The template for success

The template for success

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Hey there friend,

This is Pat, founder of Starter Story - every week I write this email to share the lessons we learned after talking to successful founders around the world. If you're not interested, you can unsubscribe here.

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Here are this week's stories, enjoy!

The template for success

Do you think Etsy is only good for selling crafts? You're wrong. The business of selling digital goods on Etsy is booming.

This wedding invitations template pack has been sold over 110K times, which means that has generated almost $800K.

If you search for "templates" there are almost 3M results ("mug" returns 1.6M results), that should give you an idea.

Ana makes $30K/year of extra income selling resume templates on Etsy.

Just take a look at its search suggestions and see that you really can sell a template about anything:


Some starters have gone beyond the side hustle and built huge businesses by selling templates:

Our take:

Are you an English teacher? Make some PDF  docs with exercises that get the most Google searches.

The same method works for virtually any profession (accounting, workout plans, vegan diets,...). There are surely tons of people that'd rather buy a template for a couple of dollars than spend hours figuring out how to do it themselves from scratch.

Also, this is a super cheap and easy side hustle to start, which gives it tons of extra points.

Some numbers for you:

  • $13bn -> Etsy's gross merchandise sales in 2021, a 31% growth vs 2020
  • $0.20 -> how much it costs to list an article on Etsy
  • 130+ -> Etsy case studies to learn from

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Cybersecurity industry is overlooked

Did you know that 30,000 websites are hacked every day? 

Uber had a data breach in 2016 with over 600,000 drivers having their license numbers and names exposed. The company had to pay $148M to settle a nationwide investigation.

Virtually every business today creates loads of records (transactions, health records, device location,...). Having this information stored securely is one of the major concerns of companies. And that is why they devote a large part of their budget to it.

Sergey's solution can detect leak sources in less than 10 minutes. which has guaranteed its success. It's used by more than 110,000 people and generates $2M/year. 

See how these other starters are thriving in this industry:

Our take:

Being in the cybersecurity industry is almost like selling insurance. Your customers expect to never need your services, but when the time comes, better be ready.

The clear upside is that if someone starts paying for these services, it almost certainly will never stop being a customer (recurring revenue, high LTV). Because the problem is never going to disappear, quite the contrary.

Some numbers for you:

  • 64% -> of companies worldwide have experienced at least one form of a cyber attack
  • 150% -> last year's increase in ransomware cases
  • 6 trillion -> will cost companies to fix 2021's data breaches

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College campus millionaires

A whopping 61% of recent US college graduates want to start their own businesses. Instead of waiting to finish your degree, why not start while you're in college?

Instead of finishing college with thousands of dollars in debt, you could go home with also a profitable business.

When we met Teddy (2019) he was a Junior Marketing major at Clemson University who had invented the world's first iceless cooler. This week we caught up with him to know that Kanga Coolers is now a multi-million dollar brand.


Check these other stories of students who run over $1M businesses that were started in college:

Our take:

1. College campuses are the perfect test market: Thousands of people that are very easy to reach (most will share on social media that started college).

2. Highly replicable: If it works in one university, it's very likely to succeed in others.

3. Low risk: if it fails, you can lose a small amount of money but won't ruin your career (on the contrary, you'll have gained very valuable experience). 

Some numbers for you:

  • 24% -> of UK students start a business while at university (source)
  • 5 -> These companies were started by college students: Microsoft, Google, Reddit, Facebook, WordPress
  • $3M -> Kanga Coolers yearly revenue 

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So fresh and so clean

A recent survey unveiled that 83% of GenZ prefer purchasing organic and natural skincare products.

On the other hand, some studies had found a correlation between aluminum -which many deodorants brands use- and breast cancer.

That current favorable trend and the founder's personal conviction have been two of the major factors in the success of SmartyPits deodorant. A business that in 2018 made $58K/month and that last year reached a revenue of $2.2M.

But it's not just deodorant brands, many other products manufacturers now use just natural components to make their products. And the results are phenomenal:

Our take:

The thing I love about this type of business is that it can get super sophisticated but at the same time you can literally create skincare products at home with ingredients from the store. 

Plus, you just need a couple of hundred dollars to start. No need to invest in fancy equipment to create the first batches.

Some numbers for you:

  • 70% -> of US consumers aged 18–29 would rather use natural, organic cosmetics
  • $22B -> estimated global organic beauty product market worth by 2024
  • 50 -> skincare businesses case studies to learn from


Thanks for reading!

— Pat Walls, David Bustos & the rest of the Starter Story team :)

One last thing...

Want to see exactly how 2,800+ founders built businesses with thousands of customers? Join Starter Story today.

P.S. Again, a huge thank you to Klaviyo - our sponsor at Starter Story. Try Klaviyo today!

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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