Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield

Today you’re going to learn how to use one of the fastest growing social platforms, Instagram Stories, to build your email list, without using the Swipe Up feature.  

I don't know about you, but Instagram is by far my favorite social media platform. Mostly because I love Instagram Stories but also because I think the connections on Instagram feel more real than any other social platform.

If you are on Instagram then you've probably either recorded an Instagram story yourself, viewed one--or several (they are completely addictive), or you've heard someone else talk about Instagram Stories and you weren't really sure what the heck they were talking about.

Wherever you fall in this equation, there's one thing that is certain...you as a business owner, should be using Instagram Stories to create more solid, real connections that will, if you do it right, go far beyond just chatting on social media.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Tyler J. McCall, an Instagram Marketing Strategist, who has found great success in growing his email list through Instagram Stories. He shared tons of valuable insight, tips and strategies that you will be able to implement starting today!  And, don’t worry, as I mentioned earlier this strategy has nothing to do with the Swipe Up feature, which requires you have 10,000 followers to use.

So whether you’re familiar with Instagram Stories or not, we’ve got you covered here! Let’s first dive into the basics around Instagram Stories and then we’ll go ALL in on strategies to grow your email list via this platform!  

WHAT IS AN INSTAGRAM STORY?

An Instagram Story is content that is shared in Instagram itself, typically photos and videos, but you can also share text-based images. Your photos or graphics last six seconds while your videos can be up to 15 seconds long. You create the Story content using Instagram (the creation and editing tools are built right in), or you can create them externally and upload them to your Instagram account.  

How Stories are different than a post in your regular Instagram feed is that the content goes away after 24 hours unless you add it as an Instagram Story highlight in your profile, which is a whole different episode!

WHY YOU SHOULD BE USING INSTAGRAM STORIES IN YOUR BUSINESS:

Instagram now has over 800 million users. Of those, 500 million are on the app every day. And of those 500 million, 300 million are on Instagram Stories every day. Need I say more?!?

Tyler tells us that Instagram Stories are taking over as the content of choice, and Instagram likes this, because it gives them another place to run ads.  And as business owners, Instagram ads are a very powerful tool, as well. And let me tell you, Instagram Story ads are converting really well for my business right now!

“There are now millions of people every single day waiting for the right content to show up for them on Instagram Stories” - Tyler J. McCall

How to Create High Quality Instagram Stories

In order to grow your email list through Instagram Stories (we’ll get to that strategy in a minute), you first need to know how to create high quality Instagram Stories that people want to watch. Here’s a quick rundown, but make sure to tune in to the episode for all the details!

  1. Create your Stories with purpose and intention
  2. Use a good mix of personal and business (Tyler shares information about his business in his Stories, but he also shares his shopping trips to Target! Yes, he loves to walk the aisles and point out some of his favorite products!)
  3. Utilize a beginning, middle, and an end to your Story. Just like your elementary school teacher taught you! Download this great 2-page worksheet “The Story Arc Method” to work through an exercise Tyler put together for you to up your Instagram Story game!
  4. “Never let the dashes turn into dots!” I love how Tyler put this, regarding being careful to not create painfully long Stories.  
  5. I asked Tyler how he always has AMAZING light for his Stories and he shared two tips that money can’t buy!!
  6. Use captioning in your Stories for people who want to consume your content but don’t use audio. Tyler said that this technique will help keep retention high, too.
  7. Drive interaction with Instagram features like polls and DM conversations. Engage with your followers!
How to Grow Your Email List Using Instagram Stories Without Using the Swipe Up Feature

Ok, now that you have a plan to create high quality Instagram Stories, Tyler shared some really great insight as to how to grow your email list through a Direct Messaging strategy. Since Tyler has over 10,000 followers he is able to utilize the Swipe Up feature available in Stories, but he admits he doesn’t use it much because he thinks it’s a bit lazy and too passive!

Growing your email list through Instagram is all about Instagram Story Direct Messaging!

It’s through this DMing that he’s able to directly communicate with his followers, build relationships, hear pain points directly from his potential customers mouth, and engage in an authentic way.

Here are a few of the important habits Tyler suggests you build around Instagram Story DM engagement in order to be in a position where you can actually grow your email list:

  • Show up consistently
  • Make sure your content is high quality
  • Use calls to action in your Stories (from asking your followers to answer simple questions, respond to polls, and finally to respond to your invitation for them to learn more about what you’re doing or to gain access to an opt-in offering.)
  • Once you’ve engaged them, keep the conversation going,...see how you can help them
  • Post in the regular feed less often, so you can spend more time in Stories (you saw the stats, this is where the people are!)

Do these things and the opt-in opportunities that you offer your followers (the ones that keep coming back to watch your Stories) will put you in a prime position to grow your email list. Tyler’s DM conversions are huge!  

Listen in as Tyler shares a system which he calls -- An Instagram Story Opt-In Sandwich -- in which you guide your Story viewers through a journey that ultimately leads them to your lead magnet, content upgrade, or webinar via DM conversations.

I, too, have recently using my DMs to engage with my followers, and it is powerful! The only problem is that it can be time-consuming --- time well spent, but time-consuming, nonetheless.

Since Tyler gets A LOT of DMs, I asked him how he manages it all and one of the top tips he shared is to get in there a few times throughout the day so you are responding pretty quickly, and also so the DMs don’t pile up and become too overwhelming for you to respond to.

I’ve found that it’s helpful for me to actually create a task in Asana (my project management tool), to check my DMs daily, and that’s working well at this point.

So here’s what I want you to do, download and work through this 2-page worksheet that Tyler created for you and don’t spend another minute on Instagram without intention and purpose.

A great big thank you to Tyler for providing such great step-by-step teaching in this interview!

Tyler and I would both love to hear from you in our DMs! I’m @amyporterfield and he’s @tylerjmccall.

