How I Built A $120K/Year Digital Products Business With Just $100

Published: July 21st, 2023
Pankaj Singh
Founder, UrbanPLR
$12K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
0
Employees
UrbanPLR
from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
started October 2020
$12,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
0
Employees
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I am Pankaj Singh, a growth marketer, solo entrepreneur, and hustler. I started my side hustle journey in 2014 by offering marketing services on Fiverr. Since then, I have worked with various companies as a freelancer, held three full-time jobs, and launched several personal side projects.

Last year l built and launched two PLR membership sites- UrbanPLR and PLRlime with an investment of $100, outside of the ICU of a hospital, and managed to turn it into $125,000 within a year.

urbanplr

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I am Pankaj, a 32-year-old husband of a very caring wife, and a father of a 3-year-old champ. I was born and brought up in a small village in Bihar (India). After completing my schooling in the village, I moved to Gwalior (MP, India) for my higher education. I completed my graduation in 2011, and after completing my education, I started my own web design company, but unfortunately, it didn't work out. In 2013, I moved to Mumbai and started my first job as a web designer.

My side hustle journey began in 2014 as a WP web designer on Fiverr. Being new to the field, I lacked knowledge about pricing structures, profile optimization, and even freelancing basics, which resulted in me making only $1400 in the first year. This prompted me to switch to a full-time job as a web designer in an IT company. I eventually learned digital marketing and moved on to another company as a digital marketer.

How it started:

I learned the importance of side income when I lost my job during the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, my wife was in ICU because of postpartum complications, fighting for her life.

I then received a call from the company letting me know that I would no longer be working there. This was the turning point in my life, and I realized the importance of a side hustle and a second income in life.

urbanplr

I was applying for jobs sitting the whole day on the bench outside the ICU but no luck. Despite the pandemic making it difficult for me to find a job, I persisted and kept learning. During my research, I stumbled upon “PLR Products,” which allowed me to sell pre-designed digital products as my own.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

The Beginning:

After struggling for months, with no money left in my pocket, I decided to start something without investment. I spent $100 and bought some PLR product bundles, domain names, and hosting for one year. Then I used my WordPress web design skills and built UrbanPLR.com in 20 days. A platform that offers 85,000 PLR (Private Label Rights) digital products with resell rights.

About UrbanPLR:

Unleashing the Potential of Private Label Rights, UrbanPLR has emerged as the go-to platform for digital marketers, content creators, and business owners seeking high-quality private label rights (PLR) products. With an extensive catalog of over 85,000 digital products, including ebooks, articles, images, videos, planners, ChatGPT prompts, and more. By curating a vast collection of PLR content that cannot be found elsewhere, I started capturing the attention of individuals seeking customizable digital products.

The Turning Point:

I was looking for some free ways to market my project, as I didn't have enough money to prompt it. During my research, I learned about lifetime deals and their benefits. I chose AppSumo as my LTD platform and published a deal on AppSumo. UrbanPLR quickly became popular on the platform and generated $40,000 (in profit) in six months. This was not just my first income from a side hustle but a lifesaver for me. I paid my hospital bills, started investing in a Domain flipping business, hired an SEO executive for UrbanPLR, and never looked back.

Currently, UrbanPLR is ranking for 50+ top PLR keywords on Google’s first page and generating 4000+ organic traffic per month. This organic traffic helps me consistently generate $2000+ per month by hardly spending 2 hours a week. If you have no resources then find the ways to get started for free or at minimal cost.

Embrace the digital era and create a profitable second income stream that brings financial security and freedom.

Describe the process of launching the business.

The Launch:

I launched my first version of the website in Oct 2020. I designed it myself in WordPress using the EDD digital download plugin. It costs me around $100, including everything except my 20 days as a web designer.

urbanplr

Cost breakdown:

Domain (I normally buy a domain from NameCheap): $8 / year

Web Hosting (ResellerClub WordPress hosting): $30 / year

Cloud Space for File Hosting: $49 / year - (I am using MediaFire 1 TB Plan. It is reliable, cheapest, and most importantly it allows you to share file download links which is very important for such sites.)

PLR Content bundles: $ 29 onetime - (I created many digital products by myself to provide much value to my subscribers)

Website designing: $0 - (I designed it myself so it didn't cost me anything. You can hire any freelancers to design and add products. Any WP designer will cost you approx $600-800 to design such sites.)

The Tough Time

After launching my site, I started sharing links here and there, hoping to get a few sales. At that time, I couldn't even think about marketing costs, as I was already in debt.

A few months passed with no sales.

It was a very depressing time for me. I had no earnings, no job in hand, I was hampered by a country-wide lockdown, and I had no income from the project on which I’d spent many months. To top it all off, our hospital bills reached $20,000. I felt like everything was against me.

Now, this was a do-or-die situation for me. I had a live website, and I had to make it successful any way I could; I had no other options. So, I started thinking about new ways to market without spending any money, as I had empty pockets.

I did some net search and found a way to get my first sale.

During my research, I encountered the term "LTD" (Lifetime Deals) for the first time, and as I started reading more about it, it captured my complete attention. I looked into the top LTD sites, their commission brackets, the pros, and cons of publishing on LTD sites, etc.

Appsumo Launch

After all my studies, I decided to launch my site on AppSumo.com (one of the top LTD sites), which was a game-changer step in my life. I had no idea whether this effort would be successful; I just submitted my project with one hope: to get my first thousand-dollar sale. However, it gave me 12 times more than I expected.

urbanplr

I launched my campaign in January on AppSumo and within 4 months, my total sales reached $12,647 (after deducting their platform fee). I had a fantastic experience with AppSumo.

They are a thoroughly nice team, and they delivered 100% on their promise to flood my website with traffic and sales. Finally, I started getting sales without spending any money on marketing, which was a huge victory for me!

Second Product on AppSumo

After decoding the PLR business and the AppSumo platform I decided to make small PLR membership sites with some premium and more valuable content. So, I created another membership site: "PLRLIME."

This site is different from UrbanPLR; it’s more focused on small businesses and users with individual product catalogs. I rectify all the errors and mistakes I made in my previous launch. I published this campaign with proper strategy (that I’ll explain to you next) and background work.

As a result, PLRLIME become one of the top-rated products on AppSumo and generated a total of $50,400 in total sales.

urbanplr

Second Side Project:

After decoding the PLR product business, I launched PLRLIME.com. I talked to my existing UrbanPLR members and worked on their feedback and build PLRLIME with premium individual digital products (UrbanPLR is a bulk PLR product site) with resell rights.

By providing well-researched and professionally written materials, PLRLIME.com saves time and effort for busy entrepreneurs and enables them to focus on growing their online presence.

Now, PLRLIME is the bigger hit compared to UrbanPLR and generates $75,000 in less than eight months. It's still live on AppSumo and got 100+ 5-star reviews. I strongly believe that everyone should explore the opportunity of a digital product business. It offers flexibility, scalability, and the potential for passive income.

So what makes PLRLIME so successful and UrbanPLR doesn’t? Here are a few points you need to understand:

Mistakes I Made in My First AppSumo Listing:

  • My creativity was not very appealing.
  • My product description wasn’t well written (I just copied it from the website).
  • I didn’t reply quickly enough to user questions.
  • I didn’t ask buyers to share their feedback after using the product.
  • I didn’t run Facebook ads to generate more buzz.
  • I didn’t host any webinars or social media campaigns.
  • I wasn’t prepared for feedback (including negative feedback).
  • I didn’t provide proper updates about what was coming next.

What Made PLRLIME a Top-Selling Product on AppSumo:

  • I didn’t repeat the above-mentioned mistakes.
  • I provide amazing round-the-clock support.
  • I answer users on Live Chat, Support emails, AppSumo Questions, and Reviews
  • I chased AppSumo to get more visibility, and as a result, they run PLRLIME's Google Ads and Facebook banner ads.

Biggest lessons learned

I learned the importance of resilience and perseverance during the challenging year of 2020-21. Despite facing some of the toughest times in my life, I refused to give up and instead used my struggles as fuel to start my own business.

Through this experience, I gained valuable skills in entrepreneurship and learned how to navigate the unpredictable landscape of today's economy. The challenges I faced also taught me the importance of adaptability and flexibility, as I had to constantly adjust my plans and strategies in response to changing circumstances. Here are some of my learning points:

  1. Never settle with one income source
  2. Use your skill to do any one side hustle at least
  3. If you have no resources then find the ways to get started for free or at minimal cost.
  4. Find one path that your competitors are not using and master it. This will give you an edge and help you stand out in the market.
  5. Remember, challenges always come with opportunities. I never would have started my own business if I hadn't lost my job.
  6. With smart work and dedication, anything is possible!

How to Launch a Successful AppSumo Campaign

My first campaign made $12,600 but the second campaign made $50,500 and 100+ five-star reviews. It’s not because of the product but the proper planning and strategy behind it. Here are a few learnings I want to share if you want to launch your LTD deals for your SaaS business.

Pre-Launch Checklist:

  • Keep your site big-traffic ready
  • Yes, this step is very important before moving forward. Make sure your website can handle a good amount of traffic at a time. You can contact and confirm the site bandwidth limit with your hosting provider.
  • Write a killer title for your page
  • A single line of text can say everything about your product. Keep your title short and relevant to your product.
  • Write an eye-catching description for your product.
  • It's not just about your startup; it's also about the story behind it. Why did you start this business? What are you going to do, and how will you go about it? How is your offering superior to others? People are interested in learning about your company's history, challenges, and accomplishments, so share your story with them!
  • Add relevant links in your description.
  • People like to know more about you (the founder), your product, and after-sale support. Provide all possible links in your listing, like Helpdesk, Knowledge Base, Support, Twitter, LinkedIn, Website, FB private group links, etc.
  • Design a creative banner image.
  • Your banner image will not only attract clients, but hundreds of AppSumo’s affiliate marketers will also use it. Design crisp, clear, creative banners that tell your brand story.
  • Create a perfect onboarding process.
  • The first thing users do after buying your product is redeem the code and register on your platform. Make their registration process super easy so they don't have to ask you for support and wait for hours. The best way is to create a short explainer video and share the link in a welcome email.

Post-Launch Checklist:

  • Once your campaign goes live on AppSumo, it requires more attention and engagement. You have to answer each pre-sale question, reply to reviews, and give support if any user is stuck somewhere. Yes, you have to be there for every user in order to get better results on the platform. Here are some best practices to multiply your AppSumo revenues:
  • Answer each question raised.
  • FAQs will never be enough to reply to each potential query that users could ask in AppSumo’s question section, but keeping FAQs on your website, internal documents, and knowledge base will help you answer all queries within a decent time frame.
  • Revise your product according to feedback.
  • In the beginning, I didn’t provide free samples, although almost 50% of users asked to check out the product quality before buying. Though my cost projections weren’t very favorable, I understood that I would need to provide this feature. Hence, I now allow users to test 10 products for free before buying. This strategy helped me to get a 40% increase in sales.
  • Therefore, I suggest you adopt good suggestions or at least give them a try. People from the LTD community appreciate those founders who hear their points and are receptive to communication.
  • Run Facebook & Instagram (Meta) Campaigns. If you try this strategy, it will give you an instant boost! If you want to reach out to more AppSumo users and tell them about your launch, Facebook can be a good option. You can create an account, promote your AppSumo launch, and redirect users to the deal listing page. The only problem is that since you’re promoting a different entity in your ad, your ad account can get banned, so be careful.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Currently, Urbanplr.com ranks with approx 50 keywords and gets around 4000 monthly traffic from search engines (mostly from Google). 52% of traffic comes from the USA, 11% from Canada, 12% from UK+AUS, 5% from India, and 20% from other countries.

urbanplr

This traffic generates 40 to 60 sales per month, which totals around $1500-1600 per month (from organic traffic).

urbanplr

To attract new customers, I publish trending digital products in the market. Like recently I have added ChatGPT prompts.

urbanplr

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

It’s very profitable! Since launch, we made $125,000 with a 75% profit margin. As a digital product, we have only four types of expenses.

  1. Website maintenance cost and support- 10% of total revenue
  2. New product development- 5% of total revenue
  3. Payment gateway fee- 5% of total revenue
  4. SEO and link building- 5% of total revenue

The best part is, it hardly takes me 3-4 hours per week. So I have enough time to work on other projects and my marketing consultation and service agency. I am focusing on Affiliate marketing as well. Today we have already signed up over 20 affiliates.

Our Future Plan

We are developing a SaaS product where users can use chatGPT and graphic designing tools together to rebuild PLR products with ease. Using this application users can create their own version of ready-to-use content for their business.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I would like to divide this into two parts- first, the mistakes I made and second, the things I learned from my mistake and did it right later.

The mistakes I did:

  • In the beginning, I used all the earned money for my expenses and did not give anything back to the business. A huge mistake!
  • Did not focus much on branding and storytelling.
  • Did not give much attention to customer’s support queries
  • Did not find new areas and tried new opportunities to make more sales.

Learned from mistakes:

  • Giving 30% back to the business to explore new platforms and ad methods
  • Providing 24X7 live chat support to our customers
  • Asking for their feedback and reviews
  • Adding value-added products to keep our lifetime members.
  • In return, they become my first 100 loyal customers who always buy my beta version products within 24 hours.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

WordPress - I use WordPress with the EDD plugin to set up my website. It’s very cost-effective and fasts to get started. EDD plugins help to set up membership and digital download parts.

PayPal - for receiving payments

AppSumo - to launch my startup and capture early customers. It’s a huge support in terms of early revenue and customer feedback.

Convertkit - for email marketing

Tidio - for live chat and provide after-sales support

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I'm a fan of the Rich Dad Poor Dad book. In many ways it motivates me and one of the best things about the book is that it provides readers with a new perspective on money and wealth creation- “Don’t say I cannot afford it, say how can I afford it? It doesn't mean you have to purchase all things but it helps your mind to think and work, not become lazy.”

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

I always dreamed of doing something big in life. And I believe you have one big dream in your life as well. This "big" can be anything from living the kind of life you want to live, starting your startup, buying a house, owning a supercar, or traveling the world. “Big” can be anything you set as your dream goal.

My big dream is to start my tech startup, make handsome money, and travel the world with my family. I want to retire in my 50s and then do farming and social work for the rest of my life.

This is my big thing; yours could be something else. But I would like to tell you one thing: Start it today. Don’t wait for a “good time” to start.

In today's uncertain world, having a second income source is essential for financial stability. I strongly believe that everyone should explore the opportunity of a digital product business. It offers flexibility, scalability, and the potential for passive income.

Embrace the digital era and create a profitable second income stream that brings financial security and freedom. No matter if you are building a SaaS or just selling a few templates on Etsy/Gumroad, you must have ONE. If not, start today and unlock the potential of a digital product business.

Best of luck!

Where can we go to learn more?

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