How to Get a #1 Spot on Product Hunt (w/ Stuart Brent)

Editor’s Note: AutoGrow is proud to feature an interview with Stuart Brent, the founder of Startup Resources. Stuart recently landed at the #1 spot at Product Hunt. To learn how he did it, read on!

Matt: Hi, my name is Matt Ackerson. I’m the founder of AutoGrow. AutoGrow,we are your strategic sales funnel partner on demand. Part implementation, partstrategy. And today I’m joined by Stuart Brent. Stuart is the founder of¬†, which is a, I guess you could call it kind of a directory of resources, a list of resources that you can search through if you’re starting a company. And Stuart was recently featured on the coveted number one spot of¬†Product Hunt for an entire day, which over the course of a week drove lots of¬†quality traffic to his site. Got him lots of exposure and doubled the size of his¬†email list. So we’re gonna talk about today how Stuart launched Startup¬†Resources from scratch and how he went about getting this coveted PR spot so¬†that you can learn from him and potentially do the same for your business. And¬†a little bit of background on Product Hunt. Stuart, you can probably give a¬†better summary of what it is or just kind of go off of what I’m saying here. But¬†it is a relatively new site. They’ve come out of or are backed by Y Combinator¬†and Paul Graham. And it’s becoming an increasingly important site for startups¬†and businesses that want to get some free PR for new products or relatively¬†unique products and services in the marketplace and just get some additional¬†exposure. So Stuart, thanks for joining us today.

Stuart: Thanks for having me.

Matt: Cool, so how would you describe startupresources.IO? Did I do a good job of explaining it in the introduction?

Stuart: Yeah, so it’s a curated list of categories all relevant to the startup¬†businesses and online businesses. Anything from A/B testing tools to email¬†tools to hosting services I recommend. So the big working difference between¬†me and Startup Stash and some of the other similar directories is that I only¬†allow five tools per category so that it doesn’t get too overwhelming. That’s¬†kind of the biggest differentiation between me and the other guys. Because¬†there’s that old study, you know that old sales study where the guy tries to sell¬†jams? And he has 40 flavors of jams and nobody knows what to do so they¬†don’t buy any jams. And then he reduces to five flavors and he sells more. I do¬†basically that approach to kinda reduce choice overload.

Matt: Okay. And do you also charge for people who want to post on your site?Or who want to be part of the directory?

Stuart: Yeah, so there’s a user-submitted area which is, there’s a small charge to¬†be up on that. And then if anybody wants to recommend a tool for a category, I¬†mean I get recommendations from the site all the time. And I look through¬†them. If it seems good and there’s a space I’ll put them in. If you really don’t¬†wanna pay to be submitted and you wanna submit your own, you can always be¬†sneaky and just submit it to a category anonymously. And if it’s really good it’ll¬†get up there.

Matt: Okay. And you and I were talking through email before we had this. So¬†you started off, we’re jumping a little bit ahead here. But you started off by¬†charging $9 for people to actually host their user-submitted entries for the¬†directory. And now you’ve moved the price up to $29 and people are still¬†buying without really blinking an eye.

Stuart: Yeah. So I had debated, I knew I wanted to have an area where people¬†could submit their own startups to this, just to give it more reason to exist and¬†make it a little different than other directories. And I was talking with Aaron¬†from, which is…you know that site? It’s like you can pay and¬†they go ahead and submit your start-up to the hundred different lists of startups¬†online. And I was talking to him about whether it should be free or paid or¬†whatever. And he kind of inspired me to make it a paid submission to increase¬†the quality of people that come through. Because if you’re not serious and it’s¬†not a legit thing, you’re not gonna spend money to put it up. And it also¬†decreased my workload, because I’m gonna have less to list. And I also kind of¬†wanted to be paid before I went to the site and add people.

I¬†started off with $9 for a listing and had it that way when I first announced¬†the site. Because I did a beta version that was private. It was in the beta¬†directory. And then all the people from the beta list, waiting list, they got an¬†email one morning. I think it was actually Halloween morning was when I¬†launched. But one guy paid $9 right away. And then I saw people were paying¬†$9. And I thought I’m gonna increase the price to $29 next month.

But there¬†were so many people coming through I thought what the hell, I’ll change the¬†price right now. And I still got submissions. Some people were confused, atfirst, thinking they could choose to be in any category. But the idea is you’re¬†limited to the user-submitted area, which still gets plenty of traffic. So I made a¬†tick box that said I understand I’m gonna be charged to be put on this site in this¬†area. And then that kind of reduced any confusion people had. And people still¬†kept applying. So I still get people applying. I had one guy pay earlier today¬†and I need to add him after this interview.

Matt: So that’s interesting. So people, they pay to be on the user submit section.¬†There’s only five per category, actual tools or resources that you recommend¬†that you kind of like personally have curated, or someone on your team has¬†curated. And for the user submitted section you charge and it’s a one-time fee.

Stuart: Yeah.

Matt: Okay. Now you launched at the end of October you said. What sort of traffic did you see? And overall, what sort of results did it bring for you?

Stuart: Before I was on Product Hunt, it was about 50 people a day coming through. Which was not that bad for a new project. But then when I got on Product Hunt it went from 50 to 5,000 people the first day I was on Product Hunt.

Matt: Mm-hm. And I saw it looked like you got about 10,000 visitors in less than a week, over the course of five days.

Stuart: Yeah. I actually have my notes beside me. There were 13,000 people in the first five days.

Matt: Wow.

Stuart: It was pretty awesome. I never had any site with that much traffic¬†before. It was nice because my hosting package didn’t pick up and it’s like a¬†pretty simply site. It’s a static site, so there’s no craziness with them just being¬†overwhelmed and slow response or anything. So it held up pretty well, which is¬†nice.

Matt: And were you surprised to get to that top spot on Product Hunt when it happened?

Stuart: No, because I believed I would get it. It was.

Matt: You knew that result.

Stuart: Yeah, I mean I hustled and prepared and worked a lot of things to try to¬†get the first place. It was funny because I got up super early to post it. And who¬†was it? Pocket had a new service out that day. So I was, in the early morning¬†hours, I was battling with Pocket and I didn’t know if I could beat them but I¬†figured I would potentially be able to. And by 9 a.m. my time, I had more votes¬†than them.

Matt: Hm. Wow. And we’ll get into just how you did it in a moment. But going¬†a little deeper in terms of results, how big was your email list before and how¬†big did it grow after?

Stuart: It was let’s see if I’ve got that written down. It was like 506 people when¬†I announced. And right now, this morning it’s at 1,261 people.

Matt: Nice. And these are people who just opted in to hear about new resources¬†that you’re gonna be putting out there on the site?

Stuart: So every page has a signup at the bottom if you wanna sign up to hear¬†about new tools and articles I recommend. And then there’s also a exit intent¬†popup when people try to leave each page. And I don’t know the exact¬†conversion for visitors, but I mean I get more people people every day. And it’s¬†nice that the newsletter feels pretty targeted because it’s…I’ll send it out to 1,200¬†people once a week. And it’s only, maybe 4 people will unsubscribe. Pretty¬†nice. And then I don’t get upset about those four people because I probably have¬†four new people or four more come on the next day.

Matt: I mean, I love the concept. It’s like one of those…it’s simple. It’s targeted.¬†And I’m really sold on the idea of it as an entrepreneur and as a kind of sales¬†funnel expert, you’d call me I guess. Because it seems like for the long term, it¬†could get a lot of sustainable, kind of inbound traffic from Google. It’s seen as a¬†resource so people wanna link to it. The business model is great because you¬†can charge for people to post. The people who come to the site can just, for the¬†resource aspect, can also become posters themselves and customers. And¬†furthermore, you can also get affiliate links from many of the people who you¬†feature on there. So it seems like a pretty good win all around and something¬†you can definitely build on. That being said, I know it’s still really early and I¬†don’t know if this is something you’re willing to share. But what’s been the¬†revenue that you’ve made so far since you launched? And I know it’s probably¬†not…

