Building an Atelier

I like newsletters so much that I'm making an app to manage your newsletters, if I can find the time between writing newsletters.

A black and white photo showing a close-up view of the needle mechanism on a sewing machine.
Photo by Ilya lix / Unsplash

A month ago, I wrote about a new app I’m thinking about building. I’m calling it Atelier, and it’s an iOS (and probably Mac) app for managing your Buttondown newsletters.

As I mentioned in that article, I started by sharing a survey to try and get some idea of how people would be interested in using the app (and, hopefully, pay for). And believe it or not, people actually shared their thoughts!

Now, it wasn’t a huge sample of users. But it signaled enough interest that I set up a website and a newsletter that you can sign up to if you want updates on how development is coming along.

Last week, I sent out the first issue to a handful of subscribers. I shared the survey results, talked a little bit about my expectations, and even got a reply where someone shared how they build their own weekly Buttondown newsletter.

I’m aiming to send a new issue once a month. I’m planning on structuring such that I share an update on the app’s development, an interesting Buttondown newsletter I’ve found, a question for readers, and one fun fact.

That also means that I’m now writing at least three newsletters a month —two here, one for Atelier— plus the occasional update for my business, Dropped Bits.

Which is fine — I like writing. But it’s also time consuming. I have limited time during the week to actually make progress on building the product or the business, so I have to be mindful that I don’t lose sight of that.

How do you all make time for everything with your side businesses? Let me know!

This article is sponsored by Per, a free iPhone app by Dropped Bits.

Per for iPhone

Per is the easiest, fastest way to compare price while you shop. It makes shopping decisions easy with its built-in unit converter and calculator, quickly showing you how much you’re getting for your money.

Get Per on the App Store


In April, I wrote two articles here:

  • Focus On Customers Before They’re Customers, in which I talked about the value of finding out what people need from your product before even starting to build it.
  • Making Time For Making, in which I posited that being a solopreneur can be Quite Lonely, Actually and wondered about the value of a “Side Hustle With Me” livestream or video call that we can use to combat this.

I also wrote A Love Letter to Personal Projects on my personal blog. I didn’t really share it widely, but it got picked up and shared by a few readers; it seems to have really resonated with people. I think that’s why I keep at this whole side business thing — I love the agency, I love the conversations with customers, and I love being able to choose craft over cash.

And finally, my work on adding a patronage model to Thought Detox is coming along! I’ve added a year subscription and three tip amounts as in-app purchases and am building out the “Support The App” paywall screen. I’m still thinking about how to balance people knowing this exists, without it being overly annoying.

Subscribe to Two Common Cents Club

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson