1-Read-A-Day: what I learned running a newsletter, October edition

Every month, I share what I’ve learned running the 1-Read-A-Day newsletter. Here’s the first month.

How well is it doing?

  • Subscribers: 230 (only 10 new subs since September)
  • Open rate: 22.6%
  • Click rate: 2.5%
  • Most opened email: Lesson 5, Making Yourself a CEO by Ben Horowitz
  • Most clicked email: Lesson 39, How Mint beat Wesabe by Noah Kagan

What did I learn in October?

  • Readers were quiet this month. Several commented that they enjoyed the 10-question quiz after Lesson 50
  • I recorded three short audio summaries for Lessons 1, 2, and 3. Just experimentin’. They’re around a minute each. You can hear them by clicking the big blue button near the top
  • I published another 101, Startup Mistakes and Failures. 27 great links featuring Max Skibinsky, Siqi Chen, Derek Sivers, and more
  • I wish there was an easy, effective way to convert emails into blog posts. There are plugins that convert RSS feeds into emails, but I can’t find a good plugin to do the opposite. With email newsletters growing in popularity, I hope this problem is solved soon
  • I wish Mailchimp allowed me to better manage autoresponder emails in bulk. Right now, if I make a design change to one Lesson, I need to manually repeat that change more than 50 times!

What’s coming up

  • More 101s: Hiring, Product, and Stories
  • Once I hit 100 lessons, I’ll create a draft Startup Textbook (a well-designed PDF file featuring the 101s and the summaries). Hope we’ll be there by December
  • I haven’t marketed the newsletter (beyond blog posts and tweets), but subscribers are not growing (5% since September). I’ve been unwilling to make a big push, and I’m not sure why (perhaps I don’t think it’s good enough?)

Thanks to all subscribers for your feedback. It’s been a pleasure to do this. Here’s to showing up and getting to work. Cheers!

PS. If you run an email newsletter, I’d love to hear what you’re doing and what you’ve learned

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.