The idea to write this post came to my mind when I spent 6 months of studying Shopify and Facebook Ads. I was going to earn the same amount of money like other guys bragging on Facebook.
During this period of time I found every Shopify expert, eCom course and watched over 200 hours of Youtube video, so I can say "I know them all", but it is still not enough...
You can ask me "Have you been sleeping during four months?", and I will answer "Yes, I am, but it cost me". Below I will cover every piece of Shopify platform and share for FREE every trick I learned on the way to becoming the next Shopify millionaire.
- What is Shopify?
- Before you start
- Facebook groups you should join
- Shopify experts you should follow on Facebook
- YouTube channels you should subscribe to
- Underworld of Shopify Courses
- Unreliable Ben Malol and downfalls of his course
- How to save on your first Shopify store
- Why it is hard to get sales to the next level?
- Tips and tricks
- How much did it cost me?
What is Shopify?
Shopify as we know it today was founded in Ottawa by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake in 2006. They launched the cart system in 2007. In 2010 company raised a Series A round of financing worth $7 million, and in 2011 - $15 million.
In 2012, Shopify was a finalist for Startup of the Year in the Canadian Startup Awards. And in December of 2013, Shopify raised a massive $100 million Series C round. This is where the massive grow started and everyone started launching their stores. By the way, company already had 80,000 customers who combined more than $1.6 billion in sales.
In 2015 it had 140,000 Shopify stores and $3.7 billion in sales. In 2016 number of stores raised to 275,000.
There are three models mostly used to make money on Shopify:
- Own Brand
Dropshipping is the easiest way as you use suppliers products and just need to advertise them to the right audience. When you got a sale supplier just send the item to your client and you just need to take care about communication. Of cause, there is much more but in short words this is it.
This is where the most rookies start and invest money in the beginning. On my opinion, this is not the best way to go.
The most popular suppliers are:
This is a simple printing of your designs on clothing, especially t-shirts and hoodies. This is a very good model as you are selling exclusive products, but you need to invest in design research and development.
The advantage of this model that you just upload your designs to the fulfillment website and they print and send orders for you (some partners send even with your company label on a package).
Disadvantages are that you have to hire a designer, test a lot of niches and invest at least $15 for one design.
The most popular fulfillment Shopify partners:
This is the best what you can do on Shopify. When you have stable sales and loyal customers it's a good time to start your own brand. This step requires a lot of investments but in this model the only sky is the limit.
Examples of the best Shopify sites:
Before you start
Before you jump on this plane and start following the latest online marketing trend named Shopify you have to do the next:
- Don't register on Shopify yet
- Don't open a Business Account on Facebook yet
- Don't register a domain name yet
- Don't buy a Shopify course (NEVER!)
Instead follow the next steps:
- Go to Youtube and watch Shopify videos
- Join Facebook groups and read posts and comments
- Ask every stupid question you have on this Facebook groups
- Open a Notepad and write every tip which you think will be useful
- Think about a niche you want to build your store around
The reasonable question is "How can I find useful videos and right Facebook groups, there are so many out there?". Don't worry I have been at your place and made a lot of research, watched every possible video and joined every possible group.
Below I will tell you Youtube channels you should subscribe to, video links to watch, Facebook groups to join and Shopify experts you should follow. After that, you just need to open your mind and start to sponge up the information.
Facebook groups you should join
This group runs by William Stark, a bearded guy who likes to tell his bedtime stories. I like William as he shares a lot of tips for free and you can ask him any question. The community is very responsive and doesn't share crap. This is the group for more advanced people but you will learn a lot.
Closed group runs by Justin Cener, a serial entrepreneur from Los Angeles, who mostly focus on print-on-demand products and offers his own courses.
Closed group runs by the most famous Shopify guru Travis Petelle.
Public group runs by Dan Da Silva, a 21-year old guy who made over $1,000,000 on Shopify and now promoting his Academy. This group has a very strong community as Dan is one of the most famous Shopify coaches but about that a little bit later.
The most popular group with almost 20,000 members. You can ask any question and members will help you.
The closed group runs by Murray Edwards, a guy from Australia. I haven't seen him active on Facebook but recommend to join his group.
Public group for everyone but there is not so much value. Anyway you have to join as from time to time there is something interesting to read.
