The new year marks our 6 month mark since launching UX Kits, originally as the Eric Miller Design Store. We're very excited about getting this new business off the ground, and wanted to share 5 lessons we take away from our first 6 months. Many thanks to all of our customers and partners who helped us get going. As we announced last week, you helped us reach the number two product on Creative Market (out of 16,000!) and the top two paid products on Graffletopia. Our next two products are already in the works, and a third in the planning stages.
1. Do something you're good at
Yes, we also think you should do something you love. But if you asked us what we love, our first answer would be "design." As a result, when we would think about internal projects they would always be focused on designing apps or themes or other customer-facing products. It was an "aha moment" for us when we realized our obsessively detailed client deliverables could be packaged up as marketable, customizable products. If you're looking to start a business, look at EVERYTHING you're good at (and love) and think about a way you can spin that into a product.
2. Brand it well
We first launched our shop as the Eric Miller Design Store as a quick way to get selling and to take advantage of some our existing social following. Once we saw some sales, we went back and forth many times on whether or not to rebrand so the store had its own name. We took a look at some best practices from other firms who sell products for designers and eventually redesigned our site and launched it as UX Kits. Under the new brand, our traffic doubled and has stayed doubled.
3. Pick the right partners
We knew from the start we'd be selling our products on Graffletopia. Their audience is perfect for our OmniGraffle stencils and we've been a fan of them for years. When we decided to create everything in Illustrator format, we decided to find the right site to help promote there too. Creative Market caught our eye because of how well the site is designed and the nice, clean layout for showcasing digital assets. While both sites take a commission, the visibility they provide has been 100% worth it. To not spread too thin, we've stuck with those two sites for now and have been very happy with the decision.
We're also having a great time running our own Shopify site, since they're our pick for eCommerce projects for clients. They provide top-notch customer service and we're finally using some of the advice from their blog in-house.
4. Promote in the right places
We've done almost no paid advertising aside from a few small test runs on Twitter and Facebook. As a result, almost all of our traffic is referrals, though search traffic is also starting to pick up. We consistently post on the dedicated UX Kits Twitter account, as well as the Eric Miller Design Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, which we kept together to avoid too much overhead maintaining multiple accounts. Portfolio sites, however, have been the real driving force behind referral traffic. Dribbble easily comes in at number one, with a nice boost also coming from Forrst and Behance. These sites are perfect because we're talking directly to designers, and we can show visuals while doing so.
5. Provide great customer service
With so much frustration coming from some customer service experiences these days, it's actually really fun to find yourself in a customer service situation where you can do good things. Interact with your customers, apologize when something goes wrong (and a discount code helps too), get back to people quickly and always be polite. A little customer service done right goes a long way.