You could say that I’ve always been an entrepreneur. When I was a kid, I spent my evenings mowing lawns and raking leaves. In high school, I decided to start my own pager company. Unfortunately, pagers were on their way out, and soon my business was too. But it gave me a taste of what I really wanted in life: to be a business owner.
My very first crack at a “real” business was a Woody’s Hot Dogs stand, located in the parking lot of a hardware store. During my first year, we sold over half a million dollars worth of dogs, but I quickly realized that despite my success, hot dogs weren’t my true calling. I sold the stand in 2002 and by the end of the year, I had taken up yet another franchise–this time in dry cleaning. That’s when I first got my start in newsletters.
As per the franchise contract, I was required to send out a monthly newsletter. Having never sent a newsletter before, I proceeded to send out the world’s worst newsletter for approximately two years. It was boring, it was unorganized, and rumor has it that some people still keep it by their bedsides… in case they encounter a bout of insomnia. I made the switch to a much more personal and entertaining newsletter and, just like magic, my readership levels exploded. I knew I was on to something.
When it came time to sell the dry cleaning company, I made a list of all the things that I enjoyed, that I was good at, and I believed in. Unsurprisingly, “newsletters” took the number one spot. I started Solution Marketers, a newsletter company, in 2011 and hired a small team to help me get it up and running. We focused on three products; birthday postcards for restaurants, new mover campaigns, and newsletters. However, about 18 months in, we realized that we needed to narrow our focus.
Why newsletters? Because we believed in them, we were passionate about them, and more importantly, we knew how to make them successful. In July 2012, we changed the name to The Newsletter Pro and by the time December rolled around we had more than doubled in size. We’ve been on a path for growth ever since and we don’t plan on stopping now.