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"complete with handy guides on how you, too, can get in on the gold" -

How I Built a Profitable “Startup” in 28 Days With a $100 Budget

Written by Glen Allsopp | +1,208 this month
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LAST UPDATED
February 14, 2023

This article has received 23 edits. The last edit was made on February 14th, 2023

– Added confirmation Justin asks for approval before recording spoken podcasts

28 days ago I set myself the challenge of making money from a brand new online business.

Today my four-week challenge is over, and I’m excited to tell you that (in my opinion) the project has been a huge success.

Not only did the “startup” make money (not thousands, but a respectable amount given my constraints), but I also learned a whole new facet of selling online.

This is going to be a very detailed post of exactly what happened, so I’ll share some numbers first.

  • Sales: 5
  • Expenses: $99.75
  • Revenue: $450 (I had to stop selling on day nine so I could actually build the site)
  • Emails Sent: ~250
  • Full days worked: ~16

Time was undoubtedly my biggest expense, which I’ll cover in more detail at the end.

If you’re new to the challenge, you should know that I had the following rules in place:

  • I couldn’t use my name or connections in any way to promote the site
  • I couldn’t spend any money on advertising
  • I wouldn’t work on weekends, so my results were more replicable
  • I couldn’t offer any services based on skills that I already possess

Most challenging was that I vowed to build something that readers of Gaps could replicate without prior online experience.

I recommend setting time aside to read this update in its entirety, rather than just skimming certain sections.

My Original Idea for The Startup (This Isn’t What I Built)

As a podcast owner, I have a strange confession to make: I almost never listen to podcasts.

I’ve probably downloaded 10 podcast episodes in the past 18 months.

I understand how valuable podcasts are to millions of people – they hit record download numbers on iTunes in 2016 – but I rarely listen to them.

I’ll happily listen to an audiobook if I’m driving (there are dozens on my iPhone), but that’s primarily because I know what to expect.

The problem with business and marketing podcasts is that there’s so much ‘noise’ that I don’t know where to start. Each show has dozens or even hundreds of episodes to choose from.

If I could be convinced to become an active podcast listener, it would be because I was sure I was finding the signal, rather than the noise.

This simple “problem” is what I originally planned to tackle with my 28 day challenge.

My aim was to find the absolute best marketing podcasts that other people have published, condense only their very best shows, and then release them under my own brand.

The idea being that you could listen to Pat Flynn interview someone for an hour, or have that interview cut down into the best 10-15 minutes, and get similar value in a shorter period of time.

I believed the project would take off because a) many people are like me and want to save time and b) podcast owners could be introduced to a brand new audience.

There was just one problem: Would podcast owners really allow me to take their content and republish it on my own show?

Would my argument that they could be introduced to a new audience stand up in a cold email from a stranger?

I thought the idea was brilliant (Hello, Ego), but my success hinged on something that was ultimately out of my control.

To give myself a better chance of succeeding, I whipped up a quick landing page from a $12 template on Theme Forest.

I thought the name Recap Cast – suggested by my brother – was the perfect description of what I was planning to create.

I set-up the landing page so people could see this was a legitimate venture if they checked out the website in my email address.

Things were looking bleak when the first few email responses came back looking like this.

And many of them saying something like this.

They weren’t saying No. They just, understandably, wanted to know what I was going to do with their content before they agreed for me to use it.

To my great relief, a lot of people said Yes. Some even came up with a great slogan for the concept.

Being British I’m not familiar with Sportscenter, but I guess our equivalent would be “Match of the Day for Marketing podcasts”.

I loved that.

Without making this post too image heavy, enough podcasters were on board to make the project a success. I’ll explain in a second why I didn’t go ahead and build it.

HUGE thank you to the following people who gave a random stranger a chance.

Even though enough people said yes for me to go ahead and actually make this a real “startup”, I decided not to continue.

There was a lingering feeling in the back of my mind that if I ever released this project – as much as I love the idea of it – you would be disappointed that I focused on the make money / marketing space for the challenge.

With 1,000+ people tweeting about my case study, I felt an added responsibility to do something different.

I began the challenge a few days earlier than planned because I didn’t want the people who agreed (above), to potentially associate it with me and improve my results.

Just 48 hours before officially starting, I had to realign my focus.

The Second Idea for the Startup (I Also Didn’t Build This)

I really like the idea of condensed learning. Taking detailed subjects and converting them into more digestible media.

I’ve already shown it’s a concept which is making some businesses millions of dollars.

I randomly decided that I would take this same condensed podcast idea and target the personal finance industry.

I’ve never had much interest in personal finance (besides the making money part) but figured that if I was successful in the space, people wouldn’t be let down by the industry I had chosen.

Just as I was about to start reaching out to podcasters to see if I could condense their episodes, I came across another podcast doing something different.

Instead of condensing podcast episodes, they were simply reading aloud the best articles on that particular topic.

My first thought was “Damn, this is a much better idea. I can probably get far more content creators on board”.

Instead of asking people if I could edit content they’ve already produced, I could create a new audience for them through audio.

The guys behind Optimal Living Daily have three podcasts following this model which are all doing very well.

I reached out to Justin, the owner of the podcasts, and he said he does ask permission before recording each show.

I now had a new idea, and a new audience to target, but once again decided this was not the startup I wanted to build.

I was already one week into the challenge, but couldn’t picture myself creating content around a topic I didn’t really have much interest in.

The Third and Final Concept That I Absolutely Love (and Hope You Will, Too)

I was still set on the idea of creating a podcast based on reading the web’s best written content, if for nothing else that I could record a lot of shows, quickly.

The problem was that I just didn’t have any interest in the personal finance space.

The question I now had to answer was this: What articles do I love reading, outside of marketing, and would listen to if I had the choice?

While I founded one of the most popular personal development blogs many years ago, I don’t read much self-help content anymore. It tends to get repetitive after a while.

That being said, there was an article I read last year which reignited my interest in the subject.

That article was written by a man named Filipe Matos. Filipe had started a 21 day challenge of waking up a 4:30am each day, and documented the positive impacts it had on his life.

While waking up at 4:30am may not be that extreme to you, it was a challenge for Filipe as, like myself, he runs his own business so can wake up at any hour of his choosing.

I was so interested in this idea that I documented my own 30-day journey of waking up at 5am. 30 minutes later than Filipe, but for an extra nine days.

I absolutely love these kind of ‘life-hack’ articles that I could potentially replicate myself, but where could I find more of them?

DING. DING. DING.

As cliché as it sounds, I had a lightbulb moment.

I decided that I would find the absolute best personal development and personal growth articles from Medium.com – where I found Filipe’s original article – and turn them into spoken audio.

I had to check whether I needed some kind of agreement from Medium before going ahead, but their Terms of Service are pretty clear:

You own the rights to the content you create and post on Medium.

This meant I just needed to contact my favourite authors on the site and see if they would allow me to read their articles.

I would later contact around 50 Medium writers and request to read their content for the podcast. 36 of them replied emphatically, “Yes!”.

If I planned to publish three podcast episodes per week, that’s three months of updates taken care of.

Selling the Invisible: How I Made a $100 Sale in The First 11 Hours

As you can see from the dates in the emails above, the replies were received a few weeks into the case study.

From day one I was determined to generate revenue, even without a website or final strategy in place.

The most obvious way to make money with a podcast is to sell advertising within episodes, so that’s the monetisation angle I focused on.

The problem with selling advertising is that people want to know your download numbers and take a look at the show to make sure it’s relevant to their business.

Since I didn’t even have a website at this point, I also didn’t have download numbers to share.

I figured that I would have much better success selling ads on a podcast that didn’t exist, “I’m going to work hard to promote it”, than one which existed yet had no download numbers to speak of.

This is what I mean by selling the invisible.

I presumed that the only way I could sell sponsorship opportunities on a podcast yet to launch is if my offering was cheap.

The price point I had in mind was $50 for a 30-second mention at the end of a show.

The Email I Sent to 40 Personal Finance Bloggers

At this point I was still focused on building a podcast related to personal development and personal finance. I didn’t have the idea to read Medium articles until week two.

Since I couldn’t spend any money on advertising, the only way I could get in front of people was to email them.

I hoped that by showing I was willing to work hard to promote the show, people would just “throw 50 bucks my way” to support the venture.

I found 40 personal finance / development bloggers and sent them the following email.

Click here for a larger view, though it’s not worth reading.

The text I highlighted in green was really the only selling point I had. “I’ll work hard so you have less chance that you’re setting $50 on fire”.

I personalised the email by writing their name at the start, and mentioned what I think they could promote based on what they had on their site. In the example above, I mentioned the ‘action guides’ Lidiya sells.

Out of the 40 emails I sent, I received just one reply.

39 of the 40 people didn’t even say “No thank you”.

Lidiya was the only person kind enough to give “Austin” a response, and even that was a no.

The more experienced of you reading this are probably thinking “Well duh, no way that was going to work.”

I totally understand (and practice) the concept of giving value up front before asking for anything in return, but I was on such a short deadline that I thought I could go for the kill straight away. That, and the advertising I was selling was pretty cheap.

I was trying to sell based on sympathy, and had just “burned” the 40 email addresses which took a good few hours to collect.

I haven’t missed the irony that I was primarily emailing personal finance bloggers, who constantly write about how to save money and not spend it on things they don’t need.

I wasn’t really sure what to do at this point.

It was only the first day so I definitely wasn’t going to give up, but receiving a single reply from 40 emails was pretty disheartening.

I decided to try and find people already advertising on personal development and personal finance blogs to see if they would be interested in advertising on the show. Sadly, bloggers in these industries typically monetise with affiliate links or Google Adsense.

I only found a handful of advertisers after looking at over 100 sites. That wasn’t going to work.

The $100 Sale

Just as I was about to give up for day one, I received a very positive reply to an email I’d sent just one hour before.

While looking for advertisers I noticed one website had a sponsors page, but the link to one of them was broken.

Read the bottom email first.

I can’t really explain why, but as soon as Travis replied, I had an inkling that he was going to purchase advertising from me.

Even though he didn’t have a clue about who I was or what I was offering, he cared about improving his website (I’ll explain why this is important shortly).

I sent the same pitch from my initial outreach, with a twist.

I showed him how to improve his logo.

Before you shout at the screen saying beginners can’t do this, I was able to recreate the graphic I sent within five minutes of using Canva (free) which I had never used before.

You’ll see the video of that on the next page.

Travis’ original header is on top, with my suggested improvement below.

I simply removed the white box and rewrote the text. This was literally a 30 second job and again, I’ll show how anyone reading this can do the same.

He replied.

It worked!

I’m not joking when I say I ran around my living room shouting.

I know this was only the first day, but I felt so much pressure since I announced the challenge – one month before I actually started it – that I was ecstatic I’d essentially made a sale out of thin air.

When I didn’t follow up for a day or two (since I had no podcast yet) Travis pushed me to send over an invoice, so he was 100% ready to pay. I couldn’t send him my bank / Paypal details, since it would give away my name and the challenge itself.

Thank you Travis!

If you have student loan debt and need advice on paying it off, I haven’t met a nicer guy.

The Next Six Days Were Incredibly Demotivating

I thought I had it figured out.

I was almost writing this final update on day two, thinking I could just write “I’ve found the key to selling ads”.

That key being that you tell people about broken links on their website or something else they can improve, and that’s your “in” to strike up a business deal.

Over the next week I sent personal emails to around 75 more bloggers to let them know about problems with their website, or other things they could improve.

I used the free tool at Broken Link Check.com to quickly find links on sites that didn’t work, like so.

I aimed to genuinely help people, rather than focusing on getting something in return.

Like telling people their sitewide Instagram link wasn’t working…

Or one of their navigation bar links didn’t work…

Or they had a link on their ‘mentions’ page that no longer existed…

For whatever reason, unbeknownst to me at the time, I still couldn’t use this ‘in’ to get people to advertise on the show.

It was so weird. Why had it worked so well when I was emailing Travis, but it just didn’t work when I contacted other people?

I was starting to worry that the $100 offer from Travis would be the only offer I would receive.

It was certainly better than nothing, but I feared it wouldn’t really inspire others to test their online business idea in a similar way.

I even went as far as creating graphics for people for articles they had featured in their sidebar.

That’s the graphic I created for a personal finance blogger named Brian, “Why You Should Start a Blog”, sitting in his right sidebar.

It looked a little better than this – he seemed to mess up the dimensions when adding it – but I made sure it was a very simple thing to create, so if it “worked”, people wouldn’t claim they needed incredible Photoshop skills to replicate what I was doing.

But still, I couldn’t turn that into a $50 advertising sale.

A sale I argued would genuinely help him promote his site.

After Travis’ initial purchase I thought I had it all figured out, but…I didn’t.

The tactic that worked for him, simply didn’t work again.

The Unexpected Realisation I Came Up With

As someone who sells a lot of products and services online, I really wanted to understand why.

Why did my broken link ‘tactic’ work once and then never again? Was I just lucky the first time?

After going through all of the replies I received, I came to a (potentially unpopular) conclusion.

Most bloggers simply aren’t looking to grow their audience.

I know that sounds weird, and it’s weird to type. Surely anyone who has a blog would like more readers?

Honestly, at least in the personal finance niche, I think most bloggers only care about sharing their thoughts and ideas, rather than trying to grow their brand.

Of course, there were other reasons why people wouldn’t commit to advertising on the site:

  • I didn’t have a podcast
  • They had no idea what a sponsorship would ‘look like’
  • They had no way of knowing if their advertisement would actually send them any traffic

But still, I wasn’t asking for thousands of dollars, and in the case of Brian, I had already created a graphic for him which he could have potentially spent $50 on anyway.

I just can’t come up with any other conclusion.

The only thing in common with everyone else who purchased advertising from me was that they’re looking to grow their following and as such, they understand the value of traffic.

I presume that everyone else I contacted – besides the downsides noted in the bullet points above – don’t really care about reaching a bigger audience.

They aren’t making much money from their sites, and as people who preach the value of saving money, didn’t want to open their wallets to potentially reach more people.

Sale #2: $50 and a Lesson in Persistence

I was at day eight at this point, and desperate to land another sale so I could actually start focusing on getting Medium writers on board – I still hadn’t asked them – and start building my website.

Through my research into finding personal finance blogs, I found an incredible resource doing something similar to what I’m doing here at Gaps.

They regularly challenged themselves to make money with online projects over a (typically) 30-day period.

They even sold a program on how to get advertisers for something without having a website, so I presumed they would happily support my mission.

I pitched them saying they could use my first sale (Travis) as a case study for their training, and I believed they would be the perfect advertiser for the show.

Sadly, their response mimicked the disappointing replies I had already received.

Ouch.

I wasn’t giving up just yet. My reputation was slightly on the line with this case study, so I had external motivation to keep going.

I instead emailed a business partner of theirs with the same pitch.

This time I received more than three words in response.

Boom.

Thanks to the awesome Jason Zook, I had my second sale.

As a sidenote, if anyone does connect Jason’s business partner to the “Thanks but no” email above – they collaborated a few years ago – I should make something clear.

When they sent that response they had mentioned in a prior email that they were on vacation, and I later learned their advertising program was created a few years ago.

I haven’t lost respect for them, and totally understand why they weren’t willing to fork over cash to someone they didn’t know.

Sale #3: $200 and a Nigerian Prince

If you haven’t skimmed the post up until now, you’ll know that my original idea was to create a podcast based on condensed versions of popular marketing-focused shows.

At the time I emailed three large marketing companies to see if they would be interested in advertising on the show.

The first email was sent to someone I consider a friend, and chat with on a weekly basis.

I sent him a very personal email (using my pen name, Austin), but he replied saying that sponsoring podcasts hadn’t produced a great ROI for him in the past.

The second email was sent to a very active CEO on Twitter who runs a marketing company you would recognise. They didn’t even reply.

The third and final company I contacted, was Moz.com.

To cut a long story (and image-heavy post) short, they agreed to advertise on the show for $200 in return for reaching at least 500 unique downloads (over as many episodes as it took).

This was actually quite a hard sell, since I had to keep following up to make sure they were interested, but my persistence paid off.

I said in my halfway update that I absolutely hated using a pen name (especially with companies I was already familiar with) so let them know about this challenge before today’s update.

As I didn’t accept any money out of fear it would ruin the case study by revealing I was behind it, I wanted to be upfront about the challenge.

Thanks for being awesome, Moz!

Sale #4: $50 Without Permission

For this next sale I followed the same formula I followed with Travis. I suggested changes to their website which they could improve upon (via video) and then used my “in” to pitch the sponsorship opportunity.

It took a while to get a response from the video, but after a few days they replied.

When reaching out to this person to see if I could share our correspondence for this update, I didn’t get a response.

I’m not entirely sure why, but it could be because they felt “deceived” that I was using a pen name.

I can show you the email I sent to them though.

Once again I was relying on the angle of “I took the time to contact you, I’m going to put in so much work to make this worth your investment”.

I don’t really like how ‘pushy’ I was here – it’s totally not my style – but I still didn’t have a website in place and was really hoping to show a few more sales for this case study.

Here was his reply:

It’s a shame I didn’t get approval to share his site as it’s a great resource.

I’m relieved that after today I no longer have to be “Austin” anymore.

Sale #5: $50 From A Site I Couldn’t Really Help

My final interaction began by telling a successful blogger that I enjoyed their content and simply wanted to say hello.

Keep in mind that I still didn’t have a website at this point.

They were one of the few finance bloggers where I didn’t have much advice to offer. They were already doing a great job with their design and conversion options.

All I could suggest was, “You should put a contact link in your footer and make your link to Twitter clickable.”

I pitched the podcast and what I was hoping to create, as before, and asked for $50 to introduce their brand to a new audience.

As with Travis, I didn’t reply because I didn’t even have a podcast to show them, but they followed up two days later asking if they could still get on board.

Thanks to Steven at Make Wealth Simple.com, I had my fifth and final sale.

If I had more time to focus on outreach and building connections, I think I could have easily pushed past the $1,000 mark.

The common theme with all people who agreed to buy advertising is that they actively looked to grow their brand. I now know the type of bloggers to contact are only those who show initiative to convert visitors into subscribers (for example, if they had an exit pop-up form).

Since I wanted this case study to show the entire process of building a website and generating traffic, I was running out of time and had to stop trying to make money.

Finally, It Was Time to Build the Website

I was way behind schedule at this point, and hoping to make up some ground by building my website quickly.

Unfortunately I had rushed into deciding on a theme to use, which I soon regretted.

Here’s the theme I purchased to showcase my new podcast startup.

At $59, this was the biggest expense (besides time) of the entire challenge.

Not to take anything away from the theme creators – they offer incredible support – there’s just no way that a beginner webmaster could make the changes to this theme that I did.

On paper the original design looked great, but to make it something I could successfully promote, it needed a lot of work.

Here’s their original theme and my customised theme side by side.

Some things were easy to tweak, like removing the ‘about’ sections which weren’t necessary, but some changes were more challenging.

For instance:

  • On mobile, the theme offers no calls to action
  • Sections like ‘Donate’ had image backgrounds (I wasn’t looking for donations) so needed Photoshop / Canva to change
  • The original header is too text-focused without a clear call to action
  • The menu had dozens of links which were a pain to remove
  • Headlines on graphics were incredibly hard to read (middle section) without adding shadow to the text via CSS
  • The original theme was dark and unenticing

Overall, I’m happy with the end result but again: If you’re a beginner, this is not the theme for you.

I spent way longer tweaking the theme than I had initially set aside.

I didn’t have time to pick another design, but if I were to do this again, I would choose a simpler theme and embed audio files using Soundcloud.

Keep in mind that at this point, all sales were made without a podcast or website. Though the theme was tough to work with, it doesn’t excuse the fact that you just need to take action to see results.

I spent more time optimising how things looked on mobile than anything else.

When viewed on a mobile phone, their header was dark and offered no description as to what the site was about.

The menu button also took up an unnecessary amount of space, especially when you want people to download shows or subscribe via iTunes, rather than click on an About or Contact page.

Since more people view websites on mobile these days than desktop, it’s something I had to work on.

Now the name is revealed, allow me to introduce you to Spoken Growth.com.

How to Market a Site Without A Budget

By Monday last week – that’s just 8 days ago – I was finally ready to start promoting Spoken Growth.

Normally I would be fine with things like content creation or site design taking longer than expected, but it’s not ideal when you have just 28 days to do everything.

As such, I had far less time to promote the site than I originally planned.

That’s not an excuse – I think I did quite well promoting the show without a marketing budget – but it’s something I would have liked to spend more time on.

Since I couldn’t spend money on ads, didn’t have time to rank in Google and I couldn’t use any of my existing connections, the only traffic generation tactic I could think to use was personal email outreach.

There was just one problem: I had made introductions with a lot of personal finance bloggers, but now I was going to tell them about a podcast which reads articles from Medium.com.

There would surely be some disconnect as many would be unfamiliar with Medium.

Worried about a possible lack of shares, I decided to create a leaderboard which ranked the most popular personal finance blogs, hoping those who were featured would help promote it.

Here’s what I made.

It was incredibly rushed – literally conceptualized last Monday and finished on the same day – but I thought it would attract interest.

It didn’t break any records on Twitter, but received a few likes and a couple of retweets.

Nothing amazing, but not bad for a Twitter account which had zero followers just 24 hours prior.

You can see from the dates on the tweets how close to the end of the challenge I was able to make this happen. There were quite a few more, but you get the idea.

Here’s the general email I sent when asking for tweets.

The key sentences in the email are:

  • 1. You have to let someone know why you’re emailing them or how you found them. Make it personal.
  • 2. Here’s what I’m hoping to achieve.
  • 3. ‘Taking the edge off’ a cold email from a stranger by trying to potentially build a relationship

If I were to start again from scratch I wouldn’t have created that top ranking page and instead just tried to promote the site as a whole. After all, even personal finance bloggers seemed to really like the idea.

I don’t want to embed all of the tweets, but you can read them here.

The Funniest Part of This Journey for Me…

Was recording the podcast episodes.

As to not potentially reveal that I was personally behind the site, I needed to pull in a favour from someone to record the episodes.

If you’ve ever listened to my podcast before, you’ll know that I have quite a “weird” accent.

I was born and raised in the north-east of England – Newcastle, to be specific – and people from Newcastle, “Geordies”, have a very strong accent. Since we’re close to Scotland, the accent is slightly similar to Scottish.

When I moved to South Africa at 18 I would find myself in business meetings with clients who simply had no idea what I was saying. They would literally ask my boss, “What did he just say?”

Slowly but surely I had to tone down my Geordie accent and speak with a more understandable voice. I’ve had people tell me that I now sound American, South African and even Jamaican.

It was a personal highlight of mine to ask my brother – who works with me full-time and still lives in Newcastle – to record the shows.

This is more personal than useful, but it was hilarious to me to hear him trying to tone down his accent so people could understand what he was saying.

I would send him voice messages in a very strong Geordie accent, making fun of how the podcast introduction would sound.

I think he did a great job (iTunes link).

How I Would Grow the Brand (and Revenue) Going Forward

If you’ve been following this case study from the start then you know that I’m giving Spoken Growth – plus a $1,000 marketing budget – to a reader of Gaps.

In my last update, I picked five potential winners from people who tweeted about this challenge.

Gaps was created to share incredible online business ideas I don’t have time to build myself, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to build a new brand and focus on growing it.

As far as marketing goes, I subscribe to the idea that if you create a great product, marketing (mostly) takes care of itself.

Whoever takes on the site from here should focus on creating great connections with Medium writers, and always be in the minds of people who want to follow a podcast which reads the “best of the best” personal growth articles from the site.

There are only six podcast episodes published on Spoken Growth, but they all received hundreds (or in some cases, thousands) of likes on Medium.

The most common way to earn revenue from a podcast is to accept sponsorships, which should be much easier to attract once there are proven monthly download numbers.

Medium authors generally had no issue at all with me running ads on their audio counterpart.

There is another monetisation angle I would recommend focusing on, and that’s Patreon.

Patreon allows you to support content creators – whether that’s Youtubers, bloggers or podcasters – with a small monthly donation.

Some finance podcasts are doing quite well with this already.

That’s $1,628 in monthly recurring revenue.

You’re not going to replace your job income overnight, but if you build a community of loyal followers, it’s certainly possible.

The Final Numbers

I said from day one that I didn’t expect to blow you away with revenue or traffic numbers. My entire goal with the challenge was to inspire you to take action with your own online ventures.

I’ve been growing online businesses for 11 years and while the tools and tactics I implement have evolved, the general population has not. I meet far too many people who spend more time reading about online success than trying to replicate it for themselves.

I hope your biggest takeaway is not that I made any money or that you like the concept, but that my results are held up by a massive pillar of failure.

I failed to abandon my original idea quickly enough.

I failed when 40 personalised emails resulted in a single reply.

I failed when I made graphics for sidebars and fawned over a broken link check tool, only for people to tell me they still had no interest in sending fifty bucks my way.

I failed to look at the theme I purchased on a mobile phone.

I failed at predicting how long it would take to design the website.

I failed at enticing 99% of people I emailed to advertise on the show.

Yet without people telling me “I’m not interested in buying ads” or “You can’t use my content” or “I’d rather wait until your podcast is live”, I wouldn’t have known to pivot my efforts and find the 1% who were interested in buying ads, who said I could use their content and who trusted me without seeing a site.

If there’s anything I succeeded with, it was persistence.

The quicker you start failing, the quicker you’ll start succeeding.

My I-hope-that-was-inspiring-to-someone rant out of the way, here are my final expenses:

  • Domain name: $10.87 via Namecheap
  • Hosting: $9.88 for the year (also via Namecheap)
  • SSL Certificate: $1.99 (I didn’t end up using this)
  • Recapcast Theme: $12 (I also didn’t end up using this)
  • Zoho for sending emails with my domain: Free
  • Website theme: $59 via ThemeForest
  • Podcast hosting: $20/m via Libsyn (Not a requirement, but I needed the analytics for the case study results)
  • Audacity for podcast editing: Free
  • The intro music for the podcast: Free via Mattesar

Total spend: $99.75.

Time was undoubtedly my biggest expense, but I can’t really put a value on that. I estimate that I spent around 16 days working “full-time” to get results. At 8 hours per day, that’s 108 hours.

While I used Photoshop to create a logo for Travis, I show on the next page how I recreated it for free in five minutes with Canva.

My brother used a microphone to create the shows which was a Blue Yeti USB microphone. It currently retails for $109.99.

If I had stuck with the original idea of simply editing podcasts which already exist, then I wouldn’t have needed a microphone.

You could of course use whatever microphone is built into your laptop or buy something cheaper than the Yeti, but I think it’s a worthy investment.

If you factor the microphone into my total spend, that’s $209.74, which still results in a profit of $240.

For the sale I can’t share I used Camtasia to record my screen and offer website suggestions. I used Camtasia because I already had it installed. However, there are plenty of free screen recorders which do the job.

If you own a Macbook, you can actually use the pre-installed Quicktime application to record your screen for free, which I use on the following page.

I didn’t have as much time to work on promotion as I would like, but I’m happy with these download numbers:

The podcast was listened to 904 times on the site (134 times on iTunes, shown above), bringing total plays to 1,038.

While many plays on the site were only partial downloads, these results aren’t too shabby for just six days of promotion without a marketing budget.

This Is Only Half of the Story…

I know that (beginners especially) would like more detail, so I’ve covered exactly that below.

In the following content you’ll learn:

  • How I set-up my web hosting
  • How I set-up Zoho to send emails from my domain (free)
  • How to edit podcasts with Audacity
  • How to create graphics for free with Canva

And much more.

More importantly I share three incredible gaps in the market where I believe readers of gaps.com could take this idea and dominate with it in other industries.

I didn’t just want to show you a success story, but show other avenues where I believe you could take this concept and build an incredible online brand.

this is what we’re known for

Gaps in the Podcasting Niche

Below this box is the text we’re famous for, but out of respect for you, we do have a disclaimer in place.

We spend dozens of hours preparing these reports and coming up with opportunities you can capitalise on, but we also don’t want to put your life-savings into an idea just because we wrote about it.

For that reason, we have an $8.88 request: Please don’t spend more than that testing out an idea (it’s the cost of a .com on Namecheap) to see if it has legs and makes sense for your business.

We’ve made many successful predictions and even ran our own case study, but we’ve also invested time and money into ideas that didn’t pay off. We’re not directly making money from this report, but still want to be respectful of your own finances.

Let’s dive in…

The names Musk.

Austin Musk.

This is probably going to sound weird, but I had a very specific reason for using that pen name: I believed using the surname of someone successful would help people associate success with my venture.

Hey, I’m a marketer. I like to test things 😉

It certainly helped create the connection…

…but I don’t think it helped the results.

I don’t want to regurgitate the 5,000 word posts around the web of how to set-up a website, so I’ll try to be more direct.

To start with, I used Namecheap for both my hosting and my domain name. You can see the date I purchased the Spoken Growth.com domain in the email below.

It really doesn’t matter if you use Namecheap or Godaddy or Google Domains. I’ve used Namecheap for years and a friend of mine runs their Twitter account, and have had no reason to switch.

Domains also come with free WHOIS protection, so people can’t see your personal address if they look for more info on the name.

Their web hosting is also incredibly cheap. Cheaper than Bluehost, Hostgator or any other big names you may be familiar with.

That works out to less than $2/m for your first year of hosting.

The second year of hosting does jump quite a bit in price, but still works out to be less than $4 per month. If you’re still working on your site in year two, it’s going to be more than paying for itself.

Namecheap hosting gives you access to cPanel which allows you to install software like WordPress (the software I use to power Gaps and Spoken Growth) very quickly. They also take care of things like updating the software for you automatically when newer versions are available.

With their cheapest hosting option, you can host three websites.

If you want to use another host that’s totally fine, just make sure they offer cPanel (which 99% will).

In the future if your site is receiving thousands of visitors per day you may want to move your site to a more powerful server, but when you’re just starting out, a shared host is fine.

Podcast Hosting & Editing

The theme I used for the case study already has their own built-in podcast player.

However, since I needed to be able to show some download numbers for the case study results, I also signed up for Libsyn to host my episodes. Tracking download numbers is their key selling point.

Libsyn starts from as little as $5/m, but when you start uploading more shows, you’re going to need more space. I use the $20/m option for Gaps, and I also used it for Spoken Growth since I wasn’t sure how many episodes I would add.

You can use the RSS feed that Libsyn give you to add your show to iTunes, Stitcher and now the Google Play store.

Libsyn isn’t a requirement, but it does make life easier.

To edit all of my podcast episodes I use Audacity, which is free for Windows, Mac and Linux. You can download it here.

I record podcasts using a USB microphone. Although using a cheap / internal microphone is fine if you’re chatting on Skype or recording your screen for someone, I would definitely recommend upgrading to something better if you’re going to start a podcast.

The Blue Yeti USB microphone available here on Amazon (not an affiliate link) is a popular choice, and it’s what my brother used to record episodes for Spoken Growth.

Video: Using Canva (Free) for the First Time

When I revealed the graphic I made for Travis, I did say you could replicate it yourself without any prior design experience.

I also used an internal microphone and recorded my screen with free software.

If you’re using Windows, there are plenty of other free screen recorders just a Google search away.

Three Incredible Gaps in the Market

I didn’t just want to inspire you with my live case study challenge, but also highlight other opportunities to succeed with this business model.

Deconstructing Success: I Hope Somebody Makes This

Late last year, a friend of mine and very successful business owner started a podcast called Deconstructing Success.

The host, Chris, aims to “connect the dots” with successful people and find out what makes them successful. It’s really good.

There’s just one problem: Chris hasn’t really been consistent in putting out updates.

He hasn’t released a new episode in almost two months. I can understand why – he really studies people before interviewing them – and again, Chris runs a very successful business.

Still, it’s a shame his updates are so infrequent as I love the concept.

I’m not going to recommend anyone copy Chris’ original idea as that isn’t cool (or necessary for success), but I do think a condensed version could be a huge hit.

I would totally listen to a show that had just 5-10 minute episodes on interviewing the world’s most successful people, and asks them quick-fire questions like:

  • How do you spend the first hour of your morning?
  • How many hours do you sleep?
  • How do you stay motivated?
  • Are there any productivity ‘tactics’ you believe in?
  • What’s your biggest daily challenge?
  • How do you deal with stress?

Just simple, to the point questions. Don’t try to make any conclusions with the answers. Just let us, the listeners, come to them ourselves.

We’re always interested in the lives of others whether it’s sports stars, celebrities, politicians or business owners. I would love (and think others would too) a vibrant, to-the-point show on what they think got them there.

Remember, condensed learning is making some companies millions of dollars.

A Growth Hacking / Marketing Hacks Podcast

I decided not to do anything in the marketing space because people might be disappointed it was used in a case study, but that doesn’t mean there’s not an absolutely huge market who would devour this info.

There are already two communities which highlight the best content in the world of marketing advice:

  • Inbound.org
  • Growthhackers.com

Thanks to their user voting system, the content you find at the top of the sites each day is (typically) very good.

You could also visit places like /r/Entrepreneur on Reddit and go back the top content of the past year to see what people are sharing.

Don’t just cover everything to do with marketing, but cool little tricks and (of course) hacks, that people have used to grow their online businesses.

I’ll be your first subscriber, but you’ve got to make sure you pick the right articles to read.

A “Skinny Fat” Podcast

Skinny Fat is a popular name given to men who have a physique which is, well…skinny fat. They’re not overweight, but they’re not ripped either, and have a bit of fat around the belly.

Interest in the topic has been steady for years, so you wouldn’t just be capitalising on some trend which could quickly die out.

Of course, there are already thousands of blogs and forums that people can read to get advice on improving their physique.

But that truth is itself part of the problem: It’s hard to know who to trust and where to start.

If you’re interested in fitness, I think a podcast which took the absolute best articles on the topic of nutrition, fasting, keto diets and more and read them aloud could be a huge hit.

The most important factor, as with the marketing idea, would to ensure you’re reading only the very best articles on the topic.

Nothing average or “good enough”. Only the best content from great sources like Martin Berkhams Lean Gains website and Authority Nutrition.

Remember, This Can Work in Any Niche

The idea of reading aloud the best articles on any topic (with permission) could really work for any topic.

iTunes seem to be gearing up to add a ‘spoken’ section to their podcast store, which could be huge.

The article above says it’s live, by I couldn’t find anything being launched just yet.

The idea for condensing Chris’s podcast is likely because I’ve been a guest on his show (and I think I rambled a little).

The idea for the growth hacking podcast is because it’s something I would listen to.

The idea for the skinny fat podcast is because I used to be skinny fat. I like to think I’m now a lot less skinny, and a little less fat.

Don’t doubt your idea just because I didn’t write about it here. There are still billions of people interested in other topics.

How to Find the Best Content Without Any Tools

There are many premium tools you can use to quickly find the “best” content on any website, such as BuzzSumo or Ahrefs.

I didn’t use either of them when looking for incredible Medium articles to find. Instead, I just performed a simple ‘site:’ search on Google.

Since I needed to have a personal finance related article on Spoken Growth, I used the following search query.

If you’ve already checked out Spoken Growth you’ll recognise that second result is actually an article we read aloud.

You can do this kind of site query (just site:, not adding a word after) for any domain, and Google will return the most important pages on that site.

You’ll probably have to skip a page or two of ‘general’ pages like About and Contact but once articles start appearing they’ll likely be some of the most popular on the site.

Would You Like More Case Studies Like This? Leave a Comment Below…

I rarely open the comments on Gaps, but since this is a special project, I would love to hear your feedback and answer any questions.

Would you like to see me do more case studies like this?

Did I miss something you didn’t quite understand?

Do you need theme suggestions for your own online projects?

I’m happy to answer any and all of your questions below.

If you want to see what I do next at Gaps, make sure you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or via our newsletter.

Clicking the heart button below lets us know what types of success stories and opportunities you would like to see more of. Thank you so much for reading!

We're a small bootstrapped team, trying to share some of the best SEO insights and niche opportunities on the internet. Clicking the heart tells us what you enjoy reading. Social sharing is appreciated (and always noticed). – Glen Allsopp
396 comments
  1. Sowmay says:

    Wow! Great. More than what I expected.

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Sowmay!

  2. Ashley Lloyd says:

    Excellent case study, was really hoping to see the work and effort before having the idea and you delivered. It was great to see an idea/concept which you love doesn’t come straight away and the path which lead you towards the final result isn’t always through data or insights, it can just happen without forcing it.

    The effort you’ve put into this is immense for the short amount of time you’ve had and I can imagine it being difficult to relinquish this project? It would be good if the “winner” of the competition has just as much drive and enjoyment of these life-hack type articles as yourself to see how it progresses over the next couple of months – a year. I personally didn’t enter and glad I didn’t as this isn’t something that would interest me enough to pursue it as a business of my own. It would however be great to see a case study based 6 months on but for now, this has been a thoroughly enjoyable read and a series which deserves a lot of credit.

    Thank you for the time and effort you’ve put into this, it’s certainly inspired me to think more creatively

    1. gaps says:

      Thank you Ashley. Love reading comments like this!

      As you probably know, I originally decided to pick three potential winners for the site, but since it was based on creating a podcast, I upped that to five as I know not all of them would be interested in taking the case study on.

      The project will essentially be out of my hands from now, but definitely hope someone can continue to grow it going forward.

      Thanks again for the comment 🙂

      1. Adam says:

        This is one of the most informative posts I’ve ever read. Congratulations Glen! As a fellow Englishman and Medium.com reader (I do both everyday!), I would poor my heart and persistence into this project if you haven’t found a winner yet

  3. Anand says:

    What a brilliant idea. This was great article and I am sure this would help many of us

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Anand. Glad you liked it!

    2. Zane says:

      Anand, I agree, sir. What I appreciate most is that Adam was terrifically candid with sharing how his “failures” led to refining his project and tuning it to a frequency that returned successful results. I wish everyone reading Gaps much success on their journey. I look forward to reading more of your case studies. Thank you, Adam!

  4. Andrei says:

    It is really amazing idea. Thank you.

    P.S. By clicking on the link “Click here to get instant access to the additional info (nothing to buy and no affiliate links)” which post should be?

    1. gaps says:

      Clicking the link should (hopefully) open a pop-up so you can get more info 🙂
      :

      1. Andrei says:

        Appreciate for time spending and writing this post! it is great!

        Where did you find numbers for your table (Followers and Likes)? How did you make the calculation for Score?

        thanks!

  5. Paul says:

    Awesome Project! Thank you!

    1. gaps says:

      Cheers Paul!

  6. Being a participant in your contest. I was eagerly waiting for this. Love the way you have documented everything. Love the Design <3

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Ashwin!

  7. Chase says:

    Spectacular work! I’d love to comment more, but I’m on a phone and I’m worried it’ll be lost in translation and formating.

    Top notch work here! Just fantastic. As someone that using my podcast to drive business, I loved this case study.

    1. gaps says:

      Much appreciated, Chase 🙂

  8. Andrew Bobcenok says:

    Great! As usual!)

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Andrew!

  9. No Brasil, sem saber falar inglês e aprendendo de um cara que escreve em inglês. Admirável mundo novo. Grato, Glenn por compartilhar essa jornada incrível conosco. Minha cabeça já está fervilhando de idéias.

  10. Diggy says:

    Amazing case study and brilliant write-up as usual!

    Now take a hard-earned break 🙂

  11. Arye says:

    Am I the only one who was hoping for another one of those “Ship your friends/enemies glitter/potato/sh*t/..” success stories? 😉

    Still, a great lesson in persistence. Thanks, Mr. Musk.

  12. Clay says:

    Is it available on soundcloud?

    1. gaps says:

      Not right now, Clay, but I’ll recommend that to the new owner 🙂

  13. Sally says:

    Speaking of broken links… your article has one:
    “Click here to get instant access to the additional info (nothing to buy and no affiliate links). ”
    Click here has a link back to this very page: https://gaps.com/startup-challenge/#

    1. gaps says:

      Do you perhaps have a pop-up blocker installed, Sally?

      1. Adeyemi says:

        I will go with Sally on this one. I’ve no pop-up blocker installed and yet the link is to this same page.

        I love this case study, Glen. You’re indeed a genius.

  14. Yugen says:

    Wow, that was fun to read. The part when you found a broken link and contacted both Travis and physicianonfire taught me something. Thanks a lot for doing this Glen!

    1. gaps says:

      You’re very welcome, Yugen.

      Appreciate the reply!

  15. Andrew says:

    Originally, I was excited about this Case Study for the reason I am excited about any Busniness Opportunity Case Study: to hear the idea, the technical steps taken, technical challenges presented, technical insights taken away, and ultimately – how you can apply it (step by step) in your own way.

    But your journey offered so much more. All of the facets I listed above were there, but this case study’s biggest takeaway for me is what you mentioned in an earlier Facebook post: its most important to try. Each “try”, (and its failures) is a teaching tool along the path to success. Read or listen to something online. Now go try and do it. Did it work perfectly? Awesome!(and baloney). What didn’t work? Apply what you learned and fix it – [like all successful people do].

    Thank you so much Glen for sharing this with us. The technical and business info is really useful. The drive to succeed – while encountering stressful failures – was inspiring.

  16. Kevin H says:

    Awesome work as always Glen, you mentioned that you were super stressed that it might not work. So happy for you that it did!

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Kevin!

  17. Chris says:

    Enjoyed this huge case study. I love how simple some things can be but seem “advanced” on the surface. Love this content and would like to see more like this on Gaps in the future

    1. gaps says:

      Much appreciated, Chris!

  18. Vishal says:

    Excellent case study Glen…
    Proud of you

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Vishal!

  19. malte says:

    This is amazing. If i read about your niche I immediately thought about short spoken articles 😀

    1. gaps says:

      Glad you liked it, Malte!

  20. Jalpesh Rajani says:

    Well, I will start not giving up from now 🙂

    1. gaps says:

      That’s the spirit!

  21. This is the most significant guide to startup hustle I’ve read in a while. Way to go Glen!!

  22. Hanish says:

    Woohoo! I am on the verge of creating some podcasts. This gave me a rough idea on how it can be collaborated and materialized on a better level. TIll now I didn’t had any idea of podcasting. I am looking to establish my personal brand through blogging, podcasting, newsletters and youtube too. I know that’s a lot to do. However, I’m willing to go that extra mile. The content was good enough to have a good show as it is already been read on Medium.

    One thing that puzzles me is Why only Personal Finance?

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Hanish,

      That was only an original idea, and not the niche I stuck with.

      I just wanted to pick something outside of “make money online” for the challenge 🙂

  23. Jim says:

    Great recap, fun to read – as someone who is involved in the pf blogging world, one of the big challenges is the sheer amount of email a lot of bloggers get. It’s pitch after pitch after pitch, so it’s hard to separate the real from the spam and PR blasts.

    A lot of folks also get into pf blogging as a hobby and see the earnings as something they can use personally, rather than something to re-invest in a “business.” So you’ll find that they don’t approach it like a business, which makes selling advertising much harder.

    I hope that adds a little color to that part of your challenge – loved the whole thing though!

    1. gaps says:

      Totally understood, Jim.

      Appreciate the feedback. Glad you liked the updates!

  24. J Kaye says:

    Really interesting to follow a step by step process. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve been racking my brain to find a niche and would have loved this one that you gave away. I used to do voice overs and I love the personal development field so would have been amazing. Hope the person who got this goes for it. Would love to read about more case studies.

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks J!

      Looking forward to seeing how whoever takes over the site progresses.

  25. Jay Qwae says:

    Great and inspirational. My question is, since you didn’t give customers your paypal or bank details, how did you receive payment?

    1. gaps says:

      Hi Jay,

      I didn’t receive payment as it would reveal who I was and potentially skew the results of the case study.

      However, a few examples pushes for invoices / payment updates, without me saying anymore more. Was in a bit of a win / lose situation as to how to continue while under a pen name.

  26. Jeff says:

    Awesome content. I especially like the constraint that you could not not do something that was in your skillset wheelhouse. I have been a longtime silent reader of yours and like your content but this may be the best yet. I especially commend you on pointing out the setbacks you had along the way. Please have the winner of the contest update us on their progress once or twice a year.

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Jeff.

      I’ll definitely share their progress now and the once I’ve chosen a winner.

  27. Mehboob says:

    You always manage to blow us away with the awesome value you share 🙂 thank you for putting in such great efforts and time !

    1. gaps says:

      Much appreciated, Mehboob!

  28. Nesha says:

    Amazing challenge Glen! The hardest part in all of this is believing in yourself. Thanks again for showing us that all it takes is some nerve and perseverance!

    1. gaps says:

      You’re very welcome, Nesha.

      Glad you liked the update!

  29. Xavi says:

    The “Nigerian prince” part got me. Lol. This was a great case study with a lot of value. Now am not afraid to simply reach out.
    How do you come up with online business ideas?

    1. gaps says:

      Generally just through “scratching my own itch” Xavi.

      Trying to solve my own problems.

      Great to hear I inspired you! Thanks for the comment.

  30. Chris says:

    Way cool man. I like how you started out with one idea, changed it up a few times and eventually arrived at an idea you liked and still managed to prove things out. Most folks would have given up after sending out 40 emails and only getting one “No thank you” in response. This just shows the power of adjusting as you go, but not giving up. Nice!

    1. gaps says:

      Glad you found some value here, Chris.

      Appreciate the comment!

  31. I personally like the details of what methods failed, or seemed to fail at certain points. I imagined me doing something of this magnitude, and it reminded me that I need to work on my patience levels and frustration tolerance. I would’ve given up entirely after the 40-email thing, but that’s because (I realize now) I’ve gotten too used to being “defeated” by obstacles.

    This was a great lesson in persistence, and not giving up when methods appear to not have worked. Or becoming too attached to methods that seemed to have worked, but may not work the next time. It’s a great study in flexibility, persistence, and resilience, as well as a great case study. Thank you for doing this!

  32. Jason says:

    Glen,
    Do you mind sharing the copy of the email sent asking permission to share the medium articles? Since you have a knack for knowing how to word things, this would be great swipe copy if any of us decide to pursue this niche of podcast in the future.

    1. gaps says:

      Sure Jason,

      No problem at all.

      Here you go: http://tinyimg.io/i/Owijte6.jpg

  33. Christian says:

    Really nice work and write up Glen. Who would have thought that you could get people to sign up for advertising/sponsorship without as much as a website or live podcast? I love it! I’ve taken away some great ideas from your project that I want to get working on ASAP. Stupid question; what WP plugin did you use to create the table on your Most Popular Finance Blogs page?

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Christian,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      I don’t use any plugin. I just created an HTML table.

      I made some slight modifications for the mobile design based on this guide: https://css-tricks.com/responsive-data-tables/

  34. Sarah says:

    Glen, thank you so much for putting together this case study and sharing it with the rest of us.

    I found it very insightful and helpful.

    Keep rocking! 🙂

    1. gaps says:

      You’re very welcome, Sarah.

      Glad you liked it!

  35. Rueben says:

    Thanks for the great write up. Love your hustle, I feel like a slacker because I have several projects that have been on the back burner for too long.

    1. gaps says:

      Never too late to change, Rueben.

      Appreciate the comment 🙂

  36. Tom says:

    Awesome idea! But I’m confused… why would people want to pay $50 for a 30 second ad when you had no traffic yet?

    1. gaps says:

      Because they believed that it could (potentially) send them more than $50 worth of traffic once the podcast launched.

  37. Rethaas says:

    I was waiting for it and you finally did it ,hats off bro.You are an inspiration for all of us.I can create an android app for gaps.

    1. gaps says:

      Cheers Rethaas,

      Would love to see it 🙂

  38. Love reading gaps, BEST BLOG for me personally ever. No fluff, no secret sales page interwoven through out the blog article, straight up REAL EXPERIENCE and, never kept up with a blog, would always unsubscribe, but here is one I found that I know I WILL BE READING for ever…..lol

    This article taught me one thing I needed, “just take action” and don’t give up – simple, didn’t I know that before? Of course I did, but the reality is, need that reminded, when the feeling to give up is so strong, because of life’s challenges which are around me.

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Michael,

      That means a lot to me. Thank you!

      Best of luck with your online ventures.

  39. Jonathan says:

    Thanks for the write up – especially found the emphasis on persistence to be valuable.

    Also (not trying to sell you anything, but maybe in the future?) – looks like the banner on your “Episodes” page is defaulting to something unintended. http://spokengrowth.com/episodes-page/

    1. gaps says:

      Noted, Jonathan, thanks for the heads up.

      Will fix that before handing the site over.

  40. Abhishek says:

    This is absolutely brilliant! You’ve painstakingly documented your entire thought process from start to finish, covered minute details of how you built the whole thing and then topped it off by reaching out to potential customers (and making a sale!). If nothing else, I’ve learned that there are business ideas all around us; we just need to look closer and realize their potential. I’d love to see more such challenges and, hopefully, be a part of one someday. Great effort.

  41. David Makuyu says:

    Hey Glen
    Interesting direction you took.
    Two things for me…
    1. How long did it take you to customize your theme from the original design? I’m assuming you modified the style css sheets? I’d be interested in knowing the dtep by step process for that particular theme.
    2. Which company did you use for purchasing the SSL certificates?

    1. gaps says:

      Hey David,

      Thanks for the comment.

      A few days. Maybe three or four.

      I used Namecheap for the SSL certificate, but I didn’t end up using it.

  42. Pieter says:

    Great read! Keep up the good work

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Pieter 🙂

  43. Matt Maggio says:

    Wow! Thanks for the inspiration and ideas! Keep up the awesome work!

    1. gaps says:

      Cheers Matt!

  44. Glen you never cease to amaze. This is epic!
    I’m sure this will inspire many others like it’s inspired me.
    I have a feeling that when many people read that you invested 108 hours in unpaid hard work it will scare them off.

    But, the truth is you can’t get anywhere if you aren’t willing to commit, put your head down, roll up your sleeves and prepare to get dirty for a while, because if you keep digging smartly you’ll find gold.

    Thanks so much for sharing this, I’d love to read more case studies like this.
    I’m a new blogger (just launched in January) who’s been reading your sites since I listened to Pat Flynn’s interview of you back on episode #2 when it was first released.

    As a new part-time blogger who’s trying to figure out how to grow his audience I’m inspired by your hustle. I’ve been doing cold email outreach for my posts and it’s slowly bringing in traffic, it’s hard, but so worth it when an influencer replies back to an email with encouraging words and shares it on their social channels.

    Please keep these coming. You have so much knowledge, skills and talent that will help so many people. Plus, you’re an awesome storyteller that keeps us engaged and craving more.

    Cheers,
    Jared

    1. gaps says:

      Thank you so much, Jared!

      Wishing you the best of luck with your blogging ventures.

  45. Stephen Lee says:

    Great case study! When you were sharing about your difficulty finding advertisers and your realization as to why so many people were saying “no” (namely, because they didn’t care about growing traffic), it made me think of a different strategy. What if you had contacted people who were already advertising on personal improvement blogs or podcasts? Then you would know that at least they were willing to make an ad spend. Anyway, thanks for sharing this.

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Stephen,

      Great question.

      In the article I did actually mention that. I realised that most personal finance / development bloggers didn’t actually have advertisers on their site. They were relying on affiliate links of Google Adsense to make money.

      I just couldn’t find many direct advertisers on sites to contact.

  46. Brandon says:

    You just validated an idea I’ve had sitting there for years by ACTUALLY TAKING ACTION instead of doing nothing but wondering. Kudos to you Glen and thanks for the transparency.

    1. gaps says:

      Best of luck to you, Brandon 🙂

  47. Sarah says:

    Really LOVED this case study, Glen! I own a small online blog editing business (www.sarahevelynedits.com) and have relied on personalised emails, often pointing out errors that needed to be remedied, to get clients on board for our free trial. I hope someone perseveres with your idea of contracting and condensing podcasts as I’d definitely listen to that! I get bored by all the in between chatting that doesn’t necessarily apply and like hard-hitting informational podcasts. Looking forward to future case studies of yours!!

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Sarah,

      Really appreciate the support and positivity.

      Wishing you the best of luck with your online ventures.

  48. Ben Feema says:

    What a fantastic piece of work. Your drive and determination is a lesson in itself.

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Ben!

    2. Joe Satterly says:

      I hold the same position as Ben 🙂

      Glen, many thanks for sharing this amazing case study with us! It’s a valuable lesson for all ‘wannabe’ entrepreneurs. Your persistence inspires others to keep trying and to grow from their own mistakes.

  49. Mario says:

    Great ideas and work, brings me puzzle pieces that hopefully form into new ideas. Will read again.

    Keep it up.

    1. gaps says:

      Cheers Mario!

  50. Brad says:

    Great great content. How about the legal/banking aspects? For example, I believe Flynn has everything under a Flynnindustries, LLC. Also, some banks are better than others for small business. Or, for projects of this scale, just keep everything personal?

