For years, I have used a strategy that has both improved my quality of life and generated a large amount of income.
The strategy has never cost me a single dollar, and I enjoy executing it.
Its not complicated, and it is something anyone can do.
What is this strategy you ask?
I keep a list of people I like.
What is a 'list of people I like'?
Its just about as straight forward as it sounds.
On my computer (specifically on a Google doc), I keep a list of people that I like.
These may be friends from various periods of my life,.
These may be business relationships or coworkers.
These may be loose acquaintances that intreigued me.
There is no specific criteria as to who makes it on the list except one simple thing.
I must like them
In my early years, I had a list that was focused exclusively around business relationships.
The list was beneficial, and it occasionally brought me work but I felt like a sleaze bag every time I contacted the list.
The list wasn't people that I actually cared about, the list was only people who I thought could hire me or provide additional income.
Eventually, I killed my business list and built a new one focused around only people I like.
While this sounds sleazy at first, it is actually the most genuine way to build a contact database. By keeping a criteria focused around people that you like, you are building a network of good people around you.
Surround yourself by good people and good things will happen
Why keep a 'list of people I like'?
- It's too hard to remember everyone - No matter how hard we try, we will forget people. Even some of the most influential people or best of friends can slip our minds.
"There is no doubt that one of the most important factors in anyone's success is the people they know and the degree to which those people are kept in touch with. You need to regularly communicate with your network of friends, prospects, clients, mentors and so on if you plan on keeping them in your life. Without a list or database of these people to refer to, it becomes harder to keep track." - Alex Mathers of Red Lemon Club
There is simply too much going on to try and keep track of everyone you encounter mentally.
When you write their name down on a list, you are noting them and saying to yourself that they are someone worth staying in touch with in the future.
- You will become the guy that stays in touch
How many people have you fallen out of touch with over the course of your life? Old high school friends, college roommates, once great friends.
A lot of times we blame ourselves for this, but in reality staying in touch is a two way street.
Someone has to make the contact to stay in touch with each other, and if no party does then relationships slowly drift away.
When you keep a list, you are reminding yourself to stay in touch with people who are important to you, people who you care to talk to again someday.
Most people will never reach out, they will forget. So you take the action and you stay in touch.
- Staying in touch with people you like will grow your income and provide opportunities
An inevitable side benefit of keeping your list is growing your income and new opportunities.
I can't even begin to count the times that a simple "how are you doing?" e-mail turned into a paid project, a collaboration or an introduction to someone new.
It is never my intention when I reach out, but it is a bi-product of staying in touch with people and staying top of mind.
Sometimes, these connections come from the absolute most random of connections that I never expected to turn into paid work.
A best friend from high school turns into a paid client.
A old college friend refers me to a dream client.
An old business acquaintance reaches out in need of my expertise.
And the best thing about these projects…
All of the projects are working with people I like
How to build and maintain your list
If you don't have a list yet, don't worry.
Just get out a simple excel spreadsheet and start entering in names.
Start by first writing the names of anyone that comes to mind.
Then start thinking about friends you want to stay in touch.
Then start thinking about business relationships.
Think about past employers.
Think about college or high school.
Think about organizations or activities that you were once involved in.
Think of people you met out at live events or conferences.
Think about people that you respect and admire their work or career.
Think about anyone that you like, and add them to the list.
Brainstorm everyone you can, and don't worry because you will surely forget tons of people.
That is why it is important to keep this list somewhere you can access it all of the time.
I use a simple Gmail plug-in called Streak which allows this list to live right in my inbox.
But for years prior I kept a simple Google Doc shortcut in my toolbar that I could click to at anytime.
Whenever I remember someone that isn't on the list, I add them to the list.
Whenever I meet someone new that I like. I add them to the list.
Staying in touch with your list of people you like
Keeping a list is step 1, but a list is pointless unless you stay in touch with them.
Every week, I have a calendar reminder to e-mail at least 5 people off my list. I do this every Wednesday.
Some weeks, I get in a rhythm and I may send out 20 e-mails. It all depends how busy I am and how social I am feeling that week.
Some contacts I may only e-mail once every year or two, but that one e-mail is often enough to keep the relationship going.
What to say to your list of people you like?
This list isn't just a bunch of arbitrary names, so don't treat them poorly with canned e-mails.
These are real people that you have taken interest in.
Send a personal message, even if it is just a sentence or two to check-in. Don't overthink it and just be your honest and genuine self.
If you don't know what to say, then chances are you don't really care to get back in touch with this person right now.
In that case, pass on them for now and move on to someone else. Don't try to force contacting people on your list.
The bottom line
Don't be the guy that falls out of touch.
Build a list of people you like and stay in touch with them.
It will improve the quality of your relationships and generate opportunities you never imagined.
It doesn't cost anything but a small investment of time and it is one of the most effective marketing strategies that you can implement.