Andrew: hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m so excited for this interview. Harry Campbell created a blog called the rideshare guy. Fricking guy hit on a thing at a time when I thought maybe blogging was done, he hit.
People who are riding, driving cars for Lyft, for Uber. I feel like they felt they were alone. They, they had all these questions. What are these extra bonus points? How do you actually make money? When should you do it? All that stuff. So he created a blog for them. He then called the rideshare guy. He then created a YouTube channel where I kept coming across his videos on YouTube.
Um, And I always thought of, it was just some dude who drove a car who was doing this kind of on the side. And I thought he was just dumb looking his way into it. And over time I realized, no, this fricking guy’s brilliant. He’s really smart. The ads on a site are so good. My ad blocker doesn’t stop him.
He’s the only guy who yeah. It’s for him. And maybe if I ever go check out Breitbart, Breitbart, Breitbart. Yeah. He’s the, he’s a guy who’s figured out how to charge people, not just for emailing his list, but charge them based on how much money they might have to survey his list. He’s a guy who will bash Uber and then the CEO of Uber mentions him on Kara Swisher’s podcast.
It’s like a reference point. All right. You’ve seen why I’m impressed by the guy. I want to understand how he turned this blog into a business. I want to find out about what the business is. I’m not seeing behind the scenes. And frankly, there’s a guy who I’ve interviewed people who built these billion dollar businesses.
And sometimes it feels like it’s such an amorphous thing. That’s so hard to understand, let alone recreate that. I know that some people feel it’s out of touch with where they are, what Harry is built is in touch with what anyone can do. Who’s listening to us, which is part of why I’m inspired by a story.
This interview, where we find out about it. It’s sponsored by two phenomenal companies. The first I think he’s going to like, it’s a way to survey your audience is called delighted. I want to tell you why you should go to delighted.com and use them for free. And the second he actually commented and said that he, I see negative comment.
Did my, my tweet about it. The one that I paid and showed my advertisers and I was actually very happy. I always liked people as long as they’re not being jerks about it too, to be critical of even my sponsors. And so I am going to talk in this interview about my second sponsor HostGator. That’s a very big intro, Harry.
Now that I’ve worn you out from listening, let me let you talk by saying what’s your revenue. Tell us the revenue with this whole enterprise.
Harry: Well, you know, I guess what I would say is I’ve never fully shared my full revenue numbers, and I think that, uh, you never really want to give people a full peak inside your business. So what I will say is that it’s been enough to kind of hire multiple people full time, have a network of independent contractors all over the country, buy myself a house here in Los Angeles, a car here and there, and definitely provide really more than I probably would ever need.
And kind of put me on the path to final financial independence, a lot
Andrew: more, you could have done that. I did do. There’s a guy, there’s a guy on your YouTube channel. Who’s doing that type of lifestyle. Just driving cars. He’s a bit obsessive. I think he’s done 40 hours in a row, but you build more than that. Are we talking about what a two to $5 million business does that seem
Harry: Yeah. I mean, I would say that I probably value. I mean, it’s probably valued in that range right
Andrew: Valued. What about revenue?
Harry: know, uh, revenue is probably going to be, you know, obviously less than that. Um, and I mean, so, you know, we can go into some of the
Andrew: Less than a million?
Harry: that we have. Um, I mean, I would say in the past, we’re probably right around there in the past, we’ve kind of, you know, Been actually pretty consistent over the years.
And that’s one of the things that I’ve worked hard at is diversifying those revenue streams so that we do have that pretty consistent, you know, kind of top line gross income. And that kind of allows me. Obviously, my profits are not going to be anywhere near there, but depending on how much work I want to put into the business, how much I want to invest, how much I want to hire, you know, we can still, obviously it’s still an online business.
So the margins are still going to be pretty damn high.
Andrew: What are some of the revenue sources? I made a list here that is about half a dozen. I don’t know that I got them all. What are the revenue
Harry: Well, let’s see. I would like to hear you guess them
Andrew: Okay here. Here’s what I’ve
Harry: I think, like you said, a lot of people may, you know, they see a blog on the front side. I did just redesign my site for the first time in six years. So it looks better than it has in the past. Yeah.
Andrew: It looks good. And it’s more than looks good. It’s thoughtful. It’s everything I want or would want where, where I would want it. Like when I’m ready to go beyond Lyft and Uber. There’s a whole section that says here’s what’s next. And it’s organized, right? It’s not just a bunch of blog posts.
Harry: when you, when you do a site redesign, once every six years, you tend to put a little, uh, extra thought into it.
Andrew: It’s been almost six years for me. It might be my time to, so here’s what I got from me. You got that course. You got banner ads, you’ve got email ads, you’ve got affiliate products, right within your stuff. You’ve got surveys to your list. You’ve got an insurance product. Um, and you had a marketplace for cars.
I think that didn’t quite work out. What else? What am I missing?
Harry: Yeah. So I guess that, you know, some of those, I kind of bundle into the same category. So insurance marketplace is probably one that’s kind of unique on its own. We started off by just providing a resource for drivers about what, who offers, what type of insurance by state. And then we ended up signing up a bunch of individual agents, companies, et cetera, the revenue on that as kind of, you know, maybe.
Peaked in the past and has kind of come down since, but it’s still up there in the five to 10% overall range. And, and then the other kind of big categories I would say are affiliate. And that encompasses, you know, so every company listed on our vehicle marketplace is one of our affiliates for not all of them, but most of them are affiliates, for example.
And then you could even put, you know, sort of what I call driver referrals or, you know, right now it’s a lot of delivery referrals since we’re living in this, uh, COVID world and not. Ton of Uber and Lyft rides happening, but a lot of Postmates DoorDash Instacart. So we’re referring and basically thousands of new drivers for those services right now.
So, um, and then we’ll also another category that I like to call is kind of more. Uh, direct advertising. So this would be deals that I negotiate or someone on my team usually negotiates directly with a sponsor. HostGator comes to me and they want to advertise on the podcast for example, and we’ve got a nice media kit, actually, like people could go check it out.
It’s at the rideshare guy.com forward slash media kit. If you want to take a look and sort of see the suite of offerings, but that’s going to be in our bread and butter. Products are like sponsored posts, sponsored videos. We put a little ad at the top of our newsletter, which has been extremely high ROI, super lucrative.
Right now we’re charging a thousand dollars a week. We send out four emails a week, you know, with all of our blog posts and you get a little, um, two to three sentences at the top. We have nine 90,000 people on our email list right now. And so you can kind of obviously see four emails, time, 90,000, maybe 15 to 20% open rate, very high impression top of the fold ad.
And those are often sold out or we’ll put her best performing affiliate partners there. So I’m not shy about trying to make money. Let’s just put it that way.
Andrew: You gave a talk at fin con, which you sent me a link to and I watched it. And in it, you said, here’s what we have for banner ads. Now, if someone comes to us and says, we’d like to replace them, we’d like to make you a better deal. My thinking is that you said in that speech. Why replace them. How about we add, let’s see if we can find another place for you.
And you’re constantly looking for more places, by the way, I was doing the site search on you on similar web, it looks like, uh, Instacart is really big for you guys right now. You’re sending people who used to drive for Uber to Instacart and Instacart pays you for that.
Harry: Yup. Exactly. So we’re signed up through impact, which is an affiliate network for door dash Instacart and Postmates. Um, you know, since you were curious about the revenue numbers, I’ll even, you know, I have a spreadsheet that I just pulled up right now. So over the past four months for door dash, we’ve signed up 2,500 careers, Instacart 3,200 Postmates, 600.
Um, and then obviously, you know, beyond that, Not everyone activates, but a lot, those are all the signups, so, and pretty big numbers. And this definitely, you know, free pandemic. It wasn’t like that. You know, I would even say like, I didn’t really care that much about our delivery affiliates. You know, they’re in a couple hundred bucks a month type range, so I’ll keep them going because they’re on autopilot.
But I think that diversification is something I learned early on so that when shit does hit the fan, I don’t know if I’m allowed to swear or not, but too late now, um, you know, you kind of have a starting point versus, you know, having to go, okay, pandemic hit. Now, what can I do to make sure money? And so there’s some revenue sources like frankly courses have never been that lucrative for us.
