How Young Money’s List Grew 17x Since Switching to beehiiv
The Jack Raines Story: From 2,000 to 35,000 Subscribers on beehiiv
There’s a saying that goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
For Jack Raines, founder of the Young Money newsletter, this was something that came to mind when he was presented with the option to switch his newsletter to beehiiv back in early 2022.
But, he decided not to take that advice. Instead, he went against the grain—as is the case with many things in Raines’ life—and it sure paid off.
His newsletter was growing on Substack. He had reached 2,000 subscribers in 6 months. For a new kid on the block, this was not a bad start! So, why did he jump ship for beehiiv?
For the same reason, many savvy entrepreneurs make it big: he had the vision to see a great opportunity when others didn’t.
At the time, he wasn’t sure how easy the process would be and what results would ensue.
With a goal of growing his list from 2,000 to 25,000 in 2022, Raines knew he would need to make some bold decisions and he saw the potential in the new platform. You can read all about his transition to beehiiv and his initial goals in the Creator Spotlight we did with him in March 2022.
Fast-forward to 2023 and Raines has not only reached his goal of 25,000 subs but he’s far exceeded it. After one year on beehiiv, Jack Raines’ list skyrocketed from 2,000 subscribers to over 35,000!
Took me 6 months to hit 1,000 subs when I launched Young Money in July 2021.
Gained 1,000 in the last week in February 2023 (s/o @beehiiv)
Number one growth hack? Publish 2x per week for 18 months.
— Jack Raines (@Jack_Raines)
Feb 22, 2023
In this beehiiv case study, we interviewed Jack Raines, founder of the Young Money newsletter, to explore the reasons why he made the switch to beehiiv and how his newsletter list multiplied by over 1,700% in one year.
Young Money: An Overview
Young Money by Jack Raines is a newsletter all about finance, investing, and careers targeted toward young people. Raines offers a unique spin on the finance world by writing about “nuanced stories at the intersection of money, opportunity costs, and human behavior.”
His finance newsletter offers a refreshing, humorous angle on important topics like money, business, and life. Young Money can be summed up in this line from Raines’ website, “The best finance blog you've never heard of. 10/10 stories, 5/10 art.”
When asked about what makes his newsletter different, Raines shared, “Finance blogs and financial content, in general, can be pretty boring. ‘Stocks go up.’ ‘Save more than you spend.’ Cool. That’s not what I write. I tell stories about greed and fear and human nature, but ‘finance’ just so happens to be the medium of communication. Sometimes I write about why people should travel more in their 20s, other times I muse on the absurdity of the GameStop short squeeze.”
Raines commented, “I've been writing it on beehiiv since about January , and I'm sitting at close to 18,000 subscribers right now.”
***Our interview was recorded in October 2022. As of March 2023, Young Money has now accumulated over 35,000 subscribers.
Young Money Newsletter Backstory
Before launching his newsletter, Jack Raines was looking to transition out of his corporate finance career into something that would give him more freedom and flexibility. He had a knack for writing but says he “wasn’t getting many bites from established platforms,” because he didn’t have a professional writing background. So, in July 2021, he launched his own thing: the Young Money by Jack Raines newsletter.
Raines didn’t start out on beehiiv, though. He launched his newsletter on Substack and gained 2,000 subscribers in 6 months. Then, when beehiiv officially launched, he was interested in trying the new platform. When asked about switching from Substack to beehiiv, Raines shared he had some concerns about the process of transitioning to a new platform being challenging. However, all his fears were relieved when he finally took the plunge and realized how quick and easy it was.
Raines shared, “It was essentially: click three buttons, and then everything imports in 15 minutes. As the writer, you're just publishing for beehiiv the next day.”
He continued, “But, there's no change whatsoever to the reader. They’re still getting my Tuesday piece from Young Money by Jack Raines. So, once I realized how seamless the transition was gonna be, it was a no-brainer. It was really the idea that ‘Oh, this is gonna suck—having to move platforms.’ In reality, it didn't take long at all.”
How Young Money Monetizes Its Newsletter
Monetization was always a part of the plan when he started his newsletter. He shared how he’s currently monetizing his newsletter with sponsored advertisements.
Raines explained, “I'm monetized with sponsored advertisements. How it works (for anybody listening who isn't familiar with my stuff) I write long-form blog posts that are around 2000-ish words.”
He continued, “At the very beginning, I'll have, ‘Today's Young Money Is Sponsored by…’ I don't know, the Daily Upside—it's a newsletter that's done some paid ads on mine before—and then I'll have a graphic linking back to their page, about 150-200 words of copy about them linking back to their page. And they'll pay x amount of dollars.”
Raines shared, “To put a dollar sign on it, I'm charging around $800-$850 per ad right now, and that's at 18,000 readers.”
When asked what kind of return on investment (ROI) he’s getting from using beehiiv, he shared, “Let's say I run eight ads in a month (four weeks times two a week) and I'm charging $800. That's $6,400 a month just off of ads, and it costs me a hundred dollars a month to use beehiiv. That’s a 64 to 1 ROI. And that ROI gets higher and higher because the cost is locked in at $99 a month.
The way beehiiv enables creators to monetize their newsletters and keep more of the profit was a big part of why Raines switched over from Substack.
Raines commented, “This was one issue that I had with Substack. The way they make money is they take a 10% cut from premium newsletters, which means if you make $100,000 a year in subscription money, then they'll take $10,000 of that plus processing fees. beehiiv doesn't take a percentage of revenue.”
Raines continued, “For my version of beehiiv, but that's still a lot cheaper than the equivalent on MailChimp or Convert Kit, and I know what exactly I'm getting for that money. To me, there was no ambiguity about, ‘Oh, what's this gonna look like in three months?’ It's very easy to budget and plan for that accordingly. Having that steady fee every month makes it way easier as a writer to not get caught up in all the other stuff.”
Challenge: Fast-Track List Size With Automated Growth Tools
Before switching over to beehiiv, one of Raines’ primary challenges with the Young Money newsletter was finding the right platform to supercharge his audience growth. He found that other newsletter platforms didn’t have the same amount of automated growth features that beehiiv had.
Raines shared, “I want to have the biggest audience possible. It's one of those things where if I can give myself full editorial freedom to write whatever I want, and my audience is still growing quickly as a result of that, it means that people are very interested in what I have to say for one reason or another.”
He continued, “My most obvious benefit is I sell advertising slots to monetize my newsletter. You get a bigger following—you can make more money from it. As someone who would like to write for a living for the rest of their life, being able to make a lot of money from ads from a newsletter is obviously a goal, and it's a pretty feasible one right now.”
Raines commented, “[With beehiiv], it’s very easy to focus on creating and passively grow your audience as a byproduct of the work you put out there, which is all anybody can ask for as a writer.”
Response to Feedback & Innovation
Choosing the right platform can make or break the success of your newsletter. Many platforms have been around for decades and have a long, drawn-out time to market. beehiiv, on the other hand, is a newer platform with a smaller team dedicated to innovating quickly based on customer feedback.
Raines experienced this firsthand from the beginning as a beta user. He shared, “I think the biggest thing is both speed and response time. If I have any issue or there's anything I think that needs to be on beehiiv, if I ping Tyler [Denk] or anybody on the team, if it’s something that will make the platform better, it's usually implemented within a week or two.”
He remarked, “That's a pretty ridiculous turnaround for just one user on the platform. The speed at which they're shipping new features is pretty insane. And I think that's the big differentiator. As a creator, you're not just at the mercy of the platform. Your input actually matters and it's taken into account. It makes me feel very comfortable and confident writing my stuff on beehiiv because I think I'm gonna get the best overall writing experience.”
beehiiv’s Acquisition Data
One challenge of creating a successful newsletter is understanding how your readers find you so you can optimize your growth plan. With beehiiv, you can track exactly how visitors become subscribers so you can level up your growth strategy.
Raines shared, “They've basically rebuilt Google Analytics within beehiiv to be able to see very detailed audience acquisition information—detailed geographic information and web traffic information about who's reading your stuff. I’m seeing the source of ‘Did they find my blog through Twitter? Did they find it from another newsletter?’ A girl who writes for Morning Brew has shared my stuff and it leaks back and it's very detailed.”
