Entrepreneur Spotlight: How to Marry Audience and Product for Profit (An SBI! Success Story)
By Milly Frances and Paula Fitzpatrick, everything-stained-glass.com
Tell us about your website, www.everything-stained-glass.com? When and why did you start your site?
It was started in 2007 at a time when the passive income AdSense model was still a widespread reality and I had two goals for it…
- to create a comprehensive and high quality stained glass tutorial site to perpetuate this rewarding and beautiful craft, and
- to lie on a beach reaping the financial rewards. 🙂
Are you working full-time or part-time on building your website / online business?
I (Milly) have been working full-time on it since 2012 and Paula has been part-time throughout.
No lying on a beach for me! I have been creating content for the site, designing and developing an online stained glass course for beginners and working on our latest and most ambitious project to date – creating resources for and nurturing the growth of our new ‘one-stop community’ Stained Glass Hub. This is a paid members-only site that offers both a social community and a ‘Skills Library’ of high quality categorised stained glass resources.
So far, what has been the biggest challenge for you?
Definitely ‘keeping the faith’. Those dark days of realisation after each tiring and anxiety-inducing launch that we hadn’t quite reached the sweet spot of marrying audience and product. Having to somehow find the energy, enthusiasm and belief to pivot and keep building. Again…and again…and again!
With the recent launch of the Stained Glass Hub we have the magical ‘sign’ that we’ve been waiting for. A product that stained glass crafters are willing to pay for and are queuing up to join. We’re still keeping it deliberately small – it is currently ‘full’ while we consolidate – but early reaction has been wholly enthusiastic. I’m glad we had the tenacity to keep the faith.
What do you enjoy most about being an online business owner?
I’ve made some great friends in stained glass from all over the world. I’ve learnt new things from them and have enjoyed both sharing my knowledge and being inspired by theirs. I love creating something that will be accessible to everyone and will continue to spread the stained glass word long after I’m past it 😉
I’ve learnt things I never dreamt I’d learn – for example video editing and marketing skills – and I never, ever get time to be bored. I also enjoy the flexibility and autonomy.
Has your life changed since you started your site? Can you describe these changes for us?
This is a tricky one to answer with a truly positive spin. It’s been a big lot of hard work with countless solitary hours at the computer but I have been able to take time out along the way that I wouldn’t have been able to take in a regular job. For example I cycled over 1000 miles from one tip of the UK to the other in an adventure that connected me to my country in a way that I hadn’t experienced before.
And there’s something else too – the dream of possibilities that working online with a scaleable model brings. The thought that one day we can go to different parts of the world and still continue to work and share the beauty of stained glass is a real change for me. It’s a change of mind set and something that wasn’t a possibility for me before.
Why did you choose SBI! to build your website / online business?
Paula: I knew I wanted an online business but I didn’t know where to start. SBI offered a complete solution which meant I was able to learn the basics of an online business without being distracted and overwhelmed by online technology (all those pieces that you can’t see how to fit together). The idea of having a one-stop shop with all the business tools in one place was very appealing.
I also found a terrific amount of help and support from the SBI Forums. When you start a web business there are so many elements to consider that it’s overwhelming. SBI offers a road map which gets you through that crucial starting phase. I still wholeheartedly recommend it to beginners.
What one piece of advice would you give someone who is just getting started in the online business world?
Milly: This is the same advice that I ignored – along with countless others before me – and doesn’t just relate to the online business world:
Don’t spend years perfecting a product which you then present with a Big Bang only to find that you haven’t actually ASKED what your subscribers want but whatever it is, it isn’t your product! The result of this is exhaustion, high levels of anxiety and burnout.
Far better to start tentatively, with a beta product that you put in front of a small group of advocates to test and feed back on and continue to develop the product with their input and help. This is far less terrifying and more satisfying for everyone. You make friends AND you find that you have a product or service that people are prepared to pay for.
Paula: Think carefully about the monetization options of your niche before you start. The word ‘passion’ is a bit hackneyed but you will be eating, dreaming and living your niche, so you must love it or your enthusiasm will soon drain away.
Ready to start your career as an online entrepreneur? SBI! provides all you need: process, tools, guidance and support.
Learn From More High-Traffic, Profitable Solopreneurs
- Recent Success Stories With Takeaway Lessons. Read more recent inspiring stories from our blog. They deliver useful ideas and takeaway lessons from folks who’ve “done it and won it.” If they can do it, you can, too!
- Multi-Year SBI! Reviews. We take a deep-dive into the long term, full business stories of several different types of solopreneur successes. They periodically update their progress so you can see how they and their businesses grow over a period of years. This gives you excellent insight into what solopreneurs can accomplish with real online businesses.
- Hundreds of the “Top 0.5%.” Every one of these SBI! businesses (hundreds of them) rank in the top 1 million active websites (out of approximately 200 million!). That’s all the more impressive because 1) we are such a small community and 2) many Top 0.5% sites are mid-sized or large companies.
Solopreneurs fail at astronomical rates. SBI! makes you 100x more likely to succeed (that’s not a typo!). It will never be easy, but we do make it way more doable.
Scan the wide variety of solopreneurs who are winning in real niches. Use it to get a feeling for what SBIers do, as well as to generate ideas. What do you know? Turn it into a business.