10 Newsletters That Do $1M+ Per Year With Small or 1-Person Teams

PLUS: MorningBrew & The Hustle’s email design, Apple's war on newsletters, and more

Welcome to Newsletter Operator!

In today’s email:

  • 10 newsletters doing $1M+ per year with 1-person or small teams.

  • Breakdowns of MorningBrew and The Hustle’s email design

  • And much more…

Deep Dive

10 Newsletters That Do $1M+ In Annual Revenue With Small or 1-Person Teams

The amazing thing about newsletters and media companies is that they can scale to millions in sales with very small teams.

Today we’re breaking down 10 newsletters with $1M+ in revenue per year with one-person or small teams.

Note: Most newsletters don’t reveal their revenue. These breakdowns are educated guesses based on publicly available information.

1) TLDR Newsletter

  • Estimated annual revenue: ~$5-$10M

  • Newsletter subscribers: 1,250,000

  • Monetization type: Sponsors

  • Growth method: Paid ads

  • Team size: ~4 full-time

Based on TLDR’s media kit rate card from Q1 2023, a primary ad spot is $18,000.

Assuming they sold all their primary sponsorships and no other ad units - that’s $4,680,000 per year in ad revenue.

However, their real revenue numbers are likely higher. TLDR now has 1.2M subscribers (300k more than they did in Q1 2023), and they now publish 16 different newsletters.

Based on LinkedIn, TLDR’s team is just 4 full-time employees, and most of those employees joined in the past 3-6 months.

TLDR’s biggest expense is likely advertising. The newsletter is prolific at growing with ads. They advertise on Meta, Twitter, Reddit, and other platforms.

More on TLDR here.

2) Lenny’s Newsletter

  • Estimated annual revenue: ~$2-$3M

  • Newsletter subscribers: 400,000+

  • Monetization type: Paid Subscription

  • Growth method: Twitter and Substack Recommendations

  • Team size: 1

Lenny’s newsletter primarily makes money with paid subscriptions. Over 18,000 people pay to get every issue of Lenny’s newsletter and access to his private community.

Lenny is a master at creating high-value content that attracts subscribers.

He’s become the go-to expert on product-led growth and thousands of tech companies are happy to pay for his insights which can’t be found anywhere else.

More info on Lenny’s Newsletter here.

3) Justin Welsh

  • Estimated annual revenue: ~$1.7M-$2M

  • Newsletter subscribers: 135,000+

  • Monetization type: Courses, Sponsorships

  • Growth method: LinkedIn, Twitter

  • Team size: 1

Justin’s business is more than just a newsletter, but he describes the newsletter as the “hub” for all his content.

From his newsletter, Justin can sell courses (his primary revenue stream), sponsorships, coaching, and more.

Justin is a master of social growth.

He has 844k+ followers on Twitter and LinkedIn. He uses that traffic to drive newsletter subscribers and course customers.

Over 18,000 people have bought Justin’s courses. They cost $150 each. That’s $2.7M in just course sales.

More on Justin Welsh here.

4) The Van Trump Report

  • Estimated annual revenue: ~$20M

  • Newsletter subscribers: 30,000-40,000 (paid)

  • Monetization type: Paid Subscription

  • Growth method: Direct traffic, network, word of mouth

  • Team size: 1

The Van Trump Report is the go-to newsletter for the agricultural industry.

The report is a daily newsletter that helps investors and agricultural professionals make more informed decisions.

More on The Van Trump Report here.

5) Stratechery

  • Estimated annual revenue: ~$3-5M

  • Newsletter subscribers: 26,000+ (paid)

  • Monetization type: Paid Subscription

  • Growth method: Direct traffic, SEO, word of mouth

  • Team size: 1

Stratechery is a daily newsletter and podcast that analyzes the tech industry.

Stratechery is estimated to have well over 26,000 paid subscribers at $12/month or $120/year, which means $3M+ per year in revenue.

That estimate was done 2 years ago, so the real number is probably higher now.

Ben Thompson, the founder, and writer, is the only person working full-time on the newsletter.

