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I made $239,000 this year selling budgeting and productivity templates online. It’s the perfect business to start as a one-person team.

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Young asian man in glasses on video callJason Ruiyi Chin, known online as Easlo, found six-figure success as a student selling Notion templates.

Emily Courter

  • Jason Ruiyi Chin used Notion for taking lecture notes at school and then began toying with the app. 
  • He tweeted free Notion-template downloads and grew a big following before he paywalled new content. 
  • Chin has made $239,000 this year selling templates for budget tracking and organization.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Jason Ruiyi Chin, a 20-year-old from Singapore who sells Notion templates and goes by Easlo online. Insider verified his revenue with documentation. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

I graduated from high school in 2021. While in school, I often used Notion — a note-taking software platform — to organize my lecture notes.

I realized after graduating that people could customize Notion for different uses and decided to fiddle around with the program’s functionality.

I started producing basic templates, like a budget tracker and a habit tracker, under my internet persona, Easlo.

I studied YouTube videos and other Twitter users to create my brand

I learned how to set up various functions in Notion by watching YouTube videos. I released these first templates for free, advertising them to my growing Twitter followers and posting on Product Hunt to get the word out.

While developing my templates, I was growing my Twitter audience. I followed popular productivity Twitter accounts and studied what formats and content they used. I modeled my Twitter behavior after theirs. This research has paid off because I now get significant support on Twitter for my products.

For about two months in summer 2021, I regularly released new, free Notion templates and made them available to anyone who wanted them. They could be downloaded from Gumroad for free, with the option of leaving a tip. 

The audience for my free templates was happy to start paying for my new product

I realized that being Easlo might be a lucrative endeavor in fall 2021 when I began receiving tips of up to $100 on Gumroad. In November 2021, I decided to start charging for my new templates and turn “Easlo” into a business. I stumbled into this entrepreneurship opportunity; it was my first job ever. 

To get the word out about my new, paid products, I sent an email to all the people who had downloaded my free templates. To my surprise, people started paying for my new product.

Gumroad made it easy to switch from free products to paid ones. I just changed the price from $0 to whatever I was setting it as. The paid template was profitable immediately, as it brought over $3,000 in the first month.

My audience came largely from Twitter, where I have over 211,000 followers, and Product Hunt, a website that elevates new software programs. My Notion templates performed well there, drawing tons of new customers to my website.

Running a business alone can be stressful, but I take pride in it

I’m a one-man machine, which can be stressful sometimes, but I take pride in that every template, tweet, and Product Hunt post is designed and implemented by me alone.

I’ve never paid for an ad campaign. I focus on growing my online audience organically. I invest a lot of time in growth on Twitter, which has brought me the greatest return on the investment of my time. 

My tweets these days focus on helping others grow their audiences and ventures, which is a popular topic that gets a lot of attention. I tweet two to three times a day, reply to at least 10 tweets, and make an informative Twitter thread weekly. My working hours vary from week to week — it’s definitely a full-time commitment.

I’ve made $239,000 in template sales this year. My less-expensive templates — such as my Bullet Journal, which costs $20, and Finance Tracker, which costs $40 — make up nearly half of my business.

But sales of my $130 flagship product, the Second Brain template, make up over $100,000 of the profit I’ve made this year. The template allows you to track personal finance, health and fitness, personal growth, and relationship goals. It also displays your inbox and schedule.

There is a lot more competition in the Notion-template market now 

Over the past year, the landscape for Notion templates has changed significantly. More competition has emerged in the template market, and I’ve had to adapt Easlo around that. Alongside releasing new templates, I’ve pivoted to creating educational content for the Notion-using community.

I was a recently graduated student when I began my journey with Notion templates. I never imagined the success I’ve found in this niche.

My advice to anyone considering building their own template business is that you need to build your audience first by providing them with free, valuable content before you can start selling templates. 

If done correctly, this method creates a loyal audience that multiplies over time, and your sales will reflect this growth.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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