The Internet has been Erman’s biggest focus and interest ever since he was a kid. In his first years of university, he became interested in web development and SEO. Later, he realized that it could be his profession as well. After a few smaller entrepreneurship adventures, he co-founded Digibase, a digital marketing agency in Istanbul. They have been working with international and national clients for eight years.
Erman always wanted to do work on an international scale and immerse himself in other countries. He co-founded two companies Selfinvest and Solverhood. He has completed 400+ successful digital marketing and development projects on Upwork together with the Solverhood team. This experience developed his digital marketing experience and opened the door to a new adventure.
Erman became passionate about data analytics, understanding that it had the potential to help store owners make decisions without being overwhelmed by data. This led to him developing Analyzify, a data analytics solution for Shopify merchants.
In the first seven months, Erman’s development of Analyzify led to it generating $12,000 per month, even though it was still the first version of the app. Unexpectedly, this has made it Solverhood’s best selling product.
Where did the idea for Solverhood come from?
Our company, Solverhood, was born in 2017 on the Upwork market with an interesting offering and positioning. As lifetime entrepreneurs, my co-founder and I wanted to provide entrepreneurs with a hassle-free solution to get digital agency-like services. We called it ‘6-pack of entrepreneur’ because it consists of 6 packs designed to accelerate the capability of fellow entrepreneurs to launch their businesses. These packs are:
-CodePack (custom development)
-WebPack (website, e-commerce, and analytics)
-SearchPack (SEO or Search Engine Optimization)
-AdPack (Google ads for your e-commerce offering)
-DataPack (custom analytics)
-BrandPack (brand development and evolution)
These enabled us to complete over 400 projects with a 100% success rate on Upwork.
DataPack is our offering for custom data analytics solutions. It’s proved to be most popular with Shopify clients because Shopify’s data analytics infrastructure isn’t merchant-friendly. Also, the app solutions available frequently cause problems as they can conflict with each other and themes.
So, having received countless requests for support, we developed our own app to address these problems. Analyzify (a Shopify Google Tag Manager app – https://analyzify.app) uses our own custom data layers and GTM (Google Tag Manager) container. This enables entrepreneurs to collect and analyze vital data about their customers, channels, and sales to enable them to make informed decisions.
Analyzify is our first software product and it was a great success from the beginning, just one year ago. After seven months, it was generating $12,000 per month, even though it was still the first version of the app. Unexpectedly, this has made it our best-selling product and transformed our company.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
It’s important to develop productive and efficient ways of working, especially in small companies where there’s less division of labor. For some people, this comes naturally, but it’s something that I’ve had to work at.
My day always starts with a chess game and then I check the data (traffic, sales, and engagements) from the previous day. I also take the opportunity to catch up on messages from my team.
And then my favorite part comes: writing. I start writing blog posts, landing page content, video scripts, guest posts, tweets, and more. As a bootstrapped company, we don’t have a marketing budget, so we focus on making the most of organic channels. I love writing, so I would probably still write even if we had a marketing budget of millions.
Lastly, I jump into client tickets, even though we are a team of 11 people at Analyzify now, I still solve many client tickets – especially the problematic ones. To make my day productive:
– I work in a co-working space because cafés and home are too distracting for me.
– I use headphones almost all the time and play focus music from Brain.fm
– I have pen and paper close at hand so I can take notes
– I play a few chess games during the day to entertain myself and collect my focus.
– I usually close my day by reading blog posts and tweets about our market.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It was way harder several years ago when I didn’t have any experience creating products and was focused on providing services. I am not an expert on building products now but at least I am experienced and I know how it works.
I always start by writing the core problem we need to solve, the target audience, and run a SWOT analysis. SWOT immediately reveals a lot about how we should start. Then we pick a few features that can help us create the MVP(Minimal Viable Product) and we start building, preferably in a no-code environment.
If early development shows that we can address the problem as we understand it, then we can continue development on what could become a new product. But this is an iterative process that sometimes reveals that we need to rethink.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Definitely no-code. Without it, development could take months and it’d be harder to iterate or pivot the product with the same ease. Thanks to the power of no-code, the product team doesn’t need to be technical and the changes on the product take only days or weeks.
We also get huge community support from no-coders and that’s amazing. It is great to know you are not alone and many people are ready to lend a hand when you hit a brick wall.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Definitely chess. I used to play chess when I was a kid, but I got back into it three years ago. It could be a coincidence, but I’ve become dramatically more successful ever since.
Whenever I am distracted, I play one short chess game and that restores my focus. Also, chess teaches you to be accountable for your actions, develops creativity, builds confidence, and improves problem-solving skills.
What advice would you give your younger self?
There’s a lot and it makes me feel old to answer this question 🙂
Write more: Writing is a superpower. Write everything: how you feel, what you want, what you don’t want. Write what you know, write what you want to learn.
Only global: Don’t focus on local projects. The world is huge and you are capable. Don’t underestimate your capability to succeed in the global market.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Spend the same amount of time on creating content for your product as creating the product itself. Creating content will teach you more about your product, bring you organic traffic/audience and help extend the life of your product/company.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I can’t help but repeat: create content. Make videos, write posts, engage on social media. We would probably not be talking about Analyzify if I didn’t create my first Youtube video. I followed it with a video course called ‘Shopify – Google Tag Manager’ for potential clients. When data showed that this led to increased traffic, sales, and respect from our clients, I started to spend 30-40% of my time creating content.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Amaze your clients and focus on marketplaces. Classic advice, but it works. We learned this on Upwork. Being successful on Upwork is mostly about getting great reviews. That led to us becoming a totally customer-centric company. We didn’t want to have a single client saying “good service”; we have always gone the extra mile to hear “wow”. This credibility on Upwork brought us sales and long-term clients.
With Analyzify, we brought this approach to the Shopify market. You can easily see from Analyzify’s reviews on the app store how we care about our clients. This might seem like a negative because the customer support cost is higher, but we are considered the best Google Tag Manager and Analyzify app in the market now.
Our success wouldn’t have come if we didn’t use marketplaces (Upwork, Shopify) and if we weren’t this customer-centric.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My co-founder and I have almost gone bankrupt several times. We didn’t even have money to buy proper food for many months. Each time we came back stronger. Whenever our projects or companies failed, we went back to providing services. That kept us in the game.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Depending on your expertise, I would strongly recommend niching down to Shopify merchants. If you are an SEO expert, become a Shopify SEO expert and offer productized services in this niche.
If you are a content creator, become a content creator for e-commerce brands and offer productized services in this niche.
If you are a SaaS company developing accounting software, for example, focus on Shopify merchants and solve their problems. There are 1,7 million Shopify merchants that need all these services and products.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A Nexstand laptop stand. I can work for longer and I don’t have any neck pain at all. Together with the touchpad and keyboard, it increased my productivity maybe 10 times. By putting them in my backpack, I can turn any location into my office immediately.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Vimeo Recorder (like loom). This saves a lot of time. I communicate with my team and clients using this. I can share my screen, speak fast and communicate with emotion which is harder with writing.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World by Rand Fishkin. It is a transparent and honest story of someone I admire and whose work I’ve followed for almost 15 years. It was so important to see that the struggles I have experienced as a founder are actually common problems. I didn’t know how common it was to question your self-esteem and skills before I read this book.
What is your favorite quote?
A simple one:
“If you fulfill your obligations everyday you don’t need to worry about the future.” ― Jordan Peterson
- Niche down on your domain, it will help you understand the market and make you authoritative.
- Consume and create lots of content on your niche, it will help you find clients for your services and products – and clients are more likely to view you as an expert.
- If you decide to create a SaaS product, consider marketplaces such as Shopify App Store, Appsumo, and other app markets because that will help you gain traction faster and be part of a community
- Don’t watch videos on entrepreneurship – instead, create a micro-product and gain first-hand experience
- Learn no-code tools and check out products that are created with no-code tools – that will inspire you
- Create more content 🙂
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.