Great story about how sellers without inventory turned to dropshipping. We looked into that too but decided we didn't want other companies to have that much control over our business so turned to consignment selling. Using multiple dropshippers (as you learned) is the only way to take control back.
I am surprised to read the you used freecycle to source items because here in the states, they would crucify you if they find anyone selling the items given away for free.
Wish you the Best of Luck in these challenging times of selling on eBay.