December 16th, 2020
In 2010, I watched Social Network and idolized Mark Zuckerberg, and vilified the Winklevoss twins.

In 2020, I idolize the Winklevoss twins and vilify Mark Zuckerberg.
December 15th, 2020
To be good at business, you need to be a bad consumer.
December 15th, 2020
It's been a week since I launched Lean SEO, my first info product, here's a look at the numbers:

  • Sales: $28,226
  • Hours spent creating: 85.5
  • Hours spent promoting: 18.5
  • Total hours: 104

Sales

My sales strategy? None. No ads, and no elaborate landing pages. 

Just:

  • emailing back and forth with people interested
  • tweeting about SEO related things
  • an email list of 150 people
  • sharing my process of creating the course itself

Preorders (with a discount) totally killed it. More than 50% of my sales were preorders.

Launch day sales were a bit weak. I think the price was too high for Twitter. However, I think there will be a nice long tail of sales. I'm still making a few sales every day. (~$500/day)

Time

I set an ambitious deadline on purpose.

I know this SEO framework like the back of my hand, so the hard part was getting it all out of my head, and making sure it was solid, digestible, and actionable.

~70% of my time was spent WRITING. And rewriting. and rewriting.

Course creation:

Most of my time was spent on course creation:

  • outline (~30 hours)
  • slides (~30 hours)
  • screencasts (~10 hours)
  • misc (~10 hours)

The rest of my time spent on promotion:

- emails (~12 hours)
- tweets (~5 hours)
- misc (~2 hours)

Here's the full time tracker.

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3/ Feedback

Although it's early, I've gotten some nice feedback.

My goal with this course was to share my exact framework for how we 4x'd traffic in 6 months at starterstory.com.

It's no BS, all about taking action, and I love when people tell me that's why they like it!


Should you create a course?

100% yes. 

Especially if you're a founder/expert and have some specialized knowledge.

Why?

  • It doesn't take that long
  • A nice cash infusion for your business
  • You'll come out the other side stronger
  • It's really fun!

I walked away from the course knowing MORE about SEO than ever before.

And finishing this course made me even more confident about the Lean SEO approach, and how we're going to use it to grow Starter Story to 1M/month and beyond.

Over the years, I've been VERY skeptical about selling info products (mostly my own ego), but now, my mind is changed.

I had a boatload of fun working on Lean SEO, and found myself really excited to work on it every day.

Next steps?

-> Build out a course marketplace at starterstory.com

We've interviewed thousands of founders, why can't they also sell courses about the companies they've built?

Logistically, creating a course is quite easy. The most important thing you need: valuable, specialized knowledge!

If you have some interest in doing something similar, please let me know. We can help a bit with the audience and promotion.

Email me: [email protected]
December 13th, 2020
"My greatness doesn't just come success of this record. It comes from just how I feel inside. I felt like I was the greatest in 8th grade, and I was far from having a record out. We were taught to believe in ourselves. To believe that we could do anything. You just wake up in the morning and you just feel good about life." - Kanye
December 12th, 2020
For me, being successful is a sure thing. I don’t how I will be successful, but I know with 100% certainty that I will be.

Because success does not come from luck. It comes from working hard.

And I’m not just talking about working hard on your business or career. I’m talking about working hard on your life. Working hard on your relationships, your family, your hobbies, your diet… all aspects of life!

100% of people that work hard on their life end up being successful. (Success is not just money in your bank account, obviously)

So, if you want to judge if someone will be successful, just ask “do they work hard on their life?”

Do you work hard on your life? If yes, you will be successful.
December 10th, 2020
Apologies I’m publishing this on the 10th, way too late!

November was a great month. We are taking Starter Story to new levels.

$25.8K in recognized revenue, and over $32K in gross bookings. We saw 525K visitors to the website, and we added 5.4K net new email subscribers.


Lots of stuff happened this month, but I will try to break it all down:

Black Friday / Cyber Monday

We never participated in Black Friday deals in prior years, but I wish we did. This year, all we did was two email blasts and we sold nearly 200 new memberships!

We also set up our integration with Klaviyo where we can see direct revenue results from our email campaigns:


Lean SEO Course

In last month’s report, I talked about how we’ll be exploring paid courses and infoproducts on Starter Story.

Serendipitously, a couple of weeks later, I tweeted about this new SEO approach I’ve been working on.

The feedback was so strong that I decided to create and launch the first Starter Story paid course, Lean SEO.

That just released on Tuesday and we did over $25K in sales. Here’s the full details on that.

I’m looking forward to doing more courses on Starter Story, but I won’t be the only one doing them! They’ll be taught by the thousands of founders we’ve interviewed!

Where are people converting to subscription?

This month, I sat down for a couple of hours and really dug into:

(1) when are people converting?
(2) when they convert, where are they coming from?
(3) what parts of the site are they converting on?

My biggest takeaways on these were:

(1) people rarely convert right away (that’s even more obvious with how huge BF was)
(2) email, email, email! (over half of conversions are from emails)
(3) people convert on specific features, like our ideas page, moreso than on content

I’m glad I sat down and did this. It’s given me so much clarity on what we should be focusing on, and has allowed us to make decisions that have already materially improved the business.

Often, we got lost in the chaos of running our businesses that we forget to take a look at this kind of stuff...

More scale in content

This month, we’ve put a ton of effort in scaling up our content machine. More automation. More outsourcing!

We have 2,581 business ideas in our database now. Every new business idea is an opportunity for more data, more content, and more value!

November Numbers

- Monthly revenue (accrual): $25.8K (+51%)
- Traffic: 525K visitors (+22%)
- Content published: +228 (+14%)
- New email subscribers (net): +5.4K (+23%)
- Email collection rate: 2.3% (+10%)

Plans For Future

- Raise Prices

We will raise our prices in the new year, and probably run some sort of campaign around that.

Usually, January is a really big month for us, as people want to start a new business in the new year. December is already looking good, and the vaccine is coming… Entrepreneurship is going to explode in 2021 :D

- YouTube

We’ll push forward with our project to redistribute our content to YouTube. The money from BF + the courses will help with this. 

That’s another argument for selling info products, we can take that money and pump it back into the business flywheel.

- Ambassador Program

I’ve had this idea to hire people from different countries and communities to help us grow our reach in new audiences. 

For example, one of our team members, David, is from Spain and we’ve interviewed a ton of people from his network.

It’s really a win-win because these ambassadors provide a benefit to startups (PR), they get to interview these startups (expand their network), and we get good content out of it!

- More courses

Our goal is to launch 12 courses in 2021, but I think we can do way more if we get other people to launch their own courses on Starter Story.

I built this really cool tool that turns a PowerPoint into a paid course. Soon, I hope others will do the same!

Anyone reading this that has some specialized knowledge and want to do a course? 

More scale of content

Back in January, we set a goal to hit 500k monthly users for Starter Story. It’s pretty cool to see it get there!!

We 5x’d traffic this year, and much of this is thanks to the Lean SEO framework we developed around SEO and content.

But we can’t stop there. We are still barely scratching the surface.

There is so much more opportunity. We’ll continue to scale and push the boundaries of what seemed impossible just months ago.
December 8th, 2020
Missed a couple days. The last week has been HECTIC.

But it's launched. Really proud of it!

Lean SEO.
December 4th, 2020
The faster you move forward, the less time you have to worry about the past.
December 3rd, 2020
In any big project, there is a "dip".

In the beginning of the project, I'm all excited and pumped. I feel brilliant and I'm on a roll.

Then, I start dipping. I run into some really hard stuff. I'm miserable and depressed. I don't feel brilliant. All my ideas are stupid.

Must push through, something great always comes out the other side.
December 2nd, 2020
Whenever I hear "it can't be done", I immediately think "there's the business opportunity!!".

Everyone is already telling each other: "That hard thing? it can't be done".

This prevents 95% of people from even trying.

The other 5% ignore this and at least get their hands dirty.

Most still fail, but learn in the process. These are the entrepreneurs.

As an entrepreneur, you have a leg up on 95% of people. The only other thing you need is hard work.

Obstacles are opportunities.
December 1st, 2020


  • In 2020, I wrote something bolder.
  • In 2022, will I make it?? Getting there.


(This is an idea from Napoleon Hill’s Think & Grow Rich? More here)
December 1st, 2020
I. Don’t. Give. A. Fuck. Anymore.

This is my vibe going forward.

For most of 2019 and 2020, I was so worked up and in my own head: 

  • Worried about what people would think about me. 
  • Worried about tweeting too much. 
  • Worried about charging money for my products.
  • Worried about failing in public.
  • Worried about not being successful “enough”.
  • Worried about not one-upping my successes.

I. Don’t. Give. A. Fuck. Anymore.

What I learned this year is that nobody cares. Nobody is watching me that closely.

I had a large dose of self-importance, thinking that I had to keep up some identity. This poisoned my mind and made me stubborn.

I’m going rogue now.

If they don’t like it? I. Don’t. Give. A. Fuck. Anymore.
November 30th, 2020
Woah, just hit $30K gross for November!

What really moved the needle this month:

- New Feature
- Email marketing
- Black Friday
- SEO
- Info products (courses)!

I'll dig in more in the full revenue report, which I'll publish here in a couple days.

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November 29th, 2020
I’m creating and launching a paid course, this week.

I'll be documenting the entire process right here on Twitter, including real revenue stats + actual time invested.

So far, I've generated $2,054 in presales.

The course: starterstory.com/lean-seo

BACKSTORY

We just hit 500k/month visitors at starterstory.com, mainly through SEO. I figured my approach to SEO might be valuable to others, and I wanted to see if there was any interest:

https://twitter.com/thepatwalls/status/1327235898036117506

After that tweet, I got hundreds of emails. Not sure what to do, I turned to Twitter...

https://twitter.com/thepatwalls/status/1328151846649729025

This feedback got me even more excited. Plus, I heard from @dvassallo & @stephsmithio, both launched successful info products)

OPTIONS

Some ideas for the info product:

- Series of blog posts?
- @Loom videos?
- Zoom consulting sessions?
- Live stream it?

So many options. In the end, I decided to do a paid video course.

VALIDATION

I wanted to make sure people would pay for this.

Before starting the actual work of creating the course, I did three things:

(1) Created a landing page
(2) Coded a checkout feature with @Stripe to take preorders
(3) Set a firm launch date (Dec 8th)

LANDING PAGE

I tried to keep it simple, but with the following:

- Short intro
- What you'll get out of the course
- Link to purchase

Here's the landing page: starterstory.com/lean-seo

.


THE COURSE

A bit about the course:

- It’s everything I know about SEO
- It's a framework for how you can win SEO
- I called it “Lean SEO” because it pulls many concepts from the famous startup book “Lean Startup”

PRICING

I priced the course at $129.

To incentivize preorders, I added a $50 discount if you buy early.

You can also get the course if you're a Starter Story Premium Plus member.

.


SS ACADEMY

In 2021, I'm planning to launch dozens of "mini-courses" like this at Starter Story.

So this came at the perfect time.

This will be the first course of many, converting all sorts of topics.

(interested in creating a course / getting in front of our audience? lmk)

FIRST SALES

Going back to all those emails...

I just started emailing everyone back personally to (1) hear more about their SEO situation and (2) let them know I was doing a course.

I want to make sure I don't miss anything for the course!

.


Honestly, this took quite a long time, and I still have many more emails to get through.

But just from replying to emails, I've generated over $2k in preorders.

This is really motivating to deliver something great!

EMAIL LIST

But not everyone will preorder.

For everyone else, I’ll use an email list to:

- Send teaser emails, free content & to build hype
- To notify when the course is live

Email list: https://manage.kmail-lists.com/subscriptions/subscribe?a=Jchkiv&g=XC6h4p

BUILD

Now for the hard part.

Over the next 10 days, I'll be going full time on this thing, including:

- Planning
- Outlining
- Writing
- Recording
- Marketing
- Social media
- Launching
- Mistakes
- Failures
- All revenue stats
- Total time invested

Follow this thread! 
November 28th, 2020
Life is so short. 

Need to get outside of my own head and live it

Live in the present.

Do everything with passion and intensity. 

Do things different, and with confidence.

Treat every moment as if it was my last.

Every single day: Something new, something exciting, even if it’s the smallest thing

I’ll never get that day back.

Face my fears head-on. Talk about them. Be vulnerable. Conquer them. And show others they can do it, too.

Strive to do more, even if I’m already doing a lot.

Money means nothing when I die. I can only work on being a better person.

RIP Tony Hsieh.
November 26th, 2020
Back from vacation.

Took a break from work, writing, and tried to unplug.

Unplugging was hard. I caved a few times and checked Twitter, email, etc.

It was nice taking a few days off, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the work that was on my plate when I got back.

This SEO course feels like it will be a big project. Not only will it take a lot of time, but it’s new. And new things keep me up late at night.

I can’t rest until the new is not-so-new. Until I’ve learned it. Until I’ve tried it.

If I was an investor, I’d only invest in entrepreneurs with this quality. Because they have a bias for action. They experiment and iterate with urgency.

But with a bias for action myself, it’s mentally painful when I can’t take action right now. It’s a blessing and a curse.

Excited to be back, and get back to work. I’m also back to writing every day.