Is Dropshipping a Bad Idea? 4 Alternatives to Consider In 2022

Is Dropshipping a Bad Idea?

Dropshipping is not a bad idea, but it is a difficult journey. More than 90% of dropshippers fail in their first month. 

So, what are the alternatives? You will learn four dropshipping alternatives to consider in 2022 and how you can get started. There are four that I strongly recommend, which I will discuss in detail today. 

1. Blogging

Blogging is no longer about your thoughts or what happened in your life. It has evolved into something else. A successful blog provides value and complies with the best SEO practices.

So, how does it earn revenue? 

Below are some revenue streams of a blog:

  • Ads – launch ads in your blog from an advertising network. The most common is Google AdSense. It will take millions of views to earn significant money from advertising. 
  • eBooks – once you have enough traffic and following, your next step is to sell eBooks. The most valued books out there are instructional ones, like guides.  
  • Membership – if you post regular content, you may create exclusive articles. You can charge your readers a monthly fee before they can access the exclusive content. 
  • Sales – you can convert your blog into an affiliate marketing site. Here, you will help readers make choices about products by reviewing them. 

As a blogger, it goes without saying that you need to know how to write. The alternative is to hire an affordable freelance writer to do it for you. Prepare to spend at least $100 per month hiring a writer. You also want to set up a blog that looks professional. To do this, there are three things that you need. 

These are: 

  • Web hosting – the company that has the servers and storage devices; you pay them monthly to host your website.
  •  Website builder – a software tool that allows you to customize your blog. An example of this is Elementor. 
  • CMS – WordPress is the best content management system you can use. It is open-source, free, and highly flexible. 

There are software programs like Wix and Weebly that host the entire website. However, there are limitations on what you can do with your blog. Their functions are limited. If you want your blog to have more features, you must change the website code or upgrade to a higher plan.

At best, you have to release at least four blog posts in a month. While there are no standard rules about blogging frequency, the general ideal number is three times per week. 

Possible Causes of Failure

  • No content strategy – blogs fail when the content is all over the place; choose a niche and serve that market.
  •  Poor content quality – from grammar to writing style, a poorly written article will make people leave, never to come back. Poorly written articles also affect SEO. 
  • Giving up too soon – a blog can take at least two years to grow. Giving up too soon is one of the fatal mistakes you can make as a blogger. 
  • Poor SEO – learn SEO before you start. The last thing you want is to do it wrong and start over again. Also, make sure you only practice white hat SEO—never attempt to game the system. 

Blogging is a long journey. It will take years before you see success. If you decide to choose this as an alternative to dropshipping, do not quit your job. Do it on the side, do it right, and do it diligently.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a process where you promote someone’s product and then earn a commission if you make a sale. 

Here is how it works: 

  • You look for an affiliate program
  • You register and get your link
  • You promote the product with your link
  • Your viewer clicks on your link and gets redirected to the product page
  • Your viewer (referral) buys the product
  • You get a commission

In a nutshell, you are a salesperson. However, you do not do it in person. Instead, you do it online. Once you have an affiliate link, which is nothing more than an identifier that you are the one who referred the product, you can start promoting. 

To illustrate further, take a look at these two images. 

The first one is the ordinary URL. The second one is the affiliate link URL. However, both of them show the same content. 

The customer who clicks on the affiliate link does not know it. However, the products system, Dropified, knows that the customer got to the website because of that particular link. 

If the customer makes a purchase, that purchase is indexed to the affiliate marketer’s sale, and he will get a commission. 

So, how do you promote the link or the product? Below are some ways:

  • Blogging – put up a blog and write about the products that you promote. Choose a niche and then find products that you can promote within that niche to make it work. For example, you can write about web hosting and then promote different web hosting services.
  • Advertising – advertise on social media or Google. Use your affiliate link as the landing page destination if allowed by the platform. If not, use a squeeze page. This method is the most costly of all, and I only recommend this if you know the complexities of advertising.
  • YouTube – make videos and convince your subscribers to try the product. It works best for affiliate marketers who review products. You can also do software demonstrations to convince the viewer to make a purchase.
  • Social Media – be an influencer and tell your fans to buy the products you recommend. It is best for Instagrammers who promote beauty products or health-related items. 

Possible Causes of Failure

Here are some of the most common reasons affiliate marketers fail:

  • Poor promotion strategy – there is a right way to promote. Most affiliate marketers just spam people. Since they do not add value, they do not make a sale.
  • Not helping people – many affiliate marketers just rehash of what has already been said about a product. To succeed in the business, you need to help people or launch creative content.
  • Selling too many things – affiliate marketers have a shiny object syndrome. Instead of focusing on a product or two, they promote so many things. As such, they get lost in the process. 

Affiliate marketing, like blogging, is a long journey. It does not make you millions of dollars overnight. Some people took seven years before they made it big as affiliate marketers. 

3. YouTube Channel 

A YouTube channel is another alternative to dropshipping. The beauty of it is that you are doing something that you love-you are sharing information or entertainment with the world, and you earn money for doing it. 

YouTube works like blogging, albeit you launch videos, not blogs. In internet parlance, they now “it vlogging,” with the letter “V,” which means “video.”

Here are some of the ways you can earn on YouTube:

  • Ad Revenue – you earn a share of the ads shown on your website.
  • Merchandise – you can tell your viewers to buy your products from your website.
  • Patreon – create an account and give your viewers a chance to donate to you.
  • Affiliate Sales – put your affiliate links in your video descriptions.
  • Membership – once you hit 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours, you will get approved for the YouTube Partner Program. Then, you can create a membership package. Only those who pay will see your exclusive content. 

Tips to Success on YouTube

Here are some of the most critical things you need to remember to succeed:

  • Choose a niche – like blogging and affiliate marketing; you need to establish yourself as the go-to person for a particular topic. In YouTube, you need to do the same. For example, if your channel is about cooking, do not add content about woodworking, or people will get confused.
  • Standardize your content – from thumbnails to lighting and set-up; your videos must have the same look and feel to them. Again, it improves familiarity with your brand.
  • Be consistent in your uploads – you will not gain traction if you do not launch videos consistently. What you want here is momentum.

Of course, your videos should add value. You can do this in so many ways. It does not always mean you have to teach. Sometimes, you just have to make your videos entertaining.

Possible Causes of Failure

  • Content is not helpful – the most common mistake in YouTube is that creators make videos for themselves, not their audience. If you do the same thing, no one will subscribe.
  • Poor content quality – those who fail are not being honest with themselves. If the quality of your videos is bad, no one will want to watch your other videos.
  • Being impatient – it takes years to grow a YouTube channel. You should publish regular content for at least a year to gain momentum.
  • Not improving other skills – a video is not like a blog. To succeed, you need to learn new skills like delivery, lighting, video editing, thumbnail art, and so much more. 

YouTube is a long journey. Before monetizing it with ads, you need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours. Like all alternatives to dropshipping, it requires patience.

Before you even start, I implore you to do some real soul-searching. Think of a niche you want to do for the rest of your life. Never forget that a YouTube channel is like a TV show. You need to produce professional output to get results. 

4. Freelancing

My last recommendation is freelancing, which means you have to deliver a service to a client. As a freelancer, you are not an employee. Instead, you work based on projects. 

The big difference between freelancing and the other three I recommend is money. As a freelancing writer, you get paid right away. Of course, you do not own your work, but your pay is guaranteed. 

There are so many things you can do as a freelancer, and below are some of my recommendations:

  • Computer programmer or coder
  • Virtual assistant
  • Graphic artist
  • Video editor

What you want to do certainly depends on your skills. You do not need to be an expert, but you should possess the basic skill requirements to get the job done.

I can say with certainty that you need to learn from those who have been freelancing for a while. If you want to become an expert, you need to invest in your education. For example, let us say that you want to become a freelance writer; you need to take an online writing course specifically designed for freelance writers. 

So, how does it work?

In a nutshell, here is how freelancing works:

  • You apply for a job
  • You do the job
  • You get paid

Now, there are some risks associated with freelancing. For one, there are scammers out there who will not pay you. If you are a beginner, your best bet is to join freelancing sites like Upwork and Fiverr. 

It is not easy to find work as a freelance writer, especially if you are looking for work in freelance marketplaces. You compete against thousands of people, and you need to stand out if you want to get hired. 

Possible Causes of Failure

Here are some of the most common reasons why freelancers fail:

  • Bad pricing – whether you price your service too low or too high, you will fail. Too low, and you will burn out. Too high, and no one will hire you. What you want is to find that sweet spot, and you can only do this if you check the prices of your competitors.
  • Bad quality – your clients know that they have options; if you do not give it your best, they will not give you repeat business.
  • Poor attitude – clients will give you feedback for your work; you must be receptive, not arrogant and defensive. 

Freelancing is one of the most fulfilling things you can do. You work at home, and you get paid for your efforts. 

However, freelancing will not make you millions. The other three alternatives could, including dropshipping. But then and again, making millions in all business endeavors is a fluke, not the norm. 

How should you choose? 

Here are some critical steps to help you identify what to choose as an alternative to dropshipping.

1. Know yourself

Listen: we all want money. Therefore, we do these things to earn. However, if money is your only driving force, you will fail. I know it is cliché to say that you must work according to what you are passionate about, but it is accurate. 

To choose from these alternatives to dropshipping, you have to understand yourself. Know what you are good at doing, and then capitalize on that. 

For example, blogging requires writing skills. While you can hire a writer to do this for you, you also need to plan what to publish to serve your audience. Affiliate marketing requires marketing skills, and freelancing needs specialization. 

Think of what you can do and what you love to do, and then make it happen. 

2. Understand the expectations

Every way to make money online has complexities. Blogging, for one, requires a consistent output. In freelancing, you need to know how to convince clients to hire you and deliver a service that they expect. 

For both blogging and affiliate marketing, it can take years before you can earn a significant amount of money. YouTube is the same—you need to put out high-quality content before you can get 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours. 

If you know the expectations, you will not get frustrated so quickly. Instead, you can map out your journey and make the best out of the endeavor. 

3. Identify your goals

Understand what you want to achieve. Sure, it is money, but how much do you want? About this, you also need to know what I call an end goal. 

Do you want blogging to focus on just one sub-niche, or do you want to have a website that covers an entire gamut of topics? For example, if you’re going to do freelance animation, will you focus on 2D or 3D. 

Knowing these goals will help you carve out a path. You will take the suitable courses that will improve your skills, and you will only aim for jobs that match your skills.

As you can see, making a choice is entirely up to you, but money should never be the motivating factor. Many people have tried dropshipping, blogging, affiliate marketing, and freelancing and failed. 

They failed because money was what they wanted. In the first month of poor financial performance, these freelancers get so frustrated that they just rage quit. 

Summary: 4 Alternatives to Dropshipping

Is dropshipping dead? Quite the contrary. It is a business model that has been around for decades. The internet only made it more accessible, and many so-called experts made it seem lucrative. 

There are many things you can do instead of dropshipping. With the four alternatives to dropshipping that I provided, indeed, you will find one that fits your interests.

John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling, photography, and blogging. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of blogging. Discover how to turn your passions and pastimes into an online business.

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