What do you do?
My business focuses on creating digital products that solve problems and help people achieve their goals. My products mainly consist of advanced templates and dashboards, which are designed to simplify complex tasks and processes.
For instance, some of my products help individuals and businesses track their habits, manage projects, tasks, and streamline their workflows. Other products are geared towards improving financial management and increasing productivity, among other things.
My ultimate goal is to provide my customers with value by offering them innovative digital solutions that save time and improve their overall efficiency. I am passionate about helping people overcome their challenges and succeed in their personal and professional lives, and I believe my products are playing a vital role in making that happen.
What’s your background and how did you come up with the idea?
I was born and raised in India and from a young age, I was fascinated by technology and business. When I got my first PC in 2019 (which I still use today), it opened up a whole new world for me.
However, I was unsure about what I could do with it and tried my hand at various online ventures like Fiverr, Upwork, logo designing, data entry, youtube and more only to fail at them all. I was 17 at that time. It wasn't until 2020 when I started reading books that my life changed. Learning from the great minds in these books and their problem-solving approaches made me even more fascinated with the industry.
After a year of reading, I decided to create a Twitter account to share insights about the books I was reading, but that didn't pan out. While browsing Twitter, I stumbled upon a tweet regarding Gumroad and decided to give it a try.
Despite experiencing failure multiple times before, I thought, "Why not?" I had previously heard about Notion from some newsletter but found it too complex for someone who had never used any software before, so I initially disregarded it. At that time, I had no intention of using it for anything specific.
But when I started working on my first ebook, I revisited Notion and began from scratch. I used it to write my ebooks and published my first free ebook with no expectations. I only promoted it on Twitter when I had around 10 or fewer followers, and to my surprise, it got one download, then two, then three, and I lost count after that.
With each ebook I wrote using Notion, I learned something new and applied it to improve the appearance of the ebook, bringing me one step closer to mastering the software. Despite never taking any courses or watching any YouTube videos, I became somewhat good in Notion. From just using it for writing ebooks to creating dashboards to solve complex chores, it has been a fun ride.
Talk us through the early stages of the business, how did you get your first customers?
The early phases were pretty difficult because I was just getting started and had a lot to learn. My first significant accomplishment was publishing my first free ebook. I was excited about the ebook and hoped to gain some traction by promoting it on Twitter. At that time I had 10 or maybe 20 followers.
However, things didn't really take off until I got my first paid customer from Japan. This person had paid $10 for my free resource kit, and it was a pivotal moment for me. I can still remember the moment clearly.
It was early in the morning, around 6 or 7, and I was reading the book when I received a notification on my phone. I remember feeling a mixture of surprise and excitement. I was jumping around. That one customer made me believe that I could actually earn money online.
Early on, things were a little difficult, and I had to learn a lot of things the hard way. I spent a lot of time researching and experimenting with different marketing strategies. I tried promoting my ebooks on various social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook Pages, and Reddit Communities. It was a slow and gradual process, but I eventually started to gain more followers and customers.
One of the biggest struggles I faced in those early days was figuring out how to price my products. I didn't want to charge too much and turn people away, but I also didn't want to undervalue my work. It took a lot of trial and error, but eventually, I settled on a pricing strategy that worked for me and my customers.
Looking back, those days were like trying to learn how to ride a unicycle while juggling flaming torches. But hey, at least now I can juggle and ride a unicycle... just not at the same time.
How’s the business doing today?
My business has come a long way from its initial days. We now have over 20+ products and 2,500+ customers from more than 100+ countries all without any paid advertising. It has been a journey full of learning experiences, challenges, and rewards.
In terms of customer and user growth, we have seen a steady increase each month, with many returning customers. Certainly, every day is a new day, I think it's just the first step, and there is still a long way to go. While we have made great strides in terms of customer growth, we are always looking for new ways to innovate and improve our products and services. Our goal is to continue to expand our reach and provide even more value to our customers.
What marketing channels are working well now to acquire customers?
Our business has been successful in acquiring customers through a variety of marketing channels. Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook have been consistently effective for us in terms of promoting our products. We use these platforms to engage with our audience, share valuable content, and promote our products.
In addition to social media, we also have a network of affiliates who promote our products to their audiences in exchange for a commission. This has been a great way for us to reach new customers and expand our reach.
We have also linked our products to several marketplaces, which has helped us to reach a wider audience. Our templates are featured on Notion's official gallery, which has been a major source of marketing for us. Gridfiti, an online platform that features creative Notion templates and tutorials, has featured our products which has helped us to gain exposure to new potential customers.
Overall, we have found that a combination of social media marketing, affiliate partnerships, and marketplace integrations has been effective in acquiring new customers and growing our business. We are always exploring new marketing strategies and channels to continue to expand our reach and drive growth in the future.
What’s been your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement so far has been building a business that provides value to thousands of customers around the world. It has been a challenging journey filled with highs and lows, but I am happy with what I have accomplished.
It was a huge accomplishment for me to see my income slowly but steadily increase over time. In the early stages, I was lucky to make even a few dollars a month, but now I am earning a decent income from my business. It's not a huge amount but it's enough to cover my expenses and give me some financial freedom.
It's been a rewarding experience, and I'm excited to see what the future holds.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was definitely the early stages of starting my business. As there is a saying the first step is always the hardest, I had to navigate through unfamiliar territory and learn as I went along. There were times when I doubted myself and wondered if it was all worth it. I faced many obstacles such as figuring out how to market my products, handling customer support, and dealing with technical issues.
But perhaps the biggest challenge was working with a PC that has only 2GB RAM and Core 2 Duo Processor. It was frustrating because it made even the simplest of tasks take much longer than it should have. Just open a few tabs and it will freeze. I couldn't afford to upgrade my hardware at the time, so I had to make do with what I had. I used to call it a patience testing machine.
I guess I could say my old PC was both a blessing and a curse, as it taught me patience and how to make the most out of limited resources but it also gave me a lot of headaches. Despite the challenges, I managed to survive with my ancient PC, but I'm pretty sure it's due for retirement soon. Maybe I'll turn it into a vintage tech museum piece.
What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
Looking back, I wish I had known more about the importance of networking and marketing when I started my business. I didn't have anyone to guide me on what to do and what not to do.
I had to learn everything on my own, through trial and error. If I had known the things I know today, or if someone had told me those things when I was starting out, I would have been able to avoid some of the mistakes and challenges that I faced along the way and would be far ahead than where I’m
Any advice for new entrepreneurs just starting out?
Stop listening to others and continue building your dream. There are thousands of people who will give you advice on how to drive a car when in reality they don't even know how to ride a bicycle. So, be very specific from whom you want to take advice. Everyone is different and so is their advice, it's not carved on stone, use what works for you and leave the rest.
Build an audience, create passion, search for things you're good at and become best at it. Don't try to be someone else, don't try to be like someone else, don't try to act like someone else just be yourself and that's good enough.
Play the game of optionality (at least that's what I did). So, if you ask about my approach, I created multiple small opportunities with limited downside and unlimited upside and let the probabilities play out in my favor.
Instead of building something big at starting, create a portfolio of asymmetric bets that can generate wealth over time. You’ll not regret that.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
Well, let me tell you, my motivation levels can sometimes be compared to a roller coaster ride - one moment I'm up, the next moment I'm down. But, there are a few tricks up my sleeve.
Firstly, I just love music that I blast on when I need a kick in the pants. I read a lot of books, they are like vitamins for my brain, keeping it healthy and sharp. Plus, I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I finish a good book.. On a more serious note, what really keeps me motivated is my passion for what I do. I love my work, and I believe in the impact that it can have. It's not like that every weekday I wait for weekends so that I can have fun and then again be like oh no its Monday again. I can have fun whenever I want, the perks of doing what you love. Then there is a quote which keeps me on track that goes by
“If you quit now you will end up right back where you first began and when you first began, you were desperate to be where you are right now”
I remind myself of this whenever I feel like shit.
Besides that, I also love playing video games with my brothers Ashish and Harshit every night, which helps me unwind.
So, in summary, a mix of music, games, passion, and support keeps me motivated to push through the ups and downs.
What are your plans for the next 6-12 months?
I have several plans in the pipeline to further grow and develop the business, including expanding our product offerings (not just the notion templates), improving our website, and investing in more products. I believe that by staying focused on our customers' needs and constantly striving for improvement, we can continue to achieve even greater success in the future.
Additionally, I will be working on incorporating new features and tools to enhance the user experience and provide even more value to those who use our products. Ultimately, the goal is to create products that allow tens of thousands of users to improve their lives by simplifying the complex tasks.
At the end I just want to say one thing, create luck!
Where can people get in touch with you?
Website - imbob.webflow.io
Twitter - twitter.com/nihalkothiyal