How to start a paid newsletter

Week #001

Thanks for reading my very first [weekly] newsletter. If you haven't had the chance yet, be sure to check out my newsletter archives page here. Since it's Sunday where I am, grab yourself a ☕️ or 🍵 and enjoy the read.

The first section below is about my week. The second section is "4 lessons from me to you" in relation to starting a paid newsletter. Feel free to skip ahead to what you want.

The last week

Over the last week globally, there seemed to be increased news about big tech layoffs, housing bubbles, and plummeting stock prices (both traditional and crypto). This comes as no surprise, since printing money has historically led to the same outcomes. There was also a major lawsuit filed against crypto exchanges Coinbase and Kraken, for "passing off fake Bitcoin", worth hundreds of billions of pounds. But let's look at some more positive events 🙂

In my personal sphere, I met a local Zapotec woman named Lily, who creates "sustainable intimate experiences" that support local indigenous business owners in Oaxaca, Mexico (where I'm currently stationed). It came about as a result of me exploring an idea combining natural products, indigenous art, cultural preservation, and blockchain technology. More on this in the future.

I created a small Facebook group for startup founders and entrepreneurs in Oaxaca City. I even reached out to my old client Draper Startup House, because Oaxaca may be a good place for them to setup another satellite site for digital nomads, founders, and investors passing through. This was my way of bringing like-minded folks together, since there weren't any groups I could find focused solely on local/international founders and entrepreneurs just wanting to GSD.

And finally, I conducted my very first dream-journaling workshop, which you can access the recording of here. The workshop topic was something I never tried before, but felt compelled to experiment with. It was cool seeing some results the next day (below). Will see what I can do with this next.

4 lessons from me to you

This week I'm sharing tips about starting a paid newsletter, since that's what this is. As I mentioned in my welcome email, I'll be documenting my journey as I build multiple businesses, explore different cultures, and navigate emerging tech. I will also integrate aspects of community-building, spirituality, and philosophy. If none of these areas are your vibe, please go ahead and unsubscribe.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get started!

1 - Choose a solid platform. For this newsletter you're receiving, I'm using a tool called BeeHiiv. It first got recommended to me in the Facebook group. Never heard of it before though, and I've been through various platforms over the years: Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Substack, and more recently Revue. Each of them were good for a while, but rarely stuck. BeeHiiv has been different, since it positions itself as a "creator-friendly newsletter tool", and it delivers. It was created by the co-founders of some of the first marketing and growth employees at Morning Brew. It also has the ability to integrate with Revue, which I was using because of its native Twitter features. Since I can now have the best of both worlds, it's just been a matter of setting my targets, getting people onboard, and writing.

2 - Don't write linearly. This isn't for everyone, but it works for me. I usually let everything flow out of me at first, I'll jump around from topic to topic, but then come back and re-organize things. This way, clarity usually comes as a result of just getting started. It's something I learned about myself over the course of my career. Starting with my Senior thesis presentation back in high school - I was taught to write everything out before hand, memorize lines, practice, and then repeat. What I found was that that that style didn't work for me. What worked better was when I wrote down my main points in bullet-form (so I had the general idea of what I wanted to say), then left the rest open to improvise on or react to audience feedback. This ended up defining my speaking style on-stage later in my career, especially as I got more and more comfortable with it. There is actually a clip from comedian Kevin Hart outlining the same style or process.

3 - Build a routine. As I'm building out this newsletter, I'm also still working on two other companies, Faiā and Honā. I'm using Honā as a way to commit to a goal of writing daily and weekly, so I can build my consistency muscles. By going through this, it also helped me re-define the niche and main selling point for Honā: helping founders be more consistent. Previously, we were focused on accountability. Although that's important, it wasn't a strong enough benefit. Accountability is also one of those actions everyone agrees we should have more of, but very rarely for one's self. It's mostly the highly ambitious or stoic individuals who fully embrace it as a virtue. Click here to see my public commitment on Honā (note: I started the original commitment of writing weekly a long while back, but only recently renewed it for this newsletter).

By making the writing of my daily newsletter (for paid subscribers) a routine, it helps me get into a different type of flow for the day. I think the reason for this is that it's also very therapeutic. Fear of criticism is one of the Six Ghosts of Fear author Napoleon Hill warns of, which can be debilitating, so it helps to just "get it out there" and treat your writing as documentation, versus something forced.

4 - Monetize from day one. While writing this week, I found myself referencing books and websites that I realized have affiliate programs. As a result, I started digging up old affiliate/referral links, and plugging them in. Why? Because it's important to take advantage of anything that brings in additional revenue streams. I signed up and got accepted as an Ambassador for Sunsama (one of my favorite productivity tools, click here), and joined Medium's partner program. Medium pocketed me 5c for the week - not a crazy amount, but hey, shows that it's doing something. Something I can definitely expand upon.

Next steps

It hasn't been easy managing multiple ventures, but then I remember there are folks like Elon Musk, Tony Robbins, and even Craig Wright who create and manage multiple ventures simultaneously. Granted, they all started on one thing somewhere, and now have others helping them, but they seem to always follow their curiosities and take calculated risks. They learn to do by doing, and that's my vibe, regardless of whether things succeed or fail.

"It's better to have tried and failed than never tried, you can rest easy knowing you gave it a go." ~Katherine Kelly

If you're curious about my plan for this newsletter, this is it below (plain and simple). I'm focused on getting to 2,500 subs as quickly as possible, while building up my 1,000 true fans. The fact that I got some paid subs within my first week surprised me - didn't expect to hit that so soon. I have a suspicion that newsletters may be experiencing come back to the increased noise on social media. I'll expand more on this as the weeks progress.

Here's a summary of the most important links mentioned in today's weekly wrap-up:

  • Morning Brew - the daily email newsletter covering the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley

  • Non-linear writing/memory - a technique for writing/recall used by Kevin Hart

  • Six Ghosts of Fear - a concept by author Napoleon Hill

  • Sunsama - a new productivity tool that actually works

  • BeeHiiv - newsletter tool for creators

  • 1,000 true fans - a theory stating that all an artist needs is 1,000 true fans to maintain a fruitful, if unspectacular, career

Until next week - with patience & persistence,


PS. Found this useful? Feel free to share with a friend! Got some tips, feedback, or just want to make a comment? Go ahead and hit Reply.

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