As most of you know, I always try to be as transparent as possible when it comes to insights about Creativerly. I missed out on that over the last couple of months, so I decided to give all of you a general update of what has been going on.
The last big update I made on Indie Hackers was back in April 2020, I wrote about a huge milestone, reaching 100 subscribers, making my first money through Buymeacoffee donations, and moving to Substack. After that, it got quiet, at least over here on Indie Hackers.
Therefore, I decided to get back to the community that helped me out when I was starting my weekly newsletter. Indie Hackers has always been my number one resource to get useful insights, tips, and recommendations from other fellow Indie Hackers.
Let’s get into it!
For the majority of 2020 I have used Substack for the delivery of my weekly newsletter. Substack was great to get started and really kick-off Creativerly. The biggest plus of Substack, in my opinion, is the fact that you do not have to worry about creating an archive of all your posts, since every single newsletter you send out is also immediately available as a blog post online (also great for SEO). I liked the experience and the overall product, but anyway I decided to make the move. Why? Because I always wanted to use Ghost, and turn Creativerly into a full-fledged publication consisting of a newsletter, a blog, and also interviews.
I am a fan of open-source software, and I love to support companies working on them. Therefore, Ghost was my preferred option. I recently published a blog with more in-depth reasoning why I decided to move from Substack to Ghost.
Back in 2020 I also started to monetize Creativerly, although it was more or less unintentionally. It never was my prior intention to start a newsletter for the sake of making quick bucks. My motivation always was to create a writing habit, learn something everyday, and gain experience in different fields. Nevertheless, I started to use a Buymeacoffee Link at the bottom of my newsletter. I did not promote it in anyways, I just had it sit at the bottom with a short caption, that it is a super simple way to support Creativerly. And it worked out well for me. Over the last 12 months, I received 16 donations, worth over $120. Let me tell you one thing: it is a magical feeling to get support from people, who do care about the content you create. Therefore, I am more than thankful for every single subscriber, that already showed some support and „bought myself a coffee“, on top of that, I am also thankful for every single new connection I have made. It warms my heart when I open my Inbox and see some new emails by subscribers, talking about tools, resources, articles, or just some random stuff.
Besides the money I have made through Buymeacoffee, I also started to place affiliate links in my newsletter. Important notice: since I never had the intention to make money through Creativerly in first place, I carefully selected and curated the affiliate links I have used. I did not want to simply place affiliate links in my newsletter just for the sake of making some quick bucks.
Therefore, I became affiliate of tools, services, and products I personally use and also admire. Through those affiliate links, I managed to generate over $270 since start using them. So, in total, I made over $400 with my newsletter in 2020. The best thing about that (besides the incredibly great feeling of making money online) is the fact, that this income completely paid for my expenses regarding my newsletter.
In my last bigger update I shared about Creativerly, I was celebrating 500 subscribers an incredible milestone, I had no idea I would ever reach. On top of that, I had also no idea I would ever write those upcoming lines: as of writing this, Creativerly has 891 subscribers, slowly coming close to the magical number of 1000 subscribers.
I did not take action on any „Growth Hacks“ to reach those numbers. Simply because I hate that term. When growing a side-project I do not want to hack growth, I just want to work on a project and get it out there. Therefore, I shared Creativerly across Twitter, Reddit, and LinkedIn mainly. Currently, I am only focusing on Twitter. My tactic there: just being as active as possible.
I moved the newsletter to Substack with around 120 subscribers back in April 2020. While using Substack I grew to over 800 subscribers. In total, I gained over 720 subscribers within 2020.
My growth has been slow, but steadily, and I love that.
Besides writing and curating creativity and productivity-boosting tools and resources, I planned to expand on the content I created and shared. Therefore, I introduced a new content section to Creativerly: Interviews. I always had a major interest in how creative minds stay productive during their work, what tools they use, what productivity techniques they use, and in general connect with fellow designers, writers, indie hackers, solopreneuers, etc. For the first interview, I had the pleasure to ask Noemi Stauffer from Fresh Fonts (a newsletter for typeface lovers with over 20.000 subscribers several questions about her day-to-day life, her process of operating her newsletter, launching a new product, her workflow stack and why we should talk about mental health more openly.
The launch of this new content section was a huge success. Loads of subscribers messaged me saying how much they love the launch of interview
So yesterday, on Sunday 19th April, something special happened. I have sent out my newsletter Creativerly to 100 subscribers for the very first time. 🙌
This was the long-time goal I had since I launched the newsletter back in February 2019. I wanted to reach that goal within 12 months, but now it took 14 months, so nevermind. 😃
Creativerly is a weekly newsletter about tools and resources, which boost your creativity and productivity, combined with useful insights, articles, and learnings from the fields of design and tech. I have built this newsletter for the creative community and it feels really good, that it gets so much good feedback. I am very thankful for every single subscriber. But I am also incredibly thankful for those two subscribers who visited my Buymeacoffee page and donated me a coffee. The feeling you get when someone appreciates your work and your content that much that he or she is willing to leave you a tip is just indescribable.
