UPDATED for Drop Ship Lifestyle version 4.0!
This Drop Ship Lifestyle review has been updated since the release of version 4.0 of the course. Just bear in mind that many other reviews out there are now outdated as the course has changed quite significantly.
With that in mind, here we go:
If you’ve come across the Drop Ship Lifestyle online training course by Anton Kraly, you’re probably wondering how it stacks up. The premise of learning how to build a “real” business that can be run from anywhere in the world with very little startup costs, is a tasty proposition.
So, how good is it? Is the business model legit and is this course a good resource for learning how to launch your own online store of this nature?
Why Listen to Me?
First up, just a little background on why I think I’m in quite a good position to make a thorough Drop Ship Lifestyle review.
I’d actually been involved in ecommerce for a few years prior to signing up to Anton’s course. I’m by no means an expert, nor am I a millionaire, but I’ve got a couple of successes under my belt (and a few less so) and most importantly, I’ve learned a lot. I bring this up because I feel like I can compare Anton’s method to other training that I have been through and can offer some actual useful insights and potential shortcomings of the course, based on my experience.
Don’t you hate it when you read a generic review from someone that has clearly not even gone through the course, yet will tell you how amazing it is in almost sales-pitch fashion and that you should just buy, buy, buy it!
That’s not one of those reviews. I want to actually offer some useful insights if you’re thinking about investing in this course, as I appreciate the cost is significant. And I feel I have some interesting insights that I’ve not seen mentioned elsewhere that will help you decide whether or not Drop Ship Lifestyle is for you.
What is Drop Ship Lifestyle?
DSL is a step-by-step, 7 module course teaching you how to go from nothing, all the way to having a successfully operating, profitable niche online store. The program is delivered in digital format (i.e. you view everything online) and I would describe it as a video course with supplemental text, rather than the other way round.
Along with the “core” program, you also get access to a private members forum, a Shopify web design course, a comprehensive Adwords PPC course, and an invitation to future live, 4-day DSL retreats. The Drop Ship Lifestyle Retreat is an annual event (held in Southeast Asia so far) that typically includes expert talks, co-working, networking opportunities and “lifestyle” activities in the afternoon and evenings. Only DSL members can attend this event.
What is Drop Shipping?
If you’re not familiar with the drop shipping business model, I’ll explain. First off, you’ll be selling “real”, physical products as opposed to digital products, software etc. You’ll be building an ecommerce store like Amazon (only much smaller) rather than a static site or a blog etc.
The term drop shipping simply describes the order fulfilment process. Rather than buying in bulk, physically stocking the products and sending them out to customers yourself, as a drop shipper you work directly with a manufacturer or wholesaler who delivers the products to your customers on your behalf.
You receive sales on your website at retail cost, then forward the order to your supplier who delivers the item direct to your customer. The difference between the retail cost that your customer pays and the wholesale cost that you pay your supplier is your profit. Simple.
As mentioned, drop shipping avoids you having to order large quantities of stock upfront, keeping it in storage and sending it out to customers yourself. There’s no need to physically handle items in any way and avoids all the headaches of that side of ecommerce.
My Drop Ship Lifestyle Review
Now you know what you get and what Drop Ship Lifestyle is all about, let’s get to the nitty-gritty. Is this course any good?
What I Like About It
The Method Works: Most importantly, the method taught in this course works. I myself have built businesses of this nature and there are countless success stories from DSL students that I’m sure you’ve seen. The course does a good job of showing you the process required for starting a drop ship business: deciding on a niche, finding suppliers, building your website, getting traffic then optimizing and automating your store. It’s a logical process when you think about it and this course does a great job of showing you how to go about each step.
I cringe when I see people on forums say “You don’t need a course to learn this stuff; it’s all available for free online”. Well, certain information might be, but there’s a lot to be said about following a step-by-step course of some kind. Even if the information is out there on blogs and forums, good luck trying to piece it all together and sift through bad and outdated advice. Literally every time I see someone make that above statement, I also witness people asking numerous questions that a course like Drop Ship Lifestyle can answer in minutes, and see replies from inexperienced people that in many cases give straight up bad advice. The cost of avoiding all that noise and misinformation by following a good course? Priceless.
Video Tutorials: I like the fact that Drop Ship Lifestyle is video based, so very visual. Anton literally has a video for each module where he does slideshow presentations and a screen recording of him going through the process of what he’s telling you to do himself. It’s always easier when you actually watch someone do something, rather than having them simply describe the process to you. This helps a lot.
Private Members Forum: Aside from the core training modules, a key resource in DSL is the private members forum. This is incredibly valuable. You will no doubt have questions and run into roadblocks on your path to building a drop ship business, but with access to a forum like this, there are always members that can offer help and advice. Many people also like to create “progress threads” which they keep updated with the progress they’re making on their store as well as what they need to do. This can be a great way to keep you accountable and get involved with the community.
I always prefer forums like this that are private for course members only as you know that everyone inside has the same goals as you and are following the same methods. As opposed to public forums where you can receive all sorts of contradicting opinions and straight up bad advice.
Access to Live Events: This is pretty awesome. As part of your membership of Drop Ship Lifestyle, you can attend the annual “DLS Retreat”. So far this live event has been held in Chiang Mai and Krabi, Thailand, both STUNNING parts of the world that really showcase the “lifestyle” aspect of Drop Ship Lifestyle and the sort of locations you can visit when you own a location independent business.
The retreat typically includes expert presentations, co-working, one on one help and other “business” focused activities during the first half of each day, with the latter part of the day giving way to fun activities, sight seeing, meals together and general socializing and networking.
While this may not appeal to everyone, if it’s the sort of thing you would like to attend, it’s a huge perk to being a member of DSL. You could even use it as motivation to have your own drop ship store earning enough money to pay for your trip out to the event. That’s absolutely, 100% doable.
Good Shopping Cart Choice: Another thing I like about Anton’s approach to building an ecommerce store is his choice of shopping cart: Shopify. This is quite significant as much of the course material on building out your store is specific to this shopping cart platform.
Shopify is a 3rd party hosted shopping cart software that, for $29 a month, includes everything you need get started.
I’ve used several shopping cart platforms over the years and, while it isn’t perfect, I do lean towards Shopify, at least for those just starting out. It’s very easy to get to grips with and build a beautiful, functional store. (And it’s the clear winner in Shopify vs Bigcommerce.)
You may have heard of WordPress and the Woocommerce ecommerce plugin, and wondered if that was a better solution since it’s free, but I would be much more in favor of a service like Shopify. By the time you add in modules for accepting payments in Woocommerce (an added cost) and purchase a half decent theme, it’s far from free. I’m not against Woocommerce, but I think for someone just starting out, Shopify is a better option.
“Shopify Payments”, Shopify’s own payment processor, makes it very quick and easy to start accepting credit cards on your store.
There are certainly pros and cons to the various shopping cart providers but for someone starting out on their first store, Shopify is perfect. With DSL, various parts of the course will reference Shopify, everyone in the forum will be using it so it’s easy to get help and there’s even a Shopify web design course included with the program.
Comprehensive Adwords Training Course: New to DSL since I first wrote this review, is the addition of a very extensive training course about Google Adwords PPC and Google Shopping, by Michael Erickson of SearchScientists.com. This is a HUGE addition!
Michael was a presenter at the 2015 DSL retreat, giving an awesome presentation on Google Shopping campaign optimization (a recording of which is available inside DSL) and he clearly knows his stuff.
The addition of this training is VERY valuable and a fantastic enhancement of DSL. It’s fair to say you will know more about PPC advertising on Google that 99% of people (and your competitors) after going through this material!
Other New Additions in DSL 4.0: The latest version of the course has seen quite a few other additions and enhancements too.
First of all, the course now has a much better structure and is presented on a better platform. Each module is broken up into separate step-by-step sections, which you can mark as completed as you make your way through the course.
Each section of the course also now has the ability for users to add comments. If you need clarification or want to ask a question about a particular section, you can leave a comment inside that part of the course. People are taking advantage of this and Anton is proactive in answering these comments, allowing you to benefit from other member’s questions.
There’s also now a “Drop Ship Labs” section which includes checklists, standard operating procedures (SOP’s) and scripts for contacting suppliers, a DSL Shopify App designed to automate parts of the process (I haven’t used this) and also a customizable Shopify theme which is pretty cool.
What I Don’t Like About Drop Ship Lifestyle
Niche Selection Criteria: Honestly, I thought this part of the course could be better. Niche selection i.e. deciding what you’re going to sell, is without a doubt the most important part of the process in my opinion and what largely dictates the potential of your store.
Now look, the criteria Anton does give is good and is clearly what has worked for him, I just think it could be better. I came up with several niche ideas that met Anton’s niche selection criteria that, in my experienced opinion, would still have poor success due to other reasons.
To his credit, as part of the course, he does offer Niche Selection Verification whereby he will “validate your idea before you get started”. My advice: take advantage of this and get his professional opinion before proceeding further! You need to get this part right.
No SEO Strategy: This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as you don’t have to learn or practice SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to make money with drop ship stores but if you were expecting advice on this, you won’t get it here. Anton simply gives the traffic generation methods that work for him, and apparently SEO isn’t one of them.
No Comprehensive Guides: I would have liked him to go into more detail in certain parts of the course, with clearer instructions…
DSL 4.0 appears to have addressed this issue. Instructions throughout the course are a lot more comprehensive than they were and, in the case of the PPC course, very much so!
Long, Continuous Videos: Finally, as much as I like the videos and visual aspect of learning, I do think it would be better if the videos were separated into each individual topic, for easy reference. For each core module in DSL, Anton tends to have a single video that covers all aspects of that module. A minor inconvenience, but nevertheless noticeable.
This has also been addressed in version 4.0. Each module within the course is broken down further into step-by-step sections with separate videos and instructions for each. This makes for a much better way to go through the course in my opinion, and makes it easier to find specific parts of the course that you want to go back to.
Maybe Anton read my original review? 😉
Alternatives to Drop Ship Lifestyle
You may have come across other drop ship training courses and wondered how DSL fairs in comparison. I obviously haven’t tried every program under the Sun but I can offer a few insights.
First off, if you’ve encountered products by the name of DS Domination or Elite Dropshippers or have experience with them, be aware that Drop Ship Lifestyle is completely different. These particular products may have tainted your opinion on drop shipping when in fact they are not legitimate courses at all. They involve you purchasing products off Amazon at retail price and selling them on outlets such as eBay for a higher price. It’s drop shipping in terms of the order fulfillment process (i.e. having products shipped direct to your customers) but doing it this way is not a sustainable business model, and I’m pretty sure it even breaches Amazon’s terms and conditions.
If you refer to my definition of drop shipping above, you’ll see I explained that you work with a manufacturer or dealer directly who supply to you at wholesale cost. If you do this the right way, you become an authorized retailer of your chosen products; you’re not paying retail price at sites like Amazon.
The closest course to DSL in terms of the business model and what it teaches would probably be Store Coach.
Store Coach vs. Dropship Lifestyle
Store Coach and Drop Ship Lifestyle have similarities but are also very different in key areas. You can read my full Store Coach review.
They’re similar in terms of the step-by-step process they each follow (they even both have 7 modules) and they obviously both have the same end goal in mind: niche specific, drop ship stores.
Other than that, they’re actually quite different. Here I’ll give an overview of the main differences between these two courses.
Presentation: Both courses incorporate text and video but for the sake of simplicity, I would say Drop Ship Lifestyle is video based with supplemental text whereas Store Coach is predominantly text based with supplemental videos. I think that’s fair.
Shopping Cart Platforms: Each course recommends a different hosted shopping cart provider and tailors much of their content to that specific software. Drop Ship Lifestyle uses Shopify; Store Coach uses BigCommerce.
Shopify and BigCommerce are also very similar with a few key differences. I have experience with both of them and, as I said above, I lean more towards Shopify in preference, especially for beginners.
Niche Selection Process: This is where the first key difference between the courses lies. There is some overlap in the niche selection criteria of each course but some factors are vastly different. Store Coach puts a lot of weight into search volumes of keywords on search engines and SEO competition i.e. keyword research, whereas Drop Ship Lifestyle doesn’t use this as criteria for choosing a niche at all.
Attention to SEO: Following on from the above point, a key difference between the courses is in the promotion of your store. After basing much of their niche selection process on SEO analysis, Store Coach then has a huge section devoted to promoting your store though SEO. On the contrary, as discussed above, Drop Ship Lifestyle has minimal SEO advice and instead focuses more heavily on paid traffic.
These are actually pretty big differences between each course and play quite a big role in how you’ll be building out and promoting your store.
Both courses are good but you’ll have to decide what appeals to you more.
With the release of Drop Ship Lifestyle 4.0, I’m inclined to lean more in favor of DSL. I think you’ll find it easier and faster to get setup and see results quicker.
SEO can always be implemented at a later stage.
So, Would I Recommend the Anton Method?
Yes, I think Drop Ship Lifestyle is a great course for beginners new to online business.
Most importantly, the training is legit and you get the necessary support to succeed. Follow the advice and you will build an online store.
I’d say Drop Ship Lifestyle is ideal if you’re brand new to building websites (or at least e-commerce sites).
If you’re averse to learning SEO, have had bad experiences with it in the past or simply don’t want to spend time on it as a traffic generation method, DSL will definitely be suited to you.
If you’re very much a visual learner that prefers video presentations and walk-throughs to text-based instructions, DSL is for you.
If the idea of attending a live “retreat” in Southeast Asia and the getting the chance to meet fellow course members in person appeals to you, get Drop Ship Lifestyle!
Hopefully this review of Drop Ship Lifestyle has given you a good idea of what to expect from this course as well as offered a few insights that other reviews don’t touch on.
Anton Kraly is a smart guy so you’re certainly in good hands. The real value in a course like this, aside from the clear step-by-step process, is undoubtedly the support you can receive both direct from Anton and in the private forums from other members. I would highly encourage you to take advantage of these things – do not be afraid to ask questions!
If you can stay committed to following the process but also have initiative and are prepared to learn a lot, Drop Ship Lifestyle will prove to be an excellent resource for building a profitable, location-independent “real” online business.
Everything is there for you; it’s up to you to make it happen.
I hope this helps! I’m sure I’ve missed some things out to feel free to ask questions below regarding this course or the business model in general, and I’ll be happy to help…