The Negatives of Setting up a Dropshipping Business from Thailand


A lot of people talk about working from Thailand in a location independent business, and becoming a ‘Digital Nomad’. (That’s possibly the most wanky name by the way)

It does sound like an absolute dream though. Working from beautiful, sunny Thailand, laying by the pool or beach, living like a king for cheap, and sipping coconuts all day while you make money online.
It sounds pretty good, and that’s what most people focus on. I’m probably guilty of doing that too, and not sharing the other side of the coin.

It’s not all easy. It’s not all fun. There are challenges, and a lot of people don’t talk about them.
I know that a lot of people come to Chiang Mai to build a business, a lot of them being dropshipping stores. Now, I’m already making money online through other methods so I can at least afford to live here, but I am also working on setting up a dropship store.
Dropshipping has been my main focus recently, and if you’ve been following my progress on YouTube then you’ll know that it’s been a bit tough and there’s been a lot of ups and downs.
If you want to check out my dropshipping progress, take a look at my dropshipping video series by clicking HERE.

So in this post I’ll explain some of the main downfalls and challenges of setting up a dropshipping store from Thailand.

Watch the video version of this post below:

Problem 1: Time Difference

The time difference can make things difficult. I’m from Melbourne which is only 3 hours different in time from Chiang Mai Thailand, and even that makes things tough.
I’ve been getting up at 5am, and getting to the co-working space by 6am a lot of the time.
6am Chiang Mai time is 9am Melbourne time, so I like to be at the office by then to make phone calls, answer the phone, and write/receive emails.

In the start-up phase where I’m trying to secure suppliers, it’s vital that I’m available to answer the phone during business hours.
Australian companies are slow for the most part. If I want to get a reply the same day that I contact them, I normally have to send an email off first-thing in the morning.

This problem would obviously be even worse if your business is based in the United States where the time zone could be the exact opposite of Thailand.
If you’re wanting to build an American store from Thailand, you’ll be up all night and sleeping all day, which means you’ll miss out on all of the beautiful sun and laying by the beach that everyone talks about…

Problem 2: You Can’t Meet Suppliers In Person

While a lot of suppliers can be signed on over the phone, it would definitely help to be able to pay these people a visit.
In fact, just yesterday I got an invitation to meet with a potential supplier and his manufacturer in Sydney! Being a 9-hour flight away instead of just a 1 hour flight away like I normally would be makes that a little difficult for me…

There’s also a few of these suppliers within 30 minutes of my home in Melbourne. When I give them the physical address I’m always worried that they’ll want me to visit in person. In fact, when I give them my address they probably think it a little weird that I don’t take the initiative and come chat in person.

I think I’m quite good with sales, but I’m 100 x better at it in person. I much prefer it. So much of communication is more than simply verbal. Being there in person it’s a lot easier to build a stronger relationship, trust, and rapport. Particularly in Australia where e-commerce isn’t a big thing. Most of these companies supply their products to the local retail stores in their state, and actually meet these people in person.

I feel that if I could pay these people a visit I’d have locked in a lot more suppliers by now, and possibly even have been able to negotiate a better deal.

Problem 3: You Can’t Meet With An Accountant or Lawyer

If you want some professional advice from a lawyer or accountant about how to set up and structure your company, it can be a little difficult to do so from Thailand.
I know that for the US there are services such as Legal Zoom that offer online legal advice and will set up an LLC for you, but in Australia this kind of service is lacking.

Sometimes it’s nice to meet with a couple of different accountants, lawyers, or advisors until you find one that understands the business and that you can get along well with.

Problem 4: You Might Not Be So Productive…

Right now I’m in Chiang Mai, and I’m productive as ever which is great. For me, this is a great environment for work because there are so many other people here doing big things online. That’s one of the many positives of setting up a dropshipping store here.
However, for you, Thailand may be too distracting.
It really depends on your personality.
I spent the month of March on the party island of Koh Phangan. While I had an amazing time, I got barely anything done!!
It was too crazy and distracting to do any real work.
It all really comes down to you, your personality, and where abouts you visit in Thailand.

So that’s it. The other side of setting up a dropship store from the awesome country that is Thailand. There are cons, but there are also many obvious pros.
Before getting on a plane to come here, weigh up both and make the right decision for yourself.

Until next time,

Adrian Ingram

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