All my best,

Amy

This episode is brought to you by: LBL

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in these show notes and on the podcast episode:

 

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_219.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

As an entrepreneur, your business is constantly changing—that’s the beauty of being an entrepreneur.  

And here’s the thing: YOU change too. You change your mind about things you used to be adamant about.

I’ve experienced this myself. For example, when it came to creating courses, five years ago I would have said: Concentrate on building your course, don’t worry about the selling.

But since then I have had a change of heart.

I’ve watched my students inside of my training program Courses That Convert, and I’ve seen a need that I did not see years ago. That need is around launching their course before they have 100% completed it.

Now I talk about the benefits of pre-selling your course, or selling it in advance of the course being done, then delivering your content each week via a LIVE workshop to a group of founding members who have already paid.

So this episode is going to walk you through the exact steps that go into pre-selling a course. I am going to walk you through the pieces you’ll need to make your offer, get your first students through the door, and deliver your content.

There are a few reasons I like this strategy:

 

  • #1: Pre-selling is a big validator of your course idea.

 

  • #2: Pre-selling helps you build confidence about your training. Nothing builds confidence more than getting a few PAYING students through the door.
  • #3: Pre-selling helps with cash flow! I know that building a course and getting your online course up and running can sometimes be a bit of a pinch on your finances. That’s why pre-selling is great—to bring in a bit of money to help you pay for some of those expenses.
  • #4: Pre-selling helps you build momentum and accountability. By selling before your content has been created, you have no choice but to deliver! This helps you avoid the “it’s been a year and my course is still languishing” syndrome!
  • #5: Lastly, you get immediate feedback from actual students when you pre-sell. Since it’s more of a live interaction, you can tweak your content based on the feedback before you launch again.

By the way, this episode was brought to you by Courses that Convert…I teach a much more robust version of this process in that course, with step-by-step plans and templates. Learn more by attending my free masterclass “How to Confidently Create Your First Profitable Course in 60 Days.

So if you’re as excited as I am about pre-selling your course, here are seven steps to get you started.

The 7 Steps to Pre-Selling Your Course

Step 1: Determine Your Course Offer

First, you will determine your pricing and what kind of “course package” you’ll be offering.

Step 2: Set Up Your Early Interest Page

Once you figure out your offer, it’s time to set a page where you can capture interest about your course. You’ll need to create an opt-in to collect first names and email addresses, and include a teaser about what they can expect. You’ll also want to create a follow-up email for everyone who opted in.

Step 3: Create Your 30-Day Content Blitz

Come up with content ideas for your blog, podcast, Facebook Lives, etc., and then schedule your content so you’re releasing something new every week for 30 days. Remember to include a call to action at the end of your content, asking your audience to sign up for the course if they want to learn more. (All traffic from this content will go to your Early Interest Page.)

Step 4: Set Up Your Checkout Page

This page should include information about your course such as the benefits and the features.

Step 5: Set Up Your Live Workshop Components

In this step you will want to create the shell of your member’s site so when you start delivering your content you have a place to load it.

You’ll also need to determine the details of your training and decide on the platform you’ll be delivering it.

Set up all the components you’ll need to ultimately deliver your live content—links, welcome emails, a VA, etc.—so that you’re ready to go. As you deliver your live content, you will load up your recordings into your course platform for your paying members to access.

Step 6: Promote a 48-Hour Flash Sale Offer

Your 48-hour flash sale offer will include two emails:

  1. The first is sent to your Early Interest list and informs them of your limited time offer, what’s included in the program, the number of spots available, and a link to your checkout page.
  2. Your second email gives them one more chance to sign up.

In this step, you also have the option to include a webinar training as part of your pre-sell strategy.

Step 7: Deliver Your Content

You’re now done with the selling portion of your pre-sell offer. All that’s left is delivering your content!

Remember to create your slide decks, prepare any cheat sheets or other bonuses, remind your students before each new training, and then upload your content to your member’s site once you’re done delivering it.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Course Creation Resources:

Episode #49: How to Know if Your Idea is Profitable
Episode #107: How Do I Price My Online Course?
Episode #133: How to Get Unstuck in Your Course Creation Process
Episode #206: The Post-It Content Creation Mini Training

Webinar Resources:

Episode #130: How to Sell on a Webinar (Without Being Overly Salesy)
Episode #145: 13 Questions to Nail Down Your Winning Webinar Topic and Title
Episode #211: 5 Things I Said Yes to In The Early Years (But Say No to Now)



Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_218.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Today we’re going to discover something that has the power to majorly change the trajectory of your business! We’re going to uncover the three main roadblocks that sideline many entrepreneurs (and people in general) and cause them to get stuck in inaction. You will learn specific ways to take massive action, get more done, and get those big results you desire.

“Taking action...” seems easy enough, right?  “Just do something!” As you and I both know, it’s not as easy as it sounds!

If right now what you’re doing in your business is not leading you to the results you desire, then this episode is for you!

To shed some light on WHY we’re not taking action and to help us understand how to turn that around and become massive action takers, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brooke Castillo. Brooke is a Life Coach—I actually call her a Life Coach Extraordinaire— who has worked with thousands of people (including yours truly) who have been stuck, are not reaching the goals they’ve envisioned for themselves, or ultimately just need a coach to shine some light on a path that can lead them to the promised land of getting a lot done and achieving big results.

Quick note before we move on: I mention that I’ve worked with Brooke personally; I get more into it on the podcast, but in case you were wondering, I’m part of her Self-Coaching Scholars program. You know I’m on a mission to up-level my life, including my health and my weight, but I’m also on a mission to up-level my mind, and Brooke really gets into this in her program. I know that focusing on how I think about things will change both my personal and business life, and I believe it could do the same for you. Because I stand behind what Brooke does, I have become an affiliate for the program, so if you are interested in joining her program, too, click here, and let Brooke know I sent you!

MANAGING YOUR MIND

Brooke began with the idea that so much of starting and building a business is about managing your mind.  She said, “There's no way around it, because you can understand how to do everything, you can study all the material, but until you understand that what you think about is going to create the emotion that either drives the action or the inaction, you're never gonna take the action.”

