Is day trading or dropshipping better?

In online business, two popular methods stand out: day trading and dropshipping. Both have pros and cons, and ultimately, the choice between them depends on an individual’s goals, skills, and risk tolerance.

Day trading involves buying and selling financial instruments within a single trading day to make quick profits from changes in the market.

It can potentially offer lucrative returns but carries significant risks, requiring a solid understanding of financial markets, strong discipline, and advanced trading strategies.

On the other hand, dropshipping is a retail business model where the seller does not hold inventory but rather forwards customer orders to a supplier, who then fulfills and ships the products. This approach carries less risk than day trading but still presents challenges, such as finding reliable suppliers and facing competition from other sellers.

By analyzing various aspects of day trading and dropshipping, this article will delve into the benefits and drawbacks of each, allowing you to make an educated decision based on your preferences and circumstances.

Day Trading Vs. Dropshipping

Pros and Cons of Day Trading

Day trading involves buying and selling financial instruments, such as stocks, forex, or futures, within the same trading day. This short-term trading strategy can yield significant profits but carries risks.


    • Potential for high returns: Day traders can capitalize on market volatility, potentially earning substantial profits quickly.
    • Flexibility: Day trading can be done full-time or part-time, providing flexibility in time commitment.
    • Access to various markets: Day traders can participate in multiple markets, including stocks, forex, and futures, allowing diversified investments.


    • High risk: Day trading is risky, as market fluctuations can lead to substantial losses.
    • Required capital: To be a successful day trader, a significant amount of money is necessary to execute trades and absorb potential losses.
    • Steep learning curve: To be successful, day traders need to develop analytical skills and a deep understanding of trading strategies, which takes time and experience.

Pros and Cons of Dropshipping

Dropshipping is an e-commerce business model in which a retailer sells products without holding inventory. The manufacturer or wholesaler is responsible for shipping the products directly to the customer.


    • Low startup costs: Dropshipping does not require holding inventory or managing shipping, which can significantly reduce startup costs.
    • Scalability: As the retailer does not need to manage inventory, the dropshipping model allows for easier business expansion.
    • Access to a wide range of products: Retailers can offer various items without investing in large quantities of stock.


    • Limited control over fulfillment: Since the retailer does not manage inventory, they have less control over shipping and order fulfillment.
    • Lower profit margins: As the retailer does not hold inventory, they must rely on the manufacturer or wholesaler’s profit margins, which can be lower than those obtained through traditional retail models.
    • Increased competition: The low barrier to entry for dropshipping means higher competition, making it essential for retailers to differentiate themselves and build a strong customer base.

Risk Management

When comparing day trading and dropshipping, understanding risk management is crucial.

Both business models come with certain levels of risk, and a proper risk management strategy can help maximize profits and minimize losses. Let’s examine how risk management differs between day trading and dropshipping.

The potential for high risk arises in day trading as traders handle fluctuating financial markets. Efficient risk management involves setting stop-loss orders to cut losses and utilizing proper position sizing to manage risk exposure. Leverage, or borrowed money, is a common strategy in day trading that amplifies profits (and, unfortunately, also losses). While leveraging can increase earning potential, it can also lead to significant losses if not managed carefully.

Dropshipping, on the other hand, carries a different set of risks. One of the main risks in dropshipping is inventory management since the seller often does not have direct control over their supplier’s inventory. Maintaining a reliable relationship with trustworthy suppliers is crucial to minimize this risk. Dropshipping also includes risks like changing customer preferences, increased competition, and unforeseen issues with shipping and fulfillment.

Risk management in both day trading and dropshipping can be summarized as follows:

Day Trading

    • High risk due to market fluctuations
    • Utilizes stop-loss orders and position sizing
    • Leverage amplifies both profits and losses


    • Risks include inventory management, customer preferences, and shipping issues.
    • Relies on solid relationships with suppliers
    • Leverage is not a significant factor

Skills and Experience

When deciding between day trading and dropshipping, it’s essential to consider the skills and experience required for each venture.

Both options demand unique skills, and understanding these requirements can help you make an informed decision.

In day trading, experience plays a significant role in success.

Traders must develop a strong foundation in technical analysis, as it’s crucial for predicting market trends and making informed decisions. They must be proficient in charting, utilizing various chart types, indicators, and tools to analyze market data effectively.

Discipline is paramount in day trading.

Traders must remain calm under pressure and adhere to predefined trading strategies and risk management rules, even in fluctuating market conditions. Some essential day trader skills include:

    • Technical analysis proficiency
    • Charting expertise
    • Risk management abilities
    • Strong discipline and self-control

For dropshipping, the skillset differs from that of day trading.

While technical analysis and charting aren’t as crucial, experience in e-commerce, marketing, and customer service is vital. Dropshippers must understand how to build and maintain an attractive online store, promote their products, and provide excellent customer support. Key skills for dropshippers include:

    • E-commerce and website management
    • Digital marketing strategies
    • Product research and selection
    • Customer service and communication

It’s also worth mentioning that both day trading and dropshipping involve a learning curve, which means beginners should be patient and willing to learn from their mistakes.

Costs and Fees

When comparing day trading and dropshipping, you must consider the costs and fees associated with each business model. Both options require initial investments and ongoing expenses vary depending on the strategies and resources needed.

Day Trading Costs

The costs of day trading include:

    • Brokerage fees can range from a fixed fee to a percentage of the transaction value, depending on the broker.
    • Funds: A considerable amount of capital is necessary to start day trading (some brokers require as much as $25,000), as traders often need a margin account with minimum deposits.
    • Resources: To succeed in day trading, individuals need access to real-time market data, user-friendly trading platforms, and advanced charting software, which usually entails subscription fees.
    • Taxes: Day traders may be subject to income tax and capital gains tax, depending on their jurisdiction and individual circumstances.

