Steph Smith is a growth marketer, writer, and indie maker. In 2019, Steph founded Integral Labs. Integral Labs supports top tech companies with technical writing, content strategy, marketing, and analytics.
In 2020, Steph became the Senior Manger of Trends.co. Trends identifies emerging patterns in business months before they become mainstream. In less than a year, Steph grew the number of paying subscribers by more than 400%.
In this episode, Nathan and Steph discuss her proven approach to starting and running a profitable newsletter. They cover everything from pricing models to avoiding burnout.
Topics from the show include:
- How to price your newsletter for explosive growth
- The best pricing model for dramatically reducing churn
- How to make your newsletter stand head and shoulders above the rest
Links & Resources
- Sam Parr
- 030: Sam Parr – Growing to 2M Subscribers and Selling Your Newsletter
- Wolfram Alpha
- Keywords Everywhere
- My First Million Podcast
- 3-2-1 Newsletter
- Exponential View
Steph Smith’s Links
Once you actually take the energy to write an idea down and it’s implanted into your brain, almost like a seed, it starts to grow and you start to notice other things around you that are aligned with watering that seed with different examples, with intentional research, with data, by the time you actually want to write about it or publish it, or even start a business around it, you’ve thought about it in many different ways and giving it time to breathe.
Today’s episode has been Steph Smith who runs trends.co, which is the paid newsletter from The Hustle. So, they have their 2 million subscribers newsletter and they have their paid newsletter called Trends, which is a little smaller, but drives a ton of revenue. This is super interesting. We get into her approach to growth, to research, she’s actually a chemical engineer who turned into this whole world. So, it’s super fascinating; she’s got a bunch of tips and tricks that she shares around doing research. I love her thoughts on differentiating products. There’s so much more; she gets into business models, everything. She’s one of those people who’s basically running the show at one of the largest paid newsletters. She’s incredible. So anyway, I’ll get out of the way let’s dive in and, made stuff.
Steph. Thanks for joining me.
Yeah. Thanks for having me.
Okay. So I’ve got to start with the question. what’s it like working for a crazy person and specifically, how are you so good at managing up? And before you answer this question, did in fact come from the crazy person that we’re talking about?
I didn’t see that question.
And he’s like, Oh, I don’t know.
But you got to find out like how, how she manages to deal on a day-to-day basis.
Well, I think we all are on a spectrum of being so good at executing. Some people are great at executing, and logistics, and processes and all that stuff. And some people are just visionaries and just have so many ideas and it’s crazy to work with them, but in a great way. If you can just give them the space to like, be that visionary and not necessarily depend on them for certain things like processes and logistics.
And so I’ve just learned over time to not necessarily bucket people, but understand what they’re great at and maybe what they’re not so great at. And Sam loves hiring operators. And he he’s hired CEOs or presidents to work alongside him. So I actually think one of the great things about working with Sam is how self self-aware he is because sometimes visionaries or people who are like the idea guy don’t realize that perhaps they’re not so great at some of the other things.
And so I just like to give Sam the space to give his ideas and be the visionary. And it’s funny. Cause sometimes when people first start working with Sam, they’re like, Oh my God, he has so many ideas. Do I have to do all this stuff? And Sam will tell you like, no, don’t do all the things I say.
I just love sharing these ideas and getting things out there, but you have to decide what’s important, what should be prioritized. And so I do think it was a little bit of a learning curve, but now I love working with him because he does actually just give you the trust to make those decisions.
Yeah, that’s interesting. I think so many people run into that and I’ve had the same thing with our team at ConvertKit where people are like, Okay, you said this, does this mean I need to start working on it? And you’re like, no, no,
I was just talking and I’m not even as wild and crazy as Sam is on that spectrum. Sam’s off the charts, but it is a good differentiation.
And maybe I shouldn’t be more extreme that way people would know that it’s not humanly possible to do all the ideas and to just ignore most of them.
Well, I mean, Sam will tell you, like right away that he’s just throwing ideas out there. And I think that’s really great because you’re just like, okay, so we’re on the same page. I know how much of this I need to pay attention to. And then he will explicitly say, which I think is also helpful, when he does want you to do something, versus some bosses or some people you work with, it is a little more muddy and it’s hard to tell what’s important. What’s not.
Yeah. That makes sense. Another thing that Sam was talking about that he wanted you to share more with listeners is, your process around organization and creativity. I imagine at The Hustle, there’s so much going on. There’s tons of content going into the newsletter side, that Trends side, everything.
And, I’d love to hear more about your process for keeping all that straight, making sure you’ve got nonstop deadlines, crazy ideas. And what do you use for organization? Like maybe somewhat on tools, but even more so like.
Yeah. So I think so I will candidly say that on that spectrum where there’s people who are like incredible executor’s and organizers, I’m maybe a little further to that side than Sam, but like, there are people who are way more organized than I am and what I try to do to like orient myself. Cause I’m not like a task person or like a, a calendar person who’s super, super regimented is just to check in every.
Like either every day or every week, and just make sure that you have like very, very clear priorities as to like, what would I be happy with at the end of this week, for example, like where would I feel like we’re actually moving towards something, and be okay with it if I did nothing else during that week, because I think it can be the case sometimes where we just get so lost in the weeds and we feel like we did so much, but then we look back and we’re like, the needle didn’t move at all.
And in fact, I mean, I know burnout is a much more serious thing, but lately. Feel like some of my coworkers or other people I’ve worked with in the past will say that they’re burnt out. And honestly, a lot of the times they are. But one of the things that I’ve noticed is that sometimes people feel burnt out when they’re just working very hard and they don’t see that translate at all.
Right? So it’s not even necessarily the degree that they’re working or, or the amount of time that they’re putting in, but it’s the lack of like a relationship between the amount of time that you’re putting in and then actual movement or progress. And that can be really defeating. whereas. I’ve seen, you know, people who work much harder, but don’t feel as like degraded because they feel like that movement.
And so I’m not, again, I wish I could give better tools or processes or things like that, but I feel like everyone has their own thing. But one thing that keeps me like really motivated and really, excited about doing things and building things, is that feeling of progress.
Yeah. I mean, that really resonates because there’s definitely times. You know, over the years of building ConvertKit and other, other projects where you’re like, I’m working the hardest I’ve ever worked. And it just doesn’t feel that hard because we’re getting results. And then other times you’re like, I don’t even necessarily putting in more time or it’s that much harder, but it’s just, it’s a slog because it doesn’t feel like it’s working.
What do you think about like when you find yourself in that, that space of like, The inputs are not directly affecting the outputs, either from a mental side or process, like how do you, how do you handle that and get through it?
Yeah. So I think it’s, like I said, one just about like continuously revisiting what your priorities are and making sure that you’re like, if you imagine yourself as a vector, like how closely aligned is your vector and like your priority vector. Right. And sometimes they’re like, they’re always going to be a little off, but is it like.
You know, perpendicular or actually aligned. and a lot of the things that we do, I tweeted about this recently, it’s just, just how much of your day is actually due to inertia versus like actual, like intentional thought of like, what do I, what do I really need to get done to reach my goals? so I think that’s something that we always just continuously need to check in on.
But then the other thing is when you’re in that mental space where you’re really struggling and you’re not seeing progress is just to design really small wins for you. Right. Because another, another thing that I think people sometimes do is set really, really big goals, audacious goals, and that’s awesome.
But then they don’t set up that. Building blocks on the way there. And so that can be again, really defeating to be like, I have this goal and I just don’t feel like I’m making any progress. And so if you find yourself in that head space, obviously take a break, do what you need to get in the right head space.
But also just, one of the things that I think the most successful people do is understand the way their brain works and almost like learn to. To interact with their brain most effectively. And one of those things is finding those small wins. If people are interested in learning about the habit loop, for example, like one of the parts of the habit loop is like a reward, right?
And so if you’re designing this audacious goal and you’re not spinning that habit loop of getting to that reward, you’re not, well actually, if you don’t have the reward, you’re never going to complete the habit loop. So I think it is just about learning about how your own brain works and getting those small wins along the way.
Yeah. Are there small wins that you’ve introduced in your process of running trends that help you or, or are the big wins coming often enough that it doesn’t feel as needed?
That’s a good question, because it is different, like at different stages of each company that you’re working at, for trends, I think it, it really was about, at the beginning, just like. Creating something that people loved. Right? So that was a small one, like getting the newsletter out and just, you know, having people write to you and be like, I love this, or meeting people and finding out that they read trends and that, you know, they love the product.
So at the beginning it was more of that. But then, you know, the small wins come with growing your user base and, and actually like unlocking a new channel right. Or something like that. But even on the way to unlocking a new channel, it’s like, The mini wins of like, how can I just like focus today on just this part of the landing page and running a test where I can get a small win.
And I feel like I’m making progress, right? So it’s, you know, a small win can be anything from like, just getting a little piece of user feedback or actually seeing like a really tangible, but. Small change in your conversion rate, for example. but if you’re not seeing those small wins along the way, like the audacious goal is like grow trends to like X thousand subscribers.
But if you’re not actually, you know, taking steps and reflecting on them, then that audacious goal is all of a sudden sounds actually like a crazy goal and you’re not motivated to actually reach it.
Yeah. That’s interesting. Well, let’s dive in. But Simon can about trends in detail. And then maybe we’ll go back and, and talk through like how you got to The Hustle and Trent and all that. So can you tell the listeners, you know, what is trends and what, what makes it unique from other, you know, paid newsletters or communities and projects that it gets on it for?
Sure. Yeah. So trends is The Hustles premium subscription. And I always like to articulate how I remember at least Sam articulating trends to me, which is. You have The Hustle, which is our daily email of business and tech news. And The Hustle was always imagine your friend going and reading all of the tech and business needs for the day.
And then coming back to you and just being like, here are the three, four things that you should know, no BS, no jargon, just like a friend talking to you. so that was The Hustle. And then the extension of that was like, okay, we have this audience of people who care about business and tech and trends was basically imagine that same friend going.
I had five years, let’s say. And coming back to you and being like, this is what the future is like. Right. And it’s not even like the future as in like 40 years from now, like, this is what the new world will look like. It’s more so just like, Hey, here’s some things that you may be surprised to know emerge, you know, in a couple of years, or actually, if you knew this little.
Tidbit or fact you could actually build a business around it that many other people haven’t caught on to. And so that’s what trends is. It’s basically, trends that people can learn about that are either like in the early stage or things that people can build businesses around, invest in businesses around. And it came at the beginning as a weekly newsletter, but now it’s a community and it has some other features.
Yeah. And then how, how is it priced and, of the gels there.
Yeah, so it’s annual pricing, which is a little different than I think a lot of paid newsletters. and it’s $299 a year.
why go annual on that versus, you know, someone wanting to sign up monthly? as so many people are like, I don’t know if they newsletter should be 20 bucks a month or 10 bucks a month,
I know it shouldn’t.
Yeah. So it’s interesting. And we are actually looking at toying around with the pricing model coming up, but it’s been that way since the very beginning. And I actually, I joined trends shortly after it started, but even by the time I joined, it was. Already just annual pricing, like set in stone.
And I, I guess I can talk to a couple of reasons. Cause sometimes we get people who write in who are like, you must be predatory. And like, like why would you do annual pricing? If, if your product, if you were proud of your product or something like that. And there was a couple of reasons that people don’t think of all the time.
So one of them is just, if you’re a bootstrap business that cashflow. Can actually accelerate your growth if you’re annual versus monthly, right? So you all, you get the year-long cashflow that you can reinvest into your business immediately, instead of waiting for that cashflow to come in. And therefore you can acquire more users, which is what we did.
Right. We invested, we like every dollar we made, we reinvested immediately, which did accelerate our growth. there’s other things like sure. People might relate this to like the predatory aspect, but just churn. Right? So if you can really impress someone with your product immediately, They will pay for the two 99, be happy with it and not really mind that it goes around for a year, but when you have monthly pricing, there’s just that much more like, involvement of someone potentially thinking of turning, right?
So they might love your product for three months and actually need it six months later. But in that time period, they may just cancel or you might lose them. And so. We have found that if you like equate an annual turn rate of ours to a monthly churn rate that most people have, our turn is so, so low. and so that’s helped us as well.
It is definitely, negative in some ways. So people should know some of those aspects as well. Of course, some people two 99 just sounds like a lot, even though that’s only like $25 a month. That sounds like more for whatever reason. Right? So it can restrict people from buying your product. Of course, there’s just that like higher barrier to entry, but then there’s other things as well.
Like a lot of people don’t know, especially because we have a trial that, even your credit card approval rates, like if people have heard of like dining flows and subscription payments, when you have that higher dollar value, you’re more likely to actually get rejected by banks. Even if someone’s approved it.
