“How to XYZ – Even With No List” – Gimme a Break.

Don’t mind me, I’m just going to hop up on my little soapbox for just a couple of minutes here. But I hope it helps you!

I wanted to talk for a minute about my most-despised Internet marketing… uh… let’s call it a “truth stretcher.”

I wanted to talk about it because believing this myth that is touted again and again and again is going to keep you stuck in your business. It is going to cost you money. It is going to make you believe you aren’t capable of getting clients on the Internet.

It might even make you feel like a loser or a failure. I know those are brutally harsh words but I wanted to share them with you because clients come to me all the time saying just that. It’s awful.

You are not a loser or a failure for believing this myth. If you’ve fallen for it, it’s because the experts made a pretty darn compelling argument about why you should believe it. Why it will make your life easier and better and you’ll have a 5- or 6-figure webinar launch because of it.

They tell you this myth to get you to buy their stuff. That’s the truth.

I don’t know if anything makes me angrier than this when it comes to Internet marketing, honestly. Because it’s not fair to you. It sets you up for failure, not success.

Here it is:

(Sign up for my free masterclass, “The Only 3 Digital Tools You Need to Build Your List & Get Clients from the Internet.” No need to overcomplicate things.)

Getting Clients Online Myth: You Can Fill Your Programs/Products/Services Even If You Don’t Have a List!

Really? Can you? Then how come small business owners with no list try to launch things online and then they fail? Is it because they just suck? They’re just stupid?


It’s because it’s really, really, really hard to get clients and sell your stuff online if you don’t have an email list.

There. That’s the unvarnished truth. Sorry fellow Internet marketers who’ve been peddling this nonsense.

Alright, let me get a little more specific. It is technically true that you don’t need an email list to make money online. That part is true. But here is what’s not true:

It’s okay if nobody sees your stuff. ← Not true

Here’s the thing. When we’re watching somebody’s webinar about their awesome product or program, sometimes they say “and best of all this works even if you don’t have a big email list!”

And then what happens is we think, “Wow, really? That’s awesome. I’m just getting started and I don’t have an email list. So I can succeed even though I’m just new and don’t have a list? Great! What a relief! Sign me up!”

And then what happens is the whole thing is positioned to us as though it’s okay if you don’t have a list because people are going to somehow just find your programs or products online anyway.

If you want people to buy your stuff, people have to be able to find your stuff.

So sure, you don’t need an email list. But (and this is a big “but”) – if you don’t don’t have an email list, what are you going to do instead? How are you going to get your stuff in front of other people’s eyeballs?

Well, a lot of Internet marketers have come up with solutions to that. But the logic is still flawed in a lot of cases. There are 2 main issues here that I’m talking about:

*** Myth: You can fill your program/challenge/webinar/course just by promoting your stuff on social media. Truth: If your social media following is also small (this is normal and common if you are just starting out!) you can’t just keep pitching to the people who’ve followed you with your offer and expect them to share it with the world and/or buy it themselves. People don’t go on social media to be sold to.

*** Myth: You can fill your program/challenge/webinar/course using Facebook Ads. Truth: Facebook Ads are super badass, but they don’t work as well on cold traffic, which is just another way of saying that if people haven’t already visited your website or joined your email list or engaged with you on social media, Facebook Ads are less likely to be a slam dunk for you.

In other words, if people don’t know you already, Facebook Ads tend not to work as well. If you do decide to go this route, chances are high you would have to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get the number of people you’re hoping to get.

So this is where the real problem lies. If you don’t have an email list, that’s okay (we all start somewhere!). But you do need people to talk to. You do need people to make offers to. You need to find a way to get your stuff out there in a way that doesn’t rely on your email list or your small social media following or expensive Facebook Ads.

Okay, Kathryn, you’ve thoroughly depressed me. What do I do instead?

Fear not, intrepid online entrepreneur! 😉 I’m glad you asked. There are 5 things you can do to get traction with your online stuff when you’re just getting started so that you can bring in money quickly:

1. Speak. Find places to do speaking gigs. Facebook Lives count. You need to get out there in front of people. Speaking is a great way to do that and opportunities abound in virtually every industry.

2. Leverage your existing relationships. Sometimes we call this joint venturing or affiliate marketing. Basically the idea is, who do you know that DOES have a list? Who do you know that has an audience that is a match for what you do that would be willing to put you in front of their people? This one can be tricky because you yourself can’t reciprocate because you don’t have a large list (yet!).

No worries, just get creative. What can you offer people of value in exchange for an introduction to their audience? You only need a handful of these relationships to really start gaining traction. Don’t be shy about asking people to help spread the word.

3. Get active in social media groups where your prospects gather. The key here is to come from a place of generosity, helpfulness, and problem-solving. When you have permission to share your thing, go ahead and share it. But don’t be slimy about it – give first.

4. Start getting out there. Don’t hide behind your computer. Stop yourself – I know this is tough – from constantly tweaking and re-tweaking your content because you don’t think you’re “ready yet.” Start building daily “getting out there time” into your schedule. I promise you’re ready with what you have and nothing bad will happen if you allow yourself to finally get visible.

5. Run Facebook Ads. Wait, what? Yeah. I actually love Facebook Ads. Here’s the thing though: you need to manage your expectations. You probably can’t fill your whole program with just Facebook Ads but it will almost certainly help, and at this point every bit counts.

I’ll say it again: The important thing here is to manage your expectations. The other thing that’s pretty darn crappy about the whole “have a 5-figure launch even with no list” half-truth is that when we get more like 3 figures (or zero figures – yes, it has happened to me too), we think we’ve failed.

But you haven’t failed. You just need to keep going.

Do you think the people who are trying to sell you on the whole “get rich with webinars even with no list” thing knocked it out of the park right away? Of course not. You’re not being fair to yourself if you compare your just-getting-started accomplishments with someone else’s I’ve-been-at-this-for-20-years accomplishments.

Look, you may not have the 5-figure launch you were promised. You will probably feel both let down AND disappointed in yourself. I have been there. That’s normal. But did you get 1 or 2 clients when you were hoping for 20? That’s okay! That’s cause to celebrate!!!!!! Look at all those exclamation points!!!! That’s how serious I am!!!!!!!

The key is to use your micro-successes as stepping stones to larger ones.

One client of mine got 2 people the first time she launched a small group program. She was sad but she still did it. Then the second time she ran the same program, guess what? She got 5 people. Again, not a 5-figure launch. But real, tangible, incremental success that she can build on.

And then there is one other VERY IMPORTANT THING you have to do while you are having these micro-successes.

(Can you guess what it is?)




Build your email list.

Build it!

It’s okay to start small. Everyone at some point had a list of only 4 people, where 1 was your mom and the other 3 were you and two of your old email addresses from college.

But here’s what’s great: The more you build your list, the easier this is all going to get. The closer you will get to being able to realistically have a 5-figure launch. Believe in yourself. Be patient with yourself. Hang in there! You are getting there! You are doing great!

If you want help understanding how to build a list the easiest possible way, check out my free masterclass, “The Only 3 Digital Tools You Need to Build Your List & Get Clients from the Internet.” No need to overcomplicate things.

I really hope you’ve found this post helpful. If you have, please do 2 things for me: (1) leave a comment below and (2) share this post with 1 or 2 people you think would really benefit. Thank you!

I appreciate you,



  1. Natalie

    Phew. Preach.

  2. Ann Gathings

    Kathryn, thank you for sharing such great wisdom for those of us just getting started!

  3. Christine Rosas

    OMG! Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve fallen for and bought into a few programs promising the 5-figure launch, only to realize I needed to spend thousands on FB ads to make their system work.

    I appreciate you reminding us to celebrate the small things. And also reminding us that everyone starts somewhere and to not give up.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *