Andrew Allemann is the founder of several niche content businesses. He is well known in the domain name industry for his Domain Name Wire blog and podcast.
It was founded in 2005 and covers topics related to domain sales, registrars, monetization and more. He also founded PodcastGuests.com to help solve a problem he was having with his own podcast.
In this interview, we discuss with Andrew on how he went from the idea of PodcastGuest.com, to creating a minimum viable product (MVP) to test his concept and then to growing it as a business.
What's special about PodcastGuests.com?
PodcastGuests.com connects podcasters with guests for their shows. Each week, the service sends a list of podcasts looking for guests. Experts that meet the podcasts' qualifications can pitch themselves to be on the shows. There's also an online directory of experts so that podcasters can invite them on their shows.
Why did you start PodcastGuests.com?
After about a year of publishing my podcast, I had tapped out my Rolodex and needed to find new and interesting guests. I searched for a service that would make this easy. The only sites I found were either outdated or expensive to use. So I decided to create a platform myself.
How did you start it? Did you have any previous experience as an entrepreneur?
I have started several websites. So it was just a matter of pulling together the right online services to make the service work.
How did you validate your idea?
I got a couple of hundred people signed up to use the proof of concept. It started working right away so I worked to scale it.
How did you finance your project?
I'm a big believer in the MVP (minimum viable product). I was able to get this off the ground for less than $5,000 and just used money from my other business.
How did you market and promote your business when you were launching? What was the most effective strategy?
I started by just cold emailing people. I didn't use one of those spammy systems -- I sent individual emails to podcasters who I thought would be a good fit for the service. I now grow the service through a combination of advertising and word of mouth.
How long did it take you to start getting the first results and see you could create a viable business?
I got results after just a few weeks. But I didn't make money until much later than that. I added an upgrade option for experts to get booked on more shows. They get an online one-sheet and are featured in a directory so that podcasters can come to them, rather than having to pitch themselves to podcasters. There are now over 500 paying members in the directory.
You started PodcastGuests.com while running other projects. How do you organize to make sure your different projects are all moving forward, without burning out?
That's a good question. So many things I've tried have failed because I was spread too thin. In this case, the early traction nudged me to dedicate more time to this business to make it work. I also hired someone to take care of some of the activities so I didn't burn out.
What has been your business revenue progression?
It was zero for nearly a year but has started to resemble more of a hockey stick. It's up about 250% in the past year.
What are the main ways in which you are able to monetize your business?
It's a freemium model. 95% of users pay nothing and the other 5% pay a monthly or annual fee to get more exposure.
What are the most useful tools/platforms that you use for your business?
Mailchimp and WordPress.
What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
The freedom to set my own schedule, to do only what's important, and to directly impact my bottom line.
What has been your biggest challenge/failure as an entrepreneur?
I have more failures than I can count on one hand, but each one has taught me something. It's important to not dwell on things that fail. Most businesses fail. Just pick up and move on to the next idea.
What are your business goals for this coming year?
They are the same as they were last year: continue to grow the service by helping podcasters and experts connect!
How can an aspiring entrepreneur start building a business now? What would be a good business type to start as a beginner?
There are so many online apps and software as a service tools out there. Figure out how to cobble them together to provide a service that helps solve a pain point.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Every night, I write down five things I'm thankful for.
What's your favourite quote?
Am I the only one who is annoyed when books have a quote at the beginning of every chapter?
Any good book(s) to recommend to an aspiring entrepreneur?
The Paradox of Choice and Predictably Irrational
Learn more about Andrew Allemann at www.andrewallemann.com
Learn more about PodcastGuests.com at www.podcastguests.com
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