Mon, 27 February 2017
If you're a mom on Instagram, we bet you've seen a gorgeous Lily Jade bag. On today's episode of the podcast, we are pleased to welcome Meggan Wood, owner and creator of Lily Jade. We talk about her design process, working with social influencers, product manufacturing, and what it's like to be a husband-wife team.
Let's get started!
On the Podcast
00:34 - The Inspiration Behind Lily Jade
The Inspiration Behind Lily Jade
Meggan is married to Landon and mom to two girls, Caroline, 11, and Madeline, 7. Before becoming a mom, Meggan always loved cute totes and accessories. As a new mom, she hunted for a tote that would meet her needs, but didn't scream diaper bag. She worked in outside sales before coming home to be a SAHM, and she wanted a fashionable accessory to feel less like she had spit up all over her all the time. (And we sure do understand that!)
Meggan remembers going to discount retailers and finding the biggest leather tote she could that had sturdy strapping and different carrying options. She has always valued organization and created her own ZipLock bag system to organize the contents of these totes.
She vividly remembers sitting in a restaurant with her mother-in-law, lugging 2 bags to the table -- one bag for 6 month old Madeline and one bag for herself. She sat down and announced, “One day I am going to create a diaper bag that doesn’t look like a diaper bag, and fits all of my stuff, and that’s what I’m going to do.” While at that moment nothing drastic changed, the dream of Lily Jade began.
Lily Jade was birthed out of a real-life need. Meggan knew that other women surely could relate to her struggles -- and she was right.
Growing a Business Rapidly
Lily Jade has grown quickly in just over 3 years of business. We’re amazed, and so happy for them. But, what has contributed to their rapid success?
First of all, Lily Jade creates a bag that their customer base is excited to talk about. It’s innovative, highly desirable, and appealing to a targeted niche customer. It’s not hard to find a raving Lily Jade fan!
Lily Jade also used social influencers to spread the word about their bags. Social influencing wasn’t originally part of Lily Jade’s marketing strategy, but the company quickly became aware that social influencers could be valuable to the brand. Lily Jade bags are fabulous demo products, and showcasing the bag was easy for mommy bloggers to do. (If you visit Lily Jade on Instagram, you’ll see a gorgeous feed full of moms who love their Lily Jade bags.)
Working With Social Influencers
When asked if using social influencers has paid off for the Lily Jade team, Meggan gave a resounding YES. We wondered how she found them and what her budget was.
Marketing the perfect designer diaper bag happened with a lot of trial and error. Meggan says when Lily Jade first launched they were able to work with a company who really modeled for them how to find and manage bloggers with social campaigns.
Meggan began to pursue the marketing of her product after she had already created the bag, and was in the thick of designing and finding a factory. (If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a business lifecycle, or business stages, click here to learn more.)
As Lily Jade approached influencers, budget wasn’t necessarily the most important factor - finding the right fit was. While numbers are important, Meggan worried more about the potential influencer’s ability to engage their audience. Did they have many likes and comments on each post? Was their board aesthetically pleasing? Was their Instagram feed thought out with time and attention to detail?
“Social channels are like window shopping for ecommerce customers,” Meggan says. (We LOVE that.) She wanted to make sure influencers they worked with would pay attention to details like the lighting of the photos, and knowing the product well.
From there, she could narrow down her list. Since Lily Jade is a higher end product, they didn’t have to necessarily worry about paying influencers; they simply could give a product away. (And these bags are so high quality and great, we know Lily Jade has a line out the door of influencers asking for a bag!)
Meggan says she has had some “full circle” moments in her business when some influencers purchased additional bags for themselves and for friends. It’s a blessing to know that someone really does love your product.
And as much as their social influencers like Lily Jade products, they’re also willing to give honest feedback. Just before Christmas 2016, Lily Jade was able to launch their 2.0 line, created by making changes that had been suggested by their customers. Meggan sees the value in taking both negative and positive feedback to heart, and making her company even better, noting, “It’s awesome to take stock of our inventory and make an honest brand assessment. Where do we do well? Where do we need to do better?”
We think that openness to feedback is brilliant.
Meeting Manufactures, Taking Feedback, & Lily Jade 2.0
Meggan has made a trip overseas to China to visit the factory that produces Lily Jade bags in person. While she says you certainly don’t have to travel, and there are many ways to stay in touch with your suppliers and manufactures, for Lily Jade, it’s vital to see the process up close and personal.
Being a Texas gal, Meggan loves the opportunity to shake hands and give hugs to the people who make her business possible. Meggan explained that “it’s an honor to meet them face-to-face and thank them for what they do.” She tells the workers that their attention to detail matters, and Lily Jade bags are showpieces, and unique treasures, because of their hard work.
We wanted to ask Meggan about sourcing this fabulous product. While at Brilliant Business Moms we know a lot about manufacturing and creating prototypes of our planners, we know next to nothing about creating a bag!
She says that the beginning steps were really slow. She sat on her idea of creating a designer leather diaper bag for several years.
Her husband had a small business, and when he sold that business, Meggan pitched the idea to him that it might be time to pursue her diaper bag idea. Her husband did some market analysis and research and told her, “I think you’ve got something here.”
Prior to Lily Jade, Meggan had zero design experience. She couldn’t even cut a straight line! She had a vision and a concept in her mind, yet didn’t even know how to get it to translate to paper or the computer.
Her very first step was to contact an Etsy seller who designed and made quilted cotton handbags. She first asked this shop owner to create a bag for Meggan to see. Meggan measured and cut the first Lily Jade mockup out of cardboard! She put pockets and inserts where she wanted them, sending the measurements to her Etsy creator. Together they created the first prototype.
Meggan carried the bag around herself for a while, and made some changes based on how the prototype worked for her, and how it didn’t.
Then, she and her husband found a design consultant from New York through LinkedIn. The design consultant was extremely knowledgable and helpful and explained lots of industry terms to help Meggan translate her vision. (Like the side of the bag is called a gusset, in case you wondered.)
From this stage, the design consultant was able to sketch out drawings and tell Meggan exactly what she needed to do get this bag to production.
Lily Jade launched with two bags, the Madeline and the Caroline -- named after Meggan’s little girls -- in a variety of colors. They started with US tandem made leather, in a New York factory. After the first run, they knew if they wanted to scale they would have to go overseas. Seeking out an international manufacturer was never a negative for them; they were honored to hire the greatest craftsmen and leather workers they could. After her husband Landon went to a trade show in Hong Kong, he choose a few factory options and settled on one in China.
Recently Meggan and her husband were able to visit the factory that puts together Lily Jade bags, and discuss a few changes to be made. Meggan thinks it is truly amazing to meet her manufacturers face-to-face and thank them for their work. (I can’t wait to experience this same thing, and visit my own manufacturers face-to-face!)
We love Meggan’s care toward those who make her business possible!
Straight Talk About Working With Your Husband Full-Time
Meggan and her husband Landon launched this business as a team. Lily Jade doesn’t exist without either of them!
I had to know what it’s like working with your husband full time! (My husband Chris has always been a helper and cheerleader to Brilliant Business Moms, and he is amazing, but even in those roles I can sometimes think, “Wait, I don’t need your help!”) We just had to hear from Meggan the pros and cons of working with your spouse.
Meggan explained their priority to keep relationship over business:
“Landon and I were husband and wife, college sweethearts, and parents ever before we had Lily Jade. Lily Jade can rise and fall, but we’re the Woods. We’re a family. We mean that, and we operate in that place. We tell our children that Lily Jade is what we do, but it’s not who we are.”
The Woods have a strong sense of family. Meggan says if you lose sight of that first commitment, working together cannot be enjoyable.
She also says a mutual respect and honor toward each other has to be a consistent theme. Working together exposes the weak places, and if a spouse is ready to pounce on a weaknesses it’s not helpful. But if your spouse can see a weak place exposed and say something like, “Do you need any help with that?” a culture of honor is upheld.
Meggan also acknowledges the advice she frequently hears to ‘not talk business on a date.’ But
the Woods family has a vision and desire for their lives, but it’s not ‘business’ to talk about Lily Jade. God has a bigger plan for the Woods family, so they very much view Lily Jade as just a 3rd party member. “They’re not our dreams, they’re God dreams,” Meggan says.
(Chris and I are the same way -- because we are dreaming big all the time, it comes up naturally and we enjoy talking business because really, we’re talking our hopes and dreams.)
Meggan speaks so tenderly about the quiet moments between she and her husband when they’re able to look into the windows of each other’s hearts, as it were. Landon will ask, “How’s Lily Jade going for you, honey? Where do you feel like you’re succeeding? Where can you use help?”
We think that working relationship is just beautiful.
If you’ve followed Lily Jade for any length of time, you’ll know that giveaways are something they do often! For example, on the 1st Monday of every month Lily Jade hosts Adoptive Mommy Monday giveaways for adoptive moms.
The Giveaway Model in the broad sense has been part of their business model and marketing initiatives from the beginning. Early on Lily Jade would do ‘tag a friend and follow us’ type giveaways to build their social channels. Word spread and it wasn’t as necessary to do those big sweeping giveaways as often.
At this stage, they have a certain number of bags built into their inventory for giveaways each year. Meggan says it’d be fun to go all Oprah with Lily Jade and be able to shout, “You get a bag! And you get a bag! And you get a bag!”
But for now, their customers are wonderful supporters, and Megan loves seeing their pictures and reading their emails. That appreciation fuels what they do. And then people get excited and want to share a $300+ bag giveaway with their friends!
Adoptive Mommy Monday was birthed out of Meggan’s desire to bring awareness about adoption and honor adoptive moms. There’s a level of bravery, and financial risk that is unique to adoptive moms, and Meggan loves to highlights those encouraging stories. Meggan deeply believes that children matter, and their lives are valuable.
(And many of you know we adopted our son Holden from India, and I am due with our first biological child this April. We’d love to have kids from all over the place! This part of the episode nearly made me cry.)
Without adoption, Meggan wouldn’t have her sisters! She was the big surprise baby; “I was the stomach flu that didn’t go away,” she quips. She has one sibling from the Philippines and one from Georgia, which makes adoption near and dear to her heart. It’s fabulous that Meggan has used her platform to put eyes on the often unseen world of adoption.
Adorable Mom Moment
Meggan’s oldest daughter, who is 11, understands a lot of what Lily Jade is and has attended meet and greets with her parents, as well as conferences. She’s a true cheerleader, who comes in at the right time and asks, “How’s work? How’s Lily Jade? Do you feel like you had success today? What do you need to work on?” These are the same questions Meggan will ask her children through the course of the day. In this intense season of putting the hand to the plow, Meggan thinks it’s sweet her children are able to come alongside their parents and desire to participate in their work and cheer on their successes.
