5 Life Lessons Newsletter Creators Teach You

What I learned from the interviews

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.

Hey, all newsletter enthusiasts! Greetings from Bangkok!

A picture I took in China Market - Bangkok

This is the last issue of Newsletter Circle in 2023.

I'm taking a break until January 7th to relax and work on some exciting plans for 2024.

As I sit here typing away, I can't help but think about how quickly 2023 passed. It feels like just yesterday I sent out the very first issue on Jan 8, 2023. Time really does fly when you're having fun building something.

Now, this time of the year is when we all play a little game of reflection. We evaluate our wins, losses, and the unexpected twists that life throws our way.

I may have left a few things on the to-do list.

On the other hand, I’ve achieved some things I never even dreamt of.

Today, firstly, I want to rewind the clock and give you a quick recap of how this whole Newsletter Circle adventure started for those who don’t know.

Secondly, I want to share the key lessons that the creators I interviewed in Newsletter Circle taught me.

Before we dive in, here are some juicy finds of the week.

3 Handpicked Recommendations from Newsletter Circle*

💡Megahit - Find sponsors among your subscribers with this powerful tool.

I doubled my sponsorship prices after using Megahit. I had no idea I had such high-quality subscribers!”

CJ Gustafson - Mostly Metrics (36k subs)

🎯 Sponsy - Make sponsorship easy. Less hustle, more time to grow your newsletter.

Sponsy replaced dozens of Google Sheets for us and several sponsors have already commented on how much they appreciate our new streamlined sponsorship process.

I can't imagine running a sponsorship-based business without it!

Dan Ni - TLDR

📣 Content Entrepreneur Expo - CEX is THE event content entrepreneurs, like YOU, need to attend this year.  

500+ content entrepreneurs will meet between May 5- 7, 2024, in Cleveland, Ohio, for networking and learning to grow a content-first business without relying on social media.

But prices go up on Jan 1. Register today to save your spot at the lowest price ever!

On January 8th, 2023, I excitedly sent out the first issue of Newsletter Circle.

I started literally from zero. I had neither any prior experience in the newsletter space nor any network with the experts from the space.

Today, after 1 year, it’s read by 1,700 subscribers worldwide.

Yes, it is not a crazy growth, but it’s fine.

I know what I can do better and focus on my roadmap.

I learned a lot this year.

I met amazing creators around the world. I met some people I never thought I would meet one day.

I see my content resonates with other creators.

“I left my comfort zone and formed a drastic transition from a white-collar lifestyle to becoming a semi-nomadic digital entrepreneur, building a solo online business.”

So, how did it all happen?

Before diving into this newsletter adventure, I spent a solid decade working in a global corporate company. Despite having a promising career, I was feeling stuck and bored and not improving myself. Climbing the corporate ladder with an increased income held no appeal for me anymore.

I knew all the rules, but I wanted to play a different game that would open new levels in my life journey.

So, in 2021, I quit with no plan in sight, just a determination to discover a new me while doing something new.

I didn't know what that "something new" was, but I figured out that exploring online business might lead to many opportunities.

The first 1.5 years were a self-learning journey while giving online marketing consultancy.

In the meantime, I read a lot!

And guess what? Some of the most valuable resources I learned a lot from were newsletters. So, I discovered newsletters as a viable channel to build a business around while reading them.

While researching how to start and grow my newsletter, I realized that behind-the-scenes information for successful newsletters is not shared enough. Despite the existence of some valuable resources conducting case studies, I couldn't find many platforms where creators openly share their experiences, encompassing both successes and failures.

So, I created Newsletter Circle to create a hub of shared wisdom, a place where people learn from each other and grow together.

The interview format was also a smart move for me to meet like-minded creators and industry experts and create a presence in the space while I was continuing learning.

Moreover, I've had the chance to ask about what I need to learn.

And each time, I'm pleasantly surprised by the wealth of high-quality insights shared transparently and generously by the creators I interviewed.

They went beyond my expectations, and some not only enhanced my business acumen but also provided valuable perspectives on how to approach life in general.

So, for this last issue, I wanted to share some of these enlightening discoveries I made thanks to the Newsletter Circle interviews.🌟

1. Every journey is unique

For me, this is the most significant and essential lesson.

The perception created on social media dictates that there are certain milestones for everyone, and the path to achieving these milestones is the same.

However, life is not progressing in a linear line.

It has its ups and downs.

There are times you go faster and there are times you want to slow down.

Luck plays a role. Time plays a role.

There are situational factors that you can’t have an impact on.

We all have different backgrounds, experiences, personalities, changing priorities, strengths and weaknesses.

I know that focusing on growth and monetization strategies alone in my interviews might attract more attention. It certainly makes my job easier. However, I find it so important to learn how each creator decided to start a newsletter, what they compromised, how this experience changed their life, the challenges they faced and recommendations. I insist on keeping the questions showing every story has its own dynamics.

What works for someone doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for others.

Avoid being harsh on yourself by comparing your progress to others’. Instead, focus on gaining inspiration, learning and keep going.

Never forget that you are unique, and so is your journey.

2. Success is a relative term

Success is a tricky concept.

We often find ourselves comparing our achievements with those of others. But, success is something highly personal and varies based on individual perceptions of accomplishments.

When I mention interviewing 'successful creators,' I'm not solely referring to the size of their subscriber lists. I also prioritize creators who bring an innovative approach, undergo life-changing experiences, or make bold decisions while building their newsletters.

While a creator might start a newsletter business to build a career outside of the corporate world like Danny Healey, another creator like CJ Gustafson can land his dream job thanks to his newsletter.

While a creator relates the success of a newsletter with generating more revenue, another creator, such as Ali Abouelatta, prefers not to monetize it intentionally.

It is crucial to appreciate these stories within their unique contexts.

Asking what success means to us and sticking to our own definiton will help a lot in our fight against imposter syndrome.

3. Perseverance, resilience and consistency are interconnected and can be developed

Whether you embrace them as buzzwords or not, these terms play an important role in building a sustainable newsletter business.

  • The ability to publish content consistently

  • The ability to stay resilient against emotional ups and downs and not give up

  • The ability to keep going no matter what

Once you strengthen these attributes, turning your dream into reality becomes inevitable.

Interestingly, there's a dynamic interplay among these soft skills; they contribute to each other's improvement in a two-way street.

Emotional resilience, for example, facilitates consistent content publication. Conversely, the more consistently you publish your newsletter, the more resilient you become to unexpected situations as you develop a habit.

Observing progress in your resilience fosters confidence and perseverance. The more you achieve perseverance, the more consistent you become.

It's remarkable how each skill positively impacts the progress of the others.

The good news is that these aren't innate, magical gifts; like building muscles, you can enhance these skills through conscious effort.

And having a newsletter will definitely help you with this.

Take Arvid Kahl, for instance, who initiated The Bootstrapped Founder as a blog with a commitment to writing a new article every week. Recognizing his tendency toward laziness, he started a newsletter to enforce accountability. Over time, his newsletter evolved into a podcast and a YouTube channel.

4. Discipline leads to freedom

Believe it or not, I didn’t know that something similar was said by famous tennis player Venus Williams. So, I decided to keep it as I originally thought.

Discipline might initially sound like something restrictive, provoking annoyance due to its inherent limitations.

However, setting boundaries and defining parameters for our business is the only way to prevent getting lost in a world of infinite options and to work toward our objectives effectively.

Constantly jumping from one project to another and wandering between multiple ideas demands considerable effort, potentially exhausting and occupying your mind.

Discipline serves as a guide, allowing us to clearly determine where to focus, ultimately providing freedom to our minds.

5. Always stay humble

Regardless of the size of your subscriber list, your income or the respect you receive, maintaining a humble approach is a key secret to a fulfilled life.

Stay humble towards your work

Acknowledge that mistakes can happen and there's always room for improvement.

Embracing a humble approach to your work allows you to recognize these mistakes, let go of certain aspects when necessary, and iterate

“Falling in love with your project is the biggest enemy of improving it.”

Stay humble towards other people 

We always need each other. We always have things to learn from each other. It is not related to how old, how experienced or how successful we are.

Building sincere relationships with people around you by embracing a humble approach is the most fulfilling investment both in business and life.

You never know it all and you don’t have to.

“Falling in love with yourself is the biggest enemy of self-improvement.”

Stay humble towards life

Approach life with the hunger of a student who is just starting to learn things.

Explore, learn, fall, get up and continue.

Find the joy in this never-ending process.

In Newsletter Circle Interviews, there are also tons of business lessons, from smart growth strategies to innovative revenue streams, that you can apply to your newsletter.

I’ll continue to find inspiring creators and reveal behind the scenes how they build their publications in 2024.

Stay in the Circle so we can grow together.

Happy holidays!

ICYMI - The Latest Newsletter Circle Interviews

👉 Do you want to reach 1,700 newsletter creators & enthusiasts?

*Disclaimer: Affiliate links. I only recommend resources/platforms that I genuinely find useful.

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