Did you get that? This is important: What you think about creates the emotion that drives the action or inaction.  If stress, fear and panic are fueling the action, you’re not going to be able to produce results at the level you want to produce.

Brooke shared three entrepreneurial roadblocks—things that are keeping you from taking massive action.   

Reason #1: YOU’RE STUCK IN THE BUSY HUSTLE

I can remember times, back when I was first starting out, when I was hustling my butt off. I was all over the place, connecting with different people, working with all kinds of clients, seemingly very successful—but the problem was, I wasn’t taking action on the things that could actually take me to a place where I could grow and scale my business. I was hustling. I was tired. But, to some degree, I was really just chasing my tail.

This is what Brooke refers to as “The Busy Hustle”—a tiring hustle that’s produced by negative emotion: stress, fear, panic…[Insert your own word here!].  

You want to avoid getting into a state of busy hustle, where you may be working hard yet aren’t producing anything. Instead your goal should be to get to a place of a productive hustle, where results are consistently produced.

Brooke suggested if you want to produce something, don’t just sit down to “work on something.” Sit down to produce something!

It’s important to change our language around this. Let’s stop saying, “I’m working on so and so,” and instead say, “I’m producing xyz,” or “I’m recording a podcast.” See the difference?!  

Reason #2: YOU’RE GIVING YOURSELF TOO MUCH TIME TO GET SOMETHING DONE

Brooke believes that many people, especially those who are newer to business, give themselves too much time to produce a result. In the beginning you have more time than customers or clients, so you just expand the time you are “working” in your business. Yet while you may  have the time, what you actually produce doesn’t line up with the many hours you’re working.

Brooke suggests we take a look at the projects we need to get done, and assign a time frame in which we will get it done. For example: instead of my saying, “I’ll get the podcast recorded and uploaded to Dropbox by Wednesday”, Brooke would say, “I will have the podcast recorded and uploaded to Dropbox in one hour. I’ll sit down and get it done in that hour.”  

Of course you need to be realistic about time frames….some things are going to naturally take longer than others.    

And what sort of results will be produced if we go this route? Brooke says, “When you decide how long something will take and you stick to that, that’s when your production gets huge momentum.”  

Now for my fellow perfectionists out there: this can be tough, because you’re going to have to embrace the fact that you might produce some B-minus work. I know that’s hard to stomach! Brooke had to give me a little life-coaching during the episode, because I am not someone who got Bs in school!

Brooke’s argument for producing B-minus work is this: “B-minus work can change people’s lives. Work that you don’t produce at all, does nothing in the world.”  

Brooke told a great story about producing B-minus work on a book she wrote, about how she got some negative feedback which caused her some real shame and embarrassment; but a letter she received from someone whose life was changed because of that B-minus book made her realize that had she declined to put out that work in favor of striving for an A-plus, that woman’s life would never have been affected. That was when Brooke decided that she was ok with B-minus work—because she knew it would still produce results.

You’ll have to decide for yourself as to what level work you are ok with; but for Brooke, making this decision made a HUGE difference in her business, and because of that decision, she has reached epic levels of success.

Reason #3: YOU’RE AVOIDING FAILURE AND DISCOMFORT

Of course, no one loves failure and discomfort; but the truth is, if we’re going to learn and grow, there are going to be moments of failure and times where we will need to step outside of our comfort zone.

Brooke explained that our brains are literally wired to avoid any kind of failure, and the only way to produce a successful business is to fail repeatedly. So what do we do?!

We have to show our brains that we are not going to die because of discomfort and failure. We need to learn the process to move into discomfort, and then get comfortable with that discomfort.

“Discomfort is the currency to your dreams.” - Brooke Castillo

But discomfort is only part of the road to success for business owners. I love that Brooke shared that she schedules “Comfort-Time” in her week! This time is non-negotiable, and she schedules it in her calendar before anything else. Her comfort-time is comprised of walking her dogs, enjoying coffee and reading in the morning, and spending time with family.  

What would be the activities or non-activities that you’d have in your comfort-time? Schedule it in!  And remember: this time is non-negotiable. Agreed? Work hard, play hard! : )

If you’re reading this and have not listened to the episode yet, I highly recommend you do. Brooke gives some great examples, insights, and encouragement that you’ll only hear by tuning in. Plus, Brooke is so fun! I guarantee you’ll not only learn a ton, but will enjoy a few laughs while listening to this episode, too!

Thanks for spending time with me today!

All my best,

Amy

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in these show notes and on the podcast episode:


Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_217.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

 

I’m the first person to admit when I’ve made a mistake.

But I can promise you this, when it happens: I learn something new every time.

Inside my private Facebook group for all of my students, my students often ask me to troubleshoot their challenges with launching their courses. Our FB Live chats and their questions inspired me to create this specific podcast episode for all of you. Based on my experiences with thousands of students, I’ve uncovered five core reasons why most online courses fail. My goal is to help make sure you don’t make these mistakes, and if you do, I want you to be able to learn from them and turn them into opportunities.

In this episode I also talk about the importance of a validation blitz, and knowing all about your potential student’s hopes and fears, and what may be holding them back. I go into step-by-step detail about how to conduct a validation blitz in my Courses That Convert Program. You can learn more about that program and how to get started with an online course with my free Masterclass—“How to Confidently Create Your First Profitable Course in 60 Days.” It’s a fun and comprehensive training that will help you get well on your way to creating your first training!

Also: if you've experienced any of these mistakes or if you've made a big mistake that I haven't mentioned here, I want you to come over to Instagram and DM me.

Check out these highlights:

  • Why your ideal customer avatar needs to be top of mind at all times. [3:48]
  • I changed my mind on pre-selling, and you need to also. [8:25]
  • The four things to do to make sure you get to the finish line with your course. [12:43]
  • What to consider instead of signature courses. [14:42]
  • How I had to enlist a colleague to keep me in check and keep out the fluff. [17:34]
  • The best online courses are taught by the best teachers. What you need to do to become an engaging teacher. [20:40]

Links mentioned in this episode:

Episode #206: “The Post-It Content Creation Mini Training”

 

 

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_216.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

As entrepreneurs, creating multiple streams of revenue should be our goal. After being laid off from a software development company in the year 2000, today’s guest, Jennifer Allwood,  discovered firsthand how using her creativity and passion could create not one, but six different revenue streams in her business.

One of the things I love most about being an entrepreneur is how we are able to use our passions and creativity to build a business that has many layers to it—and Jennifer has done just that!

So whether you are just starting out building your online business or are already doing amazing things but looking to up-level, you’re going to find lots of inspiration and actionable tips in this interview!

Never Say Never

Jennifer’s first foray into an online business revenue stream was through creating and selling a handful of short videos teaching people how to do fun DIY painting techniques on cabinets and furniture. After just a year, she had earned six figures...from simple painting videos!  

Jennifer was at first confounded to discover she could sell stuff that could be easily found online for free via YouTube videos; yet she also came to understand that people will pay for shortcuts, and they prefer to pay for something from someone they know, like and trust, rather than go searching for something on their own.

That was the beginning of her online business journey. In the years since, she has launched a couple membership sites, teaches others how to run their online businesses, is writing a book, and is enjoying engaging with her nearly half-million online social media followers.

Jennifer admits that even just five years ago she would never have dreamed she would be where she is today! Let this be a lesson to all of us!   

It’s Not About Working Harder: It’s Working Smarter That Makes The Difference

Jennifer works mostly with creatives: painters, artists, makers, DIYers, and repurposers. She says these type of entrepreneurs have a hard time getting past the idea that they don’t always have to trade time for dollars; yet Jennifer teaches them they can share their gifts in a new way by adding revenue streams to their business. The opportunities she identified (which can work for anyone with an online business) are:

  • Info products – ebooks, ecourses, webinars, etc.
  • Affiliate income
  • Sponsored content
  • Membership site
  • Ad revenue
  • Brand ambassadorship
  • Consulting
  • Speaking

Where to Start?

If you are just beginning your online journey, Jennifer suggests you begin with something on the simpler side. Test the waters first, to see what you enjoy doing and what works. She highlighted some great examples from the list above that I hope will inspire you with some new ideas!

What I loved about talking to Jennifer was seeing how strategic she was—even from the beginning, when she didn’t even realize she was being strategic!

If you tuned in and listened to today’s episode, I hope you were as inspired by Jennifer’s story as I was. She was following her passion. She was hustling. She was doing what she needed to do to make things work, and look how it came together for her! I hope the same for you!

This episode is brought to you by:

Gravy—my very own 24/7 engagement team who contacts my customers within hours of their failed payment, captures updated billing information and saves the customers I worked so hard to acquire. If you have a subscription model business or offer payment plans, you’ve got to check out Gravy!

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_215.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Most of you already know I’m all about list building.

In fact, one of my favorite mottos is “always be list building.” But not everyone knows that an indispensable element of any successful list-building effort is an effective lead magnet—a freebie—that’ll stand front and center and draw crowds to opt-in.

But then the question becomes:

How do I know which type of lead magnet to create?

That’s why you can’t miss today’s episode! I’m sharing the ultimate guide to choosing the right lead magnet for your audience, covering the seven types of lead magnets I think are working best right now.

And what I’m sharing is not only from my experience. I’ve prepared a bunch of examples of lead magnets from some of my good friends and peers—all of them list building pros—and I’m also covering the pros and cons of each, to help you decide which lead magnets are right for you and your audience.

To make it even easier for you, I’ve prepared a freebie with every one of the examples of lead magnets I’m going to discuss in the episode, so you can hear about them, but also see what I’m talking about as clearly as possible.

This episode is brought to you by:

My free Masterclass, The Ultimate List-Building Catch-Up Plan. If you are struggling to get started with list building or if you're not attracting new subscribers to your email list every single day, this is the free masterclass for you!

Check out these highlights:

  • Why it’s only worth it to look at your conversion rate numbers and not anyone else’s. [3:48]
  • The one lead magnet that’s sure to help your audience get to the finish line easily. [6:08]
  • The type of freebie that’ll get your audience saying, “I can’t believe this is free—I would’ve paid for this.” [10:55]
  • Is there a place for video or audio freebies? [13:33]
  • How about challenges? (You know you want to know how to make these lead magnets work—they’re fun!) [16:49]
  • The quick, easy (for audiences to process) and increasingly popular quiz. [20:17]
  • What kind of free courses you can do and how to get them to work as lead magnets. [24:41]
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_214.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

My podcast space has always, with a couple exceptions, been a place where I share online marketing tips and strategies...100% my comfort zone! And don’t worry, that’s still my plan for the future episodes, but this year, I’ve made an intentional decision to step out of my comfort zone (or actually maybe a lot with today’s topic!) and let you in on some more behind-the-curtain type personal things. If you listened to episode 210, my 5 Lessons I Learned From Shonda Rhimes, just a few weeks ago, you’ll see where some of the inspiration for this week’s episode came from. For example, speaking my truth was something that I was really inspired to do based on what I learned from Shonda Rhimes, one of my favorite mentors.

Several years ago a well-known podcaster that I love, Jess Lively, shared an episode with her audience with this type of format (I think she called it Things I’m Afraid To Tell You) and the honest and raw truth from that post really hit a chord with her listeners, and I believe that even back then, it created a bit of an “online honesty” movement. She still does these episodes and they’re priceless.

In my opinion, there are far too many people in the online world that have created these “everything is awesome” online personas and it really casts a false light on what’s actually going on behind-the-scenes.

