Best Self Co’s Cathryn Lavery and Allen Brouwer on how they won the Shopify Build a Business Competition and will achieve 100,000 orders in their first year (episode 083)

Cathryn Lavery and Allen Brouwer are the co-founders of BestSelf Co. It’s an online only eCommerce business that started by selling just one product, and is now branching out into digital content. The product is a daily planner to help you optimise your day. There are 2 reason’s I’m very excited to have them on – obviously I’m a big fan of planning and goals so it’s great to be able to bring this to you, especially right at the start of 2017! But, more importantly they’ve just won the “People’s Choice” award in the 2016 Shopify Build a Business Competition. The website launched on 1st January 2016, and as we record they have sold over 28,000 journals globally (by the time you listen to this we reckon it’ll be over 100,000).

This is the first of our ‘2017 eCommerce Growth Series Sponsored by Veeqo the Number 1 Inventory Software’. The series will be running throughout January and is packed with insight and advice to help you make 2017 your best year yet.

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About the business

  • eCommerce Business Structure – Online Only
  • Product Range Scale – niche
  • On Shopify
  • Key Widgets:
  • They’re based in the USA, and currently sell to over 81 countries
  • Their team all work remotely across the USA

Listen to hear how they got started in eCommerce and discussions about the business origins, starting a ‘passion project’, funding through Kickstarter, and the Shopify Build a Business Competition

The Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign

“We looked into manufacturing this product for our own self-interest,” says Brouwer, “(but) since our friends wanted one, too, we thought maybe the general public will, as well.”

Lavery explains, “We used Kickstarter to validate our product… our goal was for a $200,000 Kickstarter, we ended up with $322,000.”

All by single-mindedly focusing on the campaign, and only the campaign.

Most Awesome Thing Right Now

The comments they get back from customers, sharing their stories of personal bests and goals reached.

Listen to hear more about how….

Advice for entering the 2017 Shopify Build a Business Competition

Affirmations and positivity posters are a great way to keep focused on winning the competition.

Together with very careful monitoring of the key metrics. Looking at them daily, and then taking the necessary action to bring sales back on track.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

  • The eMyth Revisited by Michael Gerber, written about setting up roles for people.
  • Brower: The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, on finding out what works, focusing, and then outsourcing or eliminating what doesn’t.

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Facebook Groups – creating the community for customers drives testimonials and referrals.

You can hear about all this on the podcast, for free – right now…

Tool Top Tip

  • Slack
  • Voxer – an instant voice recording App for iPhone/android

Both great for quick liaison with their remote team.

Start Up Top Tip

  • Ask yourself, what is the user getting from this product? What are you really selling?
  • A small business owner must have the mindset and focus to commit 100% and don’t give up.

Interview Links