Brilliant Business Moms with Beth Anne Schwamberger

Laura Smith is a wife and mom of two little littles, plus she runs an online business at IHeartPlanners.com. And actually this is the second time Laura has been on our show! I am excited to have her back, especially because Laura has agreed to get really real with us and talk about a really juicy topic. You don’t want to miss this one!

Listen Now

On the Podcast

1:11 - What’s New With Laura
2:55 - Bravely Talking About Failure
4:23 - Disconnected Freebies
8:46 - When Hiring Help, Doesn’t
12:48 - Affording To Fail
14:28 - Laura’s New Plan
16:26 - When Deadlines Set You Back
20:00 - The Course BLowing Laura’s Mind
20:26 - More Successes Than Failures
26:14 - Advice if You’re Afraid of Failing
27:27 - Laura’s Adorable Mommy Moment

What’s New With Laura

Wow, so much has changed since we first had Laura on the show back in 2014! Her little girl was just 12-weeks-old and the business wasn’t quite 2-years-old yet. Not one thing feels the same! That little girl is now almost 2 ½ and she has a 7-month-old baby boy. Her family made the move from Pittsburgh, PA to Iowa, and her business is incredibly different.

Laura says, “So much has changed! Not one thing is the same. I don’t think hardly anything I was selling when I last talked to you is what I sell now.”  She has shifted away from physical products to digital, since, like many people these days, she has found that digital products work better with her lifestyle; they’re less stressful and more profitable.

Back then, Laura was a true solopreneur, but now she has a ton of people helping her with her business - and plans to expand that. One of the best things Laura says she has done in her business is bring on people to help so she’s not doing it all herself.

(And I know we say this all the time around here, but hiring help is truly this AMAZING thing. It’s a game changer.)

Laura Bravely Shares About Failure

For Laura, this past year she’s hit her biggest failures and greatest successes. And we are all so so lucky that she’s agreed to let us peek behind the curtain.

In terms of revenue, profit, and growth, 2016 was Laura’s best year. That said, it was also the year that she tried many things which totally bombed. “If you find the magic way to go through business and have everything work out perfectly, let me know!” Laura joked. “The bigger you get, the bigger the successes and the bigger the failures.”

Laura agreed to talk about her failures in order to encourage other women. (Thanks, Laura!)

One “Failure” from the Year: Disconnected Freebies

One major thing that didn’t work out well for Laura was a launch she attempted in September.

After not being heavily involved with her business while welcoming a new baby and moving, she poured a lot of time, energy, and money into this launch. This launch was supposed to be her first big venture after coming back, and a way to boost sales before the end of the year.

She hosted a free challenge with a partner to kick off the launch, and everything was running smoothly...except she only made 10 sales in September, whereas the prior year, selling the same product, she made over 700 sales!

Laura is still really glad she did the launch, but was hoping for more of a change in her business, and for sales to really pick up!

So what about marketing going forward?

Laura says it was definitely a learning experience as far as marketing. She remembers mentioning briefly during the planning stages, “I don’t think the connection between my free challenge and the product at the end is really tight. Eh - I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

Learn from Laura! If you doubt your own idea, or hear an offhanded concern about your strategy, don’t dismiss that warning bell.

She says anytime you offer a freebie that should then lead to a sale, make sure there is a tight correlation between the freebie and the product you are selling. You want the product you’re selling to be the next logical step for people after consuming the freebie. In Laura’s case, she had a TON of people excited about this amazing freebie she offered - with lots of engagement and participation. But when it came time to offer the product, which was fairly disconnected from the freebie, it just didn’t work.

I see this all the time in new business owners! Their freebie doesn’t connect logically with their product. It’s easy to get excited about building your list, but it’s hard to take extra time to make sure everything connects. Don’t skip that step.  

And as Laura learned, it’s easy to feel like they’re tightly correlated in your mind than they really are. I think this analogy is perfect: “I loved my freebie AND I loved my product. Wouldn’t everyone else? No. Just because you love puppy dogs and chocolate, doesn’t mean you need to do a puppy dog challenge and sell everyone chocolate.”

When Hiring Help Doesn’t Pan Out

Overall, hiring help has been one of the best things Laura has done in her business - both in terms of personal sanity and helping her business grow. She is a HUGE fan of hiring help, whether that’s hiring people to help directly in your home, someone like a Virtual Assistant, or a web designer to build your website.

But the reality is, It can be very scary to hire help! You have to invest some money up front, with no guarantees about how it will turn out.

Early last year Laura wanted to build out funnels that were a bit more sophisticated than what she had been doing -- more complex than just offering a freebie which leads to a sales pitch for a product. She wanted to test out ads, opt-ins, and limited-time offers.

Laura knew that with a brand new baby and a toddler, there was no way she would get those funnels set up with the team she had. She wanted to hire the job out to experts who could get the job done.

Long story short, she paid an expert over $6,000 to set up these funnels - and the results have been, well, nothing. She paid about $600 in ads and only made $400 from the initiative.

Laura is quick to clarify that this experience didn’t make her run into a dark hole and say that funnels and Facebook ads would never work for her. On the contrary, Facebook ads actually DO work, and they do work for Laura. But they did not work for her in this specific situation. The moral of the story is three fold:

  1. Sometimes you have to try a few strategies before finding what works. Do your homework, but it won’t always work out the way you think it will.
  2. When you do choose to hire someone, as much as possible, try to start them off with a mini-project first. (Laura tries to find a one-time project that she can pay a new help $50 to complete to test and make sure everyone is compatible. In Laura’s case, she knows this expert has gotten results for tons of other people - but their fit wasn’t good.)
  3. Take financial risks that fit where you are in business. Had Laura tried this sales funnel project 3 years ago, she would have had to shut down the business! Back then she didn’t have $6,000 to lose. At this point, while losing a chunk of change is a bummer, her business will be fine for the long haul. Take risks appropriate to your stage in business, and do it with forethought and wisdom. Have the expectation that nothing in business is guaranteed.

Can you Afford To Fail?

Sometimes I see new business owners want to throw all of their money and life savings into a project, but it doesn’t work that way, because what will you do if you lose that entire investment?  As your business grows, then you can make more calculated risks about investments.

At the time of recording, Laura has been in business for 4 years and she has worked with a ton of people that did help her business, and ran many successful launches. But even then, she STILL makes mistakes. “Just because you’re newer (and have a failure near the beginning) doesn’t mean you’re terrible at business and should run away. That’s not true! If you need to cry, go have yourself a good cry, and come back and make a plan of what you’re going to do now.”

Laura and I both agree that the only thing separating a successful business owner from a not-successful one is whether or not they keep going after a setback.

Laura’s New Plan

What I love about Laura is that she didn’t let a few setbacks set her back. WIth regard to sales funnels, she’s back in the saddle! Her motto is: “You never know until you try!” She is continually trying and testing new strategies and she’s experienced huge successes with sales funnels. In fact, she had one funnel that brought in way more than the $6,000 she lost working with the expert.

Through the funnel that failed and then the successful new strategies, Laura’s lesson learned is: “Had I just said, these aren’t for me, they don’t work for my business--I had a bad experience I’ll just bury my head in the sand--I would have lost so much. As far as funnels, you’ve got to test different things. You can’t throw an ad up in 30 minutes, and then if it doesn’t work, say, ‘My audience doesn’t respond to ads.”’

Though expert advice disagrees, Laura has found that running ads directly to a sale has worked very well for her audience. She can’t tell you why! But most of the time, she does better running ads straight to a sale rather than an opt-in. There’s just something about her audience that loves a good sale!

The moral of the story isn’t “Maybe your audience will do this or maybe they won’t,” but to take the time to see what works for YOUR audience.

When Deadlines Set You Back

Laura’s final example isn’t so much a setback, but more of a net neutral.

She worked very hard on another funnel (it’s been the year of funnel success and failures for her!) and it again did not convert. It was neither a loss, nor a profit. They made back their investment, but couldn’t make it profitable.

Yet again, this was another case when she should have listened to the voice in her head. There was a big mismatch between the freebie and the product she was offering. It’s easy to see that disconnect in someone else’s business, but not yourself. You would notice, for example, if a friend wanted to offer a freebie on dog training and sell a chocolate box subscription. It’s just harder to see it in yourself.

When you’re working hard on your project and you’re really excited, you just want to get it out of the door ASAP! Laura says if she had held back and been patient, this product wouldn’t have been as disjointed.

In fact, one of Laura’s goals for this year is to set fewer deadlines in her business. Deadlines do help you get things done, but arbitrary deadlines can make you push out products that aren’t quite ready - or haven’t been tested thoroughly.

