5 mins

Friday Feature: Bot Eat Brain

How Anthony Castrio has scaled a profitable $50k daily newsletter that he barely touches.

Dylan Redekop

How Bot Eat Brain grew to 20k subs & $50k in a year—as a side project.

Bot Eat Brain is an AI newsletter published 5-days a week.

Anthony Castrio launched BEB in September of 2022 to “scratch my own itch.”

He wanted to learn more about AI—and make money doing so.

Fast forward a year >> BEB earned over $50k in 2023 and went from 1k → 20k subs in 4 months.

Most impressively, Anthony achieved all of this as a side project.

In this week’s Friday Feature, you’ll learn how Anthony…:

  • Leveraged his network for growth
  • Created a paid growth flywheel to 20k subs
  • Scaled a daily newsletter with systems

Let’s dive in.

#1 - Leveraging your network for growth

Anthony wanted to scale up growth for Bot Eat Brain quickly.

Two factors helped propel his early-stage growth:

#1: Sharing his newsletter with influential people in his network

#2: Creating a public “growth” challenge

(The Speedrun 1000 challenge Anthony created)

🧐 Why it’s awesome

Leveraging your network for growth taps into several powerful dynamics:

→ Increased Credibility: When influential people share your newsletter, they are endorsing your content, which builds trust and credibility with their audience.

→ Amplified Reach: Influencers with substantial followings can expose your newsletter to a wider audience, significantly amplifying your reach beyond your immediate circle.

→ Community Building: Challenges like Speedrun 1000 not only encourage growth but also foster a sense of community and friendly competition among participants, further driving engagement.

🙋 How Bot Eat Brain does it

FIRST: Anthony sent Twitter DMs to friends and acquaintances in his network, letting them know about BEB:

“I just DMed people I respected and my friends on Twitter and said, Hey, I'm going to write a thing. It's going to be good. Can I sign you up as a beta reader?” - Anthony Castrio.

And he didn’t choose 50 Twitter friends at random—it was 100% strategic. Anthony DM’d “friends” who had at least 10k Twitter followers in hopes they’d share it with their audience.

SECOND: Anthony created a newsletter growth challenge he called Speedrun 1000. The first person to reach 1000 subscribers would win.

He leaned on his network to join and share Speedrun 1000. Doing so helped Anthony grow his newsletter to 1000 subscribers organically (despite not even winning his own challenge).

✏️Steal this for your newsletter​

No matter what your launch strategy is, you can make huge strides in momentum by leaning on your network.

Here are a few ways to go about it…

→ Identify Influencers: Make a list of people in your network with a substantial following and who align with your newsletter’s niche. Quality over quantity matters.

→ Personalized Outreach: Craft personalized messages to these individuals. Share what you’re building, why they should care, and ask if they’d be interested in being a beta reader or sharing your content.

→ Create a Challenge or Giveaway: Develop a unique challenge like Speedrun 1000 or create a two-sided giveaway with SparkLoop. Bonus tip: collaborate with another newsletter like Amanda Goetz did for greater success.

→ Encourage Sharing: Incentivize participants to share the challenge and your newsletter. This could be through competitions, recognition, or exclusive content.

🎧 Bonus: Learn more about how Anthony scaled growth for Bot Eat Brain in our recent chat →​​

#2 - Creating a paid growth flywheel to 20k

Anthony’s goal from the beginning was to monetize Bot Eat Brain with ads & sponsors.

In order to command decent CPM ad rates, though, Anthony needed to grow his subscriber count. So he looked to paid acquisition for fast & scalable growth.

And it worked.

But even more impressive was how Anthony was able to break even with ad traffic—allowing him to invest more in paid growth.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

The ability to recoup the bulk of your ad spend creates the opportunity to spend more.

Creating a paid growth flywheel has several key benefits:

→ Fast and Scalable Growth: Paid acquisition can rapidly increase your subscriber count—crucial for early momentum and reaching a wider audience quickly.

→ Leveraging Paid Recommendations: Adding paid recommendations offsets ad costs and can even turn a profit, making your growth self-sustaining.

