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9-figure websites with just links, $500K per year courses & the riches in Chrome extensions...

Includes a recap of the startup ideas from MFM episodes 133 & 134

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Wes Kimbell

Dec 08 2020

6 mins read

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Welcome to Everyday Startup, a weekly newsletter all about bootstrappable startup ideas and trends. We bring together ideas and strategies from all over the internet including My First Million podcast. 


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Weekly roundup of startup ideas & trends…

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Low-budget link aggregator/curator websites that makes 9-figures

(Source: My First Million #133 at 10:38)

Drudge Report is a 9-figure a year business that simply curates links to news stories on a one-page website. The creator, Matt Drudge, managed to get 36M unique views to his website in one day on election day 2004. It is rumored to be making $10M to $30M per year from ad revenue since the 1990s. There were only three or four employees including Matt himself. The website is so popular, even the links in the middle of the page get millions of clicks.


Drudge Report got famous for publicizing a story calming President Bill Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky. While for most of it’s history Drudge Report has had a very conservative viewpoint, recently it has turned 180 degrees and became a liberal bastion on the internet. Views to the website have dropped dramatically since the switch. Rumors around the web say Matt Drudge sold the report and the new owners turned it liberal.


No matter why it changed it’s political leanings, this may be a prime opportunity to build a competitive website report that replaces Drudge and gain popularity with the massive conservative base.


There are many trying to replace Drudge Report by claiming they are what Drudge Report used to be before Matt sold out. Some include Revolver and Citizen Free Press. I started a news aggregator site called DailyChomp.com many years ago which automatically linked to niche political websites using RSS feeds. This is called aggregation. Drudge Report is actually considered curation because the links are “hand selected.”


How can you jump on this idea? Sam says his ‘The Hustle’ newsletter is a link aggregator like Drudge Report and is doing 8 figures (it’s really curation not aggregation). There’s one section in The Hustle called ‘Snippets’ which is just link curation and is the most engaging part of the email, according to Sam. He thinks he could do well just with this section and be a lot easier to run. You could niche down to something more targeted with a raving fan base and grow. You may not hit 9 or even 8 figures but could build a nice sized audience that you could later monetize.


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$500K / year courses teaching how to use popular apps

(Source: My First Million #134 at 6:35)

Roam Research is a “note-taking tool for networked thought,” that basically helps you write and research better. Notion is another writing tool / note taking app that raised money at nearly a $2 billion valuation and Sam estimates they only have $10 million in revenue. Roma raised money at a $250 million valuation with likely only $1 or $2 million in revenue.


Sam thinks there are a lot of other apps that do things just like Roam and Notion, albeit, not as good. Sam researched and found a ton of to-do / note taking apps.


Scrivener is a writing tool. It’s website describes itself this way: “Scrivener is the go-to app for writers of all kinds, used every day by best-selling novelists, screenwriters, non-fiction writers, students, academics, lawyers, journalists, translators and more. Scrivener won't tell you how to write—it simply provides everything you need to start writing and keep writing.”


Joseph Michael made $500,000 per year selling a course on how to use Scrivener. Another guy has an online course on how to use Roam and is crushing it as well.


How can you profit off popular apps (like writing apps)? Find popular apps that are hard to use and have a high learning curve like Scrivener or Hemingway. Provide value by creating courses on how to use the app and even offer coaching. This is a low-budget business that can easily scale with the right niche and good marketing. Many people are doing this and are hugely successful. You could gain steam by posting your course on Udemy which has a huge customer base. Once you get traction consider switching to Gumroad or similar to increase your margins.


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Riches in Chrome extensions

(Source My First Million #134 at 17:55)

A Chrome extension (internet browser app) can be a super simple app to make and manage which you usually offer for free. Shaan likes the idea of building mini tools (via Chrome extensions maybe) that are an extensions of his life or philosophy. He just built one called ‘Focus’ based on his philosophy of “One Big Thing.” This philosophy is about completing at least one big thing each day of the year. When combined, theses One Big Thing seriously moves the needle forward. The ‘Focus’ Chrome extension displays one big photo every time you open a new tab that asks “What is your One Big Thing today?” and the user types it in. Then every new tab you open the extension displays your One Big Thing which which you can mark as completed whenever you finish.


So essentially, Shaan created an extension/app that promotes his life philosophy to make people more effective at what they do.


How can you profit from this idea? Create an extension that creates value for people but make it free or very cheap. Once you gather steam and get a good user base, ask yourself how you can either 1) provide more of it for a fee or 2) expand the service to help people even more and charge them. I would talk to current users and ask them what they want. Then you can build that product and charge them for it. This is a great example of building an audience, asking them what they want, and selling it to them which I think is a bullet proof way to be successful.


If you want to skip the line, I would look into purchasing a Chrome extension with a decent following from a developer that is not currently monetizing. You can then turn around and monetize their list. I’ve seen free Chrome extensions with tens of thousands of users. I bet you could negotiate a quick, easy and cheap sale with a one-mad developer!


That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss next weeks’s startup ideas!


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