Don’t get me wrong! We’re definitely fans of setting deadlines at Brilliant Business Moms, but it’s good to know when you need an extra week or two to put the finishing touches on a product that you can think it through and take the extra time. And Laura shares that your relationship with deadlines can change along with your stage in business. When you’re first starting out, deadlines help you get the work done. But further in your business, maybe you can take more time to refine your work regardless of deadlines.

The Course Blowing Laura’s Mind

Thinking about how your stage of business can affect how you treat your business, Laura gave us a quick recommendation of a course that really has been helpful to her as a seasoned business owner. It’s Todd Herman’s course The 90 Day Year, and he talks in depth about the different stages of businesses.

More Successes Than Failures

Lest you think Laura’s business has been full of failures, we want to spend the remaining time highlighting her successes! Laura’s optimistic approach to failure is so inspiring. She doesn’t let it get her down, she tries to learn and moves on to the next success. And some great successes she’s had! 2016 was her biggest year to date; she had by far the most revenue, had the most profit, and reached the most people.

One success she experienced was getting a really profitable funnel up and running! Funnel-building is something she’s not been able to do up until this point in her business. Every business owner has limited time, and previously she had focused most of her attention on limited-offer launches to her whole list. Laura realized that she was not capitalizing on the opportunity to make sales right as a new subscriber signed up to her list. And now that she has, she’s excited about the ability to stabilize her income through funnels without having to work hard on launch after launch.

Another great success for Laura this year was launching her course List Building Academy. This is her first product outside her usual scope, and it’s designed to show other bloggers how to build a profitable email list. At the end of 2015, Laura remembers struggling to know what direction her business should go. She was conflicted about deviating from her home organizing/planners/printables blog theme, and adding a course about building an email list. It is true that if you spread yourself too thin, you won’t be effective at anything, and Laura is usually the person who wants decisions to make sense objectively; but she thought it was time to follow her heart in this case! She was SO excited about creating content for her List Building Academy course that she decided to go for it. And we aren’t surprised that it’s been a wonderful product addition to her business!

In other news, Laura had a baby boy this year - so that was a total win! And her family moved halfway across the country.

She hired a new team member who has been amazing for her business. Laura says, “If you’re not always talking about how amazing the people who work for you are, you don’t have the right people.” Laura says her team has been a total lifesaver, and they do some things better than she does! Especially with a new baby and a big move, her team allowed her to hardly work at all, and yet things could continue to move forward in her business.

And I SO agree! When you find the right people, it’s incredibly freeing for your business! The things you struggle with, others can do ten times faster. It allows you, as a business owner, to play to your strengths.

Advice if You’re Afraid of Failing

Success and failure go together sometimes. I wanted to know what advice Laura had for someone who fears failure.

Laura’s advice for those of you who might be struggling with the fear of failure is straightforward: “Don’t let the fear stop you from trying. And don’t look at failure as a bad thing.” She doesn’t see her past year as a negative at all, or that she’s personally a failure. Failing is part of learning.

Just like Laura’s new baby boy who falls down a lot while he’s learning to walk - and that’s okay! Falling - or failing - is part of learning and growing. I love how Laura approaches this: “If you’re afraid to take any risks or try anything new, it’s going to be hard to grow in the online world that’s changing very quickly.”

Take risks. Embrace it. You will fall down at times, but it’s totally okay. Get right back up.

Laura’s Adorable Mommy Moment

Laura’s daughter is totally mesmerized with her hands when they get wrinkled in the bathtub. She’ll proudly announce, “Hands all rinky bathtub!” Laura thinks her daughter’s pronunciation of ‘wrinkled’ is so precious. (And I do too!)

Laura has loved watching her daughter become a big sister and love on her little brother. Recently Timothy (Laura’s little boy) was crying and Laura asked her daughter why she thought Timothy was sad. Her little girl said, “Because Timmy wants daddy!” Kids are so sweet!

(I am really looking forward to Holden becoming a big brother! I can’t wait to see that sibling interaction.)

Keep In Touch With Laura

Site: IHeartPlanners.com

Now it’s your turn to head out there and Be Brilliant!

Direct download: BBM_Laura_Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Today we are so happy to have Stacy Tuschl on the show! She started her now 7-figure business when she was just 18 years old, in her mom’s backyard; and currently she has over 40 employees and has been able to build her business by spending just an hour a week on that business. This freedom has allowed her to dedicate her time to something she’s very passionate about: helping other women take their business to the next level. She also hosts a podcast called She’s Building Her Empire and you can learn more at StacyTuschl.com

Welcome to the show, Stacy!

Listen Now

 

On the Podcast

1:15 - Building a 7-Figure Brick-and-Mortar Business
3:36 - Moving To A Commercial Space
6:50 - Community-Based Marketing
8:50 - Hands-Off Business Woman
11:40 - ‘Is Your Business Worth Saving?’
14:44 - Pushing Past A Low Point
17:51 - She’s Building Her Empire Podcast
22:55 - Stacy’s Adorable Mom Moment
19:23 - Facebook Live Podcast Recording
25:25 - Stacy's LIVE Event

Building a 7-Figure Brick-and-Mortar Business

In high school, Stacy was a competition dancer, but she knew that she wouldn’t make a career out of dancing. While she was going to college, she started teaching dance classes in her parents’ backyard for free (She says that honestly, it was more for her than for the kids!). Her original goal was to keep her dancing passion alive, but she quickly fell in love with teaching the kids and giving them that experience.

Three years later, nearing college graduation, Stacy was still offering classes - but now she had 100 kids in her backyard!! About to graduate college with no idea what she wanted to do next, Stacy started putting the pieces together: she loved being a leader and teacher. It was a no-brainer to start her own business.

She incorporated her dance studio at 21, and it turns 15 years old this summer. At the time, Stacy couldn’t even dream of becoming a 7 figure business.

Her secret is that her company has always been good about over delivering, and “giving to the community and to the kids, and because of that we can’t help but have all these kids coming to us every year. We just keep getting bigger and bigger.” (And by “we” she means her amazing team.)

Moving To A Commercial Space

At the beginning, because she was doing her classes for free, no one expected a highly professional set up. But when she started charging for her classes, she realized people expected much more.

The first thing she did was rent a commercial building, because, it was too risky to buy right away. Stacy rented a small space year-to-year for a while. Within 3 years she saw that her business was profitable, that it was working, and then built a 9,000 square-foot commercial space. Her first studio was very large, but she wanted to make sure that her business wouldn’t be going anywhere; they could grow into and then max out the space they were in.

Her second location was at least 10 years into the life of her business. And she was aware that changing cities could potentially impact her success, and it was another risk. So she rented a space for 3 years (which is usually unheard of for commercial properties--they expect longer leases) and knew if the business went well in the new location she could continue to scale up and build that second building.

Her second location is around half the size of her first, and though it’s only been in place for about 4 years she thinks it’ll quickly surpass her first.

Stacy’s team had a hard time finding land, so they found a foreclosed building - where the land was worth more than the building! The gutted the building down to the block and put a $1M renovation into it. Now it’s a 7,200 square foot space, which includes a tenant space. (Stacy’s tenant is a nail salon, and they signed a 10-year lease with her, to give you an idea of how commercial rentals usually work!) They’ve also planned out a Phase 2 of her property, which would create additional tenant space.

Community-Based Marketing

It’s obvious that Stacy’s customers are so incredibly happy and she blows them away with her studio experience. We wanted to know, other than word of mouth, what are some main ways that she has marketed her dance studio business?

Stacy was happy to talk with us about other forms of marketing. But she couldn’t talk about growing her business without word-of-mouth because “when you deliver to your current clients, they can’t help but talk about you to their friends.” Her business grew from 17 students to 100 in just 3 years. And at first, she didn’t pay a dollar for marketing because she made it a priority to talk to her existing audience.

At this stage of business, Stacy does have the money to invest in marketing -- but still, the number one way people hear about her business is word of mouth. It’s so powerful!

She has seen great success using Facebook ads and can attest that Facebook ads work for local businesses. Her studio regularly runs advertising to their local community. Stacy also has arranged a few paid partnerships, pairing up with local businesses for various services.

She also spends marketing money giving back to their community. Each year they host 3 events free of charge for their local community, including a trunk-or-treat event. Having 450 kids trick-or-treat on their property is AMAZING marketing. They’re paying for their community to come to their location and check them out. Stacy says, “Their first impression and experience with us is that we’re giving to them before they ever pay a dollar to us.” (And isn’t giving before getting how Stacy built her entire business!?)

Hands-Off Business Woman

Stacy has been able to keep her dance studio running by spending just an hour a week on her business, which has allowed her to focus time on her current passion project.

How can you build a team and work less? How can your business thrive?

Well, for starters, Stacy says that working increasingly less on her business wasn’t something she set out to do. But as she started investing in more training - like live events and seminars, reading books and listening to podcasts- she kept hearing advice to build a team and delegate the work. This did not come naturally to Stacy! But after 15 years of working at it, she’s gotten good at delegating.

As Stacy built her phenomenal team, she gradually noticed that she had fewer and fewer responsibilities on her plate, and they didn’t need her.

“My passion is business in general. I love--and it sounds so boring to people--but I love working on my computer and getting new things done and having that challenge...as soon as I realized I had this incredible team, I asked, “Now what do I do?”

Her passion is to teach other female entrepreneurs. So she has devoted her (now free!) time and energy to the online space and pursuing educating others.

Many people have prodded Stacy to sell her business. “I have no interest in selling my dance studios!” she says. She loves what she’s doing for her community and has no interest in selling what has become a fun experience for her. Plus, over the past 15 years, she’s built systems into place to make her company self-run.

Her advice is to grow your business one employee at a time--you don’t go from zero to 40! Hire one person as you bring in more money, invest in your team, and then grow organically.

This model has also worked for Stacy in her new online business. She’s been at this venture for a few years now, also starting from scratch. She needed at least one person on her team to delegate to, and the larger she gets and more money she brings in, the more people she can afford to put on her team.

'Is Your Business Worth Saving?’

At first, it doesn’t sound like a nice question to ask, but Stacy knows that every entrepreneur (and we know this is especially true for Mompreneurs whose business isn’t as profitable as they hoped, or they’re drowning in work or have lost their spark) has asked it -- including her. What then? All entrepreneurs get to the point in business where they ask,

Stacy wanted to reach out to the people asking themselves these questions: “What am I doing? Is it worth it? Can it really be a business? Will I make money?”

And she wrote her book especially to those who want their answer to be ‘Yes!’ Stacy knows that many entrepreneurs just need strategies and the right tips and tools to go in the right direction. But she also wisely understands that “sometimes we actually want to give up and we don’t want the answer to be yes; we really don’t have a passion for it. My biggest question I ask people is, ‘Did you ever have a passion for what you do in your business?’ Sometimes the business side takes over and we start doing things we don’t love to do. But if there ever was a point you loved an aspect of your business,” we can get back to that thing.

For example, let’s say Stacy didn’t love the business side of her studio - but loved dancing instead. If she felt like giving up, she could get back to teaching dance and hire people to run her studio. In your business, do what you love and outsource those other parts.

(For me, I’ve found that outsourcing the Brilliant Business Moms tasks I don’t like to do makes a huge difference! I’m so much more excited to get to work every day when I’ve got someone else behind the scenes helping me. And guess what? Those other people love doing those tasks!)

Stacy says she knows a lot of you listening might be quick to say you don’t have the money to outsource. To that concern, Stacy responds, “I want to tell you this: it is a temporary situation. Understand that this is not permanent. You might have to do everything right now, but it’s temporary. Keep telling yourself that. Keep making a list of things you’d love to outsource when the time comes...Right now you may have to work your butt off as a solopreneur to get there. But you will get there if you keep pushing.”

Pushing Past A Low Point

We appreciated what Stacy had to say: “When you’re looking at someone who has a level of success you want to achieve, they have absolutely had a ton of failures...People want to know what does that low point look like? How did you get through that? And I have so many examples I could share with you. When you’re an Entrepreneur you take risks. And sometimes when you take risks they aren’t all going to work out.”

Stacy’s personality is to move very quickly. She gets things done in rapid and record time. People will give her a two-week project, and she can get it done in a day.  But things can break down when you move fast. There are pros and cons to every mode of working.

In Stacy’s case, her biggest mistake was not realizing that she was in her comfort zone. And it may not seem like being a mistake, she says, but if someone told you your business could hit $1M in year 10, but you didn’t hit it until year 15 - you may not think you’ve made a mistake, but you might have prevented yourself from growing.

Stacy had been going to the same conferences, and meeting the same friends. She wasn’t stretching herself.  And when you’re comfortable, you’re not growing. But amazing things happen when you get to a whole new league!

In fact, the only reason she started an online business is because she stretched herself. She attended a live event that was insanely expensive. In fact, so expensive that she had a hard time paying for it! But, making that investment allowed Stacy to get into a room full of people that she normally wouldn’t have come across. It was people she needed to meet, and a network she needed to break into, in order to move forward in her business.

Stacy says she should have made that step a long time ago, so it was a mistake for her. In the business world, no matter your focus or the niche you’re in, the minute you stop growing and learning and changing - you could get left behind.

She’s Building Her Empire Podcast

As we mentioned at the beginning, Stacy is also a podcast host for She’s Building Her Empire. We often get questions asking if the blog or podcast should come first; which will help your business grow more? We wanted to know Stacy’s experience. Did the podcast grow her audience? Or was her podcast more a tool to help her serve her existing audience better?

Stacy is quick to point out that while podcasting, blogging, and Facebook Live can be great ways to spread the word about your business - they are often slow to start. “We think we’re going to have this platform and blow up with a thousand listeners every single week, but that typically doesn’t happen,” Stacy said, and we know it’s true!

More than 50% of podcasts on iTunes have less than 176 listeners per episode, which is crazy low when you think about it. It’s low, but think about yourself being in a room of 176 people every week and giving them your message - that would be great! It's a different vibe when you think of it that way

The Podcast is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to grow.

Facebook Live Podcast Recording

Stacy is a big fan of repurposing; she likes to do everything, but doesn’t always have time! She has a really unique way of recording podcast episodes and creating social media content. Stacy will actually record her podcasts while on Facebook Live! After the session is done, she’s got great social media content and material for her podcast.

Another great example of how Stacy repurposes content is by recording content via Zoom (which is a video recording platform), then uploading the video to YouTube and stripping the audio for a new podcast. Stacy thinks it’s great she can be in many places online, without having to actually BE in each place.

Your audience isn’t all in one place. There’s some on Pinterest, others on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Stacy can take her podcast, put a shareable social media graphic on it, and put her content everywhere. She gets a lot of mileage from one-time work.

(We think this is such a great idea!!)

Mixing platforms like this can be tricky because “your podcast listeners might not enjoy you constantly communicating in real time with people on Facebook Live.” Stacy works around this quirk by leaving a comment at the top of the video that mentions she’s recording an episode and There will be a Q&A at the end, so stick around. Her audience knows that if they commit for the whole session, they’ll get their questions answered at the end.

But when Stacy does mention that she’s recording on Facebook Live in content headed for the podcast, it’s great because maybe the podcast listener was unaware she puts out content on Facebook and will go to visit her there.

We just had to ask HOW does Stacy do it? Does she mount her phone with the Facebook Live rolling?

She says that she sets up the camera to give a ‘behind the scenes’ feel. Viewers can see her mic and background. And, in her experience, everyone thinks it’s so cool to have the inside look. They appreciate this view way more than just a talking head on her phone.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed with social media, think about where could you double up your efforts. Can you repurpose any of this stuff? Is there a sentence from the show notes that can go into a social media graphic that links to YouTube?

(Wow, I learned so much! I want to do some streamlining in my own business after talking to Stacy!)

Stacy’s Adorable Mom Moment

Stacy tries not to work in front of her kids. She sends them to daycare, and when they’re home she’s totally in Mom Mode. But during a busy time, like a launch season, you have to figure it out. During one of these busy times, Stacy was working at home while her husband played with her daughter, who was 4.

She casually asked her daughter, “Is it okay if mom works, or do you want me to play with you?” And her little girl said, “It’s okay, Mom! You keep working. I’ll keep playing over here.”

Stacy was so touched by her daughter’s insight, until a few days  later when she told Grandma, “Mommy works on her computer and doesn’t play with me.”

Kids! They are watching and listening...and sharing too!

Stacy's LIVE Event

I love how Stacy got to an amazing place in her business by taking it one step at a time, just like all of us do.

Stacy has a live event coming up in April I wanted to let you know about: She's Building Her Empire. A 2-Day conference happening in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You'll get to hear a lot more from Stacy, as well as other amazing speakers including 'Boss Mom' Dana Malstaff. On the event website you'll see a detailed breakdown of the 2-Day agenda, plus get all your questions answered. Visit the event page to learn more.

brilliantbusinessmoms.com/buildingherempire

Keep In Touch With Stacy

ShesBuildingHerEmpire.com

ShesBuildingHerEmpire.club

Now it’s your turn to head out there and Be Brilliant!

