I'm taking an exciting step in my business (and would love for you to join me) 🎉
Offering paid subscriptions, dealing with my inner critic + 3 favourites
I’m excited to be sharing some big news today: from now on, you can become a paid subscriber to Female Owned. As a paid subscriber, you’ll get bonus posts and resources in addition to the two free newsletters a month, and you’ll be supporting me and the work I do. The twice a month newsletter will always remain free and full of value.
If you’re new(ish) to Substack, check out my blogpost Substack 101: how to use and enjoy the platform for tips on reading, subscribing, commenting and more.
I’m on a mission to change how we think, feel and talk about work, small business and freelancing.
Whether it’s through 1:1 mentoring, workshops or my writing, I want to help you discover how to run a business rooted in your own trust and confidence. I’m here to remind you that it is possible to create a business away from the norm of hustle, productivity culture, overwork and someone else’s stories. I want to show your humanness, your needs, your life and desires don’t need to come second when you own a business.
Female Owned is a reader-supported publication. To support my work and receive new posts, why not subscribe for free or upgrade to a paid subscription for less than a coffee + tea a month.
Subscribing to this newsletter for free is a way in which you work with me (and I love having you!). Paid subscriptions are another option, one that is a level up in terms of the resources and support that you get.
It is important to me to provide both free resources and support that is both less hands-on and cheaper than a one-off 1:1 call.
I know that many of you reading this are not ready for or in need of 1:1 mentoring, and are happy with the support that you get through the newsletter. If that is you, I’d love to invite you to consider becoming a paid subscriber.
You can become a paid subscriber for €5 a month, or €50 a year (a little over £4 a week/£43 a month). I imagine these newsletters as us having a cup of tea and a slice of cake together—a paid subscription costs a little less than tea + cake in my favourite cafe a month.
Becoming a paid subscriber is easy: click to button below, set up a free account if you don’t have one yet and select the subscription plan for Female Owned. It’s done in less than 5 minutes, and helps me to continue supporting you and others. If you need more help, this post from Substack support breaks it all down.
Astrid has an uncanny ability to simplify muddled messes and tease out practical solutions — Vanessa Simpson, photographer
I have read and subscribed to many business coaches newsletters and Astrid's stands out as useful, unique, and wonderfully relevant in a time when women especially are encouraged to just do more, hustle harder, and burn ourselves out. Astrid has a different approach, one that embraces ease and intuition and I love that. --
Why I’m including paid subscriptions
There’s two ways of thinking about paid subscriptions. On the one hand, you get more. Paid subscribers get access to one discussion thread a month, behind-the-scenes every two months, occasional more personal posts and a quarterly guide.
But when I think about why I’m a paid subscriber of various newsletters, the main reason is because the author does work that I find important, expresses a philosophy or way of looking at the world that I feel deserves more attention.
By becoming a paid subscriber of Female Owned, you’re not just “getting” more. You’re supporting me to change we we think, feel and talk about work, small business and freelancing. To change the norm of hustle, productivity and overwork into a norm of sustainable growth, gentle marketing and a life in which your own humanness comes first, and business second.
I love writing these newsletters, and will always be sending out a free newsletter twice a month. But I also believe in paying for what I feel is important, which for me ranges beyond the business sphere to include authors challenging diet culture, to in-depth explorations of culture and society, to savouring and delighting in the (non)human world to living with chronic illness.
If my newsletters and resources are important and of value of you, I hope that you’ll consider becoming a paid subscriber.
Paid subscribers help me to continue to put the time and energy into these newsletters. The safety of a paywall also allows me to explore the occasional more personal topic in which my experiences in life intersect with business.
If you’re unable to pay for a paid subscription but would benefit from getting the paid subscriber resources, send me a message. I’m happy to offer you a complimentary paid subscription.
Over the coming month, I’ll be sharing the kinds of posts that will be available to paid subscribers only from March 1st onwards. This month that includes two free newsletters + a discussion thread + a behind-the-scenes post on 16 months without social media.
No matter whether you decide to become a paid subscriber or not, I love having you here. Every new subscriber, every comment, every like, every interaction makes my day. So thank you so much for being here. 💛
Your newsletter is one of the few newsletters I immediately open and read. — Alice Hibbert, jewellery designer
I just received your latest email and it was a lovely read! — Sarah Phelps, stationary designer
Loved this, you have such a calming presence even via email. — Jen Wright, slow business mentor
Other ways of supporting me and my work:
keep on reading :)
buying me a ko-fi (or, in my case, a cup of tea).
asking me for your podcast to speak about slow, gentle and profitable business, including marketing without social media; using Substack; and more.
inviting me to give a workshop in a community that you run.
sharing my newsletter with your small business friends.
