David Paxton had a passion for golf but quickly realized how expensive the sport can be. Between equipment, apparel, shoes, and greens fees, costs add up fast.
As a self-described frugal guy, David appreciated good deals that helped make golf more affordable. So in July 2021, at the height of golf season, he had the idea to launch DailyGolfSteals.com — a website to curate and share the best daily golf deals he could find.
And thanks to David’s hustle and some key strategies, Daily Golf Steals earned over $2,000 in its very first month!
(Definitely a cool way to monetize a hobby.)
Tune into episode 583 of The Side Hustle Show to learn:
- How Reddit provided instant traffic to validate the idea
- The strategies now driving ongoing visits and sales
- How automation helps David manage the demanding daily workload
- The challenges of running a daily deals operation long-term
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Finding Inspiration in an Established Niche
But while the hype around those big players has died down, the business model remains viable in niches with an engaged audience.
In fact, discovering HuntingGearDeals.com, run by Camron Stover (featured in Side Hustle Show episode 485) is what originally inspired David to give it a try in golf.
After listening to how Camron built his hunting deals site while working a full-time job, David had a pivotal “lightbulb moment.”
Chatting with Cameron gave David confidence he could make daily deals work in the golf niche too. He saw the potential for steady growth by delivering consistent value to an engaged audience.
This competitive analysis validated the opportunity and accelerated David’s timeline for getting Daily Golf Steals off the ground.
Leveraging Reddit for Instant Traction
Perhaps the biggest challenge when launching any business is getting visibility.
How do you get eyeballs on your new website or product when you’re an unknown entity?
Paid ads work but takes trial and error to dial in. Organic traffic sources like SEO can take many months or even years to gain steam.
But David was able to completely circumvent the audience-building phase by leveraging existing communities on Reddit.
Reddit is a massive online discussion platform with thousands of focused topic subgroups, known as subreddits. There are active subreddits around pretty much any interest or niche you can think of.
David focused his efforts on one of the largest golf groups, r/golf, with over 800,000+ members.
As it turned out, this subreddit already had an established “deal guy” role in place. For years, someone had been posting great golf bargains as a helpful free service to the community.
David essentially took up the mantle of finding the best discounts and steals for this community of golfers, and the Reddit audience instantly responded.
Despite their general distaste for self-promotion, the r/golf subreddit embraced Daily Golf Steals because the deals were genuinely valuable.
David struck a careful balance those first few weeks. He’d share a mix of deals — some with direct affiliate links, others as pure “giveaways” without monetization. This mix demonstrated he wasn’t solely there for profit.
Thanks to the instant traction from Reddit, Daily Golf Steals earned thousands of dollars in month one. The power of a pre-built audience cannot be overstated for accelerating new side hustles.
Driving Ongoing Traffic Through Email and Paid Ads
Clearly, leveraging Reddit for a fast start was a huge win. But David knew he couldn’t rely solely on Reddit long term.
To achieve sustainable growth, he needed to diversify his traffic sources.
The two primary strategies Daily Golf Steals uses are:
1. Building an email list
David includes a call-to-action in the footer of every single Reddit post. It invites people to have the deals sent directly to their inbox via email newsletter.
This tactic alone nets approximately 10 new email subscribers per day.
He also captured over 15,000 emails from a contest giveaway run by Golf Advisory Council. David contributed gift cards to the prize pool, and in return got access to all 80,000+ contest entrant emails.
By scrubbing the list and only keeping highly engaged people, he added 15,000 targeted new subscribers.
2. Running Facebook ads
David has invested heavily in Facebook ads since starting Daily Golf Steals. To date, he’s driven roughly 10,000-12,000 email sign-ups via Facebook.
His cost per acquisition averages around $1.25-$1.30. Factoring in subscriber lifetime value, he estimates Facebook ads are at least break-even if not slightly profitable.
With a current email list size of 30,000+, David sends out approximately 22 emails each month. He targets a 40% open rate to ensure his audience remains engaged.
Thanks to these two primary lead generation strategies, Daily Golf Steals is less reliant on Reddit and continues to expand its reach.
How Daily Golf Steals Operates & Scales
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges with Daily Golf Steals is the constant need for new deals.
Manually hunting down discounts 7 days a week simply isn’t sustainable long term. Burnout is almost inevitable.