Direct download: BBM_Stacy_Tuschl.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Today on the podcast I am super excited for a new format that I hope to do regularly, and that is bringing on the entire Brilliant Business Moms Team: Carlee, Victoria and Ellen! Today we’ll be chatting about the FB Brilliance course launch, and not about the numbers like we did last week on my solo episode, but more about what we loved about the launch, what we want to improve, and how we can give our customers a great experience. Listen Now Our Favorite Part Carlee: We all agreed that our absolute favorite part of the launch was this 5-Day series we did on Facebook Live. People could listen to all 5 days, then we gave a task or homework for each day, which they answered in the comments. We complied the answers from everyone who participated in all 5 days, and those women were eligible to win 1 of 3 full scholarships. Victoria: It was fun on our end to compile those answers and get to know more people in our community. I enjoyed watching these highly motivated ladies do the work, seeing what they’re thinking about their business, and watching them do the leg-work to be successful. We only had a limited number of scholarships, but as we read them all we wanted to really honor each one, because we saw that they were acting on what we were teaching! Ellen: I loved this series! There was so much interaction on the videos, and they did so much work! When people couldn’t afford the course, but they got in on a scholarship, they were really motivated to work, which was fantastic to watch. Victoria: It would be great to circle back and see how they are all doing now! Beth Anne: We had the 3 winners, and then about 14 more, out of 40 submissions, who took us up on the 50% off scholarship. It would be fun to see where they’re at now. The FB Live series built a lot of buzz about Facebook Ads. As they took action, they could see how FB Ads would work for their business. You guys know I was really nervous about selling a course for such a high price point ($497!), but the scholarship program mitigated that, as we gave some really smart, motivated women a chance to get in free and rewarded the rest with half off. Carlee: All the hard work they did for homework on the FB Live series--like narrowing down their customer avatar--changed people’s businesses. They were so excited about the homework! Beth Anne: Yes! That goes back to the core of Brilliant Business Moms: You can learn great things and grow your business whether you ever spend money with us or not. You can still get valuable information that you can take action on. Victoria: I also loved watching Beth Anne and Ellen develop the quirky, fun, engaging Facebook Ads you guys came up with. They were so creative, and it was so fun to see Facebook Ads for a course on Facebook Ads! Beth Anne: Yes, and I am so excited for next year, especially as we’ll have some in-person time for the next launch, as I can analyze those ads and come up with more that are fun, engaging, and on brand. I don’t want them to feel like an ad; instead I want them to walk away chuckling. The Stressful Aspects Beth Anne: Ellen said in an email, “Let’s not close the cart on a night we are all traveling and getting settled for a conference!” The cart closed on November 2nd, and we were all travelling. Beth Anne had 2 flights to get to Nashville, Ellen flew in earlier that day, and Carlee flew in and was staying with a friend that night. The cart closed at Midnight Pacific, which was 2 or 3 AM in Nashville, so Carlee stayed up all night answering emails. We realized too late we should have set the cart to close a day or 2 earlier, so we will definitely be planning MUCH better this year for the cart close dates. It put a lot of pressure on Carlee and Ellen because cart closing is when people are asking a ton questions about the course, and if it will work for them, etc. Ellen also mentioned another thing that DID NOT work for us: All the Crazy folders we tried for organizing the course in Google Drive. We were modeling our organization in Google Drive off Amy Porterfield’s system I learned in a course. We thought her amazing folder organization system would be awesome for this launch, but we definitely decided that it wasn’t for us. We are more of an “Organized Chaos” team! If we have to click through 3 different layers or levels and keep digging down, we are just annoyed! Carlee: Yes! And that was the issue! It was SO organized, we had to click down through layer after layer, and we found out we were only using the bottom layers that are actually holding our course content--the nitty-gritty, like “Raw Video,” or “Transcript Drafts.” Ellen: I really like how we changed things for our Webinar course. The folders are organized, and the files are labeled right, so it’s fine to have 15 files in a folder because they are all labeled right. I’d rather have 15 files than click through 15 layers. Beth Anne: I do want to share how we are organizing course content these days. We have a Google Drive folder, so right now it’s “Webinar Course.” And then we have folders in there to hold each type of content. “Raw Videos” where I put my raw footage for Ellen to edit. Then “Promo Images and Graphics,” “Bonus Documents,” “Webinar Guide” which is our email freebie, “Final Videos,” and “Transcripts and Worksheets.” I’m with you guys--if you go into the Transcripts and Worksheets folder, there are 20 files, but they are so well labeled, it’s super easy to see what’s what. Victoria: Beth Anne mentioned transcripts, and I wanted to share about that for a minute, as something we’ll do better next time. We love to provide the written content to go with the videos we provide, like show notes or transcripts. That was a task assigned to me, and I pulled in Carlee (because you know, it’s better to have a friend come along to help). We found the work was tedious and was getting pushed to the back burner, but we held on to it for too long. We did eventually say, “Hey, this isn’t working well,” and we outsourced it, but we held on too long. I learned that I needed to say: “Hey team, I can’t do this!” and then it was much better for everyone. We need to be quick to admit when something isn’t working and make the change that makes it healthier for everyone. Beth Anne: When you guys came to me and said you have someone who does transcripts and she’s fast, can we hire her, I felt so bad! I don’t want my team to be stressed out when there is a solution for the issue! But I totally understand the temptation to think, “No, I’ve got this! I can do everything. I’m super team member!” I loved that you guys came to me and said this isn’t working. Now we have someone who does those transcripts and it’s great! Carlee: I think in the end it was a good team building thing. I was still new, Victoria was still pretty new, and we didn’t know each other. I had only gone through the Planner Kickstarter and then the FB Brilliance launch--it was trial by fire! As hard as that was and as much panic as it caused for a moment, it revolutionized our communication. We learned Beth Anne’s style and how she loves to lead our team, and we learned how valuable our opinions and voices are on the team, and now I don’t have any problem saying, “That is so not my strength, and someone else needs to do that!” Beth Anne: As the ‘Team Leader’ I want you all to have a great working experience! I want you to love your jobs, and I want to keep you on my team! Hopefully, now you all know you can come tell me when something isn’t your strength and we can make it work for everyone. Carlee: And for a launch as big as this one (the biggest one any of us had ever done!) we learned the communication we need, and it translates over. For instance, the podcast is a big job with a ton of moving parts, and we each have to do our job. It’s so easy to communicate now! If someone doesn’t do their job, or something’s not right, it’s easy to talk about it and we have each other’s back and we look out for each other. Victoria: This thought just crystallized: when we admit our weakness, it actually makes us stronger. Admitting you’re struggling with something makes the team stronger. It’s my tendency to want everyone to think I’m capable, and I think I’m going to let the team down if I don’t keep this task, even if it’s not something I’m good at. But actually, it’s letting the team down to hold on it and not ask for help. The intensity of the launch, that pressure cooker situation, helped us run through all these things quickly because there wasn’t time to let things linger. Holding on to a weakness of yours doesn’t make things stronger. Ellen: I felt that way last summer regarding customer service. I told Beth Anne, “No, no, I want to help you, Beth Anne. I can do customer emails, I’m fine.” And Beth Anne realized I wasn’t fine. We brought Carlee on to run customer service, and having her here for customer service during the launch made all the difference. We’re learning our strengths and playing to those in the business. Beth Anne: I agree. I noticed a huge difference when we brought Carlee on. I do love being in the inbox, and answering emails, but I realized that was keeping me from doing the core work of the businesses. So I brought Ellen in the inbox, but then I realized a few weeks later that she wasn’t having time for her work that falls within her core strength, like creating landing pages, learning new tools, and ninja tech work behind the scenes. Carlee: And during the FB Brilliance launch, that inbox was insane! I don’t know how to accurately represent what the inbox looked like. Easily 150 unopened emails in a day, and when the bonuses ended, which was our biggest day, we had a couple hundred emails in one day easily. It’s a huge task. I never would have known that when you launch a product or project you get that many personal emails to answer. Beth Anne: Yes, and when it’s a big purchase like FB Brilliance, they want to know it’s a good purchase for them. People want to make sure they are making a good decision, so they need a little more personal help and guidance. I am already thinking that with our really big goals for September 2017 if we’ll need an extra person in the inbox for the next launch. Carlee: Yes! And because I was so new last year, I didn’t take advantage of Google’s canned responses for the answers that don’t need to be personal (like, “How will I get my bonuses?"). Beth Anne: We did start to do some structured responses when you’d notice the same question coming in over and over, and you’d ask me if you could turn it into a structured reply. Carlee: We did learn! There are definitely things we could do better in the inbox, with the potential of a couple hundred emails in the inbox every day. Beth Anne: Speaking of stressful things, that I do to myself, and we WON’T be doing next year.... FB Brilliance was already a course we had, but I wanted to rework it and make it bigger and better. This always ends up happening to me, I just think I’ll change a few things and it won’t be a big deal, but I ended up doubling the course. Ellen: We had to redo a lot of videos, too, because Facebook had changed so much of what it was before. Beth Anne: One thing that bums me out about social media courses is that it all looks different. It’s like, “Ugh! Did you really have to totally change the way Power Editor looks?” Understandably, new students will freak out if their screen doesn’t look exactly like it did on the video. They want to make sure they’re in the right place. A ton of videos and new content had to be revamped. So, of course I was creating all of that...during and after the launch, while also having 200 new students who needed a lot of help and support. We opened the doors October 14th and closed them November 2nd. So that was a stressful three weeks of marketing and course creating. November and December were stressful because I was still creating videos and passing them to Ellen for editing. Plus we had transcripts and worksheets to create, weekly office hours to hold - AND the Brilliant Life Planner to launch! I do think a couple months of weekly office hours is something I want to do for my new students. But thankfully this time around we won’t be creating hours and hours of content. Carlee: As much as it was stressful - we felt bad for YOU, Beth Anne. It was a lot of work for you. On the other side, we set it up as a drip course - meaning that we only released a module or two a week. I felt like that was so good! Even with a drip course, sometimes students skip harder modules, especially the techy modules. If they had moved on too soon, it would have been bad. As hard and stressful as it was, having it structured as a drip course ended up being positive. Releasing a Course In Production Victoria: I have to admit this is one part of the course that made me nervous! Would people be mad they purchased a product-in-progress? What would people think? It worked out really well because people got the course in a paced way. And it gave me the confidence that if you’re the course creator, you can tell people how your course is going to go. We were always upfront, and students knew the modules would be released slowly. It’s really freeing! It’s your course, and you can call the shots. Turns out, you really can sell something that isn't complete! It was unconventional but proved you can run your business exactly how it works for you. In retrospect, there wasn’t any other way we could have done the course launch. We’re all busy moms, and you couldn’t, like, go off to a cabin in the woods for month and record. Ellen: That paced release really kept the excitement in the private Facebook group up! People were asking for the course modules, or bonuses or whatever, and they were invested, and that kept the momentum going. Carlee: There was a core group completing the lessons as we released them, so that group was at the same place, so they helped each other. And those participating in office hours were often in the same spot, with the same questions. That was a positive aspect of the paced release. Beth Anne: I’m still debating how to release the course next year. For the few over-achievers who want to jump in all at once, it’s nice. But part of me does get concerned because if you jump around too much and don’t get the foundation, it won’t work. If you want to do a video ad campaign, but skip how to write good ad copy, it won’t work for you. We’ll have to mull this over - how to give the students the best experience and grasp the most they possibly can. Carlee: It’s not conventional, but it is the new thought in marketing. Rather than creating a product and trying to find people who will buy it, marketing like crazy, instead, you create the product, put some out, then test and tweak. We got feedback on the first modules and changed things on the following modules. Transcripts, Worksheets, and Learning Styles Carlee: We found out that people loved worksheets. So we made sure people had something tangible for every module, if not every lesson, because of that positive feedback. It’s a service to our customers to be creating at the time they’re in the course. It’s like instant feedback. Beth Anne: In the future, we may even do something like road maps; like ‘here are the lessons you must watch if you’re an Etsy shop owner.’ We’ll have more roadmaps for each niche, and things like worksheets and checklists. We want the content to be presented in as many ways as possible to ensure the best support for our students. Carlee: FB Brilliance hits everyone at their learning style. We got an email from a student who loved our transcripts because those acted as notes. And it was great for the student because they didn’t have to write anything down. Some people will just use the videos, and some will use just the transcripts...so the more we can hit different learning styles the better. Beth Anne: And Ellen can you talk about your idea for a guide? Ellen: In the group, especially as the modules started coming out, we would have students watch the videos but have time in between viewings that they could forget necessary pieces of content. I think it would be great to have a condensed guide directing people to the right spot. (ex. ‘Hey if you wonder X, go to Y module.’) Since the course is 13 modules with so many videos, reference documents would be really helpful. You could quickly pop back to the video and know exactly how to do a lead ad, or why you should use unpublished page posts. Beth Anne: There’s just SO much to Facebook ads it cracks me up when people say to make your course an easy path from A to Z. The problem is we DO want to get people to proficiency quickly if you can, but there are 20 different ways to go from A to Z with Facebook ads. I feel like I’m doing a disservice to my students if I don’t cover all of those ways. The other thing with Facebook ads is you do not know what will work until you try. A strategy that worked for me in my business may not work for others. You just have to try it out. I feel I have to present these different options to students, which means there is so much content in the course. Victoria: Our saying around here is, “There’s a module (or lesson) for that!” Beth Anne: You all had a great knowledge of what’s in each lesson between creating the slides, watching the videos and working on transcripts. That became really helpful in terms of answering questions about the course. It was nice that we didn’t have to write out 5 paragraph answers, we could just point people to the lessons. You guys are like my course concierge! How the Team Handles Questions Carlee: Since FB Brilliance launched, Ellen and I have done a lot since FB Brilliance with Facebook ads ourselves. It’s nice to be able to have that intimate knowledge of the course so we can answer more questions. Ellen: Even just dabbling a bit myself, and helping you Beth Anne, it’s so much easier to answer questions. I haven’t just watched and edited the videos, I’ve done the work and know the ins and outs. Knowing the tips and tricks first-hand makes it so much easier to answer questions - plus we don’t have to ask you all the time, Beth Anne! Beth Anne: You guys bringing personal experience to the table is so helpful. On maternity leave, we’re working on ads funnels to be running all the time to bring in more product sales. I’m going to hand off that to Ellen, and we will work on learning how to scale up or turn off. I’m excited for you to dig into Facebook ads, Ellen! Ellen: I’m excited, too! Carlee made another great point: not only have we gained experience but we have an amazing group of women answering questions really well who have experimented with their own ads. When someone comes along who isn’t that experienced, those ladies can provide answers. Beth Anne: It’s fun to watch people move through the course and be successful. The way we frame the group during this launch will be different and this goes back to acknowledging what isn’t a strength. Anything that I feel like I have to do every day immediately becomes a dread for me - and I put it off. When we launched this past year, I ensured people knew they’d get the weekly office hours, but I over promised my involvement in the Facebook group. I am going to be 100% honest right now (Maybe a little TOO honest!). I don’t love Facebook groups! They can be helpful, but I do not love that constant back-and-forth that’s required. I’d much rather do an office hours call. I’m an all or nothing person: I’d rather take 2 hours on a Friday and answer all the questions at once. But that’s my strength! I know I give the best possible level of support through office hours, not by being in the group every day. I’m getting to the point of knowing when to say, “I’m not going to do this - but my team will.” Carlee: And for the record, the team loves being in the Facebook groups. Beth Anne: I do feel guilt around my random presence in the Facebook group, but I have to do what will work for me. Weekly office hours works for me. Carlee: Here’s the thing - if anyone hasn’t been to office hours, you’re missing out! They are amazing. You get to pick Beth Anne’s brain and get live feedback on your ad or images or copy. Her office hours are more valuable than a group, but it's not instant feedback. You have to wait until Friday. Victoria: And your time is valuable! Like we mentioned last week, you spent a lot of time learning the information that you know - and because of that, we sell a premium course. It goes hand and hand. You’re not setting yourself up to be a Wizard of Oz behind the curtain, but your time is valuable and the hours you put into your business are limited so that means they’re of high value. Our course is charged fairly, and it’s super fair that you hold office hours. I think it’s cool how our Facebook groups naturally develop, but don’t feel guilty at all about not participating every day! It preserves the value of the course that our business is trying to sell. Carlee: Our team is in the groups regularly answering questions. It’s a benefit that you give your students access to your team, even if there’s not access to you all the time. Victoria: Yeah, and there’s boots on the ground. We’re good about getting people to you quickly if we don’t have the answer. Beth Anne: And I’m so thankful! We CAN give people a great experience because it’s not riding on me! I think about this all time: How cruddy would my business be if it was just me? It would be a mess. I’m glad you guys are in there and giving support. I can focus on my strengths, which in this case is showing up Friday mornings and giving live feedback. And my team does a great job handling the day to day. Limited Time Bonuses vs. Discounts Carlee: So what I learned with this being my first launch, and I learned it about Beth Anne and from Beth Anne, is what it looks like to give incredible value in bonuses. (Our bonuses were Brilliant Pin Promotion, the printable Brilliant Business Planner, Case Studies, and Craft Your Brilliant Webinar Course) When you give a discount, it sets the standard that your products can always be discounted. A bonus sets it up to reinforce that you buy something, but you also receive all these extra goodies. For someone who is selling a course or a product, think through what bonus you can offer - and keep in mind a digital bonus won’t cost you anything. Bonuses keep the value and integrity of your product that much higher, and you give your customers or students so much more value. Beth Anne: And we saw first hand that the day we closed the door on the bonuses was our biggest day of sales. People did not want to miss out on those bonuses! Carlee: And we got emails at 1 or 2 AM where people were panicked that they missed the bonuses. Victoria: Were we really strict on those? Did the 2 AM people get the bonuses? Carlee: No, we were pretty strict. Victoria: Because Carlee’s the general! Beth Anne: I am so thankful that customer care is Carlee’s job. I just want to give everything to everyone, but it’s an integrity issue! I gave my word that the bonuses ended at midnight. Acting with Integrity Carlee: It really is an integrity issue. Another example is that we were headed to the Business Boutique right after the cart closed. Everyone was telling us, and it sounded good at the time, that we should sell FB Brilliance at the Boutique. We honestly could have made a lot of sales! But Beth Anne said she had to stick to her word, and we all agreed. It’s the same with the bonuses--when you say there’s an end time, while you can give a little grace, to overextend grace cheapens our word. Beth Anne: It also felt like it would be an insult to my core audience to sell it at the Business Boutique. They knew for 3 weeks there was an end date to the launch. To give away something special to this new audience, when really my core audience should get my best, felt wrong. So we didn’t sell it there. The bonus situation came up again with the Brilliant Life Planner. Everyone who purchased got the digital business planner, Time Management Mama, and access to Planner School. We did have people reach out and say they loved the planner, but it was pricey, so did we have a discount code? We just said ‘No’ to all those requests. The price is what it is (there was a $5 off coupon for affiliates, but that’s it) because we had the confidence to say: Over 1,000 women paid full price, so we don’t need to discount our product. I am so glad we stuck to our guns and didn’t just give discounts. We sold out! A Launch Without a Team -- Yes You Can! Beth Anne: If you’re getting ready to launch a product, and you don’t have a team, or even one person helping, don’t be discouraged! When I launched Brilliant Pin Promotion, the course was ready to go, out the door. If you don’t have a team, make sure you do all the course content before you ever start into marketing and launching. Also, create a detailed outline, then create the slides for your course, and record your screencast video with those slides. You might need a little editing, but it will be pretty polished! Looking back, I would choose not to have a private Facebook Group if I didn’t have a team. I am not able to give tons and tons of support in a Facebook group! You can launch a fabulous course, with great content, and no private Facebook group. I would think long and hard about whether or not to add that group if it’s just you. Ellen: And same with Transcripts and Worksheets. I really wanted to create a guide for Brilliant Pin Promotion, but I didn’t have the hours to do that on our budget. If you’re doing your first course, you can cut those out and save time. Carlee: One option is to hire someone who is really fast and really high quality at a job that you aren’t good at. You can hire someone off Fiverr or Upwork to do that one job. Victoria: Or, find a partner! If you have no extra funds, find someone to barter or share jobs with. Brand new people might work for free or low cost in exchange for a testimonial, or they might agree to be paid after your launch. Be upfront and honest in your business transaction, but I’d love to see women helping other women in business. We need to get rid of the scarcity mindset, and instead have a mindset to help each other! Beth Anne: I totally agree! There are always ways to barter and trade services. Get creative! I don’t want anyone to feel like because they don’t have everything in place they can’t do this--that’s the last thing I want you to walk away with! You can go for it! You will improve your product, customer service, content, and marketing over time. The FB Brilliance launch was huge--we’ve never done anything that big before--and it was an improvement on things we’ve done in the past, but we are sitting here thinking of how we’ll improve the next one! Welcome the room for improvement! What We'll Do Differently Next Time Ellen: One thing I am excited about is our plans to be together and do much of our launch work in person next time. We work well together as a team remotely, but when we are together it’s so much easier to bounce ideas and get instant feedback. Sitting next to each other is so much better than messaging or email. I think that is going to make such a strong launch to have that week together to get those details worked out and get FB Brilliance ready to go! Beth Anne: Yes! I love it when we all get to be together in person. You are all so smart and creative and I love sitting down with you and hearing your thoughts and ideas. And, we are giving ourselves so much more time to make this launch! Last year we did the planner Kickstarter from the end of Aug to end of Sept. Two weeks later--Tada! Here’s the Facebook course. This year we’ll meet at the end of July, then all of August is to create fabulous Facebook content, and we open the doors in September. We will have space to let this grow and build. And as a marketer, that gives me so much time to plan out different ways to market the course - and to do more fun marketing. Victoria: I am amazed how big this launch was. We really turned this one on a dime! What will it be like when we have more time!? Beth Anne: One thing I’ve found is the most effective way to bring in sales is webinars. For the past launch, we did 4 webinars. But if I don’t have time to scale my FB campaigns, we don’t get webinar sign ups. We had about 10,000 webinar sign ups, but this time I’ll get to dig into my Facebook ads campaigns without having to do all these other things. That wraps this episode up! I hope you all learned a lot and got a peek behind the scenes at what works well and what we hope to change. I hope it’s getting you thinking about your own products you are creating or getting ready to launch. Comment below or email us at brilliant business moms (at) gmail (dot) com if we can answer any other questions! And now, it’s time to announce our Podcast Relaunch Giveaway Winners! There were 4 great prizes, and to enter people just had to leave a rating and review on our podcast. Winner #1 will get to pick from our 3 fabulous prizes, and then Winner #2 will pick next, and so on. If you are a winner, email us at brilliant business moms (at) gmail (dot) com Winner #1: Emily Counts Winner #2: bycbabie Winner #3: Emily Bends Winner #4: Linzi900 We look forward to hearing from you! Now it’s your turn to head out there and Be Brilliant!

Direct download: BBM_Group_Ep.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Today we’re going behind the scenes of a $100,000 course launch. We’re going to dive deep and geek out over numbers. I’m really excited to break it all down for you!

I know that when I heard other business owners talk about a $100K launch - or even a $1M launch - it’s really easy to feel like 1) that’s a completely unattainable and unrealistic goal that would never happen to me (Which is how I used to feel!) and 2) that a $100K launch would bring me into a fantasy dreamworld. I thought if this ever DID happen to me, I’d be rolling in cash and everything in life would be perfect. And that’s not the case, either.

I want to give you a realistic look inside a $100K course launch. I want you to see exactly what I and my team did to earn over $100K in course sales during our launch month. You’ll get a firm grasp on the numbers as we dive into questions like:

  • How much cash-on-hand did a $100K course launch mean for the business?
  • What were our refund rates?
  • How much did I spend on advertising to get these students?

You’re going to get all the nitty gritty details so you feel like a $100K launch actually IS doable for you and your business, and that you understand as amazing as a massive launch is, it doesn’t solve every problem and mean life is perfect.

Listen Now

Time for a quick disclaimer: this episode will be full of numbers, stats, and data. The next episode we release, my team will be coming on the episode with me: Victoria, Carlee, and Ellen. We’re going to chat about what went well and what we’d love to change. That episode will be really fun! And if you’re not a numbers or data person, you’ll really love our team episode. But if you are a numbers person, this episode is totally for you. (I’ve got a piece of paper with so many numbers it's making my head hurt!)

The Big Picture

So the course launch we’re talking about is my Facebook ads course: FB Brilliance. I’m obsessed with Facebook and Instagram ads, they go hand in hand for me. I had a version of this course I released in the summer of 2016, but I wanted to add more content and make it a better experience. In October 2016 I decided to give FB Brilliance a facelift. We revamped the course content and did coaching calls with students for three months.

Facebook ads is a beast. I’ve seen other courses where they can break down and simplify a topic. That’s super great if it works, but there is so much to Facebook ads it’s not really something you can just ‘break down’ and ‘make easy peasy’. I wanted a course that covered it all, and took my students from brand new to Facebook ads ninja.

We added a bunch of new content, and raised the price of the course. FB Brilliance is by far my most expensive product, we chared $497 for it when we opened the doors in October 2016. Previously I had charged $200-$350 for this course, depending on whether or not the customer was using a coupon code.

I knew my students would need extra help to really get the hang of Facebook advertising, and set a price that would value my time and expertise.

Another decision we made during our course relaunch was that we didn’t want to leave the course open all the time. We learned that anytime we had a new Facebook ads student, they needed lots of help up front. New students needed lots of support, feedback, and hand holding. I realized that I didn’t want to have new students entering my classroom at all different times throughout the year because I couldn’t give them the attention and help they deserved and they wouldn’t get the best experience.

I made an intentional choice to open the doors on Oct 14th of 2016 and close them November 2nd. After Nov 2nd, no one could purchase FB Brilliance. Everyone started class together, and that way I could focus on digging deep with my new students and serving them well. I didn’t have to worry about onboarding new students every week. It was also fun to have people journeying together and getting feedback at the same time.

Before FB Brilliance I never did an open/close launch model. All of my products were available all of the time. I made a majority of sales for my Pinterest course through webinars. During the webinar I might have offered a coupon or limited time bonus; I love doing that to get people to take action. But I had never completely closed the doors before and told customers, “Nope, that’s it. You can’t buy it.”

It was a little scary at first! What if the launch didn’t go well? I was taking a product off the market and wouldn’t have it in my back pocket to grow the business. Looking back, I’m really glad I did the open and close model. It did allow me to have a big launch period, but then focus my time after the doors closed on my students.

If you are an instructor of a course with a lot to it and a lot of content, I highly recommend an open/close enrollment model. My team and I would all say it’s been great to have marketing be one batch of time and nurturing students a separate batch of time.

Okay, so let’s talk about the numbers. What does a 100K course launch look like? Let’s dig in.

The Numbers

Total Sales from Cart Open (October 14th) to Cart Close (November 2nd): $106,066 - no cents! (It would come down to nickels and dimes after payment processing.)

Total Brilliant Business Mom Sales: $97,646.50 (After paying our 1 affiliate, a good friend who hosted me for a webinar.)

Even after coupons and rewards, we sold over $100K of products. That amount felt awesome to me! Before this point my best business month had been $50K in sales. And to reach that milestone took a lot of hustling and Facebook ads and webinars. Bringing in $100K blew my mind, and it still does. My business has grown so quickly, and I’m always looking back in amazement of what my team and I have accomplished.

For me, this would not have been a $100K course launch without 3 awesome ladies working right alongside me. Without Carlee, Ellen, and Victoria doing customer service, creating ad images, and writing copy, I couldn’t have done it.

So let’s break down the sales.

We had 206 total sales. 206 new students who purchased FB Brilliance. I had options to pay all at once for the course ($497) and 99 of my students chose that option. There was also a payment plan (6 payments of $97, and those students ended up paying $582 total in the end) and 107 students wanted to do that. (I was surprised at all the people who wanted to plunk down the $497 all at once.)

If you calculate the math on those sales quickly, you’re going to say, “Okay, Beth Anne, you should have made more than that!!!”

Note that 32 of my students came through an affiliate, and I was only making 50% of those sales.

And I did other promotions. I offered my Brilliant Pin Promotion students $97 off the total price to thank them for being students. They could either paid in full at the $400 price point, or take $17 off those monthly payments. 12 total Pinterest students took me up on my offer; 6 paid in full, 6 paied via the payment plan.

I also did a promotion with the Genius Bloggers Toolkit (run by the fabulous people at Ultimate Bundles). I offered a mini course called FB Ads for Beginners inside the Toolkit. Since these customers already paid a lot to get access to the bundle, and already had a $97 course of mine inside the Bundle, I offered them a coupon for $97 off FB Brilliance and 4 students took me up that.

The last discount promotion I ran was a scholarship. I knew that $497 is a lot of moolah for my target customer, a SAHM/WAHM on a budget. She doesn’t have $1,000 around to spend on her business. I wanted to give a few hardworking and motivated ladies a scholarship opportunity. I did a five day series on Facebook Live that was comprised of a daily lesson and homework assignment. We invited participants to submit their ‘assignments’ in the comments of our Facebook live video. My team compiled the submissions throughout the week, and anyone who submitted all 5 answers by the deadline were eligible to be considered for the scholarship. We had 3 full-ride spots we could give.

Looking back I am SO glad we offered this scholarship! One student in particular is really rocking and rolling with her business. She works so hard, and is constantly trying to improve. In fact, she’s about to host a webinar which is super exciting! I’m so happy I was able to give these three ladies a scholarship, they proved me right - that they’re all motivated and hardworking ladies.

For everyone who didn’t win our scholarship, but did do the work, I offered a 50% off coupon. Maybe that’s crazy. We only emailed this offer to people who had submitted all 5 assignments, and I felt great about doing it. (And I did let the cat out of the bag, but I’m okay with that.) I really wanted to reward the hardwork of everyone who submitted scholarships. We had about 30-40 submissions who completed every assignment, and of those 14 took me up on my offer; 6 paid in full and 8 went on the payment plan.

I’m really excited to try out the scholarship program again. I know I just spilled a big secret, but I’m deciding not to be too worried. The Brilliant Business Moms community is so sweet and full of integrity, you’re smart and hardworking so I have every hope that a second scholarship will be just as well-met with hard work.

The cash that came in the door from people who paid in full was a total of: $41,717.50

And the cash in door from payment plans was: $55,929 (divided over 6 months; $9,321.50 each month for that period of time).

The first payment began that first month of sales. I had about about $50K of cash in the bank by November 2nd, and have been getting another 9K a month in the door through April 2nd.

Even after subtracting out my affiliate sales from the total sales, things are looking really good.

But of course, I had to spend money to make this money - especially, as you might guess, on Facebook ads.

Expenses

To generate over $100K in sales I spent $23,590.31 on Facebook ads. So after paying my affiliate and paying for my Facebook ads, the total profit to Brilliant Business moms was $74,056.19, and the rest of that amount came in the 5 months following the launch.

Ending the month with $50K in the bank, after paying for $23K worth of Facebook ads, and an additional $9K coming in each month felt great.

Thanks to my students on payment plans, I was able to take the rest of November and focus on finishing out final modules for course content, hosting weekly office hours, and answering questions. I was fully able to help my students succeed!

And of course it allowed me to prepare for planner season. Our Brilliant Life Planner sales season ramped up in December and January. It was really nice to only market one product at a time!

Refunds

We gave 8 total refunds for FB Brilliance. I gave people 60 days to return the course; if they did the work and weren't happy with their results, they could get a refund. But I was very clear to say, “You’re not getting a refund just because you changed your mind!” That’s wouldn’t be fair at all, right? And with a digital product, how would I know what the user’s end purpose was? It’s so hard to oversee.

We thought the 60 day window was a generous time frame and let people really dig into the course. Out of 206 students, only 8 were refunded. Our total refund rate was 3.88%, which is pretty good! I’ve been told to expect a 5-10% rate.

And of those who asked for a refund, it wasn’t because Facebook ads didn’t work. We had one student who realized their MLM was strictly against Facebook ads, for example. So we dug into the policy and, sure enough, that was the case. Another person was having lots of trouble getting the pixel installed; we didn’t have time to cater to all the different platforms this person was using and help them out - so a refund was easier to offer. Some refunds were due to hard life circumstances, like having to close their business and go back to a day job. To be honest, most of our refunds fell outside of our return policy, but we tried to be kind and understanding. It’s really a tricky thing to manage! I’ve seen some business owners be super strict with their policy. We want to have the highest integrity possible; it’s not fair to give someone a refund 6 months later just because they changed their mind.

But we’ll dig more into this at a later time!

Reality Hits, But It’s Still Awesome

I used to think that a $100K course launch meant that person went out and bought a Ferrari or something. That was not the case at all for me! It was more like me looking at the launch and saying, “Awesome! I’m happy to teach these students, and I can keep paying my team and expenses.” While it was great to have that big launch, the amount of cash I received at the end wasn’t necessarily this huge life-changing thing.

Hopefully you can see that through my story.

With that said, a $100K course launch truly was awesome!

I want to see more of you listening do big product launches! Shoot for the moon and hit those great big goals.

Now, I’m going to break down for you exactly what we did marketing wise to earn those 206 students.

Marketing

We primarily got these customers through selling on webinars.

I love webinars! I’ve been blown away by doing a well-crafted webinar to allow me to build relationships and knock the socks off my customers with the value. I enjoy selling in a way that feels authentic, and encourages people to get off their behinds and take action. If you want to learn more about how I sell through webinars, have a course Craft Your Brilliant Webinar. You can learn more about it by visiting: brilliantbusinessmoms.com/cybw

This course will help you hone your message and show how your product solves a problem. It will refine how you relate to your customers and provide value. Once you do all of that, your potential with Facebook ads is crazy.