Raines commented, “I can see exactly where every reader comes from and not just email or online. I can see what newsletter they came from and what site they came from.”
beehiiv allows for UTM integrations so you can get even deeper insights on acquisition. Raines shared, “I can make my own UTM trackers. For anybody who doesn't know, essentially you adjust the URL slightly where you have some parameters and beehiiv can automatically track that. You don't have to go through a third party website and you don't have to pay anything extra.”
He continued, “I can see exactly how many new subscribers came from—I don't know—Money With Katie newsletter or Of Dollars in Data newsletter. It makes it way easier to direct your efforts to the appropriate places to grow your audience.”
Raines pointed out, “If you know where your readers are coming from, it's infinitely easier to double down on your efforts to attract more readers.”
One of the newest list growth tools beehiiv offers is called recommendations. This feature allows users to access beehiiv’s publisher network to accelerate their audience growth for free.
Raines commented on how recommendations was something he suggested to the beehiiv leadership. “Substack announced being able to recommend other newsletters a few months ago. And that's a very useful thing, right? Getting the cross recommendations can drive a lot of new subscribers.”
He shared, “So, a few of us brought that up to Tyler, and he said that was already in the pipeline coming out in a few weeks. And then they launched it. In the last four days, I've gotten 600 new readers primarily through that. They've made it as easy as possible to both put your content online, but also to grow your newsletter as issue-free as possible.”
Raines continued, “The recommendation system has helped me work with other creators to grow our lists together, benefiting everyone. Being able to refer my new readers to other newsletters and vice versa has been a fantastic growth driver. Easily the best feature for scaling your audience.”
Results With beehiiv
Since switching to beehiiv, Jack Raines from the Young Money newsletter has had incredible results. Raines was able to grow his newsletter from 2,000 to over 35,000 subscribers in just one year.
Raines shared, “My growth has obviously exploded since I've been on beehiiv. Going from 2000 to—there's a good chance I'll be at 20,000 by mid-October at this rate.”***Our interview was recorded in October 2022. As of March 2023, Young Money has now amassed over 35,000 subscribers.***
In addition to his rapid list growth, Raines is also seeing impressive SEO results giving him an increase in traffic.
“After the first month or two when I switched to beehiiv…I noticed there was a huge uptick in web traffic, which you can see through beehiiv. It went from pieces only being viewed on Twitter when I reposted them to showing up more and more in Google search. Since I've switched to beehiiv, the amount of passive web traffic I've been getting has blown up.”
According to Raines, his post, 11 Things Caused by 0% Interest Rates, has received a whopping 39,239 page views in only two months since hitting publish.
When asked what the difference in engagement has been switching from Substack to beehiiv, Raines shared, “I was worried about open rate too, because that's obviously a very important metric. I've hit 54% on six of my last seven posts. So my open rate's actually probably two points higher now, on average, than it was on Substack even though I have 10 times as many subscribers. I’ve had a slight increase in open rate with 10 times the subscribers, which is pretty rare. It’s been a net positive across the board.”
Enjoying this case study? Learn how Pete Huang of The Neuron used beehiiv to fast-track his AI newsletter to 10,000 subscribers in the first month. Read the full case study here.
Favorite beehiiv Features
beehiiv’s Growth-Friendly Pricing
One of the best beehiiv features, according to Raines, is its competitive pricing model. Before beehiiv, Raines spent time on Substack but found it fell short compared to beehiiv. As a Substack alternative, beehiiv charges a flat monthly fee so you can put your time, money, and resources into growth.
Raines shared, “The biggest takeaway I had from learning about beehiiv was the monetization structure. Beehiiv charges a flat monthly cost. You can purchase whatever tier is needed for your publication but you keep 100% of your revenue.
He continued, ‘The economics made way more sense to pay x dollars per month in fixed costs and capture all of the revenue upside. I was previously on Substack, which takes 10% of subscription revenue. [I understand the business model] but that is a decent chunk. I was concerned that down the road, Substack would implement a similar model where they took a % cut of ad revenue. Speed of shipping product + economics of payment structure made too much sense not to switch to beehiiv.”
beehiiv’s Referral Program
beehiiv’s users can fast-track their list growth for free with its user-friendly referral program. Built by the same team that built Morning Brew’s successful referral program, it allows newsletter publishers to harness the power of their readers to accelerate their subscriber count.
