Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Luc and I run Ticker Nerd with my close friend and business partner Sam! Ticker Nerd is a monthly subscription service for investors that surfaces and analyzes trending stocks before the hype train arrives. All packaged neatly into our weekly report. We’re currently at $4.5k MRR without spending a single dollar on advertising.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
The business started in October 2020. Sam was sending an overwhelming amount of stock information to me. I really couldn’t keep up and I figured there had to be a more effective way. We had a quick phone call to chat about the problem.
Pick an evergreen niche. Investing may change but it will never disappear.
We thought what if we could apply the model of another tool (Exploding Topics) but to stocks. We decided we could make it happen by finding trending stocks (via social mentions) and then run sentiment analysis on them to figure out what people are saying rather than trawling Reddit, Twitter, etc.
We intended to build an actual tool that tracked social mentions of stocks, sentiment analysis, and other neat data points.
Before we got anything built we needed to make sure people would pay money for it. We immediately put together a landing page. We made various Reddit and Facebook posts. These posts gained traction quickly. Within a week we made over $1,000 in sales, charging $49 for lifetime access. This blew us away since the landing page didn’t have any concrete examples or demos of the product.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
After we made our first $1,000 in revenue and had validated the idea we needed to get the product built. Since we both aren’t programmers we needed to get someone on board who could build the product. We interviewed a bunch of candidates that looked really promising. The only problem was they were expensive and we would have had to give up a decent chunk of equity to make the deal worth it for them.
Luckily, during this process, Sam was trawling through Wall Street Bets and other stock forums. He stumbled across a handful of tools created by members of these communities that did exactly what we were looking for. The best part was they were completely free to use.
We quickly decided there was no point going through with hiring a developer if existing products did what we needed free of charge.
We realized that although these tools had the data we needed they weren’t user-friendly and still needed you to trawl through the junk to find genuinely valuable companies.
From there it became obvious that if we could do the work for our customers. By digging through the data and doing our own due diligence to surface interesting companies. The product would be 10x more valuable.
We put an email together explaining how we were pivoting and why.
Then sent it off to all the customers who paid for early access.
Every reply was positive.
Describe the process of launching the business.
We sat down and brainstormed every organic strategy we could use to get traction as quickly as possible.
The winner: a Product Hunt launch.
A successful Product Hunt launch isn’t easy. You need:
- Someone that has a solid reputation and audience to “hunt” your product (essentially an endorsement).
- An aged Product Hunt account - you can’t post any products if your account is less than a week old.
- To be following relevant Product Hunt members - since they get notified when you launch a new product if they’re following you.
- Relationships with other builders and makers on Product Hunt that also have a solid reputation and following.
Since I’m a premium subscriber of Starter Story I had the chance to book a meeting with the founder Pat Walls. I explained our business and told Pat about our plans for the Product Hunt launch. Pat agreed to “hunt” our product on launch day. That was a huge win.
Over the next few weeks, I worked with Sam on connecting with different founders, indie hackers, and entrepreneurs mainly via Twitter.
We explained to them our plans for the Product Hunt launch and managed to get a small army of people ready to upvote our product on launch day.
We were both nervous on the day of the launch.
We told ourselves to have zero expectations. The worst that could happen was no one signed up and we were in the same position as we’re in now.
Luckily, within a couple of hours, Ticker Nerd was on the homepage of Product Hunt and in the top 10.
The results were instant. After 24 hours we had around 200 people enter their payment details to sign up for our free trial.
These signups were equal to around $5,800 in monthly recurring revenue.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
We still receive organic sales from our early efforts with Product Hunt. We’ve made some high-value Reddit posts and these also seem to bring in new customers.
We’ve offered free memberships to writers at large publications. We believe this will help with exposure and credibility which is super important in the investing space. Essentially we’re trying to exhaust as many organic options before we start running any paid ads.
Our emails also contain a CTA that encourages feedback from the readers. One of the early members told us they want to view these emails in an archive. So we built this feature in a week and our members love it!
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We’re still trying to grow organically. We’ve even included an affiliate program that allows our members to earn 50% commission on new signups (if you’re interested get in touch!).
Our roadmap includes new information-based products and an education component to give our readers even more value.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
There are many different things you learn when starting a business. Every business will also have its own challenges. One particular problem we didn’t account for is failed payments (i.e. people who sign up, continue to receive the service but their cards decline).
Roughly 10% of customers had cards that declined when we charged them. This is an inevitable challenge we will continue to deal with, however, we now have automated workflows to rectify these as fast as possible.
We also have a weekly check-in for 30 minutes to discuss what was done, any blockers, any decisions to be made together, and what’s planned next week. These check-ins have helped us raise issues that would have otherwise lingered and potentially caused larger problems if unresolved.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We first built Ticker Nerd on Carrd (which is awesome), however, we couldn’t integrate a payment processing popup. We also couldn’t include an archive section so we built a new site on Webflow. Carrd is awesome for repetitive testing of ideas (you can quickly build landing pages) although I wouldn’t recommend it for something more integrated.
Our current stack is:
- Webflow - For our website
- Memberstack - Integrated with Stripe and Mailerlite, also gates our content
- Rewardful - To offer affiliate deals
- Zapier - To automate the workflow with 0 code
- Mailerlite - So we can send our emails
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
- Premium Starter Story membership for sure! Pat guided us into what Ticker Nerd is today so we’re very appreciative.
- Trends by the Hustle (the community is by the best I’ve ever been a part of)
- My First Million Podcast
- Naval Ravinkants tweetstorm
- Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarmam (Sam’s favorite)
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
- Pick an evergreen niche. Investing may change but it will never disappear.
- Don’t hire anyone that isn’t an expert in their field. It will just cost you in the long run.
- You never know what’s going to work so run as many tests as you can in a systemized and repeatable way.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We’re not looking to hire anyone specifically. However, we definitely want to partner with awesome Youtubers and Bloggers to grow the brand.
So if you’re a Youtuber or Blogger with an audience that loves investing hit us up!
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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