Are we OK?

Are we OK?

This is an archive of the Starter Story newsletter, which is read by 233K people every week.

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99% marketing 1% product

Here’s the hardest pill to swallow for first-time founders: the best product doesn’t win.

What wins? The best branding and marketing.

Proof: These twins created a $240K/year sunglasses brand with just $200.

These guys aren’t selling sunglasses, they’re selling a lifestyle. Anyone could find their supplier and buy the same sunglasses. But it’s their brand that’s killer. Their brand allows them to mark up the products and make a healthy profit.

Some more examples:

We’ve asked 50 founders about their best business growth tactics. Go ahead and copy them.

By the numbers:

Why you should care:

I see this over and over again. In all sorts of businesses. The founders spend 99% of their time on the product, adding features. Or stuck working on the business, working on mundane tasks that should rather be outsourced.

The real winners are the founders who spend 8 hours every day working on the marketing side of their business.


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Other stories worth checking

💸 This guy turned his side hustle into a $1.2M/year business. But it wasn’t an overnight success. He worked on this side project for 7 years before going full time. With a side hustle like this you generate income from the first day. Maybe it won’t scale. Maybe it doesn’t look very glamorous. But it can be the first step of working on your own terms.

Here are some more side hustles that went big: spreadsheet templates ($240K), candle-making supplies ($12M), custom neon signs ($10M).

🥐 This French couple started a 6-figure online bakery. It doesn’t get any ‘Frenchier' than this. They’ve sold over 1 million macarons, with only a team of two. How did they start? They gave out free pastries at Meetup events. 

🧹 This Airbnb cleaning service makes $1.2M/year. With travel returning to normal, Airbnbs are back in high demand. Many owners are too busy to take care of everything, so they contract many of the services they need. Cleaning is a big one, but there are others, like smart locks ($5M/year) and management services ($420K/year).

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Are we OK?

Mental health was something rarely talked about 10 years ago. But now, it’s one of the biggest issues our society faces. 44% of US teenagers say they feel “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness”.

And when our children and teens grow up and become adults, the problem likely will become even bigger.

Across the world, we’re seeing increased awareness, education, spending, and de-stigmatisation of mental health issues.

With this paradigm shift, new business opportunities arise. Online therapy service BetterHelp went from $60M in revenue to $700M in 4 years.

So far, we’ve already seen loads of successful founders in this space, but I predict that there will be many more in the future:

By the numbers:

Why you should care:

Couples therapy, child psychiatrist, we even search for experts to help us with our dog’s behaviour!

These issues are no longer taboo.

Mental health care is now standard in a  competitive employer’s benefits package. (there’s a business opportunity right there)

Something as ‘simple’ as offering therapy online can turn into a huge business.

There are so many untapped opportunities in this space. It is still Day 1. Plus, the feeling of helping people and making the world a better place is extra rewarding.


Thanks for reading!

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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