Transcript: Cultivating a List Building Mindset

November 12, 2015

AMY PORTERFIELD: Welcome back to another episode of The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. Thanks, so much, for tuning in. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield and in today’s episode we are talking all about list building. 

But before we get into the nuts and bolts, the details, the specifics, and the strategies I want to first talk to you about the mindset you have right now around growing your email list. This is Episode #83 and we are diving deep into the mindset of list building. 

In Episode #84 we’re going to get to the tactical stuff, the mechanics of actually growing your email list. We have a two-part series starting with the mindset. 

Here’s how to know if this episode today is perfect for you: 

  1. If you’ve been working on your business for over a year now and you have less than 4,000 people on your email list, this episode is for you. 
  2. If you’re not growing your email list by at least 75 new leads a week, this episode is for you. I’ll do the number breakdown in a moment here, but I just wanted you to think of that number, 75 new leads a week. 
  3. If you already have a solid list but it’s not converting for you, this episode is also for you. If you’ve tried to promote things to your list and it sometimes feels like crickets or maybe you sell one or two of your online training programs when you thought you were going to sell 100. Maybe you’re not attracting the right people; this episode is for you. 
  4. If you are struggling with confidence in your business and are feeling less than or comparing yourself to everybody. IF confidence is an issue with you right now in your business, then this episode is for you as well. 
  5. If you ever launched anything in your business and your results were lackluster, no matter if you have a list or not, if you ever try to launch something and you came up totally short, either  it  was  a  complete failure or the numbers were dismal compared to what you expected, then this is a good episode for you as well. 
  6. Finally, if you are in this for the long haul, you are passionate about what you are doing, you love the business you are creating, it’s not something you’re trying to do to get rich quick, and it’s not something you want to do for the next year and maybe move on to something, but if you’re in it for the long haul then this episode is for you as well. 

If you have a big, solid email list and it’s converting really well for you, you can skip this episode. Don’t waste your time, because I’ve created this episode for those that are struggling to grow a lucrative email list or for those that are going to admit that they just haven’t really put a focus on list building. 

They know it’s important. That’s a given. But this episode is for those that are going to say, “Yeah, I just haven’t put a focus there like I know I should.” 

I’ve got a ton to share with you today about cultivating a list-building mindset. I’m going to start with my own personal story on this topic. Before we get there though, a quick word from our sponsor. Before we dive in I want to thank our sponsor today, 99Designs. I am such a huge fan of this company because they can take care of all of your graphic needs. We are talking logos, social media cover images, website graphics, and so much more. So visit and get a $99 upgrade for free. 

Before we dive in, as you know, I almost always offer a freebie with my podcast episodes. For today’s freebie I created a one-page inquiry to help you instantly tap into your list-building obstacles. This inquiry is really short and won’t take a long time to fill out. But it’s extremely valuable because it will shine a light on exactly what is holding you back from building a quality email list. And, it is going to shine a light on why it’s not happening consistently. 

To find out wha t ’ s truly been getting in your way , go to http:// and you can get the freebie right away. Or, if you like to text, you can text the phrase 83download to 33444. 

Moving on into the content for today, I want to kick things off by first sharing my own personal list-building story. When I started my own business I knew list building was a really important piece of the puzzle in order to build the foundation of my business. 

Although I knew that, it didn’t mean I was actually making it a priority at all. I started dabbling with my own business in 2009. I was still working part time for Tony Robbins but I was also starting to take on a few consulting clients. Then in 2010 I was fully out on my own and still wasn’t making list building a priority. 

By the end of 2010 I think I had about 600 people on my list and that didn’t really change moving into 2011. That number wasn’t really going up or down because I wasn’t really list building and I wasn’t growing my list. I wasn’t adding to it and I wasn’t nurturing that list so it was really a stagnant list. 

I tried to launch my first real online program. I say “real” because I had dabbled with a few smaller online programs before I did my first real one called The Simple Social Media formula. When I launched it I did it up right. I did a three-part video series and I promoted it on social media. I promoted it to the 600 people on my email list and it didn’t do so well. 

It sold but when I looked at the numbers it was nothing like what I had expected. I had expectations that were way too big because I had worked with some big internet marketers that were making millions. My mindset was all messed up in terms of what I was going to make on this launch. 

At the same time, I didn’t really have a list to market to so it tanked. I felt terrible. What if I couldn’t make this work? What if I had to go back to a corporate job? What would everyone think of me? 

My confidence was in the toilet after that first real launch because I expected bigger numbers. Again, I was probably just skewed in my thinking of what those numbers would look like. But in reality, if I had a stronger email list it would have been a whole different kind of experience. 

No matter how much I thought about it, list building was never a big part of my plan. I knew it was important but I thought other opportunities that were coming my way in those early years were way more important. 

When you are new in business, even your first or second year out, don’t you think it seems like every opportunity that comes your way seems like the opportunity to finally push you forward? You get asked to speak somewhere or you get an opportunity to guest blog post or someone asks you to contribute to one of their products. All of these different opportunities feel really big. 

I remember. I kept thinking everything that came my way, “this is it. This is going to put me on the map.” Money usually played a factor as well because money was tight in those first two years. I didn’t save enough before I quit my corporate job so I had to hustle. 

I’m not going to get into all of the details, but you might have heard me tell the story of how my first two years out of corporate I was consulting. I was taking tons and tons of consulting opportunities because I needed to make money and I wasn’t focusing on the business that I really wanted to build, a business of online training programs. 

I’ve probably told this story on another podcast, definitely from stage if you’ve ever seen me speak. But what I haven’t talked a lot about is the fact that I also started working with Social Media Examiner and Mike Stelzner right from the get go. 

I wanted to tell that story because some of you might be able to relate to some of the things that were going through my head at that time. Remember, this is a time when I just started my online business. My business looked nothing like what it looks like today because I needed money so I took consulting clients. 

One of my first big consulting clients was Social Media Examiner with Mike Stelzner. I will say that at the time Mike hadn’t even launched Social Media Examiner. He was still building up the brand before he even went to the public with it. I was lucky enough that he actually shared this idea. But he had already cultivated the entire idea. 

He was ready to go and was looking for some people to support him along the way. So Mike and I became great friends and I’ve told this story before because he worked on a white paper with Tony Robbins so I was the mediator between that. So Mike and I became great friends. 

He knew I wanted to leave and said, “Okay Amy, come on over and you can help me as I’m launching Social Media Examiner.” 

This was a great opportunity. There’s a point to this story, I promise. I started helping Mike with some interviews that he was doing for his website. Mike and I literally went to Blog World in Vegas. We did this twice. And before we went there I would basically create a list of the people we were going to interview while we were there (he was going to interview them for his new website). 

They were big names. They were big people he wanted to interview. We would contact them in advance. I would research some questions for those people he was going to interview. I would put together all of the prep, which is stuff I used to do for Tony Robbins so it made perfect sense to me, then Mike would review it and we would get there onsite and I would wrangle all of these people. 

I would wrangle them up and tell them when their interview time was with Mike. This was not the easiest thing I’ve ever done because these people were all over the venue. I had to go find them. I was sweating, chasing people. 

I knew in my heart of hearts this was not what I ultimately wanted to do when I quit my job. But I knew the experience with Mike was going to be really valuable. He took me under his wing. He was my mentor through and through and I knew it was a great opportunity. But in my head I knew this was not what I quit my day job for. 

I did that a few times, probably two times at Blog World and then I did it at another event. I became a wrangler for Mike at these live events. Then he invited me to guest blog post once his site launched. Then he invited me to help him start the Facebook page where I became the first Facebook community manager for his Facebook page. 

These were great opportunities. And the coolest thing about being the wrangler for all of these interviews Mike was doing is that I got to meet all of these people in my niche that were amazing people. I remember where I was and what I said the moment I met Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. 

I’ve always been such a huge fan of that guy and was star struck. It was a little embarrassing. I might have embarrassed Mike just a little bit. I remember he was standing near me but it was a big deal to meet Darren Rowse. That happened over and over again. 

I got to be in the proximity of these amazing social media masters. That was really cool. I did that for a full year, if not more, and it moved into the whole Facebook management and more guest blogging and lasted about two good years. Again, it was a lifesaver to me because I got to move into a world I hadn’t really been in yet while I was behind the scenes at Robbins. 

It was an awesome opportunity, Mike is an amazing mentor. But here’s the problem, guess what I wasn’t doing when I was working with Mike? I bet you can guess, right? I was not at all focused on list building or building the business that I really wanted. I was not actively focusing on growing my list and I say “actively” focusing on it because I would think about it every day and that horrible, “I should be doing this, I should be doing this, I’m far behind, I know I need a list.” 

At the time I was going through a live mastermind with my other mentor, Marie Forleo. I had spent $17,000 to go through that mastermind and that was a huge investment for me. She would ask me what I was doing to list build. I would tell her, “I know, I’m on it.” 

The next time she would see me she would ask me what I was doing to list build. I hadn’t done anything. She asked me for a full year and my list had never grown. I have no idea why I had that mental block. But, again, I was chasing money and was hustling to get my name out there and grow my brand. 

I thought everything else was so important at the time and I couldn’t focus on list building. Can you see some parallels yet in your own mindset around list building? Everything becomes more important, right? 

Looking back now at my business and the path I took in those first two years and in working with Mike the way I did I have to ask whether I would change the two years I worked with Mike? Heck no! Never. 

I learned so much about blogging and social media and networking from Mike. I had these great, amazing opportunities to connect with some really important people in my industry. And it helped me to eventually get on the map. So I would never change it. 

But I would not be saying that right now if I had stayed longer than I did. There became a moment that I had to tell Mike I couldn’t do this anymore. Of course he was amazing about it. I could be replaced so I know my ego is not there at all. He could find someone else. But I had to come to the realization to say that this was now holding me back. 

I wasn’t focusing on the business that I had said I was going to create. That whole experience with Mike, if I had stayed there longer, would have completely derailed me. I think I needed it. I needed to get in the trenches. I needed the work. 

Having a mentor like Mike was awesome. But there came a point where I had to stop it. And had I let my ego get the best of me I would have stayed longer. It was a big deal for me to be hobnobbing with these big shots. Mike was starting to include me and almost see me as a peer versus his apprentice or someone on the back end. 

He was giving me a great opportunity and putting me in different situations that were amazing. If my ego was going to take over I would have stayed there longer and I would have not been where I am in my business today. I tell you all of this because I’m going to guess there are some obstacles in your way right now with building your email list. 

Your story might look dramatically different than mine. You might not have the opportunity I had with someone like Mike. And that’s okay. But I can promise you things are taking your attention right now that shouldn’t be. And you’re making excuses and that’s why you’re not focusing on list building. I know that because I lived it. 

When I worked with Tony I remember so vividly many times he would be on stage and would be talking about business. He would say, “You don’t really have a viable business today if you don’t have a list.” 

A list is names and emails of people that have raised their hand and said they want to hear from you, “tell me more, let’s keep in touch.” 

You already know it is a hot commodity today to get a name and email. People don’t just part with it easily. Then, keeping them on your list is just as important. We can’t take this lightly and when someone gives us their name and email, Holy Cow, we’ve got to really treat this like it’s gold. 

In the next episode, Episode #84, we are going to talk about different ways to make sure the foundation of your list-building strategy is set. You’ve got to have a foundation. Once you put it in place you don’t have to do much to keep it going and we will talk about that in the next episode. 

But before we get there, I’ve got to figure out with you what has been keeping you from doing this. You could go right to Episode #84 when it’s live and start doing the things I tell you to do. But if your mind’s not in the right place you won’t keep that up. You won’t make it a priority. 

That’s why this episode is so important. I have some questions that I want you to ask yourself. This is part of the freebie. You don’t need to write these down now if you’re working out. 

I love when people tell me they are listening to me while they are cleaning the house. I wish I could get the benefits of everything you guys do when you’re listening to me. But, if you’re really active right now don’t worry. You don’t need to actually write this down. That’s the freebie. 

