Developing my “Newsletter John Boyter’’. “A health journey” and “Write from anywhere”.
Recently I have experienced a setback towards my aim of a healthier lifestyle, improving my writing and becoming more productive. After traveling to the Dominican Republic in February, which included a brief trip to Miami, I came back to Denmark via England in March. I then had one of the worst influenza type ordeals I have had in years and after that a depression followed.
Addiction. New bad habit.
It started the worst period of my new sugar addiction, which slowly but steadily, during the last five years has replaced my old alcohol addiction. It seems to have a similar pattern of increasing during a few months and spiking every 3–4 months. Then I try to diet more again after that. Too much sugar is also bad for my health but doesn’t get me into trouble at least. But I suspect too much sugar makes me more tired.
Exercise program. Only some swimming.
My exercise program took a back burner and just like when I lived in the Dominican Republic the only thing I seemed to, be able to do, was go swimming. Since January I have been swimming at the swim stadium here in Aarhus, Denmark, but recently I went back again to another facility, to recharge, called “Spanien” where the water is warmer. My fitness program at the gym has been on hold. I also exercised — doing some walking in nature. But none of it was enough to fend off my sugar addiction, and I have been increasing my weight rapidly.
My newsletter on Medium, LinkedIn and MailChimp
A big positive though is that I have found an excellent place here in Aarhus to sit and write. The public library at Dokk1 where there are several areas for sitting. And superb views. I bring my MacBook Air and my iPhone for writing, reading and listening to videos. This edition of my newsletter is about starting and developing the newsletter and about my writing platform and marketing of it. I publish the newsletter as an article on the writing platform Medium, as a LinkedIn Newsletter and I send it out to my contact database as an email via the platform MailChimp.
Exercising the brain
To get out of the depression and slump in physical exercise, I signed up for the premium plan with LinkedIn, which includes LinkedIn Learning, to instead get some brain exercise. I have followed and finished several online courses binge watching videos covering the different tools I use. About Google Workspace with Google Drive and Google Docs. And about the marketing platform MailChimp. I am following courses to improve my writing and I listen to videos about assertive communication which I find useful. I have also been reading a couple of books trying to get into the habit of reading books again.
E-book preview — John Boyter
The first edition of my newsletter was also my e-book preview. Possibly my final e-book will partly be about starting and developing this newsletter. In my newsletter I will cover several topics and as it develops, I could narrow that into fewer topics. I read online about newsletters/blogs and some say focus on a topic for one audience. Others say don’t narrow it down too much as it then gets boring and is only for a limited audience. It was finishing my e-book preview that led me to the decision to develop and publish a newsletter.
Feedback on my e-book preview
I received some excellent and valuable feedback from my email contact list after sending out my e-book preview. It seems readers enjoyed reading about my experiences during the Covid pandemic period as everybody can relate to that. So I will have more Covid stories in my final e-book. Then I noticed an interest in mental health which I will have more about in my newsletter and my final e-book. Both my newsletter and final e-book will have more about expat life in the Dominican Republic and about now living in Denmark.
Starting my newsletter “Newsletter John Boyter”
The newsletter is a continuation of my blog on social media but is longer. I find this has been an excellent technique to avoid writer’s block. Starting with shorter texts and gradually writing longer texts. Just writing the e-book preview had me stuck for a while. Going from the blog to the newsletter is a natural change as I was struggling to make my blog posts for social media short enough for those platforms. I combine my social media blog with the newsletter where the blog is now either an intro to or a resume of the newsletter. First, I am going to let my writing grow more organically. Write based on my daily life and things that interest me. Things that might inspire others, and as I build an audience, I can develop separate topics, focus on areas I enjoy or are the most therapeutic and explore options based on reader feedback.
Two overall topics. Two blogs into one newsletter
For, my newsletter the challenge is to make the texts long enough and interesting enough. While starting and developing my newsletter I hope to get better at writing and I am hoping to make it more entertaining and later add more value by providing information there is a demand for. Although I have not specifically determined yet what that will be. My newsletter will have some business content which especially fits well with publishing it on LinkedIn. And I will keep posting it as an article on the writing platform Medium. I had considered having two blogs but for now it looks like I will have the two overall topics; “A health journey” and the concept of “Write from anywhere” in one newsletter instead. I have been thinking about the newsletter being business focused. And I have considered focusing my writing on a healthy lifestyle. I have been told the two might have some overlap but also that I may be writing for two different audiences. I hope to reach an audience interested in both topics.
Travel will be an important component in my newsletter. Mental health and healthy lifestyle while traveling. First, I will write about life in Aarhus, Denmark after having moved back about a year ago and I will still visit my former country of residency for over 15 years, the Dominican Republic and write about life as an expat there. Both in the capital Santo Domingo and Las Terrenas a beach paradise, where I spent most of my time during the pandemic. I also spend some of my time in England and will write about that. Then later I will travel to other places and I hope to make that an important part of my writing, The United States is on my agenda. Visiting parts I haven’t been to before. And I also hope to travel to some Asian countries.
