The Best of Shopify Masters 2016: A Top 10 Roundup

best of shopify masters

Shopify Masters is a podcast where Shopify merchants share their stories, mistakes, and learning experiences on their journey from startup to success. 

Twice a week, every Tuesday and Thursday, our host Felix Thea interviews a different entrepreneur to tap into their knowledge so that you—the listener—can walk away with actionable insights to apply to your own ecommerce store.

From the co-founder of JM&Sons who earned PR mentions by turning a shipping container into a furniture showroom, to the entrepreneur who bought Potato Parcel and now makes $20K a month selling "potato-grams", Shopify Masters explores the stories of a diverse mix of entrepreneurs to:

  • Analyze their winning strategies.
  • Share their recommended apps and resources.
  • Discuss the hurdles and challenges that many entrepreneurs face.

With over 100 episodes to date, there are a lot of hidden gems that deserve to be highlighted.

So we've rounded up the best of the best this past year to bring you the top 10 most-listened-to episodes of 2016. 

Subscribe to Shopify Masters on Google Play and iTunes!


30 Days To Market: How This $800K Coconut Oil Business Bootstrapped In The First Months

skinny coconut oil shopify mastersGuest:  Matt Geddie, Skinny Coconut Oil

Some entrepreneurs are self-described "opportunity addicts" who start a series of businesses trying to validate an idea by bringing a product to market as fast as they can.

For Matt Geddie of Skinny Coconut Oil, speed is the name of the game when you're riding the wave of a trend like coconut oil.

After validating his idea with keyword research and thinking up a way to differentiate his product, he introduced it to the market via an online store by spending as little as he could.     

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to work with and incentivize bloggers to review your products
  • How to retain an existing customer rather than expensively getting a new customer
  • How to test if your product, brand, or store can be a viable business

Starting an ecommerce store is one of the most inexpensive-but-effective ways to bring a product to market. 

How Wee Squeak Captured Over 600 Emails Using Only $90 in Facebook Ads

wee squeak

Guest: Susan Bradley, Wee Squeak

If you're going to spend money on advertising, it pays to have a plan for getting the biggest bang for your buck even if you don't make sales from your ads.

That's why it's beneficial for many business owners to make an effort to capture emails from their paid traffic.

For Wee Squeak, collecting emails is one of their biggest focuses in order to reach customers when they're actually ready to buy.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • How to capture email subscribers by running events on Facebook (and not the “events” you’re thinking of).
  • How to earn a subscriber AND a sale at the same time.
  • How to partner with other brands to co-promote giveaways that grow your email list.

If you don't put a [lead generation system] in place to capture those people, you're going to have to pay again every time you want to reach them. 

How zeroUV Made $9 Million Last Year Selling On Online Marketplaces

zerouvGuest: Brian Fujita, ZeroUV

As a store owner, you will inevitably have to compete with online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay for customers.

But instead of competing, you can sell there as well, as zeroUV did with their sunglasses. For Brian Fujita, one of the keys to success is to list your products in all the marketplaces where your customers shop.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to differentiate yourself on a 3rd party marketplace like Ebay with so many other sellers
  • What kind of businesses do well on eBay
  • How much work it takes to become a featured brand on Amazon and how it doubled their daily revenue

The way we looked at it was, 'Let's open up as many locations on the ecommerce highway as we could in order to capture as many customers as possible.

1,000 True Fans: Tapping into Facebook Groups to Generate Sales

lake providence lodge scented wax candles

Guest: Karen Kawallek, Lake Providence Lodge Scented Wax Melts

Facebook Groups are where people collect and come together around a shared interest.

Niche businesses can likely find hundreds of potential customers in these groups. But for Karen Kawallek who managed to create, moderate and grow her own Facebook Group, she found it gave her access to hundreds of hyper-loyal, super-enthusiastic fans who weren't just repeat customers but advocates too. 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why you should start with selling just 1 or 2 products instead of hundreds.
  • How to run small $10 giveaways on other Facebook groups to grow your own Facebook group.
  • The “1,000 True Fans” model and what it means for your financial freedom.

I have [customers] that have done their own videos—none of them have been paid or supplied product. They're just a highly engaged community of people who enjoy scented wax.

