Building A Winning Bundle🏆 | Every
"The magic of writing is that it can make readers feel less alone in the world. The magic of a writer collective is, perhaps, that it can make writers feel less alone in the world."
👆 That's how Nathan Baschez and Dan Shipper think about their startup - Every.
Every is a media company, a writers collective, and also a bundle of business focused newsletters that readers can subscribe to.
Nathan and Dan eventually want Every to cover every industry, every job role, every company, from waste management to wealth management.
That's why they named their business Every!
But it's not a traditional media company or magazine.
Every is structured as a writer collective, this means:
- Writers have the creative freedom to run a profitable business newsletter as they see fit without anyone influencing their content.
- Readers get a bunch of premium newsletters at a price that's just a bit higher than the cost of subscribing to any single one of them.
- And the company makes enough money to offer editorial help, distribution and financial support to the writers.
That's a win-win-win business model.
The Every story👇
Every - The Product📰
Every is a bundle of business newsletters, with a focus on analysis and commentary instead of news and scoops.
Writers on Every write long form pieces on business stories and trends with a practitioner's perspective. As the writers are running businesses of their own, they aren't journalists writing for a newspaper.
The focus is on utility - writing content that is most useful to the reader.
The Every bundle has 13 newsletters with topics ranging from productivity to business strategy to culture.
You can subscribe to them for $200/year or $20/month.
Every has around 2400 paying subscribers and 40000 free subscribers.
A 6% conversion from free to paying subscribers is above the industry standard of 5%.
While the industry average price of paid newsletters is $11, most newsletters in the Every bundle charge $15 a month standalone.
The Business Model💰
As a reader, if I like one or two newsletters in the bundle, then it makes total sense to subscribe to the whole bundle for $20 - even if you aren't that interested in the others.
As a writer, Every is somewhere between a personal Substack and a traditional newspaper like the New York Times.
Every helps writers with money, distribution, editorial support and branding.
Writers get a percentage of the subscription revenue. And if for some reason, they want to leave, they get their email list with them.
When a reader signs up, they are asked their primary newsletter choice. That newsletter writer gets 50% of that readers revenue.
This is a fair way to split revenue with writers, and it incentivizes writers to join the bundle without worrying about cannibalizing their own brand.
It's the ideal strategy to get influential writers like Tiago Forte joining the bundle.
This is how Nathan describes it -
"It's win-win for consumers because consumers get access to more stuff, more options for less money. It's a win for creators because consumers are spending a little bit extra than they normally would spend"
But this model didn't spring up suddenly out of the blue. Like most Indie Hacker stories, the Every story has humble beginnings.
It really started with Nathan and Dan's personal Substack newsletters.
Nathan had been successfully writing a business strategy newsletter called Divinations, and Dan had been writing a productivity newsletter called Superorganizers.
Both were paid newsletters hosted on Substack. Both were doing well, they had proven the concept of premium newsletters, and had built an audience for themselves.
But they were side projects, not standalone businesses.
Dan and Nathan wanted to test the next incremental step.
So they ran an experiment, bundled their newsletters into a 3rd newsletter called "The Everything Bundle"
At the time, they hadn't even incorporated a company. They just wanted to see how people would respond to the bundle -
"...first let's make a product that people want and will pay for..."
The Everything Bundle was an instant hit!
The revenue doubled overnight. Readers loved the concept of paying a slightly higher price for ton of more value.
That's when they knew they had hit upon something valuable, something that could be a proper business.
Eventually Nathan and Dan incorporated an entity when thy touched the $10K MRR mark.
And they left Substack to host the bundle on their own platform.
Nathan was the first employee at Substack. He was their VP of Product, he understands the platform better than most people.
He thinks Substack is a great option for writers who already have a huge audience and have been writing for a long time. (like journalists quitting newspapers)
But Substack can be hard for someone just starting and still figuring out their newsletter offering.
It offers almost no distribution or editorial support. And when you start a paid newsletter, Substack takes a cut on every subscription, which is a terrible model for any writer trying to scale.
Nathan and Dan realized one thing - great writers have always had mentors and a community to help them hone their craft, to refine their writing and make it useful to the readers.
Writers need support.
That's hard to get on Substack.
Plus you get very little customization options when you write on Substack.
If Nathan and Dan wanted full control on the user experience of their newsletter, it had to move on from Substack.
So they built their own content management system, and migrated their content to it.
That's when "the everything bundle" became "Every."
Bundling and Unbundling🔃
This a constant cycle in business.
Small businesses grow horizontally till they are so big that they can be unbundled vertically. Giving birth to more vertical small businesses.
Substack unbundled the newspaper. Individual writers could quit their jobs at prestigious publications like The New York Times, start their own Substacks, and capture a lot more of the value they were creating.
But once a few Substacks grow big enough, it doesn't make sense for them to stay on the platform. They can go on their own, or better still, team up with a bunch of similar writers and offer a bundle.
What Every means to them🤗
When they launched the platform, Dan and Nathan wrote a long essay explaining the concept of Every. They explained their model, their editorial and financial structure, their idea of a writing collective.
And they spoke about the what this project means to them, how they think about Every -
"In our best moments, the way we think about what we’re doing is this: The magic of writing is that it can make readers feel less alone in the world. The magic of a writer collective is, perhaps, that it can make writers feel less alone in the world. It has for us. And that is the point."
- Only 2 ways to make money - bundling and unbundling | Listen Up IH episode 11
- Framework: Unbundling | Opportunities
Let's look at the key lessons from Every's story👇
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