Ep.11 – Surf Coast Podcast: Season 2 Recap & Jess’s Revenge

Ep.11 of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast is now live! Tune in for a sit-down chat with your hosts Ben & Jess. 

We ticked over 10 episodes for Season 2 of the podcast last week, so we thought it was time we did a short recap. 

Surf Coast podcast recap with your hosts Ben & Jess.
Surf Coast podcast recap of Season 2 with Ben & Jess.

Find out the “7 Things We Learnt During Season 2” plus more heartbreak for myself and Jess and news regarding the future of the podcast.

We finish on a positive note with an exciting update regarding our NEW co-working space in partnership with the Workers Hut in Torquay. 

In the meantime, here’s some stats we cover in the pod:

  • Nearly 2,000 downloads after 10 episodes vs 4,000 at Season 2 end
  • From 0 to 250 subscribers at end of season 2
  • 600 Followers on Instagram vs 1,220 now
  • Almost 300 followers on Facebook vs 400 followers now
  • All organic growth with no paid ads or advertising

And here’s a short summary of what we learnt during Season 2.

7 Things We Learnt Season 2

  1. You’ll find the time – If it matters to you will find the time, whether it be when your bubba is having a nap or in the early hours of the morning.
  2. Routine is key – A routine is important to help you keep on track and keep you showing up. 80% of success us showing up.
  3. Power of social & marketing – Social media and marketing is a great free tool but it is a chore to most people. The power of good content cannot be denied though.
  4. Highs & lows are a given – Everyone has their highs and lows. Eg. Burglaries and covid, staff issues, crowded homes during the lockdown.
  5. Separate home & business – Having a dedicated space to create. Talk about how we wanted a space to foster creativity and entrepreneurship.
  6. Make new connections – Networking and asking for help is always a great idea. “A problem shared is a problem halved.” Nice one Jess.
  7. Customer is king – Customer service is the number one priority for young movers & shakers not matter where your business is.

Lots of wisdom in that list 🙂

Super excited to announce we’ll be building a new co-working space dedicated to creatives. We’ll be go-for-launch in 2021 so watch this space for more details.  

Surf Coast Podcast Summer Edition

Otherwise, we’re having a little break from the podcast. We’ll be back in the first week of December for the summer edition of the pod and the start of Season 3 from our new home in Baines Crescent, Torquay.

We’ll be active on social in the meantime so keep in touch and keep spreading the word for the Surf Coast Creatives podcast.  

P.S. Let us know if you’re looking to work alongside some awesome people in 2021. You now have the chance to be a part of a new co-working space dedicated to creatives living and working on the Surf Coast.

Send us a DM on social media or or drop us an email:

benh@surfcoastcreatives.com, or 


Ben Hucker is the founder and host of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. He’s a former finance guy who traded Collins St for the Coast 3 years ago now. Tune in for a weekly episode of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. Each episode is packed full of hints and tips on creativity, health, business and mindset.

Ep.10 – Co-Working Space Torquay: Building a Tribe With a Hut & Exciting News

A co-working space in Torquay with a difference!

Ep.10 of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast is now live. Tune in wherever you get your favourite podcasts.

In this episode, we sit down for a chat with founders of the Workers Hut in Torquay, Dave & Rebecca Scott. 

co-working space in Torquay
The magnificant facade of the Workers Hut in Baines Crescent, Torquay.

Dave & Bec open up about their journey since falling in love during their uni days in Melbourne and their current role as custodians of the Workers Hut community.

Dave & Bec started the Workers Hut three and a half years ago. They spotted a need for a high-quality premise for freelancers, solopreneurs and small businesses to work from. 

Tune in to hear the mission behind the Workers Hut. Not only that, tune in to hear about the opportunity to grow alongside your fellow movers and shakers on the Surf Coast. 

A NEW Co-Working Space in Torquay?

We also chat about some exciting news for creatives on the Surf Coast. And we make an important announcement regarding the future of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. 

It’s a ripping episode and we cannot believe we are at the end of Season 2 already!

We’ll be coming to you next week with a special BONUS episode to recap Season 2. We’ll share what we’ve learnt during this season and provide more details about our announcement in this episode.

Feel free to send in any questions you might have with regard to co-working too. Jess & I will answer them on next week’s episode of the pod.

Finally, tune in and leave us a rating on iTunes or your favourite pod platform if you get a chance!

Ben & Jess 🙂

Ben Hucker is the founder and host of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. He’s a former finance guy who traded Collins St for the Coast 3 years ago now. Tune in for a weekly episode of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. Each episode is packed full of hints and tips on creativity, health, business and mindset.

Ep.9 – Surf Coast Illustrator: Moving Far, Far Away from Great Whites

A Surf Coast illustrator who travelled the world for almost 5 years!

We’re very excited to announce Ep.9 of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast is now live.

We sit down for a chat with the founder of March Creative in Torquay, Brittany March.

Britt specialises in commercial design and branding plus illustration in the form of fine art pieces, illustrated wall art, homewares and unique gifts.

Surf Coast Illustrator Brittany March from March Creative.
Meet uber talented designer & illustrator, Brittany March, from March Creative.

This talented artist is a homegrown product of the South Australian coast but now calls the Surf Coast in Victoria home.

A Surf Coast Illustrator & Designer

Britt describes herslf as, “a multidisciplinary creative and ocean enthusiast based on Victoria’s South West Coast.”

Living by the sea has played a huge role in shaping her life. Marine life and the natural world features prominently in her work for this reason.

Britt completed a Bachelors degree in Visual Communication in 2013 and she has worked as a graphic designer and commercial illustrator ever since.

In 2016, she made the move to the Surf Coast from South Australia and fell in love with the tight-knit community. “This place has truly captured my heart and continues to inspire me every day,” said Britt.

In 2019, Britt began to pursue her love of fine art. While she is still passionate about working in the digital realm, she finds creating artwork with traditional mediums highly rewarding.

“I’m thrilled now to work as an artist, illustrator and graphic designer and describe myself as multidisciplinary for this reason.”

Great Whites & Charcoal

The looming shadow of Great White sharks off the coast of South Australia was one of the big reasons for Britt’s change of scenery. 

Brittany March charcoal art illustration.
A small snippet of Brittaby’s incredible depiction of a Great White shark using charcoal.

Tune in to find out how this apex predator both inspires and instills fear into Brit.

We chat all things business, art, mindest and creativity with some timely advice mixed in for budding artists on the Surf Coast and interstate.

Plus, Get yourself a 25% DISCOUNT on Brit’s full range of prints from her online store by using the code CREATIVE25*

Thanks, Britt!

Tune and let us know what you think!

Ben & Jess 🙂

P.S. Watch out for Britt’s upcoming exhibition in January happening at the Eagles Nest Gallery in Airey’s Inlet. We’ll announce this on our social feed closer to the date too.

*Valid for 1 Month from Thursday 29 October 2020.

Ben Hucker is the founder and host of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. He’s a former finance guy who traded Collins St for the Coast 3 years ago now. Tune in for a weekly episode of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. Each episode is packed full of hints and tips on creativity, health, business and mindset.

Ep.8 – Ena Pelly: Carving Out a Niche in a Cut-Throat Industry

Ep.8 of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast is now live.

We sit down for a chat with the founders of high-end women’s fashion label, Ena Pelly. Meet husband & wife duo, Dani & Tim, from Torquay.

A big shout out to Shane Thomson from Jan Juc for recommending this awesome couple.

Dani & Tim are so down to earth. And they lay it all on the table in this episode of the podcast.

Find out how they quit their jobs and went full-time with Ena Pelly. All from their home in Torquay after one of their sales agents told them, “we need to get serious.”

Ena Pelly founders Dani Kelly & Tim Wilkins from Torquay.
Meet Dani Pelly & Tim Wilkins, the founders of Torquay fashion label, Ena Pelly.

Dani & Tim quickly carved out a niche of raving customers before their warehouse in Torquay was broken into by thieves (twice).

They were both shocked to see their laptops had been taken and only a few days later their entire stock of inventory was stolen. All this only a few months into their new venture.

But it’s how they bounced back from this early setback that has really defined the spirit of Ena Pelly. So too the resilience of Dani & Tim.

Ena Pelly Up Close & Personal

We cover so much in this episode from business, relationships, finance, mental health and dealing with the haters. It’s a fascinating insight into the cut-throat industry of high fashion and the new age of sustainability too.

Tune in and let us know what you think with a review on iTunes or your favourite pod platform.

Enjoy 🙂

Ben & Jess

P.S. Use the code BENJESS30 to get yourself 30% OFF any item of clothing from Ena Pelly’s online store. Thanks, Dani & Tim!!

Ben Hucker is the founder and host of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. He’s a former finance guy who traded Collins St for the Coast 3 years ago now. Tune in for a weekly episode of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. Each episode is packed full of hints and tips on creativity, health, business and mindset.

Ep.7 – White In Colour: Can You Be A Working Mum & Artist?

White in Colour goes LIVE!

We’re excited to announce Ep.7 of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast is now streaming.

