Ep #128: How to Monetize Your Mailing List (Even if it’s Small!) with Tarzan Kay

How to Monetize Your Mailing List (Even if it’s Small!) with Tarzan Kay

How often do you worry that your mailing list or following is too small to make money? This has been a major year of awakening and one of the biggest realizations for many is that more is not always more. Having more subscribers doesn’t always equal more money! Email marketing expert Tarzan Kay joins us on the podcast this week to tell us why we can all be maximizing what we already have.

Tarzan Kay is a master of email marketing and former copywriter-for-hire who specializes in fun-to-read, more-addictive-than-Game-of-Thrones email copy. She helps freelancers attract better clients who’ll reach deeper into their pockets to pay for top-quality services and she joins us today to show us how building and nurturing quality connections will enable us to generate sales from that so-called tiny list.

Tune in this week where we’ll discuss the importance of connection, personality, and authenticity in email marketing. We’ll learn how making one small mindset shift can unlock a world of opportunity and why we should be enjoying the benefits of having a smaller mailing list, rather than dismissing them. We need to sign up for the journey, not the destination, and there’s nothing wrong with starting small. Get ready to make some money – we’re going to show you a whole new way to think about your mailing list!

If you want to keep this conversation going, you have to join my free Design You Podcast community on Facebook. We have great conversations over there about the podcast episodes and our podcast guests are in there too! So head on over and I’ll see you there! 

What You'll Learn From This Episode

  • The benefits of having a small mailing list.
  • How to get comfortable with discomfort.
  • Why critical feedback is vital to your growth.
  • How to nurture a smaller mailing list.
  • Why losing followers or subscribers is OK.
  • How to stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Why polarizing people isn’t always a bad thing.

Featured On The Show

Full Episode Transcript

You are listening to the Design You podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 128.

Welcome to the Design You podcast. A show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth and joy. Here’s your host, Tobi Fairley.

Hi everybody. How are you? Are you ready to make some money? Are you ready to make some money, even if you don’t have that many followers and that big of a list? Well, if you are, today is the day for you. You’re going to love this episode with Tarzan Kay. So, Tarzan is a master of email marketing. She’s a former copywriter, well, I mean I guess she still writes her own copy, but she’s a former copywriter-for-hire. And she really specializes in fun to read, and as she says, more addictive than the Game of Thrones email copy. So she is really an expert at this.

And today what she and I talk about is how to really wow your list, and nurture your list and build a relation with your list even when it’s small so you can start to monetize it right now.

So all those stories you’re telling yourself about how your list isn’t big enough and you don’t have enough followers, and you don’t have enough people, and you can’t make any money and it’s a waste of your time, and it’s not fun and blah, blah, blah. Because I know you and I know what’s in your head if you’re trying to run a business and trying to make money and trying to buy into the digital marketing that I teach in Design You. If you are feeling all of those pains from the things you’re telling yourself about your list size then you are absolutely going to feel empowered with this episode.

So get out your notepad, get ready to learn, get ready to think differently because I want you getting really quality connections and sales from what you think is that tiny, tiny list, and Tarzan is the lady to help you do it. So here we go, here’s my episode with Tarzan Kay.

Tobi: Hey, Tarzan, welcome to the Design You podcast. I’m really excited about this conversation today.

Tarzan: Thanks for having me, Tobi.

Tobi: So we are going to talk about one of the things that comes up so often, especially in my membership with the people that are in the Design You coaching program. But I think it’s true just in general with people, we’re always judging that whatever our businesses, our finances are, our following on Instagram, our list size, it’s never big enough. We all think ours is small and everyone else’s is huge.

So what we’re going to talk about today is what to do specifically with mailing list, but I think it would probably apply to your following in general, what to do when you have a small list, or even maybe we’ll say a small following in some way. But we’re talking a list specifically because we want to help people convert selling something into dollars. And I hear it, I just got off the phone with someone who was saying, “My list is so small, how in the world am I supposed to make any money?”

So that’s what you’re going to teach us about today, is not only what to do with a small list, how to nurture a small list, how to have a launch to a small list, like all of those juicy amazing things. But before we do that why don’t you tell everybody about you, why you’re qualified to tell us all of this amazing content. And then we’ll also get into what we really mean by a small list, okay?

Tarzan: Perfect, okay. So I am Tarzan Kay and I got started in the online business world as a copywriter, and very quickly niched to email copywriting and figured if I was going to do this for other people I should also do it for myself.

So I started growing my email list and I started emailing them, I think it was about my first or second year of business I committed to sending a biweekly email. And I did that for about a year before I actually made any offer to my email list. And then a year in I was unexpectedly pregnant, and at that point I was already the sole provider for my family. And my husband’s a stay-at-home dad too.

