[#4] More twists
This is the latest update to building a $1M newsletter in public.
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Hello. Here’s what I’ve got for you in today’s update:
- Why I’m an idiot
- Lessons learned
- What I’m doing
- Small decisions
- Game plan
Why I’m an idiot
Might be a little harsh but I’m kicking myself… I’m ditching Morning Motivation as the newsletter for this challenge.
I was all excited about working on it but maybe too quick to put it out there in public view.
Because I didn’t spend enough time thinking about how I was going to get subscribers.
I highlighted a negative that it’s too broad. Especially with no current audience anywhere.
So when it came to rolling up my sleeves and getting the newsletter in front of people, I froze. The uncomfortable realization that it’d be a huge effort to start social accounts from scratch and/or spending a lot of money on ads.
Yes, doable. But not for this challenge.
Maybe… I start trying to build an audience on social or a website to turn into a newsletter another time.
But for now, erase Morning Motivation from your memory.
Go deep on how you’re going to do distribution. Especially if you’re sharing the steps in public 🤦♂️
Seriously though, I sometimes say “leverage assets you already have”.
I should take my own advice.
What I’m doing
I’m going back to my original idea before the shiny object got me.
Here’s the details and then I’ll walk through it…
- Name: Founder
- Topic: online business ideas, how to’s and inspiration via stories of people doing it
- Audience: 9 to 5ers looking to escape, entrepreneurs looking for new ideas
- Monetize: sponsors / affiliate (tools, courses), own products
- Type of Newsletter: curated mixed with original content later
- Frequency: daily (short)
The market for business stories and ideas seems to be insatiable. Newsletters attract 1000s through to 1M+ subscribers. And there’s plenty of existing original content on blogs, social, YouTube. And new content added frequently. Perfect for curation.
The potential audience is huge but, unlike my previous idea, people tend to be in communities or gathered around influencers. They can be found.
The plan is to curate a short daily newsletter that brings a single story or idea, adds context and some thoughts on how it could be applied to other markets.
The reader can then dive deeper if it’s interesting to them.
If it’s not interesting, they wasted less than a minute and can get on with their day.
I’m taking inspiration from the simple, short, but very effective newsletter Josh Spector writes. I doubt it will be as short as his but the goal is to keep to a few paragraphs and/or bullets.
There are lots of opportunities for sponsors and other ways to monetize.
I’ve gone for a one word name. Is it good? I don’t know. I had to stop brainstorming and https://getfounder.com was available (for a slight premium) so I went ahead.
There you go. In a few short sentences that’s what I’m doing.
There’s a bunch of things to think about when starting a newsletter. Some matter, some don’t so much. But they might later.
Here’s a few of the things that I did / am doing:
From name: Who’s sending the email? Is it me or the brand or somewhere in the middle? I’m seeing this as a brand longer term. But starting out it’s just me and should have a personable side to it. I’ve gone with “Paul from Founder” for now.
Welcome email: This is a must do and I’ve done it. Probably the most opened email you’ll ever send. I’ve also asked for a reply - I want to engage with new subscribers. Get a feel for who they are and what they’re doing. I’ve connected with some cool people off the back of welcome emails.
Social accounts: If I see this as a brand (especially if I plan to sell at some point in the future) it needs it’s own social accounts. But at this point, I’ll focus on my personal accounts and not get distracted (or disappointed) with growing new socials.
Logos & social preview images: More distractions 😀 I have limited (close to zero) graphical talent so made a font only logo. The social preview images aren’t necessary but does look a lot better when you share the link. I took an image I’d “created” playing with an AI image generator, blurred it and slapped the logo on top. It’ll do for now.
By the time I update you next week, I want to show some progress.
(And progress isn’t switching to another idea 🤦♂️)
Only two things for me to focus on:
- Grow subscribers
- Start sending the newsletter
Growing subscribers will come from outreach to anyone I know who might be interested in this.
And focusing on twitter posts and replies. I’ll fix up my bio so it points to Founder.
I might start fixing my LinkedIn profile and cross post there too.
That’s my low hanging fruit.
I also want to keep focused. There’s no point trying to post everywhere and half assing it.
For sending the newsletter, the sooner I get some issues out, the better. It’ll help to have something for potential subscribers to look at. So… I’m planning to get started no later than next Monday.
I’ve been collecting content so have a pool to pull from.
By the way, this was a good twitter thread on curating content. Worth a read.
That’s all I’ve got for you today.
Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome.
P.S. I can highly recommend subscribing to the Who Sponsors Stuff newsletter. Apart from a useful rundown of who’s sponsoring newsletters every week, they pull together a bunch of very helpful articles, podcasts and videos for anyone building a newsletter.
I’ve been a subscriber since they first launched and always read. They even mentioned me last week 🙌
Here’s the crazy thing - if you subscribe, they’ll pay me a few $. Seriously.
If you run a newsletter, chances are you already get it each week. On the slight chance you don’t… here’s where you can get it