Thu, 21 June 2018
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:
Links mentioned in this episode:
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_216.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am PDT
Thu, 14 June 2018
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:
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
Thu, 7 June 2018
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:
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_214.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT
Wed, 30 May 2018
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.
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
Wed, 23 May 2018
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]
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_212.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT
Wed, 16 May 2018
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!)
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:
Check out these highlights:
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_211.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT
Wed, 9 May 2018
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:
With your answer to those questions in mind, let’s dig into the five lessons I learned from Shonda’s book, Year of Yes.
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.”
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.
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!
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!
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 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?!
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:
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.
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?
Lesson 1: Don't just dream it, Do it!
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:
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_210.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT
Wed, 2 May 2018
Have you ever thought about creating a physical product to sell online, maybe even adding one to your digital line up?
And if you have, have you found yourself overwhelmed with not really knowing where to start in order to bring that product from merely an idea to something your customers can physically hold in your hands?
As most of you know, my business consists of all digital products and I would say 90% of my audience is the same, but I still get questions, pretty frequently, asking me about creating physical products to include in their existing online business. Maybe you’re at a point where you’d like to add a physical product. Questions like: How do I know if I’m ready to add a physical product to my digital mix? Where would I even go to get started? What kind of physical product could I add to the mix?
Since I get a lot of questions around this topic, but I’m not the expert, I thought, “Let’s bring on someone who is.” My guest today, Lara Casey - founder of CultivateWhatMatters.com, has authored two books, Cultivate, and Make it Happen, and has had huge success in launching and selling physical products online. If you’ve ever heard of the famous PowerSheets, she’s the creator!
Lara is going to talk to us about how she knew it was time to launch a physical product; how she figured out and managed all the details around designing, producing, and fulfilling a physical product. And to keep it real, she shares the ups and downs as she created her product along the way.
When I asked Lara to tell my podcast listeners a little bit about herself, this is what she said: “We’re all about planting seeds and helping women to Cultivate What Matters and giving them the tools they need to plant seeds of growing intentional relationships or cultivating their faith...whatever it may be, specific to them.”
Planting seeds...cultivating...intentional… I love this!
Lara continued, “I’m a mom to three, a grateful wife, and I’m really passionate about helping an instant-results culture embrace the power of little by little progress, instead of perfection.”
Now, let’s dig into the interview!
QUICK SIDE NOTE to those who are coming here from my podcast for the show notes, I'd love to know if you like this longer, more detailed version of show notes? While not everything from the podcast is included here, it's a pretty thorough representation. Please let me know yay or nay and why in the comments below.
Amy: What are PowerSheets?
Lara: The PowerSheets are our goal planner, and they help you to uncover what matters the most to you, make an action plan and then TEND to that, little by little and take action.
Amy: It’s beautiful! It looks like a planner. Would you call it a planner?
Lara: We get asked that all the time and this is really your day planner’s best friend. We call it a planner because it fits into the marketing realm of being that same type of vein, but it’s more of an action book. We want people to not just plan but start planting things in their lives and to make a mess in this (the PowerSheets).
Amy: What your very first product and why did you decide to create it?
IN THE BEGINNING
Lara: About 12 years ago, my husband Ari was deployed to Iraq, with the Marines. And as you can imagine, at the height of any time of war or turmoil, it can leave you feeling very anxious. And so, this first product, which was Southern Weddings magazine came out of that pain that I was experiencing at the time. As my husband was deployed to Iraq, I sat on my laptop computer alone one night and just thought, "I just really have a deep desire to create beauty in this world that feels so broken," and that sounded like a really grand thing at the time, but it was my real desire.
And so, I got on my computer, and I started mocking up a wedding magazine cover, and I didn't have any formal training or background in this. I had an interest in weddings and started to get my feet wet into wedding planning at the time. I think I bought an ebook that was something like Wedding Planning 101. It was $0.99 at the time.
What it was really about was that I was fascinated with stories of transformation and how even in the gift of a wedding celebration, you could transport people from feeling despair and hopelessness to a place of hope, to a place of thinking about the future.
