7 Steps to 7 Figures with a Newsletter

It is possible to make $1,000,000 with a 25,000* subscriber newsletter. Here are the 7 steps combined with some realistic math to making it a reality.

  1. Content
  2. Distribution
  3. Sponsorships
  4. Impulse Products ($100)
  5. Commitment Products ($1K)
  6. Memberships & Subscriptions
  7. Coaching, Consulting, & Advising

The Math of 7 Steps with 25,000 subscribers

Estimated Revenue and Conversion per Type

  1. Sponsorships = $1000 per email
  2. Impulse Products ($100) = 8% of list
  3. Commitment Products ($1K) = 2.5% of list
  4. Memberships & Subscriptions = 3% of list at $200/year
  5. Coaching, Consulting, & Advising = 4 at all times for $2,000/month
Type Monthly Rev $ Annual Rev $
Sponsors $4,000 $50,000
Impulse $16,000 $200,000
Commitment Quarterly $625,000
Memberships $12,000 $150,000
Coaching, etc $8,000 $100,000
Total Revenue $40,000 $1,105,000

Note: your conversion rates may vary and there is potential for products to cannibalize each other, i.e. $100 buyers may not upgrade to $1,000 buyers or coaching clients. The best defense against this is a larger list or higher ticket offer.

The Value Ladder of a $1MM Creator Business

The process of developing an offer stack that drives a million dollar business can start at the high or low end of the stack, i.e. the $100 offer or a $2,000+ coaching or client offer.

Start High $$$ with Coaching

  • Book a couple coaching clients → because it’s easier to find 1 person to pay you $2,000 than it is to find 20 people to pay you $100.
  • Start a group coaching program → when you understand the common issues and strategies that keep coming up in personal coaching.
  • Offer a cohort course → when you have a playbook for success based on the results of your coaching clients. You also have testimonials and social proof to share.
  • Offer a self-guided course → after running a couple cohorts (or more). You will have a better understanding of the problems and solutions potential customers need, with even more testimonials and proof of concept from coaching and cohorts.
  • Offer an “impulse” product → the essential elements of the main course, with additional lessons on how to get started. This can be offered as a fast-action discount for new subscribers to your newsletter or a downsell to those who don’t purchase the course.

Start Low $ with an Impulse Product

  • Sell your first “impulse” product → as a template, series of scripts, email course, or live workshop. Prioritize increasing customers over increasing revenue. More customers means more feedback and a better version of the next product.
  • Strengthen the impulse product → do this by turning the initial offer into a self-guided course. A good example of this is how Justin Welsh turned his initial content templates and calendars into the Content OS course.
  • Develop a “commitment” product → do this with a cohort course of the impulse product, with the time commitment. It’s best practice to add in more here, but not necessarily content or lessons. Think more templates and scripts for implementation.
  • Another option is a bundle of impulse products. Thomas Frank does this with his Notion templates for productivity, second brain, and creators.
  • Offer group and personal coaching → do this by offering a coaching add-on to your course offers, both self-guided and cohort. This is for people who want you to take them through everything and offer direct feedback on their setup and system.
  • Dan Go does this by offering a $1000 coaching call to his $297 course. At the very least, it gives a clear anchor to the value of your course offerings. He also has a $10,000 VIP coaching offer that he upsells throughout the course.
Listen to me discuss this and provide direct examples with my friend, Tom! 

A Note on Sponsors, Memberships, etc

You can see above that I forecasted $200,000 per year on sponsorships and memberships. The sponsorship metrics are solid, $1,000 per email per week is a very realistic rate. You could even increase it by 50% just by sending two emails per week.

Memberships can be community or content driven. My friend Jay Clouse runs a community driven membership (The Lab), and Michael Easter runs a content driven membership (2% Club). Both can be very profitable, but there is a risk of cannibalizing your other offers.

Ryan Holiday also runs a content membership called Daily Stoic Life. It’s part community, part content (mostly content). Members get a forum, extra content, and access to the courses that Ryan hosts each quarter. That’s where cannibalization comes in. By giving members access to his courses, he’s technically running those “at a loss”. An annual membership costs $200, but all four courses would cost $600.

I describe this operation as running “at a loss,” but it’s likely not the case. That’s because most of your subscribers wouldn’t sign up to all four courses, and the marginal cost of adding members is zero. It’s a calculated bet that a membership is better than four annual pitches.

One last thing: conversion rate of subscribers to members is normally under 10%. Because of this, you can add new members while keeping your sponsorship rates steady. In the table above I only estimated a 3% member rate, which means your subscribers to sell ads against has dropped from 25,000 to 24,250. This will not affect your ad sales results at all.