Meet the Experts: Teara McGinn

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as a freelancer/Shopify expert up to now?

Somewhat odd amongst developers, I love human interaction and business significantly more than computers and technology.  I originally entered the world of technology out of pure frustration — I was pretty sure I’d been ripped off during my latest computer purchase but didn’t know enough to know for sure.  I decided that’s it, I was going to learn all about this world so that I can help others like me do the same.

Despite my distaste, I discovered I had an affinity for programming and development, and I’ve never really looked back.  I love being able to see problems from multiple sides — I can see the business side of things, the customer side of things, and the technical sides of things.  Donning all of these different hats means the solutions I suggest are well thought out, reasonable in cost, and stand to provide a quick ROI. I can understand the business problem, and explain the technical constraints in business (and plain English!) terminology.

I worked in a corporate IT environment for many years and even did a stint in Human Resources but after becoming a parent, I jumped into eCommerce freelancing with both feet and naturally the Shopify platform is part of that.  In addition to flexible hours, I enjoy the variety of projects and clients I have encountered due to freelancing.

2. What types of Shopify projects or types of clients/brands do you really enjoy getting involved with?

I love working with small to mid-sized businesses, where even relatively small adjustments can still have a big impact on sales.  It’s exciting to be a part of the happy dance and buzz that happens when a merchant sees their dream really start to take off.

I enjoy being a part of store setups and launches, but also specific projects like theme tweaks, customer-led product customization, product builders, and so on.  I also enjoy setting up bulk order forms and dynamic product comparison charts. Basically, anything that gives the customer a unique, custom experience, or makes their journey to a full cart easier.

3. Can you share a customer success story you’re most proud of (or two)?

Not really one particular story, more of a general theme … I’m really proud of my interactions with customers who have become discouraged.  Sometimes they’ve been burned by freelancers in the past, or maybe they’ve been told something isn’t possible without a massive cash investment.  I enjoy bringing good news to these types of customers — together, we can look at things from fresh angles, and there is almost always a way to help.

4. How did you first get involved with Storetasker as an expert, and describe your experience so far?

When circumstances led to me being the main provider for my kids, I felt I needed a more steady stream of work than what 100% independent freelancing could bring me.  I’d heard good things about Storetasker a number of times, so I decided to submit an application. I didn’t hear back from them for a very long time — they aren’t kidding when they say they approve maybe 2 out of every 45 applicants!  They are very selective. I was pretty sure the Storetasker ship had sailed when finally, I heard back from them, and the rest is history. Working with Storetasker has been such a blessing … the work is steady with plenty of variety. When I applied, I didn’t even realize what a community there is here — despite all being freelancers, we can connect with one another on a shared platform and frequently brainstorm ideas, challenges, and so on.  Being a freelancer seems less lonely now 😉

5. Can you share 2-3 tips for merchants looking to outsource Shopify work successfully? ex (How should they prepare, what should they look for in a freelancer)

Early on, if you don’t feel like a freelancer understands you, your business, or your problem, move on to the next one.  Misunderstanding can happen for a variety of reasons, but if it is ongoing with little sense of improvement, the working relationship may just not be the right match.  Continuing to work with a freelancer who just doesn’t understand your situation will result in, at best, a lengthy (and sometimes costly) back-and-forth; at worst, a “solution” that doesn’t fix the original problem (or could have fit it much better).

Choose a freelancer whose working hours overlap yours, at least for a few hours per 24 hour period.  This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be in the same time zone — I am on Mountain Time and have clients across North America, as well as several clients in Australia — but this works because I have flexible hours and am available on and off throughout the day (and night).  We can set up Skype calls when required to do demos or collaborate in real time, and I can communicate in a timely manner. With no overlap of working hours, each exchange can take 12+ hours to be responded to (in each direction!), significantly extending development timelines.

6. Can you share 2-3 tips for up and coming freelancers wanting to break into the Shopify space as an expert?

Focus on your communication skills, problem-solving skills, and business acumen every bit as much as you focus on your technical skills (perhaps even more so).  These are skills/characteristics that will keep merchants coming back, as well as have them referring you to others. These are also the skills that will help you get the most satisfaction from your work.

Want to work with Teara? Please click here and send her your project request!