What's Next with The Hybrid Hacker
Introducing a Paid Plan (with an Early Bird Offer) Alongside Exciting Stats and Big News!
The last nine months with this newsletter have been an incredible journey, filled with sleepless nights, valuable lessons learned, and great people met. As I did previously, this issue is dedicated to providing you with some updates, but I consider this one special because it's going to introduce many new things.
So, I strongly suggest that you read it until the end because this is going to be a significant one.
In short, here's what we will cover today:
⏳What has happened in the last 3 months
💸 Introducing a Paid Plan (there’s a great lifetime offer for early birds!)
🌟 Some more exciting news
So, let's get started!
⏳ What Happened in the Last 3 Months
As you might have noticed, this newsletter is continuously evolving, and I must say that your feedback has played a significant role in this evolution. If you compare the first issue I published with the latest one, you'll notice a substantial difference. However, over the last three months, the changes have been unbelievable.
How the Newsletter is Growing
When I started writing this newsletter in January of this year, my goal was to reach a total of 1,000 subscribers by the end of 2023. As you might recall, in the last quarter update, I announced that we had reached 400 subscribers.
Well, in the last three months, we've added 2,500 subscribers!
That's more than a 6X increase in the number of subscribers we had before!
How was this growth possible? There are multiple factors:
👨💻 I shifted my focus slightly toward Engineering Management, which apparently is more interesting for my audience.
📈 I became more active on LinkedIn (in the last two months, I gained 4,000 followers and generated almost 1 million views with my posts).
♻️ I activated the Substack Referral Program and received a bunch of referrals from people who shared their links (You can do that too and there are perks!)
I started networking with other creators, and now The Hybrid Hacker newsletter is recommended by 20 other creators on the Substack network.
🧪 I experimented with the Refind Ads network. Although it contributed somewhat to my growth, I wasn't entirely satisfied with the outcome, so I stopped advertising there.
Given our engineering DNA, we love stats and numbers, so in the true spirit of building in public, let me share some with you:
We have now approximately 2,900 Subscribers
40% Average Open Rate
Around 50,000 Views Generated
34 Newsletter Issues Published
Over 60,000 Words Written (averaging about 1,800 words per article)
More than 200 hours spent writing (averaging about 6 hours per article)
Countless sleepless nights! 🥱
Honestly, I would have never imagined these numbers if you had told me about them before.
💸 Introducing the Paid Subscription Plan
Starting today, I am introducing a paid subscription plan. Even though producing this newsletter comes with its costs, I genuinely believe in keeping information accessible and available to as many people as possible. For this reason, even if you decide not to upgrade to a paid plan and choose to keep your free subscription, you will still receive most of this newsletter for free.
So, What Will It Cost?
The subscription to The Hybrid Hacker newsletter will cost $100 per year or $10 per month.
The this is what you’ll get with the paid plan:
🔓 Unlimited access to all articles (no paywalls)
🗄️ Full access to all archives
🗒️ Full access to Resources section (frameworks, templates, etc.)
🛤️ Access to Learning Tracks
📞 30mins of Mentoring/Coaching Video Call with Me (eligible only if you chose a yearly plan or you have been with a monthly subscription for at least 6 months).
There's one more thing. To thank all my readers and those who choose to support my work as early subscribers, I'm offering a 30% lifetime discount!
That makes the newsletter as affordable as $7 per month!
🔴 The offer is valid until the end of September, then the price will be $10/month, don’t miss it!
Why Should You Become a Paid Subscriber?
Whether you are a first-time Engineering Manager or an experienced one, or even an Engineer aiming to advance in your career, The Hybrid Hacker newsletter is an invaluable resource that already covers a wealth of knowledge and resources you can apply to your everyday job. This means hours and hours of research, experiences, and insights I applied first-hand with the teams I manage, all condensed into easily readable articles always at your disposal.
But there's more. With the paid subscription plan, if you stay with me for at least 6 months, you'll receive a 30-minute Mentoring Call, a valuable offering in itself that justifies the cost of the newsletter.
