Building a High-Quality Audience: Tips for Growing Your Newsletter Subscribers with Will Richards & Gemma Clancy

Overnight Success_Earning Ears_01

Written by Adam Spencer

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Episode Summary:

In this insightful episode of Earning Ears, Adam Spencer sits down with Will Richards and Gemma Clancy, the force behind “Overnight Success.” This conversation dives deep into the nuts and bolts of building a dedicated audience in the competitive startup ecosystem. The episode begins with a nod to the consistency required in producing content that resonates with and retains subscribers.

Will and Gemma unpack the foundation of their newsletter’s growth, emphasizing the importance of producing high-quality, curated content tailored to their diverse audience’s evolving needs. With an ambitious goal for significant expansion by 2024, the pair share valuable strategies for reaching audiences on LinkedIn, maintaining high engagement, and leveraging key growth metrics.

About the Guest(s):

Gemma Clancy and Will Richards are co-founders of Overnight Success. 

Gemma is also co-founder and Head of Marketing at Stella Startups, a marketing service purpose-built to help early-stage startups develop their marketing foundations and build strong, sustainable brands from day one. Gemma’s professional background includes supporting brand storytelling with a climate tech startup, TEDxMelbourne as well as working at creative agencies supporting enterprise, NFPs and gov agencies. 

Will is also head of investments at the Regional Angel Investor Network and recently launched Startup Speakers, a speaking bureau representing startup leaders with a mission to get more diverse voices talking about entrepreneurship. Will’s professional background intersects finance and startups, bringing a unique perspective to the Australian startup ecosystem.

Key Takeaways:

  • Consistency and Quality are Key: Repeatedly producing high-value content is a cornerstone in maintaining subscriber engagement and preventing unsubscribes.
  • Leveraging Audiences: Successfully piggybacking off other people’s audiences through content-sharing can substantially boost growth.
  • Adapting Content for a Growing Base: As the subscriber base becomes more diverse, adding context to content is crucial, ensuring it remains accessible to new readers without alienating early adopters.
  • Partnerships and Sponsorships: Building deep relationships with aligned sponsors is vital for growth and enabling investments in team expansion.
  • Future Aspirations: Plans for expanding content offerings, including leveraging a network of guest writers and the development of new database products tailored to startups.

Notable Quotes:

  • “I think the main thing that’s been… impressing me, that’s got my attention so much, is the initiative Grapevine.” – Gemma Clancy.
  • “If we continue to add value, they’ll stay an engaged subscriber, and then we can just keep growing the pie.” – Will Richards.
  • “Sometimes if you just don’t nudge people to do it, they just don’t even think of it.” – Gemma Clancy, on the importance of having a call to action for subscription.
  • “I think Gem and I really counterbalance each other super well.” – Will Richards, on the co-founder relationship.
  • “We just want to grow our base of subscribers. And our goal this year is to reach 10,000 subscribers.” – Gemma Clancy, on future growth plans for Overnight Success.


Tune in to the full episode to delve deeper into the art of audience building with Will Richards and Gemma Clancy. Stay tuned for more enriching episodes from Earning Ears that drive the spirit of innovation and engagement in the digital landscape.


Adam Spencer: I’m Adam Spencer and this is Earning Ears, the show that helps you earn your audience’s attention. We talk to world class audience builders about the tools, tactics, and mindset they use to grow their audiences from zero.

Will Richards: It really is just being consistent. If you keep putting, I think, quality content out there that people get value from, they’re not probably going to unsubscribe.

Will Richards: So if we continue to add value, they’ll stay an engaged subscriber and then we can just keep growing the pie.

Adam Spencer: That’s Will Richards, who’s Head of Investments at the Regional Angel Investor Network, or RAINN. As well as an advisor to the Day One Network. But the focus of this conversation was his work as co founder of Overnight Success, a weekly newsletter and digital media company that provides insights into the Australian startup ecosystem.


Adam Spencer: In this episode, I spoke with Will and his co founder Gemma Clancy, a startup marketing advisor who brings her experience helping startups tell their stories to the team. Will and Gemma told me about how they’ve quickly built an audience of thousands of subscribers And their ambitious goals for growth in 2024.

Adam Spencer: We spoke about the early days of launching and how they got their first 100 subscribers, how their approach to creating content has evolved over time, some strategies for reaching an audience on LinkedIn and other platforms and plenty more. Welcome Will and Jemma to Earning Ears. Thank you for being here.

Adam Spencer: Thanks for having us. Thanks for having us Adam. Before we get stuck into the hard questions, What’s been earning your ears lately? Do you want to go

Will Richards: first? Yeah, I can

Gemma Clancy: go first. Yeah, I think, um, the main thing that’s been, um, well, really impressing me, that’s got my attention so much is the Initiative Grapevine that launched at the end of last year.

Gemma Clancy: Yeah, I think it was. Yep. Was it this one? This year actually, I don’t even know now. But it’s, I think that, if anything, is, um, a reflection of how amazingly that, um, initiative is starting to, to kind of grow so fast. And it’s obviously very much needed. And, um, I can’t wait to see what they do

Adam Spencer: next. Uh, before you jump in Will, yes, I’ve been watching Grapevine from afar and it, the content audience fit there like it’s really nailed on a, a strong need.

Adam Spencer: A strong want from, from the audience and And like, I love to see stuff like that because it just takes off. Yeah, yeah. I don’t know what happened behind the scenes in terms of the marketing and the branding and the positioning of it all, but it’s just hit the ground with rocket boosters on, which is, yeah, awesome.

Adam Spencer: Yeah. Like I’m jealous of how quickly it grew.

Will Richards: Yeah, it’s got a pretty formidable group of people behind it. So yeah, exactly. Well, yeah, uh, only my ears recently. It’s definitely been the first Czech podcast. I think I’ve listened to every episode since it’s come out. Super educational with Maxine and Cheryl.

Will Richards: And then additionally to that is Taylor Swift. She’s coming to Melbourne. In almost a few weeks. So yeah, just lots of Taylor Swift, just constantly surrounded by it, but I’m loving it.

Adam Spencer: First check stuff. So I interviewed Yeniv from the Startup Podcast. That was the same answer. And I’m just like, that sounds so set up, me being behind that podcast and getting going.

Adam Spencer: It’s like I’m getting everyone on here to talk about First Check.

Will Richards: Hey, that’s, that’s a great strategy, um, in play, Adam, surely. Yeah, it is. Um,

Adam Spencer: anyway, thank you. I can take almost no credit for that show other than for twisting Cheryl’s arm to kind of take a bet on day one and do the podcast. Both Cheryl and Maxine, it’s all them.

Adam Spencer: Like, they are amazing hosts, amazing co hosts. So, yeah. How impressive the content is, it’s, it’s all them. We just do a little polish up in the edit and then we publish it. All right. So, Will, founded Overnight Success. Can you tell us how, why, like, why you, how you got to it, where’d the idea come from?

Will Richards: Yeah, of course.

Will Richards: I was working in a finance job that was startup adjacent, and to summarize what Overnight Success does, it curates the Australian startup ecosystem, um, that’s the main newsletter really, um, on a weekly send. And in this, in this role, I was sort of, you know, Interacting in the startup world from the very sort of adjacent capacity.

