Trying to figure out what things to consider when starting a business? I’m fortunate I managed to build a multi-six-figure business in my first year of working for myself, but I wish I had done one very important thing differently. I would have started email list building back in 2015 when I started my first business.
Instead, I let my perfectionism and fear of creating ‘perfect’ content stand in my way. It’s ironic because I studied creative writing in college. Despite my marketing and writing skills, I let my perfectionism hold me back and never got my email list up off the ground.
However, there is a caveat here. I’m not saying you can’t build a successful, profitable business without list building – I did it – but I could have grown it way faster if I had been more courageous and trusted my instincts. Building an email list builds relationships and provides an avenue to sell to customers again and again. It’s also a way to offer value to your customers and show them that you are a trusted expert in your field who can help solve their problems.
Letting Excuses and Fear Derail Your Success
When I started exploring things to consider when starting a business, I thought I had it covered. I had a network, developed an offering, created systems, and hired talented teams to help me. But I lacked the courage to start putting myself out there and truly marketing my business online. In fact, from 2015 to 2022, I barely marketed my business at all except by word-of-mouth marketing. This type of marketing is powerful, and I’m lucky that we do quality work, and our clients are happy to help spread the word. But there was a downside to my referral system. We could have generated more money faster and more efficiently if I had conquered my fears and invested in content marketing back in 2015.
By now, I would now have a substantial email list that could help grow my personal brand. It would have also meant a stronger social media presence with a broader reach. I more or less tabled my social media efforts from 2015-2022, despite being a social media and digital marketing expert!
We all have excuses when we’re afraid to launch. Here were some of mine:
- Too busy growing my business
- Saving for a downpayment on a 15-year mortgage
- Moving to another state
- Buying my first house
- Finding the love of my life
- Getting engaged
- Planning a big move
- Planning a wedding
- Getting married
- Doing IVF for genetic reasons
- Getting pregnant
- Having a baby
- Taking a maternity leave
- Coming back from a maternity leave
- Etc, etc…
LIFE got in the way, and I let all those ‘extras’ fall by the wayside. There will always be something pressing on your to-do list, but it shouldn’t derail your business plans forever.
An Email List Can Skyrocket Your Revenue
I’m not one to live in the past and dwell on the coulda, shoulda, woulda. At the same time, I definitely wish I had listened to that little voice that told me I was a coward for not sharing my knowledge with the world back when I was figuring out which things to consider when starting a business. Looking back, I know it slowed down my business growth trajectory.
How much growth? Research shows that, on average, email marketing sees a 4,300% return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the USA. Email marketing is also something you can control and is a medium that isn’t going anywhere. Facebook, Instagram, and social media channels will continue to change their algorithm and increasingly require running ads to get seen and heard.
The Basics of How to Build an Email List
Dealing with the technology behind hosting an email list can also hold people back. However, there’s really no excuse for so many tutorials, guides, and resources online to help. Here’s a quick, proactive approach of how to build an email list.
1) Choose Your Email Marketing Platform – There are several big players in the email marketing space, but my business uses Flodesk. Prices start from $38 a month, and with features, templates and automation available. But of course you know what got me: the GORGEOUS templates (!). If you’re brand new to using email marketing platforms, you should opt for a plan that comes with support.
2) Watch the Tutorials – Your email marketing platform should come equipped with guides and tutorials. You can get a walk-through of everything from getting set-up to figuring out how to use tags.
3) Add a CTA – A CTA (or call-to-action) prompts people to sign-up for your email list. It’s best practice to offer a freebie like a checklist, short ebook, or tip sheet related to your core services. For example, if you’re trying to get a copywriting business off the ground, you could offer a PDF on “10 Mistakes You’re Making In Your Copywriting That’s Costing You Thousands.” Once you’ve figured out your freebie, create a CTA prompting people to sign-up for your list on your landing pages, blog posts, social media channels, and other content.
4) Ask your network to sign-up – Beyond your CTA, ask your current network to sign-up for your email list. Whether they’re former colleagues or clients, ask anyone you think could benefit from your list to join it. While you have their attention, ask them to send it along to anyone they know who would benefit from the content.
5) Send valuable-driven emails – How many times have you signed up for an email list only to discover it doesn’t offer any real value? Productive list building requires sending periodic weekly or monthly email packed with value to position yourself as a trusted expert in your field.
6) Ask for help – If you’re struggling with time management or don’t want to deal with email marketing, consider hiring a Virtual Assistant to take it off your plate. There are plenty of VAs who do nothing but email marketing, writing newsletters and segmenting your audience to target specific groups.
Crush Your Fears
The real things to consider when starting a business are courage and action. The lesson here is to get over your fear and excuses and just do it. There is not going to be a magical, transcendent moment where you just feel ready to start list building. You’re ready when you take action and make it happen. Of course, this is all easier said than done. But there are ways to step into a more courageous role in your business.
How do you get over the fear? You gather your courage and take action. Courage is really about “the ability to do something that frightens one.” Once you do that nerve-wracking thing, it’s not so scary anymore. You’ve proven to yourself that you can do it and keep building confidence with nonstop action. Be unabashedly brave and ignore that internal voice telling you it’s scary, and just do it anyway. You’ll be glad you did.