Once a quarter I write an update on our company, The Hustle. A lot of you are founders or want to start a business one day, so I write these so you can learn from our wins and losses. Plus, a lot of people send me emails asking how The Hustle started and how we’re growing, so now I can point them to these updates.
The Hustle daily email
OK. So let’s start with the biggest update: we’ve doubled down on email.
Until recently, we sent two emails a week, each with three stories that included a mixture of news and evergreen stuff. Readers could click off to whatever they wanted to read. These emails took a ton of work to put together.
However, that’s all changed.
Two weeks ago we switched to sending daily emails. And, instead of encouraging readers to click off and read articles on our site, we put all of the content in the email. We explain important business news in a fun way, what each piece means to the reader, and why they should care.
Think of them like your good-looking, no bullsh*t internet friend summarizing the business news over a cup of overpriced coffee. Simple.
So why go so hard on emails?
Because it’s a good-ass product and solves a big need.
We launched The Hustle 7 months ago because we realized something big: the world is full of crap content aimed at young people.
And as we’ve grown our company, we noticed that the problem went deeper than just reading click bait. People spend hours sifting through their news feeds to figure out what’s going on in the world, trying to figure out who’s trustworthy.
We started with a hybrid model: some content (6 stories / week) went to our email subscribers, while other articles went to Facebook. People were confused about where to look. Hell, we were confused about where to post. Which is why we’re now going all in on email.
It’s a better experience for you and better for business, too. Instead of having three or four writers pumping out dozens of articles a week, we now have just one editor and one writer curating the news, while also having a conversation with our audience every single day. Which is awesome.
But what about the badass articles we’re known for?
Don’t worry, we’re still going to create a lot of crazy articles– like spending 14 days on LSD or becoming a Kindle best selling author in one week, and all that other stuff that we’re known for. Those long, in depth articles will still happen. We just won’t be doing as much daily blogging as before. Instead, our longer articles will be like content marketing for our email list.
It’s like what Steve Jobs said to Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike:
“Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”
We were cramming the news emails and original content together. Now we can focus on the good stuff, separately.
How about growth and revenue?
Growth is great. It took us about 6 months until over 100,000 people subscribed. Based off the self-reported numbers from other fast-growing media companies (theSkimm, Thrillist, and a few others), I believe this makes making us one of the fastest-growing newsletters in America.
Now, I’m not a big fan of talking about revenue. I made the mistake of writing about Hustle Con’s revenue one year and I hated it. It made me feel sleazy and I promised myself to never do it again.
However, I’ll reveal that we will do somewhere between $300,000 and $600,000 by the end of our first year, with a healthy profit margin from events and email advertisers. Not a bad start, especially considering the small amount of capital we raised (~$300k).
Oh yeah, and Hustle Con
I’d be a fool for not talking about Hustle Con, our flagship conference happening on May 13th in Oakland.
So far, over 1,000 people have bought tickets and about a dozen sponsors are signed up.
In year 1, we had 300 people show up. The next year was 500. And now it’s looking like about 1,500 people will be there. That’s awesome. But the best part is that Kera, our head of events, has single-handedly done all the planning.
Sounds like everything’s going well, doesn’t it? Eh, not so fast. There have been TONS of set backs. But I’ll tell you about those in upcoming posts. Make sure to like our Facebook page here to see when the posts go live and enter your email here to join our list.
**The photo up top is of our writer Kendall Baker. On the day we launched our daily emails he mistakenly wrote that smoking kills 70,000 people a day in France, when it should have been 70,000 a year.
A note from The Hustle: Every morning at 9am Pacific, we send an email with the top news stories in business and tech. It's kind of like if your friend read the internet all day then told you the important stuff in a fun, easy to understand way. Join the club and impress your coworkers with how smart you are.