Find something fast:

How to Start a Shop

And start earning some passive income

By Davey & Krista Jones

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.

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.


Step 1: Choosing an Ecommerce Platform

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:

  1. Shopify – We think Shopify is one of the best ecommerce solution out there. It’s robust enough to sell digital or physical products, can handle complicated inventories, has the ability for coupon/discount codes, and the list goes on. It’s what we use to sell our customizable Showit themes in The Palm Shop. 
  2. WooCommerce – If you’re comfortable with WordPress, then take a look at WooCommerce. It’s probably one of the most customizable ecommerce platforms out there.
  3. Gumroad – We haven’t used Gumroad, but it’s sleek, simple layout has always been appealing. That and the fact that it’s the cheapest of the three options here, starting at only $10/month.

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.


How to start a print or educational resource shop - passive income | Davey & Krista


Step 2: Create a Mailing List (or integrate with your existing list)

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:

  1. Build an audience and create leads – A mailing list is a great way to connect with your community, and point people back to the different places they can find you such as your blog, social media, etc. It’s also an effective way to nurture leads through sending helpful content and building trust.
  2. Educate people about the product/service they bought – When someone buys, send a few emails educating people about the best way to use your product or get the most out of your service. I think the best educational emails anticipate support issues or frequently asked questions. We send a series of emails out to people who purchase a theme from The Palm Shop with video tutorials and other helpful tips.
  3. Make people aware of future products – Selling to an existing customer is generally less expensive than acquiring a new customer. By subscribing customers to a mailing list, you can get in touch with them directly about future products instead of trying to cut through the noise of social media or other advertising. You’ve probably already paid to acquire them as a customer once—why pay a second time?

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.


Step 3: Start Selling

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:

  1. Lead Magnets: Lead magnets get people on your list, but then it’s easy to point people to your shop. We suggest building a rapport with your audience before any hard sell, but there’s nothing wrong with making people aware your shop exists in one of your welcome emails.
  2. Facebook ads: Facebook has become one of the best channels to advertise on. It takes some practice to get started, but it’s definitely worth learning.
  3. Blogging and sharing: We’ve found that our blog is one of the main sources of traffic to The Palm Shop. It’s a great way to educate your audience on what you do and share the results of people who have bought your product/service. But be sure to share! Don’t just blog and expect people to find you.
  4. Ask friends to help you launch: See if a few of your industry friends would be willing to share about your new shop. When you ask, be sure to have graphics and copy they can share so it’s super easy. And it’s best to ask people with whom you have built a relationship. 
  5. Affiliates: We think it’s best to launch on your own before using affiliates, but it’s definitely something to consider after you get your shop up-and-running. And it’s a nice way to reward those who direct people to you.


Easy to customize storefront theme / website template for Showit | The Palm Shop

Santa Cruz

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. To celebrate the launch, this week only it’s on sale for 30% off! 


How to start a print or educational resource shop - passive income | Davey & Krista

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