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When I’m asked to review websites and online stores, I usually start by checking the About Us page. Many times I’ve found it to be full of dull boring text, if not totally empty. This is a wrong start to online marketing. Your About Us page should tell a powerful story, a story that will get the reader hooked, your brand remembered, and your values admired.

Put simply, Power Stories are those that will turn prospects into customers, and customers into raving fans. Many business owners make the same mistake, they get caught up telling the world about their services and qualifications, when they should focus on the benefits a customer will get as a result of using their product or service.
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TEKSTartist Jason Markow FiveSpotDerby.com

Today, my online guest is Jason Markow (a.k.a. TEKSTartist) from FiveSpotDerby.com who will take us through how he left his daily job to become an entrepreneurial artist! In his own words, he “artistically twists, warps, and distorts letters & words into the very thing they describe.” [Update in March 2018: FiveSpotDerby is currently down. I got no answer from Jason when I emailed him about the reason for taking the site down.]

The twist here is that Jason creates a special weekly limited-edition design. This design goes on sale for 7 days. Afterwards, any remaining prints are moved into the archive and are offered at $99. Each Five Spot Derby begins at just $5, and every 5 sold prints drive up the price by another $5.
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Update in 23rd March 2019: I’ve been reading many negative comments (i.e. YC, here) from people I trust about Shopify and how greedy it has become, opting for draconian measures to lure more victims and torturing them with below par services. It’s the same internet story, a good, promising startup with trust-worthy founders. Then they do this big IPO, all lights point at them, then the dreadful army of executives who choose profits over users march in and take control of the ship. I’ll give Shopify some time before I delete this post below, maybe they will come back to their senses and put the customers first, and not their VCs. -R.

The story of Kelly Lester, a stay-at-home mother who couldn’t find a proper lunchbox for her kids, so she searched on Alibaba.com and started manufacturing her own design, launched her Shopify store (EasyLunchboxes), and started selling its own Bento / lunch boxes online and made millions in profit is very common. It’s mainly because of the internet that such one-person businesses have a chance of surviving and thriving.

Kelly Lester, started her Shopify Store in 2012 and made millions!

Kelly Lester, started her Shopify Store in 2012 and made millions!

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 28,000 businesses with no employees other than the owner reported revenues of more than $1Million in 2011. Ten percent of those one-person businesses generated more than $100,000 of revenues per year. Over half of US small businesses are based in homes. On the other hand, Shopify website claims that it powers over 275,000 businesses in 2016.
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Update: unfortunately the “Use PayPal on Amazon” solution below came to an abrupt end. I wasn’t able to contact the owner (Brandon) for proper clarification but I suspect Paypal did not like anyone using their registered brand in their domain name. Also, Paypal is very notorious against unexplained money, fearing any money laundry. Money for pizza just didn’t cut it. Still, I’m leaving this post for people / entrepreneurs thinking of doing a similar venture / project / solution / website. Beware, the vulture are on the look!

It happened one day that I was answering questions on Shopify forums, I came to know about the services of a new online store. This store started out as an answer to the famous question: how to use PayPal on Amazon (without applying for a Paypal debit card). Then it branched out to allow PayPal members to use their balances to buy stuff from outlets that don’t accept payments from PayPal. The following interview tells us more.

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