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Recently, I was having a conversation with some friends who were also in e-commerce. We were discussing the idea of Tess and I doing a course one day. And they raised the question would we move to a platform like Shopify, the obvious reason being that if you’re going to try to make money from teaching people about e-commerce, Shopify have an incredible affiliate program. If you’re not sure what an affiliate program is, it means that if we promote Shopify as being the platform of choice, and we have a link. And you click on that link, and then you go and register to Shopify, we make money off you, basically, registering to Shopify. And Shopify’s affiliate program is actually really good. You actually make money every single month that you’re part of Shopify. So if we recommended it to hundreds of people, we can make thousands of dollars a month just from that link alone.

Now I don’t necessarily have an inherent problem with affiliate programs like this. I can understand why people do it. But it has caused a bit of an issue in that if someone is doing a review of different platforms. For example, we use WooCommerce, which is free, a plugin for WordPress. Now if someone is doing a Shopify versus WooCommerce review, because WooCommerce is free, there are no kickbacks there. But if you say that Shopify is a better platform and somebody clicks on your Shopify link, well, you make money out of it. So that really comes down to an individual’s, I guess, integrity about promoting which might be the better platform based on its actual merits as opposed to the affiliate program. But it does make it difficult to know who to trust and who to listen to.

Most e-commerce courses I know of at the moment really do promote Shopify quite heavily, and I can’t say whether or not they’re doing that for the money. I’ve never actually used Shopify, and there are reasons for that. By all accounts, it sounds like it’s a good platform because some very big reasons why we can’t recommend it to anybody that’s following our particular model.

When you start an e-commerce store in a niche, you don’t have a way or knowing that that particular e-commerce store is going to be an amazing success. There’s just no way of knowing. We’ve got a lot of different ways to figure out whether or not we might be able to rank a site in Google by looking at various competition metrics. We can look at the potential profitability of the product. There are a lot of ways you can massively increase your chances for success, but you can never ever guarantee it. If you start in a particular niche that has all the right metrics, there could be three other people starting in that particular niche on the same day that you do. And you won’t know for 6 to 12 months that they’re in there and they’re going hard, and that might make it very difficult for you to do well. So there’s just no guaranteed way.

So one of the things that we always do when we help other people – and we do mentor quite a few other people – is telling them to start in at least five niches. Now if you’re new to this, that might seem like a huge task. It might seem like a herculean task just to start one, but in fact, it’s not that difficult, particularly when you can build one site, clone it, and then change the products and change the banners etc. So the reason we say start at five is because if takes you a year or two to really get an e-commerce site going, which it can do, and you’ve chosen a niche that just for whatever reason doesn’t work out and you have to start again, two things might happen. One, you might say this e-commerce thing doesn’t work. In actual fact, you might be doing everything right. It’s just that you’ve just chosen a niche. Or number two, it will work, and you will go, “Man, I wish I would’ve started more.” That is something that we have seen. We have seen it with some of the people that we’ve mentored.

They have had actually really good success with their first one, but man, I wish I had started more. So based on that, if you’re going to start five sites, the difference between starting five sites with something like Shopify, where you’re paying $29 a month even for a basic e-commerce store plus a percentage of sales – unless I think if you use their credit card processing facilities. All of a sudden, you’re paying more than $150 a month for these five stores, some of which may not work out. Whereas with WooCommerce, because it’s free, you can actually put them all on the same hosting for like $10 a month until you figure out which ones are really going to work for you. And gosh, after 12 to 18 months of pushing these stores, the amount of money that you save by going with the WooCommerce platform over something like Shopify is crazy. I’m talking thousands of dollars.Generate Hills of glory Ammo

So that’s our reason we couldn’t with conscience say definitely start with Shopify. Again, nothing inherently against Shopify other than the actual cost of getting started. WooCommerce, I would say definitely, it has its drawbacks as well. You get to learn a lot more about how to set the site up. Whereas Shopify, you have more help. And with WooCommerce, sometimes when you upgrade one plugin, something else will stop working. So there are other things you need to be aware of. So again, WooCommerce is not without its drawbacks. But for us, teaching somebody else how to do what we’ve done, we would have to go with something like WooCommerce, just because we believe that the risk of only starting in one niche is too high. It’s just too high. Whereas if you start in a few, first of all, you have more chance of success, more chance of finding at least one really good one. And hopefully, you’ll find more than one. And when you get a couple of years into this, then you’ll be able to quit your job or even be able to do more than that.

So that’s it. That’s why we would say WooCommerce over Shopify. Might be a bit different angle than other people talk about. Others might talk about different features, but for us, it’s very much about the business model as a whole. I hope that helps.