The early bird catches the worm—and your inbox! By 6:30 am, entrepreneur Daniella Pierson is already awake and working on her daily newsletter that she says goes out to more than 300,000 people. The founder of The Newsette started her newsletter when she was a student at Boston University because she wanted one daily email that encompassed the best content from her favorite websites.
The Newsette has since expanded from pure content curation to also creating new content including career, wellness, and lifestyle advice, as well as hosting in-person events. We caught up with Pierson to find out how she structures her day and her best advice for other entrepreneurs – including how to grow a newsletter.
You send out The Newsette so early in the morning. How do you structure your day around such an early wake-up call?
As an entrepreneur, my daily routine is always changing, but there are a few things that remain constant. I wake up around 6:30 am and start gathering the stories that we’ll break down in our “Things to Know” section of the daily newsletter. Luckily, as my team has grown, I have a lot of help with the content in the newsletter and on the site. But I still write the “Things to Know” section because of how much I enjoy searching the web for delightful and interesting tech, pop culture, and fashion stories.
By the time the newsletter is finished and I’ve sent a few emails, it’s 11 am and my stomach is growling at me. Since I’ve spent the last five hours furiously writing and typing, I like to take a 10–15-minute mental break by going across the street to a coffee shop and picking up a latte, grapefruit juice, and granola parfait. I always take my teacup poodle, Leo, with me because he gets depressed when I leave (it’s my fault for spoiling him).
I eat at my desk and continue to answer emails, help create ideas for brands who want to advertise with us – which is one of my favorite jobs – and look over the deliverables from my team. Honestly, I spend most of the day in my inbox. I like to say I’m a professional emailer, which is probably true considering we send millions of emails every month! Sometimes I have to run across town for meetings about collaborations, ad campaigns, or interviews, but I try to stay in the office as much as possible since that’s where I feel my most productive.
After the “workday” is over, I like to sit on my couch with Leo, of course, and continue to do work while the television is on in the background. Even though I’m still talking to partners and clients, creating content, or doing operations work, sitting in comfortable clothes makes me feel like I’m beginning to wind down my day. I never really stop working until around midnight – I know, I need to go to bed earlier – because I have a “just one more thing” mentality.
I know my workday sounds extreme, but the weekdays are such a precious time where so much can get done, and I have a hard time allowing myself to relax. I do, however, have a strict “no work” rule on Sundays and I watch a movie without my computer, bring my dog to the dog park, or hang out with my loved ones. I keep the weekends as lazy as possible.
Do you have any favorite productivity tips that help you get the newsletter out daily, update the website, and manage a growing team?
When you run a business, time is the most valuable asset you have, so maximizing it has become extremely important in my life. The one productivity hack that has helped me get a lot more done during the day is effectively delegating tasks to team members. Trusting others to work on important projects and giving them clear expectations of what I’m looking for allows me to review and make final adjustments instead of managing every step during the entire process, which isn’t a good use of anyone’s time. The Newsette is my baby, and sometimes it’s hard to let go of certain parts of the company. But I’ve learned that if I’m the only one doing everything, my business will never be bigger than myself.
You send The Newsette out to more than 300,000 people each day. What advice would you give to other founders who want to scale a newsletter?
Getting someone to give you precious real estate in their inbox is incredibly hard to do. That’s why focusing on the quality of your content is the fastest and most sustainable way to scale your list. The biggest growth factor at The Newsette is word of mouth, and I like to think that people are so delighted with what we send them that they can’t help but share it with others.
If you want to grow your email audience, you need to create value in every single newsletter you send and remain consistent with the quality and timing to build trust with your readers. If you can make your readers feel like they are constantly benefiting from your content, those subscribers will share your newsletter with everyone they know. You’ll grow your list without ever spending a penny.
Do you have any organization tips for other entrepreneurs?
I’m not a very organized person – I thrive in chaos – but one thing I always make sure I have straightened up is my calendar. Some days I could have three in-person meetings, four phone calls, and an appointment. Organizing everything into my phone’s Google Calendar keeps me sane. If you’re a busy entrepreneur, organize everything, even “me time,” into your calendar to add structure and stability to your day. That way, you can prepare your notes and outfits beforehand and schedule future meetings with ease knowing with 100% certainty you won’t have a conflict.
How do you stay motivated to track and achieve your goals?
My days are rollercoasters – the highest highs and the lowest lows – so it’s essential that I have some time at the beginning and end of the day to get re-inspired. I do this by listening to podcasts about women who have accomplished incredible things while I do my work or when I’m in the shower. My favorites are “How I Built This” and “Girlboss Radio.” I also listen to music that hypes me up. By listening to content that inspires me, I’m able to get stuff done while also recharging.
What advice would you give other young women who want to become entrepreneurs?
Just do it! Seriously, just take the leap and start something. Don’t talk to people or research it because I promise you’ll talk yourself out of it. Owning your own business is the most exhausting and rewarding journey you can ever take, and it’s not for everyone. But the longer you spend thinking about the negative, the less of a chance you’ll actually take the plunge. If you aren’t able to quit your full-time gig, then start it as a side hustle. I was a student at Boston University when I started The Newsette. And just remember, even if you create a company and it fails, you’ll become stronger, wiser, and much more interesting to a hiring manager.
Want to know more of Daniella’s tips for success? Ask her in the comments below—and don’t forget to subscribe to The Newsette!