In 2019, Lenny Rachitsky began a newsletter about product management called Lenny’s Newsletter. He’d been working in engineering and product managing for greater than a decade and felt he had helpful insights to share. Seems, he was right. The newsletter quickly became his essential source of income.
Today, Lenny’s Newsletter boasts 574,000 subscribers and, since lots of those are paid, it brings in “over $500,000 a 12 months,” he says.
In 2021, Rachitsky expanded his output to incorporate a category about product management on online course site Maven. He ran it twice but “I discovered that it just wasn’t bringing me enough joy,” he says. There was a component of performing when he was giving the course and “it was sapping me of energy.” So he stopped giving it.
Though Rachitsky didn’t plan on beginning one other project, it didn’t take long before he decided to try something else: a podcast. Like his newsletter, Lenny’s Podcast found an audience and revenue stream fast. It now brings in greater than $500,000 per 12 months.
Here’s how Rachitsky, now 42, built up his second revenue stream, and the way he balances the 2 projects he loves.
In March 2022, Rachitsky was invited to be a guest on the 20VC podcast with Harry Stebbings. “We stopped recording and he’s identical to, ‘Lenny, that you must do a podcast,'” he says.
Rachitsky had considered adding other projects, but at that time was content to follow his newsletter. He spent about 10 to twenty hours per week putting out his weekly posts and was bringing in a great paycheck.
That comment “pushed me over the sting,” he says. “It convinced me to offer it a try.”
Rachitsky spent the subsequent several months reading books about interviewing people, getting equipment and gathering “really high-quality guests” to pre-record about 10 episodes, he says. His first guests were former VP of design at Facebook Julie Zhuo and former product manager at Google and then-Twitter Shreyas Doshi.
The thought is giving “very tactical, concrete advice” about constructing products, he says. Rachitsky’s first episode went live in June 2022.
Rachitsky was in a position to line up advertisers for his podcast instantly.
“I’ve at all times had a variety of demand to run ads within the newsletter,” he says, but he hadn’t desired to. When he began Lenny’s Podcast, he reached out to firms that had been interested about promoting that way as an alternative. Some said they were willing.
At first he put out only one episode per week. Then he realized that, to get higher rankings on platforms like Apple and Spotify and “be competitive, you must do two every week,” he says.
That is his current cadence. Each episode lasts about an hour and features an interview with a frontrunner in Rachitsky’s space.
The response has been pretty great. “Mainly each day I get a message from someone about how impactful the podcast has been to them,” he says.
Lately, Rachitsky gets some support. A producer helps with audio, writing show notes, and so forth. He has also hired people to assist together with his social media presence.
Altogether, he spends about 4 to 5 hours per week working on the show.
There are a few other projects inside his newsletter community he collaborates with others on. He’s worked on an interview prep tool and a mentorship program, for instance. But, big picture, he’s focused on the newsletter and podcast.
And he likes that balance.
“It’s amazing,” he says. With the newsletter he gets to share his own insights, and with the podcast he gets to learn from others. “I am unable to imagine any higher thing I might be doing for work.”