I know for a lot of people, courses have been lucrative. And for us, we probably sold 20 to $30 a month at, uh, we were charging 90 bucks and then a year or two ago we dropped it to 50 bucks a month. Right. This was the same course for the past five years. And so we’ve sold, you know, 20 to 30 courses a month for five years at either 90 or $45 price point.
So it’s, you know, in the tens of thousands of dollars of revenue, but it was still less than, you know, 5%, less than 3% usually of our overall revenue. And the reason why I think it’s important to invest in stuff like that though, is because if you needed in the future, To let’s say, ramp up the courses you would need, you know, some of your other revenue sources dried up, you now have a really good starting point.
You have a list, you have people who have bought courses before you can expand into courses for door dash, Postmates, Instacart, or even, you know, we have an idea for a life after rideshare course. It just explores tangential or related careers. Since a lot of people that do start driving for Uber and Lyft end up quitting.
And that’s great for them, but it kind of sucks for me because that means they’re not going to be reading my site anymore. So how do we avoid that problem?
Andrew: Do you feel like you picked the, I want to know how you started. I want to know how you got, um, Uber’s attention. I want to know how you, um, I am fascinated by your media savvy. Um, but I got to get this out of the way. Do you feel like you made a mistake calling yourself the rideshare guy or maybe it was great in the beginning, but now you’ve clearly expanded beyond its scooters or on their food delivery or on their right notary services are on there.
Harry: Yeah. It’s funny. I think there’s really, hasn’t been an issue for me until the past year or so. I think for the first five years of the business, I started the site in 2014. And I think that the rideshare guy, you know, I spent, I probably wrote down 50 names. Like a lot of people do when they’re thinking of names for their first business or a business and settled on the rideshare guy, because I didn’t want to go too niche.
Right. Uber, Uber guy, or Lyft guy. But I figured that that industry, you know, was kind of going to be what I covered. And over time, Uber and Lyft have really been kind of the focus, the core of my site. And I haven’t really been too concerned with the branding in 2018, our top content across the blog and YouTube channel is actually scooter stuff.
So it was all about bird, all about lime. Um, I mean, we had YouTube, we were doing, I was doing scooter reviews on our YouTube channel, super random, but they were getting hundreds of thousands of views. And, uh, you know, we were working with some of these companies directly. And so there’s just a lot of opportunity there and, but that faded.
And so I think what I’ve settled on is that the moniker or the rideshare guy is sort of in a sense, I think we’re trying to, you know, cover Uber and Lyft, and that’s kind of the focus of the site, but, and that’s how we draw people in. But I think a lot of these ancillary and tangential opportunities, we’re not actually really limited.
By the name, right? I really don’t think the name has limited us in any respect to go into these other verticals. So it really hasn’t been much of
Andrew: Really doesn’t it seem a little out of place when it comes to I get scooters, I guess we kind of consider scooters to be ride sharing, but when it comes to food delivery, that’s not ride sharing. Right. Or am I being too anal here?
Harry: yeah, I mean, you know, even technically ride share, isn’t even really what Uber and Lyft are, Uber and Lyft. And I think if you look at the AP style guide, they call them ride hail. And so I always get into little arguments with people and I’m of course, super bias because I wanted to call it ride share.
And, but if you look at my shirt right now, you’ll notice that I have a ladder. I get it up
Andrew: Right chair guy with the logo. No.
Harry: And so the logo is a wheel, right? And so one of the reasons, you know, when we redesigned the site, I put a little more thought into it. I wanted to keep the name, but the wheel I think is really kind of what symbolizes and applies.
It’s a ride, it’s a ride for your burrito. It’s a ride for a person it’s a ride on a scooter. And I think it just kind of envelops a whole bunch of different topics while still having. Some specific, uh, initiative, you know, that I’m known for that I’m focusing on. Right. Because I actually don’t think that I need to be the expert of rideshare, the expert of food delivery, the expert of scooters.
I think that you actually start to stretch yourself a little too thin, especially for what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to build. So I sort of like being the rideshare guy and really well known in the Uber and Lyft space and get to chat with Uber’s CEO, because at the same time, I mean, on my podcast, I’ve had a, you know, a spin, right?
So for example, I had their CEO on my podcast, right. So there’s. Other people in the scooter, in the food delivery industry that I can work with. And for me, it’s about finding actually the best synergies and the best ways from a content perspective, say that Google could care less. Um, you know, in the search algorithm, what the name of my site is, we rank just fine for Instacart door dash Postmates, and even a lot of these financial products and services that we’ve been testing lately.
Andrew: I went back to see where you got started. The story about you is that you are an engine and aerospace engineer want to make some money on the side, decided to drive for Lyft, had a good time with it, made more money, made money driving over to trader Joe’s and that got you started. I found it an old dish.
It’s not one of your oldest. I found one of your previous sites, PF pro.
Andrew: started reading those
Harry: you really did a lot of research. Andrew. You’re not
Andrew: I even read the comments. You were responding to every freaking comment in there, and I
Harry: so now we’re probably talking 2010, 2012, but yeah, that was a, you know, when I started dabbling in kind of the online marketing blogging space back in 2010, 2012. So that was one of the first sites I started
Andrew: What was the very first one?
Harry: I think your PF pro.com was one of the first was the first, uh, website or blog. I started it sort of stood for your personal finance pro.com and I still own it to this day.
Uh, I haven’t. Worked on it in seven or eight years, but I have someone that manages that site for me. We sort of just basically sell kind of a scammy sponsored posts on it for link building. And you know, it’s, again, it’s brought in maybe five to 10,000 bucks a year for the past. I mean, literally since 2010 or 2012.
Um, but it kinda gave me a little taste of the blogging and online marketing world. And I sort of knew that, Hey, basically right now, the only people reading my site back in the day or my friends and family that I made sign up for my email list. And, you know, if I can get some traction, if I can get some traffic, if I can get people to pay me 150 bucks for an article with no traffic, um, you know, for just a link back, I can only imagine that I could scale that infinitely if I actually have traffic, if I.
Actually have an audience and sort of what I’ve come to is that if I actually have the credibility, because that’s really what I’m trying to get at these days, as you know, I’m selling people obviously on the conversions, but when you can advertise your brand with a guy, who’s had Uber CEO on the podcast, or the guy who wrote the book on ride share, for example, then you sort of start to get into a different level where you can actually help companies.
So we helped a company raise. I wouldn’t say we helped them raise money, but we did a survey. You know, you talked about the surveys earlier. We did a survey of our audience and we’re literally here branding this PowerPoint with SoftBank SoftBank, this SoftBank that they were going to them to raise another round of money.
And so this survey was obviously, you know, the PowerPoint we made for them was clearly using some presentation and I don’t know what impact it had, you know, but they ended up raising a four or $500 million round. Right.
Andrew: And they hired you to do the surveys and then to also add it to the presentation so that they could then get credibility, presumably with soft
Harry: I mean, right. Credibility, but also, you know, I think that, uh, you know, showing the drivers, you know, obviously love their product or wherever they might be. Right. And it’s not that hard to raise money from SoftBank, but, uh, you know, we charge them 15,000 bucks for it. And when it came out that they raised four or 500 million, I thought, wow, we really undercharged our services and that’s.
Double what we were charging for normal surveys at the time. So I think that, you know, you kind of get into there’s opportunity to get into like different stratospheres and it’s not always about what it seems like on the surface, you know? Oh, you sign one person up, you get a hundred dollars, right.
There’s other benefits you can
Andrew: Then once you have this credibility, I get it. Now it’s more than just the work that you do. It’s more than just the, um, the leads that you get them versions. It’s about the brand and the credibility that I want them. Let me go back to the beginning though. What were you trying to do? Were you trying to become a blogger like Pat Flynn?
Was there someone that you were trying to emulate? What was it.
Harry: With your PF pro
Andrew: With anything in general, you’re you’re doing a bunch of blogging. You’re out there feeling for something. You’re a guy who, even as a kid, from what I saw you had lemonade stands. Am I right about that?
Harry: Yeah, I did have lemonade stands. I don’t know. I don’t even know if I publicly ever mentioned that. I think I actually did a, I used to resell my mom’s lunches that she made for me. So I’d make her make two lunches for me. And then I resell an English class to a girl named Fallon, I think in my second, uh, second period.
