Hey, I got to be honest with you. Starting a successful dropshipping business without spending a penny is impossible.
But, the good news is that you can start dropshipping with less than $100 in your pocket!
In this guide, I’ll show you how to start dropshipping for free or at least a successful online business with just a small budget.
Dropshipping is just like having your own online store.
But instead of managing shipping and inventory, your dropshipping suppliers or wholesalers do all the heavy work for you.
The dropshipping business model allows suppliers to ship products directly to the customer who ordered from your e-commerce store.
Before I show you more about starting a free dropshipping business, it’s crucial to keep these principles in mind:
- Avoid bulk purchases and order items individually only after they’ve been sold
- Choose a free dropshipping website, such as AliExpress, Spocket, or Modalyst
- Take advantage of free tools, dropshipping apps, plugins, and service platforms to build and manage your online businesses
In a nutshell, a free dropshipping business only involves a few steps.
Start by searching for lucrative products to sell. Next, look for reliable dropshipping suppliers.
Once you have those secured, build your online store while making sure that all your product listings are well-written and optimized.
Set up your store’s payment gateways, and don’t forget to promote your store using free methods, such as through micro-influencers, blogs, or social media.
- Research Profitable Dropshipping Products
- Find a Reliable Dropshipping Supplier
- Build Your Online Store
- Create and Optimize Your Product Listings
- Set Up Your Payment Gateways
- Promote Your Store Using Free Methods
Now, let me show you the fun part—how to be a dropshipper for free.
Your free dropshipping store will struggle if you sell common or low-demand items.
But if you find a profitable dropshipping niche, you could have a successful dropshipping business.
The type of dropshipping business you create all depends on your personal preferences, market research, and available resources.
Here’s a simple table to help you find out which type of dropshipping store best suits your goals:
|Type of Store||Overview||Pros||Cons|
|General Store||Sells a variety of products that cover different categories||– Easily adapts to market trends|
– Enjoys multiple revenue streams
– Caters to a wider audience
|– Increased competition|
– Marketing and customer targeting challenges
|Niche Store||Focuses on a single niche and targets a specific audience||– Less Competition|
– Easier to build a loyal customer base
– Better chance of getting repeat customers
|– Smaller customer base|
– Limited range of products
|One-Product Store||Mainly sells a single product||– Highly targeted marketing campaigns|
– Simplified business operations
|– Limited revenue stream|
– Easily affected by trends or seasonality
Before you even start dreaming about raking in massive profits from dropshipping, you’ve got to choose what product/s you will be selling.
After all, not all products sell like cupcakes.
If you decide to sell a low-demand item, this will just end up gathering dust in the warehouse for months.
Here are some things to consider to help you find that money-making product!
|Significant Demand||Pick a sought-after product so that it flies off the shelves as quickly as possible.|
|Solves The Customer’s Problems||People will eagerly buy products that simplify their daily routines.|
|Robust Profit Margins||Make sure that you reap good profits after you spend money on marketing and shipping costs.|
|One That Stands Out||Choose unique products that have a significant edge over those offered by competitors.|
|Products That Last||Customers love products that are durable and of high quality.|
Finding profitable merchandise to sell is easier said than done.
But don’t worry, this is where product research tools enter the scene.
The best thing about this list? Most of them are free to use or offer limited trial periods.
|Research Tool||Pricing||Try It Out!|
|Google Trends||Free||Try Google Trends Now!|
|Amazon Best Sellers||Free||Check out the Amazon Best Sellers List Now!|
|AliExpress Dropshipping Center||Free||Check out AliExpress Now!|
$15 monthly /
|Try Thieve.co Free for 14 Days!|
|Sell The Trend||Free / |
$39.97 monthly /
|Try Sell The Trend Free for 7 Days!|
|Niche Scraper||Free / |
|Try Niche Scraper Free!|
|Jungle Scout||$49 monthly ($349 yearly) / |
$69 monthly ($589 yearly) / $129 monthly ($999 yearly)
|Try Jungle Scout Now! (7-day Money-Back Guarantee)|
|Dropship.io||Free / |
$29 monthly ($228 yearly) /
$49 monthly ($348 yearly) /
$79 monthly ($588 yearly)
|Try Dropship.io Free for 7 Days!|
|Shut Up And Take My Money||Free||Try Shut Up And Take My Money Free Now!|
|Wish||Free||Try Wish Free Now!|
|Gelato (for Print-on-Demand products)||Free / |
$14.99 monthly ($139 yearly) / $99 monthly ($999 yearly) / Custom pricing (Platinum plan)
|Try Gelato Free Now!|
After researching and choosing a winning product to sell online, it’s time to find a reputable dropship supplier for your goods.
Keep in mind that there are suppliers out there that are unreliable and a pain to work with.
But don’t fret, I’ll give you some tips below on how to find a trustworthy dropshipping supplier for your online store.