Raines shared, “It's very easy to set up your own referral system on beehiiv. For example, I have readers that refer other readers to Young Money. If they hit 15 referrals, I buy them one of my favorite books. If you're writing stuff and people like reading your content, there's a good chance they would like to read some of your favorite books. So it works pretty well.”
He continued, “The referral system has sent me nearly 1,000 readers by letting my subscribers refer their friends. Anyone who refers three people gets a link to my live reading list.”
beehiiv’s Built-in Shareability
For Raines, one of his favorite beehiiv growth features is how the platform makes it easy to share your content.
“It gives you the capability to write a newsletter, a blog, or any sort of online content, and then send it to an audience via email. They also give you a web landing page. Any of your content that you put out there, you can publish online. It's easy to re-share with your audience, friends, and family, and repost on Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, or whatever.
He commented, “It’s a very useful platform for putting information on the internet and then sharing it with people. However, beehiiv, in my opinion, has probably the widest variety of other features that helps creators like myself.”
Just over a year ago, Jack Raines made the switch over to beehiiv with a mission to supercharge his list growth. With growth from 2,000 to 35,000 subscribers in just over a year, 54% open rates, and multiple sponsorship deals, Raines is buzzing as one of the fastest-growing newsletters on the market.
Raines shared, “It’s crazy to not use beehiiv in my opinion. The editor is clean, and it's very easy to reach the team for support if and when I have any issues. My open rate hasn't dropped off at all in the switch, and I think my new website is much cleaner. I'm excited for some of the new features that the team will be adding. I recommend any content creator that may want to monetize in the future to move over.”
He continued, “The only prior drawback to beehiiv was the inability to set up newsletter recommendations. With that feature now available, you would be insane not to switch. The landing pages are clean with a ton of optionality, and audience insights (attribution, segmentation, etc) are better than the other email publishing solutions. The entire platform is super intuitive if, like me, you’re not tech savvy.”
Looking forward, Raines plans to continue focusing on growing his list as it will open up new opportunities for him as a creator. His goal for 2023 is to reach 100,000 subscribers. Considering he grew his newsletter 1,750% in one year on beehiiv (from 2,000 to 35,000 subscribers), growing 300% in one year is a goal that seems well within reach, especially with the help of beehiiv’s built-in growth tools.
Raines went on to share more about his goals for 2023. He commented, “I’m going to write a book about travel this summer, and I will be publishing it, chapter by chapter, on my blog. Having a bigger mailing list makes it way easier to sell yourself to a publisher. It makes it a lot easier to get a publishing deal down the road.”
“[A bigger mailing list] just makes it easy to connect with people too, right? People find your writing, they email you, and they message you on Twitter. So the thing that I wanna do is, what every other writer wants to do: build a bigger and bigger audience.”
He continued, “I really enjoy writing. So to me, it's a metric of success as a writer, if a lot of people wanna read my stuff. Also, you get the list bigger, you can make more money, and you have a lot of options: from writing a book to somebody trying to acquire my blog (where I would still write it independently, but under them)… There's a lot of different options that I could potentially pursue down the road, but it all comes down to continuing to grow the list.”
Raines closed by stating, “I switched over in January  and beehiiv was a month and a half into the beta phase, and it was still very early. And since then, pretty much every feature I've mentioned early has been launched. The fact that a very small team in less than a year has, in my opinion, either reached or surpassed the amount of features available to a writer on pretty much any publishing platform, tells me that there's a ton of momentum behind it and it just makes sense.
“It would be crazy not to get on beehiiv. Seeing how well the beehiiv team has executed, I wouldn't bet on anybody else in this space right now. And as a user who's used both Substack and beehiiv, I personally don't see any way I would switch from beehiiv to any other platform at this point.”
If you’re thinking of launching your first newsletter, or you have a newsletter already and are looking to switch to a better platform, then check out beehiiv. If you want to grow your newsletter on a simple, intuitive platform built for creators, you can get started on beehiiv for free today.