I thought I’d use up the first spot here to share the story behind our community. It will give potential members insight into the community, and how it might benefit you as a Shopify or Shopify Plus partner today and in the next few years. If you already know you belong in a community like this, you can request to join here.
Here’s the story and the root of the idea. Roll back a few years…I launched Carson at HeyCarson.com in March of 2015. Today, Carson is the leading small development and design task provider for bootstrapped and non-technical Shopify merchants. We’ve served over 10,000 Shopify store owners with 35k small tasks and engagements with a 94.5%+ five star rating. I still run this business today. While growing Carson, we also built a Shopify experts marketplace in parallel called Storetasker, which grew to over $230k in monthly GMV before being acquired in October 2019.
While many people who know of us assume we grew our business primarily via our private Shopify merchant community of 100k+ members, or relying on Shopify marketplace traffic…the real growth engines behind our businesses were partnerships with Shopify partners offering complimentary solutions and with whom we shared common customers. To be clear, the Shopify marketplace traffic was/still is an important source of business for Carson and our merchant community was instrumental in approach to partnerships.
Over the past 3 years, I’ve jumped on the phone with hundreds of Shopify partners from every where, and at every level of their business. App developers, theme developers, experts, small agencies, big agencies. I’ve attended all four Shopify Unite events, in May will be my 5th, where I’ve participated in panels and have met and connected with hundreds more Shopify partners. As I’ve travelled the world with my family, running the businesses remotely, I’ve also met many Shopify partners one-on-one for coffee. Notably, in places like Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Miami, Spain, Moscow, Bangkok, Mexico City, Montreal, and Ottawa to name a few. I’ve interviewed/vetted over 320 Shopify experts and up-and-coming Shopify experts for Storetasker. I built a network with hard work, one coffee, one phone call, one brick at a time. It’s paid off. Now I want to share this network and continue to grow it for every members’ benefit.
Through this network, I’ve been able to initiate, create valuable relationships and activate partnerships with over 360 other Shopify partners. Not just hand shakes or talk, real deals that send business their way and back our way. These partnerships drove business, our growth, and became our most important acquisition channel, which led to one of our businesses being acquired and the other which continues to kick off good profits and be an industry leader. By the way, I didn’t do this all alone, I’ve always had an amazing small but devoted, talented team of people powering our businesses so I could get out there and be active in the community, online and offline.
Needless to say, I’ve paid attention to what works, what doesn’t, and how Shopify partner companies handle ‘’partnerships’’. Although our partner strategies and tactics were never perfect and always evolving, and still are, I realized that I had grown large network of associates. In the past year, I’ve been informally making intros between Shopify partners via email…and have always took satisfaction in doing this, especially when I saw those introductions evolve into collaborations and friendships.
As our industry evolves, the power of collaboration and partnerships between complimetary services and solutions will become a difference maker in how/whether company’s get off the ground, win new business and grow. While Shopify does a great job at gathering it’s partners offline at events like Unite, Pursuit and their involvement in independant Partner-led meetups, as a highly engaged Shopify partner embedded into the heart of the community (and grateful for it).
Still, I felt like there would be value in a professionally moderated, seeded, online community of vetted Shopify partners, to bring ‘’hallway track’’ level conversations and networking to the online world. The primary objectives being to spark more collaboration, share ideas and best practices for better business outcomes. Not to mention, the value derived from friendships, and bringing really smart and ambitious people together in the same space.
In November we launched our community on Slack with a Typeform, a few guidelines and 50 founding members. These founding members include many of the most successful (well-known and not) and most interesting people in our space. Big thanks to these first members who signed up for an idea. We’re currently at 120 active members in the community. The quality of conversations is like no other place online, and exactly like the hallway track at Shopify Unite. If you’ve attended Unite, you know.
If you’re invested in the ecosystem as Shopify partner, and wanting to build your network quickly, as an app developer, theme developer, Shopify or Shopify Plus agency, or even as an investor, join our community to fast-track those collaborations that will have an impact on your bottom line (minus the cold-emailing awkwardness)! Inside you’ll have immediate access to a growing list of Shopify and Shopify Plus business founders, and their internal partnership managers who are ready to hear you out and collaborate.
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or to schedule a call. Check out our landing page to learn more.