- Has been in business for at least two years
- Offers a fair and transparent fee structure
- Fulfills orders on time
- Prioritizes product quality
- Provides exceptional customer service
- Efficiently handles returns
Here’s a quick overview of the best free dropshipping suppliers. I also included paid dropship suppliers that you might want to check out:
|Modalyst||US/EU||Free / |
$35 monthly ($360 yearly) /
$90 monthly ($804 yearly)
|SaleHoo||New Zealand||$27 monthly ($270 yearly) / |
$97 monthly ($970 yearly)
|Spocket||Canada||Free / $39.99 monthly / |
$59.99 ($288 yearly) /
$99.99 monthly ($684 yearly) / $299 monthly ($948 yearly)
|Jungle Scout (Product Sourcing Tool)||USA||$49 monthly ($349 yearly) / |
$69 monthly ($589 yearly) / $129 monthly ($999 yearly)
|ZonGuru (Easy Source Tool)||UK||$49 monthly ($348 yearly) Researcher Plan|
|Gelato (for Print-on-Demand products)||Norway||Free / |
$14.99 monthly ($139 yearly) / $99 monthly ($999 yearly) / Custom pricing (Platinum plan)
Now that you’ve secured a reliable supplier for your products, it’s time to set up shop!
Creating an online store can sound intimidating, but there are a variety of free and paid websites that can help you build a professional-looking ecommerce website in a jiffy.
Picking a reliable hosting provider is important if you want your dropshipping business to operate as smoothly as possible.
Your hosting provider makes sure that your ecommerce website creates a positive experience to shoppers 24/7.
Both hosting sites offer a free SSL certificate and a free domain for your first year.
My personal choice for a dropshipping ecommerce platform would be Shopify.
This is a paid option and comes with monthly fees, but it’s the tool that lets you create an online store quickly and professionally.
Plus, it includes more than 6000+ third-party apps that help you automate all business operations and integrate your store with other marketplaces such as Etsy, Amazon and eBay, so you can scale your business easily.
However, if you’re looking for free ecommerce platforms, here are some of my top picks:
If you already have hosting and a domain name, you can create a WordPress website and install WooCommerce on your store.
This is a free dropshipping platform and it is available anywhere in the world.
After installing the plugin to your WordPress account, upload your products, and start promoting your store.
Square Online has a drag-and-drop website builder that anyone can learn.
This ecommerce platform also has a payment processing service to take payments online.
Square Online has paid plans that start at $29 monthly. But not to worry, there’s a free plan available on the platform.
Just be aware that with the free plan, Square Online will take 2.9% + 30¢ once you start to sell products.
Another free dropshipping store platform you could use is Ecwid by Lightspeed.
Similar to other ecommerce platforms like Square Online, you can launch a site quickly without writing a line of code.
They also offer a mobile app that allows business owners to manage their online stores on the go.
Last but not least, you can use Mozello to build a free online store and launch it quickly.
The service integrates with most social media platforms, so you can easily incorporate marketing efforts into your store.
On Mozello’s free plan, you can only add up to five products. But the advantage of using this service is that it doesn’t charge you transaction fees.
It may sound insignificant, but your store’s name can actually be a deciding factor between your online business failing or succeeding.
The name you give your online store creates your brand’s identity.
This also helps your customers easily identify your brand and differentiate it against competitors.
Here are some factors you might want to consider in choosing a winning store name:
- Does it sound catchy?
- Is it easy to pronounce and spell?
- Will it sound trendy even after several years?
- Does it suit your target audience?
- Is it unique and authentic?
Choosing your store name doesn’t have to be a one-man job.
Brainstorming with your team lets you exchange creative store name ideas and suggestions. You’re also free to ask the opinion of friends, family, co-workers, or customers.
Try creating online polls and find out which potential name gets the most votes.
There are also a variety of online tools that you can use as a source of inspiration, such as rhyming dictionaries or name generators.
Lastly, make sure that the name you picked doesn’t have any copyrights or trademarks attached to it.
The next thing to do is add your chosen products to your free website.
Then, for each product you need to create a high converting product landing page by:
- Writing engaging product descriptions while adding keywords
- Designing high quality lifestyle images
- Adding product testimonials.
Ensure that you have high-quality images and copies to maximize your ROI in the promotion phase.
You should provide multiple high-resolution images that will show the best attributes of your products.
If you’re selling beard products, for instance, show photos of what they might look like when applied.
Write descriptions that highlight the benefits of your products.
Add keywords that people will use when searching for online products like yours. This will help search engine optimization of your site.
You’ll also want to add other information to help alleviate your buyer’s worries and concerns.
These include shipping times, shipping method options, payment options, return terms, and other details.
If you are doing Aliexpress dropshipping with Aliexpress being your dropship supplier, you can synchronize your supplier’s testimonials with your product page.