At the time we had one son and he was one year old – he was two, pardon me, he was two. And I was like, okay, I don’t know how this is going to work. I don’t know how I’m going to take time off. I don’t know anything. I don’t know how this is going to work. And about – I was getting to the point where I was okay, I’m going to give birth soon, I can’t take any more clients. And now it’s time – so I should make an offer to my email list.

And at the time I would have had about 1,000 subscribers, small list, totally relative. Everyone thinks they have a small list, even some of the most successful people I know think they have a small email list. I think I have a small email list. I have 14,000 people on my list. When you’re starting out I feel like there’s – we need to have a more solid definition. So let’s say 500 to 1,000, small.

Tobi: Yeah, or smaller even, if you’re just starting, 100 people or whatever.

Tarzan: Maybe 100 people, yeah. So we’ll say small list for that purpose. So back to me about to have this baby, I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t have savings. I am a service provider, so I don’t really know how this is going to work. Can I take clients with a small baby? I don’t know. But at the time I was exclusively working on day rate because that was something I knew I could deliver on, the baby wasn’t going to suddenly, probably not arrive in the middle of the day, I could complete the day.

So I made an offer to my list for the first time and the offer was to buy one get one half off on my day rate. And all these people hit reply and wanted to talk about it and wanted to potentially book. And it was such an enormous wake-up call; I don’t need to wait until I have so many subscribers. I don’t need to wait until I have a course or I could just do this right now.

And this is actually the power of having spent, this is why I spent a year nurturing this email list and talking to them and replying to their replies and sweating over these emails, for this moment. So that when I make an offer they would be ready for it. And since then I’ve had so many more moments where let’s say I’ve finished up a launch and I was like this was really successful with my small list of 1500 people, it’s growing incrementally. My list grows very slow because I don’t create free content, very slow list growth.

We can talk about the free content thing later. But I would think to myself as I’m debriefing my launch, well, what if I had double the subscribers, imagine what that would do, so it kept me going. Now I understand this is why I’m doing the work of building my email list. This is why I’m doing the work of nurturing them and talking to them, and building these deep relationships. Because when it comes time to create an offer I know what they want because they have already told me. I know the likelihood of them buying it, because we have a great relationship.

So what I think is sort of the magic of really staying in touch with your email subscribers, and building a really strong relationship is that in the launching and online course world, there’s so little certainty. It often feels like guesswork, it feels like I’m going to put this thing out there and hope that people buy it. The more I invest in my relationship with my email subscribers the more I can go into my course launches with some amount of certainty and some amount of predictability in my revenue, that has helped so much.

And now I’m just preaching the gospel of connect with your subscribers in a deep and authentic way. Some people will be scared off when they see the real you and others will just step closer and want to talk to you. So those are the types of emails I write, and the more I become known for that, the more people come to join my email list to see what that looks like, the more I am fully stepping into it.

And I’m getting a little bit better here, but the more I fully step into really deep creative full expression in my emails, the more my subscribers and my students also do that for themselves. My hope is that that’s where we’re all going.

Tobi: And by that you mean being very personal about what’s happening in your life, and what you’re believing in, and what you’re thinking and just like that, is that what you mean by that creative expression?

Tarzan: Yeah. So yeah, creative expression, that’s definitely part of it. I am a personal brand. A lot of the people I work with are personal brands, so the emails come from me. And that’s just a side note, whatever type of business you are your emails should always come from a person even if it’s like Tarzan from – I don’t know – name of company, whatever the company is. It should always, always come from a person. But of course if you’re a brand you’re going to possibly talk about different things.

However, this year I’ve gotten so much more clear on my mission and the work that I’m here to do, how I’m doing the work. And oftentimes it’s controversial, maybe people don’t want to hear about it. We’ve just had this major awakening in the industry of a lot of white women leaders realizing that they’re just like, you know, got some diversity issues. And also are propping up a system of white supremacy that they didn’t even realize they were doing. So those are some conversations I’ve been having for a while.

Any time I email my list about antiracism work there’s always high on subscribes, that’s part of it. That’s just one example, but there’s all sorts of things I’m emailing about that are like potentially polarizing.

Tobi: Yeah. And I think what’s so beautiful about what you’re saying is that you don’t have to worry about the size of your list; you don’t freak out when people leave. Because you know every time you do something that’s more authentic to you and quality over quantity. You may have fewer people but you may have better people and that is that – I agree with that completely and wholeheartedly. I’m in a very similar position of really leaning in. It almost feels like definitely an awakening, almost like a birthing of a new version of the next level of myself kind of.

