From Selling Fish and Chips to a $50K/Mo Online Business

Side Hustle Nation is dedicated to improving your personal profitability. To do this, we often partner with companies that share that mission. If you sign up or make a purchase through one of our partners’ links, we may receive compensation—at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

chris panteli

In his book Start From Zero, Dane Maxwell shares a simple framework to use as an engine for coming up with both business ideas and your first sales: CPSO.

  • Customer →
  • Pain →
  • Solution →
  • Offer

For longtime Side Hustle Show listener Chris Panteli, it broke down like this:

  • Customer → Bloggers and Website Owners
  • Pain → Building High Authority Backlinks is Necessary, but Tedious
  • Solution → Relevant Press Mentions
  • Offer → Linkifi, a Done-For-You PR Link-Building Service with Guaranteed Results

And in just a couple years, Linkifi has grown to $50k a month in revenue.

Tune in to the Side Hustle Show interview to hear:

  • How Linkifi found their first customers
  • how they price their work
  • Chris’ tips on using HARO (Help A Reporter Out) for backlinks

Download Your Free Bonus: 101 Service Business Ideas

101 Service Business Ideas

Guaranteed inspiration for your next income stream!

Enter your email to download the full list now:

You'll also receive my best side hustle tips and weekly-ish newsletter. Opt-out anytime.


  • Notion – Eligible startups get up to 6 months free of Notion Plus, PLUS unlimited AI for 6 months!


  • Ladder – Get instantly approved for term life insurance—no doctors, no needles, no paperwork!

Ladder life

elo health

The Idea to Start a Link Building Service

Chris took over his family’s fish and chips business after finishing his degree in economics.

He’d been running the shop for 13 years when he started a personal finance site to dabble in SEO. That’s when he came across HARO.

help a reporter out

HARO is a platform where journalists post queries for a topic they’re writing about. You can pitch answers, and if a journalist uses your answer, they’ll link to your site in their post. Through this tactic, Chris has received backlinks from sites like Forbes and Money.

He eventually met fellow entrepreneur Nick Biggs, who asked if he’d be interested in pitching answers on HARO on behalf of Nick’s clients.

Chris was initially skeptical about the idea but quickly realized it was a hit.

Validating the Idea and Getting Started

The pandemic slowed down Chris’ fish and chips business, so he decided to focus on his personal finance site instead. At one point, he was working 15-17 hours a day just pitching answers on HARO.

Eventually, he and Nick reached out to Jon Dykstra from and offered to build backlinks for him for free. “We said, ‘Look. Let us show you what we can do.’”

Luckily, Jon came back and asked them to build backlinks for his other sites.

They also reached out to full-time blogger Carly Campbell from and offered the same service.

Carly asked Chris to do a webinar for her audience, and that stint easily landed them a bunch of paying customers.

“I thought a combination of getting my face out there, talking to people about it, and then aligning myself with other people that knew what they were talking about that had used our services — I thought that could all be a marriage made in heaven for growth,” Chris said.

Chris and Nick took on more writers as the agency has grown — something they had to do to meet demand.

These days, they serve an average of 25 clients at any given moment, but they may have as many as 30 after a big sale or promotion.


Chris and Nick looked at what similar agencies were charging to figure out how to price their PR link-building service.

They initially offered a monthly package, which promised two links per month. Clients had to sign on for a minimum of four months. The problem with this was HARO is unpredictable. For example, building backlinks for a gardening site would be easy in the summer, less so in the winter.

So Chris and Nick switched to offering pricing plans based on the number of links they’ll deliver. Their plans currently look like this:

  • 5 links for $3,750 ($750 each)
  • 10 links for $6,500 ($650 each)
  • 20 links for $12,500 ($625 each)

(Use promo code SIDEHUSTLE20 for 20% off any package.) pricing

While the sticker prices are definitely not cheap, Chris says they underscore the importance of building backlinks for SEO.

“It’s like one of the few ways to differentiate your sites from other sites,” Chris told me. “So you sort of need to get [links] if you want to stay at a level playing field with your competition.” Links are also a great press badge for the home page and a great way to build authority in the eyes of Google.

Chris and Nick also give themselves enough margin to offer year-round discounts and seasonal sales and have as many as seven team members.

How It Works

Here’s how Chris and Nick’s productized service works:

  1. Once a client chooses a package, they will receive a brief survey so Linkifi can get background information on their niche and expertise.
  2. A team member scours HARO for queries that match the client’s niche.
  3. A team member matches the client with a writer.
  4. When a good opportunity comes up, the writer will vet the site and craft a pitch that highlights the client’s expertise.
  5. As the links come in, Linkifi will add them to the client’s report.

