🗞 35 Newsletters to Level Up Your Online Business Know-How Without Spending $100,000 for MBA
And how to get the most out of them
I didn’t know anything about the online business world when I resigned from my full-time job at a corporate company 1 year ago.
Since then, I have been learning everything from the internet on my own.
I’ve been reading hundreds of articles, newsletters and blog posts, watching countless Youtube and training videos, listening to podcasts and trying to apply what I learned to my projects.
If you ask me to tell you what I was up to during these last 16 months in one sentence, I would say:
I got a master's degree in online business without spending hundreds of dollars on an MBA program!
And I owe this to the resources I follow, including unbelievably valuable newsletters.
Today I will introduce my favorite 20 newsletters full of experts' know-how, experiences backed up with real-life success & failure cases and inspiration.
They are helping me grow as a solopreneur and discover and challenge my limits.
I also compiled them in a table created in Notion.
You can duplicate this page to your workspace and revise it according to your preferences.
P.S. Click the “Duplicate” button on the top right corner.
I will continue to update this list so that you can see the newsletters I will add.
I aim to grow this list to make it "The Ultimate List of Newsletters."
Here are 35 newsletters full of experts’ know-how, experiences and inspiration that will help you to improve yourself in different areas of the online business world.
P.S. The order is random.
1. INDIE HACKERS
→ About: Starting & Growing A Business
Indie Hackers is a community where indie hackers share their stories and learnings to grow together. Can you imagine the number of insights, stories, and learnings this platform captures? Its newsletter provides great inspiration by sharing valuable insights and real-life cases on diverse topics related to starting or growing an online business as an Indie Hacker.
Founder: Courtland Allen
2. THE HUSTLE
→ About: Business and Tech
The Hustle keeps me up-to-date about the recent developments in the tech and business world.
It has 2+ million subscribers, and it is the perfect example of how valuable building a community is. Hubspot, one of the biggest marketing software companies, acquired the Hustle in 2021 to reach the community it has built and leverage high-quality content. This is a whole different story we will cover later.
Founder: Sam Parr
→ About: Research on Market Trends
Trends.vc is a real gem! It is perfect for widening your horizon on business ideas and concepts with compact reports. The topics vary from the “Freemium model” to “Community building”.
There is enormous research and work behind every issue. You can spend the whole day surfing among the links of tools, cases and examples that are shared.
Despite some issues being a bit advanced for beginners of a topic, their framework makes it easy to digest and shows the resources to learn more.
Founder: Dru Riley
4. EXPLODING TOPICS
→ About: Trending Topics and Analysis
Brian Dean is one of the gurus of SEO and content topics.
Exploding Topics uses an algorithm to spot trends before they take off by analyzing millions of searches, conversations, and mentions across the internet. It is eye-opening to see what is coming and helps you focus on potential areas.
Founder: Brian Dean
5. FOUNDATION LAB
→ About: B2B Marketing
Ross Simmonds is another expert in content marketing and one of my favorites. Foundation is his content marketing agency for B2B SaaS companies.
It has a learning center called “Lab” full of resources about content marketing, from creation to distribution and marketing insights for B2B SaaS companies.
To get these insights twice weekly, you can subscribe to its newsletter and visit the website to dig into more content.
Founder: Ross Simmonds
6. RYAN ROBINSON
→ About: Blogging and Side Hustles
When it comes to creating a side hustle and blogging, it is impossible to skip Ryan Robinso
This is “the source” you can learn everything about blogging, from building one from scratch to growing your audience. He has a vast blog full of highly educative long articles.
He shares his recent posts in his newsletter, so it will help you stay updated.
Founder: Ryan Robinson
7. STARTER STORY
→ About: Case studies with Founders
If you don’t know where to start, you should check out Starter Story.
Learning from other entrepreneurs’ journeys helps big time to find the motivation and inspiration we need. Pat Walls shares stories of starters with different online business models on different scales.
It is encouraging to learn about how these people deal with challenges, how they turn them into opportunities and their strategies to start and grow a business.
Founder: Pat Walls
8. CREATORS SCIENCE
→ About: Succeeding as a creator
Creator Science is a great source if you want to be a creator.
I discovered Jay Clouse a few months ago. As an experienced creator, he approaches being a creator from both professional and psychological angles. He shares growth tactics for creations, productivity tips, challenges on the way, his and experienced creators’ experiences and insights from his podcasts.
All aside, what makes him unique to me is his excellence in transferring his ideas, his genuine tone of voice and his humble attitude while he shares his expertise. I feel like I could be friends with him if I had a chance to know him :)
I highly recommend his podcasts, where he hosts successful creators and has fun and inspiring conversations on their journeys. He also has a new Youtube channel with high-quality videos of the interviews. He aims to produce 60-minute videos as engaging as 60-second TikTok videos — this is what we call a strong ambition.
Founder: Jay Clouse
9. MICHAEL GRIDLEY’S NEWSLETTER
→ About: Investment Deals
Theory alone is never enough when it comes to business.
I think some issues of Michael Gridley’s newsletters teach more than any lessons in a business school. Because he breaks down under-the-radar businesses making big profits and digs into the drivers of success for these living deals. It can be either a crossword website making $4.8 million profit or a high-flying health tech startup.
Founder: Michael Gridley
10. CAL NEWPORT
→ About: Productivity
I am sure you had some days which were a mix of back-and-forth e-mailing, project update meetings, and replying to messages in your team’s Whatsapp group.
At the end of the day, you feel exhausted but satisfied with your performance of sending immediate replies and your attendance rate at meetings. You think you had a productive day.
Sorry to say that, but you did not.
Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University, is trying to wake us up from this illusion. What we consider work is not work.
The way we work creates an illusion of thinking that we work but only makes us less productive. We only deal with superficial tasks and end up creating nothing.
Cal Newport discusses the ways of working and living deeply in an increasingly distracted world and how to improve productivity.
I am currently reading one of his books, “Deep Work” which explains the importance of focusing while working (deep work) and methods to protect yourself from distractions and superficial tasks. It is eye-opening and full of practical advice that can apply to your working habits.
Long story short, if you want to improve your productivity, don’t skip his blog, books, podcast, and newsletter.
Founder: Cal Newport
11. WHY WE BUY
→ About: Marketing, Consumer Psychology
Katelyn Bourgoin is very well aware of the fact that marketing is all about understanding humans and to understand humans, we need to know psychology.
In her newsletter, she invites us to take a tour inside consumers’ minds and explain buyer behaviors with one psychological phenomenon in each issue. A perfect combination of marketing and psychology. She is also a very competent storyteller, making reading her articles easy and fun.
Founder: Katelyn Bourgoin
12. MARKETING EXAMPLES
→ About: Marketing, Copywriting
The more high-quality content becomes essential, the more copywriting skill becomes valuable. Harry Dry knows copywriting and how to promote it.
In his short newsletters, he shares 3 practical tips on copywriting, 2 marketing examples and 1 favorite tweet with fun and easy-to-digest newsletters.
Check out his website, receiving 350K+ monthly visitors, to learn more about diverse marketing sub-topics, from building a landing page to SEO.
Founder: Harry Dry
13. SHIP 30 FOR 30
→ About: Online Writing
Writing online is one of the most powerful weapons in the online business world, considering the rising importance of high-quality content creation.
However, it requires practice and patience to improve this skill, and you may need someone to hold your hand along the journey.
“Ship 30 for 30” steps in to provide this help by providing guidance, practical frameworks, and exercises.
If you are interested in digital writing, you can start with their free digital writing course.
You should also follow Dickie Bush, co-founder, on Twitter and LinkedIn to see how he nailed writing on social media.
Founder: Dickie Bush & Nicolas Col
14. THE SATURDAY SOLOPRENEUR
→ About: Running Online Solo Businesses
If you know Justin Welsh, you know him 🙂
He is a master at growing an audience and making revenue out of it.