This crazy business growth I’ve experienced has mostly been through webinars. This course launch I can attribute to doing webinars. I did 4 webinars, 3 were to my audience + new subscribers via Facebook ads, and 1 was an affiliate webinar.

The webinar dates were:

October 14th

October 20th

October 27th  (affiliate webinar)

October 28th (my last webinar)

The total number of webinar signups was: 7,513. That number was bigger initially, but since then a few people unsubscribed. It was more like 9,000 at the time of the launch.

The total number of signups were:

1st Webinar - 1,421

2nd Webinar - 1,719

3rd Webinar (affiliate) - 1,682

4th Webinar - 2,061

I was getting enough sales throughout the month that I knew my Facebook ads were paid for. Of course I wasn’t going to plunk down $20K in a week and cross my fingers that it would work! I scaled advertising as I saw the sales coming in. Even with me feeling confident on how to use Facebook ads, you never know exactly how a promo will go.

Ads I test still involve a few thousand dollars, but I’m not going to plunk down more than that until I saw profits.

I taught the same webinar each time I hosted it. I do want to change that up next year, but this year I was honestly revamping the course and in the middle of a launch, so there wasn’t time.

I sent out a post-webinar email sequence following each session. I would provide the students with awesome value, and after class I sent the replay and an ebook on 20 Brilliant Optin Offers they could use to build their lists. The main way I used Facebook ads was to build my list, and from there make sales. I gave ideas for freebies in this ebook, and guidance on how to use them.

Another post webinar email I sent was titled ‘What’s the Facebook pixel and why should I care’. This was basic information for customer needed to know, I made it really exciting but also told them it can be tricky. And I ended that email with ‘Don’t stress, I have training in my course’.

As I mentioned, each email sent a link to the replay along with a link for the next live webinar. And, of course, I linked to the full course to purchase.

The other thing I did for all my webinar customers was to offer limited time bonuses. It did get tricky to manage these bonuses with multiple webinars! I told everyone they would have four days to grab the bonuses, but would have the same people attend multiple webinars and get confused about the bonus limit time. What we ended up doing was telling everyone they could grab the bonuses through October 29th. And from that point it was a few more days until the cart closed.

I actually have a fun table that Carlee on my team made to show how effective the bonuses were. Looking at the sales day-by-day, for the last week the cart was open we had more course sales come in the Saturday when the bonuses closed than when the cart closed! (And this was after I told people the course wouldn’t be open again until September 2017!)

We had 40 new students enter the course on cart closing day, but on the fast action bonuses day we had 70 new people come into the course.

You can see by those numbers that momentum really builds with the course. When you launch a course, have faith that the majority of sales will come toward the end. Of course you want to see sales along the way, and it was great to know I could pay for those Facebook ads, but the last week of the promo was huge.

Facebook Ad Stats

My total spend on Facebook ads was $23,590.31.

Where did all of that money go?

The vast majority went on my webinar signups campaign. Essentially, I showed people an ad to my free class all about how to make a profit with Facebook ads, click here, signup, and attend my free class.

I spent $21,965.97 on that campaign. That campaign led to 7,168 email subscribers. And again, when I look back at what ConvertKit says now, I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a couple thousand subscribers from that promotion.

Some of my Facebook ad campaigns were to people on my list. I did run ad sets to my site visitors and email subscribers, since they’re people I can get to signup at an affordable rate and they’re likely to buy my product.

I have no problem spending money to get people into a free class because I want to make sure they get in the door and don’t miss it.

My average cost per email subscriber was $3.38. But broken down, I can see that when I targeted my ads to my email subscribers, it only costs about $1.29 to get those people to sign up. Ads targeted to my website visitors were at $1.69 per lead. The investment is totally worth it to me because those people bought the course.

With that average spend per lead, I will say that my general bench mark is $ per lead

I’ve heard from other Facebook advertisers that this benchmark is really low. But generally I’m able to get people for that $2 a lead.

In this case I was intentional with my ads in that knew I was offering the course at a higher price point. For some of my audience it was just outside their budget. So I did target not just by interest, but also household income level.

I didn’t want a bunch of people for my free class get excited, then cry at the end when they saw the course price!! That’s a bummer for everyone. I didn’t want to get people excited, but have them walk away.

And it doesn’t make sense to pay for $2 if no one can afford my product. Seeing the end result of about $3 per lead, but making sure it was inside their budget and they could afford my course was worth it.

While the vast majority of my $23K spend was acquiring signups, I also spent money on class reminders - just for my October 27th webinar.

To those people who signed up, I showed them an ad that read ‘Hooray! Class is today!’ The way in which I used this ad, I didn’t get a lot of clicks but I did get a high reach.

My ad reached 442 people, though only 8 people clicked, my reached was 25% of class signups for that day of class. And I only paid $2 a click. So about $15.64 total, but I was able to show up in 442 people's newsfeeds. (Of course I’m sending reminders to students via email, but the more places I can show up in front of someone the better!)

The other strategy I did to fill my classes was retargeting. So everyone who signed up to the class, I sent them an ad that said ‘Don’t miss out on the bonuses and growing your business with Facebook ads’.

The cool thing with retargeting campaigns is you can get great results with not a lot of money. I got back in front of about 7,000 - 9,000 people to remind them of my awesome product. I spent $130.30 on that retargeting campaign.

I did experience a HUGE bummer that I’ll never let happen again. Here’s the story. I work with an awesome guy at Facebook who helps me with my ads. I hopped on the phone with him and set up a custom purchase pixel for Teachable. We set it up, it was working, and we could see who purchased on Teachable vs. Shopify.  

It turns out we had to do one extra thing, and because of that oversight my sales weren’t showing up inside Power Editor! The sales were coming through, and I knew the ads were profitable, but the bummer was I couldn’t go back to those campaigns and say, “Awesome, this ad set purchased FB Brilliance this many times,” or, “This was an affordable campaign to get webinars, but not for sales.” I was bummed to not have that data!

This glitch had since been fixed, so I can now tell you which ads worked best and which audiences brought more money.

So I did a replay reminder campaign, and all the people who signed up for a class I said ‘Hey, you missed the class but grab a reply’. Sure I was emailing them, but I wanted that other touch point. I spent $971.87 on the replay campaign, and I had 605 link clicks and spent $1.61 per each click. It was a great use of ad spend because I know when people show up live, they’re more likely to buy.

It’s easy to put off watching a replay. And when people don’t watch the webinar, they don’t know what kind of teacher I am and the value I can offer. It was valuable to get as many people as I possibly could together live.

For cart closing I did a Facebook Live session, but the post didn’t turn into an ad until after the session. I spent $300 on that ad.

People who watched the video for 3 seconds - 4,104 ($0.07 per view)

People who watched the video for 10 seconds - 1,011

17 people watched 20% of the video, and only 1 person watched 100% of the video.

Man, looking back those stats aren’t great! It would have been better to get people on the replay page.

The other post I boosted was to announce my scholarship. I let people know about the 5 Day Video Series, and how it worked. (Our scholarship was a Facebook live session where I introduced the program and explained how it worked.)

I boosted that post for $200. I got 12,000 impressions, and 3,027 video views. Only 761 viewed the video for 10 seconds. Only 28 people viewed 25% of the video. And on down the line, only 9 people watched the full video.

Now these numbers don’t include organic reach. A better use of time an ad spend would have been boosting after the fact, and during give lots of incentive for people to join and engage live. (The more interaction in the moment, the more free reach.)

I’ve boosted posts more recently, and my goal was to get viewers to sign up with the free guide. The link for my guide was right in the description, and it’s so much easier to get a subscriber with a great freebie.

Facebook live is a beast. It’s great for free engagement, but not for paying.

Lesson learned, huh?

Recap

So to recap, I ran 4 webinars and promoted limited time bonuses - expiring a few days before cart close. The cart closing was also a motivator.

People who bought the course knew they would have weekly office hours to get live help with the content.

I sent lots of followup emails and was not being shy with those reminders!

Hopefully this episode wasn’t too tough to get through! My team and I will be on next week to dig deep on customer service, strategies we used, and the ways we’re excited to make next year’s launch even better

(For those wondering, the doors to FB Brilliance will open again in September of 2017.)

I’m excited to keep the transparency and continue to share what I’m learning in this stage of business. I love sharing the nitty gritty, and hopefully you love hearing it!

If you’re interested in learning how to use webinars to grow your business, we have a new course called Craft Your Brilliant Webinar that will get you on your way. You can learn more about it by visiting: brilliantbusinessmoms.com/cybw

Now it's your turn to head out there and Be Brilliant!

Direct download: Beth_Anne_Solo_4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

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