How To Design A Digital File Platform

Design A Digital File Platform

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Are you looking to design a digital file platform?

If you talk to any entrepreneur, getting started is one of the hardest parts of launching your own business.

There are many things to consider, such as:

  • Validating your business idea
  • Setting up your business structure
  • Launch ideas for your business
  • Determining your marketing strategy
  • And much more!

In this detailed guide, we lay out all the steps to help you get started and run your business successfully.

market size
$7.25B
avg revenue (monthly)
$6.5K
starting costs
$26.6K
gross margin
89%
time to build
8 months
growth channels
Direct sales
business model
E-Commerce
best tools
Etsy, Solidworks, Google Drive
time investment
Side project
pros & cons
24 Pros & Cons
tips
1 Tips

💡 Introduction To Becoming A Digital,File,Document

Is Becoming A Digital,File,Document Right For You?

There are many factors to consider when becoming a digital,file,document.

We put together the main pros and cons for you here:

Pros of becoming a digital,file,document

• Flexibility

You can put as much time into the business as you'd like. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own.

• Ability to start your business from home

It's not necessary to have a physical storefront or office space to get your business started. You can do everything from the comfort of your own home, at least in the beginning!

• Scalable

With businesses and processes changing daily, there will always be demand for new features, products and services for your business. Additionally, there are several different business models and pricing tiers you can implement that will allow you to reach all types of customers.

• Meaningful business connections

You never know who you will meet as a digital file platform. This could be the start of an incredible business opportunity!

• High customer retention rates

Once a customer invests in your product, they've invested their time and energy to utilize your product/service which is highly valuable to them. Typically, your product or service becomes indispensable to your customer.

• Unlimited income potential

With becoming a digital,file,document there is no cap as to how much income you can make. The stronger your business skills and the more energy/time you put into your career, the more you'll make.

• Predictable income stream

Your businesses income stream tends to be predictable based on the number of customers you have signed up. This makes financial planning and outlooks much more seamless!

• Higher likelihood of getting referrals

This business is all about referrals, which can be a a very impactful way to attract and retain customers. It's critical that you have a great referral program in place that incentivizes your customers to tell their friends about your product.

• Greater Income Potential

With this business, the sky is the limit in regards to your income potential.

• You can work from anywhere!

Not only can you start your digital file platform from home, you can also run your business from anywhere in the world. This is the entrepreneur dream.

• Strong Demand & Relatively Recession Proof

The demand for digital file platform is increasing year over year and the business is known to be relatively recession proof.

• You establish yourself as an expert

With becoming a digital,file,document, you establish yourself as an expert in your niche, which builds your credibility. In return, customers are more likely to trust you and refer you to other friends and family.

• Can build solid foundation of clients

It's unlikely you will have one-off customers as a digital file platform. Typically, you have a solid foundation of clients that use your product and services regularly.

• Make money while you sleep

The advantage of starting a digital file platform is that you have the ability to have passive income and make money while you sleep. This is the dream for many entrepreneurs.

• Results and revenue happen quickly!

Unlike other businesses, it can be relatively quick to start seeing results and revenue. As long as you follow all the steps to validate your idea before launch, you are likely to see quick results and ROI.

Cons of becoming a digital,file,document

• Low margins

The gross margins for your digital file platform are typically around 89%, which can make it more challenging to incur new expenses and maintain profitability.

• Niche Market

A niche business is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it can be the key to your success. However, it can be more challenging and time consuming to find the perfect niche market and target audience.

• Churn

In this business, customers can cancel their membership or subscription for your services - which can make revenue forecasting challenging and unpredictable. It's important to focus on your churn rates and trends so that you can prevent this as much as possible.

• Time commitment

With becoming a digital,file,document, all responsibilities and decisions are in your hands. Although this is not necessarily a negative thing, work life can take over at times. This can place a strain on friends and family and add to the pressure of launching a new business.

• Impatient customers

You may offer an engaging user experience for your customer, but customers expect a lot and may be impatient if they aren't pleased with your product or service.

• You might struggle financially (at first)!

If you bootstrap your business or choose not to pay yourself (or pay yourself less than you were making at your corporate job), this can be financially taxing. It's important to adjust your lifestyle and set a plan for yourself so you don't find yourself in a stressful situation.

• Learning Curve

When you start your own business, you no longer have upper management to provide you with a playbook for your roles and responsibilities. You should know the ins and outs of every aspect of your business, as every decision will come down to you.

• Technical issues can be frustrating

Technical issues are common in this business. If you struggle with the technical side of things, you may want to consider outsourcing this responsibility to save yourself the time and frustration.

• More challenging to earn passive income

It can be more of a challenge to make passive income in this business. Often times, the amount of revenue you bring in is limited by the amount of time you have in the day.

Players

Big Players

Small Players

Search Interest

Let's take a look at the search trends for 10 over the last year:

How To Name Your Digital File Platform

It's important to find a catchy name for your digital file platform so that you can stand out in your space.

Here are some general tips to consider when naming your digital file platform

  • Avoid hard to spell names: you want something easy to remember and easy to spell for your customers
  • Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
  • Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business (ie. if you decide to expand into other product lines)
  • As soon as you have an idea (or ideas) of a few names that you love, register the domain name(s) as soon as possible!

Why is naming your digital file platform so important?

The name of your business will forever play a role in:

  • Your customers first impression
  • Your businesses identity
  • The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
  • If you're memorable or not

It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your digital file platform.

You can search domain availability here:

Find a domain starting at $0.88

powered by Namecheap

Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.

It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.

As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.

Here's some inspiration for naming your digital file platform:

  • Photoelectronic check availability
  • Pinnacle Digital check availability
  • Jpeg Spot check availability
  • Jpeg Co check availability
  • Ranking Spot check availability
  • Podcast Trading Co check availability
  • The Analog Technological check availability
  • File Co check availability
  • Ranking Co check availability
  • Analog Computer Spot check availability
  • Bandwidth Trading Co check availability
  • Dento Downloadable check availability
  • The Manual Computer check availability
  • Ranking Place check availability
  • Podcast Pro check availability
  • NonDigital check availability
  • AuriculoDigital check availability
  • Phalanx Place check availability
  • The All check availability
  • Antialiasing Co check availability
  • Dento Din check availability
  • Pre check availability
  • The Photography check availability
  • Pulse Digitized Group check availability
  • Inhospitable Digital check availability

How To Create A Slogan For Your Digital File Platform:

Slogans are a critical piece of your marketing and advertising strategy.

The role of your slogan is to help your customer understand the benefits of your product/service - so it's important to find a catchy and effective slogan name.

Often times, your slogan can even be more important than the name of your brand.

Here are 6 tips for creating a catchy slogan for your digital file platform:

1. Keep it short, simple and avoid difficult words

A great rule of thumb is that your slogan should be under 10 words. This will make it easy for your customer to understand and remember.

