Five Croydonians making money online – and how they do it

By - Tuesday 9th January, 2018

Coders don’t get to have all the fun – many of our techy borough’s residents have reaped lucrative rewards by starting innovative online businesses

Sarah Akwisombe is one of many Croydonians harnessing the internet to make money.
Photo by Sarah Akwisombe, used with permission.

The birth of the internet has revolutionised how people buy and sell. More importantly, it has introduced new revenue models, created virtual marketplaces, and enabled individuals to have the same scale, reach and supply chains as major brands.

Dropshipping, affiliate marketing, Kindle publishing, e-commerce, blogging, e-courses, Skype coaching: these are just a few of the ways millions around the world have freed themselves from the shackles of the office and are making money with nothing more than their ingenuity, a laptop, and a website.

Today, I wanted to profile some local success stories of people who are harnessing the internet to start their own businesses:

Tony and Sharlene: Selling travel products on Amazon

Husband and wife team Tony and Sharlene are the brains behind Pluggi Travel:

Photo by Tony Chance, used with permission.

We make money online through selling high quality & reliable travel essentials for millennial travelers on Amazon.

We started it because as entrepreneurs who love to travel, the freedom that e-commerce presented aligned with our strengths in bringing physical products to market, especially for a target customer that we truly understand, the traveler.

We use marketing tactics such as pay-per-click advertising on Amazon and Google. We also use Facebook ads and are launching our Instagram strategy this year to drive traffic to the products and valuable content.

Jonny Rose: The Croydon fashion label that ships internationally

Jonny Rose.
Photo author’s own.

The Croydon Tech City founder explains the thinking behind the borough’s first fashion label:

I make money online through my clothing company Croydon Vs The World.

I started it because I felt that Croydon needed a brand that engendered town pride and serve to promote the borough to the world. I set it up on the Teemill platform because I appreciated the team’s ethical production and because they handle fulfillment.

Since it launched in May 2016, orders have come in from as far as Iraq, Chile, Australia and Japan. Marketing is done entirely through word of mouth – lots of people people wear them around Croydon – and Instagram, where happy customers share pictures of their new purchase.

Sarah Akwisombe: Teaching online with No Bull Blog School

Photo by Sarah Akwisombe, used with permission.

Local interior design blogger Sarah saw a way to teach her expertise to others through e-courses:

I make money online through my websites, and With No Bull Blog School, I run a variety of online courses from blogging to Instagram to branding.

I started it because I had a successful blog that I was earning a good living from and people would often ask me about how they could turn their passion into a money-maker too. I decided to share what I had learnt by starting an online blogging course, which then evolved into all types of business courses.

I use marketing tactics such as Instagram live sessions, Facebook ads, social media and free downloads to drive traffic to my sites.

Carl Casis: The web store selling jars of London air

Photo by Carl Casis, used with permission.

Croydon boy Carl Casis made the headlines in a big way in 2016 when he started an online business selling jars of air:

I make money online through my website – there, people can buy mason jars filled with bottles of air from around London. Wacky, I know.

I started it because I was looking to get the attention of the ecommerce platform I was using, I was moving to Canada and wanted to work for them. I’m now currently working in their Toronto office as part of the Talent Acquisition team. I also wanted to highlight the gentrification of parts of London. Selling air in areas of gentrified or soon-to-be-gentrified parts helped it to go viral on a global scale.

As well as virality I use marketing tactics such as Facebook Ads and Instagram Influencers to drive traffic to the website. There are countless ways you could drive traffic. Reaching out to relevant bloggers and press is also a great reason Shoreditch Air was a success. If you want to know more, feel free to DM me on Instagram, my username is carlcasis.

Tom Black: Kindle Publishing alternate history novels

The general manager of the Croydon Citizen is harnessing the internet to scale his online publishing business:

I make money online on Amazon/through my website, the home of my publishing company.

Tom Black.
Photo by Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

There, people can buy alternate history novels, short stories, and essay collections. It’s the first publishing house dedicated to alternate history – also known as ‘what if’ history. We sell ebooks on the Kindle platform and others, as well as paperback versions of about a quarter of our catalogue.

I started it because I am a big fan of alternate history, and had dabbled in writing it myself. This brought me into contact with the web’s largest forum for the discussion of alternate history. There, I made a number of friends whose own work struck me as good enough for mainstream publication. Realising there were enough works matching this description to justify our own label, I started Sea Lion Press in 2015 with just six books. We now sell sixty.

Are you also a Croydon local that is making money online? Get in touch via my email below. I’d love to hear more stories from locals that are building internet empires.

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He owns a lead generation company. He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training and a Linkedin lead generation service. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  • Catherine Pestano

    great piece thanks!