Andrew: Tell me about the candy selling. I did that
Harry: I ever sold candy. I mean, I I’m sure I did the door to door, you know, paper wrapping, but I was more of a, you know, I think I’ve always just looked for jobs and opportunities. That kind of what I call are high leverage. Right. So for example, in college, I did, I was on the volleyball team.
I did our team’s laundry and it was paid two hours a day. All I had to do was gather everyone, you know, everyone had a mesh laundry bag. I would put it in a bag. Sack, throw it into the washer. The next team would put it in the dryer. I would pick it up in the morning, about two minutes of work. I paid for two hours every day, right?
30 bucks, probably 30, 40 bucks total a day. But you know, two minutes of work and you know, if you kinda I’m an engineer, right? So if you average that out over 60 minutes, now I’m talking six, seven, 800 bucks an hour, right. Only very few hours, but I was at work, but.
Andrew: why were you doing this? What was it about you? I also read somewhere. I can’t find where that you also weren’t into spending the money. You just wanted to make it for the sake of making it, why.
Harry: Yeah. So I think that for me, I’m always, always looking to combine things that I’m interested in, that I’m passionate about and that will help people. And, you know, I very rarely, I think maybe never, even, especially at this point in my life where I’m on, you know, Very good financial footing for someone my age.
I very rarely do something just for the money. I think that it has to have some interest level, um, you know, some ability to help people. And, you know, if you look plotted it on sort of a Venn diagram, obviously some projects are going to be more in one camp than the other. But I think kind of from an early on, I’ve always just looked to work on things.
Interesting. I mean, I started driving for Uber and Lyft. Because I was a passenger, it seemed interesting, you know, to go around, pick random people up, have conversations, get paid on your way to, or from work. Does it really work like that? And I
Andrew: wasn’t a blog because you were blogging about this stuff. You did blog about it on your personal finance site, right. Was it to just have another experiment? Still’s story to talk about?
Harry: I think that really what your PF protocol me was that there was a lot of potential in blogging and online market cutting, but you had to find, you know, a few things have to go. Right. Right. And so for me, I knew that European pro I think I was a little too late to the game there, or I wasn’t focused specifically on the right niche.
Like your young professionals, for example, was probably a good niche. Maybe five years before I started my blog. Um, but at the time that I started mine, you know, cause it was funny because I’m the same guy who was writing all those articles in my writing. Hasn’t gotten that much better from the European pro days.
But now, you know, we have a hundred times the audience or a hundred, you know, a thousand times. Sorry. So I think that’s kind of the funny part is that, uh, you know, a lot of times you kind of have to find that right Avenue or outlet for your stuff and something that, you know, works well.
Andrew: And so that’s what you were doing. It seems like you hit on it with this first ride. The first Lyft ride you wrote about it on your site and your personal finance site. And then you started to move over to the rideshare guy. What made you say this is a new thing? This could be the big one for me.
Harry: So I think what made me think it’s, you know, as a, as a new thing is like, frankly, starting a lot of online or digital media type businesses are very low risk. Right. So, I mean, I started European pro I started another site that you didn’t find. It sounds like called cheapo, like me.com. I don’t know if it’s still out there the four hour work day.com.
A lot of these total totally ripped off Tim Ferriss there, but he never found out luckily, um, you know, so just kind of trying, I was doing a lot of. Freelance writing. Right. So it’s not like, you know, I did one and didn’t work then tried one and it worked. I was doing a lot to be honest, um, you know, an over a one
Andrew: to find, to try to find a new business, to get you out of your job or to what.
Harry: Yeah. I think that what I kind of quickly saw as an engineer sitting in a cubicle, I mean, this is not the worst job in the world, but it’s also not something I wanted to do for 20, 30, 40 years of my life when there’s so many other opportunities. And, you know, frankly, like that’s why I was so excited that when I started your PF pro, even though it wasn’t really a success in the metrics that, you know, maybe like leaving your.
Your day job to go do it. I sort of saw the writing on the wall, right? Like if you told someone, like, if you, if you found someone on the street and told them that they could quit their job and, you know, start a blog and turn it into a multimillion dollar business, it probably thinks you’re full of shit.
But, um, you know, that is possible. And I think that, you know, it sounds like on the surface, it sounds kind of like you’re full of crap, but I think if you go out and sort of like for me with your PF pro, I saw that it actually was very possible. You know, if I’m making $10,000 a year with a site. It’s getting almost no traffic, right.
And with the internet, you can kind of, the marginal costs are so low. You can infinitely scale in a lot of cases. If you pick the right niche, um, income wise, traffic wise, et cetera, then you really do have that potential. So I think you kind of need that, uh, you know, first thing that you try or that you do, or that you start that kind of confirms that there is potential cause otherwise, like I’d be pretty skeptical if you told me that, that, um, you know, just randomly one day before.
Where I got into all of this, and I think it’s okay to have that skepticism, but also, but what’s the downside risk. So when I go start driving for Uber and Lyft, what’s the downside risk. I try it. I sign up for my couch. I don’t like it. I never do it again. Very low downside. Um, and when I started doing it, I realized that, Hey, at the time I think Uber was maybe in the.
A billion or two, 3 billion kind of range. And there were a hundred thousand drivers. It seemed like. And I thought to myself, wow, this is a pretty good market right here. It could turn into a good little business, little did I know that it would scale up to, you know, a million drivers in the U S in 2019, for example, in the company where 70 billion and, you know, a handful of multibillion dollar companies that we now cover on the site.
Andrew: Okay. And so you built the site, you started writing what got it to finally take off.
Harry: So I think, you know, again, early on, I sort of feel like I had a headstart, right. I wasn’t an expert at blogging, like, frankly, I think I am now, but early on, I sort of knew that, okay, I need to be consistent with my content. I’m going to post, I think I decided on four times a week, so Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday.
And I’m going to be very consistent with that. Um, I hired actually, I got a couple of contributors that literally worked. For free, just because they were super passionate about the industry. This is before I was making money. So I didn’t feel bad having them work for free for me. And so we had a guy that was doing our Saturday news roundups, and then another guy I think, doing an article on Wednesday.
So I was really only writing two articles a week. Well, we were posting four times a week consistently. And, um, you know, I think that consistency sort of started the base. Right. So now, um, you know, I think our, you know, it kind of not gave us legitimacy, but it’s sort of like laid down the foundation so that as I started to really, you know, I think promote the heck out of this site and early on, it was a lot of kind of tactics.
It probably wouldn’t work as well, but it was things like going onto Reddit and sharing my links, you know, kind of going on like kind of more like. I w I wouldn’t call them a black hat of a member, more like gray hat, you know, like a little bit spammy, frankly. But at the same time, you know, I was looking, I thought I had really good content and it was pretty relevant to the discussions at hand.
You know, I remember lift would post, um, daily blog articles on their website and I would link to it from my, one of my articles. And I would get a ping back on their article that was back in the day. And I would get a bunch of free traffic that way. So I was doing stuff like that. Let’s say it was like a lot of manual labor, but you know, kind of high impression stuff, you know, going into Facebook groups, messaging everyone in a, you know, 200 person, orange County, Lyft driver group.
And just saying, you know, like, I mean, it’s not just like, go check out my site. It would be like, you know, someone’s having an issue. I would miss you the message. And I’m about this. Like, Hey, I wrote about this or, Hey, I have a site. That’s all about this. Here’s how I can help. And you know, that stuff today is kind of a lot more spammy, but when I was doing it five, six years ago, it was kind of more borderline, I would say.
So that was kind of the first piece. And then I think kind of when I started leveraging the media is really what poured a lot of, uh, gas on the fire, which we can get into. If you don’t have any other questions.
Andrew: Let me take a moment to talk about my first sponsor and then we’ll get into the gas on the fire. I did find by the way, cheapo like me.com. I see
Harry: is it still out there?
Andrew: six spot, no, uh, internet archive, six bottles of wine for $2. That’s a good deal, dude. From 2012, here’s another offer from 2012, $10 Amazon gift card for $5 and three months of free Amazon prime.
Harry: that was back when I was into the slick deals and a lot of the credit card churning. So, you know, I’ve been around in the internet for awhile.