Closed group runs by Frank Hatchett from New Zealand. He is mostly active on YouTube and sharing very interesting tips not only on Shopify.
Closed group runs by Ben Malol and focused on Facebook ads. Lately it is mostly used for Ben to promote his courses.
Closed group of Thomas Bartke and John Hutchison, other Shopify gurus out there.
Shopify experts you should follow on Facebook
Also I recommend you to follow Peter Chan Jr., a student of Justin Cener, who made thousands on t-shirts. He is doing live videos from time to time answering the most interesting and helpful questions. He runs Tee Marketing Academy but I don't think it is active as he is a very busy with scaling his business.
The guy behind SmartMarketer.com making millions of dollars every year on Shopify and helping business to scale.
The most famous Shopify guy so far and a very active marketer driving BMW i8.
One of the most known Shopify gurus from Florida, made millions in farmers niche and runs his own blog.
Entrepreneur and a coach running 7-figure Ecommerce Business and blog.
A bearded guy from Florida liking to share his bedtime stories on Shopify and ecommerce.
The guy behind Tecademics sharing some tips from time to time, but be careful as he is pitching his courses all the way, but a little bit later about that.
Marketer from Vancouver promoting his own JM courses but sharing nice tips from time to time.
The guy running his own Youtube channel and answering questions in everyday Q&A series. You can ask questions and he will answer them in a practical, relatable and motivational format. He also promotes his own course with can be found here.
A guy from Florida and a founder of Money Mindset - Internet Marketing Done Right teaching people how to make money online and keeping since 1991. I heard of him through Dan Dasilva. He started as Amazon affiliate but now focused on Shopify.
The new young guy in Shopify industry trying to make himself a name as a coach. He is claiming that can teach you the EXACT steps he used to go from $0 to over $1,000,000 but I will tell you about that a little bit later (actually no one is claiming that except him).
The influence marketing coach, can be seen around Dan Dasilva. Not well known in Shopify world but I sure he has interesting tips to share.
The guy from Arizona who made a big bag of money on Shopify. He is a part of Tecademics now but not so active on Facebook. Actually, I'm not sure why other Shopify experts jumping around him as haven't seen him sharing anything valuable but still keep my eye on him.
YouTube channels you should subscribe to
There are a lot of good videos on Shopify topic out there but much more bad channels which don't deserve your attention. I have seen most of them, so let me help you to save your time and point you to the right direction.
There is no particular order you should follow but you will get it yourself once you start watching all of them one by one. But let's start with channels you should subscribe to.
- Justin Cener
- Dan Dasilva
- Peter Chan Jr.
- eCom Dudes
- Franklin Hatchett
- Till Boadella
- Jeff Mills
- Mohamed Ali Aguel
- Ben Malol
- Devin Zander
- Anthony Mastellone
- Casual Ecommerce
Underworld of Shopify Courses
Dark Post Engine
I started my deep research on Shopify in July 2016 with watching videos and trying tools such as Dark Post Engine from Jimmy Kim and Fred Lam from iPro Academy, the tool which allows you to spy on competitors Facebook Ads. It was a good idea but it is hardly worked as most of ecommerce stores use "dark posts" and don't appear in search results.
I played with this tool for about a week, watched Jimmy's videos and decided to ask for my $47 as didn't find any value at this point.
Then I started digging deeper and the first Shopify person which pop up in my search results was Dan Dasilva, a young guy, very well-spoken and doing everything to make himself a name in the eCommerce world.
By now he already made more than $1,000,000 on eCommerce and drives BMW i8. He is very active and by the time when I found him he was a part of a group of people promoting different products. He introduced Devin Zander and Anthony Mastellone which I follow since then.
eCom Dudes Academy
So what steps I made. I started watching his videos and decided to join his eCom Dudes Academy in September which cost $47 USD every month but you were able to cancel after 7 days if it's not for you. I joined but there wasn't so many videos, around 10 as I remember, but I didn't find it useful as I found all this information for free already, so I cancel my membership.
The funny part, somewhere in November 2016 Dan started actively promoting his Academy and raised the price to $247! Yes, $247! But now he dropped the price to $47 again.
