65 Weeks on Substack, $6.5 K

Karen Cherry
7 min readNov 22, 2022

Lessons learned on the way to $6.5K

Update 15th July 2023: I’m now at $12K, you can read about that here

Earning money with my newsletter feels so good!

I’m celebrating a newsletter milestone this week:

  • 65 weeks of publishing,
  • 65 paying subscribers,
  • $6,500 in yearly revenue.

It feels amazing to finally be earning ‘real’ money doing what I love every week. So I wanted to share how I got here and describe some of the things that have contributed to my success.

Before you say $6.5K per annum is not ‘success’, let me share with you my experience of being selected to join a hand-picked group for a Substack intensive. A few people in that group were making really good coin. Most of us were not. Almost none of us had conversion rates (free to paid) greater than two per cent, even though Substack will tell you that five to ten per cent conversion rates are the norm. Anyone earning more than $2K per year on Substack is a rarity. And I feel blessed to be among them.

If you are keen to get into newsletter writing for money, you might like to hear what worked for me, so here goes.

How did I get here?

I started with the ‘Why’. A good hard ‘Why’ is where any new venture has to start if you want it to succeed. Creating a newsletter is hard work. Without a powerful reason to persevere you set yourself up for procrastination, excuses and disappointment.

For me, the ‘Why’ was about creating a flexible income stream. Yep of course, there’s more to it than just the dollars… I also want to help my readers, to inform them, make their lives easier, and entertain them. But my overarching personal ‘Why’ is to make money. Sorry, NOT SORRY, this girl’s gotta eat!

Inspo from failure

My newsletter was inspired by a (now-defunct) subscription platform called The Science Says. The platform creators promised I could make good money by posting regular science-based insights for a targeted audience. They were wrong, I earned a grand total of $30 in six months on that platform. But I still learnt a powerful lesson.

What I learnt was that weekly, short-form, paywalled content is fun to create, interesting…

Karen Cherry

Substack writer. Secret tree hugger. Aussie business owner with >$13K revenue on Substack. Refusing to dumb it down.