The Benefits of “Double Down”: How Specializing in Shopify Stores Can Pay Off

As web designers, we are almost always looking to generate new leads so that we can get paid to do what we love: designing amazing websites. For many of us, that means marketing ourselves as broadly as we can to attract as many new customers as possible. But in some cases, specializing in a particular platform can actually work to benefit your business rather than limit it — — especially if that platform is Shopify. With over 150,000 stores on Shopify and more signing up every day, there’s an increasing demand for designers who specialize in creating and customizing Shopify stores.

For agency owners like Ethercycle’s Kurt Ulster, focusing on Shopify stores was a significant turning point for his business. Like many freelancers, Kurt was a generalist — he never turned anything away — until, in 2011, Kurt decided to use the Shopify platform to build an easily manageable online store for a local bike company. Not only did the project teach Kurt how to build a customized theme on Shopify’s platform, but the experience encouraged him to sign up for the Shopify Partner Program. And very quickly, everything changed. Not only was Kurt earning a monthly 20% revenue share for every new store he brought to Shopify, he was also receiving new leads. This encouraged Kurt to change his business approach and, in 2015, Kurt refocused his business entirely on Shopify by offering a service for Shopify stores called Website Rescues.

The result? Ethercyle’s year-over-year revenue grew by 800%. “It was astounding” admits Kurt. “The effect of moving into a niche and and focusing on a successful growing platform like Shopify resulted in huge massive growth.”

But even though stories like Kurt’s are becoming more and more common, many designers still hesitate to embrace the opportunity created by specializing. Here are four reasons why specializing in Shopify stores is worth your while.

There’s no barrier to entry and plenty of business

Given that most people opening up a store on Shopify will not be web designers themselves, there is an abundance of potential clients . Depending on your interests, there are a number of different services you can offer to clients looking for help with their Shopify store. From simply helping clients set up their stores, to theme customizations, to building a completely custom theme from scratch, there are opportunities for designers of all skill sets and interests.

It’s a great way to earn consistent revenue

One of the best parts of specializing in Shopify is that there are many different ways to earn reliable income, which can be an incredibly valuable asset for designers who often have to earn a living by jumping from one contract to the next. Instead of paying partners on a one-time basis, Shopify guarantees recurring monthly revenue for as long as your clients continue to use Shopify. So for each and every new client you bring onto a paid Shopify plan, you will receive 20% of the client’s monthly Shopify invoice. For some, that can mean a guaranteed income of $4,000 per year for doing nothing.

If you’re interested in a more lucrative market, you can also earn a revenue share from building a commercial theme and selling it in Shopify’s theme store. There’s a full checklist of requirements for a commercial theme to be accepted into the theme store, but if your theme is flexible and easy to customise, it’s potentially applicable to thousands of new and existing merchants. In that case, Shopify will give you 70% of the revenue generated from each theme sale for as long as your theme remains in the theme store.

It’s easy to learn

Adapting to any new platform always requires a little bit of mental effort and a few hours of practice before you begin to feel comfortable, but learning how to use Shopify’s platform is surprisingly easy. If you’ve built websites before — ecommerce or otherwise — you’re most likely already fluent in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. In addition to these three languages, Shopify uses the template language Liquid.

If you’ve done any sort of coding over the past few years, the concepts of output, logic, and loops are easily applicable to understanding Liquid. In addition, Liquid is like any template language in that it functions as a bridge between the data in your store and the HTML templates sent to the browser. Once you’ve grasped these two concepts, there are a number of free online resources to help you master Liquid. Then you can practice all you like with Shopify’s development stores.

It’s free

Shopify ecommerce themes are free to develop and 100% customizable. It costs absolutely nothing to create a Partner account, and you can open unlimited development shops to test the platform out. In addition, Shopify offers tons of free resources to help you complete your projects with ease and grow your business. There are monthly newsletters, a blog that posts bi-weekly content about industry trends, workshops and webinars, discussion forums, marketing materials, and advance access to new features.

For designers like Kurt, the decision to specialize in Shopify helped him to grow his business. “What I love most about Shopify is the community — no other platform has this. And through that we netted friends and new clients, which is just phenomenal. They say a rising tide lifts all boats, and Shopify is that tide. With 150 000 stores online right now, and more coming online everyday, it’s a very exciting time to be a Shopify partner.”

Want to learn how to grow your business with Shopify?

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