Posted on Thursday, Jan 14th 2021
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One Click Ventures Co-founder Angie Stocklin and her husband built a portfolio of e-commerce businesses using a very unusual strategy. I had a lot of fun learning about their journey, and hope you will as well.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your personal journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background? Angie Stocklin: I was born in a small town called Paisley in Indiana. It’s a town of about 2,500. My mom was a teacher and my dad is a farmer and somewhat of an entrepreneur in the fact that farming is a self-employed type of business. My dad and his brothers owned an implement dealership. They sold tractors. I grew up with a little bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. I went to college at the University of Evansville and started studying Psychology. I went on to get my Masters and my educational specialist degree in School Psychology. I worked as a school psychologist for three years before starting One Click. Sramana Mitra: What year are we talking about when you started One Click? Angie Stocklin: My husband and I started the business together in 2005. Sramana Mitra: What was happening around you? Anecdotally, what happened that led you up to starting this company? What was the opportunity that you saw? Angie Stocklin: I usually blame everything on him because when we met, he actually had already started three businesses with his friends. He was often frustrated by the fact that they weren’t as into it as he was. He was very clear with the fact that he wanted to do something entrepreneurial. We didn’t know what that was off the start and started exploring different opportunities. He had a background in software engineering and we eventually found ourselves online. That’s how we got started.
We launched an affiliate business around credit card offers. Then our second business was a business that sold Santa letters to children. The parents could type in the information for the child and what they wanted for Christmas. We would pass that along to the site that processes the order and we would get $5 for every letter we sent their way. We thought that was amazing.
We loved the process of building the site, advertising the site, looking at where our traffic was coming from. Seeing how many transactions every day, it was just thrilling. We loved working together. At that point in time, we realized that this was something that we would be doing together as a team.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the point where you decided to move forward with starting a business together. I need a bit of the story of how you put one foot before the other. Tell me more about what happened when you decided you were going to start and how you started putting these things together. Angie Stocklin: My husband was doing consulting work and contract work on the side. I ended up being his QA person. He was building sites and forms. I was testing everything that we were working on. At that point in time, we thought, “Maybe we could do something just like this but for ourselves instead of for somebody else.” SEO was huge. At that point in time, SEO was a lot of link-building and link-trading. The whole system has changed drastically since that point in time. That is what originally led us down the path of an easy entry point to entrepreneurship. That’s how we found affiliate marketing.
Our conversation continues
here. This segment is a part in the series : Best of Bootstrapping . Bootstrapping to an Exit . Why is Bootstrapping Important? . How Can You Play this Low-Probability Game Intelligently? . Do NOT Go to VCs as Beggars - Go as Kings . Excess is NOT Required for Success . Bootstrap First and Raise Money Later . Some Bootstrapping to Exit Case Studies . The Buy Side of Bootstrapping to an Exit . Blitzscaling vs. Bootstrapping . Bootstrapping to Unicorns More »» . Cinedigm Acquires Bootstrapped 1Mby1M Company Future Today for $60 Million . Mailchimp Bootstraps to $600M Revenue . Bootstrapping from Arizona to $10 Million . Bootstrapped Basecamp Executes a No Nonsense Strategy . How Under30Experiences Bootstrapped to $5 Million . Bootstrapping with a Paycheck . How Algo.ai CEO Amjad Hussain Bootstrapped using Services from Michigan . Seed Investors Who Like Bootstrapped Businesses . How iHeartRaves CEO Bootstrapped a Niche e-Commerce Company to $20 Million . Bootstrapping with Services . How The Intern Group CEO David Lloyd Bootstrapped to $13 Million . How Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha Bootstrapped from Indiana . How SmartBuyGlasses CEO David Menning Bootstrapped to $50 Million . Death by Overfunding . How RainmakerForce CEO Mack Sundaram Bootstrapped Decisively to $5 Million+ . How FormAssembly CEO Bootstrapped a Virtual Company with a Paycheck . TimeSlips CEO Mitch Russo Bootstrapped to Exit with Sage . The VC-Entrepreneur Compensation Disbalance . BioConnect CEO Bootstraps with Sophisticated Strategic Maneuvering . Tremend CEO Marius Hanganu Bootstraps from Romania . Gesture CEO Jim Alvarez Bootstraps to $10 Million . SproutLoud CEO Bootstraps to $30 Million from Florida . Tuft & Needle CEO Bootstraps to Over $100 Million . Co-founders Bootstrap Linguamatics to Over $10M from the UK . Ownership Matters . Vainu Co-founder Mikko Honkanen Bootstraps from Finland . Entrepreneur Couple Bootstraps to $10M from Colorado . 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Master Bootstrappers with $1+ Billion in Exits . Bootstrapped Ultra Mobile to Over $100 Million . Bootstrapping a 2-Sided Marketplace to $10M