What It's About
Handwriting shame leads to side hustle game.
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.
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
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
- College Student Earns $20,000 a Month Cleaning Houses: A Washington, D.C. student identifies problems in the cleaning industry, then starts a customer service-driven company
- “Uber for Lawn Care” Mows Down the Competition: Four friends take a whack at the lawn care industry’s weeds and find ways to better connect vendors and customers
- Lost & Found: How Lost Property Helps a UK Woman Find Her Side Hustle: Tanya-Jane Park wasn’t looking for a side hustle when she went to a popular music festival, but when her friend lost her handbag, she managed to find one anyway
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