Sam Parr (@theSamParr) returns to the podcast for the second time. You may remember his journey as the midwesterner that went from running a hot dog stand to creating an 8-figure ad-supported newsletter. In this episode, Sam shares how he's now on track to build an 8-figure paid newsletter — Trends.co — and how other indie hackers can do the same. We talk growth strategies for media businesses, advertising vs subscription revenue, and why learning to write persuasively is the most important skill any founder can have.
The Hustle – Sam's free daily business and tech newsletter
Trends – Sam's weekly report on upcoming trends, use code INDIE for 50% off your first year
@theSamParr – send Sam a tweet, mention IH, and he'll "get back to you really fast" ;-)
Introducing Hustle Trends – the Gumroad sales page for Trends that earned $50,000 in prepayments
Advertising Secrets of the Written Word – the book Sam recommends for learning to write good copy
What’s up, everybody? This is Courtland from IndieHackers.com and you’re listening to the Indie Hackers Podcast. On this show I talk to the founders of profitable internet businesses and I try to get a sense of what it’s like to be in their shoes.
How did they get to where they are today? How did they make decisions, both in their companies and in their personal lives? What exactly makes their businesses tick? The goal here, as always, is so that the rest of us can learn from the examples and go on to build our own profitable internet businesses.
In this episode, I sat down with Sam Parr, the founder of The Hustle. Sam had joined the previous episode to talk about the story behind how he had created The Hustle, which is this massive tech and business newsletter with millions of subscribers that does tens of millions of dollars a year in advertising revenue. We’ve kept up since that conversation, I spoke at his conference last December, and Sam is just a really fun and interesting guy to talk to about anything related to tech and business strategy, content media.
He just cuts straight into the heart of the issue. He’s a very no-bullshit guy, he doesn’t care about fluff, he doesn’t care about tradition, he just wants to know what works. There’s a lot to learn from Sam. He’s the first guy to say, “Hey, I’m not an expert, don’t listen to me,” but the reality is he is an expert.
He’s built some very impressive businesses and products and I think his experience could really show just how much leverage you can have as one or two people on the internet, how many people you can reach, how much money you could make, how much of an impact you can have. I hope you enjoy this conversation with Sam.
(End of introduction.)
How are things going with COVID-19 and your revenue with everybody staying at home and reading a lot, but also advertising revenue dropping across the board with pretty much every media company?
We make money in three ways: advertising, we have this daily email that goes out to millions of people that makes money via advertising, we make money through events, and historically, that makes millions of dollars a year, and then we make money through paid subscription. Advertising is doing fine. We were going to grow it a ton, but now it’s just going to grow mildly. Events disappeared.
I’m going to launch some courses to supplement, but it’s gone. No fixed costs for that, so we had not booked anything. It’s missed revenue, but we didn’t miss money. We didn’t hire the people we wanted to hire to do it, so they got screwed.
Besides that, we lost out on potential money, but we didn’t actually lose money. My friend, Jason Lumpkin, you know Jason, probably. I don’t know this for a fact, but I bet he lost $10 million because his event was going to happen in March. We did not, so we’re good. Then, Trends, our paid subscription, is just booming.
It’s good to hear. I think the timing is perfect for your events because the last Hustle Con was, I think, in December. I spoke at Hustle Con in December. You had, like you said, a lot of leeway, a lot of runway, where you didn’t have to hire anyone.
You weren’t ramping up, but there are so many events that are going to happen in March and April. I think I’m supposed to be in Minnesota for MicroComf this weekend or the next, but that got delayed. I think you dodged a bullet with that one.
Not good for those guys. I dodged a bullet.
Give me an overview of The Hustle nowadays. You’ve got, like you said, these three different ways that you make money. You’ve got Trends, you’ve got your newsletter, you’ve got your events, you’ve also got a podcast that you’re funding in some way.
That’s just me doing it, so the costs aren’t really big. The update is I think we are going to build a huge subscription business. I don’t remember what month you and I talked last, but I have almost a year now of having a subscription business for The Hustle. It’s going to be so fucking big. It’s going to be a big thing, I think.
Last time we talked, I was asking you, “What were your goals?” and your goals were, you want to build a business with hundreds of millions of dollars and a media empire. Is it still the same?
No, I said that I wanted to do that by 2025.
Right, so these are your larger goals.
Yeah, it’s awesome. I’ve learned so much about subscription businesses. I’m definitely not an expert, but I think I’ve learned why a lot of people are bad at it. I also learned that a lot of media companies, their goals are just bullshit.
Their goals are so little and they’re so bad at a bunch of stuff. It can work out way better than people think.
Do you think being kind of a tech business in addition to a media business—you’re not a very traditional media business, you’re a little bit more modern—you think that’s giving you the insights that you’ve needed to figure out what others can’t?
It’s a tripod. It has three legs. A) I know how to do content, so if it were just me in my house, I could just write blogs that could reach millions of people. I don’t know if it’s a talent or if it’s a skill set, but I have that ability.
That’s with media. I’m not a media insider. I don’t know a ton of stuff. The second thing is this tech product focus, but I’m not a developer and I’ve never had a tech company, so I know it and I run in that circle, but I know it.
Then, the third thing is internet marketing. I know how to do sales really well and so, if you add all three of those, it has created something really cool.
Let’s go through those. The first one is just writing in media. You said that without a company behind you, without people behind you, that you know how to reach millions of people through writing --
No, I did it. I was the first and only employee. In the first month of business, we had almost a million people come to our website.
What do you know that other people putting out content don’t know?
I learned how to become a writer. I locked myself in a room for a year, or six months, and I just learned. I taught myself the skills.
I think that naturally, I was born with an ability to have a conversation with someone, but I learned how to write. If you learned how to play guitar well—maybe the people who are really good, they were born pretty good—but most people, they just sat down and they played “Jingle Bells,” and then they played, “Happy Birthday,” and then they played Green Day, and then they played this and that. You progress and you improve.
You learn the basics and so, I did that. I learned it.
That whole process is invisible to the listeners and the readers. They just see the good writing and the good musicians and they’re like, “People are born with this,” but they don’t see the people practicing and doing what you did to learn how to write.
Yeah, I’ve been blogging since 2010, ten years now. I’ve been doing that and before that, I was always selling stuff online, like eBay. I learned how to write pages and stuff like that. I just learned, so that’s how I got good at it.
I think being a writer is useful for pretty much any founder, though. On Indie Hackers, we’ve got this community forum, you have all these people coming on and asking questions and trying to get advice and feedback and trying to share what they are up to. It’s funny to see so many founders and see the giant chasm between the best writers and the worst writers. The best writers can get hundreds of people to answer their questions and help them out.
Being a good copywriter, just being an okay copywriter, is the number one skill that you can every have if you want to make money.
Why do you say that?
Hands down, without a doubt. Let me talk you through this. What does copywriting mean? A lot of people think it means just writing cute stuff that makes people laugh.
That’s not what copywriting means. Copywriting means understanding human behavior and understanding people’s wants and need and manipulating that into getting them to buy stuff, whether that’s getting them to buy a product, you’re getting them to donate money or you’re getting them to do anything. In terms of copywriting, often times, that comes in the form of the written word.
The reason why copywriting is important is you can use it to meet a girlfriend, you can use it to convince an employee to join your company, you can use it to convince loads of people on social media to get behind your movement, you can use it sell stuff, you can use it to get an investor, you convince people every day.
If you understand what motivates people and then you understand how to communicate, it’s using words, it’s like I’m going to a gun fight with a magic sword that shoots laser beams. It’s unfair. It’s an unfair advantage.
Your writing’s everywhere. It’s in your Tinder profile, it’s in your emails, it’s in your job descriptions.
You text people all day, you email people, you message people on Facebook, all day I do it.
Give us some copywriting tips for people who are complete novices to this, who haven’t studied copywriting like you have, and who don’t know the basics of writing how they normally write and writing how to convince people to buy things and do the things that they like them to do.
If you’re a complete noob, go and read Advertising Secrets of the Written Word by Joe Sugarman. If you really want to be very lazy, just remember AIDA—Attention Interest Desire Action. That’s pretty much the perfect formula. It’s a pretty basic formula and once you’ve mastered it, you can do more complicated stuff, but AIDA is typically the way you lay out any type of good sales argument or sales pitch.
Attention, you grab their attention. Interest, you tell them facts to get them interested. Desire, you tell them stories to make them desire by showing them features and benefits. Actions, you specifically lay out which actions to take.
If you use the AIDA formula, that’s probably the easiest way to sell stuff
That’s for literally everything. It doesn’t matter if you’re making a website, doesn’t matter—
That’s the formula for persuasion.
That’s been around since the 20’s or the 30’s, I think. I was reading something about this—
Probably before that.
It’s the dawn of the advertising industry that figured this out, but I’m sure people actually knew this well before that and they then put in those exact words and used that exact acronym.
Right. If you want to go hit on a girl, what do we always say? When we are young, we talk about pick up lines, right? That’s AIDA.
There’s your attention. Then interest, you talk to them and ask where people are from. Then desire, you make them want you by showing off a little bit. Then action, you ask them for their phone number. This is AIDA.
You’ve got this tripod. The first part of it is copywriting. The second part of it is, I think you said—
Not copywriting. Copywriting is different from writing writing. I can’t write a fiction book, but I can write long-form blog posts, as well. I would say I’m a pretty good copywriter and I’m a pretty good blogger, but I don’t think I’m world class at either.
The third part, I think, was tech?
No, blogging and media. I understand media and how to get traffic.
Yeah. Tech and product, I understand that stuff a little bit. Most media companies are based in New York and for some reason, they do a horrible job of understanding customers. You are creating widgets for a group of people and they have to desire and want it.
Whereas a lot of media companies in New York, they look at it like, “Just Google analytics, these are just numbers on a board, and we have to make them go up.” There’s a lot of ways that you can get those numbers to go up in the short term that actually hurt you big time in the long run.
I think that’s Silicon Valley has a lot of soft people who are not good at stuff and they put way too much emphasis on user experience, and it’s got to be perfect. Sometimes, that means they’re not aggressive enough about certain things.
That said, I do think that if you take a little bit of that, “It’s all about the customer, making them happy and pleasing them,” and all that stuff, that’s great.
Let’s put this into context. Your subscription business is called Trends. You launched this I think around the last time you were on the podcast. Maybe a year ago, you were on the show, and Trends is great. I’ve been subscribed to it for a while now.
Cool, right? It’s great.
Super cool. It’s really high-quality writing, I love the newsletter. I haven’t joined the Facebook group, yet, but I just applied to joined 10 minutes ago.
Tell us about Trends. Tell us about how it works.
You’re friends with Steph Smith, right?
Yep. I know Steph well.
I thought you did. She’s everywhere. She was one of our main writers and Trends is like a weird thing. I was the first writer for it, so the way that I have typically launched stuff is I do all the work and then I do an okay job at it, but I’m pretty good at getting the first set of customers and then I’ll hire people who are way better than me and they eventually run it. That’s what Steph does.
I just approved you, so you can poke around. The original idea was, “I’m going to going to do all these cool case studies on companies and explain how they work.” That was interesting to me.
That’s what we did. Trends is going to be an eight-figure subscription business by the end of the year. Trends is a content research product, but it also has a community with thousands and thousands of interesting people.
It’s pretty nuts to build an eight-figure business as fast as you built it. I think a lot has to do with the order in which you did things. You started The Hustle, which is this massive newsletter and media company, before you built a subscription business.
I see most founders doing things the other way around. They start a subscription business and then they try to figure out what their marketing is going to be, how they reach people. How important do you think it was to do things in the order that you did them in?
I wish I would have started the subscription business earlier. The reason I started this way was a) I was copying people who had done this before successfully. There were a few people who I was ripping off their strategy. I definitely don’t want to take credit for that.
It was quite important. When you have a loyal audience—our audience is smaller, but similar to the Kendell Jenner girl. She could launch anything. Who’s the girl with the lipstick thing on—
Kylie Jenner? The billionaire?
Yeah. She could sell anything, and it will be successful. It’s definitely that kind of strategy, where we launch stuff and it just works because for Trends, we don’t spend that much money on marketing. Our team is really small, who works on it, it’s only two people.
It’s a subscription business and it will make millions of dollars a month, I think, by the end of the year.
Pretty awesome. That would have been really hard to do without The Hustle. The day we launched, we got 4,000 subscribers at $300 a year. I forgot the exact number, but it was good.
Let’s talk about how Trends works as a subscription business. You mentioned the media companies based in New York. They take a short-term approach, they’re not really good at growing their audience or growing their subscription revenue because they make these short-term decisions. What are some of the longer-term decisions that you’re making with Trends that are helping you grow the subscription business and the substantial monster that it has become in such a short time?
Basically, the way that I tend to do things is it’s 50% science, 50% art. I research a ton and I follow the data and then I also make stuff up that feels right. Before I launched it, I went and talked to a lot of people like the people at The Athletic, which is a $500 million value subscription content company, and the Motley Fool, which is quite big.
