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#51: "Cheap Plane Tickets" Site Becomes Million-Dollar Hustle


A Washington, DC political analyst turns his travel hacking skills into an email list of more than 275,000 subscribers. By using a freemium model of converting subscribers to customers, the site earned more than $1M in 2016.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Allow greetings what's up welcome back this site school, I'm your host Prescott I'll, not destroyed it. About a little INA list, the gross to several hundred thousand subscribers and becoming a seven figure. Hustle wishes call and it's all about travel. Now I love the topic of travel for fifteen years. Actively travelling all over the world. In fact, I had a quest to go to every country in the world for about eleven of those years. Project evolved from my love of travel and goal setting making lists and people often have a lot of questions about it. So I read a whole book about Quest called the happiness of pursuit questions. People ask me about a lot is well. How did you pay for that? How much would it cost and I'm going to allow details about that in the book and on my blog, but the short version is that as part of the
says. I learned a lot about what I called travel hacking, which was the art of seeing the world on a budget using frequent flyer miles, mistake, fares round the road, plane, tickets and other critics strategies, and after a while I kind of became obsessed with this world. And I would spend a lot of time way too much time, breeding, hundreds of foreign posts and newsletters and blogs searching for air every chance I had and today story about someone who's, also obsessed with the role of cheap travel. As I said, this is a big success story In just a moment. You'll learn our Washington DC political analysts uses travel skills to help other travellers, save money while making more than a million dollars himself in building an email list and more than two hundred and seventy five thousand people no our story. For many years, Scott fees worked as a political journalist in Washington DC. He wrote about topics you from voting rights, to homelessness, most of our political campaigns
The job required a lot of travel to events in rallies around the country and Scott realised from the beginning that frequent flyer miles the major part of the job. So he said about learning how to generate as many as possible and get the most valued he could from them. He started up and basics of mileage, earning and credit card churning and pretty soon became a frequent flyer miles evangelist nuts Forest got sounds a lot like me, but he's probably less annoying than me, because I love to talk about these things and whenever I meet someone who says are taking a trip, I would have two questions for them about what airline they're fine, then I have all kinds of comments about the aircraft where the best seat is which terminal their connecting and where to get the best coffee they're, all this kind of stuff. That probably ninety nine percent of people do not care about. So I try to turn it off and only give advice when people want it. Ok.
Back to Scott before Long Scott realise that all this information you ve been collecting about frequent flyer miles might be useful to others. He noticed just as I did many years ago that frequent flyer programmes are often purposefully since the airlines know that miles that aren't used are essentially profit to them, so they don't always want to make it super easy. Therefore, Scott decided to start mining his day. Job of writing with his side hobby of travel. He first wrote a brief explanatory e book. How to generate and years frequent flyer miles, that book was called how to fly for free, practical tips. The airlines don't want you to know it's all there copies to buy a couple of beers a week, but that was about it fast for two years and he is now living what he calls a terrible journalist life in we'll Hocker Mexico and mostly working on a freelance basis. He decided to write a second epoch which was called how to find cheap flights. Practical steps, the airlines don't want you to know today very similar title to the first and I will win over. Ok, but still it wasn't bringing in a ton of money. There really was
we'll hobby thing he was doing. But in the midst of all this writing he had developed reputation among friends and colleagues as a travel expert in two thousand. Thirteen he bought a ticket from New York City to MILAN, four hundred and thirty dollars round trip when he got back home dozens of his friends, Ask him to let them know the next time he saw a fair like that, so that they can jump two, rather than try to remember each person's name and information individually. He decided to make of it. Simple, analysed and just everyone knew at once. He called this Scots cheap flights over the next eighteen months it grew by word of mouth. From a couple dozen friends two. Maybe three hundred people are so it still just a hobby at this point and then something really big happened. Scott posted a map on Facebook showing his friends the two month trip he was planning to take with his girlfriend. This trip would go to
Thirteen countries include twenty one flights about twenty thousand miles around the world, offer free using a word tickets, as luck would have it. One of those friends forwarded the map to a friend of hers, it business insider who decided this sounded like an interesting article. She wrote a peace and it ended up viral now. As a result, his sleeping email list for friends grew overnight from three under people to five thousand people. This was a blessing and a curse, because when you haven't email is a friend or people, it's either free or it doesn't cost very much. Maybe twenty four back some life. When you haven't you a list of five thousand people, all of a sudden you're paying a bit more and he didn't want to pay out of Pocket and Scott love. Doing this. He locked helping people achieve fights maiden necessarily want to pay to help them which fights he went on to my trip- and you didn't do anything right away, but he kept thinking about how best to monetize this opportunity should he uses at length should he have advertising something else and he finally
on a Framingham model where anybody who wants you could sign up for free as they ve been doing, but it also have a premium section with extra perks for folks who wanted to pay now. As I said, this was in twenty fifteen and newsletter continue to experience. Tremendous at a very high rate. It's definitely abnormal and amazing that less than two years later here, more than two hundred and seventy five thousand subscribers on that list. That was just made her friends before it became a business and hasn't even been a business for more than eighteen months. Okay, so what about the money? I mention this premium model peoples on it for free. He sends them a certain number of emails about fares, he's found and it's legit content lackeys actually sending helpful information. It is not pitch the sign for something else. But of course there is that premiums service with those extra perks you can customize, which destination you're looking for you can filter yourselves, get more fewer assent EU and because he was to
Good value? A lot of people really did sign up for the premium version over time. Now, specifically around last fall, he did a really big black Friday promotion to try to convert more free subscribers to premiums. And the free, the free, the at the time had been about children, four thousand free subscribers and with the promotion, some other things you ve been doing throughout the year. He had pushed his premium subscribers all the way up to twenty nine thousand and after black Friday ended. He generated more than nine hundred and sixty thousand dollars in sales throughout the year, pushing it over the seven figure mark before the end of twenty. Sixteen. The site now employs several people, but sky continues to spend a big of his day, searching for those ideals, deals and sending them out to his smallest, a friends which was three hundred and is now approaching three hundred thousand. So what an amazing success, as I said, it certainly doesn't, it's happened this way, or even usually happen. This vague, but is really cool to see a small, topical email list grow to the point
Making a million dollars fantastic, and I also think, even though gotten. I have something in common. We have similar interests but different personalities, because I often about the strength of doing more than one thing, but this is a great example of someone who is a bit different than me and has been extremely successful in focusing on that one thing: on the landing page for its website. It says Scott searches for cheap lights day every day, because he has no life. Well, I don't have a life either, but I do more than one thing when I ask him what's coming next, he said my plan is to continue scouring for cheap flights like a hungry dog, improving the features and customer experience at Scots cheap lights all well. I can to travel the world. So I love that narrow focus and I tell a respected in the show. Not today, you can learn about Scots, cheap lights, maybe joy If you want, you might not be an obsessive like Scott, but you can learn from him. Remember. Inspiration is good, but inspiration combined with action is so much better going to see their show notes for today's episode. There on side of foot school dot, com
last fifty one five one ever curious, learn more about travel hacking. How I was to go to every country in the world. Are you can quickly are a lot of miles, berserk, punctuation links with info on those things as well, including a trial offer for a service. I counted several years ago, called travel hacking cartel. Have you enjoy this episode? You get your own chief lights have wherever you want to go in the world and probably on an airplane today, because that's what I do I am critical of this is that as the school and I'll see you tomorrow,.
Transcript generated on 2020-08-07.