I remember the day I first started writing a newsletter. It was in 1988 and I had just returned from the National Safety Congress at McCormick Place in Chicago. As I recall I had done the Early Morning Sessions two days and also a Keynote for the young people at the conference. I had a booth and had manned that for three days. No sales were allowed and I had given away over 2,000 copies of a book I created for the Congress, titled modestly, “World’s Greatest Safety Meeting Idea Book and had come home with nothing but about 500 business cards. I can still feel that disappointment I had as I looked at those cards. I had hoped to lock in several bookings and sell many books but sales were not allowed. I had closed no bookings and the fee they paid me did not even cover what they charged for the booth space.
As I examined that stack of cards I wondered how I might contact 500 people. All I had was a part time office worker. Paula had enough work on her hands already keeping up with the books I was writing and the financial books and such. I visited my local printer and we figured out a format we might use. It would be four pages 8 ½ X 11” folded in half for mailing.
When I sat down at my typewriter those four pages seemed enormous to me but I soon had them all filled and I’d had a friend take the cards and make a set of mailing labels. We made copies and we were set for four mailings. I already had ad sheets on my books and tapes and another on my services and that first day at my typewriter I was already wrestling with the material to get it all into the four pages.
I had an artist named Bill Tatroe who illustrated my books and he came up with a logo and a cartoon and then I hired a mom of three children who was overjoyed to place commemorative stamps and labels on each item and in no time we had a mailing out to everyone who’s business card I had obtained. (How easy that would be now – 28 years later! Should I ever complain about how everything has changed Jean will likely ask me to read this again.)
I can still remember taking that load of mailings to the Post Office and then we all crossed our fingers and waited for the results. The first phone call came on the third day and ordered just one book. Later in the day a lady from DuPont Corporation called and I sold them 1,000 copies of the book on Safety Meetings which more than paid for that thousand and the 2,000 I had given away. A little profit allowed us to do the first of many reprints of this little book.
The results from that first newsletter were amazing. In fact, they kept me busy speaking for the following five years. I sent out four newsletters the first year and then I bought a mail list of safety directors and sent out 10,000 copies of that fourth one.
A friend of mine named Charles “Tremendous” Jones did a great speech that said “You’ve got to give to get. Give to get! That’s right. You give to get but you don’t give to get something back. That isn’t giving, that is trading. You give for the pure joy of giving. When you do that you are generally blessed.”
That is what we did with those 2,000 books we distributed at that Congress. That is what we did and still do with our newsletter. We have tried to put a smile on people’s faces. To share an idea or two. To let people, friends and customers know we are still alive and to just say “Hey!” We have been truly blessed.