Bruce Lee famously said, "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
Consistency, repetition, commitment. Starry-eyed success is often the product of mind-numbing routines. Doing the work, day in and day out. Making each newsletter a little better than the last. Slowly building relationships with key people. Diversifying your value.
This week we're bringing the focus back to a few core principles because this year is yours for the taking!
💬 In this issue:
- Cutting floor. If you want more people to act on your content, you might need to say less.
- Curious. Unlock one creator's formula for asking the right questions.
- Cash out. See behind the scenes of a $340,000 per year creator business.
💍 How to optimize your newsletter for engagement
Josh Spector has won big over the last few years by publishing extremely lean content. This style enabled them to launch multiple projects at once, including newsletters, podcasts, and a YouTube channel (all run by one person).
Now, even if your niche requires more long-form content to thrive, there are ways to increase engagement by cutting where it counts. Spector created a list of 10 edits they make to every newsletter before it goes live — and here is an even leaner version for you to implement.
- Does the intro add value? If not, jump right into your content.
- Does every image have a purpose and move your idea forward? Cut the ones that don't.
- Remove emojis, unnecessary words, and repetitions.
- Are you asking your reader to take more than 1 action? Which action is most important and remove all others.
Try these on your own publication and see if less leads to more for your audience.
🗞 Latest tips & stories
- The importance of word of mouth marketing for creators
- A freelancer's best recommendations for going independent
- 4 types of community businesses
- Why all success is a lagging indicator
- How to use Reddit for customer acquisition
🙋♀️ Why better questions will move you forward
So much of our success as creators is determined by the questions we ask. The right questions get us in the right place at the right time. The wrong ones do the opposite.
Author Josh Kaufman discovered this first-hand as they were building their initial audience. In short, they found that they had been overcomplicating everything — the content they presented to readers, the requests they had for guests, and even the business model they had chosen to pursue.
By pairing everything back, Kaufman finally locked onto the momentum that had previously been so elusive.
Their guide for asking useful questions will help you do the same. Here are a few highlights:
- Are your questions one to two sentences max?
- Your question should show that you've already done the work, not that you're putting work onto the recipient.
- Quick context is better than long drawn-out stories. If you respect people's time, they'll be more likely to act on your behalf.
- Avoid ambiguity. People should know exactly what you want and exactly how you'll use their reply.
- Be transparent. An honest request can sometimes unlock doors you never imagined.
💰 Where the money comes from for creators
However, few people pull back the curtain the way Jay Clouse did when they broke down their 2022 earnings by category.
So, how can you use their success to model your own?
- Subscription-based revenue is the foundation for so many top-tier creators because of its stability. If your goal is to go full-time with your project, make sure this piece is part of your earnings puzzle.
- Services were actually Clouse's next favorite category. As long as you build them in a way that utilizes your strengths without eating into your energy, they can bring in great amounts of money very quickly.
- Affiliates and royalties are the most passive options, but also the two of which creators tend to have the least amount of control. Brand new creators shouldn't prioritize these until they've built other stable streams.
Finally, every creator's breakdown will look different based on their audience and unique goals. Your creator success doesn't need to look like anyone else's. In fact, the less it does, the more likely it is you're on to something big!
👀 Curators pick
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