My first business closed it’s first year at $165k in sales. We only used Instagram for marketing and spent less than $1k on ads. Here are a few things I learned.

In no particular order, here are a few things that helped contribute to a successful first year.


  1. [Assuming your target audience is under 35] Live on Instagram. Don’t just post though- follow people/business you truly enjoy and interact with them genuinely, as another human.

  2. Play it straight and don’t buy followers or likes. The goal is to attract potential customers, obviously bots and paid followers aren’t going to be buying. And it’s not worth the appearance of success. As a consumer, it’s easy to spot fake interaction which can damage your brand. Don’t stress over the amount of followers you have (we only have 15k, but they are 100% real. Grow organically.

  3. In addition to #2, don’t out kick your coverage in terms of the number of people you follow. If you don’t have time to interact with your whole feed, don’t follow thousands of people in hopes that they’ll follow you back. Again, it will damage your brand.

  4. Collaborate with other companies with the same target market. It will help pull in real followers.

  5. The algorithm is your friend. There isn’t some wizard formula to showing up in people’s feeds. Be active in it and stay up on interaction, post regularly, respond to DM’s, watch stories, etc. Instagram itself is a business after all, they just want you using their product. Don’t take shortcuts.

  6. Use the business analytics in the app, they are solid gold for learning who your demographic is, what days/hours your followers are most active, top posts, etc.

  7. Don’t be afraid to be personal. Share videos of yourself talking on your stories and using the product in your day to day life. We share photos of our kids helping pack orders, people love small businesses.

  8. Giveaways will generate many followers, but don’t do them too often. My opinion is no more than 8-10 times a year.

  9. Involve them in making decisions. This was an amazing strategy we used. Ex 1: “Help us name the next product and if we use your suggestion we’ll send you one for free!” Your customers might have more good ideas than you might anticipate. Ex 2: Polling two potential product options on a story. Get them invested in the development.

  10. Get in and interact in that explore feed, it’s a surefire way to reach potential customers without being spammy.


  1. Free shipping or death. Build it into the price if you have to. People hate paying for shipping. Also don’t skimp on the service. Be on par with Amazon if possible. We ship everything USPS Priority which is extremely fast (1-3 days across the entire US / 7-9 internationally)

  2. Have a generous return/exchange policy. The cost of losing potential sales outweighs the cost of returns/shipping cost.

  3. Out of stock is a good thing. Sure it can suck to decrease sales, but IMO it’s heavily outweighed by the benefits of having a more exclusive product. On-the-fencers won’t be on-the-fence anymore.

  4. Rarely do sales! They are like a drug because it’s such good short term success, but you and your customers will become dependent on them, which will damage the brand and obviously the margins. If possible- treat your prices like Apple does.

AMA if you have any specific q’s

Happy New Year!

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