The Lead Generation features conversations with today’s entrepreneurs willing to tell the truth about what it takes to be your own boss and the transformative impact you can have on your audience.
In this episode, we’re bringing you Lacy Beatley to discover the lessons she’s learned growing her web design business.
Lacy is the founder of Jungle Cat Marketing, a website marketing company specializing in landing page design. She’s also a former member of the Leadpages customer support team who took the leap into entrepreneurship two years ago and is now living her dream RV lifestyle with her wife in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.
In this episode, Lacy shares how she went from side hustle to agency owner, the challenges of growing a business out of an RV, and a clever lead generation strategy that gets her great clients.
After enjoying this episode, what are your top takeaways from Lacy?
And what's one lesson you learned in this episode that you'll take action on over the next week?
Get to Know Lacy
Bob: Lacy, it is so great to have you on this episode of The Lead Generation, thanks for coming on.
Lacy: You're welcome. Thank you so much of having me, it's always great to talk to somebody that's at Leadpages.
Bob: So we're going to get into a lot about your story and what you're up to doing. But before we do that, I'd love to start with just knowing what impact is your business having on the lives of your customers and clients?
Lacy: What a great question. I love answering this question because I try to include social impact as well as a major impact for my clients and their life within my business. One of the things that I've been hearing most frequently recently is that I'll have clients tell me that we have brought this fresh perspective to their business. I've often at times had people tell me that I do things, or I market their product or their business in a way that they've never thought about doing on their own.
It's always so refreshing and exciting to hear that from people because you can be in business for years and decades even, and ultimately it's always good to have a fresh set of eyes on your business, and to bring people from the outside in to help you move forward and help you progress. That's the thing that I'm most excited about right now about my business.
Bob: Excellent, and do you have an example of a client you've worked with, where there's been a specific version of that, that you could share?
Lacy: Yeah, definitely. So like I said, I've had this happen a couple of times recently. But I've been working with this client ongoing who lives in Portland (Oregon). So she's sort of a local client of mine, and I've done a couple of landing pages for her, updating her landing page campaigns, for new webinars registrations, and just sale pages that she has that she wants a fresh take on. And after I delivered the most recent page to her, she got back to me and she just said, "You always do things so much different than what I would think about doing." And she's like, "That's why I love your work." And it was so exciting to hear that from her, in particular, because she's had some major success with the pages I've delivered to her.
I think her most recent page, the ROI on it was 400 or 500% or something that was pretty amazing. So, I keep that one near and dear to my heart.
Bob: I bet.
The Path to Minimalism
So, I know a little about the background that you have, but not the full story. So, I'm excited about this question as I'm sure members of the Lead Generation are as well. How did you get started doing marketing and landing page design for your clients?
Lacy: Yeah, it's a bit of a long story so, I'll try to condense it. I've been all over the place in my trajectory of life. I actually went to school for genetics, then I was doing genetic engineering and cancer research for a while. And I'd always told myself that I wanted to be a scientist. I still love science but, it turned out that that's not what I wanted to do in my day to day, in my career. It was something that I was just interested in on the side.
And so, I knew I needed a career change and as I was working my last science job, I started listening to podcasts, I started reading blogs. Clay Collins’ blog actually got me interested in Leadpages.
I didn't know what Leadpages was at that time, but then I started learning about these entrepreneurs and the people that have startups, and just listening to these really exciting podcasts of people telling their stories and I just, I found that I'm really interested in marketing. And particularly the psychology behind marketing.
Obviously, there's a bit of a segue there between my science career and marketing. So, I started just consuming all of the information that I could online. I took an absurd amount of classes online, doing it all for free, trying to be savvy there. And ultimately, I learned more about Leadpages and realized that, hey, I want to try working there. I don't know if they'd hire me. I don't have a marketing degree.
I applied for I think two different positions, got turned down, didn't even make it to the interview and then finally I reached out to somebody who was working at Leadpages at the time, and she recommended that I try for customer support. And so I did that and I got the job. Y'all saw something in me that I didn't necessarily know that I had. And so, I joined the Leadpages family and worked there for almost two years. It was such a wonderful experience but, ultimately it really showed me that I know a lot more about marketing than I really thought. I was often times able to help customers over the phone for tech support, and I would just give tidbits of information to help them with their conversion rates. And I found that I really loved that.