So those are some of the things to keep in mind. But again, I was actually not even around when that final decision was made, but we are playing around with other models now. And in the next couple of months,
Yeah. I think what a lot of people who get into paid content, I think like they see the appeal of SAS, right. Of I sold this ebook. I did this thing. You know how to
Workshop one-off would be amazing if that could recur. And, you know, look at SaaS, there’s a recurring revenue model there. So they dive into it and then are immediately shocked with churn of like, wait, no one told me that churn, like it doesn’t repair forever.
You know, this is, and obviously people know about trend, but you don’t like you have to be in it before you understand the math of it, or like
Yeah. And if anyone’s thinking about whether they should even do opinions that are, and if they do meet monthly or annual, like you have to test it. Right. Because our business is going to be much different than others. And to your point, a lot of people think like, let’s just make this like, SAS, but think about what SaaS is.
SAS is like, Oh, there’s actually this tool that someone’s like integrating into their business, that they need to continue running their business versus something like let’s be real most, Even premium content is, as people say, like a vitamin versus a painkiller. And so SaaS has such low turn rates because people are literally like implement, like integrating into their systems so that their people need it.
They like require the software. And the only alternative is probably to switch to another piece of software, which has a lot of friction versus paid content is kind of like. I can either have this or I can actually be okay without this. Right. And so, that’s also something to keep in mind is it’s not the same business model.
There’s, there’s like parallels, but you have to keep in mind that like paid content is not SAS.
Yeah. And so having that advantage of going to an annual plan and even so many SAS companies, right. They push annual plans for the same reason because dropping churn is so key. And so. I think it’s a great point that the reminder once a month of like, here’s your receipt, here’s also, what’s coming up also.
Do you want to cancel? You know, and, and then they’re judging it based on maybe not the experience as a whole of like, Oh, I got such great Content all of that months ago, it might be like, you know, the guests you have this month on transplant, it wasn’t that great.
But the guests we have the next week, the next month is like exactly who you need to hear from.
And they may not know or…
Right. And tied to that. When you have a longer time horizon with your subscription, you can actually, I mean, we were bootstrapped, so this wasn’t quite true, but you, you can in theory have a longer horizon and improving your product, right. Because you’re not thinking about how do I retain someone tomorrow. It’s kind of similar to how people say, like public companies with their like quarterly earnings can be detrimental to their long-term success. if you’re focused on retaining someone next month, That can like cloud your vision to be like, what do we need to do to retain this person one year from now?
Like that helps you to think a lot bigger about like, how can we improve this product really substantially by that time. and so that’s also something that I think is underrated about annual pricing.
Yeah, that makes sense. So you’re in this world of, you know, you’re working on the paid newsletter side, with trends and The Hustle also has the, you know, the massive free newsletter running sponsorships. I’m all of that. So there’s different revenue streams. I’m curious for your take on the rise of newsletters over the last couple of years, and then the, well, these letters have been rising for a long time.
Despite everyone saying email is
dead. Every every step along the way. so maybe the rise of paid newsletters in particular and just sort of what’s your commentary on what you like, what you’re seeing in the market, and then what you would recommend as far as being in this world where you can see behind the scenes of, of both a sponsorship driven model and, and, you know, a paid subscriber.
Yeah, so I think there’s, again, not always a right answer, but what I would say is that, like you said, there’s a lot of hype right now around newsletters in general, but there’s also just a lot of hype around. Paid newsletters and getting your content. and that’s awesome because there are tools that have now enabled that and made it lot easier.
But what I think people, or a lot of people miss when they’re deciding like free or paid, is that a lot of people who have paid newsletters had some sort of like awareness engine before that. And The Hustle was a great example where we had this massive newsletter reaching over a million people, such that.
That was like, if you imagine a funnel that was the top of our funnel, right. And that was doing the work of like being easily shared and driving more people to trends every single day. What a lot of people I find do today is like, okay, like I want to start a paid newsletter. I want to start like making money immediately.
And what they don’t realize is they’re putting their product behind a paywall and this might sound obvious, but that makes it that much harder to grow. Right. If you don’t have an, an awareness engine, how are you expecting that people are going to find your content. When it’s behind a paywall. and so you, if you actually look up.
You can do this on Wolfram alpha and enter sub stack, in there. And you can look at their, their subdomains and how much traffic they get. So you can actually see exactly which sub stacks are the most popular. And I know sub stock has a page that does this as well, but you can see the exact number of page views actually, or at least will Wolfram’s, estimate of it.
And if you look at them, most of them you’re like, Oh, that guy used to be a very famous reporter. Or this guy like has 400,000 followers on Twitter or whatever. And you’re like, Oh, okay. So it’s actually, you know, the, the story that they’re selling of like, you know, sort of paintings that are overnight and like be your own boss is great in some ways, but just know the reality that as soon as you get your Content, it becomes much harder to grow.
And so what I tend to recommend if people are just starting out is to focus on. On free to start, like develop an audience and that’s their top of the funnel. And then some people later will either convert to paid or create a new product that’s paid or do something to monetize that audience at a later point.
But I would focus if you have the runway to do so on a free audience. And of course you can monetize that free audience with other things like ads or. And donations or partnerships or things like that. So it’s not necessarily that you have to like, you know, Dr. a non-profitable business to start even cause The Hustle was profitable, Forte trends.
So that’s the way that I view it. And, and another thing just on top of that is when people create any sort of. Paid newsletter or any sort of content is to kind of keep that vitamin painkiller model in mind. And that’s a spectrum as well. Right? Where if you think about it, trends really is more of a painkiller than The Hustle.
The Hustle is news news is nice to have, but there’s so many outlets to get it, but getting access to information like trends that you can actually capitalize on and build a business on, that’s more of a painkiller. And so the more of a painkiller, your killer, you are the more, I think you can charge for your content versus if you really are a vitamin, just.
It might be a more like prudent business model to stay free and just grow like a weed instead.
Yeah. That’s interesting because all of these people who have successful paid newsletters do have that funnel. That’s still again. And you know, we see people make the transition. And then they’re so torn because you have this piece of content that, you know, is a flagship piece of content. You’re so proud of it.
You know, maybe it’s like you’ve worked on over weeks or months as it’s kind of formed in your head that you’ve written it out. And then there’s this moment of like, wait, is this free? Because it will Dr. for people or do I put it in paid? So people go, Oh, this is the credible thing. I’m so glad that I’m a paying subscriber.
And it’s. It’s a tough decision. And so I guess
I move with us all, having the split where that, you know, there’s effectively two different jobs to be done. yeah. How do you think about what if you’re in that position of like an incredible piece of content or you’re advising a creator who has that of, should they put it free versus should they put it behind the paywall?
What would you say?
it’s a good question. And the way that I would put it is again, there’s no right answer, but sometimes I equate, like paid newsletter as more like a bootstrap business versus a free newsletter, more like a VC model. And what I mean by that is. You’re basically, anytime you open up, whether it’s ideally, it’s a great piece of content, but even if it’s not, anytime you open up your content, you’re basically like trading your immediate, benefit, right.
For a future benefit, right. By saying like I’m using this to build my audience, that I will later monetize the same way that like Uber grew four years and lost money. And then, I mean, maybe they know full profit, but like that’s the theory. Right. and so versus a paid newsletter is more like. Okay. I I’m okay with maybe not having a huge audience.
But I, I can be really profitable and I can do that right away. Right. there’s no need to have this like trade off. And so it’s really up to the person because something, I also say to people, when they’re deciding between free and paid overall, and then also like where to put their content is just like, what are your goals?
Because I mean, one of the aspects is money, but also like. I can say, I, I want to build an audience and I know other people want to as well. Right. And so if you really want to build a big audience, maybe you don’t, but if you do maybe kind of stray more towards the. Like free aspect of things, right.
Because you’re on getting your content and it can work for you to build that audience. So I would write what I encourage people to do is like write down like what their goals are and pass just like, I want to build a newsletter. Like, do you want to build a brand? If so, do you want that brand to be you or someone else?
Like how quickly do you need the money? like how does this integrate into any other projects you’re doing? Like, do you have a kind of paid product that you hope to launch in the future? and so asking those questions, I think will help you understand what your goals are and then you can align. Your goal is to like how immediately you want them to happen.
Yeah, that’s a really good way to think about it because I think. Companies individuals and companies end up in one world. Like if there’s a lot of like the indie bootstrapped maker world, and if you end up in that side, there’s a certain set of tactics and ideas that you apply and you have this mindset and then you end up in the venture backed, you know, Silicon Valley, startup world.
You might have a completely different set. And some of that I’ve always tried to do is play like in the middle of like borrowing things from, from both sides. Like. In the early days of, you know, when I, when I was self publishing books and courses and all of that, I was learning a lot from direct response, marketers, you know, about great copywriting, long form sales pages, but then I’d go to the startup world and be like, Oh, but they care about care about design.
Whereas the direct response world they’re like design, nobody cares about design. So I had these long form sales pages. That were well-designed and then, and people were like, what is this thing? And it’s just like, Oh, it’s just something taken from this world. And then combined something from this world.
And now it’s a new, a new thing entirely.
Exactly. Actually, speaking of Sam, he always says like, go look for the like scammy us companies, right. That are selling something that is really like, not a great product and go learn from them because don’t go create scammy products. But like the effort that they put into like, yeah, write incredible copy.
Or like have these like long direct response landing pages is something that now people have associated with being scammy, but they work. Right. And so you can like, Use those same tools for something that’s not scammy and, and, you know, do even better because people actually will like your product. And so I think that’s great advice, like you said, to go learn from other industries that aren’t your own because they’re probably doing things that you’re not used to doing that you can almost certainly learn from.
yeah, my favorite place, like my background’s as a designer. And so one of my favorite places to get design inspiration was actually like clothing stores, because you would go in there and they would have like their spring collection or whatever, and they would have, you know, like repainted and rethinking the store and like the tags.
Stuff like that. Whereas everyone else was going to, like, I don’t know the CSS inspiration, like,
you know, website galleries or whatever, for the most inspirational sites and copying from that. And it’s like, that’s why all your sites look the same. Like go, you know, but if you even walk into, I dunno, banana Republic or something, and like get inspiration from their fall collection, you know, on color schemes or whatever else and bring that to a site.
No, one’s going to think like, Oh, it’s ripped off of something else.
exactly. I know we’re kind of going off track, but one thought I have, there is on this idea of like learning from other businesses is you can do the reverse, right? Cause you kind of just went like w take offline and like learn from it to implement online. But for example, one of the ideas I had recently that someone should go to.
Take and build, I’m not going to build this is, you think about how many companies like Google or Facebook or Amazon that grew? I mean, partially because they’re just incredible companies with incredible operators, but also because they could AB test the hell out of everything. Right. because I could track and they could track those tests and implement them quickly.
And you think about how many things in. In the offline world, you can’t AB test. And one particular example is now that all the restaurants have QR codes for their menu, something we actually wrote about in The Hustle a while ago was this idea that we’re actually this woman who actually does it, and she goes and redesigns different, restaurants, menu.
So that. You know, the layout of the menu itself will result in like the average customer spending more at that restaurant. And she does it in just like a very manual way Write, she knows best practices, similar to how, you know, landing page, best practices. And she just goes in and designs at once, but she only has one go, right?
Like she, she redesigns it and then it’s implemented. And I was like someone who needs to integrate into these like POS systems and actually create. this like AB testing protocol for different restaurants, where you have the same products, you don’t need to change your menu, like the actual menu items itself, but even just the orientation of where things are in the menu.
And test that. I think that would be a really interesting business where again, you’re learning, you’re like doing the opposite where you’re learning from like online best practices and implementing them in a more offline setting.
That’s fascinating. Cause yeah, you know, you sit down at the restaurant and you scan the QR code and you’re pulling out the menu on your phone. And who’s to say that two people are sitting at like tables near each other, have to see the same menu.
It makes me think. I have a friend who runs a bar and they were like exclusively a bar, like craft cocktails and all of that.
And then. They like added a little bit of food and, you know, they were able to open up like more of a full kitchen and out other things. And it was just fascinating. Their average order value went up so much, not just because they added food, so someone could buy that, but it was also like I’m here to get a drink or maybe two.
But if you don’t have food, I’ve got to go somewhere else. And then once they added food, then it was like, Oh, I’ll buy that. And since I’m eating food, then I can stay for another drink. And so it was like turned into the cycle and I, I bet you could end up with very similar things. If someone’s sitting down like, Oh, I’m just here for a drink, but you could AB test that menu and get it designed really well where they’re buying other
Exactly. Or you can just like, exactly start to design it like a webpage, right. Where you, they see the drinks. And as soon as they scroll down to the drinks, like a modal pops up and like, do you want some food or whatever? and so yeah, you could play around with it, but just learn from these, you know, different sides of the world and implementing them.
I think. Like these are, I think, changes like that are going to be inevitable, but sometimes they just happen more slowly than, than others.
Trends is very much a Research, different product. you know, and the way that you think I can tell, like you’re diving into things, just even what you’re saying of, you know, you’re like, well, obviously you’re going to Wolfram alpha and you’re like, drop it in. And you’d be like the page views of all of this.
