Turn Your Newsletter Into a Business with Michael Houck

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Imagine going from $0 to $50k/month…. in just 5 months 💰

Michael Houck is a former VC turned full-time creator who began his career as part of the early teams at Uber and Airbnb. His newsletter, Houck's Newsletter, reaches over 60,000 founders and has enabled him to earn $50,000 in monthly revenue.

In this episode of Creators on Air, Michael Houck joins us to discuss startup strategies that can help you grow your newsletter, the misconceptions of paid advertising, and how to treat your newsletter like a business.

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Episode Transcript

Akta: [00:00:00] How long does it take to turn a newsletter into a thriving business? Well, Michael Houck went from $0 to $50,000 a month in just five months.

Michael: If you are ambitious with the newsletter and you have a goal for it to be a big revenue driver for you and build a business around it, then I would say think big and find the right information sources to learn that side of the business from.

Just try to learn the way that founders of startups think rather than the way that creators are typically taught to

Akta: think. Michael is a startup founder and former VC turned full-time newsletter creator. He's very quickly grown, his email list to almost 60,000 subscribers. And in this episode of Creators and Air, he shares how you can treat your newsletter like a business.

Michael: Yeah. I actually have a bit of a contrarian take on this. So I see a lot of creators and newsletter operators and people who are in this space building their business to have like the best margin that they can have right away, the most cash flow that they can, they can keep, um, right away, 90% margins.

Great. It's a great business. But for me, coming from startup mentality, I wouldn't have a 0% margin for as [00:01:00] long as I possibly can afford to. Interesting. Because if I do that, then I can reinvest a lot more into growth and I can grow a lot faster. So I see a lot of other people making, you know, creating their newsletters and trying to grow their social media audience and whatever it might be.

And it takes 'em a long time, um, because they're, they're bringing as much off the table as they can and, you know, not everyone can be at 0% margin. You gotta feed yourself and all that good stuff, but as low as you can, in my opinion, is the best, uh, for as long as you can, because then, You can just grow faster.

So I've been full-time on this for a little under five months now. I was, you know, doing it as a side project before then. But in those, you know, four or five months or so, I've grown from about 10 K followers or 10 K subscribers to, uh, 60 K. Um, and we're on pace to be at a million dollar run rate for the business before the end of the

Akta: year.

Wow, that's insane. So how do you feel, what do you think made you attract that size audience in such a short period of time?

Michael: I mean, my niche is, is startup founders, venture capital, business building, all that. [00:02:00] And that's a niche that, you know, is very valuable for sure. But there's a lot of noise in it from people who haven't actually gone out and done it.

Mm-hmm. Right. So I think that the credibility that I bring based on what I've built in the past and my ability to see kind of both sides of the equation as a former VC and a startup founder, um, has really resonated with a lot of people. Um, and obviously the content has to be good too.

Akta: What do you think makes good content that has helped you to stand out in such a crowded niche?

Michael: Yeah, I mean, I try to just be very to the point. Um, startup founders and people who are building businesses don't have a lot of time to get the flowery words and the, the pretty pros and all that stuff. They just want the facts, the tactical advice that they can actually go and implement in their business.

And that's how I talk anyway, so it works for me.

Akta: Yeah. What actually changed do you think from, like you said, you've been doing this for. Five months full time. What, what do you think you did differently from those five months to

Michael: before? So, I mean, I started the newsletter as a side project for my last [00:03:00] business.

It was to build up my personal brand to therefore make us more attractive to customers. Right, right. I was putting out one of these articles, one of these deep dives every week. Um, But had no ambitions beyond that with it. I wasn't, you know, trying to invest a ton of money into growth. It was more of like somewhere to point people when they're interested in, you know, becoming customers of our, of our business.

So when I left the business earlier this year, I basically just decided to take growth more seriously and treat it as a real business that could grow to be pretty big. I had done some analysis and I talked to, you know, a bunch of people like Lenny tki, Sahil Bloom, good friends of mine, and kinda learned what the, the potential scope of this business was.