(I love this! And I can so relate. Holden totally thinks he’s part of my business. One time he asked, “How many sales did we make?” after a Facebook live event. He was so disappointed that this was a teaching even, and not a sales event!)
Our Own Lily Jade Giveaway
Don’t you just love Meggan? She has such a heart for serving women and making a difference with her business, and all while keeping her family at the forefront.
If you’ve never seen a Lily Jade bag, you have got to check it out. Go to lily-jade.com and click “Shop Now” to browse. Meggan’s bags are gorgeous, smart, and clever, with amazing organizational systems.
And you’re in luck! Right now we’re doing a podcast relaunch giveaway after our great big, long podcasting break. There are 4 fabulous prizes, and one is a Lily Jade bag! We’re giving away a Madeline in Brandy and Jade, this high quality bag costs over $300.
You can click the link below for more details:
To enter you simply have to hit subscribe and leave a rating and review. We’ll draw 4 random names from people who left reviews between February 6th and March 6th. Then, we’ll announce the winners on the podcast and coordinate prizes through email.
Now it’s your turn to head out there and Be Brilliant!
Stay In Touch with Meggan
Direct download: Turning_an_Everyday_Item_into_an_Extraordinary_Product_with_Meggan_Wood_of_Lily-Jade_Bags.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT
Thu, 23 February 2017
This episode wasn’t on our schedule, but it was on my heart, so I wanted to pop in and share some business wisdom with you ladies.
It’s not that I think I am so wise, it’s just that looking back over the last year and taking stock of how things have gone, I realized something that I couldn’t help but share.
I know many of you out there feel the pressure to keep spinning your wheels. You feel like you’re caught up in the rat race, or on a hamster wheel and you can’t get off.
I want to encourage you to hop off the wheel and do something different.
First, I wanted to start by saying that I am so excited the podcast is back. Thank you so much for letting me in your ears every single week, and truly, I am so pumped for what’s ahead!
As I’m recording this, it’s midday on Feb 16th. Our podcast downloads for the month of February are already over 27,000 downloads. Without context that might not mean much, but let me tell you, this is already a RECORD high month for us!
You all know I took this past year off from the podcast, but before that the podcast was very strong. We published a new episode at least once a week for a solid 18 months. We had well over 100 episodes under our belt. Prior to this month, our highest month was 18,000 downloads, and that was March 2015. Two years later we finally topped that record!
A HUGE shoutout and THANK YOU to my amazing listeners!!! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the podcast and listening faithfully.
I want to read some recent reviews from you guys that are so incredibly sweet and, honestly, your encouraging notes really do keep me going.
JennyEliza24 said, “So encouraging! I listen this podcast to get inspired to own my own business. I’m still at the stage where I know I can do it, but I don’t have an amazing idea yet. This podcast -- and its super friendly host -- give me hope that I can do it too.”
I love that! On the show, we purposely bring on women who are at all different stages of their business. Some have been in business for just a year, and some have been around for many years. But even if you’re just mulling things over, I hope to provide that perspective and encouragement that you can do it too. We want you to say, “She sounds like me.”
Here’s another review from Carmen M. W.: “I have never listened to a podcast, never been interested. But that is before BBM! But then again, I’ve never clicked on an advertisement prior to Beth Anne’s. Needless to say, Beth Anne knows her stuff. Period. About two months ago, she drew me into her Facebook advertisement. Then, she drew me into all her goodies in her store and now her VALUABLE podcasts! Now, I have access to all the knowledge on marketing and tips that has gotten her where she is today. And to top it all off, she does it in a positive, uplifting way. Thank you Beth Anne.. you’re an inspiration!”
Keep the reviews coming, because they totally encourage me, and right now, If you leave a review before March 6th, you’ll be automatically entered into our giveaway! We’ve got four prizes you can’t resist.
But, talking about podcast downloads and all your fabulous reviews is not the only reason why I jumped behind the mic today. You’re probably intrigued by the title of this episode: They told me I was Making a Huge mistake…
Let me pull the pieces together and explain what that has to do with podcast downloads.
A year ago, my sister Sarah decided to leave Brilliant Business Moms. At the time, I was really sad, and to be honest, I was also pretty overwhelmed. I totally supported her decision, and think she’s still super happy about her choice. But I was overwhelmed because until that point we had been splitting tasks in the business and each had different roles and things we were doing. I thought, “Oh my goodness. I’m already working like a dog, how can I add Sarah’s tasks to my list as well?” I didn’t think I could handle it. I knew I needed to hire help, but, at that point in the business, even though we were making sales and bringing in money, we were not making a good profit.
Once a year we each got a teeny tiny profit paycheck. (And I’m talking teeny tiny!) I simply didn’t have cash leftover each month to hire help.
But I knew if I wanted to keep growing Brilliant Business Moms, I was going to need to assemble a team.
I had to take a step back from all the tasks I was doing in the business every week--all the things on my great big, mile long to-do list and ask, “What are the biggest impact things I can do to grow this business? What should get set aside so I can grow this to be a profitable business? What do I need to let go of so I can grow our team and move forward?”
When I looked at the big picture of the business, I knew that the podcast took a lot of time and work each week. And there wasn’t necessarily a clear, straight line between podcasts and increasing revenue and profits. Sarah and I loved doing the podcast to interview great moms and provide valuable content, but there wasn’t this clear connection between the podcast and sales. I also knew I had a bigger product to launch -- a course on Pinterest marketing. I had learned so much about Pinterest marketing, and I had used Pinterest effectively on a budget, and I knew I could show other moms like me how to do it. But didn’t see how I’d have the time to do the course unless I dropped things from my list. I had to drop the podcast.
Now, I didn’t plan on it being a whole YEAR before getting back. And, I am very happy to be back. But having said that, I’m still happy with my decision to take a break when I needed to.
They told me I was making a huge mistake…
All the advice from fellow business owners like bloggers and podcasters, plus my faithful listeners who loved it, was that it was a bad idea to stop the podcast. Everything I was hearing sounded like, “You can’t put the podcast! That’s your thing! It’s what made Brilliant Business Moms into Brilliant Business Moms.” And yes, I agree, Brilliant Business Moms did truly start as an idea for a podcast.
You know, in the same way a lot of bloggers get the advice that you have to blog consistently every single week, or 3 to 5 times a week, and if you don’t do that your audience will drop off and you’ll never get the momentum back. And you have to keep spitting out content constantly, etc.
I asked myself some self-identifying questions, like, “What do I see myself as? Am I a podcaster? Am I a blogger? Or am I an online business owner?”
I realized what I wanted was to be was an online business owner, building a profitable business. A business owner may produce content in all sorts of different ways, but a business owner is not defined by blogging or podcasting, which are the things they do, but rather by how they help people. What defines the owner is the product they put out, and how they can serve and help people solve their problems.
I knew I had a great product that would help people, but I felt so much guilt around focusing my time on product development and marketing. I felt guilty for a long time for not running the hamster wheel of free content, and spending all my time there every single week.
A year later, looking back, I realize I have still provided value to my community of BBM. Through Instagram, emails, blog posts, and free webinars, I have helped people, and honestly, I serve my community best of all when I spend time creating and developing solid products that grow their businesses.
I can’t feel bad about spending time creating these products for my community! Those products are a huge way that I get to help people!
I very much DID have all those fears in the back of my mind. “Maybe everyone’s right,” I thought. “Maybe I am making a huge mistake. Maybe my audience will drop off and wither away and I’ll have nobody left online. Maybe no one will care about the podcast when I do come back.”
That’s where those podcast stats come back in. I think when February ends, we will have doubled that record number of downloads. So, do I regret this past year of jumping off the hamster wheel? Do I regret putting the big rocks in first?
Not at all.
Building my list is a high impact activity, and now I have a much bigger list I can sell to--it’s truly a big rock activity. In December 2015 my email list was about 3,500, and as of this recording we’re sitting at 49,000 people.
Thank you so much, that when I posted on Instagram and sent an email, you all came back to listen! And I don’t think anyone has any hard feelings. I have only heard about excited, happy listeners.
And because I jumped off the hamster wheel, and I focused on the big rock activities, this last year I have been able to assemble a team.
Ellen was my first team member --I hired her to get my Pinterest marketing course out the door.
At first, Ellen was literally on a rationed schedule. I could only afford to pay her for 10 hours of work a week. She would have to check in with me and make sure she wasn’t over her hours!
But now I have 3 fabulous ladies who work with me every week. And I can bring on contractors and freelancers as needed.
Because I have that team in place, I can do this podcast and it’s not as much work as it used to be! I’ve got Victoria behind the scenes coordinating everything for me: interviews, promo graphics, show notes, and publishing. Podcasts are a lot of work! Victoria is spending at least 10 hours a week on the podcast. Without her the podcast wouldn’t be back, and I’m so thankful I can get new episodes out the door. Make sure you give Victoria a great big hug, because this podcast wouldn’t be back without her.
But again, it was big rocks in first. I took a deep breath, looked at the big picture, and asked what are my great big goals, and how am I going to get to them?
Steps To Reach My Goals
In brief, these are the steps I took to getting my business to where I needed it to be:
As many of you know, Carlee is on customer service. She makes sure emails don’t get lost in my inbox, and that all your refunds and bonuses and whatever goodies you are looking for come to you without a hitch. Last year, I couldn’t have afforded to have her, and I wouldn’t have been able to serve you as well.
Don’t listen to people telling you that stopping, and doing something new is a big mistake!
So here’s my advice: take a step back, take a breath, focus on the great big rocks that matter most, and be okay letting other things go.
Understand your life comes in seasons. When I let the podcast go, it helped to know I would only be gone a few months -- I knew I wasn’t letting it go forever. I put it aside for a season so I could focus on high impact activities, and then I could bring it back when I had the right systems and team in place.
Remind yourself that life has different seasons for different things.
Thinking of life in seasons is helpful for me with baby boy due in April. We’re heading for a totally different season I have to adjust to and be okay with! I know I won’t make the same level of progress with my business, and that’s okay. I’m going to let myself take several months completely off from work. I’ll hop back when I want to, but it’ll be nice to have a season when family is WAAAY up high on the scale. Usually my life is pretty balanced, but family is about to tip the scales, and I’m looking forward to that season.
Before I go, I’ve got a fabulous freebie for you: The 5 Days to Craft Your Brilliant Webinar Guide. Now, the live Facebook series is over, but everything you need is in the guide to help you start crafting your own webinar, which will help you make more sales, build relationships with your customers, and set yourself apart in your space. Webinars were a big rock activity for me last year, and a huge driver in terms of building an audience and being able to help you all, and making more sales. Whether you sell a physical product, you are with an MLM company, or you sell services, a course, or an ebook, I want you to consider using webinars!
Most of all, no matter what your big goals are, I encourage you to jump off that hamster wheel. Don’t listen to all the people telling you you’re making a big mistake. Map out the highest impact activities. Have confidence that your goals and milestones matter.
