Today, August 30th 2011, is the 15 year anniversary of the start of my Internet business career.
That’s right… I actually started out in 1996. Sorta crazy.
And it’s hard to imagine more humble beginnings. The story is too long to recount here, but I started out of desperation – I needed a change in my life.
And I started with one single action… I sent out an email newsletter.
I sent that first newsletter to everyone I personally knew who had an email address. Back in 1996 email was still somewhat rare, so the newsletter only went out to 19 email addresses.
Of course, one of those addresses was my second email address and another was my wife’s email address… but I figure there was 19 emails on the distribution list, so I’m sticking with the story that I had 19 subscribers. It felt more important than if I only had 17 subscribers.
That was the start of my publishing career… and the crazy thing is that newsletter eventually grew to more than 80,000 subscribers.
Since then I’ve sent out well over 10,000 email broadcasts, and I’ve sold millions of dollars of products… and I’ve helped other folks make HUNDREDS of millions.
Now, as I sit here 15 years later, it’s pretty interesting that the very first thing I did was start building an email list… even before I had my first web site.
And that leads to my First Law of Internet Business Success:
It’s All About The List (And Your Relationship To That List)
For almost all Internet businesses, your only real asset is your list. Or more accurately, your lists, because you should have many of them (prospects, clients, affiliates, email, social media, etc.) …
Your content can get knocked off, your technology can be bettered, your search engine rankings can go away. But no one can take your list away. And with that list you can overcome nearly any setback. It’s your “license to print money”… it’s your insurance policy.
BOTTOM LINE: In your Internet business there are all kinds of things you can’t control, but your list is the one thing that you CAN control.
Of course, I’ve been saying that to people for almost 15 years now. Some people listen, many don’t.
The thing that really kills me is the folks who complain that they don’t have a list.
Well NEWSFLASH – none of us came out of the womb with an email list. We all got them the same way – we BUILT them. Every list starts with a single subscriber. If you don’t have a list yet, that just means we started before you. But it’s not a race, and there’s no finish line… so just get over it and start building your list.
Remember, I started with 19 email addresses.
Of course, building the list is only the first part of the equation. The second part is every bit as important… you need to have a relationship with your list. But that’s a whole different blog post.
Whew… I really didn’t mean for this post to turn into a rant. I figured I would reminisce about the past 15 years. Maybe compare getting started now with getting started back in the day, possibly even give you all 15 of my Laws of Internet Success… but then I got carried away.
I guess I just get worked up when I see people making the same mistakes that I was seeing back when I started.
Just get over it, and focus on building your list.