And leaning in even deeper of being completely honest and transparent about what’s important to me and what I feel. And I agree with you, when we do that level of work we run the risk of losing followers and subscribers. But I would suspect that your launches get more and more effective. And I love that because it’s counterintuitive.

Everybody thinks that a number and a bigger number means they’re more successful or more popular or more amazing. And that is not true, because you can have thousands of people following you and no one buying anything if you’ve literally just been safe and never taking a stand and not making any offers really, or not really making a difference, right?

Tarzan: Completely. And this is like – so for reference, August 2020 we’re recording this. This has been a major year of awakening and things falling away. And I think one of the big things that is falling away and we’re really letting go of and waking up to is more is not more. More subscribers doesn’t mean more money, and even when it does that might not be what is actually fulfilling to you. So I think part of this being real with your audience is like we’re waking up to what’s important.

And people are tired of the same messages in their newsfeed around the next six figure launch. Okay, I’ve got it. I’ve got it, what else? What else?

Tobi: Right, yeah, I love that so much. Okay, and the beauty of that is – which of course all of this is thought work, mindset work, clarity, personal work. It takes a lot of personal development work I think to get to these understandings. But what I love about it is if we can really start practicing a belief system that says more is not more, and that I can build a pretty effective and even kind of dreamy business from a few hundred people, 100, 200, 300, 500 people.

It’s so much less daunting to think I have 100 people on my list and I’m supposed to have 10,000. Instead of going I have 100 and I’m supposed to have 200. I’m halfway there. Changing the way we measure things, because even that one little shift, even if ultimately we end up growing to thousands. That one little shift would make us show up differently because I think what happens with so many people is they think their list is too small so they don’t even try. And they feel very exasperated, and they feel stuck, and they feel frustrated.

And they are like othering themselves or they’re believing that someone else has an it factor or something they don’t have. So how do we start to work with that? How do we start to say, “I’m owning the fact that I’ve got 97 people on my list and I’m truly going to believe that I can turn those 97 people into a five figure revenue for me in the next however many days because I need money. And I need to move forward and I want to start making a difference.” Help us get there.

Tarzan: Yes, okay, so great question, there’s a lot there. So the first thing is – this is one of the most common things is people don’t start emailing their list until they arrive at some mystical magical number, where it’s never clearly defined. So the list is just sort of going cold. The first shift I want to invite your listeners to make is let’s not think of those people as subscribers or leads. I don’t even like that language around I have 1,000 leads in my launch and this is going to convert at this number, it’s very dehumanizing.

Imagine yourself standing in front of a room of 97 people. That is incredible. To speak in front of 97 people, that is an incredible opportunity. And yeah, some guy in the back is going to be looking at his phone, a couple are having a conversation over there. Yeah, maybe there’s 30 of them that are actually sitting and listening to you. That is 30 people that you could potentially connect with.

And in those early stages when you don’t have too many people on your email list, well, you always want to be starting conversations, asking them questions, sending them powerful truthful emails and actually listening to what they think about it. And just when you get those conversations going, I’ll tell you, even now I have a list of 14,000 people. And so in my last promotion we were promoting to about 11,000 of those people.

And I only during launches do I do this, but I turn on Stripe notifications on my phone and it dings when someone buys. It’s just one of those things that helps me keep the pulse on what’s going on with a launch. And I’ll tell you, the first couple of days we opened the enrolment only to the wait list, it was like an early test enrolment. And all these names coming through, they’re not random leads on my list, they’re like yeah there’s Holly, yeah there’s Jen, yeah there’s Bobby. There’s names that I recognize, people that I know, people that I have spoken with before.

In some cases it’s like, yeah, this person was on my list back in 2017, I remember she emailed me about this. Even I want to continue to scale this, in some cases now I don’t manage my email replies anymore. The most important ones get forwarded to me. But I’m very active in my DMs on Instagram. So this is like, the idea here is to get personal.

A lot of the biggest leaders that we follow, it can become very impersonal because they have a large audience and they have to speak to a lot of people. They’re more of a brand than a person at that point. So it’s almost like you don’t have the option. This is a major, major advantage that you actually have when you have this small list, you can send out.

I had this one client back in the day and she would make a video for every single person who joined her email list, personalized. And say, “Hey, I am Fernanda, thanks for joining.” Maybe you might point them to some cool resources or if they have a URL you can actually look up, you might learn something about them. Just treat people like people.

Tobi: I love it.

Tarzan: That’s really the magic of a small list.

