2 Email Tips That Make my Business Happier + More Successful

Can email tips make your business more successful? Or improve your work/life balance? I think so! These two email tricks have helped me bring in thousands more dollars and like my job better while doing it! >> yesandyes.org

“How could email tips possibly make my business more successful, Von Bargen? Are you drinking nail polish remover? Again?”
“Riiiiight. The way I organize my email affects my happiness. LOL NO.”

Is this what you’re thinking, friends? I get it.

There are about a million ways to make your business more successful (like creating content that does the networking for you).

And there are about a million ways to be happier in your business (like tracking your efforts, not your accomplishments).

But two of my favorite, most effective ‘business tricks’ come in the form of 2 email folders.

Yes, seriously.

Here are the two email tips that have vastly improved my business income + my headspace


Can email tips make your business more successful? Or improve your work/life balance? I think so! These two email tricks have helped me bring in thousands more dollars and like my job better while doing it! >> yesandyes.org

I have a ‘follow up’ email folder

You know how it goes: Someone emails you, wanting to hire or book you for a big ol’ project. With visions of dollar signs dancing in your head you reply “Yes! Exclamation points!”

And then you both get busy, time passes, no contracts are signed and no money changes hands. You’re haunted by the gnawing belief that were supposed to email someone. Didn’t someone want to hire you for something? And because you don’t even remember their name you can’t search your email!

So you don’t do anything and you both forget about each other. What a shame!

Theoretically, you could buy some CRM software to help you deal with this. (CRM stands for ‘Customer Relationship Management.’ Don’t worry, the first time I heard it, I had to google it, too.)

And if you have a jillion customers, I’m sure that $50-a-month membership will pay for itself.

Here’s what I do instead: I have an email folder titled ‘follow up.’ Until someone has sent me the final draft, paid their invoice, or signed off on their testimonial, their most recent email reply lives in that folder.

I set a reminder in my calendar to empty out that folder every Friday. That’s it. Works like a charm! That one folder has helped me land more clients and bring in thousands more dollars!


I have a ‘smile file’ email folder


Here’s the thing, dudes. If you publish enough things on the internet, work with enough clients, sell enough products, someone is going to be unhappy. It’s just the law of averages! It’s not personal!

Maybe these people are unhappy because they didn’t follow directions, didn’t read the email carefully, or didn’t really read your sales page.

Maybe they’re unhappy because they hold a different opinion in regards to classic literature. (To date: this is the most ‘controversial’ thing I’ve ever published.)

Maybe they’re sending you grumpy emails and leaving snarky comments because they’re grumpy, snarky humans and there’s not much you can do about that.

As every self-help book will tell you: The only person you can control is yourself. You can’t control the way people react to you and your work. You can only control the way you react to those people and you can do your best to maintain a level head and a happy heart when you do encounter mean-spirited nay-saying.

Here’s how I do it: I have an email folder devoted exclusively to kind words. When someone replies to a newsletter with “This was so helpful!” in it goes. When I help a client triple their newsletter subscribers, I move their email into my ‘smile file.’ Really, any email that makes me smile finds a home there.

And when I get the inevitable refund request, hate mail, or snarky comment, I pour myself a tall drink of ‘smile file’ and lick my wounds with past victories.

But I want to hear from you! Do you have any email tricks that have really helped your business or work/life balance?

P.S. How to chase your dreams without hating your life

photo by freddy castro // cc

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  1. Stacia

    I have a smile folder, too. It’s the best!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      It really helps, doesn’t it?!

  2. Jill

    I’ve been doing your 2nd tip for years…and it rocks. I start a few folder each year and cleverly name is something great, this is years is “Jill you are AWESOME”. And I file all the “you rock”, “this is awesome”, stuff I receive. And when I’m faced with a day where I feel like I’m not enough I go to that folder and remind myself of the great things I’ve done, and the impact I’ve had on people.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Maggie

    I used to print awesome emails and tape them on the back of my door, so that if I ever wanted to close my door and have a cry, I’d see them and be reminded that I’ve done good work. It works!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Oh I love that!

  4. Danielle @ Wild Coast Tales

    I totally do something similar! I just flag emails in Outlook and then sort by flagged and unflagged so I know which ones need to be followed up with. I also have a smile and friends/family folder with nice messages! 🙂

  5. Danielle

    I call it my happy danielley file. Once upon a time I was teaching a job finding workshop to refugees taking their GED. We talked about building a portfolio and how everything that you do (school, work, sports, volunteering, art) gives you transferable skills. If you create a portfolio of all the things that you’re great at, you can look at it before a job interview to boost your confidence. This was really helpful for folks who had never had a western type job as they still had lots of skills!

  6. Kamina

    Do you use Boomerang for gmail, Sarah? I recently discovered it and I’m OBSESSED. It will remove an email from my inbox then ping it back in at a later date, if I ask it to! Or let me write an email then send it out later, or in a week! Or remind me that somebody didn’t reply to my email! IT’S LIFE CHANGING.

    Also, inspired by the discussion above, I started a smile folder today. Finally I have a place to keep the email alert that I saved from when I got my first ever subscriber 🙂

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      I actually use the Go Daddy email service because they have a scheduled email option built into the platform!

      • Kamina

        Oh good to know! My web hosting doesn’t have a great email service so I stick with my longtime friend gmail. I’ve always used it and change makes me cranky anyway.

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