TL;DR:

Maker: Janel Loi - @JanelSGM.
Product: Newsletter OS.
In 1 Tweet: A Notion dashboard to create and manage profitable newsletters.
Revenue (so far): $23,400.
Done in: +/-150 hours.


In a couple of years, Notion has gone from being the cool product to take notes and create wikis, to become a platform upon which you can build awesome things.

In this episode, I cover Janel Loi's story, a pioneer in using Notion as the foundation to build a profitable business.

1.Who

Janel is a marketer and a voracious reader that loves to build things, especially with no-code solutions. Before Newsletter OS, she created BrainPint, a newsletter that curates content for curious people.

BrainPint newsletter

2.Problem

Starting, managing, and growing a newsletter requires a lot of time and effort.

You have to do intensive research, write many drafts until you hit the final version, have a repository to keep creating good content, define a solid brand, work aggressively in distribution, and many more things.

It is extremely time-consuming.

And she suffered all of this with her newsletter.

3.Solution

That's why she built Newsletter OS, a Notion dashboard to help you build and manage a profitable newsletter.

Newsletter OS

It helps newsletter writers to start, manage, and grow their publication.

Among many other resources, It includes:

  • A Planning section.
  • A Curation & Writing System.
  • Actionable Growth & Distribution Tips.
  • Weekly to-do lists.
  • Monetization strategies.
  • A curated collection of resources.

3.How much money is she making

At the time of writing this, she had already made $23,400 with 665 copies sold. She launched Newsletter OS in October '20, so she is doing quite well!

4.Who is her target customer

People building/planning to build a newsletter without an efficient system to manage their newsletter.

5.Which is her business model?

Newsletter OS is based on three business models:

  • Pay once, use it forever.
  • Consulting.
  • Affiliation.

Bundled in two pricing tiers:

  1. Newsletter OS: Pay once, use forever: $49
  2. Newsletter OS + 30-Min call: $99

6.How is she acquiring customers?

Janel is very active on Twitter, where she has taken her audience from 57 followers in July 2020 to a whopping 6.000 just six months later.

Janel's Twitter

Also, Newsletter OS appeared in Product hunt, and she frequently posts in IndieHackers.

8.Technology used

To build her project:

  • Notion
  • Setapp, to take screenshots and capture screen recordings.
  • EzGif, to turn videos into GIFs for free.
  • Icons8, Flaticon, Giphy, for stock icons and images.
  • Namecheap, domain provider.
  • Colors and fonts, to get color palettes and font combinations.
  • Open Peeps, to get illustrations.
  • Figma, to design promotional graphics.
  • Carrd, to build landing pages.

To sell and promote it:

  • Gumroad, to process payments and get reviews.
  • Share link generator, to generate pre-populated tweets.

(I added all these resources to the Maker's Vault, for you to have them available any time.)

9.Key takeaways

  • Notion is ready to be used as a platform to build profitable products upon it.
  • You can rely entirely on no-code tools to make money on the internet.
  • Think about problems you are suffering in your day-to-day and see if you can build a product to solve them.
  • Generate demand by sharing what you are making openly.

Thanks for your time! See you in the next episode - Roberto.

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