And there was a lot going on at my life at that time. My wife and I were in the process of minimalizing. And, I found quite a bit of overlap between minimalists and entrepreneurs. Particularly, I was really interested in a podcast called Optimal Living Daily, and time and time again the person that runs that podcast would talk about people who are entrepreneurs and awesome minimalists.
So, this ties into how I got to where I'm at. I was in a situation where I was working at Leadpages, I was in the landing page, in the marketing business, and I was also minimalizing. And, minimalism is what ultimately lead my wife and I to decide that we wanted to move to the Oregon coast. We were going to quit our jobs, which we did, and we were just like, okay, we're going to full-time RV and we're essentially going to be semi-retired, meaning that we didn't want to work 9 to 5's anymore. We wanted to have more of our time, and more of the things that bring us joy that isn't necessarily tied to money or a traditional career. And all of those pieces came together and allowed me to start a freelance career.
We were looking for part-time jobs here on the coast and we couldn't find any because it's a very touristy sort of area that we are living in. So most of the businesses aren't even open half the year. So we couldn't find any jobs. And I was just like, well, we've got enough money put back to live decently for a few months but obviously, we need some money coming in. I started freelancing doing landing pages for people that are Leadpages customers, cause that was my skill set, and it ended up just taking off. I mean wildly successful freelance career.
And then it turned into something more because I realized that I didn't have enough time to do it all myself. I brought my wife onboard, and she's amazing at it as well.
And so we founded Jungle Cat Marketing and Consultancy and expanded to doing all inclusive marketing and consultancy, still stemming from our landing page campaigns and helping Leadpages customers, but also people who have never even heard about Leadpages. We saw that there was this huge market here on the coast because all of these small businesses out here, you can't find them online. They're used to the tourists coming in during the summer and maybe seeing their business while they're walking around or hearing it on the radio, or even newspaper ads. So, it's really difficult to just Google something that you want to do and find them on Google Maps.
We've niched into that market and we want to ultimately help as many small businesses around here as we can with local SEO and landing page campaigns, and just building an online presence for them.
Bob: That's excellent. Do you find that people are coming to you for the whole kit and caboodle, or are they coming to you specifically for one aspect and then you're showing them the rest of what you can do?
Lacy: Great question. I'm finding that people have no idea what we actually do and the breadth of it. I mean, these are business owners that they're just stuck in the old ways because that's what they know. Most of them have no idea what SEO is or even what landing pages are, they know what websites are, obviously, but they have no idea where to start and so we've found that we really have to break down the jargon that we're used to using, and explain our business as we're going to help you help people find your business online. And just leave it at that, and then everything that goes into that, obviously we know that on our side, but customer-facing it's pretty much website design, is what we call it.
Bob: They may not know what landing pages are yet or any of those other features, Google my business and things like that just, I want people to find me, that's the way it needs to be.
Bob: Cool, so you went from having a nice gig here in Minneapolis, got yourself an RV with your wife, high-tailed it to the coast. I imagine that that three-month window, there were some obstacles that came along the way, and probably still to this day I'm sure you run into things as an entrepreneur does.
So, what keeps you going when things do get hard when you run into challenges?
Lacy: Oh absolutely, there are a lot of obstacles, as any entrepreneur knows. The number one thing that keeps me going is definitely my wife. We have this running joke that she is the CMO of our business. But not Chief Marketing Officer, she's the Chief Motivational Officer. And, it's just, it's so true. She knows how to take a hard situation and flip it on its side and look at it from a new perspective.
Just yesterday, I was rushing to meet a deadline, not because I put it off or anything, but just because I was trying to go above and beyond and with that I kind of, sometimes, I don't allow enough time for what I'm wanting to do.
I was just getting a little frustrated and feeling like maybe I wasn't going to meet the deadline for the first time. She just gave me a fresh perspective of hey, instead of feeling like you have to work from 8 AM to 8 PM, why don't you break it up into chunks? And work for an hour, then take a 20-minute break and go to the ocean, or play a video game, or read a book or something, and that was so helpful. I ended up finishing the project, going above and beyond, the client loved what we delivered, and my wife is just like a cheerleader for the business.
I try to do the same for her, we definitely rely on each other a lot but I feel like sometimes she just gives so much more than I could return to her.
Bob: In the future, I'll have to interview her to see what she would say in response. I have a feeling she'd probably say something very similar, in different words.
“Charge what you’re worth. Charging what you're worth allows you to take the space that you need to deliver the professionalism that you know that you can.”