Technical challenges, MailChimp integration and paid subscription
I have had some technical challenges with setting up my newsletter. Setting up a landing page for the newsletter connecting a sub-domain from the GoDaddy platform, where I have my main domain hosted, to MailChimp where I will keep my newsletter, and it is where subscribers can sign up to the free newsletter. It is a work in progress. MailChimp integrates with QuickBooks Online my accounting software and Stripe payment gateway which is useful for when I later launch part of my newsletter with paid subscribers. I would have subscribers who receive content for free and paying subscribers could receive more newsy content. That will then be the next phase of creating more content — content someone would pay for. It will be a challenge becoming a better writer, creating more content and providing newsy informative content. I am hoping to launch the paid subscriptions in the first months of 2024.
Simple web development
About four years ago, the website provider I was using notified me they would stop operating, and within a few months, I would not have a website for my then coworking and real estate business in Santo Domingo. So I had to set it up myself. I simply used the GoDaddy platform where my domains are registered, hosted it with them, and used their website builder. It surprised me how easy it was. Then when I set up my blog site, after closing my business in the Dominican Republic in 2020, I just moved the template from the old business domain over to my new domain name and changed the home page content. I had already started a blog, so my first posts are actually about my old business in Santo Domingo.
Updating my website
I just updated my website with new content and copy-pasted it from Google Docs into the website using GoDaddy web builder. It used to be harder to set up a website, and I used to think you paid someone to do it. Not anymore, or not in my case, at least. More than anything, I enjoy being in complete control of it myself. Recently, part of my business has been to just save money, do everything myself and avoid risk. On my website, in my writing, and in my blogs, I mention the tools I use and creative workspaces/retreats I visit. My contacts and following are international, and I am growing my audience steadily. My target audience comprises digital nomads, expat entrepreneurs, and international business travelers, all having common interests in travel, digital life, healthy lifestyle, and personal development. The tools I choose to work with are all to show that I can work from anywhere, or in my case, write from anywhere.
For my next trip to Santo Domingo
I have had a freelancer called Lludmilla in Santo Domingo help me with my MailChimp campaigns and occasionally with issues around websites. Now I have learned to create the campaigns myself in MailChimp which is the tool I will use to send out my newsletters. I use a template the freelancer helped me with. Next time I see her in Santo Domingo I want to have her design a new template for my newsletters, have her help improve the design of my website in GoDaddy web builder and the design of my landing page in MailChimp for keeping the different editions of the newsletter. We will meet at a coffee shop I used to go to, which is excellent for meetings, called Nocciola at the Bella Vista Mall in Santo Domingo.
Freelancers in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
Ideally I would have three freelancers help me in Santo Domingo. Lludmilla would work with me on the design of my writing and marketing platform and with visual content. Another with marketing and copywriting and should be a marketing graduate or student. And should be bilingual so is fluent in English. Finally, I would like a programmer as part of my freelancer team in Santo Domingo. It suits me working with freelancers in the Dominican Republic as I “know them” after over 15 years living there and I will still go there. Also, I still have a Dominican company with my former partner there and could therefore potentially formalize the outsourcing work and deal with contractual issues in the company. She runs a real estate brokerage in the company and we are about to contract a freelancer to help her with marketing.
Outsourcing in Santo Domingo
I much prefer working with freelancers as independent contractors than managing payroll and working with employees. In Santo Domingo there is a potential for it. I have the company anyway; I know the country and the young professionals. If there turns out to be too much bureaucracy involved, then I won’t move forward with it. I can not get into a situation where I have to pay a lawyer and tax accountant and if it becomes a hassle and stressful for me to manage it, then it won’t be worth it. The idea is still premature and right now I only work with one freelancer, Lludmilla. If my needs change and I increasingly need help, I will see. The young Dominican freelancers can be excellent but if the framework isn’t there for it I give up the idea.
Marketing / “selling” my newsletter in the United States
I reckon writing about now living in Denmark and my past expat life in the Dominican Republic would both be considered exotic for an audience in the United States. Me based in Aarhus, Denmark, occasionally visiting Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, where I could have a team of freelancers, working under contract more formally and then aiming at selling the content especially in the United States. I am open towards any suggestions of how to make my newsletter more sellable to begin with in the United States. I feel I have to try this to get the necessary volume to make it a business. An alternative is marketing it in countries in Asia if I feel capable of traveling there and again I think they would see both Denmark and the Dominican Republic as exotic. My purpose with my writing is to be entertaining, and maybe the reader can learn something from it or be inspired.