So, I mocked up this little wedding magazine cover, and I had no idea where it would go from there... I just knew I had to create it. I had this restlessness that I'm sure a lot of your listeners may feel at times. I put it out there to the world, and I thought, "You know what? This is something new and different."
I started a blog at the time. If you would have said the word blog to someone, they probably would have thought about the movie The Blob and had no idea what you were talking about.
Amy: Like the wild, wild West online, when blogs weren't even popular!
Lara: I started a blog to talk about creating meaningful beginnings to married life and started sharing the idea about this wedding magazine. Long story short, it really took off. People were excited about something new and different in the South, not just talking about roasted chicken and tulle at a wedding, but a story and how that story could transform guests' lives.
This is how the first physical product came to be. I used my whole life savings and created a physical print version of Southern Weddings magazine. I, again, had no experience in this. I have a degree in music theater, no background in journalism. I just had this desire to do it, and I figured I'm just going to figure it out. I created the first edition on Microsoft Publisher.
WHY A PHYSICAL PRODUCT?
Lara: There is something to the tangible. I still feel the exact same way today, that I felt 12 years ago -- there's something to holding a product in your hand that has the ability to change someone's life, potentially more than a digital product that maybe they see once and forget about. This physical product is something people could pass on. They could pass it to their sisters, their moms, their best friends...it really started a revolution in the wedding industry. This is back when the only publications that were out there were really big corporate publishing houses. And then, there was me and my cat in the apartment. : )
Amy: What year was this?
Lara: This was 2008. If you fast-forward five years from then, I had a major life change happen. Our marriage was really rocky within that time period, five years later, our marriage started to come back together, and that led to our fifth-anniversary issue of Southern Weddings, being about love never fails. And so, the first shop product that we sold in more of an e-commerce platform ... it was Big Cartel at the time ... was a print that said, "Love never fails." In each of these things we've created have really been born out of a pain point, out of some challenge that I experienced in my life.
But the print was more about how could we get meaningful messaging into people's hands. It was more about the profit of people, not about dollar signs. It eventually became dollar signs, but it started with the heart of, "If we could just get this messaging literally into people's fingertips, we believe that it would have a domino effect and a ripple effect."
CREATING A SOLUTION TO A PAIN POINT
Lara: It was right around that time that our business started to boom. as the heartbeat of Southern Weddings started to really beat with the message of, "Love never fails," people really started to grasp onto it, and I became really overwhelmed with so much work, and I just had my first baby. Our marriage was coming back together, so I was trying to balance and prioritize that. I know you've had so much of that in your story too, Amy. It was like, "How do you do it all?"
And what I realized, the obvious is I can't do it all and do it well, but I can choose to cultivate what matters. And so, right around that time, I sat down at my desk one day, and I thought, "Man, I have all these things," like my facebook page, my Twitter account at the time (I don't even think that Instagram was a thing), "How am I going to tend to all these things and make them grow?" I would come to the end of a year and just get so frustrated looking back and thinking, "I could have made progress on these things if I would have tended to them little by little." So I got really frustrated, and said, "I need to fix this," and I made myself what I called a tending list.
It was just a list of all the priorities, these seeds that I wanted to grow in my life and in my business. Things that I just knew, if I just touched on them a little bit at a time, it would add up. So I created a set of worksheets to help me make progress on the things that mattered, tending to them little by little. It's just like you teach, Amy, about it being focused on action by action.
Lara: And that's when my life started to change. I started to make progress on the things that mattered. People started to see me making progress, amidst a lot of mistakes, and I got an email from a publisher who had read a series that I posted on my blog at the time about goal setting and about how I was doing this differently. The publisher emailed me, and that's how I got my first book contract for Make It Happen, and then my most recent one is Cultivate. At the same time, others began to ask me to create this set of worksheets for them too, and it really took off.
Amy: I love these stories, where you create something for yourself and then others want it, and it grows into a business. I mean, how organic can you get, right?
Lara: Yes! We have an unofficial, yet, official office motto that is: If you're not excited about it, nobody's going to be excited about it. So, for us, we have to create the things that we use in our everyday lives, the things that we need, and we just have to trust if we've done our research, and looked at what the market needs, and listened enough, then other people are probably going to be affected by it too, if we are.
