Jenny Xie @hello88goodbye
How creating with intention leads to high open rates
This is the first issue I’m publishing on Substack after I made the move over from Revue! It should be mostly the same, but let me know if anything feels off as I’m still getting used to how to use Substack.
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Now, let’s get into it!
Why Jenny is our Maker of Habit:
Consistently writing one issue a month for her "dcscover" newsletter since May 2020
Building Ode, a newsletter about shopping with intention
Both of her newsletters have an open rate of about 65-75%, which is considerably above average
Creates really thoughtful content, which is a nice change of pace from the high-level, somewhat superficial, AI-written content we're seeing a lot of these days.
Jenny is on a mission to "intentionally create things that help people cultivate long-term wellness and inspiration".
I think this authenticity and clarity in her mission is was what drew me to Jenny's content in the first place.
It was clear she wasn't just creating content in order to grow an audience or to be a creator. She was genuinely diving into her interests and passions whole-heartedly and then sharing her learnings in her writing.
And then I saw she was starting Ode Story, a newsletter about shopping with intention, and I was immediately drawn in by the clarity and niche-ness of her value proposition. And, admittingly, I've always been someone who has always struggled with shopping and putting outfits together. 🙈
Even if you're not interested in mindful shopping, Jenny's way of creating content is inspiring, and I just have a feeling this path and way of working might dictate a slower pace, but eventually it will deliver some out-sized results.
3 Strategies that Jenny leverages in her work:
✍️ Consistently writing and publishing.
Jenny has consistently been publishing her monthly reviews since May 2020, which keeps her top of mind for her audience. It also enables her to explore multiple different ideas without building anything.
🔎 Following interests and passions without expectation
If you jump into the world of Jenny’s content, you jump into her wide array of interests–shopping, design, business, packaging, interior design, packaging as bookmarks, etc.
While I’ve seen some makers stress about choosing their niche and focusing on one topic, Jenny shares all her interests unapologetically, with what I assume is the sense that her niche will ultimately find her, not the other way around.
🔁 Moving with intention
The common thread through all of Jenny’s content is just how intentional she is. For example, rather than jumping on the Reels/TikTok trend, she took the time to analyze the opportunity crucially before investing her time.
This undoubtedly saves her time and energy for the things that matter to her or will really have an impact.
In terms of habits, I asked Jenny what 3 habits changed her trajectory as a maker. Here is what she said.
3 Habits that Changed Jenny’s trajectory:
📑 Getting on Notion!
I use Notion for organizing all my thoughts/ideas for creative projects (so no personal daily to-dos or shopping lists). When I open it up, I know it’s time to work on what I really want to work on.
A few specific pages I find useful to have:
1) Idea Dump—literally everything I think of for a project. I review and process it regularly.
2) Macro Trends—a page for dropping quotes from articles, Tweets, Reddit posts, etc. and loosely organizing them into themes that relate to what I’m working on. They’re usually themes already percolating in my brain but this is a good place to collect “evidence” and refer back to along the way.
🤔 Regularly reminding myself to simplify and clarify.
Since a lot of what I make is content-related, the specific things I ask myself are: “Content is work but is it the work?”
Creating content of any kind can take a lot of work, but is whatever I’m thinking of making content marketing or is it the core product? With limited time and resources, I find that’s always an important distinction.
“Just because I can, does it mean I should?” This comes up a lot when I’m thinking about social media. There are so many platforms, so many mediums to experiment with. But do they really support my goal? I reflected on that a bit in this blog post.
🛫 Doing deep thinking on flights.
I embrace Airplane Mode as a noise-free opportunity to clean out photos, videos, and especially my Notes app. The Notes app is my ultimate anytime, anywhere Idea Dump and there’s always a lot to process in there.
I think being on a plane naturally forces you to have a different perspective. In my experience it’s an especially fertile space for thinking bigger picture, more freely, and hopefully with more clarity.
That’s a wrap!
Thanks for sharing your habits with us Jenny! And I agree–planes are a great place for thinking!
If you’ve made it this far, be sure to check out Jenny’s Twitter (hello88goodbye) so you can get inspired just like I was.
Oh, and one last thing! Stay updated on all the cool work of our past makers with the Maker of Habit Twitter list. It’s an awesome way to feel more connected to the maker community.
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