Tobi: It’s so beautiful because I mean it’s so funny too what you’re saying, because on one hand we would think I want to have personal relationships with people so I make a difference. Yet, we don’t notice our strategy is that we’re somehow browbeating ourselves because we haven’t made our list to the size of where we actually know no one on the list. We’re like the goal is to get to the point where it’s completely impersonal and no one knows me. No, not at all, the goal is to make a difference for people.

And it’s we’re wishing away this beautiful moment, like you’re saying, to build some of these true relationships and friendships and mentee mentor relationships and all kinds of things that could be happening, that we could be focusing on and growing through those relationships, which is exactly how I’ve grown my business as well. But yet there’s something about our belief system, the world, the not enough-ness thing, that’s like how can we hurry and get to that level that the world will think that I’m somebody or something, or will give me a checkmark in the success box.

And it’s like you are shooting yourself in the foot, you’re missing this opportunity. It’s to me, I have a teenager, she’s 15 and it’s almost like when they’re toddlers you wish it away, because you want to hurry and get to the next stage. And I’m like no, savor every moment. And this is just that we have a toddler list, we have a little baby list and it’s so beautiful and there’s so much richness there that we could be focusing on.

Tarzan: Completely. And another piece of that is like, I mean I don’t know about your listeners, but I had to learn how to be a leader. In my first or second year in business, I was nowhere near ready to lead a group of 10,000 or 20,000 people or whatever that number is. I know right now 2020 has been such an awakening and I’ve grown so much. And I feel like I am ready for another level of expansion in terms of my audience. I don’t know what that will look like. But I could not have handled it, I could not have.

So it’s something that we learn in stages, how do you want to lead? And also that belief that like I wish that people would see me as someone who is worth following, as someone who has 10,000 people 20,000 or 100 or a million people in their audience. I wish people would see me that way. But you have to see yourself that way. And until you can see yourself that way, others will not or else you can fake it and end up, you know, there is something to imposter syndrome, why do you feel like a fraud? There is some self-belief there that has to happen.

And it’s not something, like I can’t take one course on mindset, snap my fingers and I’m done. I’m constantly changing my mind. It’s growth, we have to work through so many things. In many cases it’s like we all have trauma, the whole world has suddenly woken up to all this trauma and we’re all bumping up against each other’s trauma. We actually have to work through that and we have to work through that. And when you do work through that, that’s when you can hold more space for your people and you can hold space for more people.

But there are no shortcuts, if you just look at your Facebook Ads, your newsfeed, there are so many ads and things that are like, hey, I’ll get you to this endpoint faster. I’ll make it easier. But the truth is this is a really deep and powerful journey, there are no shortcuts to the most important work, there aren’t, you have to go through it. You’re going to learn so many things along the way.

Tobi: Yeah. And I think what’s coming to my mind as you’re saying that too, not only do you have to grow into being that level of a leader and being able to hold space for that many people and have all the things that you said. The other fascinating thing that happens I think is when we want to go from zero on our list to 10,000 we want to skip the whole growth piece. We don’t want to be a beginner. We want to immediately be either at the end or at least somewhere in the middle.

The fascinating thing that I think people don’t connect the dots with is not only are they not ready to lead, they’re not ready for the sort of – I mean I hate to call it negative, but kind of the negative side of having an audience or a list that big too. Meaning even things like I watch people go, “Well, I want to have a big list, but I want everybody to like me, I don’t want to repel anyone. I don’t ever want to send an email that knocks someone off my list. I don’t want anybody to be unhappy with my services.” And that is part of that growth process too.

And so it’s like I just want the positives of the big list and being somewhere in the middle of the journey or farther along. But I don’t want to bring any of the negative piece with me. And I think that for me what I’ve learned is that through the process of growing, not only do you learn to be a leader, you learn to detach yourself a little bit from those outside things as what defines you and your worthiness. Because it’s impossible to have a big following and not have a whole lot of people that also don’t like you or don’t connect with you, or that disagree with you.

And so it’s a real fascinating, to me, it’s like you said, you have a list of 14,000 now. But you also know if you cover a touchy topic, a whole bunch of people are going to unsubscribe. And I feel confident that that doesn’t bother you now. In fact it probably makes you know this was the topic that we should have been talking about, it’s working. And when you skip the growth piece you don’t get prepared for what it feels like when someone doesn’t like you, disagrees with you, unsubscribe. That’s also part of the process, right?

Tarzan: Absolutely, yeah. And gosh, that is one of the benefits again of having your small list is you don’t have to make your mistakes in front of an audience of 10,000 people. And you’re going to make mistakes, it’s part of being in business. And maybe you’re going to send things out that you wish you had to take back. And one or two people might call you on it or maybe no one will, but learning how to receive feedback from your subscribers. Wow, that has been a journey for me.

