Interviews by Readory

Rich Clominson

How Failory gained over 5000+ subscribers, 33,000+ monthly readers and became one of the fastest growing blogs on the web
5000+ Subscribers
Startup, Entrepreneur Topics

How did you get started?

Hey there! My name is Rich Clominson and I am the maker of Failory.

Failory is a community where we interview failed startups owners and talk about their failure stories and the mistakes they committed, so that future entrepreneurs can learn from them and don’t make the same errors.

We started this website in order to help entrepreneurs to achieve financial independence and do not fail in building their startups and businesses.

I, in partnership with my 2 co-founders, started Failory on July 15th. Only 13 days after, our new startup was receiving 4,000 visits in a single day, topping world-wide known startup communities.

What motivated you

The idea and motivation behind Failory are quite ironic.

With my 2 co-founders, we have tried building many side-projects with little or non-success. Tired of failing over and over again, we decided that we should take an advantage of all the lessons we have learned from failing, and help entrepreneur avoid committing these errors. We were specialists on failure, so I think we were the perfect people to start this project.

When our last startup failed, we started wondering on the idea of creating a website that would collect stories of failed startups, in which we would reflect about the mistakes they committed.

After a competition analysis, we discovered that there were some other websites which talked about failed startups, but neither who interviewed the owners of those businesses. So, inspired by Indie Hackers, we decided that this was the best way to talk about failed startups.

Tell us your typical day and routine

I work part-time at a marketing agency in my country, Argentina. So, Failory is only my side project. The first part of the day is really similar to a typical employee one, so let’s just ignore it and move into the funny part where I spend time building and growing Failory.

The first thing I check when I get home is my email, the Failory email, the website, our analytics, our social media and a few websites I use as learning resources, such as Reddit (especially the Entrepreneur subreddit), Designer News, Hacker News and Product Hunt.

Once I have finished that, I check Todoist and start completing all my to do tasks. I typically try to spend some time building new things on the website, and some other time publishing content and promoting it.

As it gets late, I am quite tired so I usually spend some minutes (or even hours!) watching YouTube videos, related to businesses, design, entrepreneurship, and website development.

What are your future goals?

Regarding Failory, right now we are trying to enlarge our scope and transform the website from interviews with failed startup owners, into the website for failed startups. We are focused on building new tools and little side-projects inside Failory.

We are also wandering around the idea of starting a podcast. This idea was proposed by the audience, and we know it can result being super successful.

How have you attracted readers and grown your following?

Marketing a content site is not as difficult as marketing a product website. The first strategy we used to get our first readers and email subscribers was our launching.

The launch of Failory included:

  • Product Hunt: A few days before launching Failory, we asked the hunter number 1 on Product Hunt, Kevin William David, to publish our website. This was a winning strike.
  • Hacker News: People on HN loved our website and was upvoted 108 times.
  • Designer News: We knew that many of the people who could be interested in Failory were designers. Therefore, we published our website on Designer News, but we completely failed.
  • Social Media: Just the common social media promotion: Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
  • Emails: We advised the people we had interviewed that Failory was now published. Many of them helped us with an upvote, a share and some links on their websites.

This was the google analytics of the first 3 days of Failory.

Also, 509 people subscribed to our newsletter, which was a lot. It was the 7.65% of the users who visited Failory.

But the BOOM of the launching didn’t last for so long. That is why we started marketing our side project with two different strategies: content promotion and guerrilla marketing strategies.

As for content promotion, we share our interviews on different communities of startups and entrepreneurs, such as the Entrepreneur subreddit, Hacker News, Designer News and FB Groups. The success of this technique varies on the quality of the interview. Some interviews have been read +5,000 times, others receive less than 1,000 visits.

As for guerrilla marketing strategies, we talk a bit about them on our 2017 December report. They basically consist of social media, PR coverage, and newsletter cross-promotions. We are also constantly launching cool side projects inside Failory. One of them was an e-book, which has not only given us a lot of traffic to our website, but also a lot of new email subscribers.

Furthermore, we have spent a lot of time working on SEO and optimizing the website, and it is finally bearing fruits. A blog post we published some months ago, in which we talked about the startup failure rate, has successfully positioned on the front page of Google for different keywords and it brings 90 daily visitors to the website. Another post talking about the process of naming a startup also brings a lot of people to the website. So, we will definitely continue working on SEO!

What have been your biggest obstacles?

One of my weakest points and biggest obstacles is my lack of knowledge on web development. I have so many ideas for cool projects I could build inside Failory, but I don’t have the tools to carry them out (neither the time!). Without coding a single line, I was able to create a good-looking and functional website, which makes me love the no-code movement. However, I had to look for alternative ways to do lots of things in order to avoid coding.

No solution to this as learning HTML, CSS and Java would take lots of months.

Another obstacle I suffer from is not being productive. I have a really tight free time to work on Failory, and I constantly get distracted by social media and YouTube videos. I want to increase the number of tasks completed per day and began to ship more.

Furthermore, finding interviewees with great stories who are willing to talk about their failure is a really big obstacle. In the beginning, collecting the interviews was definitely the hardest part. To get the first ones, we sent some cold-emails to people who have published online articles talking about their failed startup, and some emails to entrepreneurs, asking if they have failed with a startup on the past. Somehow, we managed to get 9 interviews.

Right now, finding interviewees is much easier, however, it still consumes a lot of my time!

What advice would you give to anyone looking to start blog writing themselves?

My biggest recommendation for people who want to start blogging is to learn from their mistakes! Yes, it may sound cliche - but the only way to achieve success with your blog and business is by learning from the errors you commit.

Another recommendation is to validate your idea and the topic you will start to write on. Start small: build the website on your own with WordPress and publish a few articles. Promote them in different communities and find if you are writing on a topic people are interested in learning about.

Finally, listen to your readers. Listen to their feedback and keep always improving your blog according to their thoughts!

Do you directly or indirectly generate income or plan on generating income through your writing?

Our main priority right now isn’t monetizing Failory. We want to first, build a great website and enlarge our scope from interviews with failed startups, to the site of the failed startups. We want to build many tools and different content pages about failed startups, which would include the people participating in a community.

Although, we are not focusing on monetization, in December 2017 we made our first dollar. We got affiliated with ThoughtLeaders, a website that connects advertisers with newsletters. They sold an advertisement on our email, which resulted in $40.

Since then, every week, we send an email featuring our newest interviews and sponsoring different companies. We make $40 per week, which we use to pay our expenses and improve the site.

We have also thought of making money with Failory through affiliate links and advertisement on our homepage. As soon as we convert ourselves into the website for failed startups, we will begin with these two strategies.

Furthermore, a fourth monetizing strategy we have considered is building a community and providing premium content. However, we still need to figure out how to do it.

What is your tech stack?

We built the website on Webflow, an awesome visual designing platform. As I have said, I have almost 0 knowledge in web development, but with this tool, I was able to create the website without a single line of code.

For analytics, we use Google Analytics and Hotjar, a tool that enables us to see through video records how readers interact with our website.

For feedback, we use AskUser, an awesome widget that we use to gather opinions and feedback about our interviews and content pages, and TypeForm, a survey platform that we use to make our users decide on our plans and directly help us building Failory.

The rest of the tools we use are pretty common and known by the majority of you, such as MailChimp, GoDaddy, and Zoho Mail.

Where can we go to learn more?

Thanks for reading the interview ;) You can go to our homepage where you will find +35 interviews with failed startup owners, or visit our startup help blog, where you can find other content related to startups and our monthly reports.

If you are just starting in the world of entrepreneurship, you will probably find interesting Entrepreneurial Lists, a page where we publish lists with the best tools to create your own business or blog.

Lastly, you can follow us on Twitter, or send us an email here!

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Rich Clominson
Rich Clominson is the founder at Failory.