Why I’m NOT Building An Email List

Why I'm not building an email list.

Hey, gang! We’re back from Cuba and came home to more winter. Good one, Canada! I was planning to share some details about our trip to Cuba this week but I happened to come back to thousands of unread emails. Literally. Thousands. One of the great things about Cuba is that the only place we could get wifi was in the lobby for 6 CUC/hour. Aside from being too cheap for that nonsense, I didn’t think I could safely manage emails, the blogs, and all things internet while supervising the boys who like to run wild in public places so we had an incredible internet and email break for the last week.

I thought that would be hard….the whole internet break and being disconnected thing. You know what’s hard? Getting back on the computer and managing all that email stuff along with everything else that comes with blogging and unpacking from a trip. So hard that I haven’t been able to write about the awesomeness that was Cuba.

However, now that I’m back, I’m struggling to keep up, once again. My tan is fading and my blood pressure is rising as I spend more hours than I want to think about deleting and unsubscribing from email lists. Many of which I’m pretty sure I had already unsubscribed from. (Finally figured out which link parties are adding me automatically and without consent to their email lists…won’t be visiting those any longer.)

What I’ve really been struggling with are the number of emails encouraging me to sign up for courses and webinars to build my email list. Again, several of those were from folks that I had previously unsubscribed from but I’m working on that.

Maybe I just don’t get the whole build your email list thing because I don’t have anything to sell, nor do I have anything to share on this site that I’m not already sharing. So why would I create a newsletter or email updates that go beyond you being notified that I wrote something new here on the blog? I mean, what would I even talk about outside regular posts? My runny nose? The lamp the boys broke yesterday? How I made PB&J for dinner three times this week? That’s what blog posts are for, aren’t they? Besides, I already overshare all of that truly fascinating stuff about our fun and fabulous life on Facebook.

I’m grateful that people like what I write enough to sign up to be notified when the next post comes out. That is pretty darn cool. It’s like making new friends who want to hang out again after the buzz wears off. So I’m not about to be the new friend that stalks you by calling, emailing, and texting you all day to see if you like what I do next and by the way…Want to buy something? My new product? Take my new course? See what I’m up to on Pinterest? Follow me on all of my social media sites? Ummm….no.

Truthfully, every time I read that I’m supposed to create and sell you guys some sort of workshop or course, I pretty much snort with laughter and fall off the sofa. You know…that pretty sofa with the blueberry jam stains that I spend most of my day on.

Blogging has changed so much in the past four years that I feel like I’m drowning sometimes. I started blogging to share my hobbies and projects with others and hopefully inspire people to try DIYing things. Most of the other bloggers back then were doing the same thing and it was an exciting time to be a blogger. I don’t feel that way anymore. Mostly, I’m overwhelmed by this giant marketing machine that has taken over the blog world where bloggers are suddenly experts in everything they do.

I’m not an expert at much of anything, except maybe wearing yoga pants for weeks on end without doing any sort of exercise, and I’m not going to pretend that I am. I like to paint things, I have an eye for design, I like to be creative, and sometimes I cook things. Occasionally I write or rant about blogging. If things work out, I share that. If they don’t, I’ll probably share that, too. You know…keeping it real and all. What exactly would I be making a workshop about? In this age of non-stop marketing and the push of being the biggest and best of the bloggers, being experts about everything we do, I freely admit that I’m just bouncing along, doing my thing, and mostly I’m just surprised when things turn out well and get to share something new with you guys.

Following the advice of the “top bloggers” and the 22,362 blogging books and articles I’ve read and the courses I’ve signed up for, I added the “Hello Bar” so you can sign up to read new posts as they get published. I did my best to make it as unobtrusive as possible and not to turn it into an annoying pop-up. But I couldn’t follow their urging that I use your email addresses for a newsletter, to sell you stuff, and to send you all sorts of other emails that you didn’t ask for. I’m glad you signed up to be notified when my posts go live. That means you like what I wrote. So I’m not going to abuse that email trust by sending you things you didn’t sign on for. Not that it’s abuse when others do it….it just feels yukky and a bit slimy to me.  I just have this idea that you’re here because you like the idea I had and the post I wrote. You didn’t give me your email address to get anything other than that and I’m not going to be part of your already overloaded life.

Why I'm not building my email list.