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Brand,

      Flynndustries is just his company name, not a bank.

      You should start a company and register for taxes if you’re making any kind of money online though 🙂

  51. max peters says:

    Awesome! Great Job man

    1. gaps says:

      Cheers Max!

      1. max peters says:

        I had to get back here and comment again…

        This is really inspiring.

        I was thinking to my self that I needed to change my approach to get clients and that nothing was working out, but seeing your case made me realize… I’m just not trying hard enough.

        I need to get back to work and start actually prospecting.. That’s how things work. Hustle and hustle.

        Thanks a lot guys!

  52. Bev says:

    Hey Glen, love the information you share, inspiring. Never has failing sounded so exciting! Huge thanks and look forward to the next update.

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Bev!

  53. Mike says:

    Great Great case study !! Thanks ! I wonder what’s your next idea like this cause I feel you have a few of them 🙂

    “They regularly challenged themselves to make money with online projects over a (typically) 30-day period.” – can you reveal who they are ?

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Mike,

      Thanks for the comment.

      I just meant bloggers in general. Nobody in specific.

  54. Great job here and a lot of lessons learnt. You almost picked my domain name http://SpokenTwice.com for your pet project.

    The concept about summarised learning and content curation is getting traction as a business model.

    Since I didn’t win the “site”, I will put a twist to the idea or some other gap series you have shared and monetize it in my next project.

    I also like the part of validating the business before “writing the code”.
    Thanks for teaching via example,

    Kudos.

  55. Louie Luc says:

    Phewwww, that was a long, long read, Glenn! But I’m happy to report that I read every single word on your post (I was tweeting stuff from the post as you’ve probably noticed). I had lots of other things to do (and work on) but I decided to read the whole thing even so.

    Great, great idea you had for your online business here.
    It’s so simple but that’s really what makes even greater.

    The main takeaway is what you said above:
    “The quicker you start failing, the quicker you’ll start succeeding.”

    Thanks for this. I must confess that I might be taking one of your not used ideas and make it mine. 🙂

    Keep it up,
    LL

    1. gaps says:

      Haha.

      Feel free, Louie.

      Looking forward to seeing what you create!

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂

    2. Louie Luc says:

      P.S.: Forgot to ask what I’ve been meaning to ask you since I listened to your 30-day Waking Up @ 5am challenge. What do you mean by “designing your website”?

      I mean, I’m originally a web developer and know how design stuff on Photoshop, and designing a website is really it: creating something from scratch in HTML, CSS and that kind of things.

      Did you mean tweaking the WordPress theme or actually editing the code?
      Thanks!

  56. Really fun read! I’ve been waiting for this to drop and you did not disappoint. I also love listening to your brother reading the articles and picturing the struggle with the Geordie accent. Reminded me of the “Burnistoun voice-activated lift” skit. Thanks a lot Glen!

    1. gaps says:

      Hahah.

      Cheers Paul!

  57. Wouter says:

    This is quite amazing, keep ’em coming​!
    Best online success blog by far

  58. Shamim says:

    Whoa! such a long article to consume..

    But trust me Glen, I read it from the first line to last last line and I am surprised to think about your spirit, persistency and ideas one after another.

    They way you kept outreaching even after couple of hard rejection; was unbelievable.

    I now can understand, how much lazy I am in growing my own business.

    Thanks for this case study.

  59. Scott says:

    Really really interesting! I have to do long commutes and often wish some articles I want to read were in audio form (I get travel sick when I read on transport). I’d sometimes thought of doing this just for myself but to see you turn it into a business idea has been an eye opener.

    Are there alternatives to advertising and patreon? Would pushing people to affiliates work do you think?

    Cheers for this!

  60. Shayne Ford (@ShayneFordBooks) says:

    Great. Thank you. Ingenious idea. I guess the biggest hurdle for most beginners (besides the technical stuff), is the hustling part. I can tell you’re comfortable with it, despite having those moments when you felt demotivated. More case studies, please. They teach a lot, and are extremely helpful.

  61. tolis says:

    Incredible work

  62. Fed G says:

    Hi Glen,
    Many thanks for the strategies and useful tests. You get incredible inspiration !
    Even I am a french 46 years old webmarketing beginner, I would like to try it in France.
    Anyway tools and ressources could not be the same, and I need to make further researches.
    Do you have any advise to help on this specific market ?
    Thanks a lot

  63. Mads says:

    Brilliant case study! And I laughed out loud at the thought of you sounding Jamaican (my parents are Jamaican). Kinda want to hear you now.

    1. gaps says:

      Lol. I’ll save you the trouble: I’m 99% sure I don’t sound Jamaican at all 😉

  64. Steve Morris says:

    Glen – great in depth post. And a great idea – love your brother’s voice but then I’m from UK so get the Geordie accent.

    1. gaps says:

      Hahah.

      Will let him know!

  65. Really enjoyed watching this challenge from beginning to end. Now that you’ve revealed the site, I really wish I would have been one of the Chosen 5, as this is something that I’d love to be a part of! (I’m a Clinical Hypnotherapist, with a few ideas about how to reach large swaths of people in the personal development world.)

    Thanks so much for doing this. I hope you choose to do more of them!

    1. gaps says:

      Thank you Michael!

  66. Fiona says:

    An interesting read as always Glen. I think the main thing you showed is that perisistence is key. Most people would have given up after the first few rejections but you kept going and eventually it started to pay off.

    So many people give up at the first sign of hard work, and many don’t appreciate that you have to put a lot into a business (time, money, energy) before you can draw back out in the future. I really think that persistence is what separates entrepreneurs from other people.

  67. Steven Male says:

    Super impressed man. Also, I love the fact that the profit seems totally reasonable and achievable. I’ve seen a lot of ‘case studies’ that made $100,000 in 30 days lol which seems a little too good to be true for the majority.

    On the flipside your advice makes a tonne of sense, your actions can be followed by literally anyone and the results were amazing for the intense time constraints you put on yourself.

    Love your work <3

  68. Awesome read! As one of the bloggers you contacted, it was cool to stumble on this only to realize that one of my tweets was embedded in it. I had started to realize once I saw the name “Austin” and saw the broken link tactic 🙂

    Great challenge – great idea – and great post! Happy to have been a small part of it 🙂

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Chris,

      Just saw your mention of this on Twitter. Thank you for the tweet (and the one for the challenge)

      Appreciate your support!

  69. Kevin Wood says:

    Zoho

    How do you use that?

    1. gaps says:

      They allow you to send emails from your domain for free.

      Apologies I didn’t cover that in more detail. Will update the strategy page now 🙂

      1. Kevin wood says:

        Do you recommend any email tracking apps or services?

  70. Kevin Butler says:

    What was the subject line for some of the email examples. I’m curious how you were getting people to click to even find out what you were selling.

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Kevin,

      Which emails in specific would you like to know the subject lines for?

      Happy to reveal where I can.

      1. Kevin Butler says:

        For all of the emails that ended up in a sale. The emails themselves look solid but wasn’t sure if you had 20 variations of subject lines or if you used the same one for the entire experiment.

  71. Val says:

    Glen! Been following ya for quite sometime and i NEVER comment on blogs. But you took so much time to type up so much content for us, I just want to say I appreciate it. I’ve spent years dabbling in digital content/marketing, and seeing you do it from a true beginner’s perspective was not only awesome, but also reassuring in my own growth of ability since I first started. I’m in the process of launching a new site with a fellow GAPS reader. Would love to send it your way at some point. Either way, just wanted to express gratitude for great content!

    1. Val says:

      Also wanted to mention – there was no follow up on the second page on how you utilize Zoho. Was curious about that as I never realized they had a free tier…

    2. gaps says:

      Thanks Val!

  72. Nev says:

    omg I made it to the end – with some skimming… really Glen I admire your persistence… like you I have many ideas… and validating them quickly is the holy grail… Any other techniques you can share that help shorten the validation process are welcome.

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Nev,

      Not really. Just take action (I say that too much, I know) and see what works.

  73. The ROI on the $50 I didn’t have to spend will probably go down as the best in my business’s history. You were so helpful and willing to give away ideas I was happy to support another entrepreneur even if the effort failed from a dollar standpoint.

    My thought process was very similar to what you wrote about for the sidebar graphic you designed. I would’ve spent $50 anyway coming up with what you gave me, why not put it towards supporting a content creator that was really helpful and possibly get wow’ed when I bought ads on something way cheaper than the future potential I thought he exhibited.

    When you sent me the new title for the site in my head I’m like “wow he just gave me something that could significantly enhance the value of my site. Why wouldn’t I sponsor something he’s trying to do.” Thanks again “Austin”

    1. gaps says:

      Great to have you as part of the case study, Travis!

  74. Debbie Parker says:

    Yes, this is what made it all worthwhile: “The quicker you start failing, the quicker you’ll start succeeding.” Of course do more of these case studies. Hope you will continue your Gaps podcast – I really enjoyed listening. Thanks, Glen.

    1. gaps says:

      Thank you, Debbie!

  75. Dragos says:

    Hi Glen,

    I really appreciate your effort on this challenge. I also saw a guy on Medium that wants to make a start-up every 4 weeks. I don`t know if you were talking about him. For sure I would love to read challenges like this in the future, but maybe in some more interesting domains. I suggest you to make a poll for your readers, maybe? What I think is that if you make it longer than 1 month you might loose your patience and interest in it, but 1 month is very little too. P.S I`m not a big fan of podcats too, but I wanted to see your brother`s accent and you can feel his struggle :)) .

  76. Isaac says:

    Hi Glen ( if that’s your name )

    Nah seriously, I been waiting for this post for over a week I think.

    I really enjoy the approach you took on how you get people to buy the invisible. I would rather take it to a more automated level on the outreach part, using very good saas for auto follow ups.. but we understand the limited system you were trying to run.

    What I do it often with my ventures is a similar MVP like this, but a upper minimun (somewhat, consider that if someone can’t pay $500 for run a simple business, they should get a job, like I did and then with that make more money. I guess like me, hundreds of other thinks same!

    Now, what I would love to see in the future, is the following business model:

    Influencer marketing, for fashion / beauty brands, using automated tools for outreach brands, and using platforms like famebit / tapfluence ( not associated by any means) and then re sell such service to brands looking to tap into bigger audiences, using already existing relationships made by others. (This is often how I buy stuff, my friend recommends xyz)

    That alone is a huge topic for your next post.

    I can collaborate on this project, maybe a ghost business maker?

    Thanks man, for VC and this one

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Isaac,

      Sounds like you’ve really given that some thought. Should definitely go ahead and make it if you’re interested in that niche.

      Appreciate the feedback and suggestions!

  77. Chris says:

    So bad ass, great case study in getting started.

    1. gaps says:

      Cheers, Chris!

  78. Epic! So glad I read this, even though it’s way past my bedtime. I’ve honestly never heard of Gaps before, but now you have converted me into a reader. There’s a few techniques I can apply to my copywriting agency in here, so thanks for those too. Looking forward to the next project!

  79. Paul Gallimore says:

    Hi Glen,

    This was a very interesting read.

    As somebody who had a major flirtation some time back with internet marketing and failed, I was interested to see what your strategy was, given the restraints that you imposed upon yourself. I imagine that just finding the emails contacts and deciding who to contact via Twitter must have been fairly tedious/gruelling on its own.

    I think that there are some things that you mentioned which to you are self evident that would not be for a newbie; such as the design of the website from a marketing perspective, or the ways to go about contacting people and what to reasonably expect from them in reply to your emails.

    These are things that take expertise and confidence. I am not saying that to be negative, but just noting that things like correct taglines, amount of white space on a page, positioning of buttons, etc., etc., all come with study and experience.

    The true value to me of what you have offered here is, as you suggest, seeing the success-to-failure ratio and the willingness to plough ahead regardless. What you demonstrated was entrepreneurial spirit and graft in action. This is something that I know I personally lack. God knows I have tried enough things, but I probably get discouraged too early.

    In fact, I suspect that it’s not the lack of willingness to take action that defeats most people, as many assume. Instead I think that it’s inability to deal with adversity.

    As for what I would personally like to see next. I think it would be another case study without the severe time constraints and with a slightly more realistic budget, say $1000.

    I understand that you wouldn’t want to spend your days doing this, over and over, but I imagine that many of your followers will see you as authentic and honest. This is in contrast to so much other material that is available via courses etc.

    Therefore, when I see what you are doing and how, I find it far easier to believe in than the majority of stuff out there. The internet is after all the spiritual home of BS.

    Anyway, keep up the good work. I think I am right in saying that yours is just about the only email subscription that I am currently responding to. It’s the depth of the articles that do it for me and the insights that you are providing. Thanks.

    1. gaps says:

      Paul.

      Thank you for such a well thought-out and constructive comment.

  80. Aman says:

    This is PURE GOLD, Glen.

    Thanks, would love to start something fun like this.

  81. Mike says:

    Glen,
    Incredible effort in that short time, great job! Super learning experience, too. I may have missed it in all the reading, but I’m fascinated (since I do voiceover as a freelancer) how you got permsission from each blogger to read their content. Was it an individual outreach?
    I think this is a super business model.
    Thanks,
    Mike

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Mike,

      Yeah it’s near the start, I have a screenshot of the Medium acceptances (the Gmail screenshot). Just emailed them one on one.

