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How to Make Money on Shopify: 6 Online Businesses You Can Start

14 Mins read

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

Making money on the internet is a pretty common goal. Not only is this shared aspiration accessible to most people with a laptop or desktop computer, but it’s something that’s perfectly doable if you follow the path of fellow entrepreneurs who have come before!

This means that there are resources all across the internet that are designed to help you out. And if you’ve thought about ways to find financial freedom online, odds are high that you’ve wondered how to make money on Shopify.

Shopify is an all-in-one ecommerce platform that allows users to set up their own store and sell products or services. This single service includes hosting, a website builder, and all sorts of features and apps that are made to extend functionality, all with the goal of helping you create a successful online business!

In this post, we’ll be showing you how to get started on Shopify – and more importantly, how to make money on Shopify. You’ll discover 6 business ideas that you can use to make money on the platform!

So, without further ado, let’s dig in to how to make money on Shopify.

Why Use Shopify?


Image courtesy of Shopify.

Shopify is a relatively new internet company designed to boost e-commerce experiences. Founded in Canada back in 2004, Shopify has grown to the worldwide platform that we know and love. It is currently being used by people across 175 countries and brings in millions of visits every month.

The origins of this company speak to how genuine the experience is. Founders Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake created the platform after their own experiences trying to create an online store. They found themselves let down by what was already out there, and decided to take matters into their own hands!

Shopify was launched and up and running by 2006, and slowly began to evolve into what it is today: an easy-to-use online e-commerce platform.

The Benefits of Shopify

Shopify lets you create an online store and sell your own products. This includes everything from physical and digital products to services, memberships, and more. If money is being exchanged, Shopify can work with you and your idea!

First of all, Shopify helps you create a website. What they do differently than other website hosting platforms like WordPress or Blogger is that the entire design is centered around shopping. You can have “about me” pages and other information listed throughout the site, but everything on there is in support of your store and what you want to sell.

Here are some perks to choosing Shopify as a place to host your online store:

  • It’s easy to use
  • It’s free for 14 days
  • It comes with various templates and gives you the opportunity to build your own
  • It’s optimized for SEO
  • It easily manages all credit card transactions
  • It’s responsive for mobile users
  • It makes it easy to track earnings with analytics reports

Are you eager to grow your business outside of the online world? Fortunately, Shopify recognizes the need for in-person sales, too. You can use your Shopify account as a POS for merging your in-store sales and your online sales, all in one place.

How to Get Started on Shopify, Step by Step


Sound like it’s worth learning how to make money on Shopify? Here is our step-by-step guide on how to do it!

1. Decide What to Sell

There’s a pretty good chance that you’ve already made it past this step. After all, most people have an idea of what they want to sell before learning how to do it! But for others, the desire for a store is there, even if they don’t know what to use it for yet.

Take the time to think about what products or services you could list on an online store. You might already have an existing small business and are in the process of moving it online, or you’ve been making products and think it’s time to start selling them. No matter what it is, you’ll need something to keep moving forward.

Still undecided? We’ll dig deeper into the different kinds of businesses that you can start on Shopify later in this guide.

2. Sign Up for Shopify

Image courtesy of Shopify.

One of the biggest benefits of using Shopify is that it gives you everything that you need to start, before making you commit to paying for it. So, you can easily sign up for a free 14-day trial before making any long term commitments!

You’ll need to have a store name in mind before you sign up. It will then take some important information about you and what you need before you start building the shop itself. Options include admitting that you’re a total beginner, claiming a revenue of $1 million, and more!

Image courtesy of Shopify.

Your next step will be to input your personal information, including your address. This will allow you to get paid once your store starts making money.

3. Set Up Your Shop

The following dashboard is what you’ll see once you have inserted your information. As you can see, Shopify is eager to help get you started right away! You can start by adding products, creating your theme, or giving yourself a domain name.

Image courtesy of Shopify.

What you do next is up to you, but there are plenty of different ways to get started. Some shop owners might want to design their site first so that they can ensure that it lives up to their brand expectations. Others may be eager to get all of their products up and running. For beginners, we recommend giving yourself a few hours to get a feel for the website and make a game plan.

Once you’re ready to get your template going, Shopify makes it easy with drag-and-drop building and easy-to-understand themes. There is also a Shopify Theme Store that gives you the chance to browse various free and paid themes.

Image courtesy of Shopify.

Adding products is an essential step that you won’t want to rush through. The “Add Product” page will prompt you to add and edit all of the important information about your product.

These include:

  • The name of your product
  • A description of your product
  • Media (images, videos of product)
  • Pricing and cost per item (you can choose whether or not to charge tax)
  • The inventory that you have of the product (you can choose to track the quantity and whether you want to consider selling when out of stock)
  • A barcode for the product and a SKU
  • Shipping information, including the weight of the product and customs information (this can be bypassed when the item is not a physical product)
  • The option to input variants (in sizes and colors)
  • A search engine listing preview
  • Information about the organization, including the product type, vendor, and what collections it should be found in
Image courtesy of Shopify.

Before jumping to the next step and publishing your shop, you’ll need to ensure that your site is customer-ready. Go through all of the site-building components and then visit your site’s preview page. Try to look at it from a customer’s point of view. Does this look like a place that accurately represents your business?

Since you’re in the business of making money, we also recommend letting a few friends and family play around with your shop. Ensure that they find the user experience to be simple and appealing. Take note of what they do and don’t like, and keep building until you’re happy with your store. (Keep in mind, this process doesn’t ever really end – but you still need a good starting point. You can always improve the user experience over time.)

4. Launch Your Shop

Ready for launch? After you’re happy with the site, your store should be ready to go. There are plenty of things to keep in mind in the future, but remember that you can always adjust your shop later.

Take a look below at Shopify’s very own checklist to ensure that you’re ready for this step.

Pricing and Plans for Shopify


As mentioned, Shopify is only free for the first fourteen days. That should be plenty of time to decide if you want to keep using it.

Shopify has three basic plans: Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify.

Image courtesy of Shopify.

Most small businesses can get by with a Basic Shopify account. This will include the ability to run your online store with unlimited products, two staff accounts, and global selling. You will sacrifice getting some in-depth reports on your business and you will have a few more fees to deal with for Shopify payments.

The Shopify and Advanced Shopify plans are designed for people running larger businesses, or those that complement in-person stores. Take a look at the plans here to learn more.

Don’t think that your business idea needs that much support? Shopify also offers a lite plan for only $9 per month. This lets you use a preexisting site, like WordPress, where you can sell by embedding Shopify’s tools.

Image courtesy of Shopify.

Do you have plans to expand your business for years to come? For those selling at high volume or who have big-ticket items, Shopify Plus is also available. This plan is $2,000 a month, but does come with some appealing features. This includes:

  • A faster checkout experience
  • AR, video, and 3D media options for product pages
  • A better localized experience
  • Unlimited transactions and products
  • A guaranteed 99.99% percent uptime

Let’s be honest: the Shopify Plus plan might not be in your sights as a beginner. We recommend the basic plan for most stores, but you can always upgrade (or downgrade to Shopify Lite) later on!

Image courtesy of Shopify.

Businesses You Can Start on Shopify


Are you eager to start a shop on Shopify, but don’t know what kind of store to sell? Let’s take a look at all of the various business ideas that you might want to consider on your Shopify journey!

Ecommerce Store

Starting a Shopify shop to use as an eCommerce store is one of the most popular reasons for joining Shopify. Some of the most successful people over the past few decades have been those who start booming ecommerce businesses. So, why not try to become one of them?

“Ecommerce” sounds fancy, but it’s really just the term for selling goods or services online, with online payment. There are a few different models of ecommerce, and these include:

  • Business to Consumer
  • Business to Business
  • Consumer to Consumer
  • Consumer to business

The type of shop that you run will depend on which model you’re choosing. For example, maybe you’ll sell products to businesses to help them with their online exposure (consumer to business). Or perhaps you’ll set up a shop where you sell antiques to passionate homeowners (consumer to consumer).

There is a lot of room for creativity and variety in this type of business, and Shopify has helped many people take on this challenge. Fortunately, this also means they’ve written various how-to guides on how to do it! Take a look at Shopify’s own ecommerce guide below.

