I used to keep a folder on my laptop desktop. It was full of free e-books and pdf-guides I’d downloaded from websites. The e-books and pdfs were called things like “How to grow your business in 7 easy steps!” and “Your free guide to an overnight six-figure income from working 2 hours a day on a beach in Bali!”
I deleted that desktop folder.
I realised I would never read any of it.
Some of the free stuff you get from websites is not always that great, which is why it’s important to me that when I do have something for free on my website for people to listen to/read, I do my best to make sure it’s well worth their while.
Businesses—whether huge empires or small start-ups—want to talk to people. And one of the best ways to do that is through email. After all, nearly everyone has their head in their computer or phone, right? And so they give away free resources and whatnot in exchange for your email address. They email you essentially, to talk directly to the people who are interested in what they have to say or what they offer. That in itself is not a terrible thing.
What is terrible—at least in my book—is when businesses then begin to bombard you left, right and centre, with emails telling you how you must work with them or how you must buy their product or how you need to follow their advice, because otherwise…..your life will drastically implode or worse.
I do not like this.
I actually don’t like being directly sold to eat all, especially in such a sales-y way. It really pisses me off. If I want to buy something, whether it’s a pair of shoes in a shop, a new line of vegan sausages or some kind of business guidance, I don’t need to receive eleventy billion emails telling me why I should.
I write my weekly emails because I like writing. I always have, even since being a kid, and people seem to like what I write. It’s a great exchange that feels good on both sides. I sometimes let people know that I have coaching spaces available, or a group course coming up, but other than that, I just simply write about life and being human and figuring things out – with honest examples from my own life and the things I learn along the way.
Which is why I’ve surprised myself recently.
Because I’ve been giving away a cool little mp3 on my website in exchange for people’s email addresses. And then I’ve been emailing them every few days. Nothing too sales-y, actually—I kept a shred of decency—but definitely with the intention of selling what I do.
It didn’t feel good. At all. It didn’t feel like me. It felt cringey and awkward and the opposite of what I value in people and companies.
I’d been sucked in. To the business coaching world of something called “email marketing funnels”. I started to believe the growth of my business depended on this kind of marketing. I’d read somewhere that it is the only way to do business. And yet I know there’s never just one way of doing anything, in business and in life.
And email marketing funnels? This kind of thing is SO not me. In fact, when I was drafting the emails in a Word document, I actually saved it as ‘marketing Notfunnel’ which pretty much said it all. I should have known right there to delete that document and forget about the emails. But I didn’t. I pressed on and pressed ‘GO’ and the emails started firing away to the people who signed up for the free mp3.
Until now. The automated emails have gone.
I woke up this morning and thought, “What the fuck is going on, Goodchild? Who are you?” and promptly deleted them all.
The brilliant people who I am grateful to write to each week—as well as the brilliant people I am grateful to coach each day, are bright and intelligent and wise human beings.
They don’t need to be sold to.
They don’t need their inbox to be clogged up with wanky emails full of weird sales shit.
I’d lost myself for a week or so there. I’d chosen to value the growth of my business more than what I actually value, which is integrity and being real and kind and honest and up-front and human.
I’ve always, always, always believed in treating people the way I want to be treated and I stand by that, and yet for a hot-minute, I didn’t.
And so here I am with my integrity back intact, being real and kind and honest and up-front and human (and with the biggest vulnerability hangover from even sharing this).
I made a mistake.
I wandered off the path for a week or so.
I took my eyes off my own page and started looking at what everyone else was doing.
But I’m back.
It’s business as usual again, which actually, doesn’t feel like business at all.
It’s just me: writing. And the people I email: just reading.
A simple, lovely exchange.
And jeeez, that feels good.
Lesson learned: If it deep down doesn’t feel like me, then don’t do it.