So David has taken steps to significantly automate the deal sourcing process:
He hired a couple contractors
David brought on a couple students from his college golf team to handle both deal finding and email/post formatting.
This freed up countless hours that David would otherwise have to spend on daily operations.
David tapped his programming skills
With no Python experience prior, David taught himself enough to write scripts that compare yesterday’s product catalog and pricing data to today’s updated feeds.
This automated analysis flags any new markdowns or products, which his contractors can quickly validate as deals to share.
He built templating tools
For further efficiency, David built a VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) tool to take a deal’s info and automatically format it for the newsletter, website, Reddit, etc. This saved tons of manual copying and pasting.
Thanks to these efforts, David simplified the daily requirements to just 1-2 hours of his contractors’ time. And it takes David himself only about 3-4 hours per week of oversight at this point.
Multiple Revenue Streams
Daily Golf Steals has other moneymakers:
The core monetization stream comes from affiliate commissions earned when site visitors click a deal link and complete a purchase.
Commission rates vary quite a bit based on the size of the partner and negotiated terms, but tend to range from 1% to 20%.
The largest partners like Callaway Golf Pre-Owned pay commissions around 5-10% given their scale and brand recognition. Smaller direct-to-consumer brands pay up to 20% since they rely more heavily on affiliates for traffic and sales.
This means on a $100 purchase, David would earn $5 – $20 in commission depending on the source. These purchases add up over thousands of clicks per month to form the majority of revenue.
David sells banner/text ads in his daily email newsletter and on Reddit. He looks for brands relevant to the subreddit community and showcases them in a dedicated “Other Links” section below his daily deals list.
As his audience has grown, he can command higher rates.
While affiliate marketing remains the core focus, David is looking for more ways to diversify revenue. Building a loyal audience gives him options like physical products, coaching, and events down the road.
Why the Website Remains a Key Asset Despite Minimal Traffic
Given the strong response from Reddit and email, you might assume the Daily Golf Steals website itself generates significant traffic.
But interestingly, David shares that his site gets minimal direct visitors at this point.
Still, in his view, maintaining the site remains crucial for several strategic reasons:
- Credibility for affiliate applications – most programs want to see you have an established web presence before approving an application. A website demonstrates you’re a legitimate business, not just someone hawking links.
- Central place for key tasks – the site houses David’s product data, automation tools, redirect creator, etc. The theme he chose has helpful built-in functionality.
- Future search visibility – David’s thousands of old deals create extensive long-tail content, which could drive search traffic with improved domain authority.
So despite the modest numbers to date, David keeps his site updated and leverages the behind-the-scenes utility it provides.
For any business, it’s important to recognize that a website can offer immense value beyond just traffic and clicks.
The Challenges of Maintaining a Daily Deals Business Long Term
Although Daily Golf Steals has earned impressive income right out the gate, it’s still not without challenges. David cites three major difficulties:
- Inconsistent revenue – income fluctuates widely day-by-day based on deal quality. Bad weather or low inventory can mean bad days.
- Lots of manual work – automation helps, but securing and formatting deals takes daily, consistent grind. Even with contractors doing most of the heavy lifting, burnout is a risk.
- Rejections – the most surprising hurdle was getting rejected by Amazon Associates for not providing enough unique value.
But rather than get discouraged, David persists through the ups and downs.
He’s constantly tweaking his systems to save time and locking in affiliate partners to open up new deals.
And as a new dad, he’s now able to manage the business in just 3-4 hours a week.
Keys to Replicating This Side Hustle Idea
For anyone looking to borrow David’s business model in their own niche, here are some key strategies:
- Passion pays – choose a topic you genuinely enjoy and already spend money on. Your enthusiasm will fuel the hustle.
- Start where the audience is – online forums like Reddit offer instant traffic. Be a value-first member of the community.
- Automate relentlessly – dealing with daily posts is tough… find any way to save time with scripts, tools, or contractors.
- Plan beyond affiliate – commissions are great, but develop diverse income like sponsorships to support yourself.
It takes immense work ethic to make daily deals succeed long term. But the model clearly has profit potential, even as a side hustle.
If you can automate a chunk of the busy work and thrill your niche community with outstanding value, the financial rewards may surprise you too.
David’s #1 Side Hustle Tip for Side Hustle Nation
“Show up every day.”