Expert Advice
How I became a Shopify Developer: Thomas Kimura
Tim
|
December 27, 2021

Welcome Thomas! Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you first start to get interested in web development? 

I first got exposed to programming in high school, we had small courses on coding which I liked. And growing up, I always thought being a programmer was a path I wanted to explore. Having flexibility to work my own hours and from home sounded appealing to me. After high-school, I ended up studying business & marketing in college. But I took some Treehouse courses outside of school to pick up on some coding skills. 


What was the first project you worked on?

Back when Tumblr was popular (2015), I created a custom theme that was approved and published by their team. That theme’s still being downloaded today, it’s called “Paper”. That was the first time I built a project that was used by actual people. It was really gratifying to see it come to life and that got me hooked on this path. 

Paper Wordpress Theme


Loved Tumblr! What came next? 

After college, I worked at a small startup called “Student Car Share” (kind of like Zipcar). There, I held responsibilities across many different parts. I worked on Facebook Ads, and because I had experience with web development, I got involved on their website and their app as well.


Once I had built up a good enough baseline technical skillset, I started freelancing. I wasn’t too picky, and looked in all sorts of forums and job boards for people hiring web developers. I was doing Wordpress builds, some design work… it was a little all over the place. I did that for a year, until I really got interested in Shopify. 


How did you first start to dabble in Shopify? 

It started as a need to create my own site. My girlfriend and I wanted to sell t-shirts. The concept was to have maps of your neighborhood, printed on shirts. It was a fun project and I really enjoyed designing and building the site. That’s how I got introduced to Liquid and built up my skill-set. 


And is that when you shifted focus in your freelance work? 

Yeah exactly. Once I had enough Shopify knowledge, I started doing freelance jobs and found out about Storetasker. I’ve been 100% focused on Shopify since. Storetasker’s been great because it filters out bad leads. It’s much easier to find good work from actual businesses making money and with budget for developers. 

Since then I’ve been able to create a small agency called Brickspace Labs, with one developer helping me on a new Shopify app called Easypop and the others working on Shopify build work. 

Easypop upsell feature

What’s been the transition like, from freelancer to agency owner? 

I'm still kind of learning every day and figuring it out. A big part of the challenge is to identify clear responsibilities for the team members. In previous years, I ran client communication, quoting, proposals, execution and QA on projects, and obviously I need to free myself on some parts of that equation - but it’s challenging because all parts are interconnected. 

Right now I’m solving for this by scoping out a project, writing specific technical requests and then handing it off to other team members. It’s almost like a PM responsibility. 


Tell me more about Easypop: How’s that business going? 

Before we had Easypop, we had another app called “Freebies”. That was something that I made myself over a few weekends. The functionality was straight-forward: Once a customer spent a certain amount of money, they would get a pop-up prompting them to claim a free gift.  

 It was working fine and generating a few hundred dollars a month, but I knew it had more potential. And in 2019, I finally got the courage to build a team to create a more powerful and modular version of our pop-up builder. And today we have steady growth, and we're getting a lot of feedback which is giving us a lot of stuff to fix! It’s really rewarding to be working on it alongside the steady agency work which comes through existing clients and Storetasker. 

Thanks for sharing Thomas! Wishing you the best of luck with Easy Pop. Keep up the good work!


7,93
15,86
23,8
31,73
39,66
47,6
55,53
63,46
71,4

Welcome Thomas! Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you first start to get interested in web development? 

I first got exposed to programming in high school, we had small courses on coding which I liked. And growing up, I always thought being a programmer was a path I wanted to explore. Having flexibility to work my own hours and from home sounded appealing to me. After high-school, I ended up studying business & marketing in college. But I took some Treehouse courses outside of school to pick up on some coding skills. 


What was the first project you worked on?

Back when Tumblr was popular (2015), I created a custom theme that was approved and published by their team. That theme’s still being downloaded today, it’s called “Paper”. That was the first time I built a project that was used by actual people. It was really gratifying to see it come to life and that got me hooked on this path. 

Paper Wordpress Theme


Loved Tumblr! What came next? 

After college, I worked at a small startup called “Student Car Share” (kind of like Zipcar). There, I held responsibilities across many different parts. I worked on Facebook Ads, and because I had experience with web development, I got involved on their website and their app as well.


Once I had built up a good enough baseline technical skillset, I started freelancing. I wasn’t too picky, and looked in all sorts of forums and job boards for people hiring web developers. I was doing Wordpress builds, some design work… it was a little all over the place. I did that for a year, until I really got interested in Shopify. 


How did you first start to dabble in Shopify? 

It started as a need to create my own site. My girlfriend and I wanted to sell t-shirts. The concept was to have maps of your neighborhood, printed on shirts. It was a fun project and I really enjoyed designing and building the site. That’s how I got introduced to Liquid and built up my skill-set. 


And is that when you shifted focus in your freelance work? 

Yeah exactly. Once I had enough Shopify knowledge, I started doing freelance jobs and found out about Storetasker. I’ve been 100% focused on Shopify since. Storetasker’s been great because it filters out bad leads. It’s much easier to find good work from actual businesses making money and with budget for developers. 

Since then I’ve been able to create a small agency called Brickspace Labs, with one developer helping me on a new Shopify app called Easypop and the others working on Shopify build work. 

Easypop upsell feature

What’s been the transition like, from freelancer to agency owner? 

I'm still kind of learning every day and figuring it out. A big part of the challenge is to identify clear responsibilities for the team members. In previous years, I ran client communication, quoting, proposals, execution and QA on projects, and obviously I need to free myself on some parts of that equation - but it’s challenging because all parts are interconnected. 

Right now I’m solving for this by scoping out a project, writing specific technical requests and then handing it off to other team members. It’s almost like a PM responsibility. 


Tell me more about Easypop: How’s that business going? 

Before we had Easypop, we had another app called “Freebies”. That was something that I made myself over a few weekends. The functionality was straight-forward: Once a customer spent a certain amount of money, they would get a pop-up prompting them to claim a free gift.  

 It was working fine and generating a few hundred dollars a month, but I knew it had more potential. And in 2019, I finally got the courage to build a team to create a more powerful and modular version of our pop-up builder. And today we have steady growth, and we're getting a lot of feedback which is giving us a lot of stuff to fix! It’s really rewarding to be working on it alongside the steady agency work which comes through existing clients and Storetasker. 

Thanks for sharing Thomas! Wishing you the best of luck with Easy Pop. Keep up the good work!


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Thomas Kimura
7,93
15,86
23,8
31,73
39,66
47,6
55,53
63,46
71,4