  82. Cam says:

    As a podcaster with 50,000 downloads per month and 8,000 downloads per episode with no monetization (other than bugger all donations) this has inspired me to give sponsorship another push. Thanks Glen!

    BTW, I’m a long time follower and you once wrote an article on me in the Forex niche on ViperChill… I for one know that there are about 3 links on that page that are broken – because they all go to my old websites that are no longer active… Maybe you can update them to point to my podcast.. haha 😉

    1. gaps says:

      Lol.

      How’s it going, Cam?

      Good to see you over here!

  83. Isaac says:

    What about pay per team? Like for those companies that want talent, as soon as possible, but with less management and investment on their part (for example, fo a research on “natural lenguaje processing) can you imagine placing people on fortune 500? All it takes it find those individuals and match them with companies

  84. Aidan says:

    Fantastic project and even more enjoyable read to follow from start to finish. You really are a great story teller and gripped my attention.

    Keep up the great work!

  85. tig says:

    Good job and nice that you mention Patreon. I don’t believe in the “donate” model that some bloggers and youtubers pull these days but Patreon works more like a magazine subscription. People seem to be more familiar with it and therefore more willing to subscribe. Robert Llewellyn (Kryten, if you’re really from the UK) is getting around 8K monthly from Patreon for his show about electric cars – the final number fluctuates a little. AFAIK all the advantage the subscribers have is that they get the episodes two days early. That’s very nice I think.

    1. gaps says:

      Very cool. I would definitely like to delve into the site more.

      This comment has actually given me a great idea 🙂

  86. Mac says:

    Incredible Glen, way to grind. Your ability to shift gears and find something that works truly inspires me. Keep up the great work and I look forward to the next case study. Oh, and always thanks for the great no BS content.

  87. Truthfully – this challenge is a GREAT example why most people fail to make any money at all online. I’ll bet that less than 1% of people who would try to replicate this could persist like you did throughout all the failures. Just the time spent on email outreach would be enough to discourage almost everybody.

    Nobody said this stuff was easy! Thanks for yet another great case study… One of the few times I’ve ever read every single word of one of your super-long posts. Strange too… cause I have no intention of replicating anything podcast related.

    Would love to see an affiliate marketing with paid traffic case study. This is something I want to learn and have failed at with each attempt so far…

  88. Adi says:

    Do you know what? I was made the this “read article” topic and published on youtube.
    It was same with you reach the original content and even the news site that covered personal growth.
    Thanks to you Glenn make the paths clear for me.

  89. Leonardo says:

    What a wonderful project! Of course, it’d be amazing to see similar case studies. Thanks for so much value, man!

    1. gaps says:

      Cheers man!

  90. I loved your case study. I recently started a podcast Design Your Lifestyle. I found myself really bogged down in the details. You really inspired me to hustle with politeness, set bigger goals, and to help people along the way. I loved that you re-did the gents logo and got a sale. I will be listening to the podcast.
    Cheers!

    1. gaps says:

      Thank you Kimberly!

  91. I enjoyed reading your article, Glen! I liked the fact that your success was the result of 90% failed actions!
    I look forward to new updates.
    – Mary

  92. Peter says:

    Nice work Austin!
    Serious appreciation for taking this challenge on, and the meticulous critique of your own work in the writeup.
    Many (including myself) have learned a lot.

  93. Fred Boulton says:

    Great info. Thanks so much for sharing.
    You have the “dog with a bone”, never let go until you succeed! That is what it really takes to be successful. All the rest is trifling compared to determination.
    Well done!

  94. Victor Lee says:

    Awesome article. I like the fail much but never give up spirit. And you truly demonstrated what Tony Robbins said about resources vs. resourcefulness by limiting spendings. Very much needed in my journey now. Thanks much!

  95. Sudarshan says:

    This is epic and this entire post itself is worth more than the money you made, I have seen many seo blogs where they talk about how to make money but don’t show how they really do it. You have shown how to achieve the first dollars with persistence and hard work. Thank you Glen, you have once again proved that YOU ARE THE KING OF ONLINE MARKETING. All Hail ViperChill 🙂

  96. MIDHUN V M says:

    Hi Glen,
    You are one of the few top leaders in digital marketing I look up to.
    Although I am not interested in projects similar to this case study,
    I got some insights I can use for the rest of my of life.
    Many “gurus” when they launch products, make it look like it is easy to make
    money online.
    Many of them may be scammers, others who hustled to make money,
    in most cases cover up their failures.
    When the newbies try their tactics and meet failure, they quit.
    Because they are not mentally prepared to expect failures and go through it.
    Then they move on to the next “shiny object”.

    I am really happy to see that you failed 99% of the time in this case study, yes Glen,
    I mean it 🙂
    It shows you are not that smart.
    But, you are a warrior, who never gives up.
    That is the key takeaway for me, to never give up.
    By revealing your failures, you passed a lesson on to
    your followers that more than any strategy, tactic or method
    persistence is most needed quality to be a success in
    digital marketing and in life.
    It was really an epiphany for me when I realized
    the only thing which helped you succeed in this case study,
    is your mentally of never giving up
    I am currently trying hard to make money freelancing , with
    web development and copywriting.
    I am failing most of the time, I was losing hope.
    The lessons from your case study changed my mind.
    I feel now if you can succeed, I too can.
    For me now the formula for success is simple:
    Pick one goal>>Persist till success or hustle till
    I am 100% sure that the goal is not worthy or will not work.

  97. Loyal says:

    Appreciate your openness. Love this kind of article. I’m sure lot of people will get benefit from this article. It shows details and more importantly, the mind of you, on how persistence you start and “done is better than perfect”. Well done and once again. thanks

  98. Tom says:

    Epic Glen! Even with all the detail you include, I think the most helpful thing here is you pointing to what didn’t work, and the role of persistence in what you accomplished. Very well done.

  99. Paul says:

    Great write up, very entertaining read. As a fellow northerner living in a foreign country, I feel your pain of being understood – I’m amazed at how different yours and your brother’s accents are now.

  100. I was waiting for this case study SO MUCH. I really am jaw-dropped at the work you did in this short amount of time… with so much of pressure on. And here comes the questions,
    When I was starting out in the blogging/Internet marketing space, I used to spend hours on doing something really simple, and even after that, I used to be mentally stressed and fatigued because I had no clear ‘picture’ in my mind.

    So how do you think a beginner could handle this pressure? As an experienced Internet Marketer, You had the mental clarity of things which a beginner simply cannot have, even with step-by-step tutorials. What do you suggest about this?

  101. Ray says:

    Glen, your ideas, efforts and plain ‘get on with it’ attitude are inspiring.

    Best wishes from England!

    1. gaps says:

      Cheers Ray!

  102. Ashwanth says:

    Hey,
    Is the link on the other page growthhackers.com or is it growthackers.com….?
    By the way congrats on your success and thank you for sharing.

  103. Hi Glen,

    That was a really interesting reading. Haven’t skimmed any word at all (this is what I’m usually doing). And it was really very interesting to see the way you were trying to promote this startup website.

    Honestly this is something that I would probably were doing also 🙂

  104. Nabeel Azeez says:

    This was superb. I got pulled into an emotional rollercoaster. A+ on the hustle. Respect.

    1. gaps says:

      Appreciate it, Nabeel!

  105. This is one of the rare times I read a whole blog post without stopping or taking a break. haha.

    If there’s one takeaway I got it’s this: persistence.

    Awesome post, Glen! Looking forward to more posts like this here on gaps.com 🙂

    1. gaps says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, Miguel.

      Much appreciated 🙂

  106. Great read and thanks for sharing, a whole lot of valuable lessons in there regardless of the business ideas (which are all great).

    I had a LOL when you admitted you don’t listen to podcasts – neither do I, and most people I speak with don’t either – However, if all the articles I want to read but don’t have the time, could be read to me – I would listen to those.

    p.s thanks for stealing my name 🙂

    1. gaps says:

      Great name! 😉

  107. Vivek says:

    Awesome. This proves that We need to take smaller steps and fail often and fast.

  108. Renate says:

    Wow, Glen. I’ve been following you on and off for several years, and this post really hit home. I’m definitely one of those who read and read about starting online ventures, but never do it myself.

    I don’t know why, but I’ve always thought of creating traffic through SEO was an absolute must, and I’ve always thought of it as a hassle and therefore never begun anything. So I really like that you’ve created traffic here in a simpler way to get your site up and running. I guess there really are no excuses, huh? 🙂

    1. gaps says:

      Glad I could help you see things in a new light, Renate.

      Appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  109. Glen, you’re an incredibly talented person. But, what’s more important, you work hard to achieve your goal.

    I’m trying really hard to be this way too. However, I keep developing doubts about myself and take turns off the road. But I don’t give up! I pick myself up, go on working and creating the best content in my niche.

    By setting this challenge you’ve made the best gift to people: you’ve inspired us, inspired me!

    I’m happy enough to be one the five people you’ve chosen. Thank you! A lot of people congratulated me on it. You’re a very non-ordinary person, and a lot of people love you very much!

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks so much, Michael.

      I will be sending you an email tomorrow 🙂

  110. Matt Jackson says:

    This is a great read Glen, also love the brand name “Spoken Growth”, really well done.
    Don’t worry about your NE accent, they’ve allowed it on BBC breakfast now so it’s becoming mainstream!

    1. gaps says:

      Haha, cheers Matt.

      Glad you liked the update!

  111. Great challenge. Fun to be part of it.
    And it is a nice motivator for me to think differently about my blog and see how I can grow it better. The internet is amazing: with less than $500, some creativity and a lot of persistence, you can buil a solid business?
    Hope spoken growth continues., I had a lot of fun listening to it.

  112. Paul Avril says:

    I don’t often read case studies in this much depth, but I found this really interesting and actually read it all…
    Thanks for sharing this, it goes to show that sometimes we start with an idea and if it doesn’t work, not to give up, but the change it and keep trying.
    Brilliant. Thankyou.

    1. gaps says:

      Thank you, Paul!

  113. Mos says:

    Great case study. I think the only long posts like this one I read and think are valuable are from Glenn. Keep up the good work! And by the way, love the accent 🙂

    1. gaps says:

      Haha, thank you Mos 🙂

  114. Eelin Chong says:

    My take from it is that it’s not about the money, but the determination with some creativity and not being afraid to reach out to bloggers (and handling rejections). It’s given me the motivation to press on. Please keep me updated on future case studies. It’s brilliant.

    1. gaps says:

      Thank you Eelin!

  115. Kat says:

    So cool! I would love to read more case studies. It also motivated me to try other things with my own Business which I am struggling with atm.

  116. Christopher says:

    Again an awesome read! Nice inspiration! Congrats on winning the challenge!

  117. Ulises says:

    Truly inspiring for the ones we spend so much time struggling to break through on this “jungle”.
    I know that only takes action and a persistent attitude like yours.
    Thank you!

  118. Vic says:

    Brilliant Work!

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Vic!

  119. Nancy says:

    Must have missed something- why did you need to sell the ads before you created the website? Was it to validate your idea or to earn the money to pay for the theme or???

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Nancy,

      It’s because I believed that if I had a show without any download numbers, people would want me to wait until I had some numbers to share with them.

      Without a website, I could say I could entice people to be part of the “launch”.

  120. Rob says:

    This is a great case study Glen, awesome work. Do you think you need permission from someone to read their posts on a podcast like this?

    1. Justin Malik says:

      I’m happy to give my two cents. I’m 99.9% certain that you need permission. It’s copyrighted by default, even if it’s online, so republishing requires permission. Not getting permission would be like taking a movie script that someone published online and turning it into a movie without asking them.

  121. Will says:

    The one thing I got out of this was “Persistence”….the idea you came up with, using podcasts is clever….i personally never listen to podcasts….but your idea is pretty good….for me it wasn’t so much your success as it was your failures as i am one who believes that failure breeds success….to find success you can’t get around taking a path of failure…when someone sees a successful person and think wow i can do that….they never see the struggles or the let downs or the demotivation that person experienced….i whole heartedly believe that once you get thick skinned to failure…..succes will chase you…..very nice share Glen…no suggestions yet….just watching you for now….

  122. Danny Welsh says:

    I enjoyed reading this. It’s refreshing to see how much trouble you go through to remove the advantages you have from an equation (as much as possible) so the everyday person can see that they could duplicate your results if they tried.

    1. gaps says:

      Thank you Danny!

  123. gabriel says:

    Well done! I enjoyed reading this article!

  124. Jae Burnham says:

    Truly, one of the best case studies that I have ever read. Practical and actionable. It had my mind racing with a bunch of possibilities, and ideas on how to implement some of the strategies on my own sites. Thank you. Jae

  125. joe says:

    Great article from 0 to 1! Hopefully that we can get some cases on how to do the marketing given we have more money to spend to grow it from 1 to 10.

    BTW, you may want to consider the service of Text to Speech from amazon: https://aws.amazon.com/polly/

  126. Justin Malik says:

    Mind blown. I created the Optimal Living Daily podcast network. A friend shared this article with me. To see that my podcast influenced your case study this much is incredibly flattering. By the way, I do get permission from all the authors, on all 4 podcasts. I think it would be unethical to do otherwise (at best) and most likely illegal (at worst).
    I’m just embarrassed that your podcast website is both prettier and functionally smarter, you did a better job with getting Twitter shares, and you monetized faster. Well played. I might have to take the Medium idea for the next podcast in our network.

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Justin,

      Great to see you here. Please thank your friend for me.

      Congratulations for having a great idea, and thanks for the kind words!

  127. Val Heisey says:

    Great article Glen!
    You must be superman!
    Amazing that you game out of the gate with an idea that turned out not to be what you thought but kept trying different things until you stumbled onto the perfect idea instead of throwing in the towel. Bravo!
    I’m working on a new business/website which is a blog with a shopping cart. My question is how do you decide which theme is best for your online business? Obviously you required a theme that supports audio/podcasts, but there are tons of themes for blogs and e-commerce and lots of developers so how do you choose? Is there more to it than what it looks like or ease of navigation? Does developer cred carry a lot of weight? Do you go by reviews?

    Always enjoy reading your gaps and viper chill articles!

    Thanks Glen

  128. yourbru says:

    Ohh god, I can’t read so much content like this. Sorry bru.

  129. Sonia says:

    I’ve read every word of your Startup Challenge posts and can’t get enough. Love all the details, including the failures.
    I don’t know if I’m missing something, but when I go to listen to the podcasts on Spoken Growth, I do not hear any of the sponsored ads you attained. Are they there and I’m just missing them?
    Also, in the spirit of pointing out issues on other people’s websites with no expectation of anything in return ;-), when I click on your “Advertising” link on Spoken Growth there is an empty box at the end of the post, above the contact form that says: “Oops! Something went wrong. This page didn’t load Google Maps correctly.” I see also that across the header it says “Demo”. Is that supposed to be there?

    1. gaps says:

      I didn’t get enough time to make the website 100% how I wanted it Sonia, so there are a few mistakes.

      I didn’t add any ads into the show (since I didn’t accept payment).

      Glad you enjoyed the updates!

  130. Charles says:

    Great post Glen! I recently got into listening to Podcasts. I’m subscribed, currently to 22 Podcasts. The Gaps Podcast is in my top 3. I like your approach. The case studies are great and this experiment was also great. I really appreciate the honesty and transparency. As I read your posts/listen to your podcast creative light bulbs start going off in my head. I find huge inspiration in what you’re doing.

  131. Joe says:

    I really enjoyed the case study, I also like how you detailed your failures, I think we all go through ups and downs, so it’s nice to see that in spite of the obstacles you were able to start a business that generated revenue.

    Do you think doing a 90 day case study allow you to try out different things with bring so time constrained?

  132. Matt says:

    Love this case study!

    Thank you so much for showing us what is possible.

    Would you be able to show us the email you wrote to the authors of each article to get their permission?

    Thanks so much,
    Matt

  133. Paulo Ricci says:

    Hi Gleen, Amazing Article, and Amazing Journey. I´m your fan and also your student in Marketing Inc. Thanks for putting this out! It´s really motivating to see you creating a business from scratch.. see your mistakes and successes on the road. You´re a genius and someone I admire. Sure I want to see more when you recover yourself from this! And theme suggestions for online projects are certainly welcome. Cheers !

  134. Wess Stewart says:

    This is one of the best (and most motivational) case studies I’ve ever seen. Thank you!

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks so much, Wess!

  135. Amit says:

    A down to earth honest post. With many gurus claiming how easy it is to earn money online, newbies like me are misguided. You are making the world a better place.
    Thank you for the post.

  136. Kelvin says:

    Great stuff!

    I read this article more than twice and I’m tempted to do something similar (with some extra tweaks). However , I’m being careful to the next “Shiny Object” as I already have a lot on my plate.

    Great case study. Welldone

    1. gaps says:

      Understood, Kelvin.

      Thanks for the kind words.

  137. Richie says:

    Man oh man that was very insightful and most definitely mind blown with how in depth this has been for you!! Really appreciate the share.

    In regards to the theme used. What do you think would have be a better option now that you know that this wasn’t quite what you were after functionality wise?

  138. Jereme Wong says:

    Hi Glen,
    Thank you for taking time to document down your learnings and thought process. I learnt a great deal from your sharings.
    1. You were trying to be USEFUL to others before pitching the sales.
    2. You wrote your emails in an authentic and personalised way.
    3. You were trying to find the “WHY” it didn’t work at every step of the way before you pivot to the next move. (a newbie may never match that level of wisdom in a short time to figure out what was wrong..)
    Keep up the great work. Enjoying your read every time!
    By the way, I saw you using Facebook sponsored post to boost your article’s reach. I’ll reach out separately on some questions if you don’t mind.
    Thanks again!

  139. Noah says:

    Woah Im late to the game but this really inspired me! I just saw your post on reddit, I wish I could have entered the contest sooner, I’m honestly considering starting trying this on my own.

    1. gaps says:

      Wishing you the best of luck, Noah!

  140. Phillip says:

    Great article Glen. Just opened my eyes to the fact that if you believe you have a great idea put hard work into your outreach and marketing efforts. Even without a website or the product you can still make money. Looking to take some serious actions to promote my site.

  141. kamal says:

    Very inspiring and detailed – finished the whole case study in one sitting . Like some one said in the comments you are a superman . The web needs more people like you to egg them on to do ACTION

  142. Excellent post that’s definitely given me idea’s on promotion and providing value to others. I love how it boils down to an idea where action was taken, and the hustling was simply emailing people and facing rejection.

    It’s incredible you can make money like this with a simple idea and the hustle to carry it out.

  143. Andreea says:

    Exciting! It is refreshing to read something different from affiliate marketing and SEO. Thanks, Glen. Looking forward to more inspirational content.

    1. gaps says:

      Thank you Andreea!

  144. Carlos says:

    Awesome case study, Glen! I couldn’t wait for you to release the final update and you didn’t disappoint. It’s very motivating to see how hard work and persistence makes for most of the actual success in any activity.
    Quick question, what would your monetising plans be if you had had a year to make money?
    Thanks!

    1. gaps says:

      More ads, more Patreon and more importantly…a lot more downloads 🙂

  145. Antigoni says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. For someone like me who wants to start a new business and does not know how is a bible.

  146. Bei says:

    Thanks for a very inspirational post, Glen, probably your best yet, to me. at least! Outreach is my weakness, but your post makes me more determined to make it happen. Keep these case studies coming!

  147. This is mind blowing Glen,
    I’m already bumped up to start something similar, the potential is really huge.

    However, I’ll love to ask you a few questions if you don’t mind:

    1. You haven’t told you who finally won the site, or will there be another post on that?

    2. If you’re starting again, which other theme would you have gone for that will not be as complicated as the one you used?

    3. Assuming you’re someone that doesn’t have a good accent and you don’t have a brother that could record the podcasts, what would you have done? Hire someone? If yes, at what budget?

    4. Is the podcast recorder required to read and record the entire posts, or just a summary? What’s the average length/duration?

    5. Can you also find articles to other niches in medium apart from personal finance?

    Sorry I asked many questions Glen, thanks a lot.

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Theodore,

      1. Not another post, but I’ll get in touch with the potential winners.

      2. Couldn’t pick anything exactly right now, but I would read comments more and see what other struggles people have (and look at the theme on a mobile phone).

      3. In that case I’m not sure I would start a podcast. I didn’t originally set out to record my (or his) voice.

      4. No requirement, Totally up to you and what you decide to build.

      5. Why not, is the question 🙂

  148. Paul Carl says:

    Great work, Glen! The biggest take away here is that to succeed with an online venture you need to be patient, flexible, persistent, and put in the work. It’s all stuff that we all know already but so few people actually do. For any newbies who are just starting off in an online venture, don’t give up and feel like a failure if you aren’t profitable in your first month.

    Your online business (any website you make should be treated as its own business/brand) is a long-term investment and it should be treated as such. You don’t empty out your 401k over a bad year so don’t do that to your business. Glen’s post is a case study, a type of Evergreen content that will ring true for many years to come. Just like an investment, this special post will continue to grow in value (and revenue) for decades just like a special company will. Make your website into a special company and create evergreen content like this post Glen did because your digital creations benefit from time just like an investment with compound interest. Glen is going to be collecting emails ($$$) for years from the hard work he put in to create this.

    The tiny dividends (or losses) that you reap today will be huge tomorrow IF AND ONLY IF you continue to hustle, create good shit, and be patient. Even if your business isn’t perfect (it never will be), a good investment still beats a shitty investment or no investment – just be patient while the compound interest kicks in.

    Godspeed.

    1. gaps says:

      Great comment, Paul!

  149. Ken says:

    Love the article and whole premise behind what you tried to do.

    This proves (to my mind anyway) that failure is not the end but just the beginning of refining the process to find something that actually works.

    Reminds me of a quote from Thomas Edison that I love:

    I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

  150. If I had to sum it all up with one word, it’d be “DAMN!” Seriously amazed by your perseverance and really like your commitment to outreach. A lot of people (me included) find all that very hard, so seeing this entire process you went through truly gives me the courage to put myself out there and try! So thank you! Time to get down to work now.

  151. Vinicius says:

    Nice, Glen!
    Great to see comments enabled on Gaps. I missed commenting on your posts and mainly reading comments, where there is a lot of extra value beyong the article itself.

    It’s amazing to me seeing the email outreach actually working. I’ve started a niche SEO agency project (as recommended by you) but had it stalled for lack of promotion. I’ll use the e-mail outreach to suggest people SEO onsite changes on their websites and see if I can make a sale from there.

    Cheers,
    Vini

  152. Wenzel says:

    As some others mentioned I read the entire article (not at once, but just because I started as I was in a hurry)
    But it was a great read. I’m myself working in the internet business since 2004, but to be honest, I didn’t evolve much since then. I’m still sitting on that “pot of gold” I created back in the days and basically live off it. I tried to create new projects, but most stuff failed or didn’t create enough income to make it worthwhile (I have to say everything below $1000/month is not enough to me)

    But I didn’t want to talk about myself, but just to show where I’m coming from. Reading your article really opened my eyes to the fact that I have to sit down and actually dedicate time to a project – your project is aimed towards beginners and I have all the tools, money and time to make it happen – I just have to be persistent – as you have said in the article.

    I know your site since many years, but never paid that much attention to it as I personally don’t like the “internet marketing” blabla that people usually put out – but this article was seriously awesome – as is a lot of your other stuff – I’m not even sure which article brought me “back” a few weeks ago…(ah it was something from Viperchill – that was the site I meant, I knew since years).

    Bottom line. Thanks for creating this post – project! I’ll let you know if I ever create something meaningful based off this article! I sincerely hope so! 😀

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Wenzel!

  153. Nate says:

    Great case study. I’ve been reading Viperchill for years…since 2011! Went back through my emails and saw that indeed, an “Austin Musk” contacted us on Feb 25th to tell us how much he loved our site and we responded haha.

    Sadly, we didn’t respond to Austin’s request for a tweet of your personal finance blogger list. I didn’t actually see the email myself, but I imagine my partner didn’t get around to sharing because we were busy promoting our own top bloggers list at the time 😉 J$ had also just put together his super comprehensive directory of personal finance bloggers.

    We actually got this message from someone we reached out to about our own list of personal finance bloggers:

    “This is the 3rd notification I’ve gotten today about different ranking systems. See: http://spokengrowth.com/personal-finance/ for another. I saw something about one from RockStar finance on twitter.

    There’s already rankings from Modest Money, Wisebread, and if you go back far enough Fire Finance (http://firefinance.blogspot.com/2007/09/top-100-personal-finance-blogs.html).

    I can’t put my attention on all these ranking systems. ”

    Spokengrowth.com itself is a great idea though, if “Austin” had emailed me this I would have shared it for sure!

  154. Nathan says:

    What did you use to build the table: http://spokengrowth.com/personal-finance/ and did it auto-calculate the score or did you input that manually?

    Also, you said in the extended part of this post that you would explain how to set up Zoho, but I don’t think you did ;).

    1. gaps says:

      All manual, Nathan 🙂

      Just a plan ‘ol HTML table.

  155. Paul says:

    I recently ‘found’ your website via a recommendation and must say I am amazed at the content!
    The case study was incredible, especially for the amount of work and detail you put in ….. and revealed.
    Very refreshing to find such great information without the usual IM hype and cost!
    I was highly amused by your comment about the accent when recording podcasts …. good to see that you have done so well outside of ‘Geordieland’.
    Great stuff… please keep up the good work.
    PS. I’m an ex brummie and proud of it!

  156. Found this via Marie Haynes newsletter today. Way back when I was still Dazzlin, and you were a mere boy in this field, Glen – in August of 2007, I believe – wow that was nearly 10 years ago – you wrote a guest post on my site, which at the time was SEO Scoop. You were brilliant then, and nothing has changed. I haven’t kept up with you much over the last few years as my own life and career moved in different directions, but it’s nice to see you are still as persistent and helpful as ever. Personally, I think this particular venture would end up being a failure in the long run, as both time and potential legal issues might swamp it. But the lessons learned are great, and it shows that success is usually very hard-fought, with TONS of failures between the beginning and the moment it finally works. Thanks for the good read. I expected nothing less than a good read though. You always come through with that.

  157. George says:

    Hi Glen. I wrote a huge comment where I mention what I didn’t like about this challenge and my ideas about future challenges, but I don’t see it anywhere. I guess it was caught by the spam filter, I would really like you to read it, and don’t really care if you publish it. Thanks.

    1. gaps says:

      I read it, but you wrote a huge pitch for your site at the end, so it’s still in pending.

