Monthly Archives: January 2006

Why I chose to potentially lose up to 80% of my subscribers!

If you have been a subscriber to this newsletter for longer than a month, you will be aware that I have recently changed the service which I use to send the newsletter.  This has resulted in everyone having to re-confirm that they would like to continue receiving the newsletter every couple of weeks. 

I would like to firstly say a huge ‘Thank-you’ to everyone that has decided to continue receiving the newsletter – your support is appreciated.  I would also like to say ‘Welcome back’ to many of you that I know had stopped receiving the newsletter some time ago due to aggressive filtering by your ISP.

Of course when dealing with moving such a large number of people to a new service (over 40,000 subscribers!), it is inevitable that I would lose some along the way.  I am still in the process of moving the list but I anticipated from the start that I would lose as many as 80% of my subscribers BUT, (and this is the thing you might think is weird!), I am totally happy with that.

WHY?

Let me explain…

Well there are several reasons:

1.  I started building this newsletter list in 2001 so many of the emails held on the list are several years old.  I am sure that several thousand addresses are ‘old’ and no longer checked by the original user.  How many of you have the same email address that you had 5 years ago?  I can only estimate how many such addresses I have in my list but for the sake of putting a figure on it, let’s say 15% of addresses are out of date.

2.  As I have already stated above, I know that thousands of people were not receiving the newsletter because of the filtering policies of their ISP.  I know this because I have had emails on a regular basis from people that have subscribed but never actually got the newsletters.  I know I had sent them, they just weren’t getting through.  Also, since asking everyone to re-confirm their subscription, several people have emailed to say that they have received the new ‘confirmation’ email despite not having had a newsletter for months.  Again, I can only really estimate this figure but based on the information I have, I reckon that as many as 60% of the emails sent could fall into this category.

3.  For a variety of other reasons, I know that a large percentage of newsletters sent are never read.  For some time now I have been publishing the newsletter as a web page so I know exactly how many emails I have sent out and how many people have gone on to read the newsletter.  Let’s say that 10% of emails sent don’t get read for ‘other reasons’.

Based on the figures above, 85% of previous newsletters were either not getting to the intended recipient or were not being read when they did get there.  This estimate is supported by the number of web page views each newsletter was getting.

So you can begin to see why I was pretty relaxed about reducing my subscriber list by so many names – there is really no point in sending emails to so many people if such a high percentage are not even receiving/reading them. 

Basically I have ‘trimmed the fat’ from my list and now have a smaller (though there are still several thousand of you!) but far more up to date group of subscribers that I know are interested in what I write about and that can actually receive the newsletters when I send them.

Finally, many of you have emailed to ask which company I am now using to send the newsletter and so for anyone else that is wondering, it is Aweber.  You can visit their site at the link below.

A valuable lesson…

As my longer-term readers will know, I have always recommended ‘spreading the risk’ as far as online business is concerned.  For example, it is far better to have ten websites producnig $1000 of income a month each than it is to have one website producing $10,000.  This is common sense but sometimes it takes a real world example to make people sit up and take notice… so here is such an example:

Last month, Google decided to drop one of my websites out of it’s index.  I don’t mean it shoved it down the rankings, I mean it kicked it right out – the site in question no longer exists in Google’s eyes.

Unfortunately, the site was receiving about 1500 visitors a day from Google and was generating several thousand dollars a month in income (as it had been doing for several years).  That traffic and the income disappeared over night – gone, quite possibly, forever.

Now whilst this is highly inconvenient, it isn’t the end of the world because this wasn’t the only website that I owned – far from it.  But imagine for a moment if it had of been my only site and that in less than 24 hours, 80% of my income had just vanished. 

Now imagine that it wasn’t my income that had disappeared but yours…

Now you can see exactly why you need to spread the risk and why one online business isn’t enough…

So what have I got planned for 2006?

Well the truth is, I don’t know…

It is fair to say that in the past, I knew in January what I wanted to achieve by the end of the year.  In previous years I have spent time planning in December (since this is a quiet month for me) but this year is different.  In fact, I spent a lot of time in December looking at ‘offline’ businesses as I was beginning to think that maybe it was time for a change and that ‘there was something better’ out there.

In the end however, I was reminded just how hard it is to make a large income offline and in contrast, how much easier it is to earn the same amount of money online.  Now, please don’t misread that sentence – I am not saying that it is easy to make money online – it isn’t, it takes a lot of hard work BUT in my opinion, it is a lot easier to make serious money online than it is offline.

So back to my plans (or lack of them) for 2006.  There are two problems with working online as I see it:

1.  New ideas come at you every single day from many different directions.  This is great but there simply isn’t enough time to deal with all of them and what often happens is that you end up moving from one idea to the next without actually getting anywhere.

2.  When you do have some success and end up with a website (or three) that is generating an almost fully automated income, it makes you lazy – especially if you were a bit lazy to begin with!

I think the second of these reasons is why I will never become a multi-millionaire.  I simply don’t have the drive – as long as I have enough money to enjoy a reasonably comfortable lifestyle, that’s all I want.  I would rather have time off than even more money.  There is nothing wrong with that off course and everyone is different but I think it is important for you to work out exactly what you want.  Do you want more money than you know what to do with (and the 100 hour working week that goes with it) or would you prefer a nice six figure income working just an hour or two a day?

Personally, I like the second option but then as I say, I am lazy 🙂

So does that mean that I won’t be doing anything in 2006?  Hehe, no not at all and I do have a few ideas up my sleeve – I just haven’t decided which ones to work on yet.

Watch this space as they say!