Why Spencer Haws is Trying to Focus, Scale, and Remove Himself from Business Operations
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Today’s guest on the Niche Pursuit Podcast is Spencer Haws — yes, the guy owns this very Podcast and the Niche Pursuits website.
After earning a steady income through various niche websites, Spencer quit his job and launched Niche Pursuits in 2011, quickly followed by launching this very Podcast in 2012.
His goal was simple — to create a website to highlight and document what he was doing (and how) to earn money building niche websites.
Spencer’s aim with this podcast episode is to update the listeners on his plans for the website and to explain why he’s no longer the face of the Podcast and Youtube channel. He also wants to answer the questions that he suspects the Niche Pursuits audience would be interested in hearing about.
The discussion starts by catching up on the Niche Pursuits history and evolution and where and when it all started. Then, Spencer talks about the software products he has launched over the years and how and where they are today.
He talks about his approach to scaling the business, his focus on written content, and his plans for moving forward concerning the content on the site.
In general, how do you scale a business by focusing on doing less? Can you remove yourself from the business operations of your own business and should you?
During the interview, Spencer talks about not “flipping burgers” in his own business anymore and explains why he feels this is super important for him to achieve his goals.
Finally, Spencer asks Jared (our host) what he thinks of the changes and plans for the website, so you get to hear Jared’s thoughts on this, plus the reason behind Spencer asking the question.
A few of the other things discussed in the interview include:
- The types of areas the website is moving into.
- Why focusing on fewer projects could be the key to greater growth.
- Link Whisper and the team he has behind it.
- The reason for him disabling blog comments.
- Why he wants to remove his face from the business.
- His thoughts on the Podcast moving forward.
- Plus more.
Other Resources & Tools Mentioned:
- Niche Pursuits Blog
- Link Whisper
- Niche Pursuits Podcast
- Emyth Revisited by Michael Gerber
- Long Tail Pro
- Niche Pursuits Youtube Channel
- Scaling Down To Scale Up Article
- Niche Project Site Four (ontheyard.com)
Watch the full interview:
Read the full transcription:
Spencer: And guess what? It's Spencer Hawes, the founder of niche, pursuits.com. Here I am back on my own podcast, recording both video and audio. I thought it would be really interesting to come back on my show and talk about what I've been up to lately.
And as weird as that sounds, I come back almost as a guest on my own show and to give it a smooth transition here. Of course, I've got Jared Bauman with me, he's still kind of going to be hosting and I guess maybe asking the questions that maybe, I didn't know, I needed to know. Right. So if it was just me behind the microphone, I could talk.
And, but Jared's going to make sure you ask the right questions that maybe you, as the niche pursuits audience would, would want to hear. And so with that, let's, let's do a Jared, what do you say?
that's a welcome
Jared: welcome to your own podcast.
Spencer: Thank you. It's good to be here. It feels comfortable. It's going to be back. It's good to be back. It actually is. It actually is.
Jared: The chair is still warm. The microphone is still hot. I think it all works. I think we're going to be good here. Yeah.
Spencer: I had to dust a few things off.
It's been a little while, but we'll make it work. Absolutely. And so, you know, I, I wanted to come back in and I'm going to let you jump into whatever questions you have. But the big question is, why am I not. The host of the podcast. Why am I not showing up as much on YouTube? And so I want to share that and what's going on kind of behind the scenes of niche pursuits and just what I've been up to lately.
Jared: Obviously been in transition. You know, people have had to have to deal with looking at my ugly mug for the last couple of months. And I think. Not only is there a good conversation to be had about just informing people about what's going on and why you aren't on the podcast and the YouTube channel right now, but really the reasons why and what it really means for niche pursuits and what it means for you and the business ventures you're pursuing.
And I actually think there's a lot to learn for all of us from it. So.
Spencer: Yeah. Yeah, let's do it. You know, so I, I'm not quite sure where to start other than it's been, how many months now, Jared, you've been hosting the podcast a few months, at least. Right. I actually
Jared: think it's probably five or six months now.
Yeah, it's probably five or six months. I mean well, let's let's I think maybe let's do this. I think this would be fun. W obviously the, the podcast has been in we we've, we've transitioned to you. Hosting this for almost a decade. And then now join the party. Maybe catch people up on the evolution of niche pursuits as both a website and a podcast.
And I mean, we don't have to spend 20 minutes on it, but there definitely have been people that we've picked up along the way in terms of listeners. And even for anyone who's listening, who never has even heard you maybe just joined over the last couple of months would be great to catch up on niche pursuits.
Spencer: Yeah, no, I, I think that makes a lot of sense. So nix pursuits.com was started back in 2011, I think, efficiently. Right. Even though anyways officially is when it started in 2011. I kind of been building some things up before then, but it really started as a way to document my journey. I had just quit my job because my niche websites that I had built, you know, Previous few years, finally, we're making enough where I could quit my corporate job.
And that's when I started niche pursuits.com is to basically say, Hey, I'm building these niche sites. Here's what I'm doing. I just quit my job. And it's really, it was my personal journey. I really honestly didn't look at niche pursuits as a, as a business per se. It was just, I felt like sharing. I no longer had COVID.