2. Tell what you do and focus on what makes you different

There are a few different ways you can incorporate what makes your business special in your slogan:

  • Explain the target customer you are catering your services towards
  • What problem do you solve?
  • How do you make other people, clients, or your employer look good?
  • Do you make people more successful? How?

3. Be consistent

Chances are, if you're coming up with a slogan, you may already have your business name, logo, mission, branding etc.

It's important to create a slogan that is consistent with all of the above.

4. Ensure the longevity of your slogan

Times are changing quickly, and so are businesses.

When coming up with your slogan, you may want to consider creating something that is timeless and won't just fade with new trends.

5. Consider your audience

When finding a catchy slogan name, you'll want to make sure that this resonates across your entire audience.

It's possible that your slogan could make complete sense to your audience in Europe, but may not resonate with your US audience.

6. Get feedback!

This is one of the easiest ways to know if your slogan will be perceived well, and a step that a lot of brands drop the ball on.

Ask friends, family, strangers, and most importantly, those that are considered to be in your target market.

Here's some inspiration for coming up with a slogan for your digital file platform:

Whatever You're Into, Get Into Digital Files.

Work Hard, Prints Harder

A Digital Files Is Forever.

See The USA In Your Digital Files.

Why Can't Everything Orange Be Digital Files?

Put Of The Analog Computer

Have A Break. Have A Digital Files.

Put Of The File

Digital Files Loves You.

Because Digital Files Can't Drive.

Digital Files - Enjoy The Difference.

I Like The Digital Files In You.

All The Digital Files That's Fit To Print.

You Can't Beat Digital Files.

Digital Files Is Crazy Good.

Digital Files For Hire.

Print Is What We Do

Space Of The Ranking

Digital Files - It Does A Body Good.

Digital Files - A Safe Place In An Unsafe World!

The Software Business Model

Tiered Pricing Model

You may want to consider having different pricing tiers to meet the needs of your customers.

With this model, there are typically 2 or more packages for a specific price that offer a fixed amount of features.

Each package should reflect the needs of the buyer persona - for example, a customer looking for a beginner package may have a very different use case than a customer looking for an enterprise package.

By offering different packages, you're able to target different audiences which will lead to increased conversions and revenue. Additionally, your chances of "upselling" existing customers are much higher as you have establisished trust with your customer and they're left wanting more once their use case evolves.

Per-User Model

Many digital file platform businesses charge a fixed rate per user on the account (either monthly or yearly). This can be especially lucrative if you're targeting larger businesses where the user number will be much higher.

This model is not always preferred as it can be challenging to forecast revenue accurately when the user count within businesses is fluctuating constantly.

Flat Rate Model

If you decide to adopt a flat-rate model, this would mean that you offer only one price for every customer. All customers are treated equally and have access to the same amount of features.

This model is not as common as tiered pricing because it only meets the needs of one buyer persona and can limit growth and you're able to have multiple revenue streams.

Per Feature Model

This model charges customers based on the # of features they need. Customers add features "a-la-carte" which will determine the overall price of the product.

This can be a lucrative model, however, the number of different use-cases customers need can become overwhelming (making the sales process longer) and it can be challenging to find a price structure that works well.

The business model you choose depends entirely on your needs and goals as a company. To find what works well for you, you may want to consider testing several models and conducting market research to see what competition in the space is doing.

The Freemium Model

Offering free trials to your platform is a great way to gain exposure for your business and potentially get new customers!

Finding the right digital file platform is a big deal for most people, so it can be important for customers to try a free version with limited features prior to making a big investment.

Once your customer reaches the limits of their free account, they're much more likely to invest in the premium version so they can gain access to all of the features your product offers.

There are a few different ways you can limit certain aspects of your product:

  • Usage quotas: Storage limits or limiting the number of times they can utilize a feature
  • Limited features: Only allowing your free user to utilize certain features vs all features - this is also a great way to upsell during the user's experience
  • Limited support: Customer support can be time-consuming, by limiting the level of support to free users this is a great incentive for them to upgrade (and will save you a lot of time and money)!

Here's an example of SEO website, Sanity Check offering a free version to their website:

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🎬 How To Design A Digital File Platform

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How Much Does It Cost To Design A Digital File Platform

If you are planning to design a digital file platform, the costs are relatively low. This, of course, depends on if you decide to start the business with lean expenses or bringing in a large team and spending more money.

We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of becoming a digital,file,document and outline the costs you should expect for each:

  • The estimated minimum starting cost = $6,542
  • The estimated maximum starting cost = $46,744
Startup Expenses: Average expenses incurred when starting a digital file platform. Min Startup Costs: You plan to execute on your own. You’re able to work from home with minimal costs. Max Startup Costs: You have started with 1+ other team members.
Office Space Expenses
Rent: This refers to the office space you rent out for your business. To minimize costs, you may want to consider starting your business from home or renting an office in a coworking space. $0 $2,000
Utility Costs (office space): This refers to the first month's utility bill for your office space. If you are not responsible for this bill, this would not apply to starting your digital file platform. $0 $150
Office Supplies: Although these may seem like minor costs, things like your desks, chairs, pens, paper, filing cabinets do add up. To avoid these adding up too much, try to be as lean as possible and go paperless! $25 $1,000
WiFi: Whether you work from home or in an office space, WiFi is an expense that's tough to avoid. Although the cost is minimal in most cases, it should be appropriately budgeted for each month! $10 $100
Total Office Space Expenses $35 (min) $3,250 (max)
Employee & Freelancer Expenses
Payroll: This number depends on if you decide to pay yourself a salary upfront and how many employees you have on payroll. At first, many founders take on all responsibilities until the business is up and running. You can always hire down the road when you understand where you need help. Keep in mind, if you do plan to pay yourself, the average salary founders make is $50K. $0 $4,000
Other Employee Expenses: Aside from payroll and benefits, there are other costs associated with hiring employees. This includes the cost to advertise the job, the time it takes to interview candidates, and any potential turnover that may result from hiring the wrong candidate. $0 $1,000
Employee Reward Ideas: It's important to recognize and reward employees - whether they hit their goals or are doing an exceptional job. This doesn't have to cost you a lot - simply taking them out to lunch, giving them a gift card or offering a pay-check bonus are all ways to recognize your employee! Here are 65 ways to reward your employees. $0 $500
Total Employee & Freelancer Expenses $0 (min) $5,500 (max)
Equipment & Supply Expenses
Technology Office Equipment: This includes (but is not limited to) physical items such as: laptops, cameras, monitors, microphones, speakers, headsets. Technology needs grow as your company evolves, so to minimize costs, try and only purchase what is needed for you to run your business at the time. $500 $5,000
Cleaning Supplies: To get started, you may want to consider getting basic cleaning supplies. Note, that you may not need to buy all the cleaning tools and supplies at first. You can consider purchasing in bulk down the road. $25 $500
Total Equipment & Supply Expenses $525 (min) $5,500 (max)
Website Costs
Website builder: The cost of your website will vary depending on which platform you choose. There are many website builders on the market, so it's important you choose the right one for your business and overall goals. To learn more about your options + how to build a great website, check out this article. $15 $100
Web Design: Web design includes several different aspects, including webpage layout, content creation, and design elements.If you have the skills and knowledge to design your website on your own, then outsourcing this to an expert may not be necessary. There are plenty of other ways you can design a beautiful website using design tools and software. $200 $6,000
A Domain Name: Your domain name is the URL and name of your website - this is how internet users find you and your website.Domain names are extremely important and should match your company name and brand. This makes it easier for customers to remember you and return to your website. $12 $200
Email hosting: Email is a critical piece for running your business. Once you have your domain name, you will want to set up email accounts for each user on your team. The most common email hosts are GSuite (typically starting at $6+ per user, per month) or Microsoft Office (typically starting at $5+ per user, per month). The number of email accounts you set up will determine the monthly cost breakdown. $5 $75
Server Hosting: To start your business, you will need to set up and manage a server. The cost for this is typically billed monthly and depends on the platform you choose (typically ranging anywhere from $0-$50/mo). $0 $50
Website chat function: If customer service is a big piece of your business, you will want to consider implementing a chat bot on your website. Typically, there are different tiers of pricing and some businesses even offer freemium services. To find what chat software is best for your business, check out this guide. $0 $75
Total Website Costs $232 (min) $6,500 (max)
Business Formation Fees
Small Business Insurance: Depending on which state you live in and the business you're operating, the costs and requirements for small business insurance vary. You can learn more here. $500 $2,000
Permit and License Fees: Depending on your industry, there are certain licenses and permits you may need in order to comply with state, local, and federal regulations. Here is an article that goes over all the permits and licenses you may need for your digital file platform. $50 $700
Trademarking: Filing trademark registration will protect your brand and prevent other businesses from copying your name or product. USPTO has several different types of trademarks, so the cost to apply can vary (typically anywhere from $400-$700). $0 $700
Lawyer Fees: Although you may want to avoid attorney fees, it's important that your business (and you) are covered at all costs. This comes into play when creating founder agreements, setting up your business legal structure, and of course, any unforeseen circumstances that may happen when dealing with customers or other businesses. $0 $1,500
A Patent: Patents provide protection against others stealing or selling your idea.Securing a patent can be very valuable, but it's important that you are 100% sure this will be a smart business move for you, or if this is something to consider down the line.The process of securing a US patent can be both lengthy and pricey, and typically includes filing an application with the USPTO. $5,000 $15,000
Set up business: LLC & Corporations: The first step in setting up your business is deciding whether your business is an LLC, S Corp or C Corp. The cost for this depends on which state you form your business and which structure you decide on. We put together an article that goes over the 10 Steps To Setting Up A Business. $50 $500
Total Business Formation Fees $5,600 (min) $20,400 (max)
Software Expenses
Design Programs & Software: These programs might include the Adobe family of design tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and others. This is typically a monthly subscription ranging from $10-$50/mo. $0 $50
Email marketing tool: If you plan to grow your email list and email marketing efforts, you may want to consider investing in an email marketing platform (ie. Klaviyo, MailChimp). We put together a detailed guide on all of the email marketing tools out there + the pricing models for each one here $0 $100
IT Support: IT support installs and configures hardware and software and solves any technical issues that may arise.IT support can be used internally or for your customers experiencing issues with your product/service.There are a variety of tools and software you can use to help with any technical issues you or your customers are experiencing. This is a great option for businesses that do not have the means to hire a team of professionals. $150 $2,000
Accounting & Invoicing Software: It's important to have an accounting system and process in place to manage financials, reporting, planning and tax preparation. Here are the 30 best accounting tools for small businesses. $0 $50
CRM Software: CRM (customer relationship management) software is used to track your company’s interactions with clients and prospects. Although this is not a necessary tool to have for your digital file platform, implementing this in the beginning may set your business up for success and save you a lot of time later on. For a full list of best CRMs to use for your business, check out the full list here. $0 $250
Project Management Software: You may want to consider using a project management and collaboration tool to organize your day-to-day. This can also be very beneficial if you have a larger team and want to keep track of everyones tasks and productivity. For a full list of project management tools, check out this full list here. $0 $25
Internal Communication Tool: If you plan to have multiple members on your team, you may want to consider an instant message tool such as Slack or Telegram. The cost is usually billed per month (approx $5/user/month) or there are freemium versions available on many platforms. $0 $20
Social Media Management Tools: If you plan to do social media marketing for your digital file platform, you should consider investing in a social media automation or publishing tool. This will save you time and allow you to track performance and engagement for your posts. Here is a list of 28 best social media tools for your small business. $0 $50
Payroll Software: The main purpose of payroll software is to help you pay your team and track each of those payments (so that you don't have to do it manually). If you do not have any employees or have a very small team, payroll software may not be necessary at this stage. Here are the 11 best payroll tools for small businesses! $0 $200
Online data storage: It's important to make sure the information for your digital file platform is stored and protected should something happen to your computer or hard drive. The cost for this is affordable and depends on how much data you need to store. To learn more about the different options and pricing on the market, check out this article. $0 $299
Total Software Expenses $150 (min) $3,044 (max)
Advertising & Marketing Costs
Customer Research & Surveys: Many digital file platform's conduct industry and consumer research prior to starting their business. Often times, you need to pay for this data or hire a market research firm to help you in this process. $0 $300
Direct Campaigns, Printing and Mailing: Although it may sound old-school, traditional marketing methods can be a cost-effective way to drive awareness for your brand. This includes flyers, postcards, sales letters, coupons, special offers, catalogs and brochures. $0 $300
Affiliate Marketing Commission & Fees: If you want to increase revenue for your digital file platform, affiliate marketing is a great way to promote your product to a new audience. When determining affiliate commission rates you will offer, you will want to take into account the price and margin for your product to ensure affiliate marketing is worth it for your business. According to Monitor Backlinks, the average affiliate commission rate should be somewhere between 5% to 30%. To learn more about how to set commission rates, check out this article.. $0 $250
Influencer Marketing: Partnering with like-minded influencers is one of the most effective ways to grow your social media presence. Many small businesses simply gift a free item in exchange for an influencer post, or pay the influencer directly. $0 $750
Google Ads: With Google Ads you have the ability to control how much you spend by simply setting a monthly budget cap. Additionally, with these ads you only pay for results, such as clicks to your website or phone calls! It's okay to start with a small budget at first and make changes accordingly if you see valuable returns. $0 $300
Facebook & Instagram Ads: With Facebook and Instagram ads, you set your budget and pay for the actions you want (whether that be impressions, conversions, etc).You can learn more about pricing based on your impressions here. $0 $350
Total Advertising & Marketing Costs $0 (min) $2,250 (max)
Other Expenses
Credit Card Processing Fees: If you process credit cards then you will need to deal with interchange fees - which is usually around 3% of total charges. These fees are often forgotten about and can hurt cash flow if not taken into account. $0 $300
Total Other Expenses $0 (min) $300 (max)
Total Starting Costs $6,542 (min) $46,744 (max)

Raising Money For Your Digital File Platform

Here are the most common ways to raise money for your digital file platform:

What Skills Do I Need To Succeed In Becoming A Digital,File,Document?

As a digital file platform, there are several essential skills and characteristics that are important to identify prior to starting your business.

Let’s look at these skills in more detail so you can identify what you need to succeed in your day-to-day business operations:

Advice For Becoming A Digital,File,Document

We've interviewed thousands of successful founders at Starter Story and asked what advice they would give to entrepreneurs who are just getting started.

Here's the best advice we discovered for becoming a digital,file,document:

Ahmed Nassar, founder of DXFforCNC.com ($6.5K/month):

Read more about business and project management, marketing skills, and customer service, all of them you will need in your business whatever the business is, product or service.

Read the full interview ➜

-

Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan from the start is critical for the success of your digital file platform.

Why?

Because this allows you to roadmap exactly what you do, what your overall structure will look like, and where you want to be in the future.

For many entrepreneurs, writing out the business plan helps validate their idea and decide whether or not they should move forward with starting the business.

You may want to consider expanding upon these sections in your business plan:

  • Executive Summary: Brief outline of your product, the market, and growth opportunities
  • Overviews and Objectives: Overview of your business, target customers, and what you need to run your business
  • Products and Services: Specifics on the products and services your business will provide
  • Market Opportunities: Analysis of customer demographics, buyer habits and if your product is in demand
  • Marketing: Outline of your marketing plan and how you plan to differentiate yourself from other customers
  • Competitive analysis: Analysis of your competition and the strengths and weaknesses therein
  • Operations: Hierarchal structure of the company and what it will take to run the business on the day-to-day
  • Leadership Team: Detailing roles and responsibilities of each manager based on their specific skill-set
  • Financial Analysis Understanding of all expenses, operating budgets, and projections for the future.

Learn more about how to write a business plan here

Determine Which Business Bank Account You Need

There are hundreds of banks out there, and it can be overwhelming to find one that's right for your business.

Here are some factors you may want to consider:

  • Location - Is your bank close enough that you can easily make deposits or get cash?
  • Low Fees - Make sure to understand any and all fees associated with setting up and maintaining your bank account. Ask for a list - banks usually try to keep this hidden and in the fine print.
  • Online Banking Services - Make sure you can easily navigate through your online portal and you have easy access to everything you need.
  • Line of Credit - What do your options look like (even if you don't need this now, you may need this down the road).
  • Every bank has something that differentiates them from the rest, so make sure whatever that is applied to your needs and values.

Check out this list of the 13 Best Banks for Small Business in 2020 and what makes them so unique.

Setting Up Your Digital File Platform (Formation and Legal)

When it comes to setting up your business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some financial and legal decisions.

The first thing you'll want to decide on is whether you want to be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp.

These three options are found to be the most common when starting a small business, and all serve to protect your personal assets and also provide you with certain tax benefits.

  • LLC: All income and expenses from the business are reported on the LLC personal income tax return.
  • S corp: Owners pay themselves salaries + receive dividends from profits.
  • C Corp: C Corps are separately taxable entities that file a corporate tax return (Form 1120). No income tax is paid at the corporate level and any tax due is paid at the owners individual expense.

Depending on where you're conducting business, you'll also want to consider securing the proper permits, licenses and liability insurance.

Learn more about securing the right permits and licenses ➜

Need to start an LLC? Create an LLC in minutes with ZenBusiness.

How Do I Pay Myself As A Small Business Owner?

Most entrepreneurs start a business to do something they love- but at the end of the day, you still have bills to pay (maybe now more than ever).

But it's important to strike the right balance - if you pay yourself too much, you could be putting your business at risk.

There are two common ways to pay yourself as a business owner:

1. Owner's Draw

Many entrepreneurs pay themselves through an owner's draw. This means that you are technically sean as "self-employed" through the eyes of the IRS and are not paid through regular wages.

At the point that you collect money from the draw, taxes typically are not taken out - so make sure you are prepared to pay these taxes once you file your individual return.

As an owner who takes a draw, you can legally take out as much as you want from your equity.

This type of compensation is suited for Sole props, LLCs, and partnerships. If you’re an S corp, you can pay yourself through both a salary and draw if you choose.

2. Salary

If you decide to pay yourself a salary, you will receive a set and recurring amount. This will be taxed by the federal government and the state you reside in.

The reality is that it can be really complicated to set your own salary, so we have some tips for you to consider:

  • Take out a reasonable amount that allows you to live comfortably but also sets your business up for success
  • Consider the number of hours you are working weekly + the type of duties you are performing.
  • Set your salary based on your industry-standard, location, and profits (or projected profits)
  • Look at your P&L statement: Deduct your own pay from that amount. This is important so you can first tackle important business expenses, and then pay yourself from the amount leftover.
  • Pick a payroll schedule (and stick to it)! In the US, it's most common to pay yourself and employees twice a month.

https://media.giphy.com/media/xT0xeLTRncS90ptpfi/giphy.gif

To learn more about how to pay yourself and what is a reasonable amount, check out this article.

How To Price Your 10

One of the most challenging aspects to becoming a digital,file,document is determining how much to charge for your 10.

When businesses under-price their product, this can be extremely detrimental to their bottom line and reputation.

Often times, businesses under-price their products to drive demand and volume, but that last thing you want is for customers to view your product/service as "cheap." Additionally, this can have a big impact on the type of customer you attract, which can be difficult to recover from.

On the other hand, when businesses over-price, this tends to be just as damaging to the business.

When customers buy, it's likely that they will explore the internet and look at other competitors to ensure they're getting the best value + deal. This is why it's so important that you research your competition and understand where you land in the marketplace.

Here are some factors to consider when pricing your product:

Understand your customer

It's important that out of the gates, you identify the type of customer you want to attract and how much they're willing to pay for your service. One great way to do this is by surveying your customers. Here are some important items you'll want to takeaway:

  • Customer demographic: Age, gender, location, etc.
  • Buying habits of your customer: What they buy + when they buy
  • Level of price sensitivity with your customer

All of these segments will help you identify the type of customer you're attracting and how to price your product accordingly.

Understand your costs

When pricing your 10, it's critical that you first identify all of your costs and consequently mark up your 10 so you can factor in a profit.

The actual cost of your 10 may include things like:

  • The actual cost to make the product (ie. raw materials, supplies, manufacturer).
  • Shipping + overhead fees
  • Rent
  • Operating costs to run your business

You may want to consider creating a spreadsheet with every single expense involved in operating/owning your business. This will give you an idea as to what you need to generate in order to at the very least, break-even and will help you price your products to factor in a profit.

Create revenue goals

When determining the price of your 10, you'll want to create goals for revenue + how much profit you want your digital file platform to make.

This process is simpler than you may think:

  1. Think about your breakeven cost (by completing the above step).
  2. Create a revenue goal based on your break-even cost
  3. Evaluate the # of items you plan to sell in a given period (make sure this is a realistic number)
  4. Divide your revenue goal by the number of items you plan to sell

This figure will help determine your estimated price per product in order to meet your revenue goals.

Evaluate your competition

The last piece in determining how to price your 10 is by simply looking at your competition.

The best way to do this is by finding like-minded businesses that offer product(s) with similar perceived value. Then, you can compare prices of the different businesses and determine where your 10 fits best in the marketplace.

All of these factors play an equal part in pricing your 10, so it's important you evaluate each one individually to come up with an accurate price that will help optimize your business from the start.

Gross Margin Calculator: How to Calculate The Gross Margin For Your 10

Our calculator is designed to be simple and easy to use.

The goal is to help you set realistic expectations and understand what is considered a healthy gross margin for your digital file platform.

Calculate your gross margin and profit margin here.

What Type Of Customers Will Buy Your 10

It's important to first establish who you will be selling to, whether it's to businesses, consumers, or both!

Typically, in this industry, products are sold to both B2C markets and B2B markets

Let's break both of these down for your digital file platform:

B2C

B2C (or business to consumer) is a transaction where businesses sell their products or services to the consumer directly.

In this market, consumer behavior is the primary driver for your business decisions - so it's important that you truly identify who your customer is, and what their buyer habits are when building your product/service.

The advantage

B2C is that you are able to cast a very wide net when targeting your customers. Your product may interest a large number of consumers or a specific niche.

The disadvantage

B2C is that consumers hold all the power - so if your website is not the most user friendly, or does not rank in the top search results on Google, chances are, your customer is going to shop elsewhere.

When building your digital file platform for consumers, it's critical that you hone in on who your target audience is, and why they need your product over your competition.

B2B

B2B (or business to business) is a transaction where your digital file platform sell's your product or service to other businesses to help them grow.

Business-to business industries typically includes SaaS products, B2B marketing firms, and other business supply companies.

Unlike B2C markets, the audience is not a consumer at all, but instead a business - so it's important to understand how to best market your product/services to that target audience.

With B2B, driving leads means understanding another company's business processes and creating a business strategy that will help their operation scale and grow.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Your main focus when selling to other businesses is showing value to their business and overall return on investment
  • Focus on building relationships, rather than extending your brand awareness through social networks.
  • Marketing approach should include things like attending conventions, conferences, and optimizing your online presence (SEO, email outreach, etc)
  • Understand that the sales process may mean more effort educating your client, so it's important that you have a well-trained sales team that is knowledgable about the product

Building an MVP (Minimal Viable Product)

When building a digital file platform, it's critical that you first validate your product/service rather than rushing to build it right away.

This could save you months, if not years of building the wrong product/service.

If you're hoping to decrease any sort of risk that comes with launching your digital file platform, designing a prototype can be a great way to de-risk your situation.

The point of your 10 prototype is that it doesn't have to be perfect.

In the beginning stages, it doesn't matter how rough V1 of your prototype is, it's more important to just get started and you can always refine from there based on feedback from your network and most importantly your customers.

How To Build A MVP

Here are several different ways of building a prototype/MVP:

  • Start by building a landing page to see if customers actually need your product and if they are willing to pay for it
  • Build a very basic version of your idea and ask for immediate feedback from potential customers
  • Present a problem and solution via Facebook/Instagram Ads and see what the response is like

Ahmed Nassar, founder of DXFforCNC.com dives deep into the process of designing and prototyping their product:

Come back to my designs and CNC machines again and how I do it, as I said before, you just need to know basics of the designing, the process of using any CNC machine consists of designing and manufacturing, the manufacturing process will be done by the CNC owners not you, you will have to do the designs using and software with vectors like CorelDraw, Inkscape, Adobe illustrator… I found that Adobe illustrator is best for me.

Now you have software to design, what will you design? You can say that you will design silhouetted design that is connected, you can do a design based on an image like a personal image or an image of an old house or farm view or based on an idea or style you have like generate the farm view elements yourself with the old house, animals, sun, sky, putting specific words, style and so on. You have to design a simple silhouetted black and white design and use your experience to show the main required details for this design to be recognized and reflect the original image or ideas. But this silhouetted designs should follow some rules to be good for CNC machines, one of them:

  • No intersected lines, some of CNC machines read them as errors

  • No sharp edges or so closed lines, the CNC generates very high heat to cut the material and the sharp edges of so closed lines will increase the heat at specific areas and may lead to unwanted melt or burn in this area

  • All the design should be connected, after cutting the design it will be as one part and not separated

  • Don't make more empty areas, this means more cut and will produce a weak design after cutting it and maybe broken easily

  • Take care of the letters, you need to cut the letter itself or you need to cut out the letter from other design or shape, if you need to cut the letter like "O" and will be without any outer shape or design there is no problem, but if you need to cut out this letter from a shape like a circle, be careful to use stencil font not a regular font or you can make a connection tab on the letter if don't do that the inner circle of the "O" will fall out

how-i-started-a-6-5k-month-business-selling-digital-files-for-cnc-machines

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Ahmed Nassar, on starting DXFforCNC.com ($6,500/month) full story ➜

How To Find The Right Developer For Your Digital File Platform

If you (or others on your team) don't have the necessary coding/design skills to build the product on your own, finding the right developer for your digital file platform is a critical piece to bringing your idea to life.

Prior to hiring someone, you'll want to:

  • Have a very clear understanding of what your product (or MVP) will look like
  • Understand what the details of the user experience will look like (pages, how users sign up, backend administrative details, billing, reports etc). It may help to draw out the prototype and UX experience on a design platform such as Sketch
  • Understand what features you want to implement now and even those in the future
  • Understand the costs and time associated with hiring a developer and set a budget (more on that below)

Here are some ways you can find a developer:

Arielle Frank, founder of Clout Collective talks about her experiences and lessons learned when hiring a developer as a non-technical founder:

My first attempt to find a developer was a massive failure. I was basically screaming to be taken advantage of with my lack of technical knowledge and a heart full of hope. I signed an extremely unfavorable contract with a developer based in Morocco who claimed to offer “discounted” development services in exchange for equity in the company. By “discounted” I mean that it would cost only $40K to build the MVP. At the time I had no frame of reference for whether or not this was normal and justified it to myself.

Luckily, after a lot more internet sleuthing, I found my current developer, Adeva. Working with Adeva was the opposite experience of my initial encounter in every way. At $8K, Adeva’s quote for my MVP was literally 1/5th the cost of the original developer! I decided to save money on a front-end designer for V1 by using a template and designing things where I could in Figma.

I was forced to figure out many of the details and features of the platform upfront since Adeva couldn’t give me a quote without detailed user stories.

When building out the prospective features, I tried to focus on the end result and work backward from there.

For example, the end goal was for a content creator to be able to read a review and know whether or not they want to collaborate with a specific brand. I used this goal to inform the questions I collected for the reviews and the best way to display this info. During this phase, I also relied heavily on my beta testers for feedback about which info would be the most useful for them.

It’s tempting to add a bunch of cool, slick features when you’re building your product, but my brilliant mentor encouraged me to focus on doing one thing extremely well.

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Wilson Hung, on starting ARPU (/month) full story ➜

🚀 How To Launch Your Digital File Platform

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Build A Website

Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).

  1. Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
  2. Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
  3. Make sure you choose the right theme and design
  4. Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)

To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide.

Web Design

Once you have chosen the domain, web hosting, and platform, it's time to get started with the design phase.

Themes are a great way to produce the fundamental style and identity of your website - this includes everything from your font design to your blog post styles.

One of the best ways to get started is to simply explore the various themes (free or paid depending on what you're looking for) and test them on your site.

If web-design really isn't in the cards for you, you may want to consider outsourcing a web designer to help bring your vision and brand to life.

Launch Strategies For Your Digital File Platform

There are various different ways you can launch your digital file platform successfully.

Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your digital file platform.

  • Build hype with a landing page: you can effectively do this through waiting lists, discounts, countdown timer etc
  • Create a teaser video: even just a 30 second video is a great way to exposure for your digital file platform, and possibly even go viral
  • Reach out to influencers: The right influencer for your product has the ability to reach your audience with just one post, and because of their loyal following, this could lead to a big return for you.
  • Get Press: Whether you plan a PR stunt or get exposure through a popular news outlet, this is a great way to attract initial customers
  • Launch on popular sites: A great way to get buzz about your digital file platform is to submit your launch to popular startup sites.

Here are a few popular sites to launch on:

Learn more about how to launch your business successfully ➜ here

Ahmed Nassar, founder of DXFforCNC.com dives deep into the process of launching the business:

Before I launched my website I spent weeks to prepare, design and build the products that will be online, at least 4 hours per day I spent at the beginning, I worked before launching the website to save some fees of the website without any valuable content, I finished about 100 designs and started to handle the website.

As my website powered by Shopify it gives you about 2 weeks free subscription this helped me more to take my time setting up the website as I need and submitting my products, once I started launching the website the visitors started to come up about 10 to 20 visitors daily, that is very low traffic but the website started to be visible for the search engines and the traffic started to increase day after day, the Shopify SEO friendly platform helped me more.

Fortunately, I got my 1st order in the 1st month of launching the website. I started the website on 6 October 2016 and I get my 1st paid order on 18 October 2016. The amount of the order was $50, which was very exciting for me and I felt like "yes I'm on the right path" after about 2 days another paid order for $12.5.

I got these sales even before the end of the trial 2 weeks I have from the platform and before I paid the $29 fees of the website. That was a really good start for me and I got more energy to get more inspirational unique designs and put them on my website for the customers.

Also, I monitor the requirements of the customers and make designs for what they ask. When a customer asked me about a kind of design I never tell him "no I don't have" and do the design then show it for him. This was at the beginning to show the customer that I'm fast in delivering the product and not to lose that customer that asks for something he needs. This is another advice I learned from experts "never say No for your customers", even if you don't have or can't do what he needs. “I can do it for you shortly…" The word "No" delivers negative feelings.

Another important thing I did, I looked at my competitors and see what kind of products they have and I started to do my own. One of the bad things I faced was the copyright issues, as I do custom works for my customers many of them show me designs they have and need it to be ready for CNC after a while I found that this design is not for my customer and it has a copyright and the original owner of the designs contacted me and was very angry. I don't want to build disputes with my competitors because that is not good for me and will be just a waste of time. So I apologized to that copyright owner and friendly discussed the issue with him and that it was an unwanted mistake. Now I put restrictions on any custom design we will do for our customers like not include any personal designs.

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Ahmed Nassar, on starting DXFforCNC.com ($6,500/month) full story ➜

🌱 How To Grow Your Digital File Platform

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Improve your SEO

SEO is not just about driving traffic to your site, it's about driving the RIGHT traffic to your site, and ultimately, converting leads into customers.

One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding what your customers are searching for, otherwise known as "keyword research."

Here are some tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your digital file platform.

Publish Great Content

Finding keywords is an important piece of the puzzle, but Google also ranks your site based on the actual content you produce, as this is what your customers are reading and engaging with.

There are various different "forms" of content that you may want to consider diversifying on your sites, such as blog posts, articles, studies, and videos.

So let's discuss what google considers "good content:"

  • Length - This will vary depending on the page, however, generally having a sufficient amount of content helps search engines recognize that your site is a good source for a specific topic
  • Engagement - The longer people stay on your website to read your content, the higher Google will rank your website. It's important to have informative and "thick" content that keeps people reading
  • Avoid Duplicating Content - Google will recognize this and may consider your content to have low value
  • Ensure pages load quickly - This will also help with engagement and time spent on your website
  • Shareability - Create content that people want to share, and is easy for them to share, especially to their social media accounts (ie. "click to tweet" is a great example of this).

Another element of creating good content is creating consistent content.

If (and hopefully you are) publishing content frequently, it's important to stick to a schedule - this helps build brand trust and easy user experience with your customers.

Planning out your content with a content calendar is key to staying consistent.

Here are a few great content calendar tools that can help you:

  • Trello
  • Airtable
  • If you prefer to keep it simple, your average spreadsheet is just as useful!

Backlinks

Backlinks are an important piece to SEO, as they allow for other websites to link to your content.

Search engines recognize that other sites are essentially "verifying" your content and essentially rank you higher because of this.

Of course, some links are more valuable than others and can affect your site in different ways.

For example, if a highly valuable and credible site like the New York Times links to a page on your website, this could be remarkable from an SEO perspective.

Aside from organically getting mentioned from other sites, there are other ways that you can increase and earn backlinks:

  • Create infographics with relevant data that people want to share
  • Promote your content on different sites/look into "guest blogging"
  • Contact influencers/journalists/bloggers and ask them to mention you!
  • Write testimonials for other sites in exchange for a backlink
  • Leverage existing business relationships

Learn more about the fundamentals of SEO ➜ here and check out Neil Patel's 3 Powerful SEO Tips below

Build A Blog

One of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and grow your business is through consistently blogging.

We've outlined some useful tips for you to consider when creating content:

Consistency and Quantity

Quality is important, but it should be the standard for any content you publish.

What’s more important is consistency and quantity.

Consistency is as simple as committing to publishing and sharing a certain number of posts per week. For me, that’s three per week right now.

This kind of commitment is key, because one day, a random post will blow up, and you will have never expected it.

Oversaturation

The easiest mind trap is to think "I’m posting too much", and “I need to give my readers/audience/this platform a break”.

This is nonsense.

There is no such thing as oversaturation. Well, there is, but it is just someone else’s opinion.

For every person that tells you you are posting too much, there is another person that wants even more of your content.

You should ignore people’s opinions on how much you post.

Patience & Persistence

Keep posting, keep trying, and keep putting out good content on the regular. Your time will come, and when it does, it will change everything.

The only thing you have control over is your content.

You can’t control how people will react to it. You can’t control pageviews, likes, or shares.

So the only metric you should focus on is how much content you can put out in a week, month, etc.

Where to share your blog content

Mailing List

I know it sounds obvious, but the best places to share your content is on your mailing list. It is guaranteed traffic and it is a great way to get rapid feedback from your most loyal readers.

Send newsletters often. I have done once a week since starting, and I’m moving to twice a week soon.

Work on increasing your mailing list as well. Look into ways to increase your conversion rate to your mailing list. I added a flyout popup thing to my site and now I’m collecting ~30 emails per day.

An email newsletter is one of the most powerful assets you can have and it is worth its weight in gold.

Reddit

Reddit is one of my favorite places to promote content.

It is a very scary place because you will often get banned or heckled, but it can really pay off.

Create social media accounts for your blog, the main ones I use:

Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn

Set up Buffer and share all of your blog posts to all of your accounts. All of these little shares really do add up.

Automate this as much as possible. I automated all of my social media for Starter Story.

Facebook Groups

When I started out, I put together a spreadsheet of relevant Facebook groups for my niche, and I would post to these groups whenever I had a big story I wanted to share.

Grow Your Email List

The more engaged list of emails, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.

One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free (or discounted) in return.

This could also be anything from:

  • Ebook
  • Fascinating case study
  • Video series
  • Free week of the product
  • Discount on the product

Learn more about how to grow your email list and improve email marketing ➜ here.

Dylan Jacob, founder of Brumate states their email collection tactic that is proven to work:

We use Spin-a-Sale for this (you spin a wheel for a discount code in exchange for subscribing to our email list). This has been the best email-collecting tool we have found because the customer truly feels like they won a prize rather than just a coupon code.

Even if a customer doesn’t convert right away, if we have their email we have a 19% chance of converting them into a future customer whether that is through future promotions, new releases, or simply just sending an email at the right time for a purchase to finally make sense for them.

We also have a return customer rate of over 14%, so one out of every 6 people we convert will end up buying from us again with an average order value of over $60.00.

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Dylan Jacob, on starting BrüMate ($12,000,000/month) full story ➜

Add an exit-intent popup to your online store

A great way to double, or even triple, your email opt-in rate and to grow your list is to add an exit-intent popup to your site, and offering a discount or content upgrade for subscribers.

Here's an example of what that might look like:

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One thing that I spent years NOT doing, that I now kick myself about, is adding an "exit intent pop-up" to our site, which lets people enter a sweepstakes to win a Xero Shoes gift certificate.

That one idea has added over 100,000 subscribers to our email list, which is one of our most effective marketing channels.

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Steven Sashen, on starting Xero Shoes ($1,500,000/month) full story ➜

Improve Your Email Marketing

Different types of emails

Here are the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and their benefits:

  • Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
  • Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
  • Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
  • Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
  • Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!

Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!

Abandonded Cart Flow

The abandoned cart workflow is one of the most effective strategies for turning your lead into a customer, and a powerful tool to have if you're an e-commerce business.

Think about all the times that you went on a shopping frenzy only to add items to your cart and then either forget or realize nows not the right time to pull the trigger.

Then, minutes later you receive an email saying "Hurry up! Your cart is waiting - and we want to provide you with 20% off your order."

Maybe that's the special touch (and discount) you needed to pull that trigger.

Implementing this workflow can automatically trigger this for your business every time a customer abandons their cart.

Here's a great example of an abandoned cart email from Brooklinen:

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Things they do well:

  • Showcase 5-star reviews from other customers
  • Offer a small discount + free shipping
  • Great design + clear call to actions!

Experiment With Pay Per Click Ads (PPC)

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a performance-based marketing method that allows you to show specific ads for services or products oriented to a very defined target, with the goal that the user visits your website or landing page.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Consider connecting the ad to your corresponding landing page so that the audience receives the necessary information after clicking on the ad.
  • Conversion Tracking: When running PPC campaigns, be sure to run the ads with conversion tracking.
  • Focus on quality keywords, even if there are few as this will save you time and money. When assessing the performance of a keyword, it's important to track the expense, conversion, and cost per conversion, as well as the ROI.

PPC advertising can be a very important lead generator as long as it's done properly. Your PPC campaign is intended to drive traffic to your website and help the business scale.

Additionally, if the campaign is not having the desired results, you can make the necessary changes immediately to improve them.

Ryan Schortmann, founder of Display Pros talks about their investment in PPC Ads:

My name is Ryan Schortmann and I’m the founder of Display Pros. We are a custom trade show display booth company offering easy to use portable display “kits” for small and medium businesses wanting to get into the trade show game.

It did not take long to come to the realization that to compete at any reasonable level, we were going to need to take the plunge and invest in Pay Per Click ads and display.

From experience, I know that it is important to give Google’s hivemind some time to settle in before each campaign starts seeing consistent results (this is largely dependent on budget).

A certain amount of PPC budget must be viewed as a “marketing research” expense and then you can look at the analytics data and make informed decisions on where to refine, tweak or plain scrap an idea.

Google Shopping was an entirely new concept for me. You can’t assign keywords to products so at first, I was asking myself “How the hell do you refine these?”. Then I found some good reading material and courses and learned of some advanced methods that the pros are using. It turns out you can utilize negative keyword lists combined with the priority setting on each shopping campaign to “shape” the keywords that are coming in and how much you are spending on them.

To learn more about PPC Ads and Google Shopping, check out this video to learn everything you need to know!

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Ryan Schortmann, on starting Display Pros ($30,000/month) full story ➜

Social Media Advertising

Social Media Advertising is one of the leading ways to get the word out when it comes to digital file platform.

There are various different Social Media platforms available to you. Some may be more critical for your marketing efforts than others, however, it's important to have an understanding of what's out there and available to you.

Let's talk about a few of the main platforms and what makes them unique:

  • Facebook Advertising - more than 2 billion monthly users. Facebook is the best for lead generation + capturing email addresses for e-commerce businesses.
  • Instagram Advertising - approximately 500 million monthly users and has a higher audience engagement rate than any other platform. Instagram ads are best for linking to a product page or landing page and reaches the 18-29 age group most effectively.
  • Twitter Advertising- Small businesses typically use twitter ads to drive brand awareness, but the platform is meant more for organic engagement (and is not as heavily used for paid advertising)
  • Pinterest Advertising - 175 million monthly users and most effectively reaches the female audience. Pinterest is great for promoting products without "promoted". The promoted pins have a way of blending right in.
  • LinkedIn Advertising - 227 million monthly users and is geared towards the B2B market and generates the highest quality leads. Great platform for recruiters, high-end products and services that will help businesses

It's important to first define your goal/objective so that you don't waste time and money into the wrong platform:

Here are some different questions to ask yourself as it relates to your goals:

  • Do I want to simply drive brand awareness?
  • Do I want to drive users to my website to gather information?
  • Do I want to increase sales and get my customer to take action?

From there, choose the platform that targets your audience best and start experimenting!

Learn more about social media advertising ➜ here.

Founder Andy Hayes talks about mastering FB ads and the pixel:

The biggest bang for your buck will likely be mastering Facebook and it’s platform - which we all know is pay for play, so you’ll have to come up with a small amount of budget to start for marketing.

We’ve spent countless hours (and paid numerous coaches) before we cracked the code that works for us on Facebook, but it is working really well for us now.

Some of the most important things to know when it comes to FB Ads:

  • Start with retargeting (that’s showing ads to people who already know you but did not purchase). Master this - and start building information on your Facebook Pixel - before you do anything else
  • Once you have that down, try working with the 1% “Lookalike” audience to prospect for new customers. This may take awhile because your pixel audience is small, so try layering on interests - 1% Lookalike and your largest competitor, for example. Don’t use interest-only targeting until you master this.
  • Great photography and videography is key, as is smart copy. Research what’s out there in your industry and constantly test - what works for one company may not work for other people.
  • Make sure you have good offers. For example, we have a $5 trial for our subscription, which converts affordably - if we promoted our subscription with the standard $30 front charge, it wouldn’t be as cost-effective.
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Andy Hayes, on starting Plum Deluxe Tea ($75,000/month) full story ➜

🏃🏼‍♀️ How To Run Your Digital File Platform

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How To Retain Customers For Your Digital File Platform

Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your digital file platform.

Oftentimes, it's easy to find yourself focusing on generating new customers, vs retaining your current ones.

Look at it this way - you are 60-70% more likely to sell a new product to an existing customer than you are a new customer.

That's not to say that finding new customers and revenue streams is not important, however, the easiest (and most inexpensive) source of new revenue is right there in front of you.

Here are some ways you can retain customers for your digital file platform:

  • Responding to comments on social media
  • Send discounts (or freebies) to loyal customers
  • Provide valuable content, for free
  • Write a hand written thank you note
  • Provide awesome customer service and build relationships with customers

To find out more tips and tricks on retaining customers, check out this article ➜ here

Ahmed Nassar, founder of DXFforCNC.com dives deep into the process of attracting and retaining customers:

I started a Facebook page for my website and Instagram later. I also share my products on Pinterest, which is one of the most powerful traffic sources for my business. Not all social media has the same good results with all businesses. Even Facebook or Twitter did not help me and the cost of the ads on them is very expensive.

I spent a lot of money on social media ads but never got valuable revenue from them, maybe just kind of traffic. I tried ad campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and Google Adwords, but didn’t have positive results.

The best source affected my revenue was the content of my website, I always keep my website updated with more and more designs to retract my customers again, this will lead to constant traffic from your old customers and will increase the value of the website on the search engines to get new customers also. In the beginning, you should submit at least 3 new designs per week.

A tip I can share about designs is to make many designs for free, the free designs will give you more and more traffic that you can't get through the ads. If you have about 100 designs you can make 10% of them available for free. This will make your work trusted for the customers that need to purchase your products but they are not sure of the quality of the designs and will love to check your premium products and pay for them.

One of the mistakes I did on our website was that I submitted the free products as one package product on one page, I found that this way made me lose more traffic and decided to put each design as a separate product on a separate page. By doing this, the customer will stay at your website more time to get all your free designs.

If you have about 100 designs for free and put them in one page the visitor will need about 3 seconds to check and download them, but if you but each of the 100 designs in separate page the visitor will need about 300 seconds to check them and will give him more chances to see other of your premium designs, this will help you to increase the ranking of your website and the search engines will know that your website is popular and the website will be at the 1st results.

how-i-started-a-6-5k-month-business-selling-digital-files-for-cnc-machines

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Ahmed Nassar, on starting DXFforCNC.com ($6,500/month) full story ➜

Diversify Your Product Line

Adding new products to your business is a great way to expand into new markets and grow your business.

It's important to note that adding new products and diversifying may not be in the cards for you right this moment, and that's okay. You can always consider it down the road.

Here are some reasons you may want to considering adding/diversifying your product

  • Meeting the needs of your customers
  • Establish yourself as a top provider in your industry and stay ahead of the game with competition
  • Resistance to downturns/trends fading
  • Create new revenue streams

Provide Great Customer Service

Providing exceptional care and creating relationships with clients is a great way to build your reputation and retain customers.

Whether you are an online business or a physical business, it's highly important to communicate with customers and make them feel like they are the priority.

Just remember: customer service represents your brand, values, vision and YOU as a person.

Authenticity

As a brand, you want to deliver an experience that authentic, honest and transparent.

Don't make the mistake of giving your audience less credit than they deserve.

Be Authentic

If you go around chasing every trend and only focused on yourself and money, you’re going to lose very quickly.

There have been many times where we have been tempted to do this but stayed true.

Sure we sacrificed sales, but we kept our integrity, played the long game and people saw and appreciated that, and really began emotionally investing in the brand.

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Valentin Ozich, on starting I Love Ugly ($300,000/month) full story ➜

Build a Referral Program

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get the word out about your business and acquire new customers. Especially when you are starting out, it’s important to build a solid referral program to encourage existing customers to help you find new ones.

A great way to do that is by offering a reward (ie. credit on your service or cash) to customers that refer you to their friends and family.

A fantastic referral program will help with clout, credibility, and establishing yourself in the space.

Word of Mouth

The most tried and true way to grow a digital file platform is through word of mouth - some entrepreneurs would say it's more important than all social media.

Why you should focus on word of mouth:

  • Consumers trust word of mouth above all other forms of marketing
  • 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising
  • 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe it is the most effective form of marketing

Learn more about word of mouth in our guide: 30 Ways Founders Grow Their Business ➜

Resources

We put together the best resources on the internet to help you start your digital file platform.

Tools

Books

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Case Studies

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