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This Substack Writer Accidentally Enabled The Paid Button — Here’s What Happened Next!

  • 6 min read

Build a media empire in minutes and start making money.

Substack has somewhat disrupted the traditional media industry.

HootSuite calls Substack:

“The biggest disruption to journalism, personal writing and thought leadership since the blog boom of the 2000s.”

2022 showed that the San Francisco-based tech company definitely is on the rise.

According to SimilarWeb data, Substack generated 50.6 million visits in December 2022 and is growing pretty fast.


I think one of the reasons for Substack’s traffic growing 14%+ from November to December 2022 was the announcement that Elon Musk would shut down Twitter’s newsletter service Revue on January 18, 2022.

Substack now has millions of readers and over one million paying subscribers, generating more than $9 million in revenue (Substack charges a 10% cut on subscription payments, which is how it makes money).

At the beginning of 2022, Substack was valued at $650 million.

Substack claims you can build a media empire in minutes.

The newsletter publishing platform proposes that minimalistic design and writing skills are all thought leaders need to bring new subscription revenue to life.

In fact, Substack’s top ten writers together earn more than $25 million.

In this day and time, people are doing whatever they can to stay afloat.

40% of Americans already have a side hustle to pay their bills and create a better future for themselves and their families.

Alicia Kennedy accidentally enabled the paid newsletter button

Alicia Kennedy’s Substack

When food and beverage writer Alicia Kennedy from Puerto Rico was laid off in 2020, she started her own Substack newsletter.

It was a niche newsletter called From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy, where she analyzed culture and food media and shared awesome recipes.

Alicia Kennedy’s Substack

Soon she grew her newsletter to 3,000 subscribers with hundreds of avid followers.

One day, she accidentally enabled the paid newsletter button, and her digital tip jar started to fill up.

Soon she had 400 paying subscribers who paid $5 a month or $30 a year for a bonus Friday Q&A with Alicia.

Earning $2,000+ a month was a great foundation for her newsletter business!

And just like that…from one minute to the next, she became a newsletter entrepreneur.

Now Alicia Kennedy owns her own media empire.

In 2023, Alicia’s weekly newsletter on food culture, politics, and media have more than 20,000 subscribers.

  • Every Monday, she caters to the needs of her free subscribers.
  • Every Friday, she shares exclusive recipes and insights with her paid subscribers.

“Alicia Kennedy’s newsletter is an example of the kind of honest thinking we need about the future of the American food system.” — The Nation

She has been mentioned in the New York Times.

Additionally, Alicia has been mentioned by “the New York Times, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Eater, and recommended in New York Magazine, W, Food52, Coveteur, and Vogue Australia”.

She writes for Harper’s Bazar.

In 2022, her stories have been featured in Harper’s Bazar, Bon Appétit, MOLD, and on Netflix.

She will launch a book with a major publisher.

Moreover, she got her book No Meat Required: The Cultural History and Culinary Future of Plant-Based Eating into production, which will be launched in the summer of 2023.

She was on TV

She has appeared on Good Morning America, the BBC World Service, WNYC’s “On the Media” and “The Takeaway,” and talks about issues of food media, culture, and meat consumption.

She’ll be teaching

In 2023, she’ll be teaching in the first semester.

Why am I sharing this success story with you?

If you haven’t started your own newsletter on Substack, take action and do it in 2023!

I started my newsletter in October 2022 and now have 649 subscribers who are making my words part of their week.

Substack Dashboard; 649 subscribers to date

The newsletter business is booming.

More and more (Medium) writers are coming to Substack, and if you’re writing on Medium, you can link to your stories via your newsletter.

In fact, users who visit Substack also visit Twitter and Medium.


I encourage you to give Substack a try!

People feel good about giving people they like money so they can continue to make things they like.

You can start a free newsletter today! We all work constantly for free all the time anyway. My newsletter is free too.

However, let’s say at some point, you’ll (accidentally 😉) enable the paid button and will offer exclusive content to your paid subscribers…

Quick maths: 100 x $5 = $500 per month.

If you can get 100 people subscribing and giving you $5 a month, that’s super awesome!

For most (part-time) online writers, $500 a month is something!

Additionally, as Alicia’s success story shows, becoming a newsletter entrepreneur can open the doors to so many opportunities!

P.S. Great writing is valuable. Click here to estimate what you could make on Substack (from $5 to $75 per month/per paid subscriber).

Kristina God is a Top Writer on Medium. Besides being a full-stack marketer and manager, she is the co-founder of SCM and owns a 5-figure online business together with her husband.

🔥 First, get Kristina’s Substack newsletter in your inbox and never miss a trend or the latest news.

Second, if you enjoy reading stories like these and want to support me as a writer, consider signing up to become a Medium member.

Here’s Kristina’s super popular story about Substack that Medium boosts, and recommends and her YouTube video:

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