Later I found Franklin Hatchett who was sharing nice tips on Shopify I contacted him asking about the eCom Empire course he was promoting in his emails and he told me if I know something about Shopify it doesn't worth it. So I didn't join.
eCom Experts Academy
Later I got a message from eCom Experts Academy promoting their course. This Academy founded by big guy like Devin Zander, Justin Taylor and Robert Nava. They wanted $1997 for this but it was too high.
In October I found Shopify experts from Casual Ecommerce which used to have a website but now redirecting everyone to their Youtube channel. I joined their course for $47 with a 10-day trial, watched their videos but again didn't find anything useful and cancel my membership.
Be aware! This guy is a scammer! Don't deal with him and don't buy his products!
Later I found Youtube channel of Colton Randolph, a very young lad. He discussed different tactics about Facebook Ads and I decided to try one in a golf niche and got my first sale after 3 hours but it was the last sale as nothing else worked. He is currently promoting his own app for Shopify.
Peter Chan Jr.
Peter Chan Jr. was always on my radar but as he is not so active and mostly focus on scaling his business I haven't heard a lot from him. But he published good tips from time to time, especially I liked his Christmas Q& A video where he said the most important thing about Facebook Ads which no one could explain in so simple way.
- If engagement is good but NO CLICKS - product is BAD, change it.
- If engagements is good, clicks are good but NO ATC - means the price is too high, drop the price.
- If engagement is good, clicks are good, lot of ATC but NO SALES - shipping rate is too high or you try to upsell with wrong product.
He was giving one-on-one coaching but as far as I know stop doing that but you still can check out his Academy.
In November I found Jeff Mills who has a very good webinar replay on Shopify so I decided to contact him and got a call from his associate in Texas who tried to sell me about 10 lessons for $1000. But something told me it is not a good idea and I quit.
Jeff is currently selling his One on One Monthly Coaching Program for $1 for the first 30 days, then $597/mo during 6 months, so it comes to $3583! This is a way too much! As a mentor and coach, he charges $297 for 80 min personal 1 on 1 session.
$0 to $100,000 eCom Blueprint Bootcamp
This course runs by Ben Malol and I joined it on October 29, 2016. Below you can see the receipt so you can believe in what I will be saying below.
I found this course through Mike Dolev from eCom Momentum who recommended Ben during his very special workshop. I signed up to his webinar and there he got me. Ben promised the proven systemized program but forgot to mention that other things were completely out of control.
Actually, I was really excited when I joined, talked to one of his students but didn't find the additional information about Ben. But the biggest mistake I made is I didn't ask for a prove and screen shots of his profit.
You should always ask for a prove from you coaches because if they really successful they have nothing to hide. They don't have to tell their niches and store names but they can absolutely show you the money.
I have been studying Shopify tricks for a few months by this time and this course seemed to me a good idea. $997 is not a small cheque but Ben got me with his offers and promises about 8 Week Intensive eCom Blueprint Bootcamp. But how it happens in most of the cases he failed to deliver!
At first he pitched everyone with four things:
- Invitation to his Facebook mastermind group
- Cheat sheet
- A link to the 300+ profitable niches
- The Shopify theme Optimo (by October 31st)
And here he failed twice, his XLS file with 300+ niches had repeated topics with some misspellings - the rookie mistake. The second fail - he shared the Optimo theme only in a week explaining that it wasn't ready. "Why you start the course if it's not ready?" But read on...
His first session failed as Ben didn't know how to use the technical part right. Later he changed the webinar platform but even there was something wrong. This is where I understood that something's wrong.
He promised to provide the access to the dashboard where you can re-watch webinars when you need and download files but even here it wasn't ready on time. People started asking in the Facebook Group when it will be available as not everyone could participate in the live webinar at 11:00 am Eastern Time.
Actually, the schedule was always the problem during the whole course as Ben wasn't able to notify everyone few days before and started re-scheduling blaming students asking him to change the time. Come on, Ben!
What is interesting, when I asked him to be more organized as we can't drop everything and just jump online when he can, he pretended that he doesn't understand what I'm talking about...
First two weeks he shared some interesting tips but then started losing his interest and once just disappeared for more than a week. People started asking when we will get back on track with webinars but Ben as always pretended he doesn't understand.
Seems like people lost their interest too and less and less appeared to listen to him live prefer to watch Replays.
