How Kevin Espiritu Grew His Gardening Niche Site from $400/Month To an 8-Figure Per Year Brand

Last updated: Jun 30, 2023

This video is about Kevin Espiritu's journey of growing his gardening niche site from earning $400/month to becoming an 8-figure per year brand, including expanding into social media channels and developing his own products.

This video by Niche Pursuits was published on Mar 1, 2023.
Video length: 01:01:31.

This video is an interview with Kevin Espiritu, the founder of epicgardening.com, a gardening niche site that has grown into a successful brand.

Kevin shares his journey of starting the website and expanding it into various social media channels, including YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. He also discusses how he transitioned from earning $400/month to building an eight-figure per year brand by developing his own products, which now make up over 90% of his revenue.

The video provides inspiration and insights for scaling niche sites and offers valuable lessons on making strategic decisions to grow a website and brand.

  • Kevin Espiritu started his gardening website about eight or nine years ago.
  • His website has grown into a large brand with millions of page views.
  • Kevin has expanded into various social media channels, including YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.
  • He has developed his own products, which now make up over 90% of his revenue.
  • Kevin has adapted his role over the years and now has investors.
  • Kevin's journey provides inspiration for scaling niche sites and building a brand.
  • He shares insights on adding physical products to a website with enough traffic.
  • Kevin emphasizes the importance of utilizing social media channels alongside a website.
  • He made methodical decisions to scale his website and brand.

How Kevin Espiritu Grew His Gardening Niche Site from $400/Month To an 8-Figure Per Year Brand - YouTube

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Kevin Espiritu's Journey

  • Kevin started his gardening website about eight or nine years ago.
  • His website has grown into a large brand with millions of page views.
  • Kevin has expanded into various social media channels, including YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.
  • He has developed his own products, which now make up over 90% of his revenue.
  • Kevin has adapted his role over the years and now has investors.
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Inspiration and Decision-Making

  • Kevin's journey provides inspiration for scaling niche sites and building a brand.
  • He shares insights on adding physical products to a website with enough traffic.
  • Kevin emphasizes the importance of utilizing social media channels alongside a website.
  • He made methodical decisions to scale his website and brand.
  • Kevin's gardening advice and content are highly regarded.
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NicheSites.com Sponsorship

  • NicheSites.com offers services to help scale niche site portfolios and build websites.
  • They provide keyword research, link building, content writing, and done-for-you websites.
  • New customers can get 5,000 words of free content with an order of 10,000+ traffic backlinks.
  • Listeners are encouraged to visit nichesites.com/trial to claim the free content offer.
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How Kevin Espiritu Grew His Gardening Niche Site from $400/Month To an 8-Figure Per Year Brand - YouTube

Search Intelligence Sponsorship

  • Search Intelligence is an agency that specializes in digital PR link building.
  • They share a success story of building 20 links in major publications for a client.
  • The campaign used a clever hook to generate interest and coverage.
  • The case study highlights the power of a compelling hook in PR campaigns.
  • Search Intelligence offers inspiration and shows what is possible with a clever hook.
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Background and Early Ventures

  • Kevin Espiritu bought the domain for Epic Gardening in 2013 and started a simple WordPress blog.
  • Prior to starting Epic Gardening, Kevin had various ventures including building blogs, local website building, and local marketing services.
  • He also raised money for a personal relationship app and worked at a publishing startup called Book in a Box (now Scribe Media).
  • Kevin decided to go full-time on Epic Gardening in 2016 after realizing he wanted to work for himself and have more control over his destiny.
  • Before going full-time on Epic Gardening, Kevin had tried different ventures but struggled to make enough money.
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Reasons for Going Full-Time on Epic Gardening

  • Kevin had always been self-sufficient and didn't want a traditional job.
  • He played online poker to pay for college and realized he could control his own destiny and make more money than with a traditional job.
  • Kevin had a desire to figure things out on his own and build websites, but struggled to make enough money.
  • After a failed startup venture, Kevin decided to work for a company to learn from their expertise and scale.
  • Kevin worked at Scribe Media for 18 months and saw the company's revenue grow from $200,000 to $2-2.5 million.
  • Kevin eventually decided to leave Scribe Media and go full-time on Epic Gardening because he felt he had learned enough and wanted to do his own thing.
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Transition to Full-Time and Revenue Status

  • When Kevin transitioned to full-time on Epic Gardening, the website had been existing for a few years but had not been actively worked on.
  • At the time of going full-time, Epic Gardening had minimal revenue and had languished.
  • Kevin made the decision to focus on growing Epic Gardening and turning it into a successful brand.
  • He implemented various strategies to increase revenue, including affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and creating his own products.
  • Over time, Epic Gardening grew from earning $400/month to becoming an 8-figure per year brand.
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Expanding into Social Media and Developing Products