Andrew: Well, that aspect of you, I think, is going to like this next offer. It’s from a company called delighted. I’m going to let you use it for free. And here’s what they do. Now. You do, you’re doing surveys of your riders for your customers. What delighted does is it says, look, every business should be serving their people.
Seeing if they’re happy with the product, seeing where they fail, seeing where they’re not happy, seeing what they’re missing. And so they created an easy way to get these forms up on, on a website or by email. They really just made it easy to do it in all different platforms. And I said to delighted, well, you know what, it’s kind of easy for me.
I have a form app on my, on my site. All I have to do is just fire up a form and do it. I said, well, do you use the data? I go, Oh, I get it. But it’s just painful. That’s the next step? Yes. Asking the question in an easy, elegant way, this designed to improve. Maybe you can do it though. They could be, they said the light is going to beat you because it’s designed specifically to get more people to fill it out.
But they said once the data comes in, they make sense of it. Well, that’s where the light comes in and they make it easy for you to both collect the data and do something with it. And so I’ve seen them since they first sponsored me on. Other sites, other conversations, I see how popular they were. And then this guy who used to work with me was on a Facebook group saying, Hey, does anyone know an alternative to delighted.com?
I like them, but I can’t really pay for them right now. I’ve got a new project, but I used them at a previous job. I said, dude, just use my URL. If you go to delighted.com/mixer, did you get it for free? They’re not even increasing the price at any point. In fact, I’ve been using them for free now for months.
So he used it. And of course, if you want to upgrade, they’ve got more features. They’ve got more usage, they got a lot more for you when you’re ready to upgrade, but if you choose to never upgrade, it’s there for you. And if you go over to delighted.com/mixergy, you’ll get to try them right now with, with that, uh, uh, That private, exclusive, special URL.
Another amazing thing that they do is they help you realize, Hey, you know what? The world is changing and asking the same dumb questions that people used to ask or not. It’s not gonna work right now. It’s gonna make you look at a touch. And if you go to that URL, delighted.com/mixergy, they’ll give you some insight into how you can start to ask questions, better questions to take into account what people are going through.
Do not have like a crappy day, two days ago when you and I were deeming
Harry: I think, I think he did. I think we both, might’ve had some kid issues, but I think, uh, you know, today’s a new day.
Andrew: Ask me the survey then I would have given you a negative responses on everything anyway. So delighted, lets you take into account how people are feeling beyond how they’re feeling about your product. If you go to delighted.com/mixer GLC, I should spell it. D E L I G H T E d.com/mixergy. You’ve got a kid now.
Harry: I’ve got two kids. I’ve got a two and a half year old and a four month old.
Andrew: Wow. You know what I was watching you, I guess, as I went back in time, basically get engaged right through this business. You got married after you built the rideshare guy, and now you got kids.
Harry: it’s funny. Uh, I think, uh, I think, I don’t know if you respond to this tweet to, from a buddy, Andrew Chen, who used to work at Uber, he tweeted out something yesterday that said, you know, what’s your best bit. I don’t know if he said, I think you just asked best year and why? And I replied, I said, Oh, 2014.
I started the rideshare guy. And then I thought about it. I said, Oh, wait, crap. I got married that year too. So had to add that in. But a 2014 was a good year for me personally and professionally.
Andrew: Let’s then talk about, um, you know what, I want to talk a little bit about the content and then get into marketing. The, the roundups. I looked them up. Basically what you did was you said here’s a news article. I’m going to link it to it. And a paragraph of text news article linked to it, I guess, for people who aren’t following this stuff daily, the way that you might be, it makes sense.
Super clear. Give me another thing that worked for you for coming up with good content.
Harry: Um, I would say another thing is actually just doing. The topic that I’m writing about. I think that’s a challenge that a lot of people face as they start to scale their business. Right. If you’re trying to be a business owner, sometimes you get away from the actual topic that you’re starting, that you blogged about.
Right. So even though I kind of, honestly, didn’t really want to drive that much after the first two, three years, you know, that you weren’t making as much wasn’t as fun. And you know, I’ve been doing it for two or three years. It wasn’t as fun. I sort of forced myself to go out there at least once every month or once every two or three months.
And every time I would go out and drive, I’d come up with. Tons of article ideas and it was just so easy for me, cause I could kind of then leverage actual experience, you know, driving for Uber and Lyft and you know, do calculations and drive for a weekend and say, okay, here’s exactly how much we made over weekend.
Here’s a spreadsheet with all my numbers. Here’s what I could have better, you know, et cetera.
Andrew: Yeah, the, I did a thing. Approach to content is really interesting. That’s what makes your YouTube channel interesting. Your blog posts.
Harry: And I think that’s actually what I love so much about blogging and even YouTube specifically, you know, YouTube is one of my favorite platforms right now because you really don’t need the established brand or the established SEO. Like you might, when you’re starting a blog right now, or really anytime in the past few years, you can go release a, an, a, an article on a brand new blog.
And no one’s going to read it versus a YouTube video. Um, if you pick the right topic, the right niche, I did a video just for fun on my personal channel about Warby Parker. I think. Two years ago and it was just, I had tried them out. I have a really terrible prescription I’m negative, uh, 11 or 10 or something like that.
Something crazy bad if you wear glasses or contacts. And I just did a quick video and that video ended up getting 25 or 30,000 views on my personal channel with absolutely no other videos at the time. And I threw in an affiliate link that from Sheriff’s sales, since I was a platform that I had through the rideshare guy, and I think it ended up making a few hundred bucks.
So it was just. Totally a video I did for fun, no following nothing on YouTube. And so you can kind of imagine maybe that would have been too small of a niche, but you never know. I mean, I could have gone and been like the eyeglasses guy or the Warby Parker guys.
Andrew: What about finding those big pain points that writers have that they’re looking to read articles about? Like the one that comes up a lot is the one on puking. And I’ve been in Uber cars where I could tell that the drivers really paranoid about puking. They’ve got plastic laid out everywhere. How do you, how do you identify those hotspots for them?
Harry: Yeah. So I would say that one of the ways that we do it, you know, so actual firsthand experience. So it’s, you know, back in the day it was me actually driving and then really just writing about my experience. That’s one of the things I love about blogging is that you can kind of, you don’t even necessarily need to be an expert.
You may never become an expert, but people can empathize with you. And that’s really, I think what. It makes blogging stand out versus being an actual journalist where you’re interviewing experts. And so for me, it was trying these services myself out, hiring contributors who are actually all over the country and kind of in different phases of their driving careers, to, you know, some words, new to the platform.
Some are old, some are males. Female, you know, some are different, um, you know, races, you know, everything, right? Because now you’re starting to bring a lot of different perspectives. And so I think from a content point of view, that’s kind of, I mean, we’ve really had no trouble ever coming up with ideas. And then of course also, you know, some of the things that we, I guess, We did early too was just, I mean, understanding the feedback that we’re getting, this is kind of straightforward, but you know, if people are emailing a bunch about questions, then that’s something that you can cover lately.
We’ve been covering a lot more breaking news, and this is something that I’ve sort of shied away from in the past, because I don’t like to try and compete with. You know, the big tech outlets who are, you know, have people literally paying hundreds of, you know, a hundred thousand bucks a year, 80,000 bucks a year on staff to cover the latest Uber breaking news.
But we have been doing some of that and, um, you know, kind of putting our drivers spin on it. Right? So Uber and Lyft today just announced that they may actually pull out of California if this law, you know, basically, or if they have to. Classify their drivers as employees. So we’ll write an article about that, but kind of what it means for drivers, right.
And like what we’ve seen in the past, based on our experience, like this happened in Austin and I flew to Austin to talk with a bunch of drivers after that happened. So it’s like, what happened there? What did the drivers think about that situation? And then we leverage it over to YouTube also. So that’s a big strategy that I.
I think, um, you know, a lot of people, um, I don’t know if everyone’s taking advantage of this right now, to be honest, but that’s what we do. We write almost every article we do. We also turn into a YouTube video and especially for breaking news topics, a lot of the top outlets don’t do that strategy. So we sometimes rank for breaking news.
You know, if you go to Google and search Uber employee, when there’s breaking news, like our YouTube videos will be right up there with tech crunch, the verge, et cetera, because Google, you know, obviously they own YouTube and they sometimes like to feature videos and that kind of. Second spot. So we take advantage of that sometimes too.