You have the ability to create the path that’ll get you there, and you can put blinders on to what others are saying.
And of course, now it’s your turn to head out there and Be Brilliant.
Mon, 20 February 2017
Creating A Babysitting App Audrey remembers the specific moment she realized she needed creative childcare solutions. She was talking with her soon-to-be partner Amy in their church lobby, lamenting their childcare problems: the expense of a babysitter, the struggle of finding a good babysitter, the guilt of asking family for favors again... you get the idea. Thinking outside the box, they "decided to change (their) own destiny and formed a local babysitting co-op.” After lots of quick wins and great successes, these ladies realized they had stumbled upon a parenting hack that could help lots of families. They eventually changed their mission from serving their local group of about 16 moms to helping moms across the country. On a personal note, my mother was part of a babysitting co-op when I was little. She always talked about how amazing it was and how lucky they were. When Chris and I lived in South Carolina, I nearly got a co-op together -- but I found the logistics difficult and it never got off the ground. I absolutely love the idea of having an app do all of the work of a co-op for me. The app deals with the administrative headaches and even the potential social awkwardness of ‘who’s in and who’s out’ of my co-op. How Komae Works Each individual parent gets to decide who to trust as babysitters among their friends, and those friends get to decide, etc. A request for a "sit" will only be seen by hand-selected, pre-approved people. Using the App It's a straightforward process: -Download the app in iTunes or Android Store. -Create a profile, and tell Komae about you and your family. Do your kids have allergies? When is nap time? Are they bottle fed? Do they still wear diapers? -Once you’re set up, just post a request including the date and time you need a babysitter. -Your friends will see, “Audrey has a need from 8 to 9 on Wednesday, are you available?” And a friend can say if they’re available or not. -Connect with friends in your village by either searching a name or email if they’re already a Komae user or link to your Facebook account and invite friends from there. Behind the Name Komae means village in Greek. When naming their app, Audrey and Amy borrowed from the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." And like a village, this app functions around reciprocity; you give to and receive from those around you. They were so excited when, as the app gained popularity, users requested the ability to post when they were available to give care, not just when they needed a sitter. Isn’t that great!? Earning Babysitting Points Komae has a babysitting point system where 1 hour of babysitting equates to 1 point. When users put in the details of their sit, Komae calculates how much the sit is worth. In this way, the app removes that social friction of figuring out which kids require more effort, and how many points to assign per sit. Earning and using credits is a simple banking system: You earn points by watching your friends' kids, and you spend points when your friends watch your kids. The app makes it fair for everyone, and it's so much easier than having those awkward conversations. (And I have to say at this point, I was SO excited to get started with Komae - I couldn’t wait until we were done interviewing to download the app!) Developing an App The thought of actually developing an app sounds insanely difficult and stressful! I absolutely needed to hear from Amy and Audrey about what their process was to get this app up and running. When they launched the Komae mobile friendly web app in May of 2016, they had already been helping moms with the babysitting struggle for 2 years. Of course, the pair didn’t start working 40 hours a week until closer to launch time. In fact, they used their babysitting co-op to gain a couple of afternoons a week to work, plus they worked after bedtime. As of this air date, the My Komae app is available in iTunes and Google Play Store. It's not a quick process, though it's definitely worthwhile. Tip: "You don't need to be at your end goal in 1 month, 2 months, 12 months. It might take a couple years...Just focus on the next dot." Finding an App Developer How do you know if your developer will be the right fit or that they have the right skills? Both Amy and Audrey had husbands that worked in tech, and while they weren’t developers, they had the network and knowledge to find the right people. They used Upwork to find freelance developers. (With Upwork, you post a specific job and different people apply, then you get to choose the freelancers you want.) Alternatively, there are app development agencies. This option is very expensive but very effective. To raise funds to make this all happen, 6 months into their development process, the Komae team ran a Kickstarter and used that money to begin developing their Minimum Viable Product. (Minimum viable product means the simplest, slimmest version of your idea. The purpose is to gauge interest and success.) They did fully fund their Kickstarter - and also pursued a unique funding option I had never heard of, which I had to ask about! Funding with Pitch Competitions and Kickstarter At first, the pair set out to fund this project via Kickstarter. Their goal was $20,000. The Kickstarter was a bit of a nail-biter, as they fully funded (just over $20K) on Day 34 of a 35-day campaign! 2 days after their Kickstarter ended, they went to a pitch competition. A pitch competition is basically like Shark Tank in real life; it’s an opportunity to share your idea and be considered for financing. In fact, Amy and Audrey said they binge-watched Shark Tank episodes to prepare for their pitches! In just 2 minutes they pitched their Komae app and earned $10,000 more dollars (on top of their Kickstarter funds) to pursue development. Over the past 2 years, they’ve won 7 competitions that resulted in grants or investments for Komae. And with such a fabulous first success with pitch competitions, it’s easy to see why they kept going back for more! Pitch competitions are a savvy way to fund a project that needs a higher investment, or that you don’t have the skills to develop. If you want to find a local pitch competition, just Google search ‘pitch competition [your city name]’. One of the best pitch competitions they entered was from Jen and Jenny of the company Rent the Runway, whose foundation is called Project Entrepreneur. It’s an intensive weekend with training from other female business founders. 800 people started the application process, and only 12 were picked to pitch on stage. Not only were Amy and Audrey chosen to pitch, they were chosen as one of the 3 winners! They earned another $10,000 for their business, as well as 5 weeks of working in the Rent the Runway Manhattan office. It was an incredible experience, to say the least! They were able to network and learn from other companies. Even if a pitch competition doesn’t end in financing, it might have come with a consultation or networking opportunity that makes a big difference for a new business. Moms Spending 5 Weeks In Manhattan!? Of course, the Komae ladies were so excited to have won this mega prize, but then the reality set in: “Oh my gosh, what are we going to tell our husbands!?” Their husbands stepped up to the challenge. These sweet hubbies hunkered down and took care of the kids, while Amy and Audrey drove to and from New York every weekend (an 8-hour drive) to see their families. It was a big sacrifice for big gains. High five, husbands, for handling the kids for 5 weeks! I would have had no idea that all these resources were available for start-up business owners. But actually there’s a big focus on female entrepreneurs, and "it’s a sexy time to be a female entrepreneur, especially in the Midwest.” The girls have really enjoyed the community of support they’ve gained from their pitch competitions. App Development Difficulties Komae’s “biggest hurdle by far was having a vision of a deadline, and then the reality of when things came to fruition.” (And I can totally relate! Our podcast break was way longer than I expected.) Komae’s 4-week timeline turned into 20 weeks, especially with the glitches technology can often experience. But the best thing an entrepreneur can do is to learn that "it’s okay to take longer than planned, and to roll with the punches.” Marketing An App Within a week of becoming available in the iTunes store in fall of 2016, Komae already had 1,000 users. I had to know how they spread the word and marketed their product! At first, Komae was a mobile friendly web app, which was their minimum viable product. Komae spread organically at first through word of mouth, with moms inviting their mom friends using the irresistible hook of free babysitting. Plus, they were interviewed on the local news and were featured in a few articles that have also been a bit of a PR boost. But what they’re super excited about is putting marketing dollars behind their initiatives. Komae is focusing on creating social media campaigns, primarily, since moms hang out on social media. It’s the perfect place to market an app aimed at moms. Using a Launch Party Model They’ll do traditional marketing, but they know word of mouth won’t go away because, in order to benefit, moms need their friends to sign up too! Since moms add their friends to the app, the viral spread won’t go away. It’s like built-in marketing for the app; each new user potentially brings in five or ten more. They’ve got a great idea of moms throwing launch parties within their own local communities of moms. The Komae team knows they could spend time and money getting one person on board at a time, or they can spend money on something like the launch party model to get 20 new users at once. And the launch party model doesn’t estrange those who may not want to share babysitting with everyone at the party. Because of the way the app works, each user gets to choose who is in their village, their group of babysitters. The purpose of the launch party is simply to get everyone to download the app and get excited. Then they can connect with the people they are comfortable with at the party, but even more, they'll go home and invite other friends. Solving Your Own Problem Not only were Audrey and Amy solving the problem other moms had, they were trying to solve their own problem of needing childcare to run their side businesses. Audrey remembers that she hated spending money on a sitter for a business meeting that she wasn’t sure would end up making her money. It felt silly to spend that cash she wouldn’t necessarily get back! And then sometimes she would get a spur of the moment business meeting request, but had to scramble like a crazy woman behind the scenes to line up childcare for the meeting, before she could even give an answer. Once she had the babysitting co-op, she could immediately say, “Yes! I can meet you tomorrow at 2,” and find childcare through the co-op. Amy’s side business was a boutique bakery. Can’t you just imagine the kids trying to lick the icing off the spoon while Amy filled orders? It’s healthy for mom to have that time to work -- and for kids to have time to play with their friends -- and then be fully engaged with the kids when they are all home. And, it’s really helpful for someone who is the "sometimes working mom," or the mom with unpredictable babysitting needs. And with Komae, your kids basically get an automatic playdate, rather than a babysitter coming to your house to entertain your children. The kids are truly getting active, social playtime, having a blast with friends. They don't even know they're being babysat--you're dropping them off to play! Komae is a great solution all around. When it comes to the actual sitters, because you hand-select your village, you’re choosing the role models for your kids. You’re building a trusted network of mentors for your children to look up to. Social media usually brings people further apart, but with Komae it brings people together. Now when you stop at your friend's house, they know what you're doing and they care about your life, and they’ve built a bond with your children. Beth Anne’s Mom Confession I spill a hilarious Mom confession in this episode. You’ll have to listen to catch it! But let’s just say it has to do with babysitters and a secret we’ve been keeping from Holden! For the Mom who isn’t a Super-Fan of Babysitting Other People’s Kids One objection Komae gets a lot is, "I don’t have time to watch other people's kids!" or even, "I don’t WANT to watch other people’s kids!" And really, if that's you, you are not alone! Komae sits are not like babysitting, though. It’s more like you’re making your home a fun and safe place for your children’s friends to play. You can even get laundry and dishes done while the kiddos enjoy the playdate, plus earn points to get free time later! Amy’s Adorable Mom Moment Amy lives in Ohio and in the middle of winter they can get days and days and days of snow. Once dHer son was desperate to play outside, but because of all the snow days, she was behind on her work and said no. Let’s just say it was a day when Amy wasn’t getting along with her toddler! Her little guy got so frustrated that he was insisting on going outside while standing in the foyer naked, in only his snowboots! Amy posted a request on Komae, and soon was able to take her son to a friend’s house. Turns out, the friend was already planning to play in the snow! Amy got her work done, and when she reunited with her son everyone was much happier and had a great afternoon together. I absolutely loved learning from these two ladies. Their story is totally inspiring for any business mom. I think this product is an absolute must for all busy moms! And from their story, you should be encouraged to go out and take action on the brilliant business idea that you have. Stay In Touch With Amy and Audrey www.mykomae.com iTunes App Google Play Instagram: @my_komae Facebook: MyKomae
Mon, 13 February 2017
Today on the show I’m *chatting* with Vanessa Quigley of Chatbooks (and, no, I couldn’t resist the pun!). She is a mom of seven and Chatbooker-in-Chief of the photo subscription app, Chatbooks. Since its founding in 2014, Chatbooks has grown into a huge company. We are so excited for her success! Welcome to the show, Vanessa!