Dealing with my inner critic—behind the scenes of going paid
As I wrote a few months back, making writing a bigger part of my business and charging for it feels like a natural next step in my business.
It also feels very scary.
Even though I’ve made huge steps in trusting myself as a business owner, my inner critic still pops up from time to time.
I found a snippet of text where an author I admire talks about “making income from what doesn’t, externally, probably look like very much (… words! books! posting things on the internet!)”. When I read those words, I thought “Yes. This. I want something like this too.”
That feeling stuck for about twelve hours before my inner critic sidled up to me and said “Who are you to think that you too can make money with your writing? Certainly you don’t expect that to be possible? This is like looking at a YouTube-star and thinking that you can do the same. You know better”.
As I write in December’s quarterly guide, a big part of trusting myself in my business is identifying when stories and voices pop up that are not my own. This specific voice is definitely rooted in the kind of fear that I think many of us recognise. It’s also rooted in the very Dutch mentality to not stand out from the crowd (we have several, oft-used sayings for it).
And it’s rooted in the need for stability I was raised with. The goal, I was told, was to find a stable job as quickly as possible and then to hold on to it for dear life. Making money with my own business, let alone with and on something as fickle as the internet? Irresponsible folly.
I’d made the plan to go paid in February 2023 in the late summer and really didn’t seriously consider backing out. But I realised that I needed to talk differently about it. In conversation with friends and my partner, I found myself apologizing for the plan to turn on paid subscriptions. And I hated that.
Opening up and inviting paid subscriptions is still scary to me. But it’s a good scary. A kind of stretching-myself-and-growing scary. I’m reminding myself to root into not only trust, but especially the excitement that I feel about this project.
I love writing, I love connecting with and supporting you through writing, and the idea that I could make money with it feels wild and amazing. I’m also reminding myself that I really have nothing to lose. Especially in business, our decisions can feel so black-and-white, so huge, whereas often they aren’t. There are grey areas: we can go back if something doesn’t work out, or figure out another way of making it work.
When does your inner critic pop up? What do they say? And how have you dealt with them in the past? I’d love to know your strategies, so please join the conversation by leaving a comment.
a book | I loved Kate Atkinson’s Shrines of Gaiety—the kind of book that I both wanted to devour in one sitting and string out for as long as possible. I loved the world of 1920s London that she created here, and can’t wait to reread it in the future (affiliate link).
crisp, cool, cold days | After all the wetness of early January I’m savouring days that are colder and crisper (even if I don’t always go out on them). There’s something so purifying about these days.
a show | Yes, I am very late to this, but J and I recently started watching Derry Girls and I love that we both enjoy it (which is rare) and makes us laugh. And, of course, how the soundtrack is basically the soundtrack to my early teenage years.
What’s on your lists of favourites this month? What did you read, see, hear, drink, eat, observe that made your day?
Things I wrote over the past month:
Why I left social media to build community around my business
Over at A Houseplant Journal: The 1928 houseplant guide that became a family heirloom.
I would love it if you’d become a paid subscriber of Female Owned. A paid subscription costs €5 a month, or €50 a year (a little over £4 a week/£43 a month). Let’s start a revolution together. 💪🏻
Paid subscribers receive:
the two free monthly newsletters
a subscriber-only discussion thread 1x a month
a quarterly guide supporting you to go deeper into your business
behind-the-scenes in my business posts 1x every two months
the occasional more personal post
the joy of financially supporting that is of value to you.
Female Owned: Small business without the hustle is a reader-supported publication. Become a paid subscriber for less than the cost of a cup of tea + slice of cake 🧁
Thank you for inviting me in your inbox again this week. If you have any questions about the subscription, just hit reply to this message if you’re reading it as an email, ask in the comments, or send me a message here.
I hope you have a good beginning to the month—it’s that time of year at which I crouch down in the garden looking for new growth to emerge. I’ve already spotted the green tips of snowdrops 🌱
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So glad you took this step Astrid! You're a wonderful writer. I apologize for a bit of a lag in my readership. I finally am feeling a bit healthier. Congratulations on going paid!
Congratulations Astrid! This is super exciting and inspiring, I love reading your newsletters and am wishing you all the best in this exciting next step. Looking forward to all your upcoming plans! x