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Your Side Hustle NEEDS an Email List (5 Reasons WHY)

No matter what your side hustle is, it can benefit from an email list. Whether you walk dogs, run a subscription business, tutor, flip thrift store items, or design logos, an email list can be an asset to your freelance business. But let’s make one distinction. We’re not talking about buying a list, but building one through online traffic.

1. Your List Wants What You Offer

When someone signs up to your list, they are saying “Yes, I’m interested in what you do, and you can send me emails about it.” That’s amazing. It’s like an invitation to start a conversation. And you can use this in a variety of ways. Let’s think about the example of a dog walker. Now, you might not be sending promotional emails to people across the country, but an email list is a great way to keep in touch with your local clients. You can give updates on your schedule and stay in their minds even when you’re not actively working together. You could also start a blog and focus on using dog-related keywords local to your area. When someone visits your site, they’ll have the chance to join your list and become another potential client. One cool thing about the pet-services industry is that marketing emails are opened more often than any other industry. 

The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google search results AND on a non-existent mailing list. #SideHustle #Email #MailingList Share on X

2. You Can Talk Directly to Your Audience

An email is a direct form of communication. Over 3.5 billion people use email, with one billion active users on Gmail alone. That means half of the whole world uses email. When you send an email, even a bulk one to a list, it’s going to an individual. And that individual can reply and talk directly to you. People can go days without checking social media, but they’re much more likely to be checking their email on a daily basis. And when you pair that with regularly updated content, it’s a recipe for success. A quick email to your list has the potential to generate fresh interest for each product or service you offer.

3. An Email List Builds Loyal Clients

If your emails are focused on providing value to your list, you’ll be rewarded with loyal clients. Once people know you’re not just sending them product ads all the time, they’ll trust you and look forward to the content you create. The people on your list have the potential to be “super-fans.” These are customers who will buy anything you offer because they like you, first and foremost. 

4. Making an Email List is Cheap 

Running a side hustle is supposed to make money, not cost money. The good news is that starting an email list is cheap. True, you can spend a lot of money if you want, but it doesn’t have to be that way. All you really need is a website with a list sign-up, a business email account, and an email marketing service. You can get a site an email account for around $10-30/month, and you can run basic email campaigns in MailChimp’s free version.


If you have a product or service that people really resonate with, you can turn an email list into a huge opportunity. That’s what founders Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief did with Morning Brew. It started as a campus newsletter for their college. They had noticed that fellow students all felt they had to read The Wall Street Journal to keep up with business news, but didn’t have the time. Morning Brew was created to bring a fresh tone to dry news, and it started with just local subscribers in 2014. Today, they have over 1 million. Morning Brew is free and doesn’t sell anything directly to its audience. The email list is monetized by providing ad space to other companies and generated $3 million in revenue in 2018. This is just one example of the huge potential of growing an audience who’s interested in what you’re doing. 


So now you know you need a list. Now let’s talk about what you need to have a successful email list. 

An Opt-in Form

An opt-in form collects information from your prospect and is where they give you permission to contact them. It’s crucial that you have the permission of everyone on your list to send correspondence. If you don’t, you can get into legal issues. An opt-in form for an email list should require the minimum amount of work for the prospect. For example, you don’t need to ask for someone’s physical address or even last name. The easier you make signing up, the better potential your list has at growing. 

Regular Content

Your list should be made of people who are interested in what you offer or do. For that to happen, you need to create content that your audience enjoys or finds useful, and you should create it regularly. No one likes to get emails over and over about the same services or items for sale without new content to see. Try to come up with a monthly schedule of content and stick to it, that way you can always send updates to your list about something interesting and new. 

If you’re not the best at creating your own content, that’s ok. Instead of writing your own content all the time, you can write summaries of other content sources that your list would like and send them links to that. Even though you’re sending people away from your site, they’ll appreciate being a part of your curated content list and be more receptive to your promotional emails. 

A Lead-magnet

A lead magnet is anything of value that’s given to your prospect for free as an incentive to sign up. Ebooks, free web seminars, reports, and gated content are all popular forms of lead magnets. These examples are digital and are easy to create. Let’s take the example of a dog-walking freelance business again. If you have knowledge about a certain aspect of dog care, you can turn that into a PDF and use it as a lead magnet. If you don’t have expert knowledge, you could even hire someone to write your lead magnet content for you. 

Gated content is when you have an area of your website that’s only available to subscribers. This works well if you create a lot of content that people want or find useful. You can write teaser articles about a certain topic and then tell your visitors that they can read more if they subscribe to your list. Growing an email list takes time, but it has the potential to sustain your business unlike anything else. 

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