7 Successful Online Business Case Studies (From $0 to $100k+)

A glance at 7 successful online businesses. How do they crack the code?

Looking for inspiration to pursue and hit your online business goals this year? 

We did the heavy lifting to bring you seven successful online businesses that achieved and exceeded the $100,000+ monthly revenue. The primary struggle for many online businesses is attracting and retaining customers in a crowded digital marketplace. 

Customers want a good experience, and they want it fast. According to Super Office, Fast response time is the best way to gauge how satisfied your customer is.

Successful online businesses overcome this hurdle by implementing targeted marketing strategies, improving user experience on the websites, and answering customers’ questions as quickly as possible. By focusing on customer acquisition and retention, these businesses successfully scaled from $0 to $100k in record time.

1. Calendly: From $0 to $100,000 in 4 months After Monetization

Calendly is the fastest-growing scheduling app. According to Statista, Calendly holds a 26.56% market share as of 2023, surpassing Outlook Calendar (currently at 18.62% share).

For several months, Calendly wasn’t making any money. The CEO Tope Awotona didn’t have the funds to facilitate payment processing integrations at the time. Calendly's meteoric rise from $0 to $100,000 in just four months after implementing its monetization strategy speaks volumes about the power of addressing a pressing need. 

Most scheduling apps have quirky user interfaces. They’re hard to use; thereby eating away at professionals' time. Calendly stepped in with a solution that was both elegant and effective. Calendly prioritized user experience. They flipped the funnel upside down to focus on ‘retaining customers,’ not necessarily attracting new ones.

Their freemium model struck the perfect balance, offering essential scheduling features for free while tempting users with premium functionalities for a small fee. This approach not only fueled rapid user adoption but also ensured a steady stream of revenue. Calendly's marketing playbook is equally noteworthy. The primary marketing strategies centered around inbound or attraction marketing — content marketing, SEO, and strategic partnerships to spread the word.

Simply put: customers come in, sign up willingly, and tell others about the amazing scheduling app.
By creating valuable content that resonated with their audience and optimizing it for search engines, they positioned themselves as the go-to solution for seamless scheduling.

Online entrepreneurs can draw inspiration from Calendly's journey by:

  • Focusing on providing genuine value to their audience
  • Understanding customers’ pain points intimately
  • Implementing a monetization strategy that aligns seamlessly with their business model.

2. Everlane: Sustainable Growth in Fashion E-commerce

Everlane, an American clothing retailer has mastered the art of sustainable e-commerce.

Their revenue growth serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make a mark in the fashion industry. What sets Everlane apart is its unwavering commitment to transparency in pricing and sustainable fashion practices. Hitting the $100k revenue goal only a few months after its launch in 2010. It went from $0 to $100 million within 6 years. And in 2022, Everlane generated $248.6 million.

They prioritize ethical manufacturing processes. This has helped the brand earn the trust and loyalty of a growing customer base. Everlane's strategy revolves around:

  • Effective content marketing.
  • Influencer collaborations.
  • Social media engagement. 

Through authentic storytelling and partnerships with like-minded influencers, the e-commerce retailer effectively communicated their brand values and resonated with their target audience. The key takeaway from Everlane's success story is the importance of building a brand that stands for something beyond just profits. 

The customer value is consistently delivered throughout their branding, and they've created a tribe of loyal followers who advocate for their brand.

3. BigCommerce: Driving Sales to Six Figures

BigCommerce is a strong e-commerce contender for Shopify.  Its achievement of $100,000 in online sales per month is proof of the platform's robustness and effective marketing strategy. 

Source: SDG

Whether you're a budding entrepreneur looking to dip your toes into e-commerce or a seasoned veteran aiming for greater heights, BigCommerce offers the tools and resources to realize your ambitions. What sets BigCommerce apart is its feature-rich platform, designed to cater to businesses of all sizes. 

From customizable storefronts to seamless integrations with popular payment gateways, BigCommerce empowers merchants to create a tailored e-commerce experience that resonates with their audience. When it comes to online marketing, BigCommerce's approach is comprehensive, encompassing SEO optimization, targeted advertising, and exceptional customer support. 

The marketing team optimized their platform for search engines, targeting the right audience with personalized advertising campaigns, and providing unparalleled customer service. The key takeaway from Bigcommerce's journey is the importance of diversifying your sales channels. Entrepreneurs can learn from Bigcommerce's example by prioritizing scalability, optimization, and diversification in their e-commerce strategy.

4. Aura Health: Scaling Traffic to One Million Monthly Visitors

Aura's remarkable journey to one million monthly visitors in just 12 months is proof that content marketing works if you know what you’re doing. As a digital platform offering personalized meditation experiences, Aura Health tapped into a growing market of individuals seeking mindfulness and mental wellness solutions.

