This is a follow up story for Really Simple Store. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
I’m Drew Thomas, and I started Really Simple Store. Today, Really Simple Store is a way to create embeddable products with a cart and checkout. My customers are people who have something to sell but want to sell it in their existing ecosystems with as little friction as possible.
Really Simple Store doesn’t make very much money, but it directly helps a niche group of people sell their products on the internet!
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Really Simple Store has stayed pretty much the same related to customers and revenue since the original interview. The product itself has taken a huge turn, though. I removed storefronts completely, so Really Simple Store is now only embeddable products with a cart.
Instead of optimizing for growth/profit, side projects should be optimized for learning and connecting!
I also added a Zapier integration, so instead of handling anything after purchase, I let Zapier handle things.
This change makes the product simpler, and it appeals most to the type of person that uses Really Simple Store most- someone who needs to quickly integrate light ecommerce into their existing system.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
My biggest takeaway is that I don’t need to be scared of losing customers by simplifying my offering. I can make a better product if it’s more focused, but I always felt like it was too simple already!
I also learned that without any marketing or mentioning of a product at all, growth will stall… but with just a post here and there over time (or an interview like this), relevant products like Really Simple Store can sustain themselves.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Who knows! Really Simple Store is a side project, and while I love it personally and use it myself, it’s really just a fun thing on the side. I would love if it took off organically, but that doesn’t seem likely at this stage. Instead, I’m content to maintain it and keep my eyes open for opportunities where I can take advantage of having it!
One area I’d like to explore is making it even more no-code. Right now, it’s all drag-and-drop, but you ultimately have to paste a code snippet to use it. Through Zapier, Integromat, and direct integrations into website platforms, I’d love to remove that code step completely!
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
I run several different businesses- most of them would be considered “side projects.” I’ve learned there are fundamental differences between a fun side project and a “real” valuable product. Both are great and each serves a purpose, but force-growing a fun side project can be a mistake.
Instead, it pays dividends to treat side projects like experiments that evolve and change, for fun, all the time. This leads to a much higher rate of learning, and it ultimately creates a lot of opportunities. Instead of optimizing for growth/profit, side projects should be optimized for learning and connecting!
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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