On The Podcast
1:02 - From Idea to Company
From Tender Moment to Brand New Company
Until she became a mom, Vanessa didn’t take memory keeping seriously. When she had her first child, she bought her first camcorder and camera. Vanessa began using these tools to record their family story through scrapbooking - the old school way! Vanessa remembers, “I would put my baby to bed and spend hours with this creative outlet.”
She was an avid scrapbooker for years, but the last time she remembers touching a scrapbook was when she was on bedrest during her pregnancy with her 5th child. “That was the last time I did anything with printed photos,” Vanessa recalls.
Digital photography had become popular and Vanessa noticed she stopped printing hardcopy photos all together. She knew her photos were safe on her hard drive, plus she got busy with 5, then 6, then 7 kids! During that transition, Vanessa noticed she didn’t do anything by way of memory keeping. (And side note, don’t you love that phrase, ‘memory keeping’? I do!)
About four years ago Vanessa went to tuck her youngest, who was five at the time, into bed and heard him crying. Her son was holding a photo book! His preschool teacher had purchased simple, Dollar Store albums and filled them with photos from the year. She gave one to every child as a graduation gift. Vanessa thought this gift was so sweet - and she had no idea the impact it would have on her son.
Looking back on it now, Vanessa remembers this tender moment with a great deal of fondness: “My son felt like he was growing up. And it’s funny to think about a 5-year-old getting nostalgic. But he looked up to me and said ‘Mama, I don’t EVER want to grow up!’ I realized in that moment he was holding onto memories, physical memories of his life.”
Vanessa came away from that moment desiring to do a better job at keeping the memories of her children.
Her husband had been working on another project (a cloud-based solution) with the goal of helping people safeguard and organize their memories. He had been operating on the premise that print was dead and everything needed to be organized and easily accessible in the cloud.
Vanessa still thinks this goal of cloud organization is a good one, but in that sweet moment, she realized that print wasn’t dead.
As she recounts it, “I marched downstairs that night and told my husband I thought physical photos still mattered. I told him I wanted him to print my Instagram account.”
Vanessa realized she had started using Instagram to curate her camera roll, and she wanted to give those memories to her kids. She needed to do the important mom work of telling her family’s story.
Vanessa thought her crazy idea would be better than nothing. Her husband had already assembled a development team, and they were able to pivot the project they had been working on and put resources toward this venture. In a week they had a working prototype. And it went crazy from there!
The app was amazing! Within 60 seconds they were able to print anything ever posted to Instagram into organized volumes. Chatbooks continued to grow with Instagram, and eventually began to add additional photo sources. Vanessa says they’ve grown by listening to customers and developing the product based on the feedback.
Hilarity and Wild Success With A Viral Video Ad
We’re certain that one key to the success of Chatbooks is that Vanessa’s team created a product that clearly solves a major problem of so many busy moms.
And recently, Chatbooks proved they truly understand their ideal customer by producing an absolutely hilarious--and spot on--video ad.
This ad is truly gold, and the proof is in the pudding. Vanessa shared, "We shared this ad on our Facebook page and it got such great feedback! Raving comments poured in, like, 'This is the only ad I’ve ever enjoyed watching!'"
Vanessa’s number one objective with this ad was to acquire new customers, of course. But she said an equally important goal was to help people laugh, because “to survive all that's wonderful and crazy in raising our children, you need a sense of humor.”
And if making moms laugh was Chatbooks’ #1 priority, it worked!
The ‘Real Mom’ ad was a huge financial commitment for this fledgling start-up. Last January, Chatbooks went through a huge round of financing and was able to put money in the bank to experiment with their marketing and goals, and so they did.
Chatbooks is based in Provo, Utah (which Vanessa tells us looks like a cute little snow globe in the winter), a locale full of creatives, including Harmon Brothers ad agency. Chatbooks had to pitch themselves to the agency, as they are pretty picky, and Vanessa feels super lucky to have landed them! (You may recognize the agency’s unique blend of comedy + ROI with their campaigns for Purple, The Squatty Potty, and Fiber Fix.) Vanessa and her team were thrilled to find out the owners were already happy Chatbookers. It became a match made in heaven.
Working on the ad script was a collaborative effort. It took a few writing meetings with the Harmon Brothers agency to conceptualize the ad. Vanessa was able to cast local talent; the actress who plays 'Real Mom' is named Lisa Valentine Clark and lives just a few doors down from the Chatbooks office. (Vanessa had admired Lisa's work in the film 'Once I Was A Beehive' and was starstruck that she got to work with a favorite!)
Working (too) Closely on a Project
Interestingly, Vanessa says by the time this ad launched she lost touch with what it really was supposed to be. She likens it to working really hard on a meal, but when it comes time to eat you've lost your appetite. Vanessa says by the end of production she wasn't sure if the ad would fly. (She also knew first-hand the scenes that didn't make the final cut, like a moment when Real Mom pushes grandpa into a pool!)
Vanessa says, "After working really closely on this project, when my husband and I saw the final cut before our launch party, we weren't even sure if it was funny!" But despite their reservations, it was time to launch. Her team took a deep breath and hit publish.
She remembers they held a little launch party with people from Chatbooks and Harmon Brothers; they "invited everyone to share the video on their personal pages and see what happened. Chatbooks obviously had money to put behind the ad, but they wanted to see how it would grow organically."
The result was amazing.
Chatbooks earned back their investment (in app installs and new orders) through organic sharing before they put any money behind marketing spend. Vanessa says it was a very good Christmas :)
More with Real Mom
Vanessa assures us there are more Real Mom stories to come. She even gave us a hint! During the baseball game scene of her ad, we get a peek at Real Mom's husband. Chatbooks has discovered that dads are actually doing a lot of chatbooking, and we might also see some spin-off ads with the Chatbooks dad.
We still can't get over that in the first week alone, Chatbooks earned back their ad spend through app installs and new customers! "It’s been fun and rewarding," Vanessa confirms.
Vanessa didn't have exact numbers for us in terms of total ROI. She and her husband are co-owners of the business, and her husband is the numbers guy, while she keeps the big picture in mind. And Vanessa says that she operates with eternal optimism, and finds she works best if she can just assume everything is going well until she's told it's not.
But suffice it to say, Vanessa says their Christmas was very good! And they felt very blessed.
Start-up Business with Investors
It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea of having investors for my business. It freaks me out! But what’s Vanessa's experience with investors?
Thankfully, Vanessa's husband had experience with investors and was able to close the round of investing to produce this ad. Chatbooks knew they had an amazing product that their market would love, but they needed to get the word out. And they already had other products in mind to develop, but without a big marketing share like some other photo books companies, Chatbooks needed cash for marketing.
Vanessa totally debunks the myth that you don't get to call your own shots if you have investors.
Working with your Husband
My husband, Chris, helps sometimes in my business and it’s great, but I can’t imagine us working together full-time on the same business! I asked Vanessa to tell it to me straight! What IS it like to work with your husband, and how do you make it work?
Vanessa says it’s wonderful! For years her husband had been dropping hints that he wanted to do a business together. Before her husband wanted her to follow along with his business plans, but Vanessa always thought, "I'm the boss of my world, and you’re the boss of yours!"
When she pitched him the Chatbooks idea, she watched her husband create the app and give constant feedback, but Vanessa was really hesitant about going into business together. Their marriage had worked really well for 20 years, and she was afraid of the partnership being more than she could handle.
But eventually, Vanessa says, "I took the leap of faith and jumped in. I feel like it has enriched our relationship. We had been married for 23 years and had been through a lot. We had a lot of opportunities to work through our differences. We don't always agree, but I respect him and he respects me. I don’t have business experience, but I have an intuition about what works. We've become closer."
At this point, Vanessa can’t imagine starting a company alone.
We think that perspective is so great!
Start-up Mom Hustle
Vanessa is in the thick of it. She's got five kids still at home, and two in college. She feels really lucky that she can prioritize family first and do a job she loves.
She says she's used to juggling things. She graduated college with a degree in vocal performance - and a baby! Broadway wasn't for her, but community theater was. She did her own thing, and it worked! She would perform in shows, take a break and have a baby, and get back at it.
Vanessa already had a good rhythm of scaling up and scaling back her life as her family needed.
Like many moms, she looked forward to her youngest being in school all day. Vanessa thought she would go back to school, and pursue her talents again. She never imagined going to the office every day, but Chatbook is a company she's super passionate about - and something she's enjoyed building with her husband.
Her idea was to be home every time the kids were home, but she had great neighbors and great carpools. In those early days, her friends would take her kids home and Vanessa would get back about 5 pm. In the early phases of start-ups, that's the sort of daily grind that is necessary.
But as her team grew, she disciplined herself more and made it a habit to be home when her kids were home. This year her resolution is to only go to the office 3 days a week, to be more present with her family while they're under her roof.
Day In The Life
Her days start early.
Physical health is really important to Vanessa, and she makes it a priority to wake up early and exercise, about 6 AM. Between 7:30 and 9 AM she's getting her kids off to school. She works from 9:30 to about 2:30 or 3 PM, then she picks her kids up from school and is Mom. At night she sometimes will pull out her laptop again, but has a New Year's Resolution to not bring her computer to bed.
Adorable Mom Moment
Her 3rd child is a senior and going off to college, and her daughter Laken is a sophomore in college. Her baby just turned 9. The night before his birthday she checked on him and snuggled him as moms do, and she just needed one last kiss from her 8-year-old. And he absolutely REFUSED her! She couldn't get to him! Vanessa said she had to wipe a tear from her eye! But it worked out well :) the next morning he woke up and said, "Mom I want to start year 9 off right," and he gave her a kiss. We melted!
Stay In Touch With Vanessa
Thu, 9 February 2017
I am SO excited to bring you this show today! We are going to talk about the ONE strategy that has impacted my sales the most this year! I'm super passionate about this topic. Honestly, I try to talk about this strategy with business owners everywhere I go. I constantly want to convince more people to use this strategy because the difference it has made for me is seriously crazy-cakes.
Do you have a guess as to what it could be?
Knowing me, you might think this strategy is Facebook ads, but it's not!
I love this strategy because it's approachable and affordable for business owners. Facebook ads are how I get customers in the door, but this strategy is how I build relationships and sell the things I want to sell.
The strategy is hosting webinars.
I know you've probably heard a lot of online business owners talk about webinars over the years, and maybe you already have decided opinions about them. If you're rolling your eyes at this point and thinking, "Webinars aren't for me. Business mom out," I need you to give me a few more minutes -- and I am pretty sure I'll change your mind. :)
Listen To The Show
The Numbers Speak For Themselves (3:26)
If you'll give me the chance, I'm going to talk about the 6 big webinar myths I hear all the time. I'm going to debunk them, and teach you the truth about making webinars work for your business.
I have crazy-cool stats to share with you that speak for themselves.
This past year, Brilliant Business Moms has grown an insane amount. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it! Chris and I finally sat down and did the books, like responsible business owners, and figured out where our sales were coming from.
We've had $285,000 in revenue (sales in the business). $201,000 of that was from sales of my online courses.
So, the courses I sell are:
The other $84,000 revenue was planner sales, primarily. And keep in mind planner season flows into 2017. So we had an awesome season, but only part of the tally accounts for 2016. Other revenue was made through some shop sales and affiliate sales. (Hint, hint... guess how I make my affiliate sales? Webinars!)
Over 2/3 of my income came from course sales. And literally the main way, about 90%, of my course sales have been through webinars. People come to a free class that I hold around a given topic, they get to know me and trust me, and they get value out of that free class, whether they purchase anything or not. And then a good portion of those attendees decide they're ready to take it to the next level. They think, "If this is her free class, I know her course will be awesome!"
Webinars for Physical Products (6:23)
And I have to tell you, I was very close to doing a webinar to sell my physical planners. So if you're a business that sells physical products, please don't turn this episode off! I have a lot of thoughts and ideas for you. (In fact, that'll be one of the myths we debunk!) This strategy 100% applies to you.
I was really close to doing a webinar to sell my planners. But to be honest, it takes a couple weeks to create a really great webinar, and the planners were selling more quickly than I anticipated. I was nervous that by the time I got my webinar together, half of the planners would be gone.
The main reason I didn't do a webinar to sell planners is because the Brilliant Life Planners sold too fast. (A good problem, but still a problem!)
For our next planner season, I'll get the planners to my doorstep much sooner and will absolutely make webinars part of my selling strategy.
Proving Webinars Are Powerful (8:49)
I want to share a few stats to prove to you that webinars are crazy powerful.
One of the ways I filled my webinars with happy students was with Facebook ads. We're talking about getting people to attend my free class; and my goal was 2,000 signups. Keep in mind I'm only running these ads to cold traffic. These are 2,000 brand new people through the door who knew nothing about me before seeing a Facebook or Instagram ad.
On average, I'd spend about $4,000 on advertising on average to get the 2,000 people. And I'd make about $8,000 in sales, so the profit margin is 50%. You more experienced business owners may be looking at that 50% profit margin and thinking it's way too low. And I get it. It's not awesome per industry standards, but I was mostly excited about getting to know a new audience. I spent $4,000 to get 2,000 new email signups, and I made $4,000 profit. I felt really good about that!
On average, that's 63 course sign-ups out of those 2,000 webinar sign-ups. With these numbers I'm getting about a 3% conversion rate. People who are insanely good at webinars and have it down to a science can get way higher than 3%, but I felt amazing with these numbers! Because guess what? Those sales were to people who didn't know me before that webinar!
One stat you'll see floating around online marketing looks something like this: Let's say you've built an email list and worked hard to have a relationship with that list. The best practice is to nurture the list over time, and then send out a ton of messages pitching your product. Conservatively, you should estimate a 2% conversion rate from those efforts to people who already know you. But I hung out with total strangers on my webinar and got a 3% conversion rate. That blows my mind!
The first time I launched my FB Brilliance course, in July, I brought in 125 course sales from about 3,000 webinar signups, and those were from my email list of about 20-25K people.
It was a pretty straightforward process: I emailed my list a few times, and about 3,000 people took me up on my offer. I only pitched my course and bonuses to the people who signed up to my webinar. I probably should have pitched it to my whole list, which I should have! I didn't go through all the motions of building anticipation and hint, or make tons of calls-to-action. I just said, "Let's do this!" and got the webinar out the door. And I had a 4% conversion rate!
I'd prefer to do this method than bug my list like crazy for only a 2% conversion rate! Webinar sales always blow my email sales out of the water. It's just more effective.
Here's one more non-webinar example. My current list has 50,000 subscribers. Only 1,600 of them purchased a planner, and a lot of these people are brand new. Many of those 1,600 weren't already on my list, but I didn't do a webinar on time management or goal setting.
That conversion rate is 3%. It's better than the standard 2% conversion rate. But it also happened over a couple of months. It happened with loads of social media posts and emailing. Lots of buildup and time and content to get that 3% conversion rate from my list. Whereas, I probably could have just created an awesome webinar around goal setting and time management and had a much higher than average conversion rate.
Are you excited for the potential of webinars!? I really hope that you are.
Webinars are fabulous because not only will you get to show off your personality and knowledge - and get to know your audience - but also your audience becomes your friends. It's so much fun that your attendees want to walk away from the class to take action.
Alright, let's get started debunking 6 Webinar Myths, plus I'll give you the Truth About Making Them Work For Your Business
Myth #1: I need to be great at public speaking. (17:33)
It happens all the time. When I start talking about how great webinars are, people panic!
People (usually introverts) think that in order to put on a great webinar they have to be fabulous at public speaking - not true!
First of all, I am not great at public speaking. Yeah, I'm a Chatty Cathy, but I'm not great at public speaking. I'm a rambler, you guys! That's just as bad as the person who doesn't have enough to say!
I have so much work to do when it comes to upping my public speaking game.
In terms of my experience, how many times have I been on a stage speaking to a large group of people? Maybe twice.
The only time I can think back on is when I was part of a mission program with my college. I spent a couple months volunteering at an orphanage in India with a mission project. And when I came back I had to speak at a chapel service about my experience. It was supposed to be an inspirational 20 minute talk, explaining what we did and inspirational insights from the Bible. At the time, I was at the time a molecular biology major. I had no background to be inspiring!
So that's one public speaking experience.
Recently I did a breakout session at the Business Boutique conference in Nashville. This was in front of maybe 35-45 people. To be honest, I find that setting WAY more intimidating than a webinar, or my chapel experience, because of the close proximity. By biggest fear is that I'm going to accidentally spit on someone in the front row! But keep in mind, this Business Boutique event didn't even happen until after I fell in love with doing webinars!
I am not a public speaking expert, and I haven't taken a single class on public speaking.
Think about recording a podcast, it's a totally different environment. We have editors to make us sound way better than we really do, when I was recording with my sister we had each other, and we had another person doing most of the talking! Podcast recording is not really public speaking.
Here's what I would say if you think you need to be great at public speaking, or have a natural speaking talent: practice is what makes you great at webinars. That's been my experience and it's what others say, too.
The cool thing about a webinar is that you're the boss! You decide what you want to talk about. You create your slides, which remind you of what you want to say. And you get to practice as many times as you want. As you practice the flow will become increasingly natural.
Even though I recommend you show your face in the webinar, you aren't looking out on a crowd of faces! It takes away the intimidation factor. And if you need to, you can hide behind a slide and not show your sweaty pits or wardrobe malfunction. Webinars are actually the perfect way for an introvert or a shy person to share their skills and knowledge.
I know you'll get amazing at doing webinars if you just practice crafting the right kind of presentation.
Now that I've done tons of webinars, an in-person event or a mixer is way scarier than a webinar!
Myth #2: I have to sell an online course to make a webinar work. (24:50)
I hear this myth all the time!
Of course webinars are great for selling courses. I've done it, and I know lots of online business owners who are selling courses through webinars.
But here's the thing. I think you'll stand out even more and be really surprised at your results if you use webinars to sell whatever it is you already sell online. Whether you sell ebooks, physical books, homemade baby goods, whatever the case is, I think that you can make a webinar work for you and your business.
I've seen webinars work well for book launches. You could teach a topic related to your book, do an author Q&A, and maybe offer a juicy incentive like a book giveaway every 15 minuets for all live attendees.
Sarah and I used webinars to launch our very first planner. We talked about how to balance a business and family during the presentation, and at the end of the webinar we had a special coupon code for our brand new planner. We only had a few thousand Facebook fans, less than 5,000k, and our email list was maybe 1,200 people. We had about 100-200 people sign up for each webinar (one in the morning and one in the evening).
Only 20-30 people showed up live; our live attendees had so much fun, gave thoughtful and encouraging comments, and about 10 people from each webinar purchased a planner! That's a great conversion rate, about 50%. (How would it feel if you made 20 new sales a day? It's pretty exciting!)
Another benefit of the live webinar is that we could answer questions. I'm thinking of so many products that I would love to get help answering my questions about them before I purchase. For example, I would love to know how to do a baby wrap. I just bought one, and I have no idea what to do with this thing! I feel like I need to practice 100 times with a baby doll so I don't drop my real baby! What if a baby wrap business offered a free class on wearing your baby and getting life done? If I saw an ad for a class like that, I would sign up for sure. And would be a super loyal customer, because they took the time to teach me how to use their product.
If you sell a physical product, think about the help and value you can add by doing a webinar.
I've got a few examples to get your wheels turning :)
Julie Fuller of Tokyo Blossom Boutique has a fun shop and sells awesome, adorable planner accessories. Julie is super creative and has gorgeous handwriting. She decorates her planners and totally blings it out! Her planner pages look really pretty and classy. Julie is going to create a course on planner decorating. She could do a webinar showing 5 quick ways to make your planner beautiful and functional, and it'll lead right into her course!
Even if her course isn't ready right away, who am I going to buy planner accessories from? Julie, because she is going the extra mile and rocked my socks off in her webinar!
(And by the way I'm totally giving my biz friends assignments right now! LOL)
Melissa Kaiserman of A Time for Everything sells cash envelopes systems for people on the Dave Ramsey plan, or other cash budget systems. Now, Melissa already does awesome and her sales are fantastic. But what if she did a budgeting webinar? Or a webinar on how to set up a cash budget that will work for you and your family? I think the webinar sales would blow her away!
What about you? How can you use a webinar for your product in a way that makes you insanely helpful? When your customers get to know you and form a relationship with you, it would be really tough for them to switch and go to someone else. And even if they found a product they wanted from someone else, you'd likely get their feedback to improve your product!
Myth #3: You need to have expensive tools and programs to run a webinar. (34:16)
(And yes we're just at Myth #3. I told you I'm not a skilled public speaker. I'm a rambler!)
I'm sure you've been to webinars where hosts are using Webinar Jam or Go To Webinar. If you Googled these tools, you know they are expensive. Plus, the more people you have, the more expensive they get!
News flash: you don't need those expensive tools to run a webinar.
Here are the tools I use to record my webinars:
That's really all you need! If you're really on a barebones budget, just grab the basics: a microphone, Mailchimp, and your website to embed your video and a free chat box--and you're good to go!
To me, I feel like there's more room for things to crash with fancy systems. I've been to a lot of webinars where things go crazy. It seems that the more tech you have, the more you can get bogged down. Google Hangouts has only failed me one time in a couple years.
Bottom line: hosting your own webinar is really affordable if you need it to be!
Myth #4: You have to be great at selling and marketing. (39:57)
A lot of people think they need to have that obnoxious salesman personality in order to make the webinar work. Maybe you're sitting in your chair right now thinking, "The thought of selling to people live freaks me out! I can't do it!"
Take a deep breath.
Because I DO recommend you offer something for sale at the end of your webinar!
But I DO NOT want you to be sleazy or salesy!
First and foremost, whether or not people buy from you, people should walk away able to take action and have a quick win. You want to focus on fabulous content and solid teaching.
And what you can do in a webinar that you can't really do without video is to show off your personality! You get to be you in all your glory. Part of the fun is people seeing your mistakes, and that you have a sense of humor and can handle the mess.
If you're afraid that your personality stinks, or you have quirks, know that there are people out there who jive with it. And guess what? They think your quirks are the most amazing thing about you!
Here's an example:
We've established that I'm super chatty and wordy and ramble on and on. I always get people who comment in webinars, "She talks too much." But I ALSO get people who say, "I love that you want to explain things in detail, it feels real that you're real."
If they don't love you, they aren't your ideal audience.
How do you make friends in real life? You make friends by hanging out with people, and having a real conversation. It's hard to have a relationship just off of letters, emails, or Facebook posts.
The most genuine relationships happen when a real life conversation is happening. Webinars are the next best thing to a face-to-face conversation with people from all over the world.
The other thing I want to say about selling is that there are formulas, or specific steps, you can take your customers through that really feel seamless and natural and lead to a sale.
You get to be you--talking in your normal, non-salesy voice--and you'll get way better at it and more comfortable the more you do it.
You're approaching this sale from a place where you just taught people tons of awesome stuff, and you want to help them take their business to next level. You're excited to share your product with them, and have confidence that your product will positively change their life.
Myth #5: You need to have a huge audience. (46:53)
I hear this a lot from business owners, "I'm not ready for a webinar because I don't have the budget to spend on Facebook ads. My audience is just too tiny. I'm nervous if I offer a webinar, it will be me and one other person."
For my first webinars with Sarah, we had a small group but we had a great time
I promise even if only 5 people show up, you'll have a great time! You'll get amazing practice, plus you can take the replay and use it in other situations.
You could send your replay to your list, or a as a thank you to new customers or email subscribers. It's not a waste even if no one shows up, because you can use that recording in other ways.
The other thing is that webinars are a great way to build your audience. The more webinars I've done, I always get new attendees who say, "My friend told me I just had to attend your class." I get emails and Facebook posts all the time from people asking for the next class! People will tell their friends about your fabulous webinar. Promise!
Another thing I share about webinars I am hosting is how fun it is to hang out with like-minded people live. I love all the chatting between business moms, and when they start to collaborate with someone they've just met. It's fun to know that in this often lonely online world you can meet up with people real time. That's the incentive for signing up to a webinar.
Customers don't get to connect or communicate with you when they grab your checklist or cheatsheet. Webinars are an inincredibly powerful form of communication!
Myth #6: Webinars are over done, and just a trend. (53:20)
Some people think webinars are just a fad. "As soon as I jump on the webinar train, webinars will be overdone and old news."
I completely acknowledge that the format webinars are given in, the structure, the tools used to put them on, may change over the next decade. Sure. Absolutely.
But building relationships with your customers on video? That's not going away, you guys. You see it all over. There's Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Instagram Live, Snapchat, and YouTube - which feels like it's been around forever - aren't going anywhere.
Selling and building relationships with your customers via video isn't going away. When you dig into webinars you'll realize that you're building skills you can take with you for the long haul.
I think one of the reasons I'm really comfortable to hop on Facebook Live at any given point in the day is because I do webinars all the time. It becomes second nature.
While we're on the subject, you could technically do a webinar just using Facebook Live. At this point it would be tricky to have a clean, polished slide presentation. But something like a baby wearing demo, craft project, Q&A, or a product launch would be great! Just set up your phone with the right kind of mounts and do the webinar right there. You could be commenting in the chat, giving people links, and telling them where to go to find your product.
A webinar is simply using video to provide awesome value and sell a product. That's not going away.
There are more and more people in this online marketing space using webinars to sell. You may notice your feeds are inundated with offers for free classes and lessons. But there are so many niches out there where hardly anyone is doing webinars! (Maybe yours is one of them!)
Plus, I don't care who's doing what! I'm confident my webinar is way better than anyone else's. So I'll keep putting them out there, giving a lot of great value, and people will tell their friends.
People who are in other niches outside of the online marketing space have a great advantage.
I don't know about you, but I have loads of friends on Facebook who are body coaches.
Let's say after giving myself time after this baby comes, I want to get back in shape. Maybe I want to try a beach body program and get into one a challenge group. Well, I've got 15 friends who are all selling beach body programs. How do I decide which friend I pick?
(Hint, hint: There are 1,000s of others in your niche selling something similar as you! How will you set yourself apart?)
I'm going to pick the friend who seems most passionate about her product and who walks the walk. I'm going to choose the one with the most knowledge and expertise, and not just fluffy duffy tips. And honestly at the top of my list is the friend I relate to the most, and I really like the most - because that's the person I'm going to have a great working relationship with.
You've got to be the person in your space with the most knowledge and the most passion, who walks the walk, and who people really like.
But that's a lot to live up to, right?
It's a lot to cover in word format--social media posts and blog posts.
Webinars are a one-stop-shop, you can accomplish all of this in an hour, and have people who all the sudden know you and like you and think you're the real deal.
5 Days to Craft Your Brilliant Webinar (1:05:50)
There it is. We just busted the 6 myths about doing webinars. How are you feeling?
If you're ready for next steps...take a deep breath. Don't stress. I've got you covered!
I'm actually doing 5 Days to Craft Your Brilliant Webinar next week. It's a free, live video series on Facebook Live. Monday February 13th - Friday February 17th I'll be on Facebook Live everyday at 9:30am PST / 12:30ET with tips everyday on how to craft your very own webinar.
After watching this series, you'll have the framework in place to get started growing your business with webinars.
To prepare for this free video series, go to:
to grab my free 5 Days to Craft Your Brilliant Webinar Guide that includes all you'll need to follow along with the videos, plus worksheets and cheat sheets. So grab that now, before we get started Monday the 13th, to be super prepared for our 5 day class.
By February 17th, you'll feel awesome about hosting your first webinar.
Don't Forget To Enter Our Giveaway! (1:04:36)
Before you go, don't forget about our Podcast Relaunch Giveaway! I'm giving away access to FB Brilliance (our Facebook Ads course), Brilliant Pin Promotion (on Pinterest Marketing), a Lily Jade bag, and a Brilliant Life Planner. Just subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave an honest, clean review by March 6th to be eligible to win one of those amazing prizes.
Now it's your turn to head out there and be brilliant!
Mon, 6 February 2017
141: Building a Successful Online Side Hustle in Less than a Year... with Less than $300 to Start! with Hannah Hageman
Hannah Hageman is a mom we met within the last year, when she was just starting a blog online. And it's been really interesting to see how she's transitioned that blog into a service-based business. We thought she'd be great to bring on the show since she hasn't had a business that long, but she's already bringing in an income and supporting her family!
Hannah is mom to two adorable boys and wife to one handsome husband. Her web design company is focused on helping local businesses get visibility.
Welcome to the show, Hannah!
On The Podcast
00:45 - A Colorful Past
04:05 - Transitioning from Blog to Business
08:13 - Earning Your First Client
12:06 - Dealing With A Demanding Client
14:34 - Firing Clients
16:30 - Creating A Client Questionnaire
20:27 - Start-Up Costs For A Web Design Business
24:50 - Doubt and Nervousness
27:29 - A Day In The Life Of A WAHM
30:40 - Hannah's Adorable Mom Moment
Press Play on the Podcast Player Below to Learn How Personal Finance Impacts Your Business with Rachel!
A Colorful Past
Hannah was born in Seattle, and while she was still young moved to Northern Poland so her mom could get a PhD in International Entrepreneurialism. (Wow!) Then their family moved to Florida for a bit, but eventually they landed back in Washington. Finally, she and her husband moved to Montana - and Hannah says she doesn't want to move anywhere else for the rest of her life!
She considers herself a woman who doesn't do anything halfway. Over the last year Hannah has been on a self-discovery journey, in terms of the kind of business she wants to start.
(A cute example of how she doesn't do anything halfway is that in one week, Hannah: got married, went to Hawaii on her honeymoon, started a job, bought a car, and moved into a new apartment.)
Thanks to her background, she has the perfect blend of analytical and creative thinking to become an entrepreneur.
Hannah is married to Craig and they have two sons: Nells is 4 and Gunner is 2. She loves babies and businesses, but says she should only have one at the same time! Hannah recognizes that creating a start-up company is a lot like having a baby. It takes lots of attention and effort - and who knows, maybe there's even some crying at 2am! But she's putting in a lot of hands-on work now, so that later she can hire help and spend even more time with family. We heartily approve!
Transitioning from Blog to Business
Before diving into blogging, Hannah tried a few direct sales businesses, but didn't feel like she fit into that world very well. So she decided to take her entrepreneurial skills online.
She first saw Crystal Paine making a living online, and it got her thinking, "Why would bloggers spend so much time online if they weren't getting paid?" Hannah always thought that blogs were just for people who wanted to journal online, and missed the revenue potential. Blogging also fit the work from home model that she wanted.
One day, Hannah simply started blogging. She didn't throw a huge launch, or make a big deal. She just started.
In those early days Hannah says she learned a lot about conducting business online, networking, and getting plugged into communities.
But, again, she felt like she didn't fit in with the mommy blogger types. She says, "I knew online was the space I wanted to be in, but blogging wasn't the thing I wanted to do." Hannah had built her site using Squarespace, and was loving it! The intention behind Squarespace is to make it easy to build beautiful websites, and Hannah found building her site easy, but soon began to realize that not everyone found website building so seamless.
So she thought, "Why not use my skill of building websites?"
Other than acquiring a business license and filing her LLC, Hannah didn't create a lot of fanfare around her business start. She just began working. She realized she had a skill and her market needed it.
