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Do This Before You Build An Email List

Posted Friday February 14th, 2020 Do This Before You Build An Email List

Here's a typical question I get: "Peter, I'm thinking about launching a course and building an email list. How do I do that?"

As usual, that's the wrong question.

The right question is, why?

Look, if you want to be the poster child for Teach For America, that's great.
I'm actually one of the biggest supporters of the peer-to-peer education movement, because I know our education system is lacking on a few fronts.

But first, I want to make sure you know what your end game is. I want you to have a clear destination so that you can build a path to get there.

And trust me, I've seen countless entrepreneurs build an email list, or a social media following, or a tribe, only to figure out that they build a community of the wrong people!

Who are the wrong people, you ask?

  • People who don't want to buy from you
  • People who don't need the wisdom you offer
  • People who don't share your core values
Building a following takes time. And at the end of building a following, you have exactly that: a following.


But do you have sales? Not necessarily, unless you design your email list-building efforts to bring you cold hard cash.

Get it?

So before you go build a course or an email list, ask yourself this:

  • What are you teaching that you're truly an expert at, so that your followers know that you are the go-to person?
  • What will you do with your email list in 1 year? 3 years? 5 years?
  • How does your course and/or following fit into your overall life goals?
  • Will what you're doing accomplish your financial goals? How?
And let's not forget my favorite question:

Is there anything else you should be doing with your time that would bring you greater wealth, happiness or fulfillment?

If so, you should not build an email list. You should do that other thing that makes you healthy, wealthy and wise.

Ask These Questions Before Building a List:

  • Don't ask "how" to build a course or email list. Ask "WHY"
  • Make sure you're going to build a following of the "right kind" of people who will help you achieve your goals
  • Make sure you know what your end goals are - 1 year, 3 year, 5 year
  • Ask yourself if building a course and list is absolutely the best use of your time, and will absolutely help you be more healthy, wealthy and wise
  • If you can think of a better use of your time, then DO THAT instead.
Pro Tip: Building an actual email list is easy. We'll cover that in a future blog post, but the basics are to deeply understand what your audience wants, and give it to them in a way that they can easily understand how it helps them solve their challenges. Simple. Figuring out if you should do this in the first place -- that's the hardest part, so look inward to make sure you get the right answer.

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