266
7 min 41 sec

Boyfriend’s Sloppy Penmanship Turns Into Outsourced Writing Business

He wanted to impress his new girlfriend’s family, but he couldn’t write a letter to save his life—so he started a handwriting side hustle instead.
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What It's About

Handwriting shame leads to side hustle game.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Logistical & Ingenuity
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

It took some time for David to determine where his market was, and his first flop was targeting individuals. A single person rarely buys more than one card at a time, which meant each order was very small—less than $5. Since the credit card fees were 30 cents no matter the order total, he was giving up more margin than necessary each transaction.

This led way to a success: switching gears to targeting businesses. Business clients often order 10 or more cards at one time, bringing the average order up dramatically. He still pays that 30 cent credit card fee, but it’s a much smaller cut percentage-wise now.

Fun Fact

According to Predictable Profits, “Less than 1 in 100 recipients will throw away a hand-addressed letter without opening it.” That’s a 99% open rate—far better than anyone will achieve with emails or non-personalized mail.

Notes from Chris

Episode 266

Do you have good, acceptable, or terrible handwriting? Personally, I have gone from acceptable to terrible—take a look at my signature at the bottom of this note! But then again, I write far less than I used to.

Anyway, today’s story features an account manager for a software company in Denver who creates a side hustle involving a mechanical handwriting machine after visiting his new girlfriend’s family and being ashamed about his poor handwriting.

Not everyone has crisp, clean handwriting. In an age of computers and typing, great penmanship is becoming rarer. For David Daniels, poor handwriting wasn’t just an inconvenience—it was an embarrassment. And this embarrassment was an excellent source of inspiration and motivation.

The 2016 Christmas season arrived, and David went to meet his girlfriend’s parents and extended family for the first time. The holiday went smoothly and he was proud of the first impression he left.

Handwritten cards started coming in the mail from the family groups he met. David wanted to return the gesture to show his gratitude for the hospitality he was shown, so he sat down to write a few cards.

Chicken scratch.

He threw more than one of those cards away out of embarrassment. His penmanship simply did not match the responsible, put-together impression he tried so hard to leave behind. A couple quick Google searches revealed the solution to his handwriting woes: machine handwritten cards. It would have been perfect, but nobody was offering the service around him.

And then a lightbulb appeared above David’s head. He could start a machine-written card company!

Bronote is still really new to the side hustle scene, and while it's not consistently turning a profit yet, David was able to reduce financial risk dramatically by taking a DIY approach to the website and marketing, along with leasing the machine rather than buying it outright.

His shotgun marketing efforts are slowly becoming more narrow and refined as he learns who his target market is and finds new ways to reach them.


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Bronote: Kick your stationary to the curb and check out David's website
  • Wordpress: David used Wordpress to create Bronote, and here you can learn how to install your own Wordpress site in 5 minutes!
  • WooCommerce Plugin: A free eCommerce plugin that integrates with Wordpress and allows you to sell anything
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

cg-sig-newsletter


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Resources

CREATE YOUR ONLINE STORE

Create your online store with Shopify using an exclusive discount for Side Hustle School listeners. For a limited time, get a free 21-day trial and a 10% discount for a whole year.

Many Side Hustle School listeners are building sites using Shopify's easy-to-learn platform. Try it free today!

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GET YOUR FIRST 1,000 EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS

Social media is nice, but building an email list is still the single best way to get customers and clients for your hustle. It's not hard to get started—sign up for a 30-day trial and join the list-building challenge! You’ll be up and running in no time.


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Quote of the Day
"The first steps are to find something you are passionate about. It is too easy to abandon an idea if you are just in it for the money."
—David Daniels #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau