Is Shopify Dropshipping Hard to Learn in 2024?


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I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” Does that saying apply to dropshipping too? Unfortunately, it does.

Many (not all) YouTubers do make it seem easy, and that’s because they have an ulterior motive as they’re generally trying to sell you a course and it’s much easier to sell something that appears easy rather than difficult.

So if you’re reading this to find the simple answer to, “Is dropshipping easy?” No, it’s not easy (Spoiler alert) however, it is very learnable.

In this article, I’ll cover exactly how difficult it is for an actual beginner to learn and the best way to go about it.

Why is Dropshipping So Hard?

I remember the first time I found out about dropshipping and started to learn the basics. I felt as if I just discovered some secret yet simple method of making money.

The actual business model is relatively straightforward. You sell someone else’s products and have them ship the products directly to your customers on your behalf. It almost seems too good to be true.

I’m not a tech savvy person so the part I was most concerned about was creating an actual Shopify store. It turned out that was the easy part.

Dropshipping has become very difficult due to the abundance of competition, you really need to think outside the box to be successful. You need to learn each step in depth, from product research, all the way up to advertising and order fulfillment.

Gone are the days when you could half-ass each step and still make money. Previously you could use Oberlo to upload a bunch of AliExpress products onto a Shopify store, run some cheap Facebook ads (they used to be cheap) and earn money.

When something is that easy, it’s only a matter of time before everyone starts doing it. Check out the image below for the increased demand for dropshipping since around 2016.

Worldwide search term for dropshipping since 2004

This doesn’t mean you can make money dropshipping a range of random AliExpress products, but it does make it hard to maintain that income. The most successful dropshippers innovated and came up with alternatives to the mainstream way of making money.

They realized the key was to gain advantages over the competition. They mastered each step and took it to another level whilst amateurs continued with the outdated business model.

Dropshipping is harder in tody than it was in 2016 and you need to adapt like the pros to stay relevant. Here are some ways it can be done;

  • Once you validate a product, purchase in bulk and have the order shipped to a 3PL so products can be shipped domestically for faster shipping.
  • Use a dropshipping agent in China for fast and efficient worldwide shipping.
  • Create a brand for products to increase market value, its uniqueness and the perception of being the creator of the product.
  • Provide an improved and personalized customer experience.

These changes reduce or eliminate many of the problems associated with using AliExpress for your business.

Is Dropshipping Hard to Learn?

Like with anything, the learning curve for dropshipping will be steeper for some and others will pick it up quicker. In my opinion, the main reason for this is some people just have more of a marketing brain than others.

Learning the actual process of dropshipping is relatively easy as it is simply a matter of following steps from people who have done it before. The marketing aspect of dropshipping is more of an intuitive skill, this applies to product selection, branding, copywriting, video ads and ad creatives.

Even if you’ve never worked in sales or marketing of any kind, you may find you still have a hidden ability and/or a strong skillset.

  • Are you persuasive?
  • Do you understand why some stores are successful and others are not?
  • Do you understand why some products are great sellers and others are not?
  • Do you understand what a salesman is doing when he’s trying to subtly convince you to buy something?

Some people are just better judges of character than others and appear to understand how people operate better than others. This kind of ability goes a long way to understanding how to resonate with your customer base.

If you’re persuasive you may be good at copywriting and writing compelling product descriptions, you may be good at understanding which products will appeal to consumers. If you understand why some products appeal to consumers more than others, you’ll be better at product selection for your own store.

The list goes on but I’m guessing most people will be better than they expect at certain aspects of dropshipping.

Another option for newbies to dropshipping is dropshipping courses. There are heaps of them out there and some can be helpful, whilst others are a complete waste of money. I know this because I’ve participated in several in the past.

This is my advice. If you really want to purchase a dropshipping course, don’t spend more than $200. I’ve seen many go for $500 and even up to $2,000! Last I saw, Dropship Lifestyle is charging $2,000 for their high ticket dropshipping course and I have been through it and it’s not worth the money.

Most people selling courses will give you 90% of the information for free on YouTube, then make you pay $500 for the other 10%. The thing is, other YouTubers are giving away the other 10% of the information for free anyway. There isn’t really any information you need to pay for that isn’t available for free online in another location.

I’m not saying courses aren’t worth it for learning, but with the access you have to free information, spending more than $200 is simply a waste of money.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Dropshipping?

