I never intended for this to happen; I didn’t start The Prepared with any plan for how it would help me win friends or influence people. The work it takes to manage and write gets slipped into odd corners of my week – on the subway, during lunch, after my family goes to bed. I write it in addition to my job and my personal blog and my side projects. It takes up more of my time than any of these, or the half dozen or so conference talks I give every year. And it pays off more consistently – and in more nuanced ways – than any of those things ever could.
Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
Persistence Over All Else
I like to think that I’ve got a distinctive voice, and that my curation is on point, and I’m pretty sure that the subject matter The Prepared covers has just the right balance of breadth and focus. But by far the most important factor to its growth has been its consistency.
In the beginning I sent The Prepared out to nobody – literally. I considered blasting everyone I had ever emailed, inviting them to subscribe to this thing that didn’t really exist yet, but decided instead to just start sending it and let it grow naturally. Doing so wasn’t particularly rewarding – in fact, it was lonely – but it helped me work out a few kinks in my format and cadence. And when I did get my first subscribers, it felt like something I had earned. I haven’t missed a single week since then.
There are certainly other ways to approach a newsletter, but I strongly recommend that whatever path you take, you be consistent about it. Value having shipped the thing over having perfected the thing; it’ll pay off well.