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30 Best Side Hustle Ideas To Make Extra Money In 2023 – Forbes Advisor INDIA

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30 Best Side Hustle Ideas To Make Extra Money In 2023 – Forbes Advisor INDIA

Side hustles are a great way to boost your income, plus they let you explore potential business ideas with little upfront costs or major time commitments. There are a variety of successful side hustle opportunities, whether in-person or online, so chances are there is a side hustle that could work for you. To help you find the right side hustle for you, here are 30 side hustle ideas.

1. Freelancing

Freelancing is a tried-and-true way to earn extra money and deserves a top spot on any list of easy side hustle ideas. Freelancers deliver work on a per-project basis for one or more clients and you can schedule it in your spare time. Freelance graphic designers, writers, editors and website developers are in high demand, and other fields offer freelance opportunities as well. Skilled mechanics, trained bookkeepers, video editors, interior decorators and even licensed real estate agents can find flexible project-based work within their skill sets.

Costs and platforms: Market your freelance skills to your personal network for free via email and social media accounts. You can also reach potential clients using freelancer portals such as Fiverr, Upwork and Freelancer.com, which handles project management and payments for you. Marketing skills on your own website adds professional polish, plus lets you offer convenient online invoicing and payments via Square or another online payment provider.

2. Pet-Sitting And Doggie Daycare

A pet-sitting side hustle is ideal for animal lovers and easy to set up and promote. You can provide in-home care for pets while owners are working or vacationing or keep pets in your home for daytime or long-term care. Some states and municipalities require permits, so research requirements in your area. You can also earn added income by marketing pet insurance to your clients.

Costs and platforms: Costs are minimal for in-home care, but initial setup in your own home might require investments in kennels or gates. Find clients and manage gigs using popular pet-sitting apps like PetBacker or set up your own bookings and payment system using Square’s free tools.

3. Dog Walking

Love dogs but don’t have enough free time for pet sitting or space to commit to a doggie daycare setup? A dog-walking service might be the right side hustle for you. This side hustle is easy to fit into a busy schedule and offers the added benefit of getting exercise while making extra cash.

Costs and platforms: Costs are minimal since owners generally provide leashes, but you might want to invest in a few leashes and waste bags. In urban areas, you can find dog walking gigs using Wag!, TimetoPet and Rover, or manage your own bookings and payments using Square’s free tools.

4. Tech Setup Services

Are you a tech whiz when it comes to setting up home networks, smart home devices, computers and cell phones? You can easily make extra cash by marketing these skills to your community via social media and handyman apps. You can also seek tech certifications, and provide insurance and bonding to boost your credibility for in-home services.

Costs and platforms: Startup and ongoing costs are minimal, however, you might need to invest in a few tools to help with installations. Find and manage gigs using handyman application like HelloTech or set up your own bookings and payments using Square.

5. Blogging

If you enjoy writing and sharing information with people, consider starting a blog focusing on a niche that interests you, such as travel, food, beauty or fashion. As you attract traffic, you can monetize the blog with ads or affiliate sales. Ads pay per view or per click while affiliate sales pay you to promote a product or service. When someone clicks on an affiliate link, you get paid a commission if they complete a purchase.

Costs and platforms: Expect to spend around INR 4,110 to around INR 8,220 per year to run a basic blog. You’ll need to buy a domain and build a blog website using a WordPress hosting service or web builder platform such as Wix or Squarespace. All offer user-friendly design tools and attractive blog templates so you won’t need to pay a designer or developer.

Learn more: Review the best blogging platforms on the market to find the right fit for your needs.

6. Senior Sitting and Companion

With advances in in-home senior care, more families are keeping aging relatives at home. This opens up side hustle opportunities for anyone looking to make extra cash as a companion or sitter while primary caregivers are away. To add credibility to your services, you can take CPR and Activities of Daily Living (ADL) courses.

Costs and platforms: This is a very low-cost side hustle. You can market your services and manage clients on care-based apps like care24 or set up your own bookings and payments using Square.

7. Babysitting and Child Care

Babysitting and in-home child care are in demand, and this side hustle is a great way to earn extra income in your spare time or on a set schedule. 

Costs and platforms: Babysitting is another low-cost side hustle. You can market your services and manage gigs and payments using an application like 2050 HEALTHCARE, or set up your own bookings and payments using Square.

8. Personal Assistant

Busy professionals need help getting day-to-day tasks done, and many prefer to have one person handle it all rather than juggle various service apps. This is an excellent opportunity for a side hustler who loves to check all the boxes on a to-do list, from grocery shopping and dry cleaning pickup to dog walking and getting kids to their destinations.

Costs and platforms: You can launch a personal assistant side hustle with few costs. However, in nonurban areas, you’ll probably need a vehicle. Top gig and payments apps for personal assistant services include ChatterBoss or you can set up your own bookings and payments using Square.

9. Mobile Car Washing and Detailing

Car washing is another low-cost side hustle and an ideal gig for anyone who loves working outdoors. You can offer this service to individuals at their homes, or contract with local businesses that run fleet vehicles or that want to offer weekly car washes as an employee perk.

Costs and platforms: Cleaning tools, a sturdy hose and nozzle and a vehicle are the primary startup costs for this side hustle idea. Top mobile car wash gigs and payments apps include CARFAX Car Care, Drivvo and AUTOsist, or set up your own bookings and payments using Square.

10. Local Handyman

Are you the first one friends call to fix a light switch or hang a ceiling fan? Cash in on your handyman skills in your spare time while helping your neighbors check home improvement tasks off their to-do lists. To protect yourself and your clients and boost your credibility, you can become insured and bonded, but that’s not a requirement in most areas.

Costs and platforms: Costs are minimal for this side hustle, especially if you already have the tools of the trade. Handyman apps like UrbanClap help you market and manage gigs and payments, or set up your own bookings and payments using Square.

11. Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants provide personal assistant services in the digital world and handle tasks including appointment scheduling, customer emails, travel bookings, data entry and much more. If you’re organized and tech-savvy, this side hustle is an ideal way to make money from home in your spare time.

Costs and platforms: You’ll need a reliable computer and internet connection, but those are your only costs to this side hustle. Virtual assistant apps including TaskRabbit, ChatterBoss and Upwork help you market services and manage gigs and payments. Or, manage bookings and payments using Square.

12. Sell at Local Markets and Festivals

Many product-focused side hustlers profit by selling unique goods that they source or create themselves at local markets and fairs. With travel time to markets and setup, this can be a time-consuming side hustle, but if you love getting out and mixing and mingling with people, it can be the perfect way to make extra money on the side. Plus, you can use these in-person sales to build brand awareness and promote your online store and social media platforms to attract sales between market appearances.

Costs and platforms: Startup costs for in-person product sales can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands since you need to stock your booth. You can lower your initial investment by sticking with suppliers that support returns of unsold goods, or by offering custom-order items that don’t require deep stock. Faire is an excellent source of unique resale and private label items and supports returns of unsold stock. You can also open a free Square account to accept in-person card payments, track sales in a sleek mobile POS and integrate with online sales on your own Square e-commerce website.

Learn more: Most top-rated POS systems fully integrate in-person mobile, retail and online sales so you can sell anywhere using one system.

13. Tutoring and Instruction

Do you have academic, musical, fine arts or sports skills? Tutors and personal instructors are always in demand, opening up all sorts of flexible side hustle opportunities. You can market in-person and virtual instruction services to parents looking for convenient sessions for kids, but don’t forget about adult students. Adults love to expand their horizons and can often attend sessions during school hours if that’s better for your side hustle schedule.

Costs and platforms: Startup costs are minimal in most cases, and apps and online platforms like TakeLessons.com help you market services and manage gigs and payments. Or, manage bookings and payments yourself using Square.

14. Self-Publishing Ebooks

Self-publishing ebooks is another side hustle idea that’s perfect for writers, but you don’t need to be a skilled wordsmith to cash in on this opportunity. If you can craft a creative story or explain how to do something, you can hire ghostwriters and editors to complete and polish your work. Then, you simply publish to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and other ebook platforms such as Smashwords, Barnes & Noble Press, Lulu and others, and wait for the royalties to roll in.

Costs and platforms: Self-publishing ebooks can be very low-cost if you write your book and develop your own cover art. But most serious authors tap cover design and editing pros for the finishing touches and spend upwards of around INR 8,220 per title to publish. Ghostwriters can cost around INR 16,440 or more to develop a complete manuscript, based on book length and topic. Publishing to most ebook platforms is free, but these outlets take a percentage of the sale price, plus marketing adds costs as well.

15. Online Courses and Coaching

Do you have an area of expertise? You can cash in on your knowledge by creating and selling online courses and coaching programs in your spare time. Thanks to user-friendly, low-cost online course platforms, this is another side hustle idea that’s easy to launch. Plus, combined with social media marketing, ebooks, YouTube promotion and blogging, online courses and coaching side hustles can grow into a lucrative business.

Costs and platforms: Online course platforms such as Udemy, Thinkific and Podia walk you through the course creation process and help you pair courses with personalized coaching. Most have monthly fees or retain a portion of the fee when you sell a course. You can also add online courses and members-only content to website platforms including WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and others to create your own branded platform.

16. Digital Product Sales

Do you have a creative streak? Creating and selling digital products in your free time is another low to no-cost side hustle idea. Digital artwork, logos, music, photography, video and website design templates are a hot market You can cash in by creating these digitally and selling via download on your own website, social media platforms and myriad digital product marketplaces.

Costs and platforms: You can create digital products using your own graphic, photo, video or music software, or tap free online platforms such as Canva, PhotoPea and the Garageband app for creation. Monetize your creations on your own website or an Etsy store, and by uploading to creative marketplaces including Canva, Envato Market, Creative Fabrica, Shutterstock, iTunes, SoundCloud and many more.

Learn more: Many top e-commerce platforms support all types of digital product sales.

17. YouTube Channel

YouTube side hustles are a great way to make money in your spare time by sharing what you know, discussing current events or providing entertainment. YouTube is free to use, and you can monetize YouTube videos once you’ve reached at least 1,000 subscribers and average over 4,000 video watch hours per year. This can take a while to achieve, but with work, it’s possible to earn many thousands each month. Many dedicated side hustlers have turned their YouTube channel into a highly profitable full-time gig.

Costs and platforms: YouTube is free to join and you can upload unlimited videos for free. You can also create videos for free using a smartphone with a good camera and free video editing apps such as iMovie, Loom, Canva and AdobeSpark. To grow your YouTube channel, you can tap low-cost YouTube ads and share videos on your blog and social media accounts.

18. Viral Social Media Creator

Viral social media content takes many forms and you can cash in if you know how to create it. Top platforms such as Facebook, TikTok and Instagram have creator programs that let you monetize edgy entertainment shorts, helpful how-to’s, commentary videos and more. You need high-volume views to earn money, but it’s a fun and low-cost side hustle idea with big income potential.

Costs and platforms: This is a no-cost side hustle opportunity. Social media platforms are free to join and let you upload unlimited posts and videos. Most platforms provide their own free post and video creation tools, too, so you just need a cell phone with a camera to get started.

19. Influencer Marketing

Successful influencer marketers build a brand by posting engaging content across multiple platforms such as an affiliate website and blog, podcast channel, social media accounts and a YouTube channel. Influencers earn money using all types of content, such as product reviews and suggestions, entertaining videos, how-to tips and tricks, edgy social commentary and much more.

You can launch an influencer brand as a side hustle and earn money through affiliate links, ad income and sponsored content and monetize videos when views and followers reach certain levels. For example, earning money on YouTube requires 1,000 channel subscribers and 4,000 hours of views per year, while Facebook Reels profiles require 100,000 reel plays within 30 days to pay out.

Costs and platforms: It costs nothing to start an influencer side hustle on social media and YouTube since those accounts are free. You can also launch a free or low-cost website and blog using WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix and other website platforms, then upgrade your storage space and features as you grow.

Learn more: Using the right SEO tools across all channels helps boost your brand’s reach.

20. Create a Podcast

Podcasting is another popular low to no-cost side hustle idea that’s easy to launch and build. Podcasts are pre-recorded audio files that you record, edit and upload to podcasting services so listeners can access them at their convenience. Podcasts can be monetized through ads, sponsored content, affiliate links in the podcast descriptions and paid subscriptions.

Costs and platforms: You can record and edit a podcast with audio recording apps built into your smartphone, tablet or computer, then upload them to channels you create on platforms including iTunes, Anchor, Spotify and many more. Some have free plans, and most offer premium paid plans that support earnings via paid listener subscriptions, downloads and ad revenue splits.

21. Become an E-Commerce Reseller

Many successful side hustles center on classic e-commerce, where you buy, stock and sell a collection of items from multiple vendors yourself. This side hustle does require more upfront investment and time than other side hustle ideas listed here. However, plenty of entrepreneurs grow full-time businesses out of this side hustle. You can also boost income by combining standard e-commerce sales with POD goods, dropship products and affiliate blogging income.

Costs and platforms: Startup costs for this side hustle can range from around INR 41,292 to INR 412,836 or more, depending on initial stock purchases. However, a top-rated e-commerce platform won’t set you back too much. Starter plans on Shopify, WordPress with WooCommerce and Weebly by Square range from free to just around INR 2,394 per month.

22. Take Online Surveys

Many marketing research companies are happy to pay for your opinion on various products, systems and topics. This side hustle idea doesn’t help you build your own business, but it’s an easy way to make extra cash in your spare time. Most survey outfits have you create an online account and connect a PayPal, Venmo or CashApp account for payment. Then, you can search and sign up for surveys that interest you via an app or online dashboard. 

If selected, you complete the questionnaire or project and typically get paid within a few days. Many surveys pay around INR 165 to INR 825 for a few minutes of your time, others pay upwards of around INR 8,256 for in-depth product reviews or questionnaires.

Costs and platforms: This is a no-cost side hustle idea. Legitimate survey groups such as User Interviews, Survey Junkie and Dscout have no upfront or monthly fees. However, reviewing and applying for various opportunities can be time-consuming. To avoid wasting time, check survey or project descriptions to ensure you fit their target demographic.

23. Test Apps and Platforms

Market research firms, app and game developers and website designers seek users of all technical skill levels to review their platforms and provide user feedback. Like online survey side hustles, testing apps and platforms doesn’t help you build a business. However, with payouts of around INR 825 to INR 12,385 or more for a few minutes or hours of your time, it can be quite lucrative.

Costs and platforms: This is another no-cost side hustle idea since it costs you nothing to apply for legitimate testing opportunities. Swagbucks, UserTesting and Enroll are a few of the top app and software platforms to check out.

24. Sell Artisan Products

If you love painting, woodworking, baking, sewing, knitting or crafting other handmade goods, you can cash in on your passion by selling artisan products in your spare time. To earn money with this side hustle idea, sell your ready-made or made-to-order handcrafted goods online and at local fairs and markets.

Costs and platforms: This side hustle idea has upfront costs for supplies and tools, but you can market and sell online with little to no upfront costs using Etsy, your own e-commerce website and social media accounts. If you plan to sell both online and in-person, consider Square or Shopify. Both offer sleek systems with fully integrated online stores, retail POS apps and mobile card readers.

25. Sell Goods Via Dropshipping

Dropshipping lets you build a robust e-commerce store without worrying about purchasing, stocking and shipping the items you sell. With dropshipping, you only pay for the items you sell when a customer makes a purchase. The dropship vendors take care of all storage, packing and shipping details, then charge you the item’s wholesale and shipping costs per order. Dropshipping can be a time-consuming side hustle since you manage your own website and customer service, but it’s the cheapest and easiest way to break into e-commerce sales.

Costs and platforms: For this side hustle, you need a good e-commerce platform that integrates with dropshipping vendors, such as Shopify, WordPress with WooCommerce and BigCommerce. Proven dropshipping suppliers including Doba, AliExpress and Sprocket are the best place to start building your product collection.

26. Sell Print-on-Demand (POD) Products

Do you like to create fun graphics and sayings or have a talent for illustration or photography? You can turn your creativity into extra cash by adding your creations to various POD products, such as tee shirts, mugs, pillows, wall decor and much more. This side hustle idea is a cousin to dropshipping because the POD vendor takes care of all the details for you. You simply upload your artwork and add it to various items available for print to build a product collection. When ordered, your POD vendor prints, packs and ships the item and charges you the wholesale cost and shipping fee.

Costs and platforms: Like dropshipping, you need an e-commerce platform that integrates with POD vendors such as Shopify, WordPress with WooCommerce and BigCommerce. For POD items, start with proven suppliers including Printful. 

Learn more: Shopify is a user-friendly e-commerce platform that integrates with most top-rated POD vendors.

27. Self-Publish Print-on-Demand (POD) Books

Are you a writer or illustrator or interested in capitalizing on the latest innovation in self-publishing? Then POD books might be the right side hustle for you. POD books cover the full spectrum of printable books, from novels and nonfiction to notebooks, planners, cookbooks, coloring books, puzzle books and more. You can create books using free or low-cost online tools, then upload the digital files to POD book sales platforms. When a customer purchases your title, the sales platform prints and ships the physical books and pays you a royalty.

Costs and platforms: Several free and low-cost platforms make it easy to create POD book files, including Canva, Reedsy and the BookBolt Studio. It costs nothing to list your titles with top POD bookseller platforms such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Lulu and IngramSpark. Printing and shipping costs are charged when a book is sold, so you have no upfront print fees for this side hustle idea.

28. Sell Products Using Retail Arbitrage

Are you a savvy shopper who can sniff out a deal and isn’t afraid to do a little price research? Then retail arbitrage might be the side hustle idea for you. In retail arbitrage, you buy clearance and markdown products from retail stores, then sell them online at a higher price. If you’re willing to check out local sales, compare prices on Amazon and other online marketplaces, and invest a little money purchasing goods, this side hustle can be a real cash cow.

Costs and platforms: The retail arbitrage side hustle comes with upfront costs in purchasing and shipping products, and some time commitments running to stores and comparing prices. However, free and low-cost price checker apps include Amazon Seller App help you make smart buys.

29. Sell Proprietary Goods

If you have an idea for a product and don’t mind making an upfront investment, you can contract with factories to create proprietary goods. Many side hustlers simply find a product that already exists, make a few improvements, and produce it at a reasonable cost. You can wholesale these goods under your own brand to retailers, plus sell directly to consumers on your own website, on Amazon, and through social media marketplaces. 

This is another side hustle idea that has launched many successful businesses, but it does take research and work to get it right.

Costs and platforms: Startup costs for this side hustle can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on your product design needs and factory order, but that’s the primary cost. Searching for factories and custom suppliers on Alibaba.com costs nothing, and e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WordPress with WooCommerce and Weebly by Square range from free to just around INR 2,394 per month.

30. Sell Private Label Products

Many side hustlers create unique branded goods using private label suppliers. These are products that a factory already makes, but will package it using your logo, labels and unique packaging specifications. This supplier method is especially suited to a side hustle since most private label sellers have lower order minimums than ordering proprietary goods direct from a factory.

Private label products let you build a complete grouping of items such as a cosmetic line, kitchen tool collection or gourmet food brand without a huge cost investment. Like most other product side hustle ideas in this section, you can wholesale private label goods or sell directly via your own website, social media profiles and marketplaces such as Amazon.

Costs and platforms: Startup costs for a private label side hustle can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on the items you’re purchasing. However, some suppliers offer returns on unsold items and dropshipping, which lowers your investment. Check out private label goods on Alibaba.com and sell via a low-cost e-commerce website using Shopify, Weebly by Square or WordPress with WooCommerce.

Side Hustles to Avoid

Some side hustles seem like great money-making opportunities. But in reality, many require hefty investments of time, money or both, and deliver limited returns without a serious commitment. Here are some red flags to watch out for when considering side hustle opportunities and gig work.

Hustles That Require Licensing or Certification

Salon services, real estate sales and certified accounting and tax prep services are often touted as top side hustle ideas. While these fields can be very profitable, you must have the required education and licensing or certification. To get this, you’ll spend anywhere from around INR 41,286 to INR 825,760, or more, to complete your initial education, plus pay initial and annual licensing fees in most states.

If you’re hoping to build a career in these fields, this investment can be worthwhile. However, it’s a considerable time and cost commitment with no guarantees if you just want to make extra cash.

Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) Schemes

MLM companies are skilled at convincing you of easy money and big profit potential, and there certainly are many who do well in this model. However, you should carefully research any MLM opportunity’s required costs and product investment—which can be hefty—and examine their sales and profit model. In most cases, you’ll only profit if you build a large team of downstream salespeople, and that takes ongoing time and effort.

If high-pressure sales are your thing, an MLM side hustle might work for you. But if not, you might end up with a stack of unsold items that you can’t return, and no profits to speak of.

Side Hustle Coaching Programs

As you explore various side hustle ideas, you’re sure to stumble across coaching programs that tout untold profits and promise to help you quickly succeed. This is another group of skilled marketers who know how to convince you to pay INR 100s or INR 1000s for their “foolproof” system. While some coaching programs offer sound techniques and good advice, none are a ticket to quick riches.

Before paying for any coaching program, explore YouTube, Google and Kindle Unlimited to find free videos, how-to articles and e-books for the side hustles ideas that interest you. In most cases, you can find plenty of free information to help launch and grow your side hustle.

Bottom Line

Side hustles are a great way to earn extra income, pursue a passion or launch a new business in your spare time. With so many side hustle opportunities, it’s wise to explore the options to determine which hustles fit your skills, goals, budget and available time. 

No side hustle is a guaranteed success or get-rich-quick scheme, despite what some clever marketers and coaches claim. Like any business, a side hustle requires attention, commitment and follow-through. But done right, they offer great profit and growth potential, and can even turn into a full-time gig.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

What is a side hustle?

A side hustle is a part-time job, freelance gig or business that side hustlers do in their spare time, typically in addition to a full-time job. Top side hustle ideas include e-commerce stores, selling handmade crafts on the weekends, offering tutoring services and blogging for affiliate and ad income.

How do I start a side hustle?

To start a side hustle, identify a skill, service or product(s) to offer, then develop a plan to reach potential clients or buyers. This may involve creating a website and social media presence to market your side hustle, or signing up with gig apps that help you connect with potential clients. You’ll also need to find a platform that helps you manage services or orders and accept payments, such as Square, PayPal Zettle, Shopify or WordPress with WooCommerce.

What is the best side hustle job?

The best side hustle for you depends on your unique skills, resources and goals. Freelancing, tutoring, dog walking and handmade crafts sales are flexible, passion-driven hustles, while blogging, e-commerce and social influencer marketing work well for tech-savvy hustlers. Once you’ve narrowed down the hustles that match your skills and interests, examine the costs and profit potential to settle on the best fit for you.

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How to Start a Dropshipping Business and Earn $150k/yr: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How to Start a Dropshipping Business and Earn $150k/yr: A Step-by-Step Guide

Exposing the Lies of Dropshipping Gurus: How to Start a Dropshipping Business the Right Way

Are you tired of watching countless videos promising to teach you how to start a dropshipping business and make a fortune overnight? Have you followed their advice, only to see your e-commerce store fail miserably? If so, you’re not alone. The truth is, many aspiring entrepreneurs have been misled by dropshipping gurus who claim to have the secret formula for success.

We strongly recommend that you check out our guide on how to take advantage of AI in today’s passive income economy.

Dropshipping gurus often showcase their impressive revenue figures, claiming to have made thousands of dollars in a single day. They promise that anyone can easily replicate their success and start a dropshipping business with minimal effort. However, what they fail to mention is that these results are usually short-lived and unsustainable.

The reality is that building a successful dropshipping business requires far more than just selecting a winning product, setting up a store, and launching a few ads. It involves careful planning, strategic marketing, and exceptional customer service. Unfortunately, most gurus focus solely on the initial stages of starting a dropshipping business, neglecting the crucial aspects that determine long-term success.

The Pitfalls of Following Guru Advice

When you start a dropshipping business based on the advice of gurus, you may experience a brief period of success. You might make a few sales and feel excited about the potential of your new venture. However, this initial success is often followed by a sudden drop in revenue, leaving you confused and frustrated.

The reason for this decline is simple: the strategies taught by most gurus are not designed for long-term sustainability. They focus on short-term tactics, such as running aggressive ad campaigns and testing countless products, without considering the importance of building a strong brand and providing excellent customer service.

The Importance of Customer Satisfaction

One of the most critical factors in running a successful dropshipping business is customer satisfaction. When you start a dropshipping business, your primary goal should be to provide an exceptional experience for your customers. This includes offering high-quality products, timely shipping, and responsive customer support.

Unfortunately, many dropshippers overlook the importance of customer satisfaction in their pursuit of quick profits. They focus solely on driving traffic to their store and making sales, neglecting the needs of their customers once the transaction is complete. As a result, they often face a high number of complaints, refunds, and chargebacks, which can quickly erode their profits and damage their reputation.

Building a Sustainable Dropshipping Business

To start a dropshipping business that stands the test of time, you need to shift your focus from short-term gains to long-term sustainability. This involves investing time and effort into building a strong foundation for your business, rather than chasing the latest trends or relying on questionable tactics.

One of the key elements of a sustainable dropshipping business is a well-defined niche. Instead of trying to sell a wide range of unrelated products, focus on a specific category that aligns with your interests and expertise. This will allow you to establish yourself as an authority in your niche, attract a loyal customer base, and differentiate yourself from competitors.

Another crucial aspect of building a sustainable dropshipping business is branding. Develop a unique brand identity that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart from other dropshippers. This includes creating a professional logo, designing an attractive website, and maintaining a consistent brand voice across all your marketing channels.

Prioritizing Customer Service

To ensure the long-term success of your dropshipping business, you must prioritize customer service. This means going above and beyond to meet the needs and expectations of your customers, even if it requires additional time and effort on your part.

Start by providing clear and detailed product descriptions, including accurate shipping times and return policies. Respond promptly to customer inquiries and complaints, and be proactive in addressing any issues that arise. Consider offering personalized thank-you notes, free gifts, or discounts to show your appreciation for your customers’ business.

By focusing on customer satisfaction, you’ll build a loyal customer base that will not only make repeat purchases but also recommend your business to others. This word-of-mouth marketing can be incredibly valuable in driving sustainable growth for your dropshipping business.

Automating Your Dropshipping Business

As your dropshipping business grows, you may find it challenging to keep up with the increasing demands of customer service and order fulfillment. This is where automation comes into play. By implementing automated systems and tools, you can streamline your operations, reduce manual labor, and focus on scaling your business.

One effective way to automate your dropshipping business is by using a reliable order fulfillment service. These services handle the entire process of storing, packing, and shipping your products, allowing you to focus on marketing and customer service. They also provide real-time tracking information, which can help reduce customer inquiries and improve the overall shopping experience.

Another area where automation can be beneficial is customer support. Implementing a chatbot or a comprehensive FAQ page can help address common customer questions and concerns, freeing up your time to handle more complex issues. You can also use email automation to send personalized order confirmations, shipping updates, and follow-up messages, keeping your customers informed and engaged throughout the buying process.

Starting a dropshipping business can be a lucrative and rewarding venture, but it requires a strategic approach and a long-term mindset. Instead of falling for the empty promises of dropshipping gurus, focus on building a sustainable and customer-centric business that can withstand the test of time.

Begin by carefully selecting your niche and products, ensuring that they align with your interests and target audience. Invest time in creating a strong brand identity and developing a professional website that showcases your unique value proposition. Prioritize customer satisfaction by providing exceptional service, responsive support, and high-quality products.

As you start a dropshipping business and your business grows, continuously monitor your performance and make data-driven decisions to optimize your operations. Implement automation tools and systems to streamline your processes and free up your time to focus on growth and expansion.

Conclusion

In conclusion, starting a successful dropshipping business requires more than just following the advice of self-proclaimed gurus. It demands a commitment to providing value to your customers, building a strong brand, and continuously adapting to the ever-changing e-commerce landscape.

By prioritizing customer satisfaction, focusing on long-term sustainability, and leveraging automation tools, you can start a dropshipping business that not only survives but thrives in the competitive online marketplace. Remember, success in dropshipping is not about chasing quick profits or replicating someone else’s tactics; it’s about creating a business that genuinely serves your customers and stands the test of time.

So, if you’re ready to start a dropshipping business the right way, ignore the hype and focus on the fundamentals. With dedication, hard work, and a customer-centric approach, you can build a profitable and rewarding dropshipping business that you can be proud of.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can a beginner start dropshipping?

A beginner can start a dropshipping business by following these steps:

  1. Choose a niche and research products that are in demand.
  2. Find reliable suppliers who offer dropshipping services.
  3. Create an e-commerce website using platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento.
  4. List your products on your website and set competitive prices.
  5. Market your store through various channels, such as social media, paid advertising, and email marketing.
  6. Process orders and coordinate with your suppliers to ship products directly to your customers.
  7. Provide excellent customer service and continuously optimize your business based on performance data.

How profitable is dropshipping?

The profitability of dropshipping varies depending on several factors, such as your niche, product pricing, marketing strategies, and operational costs. Some dropshippers earn a few hundred dollars per month, while others generate six or even seven-figure incomes. To maximize your profitability, it’s essential to:

  1. Choose products with healthy profit margins.
  2. Negotiate favorable terms with your suppliers.
  3. Optimize your pricing strategy to remain competitive while ensuring profitability.
  4. Continuously monitor and reduce your operational costs.
  5. Invest in effective marketing campaigns to drive targeted traffic to your store.

How much do I need to start a dropshipping business?

The cost of starting a dropshipping business can vary greatly depending on your approach and the tools you choose to use. However, here are some general expenses to consider:

  1. E-commerce platform subscription (e.g., Shopify, WooCommerce): $29 to $299 per month.
  2. Domain name registration: $10 to $20 per year.
  3. Website hosting: $10 to $100 per month.
  4. Product sourcing and samples: $50 to $500, depending on your niche and product types.
  5. Marketing and advertising: $100 to $1,000 or more per month, depending on your strategies and target audience.

On average, you can expect to invest between $500 to $3,000 to start a basic dropshipping business. However, it’s possible to start with a smaller budget by opting for more affordable tools and focusing on organic marketing strategies.

Can you do dropshipping in Nigeria?

Yes, it is possible to start a dropshipping business in Nigeria. However, there are some challenges and considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Payment processing: Not all international payment gateways are available in Nigeria, so you may need to use local payment options like Paystack or Flutterwave.
  2. Shipping and logistics: Shipping times and costs may be higher when dropshipping to Nigeria, so it’s essential to find reliable suppliers and logistics partners who can handle international shipping.
  3. Import duties and taxes: Be aware of any import duties, taxes, or regulations that may apply to your products when shipping to Nigeria.
  4. Internet connectivity: Ensure that you have a stable internet connection to manage your online store and communicate with suppliers and customers.
  5. Market demand: Research the Nigerian market to identify products that are in demand and can be profitably dropshipped to the country.

Despite these challenges, dropshipping in Nigeria can be a viable business opportunity, especially if you focus on serving the local market and adapting your strategies to the specific needs and preferences of Nigerian consumers.

We strongly recommend that you check out our guide on how to take advantage of AI in today’s passive income economy.

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Making a WordPress plugin extensible with PHP classes

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Making a WordPress plugin extensible with PHP classes

WordPress plugins can be extended with additional functionality, as demonstrated by popular plugins like WooCommerce and Gravity Forms. In the article “Architecting a WordPress plugin to support extensions,” we learn there are two primary ways to make a WordPress plugin extensible:

  1. By setting up hooks (actions and filters) for extension plugins to inject their own functionality
  2. By providing PHP classes that extension plugins can inherit

The first method relies more on documentation, detailing available hooks and their usage. The second method, by contrast, offers ready-to-use code for extensions, reducing the need for extensive documentation. This is advantageous because creating documentation alongside code can complicate the plugin’s management and release.

Providing PHP classes directly effectively replaces documentation with code. Instead of teaching how to implement a feature, the plugin supplies the necessary PHP code, simplifying the task for third-party developers.

Let’s explore some techniques for achieving this, with the ultimate goal of fostering an ecosystem of integrations around our WordPress plugin.

Defining base PHP classes in the WordPress plugin

The WordPress plugin will include PHP classes intended for use by extension plugins. These PHP classes might not be used by the main plugin itself but are provided specifically for others to use.

Let’s see how this is implemented in the open-source Gato GraphQL plugin.

AbstractPlugin class:

AbstractPlugin represents a plugin, both for the main Gato GraphQL plugin and its extensions:

abstract class AbstractPlugin implements PluginInterface
{
  protected string $pluginBaseName;
  protected string $pluginSlug;
  protected string $pluginName;

  public function __construct(
    protected string $pluginFile,
    protected string $pluginVersion,
    ?string $pluginName,
  ) {
    $this->pluginBaseName = plugin_basename($pluginFile);
    $this->pluginSlug = dirname($this->pluginBaseName);
    $this->pluginName = $pluginName ?? $this->pluginBaseName;
  }

  public function getPluginName(): string
  {
    return $this->pluginName;
  }

  public function getPluginBaseName(): string
  {
    return $this->pluginBaseName;
  }

  public function getPluginSlug(): string
  {
    return $this->pluginSlug;
  }

  public function getPluginFile(): string
  {
    return $this->pluginFile;
  }

  public function getPluginVersion(): string
  {
    return $this->pluginVersion;
  }

  public function getPluginDir(): string
  {
    return dirname($this->pluginFile);
  }

  public function getPluginURL(): string
  {
    return plugin_dir_url($this->pluginFile);
  }

  // ...
}

AbstractMainPlugin class:

AbstractMainPlugin extends AbstractPlugin to represent the main plugin:

abstract class AbstractMainPlugin extends AbstractPlugin implements MainPluginInterface
{
  public function __construct(
    string $pluginFile,
    string $pluginVersion,
    ?string $pluginName,
    protected MainPluginInitializationConfigurationInterface $pluginInitializationConfiguration,
  ) {
    parent::__construct(
      $pluginFile,
      $pluginVersion,
      $pluginName,
    );
  }

  // ...
}

AbstractExtension class:

Similarly, AbstractExtension extends AbstractPlugin to represent an extension plugin:

abstract class AbstractExtension extends AbstractPlugin implements ExtensionInterface
{
  public function __construct(
    string $pluginFile,
    string $pluginVersion,
    ?string $pluginName,
    protected ?ExtensionInitializationConfigurationInterface $extensionInitializationConfiguration,
  ) {
    parent::__construct(
      $pluginFile,
      $pluginVersion,
      $pluginName,
    );
  }

  // ...
}

Notice that AbstractExtension is included within the main plugin, providing functionality to register and initialize an extension. However, it is only used by extensions, not by the main plugin itself.

The AbstractPlugin class contains shared initialization code invoked at different times. These methods are defined at the ancestor level but are invoked by the inheriting classes according to their lifecycles.

The main plugin and extensions are initialized by executing the setup method on the corresponding class, invoked from within the main WordPress plugin file.

For instance, in Gato GraphQL, this is done in gatographql.php:

$pluginFile = __FILE__;
$pluginVersion = '2.4.0';
$pluginName = __('Gato GraphQL', 'gatographql');
PluginApp::getMainPluginManager()->register(new Plugin(
  $pluginFile,
  $pluginVersion,
  $pluginName
))->setup();

setup method:

At the ancestor level, setup contains the common logic between the plugin and its extensions, such as unregistering them when the plugin is deactivated. This method is not final; It can be overridden by the inheriting classes to add their functionality:

abstract class AbstractPlugin implements PluginInterface
{
  // ...

  public function setup(): void
  {
    register_deactivation_hook(
      $this->getPluginFile(),
      $this->deactivate(...)
    );
  }

  public function deactivate(): void
  {
    $this->removePluginVersion();
  }

  private function removePluginVersion(): void
  {
    $pluginVersions = get_option('gatographql-plugin-versions', []);
    unset($pluginVersions[$this->pluginBaseName]);
    update_option('gatographql-plugin-versions', $pluginVersions);
  }
}

Main plugin’s setup method:

The main plugin’s setup method initializes the application’s lifecycle. It executes the main plugin’s functionality through methods like initialize, configureComponents, configure, and boot, and triggers corresponding action hooks for extensions:

abstract class AbstractMainPlugin extends AbstractPlugin implements MainPluginInterface
{
  public function setup(): void
  {
    parent::setup();

    add_action('plugins_loaded', function (): void
    {
      // 1. Initialize main plugin
      $this->initialize();

      // 2. Initialize extensions
      do_action('gatographql:initializeExtension');

      // 3. Configure main plugin components
      $this->configureComponents();

      // 4. Configure extension components
      do_action('gatographql:configureExtensionComponents');

      // 5. Configure main plugin
      $this->configure();

      // 6. Configure extension
      do_action('gatographql:configureExtension');

      // 7. Boot main plugin
      $this->boot();

      // 8. Boot extension
      do_action('gatographql:bootExtension');
    }

    // ...
  }
  
  // ...
}



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A Small Business Guide to Building An E-Commerce Website | CO

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A Small Business Guide to Building An E-Commerce Website | CO

Besides costs, consider other equally significant elements, like integrations with other tech, payment acceptance, the level of skill required to use the software, and security. — Getty Images/Valeriy G

Creating an e-commerce website is a daunting task. Yet, it’s a project you can tackle with a solid strategy, an understanding of the best practices, and a step-by-step guide. More importantly, starting with the right online site builder and e-commerce platform prevents future obstacles, like realizing the software is above your skill level or isn’t built for your revenue model.

We put together a comprehensive guide that walks you through building an e-commerce website from scratch, starting with selecting hosting or e-commerce providers. Then, we will dive into the user experience (UX) and the nitty-gritty details of site navigation, product pages, and related features. Let’s begin with the basics and go from there.

Registering a domain and choosing a hosting provider

You need a domain and web hosting to build an e-commerce site. Each component (the domain, web hosting, and e-commerce functionality) can be purchased through different vendors or a single provider. You should decide whether to bundle or keep these services separate.

Just like brick-and-mortar stores have a physical address, e-commerce shops have domains. You essentially rent an “address” for one to 10 years at a time. Some e-commerce and web hosting services provide a complimentary domain name for the first year when you buy an annual subscription and pay upfront. The renewal fees may be higher, though, than going through a third party.

Free e-commerce stores include a subdomain that isn’t search engine optimized or user-friendly. The URL looks like this: myshop.providername.com. While the URL may not be your first preference, it’ll do for side hustles and startups testing the market or a vendor’s e-commerce platform.

Hosting services power your site and store files, images, and information. Most also offer website builders and themes or templates. Select a provider to meet your security and performance specifications, then add your preferred e-commerce plug-ins, such as WooCommerce.

Alternatively, a web host like Bluehost has an online store package. It comes with the content management system (CMS) WordPress and the e-commerce plug-in WooCommerce preinstalled.

E-commerce platforms like Wix and Shopify supply web hosting with all the subscriptions. These all-in-one systems include site-building tools, page templates, storage, payment processing, and everything needed to start an online shop.

[Read more: Setting Up an E-Commerce Business: A Comprehensive Guide]

Key takeaways for selecting an e-commerce platform

Every experience hinges on your initial technology decision, from how you build your e-commerce website to what credit card processing fees you pay. Not all vendors make it easy to migrate to a new service if you’re unsatisfied, and it’s a resource-intensive job.

Review our guide to choosing the best e-commerce platform and consider the following tips when picking services:

  • Functionality: Ensure the software meets each business requirement by testing its capabilities fully.
  • Integrations: Check for customer relationship management, email marketing, and business phone integrations to see how they work.
  • Skill level: Decide who will access the e-commerce site to build pages, add blog posts, or update pricing. Consider the administrative user interface and site tools.
  • Payment acceptance: Weigh the pros and cons of using an all-in-one service with integrated flat-rate fees versus connecting a gateway from a processing provider.
  • Scalability: Compare step-up plans to understand the value for the money and estimate when you’d need that level. Think in terms of site traffic, storage, and team size.
  • Costs: Besides monthly or annual subscription fees, account for overlooked e-commerce business expenses, like hidden fees for domain privacy or email accounts.
  • Security: Learn how the e-commerce provider protects customer privacy and your online shop from threats. If the vendor manages payment processing, inquire about payment card industry compliance.

Many excellent options exist, so narrowing down your choices is challenging. Fortunately, most vendors offer demos or free trials.

E-commerce software providers

Many excellent options exist, so narrowing down your choices is challenging. Fortunately, most vendors offer demos or free trials.

Here are five web hosting and e-commerce solutions:

  • Wix: This versatile all-in-one platform supports multiple revenue models and industries. Wix provides a complete e-commerce store with abandoned cart recovery and shipping tools. It also includes online booking, ticketing, and virtual services capabilities.
  • Bluehost: A fast-growing business wanting managed WordPress and WooCommerce hosting might consider Bluehost. It could be cheaper to scale for higher traffic and storage needs.
  • Square Online: This solution is for brick-and-mortar businesses that are adding an online store. It connects to other free and paid products, like its point-of-sale system, and it has native payment processing. Square Online caters to the restaurant, retail, and service sectors.
  • WordPress.com: If your e-commerce revenue model prioritizes digital content, subscriptions, or memberships but also wants online store functionality, WordPress.com could be suitable. It’s a fantastic blogging space and ideal for those monetizing their blog.
  • IONOS: This vendor offers online store and website builders for retailers, digital content marketers, and wholesalers. Alternatively, you can configure IONOS servers for Magento, WooCommerce, or PrestaShop hosting.

[Read more: Top Retail and Commerce Trends for 2024 and Beyond]

Choose your e-commerce website builder

Depending on your platform, you will have several options when building your e-commerce site. Generally speaking, most web hosts and e-commerce vendors provide no-code website builders. You drag and drop design elements onto page templates, and the system’s limitations prevent you from making errors that could break the site.

Conversely, artificial intelligence (AI) can handle some or most of the process. After you answer a few questions, an AI site builder creates a multipage e-commerce site. Then, you can customize it and use AI for additional assistance.

Lastly, web developers and designers may prefer to customize elements or create an e-commerce site from scratch using code. This functionality varies by vendor and subscription tier.

E-commerce website design considerations

Have your e-commerce brand elements and assets ready before starting your site build. Decide on a site color scheme, choose a few fonts, and design your logo. When choosing prebuilt templates and themes, look closely at how layouts differ for visual elements. Imagine your buyer’s journey when clicking through the pages.

[Read more: How to Improve the User Experience]

Online store site structure checklist

Use your time efficiently by planning your site on paper. This step helps you avoid site structure and navigation errors that damage user experiences and search engine optimization (SEO). It’s much easier to erase and rework a penciled plan than it is to rename URLs and change menus. Compile tasks into stages, starting with must-have website pages.

Here’s an example of various e-commerce website elements:

  • A homepage welcoming visitors to your e-commerce site.
  • Clearly defined and labeled product categories and subgroups.
  • About and contact pages to earn customer trust.
  • An online store page with a search bar and filter options.
  • Individual product or service pages with images and descriptions.
  • Menu and navigation bars for accessing site content.
  • A footer section to house additional information, like your privacy policy.
  • Frequently-asked-question pages for site visitors and SEO.
  • An email sign-up form for email marketing lists.
  • Testimonials or case studies to demonstrate social proof.
  • Customer account portals for viewing order information.
  • Industry-related features for subscriptions, online bookings, or e-courses.

Best practices for making an e-commerce website

E-commerce site design affects UX and sales. The best thing you can do is learn how to use your CMS or online store platform inside and out. Watch videos, read tutorials, and devise a high-converting website strategy.

When crafting your online store, consider these tips:

  • Stick with your font and color palette throughout your site. Buttons shouldn’t look different on every page, and text shouldn’t resemble cheesy third-party ads.
  • In a world of AI-generated stock images, differentiate your company by producing great product photos. Keep them consistent and show various angles of items.
  • Allow shoppers to check out as guests. Forcing humans to give you personal data isn’t a great way to start a relationship.
  • Enable item previews, save to a wishlist, and product recommendations functionalities when possible. These features are simple ways to increase conversions.
  • Review every page, delete placeholder text, and test all links and forms. Don’t forget to check how the online store functions on all devices.
  • Add meta descriptions to pages and images. Write alt text for photos and only include keywords when doing so improves the user experience.

Shipping products

Order management, inventory tools, and shipping integrations streamline e-commerce operations. Many online platforms centralize administration through dashboards. You can configure shipping rules before or after publishing your site. These let you pick shipping regions, offer local pick up, or apply discounts or free shipping coupons.

[Read more: AI and E-commerce: Simplifying the Sales Process]

Choosing a payment gateway

E-commerce services like Wix and Shopify have built-in payment acceptance capabilities powered by Stripe, a company known for its fraud detection and prevention tools. However, companies with a large global customer base may want to add PayPal, as it works well worldwide for consumers without credit cards.

Buy now, pay later and gift card options appeal to shoppers around the holidays. The former has steep fees, whereas the latter may be an add-on service. Regardless of your chosen methods, the checkout flow must remain frictionless. Limit the number of clicks and keep it to a single page when possible.

Once you connect to a payment processor, your e-commerce website is ready. Then, you can begin the forever process of refining your masterpiece.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Applications are open for the CO—100! Now is your chance to join an exclusive group of outstanding small businesses. Share your story with us — apply today.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

Apply for the CO—100!

The CO—100 is an exclusive list of the 100 best and brightest small and mid-sized businesses in America. Enter today to share your story and get recognized.

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