How to Use Shopify’s 14 Day Free Trial + A GIVEAWAY

How to Use Shopify’s 14 Day Free Trial + A GIVEAWAY

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?

READ  3 Things You Need to Know Before You Start a Shopify Store

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?)

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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.  


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20 Gift Ideas for the Mom’s in your Life this Mother’s Day

20 Gift Ideas for the Mom’s in your Life this Mother’s Day

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?

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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 Pavea Disc Cuff – Gold – $34.00
Hand-set pave in a shiny gold cuff. Easy simple sparkle.

  • Shiny Gold Plating
  • Adjusts to fit SM-LG Wrists


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 – $29.00
A 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.

  • Fits SM-LG wrists.


Stella & Dot Terra Leather Wrap Bracelet – $49.00
Genuine 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 – $39.00
Freshwater 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 – $34.00
Bright 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 – $79.00
Vintage 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 – $69.00
Collar 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 – $59.00
Hand-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.

  • 24 with 4 Extender

Stella & Dot Eternity Necklace – $59.00
Sterling 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 The Wishing Necklace – Rose Gold – $34.00
Make a wish to carry with you. A sparkly solitaire suspends from a shiny rose gold delicate chain.

  • Shiny Rose Gold Plating
  • 16 with 2 Extender
  • Lobster Clasp Closure



Stella & Dot Chantilly Lace Chandelier Earrings – $49.00
Gold plated filigree earrings were inspired by a piece of vintage lace.

  • 2 1/2” length.
  • Gold vermeil earwire fish hook closure.
  • Copyright © 2011 Stella & Dot LLC.
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 – $39.00
Mother-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.


Stella & Dot Maddie Pearl Earrings – $29.00
Glass pearls dangle from a rhodium ring.

  • Approximately 1 drop.
  • Brass earwire.



Stella & Dot Pavé Chevron Ring – Gold SM – $29.00
Hand-set micro pave chevrons form a delicate geometric everyday ring.

  • Available in SM / MD.
  • Fits ring sizes 5-7.
  • Adjustable for added comfort.
Stella & Dot Deco Cocktail Ring – Size 9 – $39.00

Inspired by our best-selling Deco Drop Earrings. Faceted Cubic Zirconia and Czech crystals adorn this delicate vintage-inspired cocktail ring.

  • Shiny white bronze plating.
  • Fits ring size 9.

Stella & Dot Stellar Pave Ring – Silver – Size 6 – $39.00
Handset pave sparkle with a shiny silver finish. The illusion of stackable bands with the ease of a single ring.

  • Shiny Silver Finish
  • Available in sizes 5-9

Plus, Stella & Dot has so much more on their website. Check it out here:


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Why I Chose BlueHost and You Should Too

Why I Chose BlueHost and You Should Too

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?)

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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!



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7 Super Passive Income Ideas

7 Super Passive Income Ideas

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.
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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?

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3 Things You Need to Know Before You Start a Shopify Store

3 Things You Need to Know Before You Start a Shopify Store

3 things you need to know before you start a Shopify Store

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!

Side Hustles are incredibly lucrative, and one of the best platforms you can start your own business on is Shopify. Shopify is an elegant online store front with hundreds of templates that are customizable, and allow you to sell pretty much anything (that’s legal).

I recently interviewed Samantha at Infinite Abyss, if you’d like to know first hand what it’s like to start a store on Shopify.

If you’ve always had an idea about selling… something, Shopify is the way to do it. They have incredible customer service, and the potential for growth is just outstanding. You can use their system online, or in a store as a POS system. Their fees are competitive.

A few years ago I had this idea to to start an independent bookstore, that catered specifically to indie authors. I started researching my options, and I eventually decided that I would build my business on Shopify. My reason? The other storefronts out there, just didn’t add up. Sure, you get wooed in by “free”. But once you add all the plugins you need, free is suddenly quite expensive. In fact, it ended up costing more up front and per year with the “free” store front, than it did with Shopify. And with Shopify, I got everything I needed for one low monthly price! Way better option in the long run.

Now, unfortunately, my bookstore never came to fruition. Sometimes life gets in the way, you know? But there is no reason why you can start your store today. All you need is an idea, some product, and little hustle.

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3 Things you need to know before you start a Shopify store


If you’re going to start a Shopify Store as a side hustle, then there are at least three things you need to know first.


You need to know about their 14 day free trial


They have an awesome 14 day trial. You can sign up without using your credit card. It includes a domain. You can pick from one of their amazing templates, or build your own. Their back end is just beautiful. They have tons of free (and not free) tools to help you get started with names, logos, suppliers, marketing and more. With your 14 day Trial you’ll get immediate access to all the really cool features like gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, and selling through Pinterest, Facebook, and Amazon. They also have an app store to help you build the site you really need to grow your business. Once you’re ready. Right now, you’re just getting started.


Make sure you have your business plan in place.

When starting a Shopify Store, you’ll want to make sure you know what you want to sell. Make sure you have other important things in place like, how you’re going to build your audience or if you’re going to offer a pre-sell. They also have a subscription option.

Need help coming up with an idea? The Millennial Life Skills Vault has a list of 30 potential products/business you can start. 

Sign up for your own shopify store

Even though the trial is free, building a business isn’t.

Where is your product coming from? Are you making it or sourcing it? What about dropshipping? Shopify makes dropshipping easy, but you’ll want to know what what kind of requirements are in place from the dropshipper themselves.

Starting any business is going to require start up money, but it doesn’t have to cost you your first born. You don’t have to go into debt to make a profit. With Shopify, you can sign up with an annual or monthly plan. If you see you’re not making money, you can opt out. Shopify has worked with over 300,000 store owners that have made over 29 Billion dollars in profits. Clearly, they are doing something right.


If I ever get around to opening my own shop, you can bet your sweet grass it’s going to be on Shopify.

What is it you’re looking to sell with your online Shopify store?

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#SideHustleSeries: Samantha has a Shopify Store

#SideHustleSeries: Samantha has a Shopify Store

Hello! Joining us today, we have a special guest who has offered to talk about her business. I love the trays and shelves featured below. For a while, I fancied myself a carpenter and tried to make some things with recycled wood. It wasn’t easy. But I especially love how she’s build a presence for herself using Shopify. If you don’t know about Shopify, let me tell you. Its a one stop online store front that is incredibly easy to set up, and powerful to use. This post may contain affiliate links to Shopify. 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!  In the meantime, if you’re wondering what its like to own a Shopify Store, or whether you should go with Etsy first, read this interview with the Owner of Infinite Abyss.

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Hi! Who are you?

Samantha Hartman.


What is your side hustle, and where can we find it?


My side hustle is called Infinite Abyss, where I make rustic-inspired home decor from wood and reclaimed materials. It can be found at:, and on Facebook and Instagram: @infiniteabysshandmade.


How long have you done this side hustle?

I started Infinite Abyss in 2009 but really found my niche and started to focus on woodworking in 2015.


What drew you to it?

For years I did craft shows selling bags and purses sewn from vintage fabrics. I love sewing and still have the most ridiculous stash of fabric, but I was burnt out on it. When I moved from Pittsburgh to Wyoming, I gained access to a woodshop and created a few products for a craft show I was doing that summer. They did really well and the feedback was amazing, so I decided to pursue that and really take a break from sewing. I found a new niche that I really enjoyed and a few months later, had my biggest selling holiday season to date.


How did you study/train/prepare for this business?


To be honest, I didn’t really prepare much back then. I was new to Etsy and looking for a way to sell some of the crafts I had laying around for a few extra bucks. Most of it was jewelry I had created from old brooches and chains, and then it transformed into sewing, and now woodworking. In the past few years I really started to realize that it is more than just the creating – you have to market yourself and wear so many different hats. Now, I try to learn as much as I can, from growing an email list to troubleshooting my website and everything in between.


What is the best way for you to find clients?

I try to utilize all the different tools I have, such as email marketing, social media, Facebook groups, word of mouth, classified groups, etc. I still enjoy doing craft shows and really love to network with those individuals. When I moved across the country and had to start over, Instagram became my new best friend. I have found a lot of clients and shows from Instagram by looking for events around me.


Tell me about the platforms you use. What are some of the features that make it incredible to use? Does it have any downsides?

When I first started, I signed up with Etsy as my primary platform. But once my business really started to grow, I realized that I needed a site of my own. I still use Etsy and love the traffic I get from there, but it is nice to have my own space to promote myself as well. But I wanted something that was just mine, so I bounced around a bit before settling on Shopify a few months ago. And I am very happy with my decision.

Awesome. Tell me more about your experience with Shopify.

At first I was a little nervous about jumping into a plan that had a monthly fee, not that $29 a month is high but it was still something, but it has already paid for itself. Not only was it easy to set up, but there are so many templates and different apps out there that make running an online business a breeze.

Shopify offers shipping discounts and easy label printing, saving me time at the post office, and I love that I was able to set up a separate wholesale shipping area for my shops. One of the main reasons I chose Shopify is for easy wholesale ordering and it has been a great experience so far and my stockists love it.

I don’t have anything negative to say about Shopify so far, but it is a lot of work to drive traffic to my site without relying on the traffic within Etsy that I am so used to. It is a very rewarding feeling though when those orders do come in!

Sign up for your own shopify store

What would you recommend to someone just starting their business:

I would recommend having a business plan and some funds dedicated just to that. It is good to have an idea of what you want and how to get there, as well as some start-up money for a workspace or tools, depending on your business. Had I known what I know now when I first started, I might have done a few things differently. Then again, it was more of just a hobby for me that grew into something I never would have imagined, and I don’t regret taking the path I did.


How many hours a week do you think you spend on it?

Right now, I probably spend 15 hours a week on my business. Having a full time job only leaves a few hours after work and I have been spending most weekends catching up on orders and working on projects for my book.


What are your business goals for 2017?

I am currently working with a publisher to write a DIY book on projects to build from wood pallets, called Wood Pallet Wonders, so that is really pushing me to set goals in different areas. I would like to expand my product line to include more items like those in my book, build up my blog more with tutorials and projects, and eventually leave my full-time job to pursue Infinite Abyss as more than a hobby.


What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I’m going to tie this question in with the best learning experience I have had. Back in August I was chosen from thousands of applicants around the world to join 35 others attending Etsy Open Call in NYC. We were able to pitch our lines to retailers both big and small and it was literally the opportunity of a lifetime. I got to speak with so many talented people from companies such as Macy’s and HGTV that had great advice and critiques, and for the first time I really felt like I could turn my side hustle into a full-time business. The Etsy team taught me valuable information about wholesale and marketing and it was just a ton of great information to take back home with me.


Tell me the greatest/favorite review/testimonial you’ve received?

I actually just got a review a few days ago that really touched me. A woman reached out to me for a custom order tray that had built-in handles and I was SO pleased with how it turned out; I couldn’t wait for her to get it!

She left me a review with this: “I wanted a mountain tray and I actually ordered it from another company. Big mistake! It just wasn’t what I was looking for so I returned it. I found Infinite Abyss and I loved their trays but I had one request, for it to have handles. Samantha was awesome and said she could do it and the tray turned out amazing! It was exactly what I was looking for. If you’re looking to buy a mountain tray I highly recommend Infinite Abyss! Amazing customer service and amazing work! Thank you!”


What is the best way to build a relationship with your clientele?

I think the best way to build a relationship with the clientele is to just be real with them. Customer service is often difficult but I try to convey the image that I am a one-woman operation, and every single item is made by hand when ordered.

Sometimes I am running behind when I’m swamped with orders but I just shoot out an email and my customers always understand. If it takes an extra long time to get an order out, I send them a coupon or another small item. I love to feature my customer and stockist photos on social media to show them that I appreciate the time they took to style and post an image with one of my products.

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How active are you on social media? Do you spread yourself around or stick to one or two mediums?

At first I thought it was important to get myself out there across everything – the more the better. I quickly realized that no matter how hard I try, I just hate Twitter, and Facebook is very frustrating to me. Personally, I love Instagram, and being visual is a great way to promote my products since they can be styled so many different ways. I have found that to be the one outlet I concentrate most on, but am working on Pinterest and my email list next. I am trying to get better at blogging because I know that is important as well, but it has been a slow process.


If you could go back and make your start a little easier, what is one thing you would have changed?

I don’t think I would really change anything. As cliche as it sounds, everything happens for a reason and the choices I made up until now have given me some amazing opportunities. If I did something differently, I may not have traveled to Etsy Open Call last year. And I definitely might not be writing a book, so I am glad things played out how they did.


Any other advice, or stories to share?

Don’t give up! Starting a business is hard work, whether you use Esty, Shopify or something else, and there will be a point where you want to throw in the towel. Trust me, I’ve been there. In the end, there is no greater feeling of self-satisfaction than when you get your first client or make your first sale, knowing you worked hard for that.



Author Bio: Samantha Hartman is the all-around creative mind behind Infinite Abyss. A one woman show, she designs, plans, builds, markets, packages, ships, photographs, styles, and creates the brand. Originally from Pittsburgh, she currently resides in Wyoming with her boyfriend Karl and their plethora of pets, but they are always traveling to enjoy new sights and experiences. Samantha is also currently writing a book called Wood Pallet Wonders on creating home decor and storage pieces from wood pallets, out Fall 2017.




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