  • Kevin expanded Epic Gardening's presence by creating social media channels and engaging with his audience on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
  • He found success in creating video content and sharing gardening tips and advice.
  • Kevin also developed his own products, including a gardening course and physical products like seeds and gardening tools.
  • By diversifying his revenue streams and building a strong brand, Kevin was able to significantly increase his income and turn Epic Gardening into a successful business.
  • He continues to focus on creating valuable content, engaging with his audience, and expanding his brand's reach.
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Kevin's Journey to Growing His Gardening Niche Site

  • Started earning $400/month from affiliate earnings and AdSense.
  • Initially planned to be a farmer but decided to scale up the blog instead.
  • Within 2-3 months, increased revenue to $2,000-$3,000 per month.
  • Enjoyed the teaching aspect and decided to continue growing the site.
  • By the end of 2016, revenue reached $4,000-$5,000 per month.
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Keys to Growing the Site

  • Had an advantage with an aged domain and existing authority.
  • Created a subreddit and built a community around hydroponic gardening.
  • Focused on targeting specific keywords and writing high-quality articles.
  • Identified top revenue-driving products and created more articles around them.
  • Used topical authority to rank quickly and increase income.
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Current Status of Epic Gardening

  • Epic Gardening is the largest gardening-only account on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
  • The blog receives around 10 million unique visitors per year.
  • Expected to reach 15-20 million unique visitors this year.
  • Revenue is generated mainly through product sales.
  • Continuously expanding and making interesting plays to grow further.
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Expanding Revenue Streams

  • Acquired a seed company to expand product offerings.
  • Expected to generate eight figures in revenue this year.
  • Started with a gardening niche site earning $400/month.
  • Transitioned to a brand earning eight figures per year.
  • Expanded into social media channels and developed own products.
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Growth Strategies

  • Increased content production to drive more traffic.
  • Switched from AdSense to Izoic and then to ad Thrive for higher RPM.
  • Quadrupled RPM by maximizing income from current traffic.
  • Continued to focus on increasing traffic to monetize existing channels.
  • Recognized the need to expand and solidify the business beyond rankings.
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Expansion into YouTube and Podcasting

  • Launched a podcast with almost 20 million lifetime downloads.
  • Started a YouTube channel with around 280 million views.
  • Used top-performing pages as content ideas for videos and podcast episodes.
  • Embedded videos and podcast episodes in relevant blog posts for cross-promotion.
  • Built a resilient base by leveraging existing traffic and referral sources.
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Using Niche Site as a Launchpad

  • Viewed the niche site as a way to launch other media platforms sustainably.
  • Utilized the niche site's high rankings to drive traffic to new channels.
  • Beat the algorithm by directing traffic from the niche site to new content.
  • Used the niche site as a referral source for the podcast and YouTube channel.
  • Considered the niche site as a foundation for expanding the brand's reach.
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Using YouTube as a Stable Foundation

  • Started building a base on YouTube to diversify income streams.
  • YouTube monetizes through ads and affiliates, providing multiple revenue sources.
  • YouTube views are not dependent on search engine rankings, providing stability.
  • Building a stable foundation by creating videos alongside written articles.
  • Expanding into social media channels to reach a wider audience.
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Starting a Podcast for Gardening

  • Launched a gardening podcast to offer something different in the space.
  • Most gardening podcasts were 30-60 minute interview shows.
  • Decided to create short, 5-minute episodes to be part of listeners' gardening journey.
  • Recorded episodes on various gardening topics, such as pruning tomatoes.
  • Focused on making the podcast easy to produce and consume.
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Repurposing Content Across Different Channels

  • Utilizing the same topic across multiple channels and mediums.
  • Creating blog articles, podcast episodes, and YouTube videos on the same topic.
  • Adapting content to different formats, such as quick basics or in-depth guides.
  • Using video as a versatile medium to provide detailed or condensed information.
  • Viewing each topic as having endless possibilities for coverage.
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How YouTube and Other Channels Helped Grow the Blog

  • The blog initially helped grow other channels, but the reverse wasn't as significant.
  • The blog is linked in every YouTube video, generating some traffic.
  • Using multiple channels and mediums to reach a wider audience and drive traffic to the blog.
  • Repurposing content across channels helps increase visibility and engagement.
  • Expanding into different channels allows for different formats and approaches to content.
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Scaling and Expanding

  • Transitioned from being the sole writer to focusing on promotion and link building.
  • Hired a writer to handle the blog content.
  • Expanded to YouTube and podcasting, with the writer handling the blog while Kevin focused on these platforms.
  • Emphasized the importance of leaving a person or process in place as you expand to new platforms.
  • Acquired a site in the houseplant niche to expand the brand's reach.
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Growth Moves

  • Purchased a site in the houseplant niche and migrated the best articles to his own site, resulting in a significant traffic boost.
  • Decided to leverage the passionate gardening community on Instagram and YouTube.
  • Rejected most brand partnership offers, realizing that he could serve his audience better by creating his own products.
  • Started selling raised beds from Australia in America after persistent emails to the company.
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Book Deal and Revenue

  • Secured a book deal, which increased authority but didn't significantly impact revenue.
  • Explained that book advances are not free money and need to be earned out through book sales.
  • Highlighted the revenue potential of books being lower compared to other content platforms.
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Transformation in 2019

  • Realized the potential of having a passionate gardening community as a customer base.
  • Decided to focus on serving the audience rather than promoting other brands' products.
  • Started selling raised beds from Australia to his audience.
  • Emphasized the importance of having full access to your audience and not relying on brand partnerships.
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Expanding into product sales

  • Kevin bought a shipping container full of products for $35,000.
  • He set up a simple Shopify store on a subdomain to sell the products.
  • He sold the products while they were still in transit to America.
  • He used the profits to buy another container and repeated the process.
  • In 2019, products made up half of the company's revenue.
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Learning the logistics of e-commerce

  • Kevin had no experience in business or selling products online.
  • He initially found the process of sourcing and selling products online complicated.
  • He bought a shipping container without knowing how to ship it to customers.
  • He learned about third-party logistics companies and customs brokers to handle the shipping process.
  • He realized he didn't have to handle every aspect of the process himself.
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Realizing the potential of product sales

  • Kevin initially saw the blog, affiliate marketing, and branding as supplemental to the main business.
  • However, in its first year, products made up half of the company's revenue.
  • This made Kevin realize that product sales were the actual model of the company.
  • He saw the other aspects of the business as supplementary in the garden space.
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Importance of digital PR and link building

  • The video is sponsored by Search Intelligence, a company that specializes in digital PR and link building.
  • They share a case study of a successful PR link building campaign that landed 20 links in big publications.
  • The campaign used a clever hook to attract journalists and generate interest.
  • The case study highlights the importance of a clever hook in making a campaign successful.
  • Listeners with traffic around a certain concept or product can benefit from similar link building PR campaigns.
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Starting out and taking the first step

  • Jumping in and taking action is important, even if you don't have all the knowledge or skills.
  • There is an element of luck involved in success, but being proactive increases your chances.
  • In 2020, the revenue for the gardening niche site grew from half a million to 2.8 million.
  • Product revenue became a significant portion of the overall revenue.
  • Supply chain issues affected the ability to meet demand for products.
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Scaling and owning the entire stack

  • The ideal goal for an e-commerce company is to own the entire supply chain.
  • Some companies in the gardening niche own their own foundries and make their own products.
  • For the gardening niche site, they still distribute raised beds from their main supplier.
  • They formed a partnership with a friend who invented a seedling tray and eventually bought the injection mold assets to own the product line.
  • The goal is to slowly migrate towards owning and producing more of their own products.
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Timing and luck in business success

  • There is an incredible amount of luck involved in business success.
  • The timing of launching products and services can greatly impact success.
  • The pandemic and people being locked in their homes increased demand for home-based activities.
  • Having large platforms and a core product in the market contributed to the success of the gardening niche site.
  • Even with luck, taking proactive steps and being prepared is crucial for success.
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Transitioning to owned product lines

  • The gardening niche site started by dropshipping products from a supplier.
  • As they became the majority of the revenue for a specific product line, they brought the inventor onto the team and bought the injection mold assets.
  • This allowed them to have their first owned product line called American Trade Company.
  • They are now working on getting the owned product line into wholesale.
  • The goal is to continue developing and expanding their owned product lines.
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Expanding into new products

  • Opportunity in gardening to build the next generation garden company with better products for home gardeners.
  • Many products in the nursery are of poor quality and not sustainable.
  • Plan to make new products that are specifically designed for gardeners.
  • Adapting products from the farming world to fit the needs of gardeners.
  • Goal is to build a company that offers both educational content and high-quality gardening products.
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Building the educational side of the company

  • Expanding the content creation team by bringing on new creators.
  • Acquired a seed company called Botanical Interests to engage with the audience at the point of starting seeds.
  • Focus on providing education and guidance throughout the gardening journey.
  • Goal is to shape the future of the garden market through educational content and high-quality products.
  • Believes there is a lot of potential for growth in the gardening industry.
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Transitioning from being the face of the brand

  • Recognizes the need to hire competent individuals for operational and finance roles.
  • Plans to focus on growing the next generation of creators.
  • Hired a garden assistant who became a popular creator in the gardening niche.
  • Goal is to bring on experts in specific areas of gardening to expand the content creation team.
  • Envisions building a media network with a product network powering it.
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Balancing responsibilities and enjoyment