Their success lies in their focused content strategy, which prioritized SEO-driven content and user engagement. 

By addressing relevant topics in the mindfulness space (e.g., mindful eating, gratitude list, and meditation) and optimizing its content for search engines, Aura positioned itself as a trusted authority in the industry. Leveraging different marketing channels such as social media and search effectively allowed them to reach a wider audience and drive meaningful engagement to their platform.

You can gain valuable insights from Aura Health's journey by prioritizing SEO, understanding audience intent, and leveraging data analytics for informed decision-making.  

5. UserPilot Scaled from $0 to 100k Traffic in 10 months

UserPilot's rapid growth from 0 to 100k traffic in just 10 months underscores the potential of product-led growth strategies in driving user acquisition. As a platform focused on user onboarding and product adoption, UserPilot leveraged its product to fuel growth and attract new users.

Their success hinges on a solid product-market fit and effective customer acquisition strategies. By offering a solution to a pressing pain point and implementing targeted marketing tactics, UserPilot was able to attract early adopters and scale its user base rapidly. Marketing tactics such as inbound marketing, product-led growth, and community building were instrumental in UserPilot's journey. 

Before creating an editorial calendar or being strategic with their marketing strategy, UserPilot was publishing one article per week. Traffic grew to 100k because they learned to build an efficient content strategy — scaling from 1 post week to 10 articles per week. Simply put: from 4 to 40 articles per month.

Entrepreneurs can learn from UserPilot's example by scaling content and designing a strategy around it, instead of making it an afterthought. In general, iterating based on feedback and fostering customer advocacy is crucial for growing traffic and sales. 

If you’re a SaaS company, endeavor to put the user at the center of your growth strategy and continually refine product and marketing efforts to appeal to them.

6. Time Doctor: 20,000 Trials Monthly and Scaled to 7 Figures

TimeDoctor grew its user base from 0 to 20,000 trials and 7,000 paying customers monthly and scaled to seven figures. 

As a time management and productivity platform, Time Doctor tapped into a growing market of professionals seeking to optimize their workflow and maximize productivity. This level of success can be attributed to a deep understanding of their target market and effective marketing strategies. 

Marketing tactics such as pillar content creation, affiliate partnerships, and targeted advertising were instrumental in Time Doctor's growth. 

By creating valuable content, leveraging affiliate networks, and targeting the right audience with tailored advertising campaigns, they were able to expand their reach and attract new users. Entrepreneurs can draw valuable insights from Time Doctor's journey by prioritizing problem-solving, iterating based on user feedback, and leveraging affiliate networks that reward affiliates for referring successful sales.  

7. Backlinko: Successful Acquisition by SEMrush

Backlinko has always been our favorite online marketing blog for years. The founder and CEO, Brian Dean coined several marketing concepts, including the infamous Skyscraper Technique — which grew organic traffic by 110 in 14 days.

Backlinko's journey from a renowned SEO blog to a successful acquisition by SEMrush is strategic. The blog quickly gained traction for its insightful content and practical SEO tips. Their success can be attributed to Brian Dean's deep expertise in SEO and his ability to provide valuable insights to marketers and business owners alike. 

Here’s how Backlinko established itself as a trusted resource in the SEO community:

Creating high-quality content backed by real-world experience and data-driven analysis.

Backlinko's strategy focuses on content marketing, influencer collaborations, and strategic partnerships. Brian collaborated with industry influencers and leveraged their expertise to create content that generated a lot of social shares and backlinks.

Backlinko was already hitting high-traffic milestones when it was acquired by SEMrush for $4 million. That’s an additional 500k traffic for the parent company.

The acquisition of Backlinko by SEMrush further solidifies the importance of expertise and authority in the digital marketing landscape.  Through this partnership, Brian the founder gained access to additional resources and a larger platform to continue providing value to marketers worldwide. Entrepreneurs can learn from Backlinko's journey by focusing on expertise, authority, and consistency in their content strategy. 

Establishing themselves as thought leaders in their respective fields and consistently delivering valuable insights to their audience is a MUST. We’ve learned and incorporated this success story — building our brand and being open to collaboration and partnerships in our industry.


Every successful online business has a well-documented strategy. It has a clear value proposition, effective marketing strategies, exceptional customer experience, and continuous innovation. 

If your website, blog, online store, or social media channel is struggling to meet revenue objectives or you’re just getting started, this might be the perfect time to turn things around. Here’s how:

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of your target market and product offering. 
  • Identify and address any gaps or pain points within the target market
  • Refine your value proposition, and… 
  • Tailor your marketing efforts to better meet customer needs. 

Don’t know how to get started? Speak with our online marketing professional at BlackBook Investments and let us guide you.