So I broke my MacBook…

Now that I have your attention, how about a little back story.
I’ve worked largely on my own for the last 3 years. That means my trusty MacBook Pro is pretty much my life. When I’m not on the laptop, I typically find myself doing something fun but more relegated to the next generation, ie. cliff jumping, mountain biking, wake boarding. Combine my not so advanced age with these sports and this summer I pulled a brainer and tore something in my left knee, causing a noticeable limp and general struggles with stairs.

Now, add winter.
The morning of the first good freeze I was doing my typical front step hobble and managed to find a slick spot. As my feet flew up into my field of vision, it occurred to me that I had my backpack on my back… with, you guessed it… my MacBook tightly stowed away. I’ll spare you the dramatics and just say it still powered on, sounded like a helicopter when it got warm, and slowed to a snail pace. There as a noticeable dent on top and bottom but at least the screen and keyboard still worked. Basically, if I did no design or video work, I just might get by with a lot of patience, until I could get her replaced. I told myself it was time anyway.

Then I started a new company.
What do you do when you can’t really design or build a website using your traditional tools but have a fun idea for a new eCommerce business? Use found tools and platforms! At least I’d gotten the bulk of the product shots and a logo lockup designed so I put those in the cloud an grabbed the iPad.

Platform first.
The goals were simple. I needed an eCommerce/Content system, free or near-free, that I could set up and manipulate from my devices. I wanted something lightweight with decent designs in their template library, and more than anything else, I wanted something boiled down. I don’t need 4,000 options for each element of the site. I was looking for speed to market. Ultimately, i chose BigCartel. Simple setup, free intro package with decent options, and more than anything, a referral from Bakery HNY where I got a pretty dope hat.

Payment & order processing.
Stripe. Just trust me. It works, people trust it, and it’s not PayPal. The apps are pretty slick as well. If you want to use PayPal, you can. It is a boxed option. On this project, I’ll handle pack & ship, so shipping calculation isn’t a concern as of yet. Once more orders start flowing in, I’ll set that part up in BigCartel.

Setup & Config.
I was able to set up the entire system easily from my iPad, all the way down to site design and template mods and manipulation. I set up social channels as well for the product… no big whoop there, then I made my first few social posts about my brand new company after working with my print providers to get the initial inventory into production. In a matter of hours, the first orders of Nopebooks were rolling in! So many so, that I was able to upgrade to the first paid tier of BigCartel and even pay off my inventory cost. The company funded itself in the first week of operation. #Proud #DirtOffYaShoulder

What I learned.
You don’t have to do these things the hard way. On this project, I used images I took with my iPhone, minimal design work, a found platform AND template, and a boxed payment processor. The best part of this is that the entire store took less than a day to setup, configure, and launch and it’s running right now. You don’t have to know all the tough stuff to get your ideas off the ground and I wouldn’t have know about it all unless I hadn’t broken my fall with my laptop.

Fear not, I’ve since received my beautiful new MacBook Pro and I’m back to work as usual, but I’m going to try not to reinvent systems that work great when provided elsewhere. Speed to market is way more valuable than your own platform. Try it out. Let me know what works for you!