This process generates newsletter niches (even if you have no starting ideas)

If you’re on this list, I can say without a doubt you’re interested in starting an online business. Preferably, a low-hassle solopreneur business that can generate 6 or 7 figures without killing yourself spending hours at the keyboard each day.

(Yes, even if you want to start a freelancing business… that’s still a business.)

The reason I call this out is because all this week I’ve been showing you how a simple newsletter is the "smartest" solopreneur business you can start in 2024.

  • You can run a newsletter with just one employee – you.
  • You can easily add a newsletter to an existing business if you don’t already have one.
  • You can use a simple newsletter format I’ll show you below to make writing emails quick and easy.
  • Your newsletter landing page can say almost nothing because customers want to subscribe to newsletters these days.
  • You can setup a newsletter in just a few hours over one single weekend and spend under $100 in startup fees.

Newsletters, when they get cranking, can be monetized in several different ways and can easily generate 6 or 7-figures (all the newsletters I showed you yesterday are generating that much).

And one of the best parts about newsletters is, if you set them up how I’ll show you, they are extremely low-pressure. Meaning, you don’t have to be an expert and the very best part is you don’t even really have to pick a niche topic to start one.

You can always switch your market, niche or topic later after you get feedback and make offers to your subscribers.

All this adds up to me shouting at you: the sooner you start a newsletter, the sooner you’ll be building a valuable asset.

So, how do you actually come up with a newsletter topic to start?

I’m going to walk you through a 4-step process that makes it easy – I call it the Reverse Market Process.

Step #1: Establish Your Newsletter Format
Don’t start by picking your market, niche, topic or any type of product to sell.

Simply pick your newsletter format.

There are various formats that work (digest, 3rd party stories, expert "how to" content) but there’s only one format that is extremely beginner-friendly. And that’s a Weekly Digest.

A digest means you’ll be summarizing and curating information that you’re ideally already studying anyways (more on this below). Think industry news roundups, top tips, and best practices. The content is drop-dead easy to put together and people love it.

Tim Ferriss’s 5-Bullet Friday is a great example. CopyHour started as a digest – my newsletter used to be called Friday Copy Over Coffee.

I recommend you start with a weekly digest so you only have to put together 1 email per week, giving you plenty of time to research and compile and ensuring that you actually start sending something. You don’t want to complicate things by sending a daily email in the beginning.

Long story short: people love digest-style newsletters and they make your life much easier.

Step #2: Brainstorm Overall Markets
Next, choose an overall market. Don’t worry about niching down too much, just yet.

When I’m referring to a market, for simplicity sake, I’m referring to the audience or the people that will read your newsletter.

Examples: Golfers. Marketers. Remote workers. Copywriters. Gamers. Chess players.

There’s some nuance in what you consider to be an overall market, but just settle into something broad. For example, I’d consider Chess players to be broad enough versus starting a newsletter that attracts Gamers. And for this exercise, don’t niche yourself into Chess-specific topics (like opening moves, etc).

Another example for the copywriting market would be — don’t niche yourself into business owners versus freelance copywriters.

Here are the 4 best ways to brainstorm markets:

  1. Newsletters being sold on

    A little hack you can use is going to to start perusing the listings for newsletters. If someone is selling a newsletter, it gives you a good indication that that market is subscribing to newsletters. Sometimes you’ll even be able to view the actual newsletter topic (talked about in step #3).

You could look at this newsletter business listing and say, "Okay, product managers is an overall market."

  1. Advertiser Preferences on Beehiiv:

What products/tools are advertisers looking to promote and to whom? My favorite way to research this is to go to Beehiiv’s advertiser network.

(Beehiiv is the newsletter platform I recommend to start.)

These are some of the big companies who pay for ad spots in Beehiiv’s publisher’s newsletters. You’d be a publisher. These are the companies that are trying to buy ads in your newsletter.

What audiences are they looking for? Especially audiences that spend money. Who are those people, what types of lists are they are on, what types of products do they buy? What problems are they trying to solve? Work backwards to discover the market.

  1. Recruiter Preferences:

What type of audience or demographic are recruiters targeting? Businesses and their recruiters want to find talent. They want to advertise in newsletters that have a lot of career professionals, high-value people, and high earners. They want to find and capture that audience.

So, if you have a newsletter that attracts the type of person a recruiter is looking for, you can monetize it more easily.

  1. What market are you in?

    Another way to figure out a good market is to look at the man or woman in the mirror. What audiences are you in?

Start with your browsing history: What do you frequently search for online (jokes aside)? What communities are you in? This might show your interests and what markets you belong to.

Credit Card Statements: Where are you spending your money? Your actual expenses reveal your priorities and interests.

Step #3: Write Down Some Hot, Trending Topics in Your Market
You might be settled-enough with a market AND general topic after going through the exercise above. In other words, sometimes the market itself is enough to give you a starting topic for your newsletter.

But you still might feel like you need a narrower topic to focus on for your newsletter.

Market: Golfers
First Experimental Topic: Putting

Go to ChatGPT. Ask it first what’s hot in general: "What are the hottest topics that are trending right now?"

Then ask it what’s hot in a general market you’re interested in from step #2 above: "What are trending hot topics in chess right now?" "What are the trending topics that product managers are interested in right now?"

I just did that search right now with the prompt: "What are trending hot topics in online marketing?" and it gave me 6 different topics and a whole bunch of sub-topics I could consider if my main market was "Online marketers".

I guarantee at the end of this process you’ll have a market that pops out at you and excites you. And you might even have a narrower first topic to experiment with.

Now, there still might be lingering questions in your mind about how this all works and when’s the right time to change the direction of your topic. Feel free to reply directly to this email if you have specific questions about picking a market and topic.

But tomorrow I want to show you the real magic that makes starting a solopreneur newsletter a breeze. I’m going to show you just how easy it is to setup your first landing page that attracts subscribers.

Again, if you pick your market and topic correctly, you don’t have to say much more than: "Enter your email address here."

You’ll see it all in action tomorrow.

– Derek

P.S. I recommend you try the 4-step Reverse Market Process above, but if you want to go deeper into picking a newsletter topic (plus launching and managing an entire solopreneur newsletter business) then I recommend you check out my Weekend Launch Party course.

I’ve used exactly what I teach in Weekend Launch Party to launch several newsletters (over the course of one weekend) and to build 6 and 7 figure solopreneur businesses. The cart is open until Sunday May 26th at 11:59 Pacific. Click here to learn how to launch a profitable newsletter this weekend.