I, for one, don’t want to be looked at by those that follow me as this person that has it all figured out, doesn’t have bad days, doesn’t struggle in both my personal and business life (that’s so far from the truth, it’s laughable.) So, I titled this, “10 Things I’m Embarrassed To Tell You” - and I know I shouldn’t be embarrassed by this stuff, it’s just life stuff -- the real stuff, but when I look at social media, I feel embarrassed because it’s not my highlight reel. Although, as an entrepreneur, I believe that what’s personal is business, and what’s business is personal, and I see my business as my baby. This means the personal and business are bound to blend together, especially with a personal brand, and I wouldn’t be being honest and transparent if I were to just show the highlight reel.

I bet you’d be surprised at how much we have in common when it comes to the types of things that make us feel embarrassed, ashamed, or stupid, but we wouldn’t know it unless we talk about it, right?

Here we go:

1. Sometimes I wonder if Hobie and I made the right decision to not have kids together.

I got married when I was 31 and we thought we would have babies. At that time I had just started building my business and I was incredibly focused. We had a 4-year-old already - Cade (my step-son) was in our life daily - so it felt like I already had a little one. Time flew by, and we just never took the leap and about 3 years ago Hobie got a vasectomy. On the way home from the doctor, I cried -- a lot! But I was just crying because it felt final - I knew I didn’t want to have biological children...so it was just an emotional closing to that piece of our life. I THINK we made the right decision, but sometimes (once in a while) I wish we just took the leap 7 or 8 years ago and went for it. But then at the same moment, I think we made the right decision and that feels fine to me.

2. I work well under pressure so sometimes I let myself wait to the very last minute to finish something, because I know I’ll get it done, however, this causes tremendous stress for my team AND I am not so nice to Hobie in those moments and I hate myself for it.

So, for example, when I’m late getting my slides done for a webinar, and a huge launch is looming over my head, I am super snappy with Hobie. It’s like he can’t even look at me without me saying something that I would regret. It’s the tiny things that set me off because I am stressed and tired. Hobie is a complete champ about it, too, but it’s not fair to him. The reason I’m so embarrassed about this is because I teach people to get stuff done in advance! I’d say 80% of the time I walk the talk, but that other 20% can be NOT fun. Lately, I’ve really been working on not letting anything go until the last minute.

3. I worry about aging because of my online presence.

I hate talking about this one. I am 41 years old...and I see photos of myself when I first started my online business, and I look like a baby compared to now. It’s hard to get older on video...especially when all the old photos never go away online! I wish I subscribed to the “age gracefully” model of thinking, but I don’t. Maybe over time I will, but for now, I am going to fight the battle! So, I pay close attention to my skin: I’m obsessed with LED light and Multi-Wave technology to help stimulate collagen in your skin. Yeah, I do that! Don’t laugh, but it works! I never do this, but I’m going to post links to some of my favorite skincare products below. The ones that I use daily, that I swear by, and that I know are working for anti-aging. I take this stuff seriously! : )

4. I sometimes don't like to tell you that I use a copywriter.

If I do, I’m afraid you’ll feel that you’re not hearing from me directly and then you’ll not feel connected to me. The truth is that I work closely with my copywriters - I have two, Ry and Tarzan, and they’re both really good friends. We text each other a lot, we laugh a lot together, they just get me. They know how I talk, they know how I think, they know my little quirks, and that all comes out in the writing. They actually write like I would write to you if I was really talented in my writing skills. So, yes, I use a copywriter, but it’s still me -- they’re basically an extension of me.

5. I don't always love being the one in the relationship that makes the most money.

It’s too much pressure and creates a weird shift in the relationship. Hobie and I talked about this in episode 161 - Love and Business: How to Make it Work, and he said that he doesn’t like it either. I grew up in a household where the dad went to work and controlled the finances, while the mom stayed home and did the homemaking type stuff...I thought that was how marriage worked. Since my marriage is very different than that model, some of those old beliefs creep in at times and mess with my head.

Also, I sometimes wish Hobie made more money so that if I wanted to take a break, I would have the option to. It’s silly, I know...I really want to make the money and doubt I’d ever actually want to take a big break, but I don’t want to HAVE TO make the money.

6. I’m a fierce competitor and want to be at the top of the charts with my podcast and the #1 affiliate in launches that I do.

I want to win and I really push myself and my team to be on top. The downside of this is that I find myself comparing myself to others that are also in the so-called race and that’s not a good thing to do -- it slows me down and messes up my mental game. Lately, I’ve been asking myself “why?” - why do I want to be at the top? And if I’m honest, it’s my ego more than anything - and that ain't good. So, I’m really examining this area of my mindset and am remembering what I learned from Oprah in the “Making Oprah” podcast: Put blinders on and RUN YOUR OWN RACE!

7. Ok, this next one is super personal …. Growing up I was always afraid of my dad.

He was strict and stern and expected more out of me than I thought was fair. I love him dearly, but he was hard on me. My childhood experiences put some distance between us as I got older. I still have hard feeling about some of my childhood experiences with my dad and I’ve even gone through an EMDR intensive to move past it. (If you don’t know what EMDR therapy is, I’ve linked to it below - it’s incredible and I loved the doctor I did it with, Dr. Mcayla, who I also link to below.)

But beyond my dad and me - here’s the current day truth: Sometimes I see myself being too hard on Cade and I have to pull back because I never want distance between us and I don’t want to make him feel the way I did with my dad.

8. I am embarrassed about my weight and I don’t like to do video because of it.

I talked all about this a few months ago in a 9-minute podcast episode, #179. If you’ve not heard that one, and you like this type of episode, I think you should listen to that one next. I’m bringing up the weight issue here because ever since I did that podcast episode, the feedback from listeners has been amazing. It spoke to so many of you, both men and women, and I’m glad I put aside my embarrassment of talking about it and was honest with you. As for my weight loss journey, things are going well -- slow and steady. I’m making great progress and feeling good and when I have some solid success, I will share the details with you.

9. When I have a big success (like a million dollar launch) I have this weird tinge of guilt thinking I don't totally deserve it - or I struggle with thoughts that it will all go away.

I know it’s about not feeling like I am enough, and let me tell you, it used to be a whole lot worse, but I’m really working on this one because I hate feeling that way. Recently we had an amazingly successful B-School launch and that weird guilt feeling came up for me, but I was able to kill the flame quickly by reminding myself I did deserve it and I am worthy of success. Progress, not perfection, right?!

10. I struggle with letting go, even though I have an awesome team.

I still review every single email before it goes out and I know I need to, and can trust my team, to let go. As I talked about in episode 208, I have an awesome team, and I want them to feel empowered -- they deserve to move things forward without my eye on everything. And if mistakes are made, I need to give grace, because I know that’s how we learn and grow. But man, it’s hard to let go! Especially when everything is in your voice - I am the brand - so I think I hold on a little tighter due to that! But I am working on this one -- baby steps!

So there you have it...a bit of me baring my soul.
The point of this week’s episode was, as I said, for me to be honest about parts of my personal and business life that you might not know about me yet - I really want you to know me. So when you see me out and about in real life, or better yet, come to one of my events in San Diego, you don’t just know the shiny, social media approved side of me. I want you to know all of me - and know that I am just like you in so many ways. That’s when true connections happen… I also really hope that maybe something I said will help you to not feel so alone in what you’re going through, or maybe even encourage you to be more honest and real with your own online community.

And can I just say, Thank you! Thank you for allowing me to feel safe enough to share these types of things here today. I truly love my community -- you all are such a source of encouragement to me!

Have a great day!

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_213.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:59pm PDT

 

Today I’m bringing back one of my favorites, Facebook ads guru, Rick Mulready.

The difference is today I’ve got him nervous—because he’s here to share with you what he’s NEVER shared before…he’s taking you behind the scenes and letting you in on his process of how he got to a million dollars in just one year (!). He’s also talking about how he reached that number with a decent (but not monster-sized) list of 17,000 (which once upon a time was 30,000).

You know I love to talk tips, tricks, and strategies, but I also think it’s important to look at how you are thinking, how you are feeling, what motivates you to make certain decisions and how they actually work for you… which is what Rick is sharing today.

Tips and tricks will only get you so far unless you learn to get your head on straight around everything you’re working on in your business. And Rick is ready to get raw and honest and show you the shifts he made during 2017 and the results these changes had on his life and business. Let’s get all of the scoop.

Check out these highlights:

  • Random moment of the episode: my new sauna (I didn’t bring this up myself, but it’s a fun tidbit to hear). [4:40]
  • The offers Rick made in 2017 to get to a million bucks. [8:20]
  • The issue of quantity vs. quality for your business model. [10:46]
  • How Rick changed the way he was thinking about his own email list size. [13:38]
  • Shifting your mindset from a lack to abundance as it relates to your team. [27:55]
  • Let’s get honest: Are you not growing your team because you’re scared to spend money? [32:29]
  • At some point, you might not make it without a team… [37:55]
  • Rick’s awesome email list re-engagement campaign. [42:07]

Random moment of the episode: my new sauna (I didn’t bring this up myself, but it’s a fun tidbit to hear). [4:40]
The offers Rick made in 2017 to get to a million bucks. [8:20]
The issue of quantity vs. quality for your business model. [10:46]
How Rick changed the way he was thinking about his own email list size. [13:38]
Shifting your mindset from a lack to abundance as it relates to your team. [27:55]
Let’s get honest: Are you not growing your team because you’re scared to spend money? [32:29]
At some point, you might not make it without a team… [37:55]
Rick’s awesome email list re-engagement campaign. [42:07]

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_212.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

Today I’m taking a trip down memory lane to my early days—

the first few years when nothing seemed to go as planned and everything that came my way felt like a BIG deal…I’m getting personal and raw and sharing with you what my business looked like when I first started out, the decisions I made to get where I am, and the most significant challenges along the way. (You asked, and I answered!)
More specifically, I’m sharing those things I said “yes” to in the early days—the yeses that got me where I am today, in a multimillion-dollar business with an incredible and engaged audience.

Wherever you are in your own business, you need to know:

The business you have today will look dramatically different a few years from now… but it is the choices you make today—the things you say yes or no to—that will lead you towards where you’ll be tomorrow. And then tomorrow you’ll be able to make different choices, but because you and your business will be in a different place. So here’s a little help to get you to (hopefully) make better decisions...

This episode is brought to you by:
My free Masterclass—“How to Confidently Create Your First Profitable Course in 60 Days.” If you’re thinking about creating your online course or have been for a while and don’t know how to get started, this free masterclass is for you!

Check out these highlights:

  • The most important question I ask myself every time my business hits a milestone or pivots in some way or another. [2:53]
  • Speaking opportunities—yay or nay? [4:55]
  • The time for sacrifices. [7:06]
  • Trading knowledge and experience. [8:49]
  • What to say to coffee chat invites. [11:58]
  • And how they’re completely different than “Can I Pick Your Brain” invites. [13:13]
  • The right way to collaborate with other people. [17:33]
  • And the right way to have other people collaborate with you! [20:14]
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_211.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Shonda Rhimes, the creative powerhouse behind Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, wrote a book a few years ago called Year of Yes that really resonated with me. I’m sharing five takeaway lessons that have impacted my personal and business life in a pretty major way.

First, let me set the scene for you as to why Shonda even wrote this book. Shonda and her sister were in the kitchen getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner way back in 2013, and Shonda was telling her sister about some parties, talk shows, and conferences that she'd been recently invited to, you know, the Hollywood type stuff. She was talking about how she was too busy to do any of it, and without blinking an eye, her sister said something to her that day that became the wake-up call that Shonda needed to transform her “busy life”, and those words were:

Her sister knew that Shonda was hiding behind being too busy to avoid doing things that scared her and would take her out of her comfort zone. Her sister also knew that Shonda had ZERO balance in her life and she was actually miserable. Now, would the outside world have known that she was miserable? No. However, Shonda knew that her sister was telling the truth. She’d been called out and it was the truth.

