I got my start online as a list builder way back in 1997. I had a little e-zine where I shared free traffic sources every Sunday afternoon, and then emailed out solo ads during the week. I think at its height I got up to about 4100 subscribers, and there were months when ad sales paid my rent. So what happened?
A lot of things happened, but the biggest one was that I let fear get the better of me.
List building in the time before autoresponders was a whole different game. You had to manually create your lists in an outside piece of software, and when it was time to mail you pretty much turned your computer into a mail server and ran the whole thing through your ISP.
At the time, we lived out in the middle of a bush with only dialup access, and I’ll never forget the phone call I got one Sunday afternoon asking me what I was doing to use up so much bandwidth. My ISP guy was totally amazed when I told him I was sending my e-zine to my subscribers – all 2500 of them! Internet marketing was pretty much in its infancy at that time, and he had no idea people were publishing newsletters and making money selling advertising online.
Once autoresponders came along (I got to beta-test Aweber and it was the greatest thing since sliced bread at the time), and easy ways to take credit cards online (I had a Clickbank account where I sold ads from, and people who would send me cheques and money orders in the mail), I really couldn’t compete with the guys who had money to invest and merchant accounts of their own. I also had a now-ex-husband who wouldn’t let me invest any money back into the business, because he wanted it all for himself (but that’s another story for a different day). All of this fed into the fears that I had no business in the newsletter publishing world because I didn’t have the money to compete with the big boys. (The funny thing now, looking back, is that all those big boys were on MY list first!)
So when I had my first heart attack in 2002, and the cardiologist said I had to give up anything that caused me stress, my first act was to shutter the newsletter. And honestly, I’ve struggled with list building ever since.
So what, exactly am I afraid of?
It’s definitely not competition any more. Autoresponders and PayPal have pretty much leveled the playing field where creating a list and online selling are concerned. Now, it’s more a mindset thing. I’m doing the 30 Day Listing Building Challenge over in the MyNams Insiders Club, and one of the first things we were asked to do is name our biggest fear about list building. So here is mine:
My biggest fear when it comes to list building is dead air. I am afraid that people won’t respond and I’ll be left looking like a fool for trying to build relationships where there are none to be had. It’s a combination of fear of unsubscribes and a fear of selling both, so I don’t do either one. I haven’t actively pursued list building in years, and when I do mail my existing lists, I rarely ever ask them to buy something.
I think part of it comes from a fear of being a nuisance. I have this ingrained feeling of not wanting to bother people. Maybe it’s my “Canadian apology gene” kicking in, but I hate feeling like I’m pestering people or interrupting them, so even when I have something to say or a recommendation to share, I hesitate so long that the opportunity passes me buy.
I’m really looking forward to this next 30 days in order to overcome my fear of sending email. To experience the adventure of making new friends and building new relationships is my goal for this challenge.
“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.” ~ Judy Blume
What stops you from building a list? Share your fears here, and lets overcome them together!