From eBay to 7 figure business + The 1M users Chrome extension

15+ job opportunities from our network
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Dear starters,

Pat Walls here, creator of Starter Story

This last month, we’ve been heads down, building something new.. 

It’s called the Growth Database - and we're so excited to finally share it with you. 200+ growth playbooks that successful businesses are using today and built a database with the best marketing strategies that are proven to grow your business.

1. Real data: How much does each strategy cost? How difficult is it to get started? How long will it take? What are the key things to get right? We break that down for you. 
2. Real-world examples: We show you real businesses putting these strategies into action. Learn from the best.
3. Proven strategies: Many of these strategies are what helped us grow Starter Story to 900K readers/month.

Get full access to the Growth Database with both our Premium and Premium Plus memberships.

7 figure business selling handkerchiefs and linens online

Even though Steve and Jennifer had six-figure salaries, their lives were stagnant and didn’t have any direction. Bored, lifeless, and slogged through the same routine every single day. (Their words!)

Why start selling handkerchiefs? For their wedding, they wanted to have nice ones, but because the manufacturer was from China they had to buy several hundreds of them. Ended up using maybe six or so and went to sell the rest on eBay. They sold like hotcakes! From there to a 7 figure business.

Steve details many interesting aspects of the business such as dealing with suppliers, getting the first customers, etc. But I wanted to show you their 6 email autoresponders that we use for our store that make money on autopilot:

  1. Pre-Purchase Sequence - This sequence explains our brand story, what we sell, our value propositions and encourages customers to make their first purchase.
  2. Abandoned Cart Sequence - This sequence recovers lost sales from customers who abandon the checkout.
  3. Post Purchase Sequence - This sequence cross sells related products to existing customers to get them to purchase again. We also solicit reviews, feedback, and other forms of social proof that we can use in our ads.
  4. Win Back Sequence - If a customer has purchased once but hasn’t purchased within 60 days, they are automatically sent a coupon to come back and shop again.
  5. Anniversary Or Replenishment Sequence - Since they are in the wedding industry, these emails hit up repeat purchases for anniversary gifts. Year 2 just happens to be cotton gifts.
  6. View Abandon Sequence - Any customer who has viewed a product without adding it to the cart is automatically sent an email to checkout.

In addition to the automated campaigns above, they also send out at least one weekly email. All told, email makes up 30% of their revenue. And they do all of this with Klaviyo (our longtime sponsor).

How to create an email lead magnet nurturing sequence, create a brand story email campaign and more email tactics covered in our latest Growth Database.

 

The Chrome extension with 1M users

GMass has had just shy of 1 million total user signups since launch. It’s one of the most popular Gmail Chrome extensions on the Chrome Web Store. Almost every major tech company you can think of has at one point been a GMass client, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Uber, Lyft, Salesforce.com, Indeed, and Snapchat.

Due to reaching this milestone, we caught up with its founder Ajay to reflect on his journey. He shared some true gems:

#1 Can’t do everything yourself

Even critical functions like leading software development. You need to get the right team (keep reading, he’s hiring).

#2 An un-incentivized employee is an average employee

Never been in a position or have felt comfortable with typical Silicon Valley perks. He’s started toying with incentive-driven approaches for performance, and so far, that seems to be the right approach.

#3 Culture is important

Having the right experience and the right culture fit together is an unbeatable combination in a team member. Hiring a superstar developer who’s a jerk, that’s not going to contribute to growth long-term. Conversely, hiring a really nice person who embraces all of our values but stinks at their role, that’s no good either.

#4 It’s okay to start something and then give up

Earlier in the year, he started a YouTube channel to strengthen both his personal brand and the company’s. Wrote down a list of ideas for videos, storyboarded them, and made an intro video to launch his Youtube career. But then, other stuff kept getting in the way. There was always something that seemed to take priority over creating my next video.

#5 Writing content that has nothing to do with the business will result in zero leads

It’s normal to get excited after researching a niche topic and then writing a detailed article about it. For example, he wrote this article about negotiating with Stripe. It’s the #1 article when people Google how to negotiate with Stripe. BUT, despite its popularity, it’s brought in exactly 0 new users.

If you want to start successfully creating content for your blog though, you need to read this.

💰 Start a profitable business

Learn from real people sharing real stories. The struggles, the wins, the good and the bad. 

How do people get inspired and find great business opportunities? How do they get their 10 first clients? What challenges do they face at every stage and how to overcome them?

Get unlimited access to 2,000+ case studies, 3,000+ business ideas and 200+ proven growth strategies for $79/year (just $1.51/week) using the code "MAY21". This is the best deal we've ever had.

​Or, get even more with our Premium Plus membership for $199/year and you will additionally gain access to the Lean SEO course (sold separately for $249) where I share how I've grown Starter Story to over 900K monthly visitors.

Start now for $79/year

(All of our plans are billed yearly)

How a non-technical founder created a $120K/mo software

Dave is the founder of Kindlepreneur, a website devoted to help and teach authors how to self-publish, and market their books on Amazon and other online stores. The next step seemed natural: a book marketing software that helps authors with their Amazon book keyword research, category selection, and advertisement.

He’s been able to successfully grow his software Publisher Rocket to $120K/mo. But not without overcoming many hurdles.

After losing a lot of money over hiring the wrong developers to work on the project, he studied, researched, and asked a lot of software developing entrepreneurs many questions. Here is a summation of the rules he has developed based on those interactions:

  1. Look for programmers who have worked on similar projects before. And ask them for links or references. 
  2. Use a simple wireframing tool like Balsamiq to create the layout and functionality of your tool.
  3. Try to have a simple programming test. To see their capability and willingness for the job. 
  4. After presenting the project scope, it’s usually a good sign if the programmers ask for a couple of days to come back to you.
  5. Break up the cost of the project into parts to be paid immediately.At Beta, and upon final delivery.
  6. Think about continued maintenance and how you want to do this. To combat this, he offered a 10% profit share.

In the past, we’ve featured many non-technical founders. If you’re in that same position, read their stories, I’m sure that their journeys can help you a lot:

“Build your owned assets - instead of obsessing over every new social media platform, its algorithms, and chasing vanity metrics like how many followers you have, focus on building your own database of contacts that you have full control over.”

Ellen Yin, Founder
$10K/mo online course for marketers

Other stories worth reading
 

Grow by focusing on what you do best

Sidekick is an email and SMS marketing agency for direct-to-consumer e-commerce brands. Since we last spoke with them their revenue has tripled and now they make about $36,000 per month and their services generate at least a 10x ROI for their clients.

Their success can be attributed to offering a more specific set of services (they used to offer web design and paid advertising as well) and delivering both great results and great customer service to the brands they work with.
 

2.8x growth despite a temporarily Google ban

Alexander is the founder of Unicorn Platform, an online landing page builder tool that has grown from $2.5K/month to $7.2K/month

It helps busy entrepreneurs to get a pretty website quickly. A great product always gets recommended. People talk about them, tweet about them, discuss it on personal blogs and share Unicorn Platform in private chats. The recommendations alone give them 3,000+ visits ≈ 300 sign-ups ≈ +$200 MRR each month.

If you want to know all about the Google ban, you need to read the full story.
 

Eco-conscious businesses work

Did you know that lots of people started a business while quarantined? Jess was one of them. During one of the UK’s lockdowns, she started Elysian Fields, an online shop that sells plastic-free, affordable alternatives, allowing plastic-free swaps to be made throughout the home, kitchen, bathroom, and homeware.

She launched on March 25, 2021, and is already making sales for $3K/mo. That’s market validation right there. One thing that helped her a lot is that the value proposition is so strong that at the same time clearly defines who the target customer is. And that is absolutely key.

Do you want to know more about eco-conscious ecommerce brands? Check out the Jungle Culture story, they’re making $100K/mo with a business in the same space.

 

Opportunities

GMass has just reached 1M users and the founder, Ajay is looking to hire three full-time positions: growth manager, lead developer, and product manager.

Alexander is looking for a frontend developer with experience in ReactJS (remote) to work with him on Unicorn Platform, his $7,5K/mo online page builder.

Sterling Sky is a digital marketing agency with a team of 17, and they’re always on the lookout for their next hire. Specifically, they’re now searching for people with a lot of experience with Local SEO or link building.

Redwerk is a software development agency specializing in SaaS products, they’re hoping to grow the team to 100 professionals by the end of 2021. They have many open positions, like iOS developer, Python developer, QA engineer, Sales manager, Project manager, PR manager and Senior marketing specialist.

Abb-d Choudhury is the founder of Curate Labs and is aiming to hire a mid-weight digital designer and project manager/partner relations person.

 

P.S. Huge thank you to Klaviyo - our exclusive sponsor at Starter Story. By using Klaviyo, we've grown our email list to 60K and added thousands of dollars in revenue per month through email marketing. Get Klaviyo today!

Looking for a business idea? Find yours from our database of 3,000+ business ideas.






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