- Inspiring Startups
Dave Chesson - Growing Kindlepreneur on the side while serving in the navy to a 7 figure business
Dave Chesson is the guy behind Kindlepreneur.com, a website devoted to teaching authors about book marketing. Recommended by Amazon KDP as the place where you can learn how to “optimize marketing for your books,” Kindlepreneur has grown to be one of the largest book marketing websites.
Having worked with such authors as Orson Scott Card, Kevin J. Anderson, Ted Dekker and more, his tactics help both Fiction and Nonfiction authors of all levels get their books discovered by the right readers.
Dave is also the creator of Publisher Rocket, a software that helps authors see what's really going on in the book market, and thus pick better keywords and categories to help them sell more books.
In this interview, we discuss with Dave on how he started Kindlepreneur as a side hustle while serving in the navy, how he focused on creating a trusted brand first before growing it as a business and how waking up early and taking charge of his lifestyle have been key to his success.
Why did you start Kindlepreneur?
I saw that there was a lot of information that wasn’t being covered in book marketing. Many people weren’t looking at the market and analyzing Amazon itself.
How did you start it? Did you have any previous experience as an entrepreneur?
Before Kindlepreneur, I made a bunch of niche websites and learned about algorithms and how search engines work. I applied that towards Amazon and how that could have helped me as an author.
How did you validate your idea?
That was the most important part of my writing. I have dyslexia, so I’m not a naturally great writer. But when you know the answer to the question everyone has, you don’t have to be the best writer. I learned that what people wanted to know about Amazon were not being served. Through that I was able to create books to tailor to them.
How did you finance your project?
I convinced my wife to put towards $200 a month towards my endeavors and that included fees, website hosting and courses. I was very meticulous towards what I spent, but most of it was DIY.
How did you market and promote your business when you were launching? What was the most effective strategy?
SEO. When I created Kindlepreneur itself I focused on the same thing I did with Amazon - what were people asking on Google and tailored my articles towards that. Because I focused on that, I think that’s why Kindlepreneur did so well.
How long did it take you to start getting the first results and see you could create a viable business?
When I created Kindlepreneur, I didn’t create a product. I instead devoted my time to create a trusted brand and believed that if I did it right, then success would come later. It took about 2 years of full effort before I could see it would be a viable business plan.
You started your online business on the side while serving in the navy. How did you organize to work on your side project to make fast enough progress, without burning out?
I got up at 4:30 am every morning and work on the side business. I would do it this way because there’s no one to talk to me, no social media, no pressing email, and it is absolutely your time. 4:30 am-7:30 am Monday-Sunday was devoted to my side business.
I also really believe that if you’re not passionate about what you're working on and not invigorated about it, you will eventually burn out. I loved what I did. It was almost as fun as watching a Netflix movie.
I also cut out movie and TV watching, so when I came home from the military, then when my kids went to bed, I went to bed. Imagine how many hours we spend watching TV or a movie. Now imagine if all that time was spent towards furthering your business goals. . . even more so doing something you enjoy!
What has been your business revenue progression?
When I was just building the platform, I was able to get up to $10,000 a month. When I started selling a product, I started to hit six figures. When I started building a team around me, that’s when I hit seven figures.
What are the main ways in which you are able to monetize your business?
Affiliate income, creating Publisher Rocket (software)
What are the most useful tools/platforms that you use for your business?
AAhrefs, Publisher Rocket, Slack, Trello, WordPress
What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
Progress. There’s no such thing as not being able to progress. I feel like every day I have to learn something new and step out of my comfort zone every day. As an entrepreneur, you control the ceiling. There’s nothing stopping you. I love that I’ve taken away that restriction. If I want to grow or hit a mark, it’s on me.
What has been your biggest challenge/failure as an entrepreneur?
The biggest challenge was converting from solopreneur to building my own team and giving people responsibility and handing over some of the operations.
What are your business goals for this coming year?
I have a few. They all include building the team at Kindlepreneur and Publisher Rocket, releasing new Kindlepreneur content and releasing some awesome features and upgrades to Rocket that we've been working on diligently for some time (that I think are really going to help people)!
For an aspiring entrepreneur interested in becoming a Kindlepreneur, what would be the first steps to take as a beginner?
Get up early in the morning. Taking charge of your lifestyle and schedule now. Adapt to the lifestyle of an entrepreneur with taking ownership of your schedule. If you don't do that now, you will have a really hard time making the transition.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Getting up early (I know, I know. I keep mentioning that one. But seriously!)
What’s your favourite quote?
"But why is the Rum always gone?" - Captan Jack Sparrow
"You're only as good as your last movie." - Walt Disney
Any good book(s) to recommend to an aspiring entrepreneur?
The One Thing by Gary Keller
Learn more about Kindlepreneur at www.kindlepreneur.com
Learn more about Publisher Rocket at www.publisherrocket.com
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