Um, which allowed me to, to make the decision to go all in and also come up with a growth strategy that would actually let us achieve that pretty quickly. So for me it was really just like a mental shift of like, Hey, I'm going all in on this and so therefore I'm going to spend more time, attention, and money on ways to grow it.

Akta: Hmm. And what was that growth strategy? So like how much did you invest [00:04:00] into things like ads or, you know, did you put more time into organic growth or was it everything? Like how did you go about it?

Michael: Yeah, I mean I think it's important to, you know, some people say you wanna focus on one channel and just like own that channel and be the best at that channel.

I think that works for a lot of people. For me, I have a very short attention span and so I try to do a little bit of everything and then double down on what's working later, right? Run a ton of experiments and then iterate and double down on what's working. So, you know, I have a sizable. Audience on Twitter or x I guess now and, uh, LinkedIn.

Um, it's like over 90 k between the two platforms. I think. Uh, somewhere around there I was able to do a lot of like content marketing on there and get a lot of my first couple thousand subscribers just from, you know, putting a c t a at the end of my threads on X or, you know, in the, in the comments to my carousel posts on LinkedIn.

But after we got to a certain point, I wanna say 10 K or so. I started to run lead magnets where it was like, you know, comment and you'll get this resource, but you'll also be subscribed to the [00:05:00] newsletter. Those added a ton of subscribers in a short period of time. We added like almost 15 K subscribers in a couple weeks doing a few of those.

I mean, those are lower quality subscribers, so like it's a, you know, an open rate in the probably high thirties rather than, 50 plus. Um, so some of them have turned out, but it let us get off the ground really quickly and get, get things moving. I also invested a bunch into, at that point, into Spark Loop and into, um, like paid ads on social too.

So Facebook and Instagram, and also Twitter. I actually think Twitter has ad platform has gotten a lot better, uh, in the past, like six months or so at least for making it easy to get good space at a good C P m. And so, yeah, that those, those have been the bigger growth drivers kind of later on. But in the early days it was, uh, Yeah, it was content marketing and then also, uh, newsletter swaps.

So I knew a bunch of people who had similar size newsletters. We were all trying to grow at the same time. We just would run, like in place of running an ad, we would swap each other's, hyping up each other's newsletters. So, um, that worked out pretty well too. And you

Akta: said that you, you know, like to run experiments, see what was working and then double down.

Was there anything that [00:06:00] surprised you, either, you know, it was more successful than you thought it would be, or, you know, it was a really popular growth hack that didn't work well for you at all?

Michael: Yeah, I mean on the first part, the lead magnets were, were surprising. I, you know, they're super cringe, right?

Let's just be honest about that one. When you post something on Twitter and you're like, comment like one word below and I'll dmm it to you, like, it's super cringe. But when you're trying to get something off the ground, you like have to be shameless and you have to lean into being cringe. And so, um, That worked a lot better than I thought it would.

I thought maybe I'd get a couple hundred subscribers a week from it, but we did like five or six of 'em. We got almost 15 k, so crazy. I think that was just like the right lead magnets for my audience. Yeah. Really, really resonated as far as something we did that didn't work as well. As I thought, it took me a while to get paid ads.

Right. Honestly, once we started running them, I'm not, you know, I'm not a growth marketer, I'm not a demand generator person. That's not my background. And so I was getting CPAs for ads in like the three 50 range, which is just untenable. But then I started working [00:07:00] with, uh, Matt McGarry, who runs Grow Letter.

Great, you know, ad agency. He previously, uh, did a lot of growth for the Hustle and Milk Road and kinda knows the ins and outs of newsletter growth. Dirty secret of the newsletter industry is that all the big newsletters get 90% of the subscribers from paid ads.

Akta: It's funny 'cause I just had a chat with him just before you.

Michael: Oh, no way. Yeah, he great. Um, but he's, he's been a huge help. He's brought our c p a down by more than like half. Wow. Which is amazing.

Akta: Crazy. So what was the changes that. He made that you, you know, that you think were most

Michael: effective? Well, his creative was better. I'm, you know, I'm not a designer, so my ads were pretty ugly.

And then also he just understands how to, how to target really effectively. So I like taken some advice from him. And that's, you know, I tried to implement it, but when he, uh, when he brought it in, it was, it was much more effective.