Will Richards: We were looking at certain businesses that we could like, um, invest in and sort of partner with and help grow. And I really fell in love with the people and the optimism and the, and the, the businesses and just like the way people went about it. And. I was like, Oh, I want to just get more engaged into this, into the ecosystem and understand it a bit more, but there was no one that I could find that was really providing a, like a bird’s eye view over everything that was happening.

Will Richards: And I just had it in the back of my head. There was a few newsletters that were quite popular at the time and still are, I suppose, who were doing some really good, interesting things in curation. And I sort of thought like there was an opportunity there because I had that interest and I had that need.

Will Richards: And just by fluke at the exact sort of same time, I saw an advert for the um, Startmate Media Fellowship run by Lauren Kaplan and Bronte McHenry and I sort of thought, well, if I apply for that and they say no to the idea, then it’s, you know, it’s a bad idea and I’ll just sort of like kill it and I won’t, you know, go through the whole rhyme of like starting something, watching it die slowly and then giving up on it.

Will Richards: But thankfully they, they accepted me and I think a lot of the early, early growth and support. I wouldn’t be and it wouldn’t be where it is now if it wasn’t for the Startmate Media Fellowship. And

Adam Spencer: I mean I want to, we’ll put a pin in it for now but I’ll circle back on like that early growth and you know what that was.

Adam Spencer: Give us some, some insights into what grew but tell us the story about how Gemmatt come to join Overnight Success.

Will Richards: Yeah. So, so the, the Star Made Media Fellowship was, was eight weeks. There was mentors and mentees and I was a mentee and Gemma was also a mentee. And I was experimenting with like LinkedIn growth with the newsletter.

Will Richards: And I remember Gemma was just like sort of really active in the Slack, giving me some feedback on what I should be doing. And we just scheduled a call together cause I just wanted to like, just ask her a hundred questions and get as much advice as possible. Um, so we, yeah, we just basically had a call one evening and got on pretty well.

Will Richards: And I think she sort of understood what I was doing and saw a little bit of value in it. And. That was kind of it, like we sort of went our separate ways for a few months and, um, I guess just sort of kept tabs on each other and, and she sort of just saw it growing on LinkedIn and, and growing and just sort of mature as a product as well and got in touch a few months later and, and yeah, the rest

Adam Spencer: is history.

Adam Spencer: Gemma, so first of all, before I ask you a whole lot of questions about what Will just told us, do you want to give yourself a little intro? Sure.

Gemma Clancy: Yeah. So, yeah, my name’s Gemma Clancy. I’ve been in the startup space for a few years now, but, um, before that worked in, um, advertising and, yeah, entered the startup space kind of for the similar reasons that, um, we were saying.

Gemma Clancy: I just love the, love the people, love. Love the optimism and, uh, that sense of connection that you kind of have with the shared experience of trying to build things. Um, I’ve always been somebody who’s just always got a million ideas and wanting to build them. So being surrounded by people who think like that is really invigorating.

Gemma Clancy: Oh, yeah. So, yeah, so I started working in house at a startup called Trace, uh, late 2021, I think it was. And around, like, when I was working for Trace, I joined a media fellowship as well. Um, as well said, and I joined that because I, you know, have a background in marketing and I really wanted to kind of improve my, my content production skills.

Gemma Clancy: And that was a really big focus of the, of the media fellowship. And I was also just really keen to connect with other people, um, in a startup ecosystem, because it was fairly new. And, um, yeah, throughout the process of being in a media fellowship, learned a bunch of things, um, kind of opened my eyes to what was, What was possible in, in kind of gave you some ideas of what good content production might look like in the startup space.

Gemma Clancy: And then, um, you know, I’m definitely more of a kind of sit back and think about things for a long time before starting them, whereas Will’s a kind of, uh, you know, just have a go and see what happens kind of person. So when I saw that he’d started the newsletter and then, um, kind of not just started it and then it kind of fizzled out, like you really stuck at it.

Gemma Clancy: You, you kept writing and writing and writing, and I was very impressed that he just, He just kept going at it, even though, you know, you, you know, wasn’t growing at a crazy, crazy rate. Like, I think, I think he wrote about 26 editions before I joined on a weekly basis, which is like a quite a significant commitment to do on a weekly basis.

Gemma Clancy: Oh, and okay, well, he can, you know, come up with the idea. He can commit to doing it each week. That’s the kind of, you know, energy that I want to kind of join. And I just want to help him kind of grow from there. Yeah. So by that time, like I’d, I’d finished up my role, um, at the startup and I had some free time.

Gemma Clancy: So I reached back out the door and I was like, I got some free time. Can I help you grow this thing? And, um, yeah, that’s how we’ve ended up. Yeah. There’s a lot of ups and downs in between.

Adam Spencer: Cool. And I want to talk about all of those ups and downs, but, um, But when Will said, you know, you saw value in, in what he was doing, what was that value that you saw specifically?

Gemma Clancy: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think, I mean, I saw value in the way he was approaching it in that he was very open to seeking people’s feedback, um, in the early stages, he’s just kind of throwing stuff out there that he thought people might be interested in, but he didn’t blink an eye or like get offended or let his ego get in the way when people said, Oh, let’s remove that section.

Gemma Clancy: That was shit. Change this. It was like. He was like, okay, cool. No worries. I’ll just make it better. He was just genuinely interested in making it better. And I think that that’s what, you know, good content production is all about. You’re just, you’re just going, going after what does the audience really want?

Gemma Clancy: Yeah. And I was relatively new to the startup ecosystem as well. So I was like, I can see this is super, super valuable. I just want a first eye view of what’s happening. And then on a personal level, I was like, well, if I help him write this each week as well, then, um, I’m going to learn. So there’s kind of a three pronged value there.

Adam Spencer: Yeah. What you just said about the iteration piece. That is why I love podcasting so much and podcasting in that you own it, you own this, this property and so it’s yours to, to adjust course as you see, you know, when it becomes necessary. That constant iteration is what I think content marketing Which is built on, making those small adjustments over time and sticking at it, which sounds like is what you’ve done, Will, stuck at it.

Adam Spencer: How much work is 26 editions? Like, give us a count. Try to wrap some, yeah, numbers around

Will Richards: that. So, yeah, it was I had, I had a relatively busy job at the time as well. And this is, um, and always was sort of a side thing as well. So generally I was probably spending maybe three hours a week during the work week where I was sort of, you know, spread out where I would just be like reading the IFR or reading certain publications that I would just do in my spare time.

Will Richards: And if I saw a link that was interesting, I would basically just save it and put it in a little notion database for the newsletter. And then pretty much I would finish work on a Friday and at the time I was sort of training for some long distance running events. So it was really good. I do my Saturday morning was my like my long run.

Will Richards: So having the newsletter basically meant I didn’t I had a good excuse not to go out and drink too much at knockoffs. But yeah, I would spend probably like five to six hours at least writing a newsletter. And it’s On a Friday night as well after four weeks of work. It does sound kind of, kind of weird, but it was just a habit I got into and like everyone around me sort of got used to it.

Will Richards: And there was some pretty late nights sometimes when there was like other commitments or like a birthday I couldn’t miss or whatever. I stuck to this sort of Saturday morning send and it used to be like a really hard send time. Like it used to go out, I think at like 7am or 8am. And I just wanted it to be like the first thing in people’s inboxes.

Will Richards: That’s kind of, we relax on that a little bit because sometimes it’s nice to wake up the next morning and proofread refresh eyes. But when it was just me, it was kind of like, well, I’m just going to schedule it and go to bed.

Adam Spencer: And I want to ask you your advice on like really early time and, you know, maybe not seeing Just like, what were you looking for to, to keep going at it?

Adam Spencer: Like with the little, little metrics you were keeping track of. Cause very, I mean, I still have this now growing day one and all, and the shows that we’re playing, like, I have these moments where I just think, uh, like, what am I even doing? I’m not seeing the growth I want to see all these different things.

Adam Spencer: How do you keep at it? What, what things do you look for?

Will Richards: Yeah. I think really early on I was entering this sort of, you know, Like I was obviously just a random person at the time, just sort of getting involved and having a go. So I kind of came in with this perspective of there were names of people and people I looked up to that I thought were doing some really cool stuff.

Will Richards: And sometimes seeing some of those people subscribe to it and read it weekly, like really gave me a kick of like, this is really interesting. And we get all that feedback. Through the newsletter, the data that we collect. So seeing who are most active readers were, and some of them are, are really, you know, they’re the movers and shakers of the ecosystem.

Will Richards: Like we’ve had some Blackbird partners. subscribed from very, very, very early on, which I always found was kind of like, it was a little bit surreal as I was sort of just like just entering the ecosystem and just learning, but they were still getting value from it. I think now, like when we talk about like earning years, I think is a really interesting subject cause we’re still not a massive, like we don’t have a massive audience.

Will Richards: Like we’re building that still, but our audience is super high quality and super influential. And I think that’s a really interesting dynamic we played, played in. Okay. But like I would be going to events and I was, you know, you still get that sort of like imposter syndrome. Like, should I be going to this, like this startup meetup on a Thursday night and feeling a little bit out of place.

Will Richards: But then you sort of tell people what you do and, Oh, I actually also write this newsletter email. Like, have you heard of it sort of thing. And more often than not, people had heard of it or they’d seen it before or a friend had recommended it. And then they go, Oh, like, yeah, I have heard of that. And that was always like a really, really nice moment.

Will Richards: To get positive feedback, um, face to face with people or watch them subscribe or tell someone who, who was in the group of. the circle, you know, to also subscribe because it was adding value to their day. So yeah, little moments like that really sort of just, just compound over time and, and make you realize that you are adding value.

Will Richards: Yeah. And

Adam Spencer: how do you both think about that in terms of audience and going deep instead of wide, like, you know, getting a very, very, very specific. set of people. How do you think about that? Like in terms of value, in terms of even sponsorship and, and selling ads to people, how, yeah, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Adam Spencer: I think

Gemma Clancy: it’s challenging. That’s what it

Will Richards: is. It definitely is. I think, yeah, the traditional, like, especially in the startup world is growth at all costs, but I think the way we’ve gone about it has always been that, yeah, quality over quantity per se. So I think it’s worked in our favor, especially when we were getting started because, you know, Doing it wasn’t necessarily to build a big business.

Will Richards: It was often just to help us get a leg up in the ecosystem, whether it was to like help our personal career or our own other businesses. I think now we’ve gone through a bit of a shift where it’s kind of like, okay, overnight success is. Maturing and there is an opportunity there and we should really focus on capturing that, but I’ll let Gemma add her two cents as well, because I know she thinks really deeply about it.

Will Richards: Yeah, I think. Put you on the spot. Yeah,

Gemma Clancy: I know. I look at other newsletters that are built in the US, for example, and they have like these really, really broad topics or, you know, essentially it’s huge pan, like the, like millions and millions of people and that’s great. Like, I’m not going to say like, I don’t want millions of subscribers.

Gemma Clancy: That would be great. But if it came at the cost of.

Gemma Clancy: I don’t think it would really be worth it, like, I think I really like the idea that we can kind of like we’re in this little bubble inside because I really like the fact that, I mean, we have like relatively high saturation within our bubble and that, you know, our concept, like it helps actually from a content curation standpoint because we have a very clear idea of who we have in mind when we’re writing.

Gemma Clancy: Which I think makes it easier. I think the challenge of having a really broad audience is it’s hard to know who you’re writing for. Whereas we know exactly who they are and they respond to us and we talk to them in person at networking events and kind of online and stuff. So it’s, it’s actually quite easy to know what they want.

Adam Spencer: And this is a selfish question, but you know, I would say 80 percent of my job running W3O Media and the network is sales, is sponsorship, is talking to advertisers where, you know, the traditional model, That’s been established in podcasting specifically is, you know, that cost per thousand, which, which I never really have that conversation.

Adam Spencer: I always try to avoid that conversation because our audience is very targeted. And so, yeah, how do you have those conversations with sponsors about that audience about that very small targeted

Will Richards: audience? Yeah, I think it’s something we’re, we’re really trying to look at now and make a focus for the year looking forward.

Will Richards: I think it’s something we’ve probably. Not really nailed in the past for quite a few different reasons. I think, yeah, we probably, I probably definitely did come in thinking like, Oh, I’ve got, you know, a few thousand people on this mailing list, like treat me like a bit of an influencer sort of thing. And, and, you know, just, just slap a logo and you’ll get some, some clicks and hopefully some business.

Will Richards: And the reality is that just doesn’t cut it in this day and age. So what we’re really trying to do as we look forward is, is building really deep relationships with our supporters and our sponsors and only partner with sponsors who. I sort of on the same are aligned on the same mission that we’ve got and extending that relationship over a period of time instead of just doing like, Oh, you can sponsor next week.

Will Richards: It’s no, we want to work with you for 3 to 6 months. We want to really understand what your, your strategy is in that time, how we can be a part of that, how we can really get your message across like we trialed. Heaps of different types of ads, often off the back of what the sponsor wants to do. And our most engaging ads are often like a key person at like an accelerator or a VC firm saying, Hey, here’s my office hours.

Will Richards: Like just book in if you want to discuss how my accelerator works or whatever. And it’s a really intimate relationship. And I think testing the waters with those sorts of things with different groups could be really interesting and super high value.

Adam Spencer: Going back to the very beginning at the Startmate Media Fellowship, And you doing that, trying to do those LinkedIn growth tactics and Jemma messaged you to give you some advice.

Adam Spencer: Do you have some LinkedIn growth nuggets for us Gemma? Sure, sure. What was that advice you gave Will? Yeah,

Gemma Clancy: well, one of the main things was that Will would, you know, sometimes post the content of the newsletter but not have any kind of clear call to action to actually subscribe. I know that sounds really obvious and I think it was probably Will wanting to not be too kind of, In your face and salesy and like pushing people to subscribe, but I think like, sometimes if you just don’t know people to do it, they just don’t even think of it.

