I launched this website in the first quarter of 2018 – more than 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve been sending weekly emails to my subscribers. And while at first, my emails were structureless, with no real agenda, mostly my thoughts with a link to my latest article, my desire is now to provide a diversity of content that can prompt you to take some sort of action and move forward. I love sending emails to readers, it’s (probably) the closes I’ll ever get to directly communicating with you – the people reading my stuff. However, I have to re-group and move to twice a month sending schedule. Here’s why…
This is a side hustle. Meaning that I have a regular job. But that’s not the only thing. I have a wife. And most importantly, a year and a half old son. He’s adorable. I love spending time with him and teaching him new things about the world.
As you can imagine, trying to juggle between my family, a job, and writing is almost impossible if you want to stay sane.
I’m not saying this to complain or to evoke sympathy. I’m saying it to give you a better perspective of what’s going on behind the scenes. Moaning about a lot of work or about being tired is not my style. After all, I’ve created this “burden” myself.
So, when I started my membership program and then my Unstuck newsletter, I was committed to sending a weekly bulletin composed of the following things:
- A link to my newest book summary.
- A link to my newest article.
- Three (or more) intriguing pieces of content that I found online.
And while it doesn’t look like much, the first 3 require a lot of preparation.
- Writing the summary of the latest book I’ve read can take up to 5 days.
- Writing an article takes me around 3 (or 4) days.
- Putting together the actual email and making sure that there are no spelling mistakes (there usually are) takes me around a day.
If you do the math, bearing in mind that a week is composed of 7 days, you can see that I’m 2 days short (5 days for the book summary + 3 days for the article + 1 day for the newsletters = 9 days).
Five days to write one summary?
Yes, it might seem like a lot of time to come up with a single piece of content but I’m only writing for 2, or a maximum of 3 hours per day. I wake up at 5 AM and I have time till 8 AM. After 8 AM, life happens and I, usually, never get back to my personal laptop to write.
So, I either had to ditch the article or the summary if I wanted to keep up with my weekly schedule. But since my membership program is selling access to book summaries, not preparing one means that I’m essentially letting my members down and not providing them with what I’ve promised. Therefore, I had to ditch the article. And I did ditch the article for several months.
I was able to deliver weekly emails but two undesirable things happened:
Big Ideas Left Unexplored
To me, there is nothing more interesting than exploring in great depth the ideas I found in the books I read. In my summaries, I cover the 5 key lessons (sometimes even more) in a book, giving readers a better perspective of what they can find inside the pages. However, a single lesson in the summary is usually between 400 and 600 words. Not enough to unpack all of my thoughts about this particular topic.
Of course, it makes sense to be something short, not the whole thing. That’s why it’s called a summary, not an elaborate explanation of what’s the book about. After all, if you want the whole thing, you can read the actual book.
Oppositely, in the articles I publish, I dive deep into the single most important idea I found in one of the books I read and I give it proper attention. I research the topic beyond the information shared in the text and I’m not bound to follow what was written in the book itself. I follow my own line of thought and I even add pictures – yes, plain and not that stunning, but they do the job of conveying what I mean.
These articles turn out to be somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 words.
So, not writing articles was like leaving a newly discovered cave unexplored. I was cramping my note-taking app with notes and doing nothing with them. This was not only the opposite of what I keep repeating in my articles – to take action – but I was also feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information I consume, and do nothing with, which leads to my problem number two.
Peer Pressure and Time Pressure
Obviously, I want this site to become successful in terms of income. Not because of the money – at least not primarily. But because this will mean that there are enough people who care about what I create.
After all, when someone pays for your product, it means that they value what you do so much, that they’re willing to spare part of their cash to support you. To me, this is the highest form of appreciation. Not that sending a friendly email doesn’t work – it does. And people should do it more often, but paying for something online, supporting a website in the age of abundance means that you did something extraordinary for that specific person. You made him feel something. And this inspired him to choose you instead of someone else online.
Having the above in mind, in my quest to make my newsletter and site somehow successful, I, consciously or not, look at what others are doing online.
Of course, you already know what others are doing. Everyone is sending weekly emails with new content. New newsletters emerge on a daily basis promising to fix your life, your lifestyle, your income, and help you make sense of Big Tech. All of this, on a weekly basis.
“And since everyone is doing it, I should do it too,” I though.
For 5 months I was able to send my weekly email Unstuck to my readers but it was becoming tedious. I was constantly behind schedule. Constantly trying to find time in my already preoccupied daily schedule to do something related to my site. There was no margin, no room to do something else, no room to think about something else. On top of everything, the lack of feedback in terms of membership sales wasn’t contributing much to my already fragile mental state – that I’m not doing enough.
I was publishing hard but, sadly, not getting much in return. Which is of course my fault, I’m not doing any marketing for this is – but that’s a whole other story.
Anyway, I decided to use the summer as an excuse to send emails twice a month, instead of weekly, to see what will happen.
This idea is something I stole from Paul Jarvis. He’s a famous internet blogger, creator, and writer. And while he also sends weekly emails, he goes into radio silence every summer for several months.
I decided to do something similar.
And it worked.
I had time to write about the stuff I wanted from the books I read and also my mental schizophrenia was kind of cured.
From constantly rushing and arguing with my wife that I have to do this and this, I become somehow relaxed and more present – not constantly thinking about “sending the next email.”
Essentially, sending emails twice a month gives me margin. A room to breathe and to think. And as a blogger, well, probably even a writer, time to think is of real importance.
I want this site to be durable. To last at least a decade (even more). But more than anything, I want to make it resourceful.
And for now, sending emails every week is not a feasible solution.
I’ll most probably return to my weekly schedule but I don’t know when.
All I know that I will be once I have enough time to drop in your inbox with enough valuable content that’s worth your time.
Making sure that I only share with you insightful information is my #1 priority.