When I first started building my list I was a professional soccer player turned soccer coach.
When my wife and I found out we were expecting our first daughter, I knew that I wanted more stability for my growing family. I had been training for Stanford University during my off-season, helping with their camps and clinics. I also did team coaching on the side because that’s the model for soccer players.
I realized that I loved seeing players improve quickly, and I was beginning to become more and more disenchanted with team coaching, its schedule, and its politics.
So I started my soccer skills training company, Global Futbol Training (GFT). The company grew and I went from training 5 players a week to close to 120 players per week and adding trainers. However, the demands on my time outside of training also grew. I found that in each season of a player’s life, there were the same questions over and over. So I began to blog with the intent to stop sharing the knowledge one-on-one and instead bring it to the masses.
Fast-forward 8 years.
Two things had happened: 1) I saw how hard it was to do the same work every day and grow a physical business. 2) I went on my first international mission trip with our then-5-year-old. Those things changed me deeply.
I began to look for ways to break the traditional mold of self-employment with a physical product.
Enter my wife introducing me to Videofruit via a webinar. I suddenly began to understand the value of an e-mail list.
That’s when I decided to start building an email list about soccer training, education, and development.
Fast-forward 14 months and I’d built a list of 1,270 subscribers. And the biggest surprise to me was that most of our followers were not local people that we trained. They were a more national–and sometimes international–audience.
How did you do it?
I got my first 100 subscribers by doing 3 things: blogging more regularly, adding an opt-in to our site and strategically sharing a couple of blog posts on LinkedIn.
I started blogging more regularly and began to really focus on my relationship with my audience.
Providing quality content that gave people something worth sharing on the blog has been big. Learning to speak with people via email and social media in this narrow niche has helped grow my list significantly.
Next, I decided I needed to start growing my list with the folks who were checking out my blog, so I added some opt-ins.
Here are a few screenshots of those:
I then decided to share some of our best articles on LinkedIn and people started finding us.
Here are two that moved us to the front:
Currently my list has 1,270 subscribers.
I went from 100 to 1,270 subscribers by focusing on two things: 1) Pinterest, and 2) freebies and courses.
Pinterest has been the biggest surprise of all in my list building journey! My wife made me join. 🙂
I began to look at graphics, infographics and humor and testing them out. One post has had over 10k+ shares. Each of my blog posts has a Pinterest button on the top left corner, so when someone comes across one of my blog posts that they love, they can easily pin it.
I also created our Pinterest page. I am currently adding pins in Spanish as well, to reach even more people!
Here’s a screenshot of our Pinterest analytics page:
Freebies and Courses
I also created a free library offer with a bunch of free stuff for my followers.
The free library is full of e-books, worksheets and printable inspirational quotes. It’s been popular. This has helped grow my list so much!
Here’s a screenshot of those offerings:
I also have quite a few courses that I offer! My courses will pop up in searches in coaching trainings, and folks who take the courses will share them with other coaches.
These are open all year round and people can join a course at any time.
What has building an email list changed in your life and allowed you to do?
Not many pro players can also say they’ve produced pro players or have a personal story quite like mine, so I found that I can relate to people on many levels.
What I also realized was that I could not only mentor these young people, but that instead of having people copy me or ask me about franchising, I could offer them the same opportunities for financial and lifestyle freedom that I have had and mentor them with my business experiences.
I started this business during the worst time possible and it’s grown like crazy, which has been a huge blessing, and I realized I could share that!
Our dreams as a family don’t have to stay dreams. I have more freedom with my time to pursue helping others. My influence as an expert in being the best has grown outside of soccer in a way that I am amazed by.
The Academy is growing and the groups starting to ask for partnership are healthcare professionals, therapists, college recruiting services, and even sports psychologists. That had NEVER happened before.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be spending all of my time focused on four things:
Wife + 2 Daughters + 100 lb. German Shepherd
Professional Soccer Player
Being a true entrepreneur is very different in my opinion than being a business owner. There is no one who has done what you're doing. Videofruit's work has helped me see that while others aren't in my niche they can be learned from & that the recommendations they make WORK. It gives me hope for how I will stay involved in my passion for soccer & sports in general (I'm a Denver Broncos fan) & still provide for my family when I'm an old guy! :-)