  • Never expected to be on the current journey of raising capital and growing the business.
  • Enjoyed being the face of the brand, but recognizes the need to delegate and bring on experts.
  • Still finds enjoyment in the social aspects of the business, but acknowledges the increasing responsibilities.
  • Believes in finding a balance between personal enjoyment and the needs of the growing company.
  • Plans to continue being involved in the content creation process while empowering and supporting new creators.
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Operational Challenges and Growth

  • Had to figure out how to register and file sales tax Nexus in 33 states.
  • Scaled the team too slow to catch up with operational demands.
  • Realized the need to focus on the strategy and culture of the company.
  • Recognized the importance of running finance, cash conversion cycle, and inventory planning.
  • Delegated operational tasks to others to focus on brand development.
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Advice for Growing Income

  • Stick to basic business principles to make a more resilient business.
  • Hedge weaknesses of the company to protect against potential risks.
  • Consider diversifying revenue streams to mitigate the impact of changes in rankings or commission tiers.
  • Operate multiple sites or networks to have counter-cyclical sources of income.
  • Be prepared for potential deflation in the niche site space due to low barriers to entry and increased competition.
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The Importance of Personal Branding

  • Putting a face to the brand was uncommon in the early days of niche sites.
  • Personal branding has been important for Kevin's gardening niche site.
  • Helps to safeguard the project and differentiate from competitors.
  • Allows for a stronger connection with the audience and builds trust.
  • Enables Kevin to be the face of the brand and focus on content creation and brand development.
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Building a Personal Connection

  • Having a human person to connect with is important for niche businesses.
  • An honest signal that cannot be faked is valuable.
  • Connecting with the audience builds affinity and trust.
  • Personal branding sets a business apart from competitors.
  • Putting a face on the business adds value and resilience.
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Offering Unique and Valuable Products

  • Product offerings should be unique and cannot be easily copied.
  • Providing something that is better than existing options is important.
  • Offering a product that the audience is asking for is a good strategy.
  • Don't sell random me-too products, but offer something that stands out.
  • Consider the value and uniqueness of the product before launching.
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Physical Products vs Digital Products

  • The gardening niche has a lot of opportunities for physical product improvement.
  • Information wants to be free, so providing valuable content for free is a good strategy.
  • Creating courses or digital products can be an option, but consider the value compared to free content.
  • Physical products have a wider market and more potential for growth.
  • Digital products may have limited appeal and may not be as profitable.
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Considerations for E-commerce Play

  • Offer the best possible product that your audience is asking for.
  • Think about what makes your product unique and better than competitors.
  • Consider the logistics and challenges of selling physical products.
  • Don't overlook the importance of customs and shipping.
  • Think about whether you would personally purchase the product you are selling.
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Plans for Epic Gardening University

  • Kevin wants to create Epic Gardening University where he can teach courses and bring in experts in specific gardening topics.
  • He believes that having experts teach specialized courses would be more valuable than his own tips on gardening.
  • He sees this as a potential high-margin, 7-figure driver of business for his brand.
  • Other experts, such as the Authority Hacker guys, have encouraged him to create a course.
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Expanding into Social Media and Business Topics

  • Kevin is trying to build a non-gardening audience by discussing business topics on Twitter at Kevin's spirit2.
  • For gardening content, people can follow Epic Gardening on various platforms.
  • His seed company is called Botanical Interests.
  • He also mentions that his products can be found in nurseries.
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Thinking Beyond Niche Sites

  • Kevin advises builders to think more holistically about online business rather than being stuck in the pure SEO or builder mindset.
  • He believes that many builders have more potential than they realize and need to break out of their narrow focus.
  • He mentions Matt Giovanishi as an example of someone who has successfully expanded beyond niche sites.
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Sponsorships and Promotions

  • The episode is sponsored by NicheSites.com, a company that offers services to help scale niche site portfolios and build websites.
  • NicheSites.com is offering a special trial where customers can get 5,000 words of content for free with an order of 10,000+ traffic backlinks.
  • The episode is also sponsored by Search Intelligence, an agency that specializes in building digital PR links for clients.
  • They have successfully landed links in major publications such as The Sun, Express, Mirror, and Wales Online.
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Kevin Espiritu's Journey of Growing His Gardening Niche Site

  • Kevin Espiritu grew his gardening niche site from earning $400/month to becoming an 8-figure per year brand.
  • He expanded into social media channels to reach a wider audience and increase brand visibility.
  • Kevin developed his own products, such as gardening courses and ebooks, to monetize his niche site further.
  • He focused on creating high-quality content that provided value to his audience and established him as an authority in the gardening niche.
  • Kevin utilized SEO strategies to improve his site's visibility in search engine rankings and attract organic traffic.
  • He leveraged partnerships and collaborations with other influencers and brands in the gardening industry to expand his reach and gain credibility.

Watch the video on YouTube:
How Kevin Espiritu Grew His Gardening Niche Site from $400/Month To an 8-Figure Per Year Brand - YouTube

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