$50k ARR in just 3 years; the secret behind The Modern Product Manager viral growth

The Modern Product Manager is a site and newsletter dedicated solely to helping Product Managers. It was founded in 2013 by Alex and has since grown into a profitable enterprise with over 3,000 subscribers.

We caught up with Alex to learn about his journey and to understand what it takes to become a successful newsletter.

Tell us a bit about The Modern Product Manager?

I started the Modern Product Manager to help both new and aspiring Product Managers. We offer videos, blogs, courses, and more to help these individuals build skills and connections in the Product community.

What is your background and what made you start The Modern Product Manager?

I began in Product Management close to 8 years ago.  When I first started, there was very little material to help new Product Managers get started, and I wanted to change that.  It’s the reason I wrote Building Digital Products 5 years ago and why I founded The Modern Product Manager.  I want to give back to the Product community and help others with resources that simply did not exist when I was getting started.

What media does The Modern Product Manager use to deliver content to its readership?

The Modern Product Manager currently delivers content through a newsletter, blog, YouTube, a podcast, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our website.

How have you monetized The Modern Product Manager?

We primarily monetize The Modern Product Manager through courses, newsletter advertising, and mentorship/coaching.

What benefit have advertisers derived from advertising with you?

Advertisers on the Modern Product Manager newsletter gain access to a highly focused audience of both aspiring Product Managers and current Product Managers.  This audience has an incredible level of influence over technical and product purchase decisions at their companies.  For that reason, they are in high demand! 

If it isn’t too much to ask, how much is The Modern Product Manager making? Are you self-sufficient?

Currently, The Modern Product Manager is making between $25-$50,000 per year and has grown very quickly over the past few years!

Wow! How long did it take you to get to that point?

I’ve been writing about Product Management since I started in the career 8 years ago, although I’ve only truly monetized the brand in the past 3 years.

What was the biggest hurdle or surprise you faced when you first started?

Time. There never is enough time to write as much as you want or try as many things as you want.  Just like Product Management, prioritization is incredibly important, and you have to be able to kill ideas that don’t work (or don’t work well enough). 

Was it expensive to start The Modern Product Manager? What are the costs involved with running The Modern Product Manager?

Aside from my time, it was not expensive to start TMPM.  There are software costs (i.e., Mailchimp, Namecheap, Hosting), but generally, I keep these to a minimum.

How did you grow and retain your readership? 

Continuing to produce high-quality content and engaging with my audience in many different ways.  Additionally, I’ve recruited other ambitious Product Managers to produce content for TMPM, which provides an additional perspective that my readers have found interesting.

What tools do you use to help you run The Modern Product Manager, and which is most underrated in your opinion? 

Medium has been an incredibly helpful tool in building my Product Management brand by helping me rank highly for key SEO terms in the Product space and driving top-of-funnel traffic to my brand.  Over time, I’ve also learned how to integrate different email capture and traffic-driving tools into my Medium posts to make the most of the traffic I get on that platform.

Finally, any top tips for people starting a new newsletter?

Find a niche or a niche of a niche (to be more specific) that you can OWN.  Don’t make another “food” newsletter or “tech” newsletter.  Rather, go two levels deeper than that and produce something in a topic you can OWN.  After that, don’t overthink it!  Invest serious time in producing high-quality and interesting content, and your audience will grow.

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