We create brands and websites for photographers, planners, and other creatives who want to go beyond pretty to create an experience for their community. We learned through launching a number of successful businesses that the best brands and websites encourage people to take action. They invite them into a story, educate and serve, and transform.
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Regardless of what you do, there are probably a few ways you can earn some passive income through creating an online shop. Even if it’s just a small side hustle, a few extra dollars each month can add up. And who knows, maybe it will turn into something bigger! But you’ll never know until you give it a shot.
If you’re a photographer, maybe it’s a print shop featuring your personal work. And designers could sell custom stationary, invitations, templates, or website themes. Whatever you do, there’s probably knowledge you could share with others. We often have a tendency to undervalue what we know, but what seems ordinary to you, is often crazy extraordinary to others.
Santa Cruz: The Showit, online shop template you’ve been waiting for…
Is there a question people repeatedly ask you about? Are you frequently asked how to do something? If so, it might be a good place to start.
So you figured out what to sell. Now it’s time to figure out how to sell it. There are a number of options when it comes to ecommerce platforms:
We decided to use Shopify because it was robust enough to handle everything we want to do (discount codes, abandoned cart, affiliates, etc.) and we could embed buy buttons within our Showit website. While it takes a little time to get all set-up and learn, it’s relatively easy and there is plenty of help documentation. If we didn’t use Shopify, then WooCommerce would have most likely been our next choice because we love WordPress.
Gumroad is appealing because it seems simple to set-up and easy to use. But it does not offer as much storefront customization as Shopify and WooCommerce. If you’re looking to quickly start selling something like ebook or digital download, then Gumroad might be the perfect fit. It’s also a very affordable alternative.
This isn’t a must, but we would highly encourage it. There are LOTS of reasons to start a mailing list for your business, but it’s especially useful when you have a shop. With a mailing list you can:
We wrote an in-depth blog post about creating a mailing list that’s worth the read if you’re considering starting one.
One of the easiest ways to start building your mailing list is through creating a lead magnet like an ebook, guide, or checklist. A good lead magnet should be helpful (duh), qualify your leads, and lead to further action. If you’re selling a course on photography lighting, then running a lead magnet on choosing a camera might not get the best results because it doesn’t qualify the lead. Whereas, a lead magnet on how to shoot in low-light situations would help indicate who actually is interested in lighting.
Start selling—sounds easy enough, right? Well, it kinda is. Don’t get me wrong. Setting up your shop, mailing list, lead magnets, and ads is work. But once it’s done, it’s fairly easy to maintain or tweak.
Now it’s a matter of getting people to your shop. Here are five suggestions:
Launching a store has been one of the best things we’ve done for our business and although we use Shopify for the actual payment processing, we built our site on Showit because we love the design flexibility Showit provides. Since launching, so many people have asked us how to set up a shop that we decided to create a template that works both on its own and as an addition to an existing site. It has everything from mailing list popups to a blog built in – and to make sure you know exactly how to use it and how to integrate Shopify (or the payment processing system you decide to use), we put together a 15 minute video.
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