Dropshipping Costs

The costs of dropshipping consist of the following:

    • Platform fees: Store owners often use platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce to create online stores. These platforms have monthly fees and transaction fees for payment gateways.
    • Investing in a domain: A custom domain name helps with branding and is a one-time purchase and an annual renewal cost.
    • Marketing and advertising: Running ads on platforms like Facebook, Google, or Instagram is essential for driving traffic and attracting customers. According to Forbes, the average cost-per-click on Facebook is $0.97.
    • Apps and tools: Dropshippers may use paid apps or tools for product research and store management, which involve subscription costs.

While day trading tends to demand more upfront capital, dropshipping can be started with less than $100, as mentioned by Oberlo.

Potential Profits

Potential profits play a significant role in the decision-making process when considering whether to pursue day trading or dropshipping.

Each of these entrepreneurial ventures offers distinct opportunities for generating income.

In day trading, profits primarily come from short-term price movements in the market. With the right strategies and risk management techniques, day traders can achieve high returns on their capital. However, it is essential to note that day trading entails a high level of risk and can also lead to substantial financial losses.

  • Performance-based income: Traders profit from the difference between opening and closing positions on various financial instruments such as stocks, currencies, or commodities.
  • Arbitrage opportunities: Some traders exploit price differences across multiple markets to profit from arbitrage. This can be challenging, as it requires advanced market knowledge and the ability to act quickly.
  • Leveraging equity: Day traders can leverage their capital using various financial instruments to maximize potential profits. However, leveraging also magnifies losses, highlighting the importance of risk management.

Profits from dropshipping come primarily from the markup on products sold, where the difference between wholesale and retail prices determines the dropshipping profit margin.

  • Gross profit margin: The average dropshipping profit is typically 15% to 20%. This margin can vary depending on the product’s manufacturing costs, competition, and market demand.
  • Customization opportunities: Properly marketed and managed personalized products can yield higher profits. Unique items often command premium prices, leading to higher profit margins.
  • Passive income potential: Once a dropshipping store is established, it has the potential to generate passive income with minimal ongoing effort. This allows entrepreneurs more flexibility and freedom compared to the active involvement required in day trading.

Available Platforms and Tools

Day trading and dropshipping have different platforms and tools available for individuals. This section will explore some of the options available for both activities.

Day Trading Platforms

Some popular day trading platforms include:

    • TradingView (which I use): Great charting, ability to build complex strategies and automatically trade them by connecting to your brokerage.

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    • Robinhood: Known for its commission-free trading and user-friendly mobile app, Robinhood has attracted the attention of many retail investors, especially beginners.
    • TD Ameritrade (which I use): The TD Ameritrade Think or Swim platform offers advanced charting, research, and trading tools suitable for more experienced traders. Note that Schwab has purchased TD Ameritrade, but Schwab continues investing in the Think or Swim trading platform.
    • Interactive Brokers (which I use): Catering to professional traders, Interactive Brokers offers advanced features, low commissions, and a robust trading platform.

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Dropshipping Platforms and Tools

Dropshipping involves selling products without holding inventory instead of fulfilling orders through a third-party supplier. Key platforms for dropshipping include:

    • Shopify: A popular e-commerce platform, Shopify allows users to build an online store, track inventory, and manage orders in one place. I currently use Shopify for two e-commerce stores; it is a fantastic platform.
    • WooCommerce: Woocommerce is an e-commerce plugin for WordPress and is an excellent option for an e-commerce store. I also use this for some of my online e-commerce stores.
    • AliExpress: A popular source for dropshipping products, AliExpress offers a vast selection of products from many suppliers. To simplify fulfillment, you can connect AliExpress to your WooCommerce and Shopify stores.

Is Day Trading or Dropshipping Better? Final Thoughts

Is day trading or dropshipping better?

Day trading and Dropshipping on opposite ends of the Lever Ranking spectrum.

Day trading is often associated with high-stress levels due to the short-term nature of the transactions and the need to monitor the market constantly. This constant need to monitor the market (or work) is the opposite goal of Levered income, which is leveraging tools and business models to create residual income.

Consequently, day trading has a very low Lever Rank.

Day Trading

Day trading is buying and selling a security within a single trading day.

You can make a lot of money trading the financial markets, BUT it is a full-time job. Your work is not leveraged, and there is no compounding effect.

  • Potential to Make a lot of Money
  • Leverage (Magnifies Gains)
  • Many Resources Available
  • Easy Access to Markets
  • Online Business
  • Potential to Lose a Lot of Money
  • Leverage (Magnifies Losses)
  • High Risk
  • High Failure Rate
  • Very High Learning Curve
  • Lack of Transparency in Some Markets
  • No Compounding Effect
  • Essentially a Profession
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Dropshipping requires a significant initial time investment to set up the online store, source products, and build a customer base. Once established, the business may not demand continuous attention throughout the day (which is the goal of Levered Income).

Dropshipping has a much higher Lever Rank than Day Trading.

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  • Online Business
  • Unlimited Residual Income Potential
  • Inexpensive to Start
  • Inexpensive to Operate
  • Plenty of Tools to Leverage Work Units
  • Intense Initial Effort
  • Learning Curve
  • Time to Earning Ramp
  • Customer Service
  • Shipping
  • Returns
  • Manufacturers
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