As a creative entrepreneur, I often do some minor changes in my business, blog or in my branding. However, this time I made two big changes in my entire business. I was really nervous about this blog post because it’s personal, controversial, but if you follow me for a while, you probably noticed that I like to be honest and don’t sugar coat.
The first big change I’ve made was to delete my email list with a free resources library and free Pinterest course. In this post, I’ll share my 8 reasons why I deleted them. The second big change (even bigger for me) was to stop being an online course creator, in other words, I removed “Pinterest” part of my business.
What I mean is that aside from being a brand & website designer, I was also a Pinterest expert (or whatever you want to call it), so I shared a lot of Pinterest tips on my blog, had a free Pinterest course called Pinazing Results and paid Pinterest course called Up Your Pinterest Game. I’ll also share 6 reasons why I ditch that part of my business.
Before we being, I want you to know that these are my own experiencesand thoughts about email list and being an online course creator. The idea behind this post is to show the “dark side” of having an email list and being an online course creator and show you how those things look like without sugar coating.
I hate to see only the successful and care-free advice around the web about email list and online courses. My intentions are NOT to make you delete your list or NOT to be online course creator, is to simply show the not-so-pretty side of those. Also, I’m NOT hating anyone with email list or online course, I’m just showing my own experience.
Let’s dive in, shall we?!
WHY I DELETED MY EMAIL LIST WITH FREE RESOURCES LIBRARY & FREE PINTEREST COURSE
1. I HAD A LIST ONLY BECAUSE EVERYONE WAS HAVING IT
Confession – I only created my email list because I’ve seen other successful bloggers raving about it; how it’s important and how you can’t live without it. To be honest, it didn’t feel right for me from the beginning. Personally, I’m only a part of ONE (yes, that’s right) email newsletter, so it was ridiculous for me to send emails to people if I hate receiving them (I know, not everyone is like me, but anyway).
Honestly, once I started to get more and more subscribers, I often asked myself “why do I even need them?” You might think “to sell them your products and services, duh”. Right… I’ll talk more about it in points 4 and 5.
2. I GOT CAUGHT IN THE BIG BLOGGERS “PROMISE” THAT I’LL EARN THOUSANDS OF MY LISTS
There are soooo many blog posts about why you should have an email list, why it’s important blah blah blah… (heck, I even have a one blog post on how to get your first 100 email subscribers) and all of those bloggers promise you to earn thousands or even millions (!) of dollars from the email list. Well, it’s not that simple to only have the list and the sales would come up. It takes a lot of time and hard work to even earn your first dollars from the list. One thing is to get someone to subscribe to your list and the other is to convert that person to be your customer.
3. EMAIL LIST FELT LIKE ANOTHER BLOG TO MAINTAIN
Most of the blog posts about having an email list, only tell you how to create it, what to opt-in incentives to give your potential subscribers and general ideas what to send them after they subscribe.
Bloggers, fail to mention that maintaining an email list can be like having a second blog. Sure, you can repurpose some of the content from the blog or social media, but sometimes it’s not enough. Especially, if you want to sell something to your email subscribers, you need a lot of time to write a great sales emails. Personally, I didn’t even have time for maintaining my emails list on weekly basis.
4. I HATE SELLING AND FORCING PEOPLE TO BUY SOMETHING THEY DON’T WANT
That’s probably the main reason why I deleted my email list (and stopped being an online course creator) in the first place. I HATE SELLING. It makes me feel salesy, pushy and sneaky.
Personally, I hate to receive emails from people to force me to buy something. If I want to buy it, I’ll do so, without forcing. When someone forces me to do something, it repulses me and even if I wanted to buy it in the first place, I’ll unsubscribe or walk away, because their convincing discouraged me. From what I’ve seen in the Facebook groups I’m part of, there are more and more online entrepreneurs who think the way I do.
I’m an introvert and maybe, because of that, when I sent email campaigns I always felt like I was harassing my subscribers, especially when I sent the launch emails. It felt so wrong to send all of those emails and force them to purchase.
5. MOST OF MY SUBSCRIBERS WERE ON MY LIST ONLY FOR THE FREEBIES
That’s a harsh truth I had to face once I send some of the launch emails. Most of the subscribers I had, signed up to my emails list ONLY to get a freebie and forget about me. It’s obvious that it happens on all of the email lists, but I think that 90% or even more of my subscribers were only there for free stuff, which wasn’t helping my business in any way.
I got most of the subscribers from sharing my freebies on Pinterest, so I presume most of them didn’t even know me or my blog, just came for free stuff and unsubscribe (or stay on a list without opening the emails).
6. I DON’T THINK MY BUSINESS NEEDS AN EMAIL LIST
That’s a bold statement, but there, I said it. I’ll tell you a bit more about what is my current business model below. One of my main brand values is being genuine, but having an emails list which forces people to buy something instead of following me, being in love with my products and services is quite the opposite.
When I designed my website, I thought about the user-friendly experience and that my website has a lot of call to actions. My goal for my website is for the visitors to get to knowmy services and products on their own without forcing them to read about something I suggested in the email.
7. I DECIDED TO DITCH BEING AN PINTEREST COURSE CREATOR
I’ll write more in-depth about it below, but if you’re following me for a while, you probably seen the sentence “help them leverage the power of Pinterest” in my mission statement and you’ve seen my free Pinterest course and mentions about Up Your Pinterest Game (paid course).
My idea to create a Pinterest courses (free & paid) was to give bloggers and small business owners my entire Pinterest system and strategies that helped me grow my business from scratch. Lately, I’ve noticed that there are too many courses about Pinterest and each of them has different pieces of advice (most of them contradict each other).
I got sick of the comparison game. I got constantly asked about how my course is different or “better”. Not to mention the constant battle between BoardBooster and Tailwind (which one is better). Because of the fact that there are too many Pinterest courses out there, bloggers are getting confused, they don’t know who to trust, which strategies are “correct” and what advice they’ll get after purchasing or subscribing to the Pinterest course.
I must admit, deleting my emails list, which I build for almost 1,5 years was a hard decision to make, but I think it was one of the best decision I’ve made. To be 100% honest, I didn’t burn all of the bridges. I kept the emails in case I change my mind someday (which I probably won’t happen, but better safe than sorry).
After removing my email list with free resources library and free Pinterest course, I finally feel FREE. It feels right. I’m excited about my business again. I can finally come back to my original plan of being only a brand & website designer, not an online course creator.
All right, let’s dive into the second part of this blog posts in which I’ll explain why I stopped being an online course creator, so I deleted “Pinterest” part of my business. What I mean by removing “Pinterest” part of my business is that I’m no longer an online course creator, I’m mostly a brand & website designer.
Please note that I’ll keep all of my Pinterest related blog posts and probably will write more of them in the future. However, I don’t plan to relaunch Pinazing Results or launch Up Your Pinterest Game anytime soon.
WHY I STOPPED BEING AN ONLINE COURSE CREATOR (I REMOVED “PINTEREST” PART OF MY BUSINESS)
1. I DIDN’T THINK ABOUT HOW IT’S LIKE TO BE A COURSE CREATOR
This one might sound ridiculous, but honestly, I didn’t think about how is it like to be an online course creator. What I mean is that I haven’t thought about the fact that as course creator I’m “exposed” and that’s it’s the opposite of working 1:1 (which I love).
As course creator, you need to be out there, constantly promoting your courses, convincing people that your course is “awesome”, deal with customer services e.g. emails, complaints, refunds etc. I’m cringing while I even write about it and thinking that I’d have to deal with all of that.
As a brand & website designer (and introvert) I’m able to connect and get to know my design clients, by working 1:1 and give them my full attention for the 2 weeks for the brand design package and 4 weeks for brand & website design package.A course creator, it’s simply impossible to connect and get to know all of the students, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of them – there are not enough hours in a day for that.
I’ve realized, that I focused too much on the “Pinterest” side of my business rather than on being a brand & website designer. I forgot about my bigger goals which I wrote down about 2 years ago and got caught in the moment because everyone seems to have an online course these days.
3. MY SUBSCRIBERS DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THAT I’M A DESIGNER
In January 2017, I send out a survey to my email list asking them what they’d like to see on my blog this year etc. And there’s was a question “Complete the Sentence: MintSwift is my go-to resource for…” and most of the responses weren’t the ones I’ve expected. Most of my subscribers, thought of me only as Pinterest “expert” not graphic designer. Heck, most of them didn’t even know what I’m a designer.
It wasn’t until few month ago, that I started to think about the responses. I mean, really think. It was shocking at first, but as I’ve mention in the previous point, I realize that I didn’t get enough attention to brand & website design part of my business back then because I was too excited and too focused on being a course creator.
4. I HATED PRE-SELLING MY PAID PINTEREST COURSE
Going back to the fourth reasons why I deleted my email list with a free resources library and free Pinterest course, I felt the same way about pre selling Up Your Pinterest Game which I did in June.
It was horrible. It was an emotional roller-coaster. I couldn’t sleep.
My live “stopped”, because I was focused on refreshing MailChimp to see how many email subscribers opened and click on something from the email. I started to feel really bad in the middle of sending the emails and I didn’t even send all of the emails (I stopped them from sending) and ended pre sale sooner than I expected.
5. IT WAS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT I ENVISIONED FOR MY BUSINESS A FEW YEARS BACK
As I’ve mentioned above, about two years back, I created a sort of business plan on where I see my business in one year, five years and what I want to be known for. The plan didn’t assume being a course creator, this idea came out of the blue, again, emotional, rushed decision to ditch everything I’ve envisioned and do what everyone is doing (create passive income by selling online courses). Again, I always wanted to have 1:1 connection with my clientsor customers for my shop.
6. CREATING AN ONLINE COURSE ISN’T PASSIVE
Successful online course creators talk a lot about how it’s great to have a passive income and constantly sell the product they created once, to thousands of students. Well, the truth is that it’s not that simple. Creating and selling an online course is not all passive.
Sure you can automate your emails, payment and other stuff, but actual course creation, setting up a course website, launching the course and then constant promotion and updating the course is not passive AT ALL. It required a lot of work which might not even pay off (EVER)
You’re probably wondering “what’s coming up next for MintSwift if I changed so much?”
I also consider expanding my shop. I still need to think more about it, but I have an idea about creating a premade design kits/packs with logo, branding and collaterals design so you can have a cohesive and affordable brand design. The other idea I have is to create a digital downloads/resources to help you with your creative business, for example, brand design pack, website design pack or Pinterest pack which would include a checklist on how to set up your account, how to set up Rich Pins, how to use BoardBooster etc.
Do you think that your business needs an email list? What are your thoughts about being an online course creator?