Welcome to Newsletter Circle!👋
This is Ciler - the founder of Newsletter Circle, the newsletter all about newsletters for indie creators.
Every Sunday, you will read the unique journey of a different newsletter creator and learn more about how to start and grow your own newsletter.
Subscribe to Newsletter Circle for free to receive new posts every week!
P.S. I changed the sending time of Newsletter Circle, considering more than half of my subscribers are from US, Canada and UK.
📜 Weekly Z-Report by Ciler
Another crazy week (in a good way) passed again. A lot is going on.
I built great connections, planned cross-promotions for the following weeks and continued to work on a more efficient repurposing system with iterations. Newsletter Circle is featured in other newsletters and appreciated by other creators organically. I wrote the summary of the previous issue on Indie Hackers and it appeared on the main page. The list goes on.
However, this list is not a good summary because it doesn’t help you with anything. I want to tell more about what I did & tried to make these happen. Because I work a lot and I learn a lot. I am scared to forget what I’ve been going through these days. I want to share what I’ve been learning. Otherwise, what’s the meaning?
I don’t want to steal the lead role from my guest by taking this part too long. So, I am considering an alternative way to share the journey of Newsletter Circle. Coming soon.
👏 Shoutout to “Branding for Solopreneurs”
Branding plays an important role in presenting yourself and your business in the best way possible.
Luckily, Robert Hacala is here to help you with his newsletter, Branding for Solopreneurs, which simplifies brand strategy and design for solo entrepreneurs.
If you want to get 20 years of brand design experience in his 2-min weekly newsletter:
Ok, I am here to write this issue. It is cold and windy outside, but who cares. I have my coffee here. A fav song from one of my fav albums plays in the background. All set.
Maybe I’ll move back home and pay off my loans,
Working nine to five answering phones
Don’t make me live for my Friday nights,
Drinking eight pints and getting in fights.
I don’t want to get up, just let me lie in
Leave me alone, I’m a twentysomething
This is how Jamie Cullum describes what it is like to be twentysomething in this song and to be honest, I can relate to it. I was kind of lost during my early twenties. I got the first job that I applied for. Despite looking good on a CV, it was not the best fit for me (that I understood after a long time). I was lack of a clear direction and felt a bit lost. As expected, I was far away from building my own business back then.
I guess, there is nothing to be ashamed of it (showing some self-love). The early twenties are complicated and difficult for many people.
Even though it is much easier to start a business nowadays, thanks to online heaven, it is still difficult to grow it patiently at such early ages. Because we all know that it is a wild road and requires trained brain muscles, discipline, consistency, self-confidence, the strength for confrontations, resilience etc.
BUT, there are many exciting exceptions as well.
Today, I have a very special guest who is building a business sports media empire even though he is only 24 years old!
Andrew Petcash is a former Division 1 basketball player turned sports entrepreneur, investor, advisor and content creator on Twitter with 67K followers.
Last but not least, he has a newsletter with 28,000+ subscribers.
In his newsletter Profluence Sports, he breaks down the business of athletes, sports, and NIL. He brings together founders, investors, athletes, and the smartest people in sports. This newsletter goes beyond the headlines to provide the most thoughtful and useful information in the rapidly growing sports industry.
Despite his huge audience, he refuses to monetize his newsletter directly via selling ads. He is also humble enough not to rush starting paid subscriptions without making sure to create enough value.
In short, he is aware of the power of content and leverages his content to grow his business and generate revenue indirectly.
Get ready for very clear and to-do-point answers from this successful young entrepreneur.
Is everyone inside our circle? Ok, then, here is Andrew Petcash on the stage.
🏷 NEWSLETTER IDENTITY CARD
🛠 Tool Stack
ESP (E-mail Service Provider) → Substack
Storing content ideas → Notion
Writing & Documents → Google Drive
Cover Photos (sometimes, bec hired an editor) → Canva
Emojis & Symbols → Emojipedia
Sending files → WeTransfer
Team Communication → Whatsapp
Hi Andrew! Let’s start with getting to know you.
I’m Andrew Petcash.
I played Division 1 basketball at Boston University - chose to build this business rather than return to school for my 5th year or go and play in Europe.
I am building Profluence Sports but I have a lot of other projects in the works. I am an Entrepreneur, Investor, and Advisor to many companies in sports.
Why did you decide to start the Profluence Sports newsletter?
I decided to start the newsletter because I had a problem obtaining good sports information that wasn’t buried behind paywalls or advertisements.
Growing a newsletter is more difficult than creating one for many creators. Which growth strategies have you utilized to reach 28,000+ subscribers?
Twitter and LinkedIn are at the top of the funnel, followed by led magnets.
Substack recommendations have been great, along with word-of-mouth referrals.
Let me put the roadmap that way:
I reached the first couple of thousand subscribers by taking them from Twitter threads to the newsletter.
Then, I added lead magnets to the website.
Now, word of mouth and referrals carries it.
I spent $0 on buying emails (which is what many of the major sports media companies do, but also why they have such low open rates)
Moreover, I spent $0 on paid ads.
How did you grow on social media in the first place?
You have a sizeable audience on multiple channels. Do you have a system?
→Twitter:66K, Tiktok 15.2K, LinkedIn: 5K, IG: 2.2K followers
I grew my social media presence by putting out interesting threads on sports business and athlete investments.
My system is this:
One post to Twitter every day, two threads a week.
LinkedIn thoughtful post 6x a week.
Two podcasts a week, which become video content for IG, YT, and TT.
My belief is that a plan + consistency + thoughtful content = followers over time.
How do you monetize your newsletter?
I monetize my newsletter through in-direct methods. Consulting and advising companies in sports are the most common monetization methods.
Why don't you apply direct monetization methods like sponsorship?
It dilutes the message and gets you into a hamster wheel.
You start to rely on advertisers and become more worried about pleasing advertisers and click rates than you become about pleasing the readers.
I would think about partnerships, but never just selling straight ads.
What about starting a paid subscription?
In the future, I may add a paid subscription, but I want to make sure I can add enough value to readers beyond just content before that happens.
Why did you choose Substack? Pros and cons?
Substack is my favorite platform by far. I did a lot of research on platforms and would highly recommend it.
Pros: Free email distribution, solid interface, good pop-up magnets, great for writing.
Cons: Bad SEO
You also have a separate website. Do you recommend opening a website to other creators?
Yes, I do, which is https://profluence.com/
It’s good for me as an additional SEO tool and lead magnet. I opened it about a year after just using Substack.
Sending three issues in a week sounds pretty challenging. What is your typical weekly process?
It’s challenging but I enjoy it, so it never feels overly burdensome.
System: Notes on Notion to first rough draft on Substack, then add research and pictures, then the final 3rd revision is editing.
How do you generate feedback and engage with your readers?
I’ve run some surveys in the past, but also anytime I get on a call with a reader and I ask them for feedback. What they like, dislike, etc.
You also run a corresponding podcast. At which point of a newsletter journey is it a good idea to start a podcast?
Yes, podcast and newsletter go well together. I just started the podcast in 2023.
The podcast and the newsletter attract two different types of audiences. I would say 1 year after being committed to a newsletter, starting a podcast is fine. Or you can do the reverse as well.
You are on your way to building a sports business empire. How does writing Profluence Sports contribute to this process?
It helps me see the trends clearly and is great for networking.
It attracts like-minded people.
What about its contributions to you personally?
I’m a firm believer in the compound effect (everything grows slowly and then fast all at once, with exponential growth), so the newsletter tests my discipline every day and also my focus and also my ability to try and predict where the space is going.
What is the most challenging part of writing a newsletter and how do you handle it?
The most challenging part is staying consistent.
Sometimes you’re traveling, tired, and only have half an article complete…but you need to grind it out and get something quality out the next day.
I handle it by knowing if I let one article slip, more could follow. The compound effect works in both directions.
What are your short-term/long-term objectives on your newsletter journey? How do you plan to reach these goals?
Continuing to grow the social channels and funneling people into the newsletter. Building out more cool features on my website. Continuing connecting with interesting people and engaging with cool projects in the sports industry.
I plan to reach these goals by staying consistent and disciplined.
If you had the right to give one single piece of advice to aspiring newsletter creators, what would it be?
Grow your social media channels first and then start thinking about a newsletter. Don’t try to do too much at one time. Build your content base first.
You manage many projects at the same time aside from your newsletter. How do you manage your time? Any productivity tips, maybe?
My productivity tip is to develop a routine.
I write in the morning and take all calls/podcasts in the afternoon. Every day looks pretty similar to me (Monday-Sunday).
I fall in love with the process, not the outcomes.
You wear many hats; sports entrepreneur, investor, & creator. How did you make all these happen at such a young age?
Sports taught me many skills - one is to have unwavering confidence in your own abilities.
I’m very curious and love to learn new things. I’m a generalist.
I enjoy the process of taking something and diving fully in so I can know more than 98% of people. I don’t need to be the expert, but I need to know enough to hold a conversation with that expert.
Which other newsletters would you like to recommend?
So many other great ones I could go on and on, but to name a few:
CJ Gustafson - Mostly Metrics
Jack Raines - Young Money
Andre Retterath - Data-Driven VC
Any final words?
Thanks for your time today - I love what you’re doing and this actually helped me better understand my own processes.
Thank you so much, Andrew. Looking forward to watching you grow your newsletter even further, along with the whole business.
🔗 Where to find Andrew Petcash and his work
👉 Subscribe to Profluence Sports
📌 HANDPICKED PIECES
Do you struggle to find other creators for cross-promotion?
I have good news for you. Lettergrowth is a platform that helps you to explore newsletters to do cross-promo and reach them easily and it is officially open. Add your newsletter, reach out to others and grow your newsletters.
👉 Visit Lettergrowth
Are you a bit stranger to the whole concept?
Here is a quick summary from Jamie Northrup explaining how you can leverage cross-promotion and LetterGrowth platform to grow your newsletter.
Duuce, which is the very first marketplace to buy and sell newsletters, started a newsletter to share the latest updates about the newsletter world.
Newsletter Circle is among the news in the last issue, which is such an honor.
If you haven’t done yet, what are you waiting for?
👉 Subscribe to Duuce for free.
That’s all for today. Thanks for reading and don’t be shy to leave your comment if you have any.
See you next Sunday.
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Thanks for the feature Ciler! Turned out awesome - keep up the great work.
Great interview, I'm getting ready to launch 2 sports (hockey) related newsletters this year.