How I Made 5K in One Month with 6 Newsletter Subscribers

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(The title of this post makes me feel like a douche already so bear with me.)

Evolve & Succeed went live in November 2013. I launched a newbie service for $75 (for a month of work) for five people (and only had 1 subscriber). It sold out in a week.

In February 2014 I launched a two day elite service for $1200 and sold 4 of them within two weeks.

I had 6 newsletter subscribers.

What happened:

* I invested in Michelle Ward’s coaching to help me get my career figured out and off the ground. By working with someone further ahead of me I had support from a higher level pulling me upward.

* I wrote an excellent sales page. It made the investment of $1200 seem low in comparison to what they got. (The client usually made this back within the first month of working with me.)

* I had consult calls and then rewrote the service into a custom proposal for each one.

* It was a limited service. I only offered 5 spots.

* It’s hard to work on your own marketing (it requires unbiased perspective) so my clients were thrilled by my work and talked about it.

* Word of mouth was strong.  My clients passed on the rave reviews to other business owners and that’s how I booked out the additional spots.

As you can see my newsletter numbers had no impact on how much I made. Word of mouth is the strongest and most compelling form of marketing.

I’m pleased to say that my clients from that service are still seeing positive growth and sales in their businesses. They still refer to the plans I made them, and are using our work together as the foundation for their marketing and product/service creation.

So don’t let your newsletter or social media numbers stop you. They didn’t stop me.

Update: people wanted to read the original sales page, but it’s been trashed so here’s the earliest version I can find. 

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  • Thank you, so much for sharing this! I launched in April 2013 but had to put my business on hold a few months later and have been nervous ever since because I feel like I lost my readership. This was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you!

    Lesley Stefanski
    Reply
    • I know what you mean! I went traveling for two months (after one month of being in business full-time) and it was nerve-racking. Keep doing great work and you’ll see the results.

      Halley Gray
      Reply
  • This is really great to hear! A vast majority of the time, you hear that subscriber numbers is best! And I remember when an entrepreneur I follow requested that anyone who wanted to interview her have a certain number of people on their list (the number was high). And I know that there are entrepreneurs who have it broken down to a science (ie: having a certain number of subscribers + your package = how many spots you can expect to fill).

    So basically, there’s a lot of information out there that says that having a lot of subscribers it key to the survival of your business. Which makes sense. But I think having an engaged community and the ability to sell what you’re trying to offer is also really important too. You just have to get really good at figuring out how what you’re doing is – or can – help others and really offer something of value. Which isn’t something that honestly everyone is doing. They just want to sell something, and make money.

    Tatiana
    Reply
    • Totally agree with your point about ‘engaged community’. I think the trend is going towards smaller numbers that have higher engagement in online business, and it makes sense.
      Yeah. Money as the end goal is a tough one. We all want things money can buy, but at what cost?
      Super insightful, Tatiana. Thank you for adding dimension to this post. 🙂

      Halley Gray
      Reply
  • Love this. Everyone says “the money’s in the list”. And although I’m a HUGE believer that lists are important- and growing them should be a priority….the size of it should not be something we dwell on. You can sell stuff to a list of any size- and you can sell stuff without a list at all. I think you show this perfectly with your example!

    Leah
    Reply
    • Agreed. I know that if you’re selling scalable products bigger lists help, but to sell services it’s not the determining factor.

      Halley Gray
      Reply
  • This is really encouraging! I’m always inspired when I read stories like this, as it once again confirms you don’t need to have ‘huge’ lists to make money. Did those sales come solely from your newsletter subscribers?

    Temmy
    Reply
    • Hey! Nope. They came primarily from my existing social connections, social media pimping and word of mouth referrals. I used the newsletter subscriber numbers to show that you don’t need a big list to succeed (and illustrate how fresh my biz was).

      Halley Gray
      Reply
  • Well, I needed this today. Mostly because I have exactly zero subscribers and am stressing over launching an opt-in freebie in the next few days. Nice to know that I can take a breath and not lean so much on its immediate success. 🙂

    Amy Chick
    Reply
    • Yeah, Amy. Don’t stress it. You have plenty of social influence outside of a newsletter – use that instead.

      Halley Gray
      Reply
  • You rock Halley! A perfect example of resourcefulness- no ‘build it and they will come’ attitude, but instead doing what you can with what you’ve got. Entrepreneurship (and marketing) at it’s best 🙂

    Rebecca
    Reply
    • Thanks Rebecca! That makes my heart happy to hear.
      I believe in the Darwin approach to marketing – make it work right now. 🙂

      Halley Gray
      Reply
  • I really appreciate your disclaimer about the post title! hahah 🙂

    I am also encouraged to hear that big subscriber lists are not the only way to get things going. I feel like I have a steep hill to climb once I get my new packages officially launched and figure out the mailing list thing.

    Carrie
    Reply
    • Services don’t seem to need big lists but products definitely benefit form a wider audience.

      (I needed that disclaimer for my soul. 🙂 )

      Halley Gray
      Reply
  • You totally inspired me! I’ve been coaching creatives for 16 yrs. the last year I’ve been relooking at all the other possibilities I can offer and this simple direct and kick ass approach rocks! I love your energy!

    RaShelle
    Reply
  • That whole idea of needing 30k subscribers to make a dime just bugs me to death … I’ve been in business for years and I can assure you that I have WAY less ha. I’m all about just being me and just showing up, and the referrals come in.

    Nikole Gipps
    Reply
  • Congrats on your successes Halley! I love what you’ve been able to do, and I totally agree that word of mouth is key to getting your business off the ground and beyond. 🙂

    As a huge advocate of the power of building an email list, I need to mention the distinction here: when you’re first starting your business and offering 1-1 services your list isn’t that important because you can fill your spots like you demonstrated.

    But as you business continues to grow, and you reach a cap in your income and ability to work with 1-1 clients… then the idea of having more leveraged offerings like group programs and products becomes important, and that’s where having a list comes in handy.

    I’ve been able to transition from a very 1-1 service based business doing web design to consulting and then products because I always focused on building my list.

    With all that being said, you shouldn’t let a small list stop you from kicking butt in your business and helping a ton of people in the process! But don’t ignore list building, because it’s how your business will be able to scale one day very soon. 🙂

    Nathalie Lussier
    Reply
    • I totally agree, Nathalie! The larger the list the easier it is to scale up and sell more products and group programs.

      I’m taking your list-building course so look forward to learning more from you. 🙂

      Halley Gray
      Reply
  • Bree-lliant. You rule so much at this.

    Nat, Website Superhero
    Reply
  • Awesome, Halley. Thank you for being open and giving us such an honest look into your business growth. It’s refreshing to see!

    That must have been one helluva sales page. Do you still have it on the site? I would love to read it.

    Thanks, gorgeous!

    S. M. Boyce
    Reply
  • I love this immensely. I currently do not have a newsletter but I want to grow. So far, 99% of my work has been by referral, which is awesome! I keep chipping away at the newsletter launching thing and kicking myself for not getting it done sooner, and this post is great evidence that earning more isn’t always about having a list. So thanks!

    Erica
    Reply
    • Erica, so glad! Referral/word-of-mouth is super strong (online and off) so keep nurturing those contacts. You can totally earn without a newsletter (but eventually you will need to grow it) don’t let that stop you.

      Halley Gray
      Reply
  • Thanks for sharing Halley! I’ll be honest, I clicked the post because of the “The title of this post makes me feel like douche already so bear with me.” comment. I immediately had a connection to you when you said that!

    I love that we can find success no matter what the list size. Also, it really helps that you list the steps you took and that you sought help when you knew you could benefit from it – coaching with Michelle. Thanks again!!

    Dominique Anders
    Reply
    • Hahaha, I’m so glad that resonated, you’re my sort of people.

      So true! So glad you stopped in and enjoyed the post.

      Halley Gray
      Reply

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