July 8, 2020

MFM #90: How a Newsletter Generates $2m With Only 5,000 Subscribers

Shaan and Sam discuss the world of car racks, a super profitable newsletter, and spying employers.

The big business of car racks 🚙

  • Thule: Sells a car rack that costs around $500-$1,000 per rack. Thule does around $600m in sales. This is an example of a massive business hidden in plain sight.
  • 💡 Idea: Car racks reduce fuel efficiency considerably. A company that makes lightweight, fuel-efficient racks that are easy to remove when not needed, to appeal to fuel-conscience consumers.
  • 💡 Idea: DTC car rack. Car racks are a legacy industry with few newly established competitors.

The $2m newsletter 🏎️ 📰

  • The Ferrari Market Letter: A newsletter for Ferrari enthusiasts that does ~$2m with only 5k members. It does this by selling subscriptions and offering classifieds.
  • Hemmings Motor News: A classified site for vintage cars established in 1954.
  • Cars & Bids: Car auction site being built by YouTuber Doug DeMuro. Why you should keep an eye on this company: 1) it’s an example of a company being built using an influencer’s audience 2) it’s a young company being built in front of our eyes.

Ecommerce watch 🛒

Ecommerce is still only 16% of all retail sales — in other words, there is still opportunity for growth in the space. What will ecommerce look like when 50% of sales are being done online?

  • 💰 Opportunity: There are 2 ways of looking at ecommerce opportunities: bringing new things online or selling what’s already being sold. For example, home sales is an example of the former. Companies like Opendoor, Zillow, and Redfin are slowly changing this, but it’s still a tiny market now. An example of an expanding category would be grocery sales. It may be safer and even more lucrative to chase proven ecommerce categories that are growing.
  • Blue Nile: The largest online diamond seller. Does hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. Founded by Mark Vadon who also founded Moosejaw.

Spying employers 💼🕵️

One of the secondary effects of more employees working from home is the need for employers to track employee productivity.

Other nuggets 🏆

  • Leadership in Turbulent Times: A book on what the modern person can learn from leadership in difficult times from leaders like FDR, Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

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