In this new episode of The RevolutionFI Podcast, Tim explores why you won’t be able to retire on a paid newsletter.
“So, the question is this: How can 50+ folks like us, honest and hard-working, how do we manage our current responsibilities and still plan for retirement? 401ks alone won’t be enough and we don’t have 40 years to save, so how do we leverage our experience and wisdom to gain financial independence? That is the question, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Tim, and welcome to the Revolution. The RevolutionFI podcast.”
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Welcome to Hair of the Blog. It must be Thursday. Today I’m going to be talking about why you won’t be able to retire on a paid newsletter, and don’t worry, it’s not as pessimistic as it sounds. Before we get into today’s episode, just a reminder, grab the Solopreneur Formula Worksheet from revolutionfi.com if you haven’t. If you hit that homepage, you’ll see the big red button. Just click it, and you’ll instantly get the worksheet and get going. Hey, maybe you’ll get going on a paid newsletter.
Today’s topic comes courtesy of Hunter Walk at Medium, link will be in the show notes. His title is Why a Paid Newsletter Won’t Be Enough Money for Most Writers and That’s Fine: the Multi Skew Creator. Okay, let’s talk about this. Now, The Stacked Marketer did a nice little feature on this piece. They said it’s not always that simple though, making money off of paid newsletters. There are a few realities that Hunter Walk talks about in this article. First of all, most newsletters don’t make much money. It’s not entirely possible to make a living or retire on a paid newsletter alone. I think if you look at some of the biggest players on Substack, the newsletter is an additional revenue stream, not the only one.
I think when people hear about Substack, and they hear about the rise of paid newsletters, we start seeing dollar signs in our eyes, but you have to understand that those people are usually tapping an existing audience. It’s an additional revenue stream, and it might not even be their primary revenue stream. If you have a television show, or let’s say a nationally syndicated radio program, and you start a paid newsletter, you are going to make exponentially more money than if you start writing a paid newsletter from scratch with no audience. Also, I think there’s still a bit of a stigma attached here that many people still see a newsletter as something that should be free. Therefore, if you’re going to charge for your newsletter, you better have some serious value. We’ll talk about that in a minute.
You Have a Brand
Hunter also said if you have a newsletter, you have a brand. He’s saying that if you have a newsletter, you have an audience, and sometimes that audience is more valuable than newsletters, so it ties into that first idea of having an existing audience or building one. If you have a newsletter, you have a brand, and if you have a brand, you probably have multiple products or services, or one that’s recognizable. Again, I think that’s an important distinction to make from someone who’s just just starting out and trying it.
I can tell you I tried this on Medium. In the year 2019, I committed to writing one blog post a week about the author life, the author business craft marketing. I posted it on theauthorlife.com and on Medium, and on average on Medium, I made about $6 a month. I earned some money on a paid newsletter, but I mean, I think that just, you know, that illustrates the point. This is with an audience of a few thousand people, and I thought at the time I was going to get a new audience on Medium. It didn’t quite work out that way. I didn’t make nothing though.
That’s something to consider. Had I doubled down and maybe wrote a Medium piece every day or chose a more profitable niche, then who knows?
What Can You Do With the Brand?
Finally, Hunter mentioned, what can you do with the brand? He talks about podcasts, premium content, consulting freelance work. Again, this ties into the newsletter being an additional revenue stream. I was a little bit clickbaity with that title on you won’t be able to retire on a paid newsletter, but you can certainly make money on it, and I think that’s the big takeaway here.
That’s what I think Hunter is talking about when he talks about being a multi skew SKU creator. It’s by doing not just a newsletter but having other options that work for the people you want to serve. Whether those be products or services, you need a well rounded, diverse way to create revenue. That’s something we’ve talked about in the author world for a long time. I hope you find that interesting. Link in the show notes if you want to check it out.
Tomorrow is Friday which means we’re going to be talking about Hot Pods, podcasts that are hot, and tomorrow, I’ve got one coming to you via Nick Loper at The Side Hustle Show. It’s going to be a fun one. It aired on Thanksgiving Day. I’m going to break it down for you tomorrow, so come on back. I’ll see you then.
Transcription by Otter.ai, please forgive the bot for typos and mistakes.
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