If you are reading this post, you are probably minor, and you want to make some money with dropshipping.
If so, good for you!
That means you are not following the path of most teenagers, who are getting a typical job working for someone else. You are thinking outside the box and creating your own path.
Of course, working for someone is a great way to gain experience and get your foot in the door. Nevertheless, nothing can beat running your own business and generating your own source of income. It is much more rewarding to earn money through your own resourcefulness instead of an hourly wage.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to start a dropshipping business as a teenager, as well as other essential information you should know. Read on to learn more!
Note: The information provided in this guide does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. We recommend you search for the assistance of a professional before pursuing any of the information in this article.
At what age can you start a dropshipping business?
The simple answer is that there is no minimum age if you want to start your dropshipping business. Teenagers can start and own dropshipping businesses, but there’s more to it.
Age is one of the prerequisites of a legally binding contract. Most legal jurisdictions around the world round off to a minimum of 18 years of age. Based on that, actions taken by individuals contrary to the agreed-upon guidelines will warrant prosecution.
Fortunately, there’s some wiggle room to this.
To own and run legal dropshipping businesses, teenagers can get a trusted adult to consign for them or borrow someone’s identity with their consent. This allows them to start a legal dropshipping business by ensuring they present a “legal face,” thereby boosting their business’s trust score and credibility.
How old do you have to be to use Shopify?
As we said above, you can be at any age and start a dropshipping business.
However, you’ll need someone over 18 to sign up for Shopify and a payment processor.
When signing up for a Shopify account, you will have to click through the Terms of Service contract. You can see that in the image below.
Many people think you could lie and click “Agree” even if you’re 15, 16, or 17 years old. But once you start making some sales, Shopify will ask you to verify who you are. You’ll need to provide your ID and SSN (Social Security Number). If you lied about your age when signing up, the jig would be up, and as a result, your account may be blocked.
In this case, we suggest two options for you.
Option 1: Have someone of legal age register a Shopify account for you
We would suggest speaking with your parents and letting them know that you want to create a dropshipping business.
That means your parents will need to sign up and manage the Shopify account until you become of age to use the account yourself. Given that your parent’s personal information and banking information will be used to register an account, any income will affect their taxes as the income would be under their name.
We know you want to ask someone who is not affected by taxes in their life. Maybe a business partner, your retired grandparent, or your older sibling who is not earning an income yet. Whoever you ask should be someone you trust, because they’ll be liable if things turn bad for you.
Option 2: Create an LLC
You still need someone over the age of 18, but the advantage of this option is it won’t affect the person’s taxes.
With an LLC (Limited Liability Company), if for whatever reason you run into serious financial trouble with your dropshipping business, your personal assets are protected, and it is just your business assets that could be taken away from you.
An LLC will actually cost you a few hundred dollars, but it's a better option as it saves the other person from taxes.
What is the best age to start dropshipping?
In our opinion, there’s no best age to start dropshipping.
The best time to start dropshipping is always today. If you’re waiting for what seems like the perfect time, you are probably never going to start.
There’s never a better time to start than right now, and one of the advantages of dropshipping is that you don’t need much to get started.
It isn’t a matter of time, but the approach you take can define your result. If you’re equipped with the right skills, knowledge, and tools, and you put in enough effort, you will succeed.
Don’t be afraid of failing. Edison said that he did not fail 1000 times in making a lightbulb; it just took 1000 steps to make a lightbulb. So, think of valuable business lessons and experiences that you’ll learn during the process. They’ll help you move forward in the long run.
Why is dropshipping ideal for teenagers
Dropshipping provides a great opportunity for teenagers to learn how business works and to make money on their own. Below are some reasons why.
- No office renting. Even running a lemonade stand requires a workplace, so occupying the yard sounds reasonable. However, if you want to start a serious business, you’ll need something more mature. Of course, it’s hard to expect your parents to rent an office. With dropshipping, all you need is a laptop or PC, and you can work from any place in the world.
- No inventory requirements. The traditional business model requires you to buy goods in advance to stock somewhere and sell them later. In this case, you have to rent a warehouse or turn your own room into a warehouse. But in dropshipping, you don’t need to maintain physical inventory.
- Smaller startup costs. You don’t need to invest capital in acquiring inventory or hiring a location to store it. You also don’t need to spend your time organizing the inventory or hiring staff to fulfil orders. That means dropshipping has a very low barrier to entry.
- Lower risk levels. In dropshipping, you can test any products without having to purchase them in advance. You have to spend money on advertising, but if people don’t buy, you just have to switch to another one. So, its risk level is much lower than other business models.
All of these things make dropshipping a good way to start a business as a teen. Now, let’s move to the most exciting part: how to start a dropshipping business as a teenager!
How to start a dropshipping business as a teen
1. Do you need a business license to dropship?
Yes you need a business licence but only when you start to make sales.
You can not have a business licence of your own as you are still a teenager. So you need your parent’s licence to do this. In my opinion you should not wait until your 1st sale and add the business license before hand so that you can enjoy your income with out any hurdles.
2. Look for profitable dropshipping products
The biggest hurdle a beginner faces is choosing the right products to sell. And that is understandable - this decision will have long-term consequences on its success or failure.
Many people choose to pick products based on their personal interests or passion. This is an acceptable strategy if being passionate about the product, as opposed to having a successful business, is your main objective.
However, if your top priority is to run a profitable dropshipping site, you will want to consider setting your personal interests aside when doing market research. Some valuable product research tools can help you quickly, such as:
- Sell the Trends
- All factor
- Commerce Inspector
- Wish inspector
You should sell products that are in immediate need for your target customers. The best way to do that is to understand the dropshipping niches you can get into and which you think are appropriate for you.
3. Define and analyze the competition
In this step, you’ll evaluate your competitors’ companies, products, services, and marketing strategies. If done correctly, competitor analysis will give you a wealth of quantitative and qualitative data to support future business decisions.
To make your analysis truly useful, it is essential to:
- Choose the right competitors to analyze
- Understand which aspects of your competitors’ companies are worth analyzing
- Know where to search for the data
- Use the insights to improve your dropshipping business
4. Find your supplier(s)
A good supplier is the foundation of your dropshipping business.
Choosing the right supplier is crucial for the dropshipping business. Develop criteria for choosing suppliers for yourself and then stick to them. For example, you must focus on which markets they sell from, and whether they provide extra services that would be beneficial.
You should also vet suppliers carefully. Review and verify their shipping time and efficiency. By directly contacting them and ordering samples, you can test product quality as well as make a decision if you want to work with them.
Below are some of the most well-known dropshipping suppliers.
In case you want to dropship coffee, Dripshipper is one of the best suppliers you can find out. Here are a few reasons why you should choose Dripshipper as your supplier.
- High-quality coffee. Their coffees are fully compliant with the US Department of Agriculture’s standards. That means every bag of coffee your customers receive is 100% free from artificial substances (e.g., pesticides and herbicides).
- Certified coffee roasters. All Dripshippers’ facilities are certified and compliant with strict regulations, such as FDA regulations.
- Freshest coffee. With the “roast then ship” policy, Dripshipper ensures that your consumers deserve the freshest beans and blends. After the roasting, they let the beans rest right before locking in the flavors just in time for pickup. Your consumers will enjoy coffee with a difference!
- Available private label program. Adding your own logo to the coffee bags? Why not? Simply upload your own brand logo, and Dripshipper will transform everything from packaging to products to make coffee look like it came from you. Learn more here.
- Easy and quick ordering. The Dripshipper app allows you to order the best coffee with little to no effort. You just need to sign up and follow some instructions. No emails, calls, or queues! After that, Dripshipper roasts, rests, and bags your coffee beans, before shipping them through UPS or USPS in 3-5 days.
Furthermore, Dripshipper offers 40+ affordable and rich coffee blend options to help you satisfy every customer’s taste. Remember that you can obtain samples via their demo store.
5. Create your brand
Branding is the process of creating your own identity, as well as applying distinctive features to your business. Through that, customers can start to associate your brand with products/services.
When creating a brand, you should pay attention to these things:
- Your target audience
- Your mission statement
- Your product features, benefits, and values
- Your visual assets
- Your brand voice
- Your marketing approach
The importance of branding can’t be overstated. With good branding, you’ll set yourself apart from your competitors and keep customers returning again and again.
Even though you will not be able to control all aspects of the customer experience, investing in creating a brand will definitely pay off.
6. Build your store
In order to run a profitable dropshipping business, you need to choose a platform to build your store. Here are some of the best platforms for dropshipping.
These platforms must ensure smooth operation and a decent profit. In addition, you also need to look for these features:
- Ease of use
- Built-in marketing tools
- Customer service
7. Start marketing & promoting
When everything has already been set up, it’s time to market & promote your store. This step can make or break your dropshipping business. It’s vital to find out your customer demographic, as well as decide which channels you should use to get traffic.
Here are some efficient ways to promote your dropshipping store:
- Boost your organic social presence
- Advertise on social platforms
- Pay attention to your on-page content (product titles, descriptions, images, blog posts, etc.), meta tags, and title tags
- Create interesting, useful content
- Try out Google Ads
- Create partnerships with other brands to cross-promote
- Consider using influencer marketing
Your target is to drive traffic to your website, then work on your store’s conversion rate, so customers either buy on spot or get nurtured through the marketing funnel. Eventually, this should lead to a sale.
8. Running your store
We all know running a dropshipping store is less hands-on than maintaining a regular online store. You don’t need to worry about inventory management or product fulfilment. However, you will still face the following challenges.
- Handing returns and refunds
- Having little control over product quality
- Low-profit margins if you don't work out your pricing smartly
- Curating your own brand
- Suppliers issues
However, you can work out all these problems if you follow a planned scheme and try to take out more time from your schedule to set up a business. Businesses take time to set up in beginning but they pay off well after you have made your name in the market.
As you can see, it’s possible to start a dropshipping business as a teenager.
However, you will need your parents/guardians to support you legally. You would also need help from a mentor as you are running a business for the first time. Even 30-year-olds that have never run a business need tips and recommendations. You can find more about Dropshipping mentors here
Go for it, the world out there is your oyster!
For further support and guidance for your journey ahead, please check out more articles from our site to help you kickstart your entrepreneurial journey.