How Ben Meer Grew His Audience to 1.5 Million With a Full-Time Job

He started his newsletter in March of 2022.

Now he has an audience of 1.5 million across Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

And he did it while working a full-time job.

ben meer growth

Ben Meer writes the newsletter called System Sunday, where he shares systems for improving your health, wealth, and time.

He now has over 230k subscribers to his newsletter.

Ben’s Backstory

After graduating college, Ben started a men’s e-commerce brand called Tailor and Spruce. While they started strong, he eventually had to shut it down because they weren’t profitable.

After that, Ben ended up going to Cornell University, graduating with an MBA in 2019.

During his time there, he realized why his startup didn’t work out.

One day in class, he had a life-altering epiphany:

Side Note: Isn’t it funny how two people can hear similar stories and one can just think nothing of it, and the other has a life-changing experience? I’ve heard the idea that bad systems are the reason businesses fail and just said “yea, that makes sense.”

But when Ben heard it, it was a life-changing realization that he’s now built a six-figure business out of. It’s wild how the exact same message can have drastically different impacts.

Pretty cool.

After that class, he started implementing systems into his life. He would spend an hour every Sunday planning out new systems that he could implement and improve his life.

He called those days: System Sundays.

Ben has been able to build up his audience to huge numbers, and he did it while working at a full-time job. He only left that job in March of 2023, a full year after starting the newsletter.

The Tool Stack

There are some tools that Ben uses regularly, and a lot of you have been asking me to include this section, so here you go:

There are lots of other tools he mentions, but these are some of the more prevalent ones.

How the Newsletter Makes Money

Ben has a few income sources from what I found, but there is quite a bit of room to expand these in the future.

Digital Courses

Ben has a course called Creator Method that he launched back in February of 2023.

He charges $297 for the course, and from recent numbers, it looks like he has more than 1200 students.

The course used to sell for $150, so that would be around $180k, but I know there was a presale price so it’s probably around $90-$100k in sales.

I know this because I bought it at that point 🙂

The Creator Method by Ben Meer

Ben Meer's proven system for building a 100K+ audience and 6-figure online business across LinkedIn, IG, & Twitter.

He breaks down his methods for audience growth and shares some "hacks" that are working on each platform right now. 

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Coaching

Ben offers 1:1 coaching at $1,000 per session.

You also get his course for free if you sign up for a coaching call, which is kind of a cool addition.

Sponsorships

Ben also takes sponsors for the System Sunday newsletter.

If he charges around $30 CPM, he’s probably bringing in around $5-$7k per issue, or around $21k per month in sponsors.

Affiliate Marketing

Throughout his articles and newsletter, there are affiliate links sprinkled where it makes sense. I don’t find him overly doing this, but just adding in a link where it makes sense to recommend a relevant product.

I can’t speak to the overall revenue he’s bringing in from the business, but I’d have to guess it’s at least $175k, probably closer to $225k at this point.

The Growth Timeline

Ben’s growth timeline is pretty wild if you ask me. This is one of those growth stories we all dream about.

ben meer growth

It looks pretty gradual, right?

Now look at the dates along the bottom.

All of this growth happened in just 16 months. How? Well, I’m glad you asked.

The 6 Growth Levers

Here are the growth levers I found when researching how Ben grew his audience.

🗓️ 1. Planning & strategy. This is both a growth lever and something that may have held Ben back from growing even faster.

🎓 2. Learn from the experts. Ben realized early on that he needed to level up quickly. After finding a group of people he resonated with, he took their courses and dove in head first.

⚙️ 3. Ben’s Content System. I break down Ben’s content system to help you see exactly how he’s been able to grow so fast while working a full-time job.

📱 4. Build social currency. The content Ben creates helps his audience look smart, making them much more likely to share it. I’ll show you exactly how he’s done it.

🧲 5. Lead magnets. Love them or hate them, Ben’s been able to find freebies that his audience deeply resonates with, and it’s led to a lot of subscribers.

🤝 6. Relationships & networks. We can’t do this alone, and Ben’s been able to figure out a great system for staying on top of his relationships.

1. Planning & Strategy 🗓️

The story about how Ben came to love systems isn’t just some story he tells – you can really get a sense of how dialed into his systems Ben is by looking at the beginning of the newsletter.

He started planning out the launch of this project at least 5-6 months before he ever created the first issue of the newsletter.

How do I know that?

In September of 2021, he was on Twitter trying to buy the handle “System Sunday” from the person who owned it at the time.

He tweeted at the guy on September 3rd, and then again on the 11th. Clearly, it worked out because Ben now uses that Twitter handle.

I found these tweets and thought, wow he was really a planner.

But then I decided to look up when he bought the “systemsunday.com” domain:

Ben bought the website domain in March of 2021. He must have really been noodling on this idea for a while.

He was able to come out of the gate swinging with:

  • A beautifully designed website
  • A great lineup of content for the newsletter
  • A strategy for the kind of content he’d create

These are all good things but I notice a problem too.

While I have this listed as a growth lever, and I do think it helped, you have to think he may have sat on this for a little longer than necessary.

Ben even mentions this in a comment here:

I think the takeaway is to plan a little bit, then just get started and worry about perfecting everything later on.

2. Learning From the Experts 🎓

Ben took a Twitter course with “The Art of Purpose”, an anonymous account on Twitter that is known for offering great information in his course.

Ben credits that course for a lot of his explosive Twitter growth.

The course started in April 2022, and it was around that time you could definitely see his tweets getting more engagement.

He went from a few likes to a few hundred on his posts.

He also ended up being way more consistent than he was when he first started back in February.

I haven’t been through this specific course, but there are usually two big components of these courses that help people grow:

  1. Learning the “right” way to create content (formatting, ideas, hooks, etc.)
  2. Finding other likeminded people who want to grow their audience

That second piece is key.

Students end up commenting and engaging with each other’s posts, helping to boost each other’s engagement numbers.

3. Ben’s Content System ⚙️

Ben has a pretty interesting content creation system that I want to break down for you.

It seems that this is what really helped him create such a robust content library while working a full-time job.

Note: He also breaks this down a lot deeper in his course “The Creator Method.” I definitely took away a few good nuggets of information from it that I hadn’t heard before.

And it all starts with having great ideas.

A. Idea Hunting

Every 1-2 weeks, Ben spends an hour doing what he calls “Idea Hunting.”

He’ll go through a variety of sources to come up with inspirations for his content ideas:

  • Books
  • Podcasts
  • Udemy
  • YouTube
  • Twemex (chrome extension for Twitter)

Essentially, anywhere else content is created that he can see if performing really well and resonates for people.

From the research, he comes up with 20 or more ideas, not by copying what’s already been created but using those sources as inspiration.

B. The Smart Post Algorithm

Once Ben has these ideas, he’ll list them out and score them using his “Smart Post Algorithm.”

He’ll take each one and rate it on two factors:

  1. Viral potential – this is essentially how well he thinks this post could do if he were to create it
  2. Time to create – is this post going to take 10 hours of research plus writing or is it something he can create in a few hours?

Once he has these two numbers, he can rank them to see which ones have the highest potential to go viral, and take the least amount of time to create.

This doesn’t mean he won’t create ones that take a long time if they’ll go viral, it’s just a way he can easily sort them as needed.

C. Creating Social Currency

In short, Ben only wants to create content that will make his readers look good if they share it.

After all, sharing and saving content on social media is one of the best ways to get more traction with each post.

This part is so important that I broke it out into its own growth lever, so let’s take a deeper look.

4. Build Social Currency

One of the things I loved the most about Ben’s strategy is his method of trying to build social currency.

The key to going viral? According to Ben:

Stop trying to look good. Engineer content that makes your audience look good—if they share it.”

Ben Meer

I love this. Not only is it just a great way to think about your content, but by making your audience look good, they’re going to want to share it.

He gives 3 types of content that go viral:

  1. Inspire: Content that motivates people to take action
  2. Educate: How-to and informational content that teaches your audience something
  3. Entertain: Content that you create to make them laugh or be amused

If you can make your posts 2 of the 3, you’re going to win on social platforms. These are the foundations for going viral.

Let’s look at some of his tweets as examples.

Example: Fall Asleep Quickly

Here’s one example where Ben wrote a thread about proven ways to help you fall asleep faster.

Why this works:

  • Everyone needs to sleep (unless your name is Edward Cullen)
  • We all either experience problems sleeping from time to time or know someone who does

I can think of at least 3 people I could share this with immediately. And by doing so:

  • I help them with a problem they have
  • I look smart for finding this
  • It’s *backed by science* so it might actually work

Example: Afternoon Slump

Here’s another one about how to beat the afternoon slump.

Why this works:

  • We’ve all experienced the afternoon slump
  • It’s been talked about a lot in marketing campaigns and in the news. So even if you didn’t realize you were experiencing it before, now you are aware.
  • We all want to avoid feeling like crap after lunch

The afternoon slump can be considered one of those topics you bring up when engaging in small talk. You’ve probably talked about it with coworkers or used it as an excuse to have an afternoon cup of coffee.