Dropshipping

Another common way of utilizing Shopify is by running a dropshipping site. This is when you fulfill retail orders even though you aren’t keeping any of the products in stock.

If you run an online store that utilizes dropshipping, then you’ll list products from your suppliers and have them sent to your customers. The product never passes through your hands, taking a lot of the stress (and costs) off of your plate!

To give you an example, imagine you run a dropshipping store that specializes in camera equipment. Somebody comes to your store and purchases a camera that you have listed for $500. This is not a camera that you own, but rather it is one that you know is available through a supplier that you’re connected with. You use $300 to have the camera shipped from the supplier to your customer, and pocket the extra $200!

“So, why doesn’t the customer just buy from the supplier?” This is a pretty common question that potential dropshippers have. The answer is pretty simple: the customer doesn’t see this process going on. They want to buy from you, not the supplier that they don’t know about!

A lot of the value you add is by building a trusted brand and providing excellent customer service.

Some of the pros of dropshipping include:

  • You don’t have to worry about packaging or shipping products yourself
  • You have lower start-up costs, since you aren’t investing in products
  • You can run a dropshipping business from almost any location and don’t have to worry about local selling

But there are a few cons as well:

  • There is a lot of competition
  • It’s cheaper to run, but you are making less than if you bought in bulk
  • You can have less control over quality or customer experience, since the products never pass through your hands

Notably, the competition is a big concern for many dropshippers. Suppliers have plenty of people who take their products for dropshipping purposes. This means that you have to find a way to stand out to your customer.

Whether it’s better customer service, better prices, or a better overall online experience, you need to make their time on your site special.

Here are just a few quick tips on running a successful dropshipping Shopify store:

  • Sell within a specific niche
  • Do your best to rebrand products so that they reflect your unique site
  • Do research on your competition
  • Build a good relationship with your supplier
  • Continue to analyze your traffic and sales analytics to find out what you’re doing right versus what you’re doing wrong (Our favorite way to do this is with SEMrush!)

Sell Affiliate Products

We’re all about affiliate marketing over here at WeAreTheCurious! This awesome method of monetization can be combined, whether you want to use Shopify as a way to promote your affiliate products or you want to include affiliate products within your own inventory.

For those unfamiliar with affiliate products and affiliate marketing, this method of sales is when you share the link to a product on your site. When somebody clicks through using your link and buys the product, you’ll earn a small commission.

Like with dropshipping, the biggest benefit of affiliate products is that you don’t own the product. This means that you won’t have to worry about packaging or shipping it. You also won’t have to keep an inventory to do this, which is helpful for many at-home businesses.

To use affiliate products on Shopify, you’ll need to curate a unique list of products. Take a look at our guide on different affiliate programs to help you get started on your journey!

Just remember, you’ll need a good reason that shoppers should come to your website rather than another vendor’s. Build great brand recognition and work on becoming a well-known name in your niche, and your commission profits will soar!

Online Courses

Online course learning has been booming over the past decade. With places like Skillshare, it’s never been easier to learn about new things, like learning how to play an instrument or how to speak another language. And it’s all thanks to impressive online teachers!

Do you have unique information or a special skill that you can teach online? Well, why not use Shopify to do it?

You can use Shopify to create online learning guides, or you can also sell one-on-one sessions with eager learners. Things like consultations, lessons, and memberships would all fall under this category.

Here are just a few examples of common online courses sold to people through Shopify:

  • Social media tutorials
  • Language learning lessons
  • Music lessons
  • Blogging courses
  • One-on-one expertise sharing
  • Content editing

Clothing

Do you have a lot of clothing, know somebody who does, or want to get involved in thrifting? Shopify is a fantastic place to go if you’re looking to sell some clothes, and it’s a lot more productive than selling through yard sales or directly to thrift stores.

There are various avenues that you can take when it comes to selling clothing through Shopify. Here are just a few examples:

  • Selling your personal wardrobe
  • Sell your unique thrifting finds
  • Print art on t-shirts and sell them
  • Sell personal clothing collections based on buyer requests
  • Rent clothing out for big events
  • Make your own clothing or jewelry and sell it

Let’s face it. Clothing is one of the products that will never stop being in demand. From young fashionistas to working professionals, people are more eager than ever to buy clothing online rather than deal with long lines at shopping malls.

Thrifting is also a very popular method of clothing consumption. If you love thrift shopping but never find your size or struggle to wear everything, consider selling through Shopify! You’ll get the same fun of thrifting and make more money than you ever would have expected!

Art

Are you a talented artist? Or maybe you can barely draw a stick figure, but have a great eye for the artistic vision of others. Either way, Shopify is also commonly used for selling art.

Many talented artists struggle to sell their art on social media or at craft fairs and don’t know where to get started. Shopify is the solution to this! You can host your own art work and sell originals and prints of your art. This will boost your name recognition and give you something to promote across the internet.

Alternatively, you can curate art and sell it on your Shopify. This might mean collecting it from various shops, selling through affiliate links, or finding an art supplier online.

Image courtesy of Shopify.

Questions and Answers About How to Make Money on Shopify


You’re in the business of making money, and we’re in the business of helping you get there! So, while we know that the idea of learning how to make money on Shopify is interesting, we also know that you’re bound to have questions.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about learning how to make money on Shopify, so that you feel more confident starting your journey.

How does Shopify compare to other online shopping platforms?

Why pick Shopify? After all, aren’t there other online shopping platforms? Well, sure. There are plenty of ways to sell products online, including using preexisting marketplaces like eBay or Amazon. But what Shopify does that is unique is give you all of the tools you need to run your own store.

Shopify is incredibly user-focused. You get to create your store like it is your own website. All you need is a product to sell, and the freedom is yours.

Here are a few reasons that you may want to consider using Shopify over other site builders or platforms:

  • Impressive customization options and functionality
  • Online transactions are made easy and secure
  • It is a trusted method of shopping for many customers
  • It’s easy to integrate with your other websites and social media platforms

There are a few Shopify alternatives that we recommend for those who don’t enjoy the Shopify experience. These include:

Some of these options are designed for ecommerce, but most are blogging platforms first and selling platforms second. It may be a good way to run a store in addition to your blog, but if online business is what you’re after, Shopify might be your safest choice.

Is it worth using Shopify for dropshipping?

As mentioned above, using Shopify for dropshipping is one of the most popular methods of using the platform. But is it worth it? We think so.

Shopify is the easiest place to utilize dropshipping online. Since it’s a trusted platform, many suppliers feel confident working through it. You’ll also gain plenty of benefits. We outlined most of them above, but here are some that are really worth repeating:

  • You don’t need to carry an inventory or purchase in bulk
  • It’s easy to run no matter where you or your supplier are based out of
  • You don’t have to worry about shipping items yourself
  • You get to set the prices and customize the user experience for your store
Image courtesy of Shopify.

Which Shopify plan should I choose?

With various options for paid plans, it’s easy to get caught up in second guessing your choice. We can’t tell you exactly which plan is perfect for you, since every store is different. Though, we do recommend the Basic Shopify plan for most users.

This plan, which runs for $29/month, gives you all of the basics that you need to sell on Shopify. This includes:

  • The ability to sell unlimited products
  • 22/7 customer support
  • Manual order creation
  • The ability to print shipping labels
  • Fraud analysis
  • The ability to sell in 133 currencies

You can always upgrade if you find that your store outgrows Basic Shopify. Utilize your 14-day trial before deciding, and then take an in-depth look at each plan to find out which one will work best for you.

How to Make Money on Shopify Wrap-Up


Reading about Shopify makes it almost sound too good to be true! And in a way, it is! This amazing platform gives you all of the power that you need to sell online.

To summarize, here are the basic steps to learning how to make money on Shopify:

  • Think of a business idea or a plan to develop your current business
  • Sign up for Shopify
  • Create an online store
  • Publish your shop
  • Start promoting your shop

Whether you want to sell things that you already own or work through a supplier, there are various ways that you can learn how to make money on Shopify. Since there is a 14-day free trial, we think that you should be jumping at the chance to give it a go!

So, what are you waiting for? Click here to start using Shopify today!

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