6) Superhuman AI

  • Estimated annual revenue: ~$800k-$1.6M

  • Newsletter subscribers: 300,000+

  • Monetization type: Sponsorships

  • Growth method: Twitter, LinkedIn, SparkLoop

  • Team size: 2

Superhuman is an AI newsletter founded by Zain Kahn. It has rapidly grown to over 300,000 subscribers.

The main way Superhuman makes money is with Sponsorships.

If Superhuman sells all 3 ad spots in their newsletter, that’s $5,997 in revenue per newsletter send, or over $1.5M per year.

If they were just selling their primary ad spot, that’s $2,999 per send, or $779,740.

More on Superhuman AI here.

7) The Generalist

  • Estimated annual revenue: ~$1M-$2M

  • Newsletter subscribers: 90,000

  • Monetization type: Paid community, Sponsorships

  • Growth method: Twitter, collaborations, Substack Recommendations

  • Team size: 2

The Generalist is a free newsletter with deep dives into tech and venture capital.

It has 90,000 subscribers and monetizes with a paid community and newsletter sponsorships.

Its paid community is likely the primary revenue source. If 3% of free subscribers convert to paid community members (the community costs $499/year) that’s over $1.3M in ARR.

More on The Generalist here.

8) Marketing Examined

  • Estimated annual revenue: ~$1M

  • Newsletter subscribers: 90,000+

  • Monetization type: Sponsorships

  • Growth method: Twitter, Meta ads

  • Team size: 1

Marketing Examined is a free newsletter about growth marketing founded by Alex Garcia.

Alex is a master at Twitter growth.

He has 170k+ followers and is great at driving newsletter growth from his Twitter content.

Marketing Examined primarily makes money with sponsorships. They crossed $100k in ad sales in February and plan to hit $2M ARR this year.

9) Marketing Examples

  • Estimated annual revenue: ~$600k-$1M

  • Newsletter subscribers: 115,000+

  • Monetization type: Sponsorships, coaching, courses

  • Growth method: Content distribution, Twitter, word of mouth

  • Team size: 1

Marketing Examples is a newsletter and website about marketing and copywriting founded by Harry Dry.

The main revenue driver is sponsorships.

Between newsletter and website sponsorships, Marketing Examples can bring in $450k per year if all inventory is sold.

Harry offers 1on1 coaching. A 90-minute call is $900. If Harry sells 3 coaching calls per week that’s over $140k in annual revenue.

Marketing Examples also has a course about copywriting. It’s not currently live, but I expect

Harry can easily get 500-1,000+ course customers from his email list.

More on Marketing Examples here.

10) UI Dev

  • Estimated annual revenue: ~$2M-$4M

  • Newsletter subscribers: 170,000+

  • Monetization type: Courses, Sponsorships

  • Growth method: Word of mouth, SEO, YouTube, Paid ads

  • Team size: 4

UI Dev is a media and education company for front-end developers.

They have 170k+ newsletter subscribers and 80k+ course customers.

They have 8 courses that each cost ~$149. Customers can buy them one-off or get access to all courses and more content for $495 per year.

They sell sponsorships in their bi-weekly newsletter.

I couldn’t find info about their sponsorship rates. However, with a niche audience of developers, we can assume they have a $50 CPM on opens.

At 170k subscribers, 2 sends per week, and a 45% open rate, that’s $397,800 in sponsorships revenue.

Then if 2% of newsletter subscribers buy their annual course subscription at $499/year, that’s $1,696,600 in ARR.

The Best Links

📈 Growth

How to build trust as a creator (link)

5 elements of a great newsletter landing page (link)

How to grow a newsletter to 50k+ subscribers and $600k+ per year (link)

💰 Monetization

How David Perell built an email list worth 8-figures (link)

📬 Engagement

Why MorningBrew’s emails are so addicting (link)

The Hustle’s framework for newsletter design (link)

📰 Newsletter News

Apple has declared war on email newsletters (link)

📚 What I’m Reading 

Stacked Marketer – Learn from a $1M+ newsletter, for free.

50,000+ founders read Stacked Marketer to keep up with the latest marketing news and trends.

Sign up and get their 2022 Annual Report (which reveals their newsletter revenue, profit, metrics, and growth channels).

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