After one month things absolutely derailed. Looked like he runs out of topics and had nothing to say. Eventually, he came up with a webinar promising a $50,000 Product Case Study but this was a total fail listening to him talking about something abstract using just a screen-shot.
Later he decided to talk about Google Analytics and Adwords what is absolute nonsense as Shopify based on Facebook Ads and Instagram Influencers but not Google. Google Adwords can be used by pros when they tried everything and just want to test new channels, for beginners this is absolutely unrelated.
Summing up, I can say this is the first time when I have seen so unprofessional course and a person which doesn't care about students. Yes, he shares tips and tricks but it mostly did for a sake to sell his course.
Moreover, when a person saying that you should think about a value you bringing with Shopify to not become another affiliate guy (in a bad way), you just want to say "Are you serious? You sell cheap consumer products from Aliexpress and tell everyone about the value? What value? You are here to just make money on re-selling, everything is simple!". "Ben, affiliate experts, for example, Amazon, bring much more value to people that you do with Shopify."
Eventually, after speaking to a few guys which were disappointed in Ben's course too, I wrote a letter to Ben telling him that he must be more organized and at least refund if he can't deliver what he promised. And what was the answer? Right! He again pretended that he is delivering and even over-delivering and just completely ignoring my question about a refund.
Here is the list of topics Ben covered in eCom Blueprint Bootcamp:
- Session #1 - Opening a store and configuring settings
- Optimo Shopify Theme
- Bonus Workshop #1 - Christmas Kickstart
- Session #2 - Niche & Product Research
- Q&A Week #1
- Configuring Google Shopping App
- Session #3 - Audience Research
- Session #4 - Product Upload & Ad Set up
- Q&A Week #2
- Session #5 - Ad Analyzation & Initial Scale
- Q&A Week #3
- Session #6 - Retargeting & 10x Scaling Techniques
- Q&A Week #4
- Session #7 - Free + Shipping to Upsell
- Q&A Week #5
- Session #8 - Email Marketing
- $50,000 Product Case Study
- Q&A Week #6
- Session #9 - Google Analytics
You probably want to ask "Hey, where is the Week 8 as he promised?". Yes, the course supposed to end before December 31 but thanks to Ben's "organizational" skills we still waiting for a few last sessions. The last message from Ben was on January 10 where he postponed the session again.
This is a Never Ending Story... Do you remember this movie? If not watch this trailer.
By the way, Ben started to sell the same course for $297 now explaining that it does not have any bonus sessions, no case studies, no group support and it's not relevant... Seriously?
Here is the full screen shot of this course page.
You can watch the 90 min webinar where he explains almost everything what he teaches in his course for $997.
At the end of December 2016, Ben started promising everyone the Facebook Ads course that will answer all questions and will cover everything. Do you believe that now?
What I said above is completely my personal opinion on this course and I just want to warn you against this kind of a-la gurus, especially young without a college degree, claiming they can teach you everything you need and not providing any evidence.
After Ben Malol's course my eyes caught Chris Record, he became a very active promoting his viral videos course.
Chris Record and associates created Tecademics offering to become one of 60,000 PLUS members. Chris is a very good speaker and can sell you almost everything and force you to join his program. But when you take a closer look you will see just another MLM system based on affiliates commissions, regular meetings and brainwashing, like MOBE which I wrote about not so a while ago.
When I started to dig deeper into Chris profile and listen to his videos I have heard the thing that turned me away from Tecademics. Chris said that he made his first money on Teespring selling a hoodie with some sports design and then... he started teaching Facebook Advertising and Shopify ?!! And made his first $4,000,000. YES, you heard it right, 4 million on teaching, not selling. Actually, he teaches absolute basics which can be found anywhere but people are too lazy even to do that and ready to pay money...
From what I see now Tecademics became a pure MLM system with live events and boot camps in the US. You can take a look at their TEC Week. Truth to say Chris does a phenomenal job getting the most of Shopify trend, inviting the best of the best to speak during his events. It's cool, it's fun, but only when you are young and want to catch up with like-minded youngsters.
In January he presented new Tecademics Headquarters, 25,000 sf office in North Scottsdale. And of cause, he announced that he is launching a 100+ video course for Beginners to start making money online from home using Shopify. So things going well. Nice job!
I found Till in search results of YouTube and liked his goal of publishing video every day answering readers questions about Shopify. He was selling his own course for $97 but I think he shared a lot of valuable stuff online already so buying his just wasn't make any sense. You can also order a private coaching for $297 per session but I didn't try it so can't say anything.
Ezra is one of the leading eCommerce experts in the world and has been working in eCommerce for over a decade. He is the owner and operator of several seven- and eight-figure businesses. He runs Smart Marketer website which currently offers 6 different courses. What I noticed he doesn't give away a lot of tips during his webinars but gives away good tips as a special guest of others training videos.
Entrepreneur and a coach from Canada who made over $4,000,000 on Shopify. YES, it's 4M! He pitches people with his own courses and the latest free webinar was "How I Generated $4.3M Revenue In Just 6 months...". It is always a pleasure to listen to him as he hasn't got this sales notes in his voice like Dan Dasilva, so I recommend to subscribe to his free training webinars.
He sells his two courses for $1,997 - The Goldmine Method and The Flex Method. For $6,000 you can get an access to 2-Day The Millionaire Challenge Live course.
Must say I like his way of talking and especially his bedtime stories. His Facebook group has a strong community. Maybe it's because we were born in March with 2 years difference, so I can feel this guy and his approach.
He has his own online review management tool GradeThis which makes incredibly easy for customers to leave reviews.
Justin is "Justin Bieber of Facebook" but with much more bigger muscles and smile. He actively promotes two of his courses - Print on Demand and Dropshipping. Peter Chan Jr. is his student and they make perfect coaches to go with. I seriously thinking to jump on board of Justin's boot camp.
Justin runs a very active Shopify Mastermind group on Facebook with 12,000 members.
Before 2017 he was selling his course for $497 but now he is changing his approach so let's wait what will happen. Maybe you still have a chance to join his T-Shirt Bootcamp while it's not too late.
Jake is from Wyoming and was the latest guy (so far) I found on Youtube. He started publishing videos named "100K Challenge" on how to start your store from scratch and make it profitable, you can watch them here. I only hope he wouldn't stop somewhere in the middle.
How to save on your first Shopify store
Shopify is a great platform and it will take you just a few minutes and absolutely no frustration before you get it right. This platform changed with the time and it's like iPhone when you take it in your hands and start using it for the first time it is absolutely intuitive and understandable. This is not Windows or Android-based phone which can be a pain in one place.
Shopify writers have a blog post The Essential Shopify Store Launch Checklist but you barely need it.
Shopify gives you 14-day free trial during which you can set it up and add products after you need to select one of the plans and usually people go with the basic one for $29 per month. But even here I can help you to save the money and get 60-day free trial instead of 14.
There are Shopify experts out there with discount coupon codes and you can use them without any obligation, you just need to know where to find them. But don't worry I have done it for you already, here they are:
- Chris Record from Tecademics offers 60-day free trial plus 10% off every month.
- Mohamed from "Always Listen to Mo" offers 60-day free trial too.
- F6S members can use 60-day free trial but who said you can't if you know the link.
- Tecademics experts offer 30-day trial and 50% off select Shopify plans for 2 months.
- BPI cards users can enjoy 30-day free trial.
- Justin Cener offers 21-day free trial plus 10% off every month.
Of cause all these experts work as affiliates and will get their percentage but who cares when you can save $29 or even $58 at the beginning of your journey. I sure there is much more offers out there but it's up to you if you want to find them.
And remember, Shopify will show you 14-day free trial during registration but when you will take a look at your dashboard you will see 60 days.
Why it is hard to get sales to the next level?
If you already started playing with Shopify system and see guys showing huge profit screen shots on Facebook groups, you eventually come up with the question "How can I get to this level?". And the answer is "You can, but it will take A LOT of time and A LOT of effort now". Why? Here are some of the reasons:
- Most of "famous" Shopify experts started in 2013 and later
- Most of them already have a team behind
- Most sell branded, exclusive and print-on-demand products
- Their store pixels data is huge and mature, and they use it on a full speed
- They have enough budget to test, test and test all day long
- They are able to test 20-50 products a day with a minimum budget of $5, what comes to $100-$250 a day or $3000-$7500 a month, can you afford it? This money is just for testing and this is minimum!
But there is another side of the gold medal. Experts already tested a lot of products and niches and with some tricks you can find them and see what works and what not. It will save you a lot of time and money on testing in the beginning of your journey.
Tips and tricks
In the beginning of this post, I promised to share every trick I learned during my research. They are all free as I strongly believe it is enough to start and you can switch to paid one since you have enough money coming in.
A very useful extension for Google Chrome which allows you to spy on Shopify store and see when they have been open, which products have been recently added, what the bestsellers are. But the best thing it allows you to see traffic the store generates. When you click on "Get Traffic Insight" the extension redirects you to Similar Web statistics. The most important metrics are:
- Global Rank - if it's below 3,000,000 it means store doing very well and you should study it deeper. Usually, profitable stores have rank below 1,000,000.
- Traffic Sources - If the most traffic goes from Social it means store using Facebook Ads and maybe Instagram influencers, so this is a good sign.
You can download it here.
AliExpress Coupon Finder
As Shopify is mostly dropshipping model this extension is very useful. AliExpress Coupon Finder allows you to search for available coupons and discounts offered by AliExpress sellers, so you profit more.
Aliexpress Seller Check
This extension allows you to check the seller's rating and feedback score in product page on Aliexpress directly. It has other fuctions, so it is worth to check out.
Facebook Pixel Helper
This extension helps you validate your pixel implementation, to see if your pixels fire on pages so you track all statistics for future scaling of your campaigns. Check it out here.
How to spy on competitors with Google
This is a very simple trick, what you need to do is to use the following query - "niche" "myshopify.com". Google will display all Shopify stores in the niche you are interested in.
What you can do next is to find their bestsellers as this is the most important thing in products research. When you open the store you need to add the following code to the end of URL - collections/all?sort_by=best-selling.
So the URL will be looking like http://xxx.myshopify.com/collections/all?sort_by=best-selling. This works with simple domains too, in this case, it will be http://domain.com/collections/all?sort_by=best-selling.
How to spy on successful guys on Facebook
If you already follow Shopify group you see from time to time people sharing screen shots of their stores profit. So this is a very useful when you want to see in which niche they work. This trick works not for everyone but you still can get very good tips on products from it.
So let's start. When next time you will see someone sharing the screen shot, you should click on his name and go to his profile. Then find "More" in the menu and select "Likes", it will show you all person's likes. Scroll down through his likes and find something with clothing, retail, product etc. It shouldn't have a verified sign, as most of Facebook pages are small and no one cares to verify them.
Hover your mouse and if you see something with a small number of likes around 200-10,000 this is worth to look at. Click on it, and usually in About section, you will found the store URL. Click on it and use Shopify inspector to check if it is a Shopify based store.
In this technique, you have to purely rely on your god feeling and a catchy eye. Anyway, when you will be scrolling through likes you will get a little bit of understanding of what this person likes and this could be a sign of his niche.
You probably can ask now "I don't want others to spy on me this way, how can I hide it?" I hear you loud and clear, here is how:
- Go to your profile
- Find "More" in the menu
- Click on "Manage sections"
- Un-tick which section shouldn't be visible to others
How much did it cost me?
- $997 on Ben Malol's course
- $600 on Facebook Ads
- $29 on Shopify plan
- $4 on Oberlo
- $10 on a new domain name dealsdepotstore.com
- Dozens of hours on Facebook and Youtube
- A week to collect everything together on this page
- Few fights with my girlfriend
As you can see there is a lot going on in Shopify world and I didn't even touch Facebook Ads and Aliexpress. So go and try it yourself as eCommerce is currently booming and you can make a big bag of money.
What I want to say at the end is don't let them sell you the course you don't need because you can find everything for free, you just need to make a research, watch Youtube videos, read comments and ask questions on Facebook groups. I pointed you to the right direction and you just need to take action.
Have you noticed like everyone moved to the influence marketing and now promote products using Instagram? If not keep your hand on a pulse of trends and always listen to your god feeling.
It took me a week to write this over 5500 words post so please give me a favour - SHARE IT wherever you can and SUBSCRIBE to my list because my next topic will be AMAZON and how people make thousands of $$$ on its affiliate program.