Andrew: I did do a search for Uber employee and that’s that what I did. Yeah, we were employee and your results came up a lot. Uh, the first two are yours and then it goes to CNBC. So when you turn well, alright, let’s go back then. Uh, now I gotta ask you this. I hadn’t seen any of the posts that you have about news that you turn into a blog post.
I guess that’s just not my thing, but now that I’m looking, I see one Uber earnings report, Q2, Uber eats made more money than Uber X and that’s I guess just one person standing at home talking about this in front
Harry: On the, on the YouTube
Andrew: door. Yeah.
Harry: Yeah. I mean, on the YouTube channel, I’ve actually used a very, I mean, kind of, I would say, you know, not strange, but sort of a unique content strategy. I mean, most YouTube burrs, they are sort of the face of their YouTube channel. Right. And for me, I was the early face of the YouTube channel, but again, I kind of knew that I was going to grow out of it eventually just because I’m kind of a typical entrepreneur.
And though in the way that I don’t want to do the same thing. You know, every day for too long, right? You can only make so many videos about driving Uber and Lyft before you get a little bit bored. And it’s the second I get bored. Basically. I stopped doing it. Right. I find other people that can help me bring different point of views.
And so really now I’m still doing videos here and there on the channel, but maybe only five to 10% of the videos we’ve got multiple contributors. On the YouTube channel. And basically they’re just kind of doing very simple most of the time on camera, you know, from their car, from their office, talking about, you know, either breaking news or certain topics or, you know,
Andrew: No B roll nothing. It’s kind of like one of the first videos that I saw you do, where it was just you staring at the camera for 12 minutes. I didn’t even see any jump cuts. And it was just that.
Harry: So I never, I’m also, I will say that this strategy doesn’t necessarily have to be for everyone. For me. I always try to play to my strengths, my interests, my passions. Right. I’m not. I’ve never edited a single video in my life. I don’t know how to edit a video. I’m sure I could figure it out, but literally I hate editing videos.
Right. So even when I was recording all the videos, I would work hard on the scripts. I would work hard on the outline and then I would just go look at the camera and kind of recite back. And I might glance at my notes or glance at my script, but I never read off a script. I kind of just went one take, you know, I rarely went more than 10 or 12 minutes, but that’s probably one of the longer videos we did.
And I think what. It kind of, what I kind of learned is that as long as you’re providing good information, providing good content, uh, people will sit there. You know, one of the things I love about YouTube is that you can go and do something super fancy and go all out with production. But like 90% of the value that users are viewing are getting is the content.
It’s like what you’re saying versus the 4k, the lighting, the microphone, like, you know, some of these videos I’ve done have like. Terrible audio, terrible video. In one, someone sent me, I’m wearing a green shirt, you know, in my, in my second bedroom, back in Newport beach. And I remember that video was one of our most popular with a few hundred thousand views.
So, uh, at the time, so, you know, you can definitely do some damage.
Andrew: Right. Let’s talk about media. You’ve been so good. When, what worked for you in the beginning?
Harry: So I would say what worked for me in the beginning were some simple, simple things. So for example, uh, I’ve been signed up. For HARO, H a R O help a reporter out for six 60. Basically. The way I do it though, is a little different, I say, set up alerts in Gmail so that anytime a HARO request comes in with Uber Lyft ride share any of the keywords that I’m looking for.
Um, you know, it kind of gets started in my email and basically brought to the front and then I reply as quickly as possible. Um, I have a template that I use. It’s sort of like, Hey, here’s who I am. And then I fill in, you know, kind of answer their question. Right. And what I also do is I hop over to Twitter since a lot of journalists, every single.
Journalists loves Twitter. And then I send them a message on Twitter, or I just send them, you know, Hey Andrew, just all your HARO requests come in. We’d love to help. Uh, you know, I just emailed you or here’s my phone number if it’s a DM, right? And so now I’m getting like that second touch point because you have to understand, I think that’s one thing I’ve been good at is being on both sides of the equation.
When you respond to a horror request, especially a popular one, there’s gonna be 500 other people responding to that. So how can you take a very simple or quick action to now stand out from 90 or 95% of the rest of the people. And so that’s, those are the types of opportunities I look for. So that was a pretty simple media strategy that we used.
And very early on, I actually got a New York times, uh, horrible requests, or I saw a New York times HARO request. This was back in 2014, replied to it. She probably didn’t get a ton of replies. And they sent, uh, a photographer out to my house, took some pictures of me driving included me an article and a, you know, I think I’ve actually got it.
Uh, somewhere, somewhere in my office. I could probably look for it if you really, uh, it might be sitting right here
Andrew: no, I’m sure you’ve got on your site. You’ve got the longest press page on your site with every press hit that you’ve had.
Andrew: Why do you have that by the way? Why are you listing every podcast? Every New York times hit every, everything on a single page. What’s your
Harry: Sure. So at first I think it was kind of to lend that legitimacy credibility. You’ve probably been on people’s sites where they, they highlight their media badges, right. Where they’ve been featured. I think sort of everyone, you know, kind of does that now. So what I did in the beginning was I actually made those hyperlinks.
So you could actually click them. I feel like a lot of people now, you know, they just. It’s sort of like again, right? Like I think that a lot of people I try to do just like one small thing beyond everyone else. Right. Everyone’s putting media badges on their site. So I made all mine clickable. Right. So you could actually click the wired article and then it would say, you know, the Uber driver who started the blog, you know, feature article.
Right. And so that’s what I did. And with this page specifically, I don’t know that there was any real. Reasoning or logic. I think it was just more, just a document, all of it. And it kind of at a certain point, got a little ridiculous. Cause we did get so many media features and mentions, and I don’t think we actually actively update that anymore.
We were adding it. You know, I had my virtual assistant added every single time we got something, but now I maybe, you know, when we redesigned the site, I think I kind of jiggered, you know, rejiggered everything around, but I haven’t really been updating that lately. And frankly it’s because, you know, it’s a good problem to have, but we’ve been featured in the media, you know, Probably four or 5,000 times at this point,
Andrew: Harry, I thought what you were doing was giving them a link back as another little token of your appreciation.
Harry: I think early on that’s a little bit, um, you know, that that’s a little bit about what I did, but, um, you know, I think it was, and to be honest, I may have even been something that we could have leveraged, but it’s really kind of more for my personal use.
Andrew: We mentioned the, um, the Roundup posts that you do. Do you use that also to connect with the media? What’d you do?
Harry: Yeah. So, uh, at the end of, so on, on Saturdays, we post our Roundup posts. We’ve been doing these weekly for six years and I actually have had the same contributor doing them for almost four years. John NC. So big shout out to John for doing that. He’s literally our most consistent writer. He does it every single week.
And, um, I don’t even know if he’s ever missed a week. I’m not even kidding. So thank you to him. And, uh, what we’ll do is, I mean, basically go in and tweet. So for example, if we featured, um, you know, a reporter from tech crunch, So you just say, Hey, you know, at, uh, you know, let’s see with Andrew at Andrew, you know, from, at tech crunch, we featured article on our Roundup this week, you know, just thanks for keeping us updated.
Right. And then we would link to our round. Yeah. And you know, this kind of plays do you, I mean, you know, everyone loves being thanked and being featured and all of that. Right. And these reporters aren’t really getting that. I really just basically borrowed this tactic from my early personal finance blogging days.
Like everyone was doing this with personal finance. We are. Featuring each other and, you know, tweeting each other and linking, and you know, doing all these kind of like circle jerks, basically, you know, featuring it, it didn’t really do much because everyone was doing it right. But yeah, this situation I’m really the only one doing it.
And so now these reporters, you know, we get a lot of likes, a lot of retweets. Once I got verified on Twitter, you know, that. Ella made it even easier because now, you know, we go into a special column on Twitter, so that reporters see that. And then at the end of every single month, we pull all the names, all of the emails of all those reporters that we’ve been featuring in yeah.
Around ups. And I’ll just send them kind of a semi template email that says, you know, Hey Andrew, uh, you know, just wanted to let you know, you know, in case you missed it, you know, we featured you in our Roundup. We don’t, we don’t link to anything. Just sort of introduce ourselves and say, you know who I am, what we’re doing and two or three bullet points of what we can help with in the future.