At I’m going to ask you these questions in a one-page inquiry and I want you to take 10 to 15 minutes max answering these questions honestly. You will see where you are being held back in terms of your mindset. 

Question #1: 

I started this episode saying this mini training is perfect for you if you’re not growing your email list by 75 new leads a week. If you’re generating 75 new leads a week for 52 weeks that’s 3,900 leads in a year. We’re just going to round that up and say 4,000, give or take. 

I want you to have 4,000 leads in a 52-week period. Could you do more? Heck yeah. Sometimes I generate 300 leads a day in this stuff that I’m doing. But let’s just keep it as basic as possible. It’s a little aggressive for sure. 

Seventy-five Leads a week is not easy. But I don’t want to be too easy on you either because I want you to really challenge yourself. When I say 75 leads each week, you’re not going to do that with just one lead magnet or just a few social media posts. It takes more than that. 

That’s all for Episode #84 and I’ll help you with that. But here’s the question I have for you, the first question: What are you doing right now that’s more important than list building? 

There’s a tricky way to answer that question; it’s a trick kind of question. You know if you are really buying into what I’m staying right now that I don’t think anything in your business is more important than list building. But, what have you put ahead of list building? What do you think feels more important right now than fully focusing on growing your list by 75 new quality leads a week? 

I’m asking you this question, and I have a few more inquiries for you, because one thing we have probably heard as entrepreneurs over and over again is that success is 80% mindset and 20% mechanics. We’ve got to focus on that 80% first even though it’s just a few quick questions and you will understand your mindset. But if we focus there the 20% mechanics becomes a whole lot easier. 

What are you doing right now that you think is more important than list building, or at least you have thought it was in the past before you started listening to this and getting it and seeing where I am going with this? Specifically, what projects, tasks, action items are you working on daily that are taking you away from building the foundation of a list-building strategy in your business? 

Question #2: 

Where is your ego showing up in your business that could be derailing you to focus on list building? This one might just be me. I hope I’m not being overindulgent with this question. But we’re all drawn to things that will make us look good. We’re drawn to opportunities to put our name out there. 

If we get a mention in Forbes or if Huffington Post is going to let us post there or we get to do a video for someone or they ask me to speak. All of that could be good for your business. But, ask yourself where your ego is showing up. 

What are you doing right now that could be more about stroking your ego than building your business? This is one you have to dive a little bit deep for but I wanted to put it out there. 

Remember, in my own story and my experience with Mike, it could have lasted a whole lot longer if I had let my ego be a part of it. It would have derailed me from building the business that I built. But I had to come to the point to say, “This has served me. I’ve been such a lucky girl to be able to be a part of Social Media Examiner and have a mentor like Mike Stelzner. AND, I now need to move on in order to grow the business that I really love.” 

That was a really hard decision. I was so very afraid to even voice those words to Mike. He was amazing about it but I didn’t think Mike would react negatively to it but I thought I would totally miss out. It was the fear of missing out. 

What if Social Media Examiner did something amazing next week? I really want to be a part of it but now I’m cutting my ties. I never burned the boats. I never burned bridges so I couldn’t ever have a relationship. 

I still do tons of stuff with Social Media Examiner but, quite honestly, this is interesting and I don’t know if Mike would agree with me on this one, but this is how I saw it so I’m going to kind of get really personal with you here…One thing I saw that changed a little bit when I cut those ties in terms of not being a worker bee for Social Media Examiner anymore and had to go out and do my own thing was that Mike started paying attention to some of the stuff I was doing. 

I think he respects my work and knows I’m serious about this and that I work really hard. The opportunities that he was sending my way after that were even bigger. I don’t know if he had a little bit more respect for me and knew I was really going to push forward to do something bigger with my business and he respected that, I have no idea. 

But it felt like there was another layer of respect that Mike put on me once I cut ties as the worker bee. That could just be my perception but I think it really, truly was something that was playing out. That is something that happens when you push past the fear and stop doing something that isn’t serving you and put on your big boy or big girl pants and do XYZ. 

You would be amazed at how many doors start to open when you kind of own where you know you should be going. That is just something to think about. 

(I have to say that you probably aren’t even hearing it, but Gus is with me and will not stop fidgeting around so if you hear weirdness, I’m sure my editor might hear it and wonder what is going on, it’s Gus and I can’t stop him so let’s just pretend we don’t hear Gus. You might not even hear him. I always tell on myself and then I wonder if you even hear it.) 

Question #3: 

What excuses might be creeping in and taking you away from list building? The first question is: What have you put as more important than list building? The second question is: Where is your ego showing up? The third question is about excuses. 

Let me give you an example: When I was not making list building a priority in my business my excuse was that I needed to generate revenue. Some people might say that isn’t an excuse. I didn’t have money. I needed it. 

The thing was I had a bunch of consulting clients. Truly, I could have let go of one consulting client, maybe changed around some kind of payment I had with another client, or maybe taken a bigger project with one and cut two out. I could have changed how I was working with my consulting clients and I would have freed up a chunk of time to focus on list building. That is the truth. 

To be really honest, I was fearful of money. I was afraid it was going to be taken away from me or I wouldn’t have enough. That kind of blocked out everything else in my business. When you are driving your business forward because you are afraid you won’t make enough money, I don’t think you will ever love the work you are doing and you will always put things ahead of what’s  most  important  about  building  a foundation as an entrepreneur. 

I want you to look at the excuses. Money is usually one of them, the top one. Can you guess the other one? Time. Many of you might be thinking right now that you don’t have time to focus on list building. You have to do this and this and this. 

You have a 9-5 job, you are only doing your business in the morning. If you have a 9-5 job, I would rather you stop selling right now, if you’re struggling with selling online, if it’s not even working for you that well. I want you to stop that and just focus on list building. 

At the time of this recording we are moving into 2016 really quickly. I would love to see you get your foundation of list building set right now before we move into the new year. If you listen to this and we are already in 2016 the time is now. You start when you know it’s right. 

For you all that are listening in a timely way when I am recording this, let’s do this now so next year list building doesn’t have to be such a “should have done it” kind of thing but is just happening in your business. That’s what I think is really exciting, when you get to that point. 

Excuses. Are you fearful of not making enough money? Let’s dig deeper into that. Can you find a way to change that around? Or, if it’s time, let’s be really realistic. Stop doing a few things that are not contributing to growing a bigger business with a bigger impact and let’s focus on getting this list building in check. 

Next week when I share with you some strategies about list building we are going to talk about the different lead magnets, the freebies, that you should have in your business, where to host them on your website, and how to drive traffic to them. 

We’re going to get into the really practical application of this, like I keep saying. I know I have said that at least five times in this episode, but you get the point. To wrap up our final question, let’s get really honest. Let’s look at the excuses we’re making. 

One thing that will help you with these questions is this next section of this little mini training. You’ve really got to understand what list building will do for your business. I know that everyone’s business is different. The experience I’ve had with list building in my business and the revenue I’ve generated because of it won’t look identical to yours. I get that. 

But having a quality list guarantees that you always have the opportunity to generate revenue in your business. Someone asked me if I would ever go back to a 9-5 job. I hate to say, “never”. But, here’s what I believe truly in my heart: If I ever got to a point that I was really hard up for money, if something changed or something happened and I really needed money right away, the first place I would look would be to ask what my audience needs that I haven’t yet provided and I would look for a way to create a promotion around that. 

I can always go to my list as long as I am going there with value. I don’t have to rely on affiliates. This one is big for me. I use affiliates for some of my promotions. It’s a very small list and I never do really big affiliate promotions. We’re doing one for Webinars that Convert next week and it’s really small compared to what some big-shot internet marketers will do with affiliates. 

I don’t have leader boards and a bunch of prizes and all that. I don’t want that in my business right now. But I also love the fact that the first time we launched Webinars That Convert (about a month ago), it was only to my list. It was the biggest success I’ve ever had in my business and that is saying a lot. I have been so lucky with some of the successes in my online programs. 

