Like this post? Hear directly from the founders who helped make this guide in our 5-part podcast series, Step by Step. Listen now!

The Upsides of Selling

eCommerce is personal. It’s easy to think of your store as an extension of you.  It’s your idea, your revenue, your customers. Your identity.

Until one day, it isn’t.

A store that starts raking in millions of dollars a year needs a team-builder at the helm. A creator? Not so much. The transition isn’t for everybody.

“I build and I sell. It could be commitment issues, who knows? But it is what I'm good at. I'm good at building from scratch.”
— Miguel Facusse, founder of Jack Archer
Founder: Scrappy solopreneur, Builds a store from nothing, Makes bold decisions. Later-stage leader Leader and people manager, Keeps the machine running, Creates consensus with investors

Until recently, many eCommerce founders had no better option. Selling pre-IPO used to be a nightmare of stagnant negotiations, retracted offers, and ulterior motives.

“There are so many tire-kickers that are just trying to find out what your brand is so they can try to rip it off”
— Chris Heckman, Yogaste

OpenStore changed that. The unicorn startup, founded in 2021, offers quick, reliable exits to Shopify entrepreneurs. They offer quotes in 24 hours.

They upended the playbook for eCommerce founders ready to sell. Here’s the new one, step by step, from people who’ve done it.

  • Step 1: Find your brand hook
  • Step 2: Keep operations lean
  • Step 3: Own your success
  • Step 4: Maximize profit
  • Step 5: Stick with it
  • Step 6: Get an OpenStore quote

Meet Our Panel of Experts

Jeremy Wood, co-founder of OpenStore

Miguel Facusse, founder of performance men’s apparel brand Jack Archer — acquired by OpenStore

Jonathan Paquin, founder of maternity and baby gear shop Nine Months Sober — acquired by OpenStore

Manny Estrada, founder of Mexican-inspired apparel brand Wearva — acquired by OpenStore

Chris Heckman and Brendan Brosnan, co-founders of Yogaste — acquired by OpenStore

Step 1:
Find Your Brand Hook

It’s Marketing 101:

Before you can make money, you need to grab attention. So before you launch, find a hook for your brand. 

It could be:

  • A scroll-stopping name, like Nine Months Sober. “Some people like it, some don't,” founder Jonathan Paquin says. “It's good because people remember it and it brings reaction.”
  • A problem-solving product, like Jack Archer’s pants. Pre-launch, founder Miguel Facusse searched Reddit for “I don’t like it when my pants _____,” and found a flurry of complaints about inconsistent fit. So he developed sag-resistant pants. 
  • A brand story that centers your customer. They’re the hero, and your product is a key tool on their quest, “just like a Pixar movie,” Facusse explains. 

Your hook should spark reliable comments, clicks, and signups. Verify it before you start selling, with early ads that drive to a waitlist.

That’s what Facusse did — and he sold Jack Archer to OpenStore after just 4 months in business.

Step 2:
Keep Operations Lean  

You don’t have to do it all — especially in the early stages. Keep things simple, especially when it comes to team and tech. 
Dos and Don’ts of… A LEAN TEAM: DO try contract virtual assistants (VAs). Founders often rely on them for customer support, supply chain coordination, and graphic design DON’T hire agencies. Too expensive, and they rarely prioritize startup clients.  DO join founder communities. Bouncing ideas off leaders at a similar stage — priceless. A LEAN TECH STACK: DO invest in retention channels. Think email and SMS.  DO pay a premium for great support. The tech partners that proverbially teach you to fish are worth it.  DON’T overdo it on Shopify apps. You need no more than 5. Reviewing eCom apps should not be your side hustle.
“Our team looked like just Brendan [Brosnan] and I, and a team of VAs in the Philippines. It was a pretty light team.”
Chris Heckman, co-founder of Yogaste
“I would 100% recommend starting to build your customer base with an email list and an SMS list. I used Klaviyo to build my email list and then Emotive for SMS. It was easy.“
— Manny Estrada, founder of Wearva

Step 3:
Own Your Success

The more ownership and control you have over your marketing and your store, the better. 

When you control your key customer acquisition and sales levers, you can double down on what works — and manage your margins. 

Sure, it’s easy to rely on Facebook ads and Amazon sales. But those external platforms can…

  • Block your growth strategy with one algorithm update
  • Raise prices suddenly — a lot
  • Suspend or shut down your account

“Facebook Ads can scale. It's the cream of the crop in marketing. But when you get hit with this these bans that hold you back — I knew there had to be something different.”
— Manny Estrada, founder of Wearva

Better to diversify with owned revenue-drivers, like… 

A network of micro-influencer partners.

When Wearva’s Facebook Ads account got inexplicably suspended, Manny Estrada leaned into influencer marketing — partnering with hand-picked accounts with less than 10,000 followers. The new, networked strategy 10Xed his ROAS.

An active Shopify store.

It’s the easiest storefront to customize, control, and sell. OpenStore prefers to acquire businesses that get the bulk of their revenue from Shopify. 

Step 4:
Maximize profit 

A profitable store can sell very quickly — sometimes before it turns one year old. 

Keyword: profitable. VCs may love growth at all costs, but outright buyers have different priorities. 

OpenStore has very accessible revenue requirements for acquisitions: $500K in a year. 

But you need to hit that mark with at least 5% EBITDA margins. 

“We're usually looking for businesses that are older than 12 months that have at least $500K and gross sales over this 12 months and a minimum of 5% EBITDA margins and also usually primarily US customer base”
— Jeremy Wood, co-founder of OpenStore

How do you do that?

Capitalize on existing demand.

When people recognize your product and the problem it solves, it keeps CAC low. 

Ask your biggest fans to position your product.

Facusse helped a caregiver recruiting team with this. He spoke to their top hires, and updated the company’s message accordingly — cutting employee acquisition costs from $1,000 to $25. 

Test, test, test your Facebook creative.

Find someone experienced to manage Facebook ads, and let them go with their gut. It takes practice to spot the difference between failed creative and underspending. 

“Knowing Facebook and how to profitably run ads — that was a big thing. The thing we did right is we tested a lot of different offers, different products, and different creatives.”
— Jonathan Paquin, co-founder of Nine Months Sober

Step 5:
Stick with it

Keep going for at least a year. 

Open Store prefers to buy stores with at least 12 months of operations under their belt, though there are occasional exceptions. 

Stick with it after your first big win.

You want to exit on a high note, but not the first one. Keep going. 

Stick with it after your first big loss.

When you find solutions to inevitable problems, your buyer doesn’t have to. Resilience will set you apart — and help you sell for more.

“We would move the ball forward daily. We’d wake up, and we’d have things to do, and we wouldn’t get too caught up in the long-term.”
– Brendan Brosnan, co-founder at Yogaste
“On the bad days,  when it doesn't feel fun to be running a Shopify store, those are the days where most people will tap out.”
— Chris Heckman, co-founder at Yogaste

Step 6:
Get an OpenStore offer

When you’re ultimately ready to sell, see what OpenStore can give you.

The team just needs access to three things: 

  • Your Shopify account
  • Your Facebook Ads account
  • Your P&L

Then, they’ll email you an offer within 24 hours. 

You don’t have to take it — but a lot of entrepreneurs do. To date, OpenStore has acquired 40+ Shopify stores and counting.

The offers are fair, and the deals move quickly: payment comes in two weeks or less, and founders can fully move on from the business within 3 months.

“They had the logistics, they had the team, they had the money for funding for advertising. Huge, huge budget. I knew it was going in great hands.”
— Manny Estrada, founder of Wearva
 “The other hidden benefit that Chris and I got from selling to them was their team is super smart. They run a huge portfolio of brands, so they have really good insights and tips. They're a great resource to have moving forward.”
— Brendan Brosnan, founder of Yogaste

OpenStore makes selling your Shopify store simple. OpenStore acquires Shopify stores from entrepreneurs looking for a fast and easy exit or owners ready to break away from the stress of running a business. Their streamlined process allows qualifying Shopify store owners to get an offer for their business in just 24 hours and cash in as little as two weeks. If you currently operate a Shopify store and are ready to sell, you can snag an extra $10,000 for your Shopify store by applying for an offer. Get an offer today!