them to click on your affiliate link and purchase the product. In that way, you get a commission.
- Little start-up investment – So the full affiliate marketing funnel including building a landing page/squeeze page to get opt-in, website hosting etc. Sometimes it will be difficult for beginner to create all from scratch. But some affiliate marketing programs will simply provide these powerful tools in a monthly subscription basis. I am using the Six Figure Mentor program, as they had all the tools to get you started. They have different fully-optimized landing page for you to choose (You can also create a unique lead capture page if you want, by using Simple Lead Capture, a tool that is also included.) They have the sales team support in place to help you close the sale. If your referral has any questions, they can simply reach out to their support, regardless it's the technical part or the mindset part. All the essential marketing concepts and techniques are outlined step-by-step and there will also be weekly live training. Literally, although it might be more expensive than other programs, it surely worth it as it saves all the hassle. All you have to do is simply driving traffic to your post and build a email list.
- You don’t have to handle any of the customer service – For me, it’s literally the most attracting part of the business model. As being an affiliate of other people’s product, all you have to do is refer people to their sales page and they will handle all the fulfillment and refunds or even any questions associated with the products. If your referral has any questions, you can simply refer them to the home company customer service line and move on with your day.
Cons for Affiliate Marketing:
- You have no control over the products/programs. – As you are only the affiliate of the products/programs, you have no control on it. Even though a great program today could be a lousy program tomorrow.
- Anyone can join and become a success. – I’m really not sure whether it’s a good or bad thing. As you don’t need to be technical-savvy to get started. But also anyone from anywhere in the world can sign up for the affiliate marketing programs, there is massive competition within the ranks. So one sincere advice from me is to learn from the best marketer. As the whole concept of affiliate marketing is truly marketing the Right Product to the Right Person at the Right Time. So your marketing skills should be up to date and really learn from the best.
Biggest Expenses for Affiliate Marketing:
Advertising: $100 +/- (Really depends on your balance of Free marketing and Paid Marketing)
Affiliate program: $97 per month for SFM.
Total costs to start: Less than $200
Average time to profit: 1-3 Months.
Conclusion: If anyone asks me what is the best way to start an online business, I would definitely recommend Affiliate Marketing. As there is no technical or marketing skills required, little start-up capital. The best thing is that you can choose to utilize Free marketing and Paid marketing at the same time, totally depends on your own marketing budget. One of the coolest thing is that you can share your thoughts and values on something you are truly passionate about with your own audience. That is just the best thing ever.
But I have to make a clarification on this. Online business is not a push-button magic that you can get rich quick or overnight. There will be loads of hard works and challenges. But if you can get through it, it will be very rewarding. In the old days, opening a brick-and-mortar store requires a huge initial investment, but in today’s digital economy, it’s much easier for anyone to start an online business.
PLEASE!! Life is short and there is just so little we can do... Treasure your time. Ask yourself are you really willing to work your butt off for your boss and make him rich. Don’t leave any regrets. Your life is yours and you should be the one dictating it.
The Path to True Freedom…
For me, the path started with simply wanting time and financial freedom.
The education and community I found within the SFM by starting on that path has given me ALL of that and SO MUCH MORE! This is my solution to finding time and financial freedom.
Look, I don't want you to waster money on other programs that is basically not working (Trust me, I have been there. I have literally spent over 3k on online programs that is not working.) I want you to have a basic learning on the Affiliate Marketing first, click here to register for a 7 days video series outlining exactly what it is.
To your success, freedom and – most importantly – YOUR HAPPINESS,