Nic's blog

6 Months in Review.

*I originally posted this on Indie Hackers but felt the need to make a new space, thus lead me to bearblog.dev :P

So this month marks about 6 months since I started my little newsletter project, The Slice and I think now is a good time to reflect on the past 6 or so months, my learnings, my progress, the present and most importantly the future.

Build-in public seems to that thing recently that I have been seeing a lot of, and I hate to admit, but it's also been something that I have neglected. Over the past few months, I have shared a few minor and a few major milestones, but not as much as I would have liked to, so I thought why not start now.

My learnings from 6 months of building a newsletter.

Very cliché, and overused in my own opinion, but consistency is key. I made it a daily habit of putting in a bit work and it stuck.

There are going to be times where people think what you made sucks. It's inevitable, deal with it and get on with your day or adapt if you have to.

Don't be afraid to ask. A lot of people may feel intimidated to slide into the DMs of a creator they admire or want to seek guidance from. Just ask. 9/10 times you will be surprised and it's not something that should intimidate you.

Having a support group goes a long way. Sure, the Indie Hackers forum is very a good place to turn to, but I'm talking about a small group of between 3-7 people who you turn to, to keep each other accountable. Going solo is pretty lonely, why not ride the wave together.

*Build it, and they will come. biggest bullsht ever lol.**

This sh*t is hard, don't believe me, read this post by @chr15m. Coming from a marketing background myself, this did help at the beginning for me but I see too many people on here build some of the most incredible things, but sadly, they're tech smart and not marketing smart, but have no fear, Nic is here....bearing gifts....or more like Github repository of marketing resources for devs. You're welcome ;)

The present.

As of writing this today, the newsletter is at 960 subscribers. It would have been a lot more, but I have taken up the habit of regularly cleaning my mailing list lately. It also got to a stage where I decided to decide to accept classified ads and sponsorships.

To my surprise, it performed better than what I even anticipated to the extent that I'm fully booked until the end of the year. It also got to stage where I had to start saying "sorry, ask me again next year." That really caught me off guard, and the feeling of being overwhelmed can be real, and it certainly did at that point, and I told myself it's time to slow the f#$k down, as juggling a freelance career and mini business on the side can get a bit much.

Some "bugs" I'm running into.

These are not necessarily bugs but more thing that have been on my mind. One of them being that my newsletter is evolving.

Over the last 21 issues, The Slice has naturally changed and become more catered to the interests of the audience. In the beginning, It was mainly focussed on SaaS. Even though it still has a focus on SaaS, it has a medley of other focuses, such as interesting articles, good reads, a showcase of other newsletters that I enjoy reading and resources that might help makers with problems they face.

It's ironic that being a copywriter myself, I'm finding it very hard to put into words how I can describe the newsletter in a few sentences without making the copy too long, and its literally been bugging for a while. I was having a chat with a friend recently, and she described it as a "medley of things", so that's definitely going to stick...for now.

Growth

Recently I've run into what can be described as a brick wall in terms of my growth. I'm growing, but not at the same rate as I was which was considerably faster than what it is now which is about 2-4 new subscribers a day as opposed to about 7-9 a few months ago.

Here is what I have tried. Some have worked and others not so much.

  • Twitter threads (10/10)
  • Cross-promotions (6/10
  • Guest Posting (works well, but can be tedious)
  • Hacker News post (hit or miss)
  • Reddit (be prepared for the pitchforks)
  • Facebook (yuck)
  • Quora (meh)

Out of all the those, being active on Twitter, IH doing cross-promotions work, with a mixture of content marketing work well, so I'll stick to what I know and use those for the time being.

I recently purchased my first ad spot in the Dense Discovery newsletter that goes out next week, but other than that, I haven't done any form of paid advertising. This will be a nice experiment because, in the new year, I'd like to explore more paid options for growth, primarily in other newsletters.

The Future

I am hoping to make some major changes to my tech stack. Specifically migrating my landing page from Carrd to Ghost in the future for the blog functionality. I'm not saying Carrd is bad, in fact, its really good, but I think its time for an upgrade.

With the unexpected success of my classified/sponsor section, come January I have made the decision to increase my pricing. I have also stopped accepting any new sponsors or classifieds for next year because I'm hoping to automate this process (I have found a solution) and this should hopefully create less back and forth emails with anybody who advertises with me.

I also think it's a good idea to take my first hiatus from writing the slice for 2 weeks during the festive season. I think a break is definitely in order.

Cheers Nic :)

#growth #solo #newsletter #solo-founder.

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