Imagine starting a business because you just wanted to make yourself the perfect wallet… and then looking back 6 years later to discover that you’ve got 12 employees, 2 children, and over a million dollars in revenue?

 That’s the position that my guest today – Ryan Popov – finds himself in – and as he stated himself in the podcast, he never dreamt he’d be where he is today when he was perfecting that wallet for himself 6 years ago.

His business has been incredibly successful in a relatively short timeframe, and in this episode he shares:

  • how (and why) his business has grown so quickly;
  • how he and his wife (who is equal partner) balance work and family;
  • the differences between selling on Etsy and on his own website;
  • how he and his wife took the leap from being employed to full-time self-employment;
  • the marketing strategies that have worked for him, and much more.

 I had so much fun chatting to Ryan for this episode – he’s clearly passionate about his craft, and about his business, and I hope you enjoy listening to his story as much as I did!

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Highlights from this episode:

  1. Ryan began leatherworking to create a perfect wallet for himself. After seeing his finished wallet, his now-wife Jill recommended he make a few more and add these to Etsy and they sold well.
  2. Popov Leather’s sales are slowing on Etsy but are significantly growing up on their own site with the business grossing more than $1 million dollars last year.
  3.  “You get to a certain point when you are selling on Etsy where you have to decide if you want to run a business and make some serious money or if you want to stay crafting” {Ryan}
  4. As business grows the roles you fill within it will shift. 
  5. “That (creativity) sort of disappears when you have 100 orders in the queue and you are working like crazy to get things done.” {Ryan} 10:10
  6. With their first child due, Ryan and Jill made the choice to hire their first employee and Ryan quickly realised that more could get done if there were more hands on deck.
  7. “Everything that goes out that door is a representation of everything that you stand behind and it’s that first impression customers have when they feel your product” {Ryan}
  8. There are now 12 full time employees including team members who specialise in customer service and shipping.
  9. “You can’t have people care about your business as you do but I feel like we’ve gotten to the point where everyone does care a lot. And 90% is good enough” {Ryan}
  10. Sometimes you need to break up with customers when you are unable to meet their requirements.
  11.  “There is not one magic bullet to increase sales. It is a combination of a lot of little efforts” {Ryan}
  12. Instagram photos is a big impact for little effort. Great Instagram images can build your story, encourage people to investigate your brand more and can be repurposed elsewhere in your business yo.
  13. When you run an online business your photos need to create the feeling of walking up to your product in-person and picking it up.
  14. “Photography is the key to successfully selling online” {Jess}
  15. Share the story of you and your brand. People want to know the story behind the product and connect with you.
  16. Check out Popov Leather here.

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