How To Make Money Online With Substack [UPDATED]

How To Make Money Online With Substack

How To Make Money Online With Substack [UPDATED]


In today’s digital age, the internet has opened up countless opportunities for individuals to explore new avenues of income generation.

One such avenue is Substack, a popular online platform that enables writers, journalists, and content creators to monetize their work through newsletter subscriptions.

With its user-friendly interface and diverse range of topics, Substack has become a go-to platform for many who aspire to turn their passion for writing into a lucrative online business.

This guide aims to provide you with insights and strategies on how to make money online with Substack.

Whether you are an established writer or a novice looking to embark on a new creative journey, the information presented here will help you navigate the platform effectively, build a loyal subscriber base, and ultimately generate revenue from your writing.

Throughout this guide, we will delve into various aspects of making money with Substack. We will discuss the fundamental steps of setting up your Substack account, creating compelling content, and attracting subscribers.

Furthermore, we will explore different monetization strategies, such as offering paid subscriptions, incorporating sponsored content, and leveraging additional revenue streams outside of Substack.

It is important to note that while Substack provides an accessible platform to monetize your writing, success is not guaranteed overnight.

Building a sustainable online income requires dedication, consistent effort, and a deep understanding of your target audience.

This guide will equip you with the tools and knowledge needed to establish yourself as a successful Substack creator and maximize your earning potential.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey of financial independence and creative fulfilment, let’s dive into the world of Substack and discover how you can turn your passion for writing into a thriving online business.

What Is Substack?

Substack is an online platform that allows writers, journalists, and content creators to publish and monetize their work through newsletters.

Launched in 2017, Substack has gained significant popularity as a reliable and user-friendly platform for individuals seeking to share their ideas, expertise, and stories with a wide audience.

At its core, Substack operates on a subscription-based model. Writers can create and distribute their content via email newsletters, which readers can subscribe to for regular updates.

Subscribers have the option to access content for free or opt for paid subscriptions to unlock exclusive or premium content.

What sets Substack apart from traditional blogging platforms is its emphasis on direct relationships between writers and their audience.

It allows writers to have direct ownership and control over their content, as well as the ability to directly communicate with their subscribers.

This direct line of communication fosters a sense of community and engagement, allowing writers to build loyal followings and establish a dedicated readership.

Substack also offers a range of features and tools to enhance the writing and publishing experience.

Writers can customize their newsletters with various templates, embed multimedia content, and utilize analytics to track subscriber engagement.

Additionally, Substack provides a simple payment infrastructure that facilitates the collection of subscription fees and distribution of earnings to writers.

Why Do I Need a Substack Account?

In today’s digital age, where content creation and online entrepreneurship are booming, having a Substack account can be a game-changer for writers, journalists, and content creators.

Substack offers a unique platform that allows individuals to share their ideas, build a loyal readership, and monetize their work.

If you’re still unsure about whether you need a Substack account, let’s explore some compelling reasons why it can be a valuable asset for your online presence and career.

1. Directly Connect with Your Audience.

Substack enables you to establish a direct line of communication with your audience. Through email newsletters, you can deliver your content straight to your subscribers’ inboxes, bypassing algorithms and ensuring your message reaches those who are genuinely interested in your work.

This direct connection fosters a sense of community, engagement, and trust, allowing you to build meaningful relationships with your readers.

2. Monetize Your Writing.

Substack provides an opportunity to monetize your writing and turn your passion into a sustainable income stream.

You can offer paid subscriptions to your newsletter, providing exclusive or premium content to subscribers willing to support your work.

With Substack’s user-friendly payment infrastructure, collecting subscription fees becomes a seamless process, allowing you to focus on creating valuable content.

3. Maintain Ownership and Control.

Unlike some other publishing platforms, Substack emphasizes writer ownership and control. You retain full ownership of your content, and Substack does not interfere with the rights to your work.

This gives you the freedom to express your ideas without limitations or restrictions, ensuring that your creative vision remains intact.

4. Accessible and User-Friendly Platform.

Substack’s platform is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, making it accessible to both experienced writers and newcomers. You don’t need extensive technical knowledge or coding skills to get started.

Creating and publishing newsletters is a straightforward process, allowing you to focus on your writing rather than grappling with complex technology.

5. Discoverability and Growth Opportunities.

Substack provides a platform that attracts readers who are actively seeking quality content. It offers built-in discoverability features, such as the ability to showcase your work in Substack’s directory, where readers can browse and subscribe to newsletters on various topics.

By tapping into Substack’s existing user base and network, you have the potential to reach a wider audience and grow your subscriber base.

6. Flexibility and Creative Freedom.

With a Substack account, you have the flexibility to explore different writing styles, topics, and formats.

You can experiment with different approaches, cater to specific niches, or diversify your content offerings.

Substack gives you the creative freedom to adapt and evolve as a writer while receiving valuable feedback from your audience.

7. Supplement Other Revenue Streams.

Even if you already have an established online presence or source of income, a Substack account can serve as an additional revenue stream.

It provides an opportunity to engage with your audience on a deeper level and offer exclusive content that goes beyond what you may share on other platforms.

Substack can complement and enhance your existing endeavours while expanding your earning potential.

8. Build Authority and Expertise.

A Substack account can help you establish yourself as an authority and expert in your field. By consistently delivering high-quality and insightful content to your subscribers, you can position yourself as a trusted source of information and knowledge.

As your reputation grows, you may attract opportunities for speaking engagements, collaborations, or even book deals, further solidifying your status as a thought leader.

9. Gain Creative Discipline and Consistency.

Maintaining a Substack account requires discipline and consistency in creating and delivering content.

It pushes you to develop a regular writing habit and meet deadlines, which can significantly improve your writing skills and productivity.

The accountability of having subscribers eagerly awaiting your next newsletter can be a powerful motivator to consistently produce valuable content.

10. Embrace Creative Independence.

Substack empowers you to pursue your creative independence. Unlike traditional media outlets or publishing companies that may have editorial guidelines or limitations on the topics you can cover, Substack allows you to explore your passions freely.

You can write about niche subjects, express unconventional opinions, or delve into personal stories that may not find a place in mainstream media. This creative autonomy can be liberating and fulfilling.

11. Test and Refine Your Ideas.

Substack serves as an excellent platform to test and refine your ideas. You can gauge your readers’ responses to different topics, writing styles, or formats, allowing you to learn and adapt based on their feedback.

Through the comment section or direct interactions with subscribers, you can engage in meaningful conversations, receive constructive criticism, and iterate on your content, ultimately honing your craft as a writer.

12. Join a Supportive Community.

Being part of the Substack community means connecting with fellow writers and creators who are on a similar journey.

Substack offers opportunities to collaborate, share insights, and learn from others’ experiences.

Engaging with the broader Substack community through forums, social media groups, or virtual events can provide a support network, inspiration, and valuable resources to help you thrive in your writing career.

13. Long-Term Scalability.

Substack offers the potential for long-term scalability. As you consistently deliver valuable content and grow your subscriber base, your earnings can increase over time.

Substack’s platform is designed to handle growing audiences, ensuring that your business can scale smoothly as your readership expands.

This scalability allows you to have a sustainable and scalable online business that can evolve alongside your aspirations.

14. Substack can be easily monetized.

Another advantage that comes built-in with Substack is that it allows writers to easily charge for subscription access to your Substack newsletter, on an ongoing basis.

All you need do as a writer is to entice readers with an incredibly simple sign-up form for your Substack newsletter. The writer only needs to link their Stripe account to enable monetization.

Although this feature is less critical, it is also cool that Substack processes payments within 1-2 business days, utilizing Stripe. Substack pays writers as you receive payments in real-time, with only a one or two-day delay.

There are no minimum payout thresholds, further making Substack a favourite for writers. Additionally, you can also monetize your Substack newsletter with affiliate marketing programs such as Partnerstack and many more.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to start an affiliate marketing business. Check out the link to the article below to make money.

15. Substack Helps You Grow Your Audience.

Substack gives you an email list by default if you don’t have one already Not only that, but Substack also offers many tools to help you grow your audience. They offer many connections through the web, such as on Twitter.

There are still issues that writers will face. For example, more creators are discovering the power of paid email newsletters, making it hard to stand out. This is especially true for new and unknown creators.

16. Substack is User Friendly.

One of the best features of Substack is its ease of use. It doesn’t take long to get set up and send your first email. Substack offers a very minimalist interface. You can easily sign up, get your account set up, build your newsletter, and send emails.

This is also why Substack is the best option for those new to email marketing. You can easily import your existing email marketing list. If you don’t have one, Substack will provide you with a list.

How do I Make Money Online With Substack?

Substack is known for its hands-off approach to censorship. While there are still some publishing guidelines, the platform’s lack of gatekeeping has attracted both ground-breaking journalists and some seriously controversial writers.

In other words, the site is simply a tool to facilitate publishing for, well, anyone. And it’s working. Over 1 million people are paying for subscriptions to Substack publications each month.

Do you want to make money online with Substack? Here is how it can be done.

1. Build an audience.

Building an audience is the first step to take when making money via a substack. Audience-building for your online business includes the process of developing awareness of your brand to help you to sell more of your products or services.

The logical place to begin is to identify who your target audience is and how to find them. To start building your audience on Substack, you need to come up with topics you are quite good at.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to build an audience for your business. Check out the link to the article below to learn more.

2. Create Compelling Content.

The foundation of any successful Substack account lies in creating compelling and valuable content that resonates with your target audience.

Identify your niche, define your unique voice, and craft engaging newsletters that provide insights, information, or entertainment.

Consistency is key, so establish a regular publishing schedule to keep your subscribers engaged and eager for more.

3. Determine Your Monetization Model.

Substack offers various monetization options to suit your preferences and goals. Consider whether you want to offer free newsletters to build a wide readership or implement a paid subscription model to provide exclusive content to your most dedicated followers.

You can also experiment with a hybrid approach, where some content is freely accessible while premium content requires a paid subscription.

4 . Set Subscription Prices.

If you opt for paid subscriptions, determine the pricing for your tiers. Assess the value you provide and consider factors such as the depth of your expertise, the frequency of your newsletters, and the level of exclusivity.

It’s important to strike a balance between affordability for subscribers and fair compensation for your efforts.

Consider offering annual subscription discounts or special promotions to attract new subscribers.

5. Engage and Interact with Your Subscribers.

Building a loyal subscriber base requires active engagement and interaction with your readers. Encourage feedback, respond to comments, and create opportunities for discussion.

Consider hosting live Q&A sessions, conducting reader surveys, or offering personalized content recommendations.

By fostering a sense of community and connection, you can increase subscriber retention and attract new readers through word-of-mouth referrals.

6. Offer Premium or Exclusive Content.

To entice subscribers to upgrade to paid tiers, offer premium or exclusive content. This can include in-depth articles, research reports, behind-the-scenes insights, bonus materials, or access to private forums or communities.

The value proposition should be compelling enough for readers to see the benefits of investing in your paid subscription.

7. Collaborate and Cross-Promote.

Collaborating with other Substack writers or complementary content creators can expand your reach and attract new subscribers. Consider guest contributions, co-authored newsletters, or joint promotional campaigns.

By tapping into each other’s audiences, you can gain exposure to a wider demographic and potentially convert new readers into paying subscribers.

8. Leverage Additional Revenue Streams.

While Substack is a powerful platform, it’s also beneficial to explore additional revenue streams to supplement your earnings.

This can include sponsored content collaborations, affiliate marketing, selling merchandise or digital products, or offering consulting or coaching services related to your niche.

Diversifying your income sources can provide stability and unlock new opportunities for financial growth.

9. Start an e-Commerce Business.

Selling things online is another way to make money online with Substack. E-commerce is a business model that enables goods, services and payments to be transmitted over the internet via websites like Amazon or custom websites built by you.

Online shopping is just one of many areas that have seen extensive growth over the past five years and still growing.

Depending on your goals, it might make sense to start an e-commerce business. Substack can be used as a medium to promote your e-commerce business to your audience.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to start an e-Commerce business. Check out the link to the article below to learn more.

10. Promote Your Blog on Substack.

Maybe you already run a blog and you seek to give it a boot, Substack can be used as leverage to make this happen.

Blogging can be lucrative with time and continued effort. The best way to see the monetary fruits of your labour is by posting quality content regularly that draws in new readers and brings more traffic to your website.

Substack is a platform for writers and readers in a culmination of blog-meets-email-marketing.

You can repurpose articles on your blog via Sustack or drive traffic to it while sharing snippets of links when sending out newsletters to your audience.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to start a blog on Substack. check out the link to the article to learn more.

11. Start a YouTube channel.

500 hours of video are uploaded every single minute on YouTube. While that may seem like a tough channel to break into, YouTube is still an invaluable way for many businesses to grow their brand exposure.

Anyone can start a YouTube channel and become successful through it, but at first, you may struggle with subscribers.

Substack can help in driving traffic to your YouTube channel which sends a signal to the YouTube algorithm that your channel is important, causing it to recommend it to other people.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to start a YouTube channel, Check out the link to the articles below to learn more.

12. Sell e-books via substack.

Ebooks are a great addition to any passive income strategy. Why? Because once you create an ebook, and market it, it can technically sell itself.

Now, it takes a decent amount of effort to write valuable content, but in the end, it is worth it. But when you do set everything up correctly, ebooks can help you make money for a long time.

The more evergreen your content is, and the more you keep promoting and updating it, the longer the life of your ebook.

Substack can be used as a medium to help promote your eBook, once you have an already established audience.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to create an Ebook. check out the link to the article to learn more.

13. Start an Affiliate Marketing business.

Affiliate marketing is an online business model that allows you to make money by referring to other people’s products or services.

An easy way to monetize your Substack newsletter is to promote affiliate links. Here’s how it works:

You promote affiliate products in your newsletter and on your site, Your audience buys those products from your unique links, and You get a commission from those sales. It is that simple!

Instead, think of affiliate recommendations like making suggestions to your friends. Only promote products you use and love. It shouldn’t be the core of your email marketing strategy.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to start an affiliate marketing business. Check out the link to the article below to learn more.

14. Sell Workshops and Group Programs.

Substack newsletters are a great way to drive registrations to workshops or group programs. Your list is a group of your biggest fans who are probably eager to spend time with you face-to-face.

If you’ve been delivering helpful content in your newsletters, this is especially true. Workshops and group programs can be more affordable for your subscribers who can’t afford to work with you individually.

You can also use free workshops as a list builder, like in the example below. I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to grow your business with webinars. Check out the link to the article to learn more.

15. Sponsorship.

Just like blog posts and podcast episodes, email newsletters can be sponsored. This essentially means that a brand pays you to mention its company or product in your email newsletter.

This can be a small blurb at the end of your email similar to a classified ad in the newspaper.

Or it can be a more prominent feature near the top of your newsletter. Either way, you want to be transparent about what content is sponsored by whom. You also want to respect your subscribers.

Always make sure your sponsored content aligns with your content.

16. Optimize and Analyze.

Substack provides analytics tools that allow you to track subscriber engagement, open rates, and conversion rates.

Use these insights to optimize your content strategy, identify trends, and understand what resonates with your audience.

Experiment with different newsletter formats, subject lines, or content themes, and analyze the results to refine your approach and maximize the effectiveness of your monetization efforts.


Substack presents an excellent opportunity for writers, journalists, and content creators to make money online by leveraging their writing skills and expertise.

By creating compelling content, implementing a suitable monetization model, engaging with subscribers, and diversifying revenue streams, you can turn your Substack account into a thriving online business.

Stay committed, adapt to changes, and consistently deliver value, and you’ll be well on your way to monetizing your passion and enjoying the financial rewards of your writing endeavours with Substack.

What do you think?

Written by Udemezue John

Hello, I'm Udemezue John, a web developer and digital marketer with a passion for financial literacy.

I have always been drawn to the intersection of technology and business, and I believe that the internet offers endless opportunities for entrepreneurs and individuals alike to improve their financial well-being.

You can connect with me on Twitter


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