It started with an idea and a tweet.
“I built Gumroad the weekend I thought up the idea, and launched it early Monday morning on Hacker News. The reaction exceeded my grandest aspirations. Over 52,000 people checked it out on the first day” writes Sahil.
This was 2011, when creator economy was not the buzzword. Sahil envisioned Gumroad to be a billion dollar company. Not knowing that the journey ahead was more bumpy than he expected. In the next few years, he saw multiple failures, a stagnant growth rate, layoffs and then reviving it all to what Gumroad is today.
The story of Gumroad is indeed that of founder’s grit and sheer determination. But it is also a story of how your investment in a community only compounds.
Back in 2015, when the business couldn’t hit the ideal numbers and everything came down to a question of sustainability, few investors advised Sahil to shut the shop. “I tended to agree with them, to be honest. But I was accountable to our creators, our employees, and our investors — in that order. We helped thousands of creators get paid, every month. Could I really just turn that faucet off?” writes Sahil.
So he kept at it. By this time, the news had travelled to the creators. With growing uncertainty, he had to gain the trust of the existing creators on the platform.
It was only uphill from there. He made his journey transparent to the public. This included sharing monthly company financials publicly. Creators became loyal and today, the engagement on the Gumroad community dashboard looks like this -
You start by dropping in your introduction in the community. The community manager is prompt to reply to your post and based on your interest areas will recommend you reaching out to other creators with the similar background. An example -
The idea behind the ‘Share Your Wins’ section is not just to showcase your achievements but also to inspire fellow creators on their journey. From stories of how creators made their first $1 to accounting the annual sales - this space is nothing but wholesome!
The ‘Self-Promotions’ tab is for those shameless plugs. Tell the creator community what you are upto, your latest release on the platform. There are nudges everywhere to not just share your work but also your journey. The community believes in learning from others mistakes and wins.
The community has several resources to help creators on the platform. The creators guide help you navigate through the community. The help centre is a library of guides available for creators if they are struggling with any issues.
The ‘Gumroad University’ takes this up by a having guides, success stories, advanced resources to help you boost your sales in no time!
The ‘Unstuck Podcast’ is aimed to deconstruct tactics, strategies, and processes of top creators and digital entrepreneurs. Each episode is focused on tackling a different business problem. The idea is to inspire creators whenever they feel stuck.
The Gumroad community is welcoming, waiting to hear your ideas. You can find conversations happening in specific spaces. The ‘discussions’ section is where you will find everything that you can think of - ideas, learnings or just creators opening up to have a chat.
The number of threads shows that the community is engaged and interactive. There are no silly questions and conversations. Every member gets a chance to showcase their expertise either by sharing their work or by helping solve the queries of other!
The discussions range from creators crowdsourcing ideas
..to members asking for movie recommendations!
The community is welcoming, fun and helpful in every way!