– Maxim Godin, Victor Levitin and Or Poran’s Interview-
Maxim Godin, Victor Levitin and Or Poran are the co-founders of CrazyLister. Indie Digital Brands Found them at Quora’s website where they’ve shared a lot of knowledge about how they built their startup and also gave tremendous advice to those who were looking to do the same as they did and start something from the ground up.
So what’s all about this CrazyLister thing? Well, starting from the beginning, CrazyLister is a SaaS startup that’s currently enabling every seller to create professional, mobile-optimized product pages with zero knowledge in code or design. Prior to founding CrazyLister Maxim and Victor started a successful eBay business which they grew from zero to $4.5M in sales and won several eBay awards for the highest conversion rates. Oh and “by the way”: they’re also the authors of the most popular eBay blog “eBay sellers journey to a $100K”…
Sounds amazing right? Well, you’ve got to keep reading to know the rest of the story. Trust me when I say, this is golden…
When Indie Digital Brands reached out to them the co-founders of CrazyLister were amazing and agreed to reply to the questions we had for them. So without any more hype, here it goes:
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture and how did it came to life?
After receiving the eBay awards for highest conversion rates in 2013 we received tons on attention from other eBay sellers who asked us to do for them what we did for ourselves, at first we acted as a consultancy firm but very quickly realized that in order to serve thousands of sellers we will need a building full of consultants with our level of expertise which wasn’t scalable so we decided that the only way to scale quickly will be by providing a self-service SaaS solution, few months later the first code lines were written and CrazyLister came to life.
Is this your first venture? If not, How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
CrazyLister is actually our second venture. Back in 2008 we started an eBay business. We were both in university and looked to make some additional income to pay our tuition. One day Victor bought a car GPS device on eBay and came up with the idea of selling stuff on eBay. We had zero money to invest, zero expertise in online sales, and zero experience with selling on eBay (I never even bought anything on eBay). The starting point wasn’t promising to say the least but it was more appealing then cleaning tables and washing dishes. We started researching the various ways to sell online without investing any capital upfront and that’s how we learned about dropshipping.
For those of you who don’t know, with dropshipping you do not need to buy any inventory upfront since your supplier is the one who’s handling all logistics and you just act as the middleman between the supplier and the buyer.
The start was slow, we spent a lot of time on research to find profitable products to sell on eBay and then, even more time to find the right suppliers that will be willing to work with two young college guys from tiny Israel. Looking back, the tons of hours spent on research were very valuable to jump starting the business. Once we found several suppliers who were willing to do business with us, we uploaded our first listing on eBay and so the journey to a $100K a month began.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
We made A LOT of mistakes along the way, today’s entrepreneurs are lucky to have so much free and accessible information which we just didn’t have at the time. I will address probably the biggest mistake we’ve made:
Lack of focus – when we began seeing revenue in our business venture we had this urge to expand, we saw opportunities in other sales channels and were sure that if we expand now then we can easily double our profits. The reality was that starting a new sales channel is just like starting a new business, you start from scratch and have to put a lot of effort to develop it.
Once we lost focus in our primary source of income it naturally began declining while our new sales channels wasn’t even starting to pick up. We just didn’t have the resources to expand at that point in time and we didn’t realize that there is a limit to what we can do with our resources, this was a rookie mistake and we learned it the hard way. We make sure to share everything we’ve learned in our blog and the issue of focus comes up more than once in our blogs.
How do you generate new ideas and what would you do if you had to pivot your entire project/idea/business?
We listen to our customers! We use several tools (hotjar, intercom, mailchimp, our eBay doctor Youtube channel) to engage with our customers as much as possible, Victor is actually doing the customer support as we believe that the customer voice is our north star. We want to create the best solution for our customers’ needs and the best way to know what our customers need is to talk to them as much as possible and understand what are their pains, what’s missing, how can we improve, how can we make their lives better.
(CrazyLister Customer Review)
Can you share some of your ideals that you think have helped you to get to where you are?
It’s not about a specific idea rather than a mindset, our mindset was to always grow, we never settled for what we achieved, and we keep on doing this today with CrazyLister, we constantly improve the software and build better user experience to delight our customers. Creating a startup is a grind, the easiest thing is to give up and the hardest thing is to keep going no matter what obstacles you face. Even today we are only at the start of our journey with CrazyLister, it’s still a small startup and there is a long path ahead.
Creating a startup is a grind, the easiest thing is to give up and the hardest thing is to keep going no matter what obstacles you face. Even today we are only at the start of our journey with CrazyLister, it’s still a small startup and there is a long path ahead.
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern/formula/requirement to becoming a successful entrepreneur from the experience you’ve gathered in your journey and are you a part of your own definition of success?
I believe that two of the points I’ve mentioned above are critical to success:
2. Not giving up
Not giving up is as much about commitment as it is about belief in your abilities, combine those two and you can call yourself an entrepreneur.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
It’s definitely the excitement of creating something that people actually need and benefit from. It’s so rewarding when customers send thank you messages, these are the things that keep us motivated.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most (or look up to)?
I love how Buffer has grown as a company, they are not a hyper growing company like Uber or Airbnb and they didn’t raise hundreds of millions but that’s exactly what I love about them, despite all of that they built a great solution that people need and benefit from and although there is a lot of competition around they are constantly at the top of their industry.
Their content marketing strategy is very impressive, very high-value content for marketers (Kevan Lee is building an awesome community for Buffer). I also believe in their philosophy and company values, their focus on customer support is one of the most important activities a company should engage in and it should be done from top to bottom.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time and how do you manage to balance that time?
Each of us has his own hobbies but I think that the most impressive is Or’s cooking abilities, he is a real master in the kitchen and produces amazing foods which we get to taste from time to time.
Here are a few examples (if you’ve read this far, you deserve them):
What three pieces of advice would you give anyone who wants to become entrepreneurs?
The most honest advice I would give is just one: JUST DO IT.
And yes, I know it can come across as “oh it’s easy for him to say cause he’s done it” but that’s exactly the reason I’m saying this until you do it you never know.
I’m not saying to jump into something without doing your research, but if you really believe that you’re on to something and have done your research and believe that you can create something minimal and throw it to the market just to see the reactions then you should just do it.
If you’re curious about more of what CrazyLister Saas Startup is, what it can do for you or you want to follow along on their journey, make sure you check out their journey on their blog and youtube channel. Information like this is very valuable to pass on and you should definitely keep a close eye on it, we know we will!