Akta: Let's talk about your lead magnets. What do you think made them so effective at bringing in new

Michael: subscribers?

Yeah, I, I added like images that were blurred out, which I think [00:08:00] like drove FOMO and like I. A Oh, right. Proved it was real, but two was like kind of annoying. So like you just wanted to comment to like see what it was, you know? Yeah. Uh, so we did that and then also I required both comments and retweets in order for people to get sent the resource, which I.

You know, it was just like exponentially better than like saying just like this or just comment on this to get the resource. So we were able to drive, you know, hundreds of thousands of impressions on X for each one and, you know, convert a, a good amount of subscribers from it.

Akta: Mm-hmm. And then let's talk about how you've managed to turn this into a business because you went from making nothing to $50,000 a month in five months, which is just crazy.

Like, how is that? Possible. What did you do? Yeah,

Michael: I think actually from the time that I sent that to you, we've actually increased it. Um, we're at, uh, I just checked this morning, actually, we're at 66 K in the last 30. Um, so yeah, it's been crazy. You know, I needed to survive, right? I needed to make money to get this business off the ground and justify it [00:09:00] and bring in great people like Matt to help me out.

So, you know, I'm a hustler. I always look for different opportunities wherever I can find them. Um, I think for our case, you know, we get the majority of our revenue today comes from sponsorships. So we have a couple options. We have like a featured placement at the top of the ad. People can, you know, get like top billing.

We have a secondary ad in our Tuesday send, uh, that's in like the middle. Of the newsletter. And then a new thing we've been doing recently is selling like sponsored deep dives, but they don't, they're not like structured like ads, for example, I'll sit down and do an interview with the founder of a company and get their story, get their background, uh, try to understand like unique points and unique learnings that can be taken from their journey.

And then I'll write, um, you know, like a 1500 ish word, deep dive on it. Oh wow. Use that as one of our Saturday emails, but it comes off super organically because it's about the lesson. It's not like, Hey, try this cool product, you know? Yeah. So we're seeing great response from that. Uh, we just launched it a couple weeks ago.

We've already sold three of them. Uh, first one actually comes out this week, which is what I'm pretty excited about. So yeah, so those have been great. And then, you know, with running a business like this where I [00:10:00] am a startup founder, and um, I'm writing to startup founders, they wanna get my expertise. So there's like a very limited amount of time that I reserve for consulting.

Uh, every month as well that drives a little bit of revenue. A few months ago, two months ago, we launched a subscription plan, a paid plan for the newsletter, and people pay $15 a month or $150 a year. They get access to extra content. Uh, a community of founders. I run a bunch of fireside chats. People, people keep telling me that they're getting too much value from it.

I should charge more, but, you know, I, I want to 10 x the value at the, at the price. It's at first. So, um, yeah, that's where those three streams, where the majority of the revenue comes from today. Um, but then I actually just launched a few weeks ago. A product called Megaphone that is a marketplace where you can basically pay a subscription and then pay individual creators in the marketplace to amplify your posts on social media.

Uh, and these are like very legit creators. Like, it's not like a random, anonymous meme accounts that are, have followers in the various places of the world that might not be your target audience. [00:11:00] These are like people you probably already follow that I know personally. That's gone crazy. We have, we're up to, uh, six K M R R in just a couple weeks on that.

Wow. Uh, And so that's, uh, that's gonna be our biggest revenue stream by the end of the year.

Akta: Crazy. So how did you kind of like, 'cause you did this all very quickly, like in the space of a couple of months. So did you just start everything at the same time or, you know, was it like, I'm gonna do sponsorships first, see how that goes, then I'm gonna, you know, like, how did this all

Michael: work?

What? Yeah, I mean, sponsorships were the, I thought the lowest hanging fruit because I could have started the paid plan right away, but if I would've done that, a bunch of my time would've gotten sucked into the community right away. And I would've been doing it for like, you know, $15 a month. Not a lot to like, I.

