It was a Thursday evening. I had just returned from a family trip to Warnnambool and was exhausted. I was killing time on Twitter, waiting for bedtime. Suddenly, a tweet from Andrew Kamphey popped up.
Would you mind if I brainstorm some quick ideas for you to put on Gumroad? You probably already have a path you wanna take bootstrapper directory but maybe some gumroad/google sheet products could get you a few bucks to hold you over?via Twitter
I was both excited and terrified. My online profile was a mess. I had been planning on revamping this website, but had chosen to prioritize the websites that had the highest income potential. This made it difficult for anyone to understand exactly what I did.
I quickly pressed publish on my resume page and kindly accepted Andrews offer. He ended up suggesting 7 great ideas.
Idea One: 100 Twitter Templates
Andrew recommended that I copy this idea for my own audience and then sell it on Gumroad.
My first reaction was to reject the idea. I launched a product about how to network on Twitter in 2010 and though the market was over-saturated back then.Behaviour has changed so much – and I don’t necessarily like it. I also struggle with how information is structured in Google Sheets; I very much prefer WYSIWYG editors.
It did get me thinking.
I love nature and follow a lot of ecologists on social media. Years ago, I had considered creating information products and resources for Australian ecologists.It would be incredibly easy to create a template for that audience. I wouldn’t even have to use Google Sheets! I could create a guide about 50 recommended blog posts. I could create an ebook that listed different types of blog content and go into brief descriptions. I could even repurpose content from past products!
There is no guarantee I would earn an income, especially as I have virtually no profile in that niche. I could seed copies with some of my ecologist friends on social media.
My main problem with this is that I don’t want to monetize content targeted at this community. The natural environment is facing enough obstacles as it is. I did plan to turn the domain into an information hub and monetize it via affiliate links, however it is a case of too many ideas and not enough time.
I will be sitting on this idea and revisiting it in the future. In the meantime, I can reach out to ecologist friends and see what types of information would be useful to them.
In 2010, I released an ebook about how to network on Twitter. I’ve chosen not to re-release this ebook as the information is outdated. There is also a lot of existing products about Twitter.
Most of those products overlook the networking/connecting potential of Twitter. I could revisit the idea and create a product titled “50 Ways To Network On Twitter.”
Instead of creating a template, I could create a list of various ideas. It wouldn’t take too long: maybe a week. The problem is that it would take time away from other projects which at this point have a better chance of monetization.
Idea Two: Featured Spot on Bootstrapper Directory.
I tell the stories of interesting indie hackers and bootstrappers at Bootstrapper Directory. Andrew suggested I sell featured spots on the website. He described this as low hanging fruit. He said:
Put up a sales page on Gumroad for a Featured directory spot. Charge $50. Maybe $25 for the first 10. And list all the ways you’ll feature someone.
He also suggested several ways to leverage the paid promotion opportunity.
I agree with the concept and have seen it work with a lot of directories. It does have amazing potential. I don’t believe it is right for this directory.
My focus is on creating something so incredibly useful that people can’t help sharing. That means prioritizing the best people – not putting those who have the money on the top. I’m working to create pages so compelling that people want to check out the products recommended by that person.
It is an idea that may be useful for other projects.
Idea Three: Bootstrapper Lead Generation.
Andrew pointed out that I’d done a lot of profiles.
He recommended that I create a service where help businesses find potential customers. I could charge $50 to help find 10 qualified leads. He said that a $49/ Month SaaS needs to only convert 1 sale based on my recommendations to break even within 60 days. He also suggested turning this into an information product and not a service.
This does seem compelling. The sheer amount of research I do for each profile means I have a lot of background information.
It also seems risky.
I have done this kind of work before when I helped people in the online entrepreneur niche generate word of mouth. This included marketing strategies, such as list posts, and direct outreach. I was very uncomfortable doing this and it triggered my social anxiety.
The goal with my reentry into the online business sphere is to create a business that doesn’t exacerbate my mental health issues. I’ll be avoiding the idea for this reason.
Edit: I’ve created a product!
Andrew sent me some further tips and recommendations about turning the content into a spreadsheet of useful press contacts. I ended up creating Bootstrapper Press Directory. It’s a Google Sheet of opportunities for you to get your business or your product featured, whether it be an interview or a guest post. I’ve careful curated this list so it only contains websites that are receptive to cold pitches. Will be writing more about my experiences creating this product. 🙂
Idea Four: Bootstrapper Lead Gen Monthly
For $50 a month create a premium newsletter where you reveal what bootstrappers need to run their business. What are they asking for? What do they need to do more of? Instead of Biz Ideas, you’re selling Purchase Intent.
This is a great idea – and one that I’m disappointed I’m unable to pursue. I have multiple health issues that limited the amount of time I can put towards projects. This would take a lot of effort at the beginning; something I can’t afford when I’m already super broke. It would be better to put that time towards the directory, especially when I’m *this* close to achieving my curatorial vision.
