of the week!!
Hello fellow Rodinhooders!
I am currently running a service for people to get their instagram photos printed in India. I am a programmer so I made the site from scratch launched it as soon as possible with only the features needed the most.
The link to the site is inkmat.com and is fully focused on only and only Instagram photo printing. I have not included other form of photos intentionally so I am able to serve my audience with the highest quality of service.
I started working on the site on 7th May and launched it on 8th May, going as lean as possible.
To start off, I thought, I didn’t need any automation for sending mails as I could do them myself, so I didn’t code up the automation mails in the app. This lead to me talking directly to my customers which gave me a lot of valuable feedback I gradually included in my site and service.
I also didn’t want to integrate a Payment gateway because it took time, so I used Instamojo as payment service, sending the payment link to customers myself. This allowed me to easily offer them discounts when it was required.
For the design of the site, I used twitter bootstrap and then later used a free theme for it.
For the development of website, I’ve taught myself how to code and even shared some tips with The Rodinhoods.
People loved that they got a mail from a human and not from a machine and it worked wonders. Not even one of my customers have abandoned their carts and most of the people who have signed up have placed an order.
I had no tie-ups with any courier companies or photo printers prior to starting the site. I contacted them after I had gotten my first order. Although, I did had a chat with some of the service providers to get an estimate of the amount it’d cost me to process an order and so I priced accordingly.
This goes to show that you don’t require everything to start working on your idea. Instead of waiting for everything finished, just start with what ever you absolutely need to start operating your business. You can add the fancy design, functionality, integration or partnerships later. Start small is a good advice and I would never advice to go against it. Starting small makes you focus on the most fundamental part of your product and make it as awesome as you can.
Initially, I got customers by searching for #India on instagram and engaging with people who had really great photos up there. I followed-liked-commented and people starting taking notice. I did the same with twitter by searching for “instagram india” and trying to engage with people. This method lead to my first sale.
This method takes a lot of time and can quite frustrating because of the amount of manual work required. I did this for around 2 hours a day and was able to get around 100-200 hits everyday. I also later bought an ad on reddit.com and targeted via demography to Indians. I had put in ~ Rs. 300/- in that ad and made a loss of 40 bucks. But it did teach me some lessons about conversion.
I haven’t gotten any mention on any big media sites (or even small media sites, for that matter) but one incoming link from a forum called hackerstreet.in.
It has been more than a week since I’ve launched and I’ve grown a lot getting more than 1 order per day for an investment of less than 300/-. I’ve learned a lot about selling online and have already made inkmat profitable.
I’ve kept expenses to as low as possible and apart from printing and cost of mailing the orders, I have spent only Rs. 1321/- (This is the exact figure). The money was spent on domain + hosting + one small ad on reddit.
You could do without the ad and keep your expenses even on lower side. You would need to do manual marketing in that case and invest a lot more time in it.
You should also note that my final exams were going on from 5th of May to 15th of May and so this was completely done in the spare time I had.
Although this hasn’t made me a very rich guy but I have something which has sort of taken off and now it is in my hands to grow it from here. It still kind of a side project but has immense scope (at least I like to think so). Not big enough to not take up a job soon and not small enough to just kill it. The baby has started talking and walking, time for him to start running. 🙂
Thank you for reading and giving me your valuable time. May god bless and you get what you want.
P.S. I’d love to answer any doubt you have about starting small. You can comment on the post below or contact me on twitter. I also write regularly here. I am also having a launch sale and the prices have been slashed for sometime. Go check it out! 🙂