After he experienced burnout, he became a creator. He generates a few million dollars with only his LinkedIn posts. Now, his goal is to build a portfolio of one-person businesses to five million in revenue. Worth reading, right?
Founder: Justin Welsh
→ About: Curation
One of my favorite curated newsletters.
Janel Loi shares her favorite reads, tools, and resources, which lead to an exploration chain. After opening her e-mail, it is easy to spend a few hours without noticing; just a warning :)
Founder: Janel Loi
16. LATE CHECK OUT
→ About: Building online communities
Anything Greg Isenberg writes gets me excited.
He is an expert in building internet communities. He is the Co-Founder of Late Checkout, a product studio that designs, creates, and acquires internet communities. He is also a growth advisor at TikTok and a venture partner at Indicator Ventures, a tech venture fund. Apart from these titles and accomplishments shining on a CV, he also developed wisdom on approaching business, work, people, and life. His newsletter is monthly, but it is worth waiting for. In the meantime, follow his Twitter threads to get inspiration and learn from his experiences.
Founder: Greg Isenberg
17. PEER SIGNAL
→ About: SaaS market data
Adam Schoenfeld’s Peer Signal curates SaaS market data and provides accurate, fast, and actionable insights for long-term strategic and day-to-day decisions. It helps me to build know-how in B2B sales and marketing.
He is mainly posting on LinkedIn on social media. If you want to build a newsletter, it is worth checking this educative post where he shares learnings after his newsletter crosses 5000 subscribers.
Founder: Adam Schoenfeld
18. MOSTLY METRICS
→ About: Financial Metrics and Business Models
Mostly Metrics is a weekly newsletter about finance and business models, founded by CJ Gustafson, who works in finance to scale fast-growing software companies.
He mainly touches upon topics like Corporate Finance, FP&A, Treasury, Investor Relations, Business Development, and Analytics.
He mentions that his starting point is mainly the areas he wants to learn more and he is very successful in explaining complex topics in a simple way.
Founder: CJ Gustafson
19. FINTECH BRAIN FOOD
→ About: Fintech
Simon Taylor describes himself as “a lifelong fintech nerd.”
He is writing comprehensive pieces on fintech, and you should definitely follow him if you are into this area.
Founder: Simon Taylor
20. LENNY’S NEWSLETTER
→ About: Product Management
Lenny’s newsletter is the number one on Substack in the business area with 200,000+ subscribers.
The topics covered comprehensively vary from building a product and driving growth to people management.
Give it a read to the free issues shared once a month.
Founder: Lenny Rachitsky
21. FOR THE INTERESTED
→ About: Growing audience & Promoting creative work
Josh Spector shares “5 Ideas for the Interested” under a theme each week.
He shares mind-opening curation of ideas sourced from high-quality reads, podcasts, Twitter threads, real-life cases, etc.
It is short, catchy, and very helpful in triggering brainstorming on how to grow your audience and promote your creative work.
I highly recommend you check out his original articles on his website. Newsletter Growth series is one of my favorites.
Founder: Josh Spector
22. WONDER TOOLS
→ About: Tools
I am in love with newsletters that enable me to save time by sharing useful tools, sites & resources. Wonder Tools is one of my favorites in this category.
Jeremy Caplan, the founder of Wonder Tools, is a journalist and educator on entrepreneurial and digital journalism and the Director of Teaching and Learning at CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. The school has an online cohort program called “Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators,” aiming to help independent journalists develop newsletters, podcasts, local sites, and other niche news products.
Considering that high-quality content becomes more important daily, helping journalists adapt to the new world by leveraging their skills is a great initiative.
It is worth checking if you are into content creation with a journalist mindset and any previous experience.
Founder: Jeremy Caplan
23. ALI ABDAAL
→ About: Productivity, Practical Life Tips
I discovered Ali Abdaal on Youtube, but he is active on many platforms. He runs a podcast, writes newsletters and prepares courses. He shares insight mainly on productivity and ways to have a more satisfying life which you can easily relate to. He is considered a “productivity guru” of our modern age. I recommend you check his Youtube channel first, which is his leading platform.