Um, you know, and leave my phone number and just sort of establish that relationship. We already did it on Twitter. Now we’re doing it over email. So now I’m in their head and I actually take it one step, a little further. This is something new that we’ve been doing, but now we kind of put them into like a, I call it a CRM, but it’s really just a Google spreadsheet.
And you know, after one week, I think they’ll all go in and interact with their Twitter profile again. After two weeks, we add them on LinkedIn and then, you know, after a month, I think that, you know, we might do one other action than after. Two months. I might send them another email just to check in and say hi.
So we’re kind of getting all of these multiple touch points and it’s really to establish the relationship, but also just to kind of keep us top of mind so that if, you know, Uber news does happen, they’re like, Oh, who’s that guy who was always emailing me or tweeting me. Let’s, you know, let’s call him.
Right. Cause it’s, it’s a lot, it’s hard to pitch reporters. Right. But when they need something and you’re the first person that pops into their, I just want, I’m trying to be the first person that pops in their head. That’s really the strategy in a nutshell.
Andrew: And the way to do that is to just keep showing them what you’ve done related to them in this
Harry: value. Keep showing what you’ve done and stay top of mind would be sort of the three things to try and focus on.
Andrew: What’s the mail merge thing that you’ve talked about, a fin con.
Harry: So the mail merge thing is a tool that I really like. It’s basically, I guess it’s some, I don’t know how common it is, but it’s just some guy that made this a Google sheets add on and you can use it to send out sort of semi personalized emails. So when I do these at the end of the month, and I email all of these reporters, I have all their first names and emails, and I just copy that and paste it into the mail merge spreadsheet.
So now, and I also do another column for. The short description of their article. So if it’s like, Uber’s earnings call. So when I emailed them, I’m like, Hey Andrew, we featured your article last month on Uber’s earnings call. You know, here’s who I am. Here’s what I would do. So it’s again, right? It’s not like a personalized email to them, but I take like two or three small actions, you know, that don’t take much time.
And now it seems, you know, like most people, you know, Aren’t doing this, right? So it seems like it’s personalized. It’s kind of like those spammy emails. If you’re a blog owner or a website owner that you get, and it’s usually they forget or mess up the first name, but I just do it in a way that, uh, you know, is actually works.
And when you do it from mail merge, it doesn’t go, you know, it’s like a regular, it goes through your regular email. So it doesn’t get caught up in promotions or anything like that.
Andrew: It’s coming out of your personal email and someone, a team is pulling the, the paragraph that you guys wrote up on the company, putting it into your spreadsheet so that you can hit mail merge and send it out.
Harry: Yeah. Usually we’re not even doing a paragraph. It’s just like a two to four word description of the article. So it’s like, Hey Andrew, we featured your article last month on Uber’s quarterly earnings.
Andrew: And who’s doing that.
Harry: Um, I would say usually it’s my virtual assistant or I’ve also got on my team, my chief of staff, Melissa.
So it’s usually a combination of one or both of them. And I’m usually the one that kind of comes in at the end and just double checks and make sure, okay. Yeah. I’m going to email this person, this person, this person that kind of makes sense and spend a couple minutes and send it out to be honest. So some of it, like, I haven’t actually done that strategy in a while cause you know, one of the challenges kind of a good problem to have though, is that like, I’m kind of trying to find, I guess I would say like, Too much media has been, you know, it can be yeah.
The things you, cause it starts to distract from some of these other opportunities or projects or, you know, family time or whatever it might be. So I’ve kind of in a way, like we’ve gotten too many media mentions. And so now I’m trying to spend my time more on, you know, okay. I get a big one from the. The, you know, wall street journal or New York times or whatever.
Um, but, uh, yeah, that’s a good problem to have, I don’t know if everyone has that problem, but, um, I think it kind of goes to, uh, it speaks to my line of thinking of just like making sure that I’m spending time on the things that I enjoy that are providing, you know, kind of like maybe an indirect return to the business.
Um, because you know, if I’m taking a bunch of interviews with small outlets, like maybe I could, you know, better spend that time doing something else, basically.
Andrew: Alright, I’m going to talk about my second sponsor. The one that you criticize,
Harry: What did I say about them? I can’t remember, but
Andrew: I think he said something like, it’s great when you get started, but you should move on beyond HostGator.
Harry: uh, yeah, I think I kind of made fun of you.
Andrew: I kind of feel like, so first of all, Mixergy is hosted on HostGator. I think that most people think of HostGator as the shared hosting package that they make available for people who are getting started, it’s inexpensive.
It does work. And yet if you get a massive matter traffic, you want to switch what I think people don’t realize is they have enough. You could, is that the problem that you had with them?
Harry: So I think that early on, you know, when, especially when I was first getting started, I believe I was actually on HostGator or what’s the other big, you know, what’s, what’s their big competitor DreamHost. Yeah, it was on, I, you know, I did sites on, Oh really? I didn’t know that, you know, I did sites on HostGator and DRI and.
DreamHost or whatever early on. And you know, I think the first time you have a site go down on one of those, you kind of realize, okay, support’s a little bit lacking. Um, and this, again, this was probably seven, eight years ago. And I think that I kind of realized that, Hey, you know, when you’re running a site, that’s getting 10 or 20,000 page views a day.
Like if your site’s down for an hour, you’re losing money. Right. You know, literally losing like a sub. The actual potentially amount of money. And so you kind of have to switch in your brain like, Hey, okay, I could pay 10. Or when you’re 30 bucks a month or I could pay a hundred dollars a month or even 200 or 400, whatever it is.
Right. Like to basically understand that, like that, whatever that downtown time is going to cost you and financial loss, but also mental stress. Right? Yeah. That’s the other thing I often think about like, you know, when my site. Went down in the past, like, Oh man, I couldn’t think about anything else. I couldn’t work on anything else.
And it was just really frustrating. So, um, I think that, and you know, I will say, I think HostGator was pretty bad about six, seven, eight years ago, but, uh, you know, sometimes it’s, that’s why it’s important for companies, you know, if they do improve over time, I think it is important for them to kind of figure out the best ways to change their reputation.
I kind of see this a lot in my business, in the, you know, sort of car space, you know, drive when drivers are picking their cars. It’s like certain cars have good reputations even though. Today, their product might be crap or vice versa. So if you do, you know, kind of start realizing, you know, as you’re a company like HostGator, and actually now things are much better in certain departments, customer support or, you know, actual hosting.
Then I think you do have to figure out ways to get that across and kind of own up to it. Like, Hey, we suck before, but now we’re actually a lot better. And here’s what it makes. Or, or even just saying here’s who, it makes the most sense for it because I would gladly, uh, switch to any company, you know, that like, if they were great and they guarantee it a hundred percent uptime, then you know, I would probably switch to them today.
Andrew: I always thought of them as just having the entry level hosting. I didn’t realize that they don’t put it on their website because they’re trying to cater towards beginners. That’s when people are more likely to switch. But they do have dedicated servers. They do have all the things they’re basically in whatever it is that someone else is doing
Harry: I’m now on.
Andrew: They’re just, they’re just competing with them because now they’ve got massive scale. Right. And so we moved over from, do I say yeah, sure. Liquid web, which I thought was good. But HostGator had the same service and it was way, way cheaper. And so I like it. What I’m trying to say is if you’re getting started HostGator inexpensive, just go set it, forget it.
Move on. As your site grows, op absolutely contact calls, Gators. They look, my traffic is starting to increase. I’m having this thing. What do you got for me? And you’re going to see that, whatever it is that the others have, they have two including managed WordPress, right? That became a big thing with WP engine and also a automatics, VIP WordPress, VIP host Gator has that too.
It just doesn’t, they don’t promote it. They promote here’s how you get started. They know that they’re going to take it from there. I switched mixer G after a group from a company that was great. Two, I feel like another company that’s great, but also has a really low price, hostgator.com/mixer to give you a lower price than they have anywhere else.
What are we going to say about them?
Harry: Just so you know, Andrew on my Twitter profile, I think I added this recently. I wrote a, if my tweets haven’t offended you yet, we’re probably not great friends. So I think you should take it as a sign of endearment.