Through a home buying experience, where she struggled to get in touch with local contractors, Hannah knew firsthand how frustrating it was to find businesses online. She understood how it can be hard for contractors and other small businesses to always answer their phones. That's why a web presence is so crucial for any small business! But these customers also don't have time to create a site from scratch or drop $4,000 for custom web design. And so Hannah Hageman Web Design was born.
And her business took off! She's booked out several months in advance, and is constantly getting new inquiries. Customers are coming out of the woodwork! Though she didn't do market research beforehand, this striking proof of concept proves that her intuition was right.
Though taking a plunge based on intuition can be a risk, Hannah trusted that she was on the right path. After direct marketing went wrong, and blogging wasn't a good fit, Hannah knew web design felt right. She knows she's good at web design and people around her need help!
Earning Your First Client
Hannah took a really gutsy move to getting her first client. She knows this strategy might be unpopular, but she trolled Facebook for local businesses in her area without a website or with an inactive one. Then she made about 5 to 10 cold-calls and offered her services.
The first guy she called returned Hannah's request about three weeks later. He said he had been meaning to return Hannah's voicemail and was ready for her to start. Start what? Hannah thought. Oh! Building his website! Hannah remembers getting the call under pretty unprofessional conditions, cooking dinner at 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon. She had gone three weeks without any contact from her cold-calls, and wasn't expecting a return.
Her trick was hitting the pavement, finding a need, and meeting that need. Understanding her market meant that Hannah knew she needed to reach out via phone because her customers wouldn't necessarily understand a marketing email. Moving from Seattle to Montana was a bit of a technological backtrack. She had to adjust to the Wild West way of doing things, and she did!
Hannah continued to get call backs and as she booked more clients, news spread about her services. This gutsy way of marketing has paid off. At the Business Boutique an attendee approached Hannah and asked about her name lanyard: "You do web design?" Hannah responded, "Yes I do! Do you need a site?" And Hannah Hageman Web Design earned a new client!
"It's as simple as putting yourself out there," Hannah says. "All you have to do is see a need, and know what your market will respond to. If you don't get in front of people, they won't know you exist."
Dealing With A Demanding Client
So, has Hannah ever dealt with a really demanding client? Maybe someone who was very picky about features, or required different skill sets than what Hannah was able to offer? How does Hannah know she'll be a good fit?
Working with clients in general, Hannah thinks that a bit of disagreement and clashing is inevitable. And if you ever feel like you really do just need to fire your client, you're allowed to do that. (Even if it's your first!)
Hannah tried to combat poor client experience from the beginning. Despite not having a big fancy launch, she still put systems in place to protect herself. She figured out which tools she wanted to use, and how she wanted to present herself to clients. She created a process for client interaction, and only has run into trouble when she veered off of that course.
Tip: Figure out how you want to run your business, and communicate those standards to your client, then stick to them.
You can tell by a person's demeanor when the relationship starts to veer off course. (In the particular case Hannah is thinking of, she never agreed to do work she was unqualified to. But she has found communication difficult in this particular case and is bearing the brunt of that tumultuous relationship.)
It feels kind of like we're talking about a breakup! We had to ask Hannah her tips for breaking up with a client in a respectful, tactful way.
She hasn't totally fired a client, but she has stopped work mid-project.
Websites are a big part of business. There are so many ways to use a website, and it seems like ideas can go in all different directions - not all of which are possible. Hannah had a client wanting her to design a T-shirt, which is outside of her wheelhouse. She politely declined that offer, but gave him a next step to take that wasn't her.
Creating A Client Questionnaire
Hannah put a lot into her client questionnaire process, and knows it's saved her unnecessary grief in her business. We wanted to hear a bit more about how she structured that document, and how it works.
There are two types of questionnaires Hannah uses: an introductory system and a client system.
She doesn't have a specific list of questions at the introduction phase. Since her business is confined to the geographic location of her hometown, she often ends up asking initial questions over the phone or face to face. Hannah tries to ask probing questions during these conversations, to get a sense of how much the client already knows about design and technology.
Tip: Don't be afraid to dive deep during your introductory questions, as that will give you tons of information about the client you're going to be working with!
Once a client has signed, Hannah then uses her client questionnaire system, a series of questions to help translate the client's vision onto paper in a way that Hannah can use to create their website. Hannah got this 'homework' strategy from Elle & Company and Lauren Hooker.
Tip: It may feel strange to give clients homework, but it is so necessary that clients do a bit of work and be equally invested in the outcome! The client questionnaire model translates to a lot of different businesses. For example, a life coach could use it to gauge where the client is in life to create a baseline for talking to them. Once you're on the clock, all that work is going to cost money. It's wise to get that information up front so the client gets the best value and you are satisfied.
Start Up Cost For A Web Design Business
Hannah's answer to this question is super encouraging. Her start-up cost for her business was less than $300! (And it was only that high because one of her kids broke her Microsoft Surface and she had to replace it for about $200 on Craig's List.)
Tip: All you need is a working computer and internet connection. It takes almost nothing to start and there are so many free tools you can use.
Another smart move, Hannah began her Squarespace subscription month-to-month ($15/month) since she didn't have a full year's fee up front.
Her business license was $70.
This is such great news for mamaprenuers wanting a low-cost start-up option! If you're creating a product, there are so many up front expenses: materials, tools you might need, and so on. We think it's absolutely amazing that Hannah started a business for $300 that has brought her family a steady income since she began.
Hannah has a second business that she wanted to talk about: creating an online directory for contractors in her hometown. Remember back when Hannah was buying a house and had a hard time finding businesses in the area to do a few repairs? Again, Hannah saw a need and filled it with her business.
There was only one problem. Her start-up directory would require a $3,000 piece software to get started. She didn't have that money in her pocket, but she did have two options for funding. She called up all the contractors she knew to proof the concept. Every single person she spoke to gave a resounding yes, and asked when they could send her a check!! Hannah ran with this idea, and at the first of the year reached back out to those initial contractors who were interested in the idea. They all agreed to buy, and Hannah rewarded that action with juicy benefits and bonuses. We can't wait to hear how her local business directory turns out!
Doubt and Nervousness
As you can tell, Hannah is quite confident and self-assured! We had to ask her if she ever struggled with doubt or nervousness when it came to growing her business.
"OH YES!" Hannah said.
With her directory business, for example, the first contacts she reached out to were members of her church. Hannah says that even though she knew them, making the call was super nerve-wracking! But getting one positive response made it easier to get the next "yes."
Hannah decided that she has a big dream, and it's a good one. Her dream is going to change the life of her family, and she has the power to do that - but not if she succumbs to fear.
Fear is natural. Let it come, then let it pass, and make the phone call.
Hannah's a big believer in fake it 'til you make it, and reminds herself to "be the confident, professional, and experienced web designer you know you will be in three years - but have to be right now to impress the one person in front of you."
You just need one yes.
Yes, Hannah was afraid, and yes, she still experiences a lot of self-doubt, but NO it doesn't stop her from doing what she needs for her family.
A Day In The Life Of A WAHM
It is not easy being a mom and a serial entrepreneur! Hannah has two littles at home, and she's starting up businesses. She defines her days as chaotic. Many days she doesn't get anything done, but then she starts fresh; not even the next morning, but the next hour. She just keeps trying.
Hannah did sit down with her husband and laid out her plans. She showed him what she was dreaming of achieving, and explained that they could only make those dreams a reality if they worked together.
Together, she and her husband agreed to a certain amount of time Hannah could spend each week on her business, until the business grew to a point they were able to hire help.
When her husband gets home from work, the Hagemans eat dinner together as a family, and then Hannah hides in her 'lair' to work. She does that three or four times a week. And sometimes when her kids nap at the same time, about one to two times a week, she gets a couple of hours of work accomplished.
But this 'work whenever you get a minute' strategy wasn't sustainable. Life got a bit crazy working in the periphery, so she decided to focus her days. Hannah spends her mornings giving total attention to her boys, and finds that in the afternoon they aren't as demanding of her attention.
Occasionally she'll put them in daycare (like the day we recorded this podcast) if she really needs to buckle down.
Hannah sits down on Sunday nights with her Brilliant Life Planner (awww, thanks Hannah!) to plan out her week, placing to-dos within the time blocks. She doesn't leave any detail out: work, grocery shopping, naps, showering, everything! "I know when the boys go down for a nap today, I need to work an hour because it says so in my planner," Hannah says. Having that baseline at the beginning of the week, Hannah finds it easier to get all the working hours she needs.
Hannah describes her work as more rhythmic than routine, but it's working. She gets about 10-15 hours a week in the margins. And we know that's great!
Hannah's Adorable Mom Moment
Her 4-year-old presented himself the other day with tons of sparkly, foam star stickers all over his shirt. They were supposed to be safely tucked away in the craft cupboard in his bedroom! He walked out strutting with such confidence and said, "Mom, I'm the mayor of this house!" Isn't that the cutest!?
Stay in Touch with Hannah!
Hannah wants to encourage any new mom pursuing business, and invites you to contact her either in our Facebook group or via email.
Mon, 6 February 2017
140: The Mindset that's KILLING your Finances + Real Talk About Comparison and Mommy Guilt with Rachel Cruze
If you don't recognize the name Rachel Cruze, you'll likely recognize the name of her dad: Dave Ramsey. She now serves as a Ramsey Personality and uses her knowledge and experience from growing up as Dave’s daughter to educate others. We were so excited to sit down with Rachel at the Nashville Business Boutique and chat with her.
We loved what she had to say, and know you will too!
On The Podcast
00:25 - Rachel's New Book
01:43 - Mommy Guilt
05:43 - Comparison & Growing A Business
09:17 - Identifying Business Priorities with Money
11:46 - Growing Up As Dave Ramsey's Child
14:15 - Allowing Your Kids To Fail
15:22 - Rachel's Business Insecurities
19:18 - Rachel's Adorable Mom Moment
Rachel's New Book
As Rachel traveled the country and talked to people about personal finance, she began to notice really similar themes bubble up. That common theme is this: more than ever we're letting other people's lives and lifestyles determine how we spend our money. Comparison is so integrated into our lives, particularly due to social media, that we can't seem to escape it.
Rachel began to realize if we could beat down the comparison trap, fight through it, and put good money habits in place, we could live the lives we want and not what's being dictated to us by culture.
We often think women, in particular, have a unique struggle when it comes to comparing themselves to others. But Rachel says she has heard from 56-year-old men who battle the comparison trap!
The bottom line is we ALL compare! It may look different, but we all do it.
We carry a lot of guilt and shame as women. Of course, we all know about the Mommy Guilt! How you're mothering, what you choose to do or not do...it's crazy what allow to bring us guilt! So maybe women do carry that weight a bit more than our male counterparts. (Ugh! Don't you hate it!?)
So, does Rachel Cruze struggle with Mommy Guilt?
