Substack and its potential for creatives with Claire Venus

Posted on November 26, 2023 by Sarah Robertson

I’m joined by multi-passionate Engagement Consultant and Mentor, Claire Venus, who helps creatives and small businesses go from overwhelmed and indecisive to strategic and free feeling. In her contribution to This Creative Life, she writes about Substack and its expansive possibilities.


Why choose Substack?

Let me start by telling you why I started my own Substack publication back in April 2022.

I started to hear my own voice again, to craft some words on a page, to process the enormity of having a baby at the tail end of the pandemic.

The intensity of supporting my husband with Long Covid and being a mum in a pandemic hangover with no family support had me at breaking point. I’d had the therapy, I needed space, hope, and new friends, and to create in an expansive way. Substack had it all (and in droves), and there are now over 30 million readers and 17,000 publications.

Substack was founded in 2017 by Chris Best (CEO), Jairaj Sethi (CTO), and Hamish McKenzie (Chief Writing Officer). The team met at Kik, a free messenger app that was co-founded by Chris Best. You can find them and their writing on the platform and they often pop up in Substack Office Hours Sessions. They also host a podcast there.

I crafted a writing and sharing space away from social media, away from friends, family and clients, and I re-found the voice I’d lost. (Every time I posted on Instagram Stories about Long Covid, Instagram would choke my words, and my story views would be down from 200 to 10).

Folks started subscribing and connecting to my words. I made online pals, I supported their work, things blossomed. Then they really, really blossomed!

Since then, I’ve grown my subscribers across multiple publications to over 3000 and my paid supporters (who I call members) to nearly 150. Substack has become an integral part of my business eco system.

Client quotes

The algorithm is generous, the network is supportive. It’s a brilliant gift for the modern creative.

In its purest form, it’s an email list you can grow, nurture, and take anywhere with you. Want to grow there for 6 months, then move back to Flo Desk or Mailchimp? You can!

Substack has so much to offer; you can write blog style, pull together well researched articles, share audio, host podcasts and post video. You can share shorter pieces and hold space for private communities.

It’s just a dream for creatives, especially if you feel like I did (boxed in by social media). The algorithm is generous, the network is supportive. It’s a brilliant gift for the modern creative. People see you and see your work!

Growing on Substack

You email subscribers are nurtured by the content you share. They get to know you, they show interest in what you want to say and share, and they tell their friends. They recommend and share your content and may even ask to collaborate. There is nowhere else online like Substack.

Let’s say you already have a blog on your website and write regular emails to clients. Why would you use Substack? Because it’s a sophisticated platform where deep conversation is part of the experience. It’s warm, it’s friendly, and you can grow fast.

My email list on Mailchimp grew slowly each month by one or two subscribers. Over on Substack I have developed my work to attract over 300 subscribers-a-month (and counting). The platform encourages us and makes space for way more of our creativity than traditional social media. In fact, the Substack app has completely replaced social media for me.

Client quotes

Substack enables you to get paid as a creative, in a joyful and sustainable way.

Getting paid on Substack

Substack enables you to get paid as a creative, in a joyful and sustainable way.

According to Press Gazette, Substack generate at least $22m a year in revenue, it has over 2million paying subscribers.”

I turned on paywalled content from the off. It was an experiment and one I was excited to lean into. That was then, this is now. I’m proud of myself, but wiser now, and I bring a strategy to everything I do across all of my Substack publications.

My Substack income has replaced my one-to-one work, and I am so grateful to have been able to change up my business model in this way after delivering in a different capacity for six years.

Substack has given me a catalytic way to communicate with my audience, subscribers, and those who want to spend time in my work and life.

What about imposter syndrome?

Look, I’ll level with you here. Substack was started as a platform for writers.

There are tens of thousands of exquisite writers there. There are tonnes of Sunday Times and New York Times best sellers, as well as journalists, memoir writers, social media influencers. People who have written multiple books, built six figure businesses, celebrated successes, awards and accolades.

Some of their pieces are amazing to read, but, on occasion, they have the same fears as you and me. I know because I work with them. I don’t try to be like them; we are all divinely guided to share OUR gifts… so what are yours? Will you come to Substack to share, hone and craft them?

Why start now?

Substack is not just another platform to get to know…it’s your NEW creative house, garden and party!

Come take my five day mini course or join me at Sparkle on Substack to learn more. Substack is growing fast; come in on the ground floor, and let’s ride the lift together; the view is SO beautiful on the way up!

See you there?


Claire Venus is a Grateful Creative & Slow Lived Entrepreneur who lives by the Northumberland coast under dark skies with her husband, two children and five pet chickens. She loves to write and, in winter, can be found cosying by her log burning fire with journal and pen in hand. She’s passionate about our unique lived experiences, the environment and its influence on our work.

Her work as a multi-passionate Engagement Consultant and Mentor sees her help creatives and small businesses support them with honing their creative voice. Her programmes focus on holistic, person-centred creativity and wholehearted living.

You can join Claire at Sparkle on Substack, a community of folks who want to grow joyfully and sustainably on Substack, and Creatively Conscious which centres on wholehearted living and the ‘behind the scenes’ of her business.

Subscribe to her free Substack 5 Day Mini Course, or join the wait list for Your Self Seeded Business group programme and collective. You can also follow Claire on Instagram.