Make More Money In Business By Doubling Down On Your Strengths

Make More Money In Business By Doubling Down On Your Strengths

– You see, most people
will pursue the money so that they can do the
thing they want to do later. – Yeah. – But if they just pursued the thing that they wanted to do later,
they would attract customers, clients and fans that
support what they like to do. Most people do two different things. I do this for the money so
that I can do this other thing. But if you do the other thing,
the people who follow that already resonate with what you like to do and when they pay you, it’s really easy and natural for you to fulfill that. (soft music) So Marianna, tell me about your business and what you’re trying to do. – Full story? – Yeah, give me your whole background. – Okay, so it all started in 2015 when I started listening to Pat Flynn, which was actually in 2014 and I decided that I wanted
to start my own website, which evolved at that time. At first it was related to career services but I’ve always had a passion
since I was a late teenager to like learn Photoshop and figure out how to build a site online
and that sort of thing. So then I was slowly
moving to that direction. So then I started The Collective Mill and it provides resources
and community for women who are interested in starting and running a successful blog. And I worked on it for two years. At that time, it was primarily a blog, it had a free library of resources that had free stock
photos, checklists, guides, that sort of thing. – Cool. – So most of my articles would
have some sort of freebie to capture an email address. I do not remember how
big I grew my email list but it was small, under 500. – And you were blogging? And just creating content? – It was primarily content. So it was things like
how to get your blog up and running, how to really
narrow down the topic that you wanna focus on,
design tips, SEO tips, all my background is in marketing, so a lot of that is connected. And then I quickly jumped
into launching a course. I watched a teachable summit, probably, I don’t know how many years
that I was, maybe three, I think it was their first
summit and they totally sold me and I’m like I can definitely do this. Created the course but
I did not validate it. I made assumptions. – Okay, you guessed? – I guessed. Totally guessed. It was a failed launch. I didn’t know how to launch anything. I think I had less than a
handful of people buy the course. I ended up giving some
of them away for free when I had an online
digital blogging conference over a weekend. And so then I was kind of
frustrated and I’m like– – When was that? – Maybe 2016. – Okay. – And then it was out. I was also dabbling
into affiliate marketing and that was bringing in some income. But I was doing consulting
and freelancing on the side. And that was bringing
in like, all my income. – Yeah. – But then dealing with clients, for me, it can be a nightmare. – Yeah. – And I wasn’t really into that. So I was doing that for a while. – So tell me about now and
what you’re trying to do now. – So I started working for
another company, two years. Fast forward, I quit. Now I am back and I’m
running it, full time. – And you let the blog
go on ice for a while? You just let it sit? – It was just sitting, – You didn’t write any content? You just let it sit there? – Dead. Pretty much completely dead for two years. – Okay. – So then I came back but I reached out to my audience, see if they’re still engaged, my email list had grown from
like 500 to about 17,000 and– – Just automatically? – Just automatically. – Do you know where
the increase came from? Did you get a big jump in Google? Or did one of your pieces
of content take off? – 90% of my traffic is from Pinterest. – Okay. – 10% I think is organic from Google. But during that time, in the beginning, I set up, literally, all
these content upgrades across my website. I offered a free email course
like a seven-day email course and they were just all coming
in from these freebies. – Got it. – So it grew. – That’s great. – Yeah, it grew dramatically and I reached out to my audience, they’re still really engaged. I surveyed them, I know their pain point. – It’s all female bloggers, right? Or want-to-be bloggers? – Yeah – Great. – And so now that I’m jumping back in, I’m trying to figure out next steps, I wanna create a course but my questions are, when do I create it? And I mean, I should always be creating free valuable content. – Yes. But how much of that should I be doing before I launch my course? – So let me ask you this. What do you like to do? And what do you want to have happened? – What do I like to do? Like literally when it
comes to my website? – In business, what do you like doing? – What do I like doing? – There’s a reason why you quit the job and went back to The Collective Mill. Even when though you thought it was dead. So what is it that you like to
do and want to have happened? – I like building a community. I like creating free
stuff that is not content, surprisingly. – Okay and what would it be? – I’m picturing that I have
this page, new multiple pages that literally just has
these beautifully designed, step-by-step guides, checklists, – Great – Stock photos. – Great – Yeah. – Okay, totally with you. Okay, cool.
– Yeah – So you like community
and creating free stuff. That isn’t how-to-articles. – Yeah. – Stuff that you’re proud of. – Yeah. – Okay, great. I’m with you, keep going. What do you want to see happen? – What do I want to see happen? I would like to have a website where people are always sharing it because it’s just like I’m starting out, I have no idea where to go and this has all these beginning
steps, literally templates that I can download to get started. And then from there,
I would like to create a really strong community
and create a course that literally just like walks
them through the process and I can handle them and it’s not intimidating. Confidence was a big thing for them, they don’t have the
confidence to get started. So helping them with that and then really serving
under-represented communities that typically have barriers
to do this sort of thing and helping them get their voice online. – Okay, got it. – And having a very
successful course launch. – Okay, great. Where are you running into
challenges and how can I help? – Monetizing my website. So I’ve created a course and it failed and so now I’m nervous
about this second course. – Was the course you made good? – At the time, I thought
it was pretty good. I’d give it a B minus. – Okay. – Now that I’m looking back at it. – Okay, so did the course
suck or did your launch suck? – I think my launch sucked but I also am not entirely sure if I was addressing
the correct pain point. – Okay, got it. I’m going on a hunch here
but I also get the sense that you resented the fact
that you had to do a course in order to monetize this thing and so that came off in your launch. You don’t really wanna
have a course, Marianna. – Are you sure? – Yeah. Yeah. What you really want is
for the course to pay for the engine so that you
can go do the two things that you said you like,
which is making free content and building community. The courses are routes to you. This is the vibe I pick up from you. You don’t really want to have a course. Now you can have the course but part of the reason
why you feel stuck is ’cause you think you have
to do the course first. But if you actually did the
thing that you want to do, which is make free stuff
and to create community, everybody would rally around
your course when it was ready. And you’d have an easier
time getting feedback and pilot participants, when you already had those things humming. – So what would you
recommend my next like, three moves are, in order? – Yeah, in order, I think you map out and create 10 amazing pieces of content that you’re really jazzed about. – And content is an article? – Well, content is the stuff
you said you really like. I think you said, amazing free stuff that wasn’t content, sorry. – Yeah. – So you go make 10 amazing free things and if you’re already getting
your traffic from Pinterest, put them on Pinterest and
watch that organic reach continue to build. The number two thing that I would do is start to engage a little
bit more transparently with your list. 17,000 is plenty enough to do damage. – Yeah. – I mean plenty enough to do damage. And so they’re still engaged. I remember you told me that they filled out surveys,
your open rates are healthy, your click through rates are healthy. They’re still there. And if you continue to create content, communicating with that
community, that list of people, – Yeah. – Is step number two and I would
be really honest with them. Get this. You said that one of the biggest things they are struggling with,
is lack of confidence and you have a lack of confidence
around a course launch. Tell them. Tell them where you
feel lack of confidence. – Do I literally like
write it in an email? – Absolutely. – Okay. – Here’s your email, subject line. Read this if you lack confidence. I recently surveyed my list and found that lack of confidence was a big thing that’s
holding people back. Guess what? Me too. Do you know that I’ve been
trying to launch a course for the last three years? I love creating free stuff and I feel like I should have a course that pays for the whole thing but I fear that people will resent me, I’m afraid to take the sale. I’m not as good a
marketer as I am a creator and that makes me feel
insecure, sometimes. Everybody that’s reading is
going, oh, my goodness, me too and now there’s a community
aspect starting to build. – Yeah. And if you wanna put them
into an official community, like a Facebook group,
that’d be a cool step three, so that there’s more of an engagement, there’s more of like a
soul behind the following and then you talk about doing the course and everybody will be happy
to give you that feedback. – So let’s say right now,
everything I’m creating is based on my survey and
what they’re asking for. – Yep. – So let’s say, I’m
making sure to email them every single week, I’m
making sure that even some of the articles I’m
writing, to include them in it. So that way they can be featured and connect with one another. – Great, it’s good. – So I’m trying to nurture them but let’s say this next
month, I create 10 free whatever it is. – Pieces of something, yes.
– Yeah Maybe I create like two per week, I email them, I’m like, hey, guess what, I created this for you. A month goes by those numbers don’t add up but a little bit more
than a month goes by, so then, what would my next step be? Facebook group? So then start the course? – You’re really hung up on this course? – Yeah. – But the fact of the matter is, if you find out that a dead
relative left you $100 million, you wouldn’t care about the course. But it should take up 20% of your time and mental energy is taking up
80% of your time and energy. – I think I will enjoy the course. – You do? – Yeah. – How could you do it
in a way that you enjoy? – I think my problem before it, like what’s been talked about is I feel like I had to have this persona and I’m naturally weird and awkward. – Oh, real. – And getting on camera and being like, hey, like, thank you so much. That’s just not my personality. – Then do the whole
thing via written word. You’re a blogger. So all your people,
they like written word. – So I geek out with with a lot of– like video editing, I can do for hours. I think that’s fun. – Okay. – Photo editing, I think is fun. – Okay. – Like last night from 1130 to 1230, I was literally in my room editing photos that I wanted to create this– – You like being behind the camera? – Yeah and editing stuff. – Yeah, – So I totally could create a course and think it’s great and fun. Me in front of the camera,
is just like, it’s, you know. – Got it. So your biggest hang up is
being in front of the camera being like salesperson
and being a persona. – But this is not important? It’s like–
– No. – What Pat’s talking about–
– No. – Like the fear, you
should go conquer that. – No. (laughs) – Okay. – So those are different things. – Yeah. – Conquering the fear is not faking it. Conquering the fear is feeling
the fear and admitting it and talking about it, so
that you’re free of it. Or conquering your fear doesn’t mean doing things you don’t like to do. – Yeah. – Those are different, very different. – Okay, so let’s say, somehow I ended up with a
million dollars tomorrow. Okay, let’s say I don’t
because I’m not going to, so I’m creating all this free content. My audience is like, you’re amazing. You’re literally giving us so much stuff, then how do I monetize, to keep going? – You keep coming back to that question, which is interesting because when you said what you want to happen, you
never said much about money. You said about what you want to do. – Okay, let’s say money is– – What I’m trying to get you to realize, – Yeah. – Is that the money happens really easily when you do the other stuff well. – That’s not true though. Okay. – You have a lot of
tenseness around money. Like you have a lot of tenseness around it’s not gonna show up unless
I work really hard for it. – Maybe so. – Hence why you’re a liberal. (laughs) – But, sure. (laughs) – So the fact of the matter is, if you go all in on your people, they will tell you what they want more of and if you give yourself permission to just look at being resourceful of how do I get them what they need next, without needing to be the
one who gets it for them? – Can you explain that again?
– Yes. – If you look at your people
and listen to what they need, – Yeah. – Without taking on the
pressure of being the one that gives it to them, it will free you up to go bring in those resources
that people will pay for. That might look like, you find
out that people really want some sort of a, how to guide
and how to launch their blog and for you to go into
creating that course, for you to create that
course versus create more amazing content that you
really like, is a trade-off. And you might decide, you
know what I need to do is go be an affiliate for the person
that is the best in the world at creating that course, specifically. And that will monetize your blog or it may be that people say what I really want is a coach
to walk me through this. And now you have 10 people
who pay you $1,000 a month for you to help them. Or it might be a very
specific course that you say, I don’t wanna do that or I
absolutely do wanna do that. But you trying to figure
out the engine first is just gonna keep you in this tense spot. Whereas, if you give those
resources to doing the things that you already want to do,
you’ll be really really golden. – Okay. The more I talk about it, the more I think I want
to create a course. – Okay. (laughs) A course seems like fun – Okay, good.
– Yeah. – Then do it in a way
that feels natural to you, not in a way that you
think other people do it or in the way that you think you should. – I like that. – And following the fear
means moving forward, not doing it in a way that you hate. There are plenty of good
courses that are done only via the written word. I do my courses via audio. – Really? – Yeah, my best teaching
is behind a microphone. – So it’s not a recording of your face? You’re not in front of the camera? – I love being in front of the camera, but not in a course setting. – Interesting.
– I just don’t like doing it. And if I don’t like doing
it, I’m not gonna do it. I’d rather go broke. – Okay. – The point is, I think
this will help you. The important thing in
anything that anyone buys ever is the result and the
experience that they have, not in the content you create. Not in the amount and the type of content, not in the work that you put into it. It is about the experience they have moving towards a result. Funny thing, we have one course called Million Dollar Brands. Helps people define the
three to five products that they will launch
on the path to building a million dollar business. And we say if you complete the course and you fill out a form,
answering questions about the products you’re gonna launch, you get all your money back. I know that the content
I create is only a proxy for them to make decisions. – Yeah. – And if I can solve their
problem in 20 minutes and lead them to the action, I’ve done them more of a service than if I took them through eight hours. – Yeah. – Or 80 hours.
– Yeah. – The point is to reach
someone to decision point, clarity and ease of moving forward and if you can do that in
20 minutes or one blog post or one video or spoken word
or a great infographic. – Yeah. – That’s your job. Rather than to build it into what you see everybody else doing. None of your customers care about what other people are doing. They care about them getting the result that was promised to them. – Yeah, that’s true. Okay, cool. – When things are right,
they’re really easy. – Maybe I’ll make a list
of all my favorite things that I like doing when
it comes to my business and then go from there. – I think that’s a good starting point and step two, do more of those things. Step three, ask the
people who are showing up to what you like doing,
what they want more of. You see most people will pursue the money so that they can do the
thing they want to do later. – Yeah. – But if they just pursued the thing that they wanted to do later,
they would attract customers, clients and fans that
support what they like to do. Most people do two different things. I do this for the money so
that I can do this other thing. But if you do the other thing,
the people who follow that already resonate with what you like to do and when they pay you, it’s really easy and natural for you to fulfill that. It’s like you’re fulfilling
it on the journey of you doing what you like, rather than, in spite of the journey. – Yeah. – You hear what I’m saying? – Yeah. – When you launched your first
course, you did it in spite. You did it so that you
could monetize this thing that you wanna keep doing
and it was so frustrating that you stopped doing the
thing that you liked doing. – Yeah, that’s true. Okay, cool.
– What else? – What else? – You actually look lighter and happier. (laughs) – So better than yesterday? – Yeah, you were overwhelmed yesterday. – I’m trying to think of what
other questions that I have. Can I ask you affiliate
marketing questions? – Sure. – So in my mind, I’m a numbers person. So I think I’m gonna
write an awesome article about something I’m interested in. I know my audience is interested in it and now it gets X amount of page views and I have affiliate links on it. So it should convert, let’s say at 1%. – Sure. – But it’s converting at
who knows what, .00001%. – Okay. – Do you have any tips,
– Sure. – On creating pages with
affiliate links that convert? – So, a couple things here. Is this is Pinterest traffic. – Yeah. – Standard affiliate conversion numbers are based on organic search,
not on social media shares. So you should expect
Pinterest to convert much less than organic search. If you wanna increase those conversions, use the affiliate links contextually. Meaning you’re talking of
the product in context. – Yeah. – And then number two,
prioritize getting them on the email list, first. – So nurture them? – Even if all you did, like I’m thinking of a
recipe blog as an example, if somebody was selling a, gosh, if somebody was selling
a high-end blender, on their smoothie blog and they were an affiliate for Breville and they’re making 20 bucks a sale. – I always use smoothie
blogs as my example. – (laughs) that’s funny.