Just a few more steps and your dropshipping business will be up and running!
Any ecommerce store requires a secure payment gateway to handle all customer purchases and transactions.
Your online payment platform keeps your customer’s personal and banking information secure.
It should also offer convenience to shoppers with different payment preferences (credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets, cryptocurrency, and other digital payment methods).
With a variety of options available, here are some things you need to consider in choosing an e-commerce payment system:
- Will it work with your target audience’s currency and country?
- How much are the transaction fees?
- Does it provide good customer support?
Step 6- Promote Your Store Using Free Methods
Now that your dropshipping store is operational and in full swing, the next question is, how can you get the word out without spending anything?
If you’re looking for a marketing strategy to try when you start dropshipping with no money, these ideas should work like a charm.
Define Who is Your Ideal Client
Who are the specific group of people you wish to reach and engage through your marketing campaigns?
These people share the same hobbies and interests, and are usually the same age and gender. They’re the ones who are most likely to be your customers.
Studying your product’s benefits or testing different audiences can help with identifying your target client.
If your dropshipping business features pet accessories, a good target audience would be animal lovers, fur parents, and pet store owners or groomers.
Partner Up with Micro-influencers
With your limited budget, spending big on paid advertisements is not the most practical option.
You can reach a wider audience without breaking the bank by using something called influencer marketing.
And I’m not talking about partnering with Hollywood celebrities or professional social media content creators.
The people you should look for are the micro-influencers—those who have a few thousand to tens of thousands of followers on social media.
Most the time, these individuals have a modest, but highly engaged, social media following within a specific niche.
Micro-influencers are everywhere to be found on social media, particularly on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube.
Give them a commission from every sale you make, instead of paying them with a fixed rate. This way, it’s a win-win situation on both ends!
Blogs are a proven way to sell online and not spend anything.
All you need is optimized and engaging content that ranks high on searches and draws readers in.
You can write blogs that educate your readers. You can then insert calls to action for people to buy your products. You can also capture their emails and promote your products via email marketing.
One good example of this is showing readers how to come up with fantastic calligraphy art. You can then proceed to dropship calligraphy products.
If you want to speed up the blog-writing process, you can use different AI writing tools to help you out, such as Grammarly, Hemingway Editor, WordAI, Copyscape, and SurferSEO.
Social media is also an excellent way to get the word out about your online store when you’re getting started.
You’ll need to create social media accounts on your platforms of choice to begin with.
The best places to start are the following platforms:
Creating Pinterest boards, in particular, lets you showcase your products and promote your brand in a visually appealing manner.
Getting people to buy from your store is only the beginning. Real growth happens when you retain those customers. The first purchase doesn’t have to be your last interface with a customer.
Studies show that an existing customer will spend 67% more on your business than a new one. Thus, you must focus on customer satisfaction to create sustainable revenue for your business.
The good news is you can do that without investing money in customer service tools.
Adding an email address to your site or opening a Facebook page that also serves as chat support will do the trick. These two options are entirely free.
Creating an autoresponder for frequently asked questions helps you provide stellar customer support.
Extra or high shipping costs are one of the top reasons for cart abandonment. Try to offer free shipping to boost your conversion rates.
- Dropshipping Is a Low Risk Business Model.
- Dropshipping Is Profitable.
- Dropshipping Is Automatable.
- Dropshipping Is Relatively Easy.
I hate to burst you bubble, but to start dropshipping with no money isn’t possible.
But by investing money, $100 or less, building a successful dropshipping store is doable!
To provide a quick rundown, you can start your own dropshipping business by going through these steps:
- Research profitable products
- Find reliable suppliers
- Build an online store
- Create and optimize your product listings
- Set your store’s online payment facilities
- Market your dropshipping store
Your online store’s earnings depend on a variety of factors, including your product choice, marketing campaigns, competition, niche, and personal efforts.
As a rough estimate, many dropshippers with a well-optimized online store, reputable dropshipping suppliers, and effective marketing campaigns can earn around $500 to $2500 monthly.
While there are websites that can help you find reliable free dropshipping suppliers, the actual dropshipping suppliers themselves typically require payment for their products and services.
Based on my experience, among the easiest product categories to dropship are footwear and apparel, beauty products, pet supplies, baby products, and kitchen and dining accessories.
So there you have it — how to start a dropshipping business with no money. The only thing left is to start applying what I’ve taught you.
Dropshipping with no money won’t be a walk in the park for ecommerce entrepreneurs. But with suitable products, wholesale suppliers, an efficient site, and intelligent marketing methods, you can make money dropshipping and build multiple dropshipping businesses in the long run.
By the way, have you heard of the concept of reverse dropshipping? That’s a concept that not many people know about.
Now if you’re seriously considering starting a dropshipping without being on a budget, check my guide on how to start a dropshipping business.