One surprising downside to building an email list is how crazy your own personal inbox gets.

As I’m writing this I have 110 unread messages in my inbox. I’ve processed 125 emails just today and have responded to over 300 emails this week so far.

I’m 1,000,000% honored that people care enough about what we’re doing at VF to email asking questions and, frankly, giving us the time of day.

So this isn’t a complaint. It’s a reality.

It takes me multiple days to respond to my own wife and close friends.

Earlier this week I noticed that I had over 300 unread support messages about our free app ListGoal. Total fail on my part: it just got buried under all the other emails.

Anyhow…

Today I wanted to share a quick hack that’s helped me do a better job with email. Obviously it isn’t a complete cure (thus the 100+ emails in my inbox), but it’s made a SUBSTANTIAL difference in how we process email at VF and my ability to give time to the people who matter most.

This is how it works:

Note: This is a slightly more geeky technical post. But I thought it might be fun to experiment with something a little different.

Our #1 goal at VF this year is to help people.

Not in some woo-woo “follow your passion and make a difference in people’s lives” kind of way. But in a super-specific measurable way.

The key thing we’ve identified that will force us to help people is simple.

Publish 100 stories of people who we’ve helped grow their email list to 1,000 subscribers.

The logic: The only way we can publish stories about successful students is to create successful students. And the only way we can create successful students is to legit help them. Not just make a bunch of money by getting 1000s of people into the course, but actually taking the people who come into the course and helping them become successful.

Grow your email list with my free List Building Checklist

Here is the quickest way I know of to start a business.

It requires:

  • NO money
  • NO website
  • NO business card

It’s very basic.

Find a really well-written “how-to” article. Then offer the solution that article provides as a service to everyone who expressed interest in the article. Use the step-by-step instructions from the article to learn how to offer the service.

No experience required.

Want an example?

Raise your hand if you’re frustrated with how fast your audience is growing.

<C’mon, raise it.>

Why is that?

Why have other people broken through, rapidly built their email lists and launched products, yet you are still floundering?

Here is why: Because you are doing the same ol’ outdated strategies that worked in 2012 but don’t work today.

The same lame guest posts on the same 10 “influencer” blogs.
The same lame blog commenting strategy.
The same lame round-up posts then emailing me to tell me to share it.
The same lame procrastination technique of “redesigning your website.”

Stop doing what everyone else is doing.

Note: We’re doing a big $2,400 list building giveaway at the bottom of today’s post. So be sure to read through for full details.

6 months ago I published this blog post.

It outlined a rad traffic and viral sharing strategy that the team over at Sumome was using.

The basic gist was this:

  1. They gave away free access to a course called Traffic1m
  2. To get it you had to give them you’re email
  3. Once you gave them your email they offered you free VIP access to the course (a slack group and resource guide)
  4. To get VIP access you needed to share the Traffic1m course on Twitter and email an invite to one friend
  5. ^^^ This generates a tight little viral loop where for every person that signs up several more people find out about it and get invited to the course as well.