6 Ways to Make Money on Instagram (Whether You have 1K or 100K Followers)

You’ve probably heard stories of Instagrammers cashing in on the pictures they snap and share every day. You might’ve even looked at your own sizable following and thought, “Maybe I can do that full time too.”
Just like bloggers, YouTubers, and anyone who’s amassed an audience around the content they produce, Instagrammers have reach and influence figured out—two things many companies struggle with.
Together, reach and influence offer the opportunity for Instagram creators to explore multiple streams of potential revenue, whether they want to build an empire or just earn some extra cash and free stuff.

Learn to make money on IG 💰

How many Instagram followers do you need to make money?
If by now you’re wondering how many followers you need to start bringing in real revenue, the short answer is “not as many as you think.”
The long answer depends on factors that range from:

What niche you’re in and how easily you can directly tie it to a product category (fashion, food, beauty, and fitness are popular niches, based on top Instagram hashtags)
How engaged your followers are (100K fake followers won’t amount to much)
Which revenue channels you explore

Naturally, the more engaged followers you have, the better. Check out our tips on how to get more followers on Instagram.
While top Instagrammers make thousands of dollars per post, even those with small but engaged followings of 1,000 have the potential to start making money.

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How to make money on Instagram
Depending on your unique brand of Instagram content, your target audience, and your level of commitment, you can use Instagram to make money in the following ways:

Work with brands on sponsored posts
Become an affiliate
Open your own ecommerce store
Create an Instagram shop
Sell your photos online or on things
Make money off your content

The beauty here is that chasing one revenue stream doesn’t necessarily rule out another.
So let’s start with the most common approach to Instagram monetization: partnering with brands as an influencer.
Work with brands on sponsored content
The term “Instagram influencer” gets thrown around a lot these days.
An influencer is basically anyone who’s built themselves an online reputation by doing and sharing awesome things online. To their audiences, influencers are tastemakers, trendsetters, and trusted experts whose opinions about certain subjects are respected.
Many brands just can’t compete with that, so they partner with influencers on sponsored content like posts and Stories that help get the word out about their products.

Source: @dapperonthedaily

But it’s not just the follower count and reach of your Instagram account that brands want—it’s your audience’s trust and engagement with high-quality content.
It can be hard to balance your revenue as an influencer and your integrity as a creator, but if you’re not relying on your Instagram marketing income to stay afloat, you always have the freedom to be selective about the brands you work with, just as brands will be selective about the Instagrammers they work with.
How to decide what to charge as an influencer
Typically these influencer deals involve the creation of content—Instagram ads, a post, a video, or a Story—and will sometimes include permission for the brand to use this content on their own site or in an ad.
Most of these deals are negotiable and can involve a single post or an entire campaign in exchange for a fee, a free product, a service, a gift, the promise of exposure, or some combination of these.
Keep in mind when negotiating that you’re not just offering content but access to your audience—a potentially large reach on one of the most popular social media platforms around—and usage rights.
The average influencer who has upward of 100,000 followers charges up to $500 per post, on average. Just to give you an idea of what some brands are willing to pay and how to negotiate based on the cards you’re holding.
Finally, it’s important as an influencer to also know your own audience.
What is the makeup of your audience, and what is your engagement rate (total engagement divided by your number of followers)? You can dig up numbers to back this up in your Instagram Analytics report, if you’ve switched to a business account. This will help you be prepared when it comes time to negotiate.

Want to learn how to grow and monetize your Instagram account? Instagram marketing expert Gretta van Riel shows you how in Grow Your Business with Instagram, a free course at Shopify Academy.
How to find brands to work with
If you’re big enough, chances are brands will find you. But you can also look for brands to work with that are on a similar level in terms of personality and values, so your audience won’t feel like you’re “selling out.”
You can reach out to them directly to try to work out a deal, but you can also list yourself on one of the many influencer marketplaces out there to increase your chances of being discovered, including:

Fohr. Connect your Instagram, blog, YouTube channel, and other social platforms to create an influencer “card” that shows your different profiles and total reach to brands shopping for a partnership. You can also access a list of brands and their wants, so you can take the initiative to reach out too.

Grapevine Village. If you have 5,000 or more followers, you can list yourself in the Grapevine Village marketplace for the opportunity to work with like-minded brands.

Crowdtap. Do small content creation tasks to earn rewards. This is great if you’ve got a smaller audience. Available in the US only.

indaHash. Brands post campaigns you can participate in. Post a picture with the specified hashtags on Instagram and get paid. You need at least 700 engaged followers to be eligible.

The rules vary when it comes to sponsored content, but to be on the safe side and respect your audience’s trust, consider adding a #sponsored hashtag to indicate sponsored posts.
You can find examples of sponsored posts and how Instagrammers integrate brands into their story or caption by searching #sponsored on Instagram, like this one from How He Asked, an account that shares wedding proposal stories and partners with a jewelry business:

Instagram also has a “Paid Partnership with” tag that prominently identifies sponsored posts, which some brands might require you to use to disclose your relationship with them.
Become an affiliate
Unlike an influencer, an affiliate is more invested in making sales for the partner brand—not just generating awareness—in exchange for a commission.
This is typically done with a trackable link or unique promo code to ensure clicks actually translate into sales. Use a mix of clickable links in your Instagram profile bio and Instagram Stories using the Swipe Up feature or through stickers. Since you can’t put links in Instagram posts, you can create promo codes so you can make money from different angles.
Consider reaching out to one of the many online merchants offering affiliate programs. Or you can explore popular marketplaces like:

ClickBank. An affiliate platform with a tier-based commission that’s open to everyone.

RewardStyle. An invitation-only fashion and lifestyle influencer network that offers 20% commissions.

Amazon Associates. A popular option that pays out a 10% commission.

Though it sounds like a numbers game, affiliate marketing is also an art, and you’ll have a better chance at success if you have a plan going into it and expand your online presence to include a website and other marketing channels.
Tip: Affiliate links can be long and ugly, so I recommend a URL shortener like Bitly, especially if the links are going in your Instagram bio.
Open your own ecommerce store
By now it might sound like the only way for an Instagrammer to make money is to sell out and work with other brands.
But creators of all kinds are in a good position to “sell out” with their own products: physical goods, services, or digital items that can be an extension of their brand, building a business with an audience at its center.

The ability for [content creators] to sell products is just so natural because their abundance of content allows them to have those moments of plugging their products.

Chris Vaccarino, founder of Fanjoy

You need to invest some time upfront, but in today’s world, it’s almost natural for creators to make the leap to entrepreneurship. That’s becoming easier with the growing list of Instagram tools available to build an audience.
Just look at Loki the Wolfdog, one of the biggest Instagram dog-preneurs of his time.

By selling your own stuff, you don’t need to worry about integrating messages from other brands into your posting strategy. Better yet, you can get your own brand out there on the products you sell.
Fans can show their love and support your work by buying from you—a purchase they can feel good about.
There are a few ways to sell your own merch:

You can use a print-on-demand service to print and ship your own t-shirts, pillows, coffee mugs, wall art, and more.
You can sell services such as photography or consulting using your bio to direct interested people to a contact email or a link to your professional website.
You can sell digital products such as courses, ebooks, or design templates.
You can use your Instagram account to launch a business selling your own original products or even a book.

If you plan on selling several items in your own Shopify store, you can also make purchases through Instagram possible on your website using one of the available Instagram gallery apps.

Want to create your first business? Start your free 14-day trial of Shopify—no credit card required.

Set up Instagram Shopping
The past few years have been huge for ecommerce brands and creators who want to sell on social media. Instagram has released a ton of features under the Instagram Shopping umbrella, which allows people to easily shop your business’ videos and images on the platform.
It all starts with an Instagram shop, a.k.a. your storefront. There, you can share your story and sell products. Instagram provides a sleek experience for shoppers to browse and buy your collections. All you need to set up Instagram Shopping is a Business our Creator account.

You can customize your shop by creating Collections, or curated products presented in themes. Common themes include new arrivals, gifts, or seasonal trends.

Just like your online store, you can also create product description pages in your shop. Here you can include all relevant product information, like pricing and descriptions. You can send people to your website to complete a purchase or let them buy through the app using Instagram checkout.

It doesn’t stop there. People can also buy your products throughout Instagram via features like:

Shoppable posts and Stories. You can use product tags to showcase items from your catalog in videos and images. People simply need to tap to learn more about an item.

Shoppable ads. You can also add product tags to ads and extend the reach of your shoppable posts. Setup is simple inside Ads Manager, or you can boost existing Instagram posts in your feed.

Instagram Shop tab. Instagram’s shopping tab is a destination for people looking to discover new brands that are relevant to them. This helps you more easily reach new customers on the app.

Live shopping. Do you love live streaming content? Then you’ll find Instagram live shopping helpful for making money on Instagram. Just go live and tag products from your catalog (or Facebook shop) to feature in your broadcast. The product will show up at the bottom of the screen, where people can tap to purchase instantly.

Source: Business2Community

The best part? Setting up an Instagram shop is free. You’ll only pay a commission if someone purchases through Instagram checkout.
Sell your photos online or on things
Someone might get famous on Twitter by telling 140-character jokes, but Instagram is a photo-sharing app at its core. And photos are assets that can be licensed, printed, and sold in a variety of ways.
If photography is what got you into the Instagram game in the first place, you can list your photos in marketplaces like 500px or Twenty20, where brands and publishers might license them.
However, you can also sell your photos as prints and on other physical products using a similar method described in the last section. Services like Printful and Teelaunch let you put your photos on posters, phone cases, pillows, and more, taking care of fulfilling orders and customer service, so all you really need to worry about is making sales.
Take the story of Daniel Arnold, who, according to an interview in Forbes, went from “eating toast three meals a day” to making $15,000 in 24 hours by offering to sell prints of his popular-but-controversial photos. If you’ve already got the demand, all you need to do is take the initiative and offer your audience the opportunity to buy your photography from you.
Make money off your content
IGTV ads
IGTV ads are one way to monetize your social media content.
In March 2021, Instagram released IGTV ads for creators in the US, the UK, and Australia. These ads appear when people go to watch IGTV from a creator’s feed. The video is mobile-friendly and lasts up to 15 seconds long.
In an interview with The Verge, Instagram’s COO, Justin Osofsky, says that creators receive a 55% share of all advertising on IGTV, which is the same rate as YouTube. This makes Instagram a compelling way for creators to earn passive income from their content and make a living.
According to makeup influencer Avani: “IGTV has given me a place to show my fans more of my creativity and personality, which has helped grow my personal brand. Being able to earn money from the content I’m already creating gives me even more motivation to share more of myself with my followers on IGTV.”
Live badges
Live badges are a newer feature, helping creators and influencers make money on Instagram. A popular concept taken from Twitch and TikTok, think of Instagram Live badges as tips you can receive during a live broadcast.

Source: Later

With this feature, viewers can purchase a badge during the livestream that shows in the comments and unlocks features, including a place on the creators’ badge list and access to a special heart.
People can buy:

One heart for $.99
Two hearts for $1.99
Three hearts for $4.99

Getting paid on Instagram and beyond
What started as a hobby—making people laugh, doing silly photoshoots with your dog, or sharing pictures of food—can snowball into the chance to turn your Instagram page into a source of income fuelled by your engaged following. But why stop there?
There’s a world of possibilities for creators to make money on the web. If you want to open up more revenue streams online, be sure to check out our tips on how to make money on YouTube. Your Instagram followers are bound to join you on other channels. You just have to open the doors for them to walk through.

Ready to create your business? Start your free 14-day trial of Shopify—no credit card required.

Make money on Instagram FAQ

Do Instagram users get paid?

Yes. You can get paid on Instagram in the following ways:

Creating sponsored posts for brands that want to get in front of your audience
Becoming an affiliate and making a commission selling other brands’ products
Creating and selling a physical or digital product or offering a paid service
Setting up an Instagram Shop
Selling licenses for your photography or videos
Monetizing your content

How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram?