Lastly, you may choose to go paid simply to support my work. Writing this newsletter is undoubtedly rewarding in terms of the knowledge I acquire, the people I meet, and the consistency I maintain. However, it also comes with costs:
⏰ Time: I highly value my time, and with a full-time job occupying most of my day, a family with two kids, and a social life I try to maintain for my well-being, sacrifices are necessary. As I mentioned, it usually takes me 6-7 hours in total to write my essays (not counting all the research). This often means waking up at 3 am to write my articles and create visuals. Moreover, I have to prepare some LinkedIn posts over the weekend to promote the newsletter and respond to all the people who contact me with feedback (a big thank you for this!), among many other smaller tasks involved in maintaining a newsletter.
💰 Advertising: growing a newsletter today is no easy task, and while most of the costs to promote it are measured in terms of time, I also allocate some budget for advertising. Currently, I've set a monthly budget of $200.
📚 Learning: to enhance my articles and provide more value, I must constantly learn and stay up to date, and the best resources today often come at a cost. I pay for other newsletters, courses, online resources (like HBR), and more. For example, I recently invested $200 in a course to improve my design skills and deliver better visuals to explain concepts in this newsletter.
🔧 Tools: to save time and deliver better results, I rely on paid tools. To mention a few:
Let's do a rough calculation:
6 hours of my time at $150/h (I'm keeping it conservative) = $900 * 4 weeks = $3,600 per month
Advertising costs = $200 per month
Learning costs = Approximately $150 per month
Tools costs = About $70 per month
That adds up to roughly $4,000 I invest every month to create this newsletter!
My promise to you, if you become a paid subscriber, is that I will reinvest most of what I earn to create even more value. You wouldn't believe how many ideas I have in my backlog!
To keep the price low, cover some of the costs, and keep the newsletter open to all, I have also decided to gradually start onboarding sponsors. Rest assured that I will only work with high-level sponsors who:
Align with the topics we cover here (crypto advertising won't be found here, despite high payments)
Have been personally tested for quality
Offer discounts that benefit you
I understand that people like you are sensitive to advertising, so for now, this will be more of an experiment. If you find it annoying, please feel free to contact me anytime and share your feedback.
If you have a great product and would like to sponsor it here, don't hesitate to reach out.
🌟 Starting to Add Value
Okay, in short, even though this newsletter will remain mostly open to everyone, it is transitioning to a paid model. However, as I promised, I will reinvest most of the revenue to enhance what we offer here. So, even though I don't know how many of you will choose to support me, I wanted to begin by adding more value.
As you may have noticed in the latest newsletter issues, I've started incorporating clearer and more appealing visuals. Despite being a tech enthusiast at heart, I also have a passion for well-designed content, even though I'm not a designer myself. That's why I took a course and received coaching to improve my visual design skills, and I genuinely hope you're noticing the results.
With the new visual approach of this newsletter, I aim to distill complex topics into easily digestible images. While this may not replace the wealth of information in my articles, you might find it interesting to have these visuals all in one place and even discover more that aren't included in the newsletter.
For this reason, I've launched an Instagram account that you can follow, where I will exclusively share visuals related to topics like Engineering Management, Leadership, and Productivity.
I still have numerous essays to write and many areas to cover, but what I've written so far could easily become a book. Therefore, I've started organizing content into learning tracks.
This is a work in progress, so expect some changes.
One More Thing
As I mentioned, this newsletter has given me the opportunity to connect with:
Great people who share my mission of assisting first-time Engineering Managers (and managers in general), leaders, or those aspiring to these roles.
Many people who are already on this journey and need of support.
For this reason, I've been working on a way to bridge these two groups, resulting in an exciting new project called Leadership Hub. Think of it as a real-time community (currently hosted on Slack) where you can connect with people who have years of experience across different roles and companies, all there to provide support.
This project is still a work in progress and in private beta, but stay tuned by continuing to read this newsletter, and you'll hear more about it in the coming weeks!
So? What are you waiting for? Support me in this journey!
✌️ That’s all folks
That's all for today! As always, I would love to hear from my readers (and if you've made it this far, you're definitely one of the bravest). Please don't hesitate to connect with me on LinkedIn and send a message. I always respond to everyone!