How much revenue are you currently generating per month?
Our conservative estimate for total revenue for this year is $600,000 US, which is $50,000 a month.
How did you come up with the idea for your business? What kind of market research did you undertake?
My wife did extensive market research with our daughters! As most moms find out when their daughters reach six or seven, they get very fascinated with anything other than books, and online stuff. So we were introduced to the digital products market through them.
What gave us the opportunity though, is that my wife is an exceptional marketer and online saleswoman.
Her mom worked for a local paper as a write, and she grew up knowing how to write at a professional level. So my wife started writing content for websites and then her own blogs, which over time. Grew to be pretty good money on it’s own.
We started selling with an Amazon store in early 2008 and began publishing the eBooks at first and various other digital products that we could also buy and flip, about eighteen months later.
How did you create, publish or source your product? What were some key issues you learned during this process?
We made the decision that we did not want to make our own digital products, aside from a very few eBooks that my wife just insisted upon writing. The eBooks and most other products are just to easy to buy for cheap and resell. Normally for 3 – 4 times the buy price. It was just our decision not to do that.
We didn’t find a solution that successfully scaled though, so for the first 18 months my wife was constantly marketing and promoting on Facebook, Shopify, Amazon, Craigslist and Payhip most importantly, which ultimately proved to b very profitable!
What made you decide to sell digital products as well as physical ones? What market research did you do?
We were maxed out at $1000 per month and struggling to scale. We knew that digital goods were amazing products, that millions of people want, especially online workers, marketers of all types, children, entrepreneurs, so on and so fourth. We also knew that software, games, eBooks, plugins, and almost any form of online business, has been around for a very long time!
Because we already had a ton of eBooks, it was easy for us to try out selling them as downloadable PDFs.
In the first month of trying out digital downloads, we gave away several hundred eBooks for free and sold eleven. It was a humble start, but scaled very quickly.
This last month we had over 43,000 downloads, almost all through Payhip. In total we’ve now had well over 700,000 products downloaded. It was a model that scaled very well.
Did you have any problems scaling the digital delivery business model?
We began selling products under our own website, Liberty Jane Digital Products & PLR, but when we started featuring other things we realized we had a branding problem.
We relaunched the site a year and a half ago as PLR Everything, which was a more general branding that we could resell vast amounts of various products under. It has become one of the Internet’s largest marketplace for PLR products.
It’s not a ‘pure’ marketplace though, because we have a store-level pricing strategy that everyone has to comply with. Similar to Kindle or iTunes, so there’s no race to the bottom.
In terms of adding products, we buy only things we like and we also get people who know about us and esquire. We now also have a third channel – training ecourses.
What other challenges do you face selling digital products?
The largest challenge for us is the delivery process. We started to scale the business with a WordPress website and various shopping cart and digital delivery tools, but something would always break.
When you have 43,000 transactions in a month, bandwidth, the reliability of the hosting, and shopping cart functionality really matter.
We left our WordPress platform and moved to Shopify and Payhip. Shopify and Payhip have solved so many headaches.
“They just work. And it’s a beautiful thing!”
What channels are currently generating the most traffic and sales for you right now?
The first marketing tool we actively worked on was Facebook. We started posting about our products in thousands of groups, using our own auto posting digital products that we bought somewhere else and also resell to other marketers constantly. Facebook worked very well for selling eBooks and most other products.
Email marketing was the other channel we worked hard to grow. Now we have a list of almost 500,000. Then Payhip came on the scene, Pinterest, and Instagram.
We also found that people wanted to use our products for their home businesses more and more, coming back to buy again and again! For the first six months, we said that our products couldn’t be used for commercial purposes. But people kept asking, and we wondered why we were being such jerks!
We flipped it around and started marketing to commercial pages, groups and anything commercial. Now we have almost 1,600 people that use and continuously buy our products for their businesses and work at home hustles. We reach them through a newsletter and a blog.
What software, tools and resources are crucial to your business?
We build our content using various tools – Illustrator, Photoshop Elements for image works, and the basic document creation tools. There’s no ‘magic’ tool.
What other key advice can you offer to entrepreneurs looking to start a successful eCommerce business?
I think the biggest key is to focus very clearly on your marketing strategy and to work out whether your promotions and postings have a high probability of success. If not change them! Do what others are doing that it is working for.
There are back corners of the Internet where people are actively looking for solutions and no one is serving them. Those are the most interesting demographics and niches to discover.