The more followers you have on Instagram, the more money you can make. Rates are also determined by engagement, quality of content, name recognition, audience demographic, and skill set. The standard is $10 per 1,000 followers, but can vary depending on your contract and sponsor.

How much money does 10K Instagram followers bring in?

Micro-influencers, or accounts with 10,000 followers or less, can make around $88 per post on Instagram.

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Everything You Need to Know About SWOT Analysis (With Real-World Examples)

Are you using SWOT analysis to form the future strategy of your business?
You definitely should be.
The SWOT analysis of a company helps it identify what it is doing well, where it needs to grow, what it needs to improve, and what could be its undoing.
When you’re analyzing the competition or putting together a business plan, you could turn to the findings of your SWOT to identify potential gaps in your strategy.
And the best part is, doing a SWOT analysis doesn’t require a big investment of time. In fact, it is something that can be quick, simple and fun. Done right, a SWOT will give you a competitive edge in your niche or industry. . It’s that powerful.
In this article, we’ll discuss what a SWOT analysis is, highlight some scenarios where it makes sense to conduct a SWOT analysis, and provide tips and advice for conducting a SWOT analysis of your own. We’ll also share a few examples and templates that you can use to evaluate your current position in the market.
Let’s get going.

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What Is SWOT Analysis: SWOT Analysis Definition 

So, what does SWOT stand for? According to most definitions, SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 
The first two of these, strengths and weaknesses, are referred to as internal factors, which include things that you have control over, like your workforce or your product packaging.
Opportunities and threats, on the other hand, are external factors that are outside the scope of your control, like market trends or competing businesses. However, they can still impact your business for better or worse.
The purpose of SWOT analysis is to offer a blueprint for success, but it’s your job to analyze the factors and decide the next steps for your business

Companies usually conduct a SWOT analysis to shape their business strategy, but individuals can gain from a SWOT analysis as well.
If you’re confused about switching jobs, pursuing a new career, or working remotely, you can use the SWOT analysis framework to help you decide. 
Why Do a SWOT Analysis?
With a range of business analysis techniques , you might be wondering why you should pick SWOT analysis over other methods. 
Well, there are several advantages to learning how to create a SWOT analysis. 
For one, SWOT gives you a broader, 360-degree view of your industry standing and where you lack against your competitors. You can then take steps to improve your operations in those areas in a way that makes your company stand out from the rest.

Another key benefit of SWOT analysis is flexibility. You can use it to inform all kinds of strategic decisions, from minor tweaks in existing campaigns to major business initiatives.
Moreover, SWOT can be used to assess locations, investments, employee performance and even to conduct self-assessments.
When to Use a SWOT Analysis
There are numerous scenarios in which a SWOT analysis can prove beneficial. 
Ideally, you should use it during early planning and brainstorming to get a feel for a new market, product, or approach, etc. 
For instance, If you’re not sure about the best social media strategy for your ecommerce website, you can do a SWOT to identify the best channels for your business.
Likewise, a SWOT analysis can help you answer questions like:

Do you need to reassess a particular marketing strategy mid-course?
Should you explore the efficacy of a new merger, partnership, or acquisition?
Does your company want to reinvest profits back into the business?

The big-picture insights that you gain through SWOT can help smoothen your journey through change, struggles, and growth.   
How to Do a SWOT Analysis
Now that you’re familiar with the basics of SWOT analysis, let’s look at the key steps involved in its creation.
1. Visualize the SWOT Diagram
The first step of creating a SWOT analysis is to visualize a SWOT diagram. We recommend using a 2×2 quadrant where each box is labeled with the relevant heading. Place strengths and weaknesses in the top row, and opportunities and threats in the bottom one.
Here’s how Canva visualizes it:

While you may be able to make a quadrant diagram yourself, it’s much easier to use a SWOT analysis template. Templates can be easily styled, and you can even customize them with brand colors, motifs or shapes. Here are some cool choices:
Aha’s simple matrix

Smartsheet’s 3D SWOT Analysis Template

However, you’re not only restricted to a 2×2 grid. While this is the most popular layout for a SWOT diagram, you can also use a vertical or horizontal SWOT analysis template. Below are some options.
Konsus Design’s Horizontal SWOT Analysis Template

Slide Hunter’s Vertical SWOT Analysis Template

2. Set Up a Goal
In addition to visualizing the SWOT, you need to have a clear objective. Are you planning to merge with another business? Are you considering expanding your local presence? Identify the strategy you want to develop and use that to create your SWOT diagram.
3. Hold A Brainstorming Session

Gather your team and brainstorm as much as you can. Get marketing, finance, and even consumer-facing personnel on board and encourage everyone to get creative. 
You can, for example, tell them to make a casual list of what they think are your company’s strengths and weaknesses as well as what they identify as opportunities and threats.  
Don’t sweat over how relevant each point is at this phase – the idea is to hear everything the team has to say so that you don’t miss out on anything important. Who knows, you might discover a thing or two that could positively impact your bottom line.
4. Break Down the Four Components
Once you’ve determined the goal of your SWOT analysis and gathered input from your team, it’s time to work on the four components of the process: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Here’s a look at what influences these internal and external factors, and some questions to help get things moving. 
SWOT Analysis Strengths
Strengths are the tangible and intangible advantages your business has at its disposal. Some examples of these advantages are:

Having a great location 
Having a world-class development team 
Having a strong brand affinity 

To determine your strengths, you could start by analyzing your company’s standing in terms of service, finance, company culture and brand leadership – resources and factors that you can control. 
Questions to help identify your company’s strengths

Which features of your product resonate with your target audience?
Do you have unique attributes and processes that differentiate you from the competition?
Are your cash reserves sufficient to keep your business afloat? 
What’s your USP (unique selling proposition)?
What specialized services or knowledge do you have to offer?
What do you do that no one else does?

