Hello! My name is Todd Schwartzfarb and I am the founder of Sweepstakes Fanatics.
Sweepstakes Fanatics is a website that lists free sweepstakes and giveaways from high-quality, trusted brands.
We source, organize and categorize various sweepstakes from around the web in one convenient place for our users.
Since its founding in 2012, Sweepstakes Fanatics has listed tens of thousands of giveaways and has helped thousands of people win great prizes. Prizes people have won on the website include cash, gift cards, computers, trips, and much more! You can view the latest prizes people have won on our winners page here.
I consider myself lucky to have a job that involves helping people. I often hear from my users that SweepstakesFanatics is a source of fun, entertainment, and community for them. It’s a great feeling when a visitor writes to tell me about a prize they won and how happy it has made them.
What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
I started working in internet marketing after graduating from college.
Don’t let fear of failure get in your way.
One aspect of the work involved creating sweepstakes as tools to engage consumers.
I enjoyed the work and found sweepstakes to be very interesting - a win-win for both consumers and the businesses that ran them.
At around the same time, I developed an interest in coding and taught myself the basics of PHP, HTML, and CSS.
I enjoyed being able to build things out of code.
Over the next few years, I began to learn about WordPress which furthered my interest in using code to build things.
In 2011, I attended WordCamp in Miami, FL where I met various WordPress experts, bloggers, and entrepreneurs.
I was inspired by their entrepreneurial stories and successes using WordPress.
I decided to combine my personal and professional interest in sweepstakes with WordPress.
In 2012, with an article about sweepstakes being run at the time by Macy’s, I published my first blog post and officially launched my website.
Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?
I was able to launch and run SweepstakesFanatics pretty economically from the start.
The two things needed to run a WordPress website are WordPress itself and a basic hosting account.
Luckily for me, not only is WordPress free, but I was able to get free hosting - normally a paid service - thanks to a promotion at the Miami WordCamp I attended.
I did spend money on two things:
One, I bought a professional WordPress theme for $50 although there were plenty of free themes I could have easily gone with.
Two, I hired a WordPress expert to help me make some additional theme customizations.
Then I applied for and was accepted into Google’s Adsense program - a program that helps websites monetize their traffic with ads.
After that, I began to publish sweepstakes content every day.
I published about 15-20 new sweepstakes every weekday (something I continue to do to this day) and only published the highest quality sweepstakes I could find from the most reputable brands.
My goal was to centralize available sweepstakes into one easy-to-use spot and to provide accurate information on key points of the giveaways including any pointers or helpful notes.
It was rewarding to see traffic start to arrive at the website.
Knowing that my efforts were being appreciated by people was exhilarating!
I continued to publish new content consistently, and little by little my visitor base grew.
In the years that followed, I was able to hire additional staff, invest in upgrades to the website, and enhance our technical infrastructure.
Thanks to organic growth, a loyal community of great users, and a great team - I’ve been able to grow the website to its current successful state.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today SweepstakesFanatics is a leading sweepstakes website with thousands of daily visitors from all 50 states.
I am gratified by the relationships I’ve developed and the wonderful feedback and support our visitors offer every day.
I am excited about the future and think there’s lots of room for growth.
One component of that growth is to provide more video content. I think video offers a great opportunity to share more of my personality and further engage with users.
I also am looking forward to growing our social media presence. I want to leverage its power to create opportunities to more fully interact and communicate with our users.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
One thing I learned is that patience is important in business. When I first started I had barely any visitors but kept publishing content. Over time, the traffic came but it was a slow build. It made me understand that you don’t have to be a smashing success right out of the gate to be successful in the long term in business.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Some of the core platforms and tools we use in our business include:
Google Workspace- we use Google for email, document creation, document storage, and collaboration.
Kinsta - we use Kinsta for WordPress hosting. Kinsta proves super-fast WordPress hosting and has amazing customer service.
Cloudflare - we use Cloudflare for their security, CDN and caching, and network optimization services.
Canva - we use Canva for all our graphic design needs. It’s easy to use and has thousands of great templates available for customization.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I like the Kinsta blog because it covers topics in both WordPress as well as marketing. I’ve used it before to help evaluate plug-ins, learn strategies for website speed optimization, and improve our WordPress SEO. As a WordPress entrepreneur, it is important to have a skill set that encompasses both technology and marketing, and the Kinsta blog offers both.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
I don’t know that I have any special advice, but here are two tips that I try to remember to give myself because of my particular tendencies.
One is to just get started. Even though I may tend to overthink things before starting a project, I believe that the best and most successful entrepreneurs are those who start moving immediately and purposefully towards their goals and correct course as needed.
Two, don’t let fear of failure get in your way. I have avoided doing things, at times, out of a fear of failure. I worried I'd be seen as inadequate or not up to par in some way. To counter this, I remember what Winston Churchill once said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” This bit of wisdom helps me remember that failure isn’t a final, irreversible state of the world. It’s not fatal to experience a failure, and you can recover. What’s important is having the courage to keep trying, not the fact that you tried once and failed. Finally, I also like the concept of viewing success as something ongoing and continuous rather than static and final.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Not at the current time, but our hiring needs do change!
Please contact me using the form on our website if you are interested in learning about any open positions or working together.
Where can we go to learn more?
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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