October 3rd, 2018
his blog post is an archive of this series of tweets that I wrote, so I apologize for spelling errors and strange formatting :)
Starter Story September Results
  • πŸ’΅ Revenue: $1,737.84
  • πŸ“ˆ Uniques: 20,205 (Sept)
  • βœ‰οΈ Email Subscribers: 2,956

For all my new followers (will get to that in a sec) I do a revenue & traffic #openstartup report every month for my main side project Β http://starterstory.com

I've been working on this project for nearly a full year.

Biggest thing that happened this month was obviously the 24 hour startup!

I won't talk about it too much in this thread, but after that happened everything just blew up. I'm still trying to catch up on everything and keep my head above water.


All of this craziness sparked a big decision for me.

I QUIT MY JOB! πŸ˜πŸ˜…

I know it sounds kind of crazy to quit your job over that, but as I was heading into my 1:1 with my manager it just felt like I had to do it. It felt like the right thing to do.
I had planned to grow SS for 6 more months and then quit, but then the 24 hour startup happened and it felt like it was the right moment to quit.

I'm moving home for a couple months (holidays) and then:

I'M BECOMING A DIGITAL NOMAD πŸ–

First stop: Chiang Mai (I think). I'm so fricken excited to do this. It's been my dream for many years.

My last day at my full time job is this Friday. Then I'm leaving New York City :(

This is the first time post-college that I haven't had a "real" full time job. I'm excited but also nervous about how I will handle it. Sometimes I feel like a full time job keeps me productive.

Re: revenue. This is my biggest month, and it's really exciting. Here's a chart of my revenue over time cc: @GregorySchier :)

Hope this graph shows people that you can struggle hard in the beginning. It's ok if you can't monetize right away. Don't take shortcuts keep pushing!
Search traffic is finally starting to pay off!

I don't do anything "for SEO". The only thing we are focused on is putting out good content that people want to read.

Lately I've been seeing ~300 sessions/day from organic search.
As you might remember, I made an impulsive tweet that I was launching the Starter Story on 9/25.

That date has come and gone and I've decided to wait and more slowly release community features. I don't think the site is big enough to launch a full fledged community yet.

I did add a login/signup though - and the ability to add comments.

I'm excited to build lots of cool features now that I have more time to dedicate to this project. Some ideas:

  • Hacker News esque link board
  • Job board
  • "Launch" your products
  • Starter and business pages
I also got my jimmies rustled after listening to the @IndieHackers podcast with @bendhalpern on how he grew @ThePracticalDev.

They have a really interesting sponsor model, where they have "logos" on their front page.

I want to move to that with @starter_story
This is a great model because it's less focused on CPM and ads, and more focused on "community".

It's also not fun finding a new sponsor every month for a couple hundred dollars.

Another initiative I'm pushing on - getting "tools" and "services" involved with Starter Story.

The ecommerce and CPG industry is an ecosystem of businesses and services. It's important to involve both sides of the coin and bring them together.

I implemented a "content calendar".

Allows me to queue up content so that I can put content on autopilot while I work on other parts of the business.

It's part of the reason I did the 24hr startup. I had content ready to go for about 2 weeks.

Shoutout @WalterDom_ for idea
Did some cool stuff with affiliate links too. It's always a pain to update my Shopify and Amazon affiliate links for every post.

I wrote a script that automatically adds my affiliate tag to all Shopify and Amazon links. Saves a bunch of time!
I also made an automated Twitter bot for posting quotes from my article.

Every day, it searches all of my articles and finds a quote, then posts it to Twitter. It's a nice way to add a little bit more engagement.
Finally, after a lot of "good" things, I want to talk about motivation issues and mood.

First half of the month was horrible.

I was super down, couldn't find motivation and was very unproductive.

I was trying a lot of things - new wakeup early commitments, tried to get into journaling, nothing really working.

One thing that really kept my going was my running (I'm doing 100 days in a row). That sparked the 24hr startup idea!

After the 24hr startup I got a lot more motivated :)

Oh - and one more thing - Twitter addiction is real! - I can't stop checking it after my timeline blew up. I need to figure this out - any ideas?

