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🎄IG#26: 2023 in review - Stats, Figures, & Outlook for 2024

A deeper look at the first year of writing on Substack and LinkedIn, what I've learned, and what's in store for 2024.

Dominik Nitsch
9 min read
🎄IG#26: 2023 in review - Stats, Figures, & Outlook for 2024

Hey friends, & Merry Christmas!

Today is a special edition for me - it marks the one-year anniversary of International Generalist.

One year ago, I made the decision to start a newsletter. Mostly as a way to hold myself accountable to writing regularly, an activity that gets me into a flow state and is incredibly rewarding. But hard to do without accountability.

I had high ambitions. 1000 subscribers in the first year? Let’s aim for that.

I missed that goal by a long shot.

But that doesn’t matter.

I learned a lot on the way, and am excited to continue writing in 2024 and beyond.

Today, I want to share some honest-to-earth stats about the writing journey in 2023, both on Substack and LinkedIn. Also, we’ll take a look at my considerations for 2024, as well as a rough outline of my content roadmap.

If you’re looking to understand the inner workings of content creation, this edition is for you. It’s not the typical “I grew from 0 to 100k followers in 3 months” stuff you see on LinkedIn; it’s a journey of grinding it out on a daily basis, one follower at a time.

An “overnight success” in progress, if you will.

Let’s dive in.

[1] 2023 in review: facts & figures

[1a] Substack


  • Dec 26th, 2022: 68
  • Dec 23rd, 2023: 284
  • % YOY growth: 417%

While the total number of subscribers isn’t very impressive, the newsletter grew by more than 4X. If that growth continues into the next year, in edition #52 (one year from today), I hope to be able to celebrate 1.184 subscribers.

It’s all exponential.

Note that I already had a small email list from my previous blogging endeavours.


Views in the last 362 days: 13,386

Quite cool. I recently found a note from 2017 where one of my goals was that I get 1000 monthly views on my blog. Goal achieved!

The dip in the second half of the year is mostly due to only publishing on a bi-weekly basis. In early 2023, I wrote a post once per week, but scrapped that due to increased focus on LinkedIn.

It’s worth noting that my old blog on Medium (where I haven’t published regularly since 2021) still generates ~350 views per month.

Most successful post

Special Edition: 66 things I know at 30 I wish I would’ve known earlier

Dominik Nitsch • Jul 26, 2023

I’m turning 30 today. Since 2013, I lived through 10 incredibly shaping years - through graduating from university, founding my first company, attempting to found another company, moving cities 3 times, representing Germany on an international stage (both in

Read full story →

440 views and a 65% open rate (normally, open rates are between 57% and 60%, which I’m quite happy with).

Close runner-up with 430 views:

International Generalist #6: business secrets from the restaurant industry, using AI for meal planning, and career maps

Dominik Nitsch • Mar 19, 2023

Welcome to the 6th issue of International Generalist. Today, we’ll cover business secrets from the restaurant industry, using AI for meal planning, and career maps. If you don’t find this valuable, you can always unsubscribe at the bottom of this email. If you like it, tell your friends to subscribe

Read full story →

I guess a lot of people were interested in how I use ChatGPT to plan my meals.

[1b] LinkedIn


296k impressions feels like an unreal number, but hard work (199 posts) pays off. You can see that some posts were spiky (like my 30th birthday and my first Angel Investment).

The uptick on consistent engagement around October occurred when I participated in the Un-Ignorable Challenge, and started taking LinkedIn more seriously.

Engagement is really dependent on the algorithm, and whichever LinkedIn Hack works today might not work tomorrow.

What does work is creating quality content and posting regularly. So I’ll keep working on that.


I have no data on my follower count for December 2022 unfortunately.

You can also see the effect of the Un-Ignorable Challenge. While the impressions didn’t change that much, the premise of the challenge - “creating un-ignorable content” - seems to work.

More people started following me on LinkedIn once I focused on creating content that resonates with my audience.

This might seem obvious, but really isn’t: digital writing isn’t about yourself. It’s about your reader. You try stuff, see what works and what doesn’t, and double down on what works. Repeat forever.

[1c] Observations

Here’s what else I learned from publishing 40 newsletters and 199 posts:

  • 🎉 Celebratory posts work by far the best on LinkedIn. A reliable formula is: “photo of yourself/another person + something worth celebrating + valuable takeaways”. I’ve done this twice, and these were my two most successful posts this year.
  • 📤 Writing newsletters is a grind: you receive little feedback (although when you do, it’s awesome), and there’s nothing more painful than sending out a newsletter and having four people unsubscribe.
  • 🧲 Subscriber growth picked up once I started creating a “Lead Magnet” (here). This seems to work, and you can expect more digital products from me in 2024.
  • 👪 Having a community that is in a similar place around you is hugely helpful. I now have a group with ~15 people also attempting to grow their content game. Working with peers and learning from them is hugely helpful. Shoutout to you, squad!
  • ✍️ Writing online opens a ton of doors: over the last 12 months (and especially in the last three), I’ve connected with people way above my pay grade, have had inbound requests for advising, consulting, and investing, and received a lot of praise for the stuff that I write. Feels fantastic. I want more of that.
  • 🤝 Referrals from other newsletters are awesome. Thank you, Isabella, for regularly sending subscribers my way. Check out her newsletter, The Work Is Not Enough.
  • 🎓 Somehow, this newsletter is greatly appreciated by university students - a target group I wouldn’t have expected. So if you’re a student or know students who are entering the workforce soon, please share this publication with them.

There were also a few things that were really difficult:

  • I struggled hard - and still do - with figuring out who I’m writing for, and what my USP is. I feel like I’m still not quite there, but it’s a long process and I’ve come a long way already.
  • Missing 1000 subscribers this year by a long shot is rough. Sure, it was an arbitrary objective, but I hate losing. Getting inbox attention while competing with a ton of other publications is difficult. I’m convinced that highly targeted and valuable content will succeed no matter what, so I’m doubling down on refining my “Ideal Follower Profile” and putting in the hours to create great content.

Which is a beautiful segue into the next section: considerations for 2024.

[2] Considerations for 2024

[2a] Name + Brand

When I started out, I asked myself: what makes me unique?

Well, I’m highly international and a jack-of-all-trades, so let’s just call it “International Generalist”.

Don’t try this at home. There’s gotta be a better way.

This brand premise doesn’t really hold true anymore, as I’ve honed in on a few topics (instead of “all of them”, as you’d expect from a generalist), and don’t write that much about international stuff.

You can expect a rebranding at some point in the not-so-distant future.

[2b] Newsletter Platform

While Substack is perfect for starting out, I’m starting to have a few issues with it:

  1. Its business model is designed around paid newsletters. Not for publications whose main objective is to convert readers to other digital products. I’m not planning to make this a paid publication, but a vehicle for achieving my vision of building a portfolio of impact businesses.
  2. Substack’s SEO is basically non-existent. On my articles on Medium, I get ~350 views per month, 99% of which come from Google. On Substack, I got 72 views from Google over the entire year. I don’t want to publish content once and then have it die there; I want a platform where people can find all the things I’ve written. Substack doesn’t seem to be that platform.
  3. No APIs. The more I’m scaling my newsletter, the more annoying the lack of APIs is. Example: If you submit your email on the form of my website, I have to sign you up manually. This works for 300 subscribers, but not for 3000.

[2c] Second Social Media Channel

LinkedIn is my top-of-funnel right now. Almost all subscribers come from there. This creates a single point of failure: if LinkedIn were to ban me, I’d lose my entire marketing channel. Diversification is necessary.

To grow the newsletter, I can do three things:

  1. Write incredible content that is shared
  2. Increase my reach on channels that work already (eg. LinkedIn)
  3. Add another channel

Writing incredible content should always be the ambition.

I’ve refrained from adding another channel because I simply didn’t have the time. But I have more content now, and can re-purpose a lot of it in video / text / image format.

So adding another channel - while continuing to work on my LinkedIn game - is the next logical step.

Stay on the lookout for an Instagram channel. I’ll let you know when I launch.

[2d] Digital Products

An acquaintance recently asked me: “what do you want your subscribers to do?

I struggled to answer. I mean, I want you to read my newsletter and implement the systems that I’m sharing. But the newsletter is not the end-all, be-all. There should be another step available for those who want more.

So next year, I’m planning on launching 1-2 digital products. Think: online courses, e-books, templates.

With these, I hope to help others even further to fully unlock their potential.

[3] 2024 Content Roadmap

The premise of the newsletter will continue to evolve. Here’s the current version:

  • Who it’s for: startup operators who want to fully unlock their potential
  • What it’s about: systems to unlock your potential by executing consistently
  • What I want the reader to do: implement the featured systems so they can get more out of their life

I know this is very vague, and I’d be glad to receive feedback on what YOU think this newsletter’s premise should be.

That being said, I have a much clearer idea about the intersection between stuff that I enjoy writing about and stuff that’s relevant for my audience. Based on this, I’ve created a roadmap for 2024 (inspired by Patrick Campbell):

This is a roadmap, not a plan. I will deviate from this at one point or another.

But I like to set expectations.

[4] Asks

Christmas is a time of giving, and I want to continue giving my best possible efforts to all followers, readers, and fans.

In order to do so, I need your input. The following things would be greatly helpful:

  1. Answer: What do you think the premise of this newsletter should be?

  2. Answer: What digital products would you like to see from me? 

  3. Answer: What items would you like to see on the Content Roadmap

  4. Testimonials are very useful. Please send me one if you’d like! 

  5. If there’s anyone that could benefit from reading this publication, please share it with them. Word of Mouth is the most reliable channel, and as you can see, growing a newsletter is really hard. Each referral means a lot to me.

Simply send me an email or reply in the comments.

2023 was fun. I’m excited to see what 2024 has in store.

But now, I gotta help with Christmas preparations. You should go do the same.

Merry Christmas, and thanks for reading!

Much love


That’s it for this edition of International Generalist. Thanks for tuning in and reading!

Who’s behind International Generalist?

I’m Dominik, and every day, I try to figure out how to become a tiny bit more effective. Then, I share some of the lessons learned here.

When I’m not writing, I build the international business for Sdui - the Leading European SchoolOS -, play Lacrosse, lift weights and enjoy draft beers.

Here’s how else I can help you:

Thank you.


Dominik Nitsch

Proud generalist: Entrepreneur, Athlete, & Writer.

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