On my way to 100 subscribers, I have learned a lot, I have met incredible people, and I grew as a maker. Building an audience is hard, but it isn't impossible. There are several things which worked out for me, but there are also some suggestions from other people who didn't work as planned. It is trial and error. Try everything and see which tactics work and which do not.
One advice I can give you which definitely works out is the following:
Be active in communities and write about your progress
Whether you are writing updates here on Indie Hackers, or in specific Subreddits, in Facebook Groups, on your blog, or you join Communities like Makerpad or Visualize Value, just be active and share what you are learning on your journey. People will realize they get value from your posts, tweets, articles, etc. and you will start building an audience. Try to engage with your followers one by one, asking them for feedback, or sending them prototypes for example. Share your knowledge, share what you learn, it might be great value for others too.
After some abstinence over the last two months, I am back with another update regarding Creativerly. For those of you who do not know what Creativerly is, here a short introduction:
Creativerly is a weekly digest about tools & resources, which boost your creativity and productivity. Combined with useful insights, articles, and learnings from the fields of design and tech, this newsletter was built for the creative community in mind.
I started the newsletter back in February 2019 and set myself the goal to reach 100 subscribers within a year. So 12 months later I am currently sitting on 86 subscribers. Therefore I have slightly missed my goal. Nevertheless, I am proud of how this project grew and evolved into a side-project I really enjoy working on. I know where I have made my mistakes, as I did not focus 100% on subscriber acquisition. Sometimes work and life is taking over, and months passed by without getting any new subscriber.
In November 2019 I decided to focus more on some ways to gain attraction for the newsletter and therefore also find new subscribers. I engaged with the design community on Reddit, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I posted useful comments on different topics and whenever it fitted I left a plug for my newsletter. I also reached out to some people after commenting on their posts. This was time-consuming but it brought in 30 subscribers within three weeks. Also, I got featured in InboxReads and InboxStash. I also wrote blog posts about Creativerly on my private blog which created some traffic to Creativerly's website. It really felt good to see that finally, a side-project of mine is doing well.
So I did not reach my goal within 12 months but I am still very motivated to keep pushing this project, as I think it is evolving into something really good a lot of creative mind could profit from.
Hey fellow Indie Hackers!
I recently shipped a new design for the landing page of Creativerly. I have built it using carrd.co by @ajlkn. It is so fun and easy to use, that you literally can set up your website in minutes. The Illustrations I have used are from icons8. With a free license you can use them in your projects for free as long you give credit. But there are also extended licenses which you can buy.
Creativerly is a weekly newsletter about tools & resources, which boost your creativity and productivity. Combined with useful insights, articles, and learnings from the fields of design and tech, this newsletter was built for the creative community.
The first Landing Page I have designed for Creativerly was very minimalistic and straight-forward. But for now I wanted to play around with a different layout, new typography, some illustrations, but also I wanted to work on the copywriting, since I think this is a very important part if I want to catch potential subscribers of my weekly newsletter.
The only thing I am not happy about is the way I have displayed the archive. It is just a long list. Maybe some carrd wizards know a work-around how it would look nicer. I would like to create a dropdown menu structured with months, so can expand a month and then see all the newsletters I have sent out in that month. Not sure if this is possible in carrd or only with code, but I will definitely look into this.
Curious what you think about the Landing Page. 😊
Just let me know!
I will keep you updated if I get some traffic juice from those featurings.
If you are also running a newsletter I highly recommend submitting it to services like InboxReads. Even if you are not getting new subscribers like you expected, there is always a chance to connect. So definitely try it out.
Over the last two weeks I did not found the time to fully focus on gaining new subscribers for my weekly digest Creativerly. I had to focus on my full-time job and get things done.
Nevertheless I am extremely happy about the fact, that although I wasn't actively reaching out to potential subscribers, I have now reached 60 newsletter subscribers in total. So I am still making progress. Also I am recently getting a lot of really nice feedback about the content of the newsletter. People are reaching out to me on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. This is a really great feeling and much appreciated.
Since holidays are near I am currently working on a workflow I could use to quickly promote my newsletter. I am still trying things out to see what is actually working and what is not. When I am done with that I will give you an update here.
