Hi there, Solopreneur!
😀 Welcome to issue #24 of Solopreneur Doorway, a weekly newsletter that helps you turn your skills into solutions people buy.
🙏 Last week, a few folks who are considering starting a new solo business asked me if they should launch a newsletter and start publishing blog posts.
They were also considering the pros and cons of the solopreneur and entrepreneur models.
If you’re wondering which model best suits you (or if it’s time to switch models), this post gives you a few ways to answer the question.
👉 This week, we’ll cover the two most important questions to ask BEFORE you launch your newsletter (and why your solo biz strategy says, “yes! launch it!”).
💥2 Questions You Should Absolutely Ask BEFORE You Launch Your Newsletter
When I launched Solopreneur Doorway in July 2023 and then started writing blog posts, my goal was simple:
🔑 Share insight on solopreneur strategy, operations, finance, marketing, and work-life balance so you can turn your skills into solutions people buy.
After 24 issues of writing this newsletter, I have one big takeaway for you:
Writing a weekly newsletter gives you an exceptional competitive advantage.
You gain the privilege of sharing ideas with an audience that has told you (via their subscription) that they are curious about how you can improve their journey.
Your task is to honor this privilege (in each issue) by providing timely insight that creates a positive transition for them.
Now, before you start sharing your priceless wisdom with a new weekly publication, let’s talk about the underbelly and not-so-public persona of newsletters.
It’s easy to have a big case of FOMO when you read the headlines and see videos about amazing newsletters and all the success their owners achieve.
They make it seem simple, right?
You pick your topic, find a newsletter website to help you create it and then hit ‘publish.’ No big deal.
🔥 Actually, it’s a HUGE deal for two reasons.
🙌 Question 1: Can You Stick to Your Publication Schedule?
When you subscribe to a newsletter, you should get a cheery welcome-thank-you note from the author.
(I hope you received a nice one from me when you subscribed to Solopreneur Doorway.)
Your welcome note tells your readers what type of content your newsletter will share and how often they’ll hear from you.
Your promise is a BIG responsibility.
You’ll have weeks when your work load increases, deadlines converge, and you don’t have the time to review your topic clusters and write an A+ newsletter.
You’ll have other weeks when your work-life balance falls off the merry go round or your health goes sideways, and you don’t have your normal zest to dive in and write about an essential topic.
Will your readers forgive you if you miss a week? Perhaps.
Will they forgive you if you miss a few weeks, take a vacation, or start sending out the newsletter on random days?
😕 Absolutely not.
Competition for attention is FIERCE in the newsletter arena. You get one ‘get out of jail free card’ if you fail to show up on time.
If you don’t have the time to 100% commit to your publication schedule, then wait until that time arrives.
It’s much smarter (for your business and reputation) and more helpful to your audience to publish on a consistent schedule than to start, pause, stop, and re-start.
🧠 Question 2: Can You Add Constant and Positive Value?
Yep, content is king.
Your readers demand it, and you have to deliver it in a fun, compelling, and insightful way.
Do this each week, and your bond with your readers will exponentially increase. You’ll hear from them, and they’ll let you know what’s on their mind.
They will seek your counsel and ask for your perspective. When this happens, you will have new data to improve your business strategy.
You get valuable perspective on the questions, challenges, and journey your readers want to take, and it’s on you to help them safely arrive at their destination.
☑️ This interaction with your readers is a long-term plus for you.
New topics for you to discuss
New products for you to create
There are new readers for you to engage with each week
Even if you publish on time, your subscribers are not permanent. If you take them for granted and serve them copy that looks and tastes like old cat food, they’ll wave goodbye and yell, “UNSUBSCRIBE!”
You can measure your newsletter’s success with multiple data points.
According to The Newsletter Life, these are the three most important statistics for your newsletter:
Open rate = the number of readers who open your newsletter / your total number of subscribers
Click-through rate = the number of subscribers who opened your newsletter AND clicked on a link or ad within a particular issue / your total number of subscribers
Unsubscribe rate = the number of subscribers who hit ‘unsubscribe’ / your total number of subscribers
If you want to improve your business strategy and help them the way only you can (while improving those 3 key metrics), you have to deliver helpful, valuable content that resonates with them.
This involves research.
🔎 Research your readers (ask questions, provide a few surveys)
🎯Research your industry (what’s working? what’s failing?)
📲 Research on the other newsletters in your sandbox (what can you share that they overlook?)
Now, you don’t have to be a 24/7 investigative journalist. You don’t need to bury yourself in charts and numbers.
Yet, you darn well have to have your fingers on the pulse of your topic.
Each issue should make your readers healthier, wealthier, or wiser than they were before they subscribed.
Know your topic inside and out so you can edutain your readers
Work hard to earn and re-earn every subscriber who puts their time and trust in you
⚡️ Go Deeper
Every newsletter has a different success trajectory.
Some hit 10,000 subscribers in the first few months, and others take a long, long time to hit even 1,000.
Sure. BIG readership newsletters have their privileges.
Still, there is enormous value in having even a relatively small audience of 500 readers who look forward to hearing from you. With each issue, you gain another opportunity to exchange ideas, build a positive bond, and add value.
This is a gift, and you should take care to protect it.
If you have questions about how, when, and why to start your newsletter, drop me a note. I’m happy to share ideas: email@example.com
🧠 If you’ve been working hard to reach your solo biz goals and it’s not going the way you expected, perhaps it’s time you reward yourself with a dedicated strategy session.
You’ll receive the right strategy to start, re-start, and jumpstart your venture.
🔑Stay curious and keep opening doors.
Erik, Chief Strategy Fixer