Golden Advice from 33 Newsletter Creators

33 successful newsletter creators shared single piece of advice they would give to aspiring creators

Newsletter Circle is the newsletter all about newsletters for indie creators.

👉 Every Sunday, you will read the unique journey of a different newsletter creator and learn more about how to start, grow and monetize your own newsletter.

👉 Every Wednesday, you will read articles and the list of curated resources to level up your newsletter business.

🌟 GOLDEN ADVICE FROM CREATORS TO CREATORS

Since Spotify shared “Wrapped”, the time has come to make reflections and compilations from 2023.

I’ve started Newsletter Circle in Jan’23.

Since then, I've interviewed 36 successful newsletter creators, collectively reaching over 2.2 million subscribers.

33 of them answered this important question:

If you had the right to give single piece of advice to aspiring newsletter creators, what would it be?

When you read the golden pieces of advice they give, you’ll notice some common themes emerging, such as;

  • Not postponing to start

  • Consistency

  • Having a purpose

  • Patience

  • The importance of knowing your audience

Let’s zoom into what they recommend to aspiring creators and unlock the wisdom of successful creators!

P.S. The order is based on the interview date. The number of subscribers reflects the time the interview takes place.

Interview Date: January 8, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 14,000

“If you haven’t started writing because you are afraid of what people might think - remember that they don’t care. They only care about themselves.If anything, people won’t listen to you. Like, at all.

No one cared about me writing for over a year and a half. I’m talking about single-digit views on some pieces.

So don’t pay others any mind, because they aren’t sitting at home waiting to see if you’ll write anything. You’ll probably have to jump up and down to get their attention anyways.

Just go for it.”

Interview Date: January 15, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 3,100

“Pick a tiny niche and think outside the box for your ads.” 

Interview Date: January 22, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 1,300

“Start right now today.

It doesn’t matter which platform you use, you don’t need to spend anything, just start a newsletter today.

Even if you don’t have subscribers at first, you’ll find value for yourself in it.”

Interview Date: January 29, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 7,600

“Consistency is what keeps attracting people.

I am at issue #183 of my newsletter/podcast/video content. It’s a lot of work, and people understand that someone who does things for 200 weeks in a row is serious about stuff.

Start and keep going.

The number will tick up, and you will leave unmistakable traces of your ambition. People will notice eventually.”

Interview Date: February 5, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 28,000

“Grow your social media channels first and then start thinking about a newsletter.

Don’t try to do too much at one time. Build your content base first.”

Interview Date: February 19, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 450

“Be true to yourself and your writing voice. Even if you get inspired by someone else’s work, you be you, as simple and complex as it sounds. For your first draft, don’t filter your thoughts as they come on paper. That you can do later in editing.

And writing when you feel intense emotions always produces the best result. So tap into it.”

Interview Date: February 26, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 60,000

Interview Date: March 5, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 1.2 million

“If you don’t have an operational business background, seek a cofounder that can help you figure out how to monetize your brand and create a scalable and sustainable business model with proven unit economics.”

(Question: What do you advise newsletter creators who want to turn their solo business into a newsletter-first media company?)

Interview Date: March 12, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 1,750

“Be consistent and be patient. I have tried other newsletters and given up after a few issues.

Here, I was patient and consistent and good things started to happen.”

Interview Date: March 19, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 3,000

“Don’t worry about the email platform you start with—you can change it later.

Don’t worry if the topic you want to write about it is the “right” topic—you can change (or narrow) your focus later.

Just make sure you write about something that interests you. Unless you’re trying to build the next Morning Brew, you’ll need the interest (dare I say “passion”?) to keep you engaged, writing, and publishing regularly.

If you are trying to build the next Morning Brew, you’ll need a whole lot more than passion ;)”

Interview Date: March 26, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 2,200

“Great original content always wins. Write better content than everyone else and promote it well. Curation is difficult because it is not unique.

Focus on unique content or guides.”

Interview Date: April 2, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 800

“Do something you enjoy and lifts you up.”

Interview Date: April 9, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 22,500

“Write less. Use the Smart Brevity approach to focus on the core thing you have to say. Cut out at least 10% of every post before you send it. Cutting 20% is better.

Narrow your subject. Focus on a distinct subset of things that you care about so you can delve deep in a distinct way.”

Interview Date: April 16, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 6,000

“Write. Write every day for 15 minutes. Even on those days, you don’t want to write, still write. It is completely like a muscle; the more you use it, the better it becomes. And if you take time off, it atrophies.

AI systems like Type.AI can definitely help get you going.

So write and then when you start coming up with ideas you like and think you can continually write about, start posting. Substack makes it super simple for new newsletter creators to get going.

Once you have 2 articles, tell all your friends and family to subscribe. Once you have 5 articles, tell your social media following to subscribe. Once you have 10 articles, reach out to other newsletters on Substack and see if they’ll put you as one of their recommended (you put them as your recommended as well).

You will grow followers from that Substack recommendations channel.”

Interview Date: April 23, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 12,200

“Write for yourself.

Write the newsletter that you want to read.

Create the offering that you’ve been looking for. I guarantee there are other people who are looking for that very same thing.”

Interview Date: April 30, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 50,000+

“It’s already been said: the consistency, the quality, the niche. Even I had to work my day job in parallel for two years while I figured out how to make a living from it — and even that changed, so nimble flexibility is key too. And absolutely, an awful lot of luck. (The key for that is to work hard to have more good luck than bad, and use either for all its worth… which is more work. Good luck is more fun!)

Did I say work? Because it is: this is not a part-time job if you want it to be your living. Frankly, it’s probably not 40 hours/week either, so be sure you create something that you love, and will continue to be interested in doing for a long time.”

Interview Date: May 7, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 7,800

“Just get started.

The number of years (yes, years) I wasted sitting around wishing I had this or that person’s business is ridiculous.

If you’re interested in something, just start writing or creating that thing.

You’ll make laughable mistakes in the beginning, but the best part is those make for really great tweets and stories down the line.”

Interview Date: May 14, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 59,000

“It’s cliche, but just start writing!

Make a schedule and stick to it.

Find a community and subscribe to each other’s newsletters to encourage that early growth and learn from each other.”

Interview Date: May 21, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 11,000

“Find who cares about your content the most. Who is willing to even pay for it? And what is “the job” they are trying to get done? Find the answers and position your newsletter accordingly.

In my case, it was the founders who wanted to get ahead.

After I got this insight, I changed everything. The messaging, website copy, landing pages, etc.

It gave a clear purpose to Life-Changing Concepts. Conversion (both for the newsletter and Premium subscription) increased.

Long story short: find the purpose of your newsletter.

Everything becomes easier when you know why people read your content.”

Interview Date: June 4, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 2,620

“Write something authentic to your interests.

It sounds hokey, but writing about topics you enjoy fosters a more satisfying development process and allows you to craft a clear and engaging voice.

A few times, I've chased clicks by picking subject matter I'm not passionate about, and those pieces were painful to produce and performed poorly.”

Interview Date: June 11, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 12,000

“Stop overthinking and just start - you will figure it out along the way.”

Interview Date: Jun 18, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 92,000

“Gotta trust the process. The secret sauce is in the process.”

Interview Date: June 25, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 14,000

“Pick a cadence you can stick to and find a way to hold yourself accountable to that pace.

Understand why you’re writing this newsletter because that will vastly change your approach.

A daily newsletter business is very very different from an occasional personal newsletter or a weekly community update.”

Interview Date: July 2, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 6,280

“Find product market fit before you start your newsletter, that’s the most important step.

If you nail this and have success metrics for tracking what constitutes product market fit, you’ll be golden and everything will fall into place from there.”

Interview Date: August 13, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 7,000

“Know your newsletter’s purpose and stay true to it.”

Interview Date: August 20, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 5,000

“There’s no need to aspire, Beehiiv has a free plan, just pick a niche that you know most about, or want to learn about, and get writing. You can always pivot. And you can make money from month one by applying to boost other people’s newsletters.”

Interview Date: August 27, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 50,000

“Stay consistent with whatever you do. Consistency, no matter the platform, will get you the proper credibility and attention you deserve.

It's so cliche, but do not give up and just keep chugging.

Finding something you truly love and are passionate about will only drive that consistency.”

Interview Date: September 3, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 12,000

“Start stupidly simple and find a repeatable way to get others to share your content for you.“

For me, this was getting my featured guests to share their own workspace with their audience.

I think every newsletter has a lever like this. You just need to find it.”

Interview Date: September 17, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 9,000

“Focus! Have a clear answer to “Who is this for?”

Don’t be afraid to offend people or alienate those who aren’t your ideal readers. Better to be prickly and interesting than to try to be inoffensive and please everyone.

I believe creators (and too many advertisers) focus on vanity stats and overall numbers instead of looking at actual engagement and influence. If there’s a high click-through rate and people are buying what you recommend, that means a lot more than how many inboxes you landed in.

About two-thirds of our Nomadico readers open what we send out and about a third click on something, which is a dream level for almost any e-mail marketer–and it’s what advertisers should really care about.”

Interview Date: October 1, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 9,600

“Your content is important, but distribution is more important.

You can win with decent content if you have a robust distribution strategy. But you can’t win even if you have amazing content if you have a poor distribution strategy.

Figure out how you’ll be getting subscribers, then execute.”

Interview Date: October 15, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 80,000

“Run your newsletter like a startup. Reinvest your profits to grow faster.”

Interview Date: November 12, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 60,000

“If I told you that before committing to a newsletter, this is the price you must pay: At a minimum, a 6-month commitment of ~10-15 hours/week. 

Would you still do it? 

If not, don’t do it.

It’s critical to set the expectations of what this actually takes.

Doing so will give you the freedom to detach from the outcomes in the beginning.

The number #1 reason why beginner newsletters fail is because they don’t fully understand the price they have to pay and commit to it.”

Interview Date: November 19, 2023

# of Subscribers At the Time of Interview: 100,000

“Starting is the most important step. Staying consistent is even more critical.

Work on your newsletter, like it’s a startup. People tend to view newsletters as a hobby, not a business.”

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That’s all for today. Thanks for reading, and hit reply if you have any comments.

See you on Wednesday.

Ciler

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