THANKS FOR READING! And drop any questions/comments you have :)
September 4th, 2018
This blog post is an archive of this series of tweets that I wrote, so I apologize for spelling errors and strange formatting :)
Starter Story August Results
  • πŸ’΅ Revenue: $1,120.12
  • πŸ“ˆ Uniques: 15,175 (August)
  • βœ‰οΈ Email Subscribers: 2,710

Woah 😲 I hit the $1k mark in monthly revenue.

I can't really believe it - it feels sorta surreal. I remember getting excited about $3 in Amazon affiliate revenue just a few months ago.

In April, I thought about quitting the project.

I was barely making any money and I was bored.

I even started working on another project.

You just have to keep putting a little bit of work in each day, and you hit these small milestones that keep you going - like an email from a fan or a HN post going viral.

One thing that has really kept me going is establishing a morning routine.

Been waking up early over the past few months, but over time I was getting up later and later.

Before I knew it, I was snoozing for like an hour and half.

So in the beginning of the month, I made it a point to wake up every day at 530AM, no excuses. I kept my phone across the room so I couldn't snooze it.

I even started running right in the morning as well.

Never have I been a morning person before…

Another big milestone, I hired someone!

I finally executed on this after meeting up with @FelixThea, the host of The Shopify Masters podcast.

He told me you have to hire someone, and to stop thinking you are the only one that can do certain tasks.

So I went on Upwork - terrible experience.

So, I just asked for help - I posted on Twitter and in my email newsletter that I was looking for help.

Such a good decision.

I got dozens of responses from fans and followers - people that really want to be a part of this!

I ended up hiring @WalterDom_ and he's been working with me for the past few weeks.

He's based out of Mexico City and has been helping me with email and publishing articles.

It's so nice having someone else helping out - thank you Walter.

I've also been running every single day. It's been 45 days.

When I run, I think about stuff, esp @starter_story - it motivates me.

I've also seen @CaseyNeistat 3 times now - yes Casey that was me who awkwardly waved at you this morning.


https://twitter.com/thepatwalls/status/1024005784693288960

I also took a ton of time off this month. I traveled through Massachusetts on a road trip with my dad, and just had a long weekend with friends in Austin.

This was prob the first time I've taken time off for @starter_story, it was really hard to not look at email

Traffic for Starter Story was low this month - this is because we didn't have any huge stories on Hacker News or reddit.

It sucks not to get that adrenaline boost, but it will happen eventually :)

One cool thing is organic search traffic is starting to pick up!
This next month, I will be building the @starter_story community.

I'm super excited, but also nervous.

It's going to be a big challenge.

https://twitter.com/thepatwalls/status/1034051367818674176

Lastly, I want to thank my sponsors for helping my get to the $1k mark!

@klaviyo @BitBond @GetOkendo thank you for your support!

Thanks for reading and excited for the next month.
July 1st, 2018
This blog post is an archive of this series of tweets that I wrote, so I apologize for spelling errors and strange formatting :)

June 2018 Open Report for @starter_story

πŸ’΅ $553.51 Revenue (June)

Stats:

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» 71 Interviews (+12 in June)
βœ‰οΈ 2,210 Email Subscribers (+372 in June)
πŸ’» 263,581 Pageviews (+60,878 in June)
πŸ‘‹ 30,955 Uniques (June)

Read more πŸ‘‡

Best month to date in almost all categories! 😁

This month was filled with a lot of shipping and lot of luck.

As far shipping, I've never been more productive in my life πŸ‘‡

- Automated social media images & posts with @bufferΒ 
- Moved entire website off @Netlify/@reactjs and onto @railsΒ 
- Began strategy of posting in FB groups
- Improved backend tools ➑️ Less manual work
- Moved tools form to rails app and created individual tools pages
- Created twitter tools posts ➑️

- Added social media follower counts & alexa ranking to article pages
- Automated "Published" email
- Google Docs integration ➑️ Auto publish stories from google docs

As far as luck this past month, we hit the front page of Hacker News twice in two weeks:


We've only done this two other times, but it provides an incredible amount of traffic.