This brought on an epiphany that something major had to change in her life. She wrote in her book: "This could not possibly be what having it all was supposed to feel like, could it? Because if it was, if this is what I spent all this time and energy working so hard for, if this is what the promised land looked like, what was success ... was what success felt like, was what I sacrificed for ... " And then she trailed off, telling the reader she didn't even wanna go there.

This was her aha moment! And the reason I bring it up here is because I think many of us are working our tails off, hustling to the core, and if we're not careful, we're gonna work ourselves into the ground, and then one day we're gonna pop up and say, "Wait. Was this what I was working so hard for, to feel burned out and overworked and tired?” We’ve got to be really mindful of this. I know we're creating businesses we absolutely love, but just don’t work yourself into the ground, okay?

Before we get into the lessons, I want to ask you two questions:

  • 1. Are you at a place in your life where you’re wondering if all the hard work you’re putting into growing your business is even worth it? Now, hard work is one thing, but being miserable is another. Who wants to bust their butt only to be miserable??
  • 2. Are you ready to make some changes in your life so that you can embrace things that scare you or take you outside your comfort zone? You know, those things that deep down you know would probably make you a happier or more successful person.

With your answer to those questions in mind, let’s dig into the five lessons I learned from Shonda’s book, Year of Yes.

Lesson 1:

In Shonda’s book, she told a story about when she gave a commencement speech a few years ago at her alma mater, Dartmouth. (I’ve included the video for you here, but save that for later when you’re in your pjs and can settle in for 25 minutes.) In her speech she was encouraging the graduating class to be DOers, NOT dreamers. She would say things to them like, “You want to be a writer? Guess what? A writer writes everyday. Start writing.” “You want to travel? Sell your crappy car and buy a ticket and go to Bangkok.”

https://youtu.be/EuHQ6TH60_I

I love this! It’s not that she’s bashing on having dreams, it’s good to dream and have big goals, but if you keep your head up in the clouds, you're going to get nowhere.

Shonda talked about dreaming of being author and Pulitzer Prize winner, Toni Morrison. She said she did a whole lot of dreaming...from her parents’ couch! She then realized, “Wait a minute! Toni Morrison already had that job and she wasn’t interested in giving it up!”

Can you relate?

Have you ever dreamed of being so and so, or having so and so's business? You look at someone else's business online and you think, "I want to be them. I wanna have what they have." It reminds me of that quote, "Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken." Words to live by, right? You've gotta do you!

Now, I've always pretty much been a person that digs in and gets stuff done. I'm definitely a doer. But this lesson about doing instead of just dreaming does keep me motivated and on track in my business. Every single day I take action toward my goals. And if at any time I feel like my head is in the clouds, I've gotta pull it back down and say, "Okay, where's the plan?" And to get really specific, I’d ask myself: Where are the action items for my plan inside Asana?”, the project management tool I use. If I don’t put it in Asana, then I'm just dreaming it.

Where are your action items written down? Your notebook? Your project management tool? Just make sure to get it written down.

Speaking of being actionable and writing stuff down, I’ve got an awesome freebie for you today. There’s an exercise in there that's going to help you take some of these ideas in your head, get them on paper and make them more actionable so that you do more and dream a little bit less.

Lesson 2:

For the record, I'm not going to tell you to find more balance in your life...I feel like that's a cliché. Way easier said than done! But Shonda explains this in a very practical way. In her book, she talks a lot about finding a good personal and professional balance. And when she's talking about it, she not only had a super important big job, but she also had three little ones, and I mean little, at home. I've only got one teenage son, a dog, and a husband, and sometimes I don't even know how I get through it all!

Achieving a perfect balance between work, social, and family is impossible. We all know that right? So perfect should never be your goal. In her book, Shonda dropped a nice little truth bomb when she said, "Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means that I am failing in another area of my life." The reason I love this woman so much is because she tells the truth!

What Does Real Life Balance Look Like?

If you’re a Grey's Anatomy fan, then you will never forget Sandra Oh's last scene. It was epic! (Sandra Oh is Christina in Grey's Anatomy.) Anyway, watching that last scene LIVE was of huge importance to Shonda because, for 10 years, she had put her heart and soul into that character, to develop her and to make her the person that she was. So, it was the last hurrah -- this would be Christina’s last scene before going off the show.

SPOILER ALERT: Shonda wasn't there to witness the last scene!

Why? Because guess what else was important at the time? Her kid's school musical that was going on at the same time. She chose her daughter's school musical that day over something incredibly important at work. Now, this is what real life balance looks like. There's not going to be a perfectly easy solution every single time.

She also admitted that if she was working late on a script for one of her shows like Scandal, she'd probably end up missing bath and story time at home, which if you’re a parent, you know that is an important time. So you see, Shonda doesn't always give up the work stuff for the family stuff, she flip-flops back and forth. She found her own sense of balance, and obviously, the choices were not always easy.

As entrepreneurs, we are no doubt living full lives. And to achieve some sort of balance, there's gotta be some give and take. Yes, there will be hard decisions to make, but it's up to us to make daily choices through a balance type of lens that each of us is going to have to individually define. Your balance only needs to make sense in your world. Even if that looks or feels something like you hopping from one foot to the other to maintain that sense of balance, that's okay.

People always ask me how I keep everything in balance and I got a lot of those types of questions when I recently recorded the 20 questions episode with my husband, Hobie. Well, the truth is, I don't do it very well. My goal is to have that balance, but then I also know it's never going to be perfect, and I need to be okay with that. I have to remind myself that I am the only one that defines my balance. I talk about a couple of examples of this with my son and my husband in today’s episode.

Let’s agree that even though we may be a work in progress, we are making progress in this area. I’ve got a good exercise for you in the freebie I mentioned earlier in regards to defining your own balance. I think you’ll find it an empowering exercise!

