How I became a Shopify Developer: Ben Henry
Welcome Ben! So when did you first start getting interested in computers?
Our family got our first computer when I was 8 years old, it was one that my dad's friend had built. Since that day I’ve always had an interest in tech - and over time it became clear that this would end up being my career path.
Tell me about the resources you had around you. Did anyone or any course inspire you / teach you the skills to level up over time?
It was all very much self discovery. I initially started coding when I was 16, 17. I was picking apart websites and tweaking things to get an understanding for it. But I was very much self taught, I’ve never had any formal training.
All I’ve ever done besides coding is working for 3 months at ASDA (laughs). After high school, I went straight into my first job at a dev agency down the road.
How did you manage to get that first job?
It was an agency that was up the road. I applied for an apprenticeship, and didn’t hear back for 2-3 months. But then I did get a call back, passed their technical tests and stayed there for a few years - until they made me along with other junior devs redundant.
Luckily, I was able to land another job immediately after, this time for a much smaller husband & wife studio who was working heavily with Shopify. This was in 2013.
Wow that’s pretty amazing to have been in a Shopify agency in 2013 - you must have been one of the first ones.
Yeah it was the first one in the UK and we had a great relationship with super senior folks at Shopify.
Awesome. So when did you start to feel that itch to venture out on your own?
My dad was really the inspiration here. He had worked for a corporation for 35 years before starting out on his own and he loved it. He pushed me to work for myself.
There was a good reason as well for me to move on too. The agency was focused on merchants and theme development - when I started to enjoy working on the Shopify apps. I saw a gap in the agency market for that - and that’s when I decided to setup my own shop.
Would love to hear about some of the apps you’ve built. Any you’d be proud to shout out?
We've got one out called “Stock Value”. That’s due to go back on the app store in the next couple of weeks. It tracks inventory cost & quantity in real-time - it’s a helpful operations focused tool for merchants.
Cool. So when did you come across Storetasker and what’s your experience with it?
I was quite early on in Storetasker. I stumbled across it from Facebook and I applied there, looking for another avenue to gain customers.
And I’ve really enjoyed the experience so far. When I joined I was the only member of my business - and I wasn’t doing any marketing, so I needed the leads and Storetasker kept on bringing high quality leads. I saw the percentage cut from Storetasker as my marketing budget essentially - I was very happy with that exchange.
Storetasker’s grown the company to the point where we've got staff now. I've got full-time developers and we wouldn’t have grown so quickly if it weren’t for Storetasker.
Last question from me: What are 1 or 2 things that have enabled you to be successful at what you do?
- We gain a lot of trust by being honest & genuine. If we receive a “custom app” request that we could charge $5k for, but if an existing app does it already- we recommend the existing app.
- Just do the thing you said you would do: A lot of companies fail at that, as basic as that sounds.