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I have 60 subs currently! It's been challenging for me to find ways to reach out to more people and increase my newsletter's subscriptions. Despite the difficulties, I find this platform very enjoyable and it has a positive impact on my mental health, unlike Instagram and other social media platforms.

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The notion that Substack only works for people with massive pre-existing followings has never quite rung true for me. I showed up with basically nothing, have spent a couple of years publishing weird science fiction, and have a healthy list of 3.5k readers. Including some paying subscribers, which I wasn't expecting at all.

And I thoroughly enjoyed every moment, which is perhaps the crucial thing, compared to the slog of other online venues.

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Mar 6·edited Mar 6Liked by Anna Codrea-Rado

Love hearing these success stories. To everyone else who’s still in the trenches: we got this 💪

If any other travel / coming-of-age writers want to connect, shoot me a dm! :)

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I really hope Substack improves discoverability so that there are more success stories of writers starting from scratch. There are many times when I search for writers of specific niches and don't find anything. Then, much later (months), I stumble on Substack writers via Google or forums that have been writing in that niche for a while but didn't appear in search or "Explore."

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Mar 6Liked by Anna Codrea-Rado

It's encouraging to see writers start from zero and gain a real following. That's where I am at and I hope someday the consistency and passion pays off. :D

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Mar 6Liked by Anna Codrea-Rado

I started with a mailing list of 200 and have grown to 1700+. My original list was made up mostly of contacts from in-person classes and events I was teaching. Switching to a newsletter format with a focus on writing was a big change and I attribute much of my growth success to leaning into the Substack ecosystem and what it offers. I have since incorporated my classes into the paid tier option, the rest of the writing and content I offer is free.

What's great about Substack is that there's no one road to success, each of us can find a way that fits our personal style and needs.

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Mar 6Liked by Anna Codrea-Rado

I love reading these stories - thank you for sharing! I joined Substack in mid-2022 with around 500 subscribers imported from Mailchimp. After years of seeing ZERO growth in my list (outside of Substack), I’m now at 2,177 subscribers and see new sign-ups each day. Plus, I just love being here. Finally, "organic growth" feels fun rather than spammy.

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Anna,

Honored to be featured in this article. It will inspire many writers.

Best,

David

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Well, I don't know that Substack is a "new career" for me — at almost 90, I've already had a long career as a writer, editor, music promoter, band manager, publicist and festival organizer — but it has got me writing again. In six months, my Substack (Stories from the Edge of Music) has 480 subscribers and the modest income is a welcome addition to my old age pension! I've always said that if you spend your life doing something you love with passion and energy, and you don't have any stories to tell, you've really blown it. Thanks the gods, I have enough tall true tales to last for at least another year!

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I'm a piece of trash line cook who has grown a subscriber list to almost 2000 in little over a year. I couldn't be prouder of being able to welcome each one of those readers. Three cheers to Substack for the opportunity!

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Mar 6·edited Mar 7Liked by Anna Codrea-Rado

Thank you for this very hopeful post:-) it came for me just in time. I was on a roll with new subscribers then got my first paid subscriber and everything screeched to a halt.

Just as I was being consistent.

I’m continuing though.

I started Substack because I wanted to write whatever lot up for me and see where it takes me.

The experiment continues!

nnekatrini.substack.com

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This was inspiring to hear. Sometimes, it still feels like I'm sending my words out into the void. Good to know that I just need to keep sending them out into the world.🙏💙💚🦋

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Mar 6Liked by Anna Codrea-Rado

What a comforting article! As a brand new Substacker, having just brought over my audience from MC a few weeks ago and still fumbling my way around, I'm excited and inspired to see all the interesting stories of success in all forms from financial to creative. Having hit frustrating roadblocks with other platforms, I'm very excited to see what the future brings!

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Mar 6·edited Mar 6Liked by Anna Codrea-Rado

Super interesting examples. It's not easy to start from scratch.

- I think Ami from "Finding Inner Pizza" has never used "social media" before. She's building her Substack from the ground up and already has one person who has pledged her support: Nikki Finlay!

- I could imagine with Nikki it's similar. Others are John Hamilton, David Blake and Avril Jason.

@Ami L Thompson @Nikki Finlay @Janice Walton @Kevin Palmquist @Doug Walton, PhD @Robert Puelz @AVRIL JASON

Even if you've made the effort and built an audience on another platform, such as Medium, you often still need to convert followers into subscribers, which isn't easy. I started at the bottom, got some subscribers from Twitter and then added some Medium subscribers.

We often forget that our email list is the most valuable asset in our business.

It's super smart to combine email list & social media - build an audience somewhere and turn it into subscribers.

You gain "followers" on most platforms, but getting those "followers" to sign up is a much bigger deal than someone just following you.

Congratulations to all the list builders mentioned!

One way is to grow from the inside out, the other is to grow from the outside in.

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I'm at 46 subscribers and I just launched paid subscriptions. I like Substack as a platform and I love to write so I'll keep doing it even if I stay one of the small guys.

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Mar 6Liked by Anna Codrea-Rado

A really inspiring and informative post for a Substack newb like me. It’s going into my saved folder for when I need a reminder about why it’s worth it to Stay In It for the long haul! 💪

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