SWOT Analysis Weaknesses

It’s also crucial to identify your company’s internal weaknesses. These are the areas in which you often struggle to meet expectations. Examples include low sales revenue, unclear branding strategy, budgetary limitations, and poor online reviews.
When identifying weaknesses, make sure to take your staff’s input. They’ll likely point out shortcomings you hadn’t considered. Keep in mind that you have control over your weaknesses – like strengths, they’re internal to your company. 
Questions to help identify your company’s weaknesses

Are there any aspects of your business that may cause customers to select the competition over you?
Are your customers completely satisfied with your product?
Do customers understand what your brand is about?
Do you have clear business goals?
Are there any areas of your business that have room for improvement?
What is holding you back from achieving your goals?
Is your company’s internal infrastructure performing at its best?

SWOT Analysis Opportunities 
After you’ve identified your company’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to have a look at opportunities. These are favorable aspects external to your company that you can leverage to your advantage. A few examples of such aspects are:

New or emerging markets
The evolution of technology
An increase in population

Questions to help identify your company’s opportunities

Are there any new demands in the market that are not currently being met?
Are there any additional resources that you could benefit from?
Are there any new trends that you are not yet taking advantage of?
Are there any changes in legislation or regulations that you may benefit from?
Are there any opportunities for you to expand?

SWOT Analysis Threats
Lastly, you need to identify any threats that could prevent you from achieving your goals. These are conditions beyond your control that influence your chances of success. By evaluating these conditions, you can construct a contingency plan to minimize the negative impact they might have on your company.
Questions to help identify your company’s threats 

What advantages do your competitors have that you don’t?
Are there any changes in the economy that could negatively impact your business?
Are any of your suppliers unreliable?
Will changes in federal taxes impact your company in any way?
Does a community belief clash with the USP of your product or service?

5. Act Upon Your Findings
Now that you’ve made your SWOT, it’s time to analyze each of the four components and lay out your strategies. 
For instance, if you have a good reputation among adult consumers, you should continue to build and nurture relationships with them to strengthen it further. 
And if marketing to younger generations is one of your weaknesses, you should take steps to improve your appeal, like encouraging adults to spread the word among their children. 
Likewise, it’s critical to seize opportunities to neutralize potential threats. If using a certain technology (like virtual reality) will give you a competitive edge over other businesses, consider hiring relevant expertise to make this happen. This, in turn, will help you overcome the threats posed by some of your closest competitors who’re striving to increase their market share.  
SWOT Analysis Marketing Example
To help you gain a better understanding of the concept, we’re going to look at the SWOT analysis of Amazon, the world’s largest ecommerce company by online revenue.

Source
One of Amazon’s strengths is its ability to satisfy customers. So, despite its late entry into key markets, the company has an advantage that it could use to overcome one of its weaknesses.
For example, the ecommerce giant can run marketing campaigns communicating that people who shop from its website are more satisfied than those who purchase from other places. 
Similarly, Amazon can capitalize on its opportunities to neutralize the threats. For instance, it can consider opening physical stores to see off the local competition. Additionally, it can make efforts to improve ecommerce-related IT security, which can help mitigate hacking and identity theft. 
SWOT Analysis Bonus Tips
Here are some additional guidelines for getting the most out of your SWOT.

Involve key departments in drawing up the SWOT analysis to gain their trust
Put your egos aside and honestly discuss areas that could use some improvement
Write suggestions on cards or Post-It notes that make it easy to arrange relevant ideas into groups
Update your findings from any past SWOT analysis. For instance, an opportunity may no longer exist (e.g. if a competitor has already introduced a specific technology)
Run a SWOT test against your competitors to see where you have an advantage and where you fall short
Use tools like Creately to save time and create a beautiful SWOT analysis 

Ready to SWOT It Out?
Every business has strengths and weaknesses, but they’re also affected by the threats and opportunities in the marketplace. Make sure you follow the above-mentioned tips and best practices to maximize your chances of success. 
Once your SWOT analysis is complete, you’ll have the perspective you need to make the best decisions for your company. Ultimately, the strategic planning tool will provide key insights into how to optimize your operations for improved performance. 
Summary: How to Do a SWOT Analysis in 2021

Visualize the SWOT diagram 
Establish a clear objective
Hold brainstorming sessions
Break down the four components of SWOT
Act upon your findings

Have you conducted a SWOT analysis for your business? Did you uncover anything surprising once you took a closer look? Let us know in the comments section below.
Want to Learn More?

Something That Scent? A new YouTube Creator Does not Scaled an 8-Figure Fragrance Company

Brothers Jeremy and Kamil Banc are the duo behind Fragrance One, an online fragrance store. With Jeremy as the go-to perfume reviewer on Youtube with over a million subscribers, plus Kamil’s management skills, the two launched their multi-million business. In this episode of Shopify Masters, Kamil shares how they pre-sold one million dollars in sales before launching a single fragrance, what it takes to transition from influencer to business owner, and the intricacies of working with family.
For the transcript of this episode, click here.

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Show Notes

How this YouTuber gained 60,000 subscribers in three months
Felix: Let’s start with the origins of the story. Where did the idea come from? 
Kamil: Yeah, it started off very differently. My background was in industrial engineering. After graduating from university I moved to Hawaii, of all places. My brother is four years younger than me. He came out to visit me and he was inspired by the American lifestyle, even though I was a beach bum at that time. He saw the possibility so instead of going to university he started even earlier than me to become an entrepreneurial type. It was around 2014 when he started a YouTube channel that revolves around fragrances. That was the initial seed that was planted back then.
Felix: Did your YouTube channel take off quickly? What was the growth like? 
Kamil: Yeah, it was surprising to me because I was following some YouTubers back then and I thought it might be really difficult even in 2014–let alone today–to grow a channel organically. He did find a formula that set him apart, and that was that he was focusing on people’s reactions to the compliments. Meaning there were fragrance reviewers before and they were all talking about the association with the fragrance, the ingredients, and obviously, the back story. But what people really care about, this is what we noticed is the complement factor. He went out and asked people in the streets, “How would you rate this fragrance from one to 10?” That’s really what set him apart.
Within the first three or four months, he went up to 60,000 subscribers which was very impressive, because he didn’t do anything besides that. Now he’s at 1.4 million on his American channel and the second largest fragrance reviewer by around like 60-70K, just so you get the split there. That really shows you if you touch on what people are curious about, then there is potential.
Felix: How did you brother discover this particular angle, in this particular niche? Now it probably feels obvious, but how did he decide that that was going to be the thing that set his channel apart? 
Kamil: It was this typical story. He was looking for ways to better himself, just become a better person. He stumbled along style, how to do your hair, how to dress yourself, and then also fragrances. He was always interested in fragrances. He’d consider anything that addressed the question of, “Okay, if I go on a date, what fragrance do I wear to have the highest likelihood of getting compliments from that fragrance?” I don’t want to know the name that’s exotic and all that flair behind it, the backstory which is nice, but in essence he was looking for a way to discover fragrances that work and do what they’re supposed to in this specific situation. That’s basically what translated into Fragrance One down the road.

Kamil and Jeremy work with perfumer Alberto Morillas to develop their scents for each special occasion. Fragrance One. 

Felix: So the YouTube channel grew rapidly. At what point did you guys look at each other and think, “Maybe we could build a business out of this.” 
Kamil: There were two answers to that question. The first realization was when he was going out, or when he had a girl in his office reviewing a fragrance with. It was this reaction type video where I saw the response from the people in the comments. They just really loved it. My suggestion to him was to review other products based on their complement factor. Let’s say, what’s the complement factor of these shoes or this car etcetera? I’m glad he didn’t take that idea, but that was the first fork in the road where we noticed if you really focused on that factor and visualized it to people, that there seemed to be something there. 
Down the line he was growing his channel and I was working on some other startups. In 2017 I mentioned to him that he should try to turn his influencer career into an asset. Being an influencer aside, he also knows what really works. His market knowledge is there and it really helps. That’s one thing that I see with a lot of influencers and I work with a couple of other ones as well. It is really a long gig, and a type of a work environment for them. 
If you can think of a way to somehow create an asset out of your influence that works for you, then that’s something really great. Obviously you have to create value for the customer along the line, otherwise it won’t work. That’s the one thing that a lot of people don’t realize. Those influencers look really nice on Instagram and YouTube, but it’s a tough life. They have no health insurance for the most part if they’re in America, in Germany they’re kind of covered. This is just one of those things. You always have to work. If you stop working, there’s no income, right? That was the basic idea. 
I have to credit Jeremy with the concept – he really described Fragrance One as this brand that wants to lead the customer through the “fragrance jungle” as we call it. The concept is to make it very easy and simple and effective for them to purchase the fragrance that they need in a given situation.
Don’t overwhelm your audience with options, guide them to an answer
Felix: It reminds me of the world of wine. There’s a lot of variation and personal preference would play a big role. You need a guide for picking the right wine for a specific occasion. It’s similar to fragrances.
Kamil: Exactly. I’m basically the portal customer in that regard because I don’t trust my own nose. Now I’m a little better at this whole thing, but back then I would always just ask my brother, can you recommend a fragrance for me because you’re the expert. It’s not like I don’t know what I like, it’s that I don’t know how well it plays in a certain situation. There’s a difference between a fragrance that lasts long versus a fragrance that dries down and the opening note. A lot of people don’t really know. It’s almost like you shy away from it because it’s a little bit overwhelming if you’re not in it and that’s what we wanted to solve for.
Felix: It’s your job as the expert to not only present the options, but guide your followers toward the option that suits them. You mentioned 1.41 million subscribers. Give us an idea of the businesses growth since the beginning. 
Kamil: We started with a pretty big bang if I can say so. Even though we didn’t really have to, we went the crowdfunding route. This is something that I was comfortable with from my previous endeavors. I also just wanted to gather a little bit more market data. That’s one of the key steps in our business that really makes it an interesting story. We pre-sold almost a million dollars worth of fragrance – which is, by the way, record breaking. The second largest campaign for a fragrance is around $60,000. We pre-sold it without anybody ever smelling it. We basically took the sense of smell out of the equation in a fragrance company, which shows you the power of the why basically. Why do I buy it? 
This is something that I have from my design background. When people have a problem often they’re describing the symptoms of that problem, meaning I want a fragrance that I really like. But the actual underlying problem that they have, which is in our case, for our customers is “I want more compliments.” We took that approach and we turned something that looked like a huge negative, which is that nobody ever smelled the product before, into a big positive. The way we did it was by highlighting that quality comes first, right? We have no budget on the ingredients. We work with the best manufacturers in the world. We literally hired the Michael Jackson of the perfume world to collaborate with us. My brother, due to his years of experience in the world, was the creative director of the fragrance.
We used the best bottles from Germany. What comes next is I don’t know how that thing smells. We went around and we thought, okay, you don’t really need to know how it smells. The groundwork is done. It’s a good fragrance and you’re buying it because of the compliments you’re going to get. What scent was Office for Men, our first release. If you’re a guy and you want to get compliments in the office, this is what you wear. If you don’t like the smell, that’s okay. But that’s not what you’re buying it for, right? In the end people really liked the smell as well but that’s what helped us a lot.

Starting with the “Office” scent for men, Fragrance One made it simple for users to envision the smell and situations the fragrance fits into. Fragrance One

Felix: First step was to uncover what it is people are actually buying. How did you land on the complement factor? What was it that said to you, “It’s not about the fragrance, it’s about what the fragrance can do for them.”
Kamil: It was basically based off of the response from people to the YouTube channel and the social media channels before that. We were thinking about how to create a brand that incorporates the secret sauce that really set Jeremy Fragrance apart from all the other fragrance reviewers. Then we tried to put that into a business idea.
Anticipate consumer pain points to launch a successful Kickstarter
Felix: The idea to launch with the product Office for Men on Kickstarter, how did you know to focus on that specific market? 
Kamil: Office for Men is a very long lasting fresh fragrance, which is a safe bet. Everybody likes fresh fragrance, right? The problem with that often is that they don’t last very long. We tried to create the best product in that category with a very simple description. That’s why it’s called Office. Very simple, no extravagant wording or anything. I have to credit my brother. He didn’t really put more ego into the first scent. What I mean by that is he didn’t add a twist to make it recognizable to him. He really focused on the mission of that fragrance. He worked with Alberto Morillas who’s the perfumer. He was working on all kinds of fragrances that you know, the CK One, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Bulgari, all those fragrances.
Usually those big brands hire a perfumer like this guy and just give him free range. My brother–I don’t know how he did it–but they had literally 40 to 50 feedback loops to improve the fragrance to what he wanted to hone in on. That’s what it was in the end. That’s why we went with the fresh fragrance. It was a compliment getter that lasted very long. That was before COVID. Now we have this internal joke where we call it “Home Office” for Men.
Felix: Once you identified the problem you were solving, how did you incorporate that in your campaign for the Kickstarter? 
Kamil: During the campaign, we focused on those key pillars: the perfumer, the ingredients that have no budget, the best manufacturers in the world, and my brother’s knowledge from being in the market asking people what works, what doesn’t, what works in what situation, what doesn’t. This package eliminated a lot of the questions that people would have prior to backing a campaign like that. You really make them feel comfortable. You try to answer all the questions they might have beforehand, and then you make it easy for them.
Felix: How did you know those were the kinds of questions people would have? What kind of research were you doing to understand it from a consumer perspective?
Kamil: Maybe it was because we were already in that world, but it seemed very simple. What is somebody asking? First we were looking at the demographics of our audience. That puts the fragrance into a certain price range that we can get away with, that makes sense. What can you do with that? The obvious thing people ask when you’re thinking of buying a fragrance, you’d ask will I like it? The thing is, you can’t answer the question unless you smell the fragrance. To be honest I didn’t even smell the final version because I was in New York at that time and my brother was in Switzerland working on the final version of the product.
We eliminated this basic question of do I like the fragrance? We transformed it into, do I want compliments? I’m willing to trust Jeremy and his experience with that. That was basically the number one question that people have when they buy a fragrance. Do I like it? It’s not “do I like the fragrance,” but “do I like what it does for me?”
How to transition your influencer career into a stable, sustainable business
Felix: That’s a great insight into an influencer’s career. At a certain point you need to pivot and use the influence to build some sort of business that doesn’t just rely on you as an online persona. How did you begin this transition? What advice would you give other influencers out there trying to level up? 
Kamil: I always like to start with something that’s called a business canvas when I work on a new project. Maybe some folks can look this up. It’s basically one sheet that visualizes the entire concept, that you can adapt over time based on your findings. You make a suggestion of what you want it to be then you question yourself and all your resources that you have. Based on that, you adjust it and then get moving. One crucial thing that I can really recommend is, when you start a business, you always need to have either your own audience or work with some body or some entity that owns your customers. It’s easy to put ads up online and think that you’ll build an audience just like that, but it costs a lot of money and time if you really want to do it from scratch. That’s why I always recommend working with someone in some regard that already owns your customer base in some form.
“One crucial thing that I can really recommend is, when you start a business, you always need to have either your own audience or work with some body or some entity that owns your customers.”
Felix: Jeremy went back and forth working toward that final product. Was testing done entirely through him, or did you also do some beta market testing? 
Kamil: From my background I’m used to this lean approach where you don’t build something until you test it a couple of times. Unfortunately with this thing–or maybe for the better–we completely relied on Jeremy’s experience. When you do that you really have to know what you’re doing because obviously you’re putting a lot of time and money on the line, but in this regard it was something that we really just wanted to get through, and we relied on his experience. When you are trying to help the customers with find something that they need in a specific situation, it might not be the best to get too much feedback, especially with something that’s so subjective like a fragrance. Oftentimes what can happen is, people might not really focus on the mission of the business, which is to get people compliments versus, “Hey, I like this smell. Maybe I don’t like the smell?”
You can never really satisfy everyone. If you try to satisfy everyone, you won’t satisfy anybody. We didn’t do this the lean way. We really had Jeremy and Alberto Morillas sit together and go back and forth, and do the feedback loops.
“You can never really satisfy everyone. If you try to satisfy everyone, you won’t satisfy anybody.”
Navigating the logistics of worldwide shipping
Felix: Post Kickstarter campaign, what did order fulfillment look like? 
Kamil: Yeah, that was one of our biggest struggles to be honest with you, because Jeremy wanted to have worldwide shipping, which is a pain when you’re working with a product that contains alcohol. It’s considered a dangerous good. We had a lot of hurdles to jump over and oftentimes we had to pay more. We didn’t make a lot of money with the Kickstarter campaign because of that. We had a lot of duties to pay. Obviously certain countries don’t let you fly in that stuff at all, unless you have the right documentation. We really tried to run before we learned how to walk in a certain way because we wanted to push ourselves. We just knew that because fragrance has a big margin compared to other products, it was possible. We’ll figure it out when we get there. It was a little bit of a leap of faith, but we learned a lot. It was a little bit difficult to fulfill everything and Kickstarter campaigns can be a little bit problematic afterwards.
With around 10% of the customers their bank didn’t work or their credit card was blocked or something like that. You basically take 10% off the top then Kickstarter takes another 7%. That was the biggest struggle. Once we had that figured out, we started working with the fulfillment partner that we have now. We have a warehouse in the Netherlands and one in New Jersey and from there on it was smooth sailing. We started our Shopify store in March 2019. And it’s been going since then.