Must dash. So many things to accomplish today. Gotta put away my soapbox, delete my emails, re-wash the moldy smelling laundry I left in the machine before our trip, and make peanut butter sandwiches for our gourmet dinner. I’ll be sure to take lots of photos and notes. You know…for the newsletter and all. Or that course I’ll be selling for $297 on how to be a homemaking superstar 😉



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  1. Thank you very much, Jenna for not having one of those blogs where you get greeted with a “sign-up pop-up”. It’s so super annoying. I follow blogs via Bloglovin’ and don’t want my inbox be filled with newsletters and blogposts. Life is too short to waist it with deleting emails. I have better things to do for sure. It amazes me that this newsletter thing doesn’t seem to annoy more people. You are one of a few pleasant exceptions among the “business-bloggers”.

  2. Thanks for the positive feedback, Julia. I was worried about offending other bloggers but I felt this was worth sharing. Plus, I have literally spent days and days deleting and unsubscribing from emails that just won’t seem to go away. While I’d love to be a “business blogger”, I simply can’t bombard people like that. Either you like the blog or you don’t. It’s all good. This is probably why I’m not terribly successful at turning the blog into a business lol

  3. I’m another blogger and I am NOT offended, your post caught my eye on the Lou Lou girls linkup. It’s funny because building an email list has been the one thing I have been dragging my feet with! I just don’t have motivation to do. And also I have nothing to sell. LOL. And I can’t imagine creating anything to sell. *sigh* So it’s nice to read your perspective. Ps. Nothing wrong with PBJ!

  4. Hi Jenna! I found you over on Titus 2 Tuesdays. Your post title was so intriguing. I had no idea why someone would not want to be build an email list. Well, now I know and I actually love your perspective. I don’t have an email list because, well, I just don’t. I love the simplicity you referenced in the earlier days of blogging. You just make me feel so normal. Thanks for sharing this unique perspective. I like you already. :o)


  5. Hi Jenna! I have to say that I agree with you on this one. I have taken blogging classes and webinars, etc and I know the email list is THE best thing to have IF you have a product to sell. After all, people who actually subscribe have shown interest and are potential customers (vs a cold list of emails).

    I still think it’s a valuable tool if you are selling. There are something like 300 million blogs out there and many more readers of blogs, so if you manage to capture 1,000, 10,000 or even more? A clever email campaign to promote your product is super targeted and will most likely yield results.

    But now that I’ve taken the classes on how to run one of those campaigns and the language that should be used (create scarcity, create pressure with a deadline, etc etc), it’s funny how many people are using the technique (it must work!). It’s hard for me now that I know what goes on behind the scenes LOL

    Plus, emails are watered down because we all subscribe to so many.

    I tried to start a list, but I, like you, don’t have anything to sell! And I feel silly doing it otherwise. I can barely get a blog post out per week, much less a monthly newsletter.

    That is my very long winded way of saying that I am very selective with my subscriptions. And if I try someone on for size and then never read it, I make sure to unsubscribe so I don’t have a clogged email box.

    I think lists can be effective and lucrative in the right situation, but I don’t think every blogger shoud feel the pressure to do it themselves.

    I’m stopping by from #waywow…I’m going to take a look around 🙂 thanks!–kristiina

  6. I see all of the advantages of having an email list (I actually just paid for one of those fun courses on growing your list 😉 ) but I completely get the annoying part… do I need 12 million emails a day letting me know about this new product or that one? No. If I want to buy something I’ll ask someone I trust for a personal recommendation! Haha. Have you tried unroll me? It’s an unsubscribing website that’s pretty darn awesome.. it goes through your email and lists all of the blogs and programs you’re subscribed to. Then you can unsubscribe with a simple push of a button. I think I unsubscribed from over a hundred emails in like 5 minutes. It’s pretty cool! Also thanks for sharing over at Welcome Home Wednesdays… we love having you!

  7. LOL! You are the funniest! I love emails from blogging friends. I hate junk mail! If I read your blog already I don’t just want to get an email every time you post, I would like a weekly wrap up, or something special though. My email list gets into the VIP Lounge, there are special tutorials there, someday those tutorials will be fleshed out and put in an ebook, but for now, for my bestest tribe they are free. That’s a perk that I would sign up for. So I offer it. I also am close to my email list, I write the m a weekly letter about things that are nearest and dearest to me, things not on the blog. I’m not shooting for thousands of subscribers, I’m shooting to get really close to those who do sign up though. They get my deepest thoughts and dreams and ideas. So, I love my email list and I would love to belong to anyone’s list that does the same.

    I guess I agree and disagree. LOL How’s that for an opinion! LOL

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