Dave Lukas Chats with Scott Keyes
141: How to Take Flight in Your Niche and Dominate It with Scott’s Cheap Flights Founder, Scott Keyes
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Scott Keyes. Scott’s just your every day, run of the mill guy who turned a hobby of finding cheap plane tickets into a multi-million dollar business in less than 2 years. As he would say it, Scott’s Cheap Flights was more an accidental business and he started out as more of an accidental entrepreneur. A misfit if you will.
Over the last 5 years, the business has grown to service hundreds of thousands around the world, help save clients millions of dollars on their flight purchases, and has been featured everywhere from CNBC to Virgin, Conde Naste, and Time Magazine.
Scott has learned a lot about finding a niche and cultivating a great business from it and that is one of the things I’m most excited to explore with him in this episode.
As Scott says, he’s an accidental entrepreneur. He ended up where he is completely by accident. The way it came about happened after he graduated college and moved to DC. He had a degree in political science and loved to write. He became a political journalist. There wasn’t much money in it, but Scott wanted to travel and needed to find a way to fund it. So, he got into the world of travel hacking.
He got really good at it over the course of a couple of years. It all culminated when in 2013, he got the best deal he had ever gotten – a ticket from New York to Milan for just over $100.
When he got back from his trip, word had spread amongst some of his friends and co-workers and they started asking him to share deals with them when he found them.
He started an email list to send out deals he found to his friends and co-workers. Over the next year, he did as a hobby, but the subscribers started telling other subscribers and they told others and so on.
By 2015, it had grown to over 5000 subscribers. At this point, there started to be some costs involved. In August 2015, Scott relaunched as a “freemium service” in which there is still a free signup, but also a paid sign up with more content and perks.
Nowadays, Scott’s Cheap Flights has over 1.5 million subscribers.
When you look back on how you got to this point, what is your best advice on how to discover a profitable niche and uncover opportunities under your nose?
At the 16 min mark, Scott tells us how SCF works…
At the 19 min mark, Scott talks about how the business is setup and the model (this is a great model that you could follow in your niche).
Scott loves the freemium model. In today’s age, people are skeptical. It is so much better to give them a way to show them the value you can create and how you generate results for them. It relieves pressure and creates more devoted clients.
What have you learned about building a business in going from 1 man with a hobby to having employees throughout the world and serving millions?
Are there any systems or specific strategies you’ve used for remote employees that work really well?
What have you learned about building and cultivating a subscriber list and how did you transition from free to paid?
At the 36 min mark, we have a great discussion on value and what that means to clients.
What are some tips on cultivating and taking care of subscribers on your list?
At the 43 min mark, Scott answers the question, “What are some tips on how to find deeply discounted flight deals?”
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It seems there is always something to write up. And many times, a lot of what we write is the same thing. Whether it is responding to clients, writing blog posts, business messages and emails, show notes, and so on. There are so many things we type repeatedly…what if there was a solution that remembered all of these things that we type all of the time and with the stroke of key, automatically filled everything in.
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