Who else gets an almost violent reaction to being bombarded with emails from certain professionals?

Yes, you could unsubscribe, but there is usually some topic they cover that is of interest. Unfortunately, there is also a deluge of other stuff that is seemingly unrelated…

I’m going to call it email carpet-bombing because that’s what it feels like.

The usual perpetrators are people with online businesses selling infocrap or pimping ill-chosen joint venture (JV) partners’ launches. Sometimes more is just more – and definitely not better.

For the record, a JV partner who serves the same target market and provides something complementary could be fine. The business owner needs to choose JV partners wisely. And also not work with too many or they’ll be at carpet-bombing status in no time.

All of this got me thinking about things many small business owners could do better, including:

Respecting subscribers

Your subscriber has trusted you with their email and given you permission to send them messages. It’s not a small thing. Give this agreement the respect it deserves. Provide valuable content, be of service, and then ask subscribers to buy or promote something of yours.

It’s fine to make an offer occasionally. The subscriber should expect that. But not in every email and not multiple times a day with spamy subject lines.

Once you have helped your subscriber, they may be very willing to help you or buy something.

Honoring appointments

If you booked time on someone’s calendar, do the right thing and show up on time. Also, respect the amount of time someone has offered. A 15-20 minute chat shouldn’t go for an hour.

What’s even worse is saying toward the end of an appointment that you want to respect that person’s time and then blathering on for another 15 minutes.

In short, be a professional and do what you said you were going to do.

Making appropriate asks

Michael Port often says that you need to make requests that are proportionate to the amount of trust you have built over time.

If you are just meeting someone or doing a cold outreach, don’t ask for coffee or lunch immediately. Instead, ask for a short 15-minute phone chat and see if you have a connection.

If you do, over time you can build a relationship that could lead to a bigger ask when it’s appropriate.


A client who spent a lot of time in sales always tells me that you have two ears and one mouth and you should listen twice as much as you speak. This seems like good advice for business (and personal) relationships.

In addition to not bulldozing over someone who is talking, make sure you are actually listening to what the other person is saying, and not simply thinking about what you’re going to say next.

I realize that much of this may seem like common sense, but common sense simply isn’t that common anymore.

Please take a look at your business tactics and make sure you aren’t doing any of these really annoying things.

And, set (and keep!) boundaries so that people don’t do these things to you.