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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 has been when I had to email a music composer A.R.Rahman, someone whom I adored and respected.
Did my email go through?
Back in 2004, with no access to computer and internet, I had to mail him from an internet cafe desktop computer.
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 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 get 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?
And that was the first time I truly valued the power of being honest in the way you communicate. I’m glad I chose to be candid and vulnerable than trying to make up things to increase the chances of getting a reply.
The times when an email affected me
Here are some exciting email communications I had over the last decade that has positively impacted me –
- I email Rahman and get a chance to meet him and work for him later on.
- I reply to Bejoy Nambiar ‘s email letting him know I’m interested in working for his short film.
- I email one of the biggest influencers after learning they use one of my products I launched in my online business.
- I get my first work order through email for sound and music design service for a gaming company.
- I get an email to meet and then mentor a CEO and Founder of a startup company.
- Every week I get an email from people who share their life and career struggles. I get to learn from them and help them out in their journey in becoming better.
- I mentored my sister by sending her emails that guided her through her tough times.
- I got my first job interview scheduled after I applied through email.
I feel good sharing these simple yet easily forgotten moments that have guided us so far in life. There are many more, but for now, I’ll stop here and let you now get the best of emailing someone.
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!
It would help if you cared to value this medium of email communication. Consider it to be the key that lets people know 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.
Till date, I’m the same as I was when I sent out the email to Rahman. I empathise and be kind whenever I reply.
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 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, Moosend, 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 triggered a lot of thoughts, and I was able to recollect a few crucial moments of my email grind. I complied scattered thoughts and pieced it into this post that you just read.