My recent Shopify adventure began after reading one of the Shopify newsletters/blog articles. The write-up was about a young man named Mohammadu Mifras who lives in Sri Lanka and is a mostly self-taught web developer and Shopify partner. His story left me with mixed feelings of sadness, encouragement, determination and achievement.
Life has never been easy for me, so his story pulled on my heartstrings so to speak. I decided to give him a chance. So I got in contact with Mohammadu via a messaging app he has on his website ShopGuaranteeIt . His response was instant, even with the time difference, as I live in Cyprus and he lives in Sri Lanka.
Shortly after that, I received an email from Alexandra Middleton and that she was the producer from Shopify team at Shopify.
My name is Alexandra and I am a Producer on the Studio team at Shopify - we make movies and tell stories about entrepreneurs.
I am doing some preliminary research for a piece about our people within the Shopify ecosystem.
Would you be interested in chatting? :)"
“Studio? What studio?” I thought to myself, “This email must be spam or dodgy, or they have me mixed up with someone else.”
I was curious, so I responded to the email, and a few emails later, she asked if we could chat over Google Hangout.
A few thoughts ran through my head. “Oh, crap, I have to speak” followed by “Google Hangout—what is that??” My nerves kicked in then, coupled with a looming lack of confidence.
I thought of all the articles I’d read touting the benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone and thinking outside the box. This seemed like the perfect chance to put that advice to the test! Plus, how often does one get the opportunity to be featured in a small documentary right out of the starting gate? “It’s now or never” I figured, and decided to jump right in.
The call was arranged and I spoke with Neal Hicks and Alex. I didn’t think the call went that well but within 24 hours I received an answer. They wanted to feature me in the documentary and needed to know if I was interested. I didn't haven't too much time to mull it over as they were on a tight deadline.
The encouragement I received from my children was the deciding factor, and I quickly responded with a resounding YES.
Less than two weeks later, the team arrived. During the time between the emails and their arrival, I panicked about all the things I had to do before they came—clean the house, bathe the dog… get rid of all the clutter in my home studio. All the while, trying to silence the nagging voice in my head that constantly reminded me how much I hated being in front of cameras and the sound of my own voice.
I had no idea what to expect or how much thought and work went into filming something like this. But I had nothing to worry about Shopify couldn’t have sent a nicer team Alexandra Middleton, Neal Hicks and Chris Lew—they were super nice, encouraging and incredibly chilled. They put me at ease almost immediately.
As they days progressed and we got to know each other better, we became friends and the filming wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. Even though the documentary was only 6 minutes long, it took 4 intense days to film, with long hours and tons of retakes. The first scene, in which I am driving took a lot longer to film than I’d expect; I can’t even remember how many times I drove up and down that road or pushed my hair behind my ear. Except for the speaking part, I enjoyed every minute of it, which I attribute to the success of the crew Alex, Neal and Chris. They were extremely professional and carefully considered every minute detail—things the average person would never even think of. After each long day, I would go home and crash, and the three of them would go back to their hotel to discuss what had been shot that day and edit footage. Here is the documentary their hard work created.
They say ‘everything happens for a reason,’ and this experience really brought that home for me. Had I not reached out to Mohammdu to change my theme, the Shopify team would never have noticed me and I’d have missed out on this wonderful experience.
When used correctly, the internet has the awesome power to make the world seem a smaller place. It enables a person to connect with someone on the other side of the world as though they were right next door to you.
From the creative themes to the Shopify partners, to the helpful and knowledgeable staff, I recommend Shopify to anyone starting a new business. Not only is it a great way to get your business out there and achieve your goals, it’s a wonderful way to connect with the rest of the world.
I was honoured to be featured in the film that was shown at Shopify Unite 2017 and featured Mohammadu mifras, Michael Perry and me!
Click here to read more about how this Shopify documentary came together.