by | Aug 31, 2016 | Business

“The money is in the list”

Have you heard that? I know I have….for years. It seems that the only way to create an online business, doing what you love, is to create the biggest, baddest list in all the webdom.

And, don’t get me wrong, having an engaged list is a truly great thing, but it is not the only way to make your business successful.

And it can take a lot of work.

More and more, I am speaking to people who have been focusing on the list building model solely, to build their business, and they are burnt out, feeling undervalued and disconnected from their core work and genius.

I was there last year. I had bought into the model and was spending all of my time (it felt like) creating freebie after freebie, and still not seeing my engagement numbers increase on my list.

It was utterly soul-destroying. I was working a full-time corporate job as well as putting my focus back into my business, and I spent all my free time creating content for a vacuum.

So I stopped.

I completely stopped and took stock of what I was doing.

It’s been over a year since I did any form of active list building and it’s been my best year ever.

I thought it might be helpful to share what I’ve been doing in the interim, and also the mindset shifts I’ve had, that have helped me get to a place where it feels authentic to invite more people into my sphere and onto my list again.

1. I realized that if I was focused on the traditional funnel model, it was going to take me forever and a day to get people through to where I actually got excited about working with them. (1:1) So I put my focus on attracting 1:1 clients instead at a premium price.

2. I began to engage with people in Facebook groups and offline and talked to them about what they needed.

3. I gave a lot of value in those conversations and became known for saying something different and being helpful.

4. People began to ask to work with me! No sales pitches, just a confident response, and being prepared to walk away and not compromise on my prices (that took a bit of work!)

5. I followed up with people who had expressed an interest before, and realised that I wasn’t actually bugging them. Life is so busy that things get away from people. They were genuinely happy that I reached out, and some of them hired me.

6. I got really clear on who I wanted to work with, and who I didn’t, because it’s hard enough to build a business without having out with people who aren’t going to get the best results from working with you!

7. I stopped trying to convince people to work with me (this was a MAJOR shift) and realised it’s not my responsibility to make them want to change, I can only set out what I can do and invite them to take part. I can’t, and don’t want to make them. (Refer to point 6.)

8. I set my prices higher than ever before. That began to filter people for me so I didn’t have to, and I began working with really motivated folks who got the best results.

9. I began to get referrals from said motivated folks who got great results. Yay!

10. I asked my very small list what they wanted and created a format that works for me, and my unsubscribes stopped. Every so often I’ll get an email from one of them telling me how much they appreciate my stuff, so I know that sometimes it feels like I’m in a vacuum, but people are actually reading and watching and listening.

Here are some of my key learnings from going through this process:

      • you CAN attract clients without a list
      • people want to hear from you more than you think
      • list building is a key component of your online business, but it is not the only one. Create connections and focus on building the relationships you want with your END client in mind
      • be selective about who you want to work with, AND who you want to have on your list. There’s no point in gathering thousands of contacts if they are never going to qualify to work with you
      • list building is not BAD or WRONG, but you need to be in the headspace where it serves both you, and the person that you are inviting onto your list
      • those email addresses belong to PEOPLE, real people! Ask them what they want.
      • you do not have to be held to ransom by random strangers who have done nothing more than giving you their email address. You get to make the rules.

If you have made it this far, then I truly hope that you have found this empowering and useful. I am a real person too, so leave me a comment about which activities you can apply TODAY to YOUR business, and begin to shift your focus back to serving clients rather than solely building a list.


Mindset & Message Mastery will provide you with the tools to understand what is getting in your way, on your way to success. It will help you connect the dots to Confidence, Clarity and, most importantly, Clients.


  1. Ida

    Thank you for the great post, Lorraine!

    • Miri

      Wonderful post!

      • LorraineH

        Thanks Miri!

    • LorraineH

      Yay Ida! I’m so glad you liked it.

  2. Ange

    I really enjoyed reading your post. It made me smile. And engaging on social media is my strategy. Not the only one but I second what you say. It’s a great strategy,

    • LorraineH

      Hey Ange! I’m so glad you liked it. And yes, to having more than one strategy. There is no one ‘right’ way, we have to find what works for us now. Social media gives us the opportunity to build real connection without being in the same room, but we have to treat it that way. Online business works a whole lot like offline business – word of mouth and reputation are king (or queen 😉 )!

  3. Stacey

    Thank you for sharing a rarely heard perspective! I love the other tactics that you shared — very valuable!

    • LorraineH

      It’s my pleasure Stacey – let me know how you go with applying some of the tactics!


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