The Hero’s Journal is a successful self publishing side hustle created by founder Nick Vitellaro and his friend Kyle. This venture was inspired by the problem many people face – especially after New Year’s resolutions are made every year: Setting goals, but going nowhere with them.
After much research and trial and error, Nick & Kyle discovered the best formula to achieve goals was to focus on process first, outcome second. For them, it was about the journey.
Inspired by classic stories such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc. they created goal journals that emulated Joseph Campbell’s model of quests called the Hero’s Journey.
Below is a brief introduction via YouTube if you’re still not sure what this is all about…
Their initial launch strategy used a combination of Kickstarter, Facebook, a blog, email list and Shopify. Artistic design was outsourced on Upwork.
The Hero’s Journal successfully raised $15,000 around mid-2019. You can still see their Kickstarter page here.
Once they got the ball rolling, they bought Facebook ads to promote blog posts and a personality quiz that matched visitors to a specific hero (such as Luke Skywalker, etc.). The results of the quiz could only be seen if you entered your email address. Using this model that were able to build a base of potential customers to sell to.
How Can You Apply this Story to Your Side Hustle?
The main lesson to learn from this side hustle is that it is a real life example using Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist. By modifying and/or putting a new, unique creative spin on an already existing idea, you can walk away with an exciting, brand new and hopefully profitable product. They wrote the book they wanted to read. Existing journals were boring and ineffective so by making a slight modification to this already proven product category, The Hero’s Journal was born.
It was very clever to create the personality quiz and blog posts to build an initial fan & customer base. This is essential as there’s no guarantee how long you can depend on free organic traffic from Google or free social media shares. When you begin any side hustle like this, start a mailing list asap so you will be able to connect with them no matter what happens. Once you have a large enough list, you can sell related products/services down the road.
Also important to note their journals have a high quality design and the end result top notch as well. One look at their shop or their Instagram page and you can tell they didn’t try to cut corners – they produced a great product – which likely brings word of mouth business.
If you are a writer or have always wanted to have a book published, I hope their success story provides inspiration for you. There are many different types of journals on the market out there, and who knows… maybe you could emulate their success in a different category? There are journals for dreams, dieting, ideas… journals specifically for kids, men and women. You could start one on how to get out of debt, or grow your YouTube channel.
Hmm… that gives me an idea. Perhaps I need to start selling a Side Hustle Idea Journal. To be continued… 😉