The other day I received an email from a reader. It was one sentence.
“Why can’t I sell anything on Shopify before the 14 day free trial is over?”
I have a long answer so I thought I would share it here for everyone. Plus, at the end I have a special surprise (hint: Its a giveaway!)
Let’s talk about Shopify’s 14 day free trial. Maybe you’ve signed up, maybe you want to click here to sign up, whatever.
You’ve done it, you’ve picked your theme, you’ve got your apps all organized, and payment portal set up and you are ready to start making money.
But wait, you can’t yet! Why not?
Because Shopify’s 14 day free trial is to allow you time to set up your store and get excited about the possibility. You have to make the most of those 14 days.
You can pick out all the free apps, get your content all loaded and decide what your markup is going to be. In addition, you can start promoting your business on Facebook and building interest so when you do go live, you’ll already have customers interested in purchasing what you’re offering.
When you’re ready to go live, you’ll need to purchase your domain and your first month of service. Plans start as low as $29/mo. They have the option for month-to-month or annual plans so if you’re weary of investing too much in the first month that is a great option.
Of course, their best features come in at the $79/mo price point. You can really start to grow your business with the right amount of support.
So if you’re worried about investing your money- don’t. Many stores have opened up on less than $100 dollars. One Mr. Chris Guilbeaux even wrote a book called the $100 Start Up. (SIde note: I just finished it and it’s a pretty interested read. If you haven’t read it, it has lots of case studies about how people started their businesses for less than $100 and most didn’t have any business experience. Sound like anyone you know?)
And after 3 months, you’ll know if it’s worth it or not to continue, or if you’re ready to invest even more into it. After 3 months,if you’re not making a profit, then quit. You’ve lost $90 bucks, which isn’t the worst thing. Its like, 2 months worth of coffee at Starbucks.
But if you’re making a profit after 3 months, then great! Keep doing what you’re doing! And tell me all about it! I’d love to feature you on my Side Hustle Series!
If you’re wondering how much you could make, and where you’re going to find your customers, I have a plan. A business plan and you can download it for free.
Still not sure if you’re ready to take the plunge?
Then I suggest you absolutely sign up for the 14 day free trial. Worst case scenario, you don’t like the functions. You don’t like how it’s built. You’ve wasted a little time, and no money.
Best case scenario, you understand why thousands of people use Shopify as their store front. It’s beyond the easy user interface, and apps that make dropshipping simple. There’s a community spirit here that transcends individual stores. Their forums are super helpful and full of incredibly good information. If you have a question, someone has probably already asked it.
One of Shopify’s best features is that it allows you to take your online shop offline. Interested in craft bazaars? Pop up boutiques? Festivals or shows? Take your Shopify Point of Sale with you. All you need is their handy little swiper and a smartphone or tablet. (isn’t the world we live in fabulous?)
When your 14 day free trial is up, you need to be ready to make an investment in your future. The best way to feel sure about that is to do your research. Shopify has some amazing resources on their site, and I’ve even created a free Business Plan to help you make the most of your Shopify experience.
Check out these articles on Shopify for more information, and then get started with your shop with your 14 day free trial.
Bonus: Hey, you made it to the bottom of this post! Awesome!
I’m preparing to launch my own store on Shopify and to celebrate its grand opening, I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY!
Omg! Polka Dotted All The Things is almost here!
What is Polka Dotted All The Things? Its the one stop shop for all things polka dotted!
I’m so excited to start this store that I’ve decided to offer a giveaway as well! We officially open on June 1st, 2017! To build up excitement, this giveaway is starting a little early, and running a little long. I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to enter! If you want a chance at a $100 gift card to Polka Dotted All The Things, read more:
Here’s how to enter:
Using the widget below, plug in your name, and your valid email address. Then you have three more options:
1) Refer friends through your special link and receive an additional entry
2) Follow Polka Dotted All The Things on Instagram
3) Tag 5 Friends on the designated Instagram photo in the comments
If you love polka dots half as much as I do, you’re going to love this store. More items are being added all the time, so sign up for our weekly newsletter to stay up to date on sales, new items, and other special deals.