Uh, you know, build a business around. So if I wanted to grow quickly, I had to get cash flow in right away. So that's why I went to sponsorships first. And I knew that the founder niche very valuable to advertisers, to sponsors. So, uh, we were able to charge a decent d p M right away. After that, I expanded to two issues a week from the original, just Saturday deep dives.

Uh, so I doubled my ad revenue from that. At [00:12:00] that point, I felt like we had enough cashflow coming in where I was comfortable spending time with the community. So I decided to launch that. And then the idea for megaphone just kind of happened by accident. Like I, I texted a couple friends one day and I was like, Hey, would this be interesting to you?

And every single one of them was like, can I pay for this today? Wow. Crazy.

Akta: That's amazing. And how do you know how. To price everything like, you know, sponsorships, deep dives, you know, like how have you gone about even the, the membership? Like some people have said that you're charging too little. Like how did you know what prices are?

Michael: Yeah, I mean, each one is kind of different on the, I mean, I worked in, in pricing at Uber. One of, one of my teams, um, for a while was the, Uh, the driver and eater pricing on Uber Eats, right. Um, we Marketplace, so I've been doing pricing for a long time for the sponsorships. It's really just based on like how many people are actually reading the newsletter and like what the niche is, right?

So for me, founder Niche pretty valuable. And we had, you know, X subscribers. So I was able to say, okay, at this c p m, um, this is what the price would be. But [00:13:00] we, we've iterated over time, you know, we've, we've tried, uh, various price points to see, oh, do we get more? Uh, conversion from potential sponsors we're talking to at different price points, and how do we weigh that?

Against, uh, the results that we're delivering. So we want repeat sponsors. That's the number one name of the game. We actually got two people, uh, confirmed this morning as repeating, which is awesome. Yeah, so it's really just like, are we getting the results we want and those results are our sponsors getting the results so that we get them to come back time and time again.

And our ad sales process is much simpler. Um mm-hmm. So kind of more of an art than a science there when it comes to the community. You know, the way you structure any like newsletter business subscription is you have a front end offer and you have a backend offer. So the front end offer is like your low price point, just like get access to the newsletter and maybe some extra stuff.

This is something that people can make an impulse purchase, um, or just join because they see one piece of content that looks interesting to them and they wanna see where it goes. I launched that first. Um, some people say to launch that second, but I, I launched it first so I can talk about why. But then you also have your backend offer, and this is like your [00:14:00] high price point, like annual pricing only, you know, like a thousand dollars or more a year.

And maybe for that you get like a subscription to courses Mastermind one-on-one time with with the founder. So that's something I'm thinking about right now. Maybe I'll launch that later this year. We'll see. But yeah, for me, the front end offer was more appealing to start with because I wanted to create like a center of gravity around the newsletter where people were actually spending time meeting other founders, interacting with each other.

And building up the, the brand around it. And I thought that would be the more effective way to do that.

Akta: Mm. How did you decide what that offering would be for like a c a membership or a community? Like, you know, how, what, how much you're gonna offer for that

Michael: price point? I mean, I just wanted, I'm just offering as much as I can.

I'm just layering as much on top of as I can until people are just like, Blown away, right? Like my goal is to get, if you wanna subscribe for the newsletter, cool. $15 a month should be nothing because the newsletter content has to be so good. So I'm always working in proof of content and on the other [00:15:00] side I'm like, what can I throw in here that will really resonate with people?

That will make the community side and the perk side also independently worth $15. Because you don't wanna make it combine $15. You wanna make each part independently worth $15. 'cause that's how people make decisions based on what they actually want outta it. Right? Um, So for me, you know, it's only two months old, the community, so I'm still trying new things.

Right? We're launching, uh, an expert network for people who can help you with various tasks about, you know, growing your startup or building your pitch deck or whatever it might be. We're launching that later this month. We've launched fundraising support services. We've launched, uh, a weekly casual chat.

You know, fireside chats every couple weeks. I'm just testing stuff out right now to see what resonates with them. And once we figure out what that is, we'll double down on it. Hmm.

Akta: And what about sponsorships? How do you find sponsors for your

Michael: newsletter? Yeah, so we have, we get sponsors in three ways. Um, the first one is through our agency partners.