– Randomly. – So if somebody was doing that, they would talk about the Breville blog throughout the smoothie recipe, right? They’d get a few clicks
and maybe a few sales but what would really convert
is if their lead magnet was the number one blender I use
for every smoothie recipe. – Yeah. – And someone opts in and it
goes to their video review of the Breville 9000s. That will convert way more people than just having links
to, my favorite blender. – Okay, so let’s go to a page
that I feel like everyone has. So Blue Host is an affiliate. I have a page that’s,
how to set up a new blog. – Great. – I explain things about
blogs and hosting, etc and then I go into a step-by-step guide and then I have links in there. Maybe instead, somewhere in there, I say, offer some sort of content upgrade, something where then they
go to a video, maybe of me, where I’m like, hey, if
you’re really serious, I use Blue Host. I’ve been using them for five years. This is why I think they’re great. Like, what would be the
steps from a page like that? – Yeah. So, I mean, in terms of what
the lead magnet might be? – Yeah. – So if you have a step-by-step guide on how to set up your blog,
then your lead magnet is like how to set up your blog
in the next seven days. And it’s like, first things first, we got to get you some hosting. Hosting allows you to have a website, I use Blue Host. I’ve used them for five years. Here’s why. Here’s my link. Number two, you’re gonna
need a page creator. I use Squarespace. I use Squarespace because
blank, here’s my link for it. Number three, you should
pick some articles. Here’s my resource on how
to write some articles. – Okay, so let’s say– ’cause I created a landing page recently and just drove, paid for ads
and sent them to this page and then it had the link
there but in the past, I’ve done something where I offer– – You have a look on your face. – I’m listening, I’m listening – I offered a blogging starter kit. – Okay. – So I said, like, I recommend
Blue House, I’ve used them, they are an affiliate of mine. If you go through my link, I
will send you the starter kit that comes with like
templates, stock photos, that sort of thing.
– Yep. – And I feel like in the past
that, it’s converted better, would that be like an example? – I don’t think there’s
a right or wrong way but that sounds great. – So offer, okay. I think I get it. – If it were me, I would not
hold back the starter kit to incentivize someone to use my link. I would just give them the starter kit and put my links in the starter kit. Because people aren’t gonna
share that starter kit. It’s really good stuff. So they’re gonna share it and even if they don’t use your link, they’re gonna go back
to you for more stuff. – I think it might have
been Pat Flynn that talks– No, I think Pat Flynn talks about someone who talks about the the sandwich and it’s like you have
the meat on the inside and the buns and the meat
is what’s your selling, but you need offer value ahead of time but then you need to also to
get them to sell it or offer something that complements it. So they’re getting like an
additional bonus with it. – Okay. – Which was my thinking
with the starter kit, where it’s like, well, why
are you gonna use my link? Like as a thank you, I’ll
throw in this extra freebie. – So I think that’s
fine and that will work. I also can tell that puts you in your head and keeps you out of doing what you want. What you’re really pumped about
is the blogger starter kit ’cause it’s really awesome. And if people started
sharing that voluntarily, it’d make you really happy. And if you got paid to produce
that really great stuff, it would make you really happy. So you’re prioritizing– – Something else? – You’re prioritizing what you don’t like so that you can keep
doing what you do like. – Okay. Well, I think the thing I like the best is literally having just a
page of all sorts of freebies. – I think that’s what you should do then. – So literally someone can come and they have like everything they need, they can download it, watch
it, just take it all for free. – I feel better hearing you say that. ‘Cause it was like the first
time that you said something and there was no like,
tenseness around it. If that makes you feel good, do it and people will come back
and they will share that and you put your affiliate
links through it. – Okay, last question. – Sure. – My free library of
resources, that page right now, is behind and often and that’s
how I’ve grown my email list. – Yeah. – And an email list is
obviously, critical. Do I keep it behind? Do I keep it blocked like that? So it’s like they have the
password to access or–? – So, I don’t consider that
blocked, ’cause it’s still free. – Yeah, just an email. – Yeah. – And technically if they’re on that page, they can share it. No, they do need a
password, I take that back. – Okay, so on my list of
concerns, that’s like ninth. – Okay. – And that seems to be
working really well for you. So if you wanna take
certain pieces from that, that you’re really excited about and share those publicly,
make them their own free page, that link back to the whole thing. – Maybe it can be this
really beautiful page where it start to show some
of them and those are free and then they can see it’s
like this in depth page but then to get access to the whole thing they put in their email address. – You seem excited about
that, so go for it. – Okay. – There’s like no right
or wrong way to do it. The wrong way is doing it
the way that stresses you out and prioritizing things you don’t like. The good news for you is
your stuff is so good, that it has started to pick
up a community and a life, in spite of you not doing
anything for two years. Which means that if you
did more of that stuff, you would grow really, really quickly and the monetization piece
can be 10% of your energy, rather than you putting
the whole thing on ice because you couldn’t figure
out the money part of it. – So let’s say I spend the next few months just doing what I love, – What you’re about to ask
me is, what if I’m wrong? – (laughs) And then I come
back to you and I’m like, Hey, I can’t even afford
my groceries at this point. – What do you do, then? – Yeah. – You go to your customers
and you say, what do you want? Why do you read my stuff? What are you here for? – And then I create a course? (laughs) – Or you can do what we
talked about, which is, that’s very interesting. Who do I know that has a
solution to this problem? Who do I know that has
a course around this that I could do a webinar with? – So affiliate stuff? – That would be one option, yeah. – What about Pat talking about– – What? – Affiliates are great
but create your own stuff. – So, did you hear me, any
of the times I’ve been here, like do it, what feels good rather than what everybody
else says you should do. So if you wanna do that, do that. Right now you’re too
tense around it, to do it. – Okay. You remind me of, both my
parents are psychologists and talking about me being tense, I feel like I’m in like a therapy session. – I have been called a business therapist every once in a while. Yeah.
– I could see that. – Yeah, every time money comes up, you close down your energy around it but you have these little peaks in which you don’t worry about that and you get all of these cool
ideas for what you can create. You’re a creator, like
you’d be a really good Product Manager, because
you look at the fine details and think of how people will consume them and the experience they’ll have on it, you’re really proud of them. – Like a UX designer? – Yeah. Yeah. I have a sense that you
would have an eye for that. – I think so. – So when you go into money mode, someone in your brain is
like, this is a waste of time. I shouldn’t have to think about this. It’s more valuable in the room
when I just create things. You’re right. Which is for you, you just
need to go create things. – Did you watch the first presentation? The artist skateboarder? I haven’t been in the room one time. – Okay, nevermind. (laughs) He wanted to be an
artist and he followed it and then it worked out. – Yeah. – He’s like, if I do
what I love, eventually– – Yes, that is correct. – Okay, so do what I love? – And then when money becomes
an issue, become resourceful about how you partner them
with the resources they need. Not you have to go step
out of what you love to do things you don’t love. – Okay. – And then if you stay
committed to that zone, one day, you’ll be like, I know the
type of course I wanna create and it will feel easy, fun and effortless rather than this tenseness that takes you out of
what you should be doing, which is doing what you love. So pay attention to your people, rather than worrying about the numbers. Because if you care about
people, the numbers work out. – I like that. Cool. Well, thank you. – Anything else? If you do what we’re talking about, you will have a very different
business, in one year. – Okay. I’ll contact you in one year. – That’s good, congratulations. – Cool. Thank you. (soft music)

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