Thinking of the next million-dollar idea? For some entrepreneurs, ticking a box is all they need to make one million more!
It's not some secret (although I hadn't heard of it). That box is available for anyone to tick. The catch? We need to build a profitable business as a first step.
Welcome to this week's letter, where we start with big changes to my online brand, go into business ideas that have made millions in the last decade, and finish with next week's routine. It's a little bit of everything getting you up to speed after I missed the action for so long.
And don't worry, AI did not write these lines! Oh, we have so much to talk about.
Big Branding Changes
I dived hard into my personal blog this week.
For months, I wanted to update a few parts of it, delete some obscure and subpar posts, and, most importantly, add key sections that felt terribly missing.
For instance, I was declaring myself a web publisher in my social media profiles, yet I had no landing page for web publishing! Web development was the only page that came close to it, but I wrote that more than ten years ago, and the info is outdated.
What helped in structuring these sections was the template I created on Notion and shared in the first and only episode of my podcast. 😔
I needed a ”content tree,” so my past and future posts didn't feel out of place. For a long time, I have also considered following the same structure when posting on X (former Twitter), with threads taking a big part of my flow there. But as I decided to focus more on YouTube, I quit the idea for the time being.
So, I rewrote parts of my Start Here page (thanks to ChatGPT; AI is good sometimes, like greed) and removed a few parts of the About Me page - it still needs work, though. Now, everyone visiting my website quickly finds out what I talk about here - which, surprisingly for long-time readers, is not gambling!
I even considered deleting those articles at some point, but the past is what made me today. Besides, it’s an angle that helps me differentiate myself from people discussing similar topics. Not many business owners, self-help experts, and content creators can say that they beat casinos or made a living betting on sports!
There’s a lot to talk about here, but I don’t want to turn this letter into an essay.
New Profile Pic
This took me by surprise! I didn’t plan on updating my profile photo any time soon. In fact, I always thought when I’d be dead, this photo would live on my social profiles for ages.
Updating our profile picture should be done very sparingly. It’s time-consuming to come up with a new picture and update all profiles. Similar to companies' logos that haven't changed for decades, our profile pic is a key element of our brand. It's also futile since we don’t get discovered because of our profile pic; our content does that.
Besides, my profile picture was the only branding part that remained constant all these years, fighting to find a purpose in publishing online.
In an unexpected turn of events, I decided to try out a new picture for my blog’s homepage. It was a still frame I had grabbed from a video podcast we run with another Greek friend. I needed his feedback on how the video looked as I was editing it.
As the picture was on my desktop screen, I decided to try it on my blog's homepage. I then tried it on X and compared it to the previous profile photo.
- The updated photo is much brighter; I believe it stands out better.
- I am also smiling (laughing, actually). A smiling face performs better.
- It’s also a better depiction of how I look nowadays compared to the previous one I spontaneously took ten years ago while driving.
- The old me looked oversharpened, while the new me looks blurry due to the big crop on a 4k video frame with motion blur.
My personal brand has nothing to do with driving cars, either. So, it always felt out of place, but I had just a few photos to choose from back in the day. No one takes pictures of me other than… myself! That sounded very pathetic. 😭
Thus, having gone through significant updates in my online presence, identity (I also updated my Greek blog with this new picture and a Greek flag), and blog, it was finally time to send a new letter to you! This one! So, how about a few changes to the letter itself?
The Newsletter Revamp
First and foremost, the paid version of my letters is put on hold for now. I never committed to delivering a letter promptly, even when people paid me to. Yet, the idea is there; I need a better schedule. All in good time.
Next, given that I consume significantly more content on YouTube and podcasts, it makes sense to spotlight those. I decided on having sections of a video and podcast episode that stood out to me the past week. That’s where I get most of my inspiration, and my wife shouldn’t be the only one who gets to hear about it! She always responds with:
Instead of telling me all that so enthusiastically, why don't you share it online?
Finally, I'm including a small advertising section to facilitate deals on products I use (and I am affiliated with). Yes, I do get a cut, but you'd be surprised at how often friends ask me to recommend a service or a product for their problem! So, why not recommend some here, as well?
Podcast of the Week
I must have listened to over 100 podcast episodes during my daily walks this year. I usually prefer listening in the evenings, when I cannot think clearly and focused enough due to traffic and crowd noise.
This week, I went for a walk in mid-day. A rare phenomenon for me. As I had felt very inspired by a YouTube video I had watched in the morning (more on that further below), I decided to go outside and exercise my favorite routine: overthinking my next steps.
Streets were buzzing with traffic. People were walking next to me. And loud roadworks were all over the place.
So, until I arrived at my favorite destination (a peaceful, quiet marina), I began listening to an episode I found a few days ago in a podcast I hadn't heard before to isolate myself from the disturbing sounds.
I must have run across this podcast while searching for an audiobook to buy the other day. I had saved the episode to listen to later, and it didn’t disappoint.
In fact, I continued listening even in the marina, which says a lot. But I put it on pause and will finish listening over the weekend. Pausing it took some strength!
What I learned
It’s ridiculous how profitable a simple idea can be!
For instance, a website launched in 2001 offered people automatic sending of birthday cards. For $9/year, customers gain peace of mind that their beloved friends and family will “hear” from them on their special day! The website would ensure no misunderstandings and hard feelings even if they forgot their birthday.
The website printed MILLIONS for 18 years!
I remember my friends back in 2001, hoping to find a silly idea to make $1 from every Internet user in Greece. How goes the saying? Ideas are cheap; execution is everything.
Execution was another golden nugget I got from the first half hour of listening to this episode.
This same website used Stripe as the payment processor for subscriptions. An issue occurred when banks issued new cards to people. You know, the card you get sent in the mail every 3 to 4 years before the card’s expiration date.
These renewed cards broke the annual subscription system that was put in place for the website to keep sending birthday cards. But for $0.25 per customer, Stripe offered the business owners the ability to continue charging the new card without the subscriber having to update their card details in Stripe’s system manually.
So, it was a no-brainer for the website owners to enable the feature.
By ticking a simple box, the business made ONE MILLION in PROFIT per year!
I can’t wait to listen to the rest of the episode.
YouTube of the Week
Life of Riza is a channel YouTube was kind enough to include on my homepage in the summer. I was hooked on Kariza’s creativity from the first video I watched and binge-watched them all. I even posted an Instagram story praising her storytelling skills, which is another rare thing for me.
After a month or so, Kariza uploaded a new video this week. It’s about her traveling alone for a week. She calls it a “think week,” a new term for me, but apparently, it’s what Bill Gates does!
How it inspired me
Now, the point isn’t the think week. And it’s definitely not traveling, either.
The video inspired me to begin thinking of my next video. It reminded me that not everyone abides by the hustle culture. In a world of fast reels, quick captions, and short-cuts, watching a well-crafted, slow-paced video felt relaxing for a change.
The story isn’t anything special. The cinematography is ok. But I vastly appreciated the pacing and the vibe.
I also got this mobile stand featured in the video on the same day (in fact, I expect delivery as I am writing this letter). She wasn’t promoting it since another company sponsored the video. She was simply using it. Powerful advertising!
Kariza’s video brought back memories from my summer, specifically of another YouTube video that significantly impacted me. Similar vibes, better produced, and in my favorite format: a documentary. I immediately watched it again for what must have been the fifth time, from start to finish. It’s about a dog.
Deal of the Week
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been gone this year, but some deals are still left to grab. WP Engine, where I am hosting my WordPress websites paying all of my bills, is offering a yearly plan for half price.
I don’t expect my routine to change next week. I will keep doing things I can control:
- Tracking calories to have a 1,000cal daily deficit (uncontrolled outcome = lose 1kg)
- Listening to podcasts and maybe starting another audiobook (out-of-my-hands outcome = learn new stuff and be inspired)
- Walking so that I burn 500cal per day (outcome = eat a bit more but still be on a calorie deficit; exercising benefits health)
- Order new articles for other websites (uncontrolled outcome = ranking for more keywords)
Readers have told me that they’d rather receive a shorter letter from me more frequently than a long one once in a while. And I made sure to disappoint them yet again! 😆
I‘ll try my best to hear from me more from now on. But I wouldn’t bet on it!