Please state your name and a little about your current status.
My name is Mark Thompson, Co-Founder of PayKickstart.com – a SaaS that is reinventing the modern-day shopping cart and affiliate management, helping thousands of businesses and Entrepreneurs sell more, maximize customer lifetime value and automate subscription commerce. I have spent over a decade in the world of marketing and software, selling over $20+ million flagship training programs and software.
What exactly does your company do?
PayKickstart is an all-in-one shopping cart platform that enables Vendors to start selling within minutes after signing up, charge one-time payments or recurring subscriptions, set up free or paid trials, integrate different payment gateways (such as PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.Net, Stripe, and EasyPayDirect).
At PayKickstart we focus on helping merchants optimize their checkout process by removing as much friction and maximizing all the activities on a website. Some of PayKickstart’s conversion booster features include: 1-Click upsells, order bumps, customizable checkout page templates, auto-complete address fields, exit-intent popups, cart abandonment emails, and more.
We help Vendors reach global customers and offer automatic translations and a multiple currency feature that allows customers to view and process their orders in their local language and currency.
How did you start your company/business as a startup?
After using and switching between many shopping cart platforms, we realized a common theme – minimal functionality, lack of flexibility along with profit leaks everywhere! Since we sell a variety of different types of software and training, we require an API that allows for flexible billing and checkout process. For our desktop apps, we had to have a way of licensing the apps to ensure that each installation is secure. And for our training, we found a great need to have integrations with membership services to properly add a customer to the correct membership level. Not to mention the need for 1-click upsells, order bumps, coupon code management, etc…
Therefore, we decided to build PayKickstart out of sheer necessity. In the early days, we used it as our internal shopping cart to sell our various digital goods and did not have a name for the platform. In the first two years of using our own solution we increased our revenue by 30% by cutting out per-transaction fees which previous shopping carts were charging, adding revenue-boosting functionality such as order bumps, 1-click upsells and coupon management felt like the training wheels came off our bike! And before we knew it, we had colleagues, partners, and influencers asking us “Hey! I just purchased your software and WHOA, I was blown away at the checkout experience. What are you using to do that?”
That was the moment we realized we were on to something, our “a-ha moment”. The moment we knew that the frustrations surrounding selling online were real and that other online businesses were struggling to scale and grow because of the same challenges we were facing, we knew it was time for PayKickstart to be born.
What struggle did you go through to reach your current status now?
We had to be super cautious in the early stages, as we were dealing with the life-blood of businesses, their money. Our main struggle was to make sure that the platform will work for everyone, we had to do extensive bug tests and fix the critical ones first. We also had to work with vendors and help them overcome the fear of switching to our platform.
How did you manage to cope up with those struggles?
We invited around ten or so vendors to give PayKickstart a test-drive. We also prepared our team to “be on high alert” – ready to take an influx of bugs and feature requests and asked the vendors to submit any that they have found. Oh, and they did! Luckily, we have been building software for years and we were as best prepared as we could be – we addressed the most critical bugs first and worked our way down the list. Over the coming months, we started inviting more and more vendors to start selling, using PayKickstart. The core framework started to become bulletproof with each new vendor coming in. This has increased our confidence in being ready to start scaling.
We worked on improving our website, created webinars to introduce everyone to the platform, and teach them about the real business challenges it offered to solve. However, we came to a realization that it is not “easy” to get a business to switch from their existing shopping cart to ours. To overcome the fear of switching, we made it easy for vendors to import and migrate their existing subscriptions to PayKickstart – literally taking 30 seconds to complete. We also added live chat support to help new vendors with onboarding and migrate over to our system.
Another way to help remove the fear was to enable our API to support the ability to move PayKickstart-powered subscriptions to another payment gateway if the vendor feels that it is not the right solution for their business. We made sure that the vendors know that if they ever needed to, the can access those subscriptions and move to another platform.
Who inspired you to move forward and influenced you in all your achievements now?
For me, the greatest inspiration was to have a thriving business since it allows for so many things. Spending time with my family on our terms, being able to enjoy the things that I love, outside and inside of work, and building life-long friendships with like-minded people is what it is all about.
What piece of advice will you share with those who would like to follow your footsteps?
Even though there is a common misconception that it is impossible to have a work/life balance as an Entrepreneur, as you start to become more successful, you can start to hire smart, like-minded people to handle the heavy lifting of the day-to-day operations. I am happy to say that I can find time each day to spend with my family and friends and still find time to enjoy vacations. There is nothing more rewarding than to have complete control of your freedom, both financially and personally and I would be happy to help you get there.
How can people follow your journey? Please list your social media URLs
We have a Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/paykickstart/
As well as a group for our members: https://www.facebook.com/groups/paykickstart/?source_id=903477539702710
We also have our blog on which we upload our most useful advice for other Entrepreneurs and businesses: https://paykickstart.com/blog/