I wanted to interact with people. It was great to meet other bloggers and the blogosphere. And really just share what I was doing. So it started you know, sharing how I was building niche websites. I started niche site, project one, and I've now done four niche site projects. Right. And so that's how niche pursuits started as a personal blog.
And then the podcast started in. Thousand and 12. And I, you know, I had done every single episode since then which I honestly have lost count, but it's, I don't know
Jared: how many there are. I was actually looking at trying to look that up quickly before we started the day.
Spencer: It's over 200, I think it's less than 300 somewhere in there, you know, two to 300 episodes.
For awhile, I was doing it once a month in the, in the early days, which was, you know, a good cadence. And then I beefed it up a few years ago to once a week. And and then it's still doing once a week, of course, but, but now you're, you're doing that. And so that's kind of the history. But over the years, you know long tail pro and certainly having an audience on niche for suits.com helped tremendously with that.
I've launched other software products, currently link whisper. And so having this audience has really helped in other business areas. And what's happened over the last couple of years. Is I'm starting to rank and get more traffic from Google for keywords on niche, pursuits.com. I'm making some affiliate commissions.
I'm getting more users of linguists. That's like, huh? I've got a real business here that I didn't necessarily mean for it to start out as a real business, but now it is. So how can I focus and scale it even more and believe it or not part of the decision reason I decided, you know what, the way I can grow it even more.
Remove myself as the face of the business. And that's
Jared: where we're here today. Yeah, I remember the first, I was actually thinking about it. In kind of thinking through this, this interview here, this podcast here, I think, as it turns out, the first time that I started following along in the niche pursuits was I think I heard you on a podcast interview with Patrick.
Yep. And you had just, I think, or recently launched long tail pro and I don't remember that what year? That was, it might've been 2013 or 2014. And so have been paying attention to the podcasts since then, but yeah, I mean, there's a long history here in terms of not only the podcast, but obviously the website and the niche site projects.
And I mean, just a huge amount of content has been put out the last time.
Spencer: Right. And I, you know, to give people an idea, I have written over 600 blog posts myself, you know, on the site. I actually went through earlier this year and deleted a lot of old blog posts. Some maybe like a hundred plus. So I actually don't know the true number that I wrote, you know, but it's over 600 for sure.
Many of those were documenting case studies of, Hey, here's how my niche sites doing. Here's what's working. Things like that. Of course. And so, yeah, I've put a ton of my own time, you know, writing all that content, building the audience and The other big thing is emails, right. You know, sending out two to three emails and a lot of those are like blog posts in and of themselves managing the Facebook group you know, interacting on blog comments that used to be huge, especially in the early days.
I almost spend more time, more time responding to blog comments than I did writing the blog posts. I, there would be hundreds of blog comments and now with social media, it's more happens on Facebook and Twitter. And things like that. But that was one of the steps that I made to alleviate my own time.
And hence, hopefully be able to allow the business to scale is I removed blog comments that happened maybe a year ago. Maybe a little longer, but. So there's no longer any comments that happen on the blog. I actually missed that because it was a lot of great interaction. So I don't get that immediate feedback anymore, but it still happens on like my Facebook group and I still interact with the audience there, but I just don't get the direct feedback on the blog post.
I just wrote for example and then. The other thing in order to remove my face as a limiting factor, I can't be the voice of the podcast.
Jared: Oh, good. That brings us, that catches us up. I mean, you know, you, you mentioned removing yourself a couple of times now, so, I mean, should we just tackle the decision you made earlier in 2021 to.
Remove yourself from, from this very podcast and YouTube channel.
Spencer: Yeah. Yeah, let's do it. So part of the reason, of course, like I said, I'm trying to think of ways. How can I actually scale this business? And it's a little bit counterintuitive. A lot of people might think if they have a podcast, well, one way to scale, this is if I do more episodes or if I go and I'm a guest on other episodes and try to get more listeners and those are all very good things.
Right. If all you're trying to do is build a podcast, but if you, I felt like if I wanted to build a much larger business and the key here is if I ever want to sell this business, I can't be the name and the face of the business. Right. A potential buyer if they come and they see, well, Spencer does all the work.
He is the face of the podcast to records all the videos. He writes all the blog posts. He writes all the emails. If Spencer quits, there's no business. Right. And so I'm strategically trying to think of ways. How do I remove myself so that others are doing. Everything I just mentioned. And so someday I could sell the business and it would be easy for somebody, a new buyer to walk in and go, this is not reliant on one key person, right?
This is, this is a well-run business. Spencer is not, you know, the, the critical person here. And so that. Is really the reason is to remove myself to scale more and eventually have the ability to sell the business.
Jared: It reminds me of, I'm sure you've read the book. It's a popular book that gets referred a lot.
Michael Gerber's E-Myth and visited, and it's a bit of a cheesy book, right? Like, you know, it's definitely old school, but it's so valuable. And I think that the number one point he always continues to bring up and just drive home is you need to be working on your business. Not in your business,
Yep. That's absolutely right. You got the, you know, and I, in the, I think he used McDonald's or, you know, a burger franchise throughout that book. Right. You've got the, the burger flippers, right. That are doing the day-to-day operations that has to happen. But if you're the owner and you're flipping the burgers, you're not growing the business, you're not looking at the high level view.
