The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships. The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships. I’m going to say it one more time, and I want you to write it down- the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships.

Now, what do I mean by that? Well, we’ve all been in crappy relationships. And do you know how that affected your life? We’ve all been in crappy work environments and we know how that affected your energy and your ability to produce. We’ve all had bad teachers, and we know how that’s affected your ability to learn, to grow.

And we’ve been in great relationships and we know how we flower and blossom. We’ve been in great relationships where we get unexpected benefits. We’ve been in great relationships where we feel seen and heard and acknowledged, where we feel safe and excited. And then we laugh a lot.

So, how do you improve the quality of relationships? How do you have more relationships, particularly now when we’re so isolated?

You need a list. A list gives you resources. Everything good comes through other people- job opportunities come through. Other people, friends come through. Other people, relationships come through. Other people, money comes from other people.

Clients come from other people. God comes to us from other people. And the thing is, you can’t wait until you’re in crisis to build a list. You need to build a list ahead of time. You need to build your community ahead of time. You need to invest in your relationships ahead of time.

You want to attract people who are into your work, but you also want to attract people who are just interested in your work. They may not want to buy something, but they’re on the same path as you. They’re committed to some of the same principles as you are. They’re in your tribe, they share your values. They might not be good clients, but they might know other people who are.

Maybe you don’t want to sell anything, but you want to have some community around the stuff you do. Maybe you want a list of moms who quilt. Maybe you want a list to help your PTA, to help your school board. Maybe you want a list to help your place of worship, your church or your synagogue.

Maybe there’s a bookstore, a theater company or an arts organization that you want to help support. Maybe you have a cause you want to help- clean up the beach or keep the trail clean- whatever it is you’re into.

You want to connect with other people who love what you love. And the way to do that is with email. I’m going to make this super simple, since there’s a billion ways to market. If you’re going to pick one way (and you should start with one way) email is it.

And here’s why- it’s incredibly cheap. It can be free, but you’re better off with a paid service. Even if you just start with MailChimp, fine- it’s super effective. The ROI on email is still like $44 dollars for every $1 you invest. For every $1 that any industry invests in email marketing, they get $44 back. That’s a crazy ROI.

The reason it needs to be an email list is because you need to own the list. People tell me, Oh, I’ve got this big Facebook group. Great. But if Facebook goes down, which it has, and probably will again, you have no way of reaching those people. Oh, I’ve got a million podcast listeners. Well, that’s great. But again, you can’t reach them. You can’t make them do anything. You can’t. They’re just listening passively. They’re not engaged with you. Emails = engagement. That’s what emails are about is engagement, right? It’s a dialogue. It’s a conversation.

You might have that feeling of, well, I don’t want to bother people. I don’t want to pester people. Well, of course you don’t, you’re a polite person and you have a sense of boundaries. That’s good. That’s important. But, the magic of email is that you cannot bother people. It’s impossible. They are 100% in charge.

They opt in. They choose when to look at their email. They choose what to open, what to click, what to read, what to unsubscribe, what to share, what to forward, what to write back. They are 100% in control of that process. There’s no other marketing tool in the world where the consumer is a hundred percent in control of the process.

I can’t control what ads come up on the TV or who’s sponsoring the podcast I like, or what billboards I see. But the email, I 100% control that process. So, it’s impossible to bother people. And if you are sharing cool content, people are going to be glad to hear from you.