Lesson 3:

I could've lumped this lesson into the whole lesson about balance, but I'm not going to, because without clearly defining boundaries for yourself, or sometimes for others in your life, you're going to have a hard time creating any sort of balance that truly benefits you. Think of it this way: boundaries are the framework for your very own definition of balance. Boundaries are just the rules or guidelines to what you will or won't do, and what you will or won't allow.

In Shonda’s book, she talks about some of the most important boundaries she put in place during her “year of yes” and I think these may be some of the very boundaries that you, my dear reader, might need to put into place too. I know I’ve had to!

  • No checking or sending emails after 7:00 p.m. Period. Notice she doesn't say 5:00? She's reasonable. She's an entrepreneur.
  • No working on Saturday or Sunday unless there was some sort of emergency or filming where she really needed to be there.
  • Home by 6:00 p.m. for dinner, so she could eat with her kids.
  • She decided that “no” would be a complete sentence. She wasn't going to feel like she had to give excuses for saying no to stuff.
    ****Oh, my goodness, I am notorious for this one! If I say no, then I feel guilty because I'm a people pleaser. This is definitely a boundary I’m working on getting better at.
  • No hot glue gun or no home-baked cookies.

There's a great part in the book about Shonda attending some school meeting, and a room-mom was telling everyone to bring cookies to some event, and that they had to be homemade. Well, Shonda about lost her mind when that came up. She actually blurted out a profanity in voicing her disbelief. Can you imagine? I would kind of die! No one was going to tell her that she couldn't bring Costco cookies. Let's be honest...we all know that Costco cookies are kind of amazing!

Notice that she wasn't saying that she wouldn't bring cookies to the school event. She just wasn't going to stay up late into the night baking. That didn't work for her. And the other scenario of going to buy the cookies, showing up and being there for her kid, that worked.

Believe it or not, when I read some of the boundaries that Shonda had put into place, I actually felt a sense of permission to do the same in my life. Besides working on “no” being a complete sentence, I’ve also decided to try and take Fridays off and not work on the weekends. Some weeks are better than others, but I would say I get it right about 60% of the time. It helps that my team knows this is my intention, too, so they don’t schedule anything for me on Fridays. My task management tool, Asana, that I mentioned earlier, and my Google calendar are real lifesavers in the areas of boundaries, too, because I schedule work and personal and if it’s not in there, I’m not doing it.
I hope that reading some of Shonda’s and my boundaries will help you to feel a sense of permission, or give you some good ideas, too.
Again, my freebie today has a good exercise for you to complete on setting healthy boundaries, as well as taking down those boundaries you may have in place, but that are not serving you well.

Lesson 4:

I know! This totally sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it!?

Hold on now, just listen to this nugget of wisdom that Shonda shares about having difficult conversations: “No matter how hard a conversation is, I know that on the other side of that difficult conversation lies peace. Knowledge. An answer delivered. Character is revealed. Truces are formed. Misunderstandings are resolved. Freedom lies across the field of the difficult conversation. And the more difficult the conversation, the greater the freedom.”

Ahhhh….Peace, knowledge, answers, freedom. Can I get an AMEN on having a little more of these in our lives!!

You may be thinking, “Sounds good, Amy, but I hate having difficult conversations and I’d just rather avoid them at all costs!” Believe me, I don’t love having them either! AND, I actually think that as women we struggle with them more than men. Ladies, can we just resolve to fix that?!
The main reason I don’t like to have difficult conversations is that I NEVER, EVER want to hurt someone’s feelings. Yep, I’m a people-pleaser, but I know that’s not healthy, so I’m a bit of a work-in-progress over here! : )

One thing I’ve found is that if I can sort of have a loose “canned plan” in place in the event I end up getting into a difficult conversation. In her book, Shonda gives some really great examples of these type of statements that we can equip ourselves with. These are ones that you’d use these when it looks like you need to just draw the line and shut the conversation down, instead of rambling or giving in. So, you might say:

  • “That doesn’t work for me.”
  • “I’m done.”
  • “This isn’t worth it.”
  • “You aren’t worth it.” (Now, this one may just be something you say in your head to give yourself permission to end the conversation.)
  • “No.” (Remember, Shonda says we can use this as a complete sentence!)

It might take some practice, but you’d be surprised at how empowering it can be to break out one of these statements at just the right time!

And, guess what? There’s a silver lining here! The more we engage in difficult conversations, the easier they get.

Lesson 5:

I really struggle with this one! I tell a story in today’s podcast about that struggle. What I love about Shonda is she decided to start taking the compliments that she was getting, like a boss. In her book, she wrote:

"I'm going to say yes to accepting any and all acknowledgments of personal fabulous awesomeness with a clear, calm, 'Thank you,' and a confident smile, and nothing more."

Fabulous awesomeness. I love how she says that. But for myself, I can't even imagine if someone were to give me a compliment and just saying, "Thank you," with a smile. That feels very awkward to me, but in an effort to take a compliment like a boss, I’m going to try and do it going forward, too.

How about you? You on board with me?

Lessons Recapped:

Lesson 1: Don't just dream it, Do it!
Lesson 2: Find your own balance.
Lesson 3: Create boundaries that help you thrive.
Lesson 4: It's good to have difficult conversations.
Lesson 5: Learn to take a compliment like a boss.

So, there you have it! I hope these five lessons I learned from my mentor, Shonda Rhimes, have given you a new perspective on how to live a more fulfilling life and to run your business from a place of empowerment and truth.

Don’t forget to download the freebie I created for you. It’s a worksheet that is going to walk you step-by-step through some exercises that go along with the lessons I talked about today. It's a bit of a journaling type of exercise, but believe me, it will make everything you learned more actionable.

This episode is brought to you by:
Master Class: How to Confidently Create Your First Profitable Course in 60 Days
www.Amyporterfield.com/courses

 

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_210.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT