The likelihood that I can actually summarize every valuable thing I learned in one blog article is basically zero, but I will try to give you the best of the best here.
Side note: this business no longer operates. The long and short of it is that in 2018 my company made just over $2M in revenue selling mostly men's jackets and coats, but when you give a 26-year-old two million dollars... well, let's just say I didn't make the investments that a seasoned business owner would have.
Now, to the good stuff: What I learned building a $2M Shopify Store.
1. Slow and steady!
I built my company up to that number over the course of 6 years. It took time. And I still wish I had done it more slowly. From 2017 to 2018 we quadrupled our revenue and I was not even remotely prepared to take that on. My first year in business the company only did $10k in revenue and I was working on it full time. It takes a long time to build a business up properly. Anyone who claims you can open up shop with no audience and make $50k overnight is lying to your face. Stick with it for the long haul.
2. Let your personality out.
You will stick with your business SO MUCH longer if you let it be a form of self-expression. I only chose products that I liked, that I would wear myself. I only used photography and videography that I liked. I only used fonts and colors that I liked. When I established a voice for the brand, it was my voice. I have a tendency to be very forward with people and I curse frequently in both speaking and writing. I let all of that come through in the brand and the people that resonated with it became great, loyal customers.
3. Better branding = bigger margins.
Your profit margin is DIRECTLY proportional to your level of branding. We were able to charge 4x as much as our competition for THE SAME PRODUCTS because our branding and content was so good that our competitors looked like knock-offs. If you have premium, consistent branding, you can charge more than anyone else.
4. Customer service is everything.
In our world today there are so many different companies trying to get people to buy things. The best way to make sure your customers are happy and will come back to you for more is to respond to them quickly and concisely. Customers will drop you like a rock if you can't keep up. Added bonus of taking customer service seriously: your customers will always tell you when something about your business sucks; it's a direct line of feedback, use this information to improve your offering.
5. Create TONS of content.
Content is king. You phone is your best friend in the world of eCommerce. Take an online course for smartphone photography and start taking pictures and videos of your products in use daily. When you have the capital to do it, hire a full time photographer/videographer and get them to churn out a photo or video shoot every week to keep the content rolling. Between social media channels, your website, email campaigns, and product launches, you need a constant stream of new creative assets.
6. Know when enough is enough.
Decide what you want to get out of your business beforehand. If you just want a decent income for part time work so you can spend more time with family, stop when you have that. If your driving force is $500k in revenue, stop when you have that. If you are happiest when you simply limit your expenses and live simply on $30k/year, stop when you have that. Unless you are out to change the entire world with your wildly innovative product, stop when you're getting what you want out of the business. I'm not saying don't reach for the stars, but realize when you're already holding them. Don't work for more just to have more. I promise you it's a trap.
7. Lastly, enjoy the ride!
Ecommerce is a total joy ride! Learn to enjoy the ups and downs. Be spontaneous. None of it has to be perfect and we're all just winging it anyways. Don't fret over your daily revenue, some days it's just better than others for no reason at all. Look at the long term gains and all of the awesome thing's you're learning along the way. The journey is the best part, don't let it pass you by!
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