I subscribe to a lot of daily emails, but there is only one that I read religiously: The Startup Daily.
I read each new idea at the start of the day, and without fail I kick into gear inspired.
To find out more about this innovative brand, I interviewed Karl Krantz, founder of The Startup Daily, in an Innovate or Die exclusive.
What is The Startup Daily all about?
The Startup Daily features a single idea, tip, or insight from great books on entrepreneurship and business each day. The tip is delivered in a short email to over 6,000 email subscribers each day.
What inspired the development of The Startup Daily?
The Startup Daily is a collision of two of my passions, startups, and business books.
I have always had the entrepreneurial bug, and I have spent my career to date working in technology startups, always as close to the action. The smaller and earlier, the more possibilities and opportunities a company offers.
I have also been a business book junkie for as long as I can remember. I read “Growing a Business” by Paul Hawken just after high school, and that book had a profound effect on me. I have looked for inspiration in the stories and writings of entrepreneurs ever since.
For the past five years I have been reading two to three books a week, and filling up notebooks with hundreds of little nuggets of wisdom that I wanted to remember from these books.
This is a way for me to combine these passions into a business that allows me to explore more of what I love while being genuinely helpful to others.
Why the name “The Startup Daily”?
The simple answer is because it features daily tips for startups.
Choosing the word “daily” in the name was deliberate. It is extremely important to be consistent, especially with an email newsletter. Yet I know from previous projects that providing new content every single day can be challenging.
Including “daily” in the name removes the temptation to scale back the frequency in a moment of weakness. By definition, the Startup Daily is committed to delivering an email each and every weekday.
Who is your target market?
The target market is entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in entrepreneurship.
That second component is at least as important as the first. I’ve noticed that many people who are attracted to this are not entrepreneurs in the classic sense.
These are people who work in small, medium, and large companies, non-profits, and even government. There are artists, social entrepreneurs, hackers, librarians, and students. But they share the traits of being self-motivated, self-educating, and self-improving, and they identify with the spirit of entrepreneurship.
Perhaps my favorite segment are those who are not yet entrepreneurs, but are about to make that jump. People who have felt stuck working a job that they don’t enjoy, but are actively working to change their situations.
I have received emails from several readers who told me that receiving the Startup Daily each morning helped inspire them to take the dive and launch something of their own. It’s hard to beat the feeling of having had even a small part in helping someone to improve their life in such a profound way.
Knowledge gives people confidence, thats always been the promise of business books for me. I hope to share that with anyone who is open to it.
How does The Startup Daily make money?
Each tip featured on the startup daily links to the book it is adapted from using the Amazon affiliates program.
After five months the business is cash flow positive, but profits are in the hundreds of dollars each month, not thousands where I would like them.
The nice thing about this model is that revenue goes up with each additional subscriber, yet there is very little additional work or expense.
I am always exploring new ideas for monetization, and in time I may experiment with sponsorships, advertising, or even premium features.
How is The Startup Daily useful for marketers?
Close to half of the books and ideas featured are directly related to marketing, and most of the rest are indirectly related.
I find marketing fascinating, which is interesting because I come from a technical background. As everyone knows there is often a gulf between marketing and engineering.
As I get older I have come to accept the idea that marketing is at least as important as the technology in a startup.
How are you marketing The Startup Daily?
In the first month I “seeded” with PPC to get bloggers to find the site, mostly using StumbleUpon.
After a slow first month the Startup Daily was featured on a few popular sites and a steady stream of smaller blogs.
Since then it has been growing steadily through a combination of blog links and Facebook “likes.”
What are some key lessons you have learned since starting your business?
Great question, I’ll offer three lessons that are on my mind right now.
When you are doing what you love, you will have an endless supply of energy for it, and that gives you a real competitive advantage. The reverse is true as well. If you are doing something you don’t have a passion for, you will always be at a disadvantage to the guy who is doing it because he loves it.
It’s important to measure, but way too easy to get caught up in the analytics and waste a lot of time. You have to keep the bigger picture in mind and spend your time where it matters most.
Finally, what you don’t do is as important as what you do. As someone who gets excited by new ideas I have to remind myself of this everyday. It keeps me from getting distracted by every neat idea that comes along at the expense of the main objective.
You have announced that you are leaving your day job to devote your full attention to The Startup Daily. How are you feeling about this decision?
I couldn’t be happier about this. I have some exciting plans for the Startup Daily that I have not been able to execute on while working day job.
Losing the financial security of a day job is a concern, but I have given myself a decent cushion. As so many people have learned the hard way recently, the security of a day job is an illusion. I find a lot more security knowing I am on the path towards financial independence.
You recently went to South x South West. Did you discover any new insights for your business while you were there?
This was my first SXSW and it was an energizing and amazing experience. The most important thing I took away from it was hope.
It filled me with hope to see so many motivated, intelligent, creative, and passionate people who are working so hard.
It left me genuinely excited about the future.
What’s next for The Startup Daily?
I often have so many ideas that I have trouble deciding which directions to take this, but here are three that I moving forward on now.
Ebook readers like the Kindle are rapidly changing the way people find and consume books. I plan to bring the essence of the Startup Daily to the Kindle in one form or another.
This project has inspired me to explore several book ideas. Reading so many books I see a lot of patterns and repeating ideas, and I would like to explore some of these concepts further.
I believe the short tip format of the Startup Daily will lend itself nicely to an iPad and iPhone app, and that is something I am certainly going to build in the next few months.