Then, loads of others. Wall Street Journal, Now York Times, I talked to everyone. What I learned was pricing was important. I think you can actually charge a lot more money than you think for certain subscriptions.
We charged $300 a year and that’s way too low. We’re actually going to increase it by a fair bit in the next three or two months, whenever the one-year anniversary of launching is. In June.
That’s important. Another thing is we did annual billing only. What annual billing only has allowed us to do is our cash-flow is really good. That was important.
A lot of start-ups, not only do they charge $5 a month for their product—which for most people is a massive mistake. Not everyone, but most people. Also, what they allow you to do is they allow you to do a free-mium thing, like try it for free. Nope, that’s wrong, too, I think.
For most people, that is wrong. You want to charge up front. That’s what we did. We made sure to charge up front.
The fourth thing that we did is we only did—did I say annual billing?
Yeah, only annual billing, massive cash flows, right up front.
The other thing was sales pages. Most people fucking suck at sales pages. They are so bad at it and we worked really hard to have really good long form sales pages, which a lot of Silicon Valley people think that that’s stupid and doesn’t work and they are totally wrong. For most people, it works way better than not.
We have a hard-pay wall as opposed to a website where you can see all the articles and things like that.
I think it’s almost a cultural, aesthetic thing in Silicon Valley to be against these long-form sales pages. It’s not a trendy thing here.
Long form doesn’t always necessarily mean you have a lot of text. Long-form typically means you give the person a lot of information before they make the purchase. That lot of information could be in the form of photos or it could be in the form of a video.
If you go to amazon.com and you look at the Kindle, or whatever amazon it trying to pimp out like the Echo—I have an Echo here, they are trying to make the Echo big. That’s probably where the best sales pages are. If you go to the Echo, I’ll go right now, I bet you there’s 2,000 words describing what an Echo is on amazon.com. I don’t know why people are so against long-form sales pages, but they work.
Go look at the Echo right now.
I’m checking it out right now. The Amazon Echo Dot Third Generation. That’s huge, it’s a ton.
They also have 61,000 reviews and you can go and read all of them. That’s so much copy. This is only a $30 product and typically, the more expensive the product, the longer the sales page needs to be.
I just think Silicon Valley sucks at this. I don’t know why.
It’s the concept of education-based selling, where you’re trying to inform your customers and make sure that they understand more about the landscape and what you’re offering. Honestly, they end up trusting you more, especially if you’re selling information or a subscription to something like Trends, where essentially, you’re giving people information. If you prove to them that you can give them really good information, they also understand more about why your subscription is great or why your Amazon product is great, then they are much more likely to buy.
Again, I just don’t think it’s trendy. I think it’s trendier to copy what you see, the hottest start-up in your neighborhood doing and just make a website that looks like theirs.
Often times, even if they do succeed, it’s like they succeed to spite themselves. There are so many better ways to do it. Let’s actually look up something interesting. Have you ever heard of this thing called Miro?
I haven’t heard of it.
This whiteboard software? Miro. It’s pretty cool. I signed up to it today, it’s pretty neat.
Let’s see what their sales pages is. I think a lot of these companies do a pretty good job. They have long-ish sales pages. For most people, if you go to Product Hunt and look at what the top products are, they use very web, 2.0, flat design, all this stuff, and it’s—
It’s more about fitting in than it is about what’s effective. It’s more about, “What are other people on Product Hunt doing? Let me make sure my website looks the same.”
Yeah, 100%. I don’t think that people think about this the right way.
You went to all of these different media companies, you went to The Athletic, The Motley Fool, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. What did you learn by talking to them and how did that help you launch Trends?
You want to hear some interesting stories? Did I tell you about Agora? I told you about Agora, right?
Agora is one of the most interesting companies I’ve ever heard of in my life. I’ll give you background. It started in the 1970’s. The guy who started it, his name was Bill Bonner.
I may not be describing this accurately, but for most people, he’s hardcore libertarian and arguably the mainstream people might think that he’s kooky and a conspiracy theorist. He started this newsletter, which I don’t even remember at the time what it was called, but he basically just grew it over many years and at this point, Agora is a collection of roughly 50 different brands and 50 different newsletters. They’d do about $1.2-1.5 billion a year in sales.
It’s 100% privately owned. It might be one of the most profitable, top 100 most profitable, privately owned companies in America, and they get sued a lot because they do a lot of unethical stuff.
They promote newsletters on how to cure cancer or how to cure diabetes. It’s a lot of fear mongering. Do you know who James Altucher is?
Do you know his newsletter, the Bitcoin thing?
I’ve seen his Bitcoin ads that are a little controversial.
Agora owns that.
I know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s not the most ethical, it’s not the most honest.
No, it’s not, but you can learn from anyone. I learned a lot from those guys. I went and talked to them. They make so much money and they do it in a lot of unethical ways, but there’s still stuff that can be learned.
What’s the ethical stuff that they do that you can learn from?
I think James Altucher product is mostly legit. I think his stuff’s legit, his marketing is a little hardcore, though. They own this brand called Money Map Press and it’s all about interesting stocks and it analyzes different stocks. I think it’s legitimate.
Bill Bonner, the guy that owns the company, he’s definitely a little kooky, but he’s got some really cool newsletters that I pay money for and I find them to be very fascinating and fun.
You have this, I think it’s a common pattern in everything you do, where you’re not trying to innovate from the ground up, from first principles, what’s going to work. Rather you’re looking at, out of all of the thousands of businesses and millions of people out there, what’s already working for people and you just go talk to those people. I’ve noticed this pattern and you mentioned it earlier, too, like, “Maybe this isn’t the most innovative thing,” but you’re going to look at what other people have done and I think that is, by far, the smartest way to go.
Even with Indie Hackers, I didn’t come up with the idea for Indie Hackers in a vacuum, I looked at what was working for Pieter Levels’ business, Nomad List and a few other businesses and just copied the fundamentals of what’s going on with them.
I think that is innovative because what has ever been made that is truly original? Not even Tesla’s original. It’s just an electric car that’s done better, differently and is cool. It’s not like it was the first electric car.
To me, business is like writing songs, where there’s a handful of chord structures that just work and most pop songs are around 80-100 bpm. They have a chorus, a bridge and they’re just best practices. Within those best practices, I can make my art and that’s how I view it.
How do those conversations go? You just email somebody at The New York Times and say, “I’d like to pick your brain about how your business works?”
I’ve never used that phrase “pick your brain,” that’s my pet-peeve. I cold email people like crazy, I tell them who I am, I’m lucky because at this point, some people know who we are. I get in their face, I’m very confrontational, or I’ll say, “I’m going to build this thing. Tell me how you do it,” and I ask questions.
