Last year, l wrote a great blog around the inspirational story of Koby Conrad, a college drop-out, who built a successful online business (well worth a read if you haven’t already). Koby got in touch recently to thank us for the blog (our pleasure Koby) and asked if we would be open to the idea of him writing a guest blog for SellerExpress. Of course, we said yes. So without further ado, here it is.
Guest blog by Koby Conrad
Hippies Hope Shop is the first business that I’ve started. I was 19 at the time and it began with a really big Facebook page that I had been building up mostly as a hobby. Back then, Facebook was the king of social media. A couple thousand followers would get you 100,000 people seeing your content every week.
We did pretty well for ourselves and built the business back up to $10,000/mo in sales & got featured on Forbes, Business Insider, and a lot of other publications.
And then, Facebook died.
Okay, it didn’t “die” die, but Facebook as we knew it for the last 8 years went away over the course of a couple months. Organic reach disappeared. We did okay at first because we were able to rig Facebook’s brand new formulas, but eventually they caught on and sealed everything down, and then that was it. No more organic reach for retail brands.
And that’s how the business model for my very first business died.
Now, Hippies Hope is alive and well today, but it was because after our business model went away, we learned a very valuable lesson. The only thing you can be 100% certain of, is that everything will change. This means that every revenue stream you have, will go away at one point. It may be 3 months from now, a year from now, or 30 years from now, but eventually something will happen that will force whatever is creating profit for you to stop working.
The only safety net you have is by diversifying your revenue streams.
And that’s how we survived, we diversified Hippies Hope Shop. We set up an Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, & WANELO account. We even started 2 additional businesses in very different niches, a cleaning company called Boise Cleaning Fairy and a digital marketing agency called Boise Digital.
One business doing $5k a month is good, three businesses doing $5k a month is awesome. Revenue streams are a really great thing.
Here are some of our best revenue streams and tips and tricks we learned to build them up along the way: Marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay.
Success in digital marketplaces is about keywords and reviews. Places like Etsy and Amazon are very focused on reputation, people want to know that they are actually going to get what they paid for and that it’s going to show up on time. Keyword stuffing is also a very real strategy. When we maxed out 100% of the allowed keywords on our Etsy account, our sales tripled.
Getting set up with a company that can automated listings like SellerExpress is also one of the easiest things you can do for additional revenue.
Facebook no longer is great for organic reach, but it is a good CPM platform. Setting up remarketing ads is the most basic thing you can do to increase your revenue. Once you finish setting up your remarketing ads, focus on every other social media. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, all are great. My favourite not so well known social media is WANELO . Every day I get 23 sales consistently from our WANELO following with a $0 ad budget and only 1300 followers.
That’s called organic reach.
Mailing lists have been the true king of ecommerce since the internet has been around, and they still are one of the most profitable revenue streams available. Our first Christmas with a list of 600 people, we made $1000 in sales. I’ve worked on many different lists in the 100,000 range that have been able to produce ~$30K$ 100K/mo in revenue. Start working on your mailing list, you’ll thank yourself in three years.