Last Month’s Earnings


The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 0608: What Should I Do When My Competitor Joins My Email List?

AP 0608: What Should I Do When My Competitor Joins My Email List?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 608 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: What’s up everybody? Pat Flynn and welcome to Episode 608 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.

Now, before we get to that, I do want to thank today’s sponsor, which is Fresh Books is an awesome company that helps us manage our business finances. They help me. They serve over three million other small businesses. They make it really easy to keep track of your finances. But not only that, if you do any invoicing, if you have any clients or students, or you do any consultations with any other businesses, and you want to get paid, and you bill them, there’s no better way to do it than with FreshBooks because they make it easy on both sides of the equation. If you want to check out FreshBooks for free, head on over to and enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. Again, that’s You’ll get a 30-day free trial from there.

Okay, so here’s today’s question from Sarah from the UK, here we go.

Sarah: Hi Pat. I hope you can help me with a question about my newsletters and my email list. I’ve been reading with interest the really helpful information you’ve had in your recent newsletters. My question really is about my subscribers. I’ve noticed lately that a couple of people who are, or who could be considered to be, my competitors, have signed up for my email list, which is cool because I sign up to other people’s list to see what they’re talking about and what they’re reading, I was just wondering what to do with them.

Is there a way that I can use this information to my advantage, or would you recommend maybe deleting them from my subscriber list? Have you experienced this? How do you deal with people that sign up to your list for information that they can, maybe, use for themselves? Great stuff what you’re doing, and I love listening to you on your podcast and your blog is really helpful to me. Thanks for that. I’m Sarah and I am from Thank you. Bye.

Pat Flynn: Okay. Sarah, awesome question. I’m actually doing this live on Periscope right now. I’ve got a couple hundred people in the room with me. They’re really interested in hearing this answer too. For those of you who aren’t following me on Periscope yet, @patflynn is my handle there, and I do this every once in a while. If you want to get in these shows earlier than normal sometimes, head on over there. A little plug for my Periscope peeps there and my Periscope account.

Sarah, great question. What do you do when your competitors sign up for your email list? What do I do? I don’t care for me. This is me in particular, and I’m telling you why I don’t care. I don’t care because I want them to see what I’m doing. I want them to be scared about the stuff that I’m coming out with so that they’ll just be like, “Oh my gosh, Pat’s doing this amazing stuff,” and maybe they’ll have to try harder.

My purpose in what I do is serving my audience, and I love the competitiveness in this space, and really, to be honest, I really don’t feel like a lot of the people out there are competitors. A lot of us who are in this space as influencers, we all share a lot of the same people in our audiences. We have a lot of the same people on our email list. We have a lot of the same people who subscribe and listen to our podcast, for example, and to me, a lot of those people, they’re not necessarily competitors.

I see them as potential partnership opportunities. I see them as people who can help me. I see them as people who, if I provide value to them, they’ll provide value back to me. In this sense, and for me and what I do, I don’t see them as competitors, and I welcome them to come on my email list. So, if you’re listening to this and you’re “a competitor” of mine, come join the list in any way you want, because I’d love to have you. I love sharing my stuff. That’s the Pat Flynn way. You know, I’m very transparent, very open about that, which is cool, but in some cases, I can definitely see it being a risk, I guess you could say, if somebody was to join your list and they’re kind of in there as a spy, if you will.

If I was Tesla, I wouldn’t want Nissan Leaf coming in and checking out all my stuff, although, now that I’m mentioning that, Tesla is also very open with their stuff too, which is maybe why I like them so much. Anyway, probably a terrible example. In your case, and again, it’s on a case by case basis, I could see moments where you might be worried about people on your list and maybe stealing your stuff, trying to get ahead of you on the campaigns that you’re working on and all that sort of stuff.

There’s a couple cool things that I was thinking about doing. Yes, you could delete those people from that email list. The truth is, you’re more than welcome to do that. It’s you’re list. It’s your house. You can kick people out if they’re not welcome. If you see that it’s a competitor and you’re worried about that, that’s totally fine. There’s no rule against deleting your competitors from your email list. They would probably never even know. They would just be like, “Oh, so and so doesn’t actually send out a lot of emails.” When really, they just aren’t on that email list anymore, which is kind of funny.

Here’s another thing that you could do. If you wanted to take this to the next level and you know that these are you competitors out there, you can actually segment them. Let’s say you’re using a tool like ConvertKit, you’d be able to tag them as being a competitor and then maybe there’s a way that you can actually take advantage of that, asking them certain questions that only they will see. Maybe, getting responses from them just to know what they feel on the other side.

I don’t know any specific examples off the top of my head, but it’d be really interesting to have a list of competitors that you know are following you, to see what’s up. Maybe there’s a way that you could, I don’t know, I don’t want to say give them false information to kind of lead them in different direction, but maybe just not reveal, or maybe just, when you send out stuff that you know you don’t want your competitors to see, just use those tags to not send them the those things.

Maybe there’s some things that you’re comfortable in sending to everybody, in which case, they’re more than welcome to see it, but if you want to sort of subtract those particular people, or that particular group, from seeing certain things, maybe some stuff that you’d be revealing behind the scenes, or stuff that’s coming up that you would rather not have competitors see, you can just subtract them from that list, and ConvertKit allows you to do that really easily. You could send to any sort of group of people that you segment on your list and also subtract, or not send, to certain groups of people on your list too, so that might be funny and kind of interesting.

For those of you on Periscope, give me your thoughts. What do you think? I’ll mention some people really quick if I can here on the show.

I’ve got Melanie Ward here.

Coach Glitter, “Non-friendly competitors are not using their real emails to opt in.”

That’s also very true, Coach Glitter. Tiffany is awesome. She’s given me some cool tips on how to better use Periscope, actually, so follow her @CoachGlitter on Twitter and on Periscope, too.

But, yeah, you’re right. I think if a competitor is really, truly trying to steal your stuff, they would hopefully be smart enough not to use their real email address. Again, this is an interesting question, but I wouldn’t let it worry you too much. That’s the other thing. A lot of us try to come up with these things that we get scared of sometimes just to, for whatever reason, stop us from doing what we should be doing, and there’s a lot more important things to think about, Sarah, quite honestly.

I don’t know why my Periscope is blinking right now, but it is, which maybe signifies the end of this particular episode, because I think I’ve said all I needed to say, so thank you again Sarah for your question. I really appreciate it. We’re going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show, and I want to thank those of you who ask the questions, because you’re what makes this show possible, and I appreciate you for that.

Keep asking your questions. Head on over to and ask right on that page. Thank you so much. As always, I love to end with a quote. Before that, I do want to give a thanks again one more time to FreshBooks. If you want to check it out for thirty days for free, head on over to and make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.

Then, finally, here’s a quote, a short, but sweet one by somebody who’s awesome. That’s Michael Jordan. He said this quote “Earn your leadership everyday.” That’s it, but that’s awesome. Thanks so much. I appreciate you, and I look forward to serving you in the next episode of AskPat. Thanks guys. Bye.

Let's figure out what works!

Join 150,000+ active members in the SPI community

Email address required
No thanks, I'll pass for now :)
  1. 1. Free Stuff

    You'll get instant access to free resources, including my most popular book, Ebooks the Smart Way! (Downloaded over 125,000 times!)

  2. 2. Content Tailored to You

    Over time, I'll get to learn more about you and deliver content that actually matters.

  3. 3. No Hype

    Just real content that's meant to make a difference.