Finding the right partner who can ship Fragrance with alcohol content was key for Fragrance One’s launch. Fragrance One

Felix: Tell us about the transition between presale, fulfillment and then setting up the platform?
Kamil: We treated it like a two separate projects, because you have different obligations to the backers of the campaign both legally and morally. Logistically we just wanted to have this finished off and then we would set up a loyalty program, which we now have. We included the people that backed us back then into the Shopify system, and gave them compliments. We have this compliment club that they can trade in for dollars. That was basically it. It was really about finding the right partners. We were working with three or four logistics partners up until this point and the last one we’ve been sticking with them, they’re called Sales Supply. They’ve been really great. It’s important to find the right people.
When you have a product like this–because of the problem with the alcohol content–we really had to work with someone during the worldwide shipping phase that could just get things done. Meaning that they know how to label certain things just to have less hurdles along the way. We had enough orders to work with DHL in Germany for example. So they set up a meeting and we came together and the first thing they said was, “Oh wait a second, you guys ship fragrance. We can’t ship fragrance.” Like what? It’s kind of weird in that sense. You really have to do your due diligence with the partners that you work with.
Responsibly using your platform to organically grow your ecommerce business 
Felix: How do you acquire new customers? Is it strictly through YouTube, or have you developed other marketing strategies? 
Kamil: We’ve done paid advertising, we were working with a really cool agency out of New York. The problem is–and it’s a good problem–that every time Jeremy posts a video that mentions the brand or we have some sort of contest or something to engage customers, it completely wipes out all the results from any paid advertisement campaign. We’ve been mostly going organically. We’re also on TikTok. We have a newsletter that converted really well during the campaign. We use that every once in a while. I started a discord–which is the biggest fragrance discord now–the fragrance army. We’re trying to grow as organic as possible just because of the fact that I could either pay for a pre-roll video on YouTube or I could just edit a video for my brother and squeeze in like a five-second pre-roll myself. Right?
Out of all things that we tried, one of the best magnets right now is this “before you buy” series. There’s a playlist on his channel where we’re basically just talking about other fragrances, and then we mention our brand before or after. It’s really just giving people more value. We have this little “sponsored by Fragrance One” on the top left. That’s pretty much what it is. 
Felix: How do you maintain a balance when you’re advertising on the YouTube channel, so that people don’t think you’re delivering biased reviews?
Kamil: The one thing that Jeremy clarified from the beginning is that he will compare our brand directly with other brands. Meaning when he has a top 10 best fragrances for the summer, he might mention Fragrance One somewhere along the lines, but he’s not putting it in a top 10 list. That way he can stay out of this because like you say, you only have one reputation and obviously you can’t be tainted. You have to be transparent. He’s very transparent with the brand. He talks about the pricing of it. He talks about how much it costs and also every once in a while he throws in the Bogle or some other discount that really works well.

Nurturing relationships through engagement, discounts, and loyalty program has allowed Fragrance One to have close to 35% repeat purchases. Fragrance One

Felix: How do you encourage repeat purchases on a product that would typically last months, maybe longer? 
Kamil: I’m actually very surprised we have about 30-35% repeat customers so far. When my wife and I buy a bottle of fragrance it will last for a long time. Jeremy is just very energetic. He’s eccentric in a way, very polarizing. He has all these spray routines. He says spray it five, six times, seven times if you want, so the bottle ends fast. We’re always keeping the people engaged. We’re also not shy with discounts and all kinds of announcements. We released a lot of fragrance in a short time. We have six and a half products. One is a deodorant based on the Office, which is a lot because we are only in the market for a couple of years.
Every launch is quite expensive and brands typically take much longer to refine what they already have. They reformulate it in a certain way, but we really give our customers something new every once in a while. They’re always excited to stay on track. Obviously it’s important to stay on their mind. That’s why I like those content pieces like the “before you buy” videos because that always reminds them, “Hey, I was interested in that fragrance and Jeremy also has his own thing, so I might check it out, see what’s going on.” The other thing that helps a lot is recently we started this compliment club, which is a loyalty program. That’s one of the apps that I wanted to mention.
Best practices for being in business with family and friends
Felix: Based on your experience of working with your brother, what are some of the pros and cons of being in business with family? 
Kamil: It’s really important, just like with other partnerships, to set the right expectations. The communication needs to really flow. It’s hard to have these implied contracts that happen much more often within family. Meaning, I do something and then I expect something else to happen without really communicating it. That’s the crux of the problem oftentimes. Obviously you have a clear role. My brother is this very energetic, open, creative type of person. I’m more in the background. I like to pull the strings and strategize and plan ahead. I’m always pulling and he’s always pushing and it’s a good thing if you can contain it, but it can also lead to some internal problems sometimes. When he wants to go with a crazy discount, but I’m like, “Wait man, you have to also consider the people that bought the product before that.”
You have to create a balance where people are not upset. We’re always structuring our bundles in a way where people are okay with that. That’s basically it. It really comes down to communication and understanding what’s the outcome for each individual in there. Also keeping yourself accountable. Oftentimes when you work with friends and family people tend to slack off after a while. It’s very difficult to have that conversation with them because they’re family, right? You don’t want to mess up the relationship, and that’s something that the expectations part really plays a big role in.

Routines and roles are vital when it comes to running a business with a family member for Kamil and Jeremy. Fragrance One

