Ignoring the key elements of something is a sure recipe for... something you wouldn’t want to eat. 


The Suitcase Entrepreneur’s day 15 Blog Challenge question: “How are you building your email list?” 

My glib answer: I’m not. Yay! I’m done, woooo!!!! that was easy I’m going to the beach... wait... (keeps reading the challenge) ...what’s this?

The Suitcase Entrepreneur: “Top Tip: If you’re not at this stage you can instead choose to answer what the purpose of your email/ newsletter would be, how often you’d like to send it and the type of content and value you would provide to readers. In fact this is good to include in your blog response regardless!”


When I started Life Athletics, I’d heard that it was important to have a mailing list and so I made the site require a login that you could get for free by signing up for my list. 

I was very happy with myself and people did indeed sign up, but at that point I really had no idea what to do with the list I was building. I was like a large puppy that chases a rabbits and eventually catches one and has no idea what to do with it at this point. My dog did this... it was mostly terrible as the bunny was hurt and Caspian (his name was Caspian) looked ashamed and I was left trying to figure out what to do with the dying bunny he’d dropped at my feet. 

With such a lovely metaphor running through my mind I quickly stopped collecting e-mails, and stopped mailing to my list and haven’t done anything like that since. 

For a long time my concern was that I didn’t want to pester people. 

I sign up for e-mails and see them come in and think “that’s something valuable that I should read but I don’t have the time” and then I feel guilty for not opening them. Unsubscribing feels rude and so I rarely do that either.  Not wanting to put my readers through that sort of dilemma, I just stopped. 

Flashing forward to now I realize that it’s silly to feel like I’d be bothering people to send them a newsletter that they asked for and that they’re perfectly capable to stop asking for it if they’d like. 

A mailing list would be a great way to start people on their way to Life Athleticism. Discussing each training area and how I approach it and how you can craft a program it to fit the life you want is something best kept for people who ask for it. Until someone’s ready to ask for that kind of content, they’re usually not ready to follow it. 

I could see the mailing list being used for a combination of things. First, it’d be a way to reach the readers who had bought into the concept and who were hungry for more. 

It would also be a way to test the concept. Natalie Sisson, the Suitcase Entrepreneur, gives the example of how she developed one of her products through a program she built in through a mailing campaign. The Life Athletics website and book could be crafted to truly serve the community of Life Athletes if it were built in conjunction with the feedback they were giving. 

More and more, people are reacting to discussions about the future of Life Athletics by telling me that they want to use the system I’ve described immediately and then telling me the best way to tailor it to them. On a larger scale this would be quite useful. 

What’s amazing about this is that the “list” is a key element to blogging. Everyone talks about it, Natalie calls it “non-negotiable” and yet I’ve slacked on it completely. 

Again, this is one of the things that led me to starting Life Athletics. I’d see people slack on key elements of areas where I knew what I was doing and then I started to see that I was doing the same in areas where I was not strong. 

The new Life Athletics site will be designed around the idea that if you do the key actions necessary for success in the various areas of life, you’ll have success. You don’t even have to know why they work, taking the steps is often all that matters. It’s like Yoga... what gives you more benefit? Knowing why it works, or doing it? 

So, I will set up a system to start collecting e-mail addresses and I will give people a compelling reason to sign up and then I’ll focus on delivering solid content. I’ll worry about understanding why it’s such a valuable tool later.