Gemma Clancy: Like, you’re just trying to, you’ve got people’s attention for such a small time frame. You just have to tell them what you want them to do. So, um, that was one of the key things. I think it’s also sometimes about the way we structure, you know, the post copy itself and making sure that obviously there’s a, there’s a really nice hook up front.

Gemma Clancy: And as a small brand at the start, we, um, obviously didn’t have many followers on LinkedIn. You know, Will had his own connections, but it wasn’t huge. So in order for it to reach anyone outside of that kind of small initial bubble, we always had to make sure we’re tagging other people just to expand that audience.

Gemma Clancy: And so pretty much our strategy, like moving forward from there was just always to make sure there was at least one other person or company tagged in every, every post and trying to encourage them to also share it so that we can. We can expand the reach every time because I think, you know, I think now and probably in the future, we can get away with posting things without tagging on the people.

Gemma Clancy: But until we’ve kind of tapped out our potential audience size, we can always reach more people outside of the existing bubble we’re reaching. Yeah. So, yeah, so that was some of the key things. Is

Adam Spencer: LinkedIn still, is it the main channel that you’re growing through? Yeah,

Gemma Clancy: I would say so. Yeah, I think, um, it’s probably the, like, primary, definitely primary social media channel.

Gemma Clancy: Um, X and I am mainly just cause I don’t love being on there, but, um, but I still see some growth from, from X, but yeah, LinkedIn is definitely the primary social media channel and, uh, and then aside from kind of referrals from other, um, newsletters or referrals from subscribers back to the newsletter as well.

Adam Spencer: Yeah, I’m, I’m similar to you in that I just basically stopped using Twitter. We only have about five or six hundred people following the day one page on Twitter or X, whatever it’s called. And I just stopped using it, but we’ve recently hired Lana Wheel. I don’t know if you, if you know Lana. Yeah, and if she was trying to get us back onto more, more channels, so it’s a conversation.

Adam Spencer: We were always looking for ways to grow, so. Yeah, we may be back on there soon. Early subscribers. LinkedIn was one way for people that are listening, that are starting in a new, a new thing, or, or getting into content marketing that they’re Early period in starting something new is, it’s always tough like because you’re not seeing that feedback loop because your audience isn’t big enough, you know, you haven’t hit that the turning point.

Adam Spencer: Can you give us some tips, some advice on how to grow or how to get those, you know, let’s say first 100 subscribers. How did you do

Will Richards: that? Yeah, of course. Like I mentioned the media fellowship, like the first week of the fellowship, it was an eight week thing. I hit send at the end of the first week, so the first few subscribers were, um, basically part of that cohort and part of that, like, that intimate group of I think it was like 40 people or so.

Will Richards: Not that they all subscribed, that’s for sure, but it was sort of like a, you know, building that really early, I suppose it’s not community, but, um, group of supporters who were keen to give feedback and, and keen to, I suppose, yeah, be a supporter and, and, and influence change and that process went on for, you know, Um, for those eight weeks and I think at the coming out of the, the media fellowship, there were people who had seen it go through so much change and were sort of willing to, I suppose they’d seen it get to a point where they were not afraid to put their personal brand on the line and share it.

Will Richards: But on the first week, they definitely would have been like, this is not of a, of a quality worth me, you know, sharing. So. Um, it really had to go through a pretty rigorous, like, um, feedback loop to get to the sort of the quality stage. And I think until we hit sort of, like, we’ve got the stats here when we started.

Will Richards: There was three newsletters that have been archived since because, to be honest, they were so bad, but the first three took me, so three weeks. That got me to 50 subscribers or got us to 50 subscribers. And then the first official newsletter that still exists went out to 65 people. So it was a month of, of work.

Will Richards: You know, I’m not sure how many hours that would have been, but, um, but four weeks, four newsletters to get to 65. And we only hit the a hundred mark when we got to, to send number six. So it really was early compounding. Adding value and basically improving it to a point where people felt comfortable, I think, interacting with it and sharing it on LinkedIn.

Adam Spencer: How did you feel? How did you feel, you know, spent all of that work going out to 65 or 100 subscribers? What were you feeling at that, at that point in time?

Will Richards: Um, I, I think I, I knew deep down, I knew if I kept at it long enough, it would compound and, and there were like, there were some subscribers in there, like I said, who I thought were really influential people.

Will Richards: Who was subscribing and reading it every week and, you know, there were some early people who would like reply to the email and we’d have a conversation so I could see that early interaction was happening so that definitely spurred me on a little bit. I remember telling people I was working with that I was doing this newsletter or they would see it on LinkedIn and ask me at lunch like what is this like what are you like what are you doing there?

Will Richards: And it was a little bit like, oh, yeah, I’ve started this newsletter. It’s, you know, and then they’d be like, oh, how many subscribers has it got? And you sort of say, like, oh, 60 or something like that. It’s a mumble. Some embarrassing number. And they would kind of look at you funny because they know like they would also see you on a Friday staying late to write it or whatever.

Will Richards: So there was a little sense of imposter syndrome and I suppose awkwardness around it. But I think that’s all part of getting started with a

Adam Spencer: new project. What number was the newsletter at when Gemma, when you joined Gemma? I

Gemma Clancy: think about 350 subscribers when I started advising Will on a, you know, semi regular basis.

Adam Spencer: Yeah, and then coming in to the team, being a co founder, at that point, What were you thinking? Like what was, coming into this relatively new newsletter, how long had it been running at that, at that time?

Will Richards: So I’ve just done the math. If it was 27, 27 sends, it would have been six months or just under seven months.

Adam Spencer: So six months in, 350 subscribers. Yeah, what were you thinking? Like what, what was the biggest challenge you saw ahead for yourself to

Gemma Clancy: solve? Well, it’s funny because I, like coming in, I didn’t see there being a huge challenge to get any, like a decent number of additional followers because I was looking at it going, whoa.

Gemma Clancy: Like, first of all, this guy’s crazy. Why is he still writing this every week for only 350 subscribers? Like, I mean, not in a really like, that he should give up kind of way, but if anything, like, he really needs to be kind of focusing on growth to make it even more worth his while. There’s quality content there, people clearly want it, there’s high quality subscribers in there, so.

Gemma Clancy: You know, we should be doing what we can to at least just get, you know, an incremental additional number of solos each month, but really will was largely focusing on the content production and hadn’t quite got out of that mindset of like, just focusing on the content and improving the content to like, Oh, actually should get some more readers for my, for my newsletter.

Gemma Clancy: Um, and I think it was just, no, it probably just takes somebody coming in with a slightly fresh perspective and just going. Hey, why are you doing that? And, you know, probably also it was just a good timing. Like, you know, I think he probably wouldn’t have felt comfortable sharing it super widely within those few months, first few months.

Gemma Clancy: And then he had a really busy, um, work life as well. So, you know, if you wanted to keep writing the newsletter and growing it like that just doubles the amount of work as well. So you probably just needed an extra set of hands as well to come in and help with that. So, yeah, so I came in and I was just suggesting like quite small, but high impact.

Gemma Clancy: Things that you could do and it was really quick to implement them and by the next month we doubled our subscribers

Adam Spencer: Well, you’ve just glossed over the good stuff there We’re just coming and I said these few things and then all of a sudden we had 3, 000 subscribers What were some of those things? What were the recommendations you gave?

Adam Spencer: Him that he implemented? Yeah. Or that you, that you both implemented? We did mostly

Gemma Clancy: the implementation. I’ll give him the credit for that. I think the first one was, um, you know, taking the newsletter and actually posting it, for example, in, um, slack channels and, and things like, uh, that he was part of to kind of say, look at this every week.

Gemma Clancy: Remember that this exists. You know, take a read and subscribe if you’re not already subscribed. Um, you know, he was posting from his own personal LinkedIn page, and it was about in January. Um, after I joined in around October that we created a LinkedIn profile for the newsletter itself, which kind of puts a bit of a brand around it.

Gemma Clancy: So people realize it wasn’t just we’re writing this thing. It was actually on a separate platform under a separate brand that if they wanted to get that content, they had to sign up. You know, subscribe through that branch, not just follow will on LinkedIn, for example. So, and I, and I think, you know, we’ve already talked a little bit about that, those LinkedIn tips, but, um, those things can really shift the needle.

Gemma Clancy: And then the final things that we, so Bronte McHenry was part of, um, Building that StarMate Media Fellowship at the start, and so she’s been a supporter of her pretty much since day, day one. Um, she had, you know, quite a decent following on LinkedIn at the time and did a bit of a shout out. And that was one of the first times that we realized, I guess, the power of that personal referral.

Gemma Clancy: On LinkedIn in particular, somebody just saying, this is great, I want you to read it. And so when she did that, you know, there was a big uptick as well.

Adam Spencer: Are you trying to engineer that, or facilitate that, um, personal, those shout outs? Definitely,

Gemma Clancy: definitely, yeah. Like, into the new year, for sure. I think, um, we haven’t done as good a job of it in the past.

Gemma Clancy: We’ve been kind of, like, anyone who’s shouted us out pretty much, we’ve been like, They’ve done it off their own bat, um, which is quite nice, you know, but sometimes it’s not that people don’t want to do it, it’s just they don’t, they don’t think, oh, I’ll do that nice thing for this person today, and if you just ask them that, oh, of course, I’d totally do that, that’s fine.

Gemma Clancy: So we’re doing, starting to do a better job of asking people to, can you please, you know, if you really love it, can you please Tell us, tell a few people, either on a public platform or, you know, your own, um, in your own networks and say, moving forward, um, one tactic that we’re looking to implement or will be turned on in the next couple of weeks, um, are some automations that are native in Beehive or that you can set up in Beehive, which is the newsletter platform that we use.

Gemma Clancy: And, um, it allows you to kind of segment out your audience based on their level of engagement. And we have some pretty amazing stats when it comes to the high level, highly engaged people in our audience. So, um, you know, if you define them by people who have been subscribed for at least say three months, and they’ve opened at least 75 to 80 percent of the emails they’ve received in that timeframe.

Gemma Clancy: Um, we have like a huge percentage. I can’t remember exactly off the top of my head, but we’re about 900 of our subscribers. Fit that, um, criteria, which is pretty crazy. It just shows that there’s a lot of people out there who are genuinely like getting to their inbox every Saturday morning and opening our newsletter as part of their weekly routine.

Gemma Clancy: But like those people aren’t going out of their way to talk about us like online or, you know, like we don’t see them referring. So I think it’s just going to take a little nudge. Um, and that’s what these kind of automations are going to be all about. It’s just kind of saying, Hey, thanks so much. You, we’ve seen, you’ve been super engaged.

Gemma Clancy: We’ve seen you’ve been loving it. Could you talk about us, um, celebrating the fact that, you know, they’ve been subscribed for a while, things like that, just to kind of thank them and give them a little bit of a nudge and maybe even incentivize them a little bit with things that we can do for them. Um, so that’s, that’s one tactic we’re going to keep moving forward.

Adam Spencer: They’re your ambassadors, right? Exactly. Those 900 people, like, they sound like they are huge fans. I don’t know if Beehive has this, although we have recently switched to Beehive for the day one network, because we’ll, you, like, you. how you talked about how good it was. Um, so that’s from MailChimp, but MailChimp has

Gemma Clancy: Should be getting referral fee.

Gemma Clancy: We love Beehive.

Adam Spencer: MailChimp has something, I can’t remember what it’s called. Well, I mean, I’m sure there’s a ton of third party things you can plug into MailChimp that has all these different incentives. People that refer, five people, ten people, they get different kind of rewards. Does Beehive have something native like that built in?

Adam Spencer: So people can get their own overnight success t shirt for referring 10 people or whatever. Yep,

Will Richards: it’s always had a referral program. Definitely has. That’s natively built in. It’s quite interesting though, I think there’s something in the sort of Australian culture where people don’t use those sort of referral links, which is quite interesting.

Will Richards: Like we see people who are some of our biggest fans. Um, give us shout outs to the newsletter and, and link saying, Hey, subscribe below, but they, they won’t use their personal referral code. There’s, there’s, there’s one investor at, um, at Airtree, um, Raj, who’s a, who’s a super supporter and he’s, I’ve seen him personally refer quite a few people at like events and stuff.

Will Richards: Um, and he says, he’s like, Oh, every time someone asks me about like startup news or like what, where should I be like reading or whatever? He’s like, I always give you, give them your newsletter. But I still think his referral count is like two. So I think we own definitely a shirt or a hat or something.

Will Richards: Send him a shirt.

Adam Spencer: Yeah. Send him a shirt. Or a water bottle

Will Richards: or something. So, we’re always playing with the referral thing, but um, I think it’s, yeah, it’s an interesting thing in, in Australian culture, where people sort of don’t necessarily use their codes when they probably could.

Adam Spencer: Well, that kind of ties into one of the questions I want to ask, which we’ve kind of touched on here and there.

Adam Spencer: What has been the biggest challenges to, to scaling? It sounds like, you know, that, that kind of inbuilt Australian culture of not wanting to shout things out as much might be, and I, you know, we’ve seen that at day one as well, but yeah, what, what are some of the other challenges, hurdles that you’ve had?

Adam Spencer: roadblocks to growing the newsletter and, and do you have plans to, to get it, to overcome

Will Richards: those? Yeah, I’ll kick off like it’s completely bootstrapped. Like we have really put any capital in or asked for any capital to, to fund it. So apart from the fact that it being a side hustle, it’s also, um, relatively under capitalized too.

Will Richards: So we’ve always had to do things really organically, which I think is, has also worked in our favor in the sense that our fans are sort of true fans that have found it. Independently or someone’s referred them personally, those sorts of things, because it’s a side thing as well, like carving out time to do distribution and focus on growth on top of just content is, is difficult.

Will Richards: And like, I think the rule of thumb is, you know, 50 percent is content creation, 50 percent is distribution, like that for us probably is 90, 10 when it should really be 50, 50. So. Moving forward, like these sponsorship conversations really do enable us to invest in our team and, and our content and, and those sorts of things.

Will Richards: So Gem and I can focus on, on growth or, or more partnerships. So it’s, it’s really trying to get it to a point now where, um, we can have those really engaging partnership conversations, get some good revenue in the door and, and, you know, invest in our team. We’ve, we just bought a new writer on board, Kate, who’s been with us for two weeks now.