Founder: Ali Abdaal
24. BRING THE DONUTS
→ About: Product Management
Ken Norton, an executive coach to product leaders, writes mainly about product management without being too technical. He is helping me to gain a vision in product management. He also shares his perspective on broader topics, good reads, and practical tips on work-life, which I find inspirational.
Check this issue to get an idea about what I mean.
Founder: Ken Norton
25. SOME GOOD CONTENT
→ About: Content Marketing
John Bonini is one of my first teachers when it comes to content marketing.
He is one of “the” names in this area. His newsletter is a must-follow if you want to learn about the practical frameworks, processes, and skills needed to plan, build and execute a more thoughtful content marketing strategy.
Founder: John Bonini
26. ROSS SIMMONDS
→ About: Content Marketing
Ross Simmonds is another expert in content marketing and a must-to-follow. I am learning a lot from him.
He shares his vision on how to approach online marketing, content marketing and distribution strategies, practical insights & tactics, frameworks and checklists we can apply.
Don’t forget to check his previous articles and comprehensive free sources on his website.
Founder: Ross Simmonds
27. IDEA ECONOMY
→ About: Curation
The value of high-quality curation is underestimated.
It is like someone else makes all the digging and serves the treasure on a tray. It requires spending hours of reading, researching, and filtering.
Ideaeconomy is my recent discovery of curation newsletters. I am sure you will find inspiring pieces if you are curious about online entrepreneurship.
Founder: John Bardos
28. EVERY (Superorganizers & Divinations)
→ About: Discussions on Business
“Every” is a writer collective consisting of business-focused newsletter publications. The founders, Dan Shipper and Nathan Baschez, first bundled their personal newsletters, Superorganizers and Divinations on Substack, and this initiative evolved into “Every”, which is a media company appreciating good business writing from a variety of perspectives.
Don’t expect easy-to-digest, short newsletters from Every.
Instead, get ready for long analysis and commentary pieces where the writers discuss business-related topics with their intellectually interesting aspects and approach them as reflections of the human soul.
My favorite publications are still Superorganizers and Divinations.
Founder: Dan Shipper & Nathan Baschez
29. THE TILT
→ About: Content Marketing
The Tilt takes content business seriously, as should be the case!
Their aim is to turn “content creators” into “content entrepreneurs” by providing the necessary vision and know-how.
This is a new definition of serious content creators, with which I fell in love. Its mission is to help content creators grow full-time, independent media businesses that don’t rely on social media platforms.
The Tilt’s founder Joe Pulizzi is the Amazon bestselling author of Content Inc., which is the next book on my reading list.
Founder: Joe Pulizzi
30. PSYCHOLOGY OF MARKETING
→ About: Marketing, Consumer Psychology
To be a successful marketer (both on offline and online channels), you need to understand consumer behaviors. To understand consumer behavior, you need to know psychology.
Abhishek Shah is very well aware of this simple truth and is successfully showing how marketing strategies & tactics are applied based on different psychological phenomenons.
Founder: Abhishek Shah
→ About: Growing Twitter Accounts
I have a love-and-hate relationship with social media.
I want to protect myself from the distractions it brings, but I feel like I need it to create a presence with my newsletter.
When it comes to Twitter, I was not an active user, so it is nice to read about growth tips and best thread examples. This is what you will find in the newsletter of Hypefury, a tool that focuses on Twitter growth. If you need a bit of support with Twitter, check it out.
Founder: Yannick Veys
32. NICHE SURFER
→ About: Niche Website Building
If you are interested in building a niche website, this newsletter will help you a lot. Joe has been building niche sites since October 2020. He is a passionate builder who builds in public and is very competent at transferring what he has been learning about niche sites. What I like the most is the way he keeps things easy to understand and shares practical and applicable recommendations.
Here you can find a Q&A where he shares all the details regarding his process.
He also runs a community for niche site builders. It is worth checking out, considering that this is an area that requires continuous learning and staying up-to-date. Having like-minded and knowledgeable people around you can be a lifesaver.
Founder: Joe (Niche Campus)
33. TIME BILLIONAIRES
→ About: Online Business
Aadith Sheth writes short and easy-to-digest newsletters about online business and marketing. I like his genuine and to-do-point style.
He is also very active on Twitter which is worth checking out.
Founder: Aadith Sheth
34. GROWTH CURRENCY
→ About: Newsletter Business
If you want to start, grow and monetize a newsletter, this is a must-follow newsletter for you. It is hard to believe that the founder Dylan Redekop is working on Growth Currency as a side project to his full-time job, considering the high-quality content.
There is no fluff, only practical strategies and tips backed up by his experiences while growing his newsletter.
Start with this amazing article which will give you key information about starting a growing newsletter in a nutshell.
Founder: Dylan Redekop
35. NO-CODE EXITS
→ About: No-code
In her newsletter, Katt Risen interviews with no-code makers about how to build, grow and earn money with no-code.
If you are interested in no-code, it is highly inspirational and a great resource to explore what is possible with no-code.
Founder: Katt Risen
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE NEWSLETTERS YOU FOLLOW?
It is easy to subscribe to a new newsletter.
However, getting lost in hundreds of unread e-mails piling up is also easy.
Hence, creating a system to get the most out of the newsletters you follow is crucial.
Here are a few recommendations:
1. GET A SEPARATE E-MAIL ADDRESS ONLY FOR NEWSLETTERS
This one depends on how many e-mails you receive to your regular address and how frequently you use it.
At least, you can separate your work e-mail and your personal e-mail where you receive all the newsletters.
If your personal e-mail is already busy, it may be distracting to receive new e-mails while reading a new issue. Hence, you may consider getting a new e-mail for “deep reading” newsletters.
2. USE INNOVATIVE CONTENT CURATION TOOLS
Tools like Mailbrew and Feedly are real-life savers.
They curate the information from the sources you add and share as daily digest e-mails.
I need to read and research diverse resources to write my newsletter. I subscribed to more than 50 newsletters. There are multiple blogs, subreddits, and creators I follow on Twitter as well.
I use Mailbrew; it saves enormous time and prevents endless scroll-downs and distractions from other sources. Highly recommended.
3. CREATE A SYSTEM TO TAKE NOTES
Forgetting things is both a blessing to survive and a curse.
When I read something exciting, I always feel like I will never forget it. Unfortunately, our brains don’t work like that.
Find a convenient way to take notes and integrate them into your system.
A good read can trigger refreshing ideas and motivate you to explore other areas.
Save all, including your main highlights and learnings.
Come back and read what you have written from time to time.
It helps to internalize your take from that piece, and it is also interesting to see the evolution of your thinking process on a specific topic in time.
Notion, My Mind and Readwise are great tools to collect all your notes and stay organized.
It is also OK if you want to things more simple. Just use Google Sheets to take your notes.
4. DON’T HESITATE TO UNSUBSCRIBE
Speaking of the ones you don’t read a lot, here is my advice:
Don’t wait and unsubscribe.
You already have a lot on your table. Elimination is critical to staying focused.
However, deciding which ones to leave can be difficult. So it is a wise move to get some help from tools like Unroll.Me.
Unroll.Me shows all your subscriptions as a list when you link your e-mail. Review your subscription from time to time and decide which ones to keep or unsubscribe from easily.
5. SPREAD WHAT YOU LEARN
If you read many resources about a specific topic, you will realize that you also want to talk about it after a while.
Writing about what you learn is a great way to:
digest and internalize the information that you accumulated
connect the dots between diverse resources
structure your thinking process
reflect your personal point of view on what you have learned
If you write online, it is even better so that you can share your creation with the world.
Starting your own newsletter is the easiest and cost-free way to start online writing.
If you have hesitations about hitting the road, this article may help you with how to start.
That’s all for this week.
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