I had the opportunity to interview Matt Giovanisci, and I’m excited to share a few highlights from our interview with you. Matt started a niche website 15 years ago called Swim University, where he posts a lot of “how-to” content related to pool maintenance.
I came across the website a while back and used it in a case study for Brand Creators Academy. I also mentioned Swim University, and it’s success in a recent podcast a few weeks ago. I received an email from Matt after the podcast was published, offering to come on as a guest to tell his story and answer any questions that I have.
I’m happy that he was able to join us on the podcast and can’t wait for him to share with you all the ins and outs of his business, how he’s found success, and a few things that didn’t work out so well along the way.
Let’s dive right in and learn a few things from Matt about the process of how he got started and has since built multiple successful businesses.
Swim University has over 5 million visitors a year. As a seasonal website, we get over 1 million visitors each month between May-July and between 300,000-500,000 visitors during the other months of the year.
When I was 13, I got a job at a local pool supply store where I worked my up to become a manager before I graduated high school.
Over the next several years, I worked for a couple of other pool supply companies before pursuing a job at a web design company. I had taught myself how to code and design websites, but after a few months on the job, I realized that’s not what I wanted to do, so I went back to the largest of the three pool companies I had worked at in the past and become their marketing director.
Around this same time, I decided I wanted to build a website where I could teach people how to maintain their own pools. I knew all about affiliate marketing and AdSense, so I figured it was time to get started. I built the site for Swim University in 2006. I got a logo created to add to my site and still use the same one today.
At the time, I used an alias, Matthew Stevens, since I was writing all the articles myself and making all the video tutorials I included on my site. I had a job opportunity to work with Martha Stewert’s team on a project related to Swim University, and at that time, I decided to change my name on the site to Matt Giovanisci. My boss eventually found my site, and I was fired.
I spent two additional years at another company (non-pool related) before they had to let me go due to the condition of the company’s financial situation. I knew it was coming a couple of months in advance and decided at that moment that I would make Swim University my full-time job if I did get laid off. It had been a side hustle for over seven years up until this point.
How Swim University Become Matt’s Full-Time Focus
At the time, I was making around $10,000 or so a year from affiliate links and ads that I had on my site. Most of them were from pool companies and other related products that I had sold directly because I wanted to make sure all the content on my site was relevant to pool maintenance.
I was getting somewhere around 25,000 visitors a month, and my goal was to make $40,000 a year from Swim University.