Andrew: I have an issue with, um, I don’t think your tweets are offensive. I have an issue with people who are just nice for the sake of nice and. I don’t get a connection with them. You know what I mean? Um, let’s go, let’s go on to how you figured out what other products to charge. I’m really fascinated by the one thing by one of the things that didn’t work, that car marketplace, what was it?
Harry: So it’s funny because I think when I gave that talk at fin con a year, maybe a year and a half ago, our car marketplace, wasn’t doing that well. And, you know, I guess pre pandemic though, it actually kind of started, I guess, I wouldn’t say it didn’t work, but it just never. Brought in thousands of dollars a month, I would say.
Right. And I think that I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know, you know, to be honest, like I don’t, I’m not sure why I thought it was a pretty good idea. I still think it’s a pretty good idea. Yeah, it was up there. It was basically, it’s still on our site, but it’s just called the Uber vehicle marketplace and it just has a bunch of different vehicle options for drivers.
And this was kind of building off the insurance market that we. Marketplace. So we built that, you know, ended up at, in its heyday was making five, six, seven, maybe $10,000 a month. Um, and so I think with the cars, what we sort of saw was that, you know, we could look at these partners are a bunch of companies that rent vehicles to Uber and Lyft drivers.
We started reviewing them. And I guess I wouldn’t say that it. It didn’t work. It just never exploded or took off, but it is, you know, w it was a decent revenue source for us. And I think honestly, like in the year, since I did that talk, it did kind of grow a bit. So maybe it was just took a lot longer than I would have expected.
Andrew: And what you’re doing is you’re saying there are these people who already catered to our customers who already do this. I’m just gonna organize them and help people make the right decision and I’ll get paid. Whenever one of our readers goes over.
Harry: So really what I’m looking at in a situation like that is like, first of all, just providing good information, right? So if you’re someone who doesn’t have a car, for example, or, you know, what are even the vehicle requirements, you know, maybe you’re on the borderline, right? So it’s sort of providing that type of information and then highlighting, okay.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have a car here are all the top options and that’s really kind of what that vehicle marketplace is. And I’m kind of looking at it right now. One of the other issues we had is I think of the nine or 10 options that were up. That we can only get affiliate deals set up with two or three of them.
Right. So, you know, I’m not gonna, you know, what we’ll often do is sort of like highlight our affiliate partners, but I’m never going to say like sign up with this company over another, just because they’re our affiliate. I kind of try to balance the, you know, sort of like pushing on promoting our affiliate partners versus like what’s actually the best for our reader.
I sort of always kind of keep both in mind and balance that. And I think that’s actually something you mentioned Pat Flynn earlier. That’s something that I learned from him, you know? Very early on is that you kind of often, there’s a temptation to go for the quick buck, especially online. If you get a great offer, a great affiliate and they’re paying a hundred bucks or 200 bucks or five, 500 bucks, and you kind of want to sell your soul a little bit, but if you’re trying to build a longer lasting business, you want to establish that relationship, that credibility, that trust, because there are much higher margin or value products, so you can sell in the long run.
So you give up a little income now, but, you know, I think build a stronger business and make more of a long run.
Andrew: COBIT impacted you guys a lot.
Harry: So, fortunately not really, to be honest, I would say that early on. Um, well, I mean, so things have definitely changed a lot in the business and we can get into that. I mean, really, you know, There haven’t, haven’t been that many Uber and Lyft rides, right? So a lot of our Uber and Lyft driving content, you know, especially from search, you know, searches like 60 or 70% of our traffic, like a lot of big sites.
And you know, that all kind of dried up for the most part, because I mean, not that many people driving. And so a lot of our top content or I’m driving for Uber and Lyft and related articles kind of died down down, but food delivery really picked up. And so kind of everything that we lost lost in traffic wise with rideshare was made up.
Almost completely by food delivery. So revenue wise, we’re in, you know, with our delivery affiliates, we actually, um, you know, got, like I mentioned earlier, we’ve been converting hundreds, if not thousands of people for all these delivery services. So that has made up a lot of the. Lost revenue from things like direct ads.
Like in March we sold $0 of direct advertisement. So sponsored posts, ads, things like that. Right. And, um, you know, in April was also pretty low, but we started making up with it, uh, with our affiliates, I landed a couple consulting deals. So one of the ways that we monetize is through consulting and this would be surveys.
This would be kind of like. Basically advisory retainer type agreements, you know, I mean, I don’t know if we want to get into all the details cause sometimes complex, but the gist of it is, you know, I’m again, right. I’m trying to leverage either my audience, my insight, my expertise. So we worked with a big another company that was the raise, a separate company that raised money from SoftBank.
And they, um, you know, so, you know, they’ve got a lot of money to throw around and we basically just charge them to launch this new product and service. For Uber and Lyft drivers kind of in the time of COVID, that’s sort of relevant in the time of COVID. And I was kind of the perfect person to help, you know, survey our audience, see how much they would pay for it, what they want, what they need.
And then when it came time to marketing the product, you know, help them with that. So, you know, we had one or two big partners, you know, maybe that was a little bit of luck, but I think in, you know, any kind of bad times there people that are doing well. So it’s about finding those opportunities or finding those companies or finding those people.
Andrew: Dark cuspers shall he? Okay. The CEO of Uber, he did an interview with you.
Andrew: He cited you. How do you connect with him?
Harry: So yeah, for some reason, Daraa the CEO of Uber seems to be a big fan of ours. I first got the chance to interview him at a driver event two and a half years ago in Los Angeles. It wasn’t recorded or, or televised, but, uh, you know, I did do a little writeup of it and did a
Andrew: And he didn’t get a good photo from it.
Harry: Yeah. Oh yeah, we got a couple of very good, you know, high quality photos that, you know, went into our highlight reel.
And, um, you know, since then, you know, he actually tweeted out a couple of times, you know, it’s like a once every six to 12 months that he mentioned this or does something, you know, for us. And, you know, usually it’s something, you know, we do a survey of audience and they have some. Topics that they care about and what our audience said lines up with the initiatives that they’re doing.
So that’s usually what it is. And, you know, I think what I would say is that, you know, I’ve always kind of really covered the industry from the drivers perspective. And I think that the. Kind of the way I put it, my site, like, I am not going to tell people not to drive. Right. I want people driving for Uber and Lyft.
So someone who thinks this is like the worst company in the world, you know, I don’t really agree with that personally. Like I don’t think you want to build a business off of the mindset. That this is a terrible industry, or this is a terrible company. I’m sort of building it more off the mindset that, Hey, Andrew, if you want to come and drive for Uber and Lyft, or if you want to work and they could get economy, or if you want to be successful, I’m going to help you.
Right? Like I’m not making a judgment that you should, or shouldn’t be doing this. Right. And
Andrew: Now you’re making a judgment that I should be doing it.
Harry: I would say I’m making a judgment that you’re doing this and I’m going to help you. Like, I don’t really care if you want to do it or not, but if you do want to do it.
Andrew: to do it, I’m here
Harry: I’m going to help you.
Right. And that’s really like the, I don’t know if that’s a judgment, but that’s like a minor, I try to bring to everything that we’re doing. And with that, you know, there are definitely things, you know, that, Hey, I’m an actual driver, you know, I don’t drive that much anymore, but I’ve gone out on the roads.
Like I’ve had a passenger puke in the back of my car. It sucks. It sucks having to contact Uber’s customer support. They’re terrible. Right? Like I’m not going to sugar coat that. Right. Like it’s, it’s obvious. Right? Like a lot of the things that when we talk negatively about Uber and Lyft, It’s pretty obvious, right?
We’re not like, you know, out there with an ax to grind, it’s like, Hey, I want to make as much money as possible. Right. So that’s what I’m focused on. But when crappy things happen, we’re going to talk about it. And we’re going to kind of empathize with drivers
Andrew: So then how, how are you reaching out to them? Cause you’ve also criticized them before.
Harry: Yeah. Yeah, no, I mean,
Andrew: He just happens to be looking. He just happened to be looking for you. Is that what it was?