Because it’s such a widespread issue, if you shared this you’re almost guaranteed to be helping someone have less groggy days.

The other thing that Ben does really smartly here is that he calls out “Japan’s 80% Rule”, so even if you thought you’ve heard all of the good advice, he’s hinting that there is a new way that you can avoid the slump.

Super smart.

5. Lead Magnets 🧲

Are you ready for a spicy topic in the newsletter space?

Lead magnets are one of those things that some people rave about, and others are completely against.

But it seems to be working quite well for Ben.

He has built out a few really compelling lead magnets to entice people to sign up for his newsletter.

Let’s look at a few to give you ideas.

A. 75 Productivity Hacks

The first lead magnet Ben launched was a guide with 75 productivity hacks.

He launched it on Twitter, and this ended up being his most popular tweet since he started on Twitter.

This is still something he uses as a lead magnet, and it’s also his exit-intent pop-up, meaning that if you go to leave the page, this pops up to try to get you to join the newsletter.

B. Energy Tracking Metrics

Ben built out a full dashboard that showed his energy metrics like sleep, how many times he picked up his phone, etc.

It’s honestly a little buggy, but I was able to get a screenshot of it working for you to check out.

This is a really cool idea, but I almost wish he would just make the software available so I can use it too 🙂

The PDF itself is pretty useful and gave me some good ideas to implement.

This seems like a good lead magnet because if you’re interested in self-improvement and tracking your energy metrics, you’re probably a good fit for the newsletter.

While he has both of these lead magnets, the 75 Productivity Hacks one is the one he really promotes.

6. Relationships & Networks 🤝

Ben is a big proponent of finding people who are in a similar space and sharing each other’s content.

He was able to do this using the Twitter course I mentioned above, but he’s also purposefully sought out these “Synergy buddies.”

We saw this a few weeks ago with Sahil Bloom and his 100k Club.

With how easy it is for anyone to set up an account and start writing, you need a way to level up. Having the right people supporting you can be a good way to do that.

These can be just a few people who share your content and vice versa.

I’d go out on a limb here and say that Ben and Ross Harkness are synergy buddies on Instagram.

What’s He’s Doing Now

While those are some of the ways he was able to get to where he is, there are a few ways I see Ben using to build his email list now.

Facebook & Instagram Ads

It looks like Ben has started running some social ads on Facebook & Instagram as well.

These ads were launched June 14th and it seems like they are some of the first ones he’s tested out.

B. Creator Network Recommendations

Ben is also now part of ConvertKit’s Creator Network, which is driving a lot of subscribers for creators.

I’ve been using it for a few weeks and have already seen a decent increase in growth, so I’m sure Ben is seeing the same.

C. Leveraging LinkedIn

Ben has mentioned in a few places that LinkedIn is underrated for creators.

I’ve heard this from others as well, and it looks like he’s leaning into that social platform as well.

From this SimilarWeb data, you can see that almost half of all his social traffic is coming from LinkedIn.

🗺️ How You Can Replicate Ben’s Growth

This won’t be the first or last time I say this, but Ben’s growth is a bit of an outlier, so don’t expect these results.

However, there are several smart takeaways I had from this research that you can replicate for your journey.

A. Create Social Currency

Before you create content just for the sake of it, make sure you’re thinking about the social currency that content will build for your audience.

If they share it, do they look smart?

Is it content that people are actually going to because to take action on, or are you just tweeting platitudes?

If you look at any of the top creators, their content is reaching a wide swath of people but it’s also building social currency.

B. Create a Few Compelling Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are one of those “spicy topics” in the newsletter space. Some people say they are great for getting subscribers, but the quality of those people isn’t great.

And some think they are really great for growing your email list.

But at the end of the day, it’s just something you have to test out for yourself.

Most of the big email providers will let you get analytics on open rates and the quality of your subscribers based on how they signed up.

This will help you be able to easily track if the people joining your list via lead magnets are quality subscribers or not.

C. Find Synergy Buddies

I heard a lot of feedback in the past when I mentioned engagement groups, saying it was not something the average creator could replicate.

And I have to push back and say that’s the wrong way to look at it.

Everyone starts at zero. Yes, some people start with more impactful relationships, and others build them over time.

The key here is to remember that you don’t need to find people who have 300k+ followers to become buddies with – in fact, I doubt you’d be able to.

But Ben has been doing this from the beginning when he had no following.

Find people at a similar size to you and become buddies with them. Or join a Twitter growth course and let that community be your synergy buddies.

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. 🥑

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