Will Richards: Um, and she’s having like an immediate impact on the content too, and taking some. a good bit of time off of Gemma and I’s hands to focus on other things. Gemma,

Adam Spencer: anything you would add to

Gemma Clancy: that? Yeah, I was just going to say, I think as we grow, like it’s just, you know, there’s increased expectations of, of I guess the quality standard, at least that that’s what I feel, you know, like we’ve been going for a while.

Gemma Clancy: I think people come to expect a certain level of quality or certain like consistency. So, um, you do feel like, okay, well we have to keep doing this. We have to keep doing it at a certain level. We have to, um, keep kind of meeting people’s expectations. And then also as we kind of get more people kind of added to the subscriber base, it becomes more diverse and those people’s needs become more diverse.

Gemma Clancy: And certainly like when we first started growing a lot of people who are subscribing or like, you know, startup evangelists, like the people who are kind of very much in startups live and breathe it absolutely every day. But I think now we’re starting to get to that point where. Um, we’re trying to what we need to attract people who are starting to be a little bit more on the outskirts of that kind of core community, and those people need a little bit more context.

Gemma Clancy: They need they have a little bit less knowledge and kind of insider kind of, they don’t have, they don’t know the intros, they don’t know that, you know, what’s happening and we want to make sure that the newsletter is accessible to everyone. They should be able to pick up the newsletter on the weekend and not feel like they need a bunch of context before they jump onto it.

Gemma Clancy: Transcribed I remember like, um, so my husband, he’s got an economics degree and he’s very interested in politics. When we first started going out, um, he would talk about things and like, I wasn’t completely clueless about politics, but I never really engaged with it a huge amount. Since we’ve been together, like I, like we’d watch Insiders, right?

Gemma Clancy: On a Sunday morning. And I’d be like, they’re actually speaking Japanese. No idea what this is about. I don’t know the context of, like, any of these conversations. I don’t want people to feel like that. I don’t want people to feel like they have to watch, you know, Insiders. They have to, you know, like, like how I did to end up learning enough.

Gemma Clancy: To get value out of it. Um, so I want people to be able to pick up overnight success and understand what’s going on and learn from day one. And that’s, did I just drop brand name? I know.

Will Richards: Perfect.

Adam Spencer: Yes. I’ll pay you both for that afterwards.

Gemma Clancy: Thank you. Yeah, so it’s just about getting that balance right, like adding enough context, but then still keeping those early subscribers happy because we can’t make it overly, I guess, simplistic or, uh, too different to what we’re doing now or we’ll ostracize those early fans as

Adam Spencer: well.

Adam Spencer: That’s definitely a piece of micro content there. That’s a, that’s a short that’s going up, uh, as a clip, that little story, because it was so good. People are

Gemma Clancy: going to think I don’t know anything about politics. I

Adam Spencer: love the Japanese bit, that was, that was, that was a good bit. Yeah. So, you mentioned engagement, um, I think, or maybe it was just in my head, but Maybe.

Adam Spencer: How are you keeping that engagement high as the newsletter does grow, as the audience does get more diverse, as they are not kind of like the in group that knows all these, the jokes, and how are you keeping that engagement high?

Will Richards: Great question. Um, it’s, it’s iterative, right? Like the, the good thing I suppose we see is we get a lot of data off the back of every newsletter.

Will Richards: Like we, we can see exactly who opened it. We can see what the open rate was. We can see what the most clicked link was. We can see what people tend to sort of move towards. So I think, yeah, it’s just constantly like saying, okay, if we’re going to, yeah. share another link, um, based on this topic. It’s, you know, it is probably always best to keep it to a similar medium.

Will Richards: Um, people don’t often like clicking from a newsletter onto like a YouTube video. That’s a really high friction thing for someone to do. Like, okay, I’m going to click on them and then get some headphones and watch this video for 20 minutes. So it’s, yeah, it’s really been like a, I think just a constant learning experience and it will continue to be so, um, as we move forward.

Adam Spencer: What you mentioned, Will, about the friction between different people. Forms of media that is so true in podcasting as well in trying to grow a podcast. It’s, and you know, just thinking about, you know, sponsoring newsletters, sponsoring other types of media for a podcast network. It’s definitely something we’re going to experiment with, but yes, there is so much friction.

Adam Spencer: And that’s again, you know, that’s the number one way people try to promote podcasts through is through social media and it makes sense, you know, you put an audiogram up, but the number of people that actually click through and from that audiogram to listen to the podcast is very small. So yeah, that’s always a challenge to try to grow media on, on other forms of media, from audio to text, from text to video.

Adam Spencer: And I’d love for someone to tell me how to do that properly. But yeah, it’s back on engagement. What are your thoughts on engagement? How are you keeping that high?

Gemma Clancy: Um, look, I think it goes without saying that, um, the quality of the content has to remain high, I think, in order to keep people engaged. Um, it’s a pretty cliche thing, but I think, um, When we talk about quality, I think what we try to do is not get caught in this trap of just regurgitating to the extent that, like, we just take exactly the same angle that say, if the AFR put something out that week and they say, um, you know, this has happened, we don’t just go, okay, the AFR said this, we might say the AFR said this, but the context is X.

Gemma Clancy: And the startup ecosystem thinks this, and it’s not just, we’re not necessarily always providing a contrary opinion, we’re just providing kind of a somewhat unique perspective, or like the perspective of somebody that we think, um, the perspective we think somebody would have if they were sitting in the startup ecosystem like we are, because that’s the difference between overnight success and most media publications that are out there talking about the same kind of things we’re talking about.

Gemma Clancy: Is that we are in the ecosystem and most of these journalists who are talking about, um, the startup ecosystem are not in the ecosystem and never worked in the ecosystem. So we have unique perspectives, like, and they’re doing a great job. Like, I don’t want to say they’re not doing a good job, but like, we have the unique perspectives of the factory.

Gemma Clancy: We’ve spoken to multiple people that week who have all provided us with their thoughts and feelings about that topic and we can kind of consolidate them, um, into the content on the weekend. So, I think people really appreciate that. It’s not just like, oh, I read, like, why would you read a newsletter that’s just really go to taste just saying Artie because you’ve already read that week.

Gemma Clancy: Um, we’re not here to do that. We’re here to, yes, say that that was the headline but this is the context and this is a slightly different perspective on it.

Adam Spencer: I love that and that’s to be, like, I was thinking about and I should have asked at the start What separates Overnight Success? What is going to be the key ingredient that makes you guys a success?

Adam Spencer: And I think it is that, that unique position within the Salar Pico system, that extra context that you bring. That’s one of your superpowers, I think. So, just to wrap up, a couple of questions to wrap up. And before I ask them, I’d like to also ask, is there anything that I haven’t asked that you really want to talk about?

Adam Spencer: Any aspect of newsletter, growth of overnight success, brand of the early days of scaling, anything that we

Will Richards: should touch on? One thing I think we’ve, I don’t know if it’s that interesting, but, um, one of the really early things that we did was like the branding and the brand colors are quite unique and like relatively, I wouldn’t say they’re iconic because they’re not super famous, but like they do stand out a fair bit.

