Can you do dropshipping with no money? If “no money” means zero dollars then off course it is not possible. Even if you bootstrap your dropshipping business you will still need some capital to get started.
If you compare dropshipping to almost any other type of business then it is still a super cheap business model with very little risk. With no inventory to buy up front you eliminate 90% of your financial risk.
Dropshipping with no money does limit you in what you can do and how fast you can do it. I would not even consider dropshipping if you do not have at least $50 seed money. This will give you some options and allow you to get started and set up properly.
There is one strategy that allows you to dropship with (almost) no money and we will look at it briefly but this is not a great long term business model.
Getting started is the most important thing. Thinking about it, reading about it and watching 1000 Youtube videos won’t do anything to improve your life. You got to get your hands dirty!
Strategy 1: Dropshipping with no money from Amazon
This strategy requires almost zero money to do but comes with some risk and can be quite labour intensive.
The principle is the same as any other dropshipping business: we buy low and we sell high. In this case, we will buy cheap on Amazon and sell high on eBay. This type of arbitrage is not as popular as it used to be but you can easily make a few hundred dollars a day doing this.
How does it work:
You will look for opportunities to buy products on Amazon that is selling for 50% to 100% more on eBay. What you need to look for is products that are on sale on Amazon and search for the same products on eBay.
It won’t take long before you will find products that are selling for much more eBay than they are selling for on Amazon.
All you need to do then is to create a listing on eBay using the details from the Amazon listing. It will cost you a few dollars to list on eBay but this cost is negligible.
You create this eBay listing WITHOUT buying or owning the product yourself. Once someone purchases the product from your listing on eBay, you simply head over to Amazon and buy the product. Instead of shipping it to yourself, you will ship it to the person who bought it from you on eBay.
You will simply dropship the product directly to the eBay purchaser and in Amazon you select the “gift” option. This will exclude any receipts and the eBay buyer will never even know that you did not handle the product yourself.
With this method you can dropship with no money and only buy the product after you got paid for the sale. This can take too long though (depending on Paypal) and I would recommend you have some seed money so you can ship it as soon as the order comes through.
Either way, you will get paid fairly soon after buying the product and shipping it.
eBay has a huge marketplace and millions of shoppers. Not all people buy from Amazon. Not all people do thorough price comparisons. Not all people buy the cheapest listing. Use this to your advantage.
The secret with this method is to spend some time to find the right products. There are thousands of products on Amazon that sell for 50% (or more) less than on eBay. You can swoop in and pocket the difference.
You do not need a store, you do not need any capital and you do not need to pay for advertising or wait months to get traffic to your products.
You just leverage these 2 huge marketplaces. Buy low, sell high – without actually buying the product.
Strategy 2: Dropshipping with no money from AliExpress
This is a more traditional setup for dropshipping and although it is not entirely free, there are some options that can allow you to bootstrap this setup and do it for very little money up front.
You will need an online store to do this. It will allow you to list products, accept payments and manage orders.
The easiest way by far is to use Shopify.
Dropshipping with Shopify is very easy and there are thousands of plugins that can help you do almost anything. The problem is that it all costs money and if you are bootstrapping your dropshipping setup then you need to be smart.
Shopify offers a free 2 week trail. This give you a 2 week window to get everything set up and ready to start making sales. It definitely is enough time to get set up but you will need to make your first payment to be able to start trading and accepting payments.
The basic plan is $29.95 per month and well worth the investment, given that you will have very few other expenses.
To dropship from AliExpress you simply need to install the Free Oberlo app. This allows you to automate the importing, listing and fulfillment of orders. They do have paid plans that make it much easier but to start with this is more than enough.
If you are dropshipping with no money, you will need to be very careful with product selection. I would suggest you look at AliExpress products that cost below $5 (including shipping) that you can easily sell for $20 to $30.
This gives you really high margins and allows you to build your cash flow very quickly.
If you can’t afford Shopify…
Shopify is by no means the only option if you want to dropship from AliExpress. Woocommerce is a powerful Plugin for WordPress that allows you to do almost everything you can do on Shopify. It does require some more technical knowledge though.
You will need to get yourself some hosting – I would recommend Bluehost and you can get that for about $5/month. You can use a free theme and unfortunately you can not use Oberlo BUT there are some great alternatives for Woocommerce.
AliDropship is an amazing tool and costs $90 – but this is a one-off fee and allows you all the updates for life. I really like this app because it is not a monthly recurring expense and they seamlessly integrate with a lot of payment processors. This is great if your country is not supported by Stripe and/or Paypal.
If the $90 one-off fee is too much then you can consider Woodropship. They have a $20 per month plan and it will do everything you need up to 100 orders per month.
So, with WordPress and Woocommerce you can get started for about $25. You will also need to have some seed money to fulfill order but if you choose the right products you will quickly build up your cash flow given that your fulfillment costs will be quite low compared to how much you make.
Getting traffic to your store…
With Strategy #2 you need to have some sort of plan to get traffic to your store. Just putting up a dropshipping store full of great products will do nothing unless you get eyes on your products. Building it does not mean they will come.
If you already have an audience on Youtube, Instagram or Facebook then this can work incredibly well for you. Traffic is king and without it you do not have a business.
The fastest way by far is to simply buy traffic from Facebook Ads. This is a proven strategy but you will probably need at least $500 to get started. There is a huge learning curve and most people lose a lot as they learn.
For free traffic I would recommend you start a highly engaging Instagram account or try and connect with Instagram influencers. You can work out profit share deals with them which will allow you to make sales without spending any money up front.
SEO is also a very viable option. Free traffic from Google convert very well but this takes time. Woocommerce is a great option if you want to go the SEO route as WordPress is known for ranking very well in search engines with great SEO built in.
Strategy 3: Dropshipping with no money on Etsy
Dropshipping on Etsy is a completely different game but if you are tight on money this is a viable option for sure. Dropshipping on Etsy is different in the sense that you can not dropship products from China.
Etsy is built around handmade and craft products and unless there is some level of custom craft involved with the product, you simply can not sell it on the Etsy marketplace.
Etsy has a huge market of hungry buyers and you can leverage this with dropshipping Print on Demand Products.
If you do not know what Print on Demand is, here’s a quick overview. You basically create designs (images or text) that can be printed on T-shirts, mugs, caps ec. WITHOUT you doing any of the printing or shipping. Companies like Printful or Printify will handle your order, print your products and ship it to your customers.
All you need to do is to create the designs.
Print on Demand products are allowed on Etsy and both the Printful and Printify apps are integrated with Etsy.
This means you do not need a store or any other expenses.
All you need to get started is the listing cost on Etsy – its about 50 cents per listing.
Selling Print on Demand products on Etsy allows you to tap into their traffic and all that is needed from you is a bit of brain power and some graphic skills. You can use a free graphic design tool like Canva to create your designs and start selling within a few hours – with no money (apart from the 50 cent listing cost).
This is a great option because you can pour all your energy into the products and not worry about AliExpress, shipping products and handling endless customer support enquiries.
The ready-made marketplace on Etsy also means you do not have to buy traffic as your designs will be found – if they are good enough. There is a lot of competition though because this is so cheap and easy to get started.
You can do dropshipping with no money but unless you have some seed money you will run into roadblocks pretty quickly. If your budget is below $100 then you need to stick to Print on Demand and Etsy. You can also do dropshipping arbitrage with eBay and Amazon but this has some risks as its not entirely allowed by eBay.
If you have a $50 budget you can certainly start a proper dropshipping store using either Shopify or Woocommerce. This will only get your store set up. You will still need to get traffic to make sales. This should be the goal if you want to build a proper ecommerce store that sells products.
With Shopify and Woocommerce you can scale very easily and there are so many tools available that you can do almost anything you can think of.