Presentation: Tips for Selling Things Online

I give a presentation at an Envato Live meetup in Chicago where I go over a lot of my lessons learned.


Thou shalt provide support. People read documentation less often than you’d think. Chris suggests making your documentation available online, creating video walkthroughs, restricting support to buyers only (using the Envato API to verify purchases), and charging for phone consultations and non-basic customizations. Also, if you struggle to respond to support requests within 24 hours, consider hiring help.

Thou shalt get one star ratings. Try to manage buyer expectations, get positive reviews from customers to whom you’ve provided support, and accept that some people just like to cause trouble.

Thou shalt be imitated. Any successful author will be imitated. The best way to counteract this is to build your own brand, for example, by having consistent and unique thumbnails across all your items. Continually improve your products to keep them fresh and current.

Thou shalt grow weary of working from home. Consider getting a desk that allows both standing up and sitting down. Allow yourself to work less hours if you need, in order to stay focused during those hours.

Thou shalt hire an accountant, invest in retirement, and spend wisely. Don’t be like MC Hammer, who went bankrupt due to mismanagement of his multi-million dollar empire. Understand that sales fluctuate and are never guaranteed. Try to resist upgrading to the latest hardware and software if it isn’t necessary. If you’re buying a house, buy the cheapest house in a nice neighborhood.