Today marks 50 issues of The Slice, so I decided show you guys a peek under the hood of the newsletter.
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the slice logo
Artist: Matt Saunders 
**This weeks issue will be a little longer than usual but I'm really hoping the Gmail gods are on my side and this issue doesn't get clipped...if it is, click this link**

Welcome to issue 50!

It's crazy to think that over past year I've managed to put 50 of these things out every week and to see it grow thanks to you guys has been been a wild ride. Not to mention that I have a small pocket of humans that email me regularly with kind words about each issue! I also get a bit of hate mail, which is really demotivating, but I've learnt to block it out and just ignore. 

A good friend said this to me,

"Congrats on getting haters! It means you've officially made it!"

This makes me pretty happy for some reason.

A lot of people ask me how I put this all together, so I thought I'd show you guys exactly how I put this little magazine in your inbox each week.

Also, I do this all my own. I don't hire anybody, I've never hired a ghost writer. The only person behind this is me, Nic :D  

Tech stack 
I'm a no bullshit kinda person and I absolutely hate things that are overly complicated, so all of the tools I use are pretty straight forward.

Landing page - Carrd
Email Software - EmailOctopus
Payment gateway - Paypal/PayStack
Analytics - Plausible Analytics
Database - Notion/Airtable 
Ad calendar - Google Sheets
Backups - Introgromat/Zapier 
Artwork and assets - Canva

I used to custom code each issue of The Slice in HTML and CSS, but this took waaaay too much of my time.

Here is a screenshot of issue 40 that I coded myself and it was an absolute shit show 😐
some of Nic's code
Curation
I'm very picky when it comes to what I put in my newsletter. A lot of people seem to think that I only add content which I think my audience will like, but thats not the case at all. I only add content in that I like and thats the number one reason why most newsletter curators stop curating and let their newsletters fade away. If I had to curate things that I don't find interesting, I'd get really board of doing this. So rule of thumb, if I don't find it interesting, then it doesn't make the cut in the issue.

I sub to +-120 newsletters and most of my weekly finds are from there. Other places I use are are Hacker News, Indie Hackers, Twitter, Reddit, Product Hunt, Owwly and basically a lot of "going down the rabbit hole". 

The Artwork
At the time a lot of other newsletters only had text (which was kinda boring) but I digged how the The Hustle would add these really dope gifs in their newsletter and the only other newsletters that I knew of that added artwork were Nesslabs and Dense Discovery. So I thought, "okay imma do the same".

If you haven't already worked it out, all 3 of these newsletters have influenced the style of The Slice. 

For those that have been with The Slice for a while, you would know that I started with gifs, but it was around Issue 33 where I started adding artwork instead. I found that this gave a new feel to the newsletter each week and always kept things fresh.

A simple landing page 
Again, me being a no bullshit kinda person, I wanted to make a landing page that is super simple with a focus on signing up.

My website is actually one page, but I gave it the illusion of having multiple pages by hiding the certain content. When you click on a link, it's actually only showing you a portion of the page while hiding the rest. This actually makes my website incredibly fast because all the assets have been loaded already and there is no need for them to be reloaded. 
this is the landing page
Ad calendar
The most complex part of my newsletter is how I showcase available ads. 

It's literally just a Google Sheet that I publish as a webpage. I wrote a special formula and algorithm using VLOOKUPS and IF statments that will either show green if the spot is available or shade it grey when the slot is booked. This works by adding in a specific identifier or "id", in this case the unique id is the date. Pretty cool.
booking sheet
Here is an example of the formula.
algo
My weekly workflow
If I spend more than 7/8 hours a week on this newsletter, its a lot. 

So I go to class everyday, but between my classes and college, I'll be reading newsletters, articles, checking out Product Hunt, Hacker News and Indie Hackers while at the same time saving links for the next issue. 

Every Tuesday I resend my newsletter to everyone that did not open the previous issue by just manually segmenting each email campaign based on who did not open. You'd be surprised as to how effective this is and how it increased my open rates by 18% overall.

I do a lot go back and forth emails with my sponsors and advertisers, but it's just something that has to be done. I did try and automate this process, but I felt like there needed to be a human element to building and maintaining these relationships, so I switched back to doing it myself. 

Come Wednesday night, I open all my links, pick the ones I like and start building the newsletter, but I try and have each issue done by Wednesday night so it's ready to go out the next day. 

Before I send out, I put the issue though a spam test. If I don't get a score above 9.5 out of 10, then I go back and tweak the issue until I do. I pride myself on having a very high domain reputation and I need to keep that up. 

Come Thursday, I send out the issue, crack open cold beer, and boom!!! You have The Slice in your inbox 😜

Hope you enjoyed this little peek under the hood! Now, for this weeks issue.

Cheers
Notice:

Tomorrow I'll be opening new advertising slots for classifieds and sponsorships. If you want to get notified as soon as the slots open, add your email here
This weeks catches 🎣
Here are some dope tools that I discovered this week.

NovoChat (Sponsor)

NovoChat
NovoChat lets you talk to customers via WhatsApp, LINE, Telegram and Messenger via a single inbox. Engage prospects and leads more personally! 

Morgen

Morgen
Morgen is a beautifully designed calendar app that integrates with all callers from from Google to iCloud all in a fresh new interface. 

Doneit

Doneit
Doneit is daily planner that focuses on simplicity and organization where  you don't need to worry about your tasks lists ever being messy because this app was designed to help you better organize all of your daily to-do's. 

Newsletters 🚀

My picks of dope newsletters for this week.
This weeks featured newsletter is The Green Techpreneur, a refreshing bi-monthly newsletter that showcases the stories, successes and learning-curves of entrepreneurs and investors striving to create a sustainable world.

The Newsletter is all put together by Marianne, who also happens to be a contributor to Forbes! Every other week, she interviews some amazing green-tech entrepreneurs to share their insights into growing businesses focused on sustainability.

Interesting reads  📚

There's a lot of crap on the internet, here's a gem or two.
Stop Trying to Raise Successful Kids
As anyone who has been called out for hypocrisy by a small child knows, kids are exquisitely attuned to gaps between what grown-ups say and what grown-ups do. If you survey American parents about what they want for their kids, more than 90 percent say one of their top priorities is that their children be caring. This makes sense: Kindness and concern for others are held as moral virtues in nearly every society and every major religion. But when you ask children what their parents want for them, 81 percent say their parents value achievement and happiness over caring. Read More

When in Doubt, Try the Difference
If you’re in doubt about something that’s not in your life, try it. Things are so different in practice versus in theory. The only way to know is to experience it yourself. Read more
Learnings 💡
How To Make The Most Out Of Your Time And Your Life
It's been a while since I shared a podcast, but here is an awesome conversation between Nathan Barry and Dickie Bush on how to build an audience on Twitter and then leverage that audience. Check it out

A Guide to Getting Unstuck.
When our train is headed off the rails, how can we get ourselves back on the track? I will share some tested techniques for preventing yourself from getting unstuck as well as how to quickly intervene when it does happen. Read more

​​​​Classifieds 
Switch Weekly – Looking for something new to play on your Switch? Chris' digest is worth a look. Get a weekly list of all upcoming games and the latest must-read Nintendo news.

Guided Weekly Planner Tool - Guided Weekly Planner Tool. Go from wishful planning to realistic, optimized planning. Just download here and go (Excel and Google Sheets formats available).

The Deep Dive – A small business newsletter with news, insights, and experiences you can actually use to grow your business. 3 times a week. Sign up for free.
That's all for this week, see you next week, same time, same place! If you enjoyed this issue, consider sharing The Slice💌
Written by Nic | Brettenwood Coastal Estate, Ballito, KwaZulu Natal, 4409, South Africa