- Tell me a bit about yourself.
My name is Andy Johnson, and I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’ve been married for over 7 years to the love of my life, and I give her the majority of the credit for my successes. We have a beautiful home with a nice backyard where my best friend Chubbs likes to run around playing fetch when I’m not busy working in my office. If you didn’t gather already, Chubbs is my dog. When I’m not playing with Chubbs or working, I enjoy the simple things in life like grilling out and spending time with my friends. I find that the simpler pleasures in life are more fulfilling than the grandiose ones, and they also allow you to save more of your hard earned money to become even more successful.
- I know you are web designer and entrepreneur with your hands in several types of businesses. Can you tell us about some of those businesses?
I started off running my own computer repair and web design business, but I quickly realized how underserved local business marketing had become. Most people had no idea how much money they were missing out on by not properly advertising on the internet, and the price tag on a quality website seemed too high to be worth it. So, I came up with a business plan to build websites for local businesses for free in exchange for a percentage of the sales driven through that effort. Needless to say it ended up being much more lucrative than building websites for an upfront fee, and quickly I expanded into my own businesses.
Now, I have my hands in fireworks, handmade soap, a soda shop, a Christmas lights festival, and even a heating and air conditioning business. Best of all, I run all of these enterprises right from my home office, and most days I never even have to change out of my pajamas.
- How did you come up with the idea for WeddingDaySparklers.com?
My partner in this business, who has been selling fireworks for over 10 years in Minnesota, and I were at a bridal fair and quickly realized how underserved the market was. Since we had no idea how much money we could bring in, it seemed to him to be too risky for him to bankroll me as an employee to run the marketing and development of a wedding sparklers website. So, we setup the business where I would take a 20% cut of all the sales and he would everything once an order was placed. Now we are both profiting nicely and it’s mutually beneficial. You see, in order to compete price wise in the market, you have to order a ridiculous amount of fireworks to get the best pricing. Since he owns a fireworks company and buys hundreds of thousands of dollars in product each year, he gets the lowest price on wedding sparklers out of anyone in the United States. With my expertise and the lowest wholesale prices, it was a match made in heaven.
- I see you use WordPress for WeddingDaySparklers.com. What are your favorite plug-ins to run an e-commerce store?
My personal favorite plug-in for the e-commerce end of things in WordPress is definitely WooCommerce. They do a great job allowing you to setup an online store without too much hassle and their checkout system is easy for the customer. I also like All-In-One SEO as a plugin for not only writing your meta tags but also for including things like your Google Analytics code and Pinterest code without having to tamper with the code in your theme files.
- Do you have any tips for someone who is interested in starting their own e-commerce store from home?
First off, you need to have realistic expectations. Most online businesses will not make you money at first, and sometimes never at all. You need to research your intended market and make sure it is currently underserved so you aren’t competing against too many hands in the “cookie jar”. Also, you need to have access to your products at a lower price than your competition or they will simply run you out of business with lower prices. But as long as you do your homework and can get your products to market at the best pricing, all it should take is some hard work and a great marketing strategy to eventually start making sales and churning a profit.
Thanks for the interview and tips, Andy!