I could look at doing something like this in the future once I’ve accomplished what I want with other projects. In the meantime, I can collect resources that may help with this.
Idea Five: Create a Paid Newsletter
Andew recommended that I create a paid newsletter. He said that there was no need to write or send “more”. I could provide benefits to paid subscribers such as early access or longer profiles.
I have considered this, but I don’t think I could pull this off. The depth of my profiles are meant to be one of the main attractions to the site. I don’t think the information I’m planning to share is time sensitive. At this point, it seems more logical to stick to the free newsletter format. I’ll stick to affiliate mentions and sponsorships for now.
I did realize that I could use this for other sites! I have a blog called Geelong is Changing, where I have over 1000 posts showing how my hometown is changing. This is a passion project that takes a lot of time for researching. The information just sits there.
Andrew suggested creating a paid newsletter. I could create sections dedicated to news, people and places. I could then create opportunities for paid ads and shoutouts. He recommended Chris Osborne’s article on Profitable Newsletters.
This is an awesome way to monetize Geelong is Changing and wouldn’t necessarily take that much time. I’m not sure about the viability of the idea: Geelong has a township of 200’000 people and I don’t want to go beyond curation. For now, I’m putting this idea at the back of my mind. It’s intriguing but I need to be strict on time. It does have a lot of potential and is something I’ll be mulling over.
Tip: Andrew made this free presentation about monetizing newsletters.
6th Idea: Jade’s Travel Guide
He referenced a recent tweet where I mentioned I can find under-the-radar spots.
I made Influencer’s Guide to Bali based on knowing what questions creators have when traveling to Bali.
He suggested creating super specific mini travel guides in google sheet. He gave 100 Reputable Birding Destinations in Australia and How to Photograph them as an example.
Unfortunately, I had already tried this idea.
I run a nature blog.
I had experimented with creating specific mini guides based on unknown locations based on research I had done… and no-one had visited them. They were too niche. I could have created round up lists but I kinda like these locations flying under the radar. Too much tourism to certain spots can be detrimental on the environment.
He recommended getting super specific about theme rather than location. Two suggestions were:
- Under the Radar Instagram Spots
- Perfect Pinterest Photo Ops in South Australia
This gave me the idea. I curate a lot of pics from IG for inspiration for my local street photography project. Could I monetize that?
I already had:
- a registered domain about photo ideas in Geelong. I’d contemplated creating an app or adsense monetized website.
- Images from Instagram that I had saved as inspiration.
It is definitely a valid idea for photographers. My curation could save time. However, I had a couple of barriers:
- they are not my images. I know any buyers would be paying for my curation and not the photos, but I still feel icky. I know how hard it is to monetize photos.
- How would I curate it? I don’t want to embed the image as that seems unfair. I could create links but that could get messy fast.
- I saved a lot of the images to notion by using an online service to download and then reupload to Notion. I would have to spend a lot of time tracking down the original photo.
It likely would have very small demand – but it does build on a side project I’d already been thinking about. I’m going to put this idea on pause, but I’m very grateful for it.
7th Idea Jade’s OldSchool Pinterest Audit
Andrew referenced my resume page which mentioned I was awesome at Pinterest. He recommended that I adapt the strategy that Glen Allsopp mentioned in his SEO Video Audit post. He said that I should be open that you knew Pinterest a while ago. Call it “old School knowledge.”
It is a solid idea, but one I don’t think would currently work. I previously offered this as a service on Fiverr. Just like any time I’ve offered services, this made me greatly uncomfortable. My recent experiences with a migraine disorder and generalized anxiety caused me to lose what little confidence I had.
I adapt the idea and offer consults to people with blogs. So many people in the bootstrapping and build-in-public niches are missing opportunities when it comes to word of mouth. I could easily give a lot of businesses at least 5 actionable tips and it wouldn’t trigger my anxiety to the same extent.
I could also offer this to Australian ecologists. One thing this Twitter consult has helped me with is identifying that there is so much lost opportunity in that niche. Even better, it wouldn’t take that long to put up a sales page for a consult.
It wouldn’t take much to do a quick redesign of the website and offer free consults to ecologists I’m friends with on Twitter.
I’m very grateful to Andrew for the consult. It was a very kind gesture and one that meant a lot. It did spark a lot of ideas that I hadn’t considered.
At this point, I won’t be pursuing most of them. This broke woman needs to prioritize the business that will earn her money the quickest and help her manage her health issues. I will be doing some quick tests in the ecology niche but otherwise, will continue to focus on building Bootstrapper Directory. I believe that it will really start to gain traction by the end of the month. I’ll be exploring the reasons why in a future blog post.
Unfortunately, Andrews experimented didn’t make me become a fan of Google sheets. However, I’m definitely an advocate of his work and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to others.