How This Couple Created an $800k Business While Working Full-Time

If there's one thing many entrepreneurs don't consider when building their business is the importance of failing faster.

It may sound counterproductive, but as you'll find out in our latest podcast episode, it's anything but.

It's the mentality that's propelled dropshipping mega couple, Shishir and Namrata, to creating a successful $800k business... while balancing a full-time job.

In this podcast episode, they take us behind the scenes of their inspirational dropshipping success, share with us some tips, and present The Dropshipping Council.

Whether you're a budding entrepreneur or a seasoned one, there are definitely handy takeaways for you so tune in now!

Prefer a summary? Here's a seven-point TL;DR condensed version:

  1. Shishir and Namrata's inspiration to start an ecommerce business stemmed from Namrata's passion for seeking out unique products.
  2. You learn best when you teach because it forces you to master your business and basics.
  3. The Dropshipping Council is an exclusive, invite-only community of expert dropshippers and ecommerce store owners to help their mid- to high-level counterparts.
  4. Fail faster because it brings you closer to that eventual success that is at the end of the line.
  5. The long-term sustainability of online businesses comes down to product quality.
  6. Shishir will only consider transitioning away from a full-time job when he starts to make four to five times his annual employment income in his ecommerce business.
  7. Shishir's book recommendations: The Growth Mindset and Deep Work.

Start Yours is a podcast about what it's like to start a business.

Join us as we meet entrepreneurs who have gone through the triumphs and headaches of running an online store, and learn how they managed to survive and thrive.

Transcript

How a Thrill for Finding Products Inspired an Ecommerce Business

Aleisha: Shishir and Namrata, thank you so much for sharing some time with us. You are a husband and wife, dropshipping mega duo who have really figured out how it all works. Tell me a little bit about when you first started the business, because I know from a lot of people's stories, it wasn't super simple when you first went, "Let's start a business together." How did it all kick off for you? 

Shishir: Yeah, it was a fascinating story. I think maybe Namrata can kick us off there.

Namrata: Yeah, actually, I'm really obsessive in terms of shopping and when I got the chance to decorate our own place, I went crazy and I reached the point where I could not add more to the home. And then that is how Shishir got the idea and we started exploring, “Why not a home decor store?” So I will still get the items and then of course, they would sell.

Shishir: Yeah, so my main observation was that Namrata is fantastic and has a fantastic sense for finding right, very interesting products from completely unknown corners of the web. So I saw that ability and we saw how our beautiful home came together. And that's when I realized, "Hey, we should utilize this talent that we have in-house." And that's how we got started in exploring different possibilities of online stores that we could possibly tap on and start with. 

So home decor was the first possible idea. Once I started doing my research, together we stumbled across the whole concept of dropshipping, and then that's when we started learning about what kind of products people typically buy, what is easier to sell, what is harder to sell, how do you advertise it? 

So all of that was lots and lots of learning along the way, no doubt. 

Lots of mistakes, lots of pitfalls, and we try to avoid and learn from other people and just try to learn from every mistake and try your best not to make that again.

Aleisha: Had you run ecommerce stores before or had you even dabbled in this world? 

Shishir: No, never. Never from a seller standpoint, definitely. Well, obviously, we bought a lot, but we never had an online store before.

Aleisha: Interesting.

Namrata: I was saying that it came very naturally to me to find products because I would research products online anyway. And from the very beginning, even, say, from college, I would try to find unique products, problem-solving products. So there, we did not have any issues. 

Like initially, since I was very fond of gadgets, I even found a clock that runs on water. So it got pretty exciting for me. And then, of course, Shishir worked through the things and made it possible. 

Aleisha: So Namrata, you really like the thrill of finding unique products, you really like that sort of... The hunt basically of getting... Yeah.

Namrata: I love it. I do research on that every day.

Shishir: So I don't need to hire a research person, I have an expert in-house.

Aleisha: Yeah, this is good. This is a good part of finding a team member that balances out your skills. Shishir’s obviously building stores and then really going for it. But with Namrata, for having the idea of... Obviously, you've got style and you know what you like, but also then seeing how to research and find what might work. 

Tell me where you look. Where do you find these products? Are you using Alibaba or? Tell me more.

