5 years ago I sat with a friend on a beach in Thailand. He told me I needed a source of passive income, so I could continue to sit on the beach in Thailand.
I gave it some thought, went home, and put together a simple PDF: TEN, Ten Ways to Improve Your Craft Without Buying Gear. I put it up on my blog and to my shock people bought it. At $5 it wasn't much of a risk. On the success of TEN, I wrote a sequal. It was, cleverly, called TEN MORE.
The books continued to sell. 5 Years later we have published 20 authors, with nearing 100 unique titles, and a bi-monthly magazine, and have sold well over a million eBooks.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our first sales were generated on the strength of my personal platform - a dedicated group of enthusiastic amateur and professional photographer that gathers around my blog.
Slowly we've built a separate platform around the Craft & Vision brand, mostly through affiliates, social media engagement, and a well-pruned mailing list to whom we send monthly or bi-monthly newsletters with announcements, discount, and exclusive content like resources and giveaways.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
Almost all of our fulfillment is digital, delivered by download links in a Thank You email. We use Digital Downloads for that.
We keep track of abandoned orders with JILT. We use CHIMPIFIED to integrate our store with our mailing list. Canada Post has an app to help with our shipping, and we use Zendesk for our customer support. Refersion deals with our affiliate needs.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
We've grown as fast as we have because we know what we do well and we do that. We give customers exceptional value and will go to the ends of the earth for them. That, plus a well-managed and growing mailing list, and the willingness to give things away and surprise people, has kept us moving forward. Grow a great audience, then listen to them, find out where they itch, then scratch the hell out of that itch for them.