Felix: It seems like you face the same challenges working with a business partner versus a family member, but it’s the boundaries that are a bit more blurred. How do you make sure you’re maintaining communication and boundaries when in business with family or friends? 
Kamil: It’s really about the roles and routine almost. It even comes down to sending each other invoices. It sounds simple, but it really is part of the thing. I have this media company that basically sends him an invoice every month and we’re basically going through okay, this is what we’re doing. This is what I did. This is what you did in a very informal sense. You need to have those routines to keep you on track and make you realize, “Hey, we’re working on a business together here.” On the other hand, there’s huge upsides when you work with somebody that you can really trust because you can trust them. When the business doesn’t do so well every once in a while you know you have each other’s back and that’s huge in business.
Mistakes are only bad when you don’t learn from them
Felix: You mentioned that a mentor said this to you one day, “You can go broke as often as you want until you’re 50.” Tell us about what that means to you.
Kamil: That was back in Germany and things changed now. I don’t recommend that to anybody, but it was just something where when you grow up in Germany you have a very different mindset. You don’t really have this entrepreneurial mindset. What he was basically saying was to go out in the world and see what you like and try out different things. Don’t worry about it because in the end, if you really stick to something that you like, then there’s a high likelihood that you’ll figure out the money part. That was the idea. Coming from this upbringing where once you leave school, you almost have your entire life planned out. Going off in the world and doing something on your own is a very strange journey from that perspective.
That really stuck with me when I was living in Hawaii and I was a beach bum and I was trying out different things. I was working on really big startups, big companies, but also I was always happy to try out new things because I knew I still had some time and it worked out.
Felix: How do you make sure that you aren’t so focused on the rear view mirror or the failures? How do you make sure that you can pull yourself back on the path?
Kamil: If you frame it in a different way where you’re almost like a video game character that creates some new skill by failing, right? You need to learn from what you did, what worked, and what didn’t. The only problem I have is when you don’t learn something from your mistakes, then it’s a waste of time. That’s really how I frame it. That’s why I would not want to change anything that happened in the past because it really led me to where I am today. It’s something that’s important and it’s valuable. You can’t get to your finish line without hiccups. That just doesn’t happen.
“When you don’t learn something from your mistakes, then it’s a waste of time.”
Surround yourself with the people you want to become
Felix: One thing you had mentioned previously was how you make sure to surround yourself with the people that you want to become. What does that mean for you?
Kamil: It’s really that simple. When I moved to the states, I never really spoke English before. It’s a very simple example, I learned it in school. But speaking it and applying it is different than just learning it. I was a student and there were a lot of other German students, but I would never hang out with them outside of school because I really wanted to learn how to speak English properly. I still tried to keep a little bit of my German accent, but I did pretty well compared to my other friends from Germany that were just hanging out with the other Germans. That’s just based on language, but the same thing really applies to any other area in your life. If you want to become an entrepreneur, then join networking meetings with other entrepreneurs.
I worked on a startup ecosystem in Hawaii back in the day where I would meet a lot of VCs and people from Silicon Valley and China. Really it’s that simple. If you want to become someone, or you have this persona with a certain skill set that you like to approximate yourself to, then just try to reach out to those people and create a value exchange. Don’t just hang out with them, there’s always something that you can do that they can’t and you just have to figure out what that is so that you’re becoming part of that group.
“If you want to become someone, or you have this persona with a certain skill set that you like to approximate yourself to, then just try to reach out to those people and create a value exchange.”
Felix: In some cases you just have to work through the obstacle as it comes. What’s an example of something you just had to figure out along the way? 
Kamil: A lot of the time in today’s world people are looking for the shortcut type of approach to business. I’m not saying that you can’t be lucky or anything, but counting on that is a little bit difficult. I’m not a big fan of working hard, but I’m a fan of working smart. What I mean when I say there’s no magic trick, is that everything–especially in today’s world–is available to you. People should read more books and biographies, especially because that basically helps you go through the journey of somebody else and avoid some mistakes. Maybe you get the inspiration from what they did. That’s what I mean when I say there was no magic trick. 

Sourcing and testing along the way is the most important thing to Fragrance One to ensure that what they envisioned is executed correctly before reaching the consumer. Fragrance One

Some of my previous projects that I worked on had included gadgets that we put on Kickstarter and all that. We didn’t really build them but we were more a front for another manufacturer to sell it. That almost felt too easy and it was in the end because you don’t really have any say about the manufacturing process and the quality control and all that. It might seem easy, but then there is a hiccup because the product hits the customer and you’re just sitting there and you can’t do anything because you’re the face of the company. That was one of the things that I wouldn’t do again. That’s why I’m happy that we’re with Fragrance One. It’s not just Jeremy’s face on something. We’re sourcing every little detail of the product. 
Boosting retention through bundles and loyalty programs
Felix: Let’s talk about the loyalty program and the website. What apps are you using to optimize? 
Kamil: The loyalty program is relatively new. We’re using the one that’s called Smile Rewards. It has a really nice interface. I like how you can set up what people get rewards for, and what people call the currencies. We call the currency “compliments” in our store, which makes sense with the brand. We’ve been doing pretty well with that. The biggest impact that we had in terms of apps was really the bundles. That made a lot of sense, because our fragrances are relatively pricey, especially for the audience that comes with Jeremy’s subscribers. Since it’s a direct to customer business, we’re happy to give discounts here and there. When you’re following the brand and following our social media outlets, then there’s always a good chance that you’ll be part of a giveaway or a buy one, get one free.

Sharing news about contests, giveaways, and discounts entices customers to follow Fragrance One’s social accounts. Fragrance One

That’s also enticing for people to stay in touch with us on Instagram or elsewhere. The bundles were a big deal because that basically helps to justify spending a couple 100 dollars on a couple of products in that regard. For that we use the one from Thematic and a UFE Cross Sell. Upsell is something I just started a couple of days ago. I really like their interface. I was always wondering why you guys at Shopify don’t have a bundled function that’s integrated.
Felix: What’s your strategy for putting together these products? How do you know what to bundle to appeal to the most people? 
Kamil: It depends on whether there is something like Valentine’s Day or International Women’s Day, or maybe a date bundle where we have the Date for Men and Night for Women fragrance put together. It’s more situational. How can people apply it? What makes sense in their eyes? We also have fragrant candles. One is called Movie Night, and then we have the Date for Men, Night for Women, and the Movie Night candle. Right? Those are the thought processes that go in when we decide on the bundle. We’re open for suggestions. For example, we are asking people and we get all kinds of requests and we have a couple of bestseller bundles that were generated by our community.
Felix: What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned over the last year that you’ll apply moving forward? 
Kamil: I can’t stress enough to really figure out what the customer is trying to solve. That’s been said many times before, but it’s really so important. That’s the essence of why our business is working because we’re focusing on, why am I buying this fragrance? It also goes to show you that during this last year that you would think, why would people buy fragrance? It really is not even just to compliment, but a new thing that we found out–we actually grew by 40% last year–is people buy fragrances because it makes them feel better. When you put on a fragrance even if you’re at home, you’re getting into a different mode. When you’re at the Zoom meeting, you put on a suit. Even when you just work from home, I suggest to really dress up nicely as if you would go to the office and it puts you into a different mode.
If you can tap into that emotion and the real problem that your product may solve for the customers, then you’re good.