So on November 5 I have wrote a new milestone about reaching 40 Newsletter Subscribers for Creativerly. Since then some stuff happened.
I posted on Indie Hackers about my journey to 100 newsletter subscribers. The post done well, with 6 likes and 15 comments in total. It is my most engaged posting on Indie Hackers so far. Part of the posting was my strategy on how I want to achieve my goal of reaching 100 Newsletter Subscribers. But I also asked the community, what things have worked for them for gaining new subscribers. Thankfully @AndrewKamphey and @pauldmet came up with some great suggestions and insights. I could clearly figure out what my next steps should be and how I would be possible to reach my goal.
I also submitted the newsletter to Inbox Stash a site where you can discover newsletters. Funny coincidence: @pauldmet is the founder of Inbox Stash and added my newsletter to the site. I tried to engage with people on LinkedIn through different design/creativity/productivity related groups, and well it worked out great. Just a few minutes ago I also received an email from a fellow Indie Hacker who shared my newsletter in a Facebook Group. Over the whole month of October I have gained 10 new subscribers. I just worked on the tips and tricks from @AndrewKamphey and @pauldmet and reached again 10 new subscribers within a week. I am pretty sure if I spend a good amount of time per day on reaching out to potential subscribers on LinkedIn, Twitter and per Email that I will reach my goal of 100 new subscribers pretty fast.
This feels amazing since I really want to build something for the awesome creative community and also pay back. Also for the first time ever, I think I am onto something with my side-projects. I will keep you updated here and also on my blog here: Philipp Temmel's Blog
I just surpassed 40 Newsletter Subscribers for Creativerly 🙌
Recently I decided to focus on growing a community around the newsletter. I set myself the goal of reaching 100 subscribers within 12 months. Since I focused only on improving the content over the first 6 months I did not do any marketing related stuff. Now there are only four months left to reach my goal. So I decided to start some marketing.
What hast worked best for me is being active in different communities. Creativerly is all about apps, tool, resources, books, and podcasts which boost your creativity and productivity. It is a knowledgebase dropping into your inbox every Sunday. Since the newsletter touches the fields of design, creativity, and products I started to actively post in different subreddits. But I also engaged with users and brands I like on twitter. This tactic quickly brought me 10 new subscribers within one month. I could have posted a lot more, so I am pretty happy with winning 10 subscribers.
I also started my personal blog where I share some insights on my side-projects and how they are evolving. My latest blog post is all about Creativerly. My blog is driving good traffic to the homepage of Creativerly. In all my blog posts I implemented a direct sign up form which makes it dead simple for people who land on my blog to sign up for the newsletter.
So far I am pretty happy with the result of my first marketing measures. If I still want to reach my goal of 100 subscribers within 12 months I definetely have to improve some stuff. I am also thinking of launching on Product Hunt but for that I have to polish my website a little bit I think and prepare some more stuff.
But overall, I love how this project is evolving and growing so far! 🙌
I am a big fan of the no-code movement. Since I am a designer and have very little notion of programming, tools like carrd.co come in very handy for me.
Last weekend I sat down and worked a bit on my weekly newsletter, Creativerly. First I decided to move the whole project to its own domain. So I used Namecheap to buy my new domain. Namecheap has some crazy good prices for .xyz domains for the first year (I paid 1,17€ for one year now, after that the renewal cost is around 11€).
At that time I already played around a lot with carrd.co since I had a free account. Because I wanted to use my own domain and some other features, I decided to finally upgrade to a Pro Plan (I bought the Pro Standard Plan which costs 19$ per year, yes per year😍). It literally took me minutes to set everything up, build my landing page, connect my domain and publish everything. It was incredibly fun building this and I am more than happy, that I now have a simple landing page for people who are interested in my newsletter.
I love the fact that there are so many makers out there who built tools which help people like me, to just build and create what they want. Carrd made it really simple to quickly set up a landing page and for 19$ a year that is a crazy good value.
Check out the landing page down below, feedback is always very welcomed! 🥰
I set myself the goal to reach 100 Newsletter Subscribers within a year. Over the past few months, I was mainly focusing on content and the look & feel of my newsletter. Since I created a newsletter which I am pretty proud of, I want to focus now more on gaining new subscribers. I will try to interact more with useful postings on Twitter and Reddit.
Also, I am planning to blog regularly about my strategy and tactics on growing my mailing list. Writing is one of my passions, so I can combine some things I love here. The very first blog post is already in the pipeline and will be published soon. I will post an update when everything is online.
I am always on the hunt for tools, apps, resources, articles, which help me boost my productivity and creativity. Creativerly is all about that. Quality Content with loads of inputs from different creative fields. ✨