Online Selling Business Models: Which is Right for You?

From: How to Sell Online  with Alison J. Prince

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Online Selling Business Models: Which is Right for You?

Every day, more and more people are turning to the internet to purchase products and services. With so many opportunities to make money online, it’s no wonder that many entrepreneurs are looking to get involved in this lucrative industry.

Alexis Cassar, the founder of, is one of them—and she tried multiple online selling business models before she found the one that worked for her. Throughout this process, she learned that each model has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

There are actually a lot of different online selling business models out there, but some of the most popular are dropshipping, multi-level marketing (MLM) and a retail store. These happen to be the three that Alexis tried. So let's talk about each of them. 


Dropshipping is one of the most popular online selling business models. In this model, you partner with a dropshipping supplier to list and sell their products in your ecommerce store. Then, when a customer orders a product, the dropshipping supplier will ship the product directly to the customer, and you will keep the profits. It seems incredible, right? You don't have to have any inventory, and you can start selling pretty quickly. 

But there’s a BIG downside—and it’s one that meant a lot to Alexis: you have no control over the quality of your products. Even if you order a sample of the product before you list it on your site, you don’t know whether or not it’s the same item that your customer receives. 

Plus, you don't have control over the fulfillment process—the product that's shipped out could arrive damaged, or in packaging with foreign labeling. And as Alexis found out quickly, if the dropshipped products are broken or damaged, the seller (not the shipper) has to deal with unhappy customers. 

Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

Multi-level marketing is another popular online selling business model. When you think of an MLM, you might remember going to parties (aka feeling obligated to go to parties) at the homes of friends or family—and feeling pressured to buy lipstick, cooking tools, or essential oils. Today those parties have moved from living rooms to live social media streams and websites, thanks partly to the 2020 pandemic.  

The model is relatively simple: you sign up with a company to sell their products. You earn a commission from your product sales—but a lot of your income actually comes from the sales your team (called a downline) makes. But that “passive” income is a big downside for a lot of people—including Alexis—because it requires constant recruiting to build a profitable downline. Plus, you only sell what the MLM company offers. You don't get to choose the products you sell to your customers.

Retail Store/E-commerce

E-commerce, or having an online retail store, is another popular online selling business model—and the one that Alexis has found incredible success. (She shipped over 14,000 packages between 2020 and 2022!!!!! That’s a heck of a lot of products, right?!) 

This business model allows you to create and manage your own e-commerce store. You choose, list, and sell the products yourself. You're responsible for all aspects of the business, including inventory, shipping, and customer service.

And why does Alexis prefer this business model? As you’ll hear her talk about in this episode of the How to Sell Online podcast, it allows her to have control over her business AND over her relationships with her customers. How great is that? 

Alexis shared so much great information about how she’s achieved such remarkable success during our conversation—including why she chose the online business model she did. But we also talked about why it might be time for her to make some minor adjustments in her business that will allow for future growth. This is definitely an interview you won’t want to miss. 

Here are just 10 of my takeaways from my time with Alexis:

  1. Drop shipping has its drawbacks.
  2. You don’t have to know everything to get started.
  3. Find your niche and your vibe—and create your store around that.
  4. Paid advertising isn’t necessary to have a super successful online store. 
  5. Deal sites are a fantastic way to get started; just understand the different benefits and downsides each of them offers. 
  6. Make building your email list a priority.
  7. To find more customers, consider collaborating with others, including with brick-and-mortar businesses.
  8. Influencers aren’t only on Instagram.
  9. It's time to hire when a task no longer fills your bucket.
  10. An online business does require work, but it is so rewarding.
Additional Resources

About Alexis Cassar:

Alexis is a native Michigander who started her ecommerce business when she was around 26 years of age. She attempted dropshipping from China for about 2 years until purchasing the 0-$100K System. In her first year in the 0-$100K System, she sold just over $68,000 in sales, and the next year nearly doubled that amount.

Shop with Alexis:

Save 10% when you enter JP at checkout (limited time offer)

Follow Alexis on Social Media:

Facebook: @DaisyDunesStore

Instagram: @DaisyDunesStore

TikTok: @DaisyDunesStore

Listen to Wendy Kesl's interview mentioned in this episode:  Click here.

Listen to Bryan Bowman's interview mentioned in this episode: Click here.

Connect with Alison

Facebook: @alisonjprince

Instagram: @alisonjprince

Listen to more podcast episodes: How to Sell Online


Click here to learn about the 0-100K System and how you can launch and grow your own online business.

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