Amy: If you created these worksheets for yourself, did you just put them out there and that's how you knew others wanted them? Did you sell them and then hope that others wanted them? How did that happen?
Lara: It was a lot of both. It was a lot like throwing things to the wind. There weren't any shops around at the time, my friend Lindsay Letters had a shop with a couple prints in it, but there was no one that was really modeling this at the time. So, we were just testing the waters. At the time, I was doing coaching for branding clients, and I tested the PowerSheets out with them in little spurts. We would test it. The content, I tested with the Making Things Happen Conference, which we were doing twice a year (and still do twice a year now).
It was being tested, but it wasn't like a full-fledged test in an e-commerce platform. We just really at the time had to take the risk and put it out there.
Amy: You were creating a solution to your pain point, to begin with, and then your first customers were people in your local community and people who knew you through Southern Weddings and the Make Things Happen Conference who had that same need, and your product was their answer. Perfect!
Tell us what happened from there, as far as you knowing that this was actually going to be a business and not just a one-off order for some friends. For example, did you have a certain amount of workbooks? These worksheets really became a workbook, right?
Lara: Yes, you got it.
Amy: So did you have a certain amount of workbooks that you wanted to pre-sell before you'd produce the product? Or did you place an order that you could afford at the time and then sold online at stores or events? Give us all the details.
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN!
Lara: I designed the first round, which was a loose-leaf set of worksheets. We printed them at a local printer, which is something that I think is very important for anybody that's starting out because you get the joy and the asset of having a relationship with someone who's going to hopefully walk you through that process. We did not speak the printer paper product language at first, and I still feel like we're learning that. We didn't know anything about paperweights or bleed on paper or even what was possible.
I think it's really important to try a local printer first, even if you think you're going to get a better cost somewhere else, just so you can get that education.
We did a very small batch at first, and I think it was like 500 sets of PowerSheets, and that felt like a huge amount for us, at first. I feel very strongly about the power of one, so I thought, "If we could get even these 500 sets of PowerSheets into people's hands,” -- I started to imagine the ripple effect. I hope that's encouragement for anybody that's starting out. Don't compare your numbers to somebody else. Do what you think is best for you right now and just think about the ripple effect.
Amy: What were some of your biggest fears at this point, when you started to put it out there?
Lara: So many things. The thought of just somebody buying something from us was scary. The thought of, do we know even how to do transactions, or what if someone is unhappy with the product? What if this product doesn't create results for other people like it has for us and the people we've tested it with? What do you do about customer service? How do you print labels? I think the biggest thing is that there was so much unknown. The only way that we were going to figure out how to do it well was to do it and to get as much good advice as we could. But at the time, there weren't any resources for shop owners like there are now.
Amy: I love that you put this out there because a lot of my students want the whole roadmap in front of them, and they know I'm a step-by-step girl. So they'll say, "Amy, just give us exactly what we need to do." But if you look back at people that have had major success, they just put it out there, and when an issue comes up, they figure it out, and then there's their process moving forward.
Lara: I think you're right. I think that if I would have had a "plan" to start out with, we would have changed so much about it. Especially with e-commerce or selling a physical product in a retail shop, whatever it is, there's so much testing that happens, and asking yourself, "Is this right for us? Can we make this better? How can we put our unique stamp on this?" So I feel like it's actually an advantage to not know the entire roadmap ahead because you get the freedom to change for the better.
Amy: That's so powerful. Now, in these early days, when you did your first print run, and you've got your loose-leaf pages out there, you didn't do a pre-order, you actually put the money down, and you ordered 500. Did you sell those online or in person or both?
Lara: We sold them online, for the mere fact that we work out of my house. It's a small operation, and that also brought a lot of challenges with it, too. One of the biggest bumps in the road that we've had with production was having a lot of manual labor to do ourselves to package the products. This is not something that our printer at the time could do. We were collating the products by hand, packaging them by hand, stickering them, figuring out how to use the label printer, which we actually did at first. We are grassroots. I remember going to the post office with hundreds of boxes and the post people looking at us like, "Are you kidding me?"
Amy: This is how it's done! I love how you built this, because it is completely grassroots, just starting from something really small and doing all the labor yourself. You really had to just get in there and figure stuff out. Thank goodness the product you created was one to help you keep organized because it sounds like there were a lot of moving pieces!
So many people get to a place of overwhelm in the process of creating their product, whether it be physical or digital, and they just get stuck and make zero progress. It sounds like this wasn't the case for you. You just kept moving step by step even when you didn't have all the answers. Such a big learning moment.
So, you've got your first product out there and it was validated through continued customer demand and sales. How long did you stick with that business model? And when was the next major turning point in your business?
TAKING RISKS AND MAKING PIVOTS
Lara: I love this question because it takes me right back to the point of taking big risks.
So one of the biggest pivotal moments for us was stepping back and making the scary decision to completely change the name of our shop. The crazy part was that things were going really well. Sales were good. Things kept trucking along. We'd had a growth rate of almost 150% every year.
At the same time, this is where you really start to get to, and I don't want to call it magic, but like, the real heartbeat of where I think success comes from is doing things from your core, from your why, and always being willing to take risks for that. So for us, we had this conversation I'll never forget it. We stopped one day, and we said, "You know what? This name is not working. This is not about me anymore. How can we have a name that allows us to give other people the reins and to make it about them?" And so, we went around and around with a lot of different ideas and just kept coming back to why we do what we do, which is to help women cultivate what matters.
We changed the name of our shop from the Lara Casey shop to Cultivate What Matters, and that turning point was like a huge flood for us, because it wasn't about selling a product; it was about teaching people a different way of living and about changing the way that they think, and that's when things started to really click.
It's easy to be complacent. It's easy just to look at numbers. But again, when you're looking at the profit of people, -- like how can we actually affect people's lives in a more profound way -- you're working with a whole different set of rules, and it makes the risks worth it.
Amy: At this point, demand increased even more, right?
Amy: What did that look like? Did you add more products? Did you move from local? Give us all the details.
Lara: One Thanksgiving I was sitting with my family on shipping boxes for Thanksgiving dinner, because my living room was full of boxes, and that was the breaking point. That's when I said, "You know what? I think we have grown to the point where something needs to change."
One change we made was taking the fulfillment away from our hands and putting it into a local warehouse, and that was a scary move because, through Southern Weddings, we have always held to the fact that there's magic in a handwritten note. I would write handwritten notes with all of the first PowerSheets orders. I mean, it would take me days, writing hundreds of notes because of that "power of one".
But, in order to grow with your business, to affect more people's lives, sometimes, you have to let go of some things and choose more meaningful things that you can do on a larger scale. One thing that was really important to us was to have a local warehouse, where we could still have a touchpoint. We could still deliver handwritten notes and I could get my dining room back! : )
As far as production goes, we outgrew our local printer, and the strain of the manual labor really became unsustainable for us. And having so many amazing, sweet friends come to my house to collate PowerSheets on my back porch all the time, it just started to NOT add up. So, we started to look at different options. To give you a little bit of background, we are a debt-free company, which I’m very grateful for and it's something we worked very hard for. So we didn’t take out any loans for this growth. We have embraced this principle not just in our business, but in our lives and what we teach, that it's okay to grow slow.
We have many times had to deal with sellouts, which sounds like a wonderful problem to have -- it's a blessing for sure when a product sells out, but for us, it was by necessity. We only ordered as much as we could. And in being a debt-free company, and in believing that growing slow was really important to us, it took a long time to figure out a better option for production. We wanted to be really intentional about that.
So, fast-forward, during that bump, we started working with a company called Codra. Codra is essentially like a middleman between us — the designer and the shop — and international and US production. We found them through my book publisher, Thomas Nelson, who produce a lot of Bibles and book content like that. I'm telling you this because more than looking for the right price point, and more than looking for the best deal, it's about looking for the right relationship. Because if you're really in this for the long haul, and if you really want it to be a product that is sustainable for the long term, then that relationship behind it has to be, too. All that to say that the team at Codra are our best advocates, and they have found us international partners and even domestic partners - production manufacturers - that have really strong integrity.
This was so, so important to us that the integrity of our product started even at production and went all the way through our customer delight, all the way down to the way we package things, that there was no stone left unturned. So, that was the biggest bump for us, was making that leap of faith to go with an outside production house.
