If you’re a side hustler, entrepreneur, or business owner you probably have already tried to do cold outreach. For some, it may have been effective, but unless you can master the art of cold outreach, it can be very difficult to get responses from other business owners.

Why Don’t People Answer My Cold Emails

Before we look at how to increase our cold outreach success, we need to understand why people don’t answer emails. Just like you, entrepreneurs are busy, and capturing their attention is no easy task.

Cold outreach is great for side hustlers who are just starting out. It can also be great for seasoned entrepreneurs looking to grow their business.

You can use cold outreach to:

  • Find new customers or clients
  • Get feedback on your idea
  • Get podcast guests on your podcast
  • Open opportunities to guest blog on other people’s blogs
  • Drive attention to whatever it is you want!

Primarily though, people are using cold outreach to drive sales.

Most of the time when you email someone cold, you will not get a response.

People will not respond to you for a few reasons, one may be that they:

  • Deleted the email
  • Don’t have time
  • Think it’s spam or junk
  • Think they are trying to be sold something
  • Don’t want unsolicited emails

With each reason you will get rejected, there is a way we can try to avoid it so you don’t get rejected.

I built the Hobby Hustler brand off cold outreach. From reaching out to people like Dean Graziosi, to Doc Williams, to Justin Forsett and many others.

In this blog post, I cover the best methods to help your cold outreach and how to increase your chances of conversion!

Start Small or Close

You will need time to refine your message and offering because you won’t have it perfected right away. Typically, when you start, you will not have social proof or testimonials either.

Starting small means to go after people who are “micro” rather than “highly influential”.

In my example of outreach for podcast guests, I first went after influencers who were smaller scale. I didn’t go after Dean Graziosi, Gary Vee, or anyone big right away. The main reason is because as I got guests, I used their names to tier up to bigger guests.

Starting close means to go after people who are close to you or in your extended circle.

In my example of outreach for podcast guests, I went after influencers who were already in my community group and friends of people who were in the community. By using these already established connections, I could easily send an email with the mutual connections’ names in it.

Cold Outreach Template

Feel free to use the following template:

Hey [NAME],

[mututal connection] was telling me that you are working on this. I was telling him/her about my project and he/she recommended that I touch base with you on [topic].

If you had time, I would love to chat further! I’ll drop my calendar link below for you to take a look at as well.

Chat soon,

[your name]”

Don’t Skip This Point

That’s right, don’t skip this point because the same reason you are going to read this point is the same reason your outreach messages will get opened.

The point here is that you need to have a catchy subject line. In this case, I used “Don’t skip this point”. A heading like this made you feel like you have to read it, and that is why you are currently reading it.

Subject lines are even more important because you are competing with hundreds of other emails in the person’s inbox and you have to be the one they choose to open and read, and not hit “delete” or worse, “junk”.

If they hit “junk”, all your follow-up messages are going to end up in their junk as well, and it is going to be difficult to ever get a hold of them via email.

Great Cold Outreach Subject Lines

Great subject lines needs to be:

  • Easy to understand
  • Straight to the point
  • Short (it must fit on the mobile screen subject line area)
  • Relatable

I personally would not put anything that shares you are eager to connect with them such as:

  • “Please open this”
  • “Come on my podcast?”
  • “Will you try my product?”

Believe it or not, they are getting tons of these emails and they just will not have time to open emails like this.

When you are crafting email subject lines, you must:

  • Create curiosity
  • Show Social Proof
  • Create urgency
  • Create FOMO

Creating Curiosity

If your subject line creates curiosity, they may be interested and want to open it.

Creating urgency is extremely important because the person on the receiving end will not be able to procrastinate or “put it aside”. Often times when things are put aside, they get forgotten about or they are never done.

Creating Urgency

An example of urgency would be

“[name], only 3 people left”

Creating FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out

Creating FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out will make them want to participate because they don’t want to miss out. When I did cold outreach, I let people know my mission:

“My missions is to empower 1,000,000 people to start a hobby hustle and quit their day job to do it full time”.

Many people wanted to be part of that journey and help me get to that. I built it up by using names that I’ve interviewed already and they were instantly sold on coming on the podcast.

Create Social Proof

Social Proof is one that you will have to work towards as it’s not easily done right away. At the beginning of your journey, you may not have any social proof. And that is why I recommend starting with your close friends or friends of friends because you can use them as your social proof.

When you start to expand, you can use names to get social proof.

Cold Outreach Template Using Social Proof

Here is an example that I used for my podcast:

“Hey [name],

I’m on a mission to empower 1,000,000 to start a hobby hustle and quit their day job to do it full-time. I came across your brand, [brand], and I think [insert something you like or actually know about it].

I recently had Justin Forsett on my podcast, who is a Former NFL Pro Bowl running back to discuss [relate it to them].

I think you’d be a great fit for my audience and we could sell lots of your upcoming book!

Let me know when I can send a schedule link, I have a few spots open for this month still!”

There are tons of ways you can use social proof, and that is just one. If you are selling a product, feel free to mention how many units of the product you’ve already sold or the lives you’ve impacted.

Numbers never lie and they will attract people!


I get tons of cold outreach emails to me and one thing I cannot stand is when that person does not know anything about your business or you can tell they’ve copy and pasted that message tons of times to hundreds of people.

DO NOT copy and paste!

DO NOT automate what you should not be automating (I am all for automation and will automate what I can, but not what is not supposed to be automated).

When you are reaching out to potential candidates, make sure to use their name, their business name, and give context to actual things they are doing or working on.

The more you say, the better chances you will get the response that you are looking for.

For example, if I received an email where the person mentioned my last podcast episode and a specific thing that was said in it, I know that they listened to it and I would give them my time in exchange.

If they said something generic like “your podcasts are great I loved your first episode” and then continued to try to sell me on something for podcasting, I would not answer.

Follow Up on your cold outreach

People get busy and sometimes you can craft the perfect cold outreach email, but they just won’t get answered because the person is busy or got caught up as they were reading it.

When you are following up, you will want to include 3 main points:

  • Remind them of the first email: Remind them that you emailed them X days/weeks ago and that they must’ve been too busy at that time.
  • Let them know you still want to do whatever it is you are trying
  • Add another element of personalization, example, what have they done from now till then that you can talk about?
  • Ask for a no. At the end of the follow up, acknowledge that they are busy and you will follow up again in X amount of days, but if they are not interested, simply just to tell you no.

Combine your follow up method with social media. If you have a little bit of a social media presence, you can use it to your benefit.

Follow them on social media, engage with a couple of their posts over the next few days/weeks. DO NOT follow them and then message them, that is just annoying.

Follow, engage, engage, engage, and then you can DM them.

A/B Test and Track

A/B Testing is not necessary to your success but it will definitely improve your success rates. Try different templates of cold outreach for every 5-20 people (depending on how many people you are outreaching too) and see what message got the best open rates and responses.

It is important to note that the best open rate doesn’t necessarily mean you will get the best response rate, and the best response rate is something you want to measure the most.

What To Try When Something Isn’t Working

Here are a few common scenarios and what you may want to change to improve it:

Low Open Rate, High Response RateChange your subject line to something catchier. Do not change anything in the body of the email since the people who are opening it are converting.
High Open Rate, Low Response RateChange the body of your email. Your subject line is great and lots of people are opening it, but for some reason they are not doing what you are asking them to do. Do not change your subject line in this scenario.
Low Open Rate, Low Response RateMost people would say to write a whole new email and subject line. Do not do both at the same time because you won’t be able to effectively track.   First, change your subject line till you get the open rates up, once open rates are up, if your response rate didn’t rise either, then change the body of the email.   Sometimes a more targeted subject line will in itself increase the response rate.
High Open Rate, High Response RateMost people would say to leave it, but I completely disagree. Try tweaking to see if you can improve either by just a little bit.   Just remember what was working in case you move it the opposite way, you can revert back.

Forget Digital

Sometimes digital is great and it can definitely work extremely well, but it is also the easiest and lowest cost. When things are easy and low cost, that means you will have lots of competition. That’s right, many people will be competing for attention in the same inbox that you are trying to get!

Although it is more time consuming and a little more costly, feel free to try this approach on hand written post cards. You can either drop the post cards off at businesses or you can mail them.

You’d be surprised the response you get from a well-crafted handmade letter over an email.

A friend of mine currently uses this approach to purchase off market real estate deals. He hand writes post cards to owners of houses, explains why he wants to buy their house and for how much, and then either knocks on the door or just leaves it on the front porch of the house.

He saw a 300% increase in leads when he switched from online social media advertising to hand written post cards.

Be Authentic, Bring Value & Don’t Spam

The last point I want to hammer home is to not spam and just be yourself. If you are honest and authentic, the worst thing that can happen is you will not get a response or someone telling you know.

When you start to lie and spam, you will ruin your reputation and you will not be taken seriously by anyone.

“Remember, it takes 29 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently” – Warren Buffett

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