Jade Bonacolta has gone from almost no audience to a LinkedIn master in less than a year.
She’s built an audience of over 250k followers on LinkedIn alone in the first 12 months.
And she’s grown her newsletter to over 50k subscribers in 9 months on the back of that audience.
But the story gets even more interesting when you dig in a little.
Do you remember Ben Meer from a previous deep dive?
Jade took his course, followed the system flawlessly, and she’s seen incredible results.
Fun fact: This is officially the first time I’ve done a deep dive on a student of a Growth In Reverse alumni.
The Growth Timeline
Jade started building her audience in January 2023 and was focused solely on creating content for LinkedIn.
For the first three months, she didn’t even have a newsletter.
When she launched the newsletter 3 months later, she already had 75k followers to help kickstart her growth.
In April, she also started posting on Instagram and has grown that to over 72k followers.
We’ll dig into how she pulled this off, but first, a quick primer on how Jade currently makes money from her newsletter.
How Jade Makes Money
Jade has a full-time job at Google, which means she doesn’t really need to worry too much about monetizing this audience quite yet.
But having a full-time job while growing her audience so quickly also makes her growth even more impressive!
Jade is monetizing in a few ways, which probably helps her reinvest into the business.
Jade has been offering coaching calls almost since the beginning of building her audience. She coaches people on, you guessed it, how to build an audience, used LinkedIn, and general creator advice.
She has raised the prices over time, but now offers these calls at $1,499 for 60 mins of coaching.
It looks like she opens up around 80 spots per month. But I really can’t tell how many people book these.
Even if she only books 20% of those, that’s a solid $24k per month.
In the last month or so, Jade started adding sponsors to her newsletter.
Here’s a recent example:
She’s also started including sponsors in her LinkedIn posts as well.
I wasn’t able to find much info on her sponsorship rates, so it’s tough to put an estimate on her earnings here.
My guess is since it’s early days for the sponsorship, most of the inquiries are inbound leads and she’s not trying to promote this quite yet.
For her newsletter alone, I’d guess it’s at least $1,500 per issue – adding in the LinkedIn promotion means it could be even more.
The Growth Levers
1. Follow a proven playbook. Jade found a system that has worked for other creators and executed it every single day. With over 250k followers in just 12 months, I’d say it was one of the smartest ways she’s grown.
🏃🏻♀️ 2. 90-Day sprint. This focused period of time not only cultivated a thriving LinkedIn presence, but also laid the groundwork to kickstart her newsletter.
♻️ 3. Repurpose regularly. Creators work super hard to put out content that performs well and provides value – but we all have something to learn from the way Jade repurposes her best content.
📱 4. Optimize for shares. This is the key to virality. Before creating any piece of content, Jade goes through and makes sure her content checks off certain boxes.
📣 5. Own a Phrase. As she figured out what to write about, she started building a full idea and phrase around it: The Quiet Rich. And the way she’s solidifying this idea in her audience’s mind is awesome.
1. Follow a Proven Playbook
Around the time Jade was getting started, she discovered a course called The Creator Method, built by Ben Meer.
While I can’t go into the specifics, that would be unethical, Ben’s newsletter is called System Sunday. He has a system for almost everything.
If you want more details, check out my deep dive on Ben Meer where I detail his full content system.
We know Jade followed Ben’s system, which breaks down into:
Idea Hunting & Quality
Idea hunting is essentially when you’re putting aside time every week or every other week to find ideas you want to write about.
These can come from podcasts you’ve listened to, books you’ve read, articles, videos, etc.
You list these ideas and topics in a spreadsheet and categorize them in two ways:
- Potential to go viral – does this concept have a high likelihood of going viral if you sat down to create it?
- How long will it take to create – Is this going to require more research or can you bang it out in a few hours?
By adding those two metrics to each idea, you can start to see which topics to create first, which need more effort but are still worthwhile, and which ones you can either get rid of or revisit at a later date.
Of course, it’s not science, but you’re making a more educated guess on what content to create first.
Jade curates her “information diet” to make sure she’s bringing in high-quality information stuff, and getting rid of the sources that are lower quality.
Trung Phan and other past deep dive alumni talk about as well.
Of course, we should all be striving to only consume information that is useful in some way, this is especially important for Jade.
Her content is mostly curation and adding her spin to it, so it’s got to be good.
For her to be able to consistently put out interesting ideas and frameworks, she needs to stay on top of her information diet.
If you categorize her posts, a lot of them fall into these buckets:
- Listicles (9 best ____)
These aren’t concepts she’s coming up with on her own, they are things she has learned from books, podcasts, etc.
Jade takes the concepts and synthesizes them into interesting content other people will want to read.
Even if you’ve heard of the concepts before, she includes an interesting spin or a personal story of how it’s helped her to make the content more unique.
*This is the course and strategy that Jade used to jumpstart her growth.
Ben Meer's proven system for building a 100K+ audience and 6-figure online business across LinkedIn, IG, & Twitter.
He breaks down his exact methods for audience growth, templates you can use, and some "hacks" that are working on each platform right now.
I’ve been through the course, and it’s really good, but I definitely did not follow it step-by-step, which is probably why I don’t have 250k followers…
2. 90 Day Sprint 🏃🏻♀️
As I mentioned above, when Jade got started she was only posting on LinkedIn.
She had no newsletter.
She had no Instagram.
LinkedIn was her sole focus for building her audience.
I’m going to eat my words here, because I usually recommend people start building an email list right away.
However, Jade was working day in and day out on growing her audience on LinkedIn.
This helped her do a few things she wouldn’t have been able to if she hadn’t had one sole focus:
A. Build a Writing Habit
I think this is probably the most important. Getting into the habit of writing every day is not easy.
It takes time, it takes effort, and sheer perseverance.
By removing the need to focus on anything other than her LinkedIn account, she was able to start that habit and find sustainable ways to keep it going.
B. Find an Audience & Learn What They Resonate With
Through writing on a single social platform, Jade was able to find the people who resonated with her content.
By interacting and engaging with these people
C. Learn What She Enjoyed Writing
Arguably the most important piece here.
By experimenting with her writing each day, Jade got a better grasp on what content she enjoys creating and what she isn’t that excited about.
D. Make the Algorithms Happy
When you’re only focus is growing your following on a platform, you’re going to make the algorithms pretty happy.
Why? You’re not sending people off the platform to go sign up for a newsletter or join some program.
Your only call to action is to follow that social account.
It’s one of those added benefits of just focusing on this for 90 days.
Focusing on one platform allowed her to refine the craft of writing and audience building to figure out exactly what to create a newsletter about and who to write it for.
This focus helped her set a solid foundation for creating a newsletter around that type of content she already knows will resonate, and something she enjoyed learning and writing about.
Sure, she missed out on a few months of newsletter growth, but those stats don’t even matter. She focused on one platform before moving on helped her grow her LinkedIn following to almost 75k followers in 3 months.
3. Repurposing Content ♻️
This is one of those topics that a lot of creators (including myself) struggle with.
Jade is relentless about repurposing content, and for good reason: if something resonated with your audience a few months ago, why not repost it as your audience grows?
Those new people haven’t seen it, and chances are most of your followers won’t even remember the original post anyway.
Repurposing Across Platforms
One of the other benefits of growing an audience in one place first? You know what types of content perform well.
When Jade launched her Instagram account, she already had 90 pieces of content in the world that she could repurpose. She (smartly) chose the ones that performed well.
Let’s take a look at a few of her first Instagram posts:
A lot of these are direct copies from her LinkedIn account.
And why not? She’s already created this content, her audience already enjoys it, and she knows it performs well.
Repurpose Over Time
Not only did Jade use these to “seed” her Instagram account with high-performing content, but she also reshares similar (or the same) posts months after originally posting them.
Here’s an example of her content around the 10-year-plan:
Jade has repurposed this concept at least 4 times, each time tweaking it slightly. This last time, she tested out a completely different graphic for it.
It didn’t perform quite as well, but she’s experimenting, which is critical for any creator.
There are plenty of examples of this, but I give you these to remind you not to be afraid to repurpose your best-performing content.
4. Optimize for Reposts ↪️
One of the ways Jade has been able to grow so quickly is by optimizing for reposts.
On LinkedIn, and most social platforms for that matter, if you can get someone to share your content, you’re going to be able to grow quickly.
Why? Reposting is like a sacred act on these platforms. Someone is wiling to put your content out to their followers.
It’s almost like a vote of confidence from that person. And it allows you to be seen by some of their following as well.
Stop the Scroll 🛑
If you’ve been writing online for any stretch of time, you’ve probably heard this phrase a ton of times: “stop the scroll.”
And the way Jade does that is pretty interesting. She says there are 3 ways you can do that:
- Inspire them
- Educate them
- Entertain them
More often than not, Jade hits that first one and inspires people.
Make Them Look Cool 😎
Why do people share and repost other’s content? It makes them look good.
They get some sort of social currency and brownie points among their friends and followers when they share good content.
Jade makes sure to ask herself before sharing her content “If I saw someone else post this, would I share it with my network?”
Surprise Them 🤯
You know how you can hear something 100 times but it’s not until a specific person says it in a slightly different way or flips it on its head that it “clicks?”
Jade says that “the most viral ideas are unexpected.”
Everyone might be talking about getting 100k followers, but they’re not talking about ______.
One of Jade’s posts is a great example of this:
Lots of people are talking about getting famous, but the better version of that is being quietly rich.
There is that “aha!” moment – and that’s a huge reason why someone might share your content.
5. Own a Phrase 📣
Have you ever heard that before today? Nope, I haven’t either.
But it makes complete sense. While other people are out there flaunting their wealth, you can be building your own wealth quietly.
And wealth in the sense of health, time, confidence, etc.
Jade talks about being “rich” in a bunch of areas of your life, not just monetarily.
And she owns that phrase in the creator space.
It gives her audience (and new readers) a concept to latch onto; almost a new way of thinking about the world. And when they hear Quiet Rich in the future, it’s going to remind them of Jade.
And to solidify this concept for new subscribers, she does something really interesting that I haven’t seen many others do lately.
Of course, she doesn’t call it this (at least publicly) but that’s exactly what it is.
In her welcome email, she is giving you the “rules of the quiet rich” – essentially, explaining what the heck she is writing about.
At the bottom of that section in the email, she also links to the full social posts she has on this topic as well.
Instead of just telling people to follow her on a certain platform, she is getting them to engage with a piece of content.
She’s already primed them for what that content is about, so I have a feeling the people who click those links are going to follow her and engage with that post.
And look at the engagement on these posts:
I find this strategy fascinating because it’s getting her readers familiar with what her posts look like, and bought into the “quiet rich” concept.
She’s getting people invested in this “community” and idea that she’s building around.
How You Can Replicate Jade’s Success
There is a lot we can learn from Jade’s journey, but here are a few takeaways I’m walking away with:
A. Use A Proven System
Jade wanted to build an audience. So she found someone she resonated with, who had done the same thing. She bought his course. She followed his methods. She got results.
It’s a simple strategy, but she worked tirelessly to make this work.
Now, I’m not advocating that everyone go sign up for Ben’s course, but find a creator who has done what you want to do, and follow some of their frameworks.
Maybe it’s a course, maybe it’s an hour of coaching.
Whatever it is, the fastest way to get to where you want to be is to follow in the footsteps of someone who has done it before.
So many of the bigger names we know and love have done this.
Inherently we know this is a good strategy. But for some reason it feels like we’re cheating, or there is some pride around “doing it yourself.”
Sure, you can, but it’s probably not the best use of your time.
B. Don’t Be Afraid to Repurpose
Creating good content is hard.
But once you’ve already written for months, why not reuse some of the content that performed well.
In general, your audience is going to grow over time, so there are going to be people who haven’t seen your stuff.
Why not repackage it and ship the same idea again?
There are tons of examples of other creators who have done this well:
And practically every other “successful” creator out there.
C. Try a 90-Day Sprint
I’ve heard from quite a few of you that you’re struggling to come up with ideas on what to write a newsletter about.
Instead of sitting on the sidelines for another 90 days hoping inspiration will strike, I’d prefer if you would write somewhere.
The world needs to hear your voice.
And the beauty of starting out like this is that you don’t have a following.
Yes, you read that correctly.
When you’re starting, no one sees what you post. That’s good! You want to get your “sea legs” before the masses read your stuff, trust me.
You’re going to have crappy posts in the beginning while you’re figuring out your voice and what you enjoy writing about.
Ali Abdaal says that your first 50 videos are going to suck. And the faster you get those out of the way, the better.
I think the same goes for social posts and writing in general. They will suck, so it’s best if you only have a few followers when that’s happening.
I think that a 90-day sprint like this can work well if you are hyperfocused on creating daily and learning as fast as possible.
Think of this like a game – write every day for 90 days and then you can turn your sights to have something “go viral” or get more than a few likes.
By committing yourself to posting every day for 90 days, you’re building a content creation muscle and learning what topics you enjoy.
After that, go ahead and start a newsletter about that topic.
And then you’ll be able to kickstart your newsletter with the audience you’ve created.
I don’t think this will work for everyone. Most people aren’t able to grow to 75k followers before they start a newsletter.
But if you can dedicate the time and effort, I think it’s a good idea.
There you go, here is your permission (not that you needed it) to create on one social platform for 90 days before starting your newsletter.
If you do this, reach out and let me know – I’d love to support you along the way.