I’ll be like, “How much revenue do you guys do? What do you pay?” I also reveal information about my company to them and they can learn form me sometimes. Also, I just brute force my way to getting the answer.
That makes so much sense because people like talking about what they do. If somebody emails me and asks me a specific question about how I do something that I do, especially if I find it impressive or I’m proud that I did something, I’m pretty likely to just explain it.
Typically, what I do is I flatter them because it’s not bullshit. I’m genuinely interested, and I think it’s awesome what they did, so I would do it. With you, I would say, “How many people is the Indie Hacker’s podcast?” I don’t know, would you tell me?
Yeah, I would tell you, of course.
How many people listen per episode?
Wow, that’s a lot. How many episodes do you do a week?
One a week. Although, I’m pretty inconsistent. I’ve had periods where I do two a week. I’ve had periods where I miss two or three weeks in a row.
Does it make profit?
Nope. We don’t charge for anything. Stripe bought the company, we immediately shut off all of our advertising, we make $0 in Indie Hackers.
Why did they buy it?
Stripe’s mission is to increase the GDP of the internet and I think the most distinct way to say it that Indie Hackers inspires people to start companies. Those people go on to become Stripe customers and some of them make Stripe a lot of money and make a lot of money for themselves. The incentives are aligned to basically help companies do well and inspire people to start companies.
How many people work on the site?
My brother and I full-time and Rosie Sherry as our community manager.
Wait, is Rosie Sherry one person?
Yeah, she’s one person. She’s an incredible person.
Only three people?
Yeah, there’s only three of us. We’ve had some contractors. We have a guy that edits my podcast—
How much do you pay someone to edit your podcast?
Let’s see. I don’t actually know. I think like $150 and episode.
That’s a steal.
Anyways, my point is that—
I’ll just answer all these questions for you. I’ll just tell you what you need to know.
It comes from a genuine place of I think what you do is so impressive and also, if I just directly ask you what I want to know—I’m being aggressive about how I’m asking, but I don’t think I’m make you uncomfortable. If at any point you say, “I don’t want to answer,” I would be like, “It’s okay.” You know what I mean?
I think that if you just are a man on a mission or a woman on a mission, you can definitely just get it done.
Before you started Trends, you had The Hustle, obviously. The Hustle, for those of you who haven’t listened to our previous conversation, is an absolutely massive newsletter. You’ve got millions of subscribers, you’re doing eight figures in ad revenue with The Hustle. It’s a great base to launch a different product on.
It’s a great base to launch Trends on, you even launched a podcast. How’s your podcast doing? How many downloads are you getting, and do you think that having The Hustle kickstarted the growth of your podcast, as well?
I think we do a shit job at promoting it. We’re only 50% the size of you, so in terms of downloads per episode—I’m ignorant when it comes to podcasts. Is there a difference between listens per episodes and downloads per episodes?
I think all these stats differ depending on what podcast player you’re looking at or who your podcast host is, but internally, I separate listens and downloads. I consider a listen to be somebody who downloaded the episode and then listen to at least half of it.
We’re in the range of 15-20,000 listens per episode, which I only think is okay. I think it’s in the top—I don’t know, what would that be? The top 40, maybe.
Yeah, for a business podcast, especially, it’s top 1%, I would say, of podcast.
Sure, but it’s on the bottom half of the 1%. It’s okay.
Podcast growth is hard. It’s tough. It’s very driven by word of mouth. People will recommend episodes to each other. I’ve interview people who have big audiences and their episodes get okay downloads.
I’ve interviewed people we had a great conversation and it really flowed and a ton of people recommend it to their friends everyday and those episodes have got 100,000 downloads.
Yeah, it’s crazy. I started doing it, in earnest, in December and it’s fun. You kind of get famous. Isn’t is weird? People act like they know you.
People recognize your voice because they are literally listening to you in their ear have conversations for hours and hours, but it’s cool because they don’t recognize you on the street. You’re like fake famous. No one will really bother you, but when they hear you talk, they’re like, “You’re that guy.”
It’s awesome and how many followers do you have, I’m looking you up, on Twitter?
I don’t know, probably 23,000. I’m not very active on Twitter.
That’s where it’s at right now. It’s cool because, almost 24,000, if you just tweet something like, “I need help with finding a better bank,”—
It’s my favorite use case for Twitter, advice Twitter, basically. Something that I don’t want to Google, because I think my followers will have a better answer, a better recommendation, “What should I do in this city?” or like you said, “I need a bank, what do you recommend?”
“What’s the latest tool for xyz?” You just get responses in five minutes instantaneously if you have enough followers.
It’s great. I ask people which coffee I should order, and I got 100 replies. Anyways, I don’t know what we were talking about—podcasting. Our podcast is pretty good. It can be better.
I love it. I think it’s extremely well made.
I haven’t talked to anyone who’s cracked the nut on podcast growth, although I have my own theories that a lot of it is similar to what helps newsletters grow. For example, being newsier and focused more on trending topics rather than being purely educational.
I think it can help with retention and people not necessarily dropping it. I would love to sit down and talk to you for an hour about podcast growth and what you guys are doing and talk to other podcast hosts.
I don’t know shit, dude. I don’t do anything. I do nothing. We do nothing for it. I just hired an intern to help me grow it, but we do nothing for it.
You know who you should talk to, you should talk to Sonal, if you want to, from a16z. She runs their media empire and their podcast, and they do a ton of downloads and she’s very thoughtful. That’s her entire job.
I’m doing the podcast and 50 other things. You’re doing 50 other things. She’s a great person to talk to.
I would love to.
You’ve got Trends, you’ve got your podcast, you’ve got The Hustle. This is all, basically, one giant media empire. If I look at what—
It’s not a giant, but yeah.
It’s giant for most people who are listening who are trying to start their own tiny companies. I think it’s popular nowadays, more so than it was in the past, for people to start these small media companies by themselves.
If people can build a much bigger media company with one or two people, then they probably think—
That’s crazy. The written word is extremely scalable.
Look, I’m telling you this because I know people who do it and I’ve done it. You can make $10 million a year, you can make $50 million a year, I’m not exaggerating, with four people on an email list. Sorry, four writers.
Ben Thompson from Stratechery is one of the great examples. I don’t know exactly how many subscribers he has, but I’ve heard it’s in the many tens of thousands. They are each paying $100 a year. He’s writing four blog posts.
He’s not charging enough at all. I have a friend, Kevin Van Trump is his name, no relation to the other Trump. He has this thing called The Van Trump Report. I met this guy at a conference, he’s 6’2” and 350 lbs.
He’s this massive guy. He has a paid newsletter on Agtech, Agriculture Technology. Road map to better decision making for investors and Agtech professionals.