→ Targeted Audience Reach: Paid ads allow for precise targeting, ensuring that your newsletter reaches the most relevant and interested audience.

→ Data-Driven Decisions: With paid advertising, you gain valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t, so you can optimize ad strategies.

🙋 How Bot Eat Brain does it

Anthony found mentors who helped him optimize & drive Facebook ad traffic to a Bot Eat Brain landing page.

At the time, FB traffic was relatively low ($1-1.50/sub). To cut costs more—and break even—Anthony added the SparkLoop Upscribe paid recommendations widget to his landing page:

“We'd have the Sparkloop widget pop up, and we were making $1 or $2 per referral. Sparkloop payout at the time was completely covering our marketing cost.” — Anthony Castrio

Paid FB traffic + SparkLoop = low/free subscribers.

✏️ Steal this for your newsletter

This is a proven, winning strategy.

But walk before you run.

→ Do your research or hire an expert before spending tons on social media ads.


Don’t let that stop you from unlocking easy revenue TODAY with SparkLoop's Upscribe paid recommendations widget (like Anthony did).

It’s FREE and setup only takes a few minutes. Start by creating your account here →

#3 - Scaling with systems

Yep. The math checks out:

“You can make $200 once a week from an ad, or you can make $200 five times-a-week from the same audience. It was a no-brainer: publish five times a week, make five times as much money.” — Anthony Castrio

The problem is this: publishing a daily newsletter as a solo operator is a lot of work.

Anthony even admits it: “There's no way I can write a newsletter five times a week and have it be any good.”

So, to build a robust newsletter machine, you need support. And you need systems.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

Scaling with systems helps you with…

→ Efficiency and Productivity

→ Quality Consistency

→ Delegation and Team Building

→ Flexibility and Focus

Systems & processes remove you as the linchpin and allow for delegation and automation—freeing you to do more important tasks like ad sales, growth, or… work on a different venture altogether.

Just like everything Anthony is doing with his main business, Indie Worldwide.

🙋 How Bot Eat Brain does it

Creating the newsletter’s content is the most time-consuming task for Bot Eat Brain. So that’s the task Anthony removed from his plate first.

Hiring writers was the priority from the early days:

“Right away I wanted to hire writers. At first I was going to recruit my friends and then we'll each write once a week.” — Anthony Castrio.

Eventually, Anthony hired professional writers. Anthony’s process went like this:

  1. Vet writing applicants with a test.
  2. Select the best 4-5 standouts.
  3. Hire each to write a trial piece for an upcoming issue.
  4. Keep the best 1-2 writers to write more issues.

Once hired, Anthony helped hone their writing skills by

  • Providing writing templates
  • Sharing links to the best news sources
  • Providing Twitter search keywords
  • Instructions on how to do research (via arXiv, etc)

This is a lot of work up front, no question. But doing this initial heavy lifting of hiring, creating training resources and SOPs allowed Anthony to step away from the constant grind of publishing a daily newsletter.

He’s removed himself so much so, that now he only spends a few hours per week managing Bot Eat Brain.

“It’s a machine. It just keeps going.”

✏️ Steal this for your newsletter

Hiring writers was just one way Anthony was able to systemize Bot Eat Brain operations.

Follow his blueprint if you’re ready to hire writers.

If you're not there yet, there are still other ways to incorporate systems into your newsletter operations…

→ Identify Repetitive Tasks: Look at your workflow and identify tasks that are repetitive and time-consuming. These are prime candidates for systematization.

→ Create SOPs: Document processes for each task, making training easier and ensuring consistency in execution.

→ Hire and Train Effectively: Invest time in hiring the right people and training them using your SOPs. This might include writers, editors, or administrative support.

Adding it up…

Anthony masterfully scaled & monetized Bot Eat Brain to the point where he’s created a cash flowing “machine” that’s easy to run with only a few hours per week of his attention.

BEB isn't a major media business (yet), but all the pieces are already in place—Anthony just has to flip the switch.

Here are 3 things to do next:

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