If you’re looking for a business that requires zero upfront investment and has the potential to make you thousands or even millions of dollars, you might want to consider starting a newsletter. In this article, we will explore why newsletters are a smart side hustle and provide you with step-by-step guidance on how to grow your newsletter from scratch.
I’ll begin by discussing the importance of curiosity, crowd, and cash when selecting a topic for your newsletter. Then, I’ll guide you through the process of setting up your newsletter platform, creating a logo, and building your subscriber list. Finally, I’ll share growth strategies, content and posting tips, and social media tactics to help you reach subscriber milestones and transition to new platforms. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to turn your newsletter into a successful and profitable business.
- Curiosity, crowd, and cash are essential components of a successful newsletter.
- You can start a newsletter with zero upfront investment using platforms like MailChimp or Beehive.
- Growth strategies, content planning, and social media tactics are key to reaching subscriber milestones and transitioning to new platforms.
Why Newsletters Are a Smart Side Hustle
If you’re looking for a side hustle that requires zero dollars to start, has the potential to make you thousands, and even multi-multi-millions, then starting a newsletter might just be the perfect option for you. Personally, it’s my favorite business model for several reasons.
Contrarian Thinking, a newsletter business started by Cody Sanchez, is a prime example of how a newsletter can become an eight-figure, and even nine-figure business. The business started on February 15, 2020, with zero subscribers, but within 24 hours, the first two subscribers were acquired, and the idea for the newsletter was born.
To start a successful newsletter, you need to follow the three C’s: curiosity, crowd, and cash. The topic of your newsletter must be something you’re curious about and willing to speak on every day for at least a year. You must also ensure that there is a big enough group of people interested in the subject matter to create a raving audience. Additionally, you need to find a way to make money from your newsletter.
Contrarian Thinking found success by using a VCC email as an opt-in and reaching out to friends to subscribe. They also added a pop-up site on their Squarespace website and created a sign-up sequence to encourage subscribers to forward the newsletter to others.
To continue growing the newsletter, Contrarian Thinking switched to Substack, posted daily on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and created a dock with ideas for expanding the newsletter’s reach.
Starting a newsletter requires effort and dedication, but it can be a smart side hustle with the potential for significant financial gain.
Choosing a Newsletter Topic
To start a successful newsletter, you need to choose a topic that meets the three C’s: curiosity, crowd, and cash. First, determine what you are passionate about and what you can speak about for at least a year. Then, research if there is a big enough group of people interested in the subject matter to create a raving audience. Use social media platforms like Facebook and Reddit to find groups of people interested in your topic. Finally, consider if there is an opportunity to make money from your newsletter, either by creating content that people are already spending money on or by providing information on how to make money in that area.
The Three C’s: Curiosity, Crowd, Cash
The three C’s are critical for creating a successful newsletter. Curiosity means that you are passionate about the topic and can speak about it for an extended period. Crowd means that there is a large enough group of people interested in the subject matter to create a raving audience. Cash means that there is an opportunity to make money from your newsletter, either by creating content that people are already spending money on or by providing information on how to make money in that area.
Drafting the Welcome Email
Your welcome email is the front doorstep to your newsletter. It is essential to draft a welcome email that will entice your subscribers to stay and read more. Keep it simple and straightforward, and make sure it accurately represents your newsletter’s content and tone. Consider offering a freebie or discount to keep your subscribers engaged and excited about your newsletter. Remember, your welcome email is your first impression, so make it count.
Setting Up the Newsletter
Selecting a Platform
The first step in setting up your newsletter is selecting a platform to send it. There are several platforms available, but MailChimp and Beehive are two popular options. MailChimp is a free platform that offers templates and easy setup, while Beehive is a low-cost option that is highly recommended. Both platforms provide the necessary tools to create and send newsletters.
Creating a Logo
Creating a logo is an essential step in setting up your newsletter. A logo helps to establish your brand and makes your newsletter easily recognizable. Squarespace is a free platform that can be used to create a logo. Although the site is a bit janky, it is a cost-effective option that can get the job done.
Building an Initial Email List
Building an initial email list is crucial to the success of your newsletter. There are several ways to go about building your list, but one effective method is to reach out to your contacts and invite them to subscribe to your newsletter. You can also promote your newsletter on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Additionally, you can use sites like Reddit to find groups of people who are interested in your newsletter’s topic and invite them to subscribe.
By following these steps, you can set up your newsletter and start building your subscriber base. Remember to keep your content engaging and relevant to your audience, and you’ll be on your way to creating a successful newsletter.
Centers of Influence Strategy
One effective way to grow your newsletter is through the Centers of Influence (COI) strategy. This involves reaching out to your most connected friends and asking them to share your newsletter with their own contacts. By doing this, you can quickly expand your subscriber base and gain more exposure for your brand.
Website Pop-Up Implementation
Another way to grow your newsletter is by implementing a website pop-up. This is a simple and effective way to encourage visitors to sign up for your newsletter. Make sure to use a catchy headline and a clear call-to-action to entice your visitors to subscribe.
Sign-Up Sequence Enhancement
The sign-up sequence is an important component of your newsletter growth strategy. By making your sign-up process more creative and engaging, you can increase the likelihood of your subscribers forwarding your newsletter to their own contacts. This can help to further expand your subscriber base and increase your brand exposure.
Utilizing Free Image Resources
Stock images can be boring and unengaging. Instead, consider using free image resources like Unsplash to supplement your newsletter content. This can help to make your newsletter more visually appealing and engaging for your subscribers.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for growing your newsletter. By posting about your newsletter on LinkedIn, you can reach a large audience of professionals and entrepreneurs who may be interested in your content. Make sure to include a clear call-to-action in your post to encourage your followers to subscribe.
Reddit can be a valuable resource for finding new subscribers for your newsletter. By searching for groups and communities related to your newsletter topic, you can find a large audience of potential subscribers. However, be aware that Reddit can be a tough crowd, so make sure to approach it with a clear strategy and a thick skin.
Content and Posting
Frequency of Posts
To grow your newsletter and make it a successful side hustle, you need to post frequently. Posting once a week is not enough, you need to post every day on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. This will help you reach more people and increase your chances of getting more subscribers.
Choosing the Right Platforms
Choosing the right platforms is crucial to the success of your newsletter. You need to find platforms where your target audience is most active. For example, if your newsletter is about vintage furniture, you should look for Facebook groups or subreddits where people discuss vintage furniture.
It is also important to note that different platforms have different posting styles. For example, on Twitter, you need to post short and catchy tweets that will grab people’s attention, while on LinkedIn, you can post longer and more informative posts.
In addition, you should also consider using email marketing platforms like MailChimp or Substack to send your newsletter to your subscribers. These platforms provide templates and tools to help you create and send professional-looking newsletters.
Overall, choosing the right platforms and posting frequently are key to growing your newsletter and turning it into a successful side hustle.
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Starting a newsletter with zero dollars may seem like a daunting task, but it can be a lucrative venture if done right. The Contrarian Thinking newsletter is a prime example of this. On day one, February 15, 2020, there were no subscribers, and nobody cared about the newsletter. However, within the next 24 hours, the newsletter kicked off what would become an eight-figure, and potentially nine-figure business.
The first step to building a successful newsletter is to pick a topic that satisfies the three C’s: curiosity, crowd, and cash. Curiosity means you are passionate about the topic and can talk about it every day for at least a year. Crowd refers to a big enough group of people interested in the subject matter to create a raving audience. Cash means you can make money from the topic.
Contrarian Thinking started with only two subscribers, but within four days, the newsletter had gained 167 subscribers. The following day, the newsletter hit 200 subscribers, and then 253 subscribers, all as a compounding effect of the first few days.
The newsletter’s growth was achieved through various methods, including using free platforms like MailChimp and Squarespace to build the newsletter and create a logo. The newsletter’s creator also reached out to their most connected friends, who could send the newsletter to a lot of people and get them to subscribe.
The creator also utilized pop-up sites on their Squarespace website, created a sign-up sequence, got rid of all stock images, supplemented them with free images from Unsplash, and posted on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter every day.