Let’s say you’re a complete beginner and have only recently learned exactly how dropshipping works. Now you’ve decided you want to give dropshipping a go and want to know how long it will take to learn and how long before you can start making money?

As a beginner you could learn the basics of creating a Shopify store, uploading products from AliExpress and advertising on Facebook within a few days. To reach a higher skill level of dropshipping, including branding, high ticket products and advanced marketing strategies, it may take a month.

I believe your best option to learn dropshipping as fast as possible is to completely immerse yourself in it. For a couple of weeks, read and watch all you can related to dropshipping. Then just throw yourself in the deep end and give it a go. If you’re unsure whether to pursue dropshipping, I suggest you read my article on why dropshipping may be a bad idea for you.

The best way to learn anything is to just try it! It’s important to be realistic and expect to fail because you probably will initially.

The beauty of dropshipping is that you can fail relatively quickly and cheaply. Each time you fail you gain knowledge and this makes learning dropshipping all that much quicker.

You never really stop learning as you can’t know everything and dropshipping is constantly evolving. Even after years of dropshipping, if you’re not still learning, you’re being left behind.

Is it Hard to Make Money Dropshipping?

So you’ve learned all you can about dropshipping, you’ve created a Shopify store and you’re running ads. Is it actually hard to make money?

Beginners find it hard to make money dropshipping due to competition, low-profit margins and increased ad cost. It’s far easier to make money dropshipping when creating a brand as this increases the product’s perceived value, enabling larger profit margins.

If you want to make fast and easy money, dropshipping probably isn’t right for you. Putting in the time to learn and being prepared to fail will make it easier to make money in the long term.

I have heard around 20% of people who attempt dropshipping actually succeed. I have no idea if that is true or how they came up with that statistic, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I think 5 or 6 years ago that number would have been considerably higher as it was considerably easier at this time.

Once you have found a profitable product or niche, it’s a matter of optimizing your store, your ads and sourcing the product/s in bulk from a reputable supplier. Once all that is in place, making money will become much, much easier.

It’s not unusual for a successful dropshipping store to be making 100k a month or much higher. Putting in the hard work and being prepared to fail will pay off in the long run.

How to Learn Dropshipping for Free?

We’ve gone over my opinion on paid dropshipping courses, now how can you learn dropshipping for free? There are several ways:

  • The most obvious one is my website. All the articles on this website have been written by me from my experience with dropshipping since 2016. If there is anything you are stuck on and want me to write an article about, let me know through my contact page and I’ll write articles on the most popular and relevant requests.
  • YouTube is the big one for free information. There are endless videos from people who know what they’re talking about and who share their experiences with dropshipping. The problem is, there are also some people who think they know what they’re talking about, although they are really missing the mark.
  • Anytime you have a question about dropshipping, Google, YouTube, Social Media and Forums will be your best friends. You will undoubtedly find what you’re looking for.

Summary (My Advice)

Dropshipping has a very low barrier to entry. You need no experience and little capital with the ability to make life-changing money, without the risk of a normal business. As a complete beginner, I suggest you read my article on starting a dropshipping store from scratch. It is almost like a mini-course and should provide plenty of value.

This means copious amounts of competition is inevitable which obviously makes dropshipping more challenging, however, hopefully from reading this article you can see that not rushing in, thinking outside the box and not doing the same as everyone will make it a lot easier to succeed.

These are tips I would give to a complete beginner who is worried dropshipping is too hard.

  • Don’t take the advice of too many people on YouTube. Find 1 or 2 key players to follow and listen to all their content. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information out there.
  • Don’t be discouraged when a product or niche you choose fails (and it will) because it happens to the people making millions too!
  • Don’t be too attached to your choices. If you believe you have found the next winning product and it isn’t proving so, move on quickly.
  • Ask friends/family for an honest opinion on your Shopify store. If you’ve had no design experience it can be tough to hit the mark.
  • Keep everything as simple as possible in the early stages. Start incorporating things like specialized apps, multiple advertising streams, social media and emailing marketing later.
  • Understand how the different ad platforms work and how you should advertise on each effectively. For example, with Facebook ads you need to interrupt your customers with your ads whilst Google is search intent advertising.
  • Don’t be tempted to buy a pre-built Shopify store, it is not worth it. You will need to learn the skills yourself if you want to build a long-term business.

Dropshipping can be difficult but if you’re willing to take the time to learn it in-depth, a very lucrative business can await you.

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