023: How To Sell Products Online (Nathan Barry)

Nathan Barry

You’ve probably heard the old saying: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” But that’s not true when it comes to Nathan Barry, our 23rd guest on “How’d You Get Into That?”.

Nathan is a software designer who writes books about designing software, writing, business and marketing. He also owns and operates an email marketing company called “Convert Kit” and he has successfully authored and published three books. Today he talks about where he started and how he grew his business by changing course multiple times.


Nathan was born and raised in Boise, Idaho. His first introduction to the world of design was courtesy of his junior high girlfriend. She had a web site on Geocities and she would show him how she made simple changes by changing the code. He was intrigued and began learning as much as he could about web site design.

He took what he was learning and began doing web sites for his parents’ friends to hone his skills. His first “real” gig was creating a site for the Idaho Chess Association, a site that is still up today! (See the Resources section for the link).

He made $300 on the gig and knew he was on to something, he loved what he was doing and he was making good money at it. Though only 15, he continued to grow his skills, develop his craft and expand his client base.

His success continued while in college. He had graduated high school early at 15 and spend the next two years earning an undergraduate degree, first in graphic design then in art and then in marketing.


  • How did he bank $30k?
  • What was his first launch date like?
  • What did he love about selling products online?
  • What’s the one habit that changed his career?
  • What’s the most effective form of marketing?
  • And so much more!

While he was a student, he was also working freelance gigs and was offered a $10,000 gig. It would mean quitting school, so Nathan did what every 17-year old should do when faced with a dilemma: he asked his mom for advice.

Surprisingly she told him to leave school and pursue the gig. And that’s what he did. For the next year, he pursued freelancing work through different networking associations. He joined the Boise Chamber of Commerce and a leads group, everyone he connected with was a big support. No one treated him like he was a 17-year old kid, everyone was helpful.

After his first year of freelancing, Nathan took five weeks to travel to South Africa. Before he left, he thought he had built a solid client base to return to. But when he came back, he found most of his clients didn’t have freelance work for him.

With his wedding a mere five months away, Nathan knew he needed to do something to bring in some income. One of his clients didn’t have freelance work, but they did have a job opening so Nathan joined their start-up company.

For the next three years, he worked in the start-up world and learned as much as he could from those around him. About halfway through his time with them, he started building iPhone apps in his spare time. The extra money he made doing so was put away for safe-keeping. Nathan wanted to go back to the freelance world and he was preparing for it.

The right time came and Nathan seized it, fully prepared to go back into the freelancing and consulting world. And that’s what he did for the first year, also writing a book in his free time. But really shifted things for him was when Chris Guillebeau suggested Nathan commit to writing every day.

As he was writing daily and crafting his book, Nathan took to posting tutorials and the like on a blog. He was sharing his knowledge with the world and his audience grew. So when he launched his first book, it made quite a splash! Nathan had had a ton of fun creating his first product, way more than he did freelancing so he gradually shifted gears until he was only writing and creating products for a living.

Today he does quite well earning multiple six-figures a year and thoroughly enjoys how he spends his days. In fact, he has learned to love writing so much that he hasn’t slowed down his 1,000 words-a-day writing a habit in almost a year!

Please join me in thanking Nathan for being a guest and sharing his inspiring, thought-provoking and informative story here on the show. Leave him a comment below or send him a Tweet!

Tweetable: “Your business plans never work out as well as you think.” Nathan Barry


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