And initially there was a time when I was like I am who I am. I’m just going to be who I am, and shout it out to the world. And then a lot of that’s just ego. And I had to learn how to critically how to listen, how to actually listen. And read those replies and I still get them all the time. I have something sitting in my inbox right now, actually that was really hard. And I haven’t figured out how to reply to it yet. But in the early days it was like I would get some critical feedback and I’d be like this feels awful, just go away negative feedback.

And now I mean I still emotionally react oftentimes. But I also know how to sit in the discomfort and actually I think it is so critical. I was just listening to a talk with Rha Goddess who I follow. She has wonderful things to say about what we’re going through in 2020 and what’s happening in the world. And one of the things she stated as a critical skill, something we have to learn in 2020 is being able to sit with discomfort. And that’s like – I mean we can talk about, get really granular and talk about looking at people on subscribing, that’s part of being able to sit with discomfort.

People are going to unsubscribe every time you send an email. Every time I send an email I get maybe 100 people gone, every single time. And I email my lists several times a week. So in the early days I would strongly recommend not looking at those people’s names. This last client, this person’s my client, how could she unsubscribe? This guy, I went to high school with him, how could he unsubscribe? But you’re not for everyone, that’s okay.

Tobi: And we don’t even know why they’re unsubscribing. They may just be oh my God, I’m totally overwhelmed or it may have nothing to do with us. And they’re just literally unsubscribing, subscribing, subscribing. But even if it’s specifically about us, you’re right, why would we personalize some of those things and weaponize it against ourselves? It’s so funny, we’re so prone to do that part yet we’re not prone to kind of seeing the more positive side or the things that are working or lean into a mindset that would actually help us grow to the next level.

We’re literally just focused on my numbers are so small, and even the people that are supposed to love me are leaving, and this is all not working. And it’s so easy for us to go there, right?

Tarzan: We are programmed that way. And I know there’s good science to show that we give 80% more attention to negative feedback than we do to positive feedback. So I mean you can actually set yourself up to combat that by just like – I have a folder that’s just called all time favorite emails. And any time something nice, I just pop it in there. There’s so much gold in there. It’s nice to go and just look at it. I barely spend any time in there, but knowing it’s there, it’s kind of holding me, it’s this group of people cheering me on.

So we do need to just consciously give time to read the positive feedback because the instinct is to be like, great, someone likes me. Next.

Tobi: Right. At least give it equal, as one of my coaches says, equal airtime, give the positives equal airtime to the – if you’re going to focus on the negatives, you’ve got to at least give equal airtime to the positives. Instead of that’s 1% and the 99% is what I’m going to focus on and kind of punch myself in the face with.

Okay, so let’s talk about the actual launches. So what do people do? How do they need to be thinking differently and showing up differently? We’ve talked about nurturing the list, but what about actually launching to and selling to the list? And a lot of people listening may say, “Well, it would be lovely if I had a year to just nurture my list before I made any kind of offer, but I need money now. I need to fund my business, I need.”

So I think two things happening there. One, a belief that my list isn’t even big enough to launch to and two, I need money now, which in my perspective, both come from very much a scarcity mindset, that’s going to shut you down. But how do you shift into kind of creating results with those launches to a smaller list?

Tarzan: Okay, so I definitely think that email is a long game strategy. And when you’re new in business you’ve got to have short game too. And short game means I’m going to DM five people that I know would be great clients for me, or that could be an email. I really need some business this month, so I’m going to send a personalized email to three past clients and see if they want to start another project, that’s short game. Nurturing your email list is long game, so that’s the first thing.

But let’s say you are like, “Okay now, I’m hearing you Tarzan, I have 100 subscribers and I want to launch something, I want to launch a program or something. I have been nurturing them for a while.” So this is like – I know not everyone agrees with me on this. But I don’t think that is the great stage of business to be doing a low cost membership site. If you have 100 subscribers, maybe best case scenario 10 of them join your $37 a month membership, that is not going to – that’s going to create way more problems than it solves.

Tobi: $300 does not pay your bills; in fact you’re going to lose money.

Tarzan: Yeah. You’re going to lose money and you’re going to end up resenting them. So the fact is when you have a small audience, however you deliver your program you might think about it as a digital course. But actually the way it’s going to pan out is it’s going to be small group program and they’re going to get a lot of personal attention from you. So you may as well offer it that way and price it that way.

Tobi: Right. So your course is just the videos of the group program, there’s going to be trainings in the program and you’re also going to get one-on-one calls and things with me and it’s going to last six weeks or six months or whatever your timeframe is, right?

