No More Excuses – How to Make an Extra $100,000 in the Next 6 Months

393 Comments


The Wilburns have created a multinational from their home.(Photo: Dana Smith)

“So, do you have any ideas?”

“Well, if we’re going to do something, it should be big. It should make people sit up and say OMFG. Make people actually do something,” I responded.

The conversation continued in front of the Thai restaurant, me pacing on my cell phone in San Francisco — foregoing food in excitement — and Tobi in his offices in Ottawa, Canada.

We decided in the subsequent 10 minutes to offer $100,000 cash as a bribe to you all. The overview?

* $100,000 for the grand winner
* $120,000 total in prizes
* 6 months starting January 1 but you can (and should) get started now
* Even if you don’t win the prizes, you should end up with a viable business at the end of 6 months

The details make it even better…

Background

Randy and Nicola Wilburn in the above photo, featured in BusinessWeek’s “Mom-and-Pop Multinationals“, are just two of the thousands of people in 35 countries who have used the steps in The 4-Hour Workweek as a basis to create near- or fully-automated businesses. The principles of automation have been equally applied within both Fortune and Inc. 500 companies.

The problem?

Some things just aren’t as simple in execution as they appear on paper. If there is one place where readers fail or give up, it is on such automated “muses”, as such automated businesses are called in book to abbreviate.

It’s most often due to lack of technical skills, lack of testing abilities, or — much more often — simple intimidation and failure to attempt it at all. The truth: it’s easier to continue in the predictable and comfortable mediocrity of the 9-to-5 than to start a business. It seems too big and there is little perceived incentive to change.

Let’s change that.

Tobi Lutke is the CEO of Shopify. Several months ago, I polled more than 50,000 Twitter users about e-commerce platforms, and the near-unanimous response was that Shopify offered the easiest-to-use full-service platform in existence. I’d never heard of them.

It seems I was late to the party.

From Pixar to Tesla, Pamela Anderson to Amnesty International, I saw slick design after slick design, all of which could be set up in minutes. Even Google Website Optimizer is built-in for testing. I was so surprised and impressed that I became an advisor upon meeting Tobi at RailsConf.

I want to give you a reason to finally take the jump with full confidence. Here’s what we’re doing:

The Competition – More Than One Winner

Shopify and I are running a 6-month “Build Your Business” competition. The store with the most revenue for two consecutive months (we’ll use your best two) wins $100,000.

There are other runner-up prizes, and there will be worthwhile surprises. To support you with the tools and skills you need, there will be expert tutorials on critical subjects (like Google Adwords testing, design, etc.) on a monthly basis at minimum, posts on this blog with real-life examples, and more.

The bullets:

* $100,000 for the grand winner
* $120,000 total in prizes
* 6 months starting January 1 but you can (and should) get started now. Even two weeks of practice will give you a massive advantage. I strongly suggest playing with it now.
* The best two consecutive months of sales count
* Even if you don’t win the prizes, you should end up with a viable business at the end of 6 months
* The steps and details in the new, expanded 4-Hour Workweek will be used as ground-zero for instructions
* Contest open — unfortunately — to US residents only. Please see “Afterword” below for why you should do it regardless. The tools and guidance will be available to all entrants.

Outside the US? Perhaps you should just incorporate a US company online? But – I’m no lawyer. Speak with a professional first and read the fine print. Be sure to read the FAQ, which opens up even more opportunities.

[Update: there is a new forum on Shopify for questions and feedback about the contest]

Tens of thousands of online stores have been created with Shopify: everything from Nerdbots to CrossFit.

Will you be next? I know a Fortune 500 company employee who’s quitting in 2010 because his Shopify store makes more than $1,000,000 per year. Not bad for a side gig!

If you’ve thought of starting a muse but have put it off or given up, here are two reasons to make 2010 the year that changes everything:

$100,000 and know-how guidance from experts. Though I’m an advisor, I receive no commission or payment whatsoever for this competition. It’s to get more people to pull the trigger.

If you decide not to pull the trigger, ask yourself “why not?” If not now, then when?

This competition is intended as a benevolent and encouraging kick in the ass. This stuff isn’t rocket science, but it does require stepping outside your comfort zone for a bit to realize: this isn’t that hard. It’s just unfamiliar. If you do it now, a lot of people will be in the same boat and you’ll take the trip together.

No more excuses. Click here to learn how simple it can be.

[Update: there is a new forum on Shopify for questions and feedback about the contest]

###

Frequently Asked Questions with Tobi

[The most up-to-date FAQ is on the contest page here]

> Rachel: Can you sell a combination of affiliate products and your own products through Shopify?

Yes absolutely. In fact we highly encourage our customers to source extra products that round off the product offering. A lot of our customers started by selling just a single product and later on started cross selling related products between their stores for additional sales.

> BrianReid: Can we use a drop shipper like Doba for products?

Yes, Shopify even integrates directly with drop shippers and consignment warehouses such as Shipwire, Webgistix and Amazon fulfillment. These services are really the key to fully automate your online store because manual shipping is labor intensive. At Shopify we have something called the App Store (http://apps.shopify.com) which allows you to add extensions to your store (think a mix of wordpress plugins and facebook apps). I know there are a few developers currently working on Doba integration.

> Erica: I’m using 1ShoppingCart right now. Can I just move stuff over to Shopify and qualify, or does it have to be a new business?

The point of this competition is to encourage people to create new businesses. If you could simply move a million or multi million dollar business over to Shopify and take the pot then the entire thing would be fairly uninteresting. So in other words, moving an existing business over: no go. Creating a new, related business that you organically grow from the start without simply redirecting your old store: OK.

That being said, we would love to get your existing business on Shopify. If you want to talk more in depth about this, contact me at tobi[at]shopify.com.

> Erica: For the Shopify folks: Do you offer a 1-click post-sale upsell feature like Upsell Express from 1SC?

I’m not familiar with the 1-click post-sale product but marketing to prior clients is a big part of Shopify. We have great integration with Sendloop, Vertical Response, Campaign Monitor and all such services. Through the App Store that I mentioned earlier there are also some really exciting new apps being developed that help people find related products that go well with their current cart content. Shopify is a very flexible platform.

Afterword

Gross revenue and US residents only? A case study in technology and real-life lawyering…

First and foremost, the best prize we can offer is this: your own near-automated, cash-flow positive business at the end of six months. The $100,000 is just a catalyst, a push. The former is, as the proverb goes, teaching you to fish, whereas the latter is handing over a single fish.

No contest is perfect. Shopify can’t verify net profit (without private investigators proving margins), so revenue is used as the measuring stick, which is trackable. Does this handicap you if you sell comic books instead of race cars? Not necessarily. It just means you’ll need to sell more units. Important: the most any single transaction can be applied the contest is $5,000.

Life is a competition. The rules were the best we could put together without making it impossibly complicated.

But, what’s up with the “limited to US residents” and all that?

From a post on Etsy about their own contest challenges (the whole post is worth a read):

Etsy is an international site. We have buyers and sellers from all around the globe. And we love our community. To solely enable U.S. residents to participate in an aspect of our site did not sit well with me or with Etsy. So I called an attorney who specializes in contest law to find an alternative. Unfortunately, his response supported my disappointing findings. He explained that in order to hold an international contest, Etsy would need to consult a licensed attorney who specializes in contest law for each and every country eligible for the contest. And, in fact, for many countries a translator would have to draft the rules. “How much would this cost and how much time would it take?” I innocently asked the contest law attorney. His two-word answer was most discouraging: “a lot.”

Here is Tobi’s version, especially frustrating, considering that Shopify is based in Canada!

“When putting together the contest we really wanted to make it a contest for anyone, anywhere in the world. Throughout the planning I spent more hours on the phone with lawyers than I’d care to admit to anyone. Unfortunately, as time when on, it became clear that it would be impossible to hold the contest anywhere outside the US without fundamentally altering the original concept.

Without going into too much detail, the crux of the matter is the classification of the contest as a game of chance versus a game of skill. Apparently, being good at selling stuff online is considered chance by many agencies and therefore would be governed by Lottery laws, as silly as this sounds.

That being said, you can still participate in this contest wherever you are. The prize money is significant, but don’t forget the spirit of the contest: to give a kick in the pants to all those people who have wanted to start businesses but haven’t. The real prize is having a business of your own at the end of the six months. You’ll still have all the same resources and guides as everyone else: support from the Shopify team, help and guidance from Tim and other experts, and more control over your financial independence.”

###

Elsewhere on the web:

Get the brand-new Expanded and Updated 4-Hour Workweek, published 12/15, which includes more than 50 new case studies (including families) of luxury lifestyle design, muse creation, and world travel.

Posted on: December 8, 2009.

Please check out Tools of Titans, my new book, which shares the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers. It was distilled from more than 10,000 pages of notes, and everything has been vetted and tested in my own life in some fashion. The tips and tricks in Tools of Titans changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for sample chapters, full details, and a Foreword from Arnold Schwarzenegger!

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

393 comments on “No More Excuses – How to Make an Extra $100,000 in the Next 6 Months

  1. I love it! I was on the verge of launching my own site, now I have extra incentive and a community of awesome people to help me (and everyone else , of course) along. Who cares about the prize money, the info and learning experience are well worth the price of admission.

    Like

  2. > Rachel: Can you sell a combination of affiliate products and your own products through shopify?

    Yes absolutely. In fact we highly encourage our customers to source extra products that round off the product offering. A lot of our customers started by selling just a single product and later on started cross selling related products between their stores for additional sales.

    > BrianReid: Can we use a drop shipper like Doba for products?

    Yes, Shopify even integrates directly with drop shippers and consignment warehouses such as Shipwire, Webgistix and Amazon fulfillment. These services are really the key to fully automate your online store because manual shipping is labor intensive. At Shopify we have something called the App Store (http://apps.shopify.com) which allows you to add extensions to your store (think a mix of wordpress plugins and facebook apps). I know there are a few developers currently working on Doba integration.

    > Erica: I’m using 1ShoppingCart right now. Can I just move stuff over to Shopify and qualify, or does it have to be a new business?

    The point of this competition is to encourage people to create new businesses. If you could simply move a million or multi million dollar business over to Shopify and take the pot then the entire thing would be fairly uninteresting. So in other words, moving an existing business over: no go. Creating a new, related business that you organically grow from the start without simply redirecting your old store: OK.

    That being said, we would love to get your existing business on Shopify. If you want to talk more in depth about this, contact me at tobi[at]shopify.com.

    > Erica: For the Shopify folks: Do you offer a 1-click post-sale upsell feature like Upsell Express from 1SC?

    I’m not familiar with the 1-click post-sale product but marketing to prior clients is a big part of Shopify. We have great integration with Sendloop, Vertical Response, Campaign Monitor and all such services. Through the App Store that I mentioned earlier there are also some really exciting new apps being developed that help people find related products that go well with their current cart content. Shopify is a very flexible platform.

    Like

  3. @Pete- I feel your pain, I first read 4HWW(in fact it was the very first book I ever read that wasn’t required for school) a little over a year ago and while I felt the power of his message I didn’t take action.

    Even worse is I learned of it from an entrepreneur forum that I was very active in, that also helped inspire me- still no action 😦

    Finally, back in August I did the 30 Day Challenge, much like the challenge Tim presents, went through the motions, was very gung-ho and even contemplated a few methods of further application(the car blog I started didn’t yield the results I wanted so I scrapped it). Worst of all, I am still paying for all the expired free-trials and have still been spinning my wheels on how to apply this.

    Through this all though, I have kept my head up and realized that at the end of the day the energy/motivation/focus must be consistent and not cyclical to achieve the results desired- all the Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Ed Dale, etc material will only take me so far, the rest I must fill in myself 🙂

    And oh yea, one of Tim’s principles I really need to master is avoiding “information overload”, one of the failures of the car blog was overloading myself with car information thinking I needed to know it all to provide any value, not to mention since it was a subject I already had a ton of knowledge on, it was also difficult to feel that what I had to share wasn’t already something that was out there.

    Like

  4. Hi Tim,

    This is a fantastic opportunity. Unfortunately being outside of the US I will not be able to participate (from my understanding, its the individual’s citizenship as opposed to the country the business is registered to yes?)…

    The other thing is that I am currently working on a muse or two, but these are information products and are currently my point of focus as I have a niche and the knowledge.

    I would still like to participate in the exercise and learn from the experts and the community.

    I am happy to pay the $25 per month purely for the learning experience, but obviously I would prefer not to.

    Is there going to be a way to gain access to the training without joining shopify?

    Cheers,
    Vincent

    Like

  5. TIm,

    OK! I am a total newbi to e-commerce, in fact…never done it, in a store type of fashion.

    I really want to do this contest (mostly for the learning) and am having a challenge finding product to sell.

    I have organic cooking, raw food and health passions and I have a Cooking Video Blog Project Starting that I would like to integrate with this. I need some product, though.

    Where do I find product? at first I was under the impression that Shopify has a “Wholesale Product Directory” or the like.

    I found an article with some search terms:

    Drop shipper Directories
    Wholesaler Directories
    Importer Directories
    Exporter Directories

    I feel a bit stumped on where to start with this. Shopify wiki it say I need “something to sell” and I find in the wiki to help find this “something”.

    I want to have some Clarity on this before opening my Shopify store.

    I am totally up for Ideas, TIM? …or any one else?

    Thank you

    Like

  6. I liked everything about shopify except their “Transaction Fees” when they are not actually truly handling the transaction. That takes another 1-2% from my bottom line on top of the actual payment processor percentage charges.

    “Q: What does Shopify charge its transaction fees on?
    A: Shopify charges its transaction fees on the total size of the transactions (cost of products + tax + shipping). Please note that we do not charge tax on shipping (your shipping company does).”

    Like

  7. Tim,

    I’ve read your book, subscribe to your feed, and think this contest is a great idea.

    We’d be happy to help support this initiative by providing free online backup to participants. That way, they ensure they won’t lose any important files related to creating their near-automated, cash-flow positive business at the end of six months. Ping me if this sounds like something you may want to provide. You have my email ID.

    Lux

    Like

  8. Oi Tim,

    So trigger pulled, myshopify all signed up for. Question if you have the time. Can myshopify be used for market testing? Is it possible to use myshopify to track follow through to purchase page without capturing credit card or payment information?

    Abraco,
    Jason

    Like

  9. Tim, you’re amazing!

    Just at the moment when I started thinking that your blog is getting a little less than “best of the best” with recent posts, you created such an inspirational contest!

    Unfortunately, I won’t be able participate in the competition itself as I’m not from the USA, but I still will try to get as much as possible from this. Could you please provide some information about the way Shopify supports international clients? In other words, if we cannot participate in the competition itself can we still use Shopify as a platform and create a store, sell/ship stuff using it?

    Thanks a lot!

    Like

  10. Hi Tim,

    Great initiative! Unfortunately I am not living nor working in the US …

    However, could you please help the UK crowd with a launch date for the Expanded & Extended, “bigger, faster, stronger” edition of 4HWW?

    Borders books has pulled the plug, Amazon says “Temporarily Out of Stock” … what is the best channel you think?

    Many thanks in advance,
    Kind regards

    Greg

    Like

  11. @Michael could you expand the concept of “have an attorney vet it”? Have you got some weblinks? Has anyone got some suggestion on which attorney to refer to?

    Besides, I’m quite willing to jump into this “game of chance”, but I have a few decisions to make, considering that I don’t care too much about the prize. Namely: start an US inc. (which would also allow me to compete for the prize) or take on the insanely more difficult task of setting up a business based in Italy (which I am afraid would not yield any real advantage, but is extremely much more challenging, thus intriguing)?

    Tim (or anyone else), could you give some advise?
    I have been thinking for months that if (or as soon as) I am able to set up my muse here where I live, I will “translate” the 4hww for the Italian market, but I can assure that it is a daunting task… Or maybe I am just not good enough at it.

    Like

  12. Hi Tim.

    I´m from SPAIN.

    Even I don´t summit the price I´m interested in set a e-comerce web to sell in USA using all the knowledge of the contest.

    Where can I get all the information to set a INC. in USA?

    Thanks.

    Like

  13. Hi, everyone!

    Sorry for English, I’m not native english-speaker, but I’ll try to make no mistakes.

    So…this idea is great and bla bla bla 🙂

    But, I have another problem…I have NO problems with tech skills, I have a few blogs, I can make e-shop or whatever…bit it’s not the MAIN thing. How will I find my customers? Sure, I can buy a lot of ad, but right know I just have no money, when I tried to create my business first I lost everything and started to learn 🙂 Now I understand that money and tech skills are not priority #1. Customers rules 🙂

    So, for example I opened e-shop – how will I find them? Is GoodleAdWords the cheapest way? Is this enought? Should I find some stupid job again to get some extra $? Thinking about it is killing me 🙂

    Thanks!

    Andrew.

    Like

  14. I live and work on the other side of the planet from the USA! But I’ve implemented nearly everything I could from The Four-Hour Work Week, and it’s made a big difference in my life.

    Everything except Income Autopilot, and believe me, I TRIED. I started in October and have been stonewalled for a month now, though things started well. I’m not giving up, but it is a little depressing.

    But hey, I’m back. I’m in. No prize money? What the hell. Let’s DO this.

    Len

    Like

  15. Step by step way to win the contest :

    – make a $100 000
    – buy all you good during this period
    – show the money you “made” and get the cash
    – refund your load with it
    – sell what you bought on ebay half the price and really make $50 000

    Good luck 🙂

    Like

  16. Sorry, I sent the comment too soon, full of typo :

    Step by step way to win the contest :

    – make a $100 000 loan
    – buy all your goods during 2 months
    – show the money you “made” and get the cash
    – refund your loan with it
    – sell what you bought on ebay half the price and really make $50 000

    Good luck 🙂

    Like

  17. For those not in the US. You could try partnering with someone in the US. For example, someone from Canada with products to sell could partner with someone in the US that has no clue what to sell.

    I do not believe the rules say that you cannot work together.

    Like

  18. I get the worry about complying with laws in each country, but I’m surprised people actually pay any attention to it. Foreign countries can’t haul you in on contest laws if you’re not in their country. It’s a bit like if you’re a US company offering porn on the Web.. you can’t get blasted in France, Russia, or wherever since you’re complying with local laws.

    As such, I don’t see why US companies can’t really do international contests. The worst that could happen? Some foreign government might rant and whine yet be able to do absolutely nothing about it except tax the winnings.

    Like

  19. Thanks, Tim! What a great idea and a great kick in the ass to end 2009 with. I have to go dig up my old copy of 4HWW to reacquaint myself with all the goods. This just what I needed for motivation.

    Like

  20. Thanks for the kick in the pants! I think you’ve kicked them into overwhelm–I tried to ask a couple of questions via their chat option, but couldn’t get a response. I bet they’re doing some hiring right now… Of course, everyone they hire will realize they could be running their own business, and the cycle will continue.

    Like

  21. Imagine Shopify being a Canadian company and we as canadians cannot participate. It all makes sense legally which kind of sucks for us.

    I think just the concept in its own right should be enough to get the ball rolling. I would have to say this is the best incentive I’ve heard of to promote entrepreneurship.

    Like

  22. I Paid a Lousy $60 Bucks to Submit my Perfect Pitch to Richard Branson at the Perfect Business Event + even tho I easily had the BEST Idea I didn’t hear Poop from them!! Sadly it was just another Money Grab by Money Grubbers!! sigh………

    However Tim I think U can Change my Luck!! In Fact TOGETHER I Believe WE can lead EVERYBODY to the TWITTER HIGH LIFE + Promised $$$ Land!! (Please Click my Name for Full Deets!!)

    Cheers + $$$ Everybody!! Billy ;)) Peace*

    Like

  23. Perfect timing yet again! I was planning to launch a business in the new year- now I have another incentive.

    Please make this contest available to Canadians 🙂

    Like

  24. Tim – Thanks for dangling the carrot and your coaching/mentoring. Tobi – Thanks for building the platform for others to succeed. As Guy Kawasaki always says (as does Tim in 4HWW) make sure your work has meaning… and the money will follow. I’m searching for the loophole and I think I found one. Cheers!

    Like

  25. Will you be doing something to prevent people “hacking” the contest?

    If I set up a store that sells a service or product at an insane value, and then “sell” this service to myself two months in a row… will that not net me the prize, without any of the actual work required to build a real business?

    Like

  26. If this really is a contest that Shopify is sponsoring and is interested in, then why aren’t they letting people have Shopify sites for FREE for the entire contest period? A 30-day free trial? Really? Makes me think all they want is more paying customers.

    Like

  27. @Wayne… When I came across this, I was thinking the same thing. How insightful of you.

    @TFerris…Again parroting Annabel, is this contest for NEW businesses or those who are already established? (I looked and couldn’t get a definitive answer) It will difficult to compete if ESTABLISHED businesses are eligible.

    Thanks for such an interesting competition offer.

    Like

  28. Yes, please do post full and official rules somewhere–my LLC is in AZ and I need to find a way to get around this before I open my store.

    Like

  29. Yes just like @MsJ77 i live in AZ….I am in this for the 6 month training and will do it just for that…if I can do Biz in AZ afterwords. the AZ restriction are just for the contest, Right?

    Like

  30. I am in, thanks for the heads up on the web store platform, very interesting.

    Also, I totally agree with having to force yourself out of the 9-5 mentality. It does take work to develop the mental toughness required.

    Thanks for the post and look forward to the competition.

    Like

  31. Am I missing something it looks like it’s going to cost $600 per person to run for the 6 month contest period?

    contest or sales pitch? both?

    Like

  32. Tim,

    Very interesting!!! I was laid off in June and have spent the last 6 months building a Satellite TV business from scratch based off the 4HWW. Now I get to do it all over again, can’t wait! If you throw in a personal lunch, then I am sure more people will sign up ;). Take care and I will see you in 6 months for my check…

    Like

  33. Hi Tim, why can’t you waive the Shopify sign-up fee longer than a month for the people doing this contest? I understand it’s not that much, but it’s better on principle to show that someone can really create a business with no capital.

    -t

    Like

  34. For a blog based on no excuses there are sure a lot of whiners!

    You guys realize if you won the content the amount of revenue and personal accomplishment you’d have would far exceed the price money?

    Great contest. I’ve already emailed my lawyer in New York to figure out how to enter as I have a new product based business I’ve been eager to launch (I’m in Vancouver).

    Tim, if I already have an active (although fairly new) business but it is not currently monetized/selling products (online or offline) does this violate the rules at all?

    Like

  35. I’m in the US, but was thinking that as an added incentive for people outside the US who want to participate, maybe you can at least publish their numbers? I.e., there may be a Belgian company who has the highest revenue, and while they can’t legally win the grand prize, at least they have the satisfaction of having the highest revenue — going for the fame, if not the fortune… : )

    Like

  36. Thanks for the kick in the pants, but I already kicked myself. I am drafting my big call for submissions right now (click my link in my name), after soft-launching the call via Twitter and Facebook. I am interested in your contest, to see how it pans out. However, my website and such is already set up, so Shopify won’t work for my project.

    It’s a great idea, though, Tim. Your life is an object lesson in good marketing practice. I look forward to follow-up posts.

    Like

  37. What a great challenge! I am starting today. I want to create something for interior design which is my passion! Not sure what the product will be and I am open for suggestions!! I am so excited!!

    Like

  38. Hey guys!

    Stop wining about not being able to ‘participate’ and just get started and take advantage of the support.

    Your life is not under any obligation from anyone else, just lil ole you I am afraid, get on with it!

    Whats the worst that could happen? Yes, you could fail and end up back right where you are right now. So, basically, there is nothing to lose, only a little ‘face’.

    Worth the risk?…….only you can decide.
    Just make the trying fun and you will be cool.
    Stay well

    Like

  39. Tim,
    Great incentive! Love to see people put there money where their mouth is (even if it is brilliant marketing). Why are us Zonies excluded though?

    This will be fun!

    Like

  40. This is just what I needed to motivated to move my business to the next level. I set up a shopify account about 2 years ago but have not implemented it the way I should have. I will win the $100,000!

    Like

  41. Hey Tim & Co.
    Awesome contest! I’ve already signed up for an account on Shopify, but is there anything else I need to do to actually enter the contest? Entry form or something along those lines? I’m sure more info will be coming in the next few weeks, just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss something.
    Thanks!
    -m.a.

    Like

  42. wait…one problem. You have to create a shopify account after Dec. 1, 2009. I have had my shop for 2 years but have never used it to sell anything. If I create a new name, will I then be eligible?

    Like

  43. Tim,

    Can you give a few more details about the tutorial bits? Is that going to be geared toward getting people to their Shopify site, setting Shopify up, or broader e-business topics, etc.? I guess I’m mostly curious about whether that info is going to be useful for someone who is using or has used other e-commerce sites.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

    Like

  44. Just spoke to Liana, one of the internet reps of Shopify, she was very helpful.

    For all you people who are doubting if it is applicable to your idea; you can also sell downloadable goods via shopify; but you need the plug-in “Fetch” for it; but it has built in support for version management and the like. I am going to use it for my store. Other protips are welcome!

    Also, is anyone here a (technology) student who can write well?

    Like

  45. > @Mark Anthony: Awesome contest! I’ve already signed up for an account on Shopify, but is there anything else I need to do to actually enter the contest?

    Please head to storecontest.com and click “Join the Competition” after you get your store. This will “install” the contest tracker app into your store that enables you to participate.

    > @Callie Parham: I have had my shop for 2 years but have never used it to sell anything

    When you click “Join the Competition” at shopcontest.com you get a freeform text field where you can leave us some notes. Please just mention that you are starting a new business and that you haven’t used your Shopify accounts before. As long as we know this ( and we can verify it in our database ) this should be totally fine. You can also just sign up for a new account if you wish.

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  46. Tim, this is exceptional… contests motivate me and drive me to succeed like CRAZY and I’ve been searching for something for 2010 to keep me focused and growing! Starting a new product idea now to have ready in the new year. Totally stoked. Thanks a million, Tim and Shopify!!

    Jenn

    Like

  47. @ksamuel: We will go through the records to make sure that the accounts who have a chance at winning are legit. Also we really hope that the winners will have sold a lot more then 100k in the 6 months. We have seen people build million dollar businesses in a year before so it’s definitely possible to beat that.

    Like

  48. Tim, I recently listened to your audio book and since have been subscribing to your blog. I love it all so far! This particular post is great inspiration to take the plunge. I want to start a store, but I feel like most of my ideas are weak. Can you (or any other readers) recommend some methods for coming up with more/better ideas and/or eliminating crap/weak ideas? Thanks!

    Like

  49. Hey Tim..

    Cool contest.

    Unfortunately I am Canadian but I will be playing along anyway.

    Question – Is it only sales done through the front end store front or can we build a list and incorporate a back end?

    Cheers,

    Russ

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  50. Tobi and Tim,

    Don’t know if you guys already have material together for tutorials and whatnot, but it would be awesome to see a case study on a 1M biz that you’ve seen built on Shopify.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

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  51. Let me tell ya, Shopify customer service (Live Chat) is very helpful to answer all your questions.

    Lilian, their customer service rep. was very kind to help me out. She rocks!

    Like

  52. Hi Tim,
    Thanks for this “contest”. I’d like to participate. I need help like @Azstrel. I personally don’t have anything to sell. I have 2 things I’d like to sell, but they’re very big and bulky, there’s no way I can inventory them w/o getting a warehouse. Can you comment on drop shipping, how to locate companies that do, or how to negotiate with a company?
    Or maybe I’m totally wrong with “muse”. Is muse something i come up with? Or is re-selling ok? Thanks.
    Jeffrey

    Like

  53. FYI-

    Regarding service-oriented biz. startups for this competition:

    I was informed by Shopify that “You upload the service as a product, sell it as the service it is, but the entire sale will have to go through your site.”

    Like

  54. My question is, what incentive is there for those who gave up ” the predictable and comfortable mediocrity of the 9-to-5″ years ago to pursue a dream (in my case, of writing), and who love they lives they have created — but would like more income though without giving up the dream of writing. (Because books just don’t make you wealthy.) I don’t want to spend my days selling. I want to write. Does this work for people who love their lives and want to continue doing what they’re doing, but just want to do a little better than just getting by? To me, starting a sales business would be like going back to the life I abandoned when I pursued my dream. Is there no way to be happy and make money?

    Like

  55. Great incentive. Exactly what I needed to get me going.

    One question…Are you going to consider the newbies only for your prize(s) ? Or is the contest open to all who run the shops already?

    If the latter is true it seems that it is unlikely that the newbie will win.