Amy: So now they're being printed in China, but you have a middleman, so you don't have to go over to China and watch them and make sure everything's working properly and all that stuff?
Lara: That's correct. We love them so much because they take such care to make sure that our manufacturing partners are also really taken care of. They are the ones that travel there all the time, and they are there working with multiple clients at a time. It's neat to know that they have such integrity with those relationships, and they're passing that onto us.
Amy: Did you have to get a business loan to move on to this next big step in terms of moving from local to international printing?
Lara: No, and I'm really grateful for that. We just grew at the pace that we knew we could sustain, but this is where we had to get really smart. When you reach a certain point, I mean, really at any point in your marketing, as you know more than anybody else, Amy, you've got to get smart about your marketing. You have to have the right data, and that's when it was about four years into our process (we've had PowerSheets for almost seven years now) when we started to really look at the data, and we started to look at our analytics and started to grow our email list and work on these things that we felt like were great benchmarks to knowing. If we could get to those key performance indicators, like having a certain number of newsletter subscribers or whatever those metrics are, that we would feel more confident in making a larger purchase for more inventory for the next one. We couldn't take risks with that anymore or just shoot the wind with a number that sounded good. We had to start looking at the data and making great strides towards that.
Amy: And it can be scary to look at the data. Some of my students say they don't want to look, because they're not really sure what they're looking for, and they might not even want to know the truth if they're being really honest with themselves. So this was something that you did that most people don't do -- you got really knowledgeable about what the numbers told you.
Lara: Yes, and we started with no email list. I remember when our former marketing director came to us, and she's like, "So tell me about your email list." It was like I felt list shame. I was like,, "What kind of list are you talking about here?"
Amy: It happens to us all.
Lara: It does, but I think more so than any numbers, it was about providing helpful content for people...we're not product producers. Like I said earlier, we're seed planters. First and foremost, we're about helping women change their lives and giving them the tools to do that. If we weren't doing that in our day-to-day content, there's no way that product is going to be a long-term thing in their lives anyway.
Amy: To give us a little perspective here, can you share a quick timeline from the printing of your first workbook to where you are at this point in our chat now, producing your product in China?
FINDING YOUR CENTRAL FOCUS TO PROPEL YOU FORWARD
Lara: Once you really find your niche, and you find what matters, having one central focus is really what propelled us forward. So we decided to make the PowerSheets the main product, with everything else as a support to that main focus and system.
Amy: I can't get over how many great lessons you are sharing! It’s all the stuff that I teach, but you're saying it differently and putting it into a different light, and I'm loving it! So, you shaved down some of your products to get really focused on the one that was really doing well for you, and you knew it was the right fit for your audience.
Lara: Yes, but it was scary because cutting things out makes you feel like you're not going to please everybody. But it had to become more about the impact and realizing that we could make a bigger impact if we could help people make a better buying decision by giving them less to choose from.
Amy: So, now we know the product, but you said accessories -- I'm very curious about what that means. I'd also love to know about your team size, your production site, your warehouse, all that good stuff.
Lara: I love that you encouraged our listeners, too, that this doesn't happen overnight. It's a joy and an honor to be able to share the start of the story instead of just where we are now, because I would feel so intimidated if I just heard the end instead of knowing that it took hard work, and most of these things that were successes were because I made a lot of mistakes on the way.
But, out of all of those mistakes and trial and error, we have come up with a product lineup that, like I said, centralizes on or focuses on the PowerSheets and uncovering what matters to you, making an action plan and then doing something about it. We know there's not a one-size-fits-all program for everybody's life, so we have to be able to customize that for different people. We haven't shared any of this yet, but I'm excited to share here that for the release of our 2019 PowerSheets, we’re going to have four covers for the one-year sets. This is exciting for us because people have always wanted to choose the color that matches their life.
And there's a lot of intentionalities that went behind those covers, too. So, we’ll have four one-year sets of PowerSheets, with one six-month undated set. The six-month undated set was a very intentional decision too. People sometimes find out about us in the middle of the year, and we believe there's nothing magical about January 1st. You should be able to set goals at any time you want.
