Dropshipping For Beginners

Dropshipping For Beginners

DROPSHIPPING FOR BEGINNERS

Since this pandemic happened, tons of people started to look for ways to earn online. Top searches so far are phrases like “how to make money online”, “online jobs”, or “online businesses”. Whenever you search “online businesses”, you’ll always find the word “Dropshopping” linked to it.  In short, Dropshipping is a trending way of making money online – and with good reason.

But what is dropshipping anyway?

DROPSHIPPING EXPLAINED

For newbies out there, “Dropshipping” is a type of business model whereby an online seller can operate without the need of maintaining inventory, owning a warehouse, or having to ship products. It’s a business system where a retailer partners up with a dropship supplier who then ships the products directly to the retailer’s customer.

So you sell real, physical products, but you can do it digitally without handling any inventory or stock.

In dropshipping, there are usually three parties involved.

  • The Retailer,
  • The Dropship Supplier, and
  • The Customer

The Retailer establishes his or her online shop and partners up with a Dropship Supplier while the Dropship Supplier manufactures the product and ships the product directly to the Customers. The Customer is the person who buys the products online through the Retailer’s online shop.

Dropshipping makes it easier for each of the parties involved to master their craft. Retailers can focus on selling the products, engaging with customers, and improving their online stores. On the other hand, Dropship Suppliers can concentrate on ways to perfect and innovate their products. Dropship Suppliers won’t need to stress about advertising or reaching out to customers – this will be the main job of the Retailer.

If you’re not into manufacturing products, it’s best to be a Retailer. In fact, when just entering into e-commerce, it’s recommended to start as a retailer or online seller. Starting up as a retailer is easier and less of a financial risk. You just have to be willing to learn and discover new things online.

This allows you to focus on simply marketing a product – and presenting the features and benefits – rather than dealing with the myriad of other problems you have in creating a physical product.  It also allows you to quickly test-market a product and see how it performs – before investing more time and effort.   And this is one of the key reasons that dropshipping has really taken off in 2020: you're not tied to a single product or idea.  You can test which products sell best and maximize your time to focus on selling the best products with the best profit margins.

TIPS ON HOW TO START EARNING AS A RETAILER

Retailers or online sellers don’t have to invest heavily in starting their business. They just need to create an awesome online shop and connect with the best dropship suppliers out there.

Starting your online shop is as simple as setting up an account with Facebook. You can visit web platforms such as Shopify, Weebly, or WooCommerce. These sites can help you build and manage your online shop. You can even set up shop through Instagram or WordPress. This depends on your preference on how you will be marketing your online shop.

The key to making this all work, and the most difficult part is finding good dropship suppliers who are accessible to your target customers. What you’re looking for are dropship suppliers who can supply your customers with quality products that go with the whole theme of your shop. But there’s no need to worry, all you need to solve this problem is Spocket.

SO…WHAT IS SPOCKET?

Spocket is an application that gives you access to thousands of products in the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. With Spocket, you’ll be able to connect with dropship suppliers who can provide you with a variety of products from apparel and footwear to tech and pet accessories.

To gain access to Spocket, all you need to do is sign up using your Google Account or Facebook Account. You’ll be able to create an account for free. After signing up, you then integrate your Spocket Account to your Shopify or WooCommerce store. Next, you start looking for products to feature in your online store. Search for products using their filter with the following categories: product categories, price, and location. Add the products to your store by clicking “Add to Import List”.

Take note that this free account will only allow you to:

  • Add up to 25 Spocket products to your online store;
  • Monitor your products through Spocket’s Real-time inventory updates;
  • Allow you to order for an unlimited number, the products you add to your store; and
  • Track your shipments

But, the key to making money with dropshipping is sourcing the best products that you can find have a need in the marketplace.  And Sprocket allows you to filter through the mediocre choices and find the best, most profitable ones to start with.

dropshipping with sprocket

If you want to add more products to your online store, simply subscribe to a paid Spocket Plan. Spocket has several plans available, each depends mainly on your budget and business size. Start your business right by connecting with the right people. Have access to the best dropship suppliers and visit Spocket.com right now.

Key Metrics for Dropshipping:

The key metrics to focus on in e-commerce or a Dropshipping business are:

  1. CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)
  2. AOV (Average order value as some customers may order more than one item from your store.)
  3. Cost Per AddToCart
  4. Cost Per Optin
  5. Acceptable CPA after COGS (Cost of Goods sold)

Let me explain that last one with an example.  If the product you are dropshipping has a hard cost to you of $15 and you sell it for $35, you can spend $20 on ads to break even.

The Importance of Choosing The Right Source For Your Products:

Lastly, consider that where your products get shipped to your customers from can be a crucial factor in your success.  If you dropship from China, customers will regularly be waiting for up to a month or more for delivery – and will get their products in a “less than impressive” package when it finally does arrive.  This will cause you to deal with refund requests, disputes and chargebacks.

One of the most powerful things about Sprocket is that it lists sources in the US and Europe, so you can focus on sales rather than dealing with customer support nightmares and putting out little fires all the time.  In fact, 60% of the products are sourced from the US or Europe.

So if you want to give Dropshipping a try, the best place to start is to open a free account with Sprocket and start looking at some of the potential products you can start profiting from today!

Common Issues We Can Face With Technology

Common Issues We Can Face With Technology

Technology is changing all of the time, and it can often feel like we are always upgrading or replacing tech such as laptops and phones for the latest release. They are dramatically enhancing the way we live and the things that we can do with them. However, there is no denying that we can all face issues when it comes to technology. With that in mind, here are some of the common issues we can face when it comes to using tech.    

office technology

Image source – Pixabay – CC0 license 

Not being understood when it comes to voice control

One of the most frustrating things about technology right now is the use of voice control for some things. A smart home, for example, will now have devices such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa, and while they are great for all sorts of things, you also have the frustration of the fact that sometimes they just don’t understand what you are asking them to do. It is especially noticeable with things like accents. 

Switching between Windows and MAC

In many cases, you are either a windows user or a MAC user. Trying to work on both in similar periods of time is only going to be confusing. Windows has special ways of doing things, and MAC has different keyboard symbols that you need to get used to. Even the exit button from the screen is on opposite sides. It takes a lot to get used to one, so switching between the two types of technology is enough to put anyone off. 

Your devices freezing

It is so frustrating when you are in the middle of working on something and then all of a sudden the screen freezes, or your device just stops working. It can happen commonly with things like a smartphone or a tablet device. You could be in the middle of reading something, typing an email or downloading a document and all of a sudden you have an outage and it freezes. There isn’t much you can do other than restart the device, but even though tech is advanced we still can’t avoid this. 

Not having enough memory to store things 

Have you gotten to the point where you have wanted to download something and then realised you haven’t got enough memory for it? It is another frustrating thing about technology that can’t be avoided. You have to regularly clear your devices to ensure that storage is not being taken up unnecessarily. It can often be annoying, but thankfully many new devices are now having higher amounts of storage purely because they realise that things take up a lot of space. 

No memory for software updates

Finally, we can also get to a stage where a software update is needed, but there is not enough space for you to action it. But then you need the update in order to actually keep using the device. It is a frustrating catch 22. 

Let’s hope it makes you feel less alone highlighting some of the common issues we can all face with technology. 

How To Pick The Perfect Domain Name

How To Pick The Perfect Domain Name

Things To Consider When Picking Your Domain Name…

So you want to start blogging but need a domain name.

Maybe you have one already but you're just not sure it's THE ONE and you need a little convincing.

Well, below are some of my tried and true tips for helping to pick a domain name.  Trust me when I say, Marie and I have gone through our share of terrible domain names over the 19 years we've been online and so this is a quick recap of the 8 most important “tips” we could give you.

You'll find the suggestions quite specific to help you flesh out your domain name.

If after reading this, you're still not sure which direction you should go, reach out to us!

Be sure to use the business name generator if you need it!

free blogging course

Go ahead and register for it now using this link and to find out more about our blogging journey, watch this quick video about why we started to blog!

And by the way, if you have not taken our free blogging course yet, then why not!

Be sure to sign up for it, where we walk you through everything to get set up, step-by-step.

 

Why Start A Blog

Be sure to use the business name generator if you need it!  The link is below!

How To Pick a Domain Name

1. .com

.com is always my first choice.  I know that finding a good .com seems few and far between but I promise people, they are still out there.  You just need a little more creative brainstorming to maybe find them.

So my first rule of thumb is to try and get a .com if at all possible.

Dare I say it, a .com is the most professional (yeah I said it!), plus is the default for people to remember.  If a person can't quite remember your domain name and are trying to recall it, they will always try the .com first if they can’t remember what you said.

I would even say that if your .com is not available, I would continue the search for a.com instead of going for the alternative (.net or an .io etc…).   If you are really hung up on the name though (maybe it’s your personal name), then go ahead and use a different ending but always try the .com first

2. KISS

My dad always used to say “Keep in short and simple”. Think about it…the most popular blog names are short, simple, catchy, and easy to remember.

Try to keep it to two or three words in length.  Don't use numbers, hyphens, or misspellings in your domain name: It is confusing and difficult for people to remember PLUS it's very hard for you to say.

I remember that when we started out,  we would often use hyphens in our domain names and they were a nightmare to give people.

When we started teaching about blogs and websites close to 17+ years ago, we had the first incarnation of our site called Ready2Go-Websites!  Ugh…Can you imagine saying that to someone?  It went something like this, ” My domain name is “Ready 2, as in the number 2, go, dash, websites .com ”  That's a mouthful and people were still confused.

3. Personal Branding

What about using your own first and last name?

It's a great way to establish a strong personal brand and works for any type of blog.

If your name is not available, then try adding something to it that might make sense, for example, my own personal domain name is AndrewMurrayHQ.com  The HQ stands for “headquarters” because I couldn’t get my name alone as it is a very common name.

4. Extra Words

If the exact name that you want is taken, you can add modifying words to make it your own. For example, if you wanted to start a foodie blog called “Cookie Crumbles” but that name is taken, you could try “The Cookie Crumbles”, “This Cookie Crumbles”

5. Don't Be Afraid To Grow

What do I mean by that?  Don’t pick a domain name that ensures you can’t grow beyond that topic if you wish to expand in the future.  If you want to grow this blog, I know it’s hard to think of where you’ll be 3-5 years from now, but picture it.  Be sure to pick a name that doesn’t keep you tied to a short leash, instead, pick a name you can grow with.

6. Formula For Finding A Catchy Domain Name

Yes, I agree that coming up with a good blog name can be a daunting task, but don't let that stop you.  A good way for coming up with a blog name is using an adjective + noun with the option of adding modifying words, again as I mentioned above. For example, this celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver “The Naked Chef” (“naked” referred to his style of cooking with few ingredients), “This Homeschooling Mama” or “The Coffee Drinkers”

7. Your Social Media Handle

Ideally, you want the name of your blog to be available as a handle on social media sites like: Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter so that your branding can be consistent.  If you’re set on your blog name and it’s not available, that’s okay.  A simple fix would be to add modifying words (as we mentioned above) to your social media handles but being able to have the same handle as your blog domain name is a huge bonus!  And as you check, if they are available, don’t wait, go register them now!

Taxbot Review: Taxbot App & My Personal Taxbot System

Taxbot Review: Taxbot App & My Personal Taxbot System

This post is an in-depth review of the Taxbot product. I have personally used this product for over 3 years.

What Is Taxbot?

Taxbot is an app available for iPhone and Android users, but it's really more than that. it's a whole solution to preparing your taxes quicker, and significantly maximizing deductions by capturing deductions you would normally not be able to document in order to write off.

taxbot app

Taxes can be a polarizing subject. And some people are deathly afraid of them.

How Much Can Taxbot Actually Save You?

It totally depends on your business. But for me, Taxbot saved me $45,106.11 in deductions I would have missed otherwise in 2018:

Taxbot Review: Taxbot App & My Personal Taxbot System
Yup, this is what Taxbot saved me in 2018!

Now keep in mind that if I were in a 50% tax bracket, this would have saved me about $20,100 in real money. Obviously, tax brackets are a complicated subject, so this is would vary based on your individual financial circumstances.

I know taxes are not everyone's favourite subject… but like death, it's something everyone has to deal with.  So anything that can make you tax time easier is worth learning a little more about, don't you agree?

Many people have “fear” around audits and the IRS/tax regulations. I'll explain how Taxbot will give you peace of mind (as it did for me) about your taxes a little later in this blog post.

But it's your legal right to be able to deduct your taxes as much as possible as long as the deductions are real and valid. Taxbot helps you record and capture deductions that otherwise would be missed.  And that will save you money.

Look, when mega-corporations like Amazon and Exon-Mobil pay zero in taxes, you should certainly get all the tax breaks you are entitled to by law.

Taxbot Review: Taxbot App & My Personal Taxbot System

That's crazy, right?

Note: Taxbot works in the US, but it also works for any country. For myself, as a Canadian taxpayer, I have used it to get many more deductions than I would have without using it. This post will show you how.

Who Created Taxbot?

Taxbot was created by Sandy Botkin and Jake Randall.  I'll get into who they are a little later in this post.

So how does Taxbot accomplish the goal of helping you pay significantly less in taxes?

Well, there are 2 main parts to the Taxbot product.

There is the mileage/deductions portion, which focuses on claiming business trips and expenses as legitimate business expenses, and there is the accounting portion where you can create year-end books for your accountant in a matter of minutes.

Additionally, there are some optional videos which legal tax expert and Taxbot co-founder Sandy Botkin teaches some strategy on how to reduce taxes for entrepreneur and business owners.  I've been through the videos and learned quite a bit, but you don't need them to use Taxbot and have Taxbot start reducing your tax burden immediately.  Sandy Botkin, who actually worked for the IRS, has also written some books on tax strategies.

Let's talk about mileage deductions first.

What I Wish Somebody Told Me About Mileage Deductions Before I Started My Own Business

For many small business owners and entrepreneurs (and this includes just about anybody in Network Marketing or even just doing a side-hustle), which could be mowing lawns, managing rental properties, or doing some sporadic graphic design work on Fiverr, or managing somebody's Pinterest Marketing account – or whatever! Literally anything you bill for with your online invoicing software.

The #1 biggest missed deduction for small entrepreneurs is automobile expenses.

The reason why is that it's a huge pain in the ass to document your mileage and calculate how much of your automobile car payments, gas, and repairs and maintenance can be counted towards your deductions.

This is not going to be a problem for you anymore, because of Taxbot.

So what the Taxbot app does, is once you allow it permissions to do so, it tracks when you start moving in a car (based on the speed it can tell if you are in a car.) I find it has been very accurate. It drops a geolocation pin from your starting point (which is often your home) and when you stop for more than 5 minutes, it drops an end of trip pin.

So it measures the actual miles (or kilometers in Canada) you have driven.

You simply swipe left if the trip is personal. And swipe right if the trip is business. And instantly, it tracks what percentage of your travel is tax-deductible for your business.

So you don't need to record starting and ending mileage. You just need to track your year-beginning Odometer reading.

SIDE NOTE: I started in June 2017, so for my first year, I recorded my beginning mileage on July 1st, recorded the mileage for the rest of the year, and had my accountant double it to account for the months Jan-June that I was not using the app. This is perfectly fine. You can track as little as a 3-month span in the year and extrapolate your yearly mileage deductions based on that number.

Why I like Taxbot Recording My Trips

First, it's automatic.

Second, it gets me oriented to thinking about how I can make a trip tax-deductible.

Third. I would never do this with consistency is I was using a pen and paper notepad instead of using Taxbot.

Some Taxbot Tips From A Pro User

Now the nice thing is that you can merge trips together, which I often do for the sake of clarity and brevity.

So, for example, if I am driving to the bank to do deposit a business check, for example, but I stop into the grocery store on the way back home, I'll merge the whole trip back into just one trip – from bank to home.

My main business purpose was to go to the bank, so I would have had to driven home anyhow. But my grocery trip now becomes tax-deductible because it was on the same route as a business trip.

So now my entire tripe becomes a legitimate, audit-proof, tax-deductible business expense.

That saves me real money…every time I leave the house.

How Taxbot Guide You

Taxbot prompts you to record the necessary pieces of information the tax people would want to know. And in the case of meals and/or entertainment expenses, it will ask you WHO you were meeting at the meal and WHAT the purpose of the meal is about.

(Asked for referral) is the default answer, which is a valid answer provided you generate some business from some of these meetings during the calendar year.

What I love about it, and I've been personally using Taxbot for over 3 years now is that it tracks all of my trips, so I can just easily categorize these when I'm home and in my downtime.

Honestly, I always knew I could write off a portion of my automobile and gas expenses as a small business owner, but it was too burdensome to manually record the odometer after every stop. I never could remember to record that no matter how hard I tried.

Now, I get to maximize all of my business-related trips, so I can easily give a report to my accountant that documents the total mileage for each calendar month and the km (or miles) traveled for business and for personal in each of those time periods.

From that, my accountant can calculate the percentage of deductions. Done and dusted.

But I want to stress that it's good to plan your trips around business trips – even if it's just picking up batteries for my apple headphones at the mall. (Yes, that is a valid business deduction as I use my phone to make business calls.)

Keep in mind you're not just writing off a portion of your gas. you also write off a portion of your car insurance, a portion of your repairs and maintenance, your tires, and your car/lease payment.

so you can see it can quickly become highly beneficial to identify trips as business travel.

Now the rule for the IRS is as long as it's reasonable and properly documented, they are not going to give you a problem. They are not looking for perfection. They are looking for crooks.

I have been audited in a field audit before by the Canada Revenue Agency (the Canadian equivalent of the IRS) – not for my mileage, but I know how the audit process works. As long as you can justify any expense, you shouldn't have a problem deducting it. There may be certain cases where they might disallow certain deduction you feel are related to your business but these should be negligible – especially if your records are well documented.

The key to peace of mind with your taxes is keeping it all up to date and organized… and Taxbot helps you do that. Also, the fact that your records are well-documented – and Taxbot is the best at that. This means that tax time becomes less stressful and certainly less time-consuming.

Even if you didn't save money, Taxbot would be worth it for that alone. (But trust me, you'll save a very significant sum.)

Having your taxes documented like Taxbot prepares them for you, will give you great confidence in dealing with any financial situation that may arise.

Taxbot and Bank Feeds

Taxbot can also connect to your bank feeds and pull all the income and expenses into Taxbot and then you can categorize it in Taxbot according to per-determined IRS-approved categories.

You can also make your own categories.

I, personally, don't use the Taxbot feature because I am Canadian and my business is mostly in USD, which is a bit more complicated – so I do my full accounting on Wave Accounting, which is built for non-accountants.

Now, it's not that I don't like syncing banks with a central online portal. I do think this gives you a good overview of your finances. I use Mint.com to get a quick overview of all my bank accounts across multiple banks and investment houses.

I do like using Wealth Simple, and Wealthica, both of which are available for Canadians. You can see my video review of Wealth Simple on YouTube.

Cloud-Based Bookkeeping Systems

Sidenote: If you want a great free accounting system, I recommend Wave. Moving to cloud-based books is awesome. I have a bookkeeper in the Philippines, so I don't need to bother my accountant for unimportant things. And I have a local Canadian accountant who does the final accounting stuff for me.

I first moved to Xero, which was cloud-based, but is very accountant-speak. I found Wave much easier for the entrepreneur who does not have a formal accounting background. I also tried Zoho Books, which was not as intuitive as Wave, but easier to grasp for non-accountants than Xero.

if I had a simple business or a one currency business, I would do my entire books in Taxbot – because it's so easy. You can generate profit and loss reports directly from the TaxBot back office.

From the web-based back office, you can also add any trip data that is missing – like let's say you had your phone turned off – just add it the starting and ending locations by address and it will calculate the mileage for you!

You can also take one trip and toggle a button to make it a “round trip” which would double the trip and calculate the return leg. sometimes I prefer to do this if I had many stops on the way home – or if I went out of my way on a personal detour.

Adding Business Expenses In Taxbot Manually

Instead of having Taxbot sync with my bank, I take a picture of business receipts and Taxbot prompts me to add the relevant details, and it also stores a photo of the receipt so I don't need to keep the paper one.

Of course, you can also do this from the back office, and upload receipts as pictures or PDFs.

This is really nice because it saves space and sanity at tax time.

Tracking Multiple Businesses With Taxbot

Taxbot allows me to track multiple automobiles and multiple businesses.

Now I only have one care, because neither my wife nor myself work outside the house. So we don't really need a second car.

But being able to track multiple businesses, but keep them isolated is exactly what the tax people want to see. Nothing irks the tax people more than co-mingling finances.

For example, I have a rental property. So I have a separate business set up as a rental property. So any travel I do related to this business, I assign that trip to the rental property business. Any expenses I incur as a result of this business, I add to Taxbot under that business as well.

So if I have to pick up some supplies at the hardware store, I keep the receipt, snap a picture, and Taxbot tracks all of my expenses for that business. (It also tracks the income for you if you add that. Income does not require a receipt to add it into Taxbot.

This is awesome, especially for really small businesses that don't have separate bank accounts. For example, for my rental property, I don't have to use a separate bank account. Taxbot tracks all the income and expenses for me, so I can produce a profit and loss statement easily in about 3 minutes at the end of the year.

If you are an entrepreneur of any kind running business expenses out of a personal bank account or using a personal credit card for business and personal purchases combined, this tool is a must – because it will keep your business expenses clearly detailed and listed out for your accountant.

Taxbot As An Estate Tracker Tool

Taxbot is also an incredible estate tool. I wish iI knew about it when I first become an executor.

You can easily track your time, your mileage, and any expenses directly through the app and keep it separate and easily prepare a report for the courts or your lawyers.

Remember, executors often rely on this at the end – even if you have started being an executor without Taxbot, I would encourage you to start tracking everything about your executor “job” from day one so you can prove what you did later if it ever comes to that. (Believe me, these things that start out where everyone agrees often end with everyone fighting and disputing things you never thought you would be disputing, That's the nature of estates.

Taxbot Reviews

Taxbot has some strong reviews in the App Store.  Keep in mind that a high rating like this is good, particularly for a free app that has a paid subscription model.  Most of the 1 Star reviews are people complaining that they actually have to pay for continued functionality with the app.  But trust me, it's worth it!

Taxbot Review: Taxbot App & My Personal Taxbot System

How much does Taxbot cost?

Taxbot, when I bought it cost me 9.95/mo. I pay for a year at a time for about $100 for the year.

Also.. that $100 is tax-deductible. but it saves me so much more in missed deductions and lost receipts – it easily saves me several tens of thousands of dollars each year.

Honestly, I don't know why anybody would not use it. it just makes sense.

So that's my Taxbot review. I hope you learned a few things from it that will save you money on your next tax return.

You can take a 2 week trial of Taxbot here.

Taxbot Review: Taxbot App & My Personal Taxbot System

If you don't see how this can save you thousands of dollars each and every year, you need to read this post again. 😉 Or you can sign up for my webinar where I show you how I use Taxbot personally.

You can register for the free Taxbot webinar here.

(You'll learn some tips on reducing your taxes as an entrepreneur that I didn't cover in this blog post also on the webinar.)

How To Download Instagram Live Stories

How To Download Instagram Live Stories

Have you ever seen an Instagram Live and wanted to keep a copy of it for any reason?

Perhaps you were featured in somebody else's IG live story, like a testimonial or a shout out – and you wanted to keep a portion for yourself.

Well you have to act fast, because there is a time limit to making this work.

But if you act swiftly right now, you can download and save that Instagram Live – and here's how to do it – for free, no less.

How To Download an Instagram Live Video:

Actually, it's pretty easy to do.

You can download and save somebody else's Instagram Live and here's how you do it.

You'll Need This To Download The Instagram Live Story:

First, you need this Chome Extention

Add this extention to Chrome by clicking here.

Secondly, you follow the instructions on the video.

Third, you need to combine the audio and video tracks using any video editor.

I use Filmora, which works on both Mac and PC.

It's actually my preferred video editor on my MAC – even better than iMovie!

And that's how you download an Instagram Live story that somebody else put up as an Instagram Story.

Let me know if this works for you!