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5 Lessons from 5 Years of Writing Cadence Newsletters

“… Big moves only come from lots of small moves …”

~  Cory Allen

In August 2023, I wrote the 75th edition of my newsletter Cadence – Life & Work in Motion. To celebrate this mini-milestone, I looked back on what I’ve learned from the process.

Like all my side projects, the Cadence – Life & Work in Motion newsletter is also a foundational learning experience.

It has proved valuable beyond standard marketing motivations.

For me, my newsletter isn’t a sales tool first (even though that’s how many people treat them). Instead, it has been a love letter celebrating what’s important to me.

It has formed part of doing things that may not scale when perceived through a business lens, but which are helping me make space for a more creative life.

“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.”
 
~Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic)
 

To mark this mini milestone, here are some lessons that have nothing to do with selling and marketing, and everything to do with creating connection, building skills, and making room for magic.

5 Lessons from 5 Years of Writing Cadence

1) It’s a Touchstone for Relatability

I’m an introvert, I hate doing videos on social media, and I convey more of my personality and value through words and voice.

Alongside my podcast, this newsletter is the most effective way for my audience to get to know me, and connect with me, my approach and my view on life and work – aka my differentiators.

2) It’s a Long Game

To grow things organically takes longer than you think. Start with the end in mind, but be prepared to be patient.

You sometimes need to talk about the same things repeatedly, over a lengthy period of time, for it to really hit home and get people to take action. Keep going, keep doing.

3) A Small List Can Have A Big Impact

Even though my newsletter growth is slow, mainly because I don’t throw money at the marketing, my open rates have been consistently high by industry standards.

I’ve learned that there’s a certain type of reader who stays. And they regularly send lovely messages telling me how a thought or idea has resonated with them. I’m super grateful to be allowed in their inbox.

4) Discipline Creates Reliability

You are building a skill and building trust. You have to show up consistently. And let your readers know what to expect. I’m up front about my twice-a-month publishing cadence alongside deliberate content sabbaticals a few times a year.

For the first time ever, this year I missed a planned publishing day when my uncle passed. These things happen, but I still felt terrible. Why? I owe it to my readers to be reliable and consistent, as every week there may be someone out there who can be helped in a big or little way by something I’m sharing.

5) Building Skills Builds Confidence

I remember how terrified I used to be every time I pressed “publish”. What if people hate it! What if there’s a typo! My whole reputation will be in the toilet! Argh! Lol!

Guess what? People who choose to stay for the ride are forgiving. And sweating the small stuff is a waste of time and energy.

I’m putting my creative work out there, it’s my job to make it, not judge it. My readers will do that and decide to stay or go. And that’s ok, that’s their job. The right ones will stay.

6) Bonus Lesson – It’s a Stepping Stone

Aside from helping you develop your confidence, learning how to write a regular newsletter (including failing repeatedly as you go) leads you to create other forms of content and value for your audience.

Making my newsletter a priority helped me hone the discipline and confidence to do bigger, scarier things, like start a podcast (which I did in 2019), and this year to write a book.

And now I’m taking on speaking gigs!

All of these things are connected.

For me, they are the building blocks that create the strong foundations for doing more intentional work and creating a more meaningful life.

They form part of my long-term goal of slowly and deliberately developing a business ecosystem that encompasses being an author entrepreneur and professional speaker.

Brick by brick, we build the foundations for the magic to happen.

So if you’re just starting out, keep the magic in mind while you chip away at building the means to make that magic happen.

In these situations, time becomes irrelevant.

See beyond the numbers, it’s the skill building and connection that matters more.

Where to next?

I have a few ideas and as usual, I’m experimenting. As of September 2023, the newsletter will be changing to a publishing cadence of once a month. To make space for the other things that also matter.

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‘Cadence – Life & Work in Motion’ is a free accompaniment to the podcast by Mich Bondesio.

It includes curated articles, tips and learning principles for ways to create momentum, work with purpose and live with intention. 

© Bondesio C&C  2024. All Rights Reserved.

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Photography by Christina Davies, Victoria Bayley and Rachel Ovenden.

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