FilterGrade Update: How We Reached 2,000+ Sellers On Our Marketplace

Published: November 25th, 2021
Michael Moloney
Founder, FilterGrade
from Boston, Massachusetts, USA
started December 2013
Discover what tools Michael recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Michael recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi everyone. I’m Mike Moloney, the founder of FilterGrade. A marketplace where creators can buy and sell digital products like Lightroom Presets, Video LUTs, Overlays, Motion Graphics Templates, and much more.

Since our last feature on Starter Story, we’ve had some amazing new filters and templates added to the site like custom Tape Textures by Dan Robinson, All Presets Bundle by Laurent Castellani, and more!

Around this time last year, we had just over 1200 sellers, now we are quickly approaching 2000 sellers on the marketplace with hopes to cross 2500 before the end of the year.



Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Unfortunately not all has been great. Since our last article, our traffic has declined immensely. Primarily due to major drops in organic traffic from search, mainly Google Search. We’ve also seen drops in other areas too. This has led to a decline in revenue, but has also led us to consider other strategies for growing revenue and sales for creators on our marketplace. We are going to be testing retargeting again soon through Adroll and also will be working on better email campaigns and workflows.

Another area we are extremely focused on is the video! We continue producing tons of original videos for our YouTube channel and now have a BMPCC 6K camera we are using for new tutorials and lifestyle videos. The hope is that this channel can continue to grow and support the growth of the marketplace.

Ultimately, this decline was the result of a few things that we noticed over the last few years.

  1. It’s now a lot easier to sell digital products online than it was when we started in 2013.
  2. Other sites/services offer lower commissions or paid plans to get started.
  3. People are editing more on their phones now than ever before. Mobile apps are extremely popular.
  4. Individual creators have more control and power, leading to more choices.

These changes to the market, it has led us to rethink our strategies and business. Going forward into 2022, we’re focused on solving the problems creators face on our platform and the mobile web as a whole. This means we will be talking to more creators to identify what it is they need to better sell their digital products. Things like social selling, applications, more opportunities to make an income, and other ways we can make our platform more beneficial.


What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

Be willing to try new things, different approaches, and experiment rapidly. Be comfortable with change and adaptation.

Don’t take your eye off the ball and stop worrying about everything going on in the marketplace. Focus on who pays your bills and how you can best serve them, and scale up your operations.

Enjoy the journey.


What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

We’re working on improved seller tools and profiles, better search, and fresh video content for all kinds of topics. One of our biggest plans and goals is to continue building out our educational content and turn that into a larger part of the business.

Short term we are working to increase our audience size on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube through vertical videos and shorts, long-form guides to production, photo, editing, etc. and then also better articles embedding this content on our blog.

Long term we’d like to improve our email newsletter and automation so all the people coming in from social media are shown all of the cool products, categories, and free downloads we have to offer on the FilterGrade Marketplace and Blog.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

Yes! I’m working on reading Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain right now. It’s an enjoyable read with amazing descriptions of the river, the steamboats, and the way of life back then. I enjoy reading about different times and places. It helps show you how similar people are, even across time and space.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

I recommend always focusing on the customers. Don’t take your eye off the ball and stop worrying about everything going on in the marketplace. Focus on who pays your bills and how you can best serve them, and scale up your operations. It seems like way too many companies focus on copying or matching up to competitors, when that isn’t even the reason their biggest fans chose them in the first place.

Another lesson I took from our failings is to strike while the iron is hot. Over the years there were opportunities to raise or sell when the business was doing well. It’s worth doubling down at that point, rather than hoping/waiting for future success or blindly believing you can keep growing forever without proper structure and resources.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Not really looking for any hires, but we’re always looking for contributors to the blog, YouTube, and also new creators to join the marketplace!

If you are interested in selling digital products like photo filters, video templates, tutorial ebooks, guides, courses, and more, then apply to sell on FilterGrade here. It’s a great way to make passive income from your assets, and to promote your business and brand on a platform full of creative people!

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!