So we work with a couple great agencies, uh, at Ostra, mad Rev. Uh, both are, [00:16:00] both are fantastic and they send us some percentage of our sponsors and initiate those relationships. We do a ton of outbound and inbound though, because on the inbound side, you know, my personal brand is, you know, decently out there on social media.

So people find us that way. Also, our audience is business owners and some of those business owners want to emphasize or want to advertise to other business owners, so it becomes a good opportunity for them to just naturally use the newsletter for something other than reading it. Uh, so we get a lot of inbound from there.

And then on the outbound side, we actually will look at what, uh, what brands and what, what partners are sponsoring other newsletters in our similar niche. Interesting. We'll track that. I think we track like 70 or 80 newsletters every week now. Oh, wow. And then we reach out, we find the contacts for them, and we reach out to, uh, to a bunch of them when we have open inventory.

Akta: Wow. It seems like you have a lot going on. Like you, you've got a lot of content that you're creating, a lot of revenue streams, you're adding. Plus you're like tracking things and looking at analytics, like how are you managing [00:17:00] all of it? Um,

Michael: I work a lot.

You know, I, I just focus on the highest leverage things that I can do. Right? I have a, I have a VA who helps me out a lot. I have a part-time ops guy who helps me out with partnerships, um, in particular and some other stuff. But the actual, like content creation, you know, experiments, pricing, growing stuff out, growing stuff in various parts of the business.

That's all me. And honestly, I just do it by, you know, being a heat seeking missile torch, whatever the biggest problem or highest leverage opportunity

Akta: is. Yeah. And I wanna talk about your recent acquisition of another newsletter. So Daily Dose of Startups. Why did you decide to acquire that newsletter?

Michael: Yeah, so that was an experiment. I think that we're gonna end up seeing a rise in m and a in the newsletter space probably next year. Uh, reason for that is because, you know, there's only so much ad budget for newsletters to go around and. I think tools like beehive and ConvertKit [00:18:00] and even like Spark Looper are inspiring people to create newsletters more and more and more.

And so we're seeing a huge rush of new newsletters in the space. I do think that more brands will want to advertise in newsletters as a result, and I do think other brands will increase their budgets in newsletters as a result, but, I think that the pace of newsletters will outpace the growth in available budget.

And so what that's gonna do is probably create a bubble. And my estimation is that bubble will happen or that bubble will start to pop next year at some point. And so I plan to be in a position where I can acquire some of these other newsletters at relatively affordable, attractive prices. Um, and so I wanted to test that out.

And so the way I tested that out was Daily Dose of Startups was just a small newsletter, 2100 subscribers. It wasn't very active. Um, the guy who was running it, uh, had a bunch of other newsletter products that he was running too. So this one had kind of fallen by the wayside a little bit, but had a good subscriber list.

It was very specifically in the same niche that I'm already operating in. And so what I wanted to see was, hey, if I buy this, can I get it at a price that's [00:19:00] attractive? And B, can I roll those subscribers into my existing email list and have them like not miss too much of a beat and get value outta the content that I'm putting out?

So we did that. We got it at a, at a price that I think made sense on both sides, uh, deal closed in like 55 minutes. Wow. Um, and then he sent out an email letting them know what was happening. And then I sent one out saying, Hey, you're gonna get your first email from me. Like this week or tomorrow, whatever it was, and I shut down the other newsletter.

I imported the list into my beehive page and we're now, I wanna say like two months, maybe a little less than two months out from that I. And, uh, the unsubscribe rates are way better than I thought they would be. And the engagement rates are way higher than I thought they would be. I was expecting like, you know, 30% unsubscribed or something like that, but it's only been like 6% unsubscribed.

I think we have under a hundred people who've unsubscribed maybe even lower than that. So it's really attractive. Um, and so I think that that proves to me that there is the ability to do this. Even if, you know, I just rolled the newsletter into my own, which isn't probably what I would do next year. I'd [00:20:00] probably keep them.

As standalone newsletters and just hire writers to keep them running in most cases. So it just gave me more optionality for, for when that happens next year.

Akta: Interesting. Why, why did you decide that then that you probably would like keep those newsletters as they are rather than merge them? Like what, what from that experiment did you get to make you decide

Michael: that?

I mean, it is gonna be an ad hoc decision, case by case decision for sure, but like, I guess what I'm, what I'm trying to say is that next year, I think, you know, there'll be attractive newsletter opportunities in other verticals than just startups, right? So maybe there's. You know, finance, or maybe there's one in, I don't know, politics or or, or marketing or whatever else.

I'm just gonna optimize what the most attractive opportunity is. Um, and so it might not make any sense to roll them into hocs newsletter and it might make sense for Hocs Newsletter to kind of become a, a holding company for, for media assets. Right.

Akta: Interesting. Um, what you seem to be very good at, you know, the business side of newsletters, which I guess makes sense given your startup background.

So like what advice would you give to newsletter creators who are very good at the creative side? But [00:21:00] aren't necessarily good at monetization and the business

Michael: side? Yeah, I mean, I would say just seek out the best content to learn it. Um, you know, first of all, not everybody is creating a newsletter so that they can build the biggest business ever.

Right? Like we should just get that out in the, in the open air, right? Some people are just writing a newsletter because they want to write a newsletter and they have people who wanna hear from them. And maybe they'll monetize it, but it's not their primary revenue stream. I think that's great. I think more people should do that too.

But if you are like ambitious with the newsletter and you have a goal for it to be a big revenue driver for you and and build a business around it. Then I would say think big and, and find the right information sources to, to learn that side of the business from like Matt, Matt McGarry does a great job breaking stuff down in his newsletter.

Uh, I think it's just called Newsletter Operator. And then, um, also on his Twitter, he posts so much information for free. So he's a great resource there. But yeah, I would say treat your newsletter like a startup and think about it, you know, read Paul Graham essays, read Y Combinator content. Uh, just try to learn the, the way that founders [00:22:00] of startups think.

Uh, rather than the way that like creators are typically taught to think. Hmm.

Akta: And so how important is things like, I mean, in the startup world, you talk a lot about product market fit. So how relevant is that to the newsletter industry? If you want to build a business, I.

Michael: I mean, it's entirely, uh, relevant, right?

You're, you need to, you need to lead with your credibility. You need to make people think that, Hey, I actually wanna read this topic from this person, right? It's not enough to just say, to just write about an interesting topic and think people are gonna care about it. You need to write about an interesting topic and make the content great because they trust you as the writer.

To do it. So I think that just happens with the track record over time. Um, you know, when I started my newsletter, I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I was experimenting with different sections and different ways for, to engage with my readers and most of them failed. Um, but, uh, once I found my groove and once I went full-time on it, I was a different story.

So I would just say, um, to, you know, to lean into that as much as possible. Yeah.

Akta: What's your mindset for growth [00:23:00] now and, you know, what's next for you as a new set of creator?

Michael: Yeah. I mean, let's, let's pour the gasoline on, you know? Love it. I just increased my, my spark loop budget from 10 K to 20 K a month.

Oh, wow. I'm running a bunch of paid ads as well. I'm writing Twitter threads three times a week. LinkedIn post five times a week. Um, I'm all in. I I want this, the email list. My original goal was to get the email list to 50 K by the end of the year, uh, when I went full-time in like Q one. Uh, now I may already hit 50 K, so I have reset the goal to a hundred K, but it's trending towards hitting that in November.

So maybe I need to think bigger.

Akta: I, I love that you are investing so much into it, but what advice would you give to someone who maybe doesn't have that kind of budget, you know, to start investing into ads and spark loop? Like what is the best way for them to. You know, be as driven and growth orientated as you, but you know, with what re resources they have.

Michael: Yeah, for sure. I mean, you only reach that scale once you get to a [00:24:00] certain point, right? Yeah. In the early days, you know, lean into content marketing, lean into swaps with other people, whether that's recommendations after they subscribe to your newsletter or whether it's like in place of ads. You know, get your audience comfortable with seeing quote unquote ads, but just show them other newsletters and therefore, You know, have those reciprocate by showing you, um, that drove a lot of our growth early on.