Chris says they’ve built a database of domains on HARO so they can almost instantly determine which domains are good and not good.

The database helps them serve multiple clients in the same niche without using the same pitches or pitching to the same journalists and domains.

Best Practices for Pitching on HARO

Chris shared his best practices for pitching reporters on HARO.

If You’re Not an Expert, Don’t Pitch

HARO is still very much a platform where journalists are looking to leverage the credibility and authority of subject-matter experts.

In other words, they’re not just asking for an answer to their query.

They’re looking for an expert they can actually quote. So if you have little to no expertise on a topic, don’t pitch.

Don’t Ask for a Backlink Upfront

HARO can be a great resource for link building, but that’s not what it was made for.

“If you go in clearly asking for a backlink, then it’s going to annoy [journalists],” Chris said.

Instead of explicitly asking for a backlink, include your company name and site URL at the bottom of your pitch.

Chris says they still guarantee at least 50% dofollow links as part of their service. “If half your order is nofollow, we’ll make sure the other half is dofollow.”

This tactic ensures that the client has a natural-looking backlink profile.

Look up the Journalist

If a domain is anonymous, which is sometimes the case on HARO, Chris advises looking up the name of the journalist who submitted the query.

Check which publications they’ve written for. If you see five publications that you’ve heard of, that’s a sign they’re worth pitching to.

Turn Unlinked Mentions into Backlinks

Another way Linkifi offers value to clients is by combing the web for sites with unlinked mentions of their clients and then reaching out to those to ask if they could link back to clients’ sites.

Chris says some websites turn nofollow links into dofollow if you email them.

What’s Driving Traffic/Sales Today?

Here are some of the strategies Chris and Nick use to drive traffic to their site and increase sales.

Reach Out to Influencers

Influencer marketing has been really fruitful for Chris and Nick, as evidenced by their experience with Jon Dykstra and Carly Campbell.

If you can do something similar, i.e., get your service in front of someone else’s audience, go for it.

Offer a Free Opt-in

Chris and Nick offer their database of HARO websites as a free download.

The database shows domains’ ratings, whether they typically tag links as nofollow or dofollow, and whether they’re receptive to a follow-up.

Another opt-in they offer is a discount on the HARO MasterClass course for entrepreneurs who want to try pitching on HARO for links, whether for themselves or for their own agencies.

Do LinkedIn Outreach

Chris has a team doing LinkedIn outreach, but he says they’re still trying to learn who their target customers are on that platform.

Are There Diminishing Returns?

Even if your site gets tons of organic traffic, Chris says there’s still value in link building.

“If you’re on the cusp of entering into the next level of Google organic traffic … [link building] could just be the one small extra thing you need.”

Plus, if you’re in a competitive niche, then your competitors likely have a link budget.

So if you’re going to build backlinks, you might as well set aside a portion of your budget to getting good homepage links.

“It’s never gonna hurt — that’s the thing.”

Tools and Tech

The tools Chris uses to run his business are:

  • Airtable – This is the platform Chris and his team uses to share to collect and manage HARO queries.
  • Google Workspace – Chris says they rely heavily on Google Workspace for day-to-day client tasks.
  • Notion – This is the productivity application Chris and his team uses.
  • ThriveCart – This is the shopping cart service Chris uses for their affiliate program and sales.
  • MailerLite – This is the email software provider Chris uses to mail their list.

What’s Next?

Chris wants to eventually offer PR packages, which will be a combination of links and mentions in big publications, mainly to protect their business from the changing SEO landscape.

“With the advent of AI, I think PR is definitely something which will have longevity for years and years to come,” he said.

Chris’ #1 Tip for Side Hustle Nation

Offer your service for free first.”

Download Your Free Bonus: 101 Service Business Ideas

101 Service Business Ideas

Guaranteed inspiration for your next income stream!

Enter your email to download the full list now:

You'll also receive my best side hustle tips and weekly-ish newsletter. Opt-out anytime.

Links and Resources

Looking for More Side Hustle Help?

side hustle show cover art

The award-winning Side Hustle Show is a
Top 10 Entrepreneurship podcast
with over 1,200 5-star ratings!

5-star rating

Listen in your favorite podcast app or directly in your browser.

listen on spotify
listen on overcast listen on podbean

Like That? There's More!

Join the 100,000 Who Get My Best Stuff via Email

I'll also send you my free guide: The 5 Fastest Ways to Make More Money.

Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

Leave a Comment

Usually Hustling, Occasionally Social

plutus winner

The Company

4580 Klahanie Dr SE #155
Sammamish, WA 98029

The Fine Print
Terms of Use
How We Make Money
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.