Stuart: It’s not crazy. It’s probably about $1,000. But I spent nothing to build the¬†site. So I have an account with Pixelarity, which is a nice template site. And¬†that was $19. I used one of their templates. I hacked it up a bunch. So I already¬†had that membership, so it’s sort of free because I already paid for it. I was¬†using it for their stuff. And then I spent $99 on Beta List to get the pre-launch¬†traction. But I didn’t put much into it. And, you know, at first because of Product Hunt, all¬†that traffic, it’s more like people are just kinda browsing. They probably aren’t¬†signing up for stuff right away. So I’m not getting that affiliate commission¬†right away. But there’s, the biggest thing affiliate-wise on the site is Top Tell which is a great development company. And I’ve sent¬†them 20 or 25 people and nobody’s closed yet because it’s a long onboarding¬†process. But they pay handsomely. So not a huge start to my wallet right away,¬†but I believe in it. Because there’s people that make a ton of money doing this¬†affiliate stuff. I mean, Pat Flynn. He kills it every month and most of his stuff’s¬†just affiliate revenue.

Matt: Yeah, I think like half of his income is from Blue Host alone.

Stuart: Yeah, 40 grand a month.

Matt: Yeah, it’s crazy. So what do you see as kind of the future for the business¬†model? Or actually, let me ask you a better question before we get to that. What¬†happened to traffic in the weeks after being featured on Product Hunt?

Stuart: It definitely died down. Like a week later it was down to more like 500¬†people a day. Now it’s at…I forget when exactly I was listed. Oh, it was Friday¬†the 13th. So that’s easy to remember because it sounds spooky. So not quite a¬†month ago and I’m still getting 200 or 300 unique people a day. And usually, I’ll¬†look at it, about 100 people from Product Hunt still.

Matt: Has it kinda plateaued? Is it kinda staying stable there or is it still . . .

Stuart: Yeah, it’s pretty stable the last two weeks at 200 or 300 people. There¬†was a spike the other day because, and I don’t know how you feel about¬†profanity, but, a website which is apparently pretty¬†popular. They called it the fucking website of the day and just listed it as, they¬†said “All the goddamned resources you could ever need.” Because I was looking¬†at my analytics and there was a pretty good spike of 1,000 people and it was¬†because of them. So mostly plateaued, still some spikes here and there.

Matt: And are you earning any links coming back from the site yet from people¬†who…I mean obviously people are from They probably linked back to you and so did Product Hunt.

Stuart: Yeah, I did. So I haven’t been keeping an eye on incoming backlinks.¬†That’s something I’ll do when I want to take an SEO approach to the site.¬†Because I haven’t done any SEO work to it yet. I know that’s something I’ll do¬†kinda soon. So I haven’t checked on how many inbound links. I did go ahead¬†and do, which is one of those sites similar to Startup¬†Lister where you can pay to get it on a bunch of directories. Just to save myself¬†time because I don’t wanna go through and list it to 80 different random sites¬†myself.

Matt: Mm-hm. Okay, cool. So let’s go back a little bit. How did you kinda come¬†up with this idea? And maybe if you wanna give a little background on yourself¬†as well and the businesses you’ve started beforehand.

Stuart: So after college in 2006, I started a screen printing company, which is¬†pretty unrelated to the startup stuff. But it was my background of being a nerd¬†that kinda helped out. So as soon as I started screen printing I wanted a website¬†and I tried to dominate the local market through SEO. So long story short, I had¬†a shop for a few years. Turned into just a screen printing broker instead and had¬†a good friend of mine do all the production. Then two years ago changed so I¬†was just doing sales and growth. The idea was I wouldn’t have to do the¬†customer service. I could focus on growth. But instead, I got very interested in¬†startup stuff because it’s a lot more interesting. And then kinda played around¬†with a couple different startup ideas, worked with different people. But I was¬†always super interested in the tools and automation and how you can do things¬†better by using some random tool that you may never heard about. But when¬†you find out about it, it changes your life. So I was just interested in all those and then the idea came to me.