      If I allow pitches like that I’m afraid there would be a lot more. Sorry.

      1. George says:

        Sure, I don’t mind either deleting the pitch (as I recommended in the comment), or not posting it at all. What I would like to know is your thoughts on my comments (if you care to say something about it).

  158. Sap says:

    Amazing man. Just… amazing.

    Thanks for sharing

  159. Carl says:

    This is very inspiring! Yes, I like more case studies like this.

  160. DK says:

    Excellent case study and project Glen. I enjoyed reading each of the posts in this project and the one thing that I learnt is to stay persistent.
    Irrespective of what business model you are following, it necessarily doesn’t happen that you always succeed in the first go. You might have to go on and on and it might be after many attempts that you might taste success. So don’t quit..
    Nice motivation from your post.. Thanks once again..

  161. Steve says:

    I really can’t thank you enough. I am a fan of gaps from day 1 and I’ve been following you.
    I love case studies and that’s what I intend to do on http://www.oasdom.com.
    What inspired me is what you said about persistence and failure : “The quicker you start failing, the quicker you’ll start succeeding”
    I have been putting into use what I learn here and want to do more.

    one request please, I want you to visit my website and please give me tips and heads on on how to improve my audience.

    once again, thanks.

  162. Hanna says:

    Hello Glen, thank you very much for sharing your experience! That’s a rare thing these days to find transparent steps of how to create something from scratch and to motivate those who have diverse skills but fear to apply them. I bet not only this article, but also a podcast (small manual of “how to”) about you, telling how you created this business within a month, (that can potentially generate the numbers you provided, and that can easily sustain a family of 5 in the former Soviet Union countries within a month) would be a success as well!

    Thanks again!

  163. Ajay Malik says:

    Hi Glen,
    Your Case study is awesome and your strategy of making contact with other people is great.
    Making money with a totally new idea always work better.

  164. Andrew Ulrich says:

    Points I liked about this article:
    – Validating of ideas was based on setting up a minimal website for people to learn about the product, then reaching out to potential customers and trying to get them to buy what is essentially an “advanced order”. This allows for exploring ideas based on how well the idea actually sells, but you can run into problems “selling the invisible” where people basically don’t trust you and it’s hard to give them concrete selling points. This approach could potentially also burn bridges when you decide to pivot or otherwise don’t deliver.
    – Pivoting was relatively easy in that there seemed to be minimal investment in the actual product being discarded. Much easier to than trying to pivot after actually having built an MVP of the product.
    – If you want to get someone’s attention, see what you can do for them that’s relatively easy for you but probably less easy for them. Beware that getting their attention isn’t the same as getting their buy-in.
    – I liked how you pointed out the key sentences in your email to Donald. Good demonstration of some good points about how to structure a “cold call” email.
    – There are lots of free tools out there. If I want to do something that others have probably done a million times before, there’s probably a tool for that, and it may be free. This is a point that seems obvious but often only in hindsight.
    This was a freaking long article, but overall I think it was worth reading. Thanks!

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Andrew!

  165. Amul Patel says:

    this really is freeking amazing!

    Please no matter what you do keep throwing up these case studies

  166. GulpX says:

    I am a web developer, doing good with it. But want to create something on own.
    Your posts inspires me.

    Thanks

  167. ANTHONY says:

    Thanks so much, Glen. Please do more of these along with the great ideas about how to utilize various strategies in online business. All the best to you, Cheers.

  168. Vittorio says:

    First time I read something on gaps.com!
    Could not start in a better way: long read but I’m glad I did not skip a single paragraph!
    I especially liked the fact that your shared all the numbers behind the project (both dollars and working hours).
    Thanks!

  169. Grace says:

    Hi Glen,

    Thanks for this case study, I’ve read it from top to bottom of this article. Such a great read on a Saturday afternoon. I really loved the hustle and the effort you put forth. It really shows what one can accomplish if one really wants to make it happen.

    It almost depresses me to read from blogs like yours because I feel I have so much to learn and I’m getting to the “over the hill” side of life. I keep wondering if I’ll ever make that passive income stream I so long for. I try learning everything I can and applying them to my site, but yet my traffic never seems to roll with my efforts, if you know what I mean.

    Anyway, I’ll keep reading as much as I can and take action on my site as I learn. You are definitely a natural at this. You really do amazing things with everything you’ve built over the years.

    To much more success in the future for you!
    Grace

  170. Mark O'Neill says:

    Hi Glen, I read every word of your article and I have to say that it’s truly amazing. Thank you so much for creating such amazing content. Slightly disappointed that I didn’t win because I love personal growth/development and think the idea is simply brilliant ;-). I’m giving away ideas now but I can even see a Spoken brand/franchise coming from this because there are so many themes it can be applied to (and that’s just off the back medium). I’ve not read every comment but I was hoping you could answer the following question for me. I’m fairly new to gaps.com and I was wondering what process/practice/techniques you use for generating ideas? If that’s covered in another article, can you please send/share the link with me. Thanks again Mark

    1. gaps says:

      Hey Mark,

      For generating ideas for Gaps? Or website ideas?

      If you mean website ideas, I just generally try to scratch my own itch. As in this case study, I tried to create something I would love to see already exist.

      Thanks for the kind words!

      1. Mark O'Neill says:

        Hi Glen, I was referring to generating ideas for gaps? How do you find gaps in the first place? Thanks Mark

        1. gaps says:

          Pretty much every single update (and for the next few months) was found in advance of launching the site. We just devoured Crunchbase, ProductHunt, blogs and our own personal experience to see what’s working and then whether they could be copied with another angle or another industry. Just tons and tons of research, basically 🙂

  171. Jeremy Walker says:

    Wow, what an incredibly inspiring and motivating article. I can’t even articulate how much more valuable (and yet how much rare) an “applied theory” article like this is over the far more common “pure theory” articles that most bloggers write. While I’m sure this took a lot more effort, the payoff (for me at least) was huge.

    Kudos to you sir, this article was truly something valuable!

  172. RadioYo says:

    You realize you could have saved yourself $20 and started your start up on $80 if you used RadioYo for your podcast hosting. The URL for all you future podcasters is https://radioyo.fm

    You can use the platform two ways. You can either livestream a show and have multiple guests and callers call in or broadcast upload podcast episodes. How you use the platform is up to you, and either way are free.

    1. gaps says:

      Good luck with the site. I guess I didn’t use it because I’ve never heard of it.

      That, and there’s no clear mention on the site at all that it’s aimed at podcast hosting and analytics. I’m still not sure you offer that?

  173. John Turner says:

    Great case study and inspiring! Sharing with a friend who is trying to start a podcast 🙂 I also picked some outreach techniques for my own biz.

    1. gaps says:

      Awesome! I hope it helps them, John. Thanks for sharing and commenting.

  174. Glen,
    You never cease to amaze me with your creative ideas. I am someone following what you do online since your PluginID days (and being a personal development myself)!

    I loved reading this whole article, especially when you said your reputation was at stake and you were racing against time to get numbers rolling. And experiences like these make lives of digital entrepreneurs interesting and worthwhile. Aren’t they? There no fun without a ‘risk’ element.

    And your idea of condensed version of Medium is just brilliant. Kudos for your success so far in that and of course to the new owner as well.

  175. Andrew says:

    Hi Glen,
    I’ve been using {site:domain.com keyword} for years to get the content I was after – it never occurred to me to try just {site:domain.com} to see what it would do (or that it would return the top pages).

    This episode had a lot of golden nuggets such as this. Thanks again for everything you covered!

  176. Great experience you have right there!

  177. Nadav Reis says:

    I think it is great that you actually read and respond to the comments. It obviously took you a long time to put together the post and to create the entire case study. To also read and respond to comments is tremendous.

    Keep up the good work, Glen!

    1. gaps says:

      You’re forcing me to reply with that comment 😉

      Thanks Nadav!

  178. Kahkig says:

    Wow, after reading the whole article, it feels so familiar the path that both of us undergo. Esspecially all those failures you are facing. Reading this project of yours remind me how far i have gone and to never give up. I glad i dint, although the progress is slow, but im still moving ahead. Thanks for reminding me in some ways. Great Great job you did here bro!!!

  179. Clay Smith says:

    Hi Glen,
    I know it’s not the right question to be made and also the right place, but I don’t care as I know that you are a great guy and gonna help me out!

    I found about viperchill in 2016 and from that time to now I didn’t read any other blog. I finished all the posts that you wrote there.

    I jumped know to gaps and I’m afraid that it is coming over for your articles also here.
    My real question : “Could you please tell me some good material to read whatever it is, blog, ebook or podcast (I love it).
    I know that you also have follow great people.

    To G.A

    My star, My Perfect Silence.
    Mi estrella, mi silencio perfecto.

    1. gaps says:

      On what topic, Clay?

      Honestly, I would worry more about doing than reading.

      Maybe start with Medium.com, do some searches there, and find authors relevant to content you are interested in.

  180. alberto says:

    Exclent, thanks for the information, Great!

  181. Jan Oršula says:

    This post reminds me Bryan Harris from Videofruit. I’d say he had started to write such an incredible and detailed step by step formulas.

    Lot of valuable insights, shared!

  182. Don says:

    Thanks so much for this case study that drips with actionable example and content. It was like speed entrepreneuring. I really got a lot out of it.

    I found you after seeing someone’s tweet that they’d entered your business giveaway contest. I’m really enjoying digging into back posts and episodes.

    A couple of questions if you have time:

    How important do you feel nicheing down and relevance was to this project?

    Also, where did the images come from that you used in your tweets?

    Thanks again for this and all you do to help those behind you forge ahead.

    Don

  183. Helpful, i see the potential i can implement this other ways as well
    Thank you for your experience

  184. Thank you Glen, you always inspire me a lot. You have opened my mind and i now i see things differently on the web.

  185. Justin says:

    Fantastic post. I only came across this post and your site from Bryan Harris’ tweet. Love the case study and can’t wait to see more. I have subscribed to your social media feeds and your newsletter. Love what this site is about!

    Keep up the great work!

  186. Martin says:

    Hi Glen
    Firstly, thank you!! Unbelievable!
    Secondly, for now, I’m interested in what you said to the bloggers to get their buy in? Did you need to tell them that you will be using their blogs to sell advertising on the podcast? When you got their approval, did you ask them if they would help you to promote Spoken Growth through Twitter?
    Sorry if you covered these already, I have read the post a few times now, and could not find more detail.

    Thanks,
    Martin

  187. Paul says:

    Really enjoying Gaps and this article – I must have checked back at least 3/4 times in anticipation of the results being published! I’m one of those lazy people who just needs to get round to the art of doing, but I’m determined after reading this to get some project underway, even if it’s just something to fill my free time.

    Would love to see more articles like this – please keep up the good work, and thank you for the inspiration!

  188. Em says:

    I will come back to this from time to time. Great article and great case study.

  189. Kyle says:

    Thank you for this doing this case study as I got a TON of great info out of it. I didn’t even realize you had a podcast for ‘Gaps’! You just got another listener 🙂

    Thanks again!

    1. gaps says:

      Thanks Kyle!

  190. I read this with the same attention I pay to my favorite netflix shows. That’s a lot.
    Truely awesome, and pretty inspiring.
    Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

    1. gaps says:

      Thank you very much, Andrea!

  191. Josh Hollingsworth says:

    WOW!!!

    What a comprehensive collection of the possibilities out there under one case study. Your approach to this was nothing short of exceptional.

    This is truly inspirational, and your work ethic is second to none. I applaud your efforts to refrain from making any decisions that a newbie webmaster would not consider, that just goes to show us why you are so brilliant.

    I wish I would have found Gaps earlier, but I’m looking forward to going back and reading your archives. Thank you for being so transparent!

    Thank you Glen!

  192. Christophe Van Oost says:

    Hey Glen, thanks for this. I love this kind of details…and I love to read about the process of coming up with an idea….
    Very insightful and useful post.
    I was just wondering if you wanted to share the resource you mentioned that does similar experiments? I would like to check out their page too…
    Thanks again…

    1. gaps says:

      That wouldn’t be fair to them since their email reply wasn’t the nicest 🙂

  193. Thanks Glenn. I have been reading your materials even before I started a blog. I have to say I enjoyed this like many others, even though I had the link to this article in my email for some weeks. I just I was gonna read it sooner or later.

    The only part I didn’t quite enjoy in here is the “Nigerian Prince” tag. Hahaha I am Nigerian for Christ sake, I don’t like the world, especially from a Newcastle man mocking our shaddy people lol. Thanks

    1. gaps says:

      That was in an email sent to me. Not me writing it 🙂

  194. Kyle says:

    Hi Glen! Loved this case study. I have a quick question for the content outreach portion. How did you acquire the authors email addresses (as they are not listed on Medium.com)?

  195. Bryan Christiansen says:

    Awesome article. Was a lot of fun to read 🙂

    I also think a little more detail on the content outreach portion would be helpful.

  196. Buzz Tatom says:

    Glen as always I am amazed at the value you bring to the table. I learn something every time I read you. Value, value, value.

  197. Bright Joe says:

    Hi Glen,
    I’m at your blog from the Neil Patel Summit. I already learned a lot in your session on link building, thanks, mate. Just found another piece of valuable content to increase my knowledge.

  198. Sharjeel says:

    Wow! Man, thank you. This was an awesome read. And yes, persistence is everything.

  199. Nice Carlos!
    some REALLY great info here!

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