In this guide, I’ll discuss how to start a dropshipping business with no money. I’ve broken down the guide into 5 crucial steps.
When I say “free”, I mean it. Every step/tool I’ll use is 100% free. You don’t even have to share your credit card details in any case.
Let me address something before we start. Does Dropshipping work in 2023? Is it dead? IT IS NOT! In fact, according to this research, if anything, it’ll be growing at 2.8% until 2025!
So, let’s start with the basics before moving onto the more technical aspects?
Table of Contents
- What is Dropshipping?
- How to start a dropshipping business with no money?
- Step 1: Find a dropshipping product/niche for free?
- Step 2: Check competition for your product/niche (for free).
- Step 3: Finding suppliers for your products
- Step 4: Setting up a 100% free store
- Step 5: Marketing your products for free
- Final words- How to start a dropshipping business with no money?
What is Dropshipping?
I get it, most of you already know what Dropshipping is. However, some of you may be here just after you heard the term and wish to make some money.
Even if you know what Dropshipping is, you clearly need a few more hints. That’s why you’re still trying to learn how to dropship with no money, right?
Dropshipping is basically when you act as a mediator between a supplier, and a buyer.
In other words, you don’t have to “stock” whatever you’re selling. You also don’t have to deal with inventory, packaging or shipping.
It’s all managed by your supplier. You’re simply the link which brings in the customers for the suppliers.
Do note that this doesn’t mean you can’t customize your products. In many cases, suppliers allow you to design, customize and brand the products as your own.
How to start a dropshipping business with no money?
Is it truly possible? Yes, it is possible to start a dropshipping business without investing a single penny.
For any dropshipping business, you’ll need at least three things:
- A product/niche for your store.
- Supplier(s) who will manufacture/procure, stock, pack and ship your products.
- A website/store which you’ll use to sell your (the supplier’s)
In most other cases, none of this is free. You’ve to buy a product-research tool, spend money for your website and so on.
In this piece, I’ll show you how you can find/create all three of these absolutely free!
Step 1: Find a dropshipping product/niche for free?
The first thing you need is the product.
So, we need a tool that’s dedicated for dropshippiing and shows us relevant data, right? Obviously, it also has to be 100% free!
We’ll use AliExpress Dropshipping Centre.
You can signup for free. It allows using your Gmail and social media accounts for easy and one-click signups.
Once you’ve signed up, just accept their T&C agreement (after you’ve read it, if you’re that type of person)
On the next page, click on the “Find Products” button.
The next page is self-explanatory.
You simply enter your keyword (e.g. watches/ shoes/jeans etc.), select a category, shipping source and the destination.
You can even use “images” to search for products if you don’t know what a product is called. It shows you certain metrics for the products.
The metrics aren’t important. They’re mostly from and for AliExpress. If you aren’t planning on using AliExpress as your Dropshipping partner, they don’t mean much to you.
However, the total no. of orders for each product is still helpful. It helps get a rough idea of how popular one product is compared to others.
Other free Dropshipping product finders:
Gather maybe a dozen good products you like. We’ll trim them down in the next section.
If you use social media, you’d often see “sponsored ads”. Note the products down. If someone’s running ads for these, they’re probably in demand and can be sold.
Step 2: Check competition for your product/niche (for free).
Once you find a bunch of products, you need to narrow it down to one or maybe two products, right?
This step differs based on the type of product you’ve selected. However, the most basic place to start is Google.
E.g. if you’ve chosen “green floor mats”, you go to Google and type “Green Floor Mats”.
You’ll see all the sites selling exactly your product.
You can also try “yourproduct.myshopify.com”. E.g. “greenflootmats.myshopify.com”.
We’re adding “Shopify” because that’s arguably the most used dropshipping platform. In fact, Shopify saw an increase of about 100% in its revenue between March 2020 to March 2022!
What you’re doing is, you’re searching for Shopify stores that are already selling your products.
You’ll see thousands of sites on Google. You can visit them and check what they’re selling.
You can also go to Instagram and Facebook, search for your product name and see what comes up.
This is a crude, not-perfect method of competition researching, but hey, it’s $0.00.
Step 3: Finding suppliers for your products
To sell, you first need “goods”. For goods, you need a supplier who’ll provide those goods, won’t you?
You can just go to Instagram and search for your product. E.g. if I search for “Floor Mats”, I find dozens of accounts. These are either direct suppliers or middlemen.
Now, there’s no fixed guide on how you can find your suppliers. However, there are a few “don’t” when finding them.
Meaning, you’ll encounter dozens of fake/third-party middlemen who claim to be large wholesalers. They aren’t.
For starters, most legit wholesalers will never ask you for a subscription or membership fee.
Also, if you’re getting products at a very cheap price, it’s probably too good to be true as well.
Anyway, you can find your own suppliers using Dropshipping directories. These are just directories with (mostly) verified suppliers.
Go to Google and search for [your product/category dropshipping supplier directory]. E.g. “Electronic wholesale dropshipping supplier”.
Note that this needn’t be exact. You can search for other similar terms.
It’s important that you search for suppliers who allow dropshipping. This is because in some regions or under some laws, retailing of purchased goods may be illegal without prior consent.
I get it, it’s your first time and this is all a bit confusing, isn’t it?
Well, here’s a list of dropshipping suppliers you can visit right away.
- Printful: For custom items. E.g. custom teeshirts, cups, caps, bags and much more.
- PlusBuyer: For electronics
- Megagoods: For Electronics
- SunriseWholesaleMerchandise: Thousands of different products
- Inventory Source: Integrated software+ supplier source.
These are just a few but will totally get you started.
Step 4: Setting up a 100% free store
Obviously, you’ll need a store, won’t you?
Now, this step is where most people (not you) have to spend money. You’ll need a domain, a server, and probably a web designer.
We’ll get rid of all of that!
What if I said you can set your store up in about 5 minutes (maybe less), with $0.00 out of your pockets, and absolutely no “coding”.
You can just sign up at Shopify. It’s not a “free” platform, but you do get a 14-day free trial.
Just be sure you’ve done the following before signing up at Shopify:
- Find the exact product(s) you’ll be selling.
- Find your suppliers.
- Setup logos/brand-aspects for your Shopify store.
This will help you save “days”. You wouldn’t waste any of your free trial days doing the above things.
Shopify has integrated payment processors and many different apps which actually help your business.
The steps are extremely simple as well. It’s mostly point-and-click. Choose your theme, edit text, drag & drop images and so on.
You can also use Printful if you’re like to sell custom products directly from Printful (yes, it’s a supplier too as I mentioned above). Printful too lets you set up a completely free shop. You can design your products and sell them directly using the Printful domain.
WooCommerce is something else you can use. It’s a WordPress plugin that’s 100% and forever free. I’ll be honest, it doesn’t offer as many features as Shopify. But, it’s still feature-rich.
If you’re totally new, you can learn how to create a WordPress blog first. After that, you simply need to install the WooCommerce plugin which is just as easy.
Step 5: Marketing your products for free
Now, if I was dropshipping, I’d run to Adwords and Facebook ads. Without doubt, those are the best ways to market your store and products.
But, because we’re going in with an empty pocket, we don’t have those options, do we?
Fortunately, there still are a number of options you can use.
- Social media influencers: Social media influencers can be your biggest miracles. These are just popular users with a few hundred thousand followers. In most cases, they’ve a “niche” carved out as well e.g. makeup/dance/interior design and so on. You simply have to start texting every single one of them. Your primary point should be that you’ll share a “percent” of profit with them, “after each sale”. The best places to start are Instagram and Facebook. To start, you can use “hashtags”. E.g. #DanceEquipments. Ignore the product pages/companies and go to the individual users on those hashtags.
- Create your own social media pages: Instagram and Facebook are still your best friends. With or without influencers, create a page, start uploading posts, commenting, engaging with others. You can go to your competitors’ posts for tips. If you look at their comment sections, you get a list of people who’re already interested in your products, it’s just a matter of sending them a text with lucrative offers.
- E-mail marketing: This is basically you sending out emails. It’s mostly free but it only works if you already have an email list maybe from a blog or another project.
Final words- How to start a dropshipping business with no money?
I hope you’ve learnt how to become a dropshipper with no money, haven’t you?
Let me recap it for you?
Search for products(s)> Search for supplier(s) > Set your store up > Market.
Let’s be honest, it’s not the easiest thing on the planet. It requires (a lot of) time, research and mental energy. But, it’s also one of the most profitable businesses out there.
So, what are you waiting for? Go give it a try. Worst case scenario? It’ll be a “been there done that” experience for you. Best-case scenario? You’ll make a lot of money.