How to Start a Shopify Store

Want to learn how to start a Shopify store?

Today’s interview is with Jessica Lee from Non-Techie Entrepreneur. Jess is a Shopify expert who has created multiple e-commerce shops and has helped over 1,000 clients to launch their own e-commerce stores.

If you’ve been wondering how does Shopify work or what to sell on Shopify, keep reading! This interview is full of golden nuggets on how to start an ecommerce business.


About Jess

Jess is serial entrepreneur helping small business owners and entrepreneurs build profitable businesses. She’s been developing and building websites for 8+ years and has had the pleasure of teaching over 6,000 students on starting a business and various skills for running an efficient business. Jess is also the mother of an extraordinary son with an entrepreneur mindset.


How did you get started as a Shopify business owner/consultant?

Eight years ago I started down the path of becoming a website developer after getting fired from my job due to the birth of my son. Though this was a devastating blow, I was determined to find something I loved and could do without being in a situation like that again.

I always had a love for code and development but never took the time to see where it would take me. Eventually, I started a web design agency creating and developing custom websites and themes for WordPress.

During that process, I saw a huge issue with beginners starting an e-commerce shop with Woo Commerce. The platform was difficult to use and didn’t have a lot of features that most platforms had. In looking for a solution, I discovered Shopify.

My first Shopify site was a customized theme for a holistic beauty company that was moving over from another e-commerce platform called Big Cartel. The customer immediately saw a positive difference in running their business and order fulfillment. 

With that first site build, I knew it was an option for my clients when building their e-commerce shops.  So I learned everything I could to help my clients move and excel on the platform. 

Eventually, I began teaching and educating on the skills I learned to help entrepreneurs who couldn’t afford to pay an expert to do it for them. After a year of building on the Shopify platform, I started the process of becoming a Shopify expert.

Four years down the road, here I am teaching and building shops on the Shopify platform.

What skills do you need to start a successful Shopify store?

In my opinion, you need to have a willingness to learn, fail, and try again. E-commerce is a long-form game, not an instant overnight success. It takes time to build a strategy, optimize your products, find your customers, and get sales. 

I believe being willing to take these steps will yield you success in your business. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you lack in an area of expertise.

What tools do you need to run a successful e-commerce business?

There are three tools that EVERY e-commerce store should have: An optimized platform to sell on, an email marketing platform, and a solid launch strategy. 

Optimized E-Commerce Platform

Choose a platform that is built for your goals.  Shopify is the beginner’s choice for online storefronts. It is built for eCommerce and has so many valuable tools included. It saves a lot of time which in turn saves you money (instead of trying to piece together a store on the wrong website platform.)

You have the freedom to run any type of online store on many different sales channels; all from one dashboard. 

Email Marketing Platform

Email marketing should be included in every shop’s digital strategy. It is an undervalued tool that does so much of the work needed to keep your shop in front of your customer’s faces.

Most owners look to use social media for attracting new customers but they often dismiss the customers they have already won. This creates a cycle that is endless (and expensive), fighting to win the new when they have a list of 5000 subscribers begging for attention.

Putting the right tools in place to run your email marketing is essential to preserving your time and energy. Klaviyo is a great tool for beginners and has a free plan for your first 250 subscribers. It has built-in flows that segment your customers based on their actions with your store to send strategic and timely emails for them to convert.

Launch Strategy

Your strategy is the most foundational piece of running an online store. You need to know what your goals are and what to do to bring them to life. If you never think of what you want to accomplish, the store will never be “successful” because you have nothing to measure it against.

I also have a free guide “Solopreneur Toolkit” that gives you tools for each aspect of your business, which you can download here.

How do you find products to sell on a Shopify store?

There are a number of places to find products to sell. There are a couple of different ways to do it. Most new store owners go with a dropshipping style.

With dropshipping, inventory is kept with the manufacturer and they ship for you. You simply connect with a supplier and once you receive an order they fulfill it. 

One popular way to drop ship is with print-on-demand, where you take designs/text and add them to a product through a supplier.  Once you receive an order they fulfill it.

Here are some dropshipping resources to check out:

Each one of these suppliers has various products that you can choose from and easily add through direct integrations to your shop.

How do you market a Shopify store to customers?

As a store owner, I sell mostly through social media and email marketing. I nurture the customers that I have already won and create an insider look to new customers by showing testimonials and products in use.

I like to highlight the customers that shop with me, and show how they use the products in their businesses.

Related Article: How to Market Your Side Hustle

How much does it cost to start an e-commerce business?

Starting an eCommerce store should be low in start-up costs ideally.  To set up an email marketing tool and your actual store you should have at least $50 set aside for your platforms, domain, and any fees associated with it.

Then the rest of your cost comes depending on the type of products you will sell (inventory, fees, shipping).

What’s your best advice for starting an e-commerce store?

The best advice I can give to someone considering starting an e-commerce shop is to first, throw your expectations out the window. Get rid of any materialized view you may have of the wealth in e-commerce. Trade it for realistic goals.

Think about what you want to accomplish, how you’re going to accomplish it, and (your first milestone) when you want to accomplish it by.

Once you have that, do the research for the products you plan on selling, and the people who might buy it so you know how to sell to them and where to find them.

Just those two will help put you in a more open and willing space to excel in your intended niche.

Tell us about your Shopify training.

With my background, I saw how it seemed like a mountain to make the move into e-commerce for beginners. I decided to help by creating a place built for beginners looking to start and grow an online business that has various resources such as product reviews, tutorials, trainings, courses, and more. 

Non-Techie Entrepreneur Blog was my answer to the gap I saw. It is a platform built to teach #entrepreneurs how to utilize tech in business and build profitable streams of income.

Each of the courses on Non-techie Entrepreneur is built to provide action steps towards the objective, such as my Creating and Launching Your First Product using Printful and Shopify class.

This class walks you through each part needed to launch your first product broken down step-by-step. It takes away the guesswork!

How to Start an Online Store with Shopify

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