How one Person Made Millions Through Online Business While Still Being in Job?
August 05, 2016 Salan Khalkho 7 min read
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In last one decade bloggers and many entrepreneurs have proved that it is possible to start a profitable online venture with relatively few or no resources. Michael Priyev is one such example!
It's a dream most employees see but only few make it happen.
Here is a story about one person who did it.
You will also see step-by-step method he employed to achieve that success.
Michael Priyev is the man! He started a small online business from scratch with few resources. He made it big while still working as a full time employee. That's awesome because many of us working 8-to-5 gig want to do that don't you?
Big companies have deep pocket to invest heavily in digital advertising to grow their brand. Unfortunately scores of bloggers and many individual startups simply don't have the capacity to invest thousands of dollars in their new blog or venture. But they have a competitive edge, they know to play with words.
In last one decade bloggers and many entrepreneurs have proved that it is possible to start a profitable online venture with relatively few or no resources. Michael Priyev is one such example who built an online business with strong brand from ground up with small amount of investment in online advertisement. His example is exceptional because he tried to build business in heavily competitive niche where only big brands can be seen operating.
He started a fashion sunglasses brand called ROTA Glasses. He did typically everything any savvy entrepreneur would do. He conducted market research to find a profitable product that will give maximum bang for his investment. He located a Chinese manufacturer and negotiated a deal and created a simple e-commerce website to upload his products and sell them online.
Here is a step-by-step process he employed to build his online business:
When you are running on a tight budget, you should aim at keep things as simple as possible. Identify your biggest strength and capitalize on it.
Michael Priyev spent time finding one trendy profitable product so that he can build his brand around it. He decided to start with fashion-inspired sunglasses to build his brand and promote it online.
Factors to consider while deciding product to sell online
Here are four factors Priyev considered to decide his product
- Inexpensive to produce
- Low shipping cost
- High perceived value
- Trending upward - increased demand
His product fashion sunglasses had all the above four features. It has low production cost per unit. It is light website that means it can affordable shipped. Sunglasses have high perceived value among consumers and are trending upwards among millennial.
Research tools to validate findings
There are plenty of tools online to research these data such as "Google trend" and social media activity. There are also highly sophisticated tools to obtain and analyze key marketing data. But for the sake to keep his research simple and straight forward, he did not go that deep. He just checked search engine trend and social media activities to gain insight.
Penetration of internet has made it possible to reach out to manufacturers and easily import goods from overseas with the click of a mouse. With the help of online portal, AliExpress which is geared towards suppliers from China, he was able to find product for $5 which his competitors were selling for $30. This also gives clues that there is real potential in retail arbitrage.
Portals like Alibaba and AliExpress feature vast number of unique items. You can literally start any online retail business importing products ranging from smartphone to jewelry and clothing apparel to shoes.
Once the product was taken care of, he changed his focused towards build brand for his product. That's because people don't buy products, they buy brand. In the very own language of Priyev, branding goals should be to increase the perceived value and inelasticity. Jill Ferguson, branding expert, says that your brand should speak to your customer's wants, feelings and their lifestyle.
Priyev did everything within his capacity to build brand that came across as high-end and was inspired by European fashion brands. In a moment you will see how he was able to build the perceived value of his glasses as high-end.
While Priyev was waiting for his shipment to arrive, he started setting up an ecommerce store. Since he was on a tight budget, he started designing his store on his own using cloud hosted SAAS applications such as Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. It might not look very high-end in the beginning, but it's a great starting point for any entrepreneur.
Critical features of your ecommerce store
It is important that your store should have a unique look to make it stand out from the crowd. Focus on these points:
- Effective copyrighting
- Call-to-action (buttons)
- High quality images
Effective marketing strategy
Marketing is the most critical part of any business. It can make or break your business. This is where most entrepreneurs get stuck. Building a great product and beautiful storefront is fine, but when it comes to finding paying customers, many entrepreneurs find themselves stuck.
Priyev focused only on social media marketing since it appeared to him to be the most affordable and effective marketing channel. Since the product was directly related to fashion and lifestyle, he decided to use Instagram. This was a not a smart guess, but during competitor analysis he found most of his competitor having great success on Instagram. This made Instagram an obvious choice to focus their marketing efforts.
Two core strategies
Priyev capitalized his efforts on two core activities for Instagram marketing campaign:
- Competitor analysis
- Influencer marketing
Priyev and his team set up a social page and added few photographs of his products. Then he searched his competitors on Instagram that had more than 5,000 followers or more. With the list of competitors at hand, he started to focus on highly engaged followers who were regularly commenting on competitor's posts and photographs. These highly engaged followers had highest chance of following him back, which could lead to an eventual sale.
Since Priyev was bootstrapping his business, he came up with smart strategy for influencers marketing. He created list of influencers with more than 100,000 followers to promote his brand. Next he devised a method to incentivize influencers by giving away his sunglasses as promotional gifts.
This had an amazing impact. Not only did he gained new followers and sales, but he was also able to had photographs of beautiful models wearing his glasses which now he could also use to promote on his own social media pages. Hiring professional models could have been highly expensive proposition. With just one give away he was able to gain more than 300 followers and 24 sales. This approach also earned him messages from 11 new influencers begging to promote his sunglass.
What Priyev did to gain traction for his business could be new thing to business world but bloggers already know the importance of influencers marketing and have been using it since two decades.
Salan Khalkho is the founder of
SyndicateBlogger, a content discovery platform that helps bloggers grow their traffic by connecting to a larger network of bloggers and grow by leveraging combined traffic. A former Analyst at Reuters, Salan spends most of his time as a content strategist for his clients. In his spare time he and his wife love exploring new recipes and spend time with their baby boy.
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