June 2017 Update
July 6, 2017
2 years ago
In the spirit of community and supporting our vision at Storetasker to become the #1 outsourcing platform for Shopify services, and inspired by monthly app updates shared by our friends at Shoelace, I’ve decided to start sharing our Storetasker updates with the Shopify world.
It’s been a long road, and we’re only just getting started. In April 2015, I launched HeyCarson as a small task service for Shopify store owners. I wanted to create a productized service business that would be designed based on what I wanted to do, my goals and my past experience. I was inspired by a wave of similar businesses in the WordPress space, the leading example being WpCurve (acquired by Godaddy). I felt there was a good shot at making it work. I had previous eCommerce, outsourcing and agency experience as a business owner.
At the time, it was also clear that the growing Shopify user base, of mostly non-technical entrepreneurs, was looking for solutions to help them survive and grow. From day one, we set very firm boundaries with what Carson would accept in our service plans and what we wouldn’t. Our stubborn commitment to this is the main reason we got traction, but it also left us saying ‘’no’’ to many merchants seeking help.
‘’Small tasks’’ was our biggest differentiator and our biggest problem (which lead to Storetasker).
Defining a small project for us as a development team was/is easy, but from the merchants’ perspective, understanding what we meant by ‘’small’’ at HeyCarson was cumbersome. We provided case studies, articles, videos and did everything we could to teach our website visitors and customers what we actually meant by a ‘’small task’’. Still, we encouraged anyone who found us to simply ask.
We created processes around communication as a solution. A perfect solution? Maybe not. But it worked and we got traction. We would assess the Shopify task inquiry, and approve or not approve. From day one, we hated not having the right solution for incoming task requests assessed at more than what our processes at Carson were built for. So, instead of simply saying no, we started saying ‘’no, but…’’. We began to refer these ambitious merchants to a shared inbox with small pool of vetted Shopify experts, most of these experts were people I had interviewed for Carson, but couldn’t afford to hire. They were excellent people hungry for more Shopify work. We worked out soft deals based on honour and integrity.
That inbox become Storetasker, a marketplace platform, launched in January 2017.
Now that you have some background, let’s get into the metrics. To give me an idea of which metrics matter most for our business model, I referred to this article 10 Marketplace KPIs That Matter.
- June 2017 sales: $47,000
- Total sales on platform since January 2017: $150,846 (+42%)
- Installs (registrations): 1383
- New customers in June: 81
- Repeat customers in June: 97
- Average order value (AOV): $221.85
- Average revenue per users (ARPU): $312.86
- Storetasker expert pool: 54 (31 active daily)
Popular Shopify projects done on Storetasker in June:
- Store setups (full and partial task checklists)
- Product page customizations (color swatches and product options/variant fixes)
- Facebook pixel setup and troubleshooting
- Site speed enhancements
- Custom app roadmapping
- We added 12 experts to the Storetasker pool
- We added 2 full-time team members: 1 development interns (Ken — Montreal) and a staff developer (David – Venezuela). We’re now 6 FT/2PT team members.
- We solidified partnerships to increase the lead flow
- We became profitable (after 5 months)
- A small but healthy growth rate at Carson, which is funding the Storetasker platform and acting as the primary lead source.
- We realized that the app was not a fit for the Shopify app store for now, so the app remains a private/unpublished app
- The realization that leading two different, but related Shopify service brands is hard and confusing to the market
- Not being able to streamline strong partnership workflows with Shopify app teams due to the wide range of operating structures. It’s a little more difficult than with theme developers or agencies.
- Continued pressure to grow revenue/impact of the two companies at once. (Carson and Storetasker)
This is exactly what Storetasker does:
Storetasker connects merchants with vetted Shopify development and design experts, at the right time in their business cycle, and at the right price.
It aims to better serve merchants who have a need to setup/fix/upgrade their Shopify stores and do not have internal staff resources, skill and/or time to accomplish this work on their own. Cost estimates are set to a standard of $65/hour and the minimum project size is 1 hour.
Storetasker removes the friction of traditional, generic outsourcing platforms by matching merchants to an expert (instead of a typical bidding process) and offers an outsourcing experience tailored to the Shopify store owner.
It’s currently an unpublished Shopify app — which means it is not in the app store, but downloadable from the website only www.storetasker.com .
Our competitive advantages:
- The expert pool + strong relationships with Shopify experts
- The expert vetting process
- A customer audience at Carson of +6,000+ and the leading Shopify community on Facebook with 44,000 merchants
- Strong existing partnerships with key Shopify partners
- Carson brand recognition/reputation as a leading Shopify expert team in the Shopify experts directory
- Founder experience managing distributed staff/people effectively
- Team experience with the nuances of delivering 16,000 small projects through our Carson small task service. This has helped us design the workflow on Storetasker.
What are we doing in July?
- Speeding up momentum with our development roadmap now that the internal team is trained up
- Looking to partner with more mid/high level Shopify agencies to help us increase lead flow to Storetasker, and ultimately help more merchants with mid-level projects
- Looking to partner with more Shopify Facebook group admins to help us drive more work requests
- Moving the app to a standalone web environment. Out of the Shopify dashboard/admin area.
- Reskinning of the UI (we’re hiring a web/UI developer to join the Storetasker team)
- Maintain a 25% month over month sales growth rate
- Study the impact of creating an advisory board
Ok, that’s my first go at a company monthly update. As a founder without co-founders or investors, I feel this is a great way to keep myself accountable to the vision. It also provides insight to my team members who are supporting and committing to the idea with me, the Storetasker expert pool, and the Shopify merchant community.
There is chaos in this process, but I’m confident in the value we’re delivering. I would love to hear from you if you can help with the business or simply offer advice.
See you next month,
This is how to work with us:
1. As a Shopify merchant: Get projects done to help you grow your store. Post a project here.
2. As a partner: Agencies, theme developers and influencers: partner with us and earn from every referred project. Register here
3. As a project seeker: We’re hiring a web/UI designer — send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
4. As a vetted Storetasker expert: Apply here
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