When I was a kid I had a huge collection of comics – Batman, Flash, Superman, you know ’em. When I got older, around 14-15, my mother gave them away without asking me. Fast forward two decades and I got my personal online comic shop, built partially on the frustration that I lost all my kid ones. What happened? Was it a good BUSINESS choice? Should you sell products you love, or items that interest a well-defined group of people?
At first, I thought so. The market was lucrative, I targeted countries that had difficulties in acquiring the named superhero comics, the ROI was ok for a side project, plus I was passionate about the niche.
But then something happened. I started collecting (for) myself. I have become enamored with some of the comics I was selling, pulling them from the store and thinking “why shouldn’t I keep them?! My precious! They’re valuable!” So, in other words, I was becoming…Smeagol, growing addicted to the ring.
I became my own client.
With this came another thing – I became biased when pricing the products. Instead of thinking my business in terms of profit margins, fair pricing, leverage over the competitors, I started overpricing the products so that I won’t feel bad that I didn’t keep the comics, thus losing one of the leverages I had over the competitors.
In the end, the once-promising business became more of a passion with only a handful or recurrent clients, the shelves in my house are filled with comics and, though my inner child is happy, my wife and wallet aren’t so thrilled.
A business should be a business, separate from a hobby
I’ve learned something from this experience and it applies ESPECIALLY for dropshipping. Businesses should be businesses, separate from the hobby; feed your hobby through the money you make from your store, and try to avoid mixing these. Sales are not about selling what we love. It’s about loving to help people and that is a big difference.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know your market very well. Sticking to the same personal example, knowing what are the clients’ favorite characters, doing market research on different age and sex possible clients, A/B testing different Facebook campaigns, and following the market trends and movies that hit the cinemas taught me valuable lessons to be applied. I should’ve done these as a businessman, not so much as a hobbyist.
You don’t need to LOVE your products, you just need to UNDERSTAND them and the market you are selling to. It’s a huge difference.
There are exceptions
Now, there are of course several niches where you can love AND sell, but only when you’ve already established that you have a winning store with winning products; otherwise it might prove difficult to adapt, to change what you are selling. For example, if you are selling homemade décor or handmade soaps making thousands of dollars month after month you can (and sometimes it’s impossible not to) get in love with your products. BUT if the store lags, you can’t afford the luxury of keeping it the same just because YOU like the products and YOU believe people should care.
The thing in dropshipping is that you have to adapt – fast. A winning item today can get old tomorrow and you must replace it with another one. Read here on how to find winning items. Finding that thin grey line between the successful business model and passion is sometimes tricky, but if you do nail it, your chances of being more successful than your competitors will be considerably higher.
What’s your take on this topic? Do you prefer selling what you love, or you’re purely addressing the market needs, without “getting involved” with the products? Let us know in the comments.