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An Educated Mathematician Becomes a Hard-Working Web Developer

The face of a "typical" webmaster

About the webmaster

Registered
in January of 2006
Resides in Saint - Petersburg, Russia
Born in 1974
Artem
Start now
Off-work relaxation

From communism to capitalism

I was Born and raised in Leningrad, currently St. Petersburg, and went to a completely ordinary public school -taking a much more serious approach to education then my peers earned me a trip to a countrywide young pioneer camp "Artek". Sometime later, this trip would become the deciding factor in my acceptance to an advanced Math program, which directly led to the acceptance into a university of my choice. The math program and the university helped keep my apathy at bay - in my old school I was genuinely bored during lessons. Additionally, during the senior years, my former classmates were getting passing grades by waving pistols in their teachers' faces - this was the beginning of the criminally-driven nineties. The university, on the other hand, taught me to love knowledge: I had to learn a new language (English), as well as programming languages a la PL1, and though-provoking subjects the side of theories of functionalism, mathematical physics, and other functions relating to hydro-aerodynamics. It was hard but it held my interest.
Perhaps it's not surprising, why from the years 1998 through 2001, which harrowed two major crises, one country-wide and one professional (the dotcom crash), I meticulously studied and learned several new programming languages and an abundance of technology. This was the period when I began slowly delving into the problematic world of internet income, when a respectable pre-crisis $400 turned into a not-so respectable post-crisis $100. By the way, March marks the ten-year anniversary from when I received my first check for $118 from a "sponsor".
In the middle of a business trip

Discovering XMLshop, the first steps

In the span of a few years, I was full to my eyeballs with all sorts of "partnership opportunities", which constantly managed to spring up, not unlike worms after a heavy rain. At first, they would produce a decent income - then wither away like leaves before winter. Understandably, I decided not to partake in the XMLshop lottery. I did manage to pick up some tricks of the trade dabbling in partnerships, however - mainly, SEO, which I used to earn a living. Eventually I learned that it was not enough to receive quality traffic stemming from a search engine, it was just as important to convert it into sales. In 2005, I was using my time to overhaul a British tourist company's website which was losing a lot of customers due to the mistakes and general un-usability of its interface. Unfortunately, fixing mistakes was problematic in itself since the website had to go through several corporate offices and looked at by the powers that be before anything could officially be changed. This was when XMLshop gave me a lifeline. I was offered a shop, which I could edit and run in any way I pleased. Without giving it much thought, I accepted.
The first year saw moderate success. The shop was only receiving around 40-50 orders a month and I made some basic mistakes and just generally did not give the shop enough of my time - but the sales went up around 50 percent. A year later, after taking my bumps and bruises and learning some statistics, I increased my sales two-fold, and then five times towards the end of the year. My main success came when I concentrated on acquiring the most bought, and not the most popular merchandise.
Relaxing while on vacation

What next?

In the following years I obviously did not see the type of growth that I initially experienced - it was mostly possible due to the low starting point. Since the most "tasty" demands were already met, the only two things left to do were either selling more merchandise without a change in traffic or investing time in additional shops. Needless to say, I chose the latter. Every year my sales were growing a minimum of 25% even though the economy was and still is far from its best days. As I see it, I finally began to understand the phrase, "show me what's under the hood", which is why I'm pretty optimistic when looking to the future - after hitting the seven-figure mark in rubles, I plan on using XMLshop to reach my ultimate goal, a six-figure income in dollars. To reach my goal, I'm planning to hand my design, writing and editing, and also programming over to auto-source. These are all things that up until this point - I've done individually. I'll also attempt to actively attract and teach those referred to me from XMLshop :)
Russian-speaking webmasters can find many interesting things in Artem's blog.
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