What It's About
Cards Against Humanities expansion pack provides teachable moment and £1,000 profit in month one.
Words of Wisdom
Stephen attributes his rapid success Swagnanimous to three things. The first of which was an initial explosion on Twitter. When his friend tweeted about the deck that first night, his hustle picked up a lot of steam fast as other teachers saw and retweeted the website.
Did you know that the world's most beloved card game was originally called Cardenfreude and was created by eight high school students in Illinois as a New Year's party game? Those original eight creators haven’t sold the company or quit their day jobs despite the game’s success, so it remains a side hustle to this day!
Notes from Chris
Episode 761Teachers around the world face exhausting challenges. Their roles include part educator, part administrator, part organizational specialist, and part babysitter (even when they teach older kids). Many develop a facetiousness that helps them cope with the expectations placed upon them, even when they find their job rewarding. Stephen Lockyer turned his wit and sarcasm to Cards Against Humanities, the irreverent card game. He played often with fellow teachers, and each time they finished a game, someone would inevitably say, “There really needs to be an expansion pack for teachers.” Stephen had a notebook full of side hustle ideas. He’d always been a dreamer, but he’d never acted on his ideas because he was usually so wrapped up in his day job. But that idea of a teacher expansion pack wouldn’t go away. Why hadn’t someone made this already? It seemed too obvious—but Stephen couldn’t find anything online. Then, around October 2018, Stephen was just finishing up the Side Hustle book and decided it was time to finally follow through on an idea. He opened his notebook to look over his ideas, but he already knew which one he wanted to try out. Teachers Against Humanities. He knew that Cards Against Humanities welcomed user-made expansion packs, he knew cards were probably something he could learn to design all on his own, and he figured it was a fairly simple idea to execute on overall. Stephen wasn’t short on ideas for what to say on his cards. He came up with 54 questions that said things like: “What did you bring to after-work drinks” and “I don’t need well-being help, I’ve got ____.” He then created 54 answers that said things like: “The Newly Qualified Teacher” and “an additional responsibility.” Stephen created a simple Shopify store, wrote up some basic description text, uploaded images of his mockups to the Teachers Against Humanities product page, and set the site, Swagnanimous, live. It was November of 2018, and it was time to launch! Stephen told some of his friends about his side hustle, but he didn’t want to attach his name to it. He had a bit of a Twitter following, but rather than leverage that network of teachers, he wanted to see what would happen if he just put Teachers Against Humanities out into the world. Would people really want it enough to buy? So the site went live, and one of his friends tweeted about it late that night. Then Stephen went to sleep. He figured it’d be a few days or even a couple weeks before teachers around the country started to hear about his creation—if they did at all. When he woke up the next morning, he realized it hadn’t taken that long. Not by a long shot. Without physical cards even printed yet, Stephen had sold 62 packs overnight at £12 [$15] a piece. He called up the printer and placed his first order for a couple hundred packs for just £200 [$260]. Sales climbed steadily, but that next Sunday morning, Stephen woke up to a huge surge. He did some digging in the analytics and found that a well-known teacher in the UK had made a Facebook post about Teachers Against Humanities (probably because his name was one of the answers in the decks). As Stephen says, “it was totally brain-frying”. By the end of November, his first month of real side hustling, Stephen had profited over £1,000. By January, Stephen had earned a few extra thousand pounds—enough to cover his 2019 boat vacation trip! Stephen’s on fire now. This year, he’s planning to launch two subscription services. The first is Post Against Humanity, a monthly Cards Against Humanity deck service that’ll feature themed decks (not all teacher-related). The second subscription will be TeachTreats, a monthly box for teachers who want to treat themselves. The extra money’s been great, but for Stephen, the best part is knowing that he finally settled on an idea, figured out how to make it work, and followed through all the way to sales. Now he’s excited to do it again and again.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Swagnanimous: Snag an extension pack for the teacher in your life—get yours on Stephen's website
- Shopify: Stephen used Shopify to set up his site for Swagnanimous, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!
- Pixlr & Photopea: Two free browser-based design apps that Stephen used to create his expansion packs
- Engineer Makes $64,000 Selling Nerdy Playing Cards on Reddit: It started with a single Legend of Zelda playing card she drew for a friend and posted on Reddit—then it became a side hustle selling more than 6,400 full decks
- Magician Brothers Make Money Appear From Playing Cards: Twin brothers turn their art of “cardistry” into a highly profitable business. It’s all fun and games as long as they don’t let their profits vanish…
- New Yorker Doubles Her Income with Next-Level Tarot Cards: How a senior designer for a feminist media publication decides to create tarot card decks and ends up making as much with her side hustle as she does at her day job
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