Obviously, it’s like Startup Stash and other sites. But I decided to do it because¬†a friend of mine recommended Instagress a few months ago. And then a month later I was like, “What was the name of that tool?” I couldn’t remember it. And it¬†was like I should start writing these down. And then I realized I should just¬†make the list public instead of private. And then I, of course, realized I can use¬†affiliate revenue and this will finally give me a place to write all the blogs I¬†wanna write about startup stuff. So the inspiration was initially my bad¬†memory, that I couldn’t remember all the weird names. Because there are so¬†many, so many startups have kinda goofy, made-up names. Like my screen¬†printing company Bacord [SP?] Screen Printing. Bacord is just made up. So I¬†thought it was warranted just to write them down and then I decided to make it¬†public instead.

Matt: Yeah, I’ve been meaning to figure out a payment processor for being able¬†to take checks. It’s no longer really an issue just because we’ve kinda pivoted¬†away from these services where we might be charging 10 grand or more for a¬†project. But when you’re charging that much, you can imagine 3% on a credit¬†card is a lot. So we wanted to do e-checks. And I just remembered there was¬†this one service that someone recommended. They only charge $0.50 for an e-check, for processing it. And I couldn’t remember the name. It was like Jote or¬†Zot or I didn’t even know. And yeah, I think you’re definitely right. It definitely¬†solves that problem.

Stuart: I found an awesome ACH tool the other day whose name I can’t¬†remember, but I think I added it to the site already. So there’s a category for¬†stuff like payment processing.

Matt: Cool. So what happened next? You developed this idea. You kind of used an existing template. How did you go about it from there, once you had the idea and you had kind of like a template of what you wanted to execute on?

Stuart: Once I knew I wanted to build on this site, the first thing I did was to¬†submit it to BetaList and then pay for the expedited listing because I had seen¬†good pre-launch traction from them before and I thought it’d be totally worth¬†the $99. And as soon as I got on there I was getting signups right away. And¬†that’s how I got the bulk of the first 500 people. So once I had that in place,¬†with just kind of a landing page, I just started building out the site. And I used¬†Trello. So I just created a column for every category I wanted on the site and¬†just kept expanding. I came up with maybe about 50 tools myself, or 60 or¬†something just from memory. And then I needed more suggestions so I went on¬†Reddit in the startup Subreddit and I said “Guys, what tools do you guys really¬†like but not enough people know about?” And I got 40 more suggestions.

And then as I’d research kind of the tools I already knew, I’d find other, similar¬†ones. So by the time I built it out I had 175 tools or so. And it took me longer to¬†build than I thought because I thought every tool has a description and it’s¬†something I write myself or mostly I write them. And then I was like oh, I can¬†finish this this weekend. It’s no big deal. And then I realized if I need to write¬†50-word descriptions for another 150 tools, it’s gonna take forever. So that was¬†the part that really drug out. And just sitting down to crank out all the¬†descriptions got kinda monotonous. But I like this stuff. I like being in sublime¬†text and seeing all the different…just fooling around with the HTML code¬†myself.

Matt: Do you think that the traffic that’s coming in now, I don’t know if you¬†know this. But why, well was there any strategic reason, I’ll ask, for hard-coding it? Just kinda like using an existing HTML template and just coding uplike that versus just using something like WordPress.

Stuart: I prefer just being in HTML. That’s what my background’s been in. I’ve¬†been fooling around with that since I was 14. So it’s only like the last couple¬†years I’ve been moving to WordPress. And it’s good because I’m comfortable in¬†HTML, which should be scary to a normal person. If somebody was just gonna¬†start into web development, HTML makes no sense but WordPress would be¬†easier. But it’s the opposite way for me. So WordPress is more intimidating¬†because I don’t know it as well. I’m getting to know it so it’s fine. But I just¬†prefer HTML. I don’t know, it’s easier kind of.

Matt: And were you planning for this to actually be a business when you¬†launched or were you looking just to kinda like “Oh, maybe I’ll do this and…”?

Stuart: Yeah, I wanted to monetize it to make it more worthwhile. And when I¬†was on Product Hunt actually, that was one of critiques people had was oh¬†great, another directory site. Because they see them get posted and then people¬†don’t have skin in the game. So they go stale. Like, they quit getting updated.

