Update in 23rd March 2019: I’ve been reading many negative comments (i.e. YC, here) from people I trust about Shopify and how greedy it has become, opting for draconian measures to lure more victims and torturing them with below par services. It’s the same internet story, a good, promising startup with trust-worthy founders. Then they do this big IPO, all lights point at them, then the dreadful army of executives who choose profits over users march in and take control of the ship. I’ll give Shopify some time before I delete this post below, maybe they will come back to their senses and put the customers first, and not their VCs. -R.
The story of Kelly Lester, a stay-at-home mother who couldn’t find a proper lunchbox for her kids, so she searched on Alibaba.com and started manufacturing her own design, launched her Shopify store (EasyLunchboxes), and started selling its own Bento / lunch boxes online and made millions in profit is very common. It’s mainly because of the internet that such one-person businesses have a chance of surviving and thriving.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 28,000 businesses with no employees other than the owner reported revenues of more than $1Million in 2011. Ten percent of those one-person businesses generated more than $100,000 of revenues per year. Over half of US small businesses are based in homes. On the other hand, Shopify website claims that it powers over 275,000 businesses in 2016.