Jamie I.F.

Founder of Increasing.com

Jamie I.F. is a 26-year-old London-based entrepreneur. He runs a portfolio of online niche sites earning over $40,000 per month that use SEO and other strategies to rank content and grow traffic online, and focuses on affiliate marketing to monetize them. 

He also publishes his findings and learnings on increasing.com and his affiliate marketing newsletter including income reports that break down revenue streams, as well as the latest frameworks and strategies affiliate marketers and online entrepreneurs can use to improve their sites.

He has pioneered frameworks and strategies that have been widely adopted among niche site owners and affiliate marketers, including the SPEAR framework, Dynamic Spec Relativity, the Movie Casting approach to picking affiliate products, and more.

He started online entrepreneurship after graduating from university in 2019, having learned what SEO was while studying on an internship in Paris. The I.F. comes from a social enterprise he attempted to start at the same time, to try to help feed the homeless in London. Since then, the company has grown to employ several people and a dozen other freelance writers.

He also heads up marketing at Lasso, an affiliate marketing SaaS powering over 8000 sites with conversion-optimized affiliate displays, as well as offering an affiliate marketing analytics platform called Performance that tracks all your affiliate revenue in one central dashboard, and gives publishers page-level and link-level data to optimize their pages and make more money.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

While I used to work day-to-day on my sites, I now take a backseat and manage. This mostly involves checking the work people have done, giving them feedback, and if need be, tweaking our SOPs to better communicate how best to do certain things.

I try to be productive by prioritizing the key things to do each day – it can be tempting to do the unimportant things that feel good to complete, but it often means the actual important things that are stressful to face, don’t get done.

We try to be productive as a business by keeping everything carefully tracked. We use G Sheets for content improvements, broken down by each section of each article (for example, intro, FAQs, featured snippets), Airtable to break down the site into clusters for internal linking, and we use Trello as our content management to assign articles to writers.

How do you bring ideas to life?

The main things we have to bring into life on our sites is either new articles, or a new site design to present those articles.

For articles, this requires planning, researching, and creating a brief that makes it easier for the writer to create amazing content from.

For site design, we have to think about new ways to delight the reader, and make it as easy as possible to display the information they need.

With Lasso, a lot of our ideas are around improving features for our customers. We prioritize these based on what we can realistically deliver, and deliver in a fantastic way, and usually our customers tell us exactly what they need, so we can build it.

For example, for a long time, Lasso had beautiful single product affiliate displays, but didn’t have the Wirecutter-style tables that compare 3 products in one row. Customers were asking for them, and after learning exactly what they wanted (pros and cons, pricing, star ratings), we built it from there.

What’s one trend that excites you?

It both excites and terrifies me – but AI.

It’s all anyone talks about, and with good reason.

It augments everybody’s ability to create. You can create videos, images, text, tables, and soon, 3D models, with just a prompt. The learning curves for some of these creation tools like image and video editing, and 2D and 3D CAD modeling, are going to disintegrate.

Which is amazing in that it democratizes so much – you can do the role of 10 people from your bedroom.

But it’s also terrifying for the same reason. The barriers to entry are falling for incumbents, and people are realizing that things like content are no longer difficult to replicate – so what is their unique advantage?

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

I have a timer which I set for an hour, and then focus solely on that task for the hour. This is my deep work.

Some do 25 minute Pomodoros, but I want to build up the longest focus and attention span, so I try to do four 60-minute sprints per day. Then outside of those four hours of deep work, the rest of my work time is just general things like emails that don’t fall into the sprints.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Experiment more in your work to learn quicker. For a long time I was learning and improving at content, writing, CRO, and editing, but I was still just remaining comfortable.

I was good at those things, and it meant I got up every day and got to type at my laptop and be in control of the results; the words on the page.

I didn’t get out of my comfort zone enough and run experiments, or do enough outreach to build brands – so we’re strong on content now, but weaker in other areas. If I’d experimented more with link-building, and other things, perhaps we’d be stronger there.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.

