If you’re curious how others start a new business from scratch, check out this interview with entrepreneur Jill Dretzka. Or, if you’re an author look for support for your ebook you’ll want to read on. Jill will be launching a new online business called Solo Storey that helps support ebook authors. Learn more by reading below…
Q: Jill, you’re preparing to launch a company in 2016 called The Solo Storey. You’ve described it to me as an online, community bookstore that sells, promotes and markets ebooks written by entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and freelancers. What inspired you to launch your business?
A: I have been very fortunate in my other business, Spark + Influence where I have reached max capacity on my workload. I was thinking about other ways to bring in revenue and I had seen a lot of conversations about passive income, namely, writing Ebooks. I thought about where I would sell it once it launched and how people would find it. When I first started learning about social media I just googled random keywords and happen to find an Ebook written by Alexis Grant. I thought there must be so many awesome ebooks out there but they aren’t being found because the market is so saturated. I wanted a place where entrepreneurs could not only sell their books but allow us to market them because if there is one thing business owners are short on, it’s time.
Q: What is your online marketing strategy for gaining traction in terms of signing up authors and readers?
A: As of right now we are taking a very personalized approach. I am active in many different Entrepreneurial Facbeook groups and I find that by approaching these authors 1 on 1, we are able to cultivate relationships with them and encourage them to at least see what The Solo Storey can offer them. In the future I hope to utilize the advertising platforms of the different social networks to gain traction.
Q: Give us an interesting fun fact about the research or development process you went through to start your company.
A: I had about 12 different business names before I settled on The Solo Storey and all of them were truly dreadful.
Q: Have you encountered any unanticipated difficult obstacles early in the startup process? Any advice you could give others?
A: I think I knew early on I needed to do some research to see if there was even a need for this type of service. I put a survey out to hundreds of people and only got back 11 responses. So my advice is this, DO the research but if you feel confident in your idea don’t let the small number of responses deter you. Find the line between being optimistic and realistic.
Q: How have you grown your own business knowledge? Are their specific websites, books, groups of people, or methods you have found most helpful?
A: I had zero experience with e-commerce when I started. I had never heard of Shopify, Magento, Gumroad and others. I spent days researching which platform would fit The Solo Storey best, how to list products, comparing what stores looked like so I knew what look I wanted. I relied very heavily on the Facebook groups I were a member of. I think it is important to ask questions, if you need to pick someones brain, don’t be afraid to ask.
Q: What kind of impact do you hope to make on your community with The Solo Storey?
A: I want to be seen as a hub for Ebooks Authors. I want them to feel like we are there to support them by selling their book and to be an extension of any marketing efforts they are currently engaging in. I want to give the authors the opportunity to be heard “above the crowd” that would typically be found on other e-books selling venues and I want to provide a selling environment that is unique and as focused as the authors themselves are. I think by rallying the community to support each and giving these authors the opportunity to increase their passive income is a win win for everyone.