Great advice for anyone setting up a new email newsletter list from the folks over at MailChimp :

Bottom line: make sure people are legitimately signed up to your list. You can’t just throw a bunch of email addresses on your list and hope people will be so happy to get your email.

Send all your friends/family/co-workers a quick email with a link to subscribe to your mailing list along with a short list of benefits so they they will know why they want to subscribe to your mailing list, like this one below for my Lemon Productions newsletter:





Sign up for a Lemon of a Newsletter
* indicates required



A podcast that’s about 17 episodes old that small business owners (virtual or real) may find interesting is one from Cliff Ravenscraft’s GSPN.TV network called The Virtual Assistant Podcast.

virtualassistant

I’ve listened to most of the episodes thus far and have found it to be an interesting window into the world of virtual assistants. I had no idea what was involved in hiring and using a virtual assistant, other than the stereotypical view of outsourcing some part of your business to someone in a foreign country for a much lower wage. And while that’s certainly part of what virtual assistants can be, there’s also a bunch of virtual assistant companies based out of North America including Contemporary VA who sponsor The Virtual Assistant Podcast.

Definitely something to consider, particularly if you’ve got a lot of repetitive tasks or things in your business that you don’t enjoy doing and could easily hand off to an assistant.

Recommended Episode

Episode 4: Interview with Heather from Contemporary VA

Izzy Video is a video podcast that teaches you all about how to shoot, edit and produce video on a Mac using Final Cut Studio. Awhile ago he turned it, and a few other podcasts he produces, into his full time gig.

He does this by charging a membership fee in order to get access to all the episodes, both upcoming and the episodes in the archives. Once every 4 episodes (approximately) he gives away an episode for free. This allows people to check out the videos as well as keeps his podcast feed higher up in the iTunes ranking since people are still able to get worthwhile content out of it.

He has recently started a new podcast, Foolish Adventure, where he and a cohost (Tim Conley) will explore the details and options available to someone interested in starting an Internet based business.

They hope to be able to keep it free, but judging by Izzy’s other podcasts, it’s certainly possible that he’ll change it to a free/paid model at some point in the future.

Link

Check out The Foolish Adventure on iTunes.

John Gruber (Daring Fireball) and Jim Coudal (The Deck Ad Network & Coudal.com) gave a great talk at South by Southwest 2010 titled “Online Advertising: Losing the Race to the Bottom” in which they spoke about what methods they have used to generate income from their online efforts.

Download or listen to the file here.

John is a full time blogger who writes primarily about Apple and related technological topics. He’s tried a variety of advertising and membership methods and finally settled on two methods of income for his blog:

1) A sponsored RSS feed with a mention at the beginning and end of a week, currently priced at $5,000/week:

2) And a single Deck Network ad on the side of the site:

Both methods, which John talks about in the audio linked above, allow John to maintain complete control over what is on his website while still maintaining a bit of distance from the advertisers who use The Deck Network. Everything is written in John’s own voice and regular readers of his blog will know that he certainly doesn’t hold back his opinions, even if there’s an Adobe advertisement sitting in the ad block.

To me the great thing about both John Gruber & Jim Coudal’s points in the talk is that while numbers do matter and they do help you establish a baseline – writing or creating great content is what will win out in the end. Let the advertisers worry about the numbers, sell throughs and click-ons and impressions – create the content you want to create and let the rest of it sort itself out.