How to Make Millions by Writing Online | Sam Parr on Indie Hackers with Courtland Allen

Check out the Indie Hacker Podcast Page & Episode Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Lessons from the subscription business:
    • You can probably charge more than you think. Currently, Sam Parr charges $300 annually but plans to increase it in the near future.
    • He only allows an annual billing plan which helps improve cash flow dramatically  
    • Create a long-form sales page, it may seem outdated but it works. Look at any Amazon product, and they have a long sales page with plenty of images and reviews.
      • “Typically, the more expensive the product the longer the sales page needs to be” – Sam Parr
  • “Just being an okay copywriter is the number one skill that you can ever have if you want to make money” Sam Parr
    • Why? Copywriting means understanding human behavior, people’s wants and needs, and manipulating that to lead to a purchase
      • However, you can also use copywriting to convince an employee to join your company, to get people on social media to get behind your movement, or to get investors
        • “If you understand what motivates people and then you understand how to communicate it using words, it’s like I’m going to a gunfight with like a magic sword that shoots laser beams, it’s an unfair advantage.” 
  • Sam says it’s possible to make $50 million a year with only 4 writers and an email list
  • How would Sam start a newsletter business today?
    • Pick a small but fast-growing niche
    • Identify target customers 
    • Avoid using Substack
    • Charge around $500-1,000 a year
    • Make sure the information he provided is useful
      • “It has to be like a vegetable smothered in peanut butter, in that it can be entertaining and interesting, but at its core, it has to be utility”
        • The information you’re selling should help people make money
    • Spend money on advertising to grow
    • Write viral blog posts for content marketing

Intro

Books Mentioned

Hustle’s Business Models

  • The Hustle makes money in 3 ways:
    • Advertising 
    • Events
    • Paid subscriptions
  • Advertising has been flat since the pandemic and events are out of the picture so Sam has been focusing on subscriptions
    • Sam predicts Trends will be an 8-figure subscription business by the year-end
  • Before launching the subscription arm, Sam talked to other successful content subscription businesses
    • Here’s what he learned:
      • Charge more than you think. Currently, Sam charges $300 a year but plans to increase it in the near future.
      • Only allows an annual billing plan which helps improve cash flow dramatically  
      • Create a long-form sales page, it may seem outdated but it works. Look at any Amazon product, and they have a long sales page with plenty of images and reviews.
        • “Typically, the more expensive the product the longer the sales page needs to be” – Sam Parr
  • One good thing about having a subscription business is that you don’t have to rely on ads or write content that pleases advertisers
    • Since COVID, internet traffic has gone up overall, but fewer companies are buying ads  
      • It’s also harder to monetize new media services with ads since it takes time to build up a large audience

Why You Should Learn Copywriting

  • Why has Sam been so successful?
    • He credits it to a few things: He’s able to create good content, he has a tech-product focus, and he’s an expert on internet marketing and sales
  • In the first month of business, Sam was able to create content that brought a million people to his site
    • Sam has been blogging since 2010 and before that, he was selling products online so he learned how to write sales copy
      • “Just being an okay copywriter is the number one skill that you can ever have if you want to make money” Sam Parr
        • Why? Copywriting means understanding human behavior, people’s wants and needs, and manipulating that to lead to a purchase
          • However, you can also use copywriting to convince an employee to join your company, to get people on social media to get behind your movement, or to get investors
            • “If you understand what motivates people and then you understand how to communicate it using words, it’s like I’m going to a gunfight with like a magic sword that shoots laser beams, it’s an unfair advantage.” 
  • To learn about copywriting, Sam recommends reading Advertising Secrets of the Written Word: The Ultimate Resource on How to Write Powerful Advertising Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters and Mail Order Entrepreneurs by Joseph Sugarman
  • Also, remember AIDA: 
    • Attention: get the customer’s attention
    • Interest: tell people facts to get them interested
    • Desire: share benefits and stories to make them desire your product
    • Action: layout what action you want them to take
      • “That’s the formula for persuasion” – Sam Parr

The Secret to a Profitable Newsletter Business

  • Sam says it’s possible to make $50 million a year with only 4 writers and an email list
    • “I’m not exaggerating, $50 million a year” – Sam Parr
  • How would Sam start a newsletter business today?
    • Pick a small but fast-growing niche
    • Identify target customers 
    • Avoid using Substack
    • Charge around $500-1,000 a year
    • Make sure the information provided is useful
      • “It has to be like a vegetable smothered in peanut butter, in that it can be entertaining and interesting, but at its core, it has to be utility”
        • The information you’re selling should help people make money
    • Spend money on advertising to grow
    • Write viral blog posts for content marketing
  • With your newsletter, you shouldn’t try to attract everyone and cover everything
    • The Hustle’s newsletter isn’t for college students because they can’t usually afford it
      • The company also doesn’t cover at a lot of non-US businesses because they don’t have expertise in that domain
  • Sam advises people with a media company not to ask for $1 or donations
    • If you want to make a money-making enterprise and provide lots of value, you should be comfortable with charging your customers
  • How do you hire good writers?
    • They need to enjoy writing about that topic
    • They need to tell stories compellingly and love learning
    • They need to become an expert about a specific topic quickly

Thoughts on Podcasting

  • Indie Hackers (including the podcast) is owned by Stripe
    • They get about 35,000 downloads per episode
  • The Hustle recently launched their own podcast
    • The podcast gets between 15,000-20,000 downloads per episode
  • Growing a podcast is tough, as it’s driven mainly by word-of-mouth
    • It’s also hard to monetize
Indie Hackers Podcast : , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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