During a random weekend of July, my co-founders and I decided to go to Manhattan, New York. It was the first time for them. But we missed the bus and spent the night in a bar in Montreal, instead.
Long story short, we finally got to New York. During the bus trip, we got an idea of a Shopify app that would automate discounts and change the way store owners think about their promo/sales. And we built it: Automatic Discount
The trip to Manhattan taught us some key lessons that all the Shopify entrepreneurs should remember.
You quit 9 to 5 and your boss and now you think you'll work 9 to 9:30 and be your own boss? Forget it, that's not reality. If you want to party like an animal, you must work like an animal first.
If they go on your site, no matter where they are, no matter what time it is, people expect support. Great support. If you outsource support, make sure you hire people in different timezones, so it covers the 24h of a day. Being open 24/7 is now (and for more than a decade now) a basic necessity, as important as having products in your store. Maybe more, actually. Because you just need one great product to make a sale. While a bad support can make you lose a lot more than one sale! So if you open a 24/7 store, especially if you have the balls to display "Open 24/7" on your store, mean it. With a big smile.
Some say "Build it and they will come". That's not true. Especially if you create another t-shirt company that looks the same as the thousands of other t-shirt companies. But if you build something amazing, like a big bull right in the middle of the street in the Financial District, yeah, they will come.
Good store owners take the bull by the horn, and they make a good living out of it. Great ones take the bull by the balls, and they enjoy a living. There is a huge difference between the horns and the balls, you could say. But there is an even bigger one between "make a living" and "enjoy a living".
While everyone is looking for liberty statue, look for status of liberty instead
Look for something near less competitive with as much traffic. Find your niche and nail it. Don't go for the big one everyone is going into. If you sell vitamins for monkeys and you are killing it, why would you start selling drones? Because it's trendy? Meuh.
It's not because you saw a post in a Facebook group of a guy spending $1000 a day in Facebook ads that this is the magic recipe for success. This guru himself probably went gradual, which means slowly, starting with a few bucks per day, focusing on the right audience with the right ads, tweaking until his daily budget is reaching a maximum of people, then increasing progressively the budget. This morning I saw a guy bragging that he made $13 000 last week with his Shopify store. He posted a screenshot like people do (too often) in a Shopify Facebook group. In the same post, he said he was spending over $1000 per day in advertising, selling expensive tech products. The post ended with the guy saying "PM for some tips". I didn't PM him. I was first fooled by his big numbers, true. But then my logic came back, and I made the math... to find out once he pays his ads, his products, and other fixed costs, he doesn't make a dime at the end of the day!
You can pray, sure, when times are harder. But while you pray, your competitors are hustling.
This is my ugly face and the guy who had a horrible day
The phrase "Follow the (white) rabbit" means to follow an idea or a concept which may lead to a strange place. You don't want to go in a strange place. You want to go to the top. And you don't want your customers to go in a strange place. You want them to go to the Cart, then to Checkout!
Following the white rabbit means getting distracted, following odd-sounding trains of thought, diverting from your original task, etc. Usually, it ends in a (mis)adventure. Like in Alice in Wonderland, the main character follows a white rabbit down in a rabbit hole in the ground. The only moral I remembered from this movie was that following a rabbit leads to a rabbit hole in the ground. Tell me, what could be worst than ending your Shopify entrepreneur adventure down in a rabbit hole?
Don't fall prey to misadventure. Stay in control of your entrepreneur adventure. And then, one day, the rabbits will follow you.
It was actually raining while I was typing and I broke my phone.
An old friend of mine once said: "Don't aim for the big apple first. Aim for the small baskets that want the apple... And the apple will come to you." I guess he was right. That's why we built a small basket first to get 100 active customers within the first 20 days after the launch of our first Shopify app called Automatic Discount.