$624k from a Newsletter: How Aakash Gupta Turned Product Growth Into a Successful Business

He had no audience in 2021.

Now, just 3 years later, Aakash Gupta has over 300k followers and 105k email subscribers.

He’s been able to turn that audience into $624k annual recurring revenue with his paid newsletter around product management.

Aakash writes the Product Growth newsletter, where he shares deep dives, insights, and strategies product managers can use to get better at their jobs.

While he has a huge audience now, he wasn’t always an “influencer” in the product space.

We’ll get into that, but first, let’s take a look at how he makes money.

How Aakash Makes Money

Aakash has changed how he makes money from the newsletter over time, but here are what I found to be his current monetization strategies.

Paid Newsletter

This appears to be his main revenue source at the time. Aakash runs his newsletter on Substack, and charges $15 per month or $150 per year.

There is also the option to pay $300+ for the year, which gets you a call with Aakash.

The average paid newsletter conversion rate is around 4%. So with 104,000 free subscribers, I would imagine Aakash has 4,160 paid subscribers.

At $150 per year, that’s $624,000 in revenue per year.

And that’s probably a more conservative estimate, given some people are monthly subscribers and some might even pay the $300 per year fee to get more access to Aakash.

Paid Twitter Feed

Aakash also has a premium Twitter feed, where you can pay $10 a month to get product tips and career advice on Twitter.

Book

Aakash has also self-published a book called “The Ultimate Guide to Getting a PM Job.”

source

He has launched a second version of the book in January, and paid subscribers did get this included with their membership.

Coaching

Aakash seems to do some coaching over on Intro.co. He charges $200 for a 15 minute call all the way up to $500 for a full 60-minute call.

But if you recall, with the $300+ membership to his paid newsletter you get a free call included. I have to wonder if having this option for coaching is just price anchoring to get people to buy into the paid newsletter.

The Growth Timeline

Alright, so we know he’s killing it with his paid newsletter, but how did he get here?

Aakash has been writing online for a while now, but it wasn’t until 2021 that he really started honing in on product management as his niche.

He’s written 4,400 words about lessons learned from Tom Brady’s career to talking about crypto at its height in 2021.

Over time, he started leaning into what he knew well and enjoyed writing about. As a VP of Product, Aakash had a ton of experience in the field and could help others looking to succeed in that type of role.

The Growth Levers of Aakash Gupta

Aakash is an experimenter and has tried several topics for his newsletter.

📱 1. Discovery platforms. Aakash has smartly used Twitter and LinkedIn along his growth journey, but he used them differently at different stages of his growth journey.

🗣️ 2. Optimizing for the internal share. Aakash stumbled upon a growth hack for his newsletter when he realized a lot of his paying subscribers were coming from one source.

🤝 3. Creator collabs. Coming together with other creators can be really impactful, as well as make your life a little easier. Aakash seems to be doing this more and more, and there is likely a good reason behind it.

🧠 4. Learn from top creators. You know I love this one. Learning how top creators have built their newsletter and audience is a smart way to level up faster.

1. Discovery Platforms 📱

Aakash learned early on that posting content to his website wasn’t going to get him the eyeballs and visibility he wanted.

One of his first well-researched pieces was about how Roblox was becoming the Shopify of gaming.

He hit publish on his piece on March 26, 2021:

And he heard crickets. Aakash didn’t have a huge audience at that point, so he was publishing into the void. Only a few people even knew his website existed, let alone that he had hit publish on a new piece.

But spending hours writing this piece and not getting it into many hands was frustrating, so he decided to throw it up on LinkedIn.

source

Once he did that, people started to take notice:

source

While LinkedIn worked well for him in the beginning, he started posting on Twitter as well.

59 likes on a post might not seem like much to some people, but it was enough motivation for him to keep writing and sharing his work on LinkedIn.

The Personal Monopoly

He began writing more and more, and eventually learned about David Perell’s Write of Passage course. It was expensive, costing $4,000 at the time.

But Aakash had seen Packy McCormick’s newsletter start to blow up around that time and learned that he was one of David’s students too.

He took the course and learned about David’s philosophy of the “Personal Monopoly.” Essentially, you want to be the only person creating content around a topic.

Lots of people can write about product management, but only Aakash had his unique experiences working on product management in both B2B and B2C companies.

He leaned into that “niche” and that’s when his newsletter and social media followings started to take off.

He was still working a full-time job, and writing on the side.

But in early 2023, he was let go from his job and now had a full-time focus on growing the newsletter.

You can see that big jump on the timeline. But that was also when he started increasing the scope of the topics he talked about on social media.

Top-of-Funnel Content

Instead of his content being solely focused on product management, he started sharing stories with much broader appeal.

Aakash calls this his “top-of-funnel content.”

He talked more about tech in general, but still in a way that product managers would be interested in.

Expanding his reach to include this kind of content led to these mega-viral tweets:

Like this one about the Barbie movie marketing stunts:

source

That’s 40 million views and over 229,000 likes.

Or this one about the huge Las Vegas sphere that got almost 25 million views and 47,000 likes.

You could make the argument that these aren’t going to attract the right kinds of people, but Aakash felt the opposite.

Until he ended up getting a role at Apollo.io as the VP of Product and had to dial back some content to devote enough time to that role.

He stopped writing those top-of-funnel posts and was still growing the newsletter.

I do think that writing those broader pieces did help him grow his following on social, which gave a layer of added credibility.

But you can see his follower growth on Twitter died down after he stopped those posts.

My takeaway from this is that those broader pieces helped him in the beginning, but once he hit “escape velocity” with his subscribers, he didn’t really need them anymore.

2. Optimize for the Internal Share 🗣️

In May 2023, Aakash stumbled on a new “growth hack” for his newsletter.

He wrote a piece called “The Ultimate Guide to Onboarding” which went a little viral for him in terms of readers.

He realized that a product manager from Meta had read the piece and must have shared it around with their internal teams. All of a sudden, he had an influx of new paid subscribers from Meta.

These big tech companies have huge learning and development budgets, so they can easily afford a $150/year subscription to the newsletter.

And the only way to read the full guide? Become a paying subscriber.

A lightbulb went off for him.

“Writing more pieces like that that can potentially go viral within these big tech companies with learning and development budgets is my number one goal.”

Aakash Gupta

Now he goes back through the pieces that drove the most paid subscriptions and re-reads them to see how he can replicate that in the future.

He started reverse engineering how to replicate that and started creating content based solely on the goal of getting product managers in bigger organizations to share it with their colleagues.

Double down on what’s working.

This builds in a great flywheel as well, Aakash created this image to represent how it works:

source

The part not pictured is his deep research into topic selection, which leads to even more referrals in-house at larger companies.

3. Creator Collaborations 🤝

Aakash has done several collaborations over the last few years.

Since we know that he is following the numbers and doubling down on what’s working, I have to imagine that collaborations are doing well for him.

If you look at his 10 latest posts, 4 of them are collaborations of some sort:

Whether he has someone come in and write a full piece, like the Ultimate Guide to Homepages, or he co-authors a piece with a creator who has a niche specialty like How to Become an AI PM.

The cool thing about these collabs on Substack is the other creator can publish them to their newsletter as well:

This can be a great way to get in front of other audiences, as well as giving your readers more robust content.

We can’t know everything about a certain topic, so bringing in other guest experts can help you fill those gaps.

4. Learn From Top Creators 🧠

You know I love this one.

Aakash talks about how he has really studied the work of Lenny Rachitsky and Justin Welsh and has refined his systems based on what they do.

He mentions Justin’s repurposing strategy, which I dove into here.

Aakash will spend the 9-5 hours of the day working on his newsletter pieces and deep dives.

On the off hours, he’ll work on repurposing that into tweets and LinkedIn posts.

From Lenny, he learned to start working on multiple pieces at once. This makes you a lot less stressed each week because you’re on the content hamster wheel.

When you start working on multiple pieces, you have a headstart on the next week’s article or deep dive.

Aakash says that Lenny is so chill and a lot less stressed than other creators, and he strives to follow that lead.

How You Can Replicate His Success

Aakash is a product manager, and he takes what he knows about products and implements it within his newsletter business.

Try Out Top-of-Funnel Content

While it’s not great for converting paid subscribers, widening the net just a little bit on social media can help grow your audience there and lead to free subscribers.

Aakash eventually gave this up because it wasn’t providing as much value as it did in the beginning.

However, I still think there is something to the added credibility that having tens of thousands of followers on social gives you.

Double-Down on What’s Working 🎲

Aakash regularly goes through his analytics to see which articles are driving the most paid subscriptions.

He figures out why those are getting so many people to subscribe and starts creating more content like that.

It’s a simple principle, but one that often goes overlooked.

If you’re on Substack or Beehiiv, you have analytics baked into the platform.

If not, you can install something like Google Analytics or Usermaven to get more simple data. Once you see which posts are getting the most visits or referrals, start looking at how you can recreate those in other ways.

Collaborate with Other Creators

There are a number of benefits to collaborating with other creators:

  1. You’re giving your readers a break from the “typical” content style. Over time, it can get boring for readers to see the same type of content from you week in and week out.
  2. Your workload is a little easier because it’s being shared. When you work together on a piece, you don’t need to write every single word, or find all of the supporting data. Plus, the marketing is easier too.
  3. Building relationships is the lifeblood of a creator.
  4. You get in front of each other’s audiences. They might share the piece with their audience on both social and their newsletter/website.
  5. You’re learning from other creators.

Each of these reasons by themselves is good enough to test out collaborations. But the fact that you get all of them in one is a great reason to try them out.

The X Factor of newsletter growth is building relationships, and collaborations are a great way to kickstart that process.

chenell basilio

Chenell Basilio

Chenell is the head writer and reverse engineer at Growth In Reverse. She spends her days researching newsletters, audience growth, and generally figuring out how to help others create better content.

She has an almost useless Bachelor's Degree in Geography, enjoys running, listening to podcasts, and eating guacamole. 🥑

Where I hang out on social media: