When you first start out blogging, you have this idea that making money will be easy.
I mean, that’s what all the blogging courses say, right?
“I made 3k in my first month of blogging!”
“Skyrocket your pageviews!”
Whatever the promise of blogging courses out there…most bloggers work…HARD for the money. It’s a hustle. Don’t let anyone tell you different! (That’s why I love Paul Scrivens because he cuts to the chase…no messing around).
Most bloggers make money in a few obvious ways:
- Ads (which require a lot of pageviews)
- Sponsored posts (which usually happen after blogging for a while)
- Products (which people buy only if they find your site)
And while pageviews were easy to come by in 2005 when blogging really started being a thing and only a few bloggers were competing, today there are about a bajillion blogs. And you have to really know how to stand out to make the cut.
One of the biggest ways things that I’ve learned in my 10+ years of blogging, is that there is a REASON why the big bloggers promote certain products…because they work (not to mention they are usually affiliates for that product).
If you want good conversions for your email sign ups…Lead Pages.
If you want good open rates…Convert Kit.
If you want products to sell…Shopify.
And if you want a good case study to see if having a shop with Shopify really makes difference…take mine! I’ve had an estore since 2011. During that time, I sold about $20 a year. Seriously. I don’t know why I couldn’t convert. I tried everything. Ads. Popups. Social media marketing.
Maybe my products sucked. I don’t think they do…but it’s possible!
I kept seeing information about Shopify. After discussing it with my husband, I took the leap. I decided to shell out the $30/month and see if it made a difference.
And I was really doubtful…I mean, it looked the same, what could be different about it!? An online store, is an online stone…is an online store.
Boy! I was wrong.
The first week, I made $25.99…compare that to $20 a year previously…um, what?
How I Made $1025.77 in Sales on Shopify as a Newbie
October 2018: First Seven Days – $25.99
These were the SAME PDF downloads I always offered!
What even! It had to be the platform. I didn’t change anything else.
That got me excited. So I started branching out. Promoting a little more. That’s when things started really taking off.
November 2018: Month 2 – 249.11
You want to know what I made in 30 days of starting my store? $249.11!!!!
Okay, something was different with this new platform. I don’t know if Shopify has sprinkled some magic dust on their platform…but whatever it is…it’s working.
My old platform didn’t offer any of these results OR the analytics!
Also…my old platform wasn’t dynamic. I had to create each product page. YUCK! (And many times I failed to do this). Most times customers want to really look at a product closeup and I think I underestimated the fact that customers like to have a certain order of operations to their shopping experience.
And they like to see the secure HTTPS at the top (which Shopify offers for free).
PS. I did try Volusion and really wanted to like them because they are in my town of Austin, Texas…but they didn’t compare in ease and use. And they didn’t offer the things Shopify does.
December 2018: Month 3 – 249.94
The third month was the same thing..$294.94.
I also decided to launch into physical products based on my customer polls…head coverings (if you didn’t know Christian head covering is a thing!) Launching out into physical products is scary stuff!
I used some of the tactics I learned in Elite Blog Academy, I launched my products via a series of emails with an overwhelmingly good response for this newbie! The formatting provided by EBA was seriously easy to follow and made me soooo excited.
Many people have PDFs, but I enjoy the idea of selling actual things as well. I learned a lot from a failed jewelry business we owned once. I’ll have to write a blog post about that one day. But let’s just say, you can’t just sell things to make money…you really have to believe in a product and be passionate about it for the long haul.
Oh…and you have to have a story behind it all…I promise, storytelling is the KEY to selling things!
January 2019: Month 4 – $28.92
Like most sales, January sales dipped down pretty low. Everyone is skimping and saving after Christmas..and honestly, I wasn’t promoting much because I was dealing with a house full of the flu!
My sales were only $28.92…but again that’s without doing much of anything…and it was better than my usual $0/month sales with my previous platform (RIP WP Tips & Tricks).
But don’t worry…it goes up again in February!
February 2019: Month 5 – $151.46
I started added more physical products to my store and using Pinterest more to promote them. I was able to have physical products via dropshipping AND my own products that are at my location…there’s a lot of things I learned…some the hard way. I’ll write a blog post on that soon!
Another one of the things I realized in February was most of my audience didn’t even know I had a store.
These are my TRUE FANS…and they weren’t even buying yet! The people that were purchasing from me were simply people who randomly found me online from Pinterest.
I started focusing on promoting to MY OWN AUDIENCE to increase sales. DUH!
Also, you can see that from the previous month, the average amount spent is also going up. I installed a plugin to capture lost sales…and it seemed to be working.
March 2019: Month 6 – $124.97
I saw a little dip in my sales this month and I have to say…it’s my fault.
Remember that plugin that I installed to remind people to finish their purchase? I was stingy and didn’t want to pay the $8/month so I cancelled it…and it show! I had a lot more unfinished sales this month.
But I decided during this month that I would change my business model and focus on only dropshipped tees that I designed and were shipped within the US. I have a couple items I dropship from China, but they are from a reliable source that I’ve tested multiple times.
I’m looking to change that ASAP, because honestly there is NOT a lot of money made on each shirt after Printful takes a cut…but baby steps, right?
April 2019: Month 7 (NOT EVEN A FULL MONTH) – $195.38
This month I refocused on selling my printables because that’s the absolute easiest way to make passive income (and has almost a 0% return rate…cuz they are digital products…unlike physical stuff!)
I launched a Christian Resource Library so that people can access my digital products for less money than they are all together…partly because I want people to READ them!
I started it at a low price for current subscribers and to get reviews (oh…did I mention I have a plugin for reviews on my store?), but plan on increasing the price in May 2019.
Overview – $1025.77
All in all, I’ve been really pleased with the Shopify platform. I’m still learning and adding products.
My goals for my main blog (RadicalChristianWoman) have changed a little because of my online store. I really enjoy selling products I can stand behind. I always think about the verse in Proverbs 31:18 that says:
She perceives that her merchandise is good. Proverbs 31:18a
I think it’s important that we feel good about what we sell…as much as I loved adding products to my store that were dropshipped from China because it made my store ‘full’…it didn’t feel good. I constantly worried if they were good quality even though I DID test/research the store/product…I just always wondered. I didn’t feel I was in control.
I hope this story/income report has encouraged you to start a store. I plan on adding more information about Shopify, so make sure you sign up for my email list to get updates (scroll down)!
Don’t forget to tithe off your income!
The best part about being a successful Christian entrepreneur is giving back to Jesus!
On my shop, I sell scarves that support an Indian missionary and I get to send money to one of my favorite ministries!