I Make $500K/Year Off Excel Templates

Published: January 20th, 2024
Adam Hoeksema
Founder, ProjectionHub
from Indianapolis, IN, USA
started May 2012
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
210 days
growth channels
business model
best tools
ActiveCampaign, Ahrefs, Hubspot
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
39 Pros & Cons
6 Tips
Discover what tools Adam recommends to grow your business!
social media
Discover what books Adam recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi! My name is Adam Hoeksema and I am the Co-Founder and CEO of ProjectionHub. We help founders create financial models for potential investors or lenders.

What started as a software tool that aimed to be a “Turbo Tax for financial projections” has pivoted to a financial projection spreadsheet template and custom financial modeling business.

Today, our primary revenue driver is our library of 100+ CPA developed financial projection templates which include templates for just about every industry from SaaS, e-commerce, and fintech, to a coffee shop, dental practice, or daycare facility.

We finished 2023 with over $500,000 in annual revenue which is more than 100% growth from our revenue in our first StarterStory post just two years ago.


We have focused on producing high quality business plan templates that we allow people to download for free. If they need a business plan, they probably need projections as well, so those business plan template leads become good leads for buying a projection template.

Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

The story of the last 2 years can be summed up with this chart displaying our organic website traffic over the last 24 months.


In early 2022 we began regular blog content on topics related to starting a business, creating projections, securing a loan, etc. I would look for keyword phrases with low difficulty and relatively high search volume on Ahrefs and then write content on the topic.

The strategy worked quite well and our organic website traffic increased 20x in 2 short years. The increase in traffic was great to see on the chart, and it did lead to a doubling in template sales, but certainly not a 20x in template sales.

Unfortunately, the Google algorithm updates in September and October hit our site pretty hard. We have some theories as to why, but since Google is a black box we don’t know for sure. We think that part of the problem is that we added some exit intent pop ups on many of our most popular blogs because we were trying to convert some of that traffic into customers.

Upon exit intent, we would display a pop up that would send them over to our template sales page. We noticed that blogs that did not have an exit intent pop up didn’t seem to get hit as hard in the update.

So we immediately switched from a pop up to a little banner at the top or bottom of our blog page that would highlight our template. The banner hasn’t resulted in as many clicks to the sales page as the pop up, but if that is truly the problem with our Google rankings then the change would be worth it.

We also spent some time focusing on speeding up the site on mobile by removing some javascript that we didn’t need, those changes have helped the site speed.

The good news is that even though our website traffic is down roughly 40% from the peak, our conversion rates have nearly doubled with a redesign of our template sales pages. Our template sales in November of 2023 were our highest month ever despite the trend in traffic. The drop in traffic hasn’t hurt sales much yet, but it does certainly make you realize how dependent you are on Google which makes me nervous!

In 2023, we also hired two new employees from the Philippines who have been a wonderful addition to the team. They are helping us with both content production and building our template fill out service for customers.

Although we primarily focus on selling financial projection templates that our clients can fill out on their own, some clients prefer to have us fill out and customize the templates to their specific business model. This service has been an area of growth in 2023.

I think my biggest lesson learned for 2023 is that it doesn’t always make sense to diversify a business. I am embracing the fact that ProjectionHub serves a narrow niche with a concentrated custom acquisition model.

What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

We have been trying to solve the fact that our business is heavily reliant on Google organic search for at least 2 years now. We have invested heavily into creating YouTube content and I have worked to build a following on LinkedIn. However, the inherent challenge is that creating financial projections is something you do at a certain point in time.

Typically our customers create financial projections for an investor or lender, and then they simply don’t need us anymore.

I have been trying to force build an audience with our customers, but our customers are so diverse from dentists to truck drivers, to SaaS founders, there isn’t one set of content that is useful to them all.

For example, we have increased the number of video views on our YouTube channel by 150% year-over-year and added over 1,000 subscribers to the channel, but the problem is that the subscribers are so diverse that the varied video content that we produce is only relevant to a small fraction of the audience with each new video. We don’t have the YouTube algorithm at our back because it can’t seem to figure out who our target audience is.


I also spent 3 months focused on building my audience on LinkedIn which worked in the sense that I could write interesting content, and get high quality followers and engagement. For example, I added about 100 CPAs who work with small businesses to my LinkedIn network over those 3 months, but what I realized is that it is still a stretch to convert those followers into projection template buyers.

It would require the CPA to have a client that needs projections, the CPA would need to then think of a projection template as a solution and remember that guy they follow on LinkedIn, find my LinkedIn profile find my website, and then find the right template.

In reality, my assumption is that most CPAs are just going to do a quick Google search in that situation, so again all roads lead to SEO being the best channel for ProjectionHub.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

I think my biggest lesson learned for 2023 is that it doesn’t always make sense to diversify a business. It simply isn’t easy to diversify ProjectionHub and our source of customers. SEO works well because of the nature of our product, but other approaches just don’t work that well.

So instead of swimming against the stream trying to diversify a business that doesn’t want to be diversified, I am embracing the fact that ProjectionHub serves a narrow niche with a concentrated custom acquisition model, and the best way to diversify might be through a different business, brand or service altogether.

Which leads me to my plans for the coming year.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

My plan for 2024 and the coming 5 years is to launch a new brand called SMBuyer which will focus on helping people buy small businesses for less than $1 million.

There are millions of baby boomer small business owners who will be looking to retire in the next 5 years and will be looking to sell their business. I want to build an audience around helping those who want to buy these small businesses.

This aligns well with ProjectionHub since our top selling financial projection template is our Acquisition Projection Template. My hope is that if we can build an audience of like minded individuals who are all looking to buy an SMB, then there are several services or products we might be able to provide to this audience in the coming years.

Of course, the risk is that this distracts me from what is working well at ProjectionHub. But the reason I think this split in focus won’t negatively impact ProjectionHub is that I am already spending significant time creating content for YouTube and LinkedIn for ProjectionHub. It just hasn’t worked as well as I think it could if I had a more laser-focused target audience. My plan is simply to repurpose some of my content creation time toward this new audience building effort.

If building an audience of SMB buyers is successful this will provide an opportunity for ProjectionHub to provide additional services to that audience, so I think it should be a net positive for ProjectionHub.

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

I read Alex Hormozi’s $100 million dollar leads book and implemented much of what I learned from that book in our sales page redesign which has had nearly a 100% increase in conversion rates since implementing. This saved our year given the decrease in traffic from Google.

The main thing we took away from Hormozi’s book was to focus on our lead magnets and treat them as if they were a paid product. The theory is that if you have a free offer that exceeds customer expectations, they are going to assume that the paid product must be even better.

For us, we have focused on producing high quality business plan templates that we allow people to download for free. If they need a business plan, they probably need projections as well, so those business plan template leads become good leads for buying a projection template.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

It is hard to know when to just keep swimming and when to swim in a different direction. I think my advice is to keep doubling down on the things that are working until they aren’t working anymore, and once something stops working you need to quickly reevaluate and consider swimming in a different direction.

Businesses that have stood the test of time have had to reinvent themselves time and time again, so sometimes the answer is to swim in a new direction.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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