And I think a lot of creators don’t think that way. And so I’m curious, what are some of the other Research, you know, tips and techniques that you use that are just part of your daily workflow, where you’re like, like using Wolfram alpha in that way?
Yeah, so I’ll call it a couple tools and then I’ll just comment broadly on, on how I think people can like, be, just be more aware of what’s around them, but you know, certain tools like there’s so many plugins, like there’s a similar web plugin, which basically shows you like any website that you go to, how many pages it has, like, what sources those pastries come from, or sometimes I’ll just.
Throw it in similar myself and browse around and even just like starting a habit of being, taking things that you’re already seeing and putting them in there. Sometimes you’re shocked at like, Oh my gosh, this site has like 90% organic traffic. Like how did they do that? Or actually they have like 90% traffic from this other source.
And you start to look into and understand like how these sites grew and their relationships with other things on the web were off the web as well. other things of like during storing something into H refs, or if you think of a product, another great, Tool is jungle scout, because similarly you can throw in any, for example, when I was doing research on remote work, I was like, Oh, there’s a lot of like under desk treadmills.
Or that seems to be a thing. So I throw it into jungle scout and you’re like, Oh my God. Like, so many people are making like hundreds of thousands of on these every single month. And then you start to do a little more digging and you’re like, Oh wow, there’s some cool other things like under desk ellipticals or, you know, other products that people are also making a lot of money off of.
And so just the habit of. Like questioning what you’re already taking a look at and implementing, or putting it into some of these analytics tools. So just learn a little more and get a little bit deeper on it. And one of the tools I especially love is keywords everywhere because the things I mentioned so far take a little bit of initiative to be like, it’s not much, but to be like, okay, let me look into this.
More, but keywords everywhere is inline in the browser. So when you’re actually searching for something, it tells you the keyword volume. It also shows how that’s changed over time. and some other things like secondary keywords, but, what’s so nice about that is you’re just going through your daily life and it’s almost just like, highlighting things for you that are interesting, right.
Where you’re like. I don’t know, for example, in California, hard kombucha is, has been taking off. In fact, like in the grocery stores, you see harken boots, like at the entire section for heart kombucha. But if you go to Florida or I’m from Toronto, if you go to any of those places, like, I don’t see any heart kombucha.
And actually like when I searched heart kombucha in my browser, completely unrelated to like, thinking about trends. you see it taking off, like you can see the search volume graph. and so the thing that I think is so great about that tool is again, just this idea where it’s actually like, just nudging you in the right direction to, to notice things.
And that was the final thing I was going to say is that I think what I think we all can work on, including myself. It’s just. Asking questions about the things that are, that seem like really obvious around us. Right? So, on my first million, which is hustle Podcast, I think Sean gave a great example of one time where it’s like, you’re walking along the street and you notice like a patch of grass in between the streets.
And most people like don’t even think about the patch of grass, but then you’re like, Who actually put the grass there. Right. Cause grass doesn’t just like show up on its own. and so who put this grass in between these two streets, right. and then who, like, why did they do that? Who funded this in this case, it’s probably the government, but like who takes care of it?
Who makes sure that that grass is alive and all of those are some form of like business or, something that people actually invest in to some degree. and so you can do the same thing about just like anything around your home, or if you’re in another country, like why do they do things this way? Or.
So interesting that, like I noticed this store that I’ve never seen in anywhere else in the world, like, why does it exist here? And not elsewhere? Sometimes the answer is like, Oh, cause like this is just like their tradition and you know, it shouldn’t exist elsewhere, but then sometimes you’re like, Oh actually, like it’s just because they started this thing and it could actually be shared elsewhere.
Right. So it’s just this idea of like taking note of. Other things around you. and then again, you can use some of the tools that I mentioned to like dig into them more, but I think really where it starts and what we try to like train our analysts on, or just to ask more questions about the like really obvious things that already exist.
Yeah. That’s fascinating. And I think people get caught up in their own world or their own worldview, and they’re not expanding beyond that to try to see like, what are the things that challenge it. So I love the idea of having the browser plugins and, and like keywords everywhere and stuff of just like giving you these subtle nudges towards like, Hey, did you think about things in this way? Like when you have those ideas, you know, and you’re noticing those trends. Do you have a process for like making note of them or are you just dropping them in Notes or do you, do you have something, you know, more sophisticated where you’re keeping track of it so that you can then start to piece things together over time?
So it’s not much more sophisticated than just dropping them into Notes, but I, what I will say is that, Kind of almost what you were alluding to there. What I try to do is like piece things together. So if I have an idea, I’ll drop it in a note and sometimes the idea is terrible and I never revisit it.
But once you start, actually, once you actually take the energy to write an idea down and it’s like, kind of. Implanted into your brain, almost like a seed, it starts to grow and you start to notice other things around you that are aligned with that, or that are similar, or actually contradict that. but it’s the same thing with actually writing online and how I write my articles is all like, you know, see a tweet that I’m like, Oh, that, that like struck a note with me.
Or I will talk to a friend about a particular topic and, you know, really having a point, a point of view on it. And then I’ll just write it down and then I’ll notice. or I’ll just continually start to like, almost file things under that particular topic or trend as we were originally talking about. because I think that often, like our first encounter with something is actually not very sophisticated.
Right. and often wrong as well. And so it is actually worth like, Watering that seed to use the same analogy with different examples, with intentional Research, with data. So that by the time you actually want to write about it or publish it, or even start a business around it, you’ve thought about it in many different ways and giving it time to breathe.
Because often, like I said, sometimes I’ll write down ideas. And when I first think of them, I’m like, this is the best business idea. Like I’m going to quit my job and do this. And then like three weeks later, I’m like, actually this is a terrible business idea or Write. So I think it’s important to give these ideas time. And I will almost like almost like, you know, the Dewey decimal system in that library. Like you have certain, you have certain topics that you like set out and then after that you’re filing things under those topics. So that by the time you go back at some point, ideally you have more of like a full library of content that gives you a more full perspective.
Yeah, that’s interesting. I, on the past ideas thing, I think that a lot and someone tweeted this morning, I can’t remember who it was in my like random scroll through Twitter of like, I always think I have great ideas, but then I look back at the past list of domains that I’ve purchased. And I’m like, what was I thinking?
You know, it comes up for renewal and you’re like, I can’t believe I spent $8 on that. That
And we’re, so it’s like digital hoarding as well. Right? Where even if we know it’s a bad idea, we don’t want to let go of the domains. So we’re like, Oh, I guess I’ll pay 30 bucks for this that I know I’m never going to use.
