I wasn't expecting to have my mind changed or to have it be so pleasurable.
But I don't feel the same about all of it anymore.
Do I still wish there was a better solution than having to pay ever increasing monthly fees in order to have an email list service/provider?
Verifiable Credentials Technology will change that.
I know with the adoption of verifiable credentials technology, individuals will be able directly connect with each other in a trusted, privacy preserving way without the use of the third-party systems, providers, or databases.
Wouldn't it be nice to take all of your followers from each platform and just have individual peer-to-peer, one-to-one unique but trusted connections with them, while each connection can "opt-in" or "opt-out" of your communications in a cryptographically proven way?
In the world of verifiable credentials technology, your followers (or connections) are just that -- yours. Not the platform you met on.
It's like a personal Rolodex, but digital, yours, nobody else can just look over your shoulder to see who's who, each connection has its own private key-pairs, and it's all on steroids. But legally.
That day will come, eventually. The technology currently exists and is being used in various places.
But -- until that happens on a wide-spread level, an email marketing list is the next best thing. Unless you enjoy counting on the fickleness of third-party platforms that is.
What I was doing wrong.
I believed the original point of having an email list was to build relationships with your prospective customers and to keep in touch with your biggest fans. And that's still true.
My mistake was in believing it was only possible to build a genuine relationship with someone once you've first established rapport or relationships in other ways prior to subscribing to their email list.
My experiences changed when I was introduced to a an email marketing "guru" via another trusted connection I already had. I had never heard of this person until the place I trusted mentioned something to me. I trust the company that made the introduction and have for years. I know anything (or anyone) they recommend has to be good.
It was at least worth looking into.
This particular man created a course in partnership with the trusted company just for the company's members. I didn't take the course at first, because it was pretty freakin' steep on the price tag.
Child support and car repairs come first.
A few months later though, the trusted company would be yanking the new course and I was being offered one last chance to get it at an amazingly low price. I know this company yanks stuff when they say they do. It's never a gimmick or a trick with them.
I also knew the course was as discounted at it was going to get. So I took the plunge, purchased the course, and then devoured the materials every spare chance I had.
I didn't want to though, mind you.
I just had a very strong and consistent but quiet gut feeling that I should.
And that email course showed me things that other email courses, marketing gurus, and my very own email-aggedon experiments failed to reveal.
I learned a way of email marketing that overcame many of my previous objections.
- I don't have to be on a bazillion social media channels unless I want to be.
- I'm allowed to keep all methodologies incredibly simple. In fact, the whole point of his course was to keep everything incredibly, incredibly simple.
- I found I could sell (and only sell if I want to), but not do it in a "sneaky" or sleazy way. I could do it with cold hard, hitting truth, which both perfectly fits the two things I've been wanting to focus on and satisfies my "need to talk about it."
- Being completely upfront about the fact that you're selling something and that your email list exists solely to make you money (although seemed anti-intuitive and repulsive at the time) is actually a better way to go. As soon as I accepted this, any sense of squeamishness or awkwardness faded away.
- There's a right way and wrong way to do "click-bait." I learned the right way and can now can use that as a viable marketing method. Now, I know how to make that "click-bait" genuinely pay off for my readers.
I've found a topic that has its own set of problems and solutions that I find myself involuntarily discussing or researching daily. After spending a couple of months posting tiny pieces of information, encouraging others to learn more, I realized I both needed an email list and I have the "correct" tools to do it in a way that resonates with me.
I wouldn't just be selling to sell.
No. There's an important topic that needs to be held up and discussed: access to justice. And, there's two solutions that I believe will overhaul the status quo, both at a business and at an individual level.
I've been wanting to talk about verifiable credentials technology and the legal, law enforcement, and forensics industries in depth for around two years now. This is the first solution.
I've even had content planned around it. Lots of it.
Then I started taking a self-help legal course written by a practicing attorney with over 30 years experience, that helps regular, non-techy, non-legal professionals, like myself, learn and understand the legal system from top to bottom in plain, easy to understand English. This is the second solution.
I found my eyes being opened, doors being unlocked, and the legal industry being demystified.
After a couple of months, I started combining my new found knowledge with what I already know about the possibilities of verifiable credentials technology.
One morning over a hot steaming cup of coffee, I realized I couldn't write about one without the other.
Both pieces were needed.
I needed both pieces, but didn't know that at the time.
After my exposure to verifiable credentials technology, I would often go on and on an on about the use case possibilities it holds for the legal, law enforcement, and forensics industries. So much so, that at times, I'm positive, I was insufferable to my former co-workers.
I often felt like I would explode if I couldn't talk about it or write about it.
But for some reason, every time I sat down to write about this topic in that niche, I would freeze up, get writer's block, or I would lose my thoughts altogether.
I always blamed it on not having "enough time" to just sit with my thoughts and get it all out onto paper, even though I had pages of copious notes on the topic.
I thought I was experiencing personal failure. I didn't realize I was stuck for a reason.
For a time, I let this go. Almost completely. I resolved that "one day" and "maybe it's just not the right time." This caused many mixed emotions.
During this time of transition I began taking the self-help legal course.
I knew I had a window in my personal life of only about maybe 4-6 months before potential issues may arise which would need my full attention later on. I wasn't 100% ready to take the course, but at that time, I had that same strong and consistent, but quiet gut feeling that I should take the legal course "now."
Fast forward a few months and several things started making way more sense than they used to. Not only that, but light bulb, after light bulb, after light bulb started coming on.
And I just couldn't contain my excitement anymore. I knew what I had to do.
I could do email marketing in a way that resonates with me.
There were a few things I was previously concerned about. It turns out each of those concerns has been addressed.
I can do all the work necessary up front to grow the email list and then begin outsourcing everything that isn't absolutely crucial that I must take care of personally.
That will take time, but I realized now, I can do that. It's scalable. It's not an all or nothing thing. That will alleviate any ongoing stress I was previously concerned with.
Only partial solutions.
Remember how I expressed displeasure or even distrust towards an author who sent out emails with what appeared to be actionable steps but only included a sales promotion instead?
Because of the nature of what I'll be discussing, I'm actually prohibited from giving anyone an exact full solution when it comes to their legal matters.
I'm not a licensed attorney-at-law and giving someone a full "do this or do that next" when it comes to their actual case work would me be giving legal advice. It's illegal for me to do so.
So, I can still provide solutions to different things, but just not related to a person's actual case. Since I can't discuss anyone's exact case, I don't feel bad about not giving the 100% solution via email.
Sorting the emails for the reader.
Remember how I said I'd want to sort the emails for a subscriber? Well, with this topic, I don't have to.
I'm only discussing one topic. I won't ever need to show my readers an affiliate link from a "colleague's new and improved money making solution" a month into my emails just because it was easy and I might get some sales from it.
It's not even applicable. I also thought I'd have a newsletter, a challenge, etc... that would need to be sorted. I was wrong again!
All my emails will eventually end up on my website and or repurposed for distribution elsewhere, just like a blog post would, or a syndicated column. They're all on one topic and all have one purpose. This meshes with my need to keep things simple for the reader and my column-writing abilities.
All new content goes to the email list first, then other channels. No more wondering about what's content and what isn't when you get an email.
Other objections that were overcome.
Cost used to outweigh desire.
The need and importance of the topic (and solutions) I'll be covering going forward now outweigh the cost of an email list, and or the perceived objections I previously had. The role and reasoning has been reversed.
It's so important, that I've even already put into place plans and systems to keep the email list running (daily emails going out), even if I lose everything: job, home, finances, website, bank accounts, etc.
I didn't learn anything in the email or legal course to make that happen. Those plans and systems I came up with on my own after several things in life I've previously experienced.
The train is leaving the station, regardless of the opposition or setbacks that may come. And the train will be protected.
I used to feel icky about upselling. I don't have to anymore. The underlying purpose is too important.
Four out of five people cannot afford a lawyer. I know what people without access to justice are dealing with. I also know the frustration of good legal professionals and workers throughout our court systems who long for better accuracy, transparency, and efficiency in the system in general.
I have a duty to share the solutions for each of those issues.
Relationships are still a two-way street.
Subscribing to the email list and then confirming that subscription, tells me you want to keep listening to what I have to say, until you tell me otherwise. You'll be able to reply to the emails and unsubscribe at any time. I don't have to have comments open on the blog posts or other channels if I don't want to. It's just easier for me to manage that way. And besides, I may not always be on other channels.
Email is now my current chosen method of primary initial distribution.
Sales before service and sincerity.
Remember how I was having a problem with the scripted emails with "sales before service and sincerity"? The email course showed me how to put service and sales forth because of my sincerity.
There's a reason the solutions for this topic matter. Full stop. Since it matters that much to me, I have no problem providing the solution. Because I'm doing that, I deserve to be paid for it.
Until the mortgage provider, utility companies, and the department of child support, all decide to start taking payments in "likes" and "subscribes", getting paid in legal tender is necessary.
Here's how it all comes together.
I don't need to prey upon my readers emotions to "get a sale." Instead, I can talk about their emotions and problems because I've lived them personally.
I don't need to "find or attract my tribe." I know they're out there and I know why they are so very very quiet.
They're afraid to speak. I used to be too. But now I know how to talk about these issues, safely, and effectively for all parties involved.
- I can be that voice, not just for myself, but for every single person and family who's been confused or negatively impacted by the legal, law enforcement, or forensics industries.
- I can be that voice for those who are currently struggling within these systems.
- I can be the voice of explanation for tired and frustrated legal professionals who may be prohibited to speak about certain things or who have forgotten how to effectively communicate to their clients.
I can see both sides now, whereas I couldn't before.
As a Technical Writer and Information Developer, I've always been good at translating technical things into plain English and vice versa. And now, I can put those skills back to use again.
That's how I've come to understand that I'm literally solving injustice one document at a time.
This is how I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.
This hold true whether I'm helping an employer with their documentation needs in an unrelated industry or not. Bad documentation plays a part in perpetuating injustice. I'm skilled in solving that.
And now, I can extend those skills with my knowledge of verifiable credentials technology while leading people to a self-help course that levels the legal playing field.
The strong and consistent, but quiet gut feeling is very, very, very happy now.
And to be 100% honest, so am I.
The adventure starts here: