The vast majority of writers who launch newsletters on platforms like Substack do so with a single business model in mind: paid subscriptions.
And that makes a certain level of sense, since subscriptions incentivize quality over quantity and can generate sustainable revenue without massive scale. They allow the creator to focus entirely on the core product -- the newsletter itself -- and establish a direct relationship with their readers.
But any business built on a single revenue source is subjected to a certain level of risk, and I think a lot of writers are missing out on opportunities to diversify their income because they’re so singularly focused on the subscription model. There are lots of other ways to monetize your newsletter without compromising its quality.
Josh Spector’s For the Interested newsletter is a great example of this diversification in practice. He launched it in the Summer of 2016, describing it as a “weekly dose of inspiration and proven strategies from the world’s most successful creators to help you produce, promote, and profit from your creations.” Every Sunday, the newsletter curates five items that illustrate some specific idea or strategy. A recent edition, for instance, shared everything from “Eight Writing Tips From Roald Dahl” to “How To Build An Online Presence Without Being Fake.” The newsletter now has over 25,000 subscribers.