The creator’s efforts paid off, as the newsletter grew to have 300,000 email subscribers and three million social media followers in just two years. By following the three C’s and utilizing free platforms, Contrarian Thinking was able to become a successful newsletter that made millions of dollars.
Switching to Substack
When it comes to growing your newsletter, switching to Substack can be a game-changer. Substack offers a variety of features that can help you attract and retain subscribers, including customizable templates, easy-to-use analytics, and the ability to offer paid subscriptions. In fact, Substack has even published guides on how to get your first 100 subscribers and how to get to 5,000 subscribers, which can be incredibly helpful for newsletter creators looking to grow their audience.
Key Substack Resources
In addition to the guides mentioned above, there are a few other key resources that can help you make the most of Substack. For example, Substack offers a community forum where you can connect with other newsletter creators and get advice on everything from writing and design to monetization strategies. Substack also offers a newsletter called “The Substacker” that provides tips and insights on growing your newsletter and making money from your writing.
Overall, if you’re serious about growing your newsletter and turning it into a profitable business, switching to Substack and taking advantage of its resources can be a smart move. With the right strategy and a little bit of hard work, you can build a loyal audience and start generating revenue from your newsletter in no time.
Social Media Tactics
Instagram is a powerful tool for growing your newsletter audience and engaging with your followers. Here are some tactics you can use to maximize your reach:
- Use high-quality visuals: Instagram is a visual platform, so make sure your images are eye-catching and of high quality. This will help you stand out and attract more followers.
- Use hashtags: Hashtags are a great way to increase your visibility on Instagram. Use relevant hashtags that are popular in your niche to reach a wider audience.
- Engage with your followers: Respond to comments and direct messages, and like and comment on other users’ posts. This will help you build relationships with your followers and increase engagement.
- Use Instagram Stories: Stories are a great way to share behind-the-scenes content and connect with your followers on a more personal level. Use polls, quizzes, and other interactive features to increase engagement.
Twitter is another powerful platform for growing your newsletter audience and engaging with your followers. Here are some tactics you can use to maximize your reach:
- Use hashtags: Like on Instagram, hashtags are a great way to increase your visibility on Twitter. Use relevant hashtags that are popular in your niche to reach a wider audience.
- Engage with your followers: Respond to tweets and direct messages, and like and retweet other users’ posts. This will help you build relationships with your followers and increase engagement.
- Use Twitter chats: Twitter chats are a great way to connect with other users in your niche and increase your visibility on the platform. Participate in relevant chats and use the chat hashtag to increase your reach.
- Share valuable content: Share valuable content related to your niche, including your own newsletter content. This will help you build authority and attract more followers.
Idea Generation and Content Planning
To start a successful newsletter, you need to have a topic that is interesting and engaging to your audience. One way to ensure that your newsletter is successful is to use the “three C’s” method: curiosity, crowd, and cash.
Firstly, you need to have a topic that you are curious about and passionate enough to talk about every day for at least a year. This will ensure that you have plenty of content to share with your subscribers.
Secondly, you need to ensure that there is a big enough group of people who are interested in your topic. You can check this by searching for relevant Facebook groups or subreddits.
Finally, you need to ensure that your topic has the potential to make money. You can do this by either finding a topic that people are already spending money on or by finding a way to help people make money through your newsletter.
Once you have chosen your topic, it’s time to start planning your content. Begin by drafting a welcome email that will serve as the front door to your newsletter. This email should be engaging and welcoming, and should encourage your subscribers to stick around.
Next, you need to choose a platform to send your newsletter. MailChimp and Beehive are both great options that won’t cost you any money to get started.
You also need to create a logo for your newsletter. Squarespace is a great platform to use for this, as it is free and easy to use.
To get your first subscribers, you can reach out to your contacts and offer them a free opt-in. You can also use a pop-up on your website and promote your newsletter on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Finally, it’s important to post regularly and on the right platforms. Posting every day on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can help you gain more subscribers and increase your visibility. With these tips, you can start a successful newsletter with zero dollars and the potential to make millions.
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