December 1st, 2019
I apologize for missing updates for September and October.

I was traveling on and off, and when I did have time to work I was super busy and needed to focus on business tasks.

Before jumping into November, here's a quick glimpse on traffic for those months:

November - our biggest month ever

But this month is about November, where we hit over 100k uniques!

November 2019 Traffic

Much of this is thanks to a really big Hacker News post that went viral. You can see the 20k+ uniques we got in one day. Even without the big Hacker News push, this still would have been the biggest month.


In November, we published 57 interviews. I'd like to be publishing at least 60 interviews/month but this month had a holiday and November/December have historically been slow for us because businesses are focused on Black Friday and the holidays.

In the new year, I expect a big spike in traffic as well as content output.

Content calendar November 2019

Email subscribers

We are just days away from hitting 10k email subscribers.

However, email list growth has been really slow. I removed the CTA on the main page to put in the search box, which hasn't helped.

In December, I have a project to increase email optin rates, which I will use a bunch of tactics from this article.

I think it will go up a ton.

Daily subscribes to email list for November


Revenue for November was $7,594.

Big tasks completed

Nowadays, I'm more focused on "bigger projects" within Starter Story.

Now that much of the content and "day to day" is owned by our small team of freelancers, I'm freed up to work on development/experimental projects, scaling, and generating revenue.

We try to find a way to automate or outsource most things and stay as lean as possible.

Here are some of the big things completed in November:

Adding more Pinterest templates

I'm always looking for new ways to distribute content for Starter Story, and I've been running an experiment on Pinterest where I auto-generate image assets and post on Pinterest.

Been doing this for a couple of months now and it's starting to pay off, you can see the graph taking off in last 30 days:

Pinterest impressions over last 90 days

Improved social media

Our social media is completely automated, but I did spend some time making captions better and getting the auto-generated assets working properly.

I also added a LinkedIn channel to Buffer, and I post there regularly now.

Submit form

I added a submit form to the site.

We never had this before, as I always encouraged people to email me and go from there.

This new form brings in 1-2 legitimate interview opportunities per day. Pretty cool to see it working!

One of my goals for next year is to build a more "self-service" interview process. This form is one of the first stepping stones to get there.

Follow up stories

We are now doing many "follow up stories", as we call them.

These are interview "updates", i.e. we interview someone again 1 year later. This project has been really successful, and we have over 50% of founders agreeing to do one. Surprisingly, most of them say yes!

This is great because it's confirming that founders do see a nice benefit from sharing their story on Starter Story, and they're willing to go through the work to do it again.

I set up a Pigeon integration that would reach out to past interviewees to see if they want to do another interview.  And getting them to write good content is really easy since they've already been through the process :)

Testing out lifetime membership

For our premium membership, I removed the free trial and only included a monthly, yearly, and lifetime membership.

I thought that we would see a lot more people signing up for the lifetime membership, but that has not been the case - we haven't even had one lifetime signup since introducing it about a month ago.

Signups are very much down after removing the free trial, and overall, I'm not very happy with results. I will reassess at the end of the year and see it makes sense to bring back the free trial.

I also paywalled a couple more things around the site, such as filtering businesses.

Increased exposure for Klaviyo

Lastly, I added new ad spots for Klaviyo in an attempt to drive more traffic and exposure to their site.

Since they sponsor the site exclusively, I want to make sure to send them as much traffic as I can, so I added this to all interviews on the site:

New ad spot for Klaviyo

The results for that have been super good, driving ~3x more clicks for them across the site.

I hope you enjoyed this month in review! Lots of cool stuff planned for December.