Yeah, for sure. so I’m curious to dive into a little bit of your path to, you know, running trends of The Hustle now, because it’s a job that. Is pretty unique as far as the skill sets that it takes and all of that. And so, I’m curious, you know, where, you mentioned that you grew up in Canada. I, I’m curious a bit of your path to go from, you know, maybe starting out your career to, into The Hustle.
I know I’m like, how far back do you want me to go? But basically I, I did my degree in chemical engineering. I ended up. Going actually into consulting after that, because most people in chemical engineering, you either go work on an oil rig or in a chemical processing plant or something of that nature.
And neither of those really appealed to me. And so I was like, what did I like about science? I liked problem-solving and, that did translate over to consulting. So I was a management consultant for a year or so, but I was living in Toronto, pretty classic like pre remote work story where I was like commuting two hours a day, living in a city.
I didn’t love. Working way too hard. And I only spent like 10 months there before going fully remote. Then I worked for a company called top tower, which is a tech company. I did that for three years, but that’s when I really started getting into marketing and growth. and so I started on the growth team, led their publications team.
And then after that I joined The Hustle and it was pretty random actually, because during my time at. Topsail, I had led their publication scene and I had started to write online on my own as well. And I guess my, my own personal blog had taken off, but I never considered myself a writer. Like I was only writing.
You know, for on my own. And I had somehow found myself into this, like leading this publications team, but that, really was not like what I even saw myself as, but Sam had seen one of my tweets tweeting one of my articles, and he just reached out and he was like, Hey, like basically, you know how direct Sam can be something along the lines of like, Like we need you on trends or like, can I hire you like that?
And it turns out that we actually were in touch for like six months or so really on and off. but the first role didn’t really make sense. And then, before actually when he first reached out trends didn’t exist, but then he reached out to me again and he was like, we’re launching this thing called trends.
And I was just like, Oh my God, this sounds amazing. Right. Where you can just like, follow all your different curiosities and write about businesses. And so I ended up just like, it was also the right time for me to leave my job just going into this. But I had no professional writing background. I, really, I wasn’t like an, an analyst or anything of the sort, I hadn’t built my own business.
So I was kinda like, I don’t know if I can be very good at this, but I, it was really, it was great. I wrote for trends for like eight months. Maybe more, maybe a year almost. And then I ended up leading the product. but I think that’s something Sam’s really good at is just like finding people online who maybe don’t have like the, like pre-recs to say, you know, as you would say for a job, but then just like, you know, Trump was the same way he was, he’s like one of our writers and he, he worked in finance before, but never really written, but he’s worked out well as well.
So, that’s kind of how I ended up there. so it’s been totally, you know, random, I would say it, but, Yeah, I’m really happy that I ended up at The Hustle and trends has been like such a great product to work on because it really does just teach you how to like be analytical and follow your curiosities and then take your curiosities and translate them into something other people might care about.
Yeah, that’s interesting. I didn’t realize that you had a degree in chemical engineering. What’s the, the process, w or what is it like that you think you still use today from that degree? And that you’re using a lot at trends in The Hustle?
Yeah, so I think I actually am so glad I took that degree because I mean, there’s so many other degrees that do this, but it just teaches you a lot of critical thinking and problem solving and just like being analytical right. Where, I don’t know how to size a pump anymore, even though I was taught that at some point, but same thing goes for anyone in, in most college degrees.
Right. You don’t actually remember exactly what you learned, you just learned how to learn. So that was like, I would say the, one of the more significant parts of like, what. I remember. And the other thing is just, I love this concept of thinking like a scientist, which is this, you know, idea where actually nothing is true.
Like nothing in this world is like a zero one true or false. And in fact, we don’t even know this sounds like a little woo, but we don’t know what the truth is. Right. And in fact, the scientist is just trying to be less false over time. Right. And if you actually, cause that’s really what you’re doing, right.
Is like, I love and like, You know, grade seven or whatever chemistry where you learn about someone and their contribution to chemistry. And you’re like, wow, like that’s amazing. And then the next class they come in and they’re actually like, well, actually that’s wrong, right? Because a hundred years later, this guy or girl, you know, found out that, you know, that model was incorrect and this one is the one, and then that keeps happening and you’re like, Oh wow.
Actually like. imagine being that scientist at the time, thinking that they had solved the world. And in fact, like they had made a major contribution because they got us to be less false, but they were not, they didn’t find the truth. And I think that’s really important when you’re like just even engaging online or building things, or being a creator is just to know that like your job is not to like.
Let’s see what’s true or false. It’s just to like contribute to the world and get us to be less false over time. And then also to have an open mind where like anything, you know, today can be proven false in the future. So just like to be a little more open to learning about like what else is out there.
And I think that actually did translate to trans who’s trans is all about like, W what can I predict about the future that like, maybe I would not understand today, right. Or not predict today. And so I do think it leads to you having that scientific mindset. I do think leads to people having more of an open mind cause they’re not locked into like them being right or wrong and more so just like finding what’s a little bit better.
Yeah. Oh, that’s fascinating. I love the idea of, I mean, it sort of goes, it reminds me of strong opinions, loosely held,
Diving into that. I’m curious. Are there things that in, in your career, either at trends that. Were those things. We were like, Oh, this is the way that you grow something. Or this is the, this is what works for Content are all of that.
And then, you know, found, you know, new data and all that, that proved you wrong.
Oh, that’s such a good question. I mean, I’m sh I’m sure of it. I’ve been wrong so many times. I’m not sure if one, like super obvious one comes to mind. but Oh one, this is like a very simple one as a marketer. So when you first come into Marketing, you think that your intuition is going to be right about a lot of things.
So you think that like, if you were to look at a line or a stack of like ad copy, you’d be like, Oh, I think these ones are gonna work. And I think these ones are actually really terrible. And when I first started at Toptal, I was on their growth team. So I was responsible for like running certain ads on certain platforms and things like that.
And. We are, I was just so shocked at how wrong I was. And that was actually like an aha moment, in the first six months or so, where I was like, well, I’ve truly know nothing about like, what’s going to convert. and after that I was able to have a much more like, just test everything mindset, but that is actually, if you haven’t.
Worked in Marketing. I think even if I tell you this, you’re not going to fully internalize it until you experience it yourself, where like you have to test things and then realize how often, and also like the, to the degree that you can be wrong, where you’re like, Oh, these are pretty similar. Like surely they’re going to, perform the same way.
And it’s like, no, just like a button color changed can be like, Step change is better than something else. And so I think that was something that I had to learn, you know, on the job, which I really didn’t have the right mindset for going into it.
Yeah, it makes me think of, we’ve been doing a lot more recruiting at ConvertKit over the last 18 months to two years or so. and I’ve had this thought always that like a short, personal email is what’s going to do the best, you know, like three sentences. It feels like, you know, maybe it was copied and pasted in some way.
Right. But it doesn’t feel like this long thing. And we started testing. So Barrett who’s our COO, he wrote this email that is ridiculously long. I’m like, this is never going to work, you know, and we’re trying to recruit a VP of product and a VP of engineering. And he’s like, all right, well, let’s test the emails, you know?
And so we started sending out both the versions and the ridiculously long email that has like all the information you would ever want in it. You know that, and it’s personalized somewhat, but everyone knows that someone didn’t like sit down and type out a 500 or a thousand word email, you know, about this role to one person.
And it performed wildly better, like night and day difference. So we have like VP of design at like major tech companies is responding and going. Like I’m not interested, but this is a great email, you know?
And so it just like shattered all of my preconceived notions about, you know, like I was even able to say, like, we’re not sending this email.
That’ll never work, you know? And not only does it work, but people aren’t saying like, it’s, you know, it’s a step function above, you know, anything that they’ve received before. And so who knows
Well, actually, I thought the thing that I’m wondering is you have the advantage now of traffic and we have the same thing at ConvertKit of like, we can run all these AB tests because we can get to statistical significance sometimes not as fast as we would, like, especially if it’s a test is a ways down the funnel. what do you do in those cases where you don’t have enough traffic to reach statistical significance or, you know, there’s not quite a clean AB test that you can run.
It’s a good question. I think so one, if you don’t have a lot of traffic, like you are limited to the amount of AB testing you can do, but you can also there’s things like MTurk and you can, you can test things outside of like where you’re actually planning to test them. there are a lot cheaper, but even past that, I think.
When you’re, when you’re early on, like, you don’t need to, optimize as much, like, obviously if you can. Great. But I think early on it’s about like, just getting something that’s pretty good. And then focusing on scaling and then once you’re at the point where you’re at scale, that’s what really, when you’re looking to tweak and like fully optimize.
And so I wouldn’t worry too much about, like, another thing that is worth mentioning is that. There is an extent to which AB testing becomes too much right. Where you’re so focused on like tweaking and not actually focusing on like step changes. So, that’s something just worth calling out, but if you’re there early on what you’re really supposed to be focused on, just like validating the product, right.
And not necessarily, fully tweaking your funnel so that it performs optimally. So that’s, I think an important takeaway if you’re at that stage where you don’t have traffic.
Yeah, that makes sense. Something along those lines that I want to make sure we talked about is differentiation and. Like I’d love as very broad, high level question, but you recently wrote a book on this. And so I I’d love for you to just talk about how you think about differentiating products from each other and just differentiation as a whole.
Yeah. So I think when people create products, especially when they’re online written content products, they forget how important packaging is, right? So they focus so much on what they’re creating and not how it’s different. And we can start by actually talking about. Like physical products, right? When you buy a physical product, you often buy it because it’s cheaper sometimes.
But sometimes because you like love the packaging or because you, you really like what the brand stands for, or it’s so much faster at achieving what you’re trying to actually accomplish or whatever, right. It’s something that you can like clearly articulate and say, this is better because of X versus whatever else exists out there.
And what I find when a lot of people Write info or Content products, is they focus just so much on, like, I’m going to write a newsletter about. Business or tech or fashion or whatever, I’m creating a travel blog or, and it’s like, great. But like we’re at the point where we all know this barrier to entry is so low, that there’s so much supply of Content.
So how the hell are you going to stand out? And what I encourage people to do is to focus on exactly that, that kind of question of like, what is your very, very, very clear differentiator that you could tell. Someone else. And also, so that anyone reading your stuff could also tell someone else, right? Like that’s how you would get word of mouth.
And the way the exercise I encourage people to go through is basically go through your inbox. You can do this with newsletters or other products, but if a newsletter go through your inbox, write down your favorite newsletters or the ones you subscribe to write what you like about them in a sentence.
And then parse that sentence into an adjective. Right. Is it like shorter? Is it more contrarian? Is it more, Weill Research? Is it funnier? Right? Like there’s very clear adjectives that you can normally, label something as, and if you can’t, you know, there are cases where this is not true, but most of the time it’s like, well, they actually don’t have a clear differentiator, and do the same thing with like something that.
You remove from your inbox, right? So something you didn’t like where there’s often a clear reason as well, where it’s like, it just got too long or it became too political or, you know, something that was very clear and tangible, which is why you took that action to either subscribe or unsubscribe. And if you think about it, most of what you’ll find is again, most of the time it’s like, Well, the thing that you write that you like about it, isn’t like, I like that it writes about tech because so many things write about tech.
You like how it writes about tech, right? You like how the person engages with you, how they show up in your inbox. and then the, what you should do is then go back and as you’re either at the stage of designing your own Content product, or if you already done that, go back and make sure you’ve, you’ve revisited the step of identifying what yours is.
And I always like to give the example of Costco, cause this is actually advice. Spans, not just Content products, but I find that’s where it’s forgotten the most, but all products, services, startups, like you need a differentiator. And I always give the example of Costco, which is so good at having just such a clear in their name it’s costs.
They’re cheaper than anything else that exists. And what a lot of people try to do is they’re like, okay, well I want to be funny, but I also want to be like, really well-researched and I really want to be like visual and I want to be like all of these things and it’s like, you can’t be. Everything to everyone.
And so what Costco did is a great case study of where they said, you know, all we care about is having the cheapest items for our customers. And in fact, if you think about the laundry list of things that people might care about with, within like a general retail store, they might care about location.
They might care about. Like ambience or package size or customer service or all of these things, which Costco was like, you know what, actually, we’re going to try it. All of those things off to get like the absolute cheapest goods for our customers. You have huge package sizes. Like you don’t really get customer service.
It looks like a factory because they’re such big superstores are hard to get to. Right. But they trade it all of that off to be like, look, we have the cheapest gas or the cheapest, like. Donuts or whatever you buy from Costco. and so that’s like a lesson where if you want to stand out in a very, very crowded space, which pretty much everything in Content is today, then you really, really need to think through like, whatever your differentiator is.
So again, like how you’re accomplishing something versus what actually you’re building
Oh, that’s so good. And I’m just thinking about the number of conversations I’ve had about newsletters, where people are talking about, you know, quality and consistency and. But really not that much about positioning and differentiation.