So I, I would say follow that formula as much as possible. Um, but yeah, leaning into content marketing is a great way to get started. Um, And, you know, that worked for us. So I would recommend that other thing would be, you know, monetize as soon as possible. I think a lot of people wait to monetize either because they are worried about introducing ads or because they just aren't prioritizing it and they're prioritizing the content is fine, but you know, bringing in revenue gives leverage to your business to invest more so.

I would say, you know, use tools like passion fruit to set up a sponsorship offering, even if it's only a little bit of money, even if it's only just getting started and you know, you can't work with every sponsor in the world yet. Yeah, I would say monetize as soon as possible.

Akta: Yeah. I [00:25:00] love that advice.

I've already asked you, you know, what's something you've taken as a startup founder that you've applied to being creator, but now I'm gonna ask you, what's something that's surprised you or you know, something you've learned entering the creator world that you know? Has helped you grow?

Michael: Hmm, that's a good question.

I, I think that, honestly, the thing that surprised me the most is how similar it is to being a startup founder. Honestly, it's, you know, I've approached it pretty much the same way, but I didn't think I was gonna do that when I started. Right. Um, but just treating it more like a business has been, um, has been usually beneficial in a short period of time for us.

So, I would, I would recommend that. Another thing though is just that like, you know, when you're a startup founder, you are in the weeds. You have like crazy crisis meetings all the time. You know, your product is breaking, whatever it might be, your users are complaining, whatever happens, and you have to just be super available for all these calls, all these teams syncs sometimes and things like that.

Being a creator, I really like it because if I don't wanna have meetings, I don't have to. Right. I literally can [00:26:00] just own schedule a hundred percent. And if I wanna go to the park at three 3:00 PM in the afternoon, I can do that.

Akta: Yeah, no, I like that. Okay, so I'm gonna end with a quick fire round now. So I'm gonna ask you five questions that I ask every creator that comes on air.

Starting with, and you've kind of already answered this, what's your favorite thing about being a creator?

Michael: Um, yeah, probably just the, probably just the freedom of getting to, um, you know, run my own, uh, business or creator business or whatever it is. Uh, exactly how I want to, uh, owning a hundred percent of it.

And, uh, just setting up, setting up my life exactly as I want to. Yeah. Also, I would add onto that too, because my niche is startup founders. It really lets me keep on like the cutting edge, the bleeding edge of where technology and, and businesses in the world is going. Mm-hmm. Um, and so that energizes me, keeps me super passionate every day.

Akta: I love that. And what's something that gives you the most inspiration for what you create?

Michael: My readers, um, you know, I ask all my readers all the time, you know, what topics am I not covering? What problems are you having right now? I think the best content [00:27:00] comes authentically like that, and so I. I try to spend as much time talking to my, to my readers as possible to, to get that.

Oh, I

Akta: love that. And what's one tool that helps you the most as

Michael: a grader? I mean, there's a lot. I, I, I use a lot of different tools. My community couldn't exist without circle. My newsletter wouldn't be half as good as it is without beehive. I. I wouldn't have made as much money as quickly without passion fruit.

So, you know, it's, the triumvirate there is, uh, is powering a lot of stuff for me. I

Akta: love that. Um, and what's something that helps you with your creator work-life balance? My wife,

Michael: my, I'm not good at work life balance. My own, I work all the time. So having, uh, having someone to, to make me remember to enjoy the rest of life is, uh,

Akta: is good.

And what's one piece of advice that you'd give to other creators? Treat

Michael: your, you know, creator business like a business, right? Think about how to grow it. Invest as much as you can without putting yourself at risk. Um, yeah, just treat it like a business. Amazing.

Akta: Thank you so much, Michael. I feel like this is such a great conversation.

I feel like especially for people who feel like [00:28:00] they can't turn it into a business, I think this is the conversation that will really help them change their mind, especially how quickly you managed to do it. So thank you so much for coming on air.

Michael: Yeah, Akta, thanks so much for having me. This was, uh, this was a lot of fun.

You can

Akta: find Michael on Twitter, LinkedIn, and his newsletter, and if you are a creator and one of your revenue streams is sponsorships, check out Passionfroot, we help you to stream on your entire workflow. I'll see you in the next one.