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Chances are, you’ve heard about Shopify and are looking forward to starting your very own online business, but are a bit conservative about spending any money yet! So, how to start a Shopify store for free and kickstart your business? This is what I’m about to share with you.
To use Shopify and experience selling online for free, Shopify offers a 14-day free trial that allows you to use the entire platform without spending any money. During the free trial, you can set up your store and customize it, but in order to receive orders and capture payments, you would need to pay for a paid subscription plan!
In this article, we are going to be discussing how to get started with Shopify for free, how to get the most out of your free trial, and how much it really costs to start a Shopify store.
So, if you’re considering starting your very own Shopify store, this is the quick illustrated guide that you might need!
Before we dive in, if you find this post inspiring and useful, share it with your friends, please! (Virtual high fives and awkward hugs to all my sharers out there!)
Is Shopify For Free?
No, Shopify is a subscription-based eCommerce solution that allows you to create an online store with no hassle, and no technical or coding skills in a matter of minutes, to start selling anything online, anywhere! Although Shopify is not free, its packages are relatively affordable in comparison to all that it’s offering to its users.
Shopify is a great tool for budding entrepreneurs who want to start selling their products or services but don’t have an online store yet. Not a lot of people are aware that they can do this through Shopify. Once you have your store set up, the next challenge is how and where to promote your store.
Your customers may not be aware yet that your online store exists. Setting up Google Ads is an effective and practical way for people to be redirected to your website. Your products will appear as search results when your keyword is searched online.
On the other hand, Shopify offers you an opportunity to use the platform for free, for two whole weeks (more about this in the next section).
How To Use Shopify For Free?
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial that allows you to use the entire platform completely for free, without pulling out your wallet and paying a single dime. Your Shopify free trial starts counting when you register for an account not when you start working on the site.
During the free trial period, you can put everything together, get access to everything within the platform, and just get ready for orders and payments.
However, in order to receive orders from humans and capture payments from your customers, you would need to pick and pay for a paid subscription plan.
The cool thing about Shopify is, even if you’ve picked a paid plan and given them authorization to your credit card, you won’t be charged until your free trial ends! This means that you have 2 whole weeks to set up your store and put things together correctly, for free!
So, technically, you can use the platform and get familiar with its innovative drag and drop builder without paying any money yet… and if you’re serious enough about your business, you can set up everything and start receiving orders even before getting charged for your hosting subscription.
Quick Hack: Grab your free trial, and start your first Shopify store! Mess around with the platform, test its water, and get familiar with the different tabs within your dashboard! So, when you decide to create a store that you’re proud to own and promote, you would be familiar with the process, and you cut down the guesswork!
How Much Does It Cost To Setup A Shopify Store?
With the fact that there are different types of costs involved in creating a Shopify store, the initial Shopify store setup only requires a domain name which is an expense of approximately $15 a year, and paying for a paid monthly subscription plan from as low as $29/month!
Those are just the fixed costs required to make your store up and running, and available for the public.
Other expenses, like paying for apps and promotions are optional and can help you increase the functionality of your store and get it noticed by more people in no time.
So, what I’m trying to say here is that if you only have $100 or so to your name, starting a Shopify store could not be a great idea for you as it should be backed up with some sort of budget that will go to advertising and building your mailing list.
Instead, you should be seeking an alternative business model that requires less overhead and allows you to earn commissions faster, recurrently, for months or even years to come!
Shopify Subscription Packages
- Basic – This package is best for new businesses or online businesses new to in-person selling. It only costs $29 a month and allows you to add 2 staff accounts with an online credit card rate of 2.9% +30¢ USD, and an in-person credit card rate of 2.7%+0¢ USD.
- Shopify – This package is best for growing businesses with 1 retail store and it costs $79 a month. In this plan, 5 staff accounts are included with an online credit card rate of 2.6% +30¢ USD, and an in-person credit card rate of 2.5%+0¢ USD.
- Advanced – This package is best for growing businesses with 2+ retail stores and it costs $299 a month. 15 staff accounts are included in this package with an online credit card rate of 2.4% +30¢ USD, and an in-person credit card rate of 2.4%+0¢ USD.
Being said, you can always upgrade your package as you go along and as your business grows! To learn more about the different Shopify packages and features, feel free to refer to this ultimate pricing guide that we’ve created for you!
How Do I Create A Shopify Store? (5 Simple Steps)
Shopify makes it easy for its users to have their stores up and running in a matter of minutes. Below is a quick overview of the exact step-by-step process you need to run into when starting your own Shopify store:
1. Sign Up For Shopify To Claim Your Free Trial
To sign up for Shopify, first, you need to go to Shopify.com (this link takes you to the Shopify registration page directly) and enter a valid email address that you’d love to associate with your store.
The process of signing up for Shopify is fairly seamless and takes up to 10 minutes max. you will be asked basic questions about you, your business, and what you’re looking forward to achieving, then, you will be redirected to your backend portal where you can control your entire store.
Please note that your 14-day free trial starts counting from the moment you create your store not from when you start working on it.
To learn more about what happens after the Shopify free trial ends, I highly recommend you check out my other helpful article that discusses exactly that!
2. Integrate A Custom Branded Domain
Although Shopify doesn’t give you a free domain, it allows you to purchase and register one without leaving the platform, and integrate it into your online store.
A custom domain name can help you stand out from the crowd and help you replace this version your-store-name.myshopify.com/admin into this yourbrandname.com!
3. Customize Your Store
The cool thing about Shopify is that its innovative drag-and-drop website builder allows you to customize everything within your store, from colors, logo, pages, to theme, and everything in between!
When you first create your Shopify store, it comes with a free basic theme called Brooklyn. You can either customize the current theme, add a different free theme, or purchase a premium one from the Shopify theme store or any other external digital-asset marketplace.
Shopify offers a variety of premium themes in different niches and categories. You can get access to the Shopify theme store by heading to your dashboard – Online Store – Themes!
If you’re not satisfied with the options offered by Shopify, you can always purchase a theme externally from theme marketplaces and install it manually on your store (here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to do that!)
For your safety, we’ve searched for you for the most trusted and verified digital assets and theme marketplaces:
Long story short, you can manage with a free basic theme, but your store’s features and functionalities will be limited! A premium theme not only increases the functionalities of your store but also enhances the speed and is usually search engine optimized!
4. Integrate A Payment Gateway
This is how you’re going to be charging your customers and how you’re actually getting paid for the orders you receive. There are multiple options for getting paid in your Shopify store. The most popular ones are Shopify payments and PayPal express checkout.
Adding a payment method can be done by going to your Shopify dashboard – settings – payments. In case you’ve faced any issues, you can always reach out to one of their customer support agents.
Shopify payments are currently available in the following countries:
- United States
- Hong Kong SAR
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
If the country where your business operates is not supported by Shopify Payments, then review the list of other payment gateways that Shopify supports.
5. Add Product And Categories
After you finish the initial store setup, it’s time to start populating your site with some products, and splitting them into categories to make it easier for your customers to navigate your store.
No matter what you’re planning to sell online, Shopify has something to serve your business with. Here are some of what you can sell on Shopify:
- Your own products
- Dropship from other countries and suppliers
- Crafts & artworks
- NFT crypto artworks
- Digital products
And a lot more!
In fact, people nowadays are taking advantage of a new business model called drop servicing whereby you sell other people’s services online without the need to provide them yourself.
You simply find professional sellers from freelance marketplaces like Fiverr, list their services on your own store and when you get orders, you will pay the freelancer and let them handle the work on your behalf.
Conclusion – Can You Start A Shopify Store With No Money?
Starting an online Shopify store is no different than starting a brick-and-mortar business. It’s just easier, requires less capital, and involves less risk!
You don’t need to buy land or rent a place. Instead, you replace them with a digital storefront and a domain name! And this is can be easily achieved with the hidden power of a drag-and-drop builder like Shopify.
Also, you don’t need to buy or stock an inventory that won’t sell. You simply get the authorization from sellers who are already supportive of the business model, list their products on your store, set your own prices and margins and you’re good to go!
At the end of the day, a Shopify business is a real business with a solid revenue model that has the potential of earning you a 6-figure income… That could not be for free!
There’s nothing in life for free.. Just think about it like that…
My final takeaway would be a piece of advice, my advice to you is to get rid of the “Hit & Run” mentality and be prepared to invest in yourself and in your business.
Remember, if you find this post inspiring and useful, share it with your friends, please! (Virtual high fives and awkward hugs to all my sharers out there!)
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