How to Become a Shopify Theme Developer

Looking To Become a Shopify Theme Development?

Hi, are you looking to become a Shopify theme developer? And are you looking for all the different parts that you need, the framework that you need to become a Shopify theme developer? In this video, I'm going to give you exactly that. All the things you need to know to start as a Shopify theme developer. 

Why am I qualified to talk about this? I've just spent more than 10 years working as a web developer and an agency owner and I've helped over 750 people start as a web developer agency owner over the last six years, as well. 

Before we get started, click here to subscribe to my youtube channel and then click on the bell notification icon so you get future updates on my Shopify tutorials. 

Service vs. Selling Themes

First of all, to start a Shopify theme developer, you need to choose: are you going to offer it as a service? Or are you going to offer themes that you sell as a product? In my experience and opinion, you should definitely offer it as a service because you can charge thousands of dollars for a Shopify theme. If it's custom, it should be $5,000+. If it's theme installation and modification, it should be $2,000+. 

Learn The Basics Using The Shopify Partner Training

Regardless of what you want to do, you still need to know the fundamentals of Shopify, which is handled in the Shopify partner training. I'll put a link at the end of this article to the official Shopify partner training because they explain things fairly well on how themes work, how to install themes, how to modify themes and stuff like that. They won't go into full detail. But I'll also tell you, in this video, how to learn everything, like how to get all the details as well. But those videos that they have in their partner training, there are the fundamentals. They're just like the high-level overview videos of how to do it. 

Here's just a screenshot of where to go on their website, what it looks like once you get there, and what to watch.

Next up, you should read the developer documentation on You should definitely do that because that's where you learn the technical aspects that you need to know as a developer or your developers are going to need to know if you're not a developer to be able to work with Shopify themes and on the Shopify platform. So go read that documentation, build a little test project, just while you're doing that, just so you know how it actually fits into the real world, and you'll automatically come up with questions as you're building something. And then you can refer to the documentation and Google as you're learning into the Shopify training as well. 

Hire The Right People When It Makes Sense

At this point, you must be wondering, but how do I get clients for all this? Or how do I get contracts? We'll discuss that in a few minutes. First, let's talk about hiring. Because I think this is a very important topic. At a certain point, you'll figure out that probably you don't want to sit there and do Shopify development all day yourself, if your clients are paying you and if you can outsource it. And both of these things are viable, like you can have clients paying you, it doesn't have to be a job. And you can hire developers at a cheaper rate than what you're getting paid and make a profit without having to sit there and do the grunt work on a daily basis.

Yes, you should start doing the grunt work early on. But later on, what you want to do is give it to a team of developers that you pay from the profits of your business, not upfront, but from the profits of your business. So you maintain a 70%+ profit margin in your business regardless.

Hire Project Managers When You Scale

At a certain point, you'll also notice that as you're growing and you get more clients, you'll want to hire project managers, because you don't want to deal with every single client on every single issue forever. And probably your developers don't want to or shouldn't deal with the clients either. So you’ll definitely need a project manager to manage a bunch of projects for you. The easiest way is to pay them per project or to just hire them full time. This is for a business that's doing $10,000+ in Shopify development on a monthly basis. 

Track Profitability & Figure Out Your Pricing

Also, you'll need a system that's designed in a Google spreadsheet or something similar that allows you to track the profitability on a project-by-project basis. That way, when you're creating quotes, and you're scoping out a project, you can figure out how much this project should cost so that you make a profit, regardless of what happens. And this needs to be reflected in your contract as well. 

Every Project Needs To Be Profitable!

If you don't do this, very bad things happen. Like you could have 10 projects, and only one of them actually makes a profit. Everything else is break even. Your take-home profit is basically nothing at that point. Whereas if you did the calculation, your take-home profit would have been five figures, for example. So tracking, pricing and tracking costs per project and optimizing it based on scoping as well is huge for Shopify theme development.

Your Team Members Need A Process To Follow

The next step, depending on the size of your company, the project manager and the developers that are going to be working on your stuff need to be given a project management process. If they just do random things in random orders, it doesn't make any sense. They'll just do what makes sense to them. But it's not how an organization works. An organization should be a step-by-step process designed by someone who knows the most efficient way to do things and then optimize over time so that you maximize profitability in your Shopify theme building business. 

If you do that way your profits can be high. You can have efficient employees or staff members or freelancers. And you can grow your business because it's more scalable. It's not like random people doing random things. In fact, you should very rarely have to jump in and fix anything in a well-working business. 

Figure Out Lead Generation

Next up, you need to figure out lead generation. For this. I have a whole slew of videos. Just click on the links below this article. Here's a link to a playlist just for lead generation. What we use is freelancing platforms in a way that no one else uses them. Because everyone's on there just freelancing and sending random proposals and takes them years to get traction. I'm going to teach you how to do it properly. So go below this article and click on the Upwork playlist. It'll explain how to get Shopify themes development projects for you as a web developer.

What To Watch Next

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Aleksander Vitkin

Aleksander Vitkin has helped over 700 people with a sincere interest in entrepreneurship and contribution, to start profitable businesses and quit their jobs.