May 10th, 2021
April 2021 was a great month. We had our best month ever in traffic, email subscribers, and we accrued $31K in revenue!
I’m excited and optimistic about the future of this company! Specifically, it becomes more clear each day just how much opportunity there is here and how it can actually be achieved in a scalable business model.
It feels like the only thing stopping us is time!
Key Metrics for April 2021
- Revenue: $31,272 (+43% MoM)
- Uniques (GA): 607K (+10% last 30 days)
- Newsletter: 81.3K Total (+11.8K) (+18% MoM)
Traffic is growing, but slower than I’d like. 10% growth is still good, though.
If we keep growing at 10%, we’d hit 1.7M visitors/month by the end of the year. But that is not enough... To reach our EOY goal of 5M/month, we’ll need to grow at ~25% per month!
We are getting closer to 1M search impressions per day
So, that’s got us thinking about growth, how can we grow and scale?
The Media Company Of The Future
So here is my idea, my “big bet”, on how we will get to 5M monthly uniques: we’ll keep building the media company of the future...
What does the media company of the future look like? Instead of a clunky content team of employees, we’re building a system / “marketplace” for experimenting, producing, and iterating on content. We’re building a technology-first, cost-effective content machine!
For example, let’s say we have a piece of content that works like “best coworking spaces in X city”. This system enables us to scale that piece of content to the top 500 cities in the world. That’s 500 pieces of high ranking content and quality traffic, as long as we can
(1) confirm the unit economics work for that content (it’s profitable), and
(2) understand what makes it rank highly and iterate there.
The killer feature is that we’re building a system that allows us to do this extremely fast, by deploying dozens of freelancers to do the work inside of Starter Story, with this platform that we’re building.
This is a big bet but I don’t think there is a downside. I believe this will work because our unit economics already work at Starter Story. We can produce content at such a low cost, and this system will only make it cheaper!!
And this is still early days, one day it’ll be mature enough to do more than just written content, but even YouTube content, news-type content, courses, or whatever media and content we want to produce.
Here’s a screenshot from the new system our freelancers are working in.
Revenue was $31K, a very solid month.
Most importantly, we are continuing to diversify our income streams. We’re maintaining a healthy balance between subscriptions, sponsorships, advertising, and affiliate revenue.
It’s nice to see a healthy split across all of our revenue streams. Think of us like a tiny version of the New York Times.
If this keeps up, we won’t have to go chasing down big sales, investments, or deals. We are certainly under monetized, but I’d rather stay healthy as a business and focus on content (our most important asset) rather than chasing down something that is not core to our business.
Content As “Products”
One reason our revenue saw a spike this month was the launch of our “Growth Database”.
We need to be launching more things like this: packaging up our content into info products that signal value to readers. Make it feel like “less than a blog post” and “more like a database”.
These products give us an opportunity to increase the total value of our membership, and also give us a remarketing opportunity for longtime readers.
We’re bringing on David Bustos to a more full time role to run our newsletter. Next to content, email is the biggest part of our business, and we need a full time mind on it.
At the time of this writing, we have over 82K subscribers and we are getting closer to a cool milestone: adding 1,000 new subscribers per day! We might hit 100K by the next time I send this!
I read this book about email marketing and I highly recommend it. It is written by an entrepreneur who runs a $30M/year media company similar to Starter Story.
Next month, we’ll be heads down on the following goals:
Goal #1: 22 pieces of non-interview quality content published per day, trailing 30 days by June 30, 2021.
Content goal, this goal is based around our new tasking system that we’re building. It’s an aggressive goal, but will push us to step out of our comfort zone and build the right tools and hire more freelancers to help!
Goal #2: 5% Email Opt In Rate and $0.10 Revenue Per Recipient (RPR) by June 30, 2021.
Email goal, we have a lot of opportunity and low hanging fruit to convert more website visitors to our email list, and then convert more of those on our email list to our paid membership.
Goal #3: 80+ Lighthouse Score On All Pages Mobile & Desktop + All “Good” Core Vitals by June 30th, 2021.
Our website could be a lot faster, and apparently Google will favor super fast websites more, soon! We need to put some work in here!