How Cold Emailing Helped Craft Street Design Go From Side Hustle to Full Time Business

craft street design

Guest: Pratima Aravabhoomi, Craft Street Design

Just because a marketing tactic doesn't scale, doesn't mean it can't be effective and cost-efficient.

Cold emailing is one approach that some argue doesn't work as well as it used to. But Pratima of Craft Street Design has proven that if you take the time to do prospect research, truly personalize your emails and make each one count, it can be a good—if limited—way of generating sales early on.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to test the market before going all in.
  • How cold emailing landed Pratima big accounts that gave her the cash flow to go full time.
  • How to use a street team to promote your product, how to hire them, and how much they cost.

I don't send hundreds of emails. I only send 3-5 a week. About 2-3 reply... about 50% lead to a sale.

How Persistence Got Natural Force to $1 Million in Sales

natural force shopify mastersGuest: Justin Quinn, Natural Force

The nutrition and supplement space might be crowded, but the rising and falling tide of trends within the industry create gaps you can fill as an entrepreneur if you spot them early enough.

Natural Force saw an opportunity to become an all-natural alternative to traditional supplements and, through persistence, they were able to create a quality product to fill that gap.  

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Where to start when thinking about raising capital from friends and family.
  • How to ensure you’re not missing those “make or break” opportunities in fast changing markets.
  • How to choose an idea to focus on when you’re juggling multiple businesses (HINT: It’s not always the one you’re most passionate about).

I think if you're going to outsource something, you need to have done it first.

How HDX Hydration Mix Sells Someone a Drink Before They Know What It Tastes Like

hdx hydration mixGuest: Vipe Desai, HDX Hydration Mix

Strategic partnerships let you share resources and audiences with other brands.

Depending on your product, you can get very creative with how you position a co-marketing opportunity.

That's what HDX Hydration did by distributing free samples of their drink mix by shipping it with their partner's product. 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to convince customers to buy a product online that requires the sense of taste.
  • Why you should not build a customer base from scratch and how to partner with complementary companies instead.
  • How to get free samples to potential customers for pennies on the dollar
  • And why you shouldn’t focus on volume, but instead on margin—this company has 80% margins.

With partnerships, what you have to do is find like-minded brands that fit with your product, that are complementary to each other, but also how you can reciprocate to them.

How One Entrepreneur Generates $1 Million a Year Selling Marijuana Accessories

myster marijuana accessoriesGuest: Ben Kovacs, Myster & Lifted View

The marijuana industry presents many big opportunities for entrepreneurs as society develops a more lenient attitude towards the herb.

Ben Kovacs is a Sales Executive at Twitter with two side hustles in the growing market of cannabis culture. In a still-stigmatized space, he decided to focus on the long underserved professional class of marijuana users by selling high-end accessories and supplements.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • Why you’ll get better customers by offering 100% satisfaction guaranteed refunds rather than giving away free samples.
  • Why not having to rely on immediate revenue can help you focus on building a product-first business.
  • What it’s like working a demanding sales job and running 2 Shopify businesses at the same.

There's a big difference between having a product that people love and enjoy, and having a business.

How Solé Bicycles Sells 15,000 Bikes A Year Using Content Marketing

sole bicyclesGuest: Ben Petraglia, Sole Bicycles

Building a lifestyle brand is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and that's because it's not an easy thing to do. 

Content marketing has proven to be one of the best ways to establish a lifestyle brand. But whereas many might think of writing articles first, Solé Bicycles chose mixtapes and art because that's the content their audience consumes.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • How to beat your competitors by not marketing your product and instead marketing an aspirational lifestyle tied to your product.
  • How they bootstrapped a inventory-heavy business without any significant outside investments.
  • What a "Sourcing Agent" is and how hiring one helped them scale their business smoothly.

Anyone can create the same run-of-the-mill infographic, but what are you going to create that represents your brand, that's going to set you apart from someone selling a similar product?   

Stay Tuned For More Shopify Masters

Shopify Masters gives you access to invaluable conversations with successful store owners that all store owners can benefit from.

This podcast lets you hear it all straight from the entrepreneur's mouth while you commute, work out, or grow your own business (one of the benefits of the audio format). 

You can catch Shopify Masters every Tuesday and Thursday right here on our blog.

Whether you're starting out or scaling up, there's something in this show for you.

If you're already a regular listener, leave us a review on iTunes and tell us what you think!


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