Functioning e-Store in 60 minutes!

The Startup Gauntlet has been thrown

Tim Ferriss just issued this challenge to make an extra $100k in the next 6 months.  The premise is simple: starting selling your product online with Shopify.com, with start-up assistance provided by The Four-Hour Workweek, and create a self-sustaining business within 6 months.  The prize money is really there to serve as a kick in the pants to would-be entrepreneurs.

I’ve gotten on board with this challenge and I’m getting the start-ups I’m working with signed up.  I started by checking if Tim’s claim that a Shopify e-commerce store with “slick design . . . could be set up in minutes” is really true.

Testing how easy Shopify really is

Last night I got on the phone with the owner of a jewelry design startup, and with the magic of technology was sharing my screen with her within five minutes.  We read over Tim’s challenge email/post together and clicked on the link to get started.

Joining the contest requires creating a Shopify site which is free for the first 30 days.  (Side note: Kudos to Tim and Shopify for setting up a competition which is exciting and will undoubtedly incubate some new businesses while simultaneously driving traffic to their book and website.  $100k can’t buy that kind of marketing). Five minutes later we had the website setup and were putting in our first product.  It really was simple – we uploaded a picture and a description of the item, made up a SKU and then the product was online and ready to go.

We then browsed through some of Shopify’s feature, all of which are included in the monthly price.  We chose the basic $25/month plan which has more then enough features to make the store run.  We hope we get to the point where we need a more robust set of features down the line!   The appearance of the store is entirely customizable and Shopify even points you in the direction of designers who are familiar with the site and can get you started.  Simple changes like the color scheme and background image are also readily accessible.  Payment systems (like PayPal and Google Checkout) are integrated as well.

Results: Less than two hours later

Ultimately it took about 90 minutes from when we first got on the call to this point.  And I’m sure as I work through the setup experience with some of my other clients the process will get easier and easier to work through.  The store isn’t truly functioning yet – there are some more options to click through and some default text to change before we go-live.  But that hour and half is about the amount of time you would spend talking to a web developer who would then charge you about $10-15k to build the same site with similar functionality and customizable features.  At $25/month, we can run this store for 400 months or 30+ years before reaching that amount!!

Anyone else thinking about entering this challenge?

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5 comments on “Functioning e-Store in 60 minutes!
  1. bluemagicstudios says:

    Hi Eric,
    Thanks for the idea ! I have just signed up on Shopify.com.
    I will start a photography business 🙂 will see what happens !
    thomas

  2. mangofanatic says:

    I spent hours upon hours researching e-commerce solutions and coders to implement them a couple years back. I was so daunted by the cost and work involved that I ended up selling on Etsy only. After having just spent two hours setting up the basic Shopify site for my shop, I can certainly attest that it really is that easy! Not having ecommerce expertise is no longer an excuse not to start an online business, as I have just learned from experience.

  3. Eric says:

    That’s great Lakshmi, thanks for sharing your experience! Looking forward to seeing the new store do well.

  4. bluemagicstudios says:

    Hi Eric,
    Thanks for the idea ! I have just signed up on Shopify.com.
    I will start a photography business 🙂 will see what happens !
    thomas

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