I’m Richard, founder and author here at A Better Lemonade Stand – newsletter and blog.
Every week, I sit down to write an email filled with the most interesting insights, trends, tools, and opportunities that can empower you to create profitable digital products and businesses.
My goal? To show you how you can leverage AI, no-code, and automation to build a better business.
From Mischief to Mastery
39-years-old and now nestled in Downtown Toronto with my wife and dog, life has settled into a comfortable rhythm for me.
From my early days of entrepreneurial exploration to the present, my journey has been anything but ordinary.
But, let me explain how we got here.
A History of Being a Menace
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, my early days were marked by mischief, ingenuity, and creativity.
My first entrepreneurial endeavor was stealing vegetables from my dad’s garden to sell roadside while he was at work.
Middle school saw me creating and selling wood carvings on necklaces to the entire student body (they actually became incredibly popular in my school), a business so booming the school had to shut it down because my commerce was “out of control.”
My youth and teenage years were a constant exploration of business opportunities, from hockey cards to POGS, grass cutting to car audio equipment, and “professional” document shredding (if you consider hiring a 13-year-old with a curious mind a professional) – each hustle a reflection of my entrepreneurial heart and my creative mind engaged.
Funny thing? Never did sell lemonade.
Enter A Better Lemonade Stand
In 2011, I was living on the West Coast of Canada when I first took note of the direction ecommerce was going.
It was still the early days of ecommerce.
The “I just read The 4 Hour Work Week and I’m going to start and automate an ecommerce business” days.
Dare I say, the good ol’ days.
In 2012 I began A Better Lemonade Stand as a personal project, a place to pen my thoughts and learnings on ecommerce.
Little did I know it would define the next decade for me.
The Early Days
A Better Lemonade Stand’s history was originally shaped by my passion for dissecting and distilling the complexities of building an ecommerce business, mostly for myself.
That early passion and excitement to demystify building online businesses resulted in highly detailed blog posts and deep dives that caught the attention of Shopify in 2013, leading me to join their Growth team.
Together with a talented team, we expanded the company’s impact on entrepreneurship and the Shopify blog’s reach from 200k to 2m/monthly readers during my tenure.
The highlight came in 2015 when I stood with Shopify as the company IPO’ed, marking a significant milestone in my career.
That highlight was probably only capped by the book I wrote for Shopify on starting an ecommerce business.
The book was published, and printed copies were distributed to entrepreneurs all over the world.
But the most humbling was when it was spotted in the wild.
Like the time, the VP of Marketing for Shopify spotted a copy of my book someone had printed out and was reading on their way to work on the train.
The experiences I had at Shopify were some of the most impactful and fulfilling, but something was calling me back to my roots of entrepreneurship and A Better Lemonade Stand.
I left Shopify later that year, diving headfirst into growing the website from ground zero to 250k visitors per month.
Early success came from the /r/entrepreneurship sub-Reddit in the form of traffic and support and accelerated with SEO in subsequent years.
Along the way to growing the site to 250k monthly readers, I:
☑️ Built an email list of over 50,000 subscribers
☑️ Amassed over 15 million pageviews
☑️ Generated >$1 million in revenue online
☑️ Wrote blog posts that generated $100k+ in passive affiliate commissions
☑️ Launched a digital product that made $80k in 1 week
These numbers aren’t to brag about because, all things considered, these aren’t spectacular achievements compared to many of my peers.
More than numbers, though. It’s a testament to the power of the digital age, where with a little passion, hard work, and understanding of the pulse of the online market, the sky’s the limit.
Everything Was Amazing
Like most people, the years prior to 2020 were some of the best.
My businesses were at an all-time high, and so was I.
I even did a stint as a digital nomad in 2019 that led me to Italy, allowing me to live out a dream of living and working in Italy and cultivating my love for Italian cooking, cuisine, and culture.
And Then it Wasn’t Amazing
Then came 2020, a year that needs no introduction.
As 2021 approached, I was feeling mentally and physically exhausted, and worse, I was uninspired with my work.
After nearly a decade in ecommerce, I found my passion for the industry and my own business to be near non-existent.
In January 2022, after reflecting on it for months, I made the decision to sunset A Better Lemonade Stand, ceasing all website updates and shutting down the newsletter.
I Took a Break
The passive income streams I built over the previous decade enabled me to take a year-long sabbatical. During that period, I delved into various hobbies, discovering new interests while focusing on overall well-being.
In my sabbatical year, I spent a good chunk of my time renovating my house from top to bottom.
This home renovation made me realize something I perhaps always knew but never fully embraced:
I enjoy building, both offline and online, with my hands or a mouse and keyboard.
I enjoy the problem-solving involved in connecting things.
I enjoy creating novel solutions to problems I have in my everyday life, both online and offline.
It was this realization that led me deeper into the no-code ecosystem.
No-Code = A New Era of Possibilities
As a non-technical entrepreneur, I’ve always used no-code tools in my projects. Tools like Zapier for automation or Airtable for content management have been key to my daily operations and workflow.
Recently, the digital landscape has shifted, and no-code platforms are at the forefront and getting more capable.
No-code tools enable almost anyone to build apps, tools, products, or automations without coding. Most offer visual interfaces for design, development, and automation, making it possible for non-coders to do what they previously couldn’t.
The real magic comes from linking functionalities from different no-code tools. This allows for quick, novel, and bespoke creations.
AI = The Next Frontier of Capabilities
The widespread release and adoption of generative AI has been nothing short of transformative for many sectors, niches, products, and markets already.
And we’re only getting started with what might be an exponential curve.
What’s clear already, though, is that AI can empower creators, entrepreneurs, and marketers to streamline operations, enhance creativity, and personalize experiences.
“We don’t get a real new tool in the toolbox that fundamentally reshapes what we’re capable of doing that often.Sam Altman – A Conversation with Sam Altman
Digital Products = Possibilities + Capabilities
As we venture into 2023, the landscape of digital products stands at a crossroads where the possibilities of no-code merge with the capabilities of AI and automation.
Entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and digital creators are presented with a treasure trove of opportunities.
📖 Content Creation & Media
Create niche digital content. Here are some formats consumers eagerly consume:
- 📖 Ebooks & Guides: Channel expertise into comprehensive digital books, ideal for monetizing knowledge.
- 📰 Niche Newsletters: Engage specific audiences with tailor-made content delivered straight to their inbox.
- 🎓 Online Courses & Webinars: Build and sell structured digital courses that cater to avid learners.
- 🎧 Podcasts: Monetize expertise by creating audio content that resonates with an audience.
- 🎬 Video Tutorials: Teach skills via visual platforms and harness ad revenues or subscriptions.
- 📉 Market Reports: Capitalize on research skills by selling in-depth market analyses.
- 📚 Digital Libraries: Curate and monetize collections of valuable digital resources.
💾 Software & Digital Tools
Build tools that streamline tasks can be a goldmine:
- 📱 Micro-apps: Develop and sell niche applications like Carrd that cater to specific user needs.
- 🔧 Digital Tools: Create solutions like Plausible to assist others in their tasks and charge per usage or subscription.
- 💻 Internal Tools: Craft business-process tools like Sheet2Site that organizations would pay a premium for.
- 🖥️ SaaS Platforms: Dive into the lucrative world of subscription-based software with platforms akin to Ghost.
🎨 Digital Assets & Design
Unleash creativity and monetize artistry:
- 🎨 Stock Assets: Curate or create digital media to sell to content creators.
- 🖼️ 3D Models & Digital Art: Sell bespoke designs like those on BlendSwap or digital art pieces akin to Loish’s.
- 📌 Design Elements & Templates: Design and retail creative components or templates via platforms like Notionor icon databases like Iconfinder.
🎮 Interactive Digital Experiences
Welcome to the Digital Renaissance
The digital renaissance, powered by AI, no-code, and automation, is here.
I’m fully committed to helping you build better businesses, grow your audience, and monetize your digital assets.
Turn Ideas into Products
Unsure of your skills or passions? I’m here to help you discover your hidden gem. Every idea is a potential digital goldmine waiting to be discovered.
Your knowledge can be transformed into valuable digital assets.
Build a Better Business
Harness no-code, automation tools, and generative AI to create a thriving business:
- 🪄 Generative AI: Boost Your Creativity & Output
Generative AI enables you to create distinct and personalized content at scale. For online businesses, this means offering customers tailored experiences that stand out from the competition, enhancing user engagement and brand loyalty.
- 🧱 NoCode: Actualize Your Visions
NoCode platforms remove the technical barriers to building online platforms or tools. This democratizes the creation process, allowing entrepreneurs to quickly test ideas, launch products, or tweak offerings based on customer feedback without relying on extensive developer resources.
- ⚙️ Automation: Scale Effortlessly
Automation tools streamline operations, minimizing manual tasks and potential errors. For an online business, this means improved efficiency, consistent customer experiences, and the ability to grow without proportionally increasing operational workload or costs.
New Adventures Await
Generative AI and no-code tools present immense opportunities for digital creators and entrepreneurs like you and me.
A Better Lemonade Stand’s focus has shifted from physical to digital products in 2023, and I’m eager to explore this exciting domain with you.
My weekly newsletter provides insights, trends, tools, and opportunities to thrive in this digital renaissance.
Ready to explore:
✔️ What a digital product is and can be as we approach 2024
✔️ The most lucrative digital products and online business models
✔️ The strategies you can use to turn your content, your experiences, and your knowledge into valuable digital assets
✔️ How to best leverage AI, no-code, and automation to build better digital products and online businesses.
Join me as I explore the future of online business, informed and filtered by a lifetime of creativity and entrepreneurial exploration. 👊🏼
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How Can I Help You?
Whether you’re an entrepreneur seeking personalized guidance, a brand looking to reach a passionate audience of entrepreneurs, or a company looking to chat long-term partnerships, I can help.
📞 Let’s Dive Deep Together
Unsure about your online direction? From navigating generative AI to refining your marketing strategy, I’ve reserved weekly slots for one-on-one consultations.
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🤝 Building Stronger Ties
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