He makes about $30 million a year off this newsletter and it is just him.
That’s unbelievable. What would you say to somebody who is thinking about writing a newsletter right now and they’re trying to get started? How might you start a brand-new newsletter company today if you have nothing?
I would pick a very small, but fast-growing niche. I would purposely know who I am trying to attract and more importantly, who I am not going try to attract. The whole point of this is you have to go niche.
I would do that, for sure. I would not sign up for Substack. I don’t think they do a good job. I think that they can do great, but I don’t think they do great at the moment.
I would then charge more money than I think I should. I would charge $500-$1,000 a year and then I would make sure that the information that I provide was very utilitarian. It would need to be, the way that I would say is, a vegetable smothered in peanut butter, in that it could be entertaining and interesting, but at its core, it’s got to be utility.
It’s got to help you get something done better. I would also try to make sure that I tailor it towards people who are going to make money using the information that I provide them. This way, it’s a very easy justification of the cost.
I would charge $500 a year and then I would spend a fair bit of money on advertising to make it grow. Then, I would occasionally have blog posts, which I would work very hard to make go viral. I would instead of posting on my own blog, post on my blog and I would try to make it go popular on Hacker News, Reddit or wherever the people are, or your site, or I would try to guest post for other people.
I love that you said make sure if this is vegetable, it’s utilitarian, in combination with making sure that people can actually use what you’re writing to make money. Essentially, you want to sell to customers who have money and you want to help them make more money, which then allows them to justify paying this $500-$1,000 a year, which they are not going to pay for just writing something that is purely for entertainment. I think it’s a great time for that, too.
I was just reading a report from Cylinder Web(ph) that for the first time in a while, business and finance coverage is getting more clicks and reads than any other category, even politics. It’s an election year. Donald Trump is president and people are still reading more about business and finance than they are reading about politics. It’s kind of a golden era if you want to write about stuff to help people grow their businesses.
Like you said, this guy’s got his Agtech newsletter, The Hustle is all about business and tech, Trends is specifically about business and tech. Who are you not targeting with Trends? You said you needed to exclude people, you need to be for a specific niche, who is Trends not for and who is it for?
We are going to start charging more money and if you are a young college student or you’re just getting started in your career, we are probably not the place for you. We have a lot of people in Europe or Asia who say, “Can you guys do some more coverage in different countries?” We are not for them. We have to stick to what we know, and we don’t know Asia, we don’t know Europe.
A lot of big corporations have offered to pay us thousands of dollars a year in order to do custom coverage for them. We will be, eventually. Those are who we’re not for.
It’s a tough decision to make to exclude people, but also you have to do it to be focused. Reading Trends and paying for Trends, I’m squarely into what you’re saying. I’m not in Asia, I’m in the United States, I’m not a fledgling college student, I’m sort of mature. It’s easy for me to pay for it.
For example, I didn’t think twice, I put it on my Stripe company card, now I pay for Trends.
That’s what we do. We know that that’s how it’s going to work, so it’s an easy justification.
I think a lot of people charge way too little for what they’re doing because they don’t target the right customers and they just don’t understand that if you target the right customers that they just have a lot of income to spend on stuff like this.
If I can read your business newsletter and I have literally thousands of dollars a month as my budget, it’s a no-brainer for me to spend $300-$400 on something. I don’t even blink when people are charging $5-$10 a month for these SaaS products that they’re building for years and they put so much work into it.
They’re stupid. They don’t understand. I own a small SaaS company that the product costs $5 a month.
I’ve built one.
Yeah, and the pricing is like, “Oh my God. This thing is never going to grow.”
You need tens of thousands of paying subscribers to make any money and even then, you’re only making a small amount of money, whereas if you have 1,000 people paying you $500 a month, that’s ridiculous.
It’s way better and it’s way less of a headache, you have better customers who probably don’t complain as much and you’re not nickel-and-diming. Also, the way it works is the person who can spend the most money to acquire a customer will win.
Which you can only do if you charge a lot per customer.
Or you’re going to lose a ton of money and you’re like, “Somehow, people are going to stay with us probably for ten years and I’ll make my profit in year seven, eight, and nine” and I’m like, “That definitely could work, I guess, but it’s scary.”
How are you spending money to acquire customers for Trends?
We aren’t. We drive people to a trial, and we spend $50,000 a month, at this point. Not a lot. The way that we get most of our subscribers is through The Hustle.
There’s a great tweet, the other day, from Dave Gearhart, who said, “Don’t build a marketing team, build a media company for your niche.” It goes back to what I was talking about earlier, you built a media company. It’s exactly what you did.
I think he wants to launch a podcast under our name, and I forgot to reply to him. Is he legit?
I don’t know very much about him. In fact, I told you his name before I saw that tweet, but he seems to have a following that I thought is an interesting tid-bit, so you have to do some of your Sam Parr research to figure it out.
I know, I need to. He seems like a good guy, but I don’t know him. That’s another thing I wouldn’t do, which a lot of people do. They’re so stupid, I hate when people do this, where typically it’s journalists or engineers who do this or Silicon Valley people and they’re like, “It’s a $5 donation,” or, “It’s $1 a month.”
I’m like, “First of all, don’t even fucking charge. If it’s $1 a month, just give it away, dude. You’re stupid. Charge way more money.”
Second, don’t call it a donation. If you’re providing me value, I will pay you for this thing. I don’t go to a restaurant and you give me a steak and you say, “Just pay whatever.” It’s like, “No, I gave you value, you give me value back.
I’ll give you more value than you’re going to give me back in terms of money. My goal is to make your experience far greater than this $20 steak but give me $20.” You know what I mean?
Yeah, and I think the other thing about this is when you charge money for what you’re building, you get the right kinds of customers because if people are paying you money, then they must think what you’re doing is really valuable. It must be making them money, saving them money, or providing them with a really great experience if they are handing you money.
Whereas, if you’re making something free, it might be valuable to people, but not in a way that actually is worth them coughing up rent money to you. If you have all these free users, they are going to be requesting all sorts of stuff that you probably shouldn’t build because it’s just going to be stuff that a free user would expect.
Whereas, if you have paid users, they’re going to be requesting things that actually provide monetary value to them and that’s a much better train to be on. That’s the kind of river you want to be flowing down because it will lead you to building a more valuable business over time.
I agree, and I think that donations definitely work in some cases. Not only do they work in some cases, I think a lot of streamers make a lot of money through donations and that’s great, good for them.
I also think that some products should be non-profits or should be donation driven. I’m totally accepting of that, but if you’re trying to make a money-making enterprise, I just don’t understand why you would do that in most cases.
People doing that don’t last for very long. Either they stop doing that or their business just dies or they’re incredibly frustrated for three or five years working on this thing that doesn’t make any money. Anyways, you’re paying for some of your subscribers for Trends, but a lot of them are also coming from The Hustle, your main newsletter.
The vast majority of them, like 90% of them.
The vast majority is just word of mouth from The Hustle. You’ve got your marketing machine, it’s kind of spurred up. What’s the best way if you have a really well-oiled marketing machine if you have something that people are reading regularly to convert them to a subscription product? Do you send them to these long-form sales pages that you have?
Yeah. When we launched, I collected $50—I think I had $80,000 in pre-sales. What I did was—I wonder if I can find it. I created a Gumroad page and it just said, “My name is Sam Parr of The Hustle, I’m going to launch this thing one day, in the next handful of months,” and I said what the price is, but I didn’t know at the time, I just guessed.
I was like, “I’m going to charge around this much money and if you want early access, you can have it now for a lifetime, but you pay $100.” I put this on our thank you page—here it is, I found it—the page that you see after you sign up for The Hustle, which got a lot of people to see it.
Anyway, thousands of people would buy it and so I eventually said, “All right, this has legs,” and I talked to all of the people who purchased it. I did customer discovery, just normal stuff, and I homed in on the idea.
Another thing I did is I emailed it to 500 people, and I explained that story of, “I’m thinking about launching this. Right now, it’s just me, I’m doing this. If you’re unhappy, I’ll give you a refund, but just so you know, I’m going to charge this much money for it a year and you can get lifetime access for x.”
Then, people gave me money, I sent them sample reports, they liked them and then I called each person and I just did normal hand-to-hand combat learning.
I think if you build an organization around writing, which obviously any media organization is going to be built around, there’s a sense in which it feels like an endless treadmill. You have to really like writing because essentially, if you write something—
If you don’t like it here, you’re not going to work here.
Yeah, it’s true. You can’t work for you, you can’t do it if you don’t like writing because even as the founder, you’re getting these projects off the ground. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how great your writing is, if you stop sending Trends next week, you’re going to lose your subscription, you’re going to lose all of your business. It’s very different than a SaaS business.
What are your tips for hiring good writers? What are your tips for building an organization around writing that can run on that treadmill successfully?
Here, by the way, check this out. Go to your chat, I sent it to you. You can see this for the writers. I discovered it.
This Gumroad link?
The Hustle Trends.
I collected $50,000 that way.
This is just a simple Gumroad landing page, where you’ve got maybe 15-16 paragraphs introducing The Hustle Trends and talking about what it’s going to be about.
Then at the end, you say that you’re planning to charge $30 a month for this, but if people pay for it now, they can get it for a one-time, lifetime access fee of $30. I think you said you made something like $40-50,000 on this.
Yeah, it was $50,000 or maybe it was $30,000. It was tens of thousands of dollars.
Crazy and it’s super simple. I could tell you were using what you talked about earlier, AIDA, in writing this. I’ll put a link to this in the show notes so people can read through it. What about the people who work for you?
You tell me about the writers, you tell me about Steph Smith, who I know. How do you hire good writers? How do you identify good writers? How do you pay good writers?
I was going to write a big Twitter thread on this, but I’ll explain a little bit. To hire writers, I’ve hired a lot of bad ones, I’ve hired a lot of great ones. The first pre-req is you have to like it. You have to enjoy doing it.
It’s very hard and a lot of our writers, they write for us all day and then they have personal blogs and they write at home. I had one guy and I was talking to him—he works for us now—on Zoom and he put his screen down and there was a big piece of paper right here. I was like, “What’s that?” and he goes, “It’s this manuscript I wrote,” and it was 200,000 words. I was like, “What the fuck?”
An inch thick.
Yeah and he was like, “I wrote this screenplay, so you have to like it.” Step one, you have to like it, and then two, you have to be talented. Talent is broken into two different things.
The first thing is, can you get the words into my brain? To do that, you don’t have to have good grammar, but you have to know how to tell a story. Then, the second part of talent is you have to have insight in talent.
The way that I describe this is, first of all, the grammar part doesn’t have to be good, but you have to be able to tell a story and the way that I find out if people can tell me a story is I call it, “asking the bottom fourth of the resume.”
The bottom fourth of the resume is the bottom part. It says what clubs they were a part of, where they went to college, what they studied, what they liked to do in their free-time, and so I’ll say—I’ll ask you right now. Where did you go to college?
I went to college at MIT, which I had always wanted to get into since I was a kid and I ended up getting a degree in Computer Science because—
Wait, Computer Science? What was your favorite course?
My favorite course was, I think, 6170. At MIT, all the courses have numbers and I don’t know why they do it this way. It’s basically just to make everything seem so esoteric.
What was it about?
We ended up learning how to build a chess game from scratch, so the entire semester—
Why is that interesting?
It’s interesting because it’s a game and games are super addictive. It’s one thing to sit down and read a bunch of books about theory and essentially programming knowledge and not really apply it, but it’s another to have a challenge that you get on day one and you know what you’re building towards the entire semester.
If at the end of it all your chess AI sucks, then it’s going loose against everybody else’s chess AI and if it’s good, it’s going to win a lot.
Who was the teacher?
I don’t remember who the teacher was because quite frankly, I rarely went to class in college. I did everything from my dorm room.
Now, if I wanted to, I would keep asking. I would be like, “What? You ran it from the dorm room?” I’m asking because I care and I’m interested and if you can continue getting me interested, then I know that you’re probably pretty good at a story.
Shockingly, a lot of people would be like, “I didn’t really have a lot of favorite classes.” I would be like, “Dude, if you spent four years and tens of thousands of dollars at a fucking university, you can’t tell me that you didn’t have a favorite class or a favorite moment.
You’re boring and either you suck at telling a story or you’re just boring and in both cases, I don’t want to be around you.”
I ask about the bottom fourth of the resume, that’s what I do. That’s how I understand story telling. The second thing that I like to learn about is just general knowledge. Do you just like to learn about stuff?
A lot of times, our writers, if you talk to them about Trump, if you talk to them about Corona, but then if you talk to them about pop culture, about Lebron, they just have general knowledge because they just consume a ton of information. That interests them a lot.
Then, the third thing that I like to do is, I call it, specific knowledge. I’ll ask them about a very specific thing. We had this guy named Brad and he wrote about, this is sad, but there was a problem with rape in the army and he had a front page exposé where he talked about this poor lady who was raped in the military and how it was a really big issue and a big problem and I had him tell me all about what he learned about that.
