Interview With Robin Kohli – Founder of E-Junkie Shopping Cart
Robin Kohli is the founder of E-Junkie, a shopping cart for selling downloads online. Robin has already grown his website to over 5000 merchants that process approximately $5 million worth of transactions each month. What I love about Robin’s business model is that he has no physical product but earns a very good living from helping others sell their digital products online.
First off – can we have a little background information – Where you live? How old you are? What motivates you? Inspires you?
I live in Tucson, AZ. I am 28. The thought of completing what all I’ve started on E-junkie and how much more relaxed I will be from that day on is what keeps me going.
You should know, E-junkie did not start with a vision. It’s not my idea. I simply wanted to sell a $4 software my friend Boris had developed, so I could have some extra cash. I’d get my e-mail coming to my cell phone, and I’d wake up in middle of the night to email the file, that’s the reason why I wrote a script to work with PayPal’s IPN and one thing led to another and E-junkie grew to become a complete shopping cart and digital delivery solution. Currently we have 5000+ merchants using us to process approximately $5million worth of transactions each month.
2) E-Junkie provides a shopping cart for selling downloads and tangible goods with PayPal, Google Checkout and Authorize.Net. (And others) Do you have any secrets on why it has become so popular, so fast?
Credit for making it popular goes to our users and our support. We provide excellent support, which is a cherry on top for our already easy to use service (it can use better documentation though) and our users end up being our evangelists. Also, E-junkie was just a digital delivery provider until Google Checkout was launched, which forced us to create a cart and we did a beautiful job of creating the easiest and slickest cart –FatFreeCartPro which helped us grow fast as:
- It was a unique offering and
- We could now cater to anyone who wanted to sell anything digital or tangible anywhere.
3) I have personally noticed a lot more websites using E-Junkie over the past year or so – when you set up the business what was your goal? Did you ever thing to turn out to be as popular as it is?
Initially, the goal was to just make a little money, but I quickly realized that E-junkie is what I want to do full time and since that point on, the goal has been to make E-junkie into an e-commerce solution which has enough features to accommodate requirements of most SMBs without giving up the ease of use of E-junkie. At that point, I did not know how popular will it get but yeah, I had high expectations and I think we are well on our way to get there.
4) What advice would you give a young entrepreneur trying to set up there own e-commerce website?
Keep your website clean and to the point. Make sure you are getting your message across loud and clear. Showcase your feedback. Provide excellent customer support. Whatever e-commerce solution you go with, make sure it does not make your buyer create an account on your site to buy something. Also, an affiliate program might be a good way to get things moving fast.
5) E-Junkie has being mentioned in CNN Money and both Paypal and Google Checkout has recognised you – how has this helped the business grow? Where do you feel E-Junkie will be in say 5 years from now?
Certainly, every single mention we get, helps. When it’s on PayPal, Google, CNN, Entrepreneur, Tech crunch or similar sites, it lends us creditability. When it’s a mention on an E-junkie user’s site or social network, it means sales. I really can’t say where we’ll be 5 years from now. I can for sure tell you that we’ll start focusing more on our marketplace features and will try to become an eBay for digital content.
6) If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started with E-Junkie, what business related advice would you give your self?
Start with a team. Think ahead. Put more thought into planning and designing for future.
7) Do you think that entrepreneurialism is something that is in your blood? Or is it something that can be learned?
I think it can be infused sometimes you just get an idea which you think is brilliant and unless you are too cushy in your job, you run with it. Other times, you are unhappy with where you are and you desperately try to come up with something which will let you take control of your life. Business sense and Genius on the other hand I think is something one’s born with.
8) Is there anyone that you look up to and model yourself on? (You can name more than one)
I like Craig of Craigslist but I don’t think I would like to model myself on anybody. I think I am fine as I am… of course, there’s a whole lot of room for improvement but certainly not based on anyone.
9) What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Money can’t buy happiness. It helps me keep my priorities straight.
10) What advice would you give to a Young Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Don’t try to do it “perfect” or “complete” the first time around, just get whatever you can get done before its too late. If possible, try to start with a like minded friend so that when your idea picks up, you are not all alone. Of course, if you are a sharp, organized person who can plan everything and raise money and get a team and delegate, then nothing like it. That could never have worked for me though.
11) How many hours do you work daily and what are your daily tasks for your sites?
I think I work 8-10 hours on a weekday and 5 or so on Sat and Sun. Daily tasks pretty much involving making a little progress on E-junkie’s To-Do. Glance over our community forums. Handle the tickets assigned to me by our Support team and yeah, checking who has started using us and who is writing what about us and then see what the competition is up to :)Lately I’ve been trying to use Twitter. I wish it was more productivity oriented, currently it’s too much, how should I put it “navel gazing”.
12) If the Internet had not existed – what do you think you would be doing?
I think I’d have been either selling mix tapes or running a vegan café where people could read some, eat some and smoke some 😉
13) What do you like best about the Internet?
That media and information inter-exchange is truly free on Internet. We no longer have to rely on mainstream media influenced by corrupt governments to learn what’s going on around us. And then the usual, it has liberated people, we don’t need to be “at work” to be working. It has effectively eliminated global boundaries and what not.
14) What do you like least about the Internet?
That it relies on all these corporations and government agencies. I wish it could be somehow more agile, more self reliant.
15) Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
As far as E-junkie is concerned, I plan to get all the things on the to-do done by end of this year and then I can finally call it “done” and then anything we do will only make it better. I also am involved with a few other online projects which make content publishing easier. There are a few offline projects I want to get started as well. However, I want to do it all soon as I still very much want to retire at 30 and then run an animal shelter for strays and get more involved with the socio political scene.