Should You Start Your Own Newsletter Business?

Should You Start Your Own Newsletter Business?

6 November 2022

Let’s take a look at newsletter businesses. We are almost certain that pretty much all of our readers know what newsletters are. 

Having a newsletter is not only a great way to stay in touch with your clients or prospects, but it has emerged as a popular business trend in 2020. Basically, there are highly specialized writers who publish their content on platforms like Substack and charge a monthly/annual fee for that. 

And newsletters can be highly profitable. Although for most, it’s a lifestyle business, there are examples where newsletters have grown to gigantic 9-figure businesses (if you consider Agora Financial to be a newsletter business).

Business Newsletter Or Newsletter Business?

How do we differentiate businesses that simply have newsletters and newsletter businesses? Primarily it is the way in which the business is modelled. Readers often have to subscribe to most companies’ newsletters. Usually, this is free. The reason being, the content will often contain promotions, with the aim of generating leads. 

A newsletter business, however, often locks a substantial part of its content behind a paywall. Accessible only through subscription, the information behind the paywall is the product. The product can be in-depth research made by analysts, lifestyle coaches and experts across many fields. 

Trends Example

Take, for example, Trends. It’s a newsletter for anyone looking to get ahead on the latest trends (the name fits the bill, right?). They use a short, snappy CTA—but rather than trying to persuade existing customers to buy another product, for example, Trends wants visitors to enter their email addresses. In exchange, you’ll get access to over 1000+ ideas. 

And Trends has a lot of subscribers when we look at their Facebook community, which is exclusive for Trends subscribers (soon over 10 000 subs paying around $300 per year).

The key is to persuade the visitors on the landing page that the information behind the paywall is worth their time and money. And people are hungry for specific ideas and content. And premium writing. 

Take a look at the level of journalism we have when we look at the mainstream media. It’s general, accessible for everyone, and seldom has any usable knowledge. That’s why there’s so much interest and possibilities in this space.

Build Trust

Building trust in a newsletter business is comparatively easy. All you have to do is..write! Many newsletters start by first giving away free content. And it can take six months or more until you’ll have a sufficient number of readers of the free newsletter before you can monetize.

But the path is clear. First, you’ll need to provide value, and then charge money for your writing. 

Let’s take a look at more newsletters that have caught our attention. 

For example, Lenny’s Newsletter is styled as a weekly advice column that covers product management, growth, mindset, and other areas of being an entrepreneur – but his articles go into depth. 

There is a great article based on a workshop by Lenny Rachitsky on how to launch a paid newsletter. Similarly, Lenny’s Newsletter has a bundle that offers paid subscribers a weekly newsletter and everyone else gets approximately one email a month. 

Another pay-to-access newsletter that follows this same model is Treendly. They both have regular and premium newsletters.

Is It A Good Business Idea?

No doubt that a newsletter worthy of time and money is going to need tremendous amounts of research. But it won’t feel like a drag if you genuinely like writing and researching topics you’re interested in. 

If by trade you are a researcher, analyst or any other profession that involves lots of investigative work online, and you want to kick-start a freelance career, why would starting your own paid newsletter be a bad idea? Sure, it can sound a little daunting, but why not try shooting bullets before cannonballs? Stick with the day job (the main cash cow) and put some time in during your free time. 

If information is your interest, strength and eventually your business, it’s worth a shot. They say information is more valuable than oil. This comes as no surprise since an increasing amount of people are leaving their day jobs in pursuit of their dreams. 

There are many gaps in the market. We’ve given some insight into the business model. Your strengths in research and writing could be the ideal skill set required for this type of venture. 

Additionally, as it’s a business that can operate from anywhere in the world, it works perfectly with Estonia’s e-residency initiative.