And understanding how many burger flippers need to be hired. And, you know, do you open a new restaurant and the only burger you improve the burger. Right. And so I actually refer to that. A lot of, I need to stop flipping the bird.
Jared: Which, which is now what I'm doing for you
Spencer: in a way. And you're doing a better job than me.
If I'm honest, I don't know about that. Well, we can
Jared: get into that later. We can have it later. I mean, the podcast is one example. Any other examples of other areas? You're removing yourself, you know, I mean, are we going to just, are we going to just stop seeing Spencer and everything? You still send emails, you still send the emails.
I do that. You still write a bunch of blog content. I know that, but other areas maybe you've removed yourself or tried to limit, so you can focus on bigger.
Spencer: Yeah. A couple of areas specifically on niche pursuits is I am writing less content. You know, I still certainly am writing content but less, and I'm happy.
I I'm hiring more writers to write content for niche, pursuits.com. You know, I'm, I'm treating. Just like any other sort of niche site business that all of the listeners know about is I'm finding lots of great keyword opportunities that niche pursuits could write well for. And I'm outsourcing that content.
You know, if I've got a thousand articles that I want to be written, that's going to take me 10. Yeah, right. If I were to write all that or I could hire writers and get it done much quicker. Right. And, and hopefully scale that business. So certainly I'm writing less content. And then YouTube is another big one as well for a period of time, you can see, I do have a lovely background here.
About a year ago, maybe two years ago, I started looking at. There's a lot of really big YouTube channels, you know, in income school, you've got Matt diggity really doubling down. You've got Doug Cunnington doubling down on YouTube and, and lots of other people that are growing great businesses on YouTube.
And so a couple of years ago, I thought, you know, that's, that's an area I haven't really focused on if I can produce some high quality YouTube videos. I can really scale that. And so I did, I, you know, for a few months I produced some, some sort of keyword, rich YouTube videos that ranked well and started getting lots of views and that model works.
And I could have scaled that, but then again, at the end of the day after I invested in microphone, Video and nice backgrounds. I was like, what am I doing to myself? I, I, it's a lot of time to produce a high quality YouTube video. I will just say that that, yeah, maybe it takes you only 30 minutes to record that.
But the other stuff, the prep work is a couple of hours. The post. And, you know, operations is a few hours. Suddenly I'm spending half my time just doing YouTube. And again, I'm flipping the burgers and I'm the face of the business to things I don't want to be happy. Yep. So, so blog and YouTube are two other big areas for niche pursuits specifically that I'm trying to remove myself.
We can start talking about other businesses that I have as well. If we want, but, but for niche pursuits, Kind of those areas. I
Jared: think the big burning question then is, I mean, on paper, it makes sense, right? Like start to remove yourself. But I think what everybody's up against, whether you are the face of a business, or even just looking at removing yourself from being the editor of your niche website, like.
In brass tacks when, when push comes to shove it goes, it's very hard to pull off. I think. What, what caused you, or what gave you confidence that it was a good move to remove yourself per se, from the podcast or a YouTube channel? Like, you know, was there trepidation there at all? Was there concern that the numbers might nose dive, is that the interest would die off?
It would affect others, your business, besides just the podcast. I mean, That's gotta be a feeling that most people have as they're considering something like that.
Spencer: Yeah, absolutely. So let me maybe also answer a question didn't ask and this one as well. Another reason if I'm completely Frank for stepping back from the podcast and doing YouTube is part of that is I've never felt like I'm the greatest podcast or I'm not the greatest voice.
I know that and also. It's not my favorite thing to do every day. It just being 100% transparent. I don't wake up in the
Jared: morning. We're going to edit that out.
Spencer: I think so. Other than what I talked to Jared, there we go. Okay. I've
Jared: mind keep it in, keep it in. I
Spencer: don't wake up excited to sit down and interview some.
Right. It's just, you know, I feel like I have to perform, put on my show face and be excited and happy for some people, you know, it's almost like showbiz for some people, that's their thing. And they get jazzed up about talking to people and recording audio or video. That's just not me. I'm more of a behind the scenes guy, you know, a little bit of an introvert, I guess, in terms of, you know, I like to be looking at the analytics and kind of pulling the strings from above rather than, than being the face.
And so just looking at my schedule, right. I'd have two or three podcast episodes scheduled in a week sometimes. And. I would dread it. I'd wake up and go, oh, I just, I'm not excited, you know, to, to record this, the key
Jared: point to make too, because we, you know, we spent the first half talking to the business side of it, but you're right.
Like the, the, just the interest level side. But at some point it has to be take into consider.
Spencer: Right. And so I, as, as you know, my, my business has grown in success in, in, in all areas, right? Not just niche pursuits, but other areas. Right. I have a little bit of the luxury, I guess, to be able to start looking at things and saying, do I love doing this?
And do I really want this on my schedule? And that's what I, you know, kind of the conclusion I came to us. I don't love doing it. I wish it wasn't on my schedule. Is there a way to make it so I don't do it and it's not on my schedule. Right. And so. I, that I, that thought has crossed my mind. But but I knew I could never do it.
Usually what's happened is I've taken breaks there. If people do look at my history, there have been times where for those reasons, it's just like, I feel overwhelmed. I don't love doing this. I'm going to take a break for a few months and just not record any podcasts until. Phil re-energized and excited and do it again.
That's happened a few times but never considered just, Hey, this is shut down and never going to do it. And so having come to that conclusion now to finally get to your question of, was I nervous about doing it? Did I feel like maybe listeners would stop listening, that sort of thing. Yeah, certainly.
You know, I, you never know what's going to happen when you get when you have a major change. And so. When I brought first Jake in doing some guest hosting for me and then brought you in I was definitely looking at the numbers, waiting for feedback and wondering, you know, Hey, are people going to stop listening?
Did they think this is the Spencer Hollis show instead of the niche pursuits, which I want it to be the niche pursuit show that really highlights the, the guests. And I, I will just say that. Even though I wasn't excited to perform and have things on my calendar, I really did love building all the relationships with the people that I interviewed.
And usually after the interview, I was always really excited. Like, man, I'm so glad I connected with this person. And so I do miss that still but I have to weigh the pros and the cons. But as I looked at the numbers I'm both excited and a little bit sad that the numbers have not changed.
You know, people don't miss me and that's a good thing. It makes me a little sad in some regard, but from what I can tell, all the stats are saying people like Jared, it at least. As much as being the host. Right. The, the, the, the podcast listens are, are just as great. The YouTube views may even beat up a little.
Maybe that's partly because, because of consistency we've got some great interviews recently, but the performing well and nobody. Really emailed me or gotten angry and said, Hey, we are going to quit listening. So I think maybe it's just the you
Jared: know, like Google gives you a, when you update an old post, they give you that, what do they call it?
The freshness factor. Right. There's a
Spencer: bump. Maybe, maybe we're just getting the bump from that, you know, we've got the fresh face factor, this
Jared: factor or something. Yeah, I think that there's, I mean, I would imagine a tremendous amount of, you know, trepidation, but also, I mean, It's something that you have crafted from the ground up, you know?
Yeah. And I think, I don't think I'm overreaching by saying to some degree, you're going to shake a little, like I already know this, but you know, you're a bit of a, of a godfather in this industry of building websites, you know, in terms of one of the people who may. An industry, if you will, rather than just a little pat part-time passion project, I think, you know, I think a lot of us over the years have grown to know niche pursuits is a household name.
So there's a lot behind it, whether it came to be in your decision or not, you know, I'm glad you have it still running because we get to have a lot of really amazing people on that or that are doing really great things. And I think a lot of people are still getting to learn from it, which is evident in, in the data.
You know, it's not, nosediving, there's just a lot of value that. People are bringing to the podcast. And like you said, it's really about the guests. I think at the end of the day, that's really where the value comes from for, you know, I think we could both agree on that. Right. You know, go ahead. Sorry.
Spencer: Yeah, no, I was just going to say, you know, I, I agree.
You know, as far as just I'm one of the original guys, I don't know that it has anything to do with that. I'm anything special other than for whatever reason, I sort of stumbled into this industry and was blogging about it. You know, early on that that's all there is, you know, that that has to do with it.
The other thing is, even though I'm not the face of the business, I certainly am still the one directing the entire business. I'm maybe even putting more time into niche pursuits now than I was before, which I know is a little weird because kind of a whole point was. To remove myself and I have removed myself, but now I'm spending more time working on the business than I am in the business.
Jared: It very much let's go against the grain. Right. I mean, you mentioned it earlier, but it's worth doubling down on. The idea that growing your business is really, maybe starts more with what you need to take off your plate than what you need to add to your plate. You know, and, and it it's like, do you have now 6, 9, 12 months into this process?
Is it bearing fruit for you? Do you feel like it's really causing the business to grow? Do you feel like it's making you happier? Some of the kind of metrics you talked about earlier? How's it going.
Spencer: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. It's going well. And it is, you know, bearing fruit, you know, the, the, the, the podcast and the YouTube channel is, is one aspect, but the other one is the content aspect.
Right. What's actually happening on the website. And that it's certainly done well right over the last year or so. I've made a lot of tweaks over the last one to two years, actually. Things have been slowly coming into motion in terms of. Monetizing the site better utilizing my email list better.
And then, like I've said, I'm doubling down on more content. And that's certainly the new content that I've published over the last 12 months. I track that specifically. How are those new articles doing? And they're doing well. That's, that's bringing in a lot of new traffic and so. I am tracking basically content.
I did not write, you know, that have written by outsourced writers. And that is certainly bearing fruit, making money and increasing in traffic. And so that's also part of it of, I guess, just one. Sort of strategic move that I made as well. That, yes, there's a lot of opportunity in the podcast and in YouTube.
It's hard to scale those without being the face of those. I I'm doing my best to, to maintain and kind of grow. I wouldn't say I expect to see like rapid trajectory growth in YouTube, for example, right. Unless I hire somebody specifically to do YouTube, which if I ever get that figured out, maybe I will.
But a process that I have figured out is scaling content on, you know, that's just what I've always done. sites, right. It's part and parcel of what you do. Yeah. And so I'm just replicating that process. And so what I'm getting at is that I'm, I'm bullish on. On content, on written content. Right. A lot of listeners may see others that, and I recognize this.
I recognize a lot of old bloggers that I sort of came up with that they're all in, on YouTube now. Like all in right. Like daily videos or weekly videos or, and they don't blog anymore. Right. I, I'm still very bullish on. Blogging on, on written content. And in a way I like it more because it's easier to not be the face.
Right. Of written content. Right. And I'm not even ghost writing. I'm clearly saying, you know, this is written by somebody else. Right. But I can scale that much easier than I can scale YouTube for you.
Jared: So, what are you working on? You talked about niche, pursuits.com, putting a huge push on there. Are you working on any other projects?
I mean, I think the, maybe a side question to that is, are you, are you going to be continuing to start, you know, niche sites per se or, you know, I don't want to get into the niche site versus authority site question, but other websites, they will just classify it as that. You know, like where are you, where else are you putting your time?
Besides Mitch pursuits? Yup.
Spencer: So obviously I got link whisper my software tool and building internal links. It's doing well. It's been a great business. And so I put some time there. I don't know if it makes sense, but you know, to give people an idea of the size of the team, right. I've got Linquist Berbick.
Yeah. Link whispers got a full-time developer has got two customer support staff and to feel. Manager sort of marketing manager and then, and then me, so the team actually mostly runs the business. I've removed myself mostly from link whisper. But I kind of do a weekly call and, you know, I'm still involved obviously in pulling the strings there, but it's gotten to be a little bit more of a mature business, internal.
It's about two and a half years old. And so it's running well, it's kind of got a well-oiled machine going there. And so it doesn't require a ton of time, but that is definitely where I'm putting some of my time. And then of course you know, I've got other niche sites that I'm working on. I bought a couple of sites about three years ago that I'm working on.
Selling. And then I have a couple other niche sites still in my portfolio that the longterm vision would be to sell those as well to basically. Not have any other sites other than maybe there is one other niche site other than, you know, other than niche pursuits, I've got one other niche site that I could see myself holding onto.
Long-term trying to grow with the eventual exit at some point, you know, I don't know when that is, but, but most of my other projects, other than niche pursuits and link whisper, I fully hope and expect to. Be out of sold completely and the next, you know, call it 12 months.
Jared: So you're pairing. And focusing, doubling down on what you, I guess, know best to do best and, you know, continuing to operate.
We've got link whisper. We've gotten into pursuits and we've got a couple of other sites and slowly, you know, kind of moving past that. Maybe talk a little bit about why you chose what you chose. So why out of everything you had in your stable, you had podcasts, YouTube website. LINQ whisper you know, I think you were kind of alluding like maybe four or five, six websites.
Like how did you end up landing on niche, pursuits.com as kind of the, the, the future of your time. And I just think it'd be fascinating to hear how you chose and prioritized.
Spencer: So also just to go back a little bit more to give people even a bigger picture, I I've been sort of scaling down my businesses in hopes of scaling.
You know, the actual size of the business for a while now, I actually wrote a blog post at the beginning of this year, that that is called, that is called scaling down in order to scale up. And so people read that they, they can go read that, but even earlier than that, I, you know, I've been in involved in lots of businesses call it like.
I almost always have like 10 projects going on at once. You know,
Jared: I don't know anyone else who has that problem at all right. Said, no one, everyone who's listening has that, probably that
Spencer: problem, especially in this community, right. We all have like five websites we're working on. Right. And so I've always had the.
Six or seven websites. I was very involved in Emma's Amazon FBA from 2015 to 2018. That's right. That's right, right. And I made the decision in 2018 to completely get out of Amazon. So that time period that took a lot of my time and effort. I launched many dozens of projects products on Amazon.
I've also had table labs, AMZ image long tail pro other software products. Right. And so I've been doing Amazon FBA software products, half a dozen niche websites, plus niche pursuits and the podcast and YouTube channel. All along the way. You know, I have never really put a ton of time and attention into niche pursuits.
I just, you can't when you have that many things that I just named going on. And so. When I sold the Amazon FBA business, I sold table labs. I sold AMZ image. I've sold a few other niche websites. I've started to finally kind of pair down. So I've only got a few things. And when I look at those few things, I look at which of those has the most potential to become an extremely large business.
The decision was pretty obvious that that niche pursuits was that business because one, it was already performing at or above many of my other businesses, despite the fact that I'd probably put the least amount of time, really in a way into it. It. I don't know. I hate to say I put the least amount of time, because when you add up 10 years of work, that I've consistently put into it.
I put the most effort into, maybe it's
Jared: never been the number one priority. It's
Spencer: never been the number one priority.
Jared: That's what it is. It's always been a priority, but never the number one priority. That's a
Spencer: great way to put it, right. It's always kind of been numbered. Number two, but it's been, you know, number two or number three
Jared: for over 10 years, right?