The site also didn't go down!

And hitting the front page of HN has other benefits:

πŸ‘ I had 4-5 people reach out to inquire about advertising πŸ‘

Before, I was doing cold outreach for this, and it's so nice to get emails like this.

Advice: Put a call to action on your "About" page, people will email you!
All advertising spots are now booked!

1. Front page
2. Newsletter
3. Article/story page
4. Tools page

I had to open up the article/story page spot just to accomadate all of these sponsors.
Most of the revenue will be deferred to next month, so I hope for an even better July

I significantly increased my ability to ship:

β˜€οΈ I now work in the mornings.

I wake up every day around 6AM, go to a coffee shop, and work for about 2-3 hours before my full time job starts.

I've never been a morning person, but this is really working for me.
I used to work at night, after getting off work, but working in the morning:

No excuses, I do it every morning and it becomes routine, whereas before I would skip some nights (like Fridays).

I am so much more focused in the mornings.

And it's so much nicer to get off work and be "done" for the day, instead of racking my brain from the hours of 7 to 10pm.

Now I just go to bed 2-3 hours earlier than before.

But, as far as the last month, my "shipping ability" increased by literally 3x. Not exaggerating.

Since this past month was so successful, I have a new excitement for the future of Starter Story.

I have been thinking a lot about how Starter Story can become a "hub" for entrepreneurs in the e-commerce and consumer product space.

I plan to soon expand the website.

There is a serious lack of quality content in this space. There is a lot written about indie hacker type stuff, but I think there is a massive opportunity in the space of "non-coder" entrepreneurs out there.

Think about how many friends you have that can't code but are passionate about entrepreneurship.

Where do they get great content that's actually written by founders?

This is way more big picture stuff, but it's really been in the back of my mind the past month.

I plan to start publishing "non-interview" content and exposing a "real blog" on the home page.

More on that in the next few months.

This past month I spent a ton of time of automation and backend stuff, which has been really fun (for me), and I also think it's something really lacking in the "blogging" industry. Maybe there is some product opportunities here.

And lastly, I've shipped so much more this month from the help I've gotten from @alex_grossmann.

He's published a ton of interviews and has helped me with a ton of shit behind the scenes.

It's also been nice to have someone to show all of my boring automation stuff :)

June 1st, 2018
This blog post is an archive of this series of tweets that I wrote, so I apologize for spelling errors and strange formatting :)

May 2018 Income Report for @starter_story

  • πŸ’΅ $421.75 Revenue (May)

Stats:

  • πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» 59 Interviews (+13 in May)
  • βœ‰οΈ 1,838 Email Subscribers (+138 in May)
  • πŸ’» 202,703 Pageviews (+22,965 in May)

Revenue first:

This is the biggest month so far, and I doubled last month's ~$200.

This is thanks to locking down a front page sponsor (@MastermindJam) and a newsletter sponsor.

The @Shopify affiliate program is also proving to be a nice source of income.
We published 13 new stories this month, a monthly record. πŸ“ˆ

Earlier in the month, I committed to publishing 3 stories a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday)

Turns out spreading them out was a good idea, in terms of exposure and it felt like "less work"

Email subscriber growth is still slow. My subscribe rate is about 1.8% on average. Any ideas on how to make that better?

I also got help this month.

Shoutout to @alex_grossmann, who reached out on Twitter. He's helped me:

- Get more leads
- Implemented CRM inside Gmail (@streak)
- Editing and posting interviews
- Helping me work on more automation.

It's also nice to bounce ideas off each other.

Lately, I've been super motivated about the project:

I'm starting to work on some cool projects, such as:

- Moving to 'real' database and to Rails.
- Automate social media.
- Automate reddit, HN, Facebook group posts.
- Community
- Verification (preventing false revenue claims)

It's pretty exciting to think about the potential of @starter_story when a lot of the manual stuff is taken out of the way.

I think it can become a well-oiled machine! The tough part, though... revenue. That continues to be a very manual process.