One of the things I’m doing is starting a dropshipping business. For the last two weeks I’ve been writing “make an online store” in my schedule but nothing ever happened. So last night I wrote out an “instructions manual” for starting a dropshipping store with 7 steps. The goal is to be up and running in 7 days.
The problem with first starting with dropshipping is that you don’t know whether your store idea and products will work. And by work I mean whether people will buy it or not. In place of experience, you substitute yourself: would you buy this product? Would you fall for this marketing?
But I found a solution a few days ago in disguise. On twitter, there was a thread about how you make money as an absolute beginner. The TL;DR is that you make a shopify store and then sell it on “exchangemarketplace.com” for $50 each, making 1 store a day. Eventually, you’ll make money and you’ll have requests for custom stores. I was incredulous, so I checked out the marketplace and saw my competition: shrimps. You could tell that they were just putting together random products, and the copy turned you off immediately.
But I also noticed other stores on there! They would sell anywhere from $10,000 to $200,000, they would show their revenue, visits, and profit per month. Now the crazy freaking thing is that some stores would even link to their websites! This is a big no-no in dropshipping because if someone knows what you sell, they can just copy your products and improve your store, roughly speaking.
And that’s what I decided I’d do. I decided to copy a successful store I found online on the marketplace. Competition doesn’t mean more difficulty, competition means store validation. If they can succeed selling what they do, then so can I! And if I am failing to sell, that means that it’s not the product, it’s me! Luckily, I can change me much more easily than I can find a winning product, so I’ve bypassed the first hurdle. When (if!) I start my next store, I’ll know how to run everything else, so I don’t see it as not worthwhile.
In other news, there’s an idea going around that freedom of speech also means shutting up so that other people get the chance to speak. This is related to the idea of positive freedoms, which is that even if you remove obstacles from two candidates, the two candidates may be “free” but they aren’t actually free if they start off from different positions.
Same goes for free speech, according to this idea apparently: in order for others to speak, you need to stay quiet for some time. But this is wrong on two accounts: firstly, nobody owes you even a scintilla of their attention, and secondly, speech is not a zero sum game. You could point out that white Canadians sell more books than Indigenous Canadians, that this reduces the exposure and free speech of Indigenous Canadians, and that therefore white Canadians should stop publishing.
But even if the white Canadians agreed to stop publishing, I’d bet that people would still read Indigenous authors at the same rate as before. That’s because the opportunity cost for reading white Canadian literature is not necessarily Indigenous literature. Perhaps it’s YouTube. And then YouTube should be shut down too, and so on and so forth, ad infinitum until all you end up with is some very disgruntled, narcissistic authors who demand attention rather than earning it.
Just want to quickly point out that I have no idea whether “white” Canadians sell more books than Indigenous Canadians, and that I do not mean to accuse authors, by the basis of race, of being disgruntled and narcissistic.
The point that I’m making is that if you want people to read what you’ve written, or if you want people to listen to what you’re saying, then you need to write and say a message which the people want to hear. If you don’t, then they won’t listen, irrespective of whoever your competition is.
The second point, that free speech is not a zero sum game, is more debatable. If you’re at a dinner party and all of your relatives speak 50x louder than you do and they always talk over you, then yeah, it is a zero sum game. But the internet 100% is NOT a zero sum game like that. So this fails too.
If you are trying to get someone to shut up, then may I suggest telling them that they ought to listen more to things other than the sound of their own voice, or echo chamber. Make sure to do so in a respectful way too: you don’t want to lose the first person you’ve just won over to listen to you.