Today we’re joined by Katie from Befitting Beads. I have to tell you, when I saw her store the first time, I was completely smitten. I’m a particular fan of the Harry Potter ties, and the bows and the… all of it.
Katie hosts her shop on Etsy, which I’m sure you’ve heard about. There are a lot of plus and minuses about Etsy, but what’s important is that she’s made a place for her and her niche. Lets go the the interview!
Hi! Who are you?
Well hi! I’m Katie, a nerdy wife and mom of two wonderful whirlwind little boys (and a spoiled cat) from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’m an introvert, a Ravenclaw, an Etsy artist, an anime enthusiast, and an insatiable DIY-er.
What is your side hustle, and where can we find it?
I make unique jewelry and Christmas ornaments that I sell on Etsy! etsy.com/shop/befittingbeads
How long have you done this side hustle?
I’ve been beading for almost 3 years and selling on Etsy for about 2.5.
What drew you to it?
I’ve been beading and crafting since I was an awkward little kiddo, and I’ve continued it into my awkward little adulthood. Specifically, I picked up bead weaving after I graduated college and was instantly intrigued by the possibilities. I have loved creating and experimenting with new techniques and patterns! As I created more pieces, friends and family encouraged me to open an Etsy shop.
How did you study/train/prepare for this business?
Herm. Not much, I guess? I knew how to bead weave and make jewelry, but I didn’t do much research on starting an Etsy shop. I didn’t even know the term SEO existed… Since opening, I’ve done much more research and improved my marketing techniques to learn how to stand out.
What is the best way for you to find clients?
I use Pinterest to get a lot of traffic to my Etsy shop! I’m part of several group boards, and have learned how to utilize keywords to get my products found by the right people. I have also been selling at local craft fairs for the past 2 years and have had great experiences. It’s been fun to see people’s reactions to my jewelry.
Tell me about the platform you use. What are some of the features that make it incredible to use? Does it have any downsides?
Etsy is super user-friendly and specializes in making handmade, unique pieces stand out. It’s also got a huge audience, and sellers have huge potential to utilize SEO! However, it’s also a pretty saturated market. Standing out can be a challenge unless you have very unique pieces and can utilize that SEO.
What would you recommend to someone just starting their business:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and never stop learning! Especially with online businesses, there are always changes and improvements. Find some great resources in your niche (bloggers, fellow sellers, Facebook forums) where you can ask your questions and stay informed.
How many hours a week do you think you spend on it?
I spend probably two or three hours creating products, two hours on photos and product listings, and another hour or so on marketing. When I have a craft fair coming up, I put in several more hours preparing inventory and designing my booth setup.
What are your business goals for 2017?
I would love to increase the number of craft fairs I participate in! They’re a fun opportunity to connect with buyers in a way that doesn’t happen from Etsy. I also want to increase my monthly revenue from a side hustle to a more sustainable income.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Connect with others and network with like-minded bosses! Life’s a lot easier when you’re focusing on helping each other rise instead of competing with everyone.
Tell me the greatest/favorite review/testimonial you’ve received?
I was at a craft fair a while back where a fellow vendor was admiring my jewelry. She said she had been selling at craft fairs for 20 years and had never seen something like my jewelry before! Mind = blown.
What is the best way to build a relationship with your clientele?
Selling online means that I have to be very intentional about being personal. I send handwritten notes and write in a way that is a balance of personality and professionalism. I try to incorporate my personality into everything I do, from the pieces I create to the photos I take to the listings I write.
How active are you on social media? Do you spread yourself around or stick to one or two mediums?
I have accounts on most major platforms, but I focus mostly on Pinterest and Instagram. That’s where I’ve found the most engaged followings and traffic. They work best for me because they’re image-intensive, and that’s a huge part of succeeding on Etsy.
If you could go back and make your start a little easier, what is one thing you would have changed?
I would have waited to open my Etsy shop until I had a better idea of what I was doing. I would have researched more about Etsy SEO and focused on better listings and photos. And, I probably would have also started networking before even opening my shop so I could hit the ground running.
Any other advice, or stories to share?
Just in general, I say if you find something that you love doing then you should DO it, yo. Don’t be afraid to try, to learn, and be passionate about what you do. *end cheesy motivational speech*
Thank you so much!
This post is sponsored by Stella and Dot, one of my favorite jewelry stores. I was compensated for this post. If you make a purchase through any of the Affiliate links, I will be further compensated. I appreciate your support. Sign up to be a stylist for Stella and Dot here.
Mother’s Day is fast approaching.
And every year, I’ll bet your get your mom a card and some flowers. This year, why not switch things up a bit and get her something special, classy, and beautiful?
Not buying for your mom? Well, as women, we tend to be surrounded by mothers. Whether they’re new to the game, or have been at it for a few years, there is one thing I’ve noticed about motherhood and maybe you’ll agree: It is a thankless job.
Listen, kids love their mothers (they can’t help it) but they’re also greedy little bastards who only think about themselves. It is exhausting taking care of yourself, let alone a miniature human who doesn’t have the capacity for reasoning, language or basic motor skills. Now imagine you have to do that with like, two or three or four of them, all at different stages of their lives?
Mother’s Day is a chance for those kids to acknowledge all the hardwork and effort their mom’s put forth to keep them alive, healthy and happy and loved. But there’s no reason why you can’t show your appreciation to these women who make it look easy. Or who are clearly struggling, and could use a quick smile and a chance to feel like a woman, and not just a mother.
I suggest jewelry from Stella and Dot. It’s fun, classy, affordable, and when women receive jewelry (this is such a generalization, I know) we melt a little bit. It’s okay to gift your friends with necklaces or bracelets or earrings. It shows you acknowledge their power and individualism as a woman, not just a mother. I think that’s one of the most important parts of motherhood; not losing your womanhood. And it often gets overlooked.
Here are 20 pieces of jewelry from Stella and Dot to remind the mom’s in your life to reclaim their womanhood.
Stella and Dot is having a sale on bracelets: buy two, get one 50% off! Combine and stack and make a statement! #Affiliatelinks
||Stella & Dot Turquoise Stone Cuff – $49.00
Semi-precious turquoise geometric stones sit in a striking shiny gold plated cuff. Chic and minimal this cuff can be worn alone or layered with other favorites.
- Shiny Gold Plating
- Fits SM-LG Wrists
Stella & Dot Arrison Stretch Bracelet – $29.00A staple everyday reversible bracelet made with stretch for added comfort. Matte silver finish with delicate pyramids and subtle sparkle. Layer with our bestselling Nugget Wrap Bracelet.
Stella & Dot Terra Leather Wrap Bracelet – $49.00Genuine Leather bracelet with delicate geometric design detailing featuring ruthenium plating with hand set black diamond crystals in a beautiful brushed gold finish. Sliding knot closure for adjustable fit.
- Adjusts to Fit SM-LG Wrists
Stella & Dot Elise Pearl Cuff – $39.00Freshwater pearls mixed with semi-precious labradorite beads atop a vintage gold open cuff. This mini statement bracelet can easily stand alone or be layered.
- Vintage Gold Plating
- Adjusts to Fit SM-LG Wrists
- Copyright © 2016 Stella & Dot LLC
||Stella & Dot Vista Wrap Bracelet – $59.00
The perfect arm party all in one bracelet! Vintage gold beads mixed with woven patterned tape and accents of blue form this newest trend in wrap bracelets.
- Vintage Gold Plating
- Fits SM-LG wrists
- Button Closure
Stella & Dot Color Crush Statement Necklace Set – $34.00Bright coral acrylic beads with a sparkly flower brooch to add a statement on a grey ribbon. Top it all off with its matching coral beaded bracelet.
- Necklace: 43 long with ribbon closure.
- Bracelet: 1 3/4 diameter with stretchable fit.
Stella & Dot Jolie Sparkle Chain Link Necklace – $79.00Vintage gold plating with subtle sparkle. A sophisticated staple to your wardrobe. Great as a stand alone style or can be layered for a statement look.
- Vintage Gold Plating
- 18 1/2 with 1 1/2 Extender
- Foldover Clasp Closure
||Stella & Dot Mini Pearl Cross Necklace – $49.00
Inspired by our best selling Interlock Cross Necklace for women. Tiny fresh water pearls surround the mini cross on a delicate chain. The perfect gift for a special event.
- 14 long with 2 extender.
- Sterling Silver.
- Lobster clasp closure.
Stella & Dot Swag Necklace – $69.00Collar necklaces are our current favorite trend and latest obsession! Semi precious howlite inlay drop and silver swag chains come together in this delicate and versatile style. Reverses from semi precious to shiny silver.
- Shiny Silver Plating
- 15 1/2 with 3 Extender
- Lobster Clasp Closure
Stella & Dot New Moon Necklace – $59.00Hand-set micro pave set in a slender crescent make a delicate statement to pair with any look. Wear alone or layer it up with other delicates.
Stella & Dot Eternity Necklace – $59.00Sterling silver with brushed gold intertwined circles. A simply beautiful classic style.
- Semi Shiny Silver/Semi Shiny Gold Plating with Sterling Silver Chain
- 16 with 2 Extender
- Lobster Clasp Closure
||Stella & Dot Sparkle Studs – $19.00
CZ studs set in brass.
- Titanium posts post with white bronze plating.
- 1/4 studs.
- Feather weight.
Stella & Dot Aurelia Drop Earrings – $39.00Mother-of-Pearl drop earrings combine everyday elegance with stunning versatility. Reverse the drop for a silver geometric motif. Each piece is beautifully unique due to variation of natural shell inlay.
- Semi-shiny silver plating.
- 2 drop length.
- Silver plated brass earwire.
- Feather Weight.
Plus, Stella & Dot has so much more on their website. Check it out here:
Why I chose Bluehost and you should too
It’s hard to believe but I’ve been blogging for almost twenty years. I started out in the dark ages back on LiveJournal, and eventually made my way from Blogger to WordPress and BlueHost. I’m not sure I really remember a time when I didn’t have an online presence of some sort.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission at not cost to you. In fact, if you use the links, you are directly supporting the creation of awesome content for the future. So thanks!
When I chose to make the decision to move from Blogger to WordPress, I was blogging about fitness. Things were still wild back then; people actually connected on a human level, sharing posts about their day, and their food, and their workout! Now it’s all about stats and affiliates and making money.
Which this post partly is.
But it’s also to help you make an informed decision. Chances are, you’re looking for an additional income, and you heard blogging was a good way to go. It can be incredibly lucrative, but only if you do it right.
What is the right way, you ask?
There are a lot of “right ways”. The right way is the way that works for you. You know what works for me?
Bluehost has been around since pretty much the very beginning, and from the state they’ve offered amazing customer support, and I’ve never had a problem with them. They boast a 99% uptime (which means you’re not losing visitors or customers because their servers are down.)
In the beginning, I chose bluehost because many of the bloggers I was reading at the time also used Bluehost. I’ve heard some intense horror stories from smaller hosting companies that got slammed by a viral post and couldn’t keep up. Not only did their site crash, but everyone who shared the server with them had extended periods of downtime! Not good!
When you sign up for BlueHost, you’ll probably get a shared server as well. Don’t be scared by that. You only need your own dedicated server if you have hundreds of millions of pages views every month. (That’s the dream, right?)
Back when I signed up for Bluehost probably 9 years ago now, they were offering the same deal they’re offering today to new sign ups (which helped hook me, no lie!): 2.95/month for your first year! It includes a domain, and 50 GB of space.
My hosting is going to renew in July, so I was looking at the plans they have available for me. I wish I was a new sign up because here’s the deal: If you sign up right now, BlueHost is offering their Prime Plan for the same price as their Plus Plan, but you get two insanely important extras: Domain Privacy and Site Backup Pro. And it’s only two bucks more a month than the basic plan.
Here’s a protip for you: You WANT the Domain Privacy.
One of the things bloggers usually forget to mention when they’re trying to convince you to buy through their links: Domain Privacy is an absolute God Send, and you don’t want to get started without it.
When you register a domain without domain privacy, you put yourself on a list. That list includes your name, your email, your phone number, and your home address.
And then, the spam comes flooding in.
No one told me about Domain Privacy when I first signed up. I cannot tell you how much spam I received in the beginning (before I wised up and signed up!). It was mountainous. It was endless. It came from all directions.
When you sign up for your new hosting package and domain through BlueHost, please go for the domain privacy. You’ll thank me later. Or let me tell you I told you so!
When I came back from the Peace Corps, there was an update to the system and I wasn’t around to pay attention. I lost everything. I lost everything I had written about my Peace Corps experience because I didn’t have Site Backup Pro. As you can imagine, I was devastated.
These things seem like extra expenses, like insurance you’ll never cash in on. But when I needed it, it wasn’t there. Protect your assets, and get the Site Backup Pro. I’ll never go without it again.
I signed up for BlueHost so many years ago, and I’ve purchased half a dozen domains since then, most I’ve done nothing with. But I could host them on the same account as my original domain, which made my life so much easier.
Having a personalized email with BlueHost is super simple as well. I forward mine to a gmail account, but they have a couple of decent email programs that you could use instead. Horde is my favorite.
And of course, the whole point of getting hosting is so you can start your blog. With BlueHost, their one-click installation of WordPress makes the process painless. It takes less than 10 minutes to get your blog up and running.
Once you’re signed up, all you have to do is create content, come up with a marketing plan, figure out a way to monetize it and convince people to read it!
Did you sign up yet? If not, do it here:
If you are, Check out these free courses for new bloggers! They’ll help you figure out how to organize your information with all the steps that come AFTER signing up!
Super Passive Income Ideas
You don’t need to do anything but show up for these. You’re already spending your money, so why not save some off the top? You’re already cruising the interwebs, so why not earn points for it? Go running every day? Make money doing it. It’s simple and it’s legit. You’re probably not going to get rich, but the more friends you refer, the better your chances.
What is passive income?
You’ve heard about it a lot, I’m sure. Passive income is where you sit back and let the money roll in, through very little work or effort on your part. Maybe you set up a dropshipping company through Shopify, or maybe you used one of the cool companies below.
The companies I’ve included on this list are the most passive I could find. Starting your own company takes time, effort, and diligence, at least for a while. With these, you sign up. If you’re really clever you might be able to combine two or three of them and save even more.
Just so you know, Yes. These are affiliate links. If you sign up through them, I get points, dollars or bonuses at no cost to you.
Super Passive Income Ideas
Honey – A browser extension that saves you money and gives you the cash back.
Achievemint – earn points for working out. Every 10,000 points will get you $10. It might take a while to earn it, but it’s literally earning money for breathing. Where else are you going to get that sweet deal?
Swagbucks – fill out a survey, check some boxes, and do your regular online shopping and start earning points.
Ebates – Kind of a mix between honey and Swagbucks. Do you shopping, get yo’ saved cash back.
Ibotta – Sign up to get coupon discounts on your favorite products. You can even use it for certain online stores. ProTip: Only unlock items that you were going to buy anyway. Use my promocode: lmyhuap to get your first $10 for FREE. (I wish I had used that when I signed up…Would have cashed out a lot quicker!)
Acorns – Okay, this is a little different from the rest. Its investing. You put away five or ten bucks every week, plus little dollar rounds ups of your change from purchases. They take those dollars and invest them into stocks for you. As your investment builds, so does your passive profits. Remember of course, that the stock market is not a guarantee, and you may end up losing money. But if you want to try it out, Sign up through my link and get $10 for free.
The best idea for using these passive income streams
The most passive of them all is by far Achievemint. You turn on the app and get your money eventually. The next passive is probably Acorns, but that does involve investing. Here’s what I think a good plan is:
Take the cashouts from Ebates, Swagbucks, Ibotta, etc and invest them into Acorns. You’re basically investing free money to earn additional money. How cool is that?
If you’re looking to start a savings plan, I have a freebie guide in the Millennial Life Skills Vault just waiting for you. Sign up now!
Now, please, I want to know! What ways are you earning money passively? Did you start a side hustle and then sit back and let the dollars roll in? Are you passively saving money through apps like Acorn or Digit?