He became an expert on that topic. It just proved to me that he could learn really quickly and become an expert. I try to look for those three things when I’m hiring a writer.
It’s a combination of in the moment, can they be interesting and show you that they’re interesting and interested in things. Also, past history, have they really proven a track record of being able to dig into things and actually become expert researchers?
I’m curious if you were to hire someone who is going to write for Trends, which is very specific. You’re writing about tech and you’re writing about the future of tech and you’re writing about business, specifically. Would you prefer to have someone who is an expert on those subjects?
Or would you prefer to have someone who’s a great writer in other fields, but you think that they can learn to become interested in this area?
An expert. Someone who eats, breathes, and sleeps this stuff. Me and Trung, this guy we hired, we’ll text late at night. We were screwing around about Master Class and I’m like, “Dude, Master Class is so amazing because when you take the class, they are really not teaching you that much stuff, but it’s so inspiring. The commercials are so cool and I’m watching this Judd Apatal thing and the story part is actually more interesting than him teaching me how to be funny.
He’s like, “That’s probably how they get people hooked and they probably will end up acquiring customers for dirt cheap.” This is how we were talking for fun. It’s way easier when someone’s obsessed with this stuff.
That’s why I like working with my brother because we are just on Zoom all day especially now that we are just stuck in our apartment. We are on Zoom for literally eight hours a day and anytime either of us used a product or something, we aren’t just talking about the product, we’re dissecting how it works, the psychology behind it.
We talk a lot about news. We talk about The Hustle. We talk about advertising and I’m very curious about advertising in your situation, too, because you’ve got the subscription business and quite frankly, when most people think about content and making money from content, their mind goes straight towards ads.
Not buying ads, but literally working with advertisements into their podcasts, into their newsletter, into their blog, and making money that way. That’s how you finance The Hustle. It’s the bulk of your business.
Do you see the future being—
It won’t be the bulk of our business starting in June.
Subscription revenue is going to pass ad revenue. How much of that is because of COVID-19? A lot of businesses are shut down. Obviously, that means they’re not getting any customers and they’re not advertising.
Even if we hit our forecast, it would be bigger.
That’s nuts. Do you see that being the case forever? Do you see yourself getting off of the advertising trip and then being subscription going forward?
Not off, but it’s going to be a good supplemental revenue. Subscription is going to be bigger.
That’s crazy, and that’s a great place to be. Quite frankly, I think it’s better business to have your customers paying you for the value you’re providing. Advertising is this weird, mixed incentive thing and—
Here’s why its awesome. You can say whatever you want. You only have to please your customer. Advertising is good because its fast money.
You can drum that up fast and it’s very profitable, but it definitely hits a ceiling and sometimes, your hands get tied and so now, we’ll make money through advertising. What I love – and you like this, you might be different.
You can be honest because you work for Stripe, but if you’re in New Zealand and your have your own business and you can do whatever you want and no ones going to get you, it’s exciting. You can say anything you want and that’s how you have to do it. When you have advertisers, sometimes you can’t say stuff.
I think a lot of people don’t know this about advertising, but they’re not just these objective observers. The second they start paying you to put their ads in your content, they feel like they have a seat at the table, they don’t want you to talk about certain subjects, they make requests and they end up changing the nature of your product.
I think with some of the bigger organizations like The New York Times or traditional organizations, it happens on YouTube all the time. YouTube blocks certain videos because of advertising.
When you have this big client, it’s a huge bank, one of the top 10 banks, and—well, fuck, I’ll say it. It was Goldman Sachs and they wanted to advertise with us, and we let them. I like Goldman, actually.
It’s not disrespectful to them, I understand why they did this, but we wrote a story about FUCKJERRY and we thought it would be funny just to use the word “fuck” in every single sentence.
They were like, “No, pull that shit,” and we were like, “No.” We lost money on that. I thought that was funny. I thought it was cool and one time when Trump got elected in 2016, right when we had first started, I wrote the whole email in Trump’s voice.
I thought it was funny and cute. The advertisers didn’t. We did it anyway, but now when you have a lot of employees and you have salesmen on quota, it’s like, “Shit. I don’t care about that advertiser, to be honest. I like them and I want them to win, but I care more about my salesperson who needs this commission.” You definitely have to sacrifice some things.
You’re going to be on mostly subscription revenue basis in the future. You’re not going to have to answer to anybody.
No, we’ll expand our advertising. The New York Times, I would have to look it up, I bet, makes 60% of their money through subscriptions and 40% through advertising. It’s good and I’ll do it, but I try to position everything in my life to come from a position of, “Fuck you,” to where I will like someone, respect them and want to work with them, but at the end of the day, I can just say, “Fuck you,” and walk away. I think that if you come from that perspective, you can make your key stakeholder significantly happier and that’s what I want to do.
The idea behind why most people become Indie Hackers, when I ask them about it, they give me all these answers about money and about creative expression, about working from wherever they want or time independence, but it all boils down to freedom.
People want to have control over their lives. As a founder, you’re building this thing that gives you control over your life, but you also want to have control over the thing.
If you have the ability to, as you say, say, “Fuck you” to anybody, it just means that they don’t control you. That you’re still going to be alive, you’re still going to be thriving, even if you have a confrontation with one of your partners. It doesn’t matter, you have the freedom to do whatever you want.
Yeah, and look, I don’t have that many confrontations. I know I’m trying to sound like some alpha bully, but I don’t. I get along with all of our people and I’m really happy with the decisions we make.
It is really powerful when we negotiate with people or if we have an employee who is being a jerk or we have a customer who is being a jerk, it’s always, “You know what? Leave.” We don’t need anything. That is actually significantly better, and it makes the people who I want to make happy much happier.
Given the fact that everybody’s at home on their computers obsessively clicking refresh on Twitter and every sort of news story, traffic numbers are crazy high. I think Bloomberg reported the number of their new subscribers in March was up almost 200%.
Indie Hackers has been growing like crazy. We had 50% more comments in our community last month and the month before. I’m sure The Hustle’s growing like crazy, Trends is growing like crazy. At the same time, advertising revenue is down.
We’re going through this sort of ad-pocalypse, where companies just aren’t advertising. It sounds like you’ve revised your estimates downwards, but you’re still going to grow your ad business. How are you making ads work when people just aren’t buying as many ads?
We have B2B advertisers. Businesses are still buying some stuff. Not a lot, not as much, but it’s still growing. If you have 800-900,000 people opening your email each day, which we do, you can make money off of that.
Maybe you won’t make as much and it will be 30-40% less, but you definitely make money off that. People are still buying Whoops. What’s it called, The Whoop? Whatever this thing is called.
People are still buying desks, people are still buying stuff, so they’re willing to buy advertising, for sure, but it’s not as much stuff.
Do you think that if somebody’s trying to start their own media company, earlier you recommended they charge $500-$1,000, would you recommend against doing an advertising supported media business as a one person Indie Hacker?
Depends on what your aspirations are. If you want to get huge and be a huge company, I think it needs to be part—I don’t think it needs to be, but if you want to be huge and you want to be huge fast, you either have to get your funnel down so you can spend a ton of money on advertising to buy new users or you have to do content marketing and it’s going to be a little bit slower and you got to build a brand and that advertising helps.
By the way, I’m not against advertising inherently. I think that if you do advertising well, its awesome. Advertising is amazing because I discover so many cool things.
I just saw a new pair of Jordan’s that looked awesome and they sponsor this podcast. It looked so cool and I was like, “Oh wow, I just discovered something cool.” When I listen to Tim Ferriss’s podcast, that’s how I discovered Wealthfront and Wealthfront has made me a lot of money every year because I use them. No, advertising’s great when it’s done well.
I would say yeah, do advertising if that’s what you’re willing to do, if that fits your values, which it fits mine. Just know that that ad revenue, that shit gets addicting. Often times, new products that you want to launch, go directly against your advertising revenue goals and revenue targets. They conflict hard.
You have to make sure that you’re willing to draw the line. We’ve done a good job at that, but you have to make sure that you draw the line. Most companies cannot. A lot of media companies that are ad supported right now, like Buzzfeed, I don’t think that they will ever be subscription driven and that it going to hurt them a lot.
What do you think stops them from being able to launch something subscription driven and doing what you’ve done with Trends?
Fear. They will do all the things that we described before. If you go to Vox, they are asking for donations. Are you kidding me? Is that the stupidest shit you’ve ever seen? Dumbest form of stuff I’ve ever seen.
They raised $150 million. I get so infuriated. You can’t tell me that you can’t build something that’s worth more than $1 donations. Get the fuck out of here, you idiots. You have this big ass staff of talented people, come up with something.
Don’t do the $1 bullshit. The reason why they won’t launch stuff is because they come from a place of fear, where they’re too afraid to price high or their too afraid to charge for stuff. Also, it’s really hard in the consumer’s mind, the whole free-mium thing is hard for a lot of people.
The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal do it well because they are the best, but for most people, it’s really hard to do free-mium. They’re like, “Why would I pay for it when I get most of it for free?” It’s a lot better to just make it all or nothing.
Third, they’re ad supported and so the ad team and sales team will be like, “No, don’t put that paywall up. We need more views for the advertising.” It would take a long time for a company like that to change their culture and that would be hard.
You got to get off on the right foot, basically and somehow get over the fear.
A lot of writers don’t want their stuff behind paywalls. Which is weird, I’m like, “You guys, you’re either going to put it where you’re going to be ad supported and I need you to just pump shit out that gets paid views or you can do less stuff and it might get seen by less people, but it might be better or you think it’s better. Pick your battle.”
A lot of journalists are fickle and hard to work with. That’s probably why they don’t like it. Fucking Vox, I can’t believe that shit.
Yeah, I saw you on Twitter complaining about it and the first thing I thought when I saw that was, “There’s no way in hell that Sam Parr at The Hustle would ever ask for donations just to support it,” because you’re going to find a way to make money. You’re going to find a way to provide value.
I don’t even like Vox, but I don’t care. Even though I don’t like them, they surely have wonderfully talented people who work there. Why is this so hard to understand?
You create something that people like and then you say, “All right, it costs this much money, so give me money.” I don’t understand why that’s hard. Also, if you raise $150 million from Excel, you better charge money for a product. Get out of here.
You haven’t raised any money whatsoever from venture capitalists for The Hustle. It’s your mission not to raise from venture capitalists.
It’s not my mission. I would do it. Technically, I raised $25,000 from one firm.
Was it a VC firm or was it an Angel?
No, I raised a little bit of money from Angel, but one of the guys, who I met had a fund and I thought that it was just his money. He was like, “No, it’s through my fund.” Technically –
Oh, yeah. You did tell me this. You were almost tricked, but technically you have raised—what’s the calculus there? Why not just go out and raise a ton of money if you can and use that to accelerate your growth and give away some percentage of your company?
Because I’m greedy and want to own a lot of it.
Simple as that.
Yeah, it’s just greed. I just think it’s going to be really valuable and I want to figure out a way to do it. I think that I grew up poor and it’s really hard for me to spend money. Spending money is not something that’s easy for me.
I’m incredibly frugal, probably to a fault. Definitely to a fault. I should be on the offensive way more. In my head, I’m like, “What would I do with all that money?”
I’m just so cheap. I buy stuff used and every single computer that we have at our company, almost all of them, I bought used on Craigslist. I think I can get a lot done with very little money and also greed.
Very few people, as well.
Yeah. How many people do it? 23 or 24 people? Not a lot.
Not a lot. Listen, Sam. It’s worked out for you beautifully, so far, and it seems like it’s going to keep working in the future. What would you like to say to Indie Hackers out there who are listening, who are inspired by your story, who want to make money on the internet, create things of value they want to charge?
What do you think is something they can learn from your story and take away as they embark on this journey of their own?
Long something tomorrow. Do it fast and don’t think about anything. Just do it.
There’s so many frigging smart people. Your audience is probably incredibly smart, way smarter than I am. The thing that holds them back is fear of launching.
Intellectually speaking, creating a business is super easy and straight forward. Emotionally, it’s really hard, so the best way to overcome that is just do it. You just got to do it.
Just do it. Sam Parr, thanks so much for coming on the show. Can you let listeners know where they can go to learn about what you’re up to with The Hustle, with Trends and where they can learn more about you online?
Did I give you a discount code last time? Should I give you another one?
I don’t think I got one last time. Another one would be great. First one?
Okay, let me write it down. We’ll do INDIE. Want to do INDIE?
INDIE. Discount code for Trends?
Yeah. Wait, what did I say? I said INDIE. Why did you correct me? Did I say it wrong?
INDIE, yep. No, I’m just repeating it, so everyone knows. I-N-D-I-E.
Wait, I got to find the slide channel. Can we make a code? We are doing it live.
So, INDIE for 50% off for the first year. Okay, INDIE, they can find me at trends.co, they can find us at thehustle.co and I’m very active on Twitter, @thesamparr and don’t email me because I have 355 unread emails right now and it will be slow to get to. If you tweet at me, I get back to you really fast and I would love to hear from you.
All right, you heard him. Don’t email him, send him a tweet. Sam, thanks again for coming on the show.
Thanks, man. You’re awesome.
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