We also have another cornerstone product, which is our Write The Word Journal, and it's a Bible journal that allows you to just literally write Bible verses, and those have been super popular for people that want to cultivate their faith. So we have seven Write The Word Journals. We also have a new product we just released, which is Write the Word for Kids.
And this is where it gets fun as far as dreaming about if you have a core product, how could an accessory fuel that product? We came up with five different goal guides: a goal guide for parents; a goal guide for friendship and relationships; one for wellness; and one for finances. So if those things are important to you, that's where that supports the main product.
Amy: I like how these extras all support the main product.
Lara: Yes, because if they detract or, here's where it gets technical, if we have a product that felt like it merited its own separate launch and didn't support the other products, we would have a hard time getting people to purchase the main system that we're teaching about in our day-to-day content. It can actually be a distraction in a way.
We also have our Goal Setting Sticker Book, because goal setting should be fun! : )
Amy: Months ago, I wanted to buy the PowerSheets when all my friends were all about them and they were sold out and I was bummed out. Well, the other day, I was lucky to get this nice beautiful box in the mail from you - I was so excited! Thank you for that! I'm embarrassed to say how excited I was about the stickers, but I was. So that was extra fun!
Lara: We often talk about how the stickers are fun, but this is where a researched-backed, data-oriented mindset can help you create a product that's really fun. For us, knowing that there is power in the handwritten word, as opposed to typing something digitally, there's power in marking something that's meaningful for you. And with the stickers, for instance, stickers that say things like “top priority” and “this matters”, there's actually something that happens in your brain when you're putting a sticker on a goal that really matters to you. Your mind starts to make decisions and you start to go through a series of trying to figure out how you're going to do that.
THERE’S NO “I’ IN TEAM!
Amy: Tell me about your team size and the positions you have on your team.
Lara: We have a team of nine women who I'm very grateful to work alongside. Half of them work here in my home office in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the other half work remotely.
Amy: I hope that someone reading this is the perfect fit or knows someone who is.
Lara: We want to stay a small team, and even in our 10-year vision, we have plans to hopefully just remain like 12 to 13 people, because we have that agility, the ability to be nimble, the ability to make quick decisions and act on them. The Traction Model was really helpful for us to be able to do that.
Amy: Tell us about your current production method and your new warehouse.
Lara: We just switched to a new warehouse, in Kentucky, through a company called EasyPost. EasyPost is a tech company, so they're very much focused on advancements in technology. They created a software that is also labeled the same thing, EasyPost, but they also do fulfillment now. Fulfillment means that we get our product to their warehouse, and they take care of everything on the shipping side. Our system links in with them through Shopify, and they take care of sending all the orders out. For production, we still use the same people that we've been using for the last three years, which is Codra, Curry Printing and Smart Press.
The reason we chose the new warehouse in Kentucky is there, through the advancement in technology, is a decrease in human error. We have a lot of influxes of launch dates, where we sold far more than we expected to. We had these big bumps, and our current warehouse just wasn't able to handle that without a lot of errors. It has been really helpful to work with the team that does Kickstarter. They do high production for lots of different shops that might have 25,000 products go out on the day, but they can also do our normal day-to-day quantities, too.
Amy: Fantastic! Things happen...you made choices to change things up to make it better, and that’s how your business has grown over the years. So many different changes, but based on needs, wants, mistakes and everything in between.
Looking back. If you knew back then what you know now, what would you have done differently?
IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW
Lara: I would have owned our mantra earlier of, "If you're excited about it, chances are other people will be too." That really is the best form of marketing that we've experienced: If it’s a product or a piece of content that we need and will change our everyday lives, it's worth taking a risk to put out there in hopes that other people will too. That's where we really get to the power of one. So, I would say, "Take risks for what matters." And then I would also say, "Keep making it better." I am amazed that every year when we start talking about the next year's version of the PowerSheets, or really any of our products, that there are hundreds of changes that get made.
We don't just rest on our laurels. We are making it better through listening to our customer, asking them questions like, "Is this working for you?" Hearing their stories and giving them lots of opportunities to give us feedback. Keep making it better. Never stop growing.
Amy: If you could give my listeners and readers one or two pieces of advice if they're thinking about launching a physical product, what would that be?