Tarzan: Yeah. So instead of here’s my digital program and costs $1,000, I’ll do a Facebook Live call once a week for six weeks. It’s like, no, here’s this intimate gathering of people, we are going to be working together for six weeks, you will have x number of one-on-one sessions with me. Our calls will be limited to 12 people or less, which means we’ll have time to deep dive into your particular, you know, I am talking business-to-business, but it could be someone else. We’ll have time to talk about your unique situation.

There’s like a mastermind quality to this too. And that level of support, let’s just give this a name, let’s say you’re a graphic designer. And you’re going to bring people together to work for six weeks on building their own brand. And you’re going to give feedback, those – I know branding’s not just about colors, but those colors don’t look good together. Or you mentioned this is really important to you, how is that reflected in your brand?

We’re going to have those conversations together and you even can sell against buying a digital course. As opposed to just buying a digital course where you have to be completely self-motivated and do it all on your own, I’m going to be here with you. This is a much higher level of handholding, this is like now we’re starting to have a high touch, high end kind of feel.

And that level of offer, you were going to charge 500 or 1,000 for your digital program. Well, maybe this thing is at least 2,000 or 2500, because it’s a much deeper level that you’re going to be working with people. And that to me makes a lot more sense.

Tobi: Yes, you get 10 people and you just made $25,000 instead of $300.

Tarzan: Exactly, yes, completely. And then when it comes to the way you actually launch and sell that offer, it’s not to say you can’t use a webinar. You could still do that. You could still do some level of free training or something.

And what I would recommend in terms of typical launch strategies that you should keep is absolutely have an enrolment window that you can talk about it. “Okay, it’s August, really excited, September I’m going to start enrolling in the Rebrand Boot Camp, that’s going to start in September. You’ll hear me talk more about it in early September. And the deadline to enroll is September 18th.” Putting those parameters are really important, the program starts on September 18th, so you have to be enrolled by this time.

Even if you think about, we often see fast action bonuses, you could easily sell this sort of thing, also I would recommend through sales calls rather than on a sales page. Converting someone on a landing page is much more difficult, much more advanced than talking to someone and selling one-to-one on the phone. Another advantage of that is you get to hear firsthand what their objections are. Which bits of your offer do they really care about and which feel like fluff and you don’t get a reaction?

You get so much information from that call and you can use that information later when you turn this thing into a digital product. And I would also recommend, so let’s assume you’re selling this through sales calls, you could still do a special bonus, I’m going to email my list. I’m going to say, “If you book into my calendar by September 5th, you’ll get some extra special thing.” You could offer bonuses based on getting them on the call.

Tobi: Yeah. What I love about all of this and I think this is where people get confused a lot is a couple of things. So yes, the email list is a long game and I say that a lot too. And I was just thinking before we got on this call when I was talking to another person. Sometimes we almost do a disservice or I feel like I do of not making sure they realize what that means. Because it doesn’t mean you don’t make it – I mean I keep saying exactly what you said, but somehow they miss the part about the short game, sometimes.

They keep thinking well then I can’t make any money until x. But what that really is I think is, people wanting to hide behind sort of the digital process because they feel less uncomfortable. And so when you’re like, “No, you can be selling right now in the short game,” you’ve got to get uncomfortable to get people on the phone and talk to them. You can’t avoid that ever.

But the beauty of this is like you said, once the thing that used to be your short game, becomes the long game then you can make a new short game thing that has a $10,000 price instead of a $2500 price. And then you’re doing sales calls at that next level.

So you’re never getting out of, digital marketing does not keep you from having to have one-on-one conversations and build real relationships. I mean I see why people would want it to because they feel uncomfortable selling. But you’re shooting yourself in the foot because there’s so much really important information in those conversations and calls, right?

Tarzan: Totally. And those people, even those who don’t buy, you just had a meaningful important conversation with someone; they might buy the next round. They might buy next time you launch it when it’s a digital product and it costs half as much. You don’t know.

Another thing I always want people to be aware of, and I wish I knew who coined this term, I’ve heard lots of other people refer to the launch halo. And it’s like any time you be very visible in a way that’s like here’s my product launch or here’s my offer, you’re talking about it on different channels. Even if it’s to a small amount of people, there is this beautiful halo effect where even if you launched your thing and you wanted 12 people, you only got five, well you don’t know what’s going to happen after.

There could be other people that were watching and that wasn’t for them but they’ll buy something else. Or maybe they saw you and now they invited you on your podcast, we don’t know how all the pieces are going to fit together. But we do know for certain there is no way around. You can’t have a business and not be visible. Well, some people can have an online business and not do email but I don’t know anyone who’s particularly successful without some level of email component.

