Interview

The journey from $0-1M

I talk to Courtland from IndieHackers about the journey of growing Ghost from nothing, to millions of dollars in revenue, and the lessons learned along the way.

About 3 years ago I appeared on episode 7 of the (then, very new) IndieHackers Podcast with Courtland Allen, to talk about how Ghost started and the journey from $0 to about $700k in annual revenue. It was one of my favourite podcasts ever, mostly because Courtland is an amazing interviewer.

Building an Open-Source Publishing Platform That Makes $63,000/mo with John O’Nolan of Ghost
John O’Nolan explains how he used his industry experience to come up with a simple idea, built a landing page that converted 30,000 email subscribers, a...
Apple Music / Spotify / Google Podcasts

A few weeks back in San Francisco I had the pleasure of seeing Courtland in person, so we could record a followup podcast about everything that's happened on the journey between $700k and $1.8M ARR.

I've always been frustrated that there's lots of information out there about how to start a company and get to the first few thousand dollars of revenue, and there's lots of information about how to grow a large company larger, but there's not very many stories of the part in between.

In this conversation we cover a really wide range of topics that crop up on exactly that journey, both practical and philosophical.

Pursuing a Mission While Bootstrapping to Millions with John O’Nolan of Ghost
When John O’Nolan (@JohnONolan) set out to create Ghost, he made an unintuitive decision for a mission-driven founder: to use his skillset to tackle the...
Apple Music / Spotify / Google Podcasts

When I was starting out, before Ghost existed, I couldn't fathom the notion of making a million dollars a year. It seemed like such a far off pipe-dream and something that I could only dream of one day achieving.

The reality, of course, is a lot less romantic than the dream. When you're trying to make your first $10 you compare yourself to your less talented friend who already made $200, and when you reach $1M you find yourself confronted by peers who are at $20M. You always compare up, not down, so the feeling really doesn't change much. Just the perspective.

Talking to someone else about the journey is always a good opportunity to look back and take stock of everything that's happened so far.

Beyond that, we had a great chat about the future of journalism, publishing, the indie-maker scene, the growth of subscription commerce and where I think the industry might be going next.

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