May 31st, 2020
(This is an excerpt of a monthly email I send - a monthly review/retro of how we did for May 2020. I send this to stakeholders, friends & colleagues to keep you updated, and also so I can stay accountable!)

May 2020

I took 10 days off this month.

I’m not totally sure what happened, but I think it was burnout. I was stressed, unmotivated, and had an overall feeling of indifference.

These 10 days off were the best thing I could have done, and I’m so happy I did it - it gave me time to think, reflect, and recharge.

But most importantly it gave me insights into a huge mistake I’m making. The mistake: I’m not focusing on the business opportunity that is clearly working - Starter Story.

Years ago (before Starter Story), my dream was to build a SaaS business - which is what attracted me to building this new product Pigeon over the last year.

But the writing is on the wall - Starter Story is the better business. I’ve realized it’s where I need to put all of my energy. Over the last year, I’ve been splitting my time across both projects, putting crazy hard work into Pigeon and seeing menial results, and putting in less mindshare into Starter Story yet seeing really great results!

Over the past months we have been testing out some more monetization at Starter Story, and I’m excited to say that we generated nearly $6,000 additional gross revenue in May through premium content + testing some minor tweaks to the site. Big thanks to the team for all their hard work to make this happen!

I got wind of these numbers during my 10 days off, and it got me thinking even more. Starter Story is such a huge opportunity with so much more room to grow and become a bigger business.

But it’s been tough / taken me some time to actualize this. I often saw Starter Story as my own “starter” business and thought it would lead me to some bigger opportunity… but in reality Starter Story is the greatest opportunity! I just need to look at it that way.

Here’s a theory I’ve been developing: Starting a business is not about “you”. In the beginning, it often is about “you”, because you want freedom, money, and status - but that eventually wears off and then you’re building and growing a real business - in which long-term success has little to do with “you”.

It shouldn't be about building the business idea around what I want, it’s about building the business that the market wants. I don’t think it’s wrong or bad to build a business you want, but my theory is that the duty of the entrepreneur to have a firm vision but be flexible and compromising in the implementation of that vision.

My vision has always been to inspire entrepreneurs and help them run and grow their businesses. Time to focus on the most efficient ways of doing that.

In other words, I wasn’t being self-aware. I became too hard-headed and attached to the idea of building an app/SaaS because it’s what I wanted to do. But it’s not about me!

So, for the foreseeable future, we’ll be putting all of our energies into Starter Story and I’m really excited about the future! Starter Story is only going to grow faster now!!

May Numbers

- Monthly revenue (accrual): $9,145 (+0%)
- Traffic: 559K pageviews (-20%)
- Content published: 93 (-11%)
- Net new email subscribers: 1,744 (+86.32%)

Plan / Goals for June

In June, we will focus on content - delivering more higher quality and diverse content for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

We are trying to figure out more about what readers want - and one of those things is definitely “business ideas”. We believe readers really want content that helps them find a business idea - we’ve been experimenting with articles like this (performed very well).

So this month we will continue to experiment with more content and projects around “business ideas” - such as (1) research-focused articles “this new industry trend is about to explode” (2) small business idea database “find your next idea” and (3) business idea how-to guides - all with lots of data and a more analytical approach than other publications.

With my newfound time & energy, I’ll also be writing a lot more and contributing to this growth in content too! 

Our other big goal is focusing more on email marketing, mainly (1) higher quality newsletters (2) collecting more emails (3) nurturing sequences (4) targeted/personalized emails and trigger-based emails and (5) sending limited-time offers to buy the subscription.


1. Pieces of content published: 150
2. Email collection rate: 10%
3. Subscription impressions: 20%
4. New customers: 2% (as % of subscription impressions)

Thanks for reading!