Will Richards: But I remember thinking like, how do I? How do I make this newsletter stand out in someone’s inbox? works for every piece of content. And at the time, like, I don’t remember ever receiving a newsletter that was mostly pink. So I just went really hard down this pink branding line and I remember thinking, Oh, do I go down this sort of like ochre Australian sort of branding theme and just thought, Oh, maybe that, that might work down the line, but let’s just start with this pink thing and see how it goes.

Will Richards: And I don’t really know, cause there’s no data that supports it or anything like that, but we’ve sort of curated this, that kind of interesting. Brand colorway that I think stands out in people’s inboxes. And now people build that habit that when they see a pink or a teal green newsletter, that it’s us.

Will Richards: So I think it’s, yeah, it’s really important to try to stand out from the crowd.

Adam Spencer: Yeah. I love your branding. I’m looking at it right now. And, and I just, In, I can just see it as um, a neon billboard. If you ever do any, do more videos or video podcasts, you need a big neon behind you on the wall overnight

Will Richards: success.

Will Richards: I remember when we first got some, some sponsorship money, like it was probably like a few hundred dollars for, Whatever it was, and I remember saying to Gem, we should get a neon sign and she was like, no, well, let’s get something that actually will add value to the business. I was like, no Gem.

Gemma Clancy: Such a party pooper.

Gemma Clancy: I really wanted one of those, you know, like neon, like, yeah, neon light up things. I was like, what are you going to do with that?

Adam Spencer: Carry it around everywhere under your arm. Anyway, cool. You definitely should get one eventually. Definitely. So, to wrap up, and this is like an open question to both of you. What are some of the top audience building lessons that you guys have learnt along the way from growing Overnight Success?

Will Richards: I’ll jump in. My, my first two, like the two that really come to mind that I think have all, we’ve always fallen back on and we’ll continue to fall back on is the first one is, is definitely leveraging other people’s audiences. So produce content and put content out there that your subject or the people who are in the content want to want to share and want to be part of.

Will Richards: And that generally means going down the pathway of like positivity and those sorts of things. But that’s all very much part of our mission, um, to celebrate. Um, the Australian startup ecosystem. So we’ve always tried to piggyback off, off that sort of content and, um, those, those audiences, I’d say the second one is just letting like compounding do its thing.

Will Richards: Um, it, it really is just being consistent and, and letting time and, and growth just sort of take part. If you, if you keep putting, I think quality content out there that people get value from, they’re not probably going to subscribe, sorry, unsubscribe. So if we continue to add value, they’ll, they’ll stay and engage subscriber and then we can just keep, keep growing the, keep growing the pie.

Will Richards: Yeah, I

Gemma Clancy: think that consistency allows for this baseline level of growth that we can somewhat count on each week. And then I think, it is, although outside of that, it can be a little bit tumultuous, and you almost just have to take that in your stride. Like, under some weeks we might see a huge spike, and other weeks we’re just like, oh, that’s weird.

Gemma Clancy: Like, we put in effort, and then we just didn’t see the spike. And you kind of have to just, yeah, take that as part and parcel of this little game that we’re playing, trying to, um, you know, build an audience. And I think, um, yeah, you kind of You don’t always need to be looking out for like, what’s this big thing that’s going to add.

Gemma Clancy: I’m just a subscriber because I think the consistency is more important than anything. But, but yeah, sometimes you’ll see big spikes and sometimes you won’t. And that’s just that’s just okay. That’s fine. We’re just trying to increase. I think that baseline, um, for now, um, what can we consistently count on each week that’s going to grow it.

Gemma Clancy: Um, and that does come with the growing subscriber base. So it’s kind of a chicken and egg scenario, a little bit, unfortunately, and you also get to this point where you realize that the channels that you’re using before the tactics that you’re using before, you know, stop working quite as well. So, for example, like, you know, leveraging their startup, uh, Slack communities that are out there from all different VCs and kind of community groups.

Gemma Clancy: I think we could still see some incremental growth by continuing to engage in those platforms, but I think like the large majority of people who are subscribed to overnight, who are going to subscribe to overnight success are in those channels. They’re subscribed already. Like we’re not going to see crazy growth.

Gemma Clancy: Whereas at the start, that was a huge driver of growth. Um, so, we’re kind of always looking for that next thing that’s going to create that next wave or that next spike, you know, um, in growth. So, yeah, you just have to keep pivoting new channels.

Adam Spencer: Yeah, thank you. That’s awesome, man. One quick question though that I think is really important for especially solo creators.

Adam Spencer: How important do you think, or have you found, this co founder relationship to be? Instead of doing it by yourself, you’ve got each other to bounce off. And I guess, maybe a question in there is, well, A, how important is that and how has that helped you? But maybe will as well, secondarily. What advice would you have for solo creators that are doing it themselves from your that first six months like yeah

Will Richards: It’s a funny one.

Will Richards: I think I was acutely aware of all the stuff. I wasn’t doing As well as I could be doing and like from the get go, there was constantly getting feedback and constantly adjusting. Um, but fundamentally, like I’m not a growth expert. I’m not that, I don’t have that marketing background. Like I studied finance sort of thing.

Will Richards: So, um, I think Jem and I really counterbalance each other super well. I’m also like the type of person that’s always like, okay, what’s the next project we should be working on? Like, what’s the next thing we can do? And that driving force, I suppose. And Jem comes in with the The temperance to sort of slow it all down, you know, let’s focus on the numbers.

Will Richards: That’s like, let’s really get this right first before we do the next thing. So I think there’s definitely that, that skill, like the skill balance where we compliment each other really well on, on the fundamental skills of, of writing this type of content and growing this, this type of content. But I think just in terms of like a co founding relationship, like it’s really good to have a balance in, in personality as well.

Will Richards: And, um, I think, yeah, we, we’ve got a really nice balance that, that we share. Totally

Gemma Clancy: agree. Yeah, totally agree. Thank God. How awkward if I disagree. Yeah. Um, no, I, I think, uh, like I said at the start, like I, I don’t think I would have had the confidence, at least at the time. Like I think now, you know, maybe like I’ve started a newsletter, a separate newsletter with my own business marketing consultancy for startups.

Adam Spencer: Plug that by the way. Plug it. Tell us about it.

Gemma Clancy: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I can tell you about it later.

Adam Spencer: Don’t tell me later. Tell the people that are listening now.

Gemma Clancy: I know, I know, I know, or just a few inches in my arse, but yeah, okay, well I’ll try and weave it in. Um, yeah, I wouldn’t have started the newsletter in the same way that Will started it.

Gemma Clancy: I think with that kind of, uh, like pretty rough and ready approach, like I’m, you know, that’s not a criticism. I think that’s a necessity for something like this. It’s not going to be perfect from day one, but my personality is certainly that. I’m like. I would love for it to be like 90 percent there before I publish it.

Gemma Clancy: Um, but I think, you know, that usually means that you don’t publish. So I think it was really good that we’ll start it up, but then I was able to come into helping me accelerate that growth. And then, you know, when it literally just comes down to the logistics of every Friday night, having to write something like we’ve got our own personal lives as well as full time jobs that we have to do on the side, like Will’s, Will’s role, um, you know, his day job is pretty demanding and I run my whole own business as a marketing advisor for startups and that is, you know, it’s, it’s more than a full time on its own, full time job on its own.

Gemma Clancy: Trying to do overnight success on the side, as much as I love doing it, it’s a lot. So when you’ve got somebody else to, to there to motivate you or to just send a message to and be like, I am not going to get this done, um, this week, can you help me? Or like I got married and I went on a honeymoon and we’ll just kind of plowed through and just kept going, you know, so that like we needed each other in those times.

Gemma Clancy: And that motivation piece to keep that consistency up, which has been key to our growth. I think like, you know, we’ll maybe could have kept going, but I think like, I don’t want to say that he couldn’t have done it on his own, but I think it certainly helps having the two of you to balance each other out.

Gemma Clancy: An

Will Richards: important thing as well, to consider when you’re thinking about as a solo founder to bring a second co founder on, I think we, we took it really slow and like, I think it was really to our benefit to do it that way. Gem was, was keen to sort of get involved and, and we sort of. Had a chat about like the, the reality of that.

Will Richards: Like it, it, it, yeah. It couldn’t have been a paid position at the time because there was no cash coming in. So naturally she wanted to sort of, sort of join as a co founder as well. And I could definitely see the possibility, but we, we set some goals and some, some long term horizon things to like action items to work through and, and she smashed those goals out.

Will Richards: And because of that, the co founding thing happened and the equity thing happened and all that sort of stuff. So I think, yeah, for, for solo founders, if you If you know there’s a gap in your, in your skillset and there’s someone there who’s willing to help, like you can, you can really make that process really smooth.

Will Richards: And I think we, we sort of nailed it, to be honest.

Adam Spencer: Last question. Future. What does the future look like for Overnight Success? What are the plans? What are the grand ambitions? How are you going to take over the world?

Will Richards: Do you want to talk about content, Jen? Sure.

Gemma Clancy: Yeah. So, I mean, we’re constantly like evolving the newsletter.

Gemma Clancy: And I like, so the newsletter is going to stay a core part, like essentially a core product of what Overnight Success does. We, you know, that’s not ending anytime soon. Um, we just want to grow that, that, um, that our base of subscribers and our goal this year is to, to reach 10, 000 subscribers, which we think is, you know, ambitious enough, but definitely achievable when you look at kind of what others, what other newsletters and media platforms around us have managed to achieve.

Gemma Clancy: Um, so that’s our goal. And then I think, you know, when we look at how do we make that possible, um, you know, we’ll mention bringing on a writer, um, Kate and she’s, so she’s coming on board to help us write the newsletter so that we can spend more time on kind of improving what the rest of the business that sits around it.

Gemma Clancy: Um, and growing that subscriber base and actually doing the distribution side rather than just, um, working on the newsletter sent because that’s a, one of the downsides of newsletters is a very closed ecosystem. It’s like, very hard to just find a newsletter unless you’re really actively looking for it.

Gemma Clancy: So we have to do the distribution piece. Otherwise, people won’t find us. And a big part of obviously helping pay for Kate’s time and helping grow what we’re doing is that we’re, you know, we’re really focused in particular on, um, finding sponsors that are willing to support us so that we can kind of, yeah, actually make what we’re doing more sustainable.

Gemma Clancy: And then a big part of, um, kind of growing what we’re doing in the content space is, um, leveraging a wider network of, of guest writers. So at the end of last year, we put a call out to to the ecosystem and said, like, do people want to write for overnight success? Honestly, it’s better about three people to come back and be like, yeah, I’ll do that and got a lot more applications than I anticipated.

Gemma Clancy: And so we had to be like, okay, so what are we going to do with this level of interest? And what do we really want them to write? Because I thought if we just had a few people interested, we could kind of work that somewhat around them. But what we’ve decided to do in the end is because we’ve got so many people interested and we want to, we want to allow them to be part of what we’re doing to leverage our brand, leverage our audience, we’re actually virtually built essentially a program, a program around it and a system around it, and there’ll be a new newsletter coming out in the next couple of months that those writers will be powering.

Gemma Clancy: So, um, keep an eye out for that.

Adam Spencer: Is that an exclusive or do people already know that

Gemma Clancy: already? Well, I guess for I just know that, but that’s not publicly publicly known yet. So yes, uh, we officially actually kicked it off with the guest writers last night. So yeah, it’s pretty fresh, but it’s been in the West for quite a while.

Adam Spencer: Okay. Well, I’m making this episode number one of earning years then, and we’ll get it out ASAP. Yep. Okay. Awesome.

Gemma Clancy: So yeah, that’s, that’s all the content side of things.

Adam Spencer: Yeah. All right. Anything to follow on with that, Will,

Will Richards: or? There’s some other stuff happening on the business side as well, but we can keep it to just content if you’d like.

Will Richards: Tell me everything. Sure. Yeah, sure. I think the newsletter and the value it provides and the feedback we get Has been really influential to what else we’ve looked at that we can do. So a big thing that we, we sort of see readers use the newsletter for is keeping track of obviously deal news and startups that have raised capital and who’s investing and, and, and that sort of thing.

Will Richards: But, you know, a newsletter itself is, it’s hard to, Maybe crawl or keep track of. So one thing we are building right now, and we’ve got a developer on board is sort of a database that is a bit more like a SAS product. So that’s, yeah, very complimentary, um, works in tandem with the content business, but it will just be delivered separately, um, in a separate product.

Will Richards: There’s another software product as well, which is, is really trying to help. Startups get a leg up in their first very early days. Um, so that’s, that’s another thing I won’t shed too much light on cause that’s still, let’s say an idea on a napkin right now and we’re focusing on the database first. But yeah, I think like taking learnings and seeing where the engagement is on the content side of the business and then try to facilitate that value elsewhere and monetize on that is quite an interesting thing that we’re looking at.

Will Richards: Um, it’s still, yeah, it’s still super early. The product’s not in market just yet, but it’s, it’s something we’re building in the background.

Adam Spencer: Awesome. Yeah. I see that you have the startup funding database on the overnight success website. That is not that product I’m assuming, but a lot of the data that you’ve collected will go into that.

Will Richards: Yeah. So that’s, that’s like a static, um, representation of everyone who invests in Australian startups at the moment. Um, what we’re trying to build is, um, A much more live dashboard and a live tracker of what’s actually happening in market. So, um, a big thing we get is founders, you know, trawling our archive to find angels or early stage companies that might invest in their business or are currently actively, actively investing.

Will Richards: So try to turn that into a product that they can easily access, um, and not spend hours and hours and hours going through, you know, 3000 word newsletters, the better for everyone.

Adam Spencer: Thank you guys. Thank you so much. Overnight Success team for coming on to Earning Years. Eddie, any final words before we sign off?

Adam Spencer: No, thanks for

Will Richards: having us, Adam. Make sure

Gemma Clancy: you subscribe to Overnight Success if you’re not already.


Earning Ears_V2

Earning Ears

How to create a show that earns your audience’s attention