So you had this opportunity to be working and then starting up your business. What advice would you share with your earlier self when you were just getting started? Was there anything that you've learned now, a couple years down the road that you would like to be able to tell yourself so that members of our Lead Generation, maybe the shoes that you were in back there, they can have an easier time?
Lacy: Definitely, I would say, “Girl, charge what you're worth!” I started off charging $30 an hour and I found that that was attracting clients that were just much needier and watching over me and expecting me to constantly reply to them and fix things that weren't necessarily even in the contract. And now we've moved into a premium price point. We started at $30 an hour and now we're at $145 an hour. And that has allowed us to deliver the true expertise and professionalism that we know that we're capable of, and it has also attracted clients that respect and understand our expertise. We'll sign a contract and then they let us do what we do best. And every single time, what we deliver just floors them. And charging what you're worth allows you to take the space that you need to deliver the professionalism that you know that you can.
Bob: I love that, and I know people listening are all over the world so these price points may be higher or lower than what you're able to do for your market but, what I'm hearing you say is you were able to quadruple your hourly rate, deliver as good or better products, but most importantly, get those better clients in the door who respect you, which helps you stay motivated too and not drudge the relationship you were having with some of those soul-sucking clients that you had initially.
Lacy: Absolutely, you nailed it.
Bob: You've also been talking a little bit about minimalism and I'd love to chat a little bit more about that. Some folks, they listen to podcasts like this and other ones that talk about laptop lifestyle, or some other type of freedom lifestyle, and you're living it, which is amazing.
What has surprised you the most about going from living in a suburban-ish area, like Minneapolis and the outskirts of the Twin Cities into living in an RV and basically having a home like a snail? It's on your back you can basically pick up and go anytime you want. What's been a really cool thing and maybe what's been a real challenge that you didn't expect?
Lacy: I think just like you said, one of the coolest things is that my wife and I can just get up and move if we want to. I never really thought that we were actually going to move out of Minneapolis and go to the ocean. I mean, houses around here sell for millions of dollars so there's absolutely no way that we ever would have been able to traditionally move out here. Even apartments, the rent is outrageous. And so, the RV has allowed us to move to the environments and locations that we really wanted to live in.
One of the difficult things, however, was the transition. And not what you would expect, not the part of getting rid of all of our stuff and living in a smaller space. We went from a 1,200 square foot condo in a very nice suburb outside of Minneapolis to living in a 196 square foot RV that we had renovated ourselves into a tiny house. Now the RV that we're in is much larger, it's double the size and I'm really glad we did that, but the first one we lived in, renovating it was tough but it was also just enlightening.
It showed me what happens when you're doing something that you're passionate about, and what happens when you're doing something where the end result is because of you. It's truly because of what you've done. And that sort of spirit, actually, has led, I would say, my wife and I to comfortably start our business because we knew that we can tackle things that seem completely outrageous to most people, and do it, and love it, and enjoy it.
Bob: I imagine some people listening to their top question is how do you get internet? Or, isn't it great that we live in a time when you can use a mobile hotspot and things like that, has that been a challenge for you where you are or has that been something that you've been able to work with pretty easily?
Lacy: That is such a good question, I'm glad you brought that up because when we first moved here it was the biggest frustration, I swear. The place that we were staying at said that they had free WiFi and they do, sort of, but it's definitely not good enough for me to hop on a Zoom call with a really important client and do a discovery call with them.
So, to counteract that, my wife and I, first, we got phones that had a ton of hotspot data. And so that was working for a while and then there are definitely times where it rains a lot on the Oregon coast, as anybody in the Pacific Northwest knows, and that can interrupt service. So, then I found myself going to the library a lot, which is like a second home to me anyway. That's where I'm at right now. But we've definitely been looking into getting our own internet service. We're at a park right now that we really like staying at, so I think we're just going to go ahead an get our own internet. There's a lot of internet services around here that are no contract, which is great because it turns out a lot of people RV around here.
Know Your Limits & How To Out Grow Them
Bob: That's pretty fun. So I'd like to talk a little bit more back to the entrepreneurship world a little bit more and discuss some of the misconceptions that you have come across.
You mentioned, initially, that you were going to be a scientist and that you were going to do all these other things instead, and you came into this world of landing pages, marketing, digital strategies and so forth. Still, to this day I imagine you come across some of the customers that you have and clients that you work with, maybe even colleagues, and they have misconceptions about entrepreneurship. If you could take a baseball bat – maybe it's a whiffle ball bat – and just knock them upside the head and just say, "stop thinking this way!" What would you say to them?
“Bringing on the help that you need to truly grow your business is so important, and I know for me and for a lot of other entrepreneurs it might feel like you're relinquishing control over your business, but it's really the opposite. You're gaining control. You're growing.”
Lacy: Yeah, I'd say the biggest one, and this is especially true for us women entrepreneurs, I've seen this time and time again with the women that I talk to that own small businesses: we think that we have to be these superhumans that do everything. And, I just, I fall into that mentality, definitely. I think that the majority of us do. But it's so unrealistic. You can't do everything. If you could do everything you'd be a billionaire by now and you'd save the world and everything would be so amazing but we can't, and that's okay.
You gotta ask for help and be comfortable with that and if you're not comfortable with it, go outside of your comfort zone so that you can get help and you can continue to grow and develop. That's just definitely the number one thing is that you can't do it all yourself.
Bob: Would you say there's anything, in particular, would be the first thing to ask for help for? I like to ask this question when this topic comes up because the range of answers is so wide. What do you recommend as the first thing to let go and let somebody else do?
Lacy: Well the first thing for me was bringing my wife onboard to the business. For a while, I was having to turn down so many clients that were clients that I actually wanted to work with but I had to turn them down because I didn't have the time to do all of it. And so just bringing on the help that you need to truly grow your business is so important, and I know for me and for a lot of other entrepreneurs it might feel like you're relinquishing control over your business, but it's really the opposite. You're gaining control. You're growing. You're allowing yourself to provide the services that you want to provide to more people.
Bob: Cool, I'd like to talk a little bit about your use of Leadpages in a moment, but I'd love to know are there other tools, software platforms, etc., that you're using to help run your business?
Lacy: Oh yeah, a lot of them. I have found that I do a lot of custom graphics work, to the best of my ability. I'm not a graphic designer, I would like to have those skills and I'm working on that, but in the meantime, I'm using services that help me create something that's beautiful without needing to have Photoshop.
I've been using Canva recently, which is incredibly helpful. And I also use Gimp, which is essentially a free version of Photoshop for all intents and purposes. So that's been incredibly helpful. I also use an online platform called Image Optimizer, and that's free. That's been really helpful for optimizing images that I use on landing pages, particularly on Leadpages because it just drastically decreases the load time for pages, and that's incredibly important. Especially for clients that have a lot of professional product photography, I will go and optimize those images so that they're no longer 5 megabytes but they're actually 50 kilobytes, and that's much better to use on a website or on a landing page.
Bob: Let's talk about Leadpages for a moment. You come to this a little bit different than the average bear, I would say, having worked inside of the Leadpages family. I know that you're using Leadpages for your clients. What I'd love to know how are you using Leadpages and maybe even out new Leadpages sites for your own business, for your own marketing?
Lacy: Absolutely. It's what I use, it's how I make my landing pages. We're planning on using the new website builder and I'm actually really excited about that. I already used that for a client, it's just so fast and so simple to use, so shout out to Leadpages for releasing that. But within our own business, I use it every single day. I mean, any new release, any new offer that we want to have, we use Leadpages to make our landing pages. So, it is a vital part of our business.
Bob: Awesome, and do you currently have a lead magnet that you have found to be pretty high converting for getting the right kinds of clients in the door for you?
Lacy: Well, see that is such a tricky question because our niche market is people that aren't necessarily online, right? So they're not people that are really going to opt-in for a traditional lead magnet like a free offer or something like that. I certainly make all kinds of lead magnets for my clients who are already online, and that's another part of our business, we'll help people optimize their landing pages.
But, for Jungle Cat itself, we find that we have to do like a very specific, interesting offer, rather than a lead magnet. So, we say that if people want to have a free consultation with us, we'll buy them drinks. We'll get you your favorite coffee drink or whatever if you'll meet up and chat with us. And so that's our call to action.
But I'm actually planning on doing a traditional lead magnet that I'm obviously hoping is going to be pretty high converting but it's going to be focused on mobile optimization, and how to make sure that your landing pages are best optimized for mobile devices. I'm not going to go into this too much, I'm very passionate about it because I feel like people don't really realize how many people are searching on their mobile devices these days. I mean, I have clients frequently that 80% of their traffic is mobile. And when you're focused on making your landing page on your laptop, maybe you don't think about the best ways to optimize a page on mobile. And one of the great things about Leadpages, obviously is that all the pages are responsive. I found that going into the device specific display and really making multiple duplicates of your page, and then optimizing each of those sections specifically for mobile viewers has just skyrocketed conversions for our clients.