Shishir: It's a combination of a few sources, I think. First of all, obviously Alibaba and AliExpress are very often the primary go-to marketplaces, just because of their scale and variety. But in the current environment, there are definitely alternatives that we have been exploring ourselves. 

Just because shipping is a major challenge these days for pretty much every online store. So we have been exploring many North American-based suppliers like SparkIT. There are a few others that are also domestic in terms of being manufactured in the US or Canada. So we're exploring those alternatives. They definitely come with a higher price tag, so very often we try to find even AliExpress suppliers who may be shipping out of the United States as opposed to shipping out of China. 

I would still say maybe 60 percent to 70 percent it's still relying on AliExpress and Alibaba, but then also trying to proactively look for sellers through SparkIT and even sometimes things like Etsy. There are many suppliers on Etsy who are doing it for themselves, but who need that marketing expertise. And for somebody who has experience in stores and running stores, they can really scale up for that one supplier who's doing it from their home on Etsy, but shipping locally and supplying locally. So a few of those avenues.

The challenges of shipping now, according to Shishir

Battling Copycats

Aleisha: That's really good 'cause I think a lot of people don't think outside of the box beyond the standard dropshipping. And I say standard but, you know, the bigger companies. But you're so right. If you can connect with an independent manufacturer that is really keen to go wholesale or can have some wiggle room with the costs, of course, this is an excellent idea. 

And then also using Namrata's amazing abilities to find products that you can find a product that no one else has got or very few other sellers have because I suppose the big part of it is when you find something that is successful, other people jump on that bandwagon pretty quickly and follow the leaders. 

Have you had that trouble where you have started a store and then straight away or quickly someone else comes in and swoops and tries to undercut? 

Shishir: Oh, yeah, definitely. With multiple of the products that we have scaled to high numbers, that that's happened many times. I recall in Q4 of 2019, one particular product that we started working on, and this was a brand new product, people were not really advertising it. And the same thing, we stumbled across it actually at a fair that we went to in Vancouver physically, and we had seen it earlier on AliExpress.

Namrata: And actually, then I just happened to try it out. And the pricing that they told me was like four to five times that of AliExpress. So then we just decided if it can sell here, and we actually saw the product, it was very good quality. And so we thought, why not try this. 

And we just gave it a shot and it was one of the biggest successes we've had.

Shishir: So to your point, though, the moment we started selling that, a month or two after that, I came across stores that essentially were a duplicate of my product description page.

Aleisha: Wow.

Namrata: Even through ads.

Shishir: So yeah, that definitely does happen. And in a way, it's part of the way the industry works. So you definitely need to have that first-mover advantage if you wanna be making it big. So originality holds a lot of weight.

Aleisha: So you've done over 800K. How many years did that take to get to that figure? 

Shishir: That was actually only in 2019.

Aleisha: Wow.

Namrata: Like eight months.

Shishir: Yeah, I would say probably not even the full year maybe eight months of that. And we peaked roughly in November. November of 2019 is when we hit about 240K. In the month of November.

Aleisha: You must be high fiving all over the place.

Shishir: Oh yeah. Exactly.

Originality holds a lot of weight, says Shishir

What It's Like to Partner up With a Spouse

Aleisha: I wanna get into working as a team, as a duo, 'cause I think there'll be a lot of listeners who see potential, especially during this pandemic where we're at home and we can potentially start a business from home just with our laptops and make it happen. But I know it must be tricky sometimes working 24/7 with your spouse. 

Tell me a little bit about how you find a balance with stepping away from the laptop and actually having a life and being able to communicate about things that aren't necessarily dropshipping, product sourcing, the website.

Shishir: I completely agree with you. We do literally spend maybe 18 hours a day, sitting at our dining table because that's where both of our workstations are currently, both for our full-time work and also for our business. So yeah, there's tons of FaceTime, I wouldn't dispute that. But it's not something that I... I would rather choose who I face rather than being forced to work with people whom I'm not so keen to work with and not in the office. 

So I think the balance definitely has to be struck very consciously, we have, like, we try to force ourselves to go down for a walk.

And just get out there now that at least in the Vancouver area, things are a bit more in control with regards to COVID. So we are able to go out, get some fresh air, and not be stuck in our apartment. 

But I think that the larger part of it is that we try to keep our eyes on the goal, the broader sort of vision that we have that "Hey, eventually, we wanna make this our full-time activity and not be dependent on our full-time jobs anymore." So I think that motivation is what gets us to overcome any little hiccups that may happen along the way.

Namrata: Yeah, like Shishir has properly prepared a calendar for The Dropshipping Council, and he diligently, daily, dedicates himself for that so that timeline is met.

Shishir: Yes, so planning and I try to build in the rest periods, obviously.

The Dropshipping Council

Aleisha: Well, let's talk about The Dropshipping Council. And then I'd love to come back to some advice that you would give to people who are either just starting their business or potentially looking to start a business and being able to make sure that they're using their time in a way that's valuable and resourceful rather than just whiling away the hours 'cause it's very easy to do, especially when you're starting. 

But The Dropshipping Council is something that you are launching now. Tell me a little bit about what motivated you to do this, what it is, and how people can join? 

Shishir: Right. This is something... It was more of a personal need almost. So we realized that as we were going through our journey and growth, we were personally always looking out for people to learn from, who are ahead of us. And I'm a big believer that you just have to literally find the people who are where you wanna be and emulate them. So now that group of people started getting small pretty quickly and became almost non-existent as we started growing our business

So, we found that ecommerce can generally get lonely very quickly because like you said, we are cooped up in our homes. There's not much interaction going on, and if you don't have friends in the space, there's literally nobody you can talk to about challenges you may be facing.

So initially, in the beginning part of our journey, Facebook groups were very useful as beginners. But I felt there was a real gap in networking and learning opportunities for mid- to high-level dropshippers and ecom store owners, and that's where we were.

So that's sort of how the idea for The Dropshipping Council germinated, that we need to have some sort of an exclusive invite-only community, where you have a set of pre-qualified dropshippers and ecom store owners who are part of the community, and they've all met some sort of minimum criteria before they're admitted to the community.

Emulate people who are where you want to be, says Shishir

So that was the overarching idea and it was really to fill a gap for ourselves because we were missing that opportunity to network. And also I realized that there'll be other people in the same sort of space who are lacking the same kind of resource. 

So that's how this got started, and we're currently in the phase of launching and we are in the process of actually interviewing candidates right now to admit to The Dropshipping Council. We have set a minimum criteria of having achieved at least $100,000 per month in sales at any point in the last two years in your businesses, and that's what qualifies you to then apply, and I'm personally interviewing each of these candidates to verify everything and just make sure that they're the right fit for the community.

Namrata: Also, I noticed that this will also save a lot of time, energy, and cost because if you have one common platform where you have all the gurus giving the requisite knowledge, you won't have to approach them individually, and of course, individually their charges can be very high. And also the right places. 

So this proved to be very beneficial for saving time, costs, and energy, considering that it's a very competitive business.

Aleisha: Yeah. Yeah, it is competitive. But it's also good I think, as you said, to find support with your peers and also being able to talk about things. I know as someone who has a store that if I'm with my non-store-owning friends who are working their nine to fives, which is great, our conversations, if I bring up my ecommerce store, it's not always something that they want to talk about beyond going, "How's it all going?" "It's great." "You have been... " But I'm like, “I wanted to talk about Facebook ads,” or, “I've had a bit of a coding error.” 

So I think when you can connect with communities and with... A lot of people listening might be saying, "Well, I'm not making $100k a month yet," but it's good to have goals and also, I suppose for us to say that there are certainly lots of other subreddits and Facebook groups that people can get involved in if they're just starting out and wanna learn and connect with people and not feel alone or isolated because we're living in quite an isolated period of time. 

And also everyone's out there, and there are always going to be hungry people wanting to talk about what you are learning, or there are always gonna be YouTube channels like yours that you can learn from and feel connected.

Shishir: Exactly. And that was the whole purpose of starting our YouTube channel initially. Journey2Freedom was started primarily because that is how we learned all about the business.

Aleisha: Yeah, right.

Shishir: So we felt that it would be a good time to, first of all, start paying back the community, but also it gives you a chance to... In a way, you learn best when you're teaching people. So it really gets you to master your own business and basics when people ask questions that may have been in your own blind spot. 

So that's a great community, obviously, we're trying to develop on YouTube as well, of beginner, mid-level, high-level dropshippers, ecommerce business owners. And then the council, The Dropshipping Council is definitely for people who have gone beyond that initial beginner level and are looking for a higher level of association.

Shishir's quote on teaching

Aim to Fail Faster

Aleisha: Let's talk a little bit about motivation because, as you said, when you first started, it wasn't a slam dunk straight away, you didn't find a winning product immediately. And the reality of that is that 99.9 percent of people who start businesses don't hit the mark first up. And then I always read, you know, with Oberlo, we read a lot of comments of people going, "This didn't work, I'm giving up." And you want to say, "No, stick with it." 

Tell me a little bit about how you both stayed motivated and obviously working full-time jobs and doing this on top of it isn't easy. But what took you to the level where you said to each other, "This is it, we wanna do it, let's stick with it, and let's keep going?"

Shishir: Yeah, I think from just our own experience, life experience really, but small businesses in general, forget about dropshipping or ecommerce. The basic stats are that any small business will not be in existence, five years down the road. 

Only five percent of businesses actually survive the first five years. That's no different for ecommerce or dropshipping. 

And it really, in any venture, it's only those five percent that persevere through the ups and downs that end up getting to that five-year mark. So, it wasn't really much different in our case. Yes, we were ready to face those hurdles I think. It's just a lot of mental preparation to realize what the reality is. 

Five percent of businesses survive their first five years

Because many times you get into the space thinking that it's an easy way to make money, but it's not. So the sooner that you understand the reality, the better you can be prepared for the ups and downs that you'll experience, and the way I like to look at it is, every failure leads to the... Brings you closer to that eventual success. So our goal and objective are really to fail faster, if anything, because it brings us closer to that eventual success that is at the end of the line.

Aleisha: I really like that. Let's just say that again, fail faster. Because I think that's something that we all need to hear and remind ourselves. Especially that failure isn't something that we need to feel bad about. So many failures lead to massive successes. But I suppose it just takes that little moment of stepping back and going, "Alright, that didn't work. Pick it up, let's go again."

Shishir: Definitely, yeah. And it's because many people tend to see that as a binary result, either you succeed or you fail. But in reality, it's very much the opposite. The fear there is a prerequisite almost to get to the success, so that applies to any venture you start often, whether it's even your jobs, you learn in the beginning, you make mistakes and then you succeed eventually.

Why you should fail faster, according to Shishir

Why You Should Test Products

Aleisha: Namrata, tell me a little bit about when you sourced products, what I found really interesting… We've got a great blog post on oberlo.com about both of you and the success of your business. 

But you talk a little bit about purchasing products, especially with dropshipping and testing the products yourself, which is something that's quite a contentious issue in the dropshipping community, especially 'cause a lot of people are just really keen to start the business, launch that store, get it out there. But then they never actually get their hands on the product. Tell me what made you both invest the money and the time to start testing products without just launching willy nilly.

Namrata: As I said, I always was interested in online shopping and we've had a few samples as well even before actually launching the products. So we definitely looked for quality, that the item should be in good quality and should have good packaging, possibly not have any Chinese written language on top. 

And in addition to that, we offered the best customer service possible, so that really helped us succeed a lot. So giving quality products then offering quality customer service. 

We had a feedback score on Facebook at 4.9, which is very very rare.

Aleisha: Wow. Yeah, very.

Namrata: Also, as I mentioned, that one of our winning products, we actually viewed it and we were just leaving the fair and I was a bit curious, I said, "No, I have to actually try out the product," We had already reached the car and I had seen the product on AliExpress, a side note of the client should feel satisfied that they're getting what it's worth. So we have vetted the products as well beforehand.

Shishir: Yeah, I think the long-term sustainability of especially online businesses really comes down to the quality of the product. I think it's very important to take that extra step to try your best to have those samples shipped to you. Yes, it may take an extra two or three weeks, but it really pays dividends down the road, because you don't get charge-backs, you don't get customer complaints.

Namrata: And the easier shortcut that we did was we found the same product on Amazon, and we would order that and then we would return it.

Aleisha: Yeah, great tip.

Shishir: Yeah, that's a great suggestion, yeah.

Aleisha: That's a really good suggestion. And I think being able to see the quality, you're so right, and making sure the packaging looks good and you're putting your name to it, so I suppose that's a really big investment for you, the time and also energy to make sure that you're not having to then, later on, deal with hundreds of customers who aren't happy and having to handle returns.

Shishir: Exactly.

Aleisha: Yeah, yeah.

Namrata: And then of course you can always take product images in your own personal lifestyle photos, so that makes it even more realistic if you have the product in hand before.

Shishir's quote on businesses' long-term sustainability

Store Design Tips

Aleisha: Tell me about the design and the look of your stores, and I know we're not gonna talk specifically about what you're selling. But do you take lifestyle images? What are some of the tips that you can give to listeners to differentiate their store, especially if they're selling a product that maybe other people are already selling, they're not doing sort of niche stores? How do you make your store look different from other stores to get the attention of a customer? 

Shishir: Right, that's a good question. And I think it depends on the type of product that you're selling. So for example, many store owners initially focus on things like problem-solving products, for example. 

One good way to set yourself apart is to use some sort of explainer type GIF, so that's like a moving image essentially, that explains what the problem is that's being solved. So that's one easy way because most customers now don't have the attention span to read your entire part of the description. 

An easy way to just get the message across is to have a visual because that is what the eye is naturally drawn towards. So that would be one tip for problem-solving products.

But then in general, I think the overall look and feel of the store have to be trustworthy because many times we go with these different Shopify themes. They can often be very crowded, messy looking, and having every color in the palette show up on your store. So that's a big no, no, because that reduces trust in your store. 

If you go to any big store like Nike or Adidas, you'll see there's color consistency, there's maybe one, two, three colors being used at max, and it's a clean website. 

So if there's one goal that you should have is to have a clean website with a maximum of one or two different colors that you utilize to set up your store.

Namrata: We've also seen that when we have used timers and spinners, our sales have actually dipped, so we totally cut that strategy out.

Aleisha: For people who don't know what you mean by that, can you expand a little bit more on that? 

Shishir: Yeah, so I think many people, oftentimes, there are many Shopify apps that allow you to have pop-ups on your store, so spin the wheel to win a discount, those kinds of apps that eventually show up on the front page of the store when a customer lands there and it typically happens in the first five seconds. 

And yes, it used to work, I feel, for many people in the beginning when it was new. But now it's just another interruption in the customer purchase journey. 

So one of my goals personally is I try to minimize any interruption possible in the customer's purchase journey based on what they're coming there to see. So if they saw an ad and they clicked on the link they're interested in that product, don't interrupt them until they bought it.

So I try to avoid any upselling or cross-selling before the purchase, and I focus on the upsell and cross-sell after they have purchased from me and have trusted me enough to do the purchase 'cause that's the best time to upsell.

Don't have too many colors for your store design, says Shishir

Building a Long-Term Relationship With Customers

Aleisha: Are you running multiple stores or is all this revenue coming from one store.

Shishir: Well, all of our revenue in 2019 was from one store. But now we do have multiple stores, and we are focusing on developing more branded stores that are a bit more niched down, now that we have the experience of scaling up a store to that level.

Aleisha: Do you run social media accounts to promote these stores or are you using primarily just Facebook ads and driving people directly to the stores? 

Shishir: The biggest source definitely is paid advertising on Facebook and also on Instagram. So in the process of developing more for branded niche stores, I do anticipate that we would have more of an organic social media profile and outreach. 

And that's much more for a long-term strategy over time to build up that fan base. But even in that case, initially, it starts off with paid advertising. 

Then once you develop a loyal enough customer base, they stay connected with your brand through social media, through Instagram, and things like that.

Aleisha: So you are developing that long-term relationship with your customers.

Shishir: Exactly, yeah.

Aleisha: Which is an important point to make because I think there seems to be an attitude. Well, it's a different attitude in the industry, but some people just want the quick sale and then move on. But if you can really sustain a long-term relationship, they're gonna come back and buy more from you, you can use the data with Facebook ads, you can use the existing data and reuse it and re-target and re-market to them. That's clever.

Shishir: Definitely, the lifetime value of the customer is very, very important because any purchase that the customer makes after the first one, essentially is a free purchase to you, you didn't pay anything in ads to get that purchase, so it's all margin, right. So that is often where your bottom line gets boosted every single time the customer comes back to buy from you.

Shishir's quote on repeat customers

Getting Organized and Staying Focused

Aleisha: Tell me a little bit about the systems that you use. Namrata, you said earlier on that Shishir has already planned that, has a calendar ready to go for The Dropshipping Council, and that's really good to hear that you are organized and I suppose you have to be if you're also still working your day jobs and doing this incredible business. 

But tell me about some of the systems that you have in place together and independently to make sure things get done and you aren't feeling overwhelmed or stressed with the tasks at hand.

Shishir: Yeah. So I think we try to split up the kind of work that we do. So Namrata obviously focuses on the product research element of the business, so whenever we have in mind to launch different product lines or different products, we work backward from there. 

Okay, if the target is to launch this product at the end of July, then where do we need to be two weeks from now, where do we need to be three weeks from now to get things going.

So talking to the suppliers to make sure they have a supply in place, getting the lifestyle photos in place as Namrata mentioned, and getting all that in order to just plan ahead of where you need to be later on.

Aleisha: So you really look at taking the time each day or week. How often do you sit down together and say, "Alright, these are our goals. This is what we want to achieve in the next quarter or the next couple of months. And then, you're gonna do this and I'm gonna do that?" How often do you sit and have that family meeting?

Namrata: Like we make a to-do list in our notebook, so according to that whatever has greater priority, we proceed with that and act accordingly. So currently with The Dropshipping Council, now we've already started vetting the applicants. So the initial phase was of course getting the speakers on, the motivators, the gurus, and now this week, we are basically interacting with the upcoming members. So we have kind of phased it out in a week and plan according to that.

Shishir: Yeah, so I wouldn't say there's a set schedule, but we live together, so we have enough opportunities to interact. So I would say in terms of a broader vision, definitely maybe once every quarter, or once every six months, we are trying to realign and just make sure we're heading in the right direction, every three to four months. And then that guides our day-to-day activities then.

Aleisha: I'm so impressed that you do this and work full-time jobs. Do your full-time employers know how successful you are with this side hustle.

Shishir: Not yet, I think as you said, more people outside of the ecommerce world have not heard about it, really. Everybody shops online, but they never think about being a seller, so no. 

Aleisha: Sure. They have no idea that you're pulling an 800k last year still working for them. 

Shishir: Yes, exactly.

Namrata: In fact, I was sort of a big buyer. Now, when I shop online, I think 100 times before looking at their table.

Shishir: Because we know the margins that these guys are pulling in.

When’s the Right Time to Quit a Job?

Aleisha: Yeah, it has to affect your... I mean this is... I'm the same. When you go behind the curtain a little bit and you use the Oberlo app or you have a look on AliExpress, and you think, “Man, I could buy that 20 times over.” When you're actually purchasing from it. It does affect the way that you shop, I find that all the time. 

It's good to hear that you have... Well, I suppose a lot of people, when they decide to start a side hustle or maybe jump into the world of entrepreneurship, that they're like, I have to leave my job, I need to be committed. 

Can you talk to the people that are listening, that have that viewpoint, especially looking at what you've achieved while also maintaining your jobs? Talk to me about that and when you think it is the right time to leave a job.

Shishir: Yeah, I think that's a very big decision. And there are a lot of nuances that go into that decision, and personally, I'm of the opinion that it depends on everybody's own risk tolerances. Many people would drop out of college and start a business like this and then just run with it. 

We are not in that category. So we're definitely much more conservative in that sense. We believe in the stability of our jobs, yes. 

But long-term, I would only probably transition out of a job when I'm making four to five times my annual employment income in my business.

And at that point, I might consider transitioning out because, through our experience, we know the volatility of the business too. 

So, as appealing as it is, there are definitely ups and downs. But the whole goal is, as long as the business continues to grow, eventually the low of the business is still higher than your job income. So that's the point you wanna get to where you feel you're secure enough, that despite all the business volatility, we can still live a good lifestyle.

The goal of having the low of your business being higher than your job income

Namrata: And then possibly develop multiple income streams as well with just one or two, three stores may not be just that much. Maybe something more ahead.

Shishir: Yeah, so it's diversification as in anything.

Current Trends to Jump On

Aleisha: Without giving away anything that you do and spoiling any industry secrets, is there anything, if we are looking to start a business and looking for products, what are some things that you're seeing at the moment that you think people should be looking further at? Any sort of tips? 

Shishir: Yeah, definitely. In the current environment, there are a few niches that are doing very well, obviously, it's no secret that people are having to work out at home. So yes, at-home gym equipment is doing very well.

Namrata: Even baking accessories. People have started baking more, in fact, I went to my grocery store, two, three stores, they were all out of baking soda.

Aleisha: Yeah.

Shishir: I think simple things like this can trigger your thought process on what's in demand. Home decor is another big one. People are at home, so they're looking around for what they can do, how to improve their time. 

Another big one for parents is that many of them are holed up in their homes with their kids, and they're still working full-time though, so many of them need ways to keep their kids occupied in a productive fashion, so these days, many of the educational toys for kids are doing very well.

Namrata: Like DIY projects.

Shishir: Yeah. So things like that. Those are few quick niches that are really doing very well these days.

Aleisha: Yeah. And as we said earlier in the episode, if you do find one of these niche products, maybe thinking a little bit outside of the box and approaching local manufacturers, so you can avoid the shipping crisis that seems to be happening at the moment, but also supporting local manufacturers is a really good thing to do as well.

Shishir: Exactly, yeah, I think you'll always find multiple sources for the same product. There'll be multiple vendors local and foreign, so definitely explore what's possible. Because yes, you may be paying a bit of a premium to buy locally, but you'll have much more satisfied customers because the major upside is the faster shipping times.

Advantages of sourcing locally, according to Shishir

Recommended Readings

Aleisha: We always like to end the show asking if there is a piece of media or a book or a podcast that you listen to, that you would recommend to our Start Yours listeners. Is there something that's really inspired you over the years that has motivated you, that you'd like to share? 

Shishir: Yeah, I can share a couple of books actually.

Aleisha: Right.

Shishir: The first one is called; The Growth Mindset. I'm forgetting the name of the author, but if you Google on or check it on Amazon, it'll come up. And that's all about just having the contrast between having a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. 

The main theme behind the message is that oftentimes, and especially if you're starting your own business, the likelihood is that you will not know how to do 95 percent of the things that are required by the business. 

You need to have the growth mindset in order to learn everything and be able to appreciate that you can learn things. 

Most people are not born with these abilities right from day one, they learn it. So that is one first recommendation. 

And the second one is a book called Deep Work. That's another one which I find is quite useful in the current day and age when there are so many distractions around us, having focused deep work timings during the day, where you can just cut off distractions and focus on being productive. That's another big one, that can actually be a big differentiator between your work ethic and what other people do while being distracted with their phones and Facebook and everything else.

Aleisha: That's good, 'cause I think we're all distracted constantly, my brain is like a goldfish sometimes. Especially when we're working from home, you're like, "Oh, there's something over here, I can go over here and check this out." It is important, I think when you are especially designing stores or sourcing products. And I know from having sourced products before, I can go down a really deep hole of cooking on one thing and then going, "That looks interesting" opening 27 other tabs and realizing, "Oh, I haven't really progressed any further, and it's been seven and a half hours." So, these are really good suggestions. 

Well, look thank you so much both for your time, it's been really interesting getting to know you and learning more about your business, and hopefully you get lots of applicants for The Dropshipping Council. 

Just let people know, again, if they are interested in joining or connecting, or even if they think they might be progressing to the $100K and they're confident in the future, can they get in touch with you and at least make that connection as well? 

Shishir: Yeah, definitely. Anybody who is interested, they can just head to the address, thedropshippingcouncil.com, that's the web address and check out the website. We already have some pretty major founding council members on board and these are all industry titans who have been very successful in the field of ecommerce. And then we already have about 12 different partner agencies now. 

Also on board are people like email marketing agencies, Facebook ad agencies, landing page design companies, and these are all on board and part of our community to assist really the council members who join the community. So definitely head over to the website, thedropshippingcouncil.com to see if you qualify, and if you do, definitely send us an application and we'll get back to you pretty soon.

Aleisha: Awesome. Well, thank you both so much for your time. I wish you all the best, and I hope you have another double $800K year. Let's keep in touch, 'cause it'd be really great to connect with you and learn a little bit more about what you're doing down the track.

Shishir: Thanks so much Aleisha, I appreciate you having us on the show.

Namrata: Thank you.

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