So at a certain point it is a bit of like one foot in front of the other, this is what a successful business looks like. I have to do email, I will do it this week, I will do it again next week. I’ll keep showing up, keep being visible, keep making offers.

Tobi: I love it. Yeah, and I think that so much of what shoots us in the foot that we want to say is not working is really like you’re saying, us just getting in our own way, us not wanting to do the one-on-one sales, us not wanting to have to take the time to build the email list. We want to just believe that if we make a website, maybe a sales page, but a lot of times even just a website and put it out and it’s launched, then people will magically come and buy our thing. And that never ever works.

So I love exactly what you’re saying because I watch the frustration from people all the time and of course we’ve all been there, that have built a bigger list and built successful businesses where we also, we’re like, “I’ve got to get on the sales call.” And I also still have to be building the list at the same time. But it’s just part of the process. You just – and how you think about it.

If you’re hating all of it, if you’re hating selling, if you’re hating showing up, and you’re hating building the list and it’s not fast enough, and you’re in a hurry, how are you ever going to make any of those things really work for you? So I think what I’m taking away from what you’re saying is be in the moment and enjoy the part of the process you’re in. When your list is small, enjoy it and learn from it. When you’re still getting to do sales calls with people for your new smaller program, enjoy that process and learn from it.

And also enjoy the process of starting to build a list and really build relationships, because at some point all of that will be behind you, it’ll be like you’re no longer having the toddlers and the dirty diapers. But you’ll have all kinds of other issues and you’ll be wishing that you could just connect with someone in an email list. And we’re wishing that away right now wanting it to be behind us I think.

Tarzan: [crosstalk] completely, completely.

Tobi: Awesome. Okay, anything else that you would love for anybody to know about launching with the smallest or just going through this process that you think is important as we wrap up?

Tarzan: Well, okay, I just want to bring it back to a few key things. One of the most important commitments you can ever make to your business is sending a weekly email. So if you haven’t done that already and that’s the only thing you take away from this interview, this is so important. Every time you show up in that inbox you are building your credibility. You’re saying, “Hey, I’m still in business, you can trust me, if you buy something, I’ll still be in business next week as well.”

So there’s so much trust that happens that you’re building, even if your emails are so, so, because you continue to show up week after week. I have people who have been on my list for years who are like, “Okay, Tarzan is legit, she’s still here.”

Tobi: I love that. I love that, yeah.

Tarzan: And it’s so simple. And your emails will also get better. Oh my gosh, I look at, you know how Facebook does this thing where it’s like here what you did?

Tobi: Yeah, like a time hop or whatever, yeah.

Tarzan: Yeah, it pops up every so often. I watched a video of myself when I was in my first year of business and I’m talking like this, my voice is really high, and there’s these weird pauses because I’m brand new and I don’t know what to say. And I look at it and I’m like, “Good job, Tarzan, you showed up. You showed up and you were not comfortable, and you did anyway, well done, bravo.”

Tobi: I love it, it’s so good.

Tarzan: Yeah. All these small actions, they make such a big difference. And I’m thanking my three years ago self for making that commitment. I think maybe it was four years ago now, to emailing my list, we are having – we’re going to have our first million dollar year this year. And it’s such a weird and unpredictable year of all years for this to be our big year to hit seven figures.

Tobi: And that’s so amazing.

Tarzan: I’m playing the long game.

Tobi: Yeah, because if you’re so worried about some of these other things in year one you won’t ever get to year four when you’re making a million dollars. But when you look back and you’re like it’s only four years since I started and we’ve now got 14,000 people on our list and we’re making a million dollars. That’s such a tiny thing in the grand scheme of life. So when we’re looking forward it seems like we’ll never get there.

And we’re telling us this long game story, long game is also relative. It’s longer than picking up the phone and making a sale this afternoon, but it doesn’t have to be that long depending on how you’re thinking about it, right?

Tarzan: Oh my God, Tobi, that is such a great point. And I’ve also got to say, the speed at which my business has grown, yes, it’s brought me so many material comforts that have been beautiful. Also it messes things up, it is uncomfortable. There is like when you take a big financial leap there’s so much discomfort and things you have to work through. Things I had to work through in my relationship with my husband, oh my gosh, it just messes things up. It’s like all of your systems just sort of break apart like your…

Tobi: Yeah, totally.

Tarzan: They just totally, everything breaks all the time when you’re going fast. It’s like a child, when a child is growing really fast, you get stretch marks, I mean it’s uncomfortable to grow that fast, so that’s a part of it too.

