Sam Parr riding a motorbike

How Sam Parr Built The Hustle To $20 Mil | The CreatorLab Podcast

“My entire existence in my career is driven by trying to prove wrong the people who made fun of me.” – Sam Parr

With over 319 billion emails being sent every day in 2021, you would think we’d be sick of emails by now and building a newsletter business, a terrible idea. Not according to Sam Parr.

Sam Parr founded The Hustle, one of America’s fastest-growing media companies. Each morning, they deliver almost 2 million email subscribers humour filled business news and trends you need to know.

The Hustle is now making mid-8-figures in revenue and growing.

Sam recently hopped on Bilal Zaidi’s podcast ‘Creator Lab’ to explain how he did it.

They discussed what it was like to start a newsletter business, what has changed, and how he would do it today. He also shares insights on finding great employees, mistakes to avoid, becoming a copywriting guru, and the best platforms to grow your newsletter.

Read’on below for the highlights.


1. Sam Parr’s background – Middle-class with parents that owned a roadside fruit stand and a hot dog stand led to the Hustle.

2. How Sam would build an audience today – Going viral on Twitter, blogging, starting a paid product right away, and focusing on social platforms.

3. Copywriting to persuade – The AIDA approach, writing a compelling headline, finding ideas to write, and distributing content.

4. The future of the media – Learning algorithms, platform risks, and running Ads.

How Sam Parr Started The Hustle

Born and raised in Missouri, Sam later moved to Tennessee for college, where he opened a hot dog stand named Southern Sam’s. “Wieners as big as a baby’s arm.” While the stand helped him pay his college bills, he learned that making money on the internet was easier. So he started several online businesses, later selling a web app which funded his first edition of the hustle, a conference for entrepreneurs called Hustle Con.

Sam made The Hustle Con famous by writing, blogging, and emailing about the speakers. He made hundreds of thousands of dollars in his first few conferences and parleyed that money along with an email list into the hustle.

Building A Paid Newsletter Business

Sam Parr admits that building the hustle now would be harder. So here’s what he would do differently today:

 •  Try to go viral on Twitter by writing threads and adding a newsletter signup link to your profile.
 •  He’d still blog and use social channels like Reddit to grow traffic
 •  Start a paid product right away to fund building the newsletter
 •  He’d also go hard on social media platforms and communities right away, rather than just going after blog traffic.
 •  Last but not least, he’d never give anyone equity in his business and boot-strap the whole thing.

“If I could go back in time, I would own 100% of the company and never give anyone any equity, and I would hand the company down to my grandkids.”

Writing Copy That Sells

Sam says most newsletters fail because their content doesn’t persuade, call for action or generate interest. What you’re trying to say might be great, but no one will care if the way you say it sucks.

 •  Hire talented writers. Easier said than done. Sam thinks people either have it or don’t, i.e. don’t try to teach a lousy writer to be a good one. It’s a waste of time.
 •  Learn persuasion. Influence by Robert Caldini is a good start. Copywriting is persuasion. Persuasion to read, persuasion to care.
 •  When writing any copy, use the ‘Attention, Interest, Desire, Action’ (AIDA) framework. 
 •  Care way more about your headlines. 97% of people determine whether to read an article based on the headline.
 •  If you’re looking for ideas to write about, the comments section in relevant social media threads is a great place to find them.

“I don’t care if you’re in business or you’re in love. Get good at persuading people. I’m going to persuade anyone to do anything for the rest of my life. “

Building a business on platforms and risks involved

Sam holds it’s still okay to use rented platforms, i.e. social media, to build awareness. Just don’t rely on them and throw all your eggs in one basket as many companies do.

Even though the algorithm sucks, you can still use them to your advantage.

Like, Wish, which grew to a multi-billion dollar company using FB ads.

“It’s okay to have that problem as long as you can get off of it.”

Notable Sam Parr Quotes From The Interview

 •  Whenever there’s an opportunity, I’ll take it and figure it out
 •  If you’re a baller in business, you’re going to be a baller on the internet, or if you’re on the street, you can play both sides.
 •  One bad problem with hiring people is that even if they’re talented and smart and take very few shots, they’re most likely going to suck.
 •  When people say peak, that doesn’t mean ‘don’t do it.” It just means that if you’re going to do it, make it better or different.
 •  If I could go back in time, I would own 100% of the company and never give anyone any equity, and I would hand the company down to my grandkids.
 •  In most cases, you can get way richer and have more fun without raising money.
 •  You need startup capital for any business that you start, even if it’s as little as $500.
 •  I don’t care what people say they want. I try to listen to what they say or think they want, and I try to figure out what they think they want that and then I try to come up with those solutions.
 •  I don’t care if you’re in business or you’re in love. Get good at persuading people. I’m going to persuade anyone to do anything for the rest of my life. 
 •  The comment sections of any article are the best to find ideas for an article.
 •  A lot of successful people are definitely crazy, and I would say I’m crazy.
 •  My entire existence in my career is driven by trying to prove wrong the people who made fun of me. 

You can connect with Sam Parr below.

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  • […] Lessons learned from building a $20 million newsletterSam Parr is not your conventional entrepreneur you might even call him a rebel. From living on the streets to multiple arrests and problems with alcohol addiction. Building and exiting an 8 figure company is not something his former associates thought likely.The most important skill Sam learned to build that company was how to write. How to get your attention, make you care and persuade you to take action.Here are 3 tips from Sam to help you do the same;1. Copywriting is persuasion and the best book you can read to learn this subject is ‘Influence by Robert Cialdini.2. Learn the A.I.D.A framework. Sam employs the AIDA framework in virtually every piece of copy he’s ever written. The reason is, to persuade someone to take action, you have to convince them to read what you’ve written. AIDA is a way to lure people down the page so you can start persuading.3. Care way more about your headline. Almost everyone decides what they’re going to read by the headline. That can be an email subject line, the first line of a FB message or the slogan on your business card.“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” – David OgilvySam shared many more valuable insights when he appeared on the Creator Labs podcast and we took notes so you don’t have to read. Read the rest of Sams insights here. […]

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