June 14th, 2021
Hey everyone,

We made great progress at Starter Story last month (May 2021). 

Today we crossed a big milestone: 100K email subscribers! That feels like a big achievement and I believe we have a clear path to 1M subscribers!

Our email list is 100% organic - we’ve never paid for subscribers (maybe we’ll do that one day). But right now, we’ll focus on growing our web audience and the email list will grow with it.

We did $41K in revenue on an accrual basis. We’re continuing to diversify our income streams, and we’re putting most of our profits back into growth and hiring (which I’ll talk about in a sec).

Traffic hit another all time high. SimilarWeb pegs us at 1.15M visits to starterstory.com in May 2021. Google Analytics tallied ~750K uniques. Our other analytics tools show ~1M visitors and ~1.4M pageviews.

Key Metrics for May 2021

  • Revenue: $41.1K (+31% MoM)
  • Uniques (GA): 749K (+23% MoM)
  • Newsletter: 98K Total (+17K) (+45% MoM)

Here are a few of the cool new things we are focused and working on:

Scaling Content Team

We are building lots of software and processes around hiring, training, and deploying our content team to create new content, improve existing content, improve our databases, and more.

In other words, we’re planning and creating content with a software-first approach. All content-related tasks are planned and “deployed” inside of our backend.

Our content team is already 10+ people, and this system allows us to eventually scale to 100+. We have a lot more work to do to get there, but it is exciting.

For example, here is a task in our backend to update some data and create a new article:

And here’s an example email from our content system, assigning our team some tasks for the day:

We’re “open sourcing” our content

Alongside our scalable system I mentioned above, we’ve built the beginnings of a Wikipedia-style platform.

We are currently testing a small portion of our content to be 100% editable by the public. For example, our starter profiles for Ankur Nagpal and Ryan Hoover are editable by you, right now!

Why do this? I started Starter Story because most of the content about entrepreneurship on the internet was terrible. This is because it’s not actually written by founders. And this remains to be the case today.

What if this content was written by actual founders? Why isn’t there an encyclopedia like Wikipedia for starting a business? We are building this.

In the long run, this will also allow us to scale more than we ever could with purely internal team working on content. Eventually our content team will be all the millions of founders out there in the world. If that becomes true, we’ll be the biggest business media property on the internet.

Email Optin Optimizations

We saw impressive growth in our email list, mainly because we’ve been testing more targeted opt-ins. 

For example, when you’re on a piece of content about starting a hair product line, we show some very targeted messaging for the reader:

Simple things like these can 3-5x optin rate for the page, and we are spending a lot of time testing these opt-ins. 

Overall, our optin rate to our email list was 2.28% for May 2021, a 17% increase from last month’s 1.94%. Our goal is to get this number to 5% over the next couple months. Aggressive but doable!

Goals For June

  1. Goal #1: 22 pieces of non-interview quality content published per day, trailing 30 days by June 30, 2021.
  2. Goal #2: 5% Email Opt In Rate and $0.10 Revenue Per Recipient (RPR) by June 30, 2021.
  3. Goal #3: 80+ Lighthouse Score On All Pages Mobile & Desktop + All “Good” Core Vitals by June 30th, 2021.
  4. Goal #4: Launch new “database” to readers.

Thanks for reading and see you next month!