This is my blog.

Launched! (June 2019 Update)

This month has been really crazy! 

I’ve been working a lot, which is mostly due to launching a new product.

But here are the main highlights I wanna go over:

  • I launched a new product!
  • I quit social media
  • Starter Story updates and plans

Video version of this update

I launched a new product

Most of my time has been dedicated to building and launching my first SaaS product, Pigeon!

I had the idea for Pigeon late last year, but it never really came to fruition until the last couple months:

Here’s a rough timeline of how this happened:

  • Late October last year - Wrote a blog post and hinted at my idea
  • March 19 - Created a quick landing page for a podcast interview with Chris Lee
  • April 10 - Committed to launching alpha version within 1 month
  • May 9 - Launched Pigeon

It was after that podcast when I got a lot more serious about everything, as I got nearly 100 people signed up for “early access”, which I did not expect.

So I started getting on phone calls with prospective customers, learning what they needed, and trying to get them to commit to being a part of the “alpha release”.

Once I had future customers on the line, I realized I needed to move forward with the idea - so I set a deadline for May 9th.

That deadline was extremely aggressive, and I ended up working a lot to get it done, but I feel it was worth it and saved me an extra month or two of development time by constraining what would be in the MVP.

While building the MVP, I was simultaneously trying to sell the product to potential customers, and getting them to sign up and pay for the product first.

The result

I ended up landing 7 paying customers (not including me), and then added 1 customer since then.

I’m super excited about this, as I kept low expectations and I would have been happy to launch to just 1 customer.

MRR is $292/month.

After the launch

Now, the real work starts, as the MVP was very bare bones.

Since the launch, I spent most of my time focused on building features and working with customers to build something that is much better.

I added a few really big features such as automated follow up sequences and a mail merge feature.

It’s nice to have a very small set of customers, as I can keep a keen eye on their usage, bugs, and feature requests. I’ve been doing a lot of calls with customers, demos, and screen shares.

Plans for the future

Since I have domain experience, I’m launching this product targeted to the niche of content creators, bloggers, interview websites.

I’m going to focus on that over the next few months, and my marketing strategy will be cold outreach and content marketing.

Longer-term plans

But at a deeper level, Pigeon is much more than that, as I see it being more like an Airtable/Notion/Streak product, and I’ve been building with that in mind. It’s really about helping people organize and automate inside email.

This goes much wider than bloggers. Gmail has 1B active users, which gives me confidence that this product will be useful to other Gmail power users.

I said in this in one of my previous blog posts, but I’m really excited about what I’m building and very passionate about the idea. This is a very long term project, and I’m happy to take it slowly and build something great.

Almost all my focus will be on Pigeon and I won’t be starting anything new anytime soon.

Here are some screenshots of the product!

While you’re in a thread, you can track & update the status, deadline, or just about anything you want. These fields are totally customizable to your use case.

Because I have so many blog posts in progress, I need to keep track of everything. Think of this as like Airtable inside Gmail, except with tight email integration. I took a lot of design inspiration from Airtable.

Create sequences that automatically follow up with people. You can send these with one click.

Send canned responses super fast. These even use variables like {{ first_name }}

Quitting social media

Early last month, I decided to take a break from social media for a month.

I’m not going to be preachy and talk how it “changed everything”, but I will say the benefits have been really interesting.

Here are the two big things I noticed:

More productive and focused

I’ve found myself much more productive.

You know when you have a quick minute and you just open Twitter to pass the time? Maybe you just finished a task, or you’re stuck on something really hard. Most of us pop open Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, etc.

But now I can’t do that, so I just move on to the next task I have, or power through it.

I now plan what I’m going to get done for the day, and I actually deliver on it. I feel way more focused

I fill my time with ‘better’ activities

Another awesome benefit is that I started filling my free time with better activities, like calling a friend, or reading, or listening to audiobooks.

I read like 6 or 7 books in the last month.

This is going to sound woke af, but I honestly feel more “enlightened” and feel like I’ve been actually learning really interesting things from these books.

Starter Story updates

Starter Story is still doing well even though most of my time has been focused on Pigeon.

I have some really fun plans for Starter Story going forward which I also will talk about.


Last month, we added 32 pieces of content, almost all interviews.

My content calendar for May 2019


In terms of traffic, May 2019 was the best month we’ve ever had:

  • 70k visitors
  • 50k+ uniques
  • Nearly 100k pageviews

And there was no “massive spike” in traffic for any days.

Growth in traffic was about 6%, although there were a couple viral moments last month that upped the traffic, making this month look not as good on paper - but organic growth was really good this month.

All of the traffic was very consistent, and it’s awesome to have my “best month” not be influenced by some article that went viral.


Email list

Last month we added 965 email subscribers. In total, the list is now at 6.3K.

The list is now consistently growing at about 1k per month, which is absolutely baffling to me. A lot of this is thanks to Klaviyo and the subscribe flyout I added to the site.

Next month I’m going to experiment with some post-signup drip campaigns to engage subscribers more with my content. I’m excited about that.


Revenue for last month was $4,244. That’s the best we’ve ever done.

Community sponsor

The bulk of the revenue comes from the sponsor Klaviyo. For May, it was $3,500.

Not much to add on this, as this is the deal we’ve had for many months.

Klaviyo has an exclusive deal, so they own all ad inventory on the website and newsletter. So I don’t accept any other advertisements or promotions.

Premium membership

For the past few months, I’ve been testing out a membership program for Starter Story.

MRR for that is $517.28.

It’s going OK, but I think I can get more signups by doing the following:

  • Upsell the membership on more pages
  • Add more value to the program
  • Try out a lifetime membership (currently monthly)

I plan to start working on some of this next month.

Amazon affiliate

We made $52.60 with the Amazon affiliate program. Most of the links on my site are to books, which is a really low commission.

Shopify affiliate program

The only other affiliate program we have is the Shopify affiliate program. We made $174 on that last month.

Next month, I’m planning on looking more into affiliate programs as I think this could be a decent revenue source going forward.

I now have over
400 tools added to my database. There are a lot of affiliate programs for those tools, so I will start looking into that.


Now that I’ve launched Pigeon I’m starting to put more focus into growing and scaling Starter Story.

It’s cool to publish daily interviews, but I still think there is so much potential and that it’s barely scratching the surface.

I think a lot about how I can push out more content and grow, and Pigeon is going to help me with that so much.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can grow it. Here’s my current plan to do that over the next couple months:

  • More content
  • Start outsourcing
  • Land bigger sponsors
  • Grow community features

More content

Earlier this year, I committed to daily interviews which I’ve kept up with and was a really good idea. It forced me to continue to systemize the process and constrain my time on it.

But now that Pigeon has been launched I’m ready to grow that.

This month, I’m working on scaling it to ~45 interviews for the month, and then after that close to 60.

However, instead of just working harder/more hours to get more content done, I’m focused on working smarter. Building more automation, and bringing on freelancers to help (I’ll talk about that in the next section).

The goal is to systemize the processes as much as possible so that 60/month can become the “new norm” just like 30 has become now - so no extra hours on my end with double the output.

And then once I get to 60, I will start to focus on some different types of content (other than interviews) and how I can create that on a consistent basis going forward.

Once I have that in place and systemized/automated, I will add another. Rinse and repeat.

I have been noodling on some fun content ideas, but right now I’m focused on scaling up interviews a bit more and then I’ll start working on that in a couple of months.

Total content published since inception

Start outsourcing

I read this awesome book called Start Small, Stay Small by Rob Walling. I highly recommend it.

Rob has some really interesting opinions on hiring freelancers (which I won’t go into) - but it convinced me that I need to put time and effort into learning how to outsource.

I spent a lot of time last month hiring and testing out freelancers on Upwork. I already feel like I’ve learned a lot after hiring a few. I have even found a couple of really good, cheap freelancers that I want to work with over a longer term.

Finding good freelancers is not easy though. More to come on that as I get more experience, I’m really just starting out but excited about the potential there.

Land bigger sponsors + new monetization methods

My “big” community sponsor deal is coming to an end in a couple months.

Since the site has grown a lot since we made that deal, I think I have an opportunity to renew, possibly increase the deal size, and even bring on some new sponsors.

But I don’t really know what I’m doing. The Klaviyo deal was so amazing because I was able to focus deeply on growing the site without having to worry about ad deals.

So, I’d like to land a similar deal going forward. But it’s not easy. These kinds of deals require meetings and negotiation, but I also see this as an opportunity to improve my skills in these areas, which is something I’m definitely lacking. This has prompted me to read the book Never Split The Difference - which I thought was really eye-opening.

I also have been thinking a lot about new monetization methods with my tools page and doing more sponsored content, especially after seeing all of the success that Lynne Tye and Ben Tossell have had with their projects.

I’m now building out a new tools page and might try some interesting stuff to monetize that page, but that’s still a couple months out. Right now I’m focused on new sponsors.

Grow community features

I’m finally planning to grow the community features - I think that my traffic is at a point where it’s time.

I have a small “Join” link in the top of the page, which now gets over 200 people signed up per month. It doesn’t really do anything right now, but over the next month, I will start to optimize the “signup” process and drive more traffic through there.

More long term, I want to create a forum similar to Hackers, but that is probably a few months out as well.

In order to grow more long term, I need to move towards more user-generated content - so this is something that’s always in the back of my mind.


Thanks for reading - See you next month!

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