As a business owner, rather than an employee or freelancer, one of the things you do is build value for your customers and for yourself. That’s really pretty cool if you think about it – you’re putting new value into the world as a result of what you are creating.

You started your business for lots of reasons, I know, but for most of us, those reasons boil down to wanting to live the life of your dreams (whatever that is to you) while still being able to pay for a roof over your head and a few tacos.

You must be providing value to your customers, or you wouldn’t be able to keep doing what you’re doing. Are you building value for yourself though? for your own business? If you don’t, you’re just an employee with lots of short term jobs. Lots of people, including myself, have started here – all your time is spent creating for other people.

One thing has really become clear to me recently – if you don’t start creating value for your own business, you’ll never reach that lifestyle you’re dreaming about. You may call yourself a freelancer or contractor, but you’ll stay an employee who has to scramble for the next job over and over and over.

Business Assets

In pretty simple terms, a business asset is something that your business owns that makes you money. One of the most valuable things that you can have is a list of email addresses from people who are interested in hearing what you have to say. It’s an audience, but it’s more than that. With a list of addresses, you can do research, test products, make sales, and understand your market.

Is Building an Email List Worth the Effort?

My position is, of course it is!

Right now, as of the writing of this, my list of email addresses is small. I’m changing some things up, and will be more engaged with my list. I’m going to start offering more valuable things to folks on my list so that I can get feedback on what I create. Naturally, I’ve been thinking about the work I have to do to make this happen. And for a bit, I wondered if it would be worth the effort. Here’s what I thought about:

You Own An Email List

I think this one is the biggie. If I build a list of email addresses, those belong to the businesses, not to Facebook or Twitter. I can download those email addresses and contact them one by one if I want to. I can move them to a new software platform.

Social media followers, on the other hand, are owned by the platform you’re on. I do think social media has a place, don’t get me wrong. But, it’s secondary to items your business owns, like your website, your blog, and your email list.

Folks on Your Email List Put Themselves There!

The people that sign up for your email list want to be there. Today, people know you’re going to send them emails about your business, and they know how to get off your list when they don’t want to be there. This group already knows you and likes you enough to agree to hear more from you. You’ll get a much better response from a group like this than a Facebook audience you put together for your ads (unless you use your list!).

You Can Tap Into This List for Information

Who doesn’t want to give their opinion about something??? You can send surveys to your group, or simply ask a question. You can ask for feedback on test products or articles. It’s the perfect feedback channel because these are the people you want to reach. If you hear that they don’t like a product, you can bet that the rest of your target market won’t like it either, and you can fix issues before a giant launch.

You can use the list to help you build your list! If you ask them where they hang out online, it’s likely other that hang out in the same places will like you too.

You Can Sell to These People!

They’ve given you permission to talk with them about the issues they’re facing. They want to hear about the solutions you’ve come up with. You can launch products to this group, promote existing products, and ask what they want to buy. And, you can put offers in front of them when you need some quick cash in your business.

Build a Relationship with the People on Your List

You can really get to know the people on your email address list which can build an immense amount of trust. You do this by providing value to them. If you remember that email marketing is a two-way street, you’ll be WAY ahead of the businesses you’re competing against. Balance your requests (for sales, for info, for help) with giving. Make people excited to open your emails. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just useful.

Email is a cheap way to communicate and just about everyone who would buy from an online business uses it. People still check their email more than their social media. If you build a little trust, your emails can be the ones people are checking for and looking forward to.

Next Steps

Start taking your email list seriously. It’s an asset that will help you move from having a job to having a business. And that’s how you start living the life you want.