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The State of OttOmate
A breakdown of my first six months running my own Substack.
I launched OttOmate just about six months ago, and as I’ve told anyone who will listen, it’s been a daily mix of thrills, panic, pride and terror. I’m so glad I made the leap, I’m proud of the work I’ve done, and I’m thankful for readers like you.
This post seems like a rite of passage for Substackers — the transparency post! The time where I reveal just how things are going… and ask for your help. But don’t let that stop you from reading! There’s a lot here to happy about!
Before we begin, I want to give a great, big thank you to all my subscribers and in particular the paying ones who keep this site afloat. I was lucky to have a number of supporters early on who believed in what I was doing and they have stuck with me throughout. So thank you. I really appreciate it. I also want express my thanks Substack, which is a delight to write on, and made this whole endeavor possible.
Now, on to the numbers.
Some OttOmate Stats
Total subscribers - 534
Total paid subscribers - 61 (an 11.4 percent conversion rate)
Total unsubscribes - 2 (less than 1 percent!)
Total number of posts - 235
Total number of email newsletters sent out - 38
Average open rate of newsletters - 54 percent
Sleep lost - a lot
Fun had - a ton (97 percent conversion)
Things I’m Happy About
I’m adding new subscribers just about every day organically, with no advertising or marketing
I’m getting the right type of subscribers, founders, hospitality execs, investors, etc. I’ve always said I don’t need ten thousand subscribers, this is a very niche publication after all, I just need the right five hundred.
Once people subscribe, they basically don’t unsubscribe
My email open rate is high
My paid subscriber conversion rate is above the high end of what Substack considers “good”
I’ve held three online events (pizza automation, working with airports, NSF Q&A) that were each stellar in their own right
Editorially speaking, I’m thrilled with how OttOmate has progressed.
I’m an early, if not the first journalist to focus exclusively on food robotics and automation right as the sector is poised to explode over the next couple of years.
I believe my stories are punchy, easy to digest and yet packed with good, focused news and context.
OttOmate has already established itself as a leading source of news and analysis in the world of food robotics, with leading players in the space reaching out to me with pre-briefings and exclusives
OttOmate is uniquely positioned to grow with the food robotics industry over the coming year.
If this is your first time here, welcome! Most posts are about companies other than mine :) While you’re here, consider signing up for OttOmate! You’ll dig it.
Things I Want to Work On
This is the hard part. Sure, there are editorial things I want to improve like breaking more stories, seeing more robots in person and providing even more value to the readers — but the truth is…
I need to get more paid subscribers or convert more existing free subs to paying ones. That’s the only way I can make OttOmate work.
Even though I written at various content sites throughout my career, I still underestimated the number of people willing to pay for news. I mean, I get it, but it still stings. I don’t want to lower the price because I think $5 a week is fair for the work and coverage put in.
The truth is while I have some runway and I run a very lean operation, I need your help right now to keep OttOmate going. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber today.
Ugh. I hate talking about this stuff as much as you hate reading about it.
But hey, even KEXP and NPR have to do pledge drives, right? (I sell OttOmate T-Shirts, should I offer tote bags?)
If you have any ideas on how to make OttOmate better, I’d love to hear them. Email me!
Finally, a Small Change
To provide more benefit to those paying for OttOmate, I am making a small adjustment to the publishing schedule.
In addition to getting full access to all OttOmate stories, starting next week paid subscribers will get the newsletter a day before free subscribers. Paid subscribers will get OttOmate, with its actionable news and insights on Thursdays, everyone else will get it on Fridays.
Thank you, again for reading! I really do appreciate your support these past six months, and hope to be doing this for many, many, many more months to come!