Spencer: Where Amazon FBA was number one for three years. Yep. Right. You know, table labs, software, my niche sites have been number one. And so I look at it, it's got the highest domain authority, right? It's it's very authoritative. It's got these amazing links. It's got this great base of content, 700 articles.
It's got. Massive email list, a large following, you know, I have a 30,000 member, not 30, 25,000 member Facebook group. Right. Even without really trying, it's got, you know, 12,000 subscribers on YouTube. It's got this really great core business that is earning, you know, money already. And it's like, huh, what if I made this my number one priority for.
Two or three years what would happen. Right. And so that's, that's really the decision making process. I came to, I, I looked at the other businesses, right. And most of them were sort of niche sites, right. That like, like on the yard, you know, it, if it can earn five thousand six thousand seven thousand dollars.
Right. That's great. And maybe I could, if I really doubled down on some of these niche sites, they, they could do 20,000 or. 30,000 maybe. Right. Maybe. Right. But when I compare them to niche, pursuits is like, I really think niche pursuits could get much bigger than these others could. It's just
Jared: a fascinating the question I end up asking a lot of our guests, a question kind of like that.
Like how do you know when. From the sites you have, how do you know when to pick, whether to go kind of all in, on one or, you know, should you go all in on one site or start multiple sites? When do you start the second site along the journey of having the first site? When do you like this kind of topic?
It's just fascinating to hear. Someone like you talk about how you picked it, why you picked it when you picked it, you know how it made sense because it's a tough disease.
Spencer: Yeah. It's really, it comes down to traction, at least in my case, it's like you look at your, your businesses, which one has the most traction, which ones growing or doing well with.
It being a number one priority, you know, in my example. Right. And that, that really kind of made it a no-brainer, you know, sort of the, the, the breadth of the business. Like I said, its email list. It does well in Google search. It's got a Facebook group, it's got this real audience you know, and. So, so traction, you know, people are looking at lots of their businesses and they're seeing that one of their businesses, they're putting a ton of time into, and it's not earning as well as they'd hoped.
And they've got another little business that boy has just kind of taken off. It's got traction, right? Like maybe you should focus on the one that's got traction.
Jared: So without doing a deep dive on kind of the future of niche, pursuits.com, I'm just curious, you know, You talk about all the opportunity, like what, from a broad perspective, what type of areas is the site going to expand into?
What type of you know, what type of content is, is this big push? What type of content is happening behind this big push you're making?
Spencer: Yeah, the, the niche. We're in is, is massive digital marketing, right? Call it digital marketing. It's, it's huge. And if you look at some of the competitors, right, like even if you just look at WordPress, like look at WP beginner they're getting like a million visitors a month.
Just talking about WordPress. Right. And so knit, knits pursuits is gonna talk more about, yeah. WordPress, what are the best tools to use for your, your WordPress site or what are other software reviews maybe, right. Like what are the best content tools that are out there, right. Things that are still very much focused on kind of building.
Niche sites or affiliate marketing, but just scaling that there's hundreds of different tools. There's hundreds of different ways that you can manipulate WordPress or optimize your website. So some of the. Is is that you know, I do expect that the content will be a little bit broader as well.
Right. We, we, I already covered a little bit of light, more set-up side hustle ideas. Like what are some online businesses, you know, that maybe aren't niche sites that you can get involved with. Right. And, and covering some of those, those areas. It really just is a massive market. You have
Jared: to make money online.
Topic is also, yeah. Also huge as well. I know we had Kyle on a couple a couple of months ago, or maybe months ago now. And he had built a website that really was focused on that whole make money online. And he built that site up to be huge. And that was just a segment of the broader scope you're talking to Mitch pursuits can pursue.
Spencer: Right. And, and, you know, To give people an idea of how big I'm I try to think. I don't expect all ever get there, but I try to think that way sometimes right. Is you [email protected], right? There's a little bit of crossover with niche pursuits. Not, not necessarily a ton, right. In, in some, some areas.
Which is a little bit like what you were talking about with Kyle, right? A. How to make money online, interesting side hustles. The penny order talks a little bit more about like how to save money and how to invest a little bit, right. The niche pursuits may be isn't going to get quite as much into but the penny of order they really scaled that content there.
Kyle Taylor, I believe was the founder there. It sold, I think it maybe a year ago for $110 million. It's just a blog. You know, of course they've got an email list, right? They're getting most of their traffic from SEO and I look at sites like that and I think, well, why not? You know why can't a niche.
Just double down and scale. There there's an audience there there's people searching for those things. Why shouldn't it be why shouldn't they be landing on a website that is run by somebody? That's actually been. Building online businesses for 10 plus years. Right. Even though I'm not going to be writing every single piece of content, I'm going to be directing that and hopefully making sure that it's a valuable content there.
And so that's kind of, the vision is like, there's no way I'm going to build a 10 million or a hundred million dollar business. If I am doing it. I can't be writing the content. I can't be spending all my time doing podcasts and YouTube videos. I, I, I need to really get serious about how do I scale this thing, right.
And so I look at examples of. You know, Kyle Taylor over at the penny hoarder WP beginner and, and some of those websites where the founders are not writing any of the content, they've scaled up a really large content team. They're doing a great job with SEO. And I'd like to replicate that.
Right. And I'm sort of in the early stages now of, of hopefully replicating that growth strategy where I double down on, on written content, email and social media a little bit. So,
Jared: so we're recording this at the end of 2020. And I, I did not know prior to just, you know, just today that you had kind of written this blog post talking about these goals for 2021.
And here we are, I sounds like you've checked a lot of the boxes off for that goal for 2021.
Spencer: Yeah. Yeah. You know in terms of. Attempting to remove myself. Yes. I've definitely done that. I have some other goals in terms of traffic and earnings. I didn't quite hit those goals. But I'm getting there. I, I, a lot happened in 2021.
I didn't scale things quite as much as I had hoped. Right. I sort of meandered a little bit focused on Linquist for, for six months out of the year. And that was a good thing for sure. But. Over the last couple of months, I'm finally back to, okay. This is the original goal. Jared's now successfully transitioned as the host here on the podcast.
Can I scale the team and the content and really grow the traffic on niche pursuits now? And I'm starting to double down on that again, and it's it's working.
Jared: Well as we kind of near the end here, I mean, 20, 22, are we going to, are we going to see around on the podcast at all? Or is this a, is this your, is this your farewells?
This the farewell. I don't even know myself. I'm kind of asking in curiosity,
Spencer: I'll be back. I'll be back. I think I will be back. You know, we didn't
Jared: get to talk about. Some of the stuff that I know you've talked historically about here and there on the podcast before I owned the yard. We didn't get to talk about that and some the other websites, but yeah.
So there's definitely some things we could talk about in another one of these in
Spencer: future. Yeah, no, I think that would make a lot of sense. You know, it's, it's good. I don't want to be gone forever. Right. I don't think it hurts me to come back and remind people who I am and introduce myself to people that don't know who I am anymore.
Which would be great. I would love the audience to grow and most people not know who I am. Honestly, that would be like my end goal. And a dream is like, have this massive business and nobody knows who I am. And honestly, most massive businesses. People don't know who the founder is. You know, it's only sort of in this certain influencers space that the influencer is the business.
So I hope to come back, you know, when that is I don't know. Maybe we can make this a regular recurring thing.
Jared: I don't know. We have a pretty packed schedule coming up, so I don't know. We'll, we'll try to work in. We'll see if we can work in yeah, no promises though. Let's let's be, let's be honest. No, I'm kidding.
I'm kidding. I think that'd be a lot of fun if we could do this again.
Spencer: No, I agree. You know, I there's a lot to talk about. And specifically with the niche site project for I talked about a couple other sites that I acquired three years ago and, you know, I'm trying to exit all those businesses.
There's, there's been some things in the works, you know, discussions in terms of, you know, selling us. And things starting to happen that would probably make sense to come back on and discuss those. And of course, to give a recap on niche site, project four, I think it's been at least a few months since I've even talked about it.
And so it probably would make sense to come back here and, you know, maybe early in the new year and talk about that. Yeah. I was going
Jared: to say, I mean, I think obviously for new listeners, they might not have followed along in that journey. Quite as closely, but certainly a lot of longtime listeners follow, you know, I know those niche site project kind of case studies are really popular with the most recent one being a niche site, project four, which is on the yard.com.
And I mean, that was that was a lot of the content on the podcast for maybe a good year or so. You know, where we talked about when you talk to. It's growth, what you were doing to grow it and that sort of thing. So I think that update would be really, really well timed when we hit 20,
Yeah. And so I actually have a question for you, Jared. Just as, as a reader of niche pursuits, a follower of niche pursuits for several years, like you said, what do you think of some of the changes that I made and, and maybe let's not talk about the podcast specifically, cause I don't want you to. You know, you're doing the podcast, so let's not talk about that, but I'll plead the fifth on that one.
Yeah. But I mean, what do you think about the changes, knowing that, Hey, Spencer, isn't going to be writing all the content on niche pursuits and he's going to be scaling the content with other writers. He's not really the face of the blog itself. How does that make you feel as a reader? Like just honestly.
Jared: just fine. Just fine. I mean, it's, it's, it's like. If you're being honest. And I think the majority of people would feel this way. This is how I feel. There's, there's, there's definitely two things that happen with an interaction like niche pursuits. There's the there's the connection that, that someone has to you, but there's also the connection that someone has to the content, to the value it's providing to the things that they're learning and to the, the role that it's kind of serving in their individual growth.
And I know for me, if at the end of the day, Things like the website, the email, the podcast, have those continue to provide value. It's less important to me if there's a specific person behind it, you know, and you know so I still get the emails every week and I still enjoyed them every week as a matter of.
I haven't really thought about it. You could argue, maybe I enjoy them even more because you know, you're able to put more time and effort into them and stuff. So I think it's great. I think at the end of the day, the vast majority of people are going to judge it by, Hey, what's the value that the podcast is bringing.
What's the value of these, this content I'm finding on the website and stuff like that. And so I think. Yeah.
Spencer: Okay. Cause, cause that is something that makes me nervous still, right? Like the, the, the one step was removing myself from the podcast and the YouTube. That was something that, you know, like I said, I didn't want a hundred percent enjoy.
But when I look at myself, I started as a blogger and writing is something that I enjoyed. Right. Like, Would love sitting down and documenting my journey and sharing, you know, here's, what's working well on my niche sites and writing those blog posts. And so in a way it's harder to remove myself. From the blog then than it has been from the podcast.
And so, you know, I guess I'm just looking for reassurance that the readers are still gonna read, right? Yeah. We've been on niche pursuits
Jared: recently and I've noticed, oh, that's a different guest, not guest, author it, however, referring to them. Right. Like there is a knee-jerk reaction that says, okay, I'm noticing this article.
Isn't by Spencer. Yes, I value out of it. And at the end of the day, that's why I'm there. I'm there to get value. Like if it had your name on it, but the article didn't help me, then it wouldn't. I would, you know what I mean? I wouldn't be getting the value I need, I got the value I wanted and I needed it and stuff.
So I think it's great. And if it allows you to give more value, you know, if it allows the podcast to continue and I continue to get more value on the website I think it's, I think it's called. Cool.
Spencer: Yeah. Now that sounds good. So I don't know any other questions that you think listeners would want to know as it relates to, you know, we talked a lot, a lot of things, right.
Sort of how I'm scaling down, getting rid of a lot of distractions, you know, I've been selling businesses and so I can kind of have less to focus on. And then the, the other, I guess, topic yeah. Is just removing myself. From the business and kind of how I've operated, but I dunno, anything else you think listeners would want to?
Jared: think it's great. I think it's great that we got to just sit down and have, and hear from you kind of the backstory behind it. And hear the reasons behind it. Hear you explain from your heart about it. You know, I mean, whether you you know, want to dive deep into it or not, like there is a connection that a lot of lists.
All right. And, and readers are going to have with you for someone who's provided a lot of value over the years. And so you know, just knowing where you're at and where you're going, I think is really, really valuable. It sounds like the podcast isn't ending, so that's good. I still have a, a role to play going forward, but people can expect lots of content to come on the podcast.
Obviously the website's been doubled down on and then you know, knowing that you're not disappearing off into the sun, Right. I mean, that would be a bad thing. You know, sunsets are beautiful. We can talk about which island he chose to live on, but no, you're, you're, you're, you're alive and active and well, it's just a reprioritization and hearing why, I think again, I brought it up at the beginning, but there's so much value for everyone to hear it.
Whether you're sitting you know, working on your website and you have a full-time job, you only have one hour per night that you can focus on it. The same exact thought process applies, you know, just because, you know, you don't have 10 or 11 projects in the queue like you had, and you had to pair down literal projects, but if you only have one hour a day to spend growing your web, Where do you have maximum effectiveness?
You know, and I, I, to me, that's the real value. It's a good reminder for me. I mean, I run a, I run an agency and I'm sitting here thinking to myself, like, where am I too involved in my own business. So hopefully that's a lot of what people will take from the day at the, at, at, at, you know, when you boil it down.
Spencer: Yeah. Yeah. I spend a lot of time thinking about bottlenecks, you know, where am I a bottleneck, or where do my authors have a bottleneck? What, you know, in the process? How can I fix that? But then also thinking about, you know, what's my end goal, where do I, where do I want to be in two or three years? And how can I get there?
How can I quickly get there? Right. And so I spent a lot of time with my calculator. I'll pull it up and we'll calculate, well, I need to invest this much per article. If I'm not going to be writing. And if I want to have X number of articles in a year, I need to spend this much. And am I willing to make that investment in order to hit this big goal that maybe I have in a couple of years?
And so, as people think about their business, you know, just be very realistic. I need to either put a 40 hours a weekend focusing on this one thing a or B, I need to invest this much money to build up a team and a process that's going to make it happen. So I only have to spend 20 hours a week, you know, focusing on that business or whatever it is.
Right. And so I, I do a lot of that and I don't have all the answers, but this kind of gives a live view of me in the middle of it. Right. I've made some changes and I continue to make changes to kind of you know, strategically make those moves that I need to make. But at the end of the day, I'm not going anywhere.
I'm still here. I'm still excited to you know, be on the podcast here. I expect I'll be back on the podcast. So people don't forget my voice. You know, this, this has been fun. We can check. You know, like I said, maybe here in another month or so, and down the road, maybe we'll do it some more often, but I'll continue to write some blog posts.
I'm going to give my updates. I'm writing the emails, right. So I'm still around. I'm just not doing every single thing in the business anymore.
Jared: Yeah. And I mean, it, it it's, I think 20, 21, it was a bold move for you to kind of do these kinds of things. And again, Look at look at you know, you thought it through clearly and it's it's paying off dividends already.
I think it's, I think it's great. I think it's a great way to kind of sum up today's conversation and and you know, Spencer, thanks for being a guest in your own podcast, he appreciated having you.
Spencer: Yeah. It's you know, this is the easiest guest spot I've ever had. I think.
Jared: Well, good. Well until next time and thanks for.
Spencer: Yeah, thanks, Jared. It's been great being here. Good to see everybody. Thanks again. .
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