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Entrepreneur Office Hours: Issue #200
Celebrating a milestone
This is Issue #200! I feel like I only just started EOH a couple months ago, but, clearly, that’s not the case. Instead, I just looked at the date of the first issue and discovered it was October 9, 2020. Three years… yikes!
On my end, it’s been three great years of learning. I hope all of you have learned a lot, too.
With that in mind, I want to use this space in today’s issue to discuss one of my most important entrepreneurial learnings. Specifically, in the three years I’ve been writing this newsletter, I’ve learned that having an audience on social media is one of the most valuable assets an entrepreneur can have.
For example… this newsletter, along with my Medium, TikTok(s), Instagram, and LinkedIn have all become a huge part of my professional life. They’ve landed me on the Today Show, gotten me featured in WIRED, and even gotten me a shoutout in Cosmopolitan. That publicity has been a springboard to tons of other entrepreneurial and professional opportunities, and none of them would have been possible without learning how to create content and build audiences on social media.
Social media content has become so valuable to my entrepreneurial and professional journeys that I’ve started advising every entrepreneur to build audiences of their own. Of course, when I make that suggestion, they all want to know how to do it, and I didn’t always have a great answer.
I’m finally going to change that…
After lots of years and lots of requests to do this, I’m launching my first online class. It’s my 7 Day LinkedIn Accelerator, and it’s focused on helping professionals learn to grow and monetize LinkedIn.
For what it’s worth, this is all part of a bigger project called Audience Acceleration Labs, and I’m hoping to roll out a number of other courses over the next few months designed to help entrepreneurs like all of you get audiences for the incredible startups you’re building.
I hope you’ll check out the first course. As an EOH reader, there’s even a 50% discount code you can use: OFFICEHOURS.
Again —I can’t emphasize this enough—the SINGLE… MOST… IMPORTANT… THING entrepreneurs can do to help ensure their success is build an online audience.
I realize that might seem weird, especially because I suspect most of you reading this skew slightly older (no offense intended!). But it’s time to understand that content creation on social media isn’t just a thing Gen Z-ers do. It’s how to reach people in 2023, which is an absolutely crucial skill for entrepreneurs. Plus, using social media to reach people is only going to become more important in the coming decades.
Are you ready to leverage the most powerful entrepreneurial strategy in history?
And learning to structure your fundraising pitch around this one question is the key to raising capital.
Raising venture capital gets easier when you understand what VCs prioritize. It’s probably not what you think.
Office Hours Q&A
Imagine if this were a five page email. Would you even bother to read it?
That’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in this EOH Q&A!
I need to teach an important lesson about emailing people. But I also realize what I’m about to write could appear ungrateful, entitled, or otherwise shallow, so I want to start by explaining my purpose for writing this message.
Simply put, being able to send great emails is a critical skill for every entrepreneur. As a result, as someone who teaches entrepreneurship, when I receive bad emails from entrepreneurs, I feel like I’m doing people a disservice if I don’t mention the problems with their emails and suggest ways of improving.
For what it’s worth, I do this exact thing to all my students. When my students send problematic emails, I make them aware of the problem(s) so they can learn and improve.
In that spirit, I’m going to use this space to identify a problematic emailing trend I’ve been encountering the past few weeks. Increasingly, I’ve been receiving emails that are wayyyyyyy too long. As-in emails that, if they were pulled out of Gmail and moved into Word, they’d be around five pages. In fact, I received three 5-ish page emails from readers this week alone.
To be clear, I am enormously thankful for every reader email. I realize how lucky I am to get them, I do my best to answer, and always feel free to reach out whenever you’d like. But don’t send five page emails. You just can’t!
I don’t mean you can’t send five page emails to me personally. I mean you can’t run around sending five page emails to anyone and expect good results because that’s not the purpose of sending emails.
Email isn’t a medium meant for long explanations. Email is a medium for informing or scheduling. That’s it!
In other words, if you have something complex to explain, don’t try to explain it in an email. That’s how you wind up sending mini novellas rather than actionable emails your recipients will read and respond to in productive ways.
Again, I’m not sharing this advice because I’m personally annoyed after receiving a few long emails. I’m sharing this advice because it will help the entrepreneurs reading this newsletter.
Trust me… I get why you’re sending long emails explaining every detail about your startup. I remember making that mistake when I was a young entrepreneur.
Specifically, hoping to get investor meetings, I’d send VCs super-long emails covering every significant detail about my company. In my mind, as a relatively recent college graduate, I believe they’d want to invest because I was demonstrating how smart and thoughtful I was in my emails.
Unfortunately, the opposite was true. My long emails were demonstrating that I knew nothing about sales and customer acquisition because, if I couldn’t send a good email to an investor, how was I going to send good emails when trying to get customers (and, of course, that’s what really matters).
But the worst part was that nobody ever bothered to tell me how much of an idiot I was being. All I needed was for one VC to write me back and say:
“Listen, kid… you can’t send five page emails. Nobody will read them. Instead, send an email with one important thing about your startup and a request to talk more. That’s it.”
Even though nobody would say it to me, I’m now officially telling all of you. If you want to meet with someone, don’t send long emails. Send concise emails, include one compelling fact about your startup, and ask to talk more. That’s the secret to getting more meetings with an email.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!