September 2nd, 2019


August 2019 is another record month, beating last month's record month in categories including revenue, traffic, content and pretty much everything else.

Although the number doesn't mean much, over 100,000 people visited Starter Story in the month of August. This is a first - I hoped that we might hit that number by the end of the year, but hit it 5 months early!

I have to attribute almost all of the success of the month to the process we've been building around the business and the team members we have brought on. This is especially true because I was traveling 3 weeks out of the month, and our team was able to hold down much of the operations without me, and ultimately ship 59 interviews/articles, which is another record!

On the flip side, my travel schedule significantly decreased my productivity and I didn't complete some of the features/initiatives I had planned. But the positive there is that it opened my eyes to even more holes in the process, more things I should outsource, and how I can improve things so that it could run without me and I can focus more on growth and the vision for the business.


  • Visitors: 103K (32% MoM Growth)
  • Email List: (+1K subs) Total 8.4K
  • Content: +59 Interviews (75% MoM Growth)
  • Revenue: $5.8K (Klaviyo + Membership + Affiliate revenue)

August Wins

  • We published 59 pieces of content. That is a 75% increase over the previous month (34 pieces of content).
  • In line with the above, my freelancers are now fully onboarded with all publishing and email tasks. Even though we shipped a massive amount of stories, it didn't feel that way as I am enabling my team to handle so much more.
  • Our Pinterest sharing automation is starting to take off. This month our pins got 10K impressions, which beats out last month's which was basically 0. This should keep growing! I have implemented 9 daily templates and plan to get to 20. This is 100% automation and I LOVE this kind of stuff.
  • I had a big tweet about how I automate Reddit posts for Starter Story - which really goes into the details of how it works.
  • Implemented top-level URLs for interviews (no more /stories/how-i-blah-blah), which should hopefully help with SEO ->
  • "Starter Features" are fully rolled out - we published ~15 of these last month - as they allow us to share interviews with people that are not comfortable with sharing their monthly revenue, whom we would just lose them before.
  • In order to stay sane, I moved over most of the email stuff for Starter Story to [email protected] address. The team now works out of this email address, which will allow us to scale more and keep building the team.
  • We published a book on Amazon! This is 24 of our best interviews - I will announce this in the coming days and also offer it as an upsell on our premium membership.

August Opps for Improvement

  • I had a ton of stuff planned to implement last month, and barely got to any of it. Traveling was the main reason for this. I wasn't on vacation, but took most weekends off as I was going between SF -> LA -> SD in the span of 3 weeks. It felt like I was basically just keeping my head above water with the day to day stuff.
  • What I learned from this is that I need to build more process around the day to day so I can take some days off and still be able to focus on growth activities. I don't want to spend my Mondays and Tuesdays "catching up" on emails and transactional stuff from the weekend.

Notable content

Here are the 3 most successful interviews from last month, all hitting the front page of Hacker News (and 2 of them saying great things about Klaviyo):

Plans for next month

  • Publish 70 pieces of content
  • Ability to favorite stories and save them for later
  • Drive more traffic/impressions for Klaviyo on article/interview pages
  • 20 daily Pinterest templates (11 more to go)
  • Ability to follow users
  • Outsource editorial duties. Will find someone to "review" stories - will save me 5-10 hours per week.
  • Improve signup flow (get more data on user's businesses and incentize them to fill out their profiles)
  • Announce book on newsletter and add to website
  • Execute new "story follow up" content offering - Reach out to old stories and have them provide and update on their business
  • Add site-wide search to the homepage -> search "candle business"
  • Expose premium membership a bit more across the site
  • Add tags to stories -> "bootstrapped", "side hustle", "instagram"

I enjoy writing these and excited for the upcoming month!