Updated: Oct 26, 2020
Most people that take up dropshipping end up failing. We'll talk about the top 5 reasons behind this, as well as how you can avoid them!
Most people who try dropshipping never achieve success.
This is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the unfortunate truth. We regularly see this happen time and time again with thousands of people on various Facebook groups.
The good news is that you don’t have to be one of the people who don’t make it — all it takes is avoiding a few common pitfalls that are responsible for most people never succeeding.
In this article, we’ll go over what we think are the four most common pitfalls.
We’ll cover each pitfall in-depth, and offer some ways to address these things so that you won’t be one of them.
So, let’s get to it!
Pitfall #1: People expect immediate results
Most people getting started with dropshipping think that they can just jump in, spend some money, and see immediate results.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the way it works; unlike a job where you know you can expect a paycheck after two weeks, you might not see a return from your dropshipping store for a long time.
This is especially true if you are a beginner — there’s a lot you have to learn to get to a point where you can consistently create profitable dropshipping ventures.
Luckily, this one is an easy fix!
You must understand that you have to go through some initial pain before you see results.
Think back to times in your life where you accomplished something great — more often than not, you had to sacrifice a lot of things in your life to do so, and it may have taken you a while before things worked out.
Recognize that you’re in this for the long-haul. If you’re trying to make a quick buck in a few weeks, you’re better off getting an actual job.
Now, understanding that pain is temporary and may lead to a reward down the road is one thing; but internalizing it and living by this principle is the hard part.
The best advice we can give you is this: become obsessed with the process, not the end result. One thing that we’ve observed about people who succeed in this line of work is that they became obsessed with digital marketing and eCommerce.
They then use their obsession to fuel their growth and don’t think twice about sacrificing things in life that will prevent them from achieving success.
If you’re strapped for cash or feel like you aren’t reaching your true potential — that’s actually a great thing, believe it or not. You can use these things as fuel, but must make sure that you don’t let them control your mindset.
In any case, while learning everything you can is something we notice in all successful dropshippers, it can be problematic if you let it get out of control. This brings us to the next reason…
Pitfall #2: People never take action
People spend months learning about dropshipping, digital marketing, and eCommerce. They join a bunch of groups, buy a ton of courses, and study as if they were preparing for some sort of exam.
And hey, that’s fantastic — having the drive to learn as much as you can and immersing yourself in any field can help you achieve success. We see a ton of beginners doing this, and we think it’s great. But, there’s just one problem…
Many people never actually apply their knowledge. It might sound ridiculous — but it happens all the time.
People will collect courses, bookmark articles, watch hundreds of YouTube videos, and do just about anything other than taking action. Some people never even get to making a store!
This can be for any number of reasons, but we’ll go ahead and focus on two: fear of failure, and having a perfectionist mindset.
Fear of failure is probably the more prevalent reason. For those that are affected by fear of failure, what they’re really dealing with is a fear of shame, which is extremely toxic for your overall mental health. The reasons for why they have a fear of shame can vary; they might think that other people will look down on them when they fail, or they feel that failure indicates a lack of intelligence and competence.
On the other hand, the perfectionist mindset is generally less prevalent but can be just as harmful. People with this mindset think that things need to be done perfectly the first time around and that there’s no room for mistakes. They will start to obsess over the smallest of details, thinking that the add to cart button must be 40px tall instead of 35px.
And now that they’ve noticed this, they’ll then start thinking that the whole page is off-balance, and they need to start from scratch or go get a degree in UX-design. Then they’ll think that their product images are off-center, and need to be cropped again. No, wait — they’re awful to begin with, so they need to be re-taken by a professional photographer. You get the picture…
While oftentimes you may recognize these in retrospect, it is important to identify them as early as possible in your dropshipping journey so that you aren’t blocking yourself from growth and success.
Fear Of Failure
Become comfortable with failure, and get into the habit of regularly putting your knowledge to use. Don’t associate failure with defeat; think of failure as being one step closer to the right answer, and stop giving a shit about what other people might say if they see you fail.
When you catch yourself in this mindset, remind yourself that everyone fails, and it is a necessary part of growth. Is your world going to end if you build a store, put a couple of hundred bucks into it, and it doesn’t pan out? No… you’ll just be out a little bit of cash, and you’ll have learned something new.
To give you an idea, John spent around $400 and a month of time before he got his first sale running Facebook ads. After that, it took him several hundreds of dollars more in spend and weeks of time to get to a profitable point.
Marek was able to get his first sales in a day or two… but, he spent about a year of time testing different niches and products, racking up 10k in credit card debt until things finally clicked and he was able to make his first 7-figure store.
So, if you think that being down a small amount of money, or spending a week and getting some results is the end of the world — just know that you’re off to a great start. Just keep doing what you’re doing.
80% of results come from 20% of your efforts — if you haven’t heard this before, it’s something called the Pareto Principle. This pattern is a phenomenon observed in business, economics, computing, sports, sociology, you name it. And, most importantly, it applies directly to dropshipping.
What you must do is apply this principle in your everyday activities.
If you avoid these two mindsets
Pitfall #3: People Don’t Learn From Their Mistakes
If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.
We’ve all heard of the “if you stick with it and keep trying, you’ll eventually succeed”. Unfortunately, this is not true — unless you make sure to learn from your mistakes.
It’s easy to get caught in the trap of testing some things out and rationalizing this as making progress with your learning. But if you’re not actively thinking about what you’re doing, and why you’re doing them, you’re not actually learning; you’re just ‘doing’.
Sure, by ‘doing’ you might get lucky and land a winner; but more likely than not, you’ll end up spending a lot of time and money with nothing to show for it.
Even if you do get lucky and have some initial success, you won’t be able to replicate that success if you don’t understand what you were doing and why.
This one is pretty easy to fix. You just need to develop a little bit of mindfulness and put in the effort to think about what you’re doing every time you sit down and check out your ad account.
Have a notebook or GoogleDoc open, and write down what you’re seeing and what the day’s results were.
Did something work? Write it down, and why you think that is. If you’re not sure, dig deeper into the metrics, or ask someone more knowledgeable about the topic.
Did something not work? Same thing — be sure to record it. Think about why it may not have worked, and think about what you could do to fix the problem, or make things a little better. And of course, don’t be afraid to ask why things aren’t working — if you ask the right questions in any group, you’ll find that people are very willing to help you out.
Some Tips For Getting Help & Asking Good Questions
Try solving the problem by yourself first; if you get stuck and can’t figure it out, then make a post in a group or ask someone
Include details about what the issue is, and provide relevant screenshots or information that can help pinpoint the issue
Use the search feature on Facebook groups before you make a post. 90% of the time, your problem is something that someone else dealt with in the past, or are currently dealing with
If you’ve managed to take care of all of these reasons, you’re in great shape. But, there’s one last thing we think causes people a lot of pain and unnecessarily wastes a lot of time…
Pitfall #4: People Try And Reinvent The Wheel
If you’re just starting off and there are people who have done what you’re trying to do, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t copy them.
Now, don’t get us wrong — being creative and testing new things has its advantages… but only after you’ve learned the basics of dropshipping. If you don’t have a solid understanding of eCommerce, marketing, and Facebook Ads, you should first learn and apply what successful people have done.
Despite the fact that there are tons of resources out on YouTube, we’ll see people doing the opposite of what successful drop shippers have done. Sometimes, they are unaware that they shouldn’t be doing certain things; but more often than not, they know what they should be doing, but decide to go their own way for whatever reason.
Don’t just go off on your own. Pick one strategy from a reputable drop shipper with a proven track record, and follow their process.
Also, avoid jumping from using one tactic to another; this will only hinder your progress, and limit the possibility of finding something that works. Stick to one system, and stay consistent. Otherwise, you’ll never fully give anything a chance to work, and you’ll risk potentially never actually finding success.
To summarize, the four biggest mistakes people make when starting their dropshipping journeys are:
People expect immediate results
People never take action
People don’t learn from their mistakes
People try and reinvent the wheel
If you’re just getting started, be mindful of these things, and make sure you’re not falling into any of these traps!
If you stick to it and stay away from these pitfalls, you’ll be much closer to the road of success than 99% of drop shippers.