I've been writing BrainPint, my weekly curated newsletter for the curious for 26 weeks now. That's more than 6 months of consistently pushing out a newsletter every week.
It has been such a rewarding journey because of the friends I've been able to meet along the way.
I've made more than $350 through my newsletter (+ well, Twitter) and I haven't run a single ad or done a sponsored issue.
Caveat is that revenue is not very important to me now, so I am not optimizing. A lot of people say you should monetize as fast as possible. I'm doing it at my own pace.
How? There are two ways about it.
I love writing my newsletter and want to keep it as relevant for my audience as possible. I'm quite protective of what I put inside.
As I am still optimizing for growth, I don't want to spend time dealing with ads yet. I'm afraid that inbound ads might not be relevant to my audience, or that outbound ads will not be worth the time spent chasing them down.
Affiliate marketing sometimes gives off icky vibes, due to people doing it wrongly, or pushing shitty products just for the sake of money. So I'm determined to do it the right way.
I'm promoting products I have personally used & love for the moment.
In the past few months, I've purchased quite a few products from Indie Hackers and learned a ton of useful things from them. So I'm sharing them with my audience.
What's good about this?
It's a quadruple win for all.
In the future, I also will promote things where I'm sure the maker has sufficient credibility to back what they sell.
If you have purchased something from a creator, you can email them and ask if they accept affiliates.
Not all creators will have a program, but if they do, they are usually happy to share a 20-50% cut with affiliates. If they are selling on Gumroad, they can easily set this up for you as long as you have an account there. Your first payment might take 3-4 weeks to be released from Gumroad.
(All affiliate links, of course)
I'm also keen to share two products with my audience soon:
I put a link at the end of my newsletter that directs readers to my Buy Me A Coffee page, where they can support me if they'd like. Each coffee is set at $5. So far, I've received 5 coffees.
For some reason, coffees make me smile waaay bigger than making an affiliate sale. It's that little nod of appreciation and the fact that someone went out of their way to say thanks to you that makes it so special! Huge thanks to the people who've bought me coffees. It always makes my day.
If you're a creator, you can set it up to let readers show their support.
Read this fantastic piece by Marie Dolle: Monetizing newsletters: when creators strive with ideas.
As I shared in this post on the lessons I learned getting to 500 subscribers, growth started off slow, but now I'm getting ~50 subscribers weekly, many from this community!
I don't know yet, honestly. I'm seriously focused on growth. But the marketer / biz dev side of me says I might as well make use of this post to find out if there's any demand.
If there's any interest from the community, do fill up this form here and I'll let you know if I ever decide to take ads on board.
Finally, if you're a curious person who wants to join 680+ others to receive a curated newsletter with interesting reads, tools & learning resources to make you smarter, check out BrainPint.com :)