When I first started building my email list, I was the assistant director of California’s largest library consortium. I did cool library-related projects like build an e-book platform for library lending, and I saved California libraries over $4 million through negotiating group purchases on things libraries buy, like databases, etc.
My job was so easy there: I worked at home, I made 6 figures by the end, and I had so much freedom to do what I wanted.
But it didn’t light me up.
I’d started a podcast on 16th century England in 2009, and it was getting a lot of listens. I kept thinking that there had to be a way I could monetize 40,000 downloads a month, and I hit on the idea of doing history tours to England. I also wanted to write, and I thought that there had to be some kind of formula to make money out of what I loved doing.
That’s when I decided to start an email list around the topic of Renaissance English history.
Fast-forward 14 months and I’d built an email list of 1,351 subscribers.
I just recently launched a planner I created called the Tudor Planner. I made $5,000 in 3 weeks!
How did you do it?
I got my first 100 subscribers by doing one thing: a giveaway!
I created the The Digital Advent Calendar. Every day opened to a piece of Tudor holiday goodness, and it was really popular.
I announced it in my November podcasts and encouraged sign-ups then. I also posted it on my blog, and asked people to sign up in order to receive it.
I got about 75 subs from that, which were my first subscribers.
Right on the heels of that, I did a big giveaway of the 5 best Tudor books you needed to be reading in 2016.
That brought in about another 80. (I used the KingSumo giveaway app that encouraged sharing.)
Also, this giveaway was retweeted by a famous TV host in the UK! This also helped bring in subscribers!
Currently my list is at 1,351.
I went from 155 subscribers to 1,352 by doing 2 things: 1) giveaways and 2) selling my Tudor planner.
In September I was podcast of the month for the History Podcasts subreddit. I put together a special thank-you for people who signed up there, with a special Spotify playlist of music and a book explaining the history behind each piece.
That thank-you page is here, showing what people received.
I also did a giveaway in November. The giveaway was 4 mugs featuring quotes by Elizabeth I.
I figured this would be a great idea this time of year and I’d be able to sell quite a few copies!
I added a bit of urgency by mentioning that only 500 would be sold.
So far, I’ve sold over $3000 worth of these and am selling about $150 worth a day!
What has building an email list changed in your life and allowed you to do?
Right now it’s given me an excitement to know that I really can make a living doing what I love, surrounded by the things that I’m passionate about.
I can spend my days immersed in history and music, and I can travel while doing it. I can make a difference and share these passions with others.
I’ve had so many emails from people, just in the past month, who have said that listening to my podcast has given them such an interest in Tudor England, and how they want to learn more. And a few people have messaged me, saying they felt incredibly grateful to have been introduced to the music of the time (which is what my particular passion is) and that it’s made their life so much richer.
What’s next for you?
I’m spending all of my time focused on three things:
Me + Husband + Daughter
Assistant Director of California's largest library consortium
I am finally seeing that all the work I've put into this is going to make the life I dream of possible. A list, an audience, is the key to being able to have all of this. Otherwise it's just me talking to myself. Which is fine, but I do that enough anyway. Being engaged with people, sharing and making it a two way street; that's what's going to make this real.