Beyond the fact that I felt it was the best program I’ve ever created, I was equally proud of the fact that we did it with the list we had nurtured. We had built relationships with these people over the years and it really showed in the numbers and in the success of the program with people getting results and getting excited about it. 

If you never want to have to rely on affiliates but you could use them as icing on the cake, and if you never want to worry about social media changing, then you want to focus on growing your own list. You control it. It’s yours. It’s as strong or as weak as you make it depending on how you cultivate it. 

I think cultivating a list is an episode that I need to create so I will put that on my list because it’s a whole different conversation. But right now I want you to hear that social media changes all the time. We don’t own the platforms. They can take it away from us at any minute and if they did that to me I would still have my list. That is so very important. 

Remember I mentioned confidence earlier? If you ever struggle with confidence in your business and you feel like you are always comparing yourself to everyone else or know you should be a whole lot further than you are or if you can’t believe you quit your job and are hardly making any money or other confidence issues you have in your business, focus on growing your email list. 

Coming back to the question of whether I would ever go back to a 9-5 job, I feel confident I wouldn’t because I’ve built this list-building foundation in my business. I have my tribe and I try to nurture it every week and grow it even more. But they are there. They like me, they trust me, they know me and know I’m going to give them good stuff to help them grow their business. 

I feel confident that is going to help me continue to sustain my success. If you’re looking for confidence in your business and you don’t have it, focus on list building. Cultivate a quality list. That goes without saying. You could build a list of 500 a day if you didn’t’ do it quality. We are talking about people genuinely interested in what you’re all about. They want to continually hear from you. When you do that confidence is something that is easy in your business. It’s all about the relationships you create on that list. 

If you’re serious about strengthening the foundation of your business, and I know you are, and you want to start consistently growing your email list every single day then I want you to take the next 10 to 15 minutes to fill out the inquiry that I created for you. It’s just one-sheet. 

It is going to shine a light on what is holding you back in the mindset are of list building. Remember, the success of your email list is 80% mindset and  20% mechanics. It doesn’t take that much to shift the mindset. I promise you on that one. 

I want you to go to and you will get the inquiry that goes over the questions I just asked with a little bit more information just to make sure you have the whole picture. I want you to fill it out. You will get clear about where you are. 

Next, I want you to meet me next week in Episode #84. I’m going to talk about the type of lead magnets you need in your business. There will be three, to be exact. You will learn how to host them on your website and on the web (where they should go) and how to drive traffic to them. 

You might know some of that stuff already but I’m going to show  you  a  lot  of examples in the freebie for next week. I’m going to share some stories of my own experience and how you can avoid some of the mistakes I made. We’ll dive even deeper. But we’re getting into the 20% mechanics in next week’s episode. 

Before we wrap up, a quick word about our sponsor: Finally, I want to thank our sponsor, 99Designs. You know when you market online it is really difficult to stand out from all of that online noise clutter. How do you do it? I think you do it through impeccable branding. That includes your logo, your social media cover images, your website, and everything in between. At 99Designs you can get anything designed in just a week for a startup-friendly price. 

To give you a little something extra, when you go to you will get a $99 upgrade for free. That upgrade makes your design contest stand out from all of the others and bumps you to the top of the list so more designers can see your contest. So make sure to check out 

Thank you again for being here. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy these sessions. It’s always fun to do a mindset episode because I can get a little bit more emotional about these things and talk to you as a friend. I can say, “This is important, friend. We’ve got to get this under control.” 

I hope that message came across in a really compassionate way. I know that list building is not easy. It can be easier and we can streamline it. But right now, where you’re at, if you’re struggling with it, I know it doesn’t look like it’s going to be easy. It doesn’t need to be really time consuming or overwhelming or expensive. 

I’ll talk about that next week. But let’s get the mindset right and once I have you fully committed to making list building a huge priority in your business you will love what I have to share with you next week. 

Until I meet you again next week in Episode #84, I hope you have an amazing week. Bye for now. 

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