How Peter Thuborg Turned His Hobby Into a Thriving Business

How Peter Turned His Hobby Into a Thriving Business

Earning a full-time income from a hobby is a dream for many people. Peter Thuborg, somewhat accidentally, achieved this dream with Age of Miniatures. Peter started the site about five years ago to share information with a few people, and he was surprised to see how many people were finding and using the site.

Early on, Peter recognized the site’s potential and decided to pursue it as a business. Within a few short years, he was able to leave his full-time job. Today, Age of Miniatures attracts more than 200,00 page views each month. Peter shares all the details in this behind-the-scenes interview.

Overview

Business Name: Age of Miniatures
Website URL: https://ageofminiatures.com
Founder: Peter Thuborg
Business Location: Online (Denmark)
Year Started: 2018
Number of Employees/Contractors/Freelancers: 5

Tell us about yourself and your business.

I am 37 years old and run a website about miniature gaming. I originally majored in Philosophy and worked at a university until I lucked onto a path of making my hobby my primary job.

So, after some hard years working on making Age of Miniatures profitable, while having a job, it now earns enough that I can work on it full time.

How does your business make money?

It is quite simple really, but a lot of people not in the space think it is some kind of black magic. We make content about miniature gaming that people find via Google search. In most cases, people are looking for information about a game system or a hobby aspect, and we try to answer that in the most helpful way possible.

While people are on the site, they get served ads we make money from. If the person is researching something they want to buy, there are also affiliate links on the site to products we recommend. So we also make money that way.

What was your inspiration for starting the business?

It was very much an accident really. A new version of a game system had come out and there was very little coverage of it on the web. So little in fact, that it was kinda hard to get people into the game. So after explaining things over and over again doing demo games, I decided to write everything down. Instead of doing a shared Google Doc, I decided to put it on a website. I like tech, but had never done a website, so I thought it would be neat.

That beginner’s guide to the game started it all. I was fascinated to find out that 1,000 people read it each month, without me having to do a bunch of things to make people notice it. They just found it via Google.

How and when did you launch the business?

So, all of that started in late 2018. In 2019 I decided to try and make it a real business, so slowly I wrote more articles and became more serious about it. By 2021 it had become a pretty big site that earned a healthy sum of money.

Painting Miniatures
Painting Miniatures

How much money did you invest to start the business?

This was one of the things that attracted me a lot to this space: I invested 10 dollars in hosting and a bunch of time. And that was it really. At some point I bought an online course to learn SEO, but it was like $200. So, quite quickly, I earned a lot more money than I put in.

When it really started bringing in money, everything was reinvested into more content.

What was your first year in business like?

My first real year I went part-time on my day job and worked about 10-15 hours a week on the project. It took about 2 years before the site started to earn real money.

What strategies did you use to grow the business?

I focused on one thing: make more content. No wasting time doing social media stunts, trying to grow a following, researching what articles performed best or anything. Just go make more content. All the time.

Tell us about your team.

So right now, we have five great freelancers working on the site. They each have their own little space or niche that they cover. It is amazing because they bring so much expert knowledge about games and the hobby.

Playing a Miniature Game

What are your future plans for the business?

So right now, the business is very much structured on organic traffic and monetizing that with ads and affiliates. That method works, but it can also be very volatile. At some point, I would like the business to be more resilient. So, making our own (digital) product, having different streams of viewers come in, and so on.

How do you market your business? 

We do not do marketing. Organic traffic is the only thing we want, so SEO and making sure the website is great.

Do you use email marketing? 

We try. And we should try more. I kinda hate getting emails, so producing more for the world is not really my thing.

But lately, I have started to think differently about it. We are a business that makes great content, so I also just need to make sure that our emails are great content. So they need to be little pieces of great content that you cannot get anywhere else.

What is your SEO strategy? 

So this is our whole business really. We follow standard procedures for on-site SEO, both in terms of content and the technical stuff. I do not use any SEO tools or keyword tools, as for our space they are not accurate and a waste of time. We try to just make great, useful content and that has (mostly) kept us without any algorithm incidents.

How did you make the transition from side hustle to full-time?

Slowly. I went part-time on my job and was quickly very open about what I was doing. I was able to be open about it because I had a great job with wonderful people. I slowly made people aware that it would be a matter of time before I moved on. I think I announced my departure date at least half a year out and that made it possible to have a very smooth transition. It was great, really. But it can also be taxing working a job that you know you are leaving.

Peter Thuborg

What was the turning point when you knew your business was successful?

Hmmm.. We had a month at the end of one of the early years where the site suddenly jumped 50% in revenue from one month to another. I think at that point I knew how scalable this thing was.

How much traffic does your website receive?

We get about 225.000 pageviews a month. The vast majority of traffic is organic, a good chunk is direct (think bookmarked), and a tiny amount is referral and social.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned growing the business?

Good question. Since this was very much a passion project, there has been some issues when that passion has been lacking. In most jobs, you work because you have to. I worked because I wanted to. But then what happens when I suddenly do not want work? I had to find discipline again. Working on the site because that is just what I do.

Another lesson has been not trying to worry about changes. Google search changes all the time. The space I am in changes all the time. I need to embrace change and love it, otherwise I would likely not survive.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

When you start a site like this there is a long drought of just writing content, without that content really performing (getting views or generating revenue). It was hard to consistently put in 10-15 hours a week for a year without seeing the fruits of the labor before the very end. 

What are some of your favorite books, blogs, podcasts, or YouTube channels?

I would say read anything or hear anything Simon Sinek produces. It is that inspiring. The LTT youtube channel is likely what I watch the most on YouTube. While their tech content is great, I just find it amazing what they have done in the YouTube space for the last 10 years.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Other people might not get why you do it. Or believe in it. That is okay. But it is important that you believe in it.

What are the best and worst parts of being an entrepreneur/founder?

The best thing is that I can be completely myself while I work. A lot of people find that extremely weird or scary, but I just like my own company and doing my thing.

If you had to start from scratch, where would you begin?

I would likely lean more toward video instead of written content. Oh, and I would have started earlier in my life than I did 🙂

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