    Like

  56. That’s helpful info Dynasty. Thanks. 🙂

    When do we get to start asking questions on strategy and execution? I’m in the process of ‘confirming sufficient market size’ via targeted magazines of circulation 15,000+ with full page ad rates < $5000. Inevitably, questions are coming up… Do 2 color and/or black and white ads meet this qualification, or should said ad be full color? I'm guessing the answer is to work the full color ad for the b&w price into the negotiations with the magazine (which in some ways is a non-answer), but would still like confirmation of such things.

    Knowing that you'll inevitably need to ignore most questions, I propose that some sort of point system is set up. People who score points along the way by taking appropriate, pre-defined actions can 'spend' those points on help–likely in the form of asking a question, but perhaps there could be other items, too.

    Like

  57. I’m doing this. There isn’t a better time and I regardless of the prize I couldn’t have used a better signal for me to start than this. My products are along the lines of something I’ve wanted to do for a while and will definitely appeal to this group too. I’ve completed the following:

    1. Got my LLC
    2. Got my Shopify account
    3. Bought the domain name
    4. Sourced my suppliers and a couple of affiliates
    5. Obtained some copy and articles for the site

    Now to finish drafting up the list of things to do. Thank you Tim and Tobi, I’m really looking forward to it!

    Jeremiah

    Like

  58. Okay, so I took the plunge and created my webshop. I am now technically an entrepreneur… I don’t feel any different yet….;) Any other new storeowners willing to join me in a celebratory glass of good red wine?

    @ Tim: Will you host a periodical review of interesting contestants? Like this months fastest growing contestant or best application of the techniques you promote? In what way will the contest be linked to this blog?

    Like

  59. i am in the UK (Scotland), so according to the rules on the sign up bit you have to be in the us, if i can take part without the 100,000 prize elegibiilty then i am up for it big time.

    the 4hww is a passion of mines that is about to start very soon.

    scottie…

    how do i get involved without having to be in the us? the answer iis probably staring me in the face but anywhoooo.

    Like

  60. Tim,

    The one thing people often miss when they dive into your material is just how remarkably giving you are. Frequent visitors to this blog see this side of you, I just wish others did as well.

    What a great way to “pull back the curtain” for folks and help other entrepreneurs fuel their steam engines!

    I look forward to seeing how this pans out for all involved. Good luck everyone!

    Cheers,
    Doc

    Like

  61. Tim,
    Now you are talking. I love it. I quick my job last month because I was sick of the corporate hole and 4-hour work week has inspired me.

    2010 is my year to make it and I look forward to working with you.

    Thank you for lending your knowledge to help other succeed.

    Curtis

    Like

  62. Tim,

    Ironically, I’m just a week or so out from launching my new ecommerce business that I’ve been mapping out for the past 2 months. I’ve had multiple issues with the product uploads and was up till 1 am last night in frustrations. I’ve spent the entire day on Shopify and to all your readers, IT ROCKS!! … I’m in on the running and will should actually be full fledged running with it in just a few days. I appreciate the opportune timing on this one and I’ll be hitting it heavy on the tutorials.

    Thanks again!

    Patrick

    Like

  63. I’m in the US and started up a shopify account to participate.

    If you’re in the UK (especially Scotland/Ireland – I’ve a few ideas around ancestry merchandise) or Canada and want to be part of the competition, I’m open to suggestions on partnering to totally crush this competition.
    email at bnlv dot com

    Like

  64. I would love to have done this. Too bad I am in college and have absolutely no money to invest into anything at the time. Hopefully there will be something like this in the future, when I have the time and money to invest into a business.

    I wish the best for all who will be participating. I can’t wait to see who wins =).

    Like

  65. Tim,
    This isn’t related to your blog post, but I wanted to say something. I subscribe to several people who post daily and weekly vlogs about their lives, whether it be personal or professional, and I think you would be a very interesting and entertaining person to watch. You might have to give a bit of your personal life away (as in putting yourself a little further into the spotlight) but you might reach and inspire another kind of audience and show people by example how to design their ideal lifestyle.

    I’ll give some examples of current youtube daily and weekly vloggers who often show up on youtube’s featured and most viewed results. Granted, there is a lot of fluff content sometimes when people vlog on a daily basis, but it’s entertaining nonetheless, and these people often get in the hundreds of thousands of views per post. I’m sure with your accomplishments and lifestyle you could easily find enough daily content that people would subscribe to.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/SHAYTARDS
    http://www.youtube.com/user/FLuffeeTalks
    http://www.youtube.com/user/sxephil
    http://www.youtube.com/user/CTFxC

    Have you ever considered doing a daily vlog for your current fans and followers to get more out of the FHWW?

    ~Mike

    Like

  66. Fantastic! This is another great opportunity and idea from Tim (and now Tobi)…so now it is a matter of getting the muses riled up and ready. As a serial idea-guy, it’s going to be tough to decide which idea to run with.

    From the forums it looks like Shopify can only support one store/inventory per account: http://forums.shopify.com/categories/1/posts/1570
    So you can’t separate the bacon flavored chewing gum from the couture yarmulkes and hijabs unless you pay $24 per month twice….any chance for multiple store fronts to test our muse-juice?

    Like

  67. TIM!!!!

    GRR… After mulling aroudn for 4 months deciding to do this

    I just signed up with 3dcart.com litterally 3 days ago – And paid. Now I see this.

    Actually I am really looking forward to seeing this project through and reading your new book.

    Like

  68. Hmmmm. I wonder if Shopify has an auction function, so we can sell some things through auction.

    Also, is it possible to sell items tied to multiple accounts? For instance, I need items being sold to have the money go directly to the charity for which I am selling them. If I upload the items separately as tied to that particular charity, can the money go directly into their account and not mine?

    Plus, would that business model even count as a business? I am selling something of value locally, but all the money is going to charity. It’s not even going through me at all. But it is definitely a valuable product.

    Like

  69. Hi Tim.

    I have been searching for an online store (yup, a Canadian signed up with a kick in the wooly boots.) I jump onto your site somewhat often and am very glad you have taken the time to write your book, create your blog and share what you know.

    I am interested in the tutorials but am not sure where these videos will be located.

    Kudos. Rebecca

    Like

  70. @ Michelangelo Bucci

    Michael could you expand the concept of “have an attorney vet it”? Have you got some weblinks? Has anyone got some suggestion on which attorney to refer to?

    Vetting is just another way of saying have a lawyer check it out. You will find a number of websites dealing with corporations in the states I mentioned. Wyoming is very popular among non-US citizens as it is not as expensive as Nevada and more favorable in many ways.

    You can pay for a US representative but of course the profits are yours and your identity need not be known. All perfectly legal and the US Government has complained about it but it is totally on the up and up.

    Since I’m not a lawyer I will let you do the research but here is a place you can start: http://www.wyomingcompany.com/

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  71. Observation:

    I spoke with a rep from Shopify and they told me there was no way to do a multiple image upload. This presents a major, especially for stores with thousands of products.

    Example: 2300 Products X 4 Images per Product = 9200 separare uploads.

    I am definitely not complaining but would assist them a lot to enable vendors to upload many jpegs at once.

    Jose

    Like

  72. So just so I am clear. If we as a Canadian Citizen set up a U.S corporation, are we elgible to compete for the 100k?

    and yes…I understand that the muse is the real prize…but 100k U.S is a sweet cherry on the cake isn’t it! Please let us know.

    Like

  73. Perhaps this has been answered but in the spirit of not reading every single FAQ:

    Do we HAVE to signup for Shopify to qualify for the contest? I have a site I’m developing with a content management system. It’s still in the preplanning phase so it’s not an existing business. It’s going to have a branding presence so I don’t want my online storefront to be hosted on my own domain.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Thanks everyone and GREAT contest, Tim!

    Like

  74. Hey Tim,

    I am SO on this.

    I’ve been casually planning the next stage for my new site Lifebeat, offering paid products (no-compromise, no-hype style of course) in addition to my continuing free articles.

    However, I wanted to speed up the process for 2010, and this competition couldn’t have come at a better time. The exact kick in the butt I need to turn my new site into a full-fledged micro business.

    I also think it’s great that a competition like this is truly win-win. If you win the competition, you get $100k. But even if you don’t, you got the motivation to quickly build up your business (that you might have procrastinated on or simply not done otherwise). I’ll be gunning for the grand prize, but even if I don’t get it, the next 6 months will see me build up a new business for the long-term that I’m passionate about.

    Thanks Tim and Tobi for the great competition and pushing me to start building my new business,
    Oleg

    Like

  75. Great idea Tim.

    I bought your first edition book but can’t see what specifically has been added to the new one. I’d be most interested in it if you had specific ideas that are good candidates (products/services) for automated businesses.

    Thanks!

    Like

  76. Question for Tobi. If you sign up today for Shopify & the contest, do you have to re-register for the contest on 1/1/2010? The rules for the contest on Shopify indicate that this is what “early enrollers” will have to do. Is this true?

    Thanks. This is great motivation for us “late bloomers”

    Like

  77. @Jose Castro-Frenzel: You can actually do a bulk import of products. If you have your product images hosted somewhere you can simply add the URLs of the products to the CSV and Shopify will download all the images in the background. This is the best option for big imports such as yours.

    @George: You can sign up now for a store and then go to storecontest.com and enlist. Anyone who signs up after dec 1st is eligible. We only start counting revenue on Jan 1st however.

    Like

  78. “Yes, Shopify even integrates directly with drop shippers and consignment warehouses such as Shipwire, Webgistix and Amazon fulfillment.”

    I believe there are fulfillment services NOT dropshippers.

    So, still not clear, can we add products given a feed or other method from dropshippers using services such as Worldwide brands or Doba?

    Alot of us don’t have products so it would be great to have this part clear.

    Like