If you’re anything like me, when you first decided you wanted to start your own online business you began learning as much as you could about how to do it.
You probably started reading everything you came across that was in any way related to starting and running a business using the internet. And you also probably ended up subscribing to a bunch of different newsletters.
This is completely normal.
When you’ve never done something before, of course you need to learn how to do it! In fact, if you take a look at this article by Abby Kerr, The 5 Phases of Microbusiness Brand Development, you’ll see that the first two phases are very much characterized by learning from and imitating others who are already doing what you want to do.
But eventually there comes a time where you need to focus on your own business.
And when you reach that point, all those newsletters you subscribed to can start to hold you back instead of help you.
The time you spend reading those newsletters is time you could be spending working on your own business. Even if it only takes you 5 minutes to read each one, if you’re subscribed to a dozen newsletters, that’s an hour of your time each week. And let’s be honest, it often takes much more than 5 minutes. Especially if they include links to their latest blog posts or other things they think you might want to check out.
You also risk unconsciously imitating the people you want to be like or not being able to come up with your own ideas because you’re constantly reading other people’s stuff. You may end up throwing away perfectly good blog post ideas because “[person you admire] already wrote about that and there’s no way I could write something as good as they did!” You might even be afraid to try something because no one else seems to be doing it and so you (possibly falsely) assume that means it’s not a good idea.
None of those things help you build your business.
I know how hard it can be to click “unsubscribe”. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. You still value what they have to say. You don’t want to miss anything important.
I’m not saying you have to unsubscribe from anything. It’s totally up to you. If someone is sharing valuable information and you want to stay in the loop, by all means, stay subscribed!
What I’m trying to say is that unsubscribing can be an act of love.
Specially self love, because it gives you time and space to focus on your business.
But it can also be an act of love for the people you are unsubscribing from.
Most people have newsletters because it’s the best way to stay in contact with current, past, and potential clients and customers. And most people hope that the people on their list will eventually buy something from them. (Or buy again/buy something else.) After all, it costs money to have a mailing list. (Even the free services start charging when you reach a certain number of people.) So if you signed up for someone’s list just to get a free thing, or to show your support, or stay updated on what they’re doing, but you don’t plan on buying anytime soon (or at all), unsubscribing could be a loving thing to do.
And you don’t have to be on someone’s list to buy from them.
Anyway, like I said before I’m not telling you to unsubscribe from anything. It’s your choice whether or not to be on someone’s list. But if you find yourself spending more time reading other people’s newsletters and blog posts than working on your own business, or feel like you’re pushing away ideas because someone else has already done them or because no one has done them, unsubscribing is something you may want to consider.
In the comments, I’d love to hear if you’ve reached the unsubscribe point in your business, and what you decided or are deciding to do.
I’d also like to know how you feel about people who are not going to buy anytime soon unsubscribing from your list.
I’d rather have a small list of people who really want to hear from me and are actually considering buying my products and services, than a giant list of people who only signed up to get some free ebook or something and really aren’t interested in anything else I’m doing, but feel like it’s rude to unsubscribe right after downloading the free thing. (And it is rude. You should give them a chance for a few weeks at least. But if you’ve been on their list for a few months and still don’t enjoy receiving their emails, then why are you still on their list?)
Not everyone feels this way of course, and that’s why I’m asking you to (respectfully!) share your thoughts in the comments.