the “more” trap of building an email list

On March 5, 2017, I decided I was going to write every day. That was my main goal: practicing a skill. And as I’ve shared before, I decided to send those thoughts via email in order to create a system to force my behavior.

Then a pretty cool thing happened – people started subscribing! (Hi, thank you)

I thought, “Oh this is great. I could build an email list.” And, having sort of an addictive personality, I dove deep into email lists. How to engage an audience, how to build an audience, how to monetize an audience…

When you go down that rabbit hole, it’s hard to claw back out.

The success stories are pretty staggering. Millions of subscribers, product launches that immediately garner hundreds of thousands of dollars, etc. etc.

For a while, I got caught up in the numbers game. I compared myself to those folks who had success in the space, their subscriber bases, their open rates, their click rates…and I got really discouraged.

How will I ever get there?

When I fell into the “I need more” trap, I started focusing my energy on the wrong things. Where could I market my list? Should I try and write syndicated pieces? What about a Facebook ad?

Then the end of the day would come, I’d be late to write my email, and I’d create work I wasn’t proud of. Open rates dropped, unsubscribes trickled in…what’s happening?

That’s when I changed my mentality. I have an amazing group of subscribers who read this email every day. If I stepped into an auditorium every morning with the folks who read this email every day, I’d be overwhelmed.

So first of all, I want you to know that I’ve been refocused on you guys. I want to share worthwhile thoughts and ideas with you all, and I appreciate your trust that I will do so. And I truly appreciate when you write back and open up a dialogue.

Second of all, I wanted to share this as a cautionary tale. It’s easy to take the things you’ve already built and created for granted and look to the next thing. And when you do that, it’s just as easy to lose those things.


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