It took two failed start-ups for Chandigarh-based Pardeep Goyal to finally start working on a blog. This isn’t a common, here’s-what-I-think-of-this blog. Pardeep’s is one with a purpose. In this, he shares his money-saving hacks, credit card utilisation methods and investment philosophy, with the world.
Called Cashoverflow.in, the blog, that the 32-year-old started in May 2015, nets him a cool ₹2 lakh every month, and the money is only increasing as the reach of the blog widens. But if you thought he had it easy, think again. This venture began after he lost all his savings on SchoolGenie and PocketScience, his two failed start-ups.
He regularly writes about his travelogues in the blog. His recent trip to Goa with his family for 30 days was done on a budget of a four-day vacation, while he spent 50 days in Thailand, spending less than ₹2 lakh!
Articles on such thriftiness were, understandably, lapped up by readers. But the turning point came when his article ‘100 ideas for making money online with a budget under ₹5,000’ became a massive hit and was shared on a popular portal. Its last share count read 1,84,511. Not only did this unprecedented popularity bring in a lot of consulting clients , but Pardeep was also flooded with emails from people asking for advice on implementing ideas online.
This influx of emails gave him an idea of starting a premium email newsletter, where he would share business insights in a structured manner to the paid readers. More than a 100 people signed up on the first day. When the figure touched 200, he closed the subscription, although he does take in people once a month in limited numbers, while the rest are waitlisted.
Seeing the interested numbers grow, he has increased the rate to ₹2,000 for the email service, which he plans to also offer as monthly and quarterly services — you can choose to pay either ₹200 a month or ₹999 for six months. Currently, there are 250 people who have signed up for the weekly newsletter, which focuses on creating an organic online business without spending money on paid ads.
Market for paid newsletters
Pardeep is confident that there is a huge market for paid newsletters. He says, “The cost of sending an email is less than one cent, and internet marketers leverage low-cost email marketing to sell their products and services. They use free newsletters as a channel to promote their products, and in the process, the quality of free newsletter becomes low. The purpose of email newsletters should be focused on educating and training the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
His focus is to help 1,000 people set up an online business with his paid newsletter model. He conducts webinars and AMAs (Ask Me Anything) on his Facebook group, which sees a sizeable number of people participating in conversations about starting up online businesses.
As of now, he is a solopreneur who has a content marketer and a few freelancers working for him. He is looking to expand by hiring people in product and designing in the coming months.
‘Cash Overflow Services’ is the name of the company registered, where he aims to provide financial educational services and business coaching.
After completing his Computer Science Engineering from Patiala University, he worked with Aricent for seven years as a Technical Leader. It took him several months to gather the courage to quit his job and start up his own venture.
The two start-ups, however, didn’t flourish as expected — he faced a loss of ₹15 lakh and had to go after a designer who ran away with the company’s laptop! He finally found his calling with Cashoverflow. For someone who talks and writes about spending hacks, it is no surprise that he didn’t use web developers to work on the site. Instead, he invested on a simple paid WordPress theme.
Pardeep looks up to influencers such as Seth Godin, Noah Kagan and Brian Dean for the knowledge they share consistently with their readers. As a part of his consulting business, he works with many start-ups, advising them on how to generate high quality leads through content marketing. He charges a fixed amount for drawing up the content strategy while working on a retainer basis for helping them execute the strategy.
“The biggest problem I faced initially was getting high-quality traffic on the website. I invested ₹2 lakh in Cashoverflow, including high-end hosting and a couple of marketing tools, along with paying for freelancers,” says Pardeep, when asked about the challenges he faced during the initial phase of the blog’s launch.
He reached out to a lot of banks, financial companies, and affiliate networks to partner with them. So, whenever someone buys a banking product based on Cashoverflow’s recommendations, he makes affiliate income through this as well. Since he shares money-saving hacks on online shopping, he is an Amazon affiliate too. The other areas where he makes affiliate money are from travel bookings (since he shares his travel experiences), web hosting, and content marketing tools.
A huge fan of transparency, Pardeep publishes income reports where he explains in detail what worked in his content and what did not, his future plans, announcements, gives a break-up of the cost for the tools he uses in the business, all expenses to the T clearly mentioned so that it is easy for a newbie in the blogging world to understand what it takes to succeed. Pardeep is currently mentored by Sameer Guglani, the founder of The Morpheus Gang.
It is hard to sell premium services in India and Pardeep, with his paid VIP newsletters, has given a boost of confidence to entrepreneurs who want to toy with this model. He gets around 1.5 lakh visitors each month, and the revenue is only going to increase as his reader base increases.
(Mathew J Maniyamkott is the founder of Solohippo.com, a blog where he interviews Internet Entrepreneurs. He is also a Marketing Consultant based out of Bangalore.)