9 Lessons from Building the Growth Catalyst Newsletter
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Sharing my learnings from it. All of these learnings can be directly applied to building products.
Start with the goal to solve a user pain point — As a product manager, I know the importance of solving a pain point vs chasing anything else. A lot of folks start writing to gain status. It is an important objective - should not be the core one. The core objective will affect your writing quality. 🔥
Validate the pain point — There are two kinds of pain points. One that you have experienced yourself. Another that you think some people have. You can be sure about the first one, the second one requires a lot of validation through interviews and research. Starting out, I knew that I have devoted a lot of time in learning about product and growth. If I could save time and energy for my peers and the next set of PMs/Founders/Marketers, it would solve a big pain point. 🌈
Set a clear objective and philosophy of the product — Growth Catalyst is an honest attempt to provide quality content around product/growth to PMs, Founders, and Marketers. The existing blogs/resources are theoretical and complex. So the objective would be writing in a simple language and add case studies so that people can actually learn and benefit from it. However, just setting won’t lead to results. You have to follow the philosophy. This might mean letting go of the short term growth. 🏆
A personal long-term for yourself — A long-term goal for you is important to avoid burnout. I have a full-time job and have to spend 10-15 hours beyond that producing a post every week. What keeps me going is the long-held desire of helping others, and a long-term goal of becoming a domain expert in product and growth. I am writing it as much for myself as much for others. 🎯
A long-term commitment — Users need assurance that you will be consistent in making the product better. I did it by laying out the list of 10 topics I was going to write about in the next 10-12 months. It was a big commitment but I knew you would expect no less 🤝
Maintaining your own subscriber list — Getting a direct connection line with the audience is important. This is why I opted for Substack, rather than Medium. It's especially important if you are in it for the long run. My only request to Substack is to provide custom domains ASAP. ☎️
Handling ambiguity — You don't know what's going to work for you. Some posts work, some don't. As a growth guy, I have seen multiple growth cycles of multiple products. You have to be comfortable with ambiguity and failures. Applies to all products. This is the hardest one in my opinion. 🧩
Knowing users is critical for early P/MF — Connect to users and understand product-market fit early in building products. For Growth Catalyst, readers loved the simplicity. I wasn't aware of it when I started writing. Early surveys helped in recognizing and maintaining it. I have written about the importance of surveys in product-market fit (P/MF). 📝
Build a support system — A support system of friends and family who can encourage you at the lowest is very important. If not for my wife Priya and my friends, I would have found it very difficult to accomplish whatever dubious things I have achieved. 🙏🏻
Hopefully, these pointers would help you in building your own adventures.
PS: If you liked this, join me on Twitter where I write and share more frequently. Writing frequently on LinkedIn feels spammy, so I don’t do that.