Shopify Masters Greatest Hits: 10 Must-Listen Episodes from 2017

I’ve hosted over 170 episodes of the Shopify Masters podcast—a show where entrepreneurs share the most valuable advice that’s helped them build and grow their ecommerce businesses.

One thing I’ve learned is there are no big secrets.

Instead, persistence and resourcefulness seem to be the only universal pattern in each of these success stories—the ability to stay in the game long enough until you find a business model and system of growth that works for you.

The best thing you can do for yourself is be an enthusiastic student of ecommerce.

Shopify Masters is a place where store owners share the ideas that worked for their particular business. It’s not a place for one-size-fits-all theories.

Instead, we surface the stuff that actually works in the real world of ecommerce, whether we’re covering how store owners hired their first employee or how they ran a viral guerrilla marketing campaign.

With hundreds of hours of insight on the podcast recorded to date, you may have missed some of the best advice guests have offered this past year.

So here’s a look back at 10 of the best episodes from 2017 across a variety of topics, from building a brand identity to running Facebook ads, and why they’re worth a listen.

Don't miss a single episode! Subscribe to Shopify Masters on Google Play or iTunes.


1. The Facebook Marketing Blueprint That Put The Passionate Pug on the Path to 6 Figures

When you’ve found yourself a passionate niche of customers, print-on-demand is a great way to sell them products that they’ll enjoy.

The Passionate Pug is a print-on-demand dropshipping business powered almost entirely by Facebook ads.

In this episode, Kwaku Nornoo walks you through his research process for identifying profitable product categories for a niche, and shares how to set up your Facebook interest targeting to reach potential customers of that niche.

He’s got it down to a blueprint that you can borrow ideas from for your own Facebook ads.

2. Selling Digital Products: There's More to It Than High Margins

Digital products offer a few distinct advantages, such as noticeably higher margins and the fact that they don’t need to be stored in a warehouse or “shipped” to customers in the traditional sense. However there are other nuances you need to consider.

On this episode of Shopify Masters, Eric Miller of UX Kits shares his experience selling physical, digital, and service-based products online, and what you need to know about the differences between them.

3. The ROI of Hiring a Creative Agency to Build Your Brand Identity

A different take compared to the launch as quickly as possible methodology, this episode walks through the process of painstakingly investing in a strong brand identity.

Maap spent a great deal of time and money on perfecting their branding and logo before launching, working with a creative agency to nail down their brand identity.

Their founder, Oliver Cousins, explains why this approach is particularly important when you’re launching a fashion brand.

4. What It's Like to Build a Luxury Brand (Without the Luxury of Time or Money)

Competing as a new luxury brand can be a challenge, especially when you’re going up against established giants with deeper pockets than you. That's where crowdfunding can help entrepreneurs compete.

As more brands are turning to launching and relaunching on Kickstarter to raise funds, getting your Kickstarter page right from the get-go is important to consider.

In this episode, Roman Khan and Jennifer Chong of Linjer talk about how to test your Kickstarter page out before launching and the ins and outs of creating a luxury product.

5. Why This Entrepreneur Assumes Nothing and A/B Tests Everything

There’s a difference between tweaking your website and improving your store. With a data-driven approach to design, you can use A/B test to make informed decisions about what you change.

In this episode, Meghan Bush of Kopari Beauty walks you through her A/B testing philosophy and her unique take on advertising that includes buying traditional media spots, not just digital.

6. Starting Smaller: Why This Shoe Brand Only Sold Socks For 3 Years

On Shopify Masters, you’ll often hear strategies that might be the opposite of what you might do.

Taft Clothing is a great example: a shoe brand that strategically chose not to sell shoes in their early years.

This episode with Kory Stevens highlights some of the advantages of launching with simpler items first—socks in their case—instead of your flagship product to offset the risk of launching a new business while getting to know your customers.

7. The Best Way to Sell a Product for a Problem No One Wants to Talk About

Not all products are easy to advertise due to marketing platform rules.

If you have a product that’s banned, taboo, or hard to advertise due to advertising policies, this episode of Shopify Masters talks about how to launch large scale advertising campaigns for a product people don’t usually talk about publicly (a toilet stool).

Founder Bobby Edwards shares what happens when you spend $25,000 boosting a viral Facebook video instead of advertising your products and how much of your budget should be devoted to testing ads.

8. From Dancers to Bodybuilders: How This Brand Pivoted Without Changing Its Product

Sometimes the target audience you set out to reach isn’t actually where the real demand is for your products—that’s when you pivot.

In this episode of Shopify Masters, Darin Hager, founder of Heyday Footwear, walks you through how he grew and gracefully pivoted his business to a new customer and target demographic without alienating his existing audience.

9. Making a Living While Making a Difference as an Entrepreneur

If you’re a non-profit, a social enterprise, or a store with a charitable arm to your business, this episode is for you.

Jess Ekstrom, who started Headbands of Hope, talks about the pros and cons of running a charitable business and how to contribute to a cause while also creating a living for yourself.

10. A Branding Dilemma: Selling Upmarket Without Losing Out on the Middle

While moving upmarket often means more revenue, there’s always the risk that your new prices might turn away some of your midmarket customers.

Worldwide Cyclery came up with a unique solution to that problem, which founder Jeff Cayley talks about in this episode of Shopify Masters.

Find out how he manages to sell an expensive product over the internet by earning customers’ trust with a demo program for his bikes.

Stay Tuned for More Shopify Masters in 2018

There are plenty of other golden nuggets of advice I’ve heard over the years on Shopify Masters beyond this top 10 list.

Nothing compares to hearing real entrepreneurs who’ve “been there and done that” talk about their experiences and how they overcame specific challenges.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the show so far and we’ll see you again in 2018.

Interested in being a guest on the show in 2018?

If you’ve got a story to share that you think would benefit the Shopify Masters community, submit it using the form below for consideration.

Submit my story