Tobi: Yeah. And that’s also what we were saying earlier about we want to get to the middle or the end of the process, but we only want the good parts. And I think that again, that’s a reason not to totally rush the growth, unless you’re truly prepared, because you’ve got to have money to do that. You’ve got to take big risks to do that. You’ve got to be willing to let go of a certain amount of control to do that. You’ve got to bring people on your team to do that.

And so I think it’s so easy for us to isolate say just the financial part, I need x dollars, I can’t wait for that. Instead of really looking at the whole picture, the good and the bad, because if you were you would probably have a little bit different perspective of okay, I’m actually growing at a good rate for me. And this is actually making sense to me. Because we need to know when we’re wanting the huge financial rewards, that we’re also inviting a lot of other kind of problems and growth and things to the table.

And that’s what you’re saying, and I think we look at both parts of that. In fact when we hit those broken parts we’re like, “Why is this happening? This shouldn’t be happening.” And it’s like no, it’s exactly what should be happening. You’re at this mark, you’ve hit six figures or you’ve hit whatever, this is totally what happens at that moment. And so that is, I love what I’m hearing that you’re saying is yeah, you can totally grow fast but get ready for fast growth. And do you really want fast growth? And what does it look like?

Tarzan: Yes. And it’s totally okay, it’s totally okay, I move like a freight train and I want everything to happen yesterday. I’m working on pumping the brakes now and then. So I don’t want to have any judgment around people wanting things to be fast, that’s totally okay. You just have to know you are going to have to learn how to sit with discomfort because it won’t be – parts of it will be really uncomfortable, parts of it will be super comfortable, that’s authentic growth.

Tobi: Yeah, if you want fast growth you’ve got to do more uncomfortable things because you’ve got to fund the growth too. And a lot of the making of the money comes with the discomfort. We want the money and we want it easy. And I think it’s so fun to be like, “No, I’m signing up for all the stuff, all the hard, all the everything, I’m all in.” And that’s a different scenario.

Tarzan: Yes. And this is actually a good closing reminder. And I like to bring the conversation back here is like sign up for the journey, not the destination. Sign up for the journey, the journey is beautiful. It’s going to take you so many places, some of them will be dark, some of them will be hard, some of them will be so beautiful. But be on that journey.

And next time you invest in a course of a coach, think about it as this person’s going to walk with me while I go on this journey. They’re not going to skip you to the end. You have to go on it and it’s beautiful, and it’s powerful, and it’s so worth it.

Tobi: 100%, yes. Well, thank you so much. So where does everybody find you if they want more Tarzan? If they’re like this lady is amazing, how do I get on her list, how do I learn more from her?

Tarzan: Well, definitely join my email list, you can do that by going to tarzankay.com/email and you’ll find a Swipe file of 10 promo emails that you can take and re-jig them and make them your own. So get the freebie but stay for the emails because the emails are really good. And if you want to be inspired to sink into your own full expression and what that might look like. You’ll learn things on my email list. I also am a great storyteller, and I’m very open when I make mistakes with what’s working. Sometimes I hit my goal but it doesn’t feel the way I thought it would and I share that too.

There’s some great conversations happening, so I hope you’ll join.

Tobi: I love that so much. Okay, well, we will link that all on the show notes and tell everybody where to find you and we’ll tag you all over Instagram when this comes out. And they can find you there. But thank you so much.

This was just an amazing real conversation that I loved so much. And my favorite conversations are the ones when we talk about the things that nobody wants to talk about, or talk about staying in the places everybody’s trying to hit the eject button from. And we’re like, no, stay there, that’s the part that matters and that’s exactly what this was. So just I thank you so much for being here.

Alright, I told you we were going to give you a hope, we were going to give you a whole new way to think about your list. And as we said in the episode, I just, I hope that we’re encouraging you to be where you are right now and to not want to rush through it and not want to get out of it. And stop trying to hit the eject button because all of the things that really bring you what you want in life are available to you right now with the exact business and the exact size list that you currently have.

So I can’t wait to hear from you. Tarzan can’t wait to hear from you. Let us know what you thought about this episode. And if you want help doing this digital work, you don’t want to do it alone then get your buns over into the Design You coaching program because that’s exactly the work that we do together.

Okay, I’ll see you next time right here with another episode of the Design You podcast. Bye for now.

Thank you so much for listening to the Design You podcast, and if you are ready to dig deep and do the important work we talk about here on the podcast of transforming your mindset and creating a scalable online business model, there has never been a more important time than right now. So join me and the incredible creative entrepreneurs in my Design You coaching program today. You can get all the details at TobiFairley.com.

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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