Yes! And it blew her away. She says when she and her husband announced to a friend their pregnancy, the friend's first words to her were, "Welcome to the world of comparisons."
"REALLY!?" Rachel thought. Then the comparison game started: "Are you feeling sick? If you're sick, did you get *sick* sick?" She thought it was so silly that women even compared morning sickness to each other! (And when you think about it, it is pretty ridiculous.)
But, yes, even Rachel Cruze struggles with Mommy Guilt, particularly that nagging question, "Am I doing this right?
Within her close circle of friends, most of Rachel's girl friends are stay-at-home moms, so she does feel the tug of being a working mom. But here's something we loved that Rachel said: when she's with Amelia (her daughter), she's Mom. And she tries so hard to not look at the phone or social media during those moments. As a result, the times she spends with her daughter are very rich because she works hard to be there.
And, speaking of comparison. Rachel has really keyed in on the phrase 'to each her own' (We love that!). She has come to the place that she respects what others do differently, and doesn't focus on the things that don't matter.
We think it's pretty awesome that little Amelia will get to grow up and see her mom doing what she loves! Working moms, you're a role model to your children, stepping into your God-given talents to conquer fears and doing what you feel passionately about.
Comparison & Growing A Business
What would Rachel say to the woman who feels like she needs to take on debt to get ahead?
It's simple: Taking on Debt = Taking on Risk
Stress levels go through the roof when you've got a debt payment looming, and you don't know if you can make the payments. People often don't account for that level of risk when they take on debt. While this principle applies to businesses of any size, it's especially true for start-ups.
You've got to run your business at the speed of cash.
Even at Rachel's multi-million dollar business (Ramsey Solutions), if they don't have the cash - they don't make the purchase. Rachel says you will never regret moving at the speed of cash. Instant gratification is everywhere in our culture, but slow and steady wins the race.
And Rachel gets it: "You look on Facebook and see, 'Oh awesome, this Sarah girl started two years after me and already has all theses followers and is doing all these things I'm not even halfway there.' BE PATIENT!"
In the marketplace, scarcity is a lie. We think that just because someone else had a chance to create before we did, the moment is lost. Urgency creates bad business decisions. Don't get ahead of yourself before you're actually there.
For example, you might make careless decisions with loaned money that you wouldn't make with your own money. It feels like your business has all this extra cash, but it's not true! Really the money belongs to someone else. And you might feel like you can create products without verifying if it's something your customers might want first. But the decisions you'll make with that loaned money aren't as strategic and thoughtful as they would be with your money.
Rachel points out that studies have shown that when you spend with debt, you spend more. You're much more intentional about purchases made with your own money.
And your mistakes follow you. Imagine paying back a loan for an idea that didn't work! How mad would you be!? Say you created a purse, but it turned out it wasn't as hot an item as you'd hoped. Then you're stuck with inventory and a loan payment.
Identifying Priorities with Money
The great thing about a budget is that you get to create it.
You decide your own values.
There are foundational things we need to pay: housing, food, transportation, and basic bills. But beyond that, you can decide! Are you putting money away each month to take the kids to Disney World? Do you want to budget a bigger 'Entertainment' category so you can attend two concerts next month? You get to decide, as long as it's within your income!
The same can go for your business. These are basic fees you'll need to pay every month to keep your business running. But on top of that, you can decide. Are there investments you'd like to make? Every month you can save up and make that purchase.
Rachel also wants us to know that having a visual is so important. You can't budget with numbers in your head, so write it down!
In business it's easy to grab a fancy tool or program, even if it's only $20 bucks a month; but if you have a ton of those tools and you aren't using them well, you're not being purposeful with money in your business.
Oh, and make sure your personal and business budgets are separate!
Growing Up As Dave Ramsey's Child
Rachel finds that a lot of people think she and her siblings grew up obsessed with money, talked about mutual funds over dinner, and went to budget camps in the summer. That's not the case! But her parents were intentional about teaching the Ramsey kids how money works in the ebb and flow of life. She thinks they did a great job of teaching common sense regarding money.
And she says Dave is a bit more animated and sassy on the radio for entertainment, but his passion and heart are true. And fun rants aside, she says Dave Ramsey as a CEO is very careful and deliberate.
When Rachel was 15 she remembers bouncing three checks at Hollister in the mall. And Dave made Rachel go to the bank and apologize to the executive bank branch manager for lying, as her dad called it--the lie being Rachel had told the bank she had money to spend, when she really didn't. Her overdraft fee was waved :) and she hasn't bounced a check since! It was a lesson well-taught and well-learned, with natural consequences that made sense.
Allowing Your Kids To Fail
Speaking of natural consequences, Rachel has some great insights about letting your kids fail. When a child can make small and inexpensive mistakes under mom and dad's protection, the lesson sticks. It's better to have a first money mistake be fairly insignificant, and far worse if the first time a child fails financially is taking a car loan when they can't afford it.
Rachel's Business Insecurities
Rachel has been surprised at the insecurities she's faced in her business.
Having worked at a phenomenal company like Ramsey Solutions for so long, she knows that she's in a bit of a bubble. But breaking more into the outside publishing and speaking world with her new book, she has faced some of those insecurities head on.
For example, writing is not her natural gift. She's not the most secure and confident when it comes to her writing. So having a book published from her big platform feels a bit intimidating! When she sees other people in her field sell more volume, she can start to feel discouraged.
But what keeps Rachel grounded is her why.
"My job is to bring hope to people with regard to their money. It isn't about me! It's about getting content to people and giving them hope in an area where they feel hopeless." When Rachel comes back to her why, it all makes sense.
And when she sees pictures on Instagram of people sharing her book, she's reminded that her readers don't care what list she's on or not on. Truly, what she cares about is THAT person changing their life. And it's hard to think about yourself when you're busy thinking of others.
So many of the things we care about, our customers don't care about. What they care about is getting a great product, or doing XYZ better thanks to our services. So we have to stay focused on our mission.
Rachel's Adorable Mom Moment
We know you moms will appreciate these little moments in Rachel's very normal "Mom" world. Just the other week, Rachel found POOP in her living room. Her daughter Amelia's diaper was on, but still there was poop by the fireplace! What!? How did that even get there!?
Rachel's daughter is 18 months and talks all the time. One night when Rachel and her husband needed to give their daughter medicine, Amelia looked up and said, "Medicine downstairs." And sure enough, it was! Such a prodigy, right!?
We love how Rachel lights up when Amelia is her subject! After all, we are all Moms first.
Stay in Touch with Rachel!
Mon, 6 February 2017
It's not a rumor.
The Brilliant Business Moms podcast is back!!!
HOLY COW, you guys! It's been a long time since we talked! But I'm finally back with Episode 139. In this episode we'll give you the down low on what's been happening here at Brilliant Business Moms since the last time we talked.
So the last time we chatted was March 2016. And I have to say, we planned a break - but not that extensive of a break! I'm super amped to get going again.
Here's what's happened since we've been gone.
Listen To The Show
During one of the last episodes you heard, we told you my sister Sarah was leaving Brilliant Business Moms. That remains the case. Sarah made a really tough choice, which was the right choice for her, and left the brand. You can now find Sarah at SmallBusinessSarah.com, where she's written another eBook! Search 'Sarah Korhnak' on Amazon for all of her titles, like this one. Sarah is an accountant by trade, so she approaches small business advice from a very practical place. I'm excited to see where my sister takes Small Business Sarah! I'd love it if you stopped by her site to let her know you're thinking of her and cheer her on. I have to say, I miss Sarah all the time not being part of the business, but I'm super grateful that we still get to talk and hang out since we're sisters of course! :)
Hello, Team Members!
Since Sarah left the business, I expanded the brand to include a team. This has been one of the best decisions I've made as a small business owner. Some of you are amazing solopreneurs, and you rock it - but that is not my strength or desire! I feel really grateful to have a team of ladies that work with me every single week. Let me introduce you to them:
Our Brilliant New Products
In addition to growing the team, we've had a few other big changes in the business. We dove into the world of online courses. I now have several courses that have really changed the business in awesome ways. They allow me to make more sales when its not planner season, and serve many more of you. I love that I can literally give you my brain and what I know in terms of marketing and growing a business.
Creating courses is part of why I took a break from the podcast--I wanted to get these awesome products out the door. I did spend a bit more time creating products than I thought :) but now the podcast is back every single week!
You also probably saw that the Brilliant Business Planner has transformed and improved to become the Brilliant Life Planner - a planner not just for ladies in business, but anyone who wants to live an intentional life.
(Creating this product has been a huge learning experience. During upcoming episodes I'll do a podcast all about that process of designing and manufacturing a product from scratch.)
The response to our planner has been so amazing and humbling. As of this recording, we are sold out of 2017 planners! But don't be too sad, we'll have a digital version of the planner available so you can still get this resource and our fabulous bonuses. Our plan is to launch the 2018 Brilliant Life Planner and an undated version of the planner in October.
Our Brilliant New Podcast
As far as the podcast goes, we have so many great interviews lined up with mamapreneurs to learn from. I can't wait to share these with you!
We're going to be adding more solo episodes. I've started to get lots of similar questions around a few topics and I am eager to answer! Questions like: "How am I creating and selling online courses?" "How do I go from an idea in my head to an actual physical product to ship to customers?" "How did I find and hire my awesome team?" I want to really dig deep and answer these questions for you.
You can expect a new podcast episode every Monday; we'll alternate between a mamapreneur interview and a solo teaching episode. We're also going to do more coffee break episodes! I plan to bring my awesome team onto these, and we will all dig deep and chat about a topic. (For example, I know you all want to hear from me about how I found the Brilliant Business Moms Team. Beyond doing a solo episode, the team and I will talk about how they find work and how to know who's a good boss.)
This very first week back we have several episodes for you to binge on! (You're welcome. We know its been way too long!) To celebrate the return of the podcast, you'll hear not only hear from me, but two awesome interviewees: we've got Rachel Cruze talking about money and business, and Hannah Hageman who has great insights about running an online business and is now making a steady, fabulous income - without tons of startup costs.
Next week you can anticipate my first solo episode, which will be about the one marketing strategy that has been the biggest difference-maker in my business this past year.
We're Doing a GIVEAWAY
We are so excited that the podcast is back, and we want to make sure all those brilliant ladies out there can find it! To celebrate, we're hosting a giveaway!
NOW through March 6, 2017
(You do need to use either the Podcast app or an iTunes account to review the show. If you can use an Apple device, like an iPhone or iPad, it's super easy - just click on that purple Podcast app and find our show that way to leave your rating and review!)
We have 4 fabulous prizes and we'll be drawing 4 winners! The first person we draw gets their pick among these prizes, and on down the line through winner #4 :)
I am SO pumped for Season 2 and so glad you ladies are along for the ride.
Now it's your turn to head out there and Be Brilliant!