But since it is monetized, at least a little bit, I do have reason to keep updating¬†it. So I saw it as a long-term plan and it’s nice because I can use it to promote¬†other projects in the future. There’s a swag category, so, of course, my screen¬†printing company is recommended and any other project that I can just add in¬†there and use the audience I’m building to promote everything. So it makes¬†sense to do it long term. And it’s nice and it’s easy and it’s passive. *

Matt: So tell me how did you hustle to get on the top of Product Hunt? Tell me¬†about the whole process. How did you…just reverse engineer that process for¬†us.

Stuart: The most important thing was you can submit, anybody can submit a¬†project to Product Hunt. But it doesn’t necessarily have to go anywhere. So you¬†have to find somebody that’s a hunter, as they call it. Somebody that can list up¬†and automatically get approved and put up. So I went through my list of, kind¬†of like a mental list of everybody I know that’s an influencer within the startup¬†world. And I looked at who was most likely to post something for me versus¬†their audience size on Product Hunt. And I’m a big fan of buttering people up¬†and kind of slowly working to where they’ll pay attention to me and maybe help¬†me out and become a little bit of buddies with me or whatever. So, Andrew¬†Warner, Mixergy is my favorite podcast. Andrew Warner is, I just like him a¬†lot. And over the last two or three years I’ve slowly tried to weasel my way into¬†being his friend. So we email back and forth sometimes and I thought he would¬†help me post it. And he said he would. So as far as the hustle goes, that was the¬†most important thing was getting him to post it for me. And I just asked him¬†and he said he would.

Matt: Did he post it at 3 a.m.? I think you said something about it being late at


Stuart: Yeah, so 1 a.m. his time. I’m in Nashville. And that was the thing too¬†with Product Hunt. I knew the way it works is every day there’s new stuff. So I¬†thought that I should start super early in the day, like crazy early in the day, like¬†1 a.m. So that’s why I was up at 3 a.m. to post it, or when it was posted.¬†Because then I knew I had to start spreading the word. So I emailed my 500¬†people mailing list and said I’m on Product Hunt now. Go check it out. You¬†can’t tell people to go upvote it because that’s against the rules. And if they¬†figure out that you were telling people to directly upvote it, they’ll punish you.

So I just told people to go check it out. I sent out the email. I used Campaign¬†Monitor and they have a cool view of the globe and you can see where people¬†are opening your email. So it was like googling¬†in Europe and people in Asia and¬†Africa, at 3 a.m. my time they’re already up. They’re checking the email and¬†then they go and upvote it. And then I’m in in slackgroup, so I was¬†talking to guys in Copenhagen and England and stuff, trying to get them to help¬†spread the word about it. So I took advantage of the time zones. That’s why I¬†start my day at 3 a.m.

Matt: The 500 people that you sent it to initially, where did those people come¬†from? Were they just from BetaList, when you…?

Stuart: Yeah, mostly BetaList. I think I got maybe 400 people from BetaList and then I started growing a Twitter for it before the site was launched too. Using Crowdfire mostly, that tool to grow it. And then the pin tweet was come sign up to learn about all these tools, or whatever. So that got me some people too.

Matt: Okay. What is Crowdfire? You want to explain what that is?

Stuart: So Crowdfire lets you copy another Twitter account’s followers, with the¬†idea that if you have a taco restaurant and there’s another taco restaurant in¬†town that has 5,000 people following it, those people are probably interested in¬†taco restaurants. So if you go follow those people, they’ll notice you and¬†organically follow you back. And like 10 to 20% will follow you back. It’s¬†based on the idea of the same interest. And then with the tool, the people that¬†don’t follow you back, you go unfollow them and then just repeat that over and¬†over again. And it’s a super easy way to build a Twitter following just through¬†that technique over and over again.

Matt: And has that helped to drive traffic sustainably up until now?

Stuart: I don’t know how much traffic I get from that technique now. But¬†originally I think it brought in a decent amount of people. And also, the Twitter¬†following sticks around. So I haven’t done much with Twitter yet but that’s in¬†the plan the next couple weeks to use that tool. Actually, Tweet Jukebox is one¬†we use because it lets you create different queues of tweets. So I could have one¬†column that’s just all the user-submitted tools and then one column that’s all the¬†suggested tools, all the articles I like. And it just kinda recycles and goes¬†through and posts them in an automated fashion.

Matt: Okay. And did you do a lot of one-to-one outreach as well? Or was it just¬†the 500 email blast and just kinda like all right, well, let’s see what happens?

Stuart: Yeah, I actually had a list of people I knew I should talk to. As soon as it got up, different influencers, different people I know that are in the startup world were some sort of audience. So I had a checklist of 20 people that I just emailed. And I wrote out the email scripts the night before, knowing that at 3 a.m. I may not be super coherent. So I could just get up and send them out right away. And I also had already started a Slack community so I could chat with guys. I mean it was a small group with none of the startup resources Slack.

Matt: Interesting. Let’s talk about that for a minute, because I’ve been seeing¬†that more. It’s a really interesting use of the Slack app. If anyone isn’t familiar¬†do you wanna tell them what Slack is?

Stuart: So, and there’s even more vague. But my comparison is like internet¬†relay chat but for the modern times. But nobody knows what IRC is anymore.¬†So Slack is basically a great communication platform where you can have¬†public channels with a bunch of different people. You can have one-on-onemessaging. It’s also nice because there’s a lot of integration so that if somebody¬†fills out your quote request form on your website, it can drop information into¬†Slack and say Tom made this request information on AutoGrow. Somebodyshould go get him. And so it’s just a super flexible, powerful communication¬†tool that’s blown up a ton the last two years or something.

Matt: And you actually started following some people into that. What was the purpose behind that? So for example, you created your own chatroom, to use old terminology, or channel. And people in your audience are now in there.

Stuart: Yeah, there’s about, I don’t know, 15 people in there right now. And¬†creating a community is good for anything, I believe. So I just invited people inmand they give feedback to me on the site. We talk about startup stuff and related¬†things. I was talking this morning to somebody about funding because I have¬†questions about, I’m debating how to do funding for another startup. Besides the¬†point, but I had a nice conversation with a guy from Startup Resources and just¬†bouncing ideas back and forth. And also, because I’m a lone entrepreneur, I¬†don’t have a team, I don’t have coworkers. I’m kinda isolated which I like. But¬†it’s nice to have people online who are also in the same world just so I can talk¬†about this stuff. So that’s why I did it basically. And just community’s good.

Matt: I’ve been browsing your website as you were talking just now. I don’t see¬†a link for it anywhere. Is it just kind of, you keep it kind of exclusive right now?

Stuart: No, I think there should be a link. So I think I might have screwed up at¬†some point by removing it. It was much more prominent I think on the Coming¬†Soon page. And also, I think if you submit a tool suggestion there is on the¬†Thank You page that says why not join our Slack. So I will definitely make it¬†more public now. I’m gonna write that down because it should be more public. I¬†want people to join it. I want it to be lively.

Matt: Yeah, I’d imagine that that would be a big draw for people too because just from looking at Mixergy, and even people who have bought our sales¬†funnel blueprint resource, a common request we’ve been getting is start a group.¬†Start a Facebook group or something like that, just so people can kind of¬†interact and ask questions.

Stuart: Yeah, I mean a lot of people do that. Like Seven Day Startup, there’s a¬†Slack room for that, and, which is another tool I like, they have a¬†Facebook group. But it’s all these people sharing war stories and tips and¬†techniques. And it’s just good to commiserate with other people and bounce¬†ideas. So every startup should have a little community, I believe.

Matt: Cool. So did you stay up all night from 1 a.m. to then? Or rather, Andrew¬†submits it at one, you get up at three. You start promoting it. Do you go back to¬†sleep? Do you just kinda be like “All right, I’m done.”

Stuart: I think I went back to sleep around four. But by 4:30 I was chatting with¬†people in Australia about it and excited about the traffic I was getting. So at 5¬†a.m. I just made coffee and I was like, I’m up. So by that evening I was pretty¬†dead. But I don’t know. Three a.m. is not that crazy. I’m actually a hot air¬†balloon pilot for a hobby and we have to get up really early to fly. So being up¬†at 3 a.m. is not super insane to me because sometimes we get up at 3:45 or 4¬†a.m. to go flying.

Matt: Mm-hm. When did traffic start to actually peak? When did you realize, at what point were you getting the most traffic the fastest, probably because you were featured on the number one spot?

Stuart: So it was definitely the Friday, the Friday that I was number one was the biggest day, with a few hundred uniques.

Matt: Was it within a few hours of actually submitting it, or did that kind of come later in the afternoon?

Stuart: I don’t know. I wish I had the analytics. But I think by Americanmidday, it was pretty significant.

Matt: Okay. And the upvotes, were they just kind of like building over time? Was it just building?

Stuart: Yeah, by the time I was making coffee at 5 a.m. I already had 50 or 60¬†upvotes. And then I think I hit a thousand by the end of the weekend or¬†something. I think I ended the day with 5 or 600 that Friday. But the nice thing¬†is even a project if it’s two or three months old on Product Hunt, you can still¬†get upvotes. So I don’t know where I am now but it’s probably still climbing.

Matt: For someone who wants to replicate the success, would you recommend¬†that they join, whether it’s Product Hunt or a similar website or community or¬†Reddit, for example, would you recommend that they join the community, they¬†find out who the key influencers are and then network with those people?¬†Butter them up as you say?

Stuart: Yeah, definitely. Join Product Hunt, get active, start commenting on¬†other things you find interesting. And then you’ll notice there’s people that just post stuff all the time. And I don’t think there’s direct messaging but¬†everybody’s signed in via Twitter, so obviously you can go follow them on¬†Twitter too and start messaging them there. And get to be their buddy. And¬†they’re looking for stuff to post because they obviously like posting stuff all the¬†time. And then just let them know about your project. And that’s probably the¬†best way in.

Matt: Okay. And I wanna go back to, you said BetaList was actually kind of a good way to kick start your email list. Tell me more about that. You just pay to get on BetaList?

Stuart: Yeah, I don’t know how many people they have looking at it daily. But¬†they have a lot of people watching it because the idea is once you have started¬†your startup, but you’re not launched. Maybe you just have a waiting page,¬†landing page. You can submit it and people will sign up for your waiting list.

And you can either submit it and then if it’s approved you can wait two months¬†and it goes up for free. Or if you’re impatient you can put it up in three days for¬†$99 or something. I think they have a one day also for $199 but I’m not that¬†impatient.

But it’s a nice targeted audience, just like Product Hunt, where it’s¬†people that are interested in startup stuff. And I’m a big believer in pre-launchntraction so I think it’s the best site right now for that.

Matt: I’m kinda going through their process right now. I’m signing up. I really

like their flow. It’s a quick signup.

Stuart: Yeah, it’s well done. They don’t let everybody in, which is nice because¬†it kinda trims the fat, keeps the quality up. They’ve rejected me a couple times¬†because they didn’t think my website looked nice enough. I had a couple¬†projects that were shut down at first because they don’t want stuff that looks¬†like a blatant template. So basically if you use a really nice template, they’ll let¬†you in. Or if you have something like custom designs.

Matt: Okay. Do you think BetaList would be a good idea for AutoGrow to submit to with our new on-demand sales funnel strategy/implementation service?

Stuart: Yeah, but you’re live already so you can’t.

Matt: Oh, you have to do it right when you launch or before you launch?

Stuart: Pre-launch.

Matt: Pre-launch, okay. Maybe I’ll just say we just came out of alpha. Now¬†we’re in beta.

Stuart: Well, I mean you could be sneaky and go to a waiting page and then¬†submit it and pay the rush fee. And then once you’re actually listed a couple days later be like “Oh look, we already launched.” So you could do that.

Matt: Okay. Seems like it’s probably more for the startup community, though. I¬†don’t know. Well, what do you think? Do you think our service would appeal to¬†startups?

Stuart: Yeah. Startups wanna make money. You guys, your sales funnel, you¬†help people make more money by taking traffic and helping convert, right? I¬†mean that’s your whole raison d’etre. So I think it makes tons of sense for¬†startups. Your new service today, I’m tempted to use it for my screen printing¬†company because I’m moving the site from Bootstrap to WordPress. And I’m¬†gonna need some help tidying up the funnel.

Matt: Yeah, it’s really interesting. We’ve been talking, you and I, through email¬†about it and the feedback’s been really powerful. So that’s good feedback to¬†know also. Maybe startups would be interested in it as well. And excited to be¬†listed on Startup Resources, as well.

Stuart: I gotta create a sales funnel category today for you, but I can do that.

Matt: That would be good for our search engine rankings. Good stuff.

Stuart: And you should also try to get on Product Hunt with it. There’s no¬†reason not to.

Matt: Yeah, yeah. So I’ll use what you just taught and maybe we’ll come back¬†and do a follow-up for the audience if it works out well. What does the future of¬† look like? There’s gonna be competitors that look at this and¬†they say, “Oh it was so easy. I’m just gonna copy it.” And it probably won’t be¬†as easy as they think. And it’ll probably be more difficult than they think to¬†wake up at 1 or 3 and stay up and network and butter people up. But how are¬†you going to continue to build this out? Because I’m a big fan, I think it’s a great¬†idea.

Stuart: So adding more tools as I find them. A couple of days last week and¬†over the weekend, I spent a lot of time adding 20 or 30 new tools. So I’m gonna¬†keep it fresh and keep adding stuff, expanding the categories. I’m also, I like to¬†write but I haven’t had a good place to write about startup stuff. So this gives me a good place to do that. So I’m hoping to blog considerably about it. And¬†also I’m starting a podcast with a friend of mine, Andrew Holsey [SP?], Startup¬†Resources podcast. And we’re gonna talk about tools and marketing. I’m more¬†of a bootstrap guy and he’s more of a get funding kind of guy. So we’re gonna¬†butt heads on that and kind of debate. The podcast should add more value to the visitors and also bring in more traffic. And so from there I have other projects¬†I’m interested in doing based on the initial feedback from this. So there’s plenty¬†to do.

Matt: What does the revenue model look like? Are you going to evolve that in¬†any way or just kind of…because I know there’s affiliate income and there’s also¬†people are paying to be listed as well.

Stuart: That’s basically it. I mean, as we add on the podcast there’s other¬†interesting things to do, like getting sponsorships for the podcast or Patreon is a¬†new interesting model for revenue for podcasts. But basically just with traffic¬†will come more affiliate revenue. And as I write content I can do things like I¬†can use one of these tools. Like I have an affiliate program but use that tool on¬†my own sites and then write a case study. And so that way I’m more likely to¬†have an affiliate sale because I’ve proven that the tool is worth using. It’s¬†basically writing a ton of content.

Matt: Cool. All right, awesome. Was there any question that you felt we didn’t¬†get to cover here that we should know about?

Stuart: One thing I wanted to mention earlier that we got away from was the¬†user submitted. People, they can pay to get their startup listed in the user area.¬†But there’s cases where it makes it to a regular category. A guy just submitted Vibby, which is a video-related tool. And I actually created the¬†video category and moved things around because I thought it was worthwhile to¬†put on the main portion of the site. So it’s been tricky trying to balance it with¬†not letting people pay for a listing in a specific category, per se. But sometimes¬†the tools are super awesome so I go ahead and put them in one of those¬†categories.

Matt: Nice, nice. All right, awesome. So how can people in the audience who¬†are watching this, where can they go do say thank you? And if they want to¬†network with you and butter you up you can submit them to…

Stuart: They can email me at [email protected] Also if anybody wants¬†just to join the Slack group, just send me an email there and I’ll send you an¬†invite. I’m gonna add, I guess on the home page, mention the Slack community¬†too. But that’s probably the best way to hang out with me is join the Slack¬†group.

Matt: Cool. [email protected] and the website is you, Stuart. And thank you all for watching.

Stuart: All right, thanks.

Matt: Take care.

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