I'm hoping to make a lead magnet about ways to really pay attention to your traffic. How many of those people are on their mobile devices and how you can make those people convert by changing your page a little bit.
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Soak It In
Bob: Yeah, and it is worth that extra time and I think that's one of the beautiful things, as you mentioned, that we do here at Leadpages. But from a larger picture, yes, you need to be mobile responsive and taking that little bit of extra time of making it mobile optimized. Even to the point of, where's the button when you first come to the homepage? Because even if it's mobile responsive it might be two or three scrolls down just because of the size of the phone people are on, and bringing that up below the first block of text, instead of the third block of text can be extremely helpful for those conversions. So I think you raise a couple of really good points there.
Now you are obviously traveling, you are living the RV lifestyle, etc. I'm sure that you're listening to a fair amount of podcasts perhaps or audiobooks, what are you learning? What are you feeding your brain with that you'd love to share with our audience today?
Lacy: Oh yeah, I am constantly learning. I soak information up, I love it. I have a couple of podcasts that I've been listening to for a while now. The first one I think I already mentioned, it's called Optimal Living Daily. It's a really wonderful podcast. The person that runs it, he essentially will just pick a blog post or an article that's written by famous entrepreneurs or small business owners. And he'll just read that to you, which is so wonderful because sometimes we don't have time to sit down and read something. If some of us read slower than others or maybe some people just don't want to be in front of their screen more than they have to. So it's just a great way to absorb all of that information from a bunch of different sources, all within one single podcast. So huge shout out for Optimal Living Daily. I love that podcast.
Outside of that, absolutely this new Leadpages podcast has been incredible. There's only a couple of episodes now but they've been really wonderful. And I just hop around with other podcasts that I'll listen to. I really like listening to things that are done by women entrepreneurs. So I don't have any necessarily that I listen to all of the episodes, but I'll occasionally search and find something, a new episode to listen to.
Otherwise, I spend a lot of time reading. As I said, the library is basically my second home. I'm constantly booked, and there's too many to list but if you want to know a couple of my favorites I can definitely touch on that.
Bob: Yeah, maybe just what's one recently that's maybe not even in the business or marketing world, but something you've just enjoyed as a way to escape from your daily work, that you've enjoyed?
Lacy: Well, I devour science fiction and speculative fiction novels by women authors, especially women who are part of oppressed communities. I've been reading Octavia Butler lately, so I'm reading Wild Seed, which is a fantastic read and I actually found out that it's going to be turned into a show here pretty soon, so I'm really excited about that.
Bob: Excellent, well before we wrap up Lacy, I'd love to know one more question and that would be if you could tell people a single thing to focus on as a key to success for their entrepreneurial journey, what comes to mind for you?
“Break some rules and get out there and do what you really want to do.”
Lacy: I would say, don't be afraid to be a rebel and to do things a little differently. Because during this whole journey and really my whole life, people have scoffed at the ideas that I've had, they've thought that it's just not possible to do whatever I'm trying to undertake at the time. And I've found that when I really trust my gut instinct, it takes me places that I never thought that I would be able to go. And it takes me places that, more importantly, other people never thought that I would be able to go. It's wonderful and very important to get advice from other people and interact with other people, especially business owners, but it's also so vitally important to trust your gut and to rebel a little bit. Break some rules and get out there and do what you really want to do.
Bob: That's fantastic advice, I love it. And the Leadpages team here is really proud of what you've been able to accomplish in the last couple years and we celebrate what you're doing. You're typifying what the Lead Generation really means, and kudos to you and your wife being able to Jungle Cat Marketing into this new space and impact that lives of your audience. It's been really awesome to see.
Lacy: Thank you so much, I miss my Leadpages family every day and I wish all the best to you all.
Bob: Thank you for that. And where can people connect with you?
Lacy: Yeah you can find us at junglecatmarketing.net, otherwise you can find us on Meetup if you happen to be in the Oregon coast area, over in Portland. We run a meetup for small business owners around here and we're actually planning on doing a pretty large, exciting event hopefully this upcoming year. So, stay tuned for that, but you're always welcome to join our meetups and come hang out.
Bob: Excellent. Well, Lacy thanks so much for joining me for this episode, looking forward to seeing what comes out next for you.
Lacy: Thank you so much.
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What are your top takeaways from Lacy?
And what's one lesson you learned in this episode that you'll take action on over the next week?