An email made my career.
Not only did it open up new possibilities, but it also gave me the confidence to be myself.
My relationship with email has been a fantastic one.
One of the highlights of my email journey was when I had to email music composer A.R.Rahman, someone I adored and respected.
Did my email go through?
Back in 2004, with no access to a computer and internet, I had to mail him from a desktop computer at a local internet cafe.
I tried to email him thrice, and all three times the email confirmation page went blank.
The email didn’t even show up in sent items. Writing it over and over again had drained me out.
I was upset and clouded with thoughts –
“Why isn’t my email going through?”
“Maybe it’s my fate.”
“What if the email id is wrong?”
“Maybe the computer had some virus?”
Email got delivered
Lying down on the bed in Chennai’s sultry heat; I started reading something aimlessly to kill the disappointment of the email not going through. Hours passed, and I got this text message from the very same music composer saying he read my email and would love to meet.
I was happy that my email got delivered.
What was my email about?
The email I sent was my entire fanboy story of how I started to listen to his music. I also shared the struggles I had to go through to move to his city, hoping to meet him someday.
A few days later, I met him.
A few months later, I even got to work with him.
This experience also set the stage for my career as a film music composer.
The positive impact of an email
Now 17 years later I think – if I had not sent that email, would I be here? Could I have ever met my dream composer and spent that quality time sharing every little story of mine?
For the first time, I realized the power of communicating honestly. I’m glad I chose to be candid and vulnerable than trying to make up things to increase the chances of getting a reply. Being yourself might make you look foolish, but it'll pay off in the long run.
The times when an email changed my life
Here are some exciting email communications I had over the last decade that has positively impacted me –
As a result of my email, Rahman offers me the opportunity to meet him and later be hired as a sound engineer.
I reply to Bejoy Nambiar ‘s email letting him know I’m interested in working for his short film. That led me to work on film scores.
One of the biggest influencers in the industry emailed me after finding out that they have used one of the products I launched for my online business.
I was emailed by a video game company for the design of sound and music for a video game.
I get an email to meet and then mentor a CEO and Founder of a startup company.
I receive emails, every week, from people who seek to share their life and career struggles. They allow me to learn from them and help them along the way to becoming a better person.
My sister and I helped each other pull through difficult times by sending each other email messages.
After applying via email, I got my first job interview scheduled.
It feels good to share these simple yet significant moments that have guided me so far in life. There is much more, but for now, I will stop here and encourage you to email someone to open a new world of possibilities.
A good email earns a new opportunity
Today most of the emails I get are templates and impersonal.
They lack genuineness and simplicity. Right from the subject line to the message, the emails scream for attention. Every email demands something in return; none of them offers anything.
Consider the use of this email communication medium to be the key to revealing your true self.
Opportunities come knocking on your door when you are your best self. Age, gender, place, time and medium does not matter! What matters is your genuity and purity.
Whenever I respond, I sympathise and be kind just like I did when I sent Rahman an email.
How an email can transform your life
Follow these simple guidelines to make your emails. For this example, let’s assume you are emailing someone you want to meet.
Add value when emailing. Share how that person’s teachings/content/work has helped you make progress.
Avoid asking for favours in your emails, especially in your first email.
Be candid when you share your story.
Don’t follow templates. They are useful in giving you an idea but avoid copy-pasting them in your emails.
Avoid being too formal. Write in a tone like how you will speak if that person were in front of you.
Don’t try to fit in. This mindset attracts failure. Don’t try to be someone else to please and fit in, hoping to get a favourable reply. Be yourself. Come to terms with who you are, and share your story as is.
There are many articles on email etiquette and do’s and don’ts. I did not follow any of them; I just followed my heart. And I encourage you too to do the same.
In all the examples I shared above, I wrote from scratch with absolutely zero expectations and benchmarks. I made quite a few mistakes. I learned from them and got better over the years. You can do it too.
The email tools I use
For those interested to know, I use Gmail business for all my official communication. I’ve plugged Gmail to Spark on my MacBook that neatly categorises my most important emails.
When it comes to sharing my insights and wisdom newsletter and interacting with my subscribers, I choose Convertkit. I love the speed and minimalist approach to getting emails done.
For my businesses, I use email marketing tools Mailerlite, Mailshake, Gmass.
How Jason Fried inspired me to write this post
This post was initially an invite request email to Jason Fried’s email tool Hey.com.
This email prompted a lot of questions about my emailing journey, and I recollected a couple of key moments. I compiled scattered thoughts and pieced it into this post that you just read.
Do you have an emailing story to share ?
Let me know your relationship with emails and emailing someone.
Continue the conversation here