Now, we’re not referring to setting up a shop website yet. For sure, you can sign up for SellStream and create a shop now if you want. But we’re talking about creating an actual business.
Select A Niche
You want to make legit money right? Great! So the first thing to decide is what kind of business do you want to set up. And since you’re on our website, you’ve probably already decided to try your hand at dropshipping, because it’s a great business model for you. See, there is one decision that you’ve already made! You are on your way to creating a business.
Now, the next thing to decide on is the type of products do you want to sell? This would be considered your niche. Do you love fashion and want to sell women’s clothing, hand bags, shoes, etc? Or, are you an outdoor junkie and want to sell sporting equipment? Or, are you really into spoiling your dog, and are fascinated with all the cool pet toys available?
Do you see what we’re doing? We’re asking questions about what YOUR interests are. This is a good technique to get you started. Think about it, why would you want to set up a shop with products that you know nothing about and are unfamiliar with. A customer asks you a question, and you’ll have no clue how to answer. The best shops are set up around things that you already have experience with. That way, you can better gauge the quality of the products you sell, instead of letting yourself get ripped off by selling something inferior.
What if you have lots of interests? That’s great! Hopefully, you’re a very well-rounded person that enjoys lots of hobbies. But, let’s start with just one niche for now. You can always create multiple stores, but we recommend that each store has its own specific niche. You don’t want to psych your customers out by having a pet leash next to a fragrance bottle (smell like a dog perfume, anyone??).
Now Make It Unique
So, you’ve selected the area of expertise you want to start selling products in. Fabulous! Now, punch in that niche keyphrase into Google and see how many websites pop up. A good thousand, if not more, right? Did I scare you? Good. Take a deep breath and keep reading.
There are a lot of other people in just the United States that are trying to do the exact same thing as you are doing. They all want to make quick money for the least amount of work. If you don’t want to invest a lot of effort, you’re not going to get much of a reward. This is business. You can’t just set up a website and expect money to start rolling in (wouldn’t that be awesome!). There are lots of other dropshipping websites out there trying to make a buck. Why should a customer come to your website and buy one of your products?
A good business needs to have a unique strategy. What makes you stand out from the rest of the crowd? Yes, you’re trying to sell dropshipping products, but why are your products better than someone else’s products?
Now is when you should invest some time into researching what kind of strategy your business is going to have. And here’s a hint, go look at your competitor’s website and see what they are doing? Does it look like it’s working for them? Put your own spin on it and go with it. Guess what? You can always make adjustments later.
Give It A Name
Now that you’ve decided the niche you want your shop to be, what name do you want your business to have? It should be creative and descriptive for your niche. Maybe you’ve been mulling over this idea for a long time, and you already have the perfect name you want to call your new business. Sweet, move on to the next step.
On the other hand, if you have no clue what you want your business to be called, check out businessnamegenerator.com. It’s a free website to help you think of a company name and help get you set up with a domain.
Oh yea, get a Domain
A website domain is the unique address someone will type into their web browser to find your store. A domain can only point to one website at a time. And, the domain is what you will be using in your marketing efforts to get people to your website so they can buy your stuff. Usually, the domain includes your business name so it’s easy to remember.
When you sign up for a Shop with SellStream, we will actually provide you with a subdomain. Basically it will look like this: YourShopName.SellStream.com.
And just in case you were wondering, the capital letters don’t mean a thing, it just looks pretty. When you plug the domain into a browser, the whole thing will go lowercase automatically.
If you’re wondering why there’s no @ symbol in the domain, you might want to take a moment to google the difference between a domain address (https://www) and an email address (@).
Notice, we called this a subdomain not a domain. That is because a subdomain is part of a domain, hence subdomain. Your shop’s subdomain has our SellStream.com domain attached to it. That is what makes it a subdomain. We all on the same page? Good, moving on..
Now, you are very welcome to market your website using this subdomain. You get the benefit of using the SEO we’ve accrued on SellStream.com to help your website marketing. But, if you’re looking to enhance your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), we recommend you set up a domain.
What About Email?
You will need an email address for your business. It’s one of those business necessities that is actually free (Yay!) depending on who you set up email through. Gmail and Yahoo allow you to set up accounts for free. GoDaddy used to allow one free email address with each domain purchase (but look it up to verify). And then there are more sophisticated email clients out there like Outlook or G Suite that cost money. Similar to the domain, it’s best to make your business email address include your business name, so you look more professional. We recommend staying away from adding a bunch of useless numbers, but that’s just our preference.
This is the primary means that your clients will contact you, so you’ll want to be able to access the email account on your phone. That way, you can respond to your clients right away, even while you’re chilling at the dog park or chasing a naked toddler around the room (we don’t judge).
Do you really need to get a business license? Yes, you do. And, we really recommend it. If you’re serious about making money, and we think you are, then you need to be serious about setting your business up right. To do this, you will need to register with the IRS, determine a business structure, and request an EIN.
The specific requirements may differ depending on which state you live in. We are not attorneys, therefore, we cannot provide you with legal advice. However, we can direct you to some helpful resources so you can gain this knowledge for yourself. This is another area where you will need to invest time in researching the best way to set up your business structure. And it wouldn’t hurt to look up a business attorney in your area to have a consultation, just to make sure you’ve done it all legit.
And, don’t get freaked out about the idea of contacting the IRS. It’s really not that hard or scary. And we could give you a run down of what to do, but it would honestly be better for you to go straight to the main source of information. This way, you know you are getting factually and timely accurate information. So, here is the resource we recommend:
Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center
You’ll find all the information you need to know about what is a Business Structure, what an EIN is, how to file for one, how to collect Sales Tax, and more. Really, this is a great resource and not hard to read. Once again, invest some time in learning what our government requires to start a new business. This will help you feel confident and assured that you’re doing things right, and there won’t be any nasty surprises down the road.