We sit down for a chat with talented Geelong-based artist Alison White from White In Colour.

Al has featured on the front cover of GT Magazine—such is the quality of her work—not to mention a number of private exhibitions, commissions and now public murals.

Her latest pieces sell like hotcakes via her dedicated website too.

White in Colorur founder Alison White.
Al has now added a podcast to her string of accolades! Tune in to hear her story on Ep.7 of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast.

Al has the unique gift of immense natural talent mixed with great humility. She loves a chat and holds nothing back in this episode that’s for sure!

The Evolution of an Artist

Al creates “original, contemporary, abstract expressionist paintings inspired by nature, colour and flow.”

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Ballarat in 2003.

While her degree allowed her to travel to all corners of the world, its a return to the paintbrush and being a Mum of two boys that is now driving Al to create.

White in Colour Pomonal.
Tune in to hear the story behind this masterpiece that Al painted when camping near the Grampians.

Her artistic streak has rubbed off on her two boys already with her sons Jarrah and Franky joining Al in the studio on a regular basis.

Her partner Joel has even got involved having drawn a carefully curated portrait of Al!

White in Colour Travels

Tune in to hear about Al’s travels through Australia, Canada, Europe & South America and the little known town in Central Victoria that ignited a passion for contemporary abstract work. 

We wrap up with a discussion about Al’s juggling act with family life and artistic endeavours mixed in.

Tune in and let us know what you think.

It’s an episode not to be missed if you’re an aspiring artist wanting to know what steps you need to take next.

Ben & Jess 🙂

P.S. Enter the code FREESHIP to get free shipping on any orders via Al’s website. Just enter the code when you checkout (Limited Stocks).

Ben Hucker is the founder and host of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. He’s a former finance guy who traded Collins St for the Coast 3 years ago now. Tune in for a weekly episode of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. Each episode is packed full of hints and tips on creativity, health, business and mindset.

Ep.6 – Jake Ross Art: Inspired by a Mix of Life & Death

Ep.6 with Jake Ross Art is now ready for download. That means we’re halfway through Season 2 already!

Imagine having Angus Stone, VB and now Justin Bieber among your list of clientele.

That’s a day in the life for this super-talented mural artist, creative director and illustrator.

Jake Ross Art With Style

Jake is known for his characteristic yin-yang style where soft colours encounter dark traditional lines and elements.

His art encourages a “two-way conversation between the artist and the viewer whilst contrasting life and death,” says Jake.

There’s a timeless quality to his playful, quirky yet contemplative work, which is inspired by the Australian mystique, diverse landscape and his undying love for surf culture.

Embracing a multimedia approach, Jake shows he can tell his stories in a variety of mediums from fine brushes to iPads.

Jake has left his mark in large scale murals, skate ramps, exclusive canvas pieces and limited edition prints.

Jake Ross & Angus Stone at skateboard half pipe.
Musician Angus Stone & Jake Ross share a moment after Jake got the call up from Angus to paint his backyard half pipe.

You can find renowned names and notable brands permeating right through Jakes’s portfolio. Jake has also exhibited in California, Melbourne and Sydney.

Surf, Create, Repeat

Jake grew up near Phillip Island and spent a lot of time crossing the bay to surf Bells & Winki. A passion for surfing and fond childhood memories have brought Jake full circle back to the Surf Coast.

We couldn’t wait to chat with him given his popularity and +30,000 brethren of followers on social media.

It’s raw and honest and straight from the gut this episode. We guarantee it. 

Tune in for a chat about all things creativity, mindset, life as an elite athlete, business, Bieber, handling stick from the public and former mates plus much, much more.

NOTE: There’s a bit of language but in a good way. Just be careful if the kidlets are in the car. Enjoy!

Ben Hucker is the founder and host of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. He’s a former finance guy who traded Collins St for the Coast 3 years ago now. Tune in for a weekly episode of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. Each episode is packed full of hints and tips on creativity, health, business and mindset.

3-Days:100 Email Subscribers: The Ultimate List Building Challenge (Day 3)


We’re now into the final 24 hours before our 3-day email list building challenge ends!

In this last set of instructions:

  1. We’ll be sharing a few more steps you can take to add more people to your email list.
  2. We’ll show you how to import your contacts into an email service provider.
  3. We’ll give you text for an email that you can send to your brand new subscribers to help you get more helpful information about your topic or idea.

Before all that, however, Jess & I just wanted to say thanks!

First, to everyone who signed up to this challenge, especially those who pushed hard through those fears that popped up when asking people if they would like to learn more about their topic.

Ben Hucker & Jess Mellington from the Surf Coast Creatives.
Big congrats from Jess & I for pushing through the fear barrier!

Imagine the people you may be able to help or provide service to. Don’t ever let that fear stop you from potentially helping them, because remember—a successful business is one that serves!

Lots of you have already reported collecting dozens and dozens of email addresses by now! There are a number of you who have already surpassed 100 subscribers (congrats!), and several are reporting just a handful of emails so far (congrats to you as well!).

Either way, you should be excited and proud! Real people want to learn more about your topic, and that’s awesome!

Whether you get to 100 or not by the end of this challenge, it doesn’t really matter to be honest. What matters is this:

You are taking action!

That’s more than what 99% of the people who only dream to start something like this someday can say.

And, even if you had only 1 person interested, that single person can be an amazing opportunity for you to learn more about your topic of interest.

You actually have an amazing advantage over those who have 1000s of subscribers because you’re more likely to be able to take the time to have a real, genuine conversation with this person, and understand deep down what their interests, pains and needs might be.

For those who use the steps in this challenge who genuinely try and still get zero subscribers, that’s still a huge step forward!

“But Ben, what do you mean? I’ve failed :(“

I beg to differ. You did not fail, because you tried. You just learned that either:

A) no one is interested in your idea, or

B) you just didn’t ask the right people, yet.

And those are HUGE realizations! Wouldn’t you rather know that now about your topic or idea, versus 3 or 4 years down the road?

Zeros in marketing are great. They tell you quite obviously (again, after you’ve truly given something a chance by taking action) that something is not working, and you can reassess, tweak, reframe and try again, but in a different way, and with a new energy.

I’m getting a little off tangent here, and I know you’re anxious for day 3’s instructions, but I just had to share this because it’s so important!

As you probably can tell, at lot of this “business stuff” is definitely related to what’s happening in the mind. Mindset is everything, because without the right mindset, your’e not going to give yourself the full energy you need to succeed.

You’re on your way though, you’ve been doing great these past two days, so let me stop rambling here, and get into today’s instructions.

3 More Ways to Gain More Interest and Grow Your List

Beyond continuing the work from Day #1 & #2 by reaching out to people you know and are connected with (which we still recommend doing), here are a few other ways that you can potentially get some more subscribers.

#1 – The “Signature Move”

You probably send and reply to a number of emails every day. If possible, instead of just ending an email with your name and other contact information, why not add in one more line, or perhaps a post-script (p.s.) casually mentioning what you’re up to.

For example:

Thanks again for your time, and hope to hear from you soon!

Ben Hucker

P.S. By the way, this is kind of random, but if you’re interested in creativity & entrepreneurship, we’re starting a podcast interviewing creatives living on the Surf Coast. If this is something you’d like to learn more about, let me know.

Voice is in your own way, of course, but you get the idea. Because it’s casually at the bottom of your email, it’s not aggressive or weird.

For some topics, this may not make sense, but for others, it may make perfect sense and can add a few more interested people onto your list.

#2 – In Person

How many people, in person, do you interact with each day? Well, it probably depends on what day it is, and also where you live, but chances are you will be running into, and interacting with loads of people today.

Beyond your family and those who you have already spoken to about your topic, why not mention your topic and just see if others are interested in it?

This is challenging because it’s in person, I know, but you’ve heard me say this before: “what’s the worst that can happen?”

They say no, and life goes on.

If they say yes, ask for the email address, and that’s that!

This is also GREAT training for stuff you’ll eventually have to do as an entrepreneur at some point…like getting uncomfortable, and interacting with others.

You got this!

#3 – In the Context of an Existing Conversation

There are several conversations going on right now that your target audience is having about stuff related to your topic.

Find those conversations, and join in.

The trick is, however, not just going in there and asking for emails right away. That never works.

Get in there, add value to the conversations if you can, and after a few moments, there may be a time for you to say your “pitch”.

Something like:

That’s awesome Bob. We do the same thing when trying to grow our social media following, although we don’t any filters at all. By the way, if you or anyone here is interested, we’ve been researching and learning a lot about social media. If you want to learn more about this, let me know or DM me.

DM = direct message, by the way.

This may seem a little awkward out of context, but once you actually join a conversation, these don’t seem as random anymore and can convert quite well.

So, the big question is…where do you go find these groups.

Well, Facebook Groups are a MAJOR source of highly targeted audience, so start there if you have an account. Use the search tool at the topic to find groups and pages relevant to your topic.

Twitter is great as well, although because there are no groups, I’d recommend joining conversations and replying to people who use a specific hashtag (#) to start those interactions.

And finally, forums are also a great place to find audiences that are already having conversations. Just type the following into google, replacing KEYWORD with any keywords or phrases you have related to your topic:

forum: keyword

It’s that simple. Type that in, and you’ll see all the forums related to that topic right in front of you. Register if you need to, find active conversations, and get involved.

That should give you a good number of things to try to help you get more subscribers.

Importing Your List into an Email Service Tool

Collecting emails is obviously the most important step when building an email list, and guess what, you’ve been able to do all of this without spending any money or using any tools yet! Well done!

At some point, however, if you truly want to best serve your subscribers and grow your list at scale later (like when you have a website), you’re going to need access to an email service provider, or ‘ESP’.

ESPs are great because they help you organize your contacts, send emails to all subscribers at once (or a segment of your subscribers, depending on how you organize them), and also send emails out automatically to new subscribers that you’ve already written ahead of time.

Jess & I have gone through our fair share of ESPs, and the one we currently use is ConvertKit.

We love ConvertKit! If you’d prefer a different ESP, or perhaps you already use one, no worries! You don’t need ConvertKit to do what we’re doing in this challenge. We just prefer it for several reasons, but we will not at all be offended if you don’t use it.

They have lots of walkthroughs and intructional videos on their website to help you upload a list of subscribers.

We think you’ll really love ConvertKit. They do an amazing job of simplifying the email management process and give us powerful tools, like tagging, to better serve our audiences.

Sending Your First Email through Your ESP

As your list begins to grow, you’ll definitely see the obvious need for an email service provider. At the start, however, it’s hard to see the benefit because you could send emails out individually with just a handful of people on your list at the start.

With an ESP, you’ll be able to send all of your subscribers emails and track whether or not they open them or not, which is important. You can also see if they click on links in your emails too. Additionally, you don’t want to send emails from your personal email and have to BCC everyone so they don’t see everyone else’s email addresses. It just gets messy, and an ESP is a business lifesaver.

You can also take advantage of automation sequences, such as the autoresponder emails that go out to new subscribers after they subscribe. You could have 10, 20 or even 50 pre-written emails go out to a single person in a perfect rhythm that you set on your own, like once per week. Some of those emails could be sales emails, and then boom – your email service provider is doing the marketing and communication for you.

Anyway, you get the idea. ESPs are important, but so are the messages you send through them.

Here’s what we’d like you to send to your brand new subscribers after you’ve felt you’ve got a good number of people imported in:

Subject line: Thanks again!

Email body: Hey there! I just wanted to shoot you a quick email to say thanks again for letting me know you were interested in learning more about [topic]. I had a quick question about that actually.

What made you interested in it in the first place? I’m just doing research, and I’m super curious to know what about [topic] made you say yes to learning more. Are there any specifics or stories you can share related to that?

If you have a minute, let me know! Thanks again!

[your name goes here]

The purpose of this is three-fold:

  1. To show you’re not just going to immediately send them a promotional email with something they don’t want.
  2. To show that these emails are ones that still seem personal from you.
  3. Most importantly, you’re going to potentially get some great information from your subscribers to help you understand more about this topic.

You may find specific problems you might be able to solve. Perhaps there are commonalities between different people who reply to you. You’ll also know what made people say yes, so you can find more people like them!

So many great things happen when you start conversations like this, and be sure to reply and try to continue those conversations if you can. You’re early in your list-building journey, so you have a great opportunity to easily do this now with your core first set of subscribers. We, for example, cannot do that anymore with the size of our list.

We truly hope you’ve enjoyed this 3-day challenge. We’re not done yet (and I know you’re just getting started and pumped!), but we have 1 more recap blog for you to read tomorrow, which includes some next steps for you…

In the meantime, WONDERFUL JOB! Keep up the great work.

Cheers, and all the best!

Ben & Jess

Ben Hucker is the founder and host of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. He’s a former finance guy who traded Collins St for the Coast 3 years ago now. Tune in for a weekly episode of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. Each episode is packed full of hints and tips on creativity, health, business and mindset.

3-Days:100 Email Subscribers: The Ultimate List Building Challenge (Day 2)

We’re now into day 2 of our 72-hour email list building challenge!


Yesterday, you were told to ask 10 people that you knew or had a connection with if they were interested in learning more about your topic.

Most of you likely found between 1 and 10 subscribers among friends and family, which is great, and you’re right on track. Even 1 person is a huge deal because guess what?

That means there’s someone else in this world who is interested in what you’re up to, and where there’s one person, there are likely several more.

We’re going to keep it simple for you though, as always, and before we get to the instructions for today and continue the challenge, there’s one important note we want to make about how many of you probably felt during Day 1 of this challenge…

When we asked you to reach out to people you knew about potentially learning more about your topic, we knew that this was going to be one of the hardest parts of the process, especially for some of you who may consider yourself more of an introvert.

Immediately after sending Email #1, it is only natural to feel fear and anxiety. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of rejection and getting your ideas thrown right back at you.

These are completely normal feelings to have. Jess & I had them in spades when we first started reaching out to people using Messenger.

Ben Hucker & Jess Mellington email subscriber challenge with the Surf Coast Creatives.
Ben & Jess when they get scared of rejection!

But that fear and resistance, in our eyes, is actually a good sign. It means you care and want this to work, and you are conscious about how others may think about your idea.

That’s perfect because a great entrepreneur always keeps in mind who their audience is and what could be done to best serve them.

With that said, you also have to know that it’s not as scary as you think. Ask yourself: “What’s the worst that can happen?”, and you’ll see that it’s actually never as bad as you think.

In most cases, the worst that can happen is you’ll get either no response back, or simply a “no”, and then you’re back where you started. No further behind, but at least you’ve given it a shot.

So, if you’re struggling because of the build-up of fear before reaching out, know that you’re not alone, but you have nothing to worry about.

Being “introverts” ourselves we found it really difficult to reach out and ask, but after doing it we felt so good, and especially after we started getting responses from people.

You can do it!

Let me give you an example straight from my inbox of someone who wasn’t that keen on the idea of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast:

Boom. It’s personal, it’s non-aggressive, and it’s short and sweet and didn’t really feel like rejection at all.

I got this type of response from mates who have zero interest in creative pursuits and decided to be honest from the get-go. It’s all good and I learnt the sky doesn’t fall in when someone says ‘no thanks’.

Hopefully, that gives you some ‘food for thought’ if you struggled with the challenge from Day #1.

Alrightly, let’s get into today’s instructions…

Your Step-by-Step Instructions for Day #2

Again, we’re keeping this simple. Nothing fancy just yet, just good old fashion ACTION…

Note: Some of you were maybe wondering when ConvertKit (or any email service provider) gets involved.

You CAN put these email addresses you’re collecting into an email service provider by importing them in, but honestly, I wouldn’t worry about that right now.

We’ll show you how to do that tomorrow, and give you a specific message to send to everyone who expressed interest too.

A spreadsheet, a notepad note or even pen and paper will still work for now.

So, you’ve already reached out to 10 people (potentially more), and are seeing some results. Today, it’s all about setting aside a chunk of time (I recommend an entire hour) and continuing the same exact work you that did in Day #1, except expanding who you reach out to!

Yep, it’s that simple.

Our friends at ConvertKit have been teaching this strategy for years and have seen people accomplish some pretty amazing results.

In fact, just a few months ago they taught this principle to three friends who were starting a new site for their documentary. In just 5 days Jaclyn, Kati and Gabby were able to grow their email list by more than 700 people! And after two weeks, they had more than 1,200 people on their email list.

Yep, it’s that easy. They didn’t even have a blog or website yet! They were able to do all of this just by reaching out to their network one by one.

It’s funny…most of you were probably expecting magical emails with some amazing tool or strategy for helping build your list with little to no work up front.

We’re sorry, but those things don’t really exist. Hard work is the magic, especially at the start. The strategies and tactics and the tools (which cost money) come later, but for now, it’s about putting in the time.

You don’t need to spend money, you just need to spend time, and where you get stuck, collect inspiration and keep going is the trick.

Also, here’s the thing…

What we tend to forget is that we have spent years building a powerful network of friends. When starting your business it’s ok to use this network as the starting point for your early success.

One piece of feedback that often comes up at this stage sounds something like this:

“Well my Auntie Marilyn doesn’t really care about what I’m going to write about.”

And while that’s a valid point, there are a couple things to keep in mind here:

  1. Even though your Auntie Marilyn might not care about how to tune a car (or whatever your topic is), she cares about you and will likely share your content as a proud aunt. What that offers you is the opportunity for your content and business to be seen by people outside of your immediate network of people. And this is an opportunity for growth.
  2. If your Auntie Marilyn joins your email list, you now have a real person to write to, and this is hugely important. Writing to an imaginary “avatar” is hard work. Knowing that you are writing content with real life friends and family members will take your content to the next level!

So your assignment today is to ask as many people as humanly possible in all of your free time! The amount of work you put into this process will be directly correlated to the number of people you are able to add to your email list.

Here are some other things to keep in mind as you go along…

A lot of you have built a number of connections online and via social media already. That’s a great resource to tap into as well, but here’s one important point:

Reaching out individually to each person will yield a far higher response than just blasting a status update to your entire Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram account.

Each of these platforms have direct messaging capabilities, so use that to have the same effect that your individual emails had to capture that personalization and realness that will help you get a better response.

Secondly, although some people won’t be interested, they might know someone who is—as you saw in my example above.

So, when you get a reply back from someone who says “no thanks!“, you can reply back with something friendly like this:

“That’s okay! Thanks for considering, and if you know anyone who may be interested, don’t hesitate to let them know. To make it easy, you’re welcome to just forward my email (msg) to them from here. Thanks again, and all the best!”

And that’s that. You got this, and we look forward to hearing your results, and also showing you tomorrow’s blog with some more tips and actions to take.

And no, it won’t be “just continue the work you did in Day #1 and #2”, although as you probably can tell by now, you can keep doing this over and over and over again if you wish.

Keep up the great work, let us know how you go!

You’ll see it’s so much more fun taking action rather than procrastanting about your hopes and dreams.

Don’t delay this any longer.


Ben & Jess

Ben Hucker is the founder and host of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. He’s a former finance guy who traded Collins St for the Coast 3 years ago now. Tune in for a weekly episode of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. Each episode is packed full of hints and tips on creativity, health, business and mindset.

3-Days:100 Email Subscribers: The Ultimate List Building Challenge (Day 1)

Welcome to the 0 to 100 Email Challenge!

Jess & I are excited to walk you through the exact process we used to grow our email list from 0 to 100 people in just 3 days.

Oh, and this is BEFORE we launched the Surf Coast Creatives podcast or had an ounce of presence on social media.

3-Day list building challeneg with Ben Hucker & Jess Mellington.
The Ultimate List Building Challenge brought to you by hosts Jess & Ben.

But first thing’s first…

Why Bother With an Email List?

Your email list is vital to the success of your business because it’s the most direct way to communicate with your fans and future customers.

We would go as far as saying the energy of your business is directly tied to the strength of your email list, especially if you want to carve out a niche online.

Starting an online business today almost always means starting an email list, but a lot of businesses neglect to do this when they start out.

That’s right—jess & I both made this mistake when starting other businesses! We both had active and engaged audiences, but remember—even fans may not check your website regularly.

By waiting to collect email addresses, we missed out on a huge opportunity to connect regularly with our audience, and when we were ready to sell to our audience, we didn’t have a way to let them know.

We missed out on sales because we hadn’t taken the time to build a relationship over email.

Big mistake.

We missed out on a ton of marketing and advertising opportunities, and we didn’t even know how powerful an email list was for things like validation and data extraction.

Plus, it’s an amazing relationship-building tool for you and your audience—not to mention a safety net if you lose access to the audience you’ve built on another platform like Facebook.

So, our biggest rule if you want to build an online business selling products & services? You must focus on starting and growing an email list—NOW.

And remember: when building an email list, it’s important that you hone in on a target audience around a specific topic of interest (or niche as the gurus like to say).

If you’re all set and know what topic or target audience to start with, then you’re ready for the first set of instructions!

You’ll get another set in our next blog article. And one more in the blog after to help you complete this challenge in 3 days.

Here we go!

Ya ready?

Your Step-by-Step Instructions For Day #1

Before we share this process with you, we’d like to say one more thing:

This isn’t going to be the sexiest, mind-blowing process you have even seen, because it shouldn’t be. When starting anything, the trick to get moving is to start small and simple.

The process that follows is very simple, and we promise you that it works if you take the time to actually implement it.

You may read the instructions below and be tempted to write it off because it seems so simple, but we want to challenge you to push past that resistance in this challenge.

We’ve watched these same instructions given live on a webinar, and saw people go from 0 to 100 contacts within a couple of hours, so we know this works.

Some of those people now have thousands of subscribers, but only because they started small and simple.

Let’s get started…

Step 1

Take out a piece of paper and write down the names of 10 people you know in real life who might be interested in the topic of your blog or business.

Don’t overthink this process. These can be friends, family members, co-workers, neighbours, people who go to the same gym or to a community group like a surf club or other local clubs.

The only requirement is that there’s a chance they’re interested in what you will write (or podcast or make videos) about.

Step 2

Write an email to these 10 people (if you don’t have their email address, you can use text message, Facebook message, SnapChat, or whatever other form of 1-to-1 communication that is normal for the context of your relationship).

Here’s what the message should say. Again, it’s simple, and make sure you replace (NAME) with the name of that person:

Hi (NAME)!

I’m starting a new site or business (or I have a site or business) teaching people __________________. Would you be interested in learning more about that?

You can obviously make it more personal and use your own voice if you’d like, but there’s only one ask:

“Would you be interested in learning more about that?”

You’re not asking people to “sign up for an email list” because most people won’t even know what that means. At this stage, you just want to know if they want to learn more, that’s it.

Here’s an example I used when building our email list from scratch for the Surf Coast Creatives podcast.

The beginnings of the Surf Coast Creatives subscriber list.

NOTE: Jess & I set ourselves a target of 20 emails (or DMs) for Step 1 since we were doing the challenge together.

Step 3

Wait for a reply.

If they reply no, politely thank them for considering it. “All Good! Catch up soon.”

If they reply yes, see Step Four.

Step 4

Once someone replies with a YES, they’ve given you the okay that they’re interested in hearing more from you!

If they replied via email, take note of what their email address is. You can enter it into a spreadsheet or simply write it down for now. Later, we’ll be putting these contacts into email software, but don’t worry about that for now.

If you’ve communicated via something other than email, reply with something like:

That’s great! Let me know what your email address is so I can stay in contact with you about this.

Here’s an example from my convos on Messenger after I got a YES:

1 down, 10 to go!

Now keep going until you get to 10 emails. And…

Congratulations! You’ve just collected your first set of contacts for your email list!

Now go ahead and send out those messages, and remember: we’re not going for 100 on day one (although some of you may see this working and reach out to more than 10 people, which is completely okay!), but even just one person who says yes can make a big difference at the start.

This is also a great exercise because it trains us right from the beginning to treat your subscribers as real people. Not numbers, not a list, but actual human beings on the other end.

When you treat your email list like that, you will find much more success down the road.

Cheers, and best of luck!

You got this, and look out for our next blog with your next set of instructions.

Ben Hucker is the founder and host of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. He’s a former finance guy who traded Collins St for the Coast 3 years ago now. Tune in for a weekly episode of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. Each episode is packed full of hints and tips on creativity, health, business and mindset.

Ep.4 – Ocean Grind Coffee: A Coffee Dream Starting With A Popcorn Machine

Join us for Ep.4 of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast for a chat with the founder of Ocean Grind Coffee, Mark Clatworthy.

The man behind this roastery and cafe is an engineer turned coffee maestro, Mark Clatworthy.

The founder of Ocean Grind Coffee, Mark Clatworthy.
The unassuming and indominatble founder of Torquay’s Ocean Grind, Mark Clatworthy.

Tune in for a story of grit and determination mixed with a good dose of bravado and passion for coffee beans.

Mark has been perfecting his coffee beans for more than a decade. He started selling his beans at the local markets in Torquay. Now his growing enterprise has a stronghold in the Surf Coast industrial precinct behind Bunnings. 

Find out how a passion for coffee and simmering tension with a corporate job lead Mark to follow his passion and take the leap from hobbyist to a full-time coffee roaster. 

A Coffee Dream

Ocean Grind has instilled a philosophy of fresh, quality coffee according to Mark.

“It’s about appreciating the coast and the natural environment. It’s about the allure of the ocean and the grinding waves it produces,” says Mark.

“We like to think coffee and the ocean have a fair bit in common. Whether you surf, swim or walk along the beach, it’s a daily ritual, just like that first coffee in the morning. Both the ocean and coffee are a fix for your senses – an antidote for the soul.”

“At our roastery in Torquay, specialty beans are ethically sourced from all corners of the globe and hand-roasted with care. A variety of bean origins are roasted, taking you on a journey with each batch,” says Mark.

Ocean Grind Coffee and the Environment

Mark has a big eye on sustainability as well. He wants his three girls to enjoy the Surf Coast and its surrounding natural habitat for generations to come. 

A focus on the environment has rubbed off on the Ocean Grind community too. Innovative policies like “Bring Your Own Cup” and “Swap & Go”  have left an indelible mark on a tight-knit base of customers. 

Not every customer has been happy with the new cup policies though. Find out how Mark and his team dealt with some of the backlash. 

Either way, it’s got a bit of everything this episode, especially if you’ve always wanted to build a community on top of your business. 

Tune in and let us know what you think with a review on iTunes or your favourite pod platform.

Ben Hucker is the founder and host of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. He’s a former finance guy who traded Collins St for the Coast 3 years ago now. Tune in for a weekly episode of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. Each episode is packed full of hints and tips on creativity, health, business and mindset.