Solopreneur Success: How I Built a Community of 5,000 Loyal Subscribers

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This post is part of the One Woman Shop Bundle, which is a roundup of four One Woman Shop-created products designed to help you succeed in different aspects of your freelance business. Don’t miss this chance to grab over $200 in products for just $99.

Since launching this blogging business in the summer of 2011 I’ve always focused on one thing: community. Instead of “networking” like everyone else advises, I spent all my time building relationships, both online and offline.

I went to in-person workshops, meetups, and conferences. I met people for coffee, Skype dates, and group mastermind chats on a regular basis (and I still do this every month!). I interact on Twitter and reply to comments and share feedback. Not because I’m trying to get something from them, but because I actually care!

Over the years, I’ve built up a community of 3,000 loyal subscribers and over 25,000 readers visit this blog each month. Here’s how I did it.

1. Creating a spam-free community

Two years ago I launched what is now called The Careful Cents Freelancers Club on Facebook. It’s basically a free group for freelancers and solopreneurs who are looking for a safe space to ask questions, offer advice, and share their accomplishments.

As a member of The Club you get access to the weekly newsletter, book club, and fun freebies. We also have a weekly Freelancer Feature where we highlight a different freelancer who has reached an amazing milestone (like quitting their day job, or getting mentioned in the press).

To-date we’re up to 1,200 members and growing every day! The reason I started this private group is because I believe that a supportive freelance community can help you get through any obstacle, and you should be able to access something like this for free.

I tried joining LinkedIn groups, but they were full of self-promotional links and spammy stuff — no one really cared about each other’s success. Then I tried Google+ communities and other Facebook groups, but they made me want to run away within a month.

So I gave up and started my own group.

2. Sharing actionable advice every week

Another aspect to the loyal community of readers that I’ve created around Careful Cents comes in the form of a weekly newsletter. I don’t just share a blog post blurb or links out to random articles, I send out personal stories, tips, and advice on topics that I’m dealing with in that moment. And most of the content isn’t published anywhere else.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m very big on offering spam-free resources, and the weekly newsletter is no different. I’m a real business owner and encounter the same obstacles you face every day, and this is what I share in my emails each week.

There are over 4,200 subscribers on my newsletter list with a 35% open rate (which is unheard of in the financial industry and business sphere).

3. Building a trustworthy team

The backbone of my business is built with a community in mind, and this includes dedicated team members who help keep things running smoothly. Over the past 4 years I’ve hired a Community Coordinator, two different Assistant Editors, a PowerPoint expert, a tech guy, a VA and other contractors for various jobs.

I’m by no means a one-woman show! There’s absolutely no way that anyone could (or should!) do all of the business tasks themselves, which is why it’s important to outsource work to team members you trust.

In addition to hiring contractors on a regular basis, I also work with highly motivated freelance contributors who share their personal stories of quitting their jobs and being freelance business owners. This allows for different perspectives, more ideas, and continues fostering the community here on Careful Cents.

4. Fostering connections

I’m extremely proud of the dedicated community I’ve built around my blog and brand. It’s taken several years, many late nights, and lots of email conversations, but I know many of my readers by name and am genuinely interested in seeing them succeed.

Between just these two mediums, The Careful Cents Club and my weekly newsletter, I’ve built up a community of 2,980 subscribers and it’s increasing every day.

Financial obstacles are very difficult to overcome, and even more so when you don’t have the support you need. This is why I work every day to create a trustworthy and spam-free space for freelancers to overcome their financial mountains.

Make your own solopreneur success story

Are you ready to make your own solopreneur success story? Then you’re in the right place! I’m partnering up with One Woman Shop to give away over $200 worth of business ecourses for the budget-friendly price of $99.

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Here’s what the One Woman Shop bundle includes:

  • Building Your Online Community ($49)
  • Kickstart Your Content – Sara Frandina ($29)
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  • Solopreneur Finances ecourse – Carrie Smith ($77)



Get access to ALL of these fabulous products, including your own copy of my finance ecourse, for just $99 by clicking this link, or the button below.

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[This post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) when you purchase through this link. One Woman Shop is investing $10 of every sale in Kiva, specifically supporting women-run projects and businesses around the world.]
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  1. Carrie, fabulous tips!

    I vibe with each one, being a fellow solopreneur 😉 Promote others, make friends, share value and most of all, persist like heck. We ride a rollercoaster sometimes but those who keep at it will grow communities and prospering solo ventures too.

    I wrote Solopreneur Ronin a few months back with my buddy Matthew Capala; it’s based on many similar principles.

    Keep up the inspired work!!


  2. Kayla says:

    Excellent post. Even though we are self-employed, we don’t have to go it alone. Great reminders! Since I started hiring a little help with my business I’ve been able to have a better work-life balance, at least most of the time. 🙂

  3. Jenn Morris says:

    Thanks for the great advice. I took an early retirement from my job of 11 years in August. It was the scariest, best decision I ever made. I’m starting to find a community of freelancers, and now you are included! Thanks for putting good stuff out there, so that everyone can win!

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