That these really could be the last few years for any kind of entrepreneurship or social mobility – or even innovation.

When an AI can do what a person does; how can you, if you grow up on the bottom rung of wealth in society, pull yourself up?

I worry that AI will reinforce inequality, and make it extremely difficult for people to improve their position in society, because innovation will solely come from the creators of the next AI models.

We’re even seeing it in an embryonic way now: so many of the fast-growing, VC-funded startups are just APIs, built off OpenAI’s actual real innovation. Realistically, what new innovation did Jasper ever bring to the table, except good UI design?

If this is the way things are going to go, real innovation will become so expensive to produce that it’ll only be possible if you’re a multinational company, and be completely out of reach by the everyman. There will be no more plucky James Dyson’s tinkering and innovating on products in their shed – as soon as AI hits creativity levels beyond us, I worry there won’t be much opportunity for individuals or small teams to contribute and outcompete.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Avoid social media. I used to be addicted to scrolling Reddit, but I’ve deleted the app. You become like the people you spend the most time with, and I was taking on Reddit-like characteristics that I didn’t want.

I now have the Twitter app on my phone, because I use it for my personal brand, but I want to delete this also.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

Get on with the thing that’s overwhelming me. There’s no time in the day to not just go after it – procrastination, and the ability to procrastinate, is a privilege, and recognizing that means you can avoid it. This realization is actually comforting though – it empowers you to continue the mission.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

Chipping away at your goals every day. Once you have a large goal, for the year or however long, if you can break that down into what you can do each day, week, month, to get there, and then make progress each day, you’ll be surprised how much you can do.

I’m not talented or clever or anything spectacular, but I’ve been good at just making progress every day.

What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

When I was 17 I launched my first business, a streetwear line, back in 2014. It looked from the outside looking in, to be a great success: we hit 16,000 followers on Instagram within a few weeks. We took good shots with models for the pieces, and I honestly thought it was going to blow up and be huge.

But despite the big following, we just didn’t make any sales. I was naive and ordered loads of stock, and loads of different product types, sizes, colors, etc, because it made me feel like a “real” entrepreneur. If I was smart I’d just have created a pre-order, printed them on demand, and shipped them then.

In the end I lost money and invested like half the money I had into the project, and had to move on.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Basically any design software you use is ripe for disruption using AI and LLMs. Canva might be doing a lot of the image editing stuff, but think of the opportunities for more niche design: types of 2D modeling or 3D CAD, different specialized software for niche areas of manufacturing, or different file types like SVGs, or emojis, etc. There’s so much there.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Slack is underrated. Not only is it messaging with your team, but we’ve added things like GeekBot for standardizing the daily reports each member of the team does, which helps people stay accountable, and helps everyone else understand what they’re working on, and how they can help if they get stuck.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

Slightly more than $100, but I just got a new pair of AirPods to replace the ones that broke months ago. Now I can listen to podcasts when I’m on the train or traveling – and the value you can get from a good podcast can pay that back in just an hour! I don’t know why I waited so long to replace them.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?

I get a lot of value from the Niche Pursuits podcast, and a few others. My favorite book of all time is Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations – it holds up perfectly thousands of years later and it’s just such an important read for being a well-adjusted person in the modern day.

I also think everyone should read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi when they’re young.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

I watched Everything, Everywhere, All at Once last week and it was really good! It was so creative and managed to communicate all the deep, emotional stuff in a way that everyone could still find it an enjoyable movie.

I also enjoyed the Netflix golf documentary Full Swing – I’ve never really played golf and it looks pretty boring, but the series actually made it dramatic and fast-paced.

Key learnings:

  • Keep experimenting and be curious as you do your work – you’ll learn faster
  • Chip away at your goals every day, even if it’s just small amounts
  • Procrastination is a privilege – and recognizing this can be key to retaining focus