Lara: I would say make something that you need. Make something that you know that you will authentically be able to tell people, "This filled a need for me," or, "This filled a need for my mom," or someone that's close to you. It has to have a personal story behind it. People grasp on to the power of story, and they will listen to you if you’re being authentic with them and telling them about your product.
The other thing I would say is, just what we have experienced throughout this whole six-year period of having PowerSheets and 12 years of Southern Weddings, that it's okay to grow slow. You don't have to have the whole plan to get started. Good things take root over time, and little by little, good things grow and they bloom.
Amy: There are so many great little nuggets you’ve shared with us! This has been a real eye-opener for me as well because I've never done a physical product, would not even know where to start, but these lessons you learned along the way are just priceless for anybody thinking of doing a physical product or even just adding a physical product to their online business.
I think your story shows us that there are no shortcuts, but it can really pay off when you come from a place like you did of wanting to serve your customer well and providing them with products that can bring about change.
Ok, my reader, was this interview not just packed with great insight and inspiration?! Head over to www.CultivateWhatMatters.com/Amy to see Lara’s amazing products (and check out that job listing, if they haven’t filled it by the time you’re reading this). When you use that special link, Lara is giving you a special discount because you’re part of my awesome community. Yay for us! And, thank you, Lara!
Also, don't forget to let me know, in the comments below, if you like this longer, more detailed version of show notes. I appreciate your input!
This episode is sponsored by my free masterclass, How to Create Your Ultimate List-Building Catch-Up Plan. You can get it at http://www.amyporterfield.com/listbuilding. If you are not building your email list every single day there is no better time than right now!
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_209.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT
Wed, 2 May 2018
It’s time to talk team!
In the last 6 months, it’s been a staffing bonanza: I’ve hired four of the five full-time positions on my team. And boy, has it been a whirlwind, filled with mistakes, wins, fears and A LOT of excitement.
But through the process, I’ve identified 7 big distinctions to help you build your own team. Now, I’m not saying go out and hire right now! At this point, all you might need is an amazing VA, or a part-time contractor to help you out. I’m tackling this subject as well, so stay tuned.
Building your team—the right kind of team—is essential to the growth of your business, to eliminate some of the stress and overwhelm, to make a bigger impact, and yeah, to make more money! So if you’re a business owner growing your business, this will be a must-listen for you. (44:34)
With the right team on your side, the sky’s the limit!
So, join me as I share with you how I built my “Small, But Mighty” team, and how I figured out what I needed and what I didn’t need. I’ve also got an awesome freebie for those of you starting to build your team virtually—you can get my “7 Make or Break Questions When You’re Interviewing for a Virtual Position” here. Let’s get started!
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!
Check out these highlights:
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_208.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:58pm PDT
Wed, 2 May 2018
My husband Hobie and I had a great time recording this episode!
It was extra special because a couple weeks before recording the episode, I asked my audience to send in questions for me to answer: business, personal, silly, or whatever. The hook was that I couldn't look at any of the questions in advance. Hobie was the only one that got to look at them. He went through all the questions and chose his favorite 20. He said there were a bunch of great questions and that they were pretty hard to narrow down. Perhaps we’ll have a Part 2 at some point!
Thank you to all of my awesome fans for sending in such great questions. You truly are the best!
Well, as you can imagine, I was a bit nervous because I had no clue what was coming at me. I told this to Hobie and he assured me that I was, and I quote, “definitely going to be uncomfortable on a few of them.” Great! Just great!
Alright, I’m going to list out the questions here and give you a bit of a teaser on each one, but I invite you to tune in to my podcast to hear our full conversation (just press the play button at the top of this page). : )
20 QUESTIONS: YOU ASKED AND I’M TELLING
HOW DO YOU FIND A FAMILY AND BUSINESS BALANCE WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SANITY AND FEELING GUILTY? —NATHALIA MELO WILSON
WILL YOU GIVE IN AND MOVE OR RETIRE TO TENNESSEE? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW. —SHANTELL BRIGHTMAN
WHAT WAS THE BEST VACATION YOU EVER HAD? ~ TRACY GREEN CAINES
CAN YOU SHARE WITH US A CHALLENGING PERIOD IN YOUR LIFE AND HOW YOU GOT OUT OF IT? ~ MYKAO THAO
IF A WORK-LIFE BALANCE IS IMPORTANT TO YOU, HOW CAN YOU TELL YOU’RE GETTING IT RIGHT? ~ MICHELLE ONYANGO
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DOG’S NAMES: GUS AND SCOUT? ~ SPURGEON PERKINS
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR AMY PORTERFIELD? ~ RACHAEL WATSON
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST MISTAKE YOU’VE MADE IN YOUR BUSINESS, OR THE SINGLE BEST THING YOU’VE DONE? ~ AMY WARE
HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO NOT RESPOND TO NEGATIVE COMMENTS? ~ NIKOLINA ANDRIC
DOES AMY SHARE THE COVERS, HOBIE? OR IS SHE A COVERS HOG? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW. ~ NICOLE WALTERS
WHAT WOULD BE THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF SWAPPING JOBS WITH HOBIE FOR 24 HOURS? ~ ERIC UPTON
HOW HAS BEING A WOMAN PLAYED TO YOUR ADVANTAGE OR DISADVANTAGE IN GROWING YOUR BUSINESS? ~ AMBER BRUESKE
WHAT FAMILY ROUTINES OR RITUALS KEEP YOUR FAMILY OR MARRIAGE HAPPY? ~ TARA ZIRKER
IF YOU COULD ONLY DO ONE THING DIFFERENTLY WHEN YOU STARTED YOUR BUSINESS, WHAT WOULD IT BE? ~ AIMEE STONEHILL
20 SECONDS OF COURAGE. CAN YOU SHARE A MOMENT IN YOUR BIZ WHEN YOU HAD TO CALL IN TRUE COURAGE, AND IT BECAME A PIVOTAL MOMENT FOR YOU? ~ JANET BECKERS
IF YOU LOOK AT YOUR BUSINESS FIVE, TEN, AND FIFTEEN YEARS FROM NOW, WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? ARE YOUR LONG-TERM GOALS CAREFULLY MAPPED OUT AND PLANNED? OR ARE THERE MASSIVE LEAPS THAT CAN'T EVEN ENTER YOUR SHORT-TERM THINKING? ~ ANDY WANG
WHAT MAKES YOUR MARRIAGE WITH HOBIE SUPER SPECIAL? ~ EMILY MYRICK
HOW DID YOU AND HOBIE MEET? AND WHY DO YOU THINK YOU CONNECTED SO WELL? AND THEN, THE PLOT TWIST IS, HOBIE HAS TO TELL THE STORY FROM HIS PERSPECTIVE. THEN YOU HAVE TO TELL THE STORY FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE. ~ LAUREN TICKNER
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO FEEL LIKE YOU'VE MADE IT IN YOUR BUSINESS? OR AT LEAST LIKE YOU HAD IT TOGETHER AND WERE THERE EVER ANY TIMES BEFORE THAT POINT WHERE YOU FELT LIKE COMPLETELY THROWING IN THE TOWEL? ~ SHELLY LEVINE
I COULD REALLY USE SOME ADVICE ON HANDLING LAUNDRY WHILE YOU'RE WORKING FROM HOME. DOES SOMEBODY ELSE DO THAT FOR YOU OR DO YOU JUST WORK AROUND IT? ~ INA COVENEY
HOW DO YOU BALANCE GIVING PERSONAL ATTENTION TO YOUR CLIENTS WHILE STILL TRYING TO AUTOMATE YOUR BUSINESS AND NOT BE TOO INVOLVED? ~ JENNIFER LAKE
IF YOU WERE JUST GETTING STARTED IN SOCIAL MEDIA, WHAT ARE THE THREE TOP PLATFORMS YOU WOULD FOCUS ON BUILDING AN AUDIENCE? ~ TAMMI HARRIS
Well, I have to admit, I may have been a little nervous at first, but that was super fun. If there are any Pittsburgh Steeler fans out there, you may want to tune in to the last part of the episode for a good Steelers story.
And that's a wrap! Maybe Hobie does have a future in podcasting after all! 😍
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_207.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:46pm PDT