Yeah, exactly. And that’s why someone will like spend time with you, right? Again, whether your info product or like a physical product or service, it’s like someone will spend time with you because in their head they might not even be conscious of this, but they. They’re like labeling you. They’re like, I love ConvertKit.
Cause it’s so seamless, right? Or it’s it’s, you know what some other brands it’s like, I love this because it’s so cheap. Right. And, and if you can’t really articulate that again, your customers can’t really even consciously or unconsciously articulate that to themselves. And they’re just going to be way less likely to be, to work with you or read your newsletter or whatever your product is.
Yeah. Yeah. That’s interesting. so as you kind of do that exercise, right, you’re deeply embedded in the newsletter world, maybe what are some of those newsletters that you, you did that exercise with and have an adjective that come to mind? Like you follow this because they are the fill in the blank.
Yeah. So I’ll give you a couple: One of them that I think a lot of people love is James Claire’s 3-2-1, and people, some of the adjectives, like, cause I’ve done this exercise with people, who’ve read the book who are like concise stress-free right. And that’s like, again, some people might have different reactions to the same newsletter, but there’s something about it’s short, right?
Where it’s just, when people see that in their inbox. Like you said some, you have to test all this stuff, but sometimes when you get a huge long newsletter, you’re like overwhelmed. You’re like, I don’t want to open this. Or, but that you don’t get that with his 3-2-1 newsletter. You love it. You know, he says even his tagline is something like “The most, value in the least amount of words,” or something like that.
And so it’s like, you can clearly articulate, like, it may not be everything to everyone, but for the people who really value like, a thoughtful, concise. Piece of work in their inbox every week. Like it services those people and they love it. another one is charter. So Chartr, is chartr.co I think.
And, it talks about business and tech similar to The Hustle, or similar to morning brew. Like there again, dozens, if not hundreds of newsletters that write about business and tech, what Chartr did. And they, I think they only started in 2019 or something in that like in the last year. Year or two, and they’ve just grown like crazy.
And the reason for that is they are just purely visual and so that they do have some texts, but most of it is like these like really snappy, very cool infographics. I personally love Chartr. It’s again, these are the ones where I went through this exercise because they’re in my own inbox where I thought, you know, I do, even with The Hustle sometimes get overwhelmed.
It’s a lot of texts. and it also, you know, as they say like a picture, is worth a thousand words where you look at this and you use the visual nature of it. You understand a topic more often than if it’s just written about, in long form. And so Chartr is, again, it sounds simple, but more visual again, you could also use things like stress-free because I can get through my inbox quicker.
People love The Hustle. The most common reason that we get is that it’s just funnier, right. Or people might say something like more relatable. And where again, it’s no BS, no jargon. It’s like your friend talking to you. Right? So those are a couple of examples of ones that in my inbox and how, or why I continue to engage with them.
Yeah. Oh, I love that. and it’s, it’s given me a lot of thought of that. I’m going to go through and do the exercise with, my own inbox and the newsletters that I write or that I read and then take that even to my own newsletter. Cause I think it’s easy. As a creator to fall into the trap of like, okay, I need to show up consistently.
And then you kind of start to lose track of why you’re showing up consistently, and angle of why people subscribe to was
Exactly and that’s it. That’s what it is, right. An angle. And, and by the way, like none of them are like, Black or white, correct. In the sense that, for example, some of the ones I just mentioned, I really liked that they’re concise, but another newsletter that I love is one called like exponential view.
Right. Which is not super long, but it’s, it’s so interesting. And like, it’s, maybe it’s an adjective I would use as like intriguing or it’s kind of like trends where it’s like, I didn’t know this. Right. And it keeps me like educated. I feel educated when I read it and I feel like.
Ahead of the game in some way. And so, that one does give me a little more like anxiety to open it sometimes. So sometimes I’ll like, you know, save them for like end of the month or something like that. But when I do read it, I feel like I get enough value. So there’s no right or wrong as something being short or long or funny or not, but for your audience, whoever you’re trying to target, and what they need, like having your angle is really important.
Oh, that’s good. the last thing that I wanted to ask you about is. Kind of this balance between, you know, your full time thing with The Hustle and running, running Trends, and then your own content and everything that you’re writing. you know, you mentioned before we started that, or I think over Twitter DMs, you know, that you’re focused much more on The Hustle right now, but I’m curious how you, how you balance those things and how you think about having, a side hustle while you’re, focused on an all consuming product.
Yeah, I mean it, so it definitely depends on the person, what their goals are. But for me, I’ve written about this actually, because I’ve, I’ve been creating my own projects since I left consulting, which was in 20. What year was that? 2016. So for the last five years I, on and off, I’ve been creating my own projects and like doing things like learning to code.
And so what I’ve found is, again, this is not for everyone, but the fact that I get paid for a job that I love actually gives me enough financial freedom to then go and pursue whatever the hell I want on the side. And it just turns out that I like writing. I like. You know, building, tinkering with stuff online.
But I actually think that’s like an underrated thing where a lot of people think like, you know, there’s the like, you know, and for dropout stories where you’re like, I need to drop out to go create like the biggest, biggest businesses in the world. And that’s the only way I’m going to be successful, but I’m actually, like, I get paid to learn from a bunch of other people who are smart.
I get to work on cool projects. And that gives me the financial freedom to do whatever the hell I want on the side. And one of the underrated parts of that is like, Because I don’t need to rely on them for my financial freedom. My projects are not only more fun, but like more authentic, more like I can do whatever I want with them.
There’s no pressure to like turn them around and monetize them overnight. that’s why I could build my blog and my Twitter and all these things without like, we talked about like gating content before how that can really restrict your growth. I don’t need to do any of those things because like, I. I can just like, get my, my financial freedom through my job and then, you know, work on other things on the side.
So, again, it really depends on the person, but I’ve found that to be really great. And then I just pursue my curiosities on the side.
I love that. Well, thanks for coming on. And where should people go to follow everything that you’re doing and dig in more on differentiation and all of the things.
Sure. so yeah, we talked about Trends. You can find Trends at trends.co, or The Hustle at thehustle.co.
And you can find me at, on Twitter is I guess, where I’m most active, which is @stephsmithio, because my personal website is stephsmith.io.
Sounds good. Well, yeah, I’m, I’m excited to dig into more of your work and, and, there’s a bunch of Research things that I’m going to be using in my workflow now going forward. So thanks so much for coming on.
Awesome. Thanks so much for having me.