Harry: Yeah, I think that, honestly, I think this is a situation where I’m not sure there’s much advice I can give, you know, how to get a hold of, you know, a multibillion dollar CEO and get them onto your podcast. I think it’s more, a little bit of luck, but also sort of just, you know, again, kind of coming. At this, I think the media probably has a big, uh, part of this, you know, I’m quoted in almost every single article, you know, I’m quoted, I’m featured in this featured in that I’m involved in a lot of projects on, you know, like I’ve seen my name or my site cited in like sell side analyst reports, you know?
So it’s like, we’re kind of trying to be everywhere and anywhere. And I think sometimes that sort of like makes me seem maybe more important than I actually am. I mean, we’re getting. Three or 400,000 page views a month to the blog and 500,000 views, three, four or 500,000 views a month to the YouTube, which is lot.
You can do a lot of things. Image would that, but I mean, it’s not a crazy number. There are hundreds, if not thousands of sites out there and right. In other niches. And so I think that it’s kind of that combination. They know, you know, I don’t think they’re coming to us because they’re like, Oh, this guy has the biggest following and rideshare.
It’s the combination. It’s got a following drivers, listen to him, media listens to him. You know, I took a call with people in the city of Seattle the other day, over a big survey that came out. Right. So I’m talking to people, you know, providing insight, providing value. And I think that they kind of want to be a part of that one really.
Cool thing that I was very surprised by that I saw someone, a few people just send it to me before I hopped on this call with you, is that Uber actually sent an in app notification to every single driver in the United States that featured my interview with Dara. And so my YouTube video. Yeah. And I had no idea that they were going to do this.
Um, so, and, and to be honest, I thought I was pretty tough on him. You know, this was my second time interviewing him. It was over zoom. So I was kind of less intimidated than the first time I kind of knew, you know, I knew that he would have. Good answers to my first question. So I made sure that I had good followups and I thought I did a pretty good job.
Um, of course, you know, some people criticize me and some people had positive feedback, so probably did a good job of both sides. You know, you know, I’m talking to someone we’re talking to them and some are saying you did a good job and. No, they featured it in. So our YouTube video, I think it had three or 4,000 views, 30 minute video on YouTube, right.
Went from three or 4,000 views. And now is up to 26,000 views, just a few hours. Right. It’s just from them mentioning that they’re sending it to all the drivers. So definitely, you know, I’m not gonna complain about it, but I don’t know if there’s a secret sauce or magic a way to make that
Andrew: There’s no way that you’re staying in touch with him that other people wouldn’t know of or wouldn’t
Harry: I don’t even have his, they don’t even give me his, you know, I brought him on to Skype and I thought that maybe I would get a Skype handle because I do all my interviews on Skype. I know he, he must have figured it out a way. He actually called me on Skype. And so it came from like a live CID, three, nine, seven, you know, whatever.
And so I don’t actually, he does follow me on Twitter though. So I guess I could send him a direct message if I really wanted to, but I am, I’m probably saving that for the right opportunity or the
Andrew: Not even like your own personal, just staying in touch. Type of message. No,
Harry: Now, I don’t know that we’re quite a
Andrew: you for sending out the thank you for the interview. No, no, thank you for, uh, the, the, what’s it called? The alert on people’s phones.
Harry: Yeah, I do think that is something that is, you know, frankly like very bene beneficial to me. And it’s something I was like pleasantly surprised by. So, I mean, I think in general, right. I think, you know, I have a lot of Uber employees that messaged me and, uh, you know, some past, um, current, and I think one of the things that, the ones that, you know, sort of like our work say is that, you know, we’re very, you know, we kind of understand both sides and I take.
I, I, you know, I, I’m obviously running the site for drivers and for my audience, but I try to understand the other point of view too. I don’t always necessarily agree with it, but, you know, I’ve met with dozens, if not hundreds of people at working at these companies, you know, in the corporate side of things.
And so just try to kind of come down on that kind of fair and balanced point of view and, you know, really, you know, represent the drivers, which is like more my cohort.
Andrew: Alright, thanks for doing this interview. Um, I, that feels like an awkward place to close it. Why don’t I close it with what’s what’s next? What are you going to experiment with next?
Harry: So one of the big things that we’re doing is, I mean, I think the issue I saw early on, especially in frankly, like from working with a lot of companies and startups, is that, you know, a lot of people get into Uber and Lyft. And then they quit. And if you’re a company paying for users, for example, and they quit stop using your product, you know, when they quit Uber, they stop using your product.
It gets expensive. Right. And so I think we’re trying to really find related verticals. So this would be, you know, I think the most natural would be okay. Ride share, but also food delivery. We sort of always been doing that. Scooters was one we tried and that’s kind of died down since then in a big gig component there anymore.
Uh, financial services sort of seems to be pretty interesting for us right now. So we’re testing. A lot of, you know, affiliate stuff around cash back apps, um, you know, kind of like gas apps, you know, all stock
Andrew: gas stuff a lot. And you promoting that, I think even a new YouTube.
Harry: Yeah. So some stuff is more relevant than others, right? Like a cashback gas app is like, actually get upside was one of our top affiliates for a while.
There, I think we referred like over 25,000 people to a, that product is like free cash back, you know, VC funded. So we’ve got a lot of money and a lot of. Subsidies type app. But I think for me, it’s sort of like finding products that, you know, kind of aligned somewhat with our, like, I think we’ve tapped a lot of the big, you know, the obvious opportunities.
So now we’re sort of going for that second layer and then kind of lining that up with, for example, like maybe SEO opportunities, right? If there’s, um, you know, topics that are sort of lower competition and we can go out and, you know, like, Hey, the rideshare guy, but if we can rank for like all the top cash back apps, which for some of them, we actually rank highly and you know, I’m getting.
Occasions, like every day, like, Oh, you just converted someone and got a $25 for this and that, like, that stuff adds up. And, and, uh, you know, a lot of these, uh, apps, like I’m not even really using or that familiar with, but we’re sort of trying to find that mix and, you know, kind of balance what, how we can serve our audience, but also like, what are those just like kind of easy wins or opportunities out there really for more of a business side.
Andrew: when I thought that when I heard that you had a marketplace for cars, I thought you were creating a marketplace for cars where people could list their cars. And an, I thought you were thinking more than content. Are you thinking that at all,
Harry: Um, I would say that I’m open to it, but one of the things that I really like is high margin. So I’m always looking for, you know, I can
Andrew: have that? I guess the
Harry: I think you’re right.
Andrew: but marketplaces do.
Harry: Yeah, I think you’re right. And we’re definitely, you know, I think one of the things I been focused on with my team is just like lots of quick experiments.
So that’s been a big thing over the past six to 12 months. It’s like, let’s go out and try this. Let’s go out and try that. Let’s do it for one, two or three months. See how the results look and then decide. Do we want to move forward with that? Do we not want to move forward with that. So, you know, we’re doing ideas around different apps that we can build.
I think we, you know, there’s no shortage of ideas and like a marketplace specifically, isn’t something that, uh, I’ve thought about, but you know, maybe that’s something that we do in the future. You know, after this call, I might add it to my big list of, uh, you know, uh, of ideas. So if it ends up working out I’ll, uh, I’ll, I’ll send you a ride share guy hat.
Andrew: Hopefully we’ll be able to get a drink in person too, at some point, um, you say over a million last year or over a million within 12 months. Can we say that in revenue? All right. Congratulations. All right. The website. It is the rideshare guy.com. I know, I also love the YouTube channel. I just, for some reason, you guys just keep getting served up to me in order.
I think it is, there was a dude who did a line bike, no bird, a bird scooter thing, where he was making money with Burt. And I was kind of fascinated by how fast that moved and. I liked the idea of some dude, just making money, collecting scooters, charging them up, what his process was. And then that got me in the rabbit hole of your world.
That’s what happens. I need
Harry: Yeah, no, I think that, uh, was 2018. That was our most popular content. We had a bunch of scooter charging videos. So yeah, I think a lot of the stuff we were doing in the scooter world was popular. So.
Andrew: Cool. Thank you for doing this interview. Thank you all for listening. And I appreciate HostGator for hosting this center for actually hosting my website and also sponsoring my podcast. Go check them out at hostgator.com/mixergy. And if you need to do a survey on your site, really go check out while it’s still there for free.
Won’t be there forever for free. Go to delighted.com/mixergy. Use them. You’ll love them. Thank you. Bye everyone.