The path of entrepreneurship is rarely a straight line. Wherever you find yourself in your own business journey, you’ve likely made adjustments along the way. Today’s episode features a member of The Lead Generation whose “failure is not an option” approach has led to great success for both her family and the parents she serves.
Monica Froese is the founder of RedefiningMom.com and the host of the Empowered Business Podcast. In this episode, Monica shares her journey from the corporate world to mom to entrepreneur, her realization around the best way to serve her audience, and how you can grow your business through digital products and courses.
- Stop waiting for people in positions of power to make all the changes. You can take responsibility for making big impacts, too.
- Simple products can have big results. Don’t rush to create a huge course when a single solution digital product can be a big hit for your audience.
- Cash flow is key. Improve your finances by focusing on cash flow and ways to improve it in the near future.
- Re-alignment is in your control. When you feel out of balance, recommit to the thing(s) that fuels your mission.
- Layer value across multiple products. It’s impossible to create a “kitchen sink” program, so consider creating courses and digital products of various weights.
- Be intentional at all phases of your business. Use specialized tools, strategic partnerships, and program elements to design the business that works for you and your customers.
- Redefining Mom
- Empowered Business
- Empowered Business Podcast
- EBP #24: How to use Leadpages to Get More Leads and Close More Sales
- Google Sheets
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Get to Know Monica Froese
Bob Sparkins: Monica, thank you so much for joining me for this episode of The Lead Generation. It's great to connect with you today.
Monica Froese: Yeah. Happy to be here.
Bob: I would love to know, number one, where are you connecting from today? And my favorite first question is how are the lives of the people that you serve transformed by your business activities?
Monica: All right. Well, I'm from Buffalo, New York, born and raised. I always say... People are like, "Do you like it there?" I'm like, "Yeah, go Bills." Big Bills fan. I'm very loyal to my hometown, but I do travel a lot so that's what makes it easier to live here with the snow, I like to say. Well, my business has transformed quite a bit over the years, but where we land right now and what our main focus is on is helping women achieve financial independence. That can be... How I teach right now is to do that through creating a revenue stream of digital products, although we're reviving our original website, which is Redefining Mom, which will expand that out because, really, financial independence can come in many different forms, not just having an online business or revenue stream online. That's just one way. Right now, that's our main focus.
Bob: Awesome. We're going to talk about a lot of both Redefining Mom and your Empowered Business. First, though, I'm a big fan of having Josh Allen on my fantasy team whenever I can, so-
Monica: I'm sure you are.
Bob: Go Bills. And, of course, as I live in Minneapolis I can understand the weather, although you do actually get more snow typically than we do, but I digress.
Monica: We're the snow capital of the country. People find that weird that I like being here, and I've never skied either, but yeah.
A Business Born from a Traumatic Birthing Experience
Bob: As we discuss your journey, one of the things that I loved reading about on the case study that we did on the Leadpages blog is a bit about how you went from where you were to where you're going. For those that are listening, please do check out the show notes. We have a more expanded version of Monica's story, but I want to get a couple highlights into this episode before we talk about some of the nitty-gritty entrepreneurial tips. Your entrepreneurial life took a bit of a turn around the pregnancy of your daughter. Tell us first, though, before that all happened, what was your career looking like? Because you weren't originally an entrepreneur.
Monica: I wasn't. I definitely always had the entrepreneurial spirit. I always say I was never meant to be controlled by anyone, but I was a good Catholic school girl who fell in line and followed all the rules. I knew how to follow the rules even if I didn't like following the rules, is what I like to say. My dad told me when I was a kid, "Don't be an accountant," but then I ended up getting my MBA in finance. I spent 11 years in tech, and tech is a very male-dominated industry. I loved what I did in tech. I didn't like the politics of tech. I think I was good at what I did. I ran really large marketing campaigns for brands like Microsoft and HP, so I always had a very good pulse on return on investment and understanding the money and how to build a business because it was essentially having your own little business inside of a business, is what I did running those campaigns. I did that for 11 years. I had my daughter seven years into my career, so I stayed in corporate for four years after but it was a very difficult ride. It's when I realized that being a working mom is not necessarily all it's cracked up to be.
Bob: Yeah. I can imagine but I can't imagine, obviously, because I don't have the opportunity to have children physically, but I do have two kids and understand that a little bit. But I would love for you to share just a little bit about the challenges that you did face after the birth of your daughter. I know that you had and share and discuss frequently postpartum challenges that you faced and how it shifted for you. What was it like? What did you face?
Monica: This is why Redefining Mom was born, and actually I always say the name... At the time, I had no intention behind the name but it actually turned out to be a really great name to trademark because I can redefine myself all the time if I want. At the time, I started... Like I said, I've always had a mouth and always said it like it was, so naturally after I had my daughter and I realized all of the stuff that I never really thought about before, like the lack of maternity leave... I almost died giving birth. I was in labor for 72 hours and I had very bad postpartum PTSD due to birth trauma. Anywhere else in the world, by the way, they would call that violence against the mother but here we call it birth trauma, almost putting the onus on the fact that they almost killed me on the table back on me when it wasn't my fault.
Processing that with being in corporate and my career taking off at the same time, it was a lot and I was in a very dark place so I took to the internet and I thought, "Well, I'm just going to talk about this on my blog," which I treated more like an open diary because that's what blogs were in the first half of the early 2000s when I... It was an open diary, essentially, and that's how I treated it, but unbeknownst to me my story resonated with a lot of people and it got me invited to the White House. I met President Obama and he challenged me to do something bigger. He actually called me a spitfire and said, "What are you going to do about it?" And I looked at him and said, "What do you mean, what am I going to do about it? What are you going to do about it?" I'm like, "You're the leader of the free world."
He's, "No, how are you going to make an impact on this?" The more I thought about it, I just... I was like, "I can't make an impact from the seat in corporate." I think you can do a lot of change inside of an organization, you can be a change leader inside of an organization. That wasn't my calling. I think I was always meant to do something bigger, and that's when Redefining Mom took a life of its own and it became an actual business. I quit eight months after that and that's also when I found digital products, though I didn't realize they were digital products at the time because no one really called them that. That was in 2016. Really, it's just been a windy journey since then of a lot of reinvention along the way, redefining, which is, like I said, a great trademark, and then I ended up getting into...
Because I have such a strong business background with my MBA and everything and really enjoy numbers, that's how I got into teaching women how to do what I do because the whole basis of Redefining Mom was, hey, I had a very strong conservative influence in my life that was telling me being a stay-at-home mom was the only way to be. I'm like, "But I want to work. I'm good at what I do and I truly believe that you don't have to choose one over the other." That's really where it got started. Having an online business gives me the type of freedom I could never have gotten in corporate, and so I became really passionate with helping other moms particularly find that balance that we're told we can't have both, and you can. I think you can.
Bob: Yeah. Well, I, for one, congratulate you on your journey. There's a lot more nitty-gritty stuff that's in this journey that you've had. I do want to mention that you're now the second guest of The Lead Generation who's advised a President, and specifically President Obama, but Ramon Ray back a few episodes earlier in this series was able to do the same with YouTube. But obviously, the maternity leave policies of our country can always improve and I'm glad that you had the opportunity at that time of our nation's history. Hopefully, it will continue to improve because we do have a long way to go.
Monica: We do.
Bob: But that could be a completely different podcast episode, right?
“I Don’t Do Failure”
Bob: I imagine that... Well, actually I have a question to follow up with you around the journey that you had from starting Redefining Mom and then leaping into that full-time. Was there a... Other than this call to action by President Obama, was there anything that actually let you have enough confidence to take the risk to say, "No more corporate, I'm going to do this full-time."
Monica: Well, funny... I always put on this shirt that I'm wearing, which I'll... For anyone listening to audio, it's, "I don't do failure." Just recently I realized this is my motto, but it has followed me in everything I do which is when I decided I was going to quit my job, I think I made $50 that month in the business. By the way, we relied on my income. It wasn't like I didn't pay bills. I paid bills in the house. I just had a very strong sense of knowing that I was going to make something out of it and I just knew... Failure just wasn't an option for me. I always say we all fail, we learn lessons from failure, but ultimate failure, like it not working, was not going to happen. What ended up happening actually, I watched a webinar with you back in the day.
I was still in corporate when I watched it, actually, because I had two work from home days and I remember on my lunch break I watched your Leadpages webinar because where I struggled was I... Because my background is in marketing in corporate, I knew all the things I had to do. I understood that blogging, if I was going to make money, was actually content marketing, it was meant to attract people to me, but it was what I did with people once they got to me that mattered. So what mattered? Well, I needed to own a relationship with them, email marketing, and I needed to sell them something so I had to figure out what I was going to sell in my business. But where I struggled initially was WordPress and me did not get along so much so that my husband banned me from working on my website after 10:00 PM at night because I would break things and then get very upset.
First hire I ever had still to this day is my friend Grayson. He does my tech because I get super angry when things break. I'm like... It's bad. I'm like, "How am I ever, if I cannot make small changes to my website when I need to make them on the fly..." And I am a very... A typical entrepreneur, like right now... I'm not talking about yesterday, I'm talking about right now. Leadpages at the time, this was before drag and drop, thankfully you have drag and drop now, but the OG software of Leadpages is the first thing I used that I could “get.” Here's the other thing too about it, it was like there's no distractions. Here you go to a... I can't stand display ads. It's one of my things that I get on bloggers about because I think it's very limiting. I could go on forever about that, but a blog post has a lot of distractions on a website.
There's menus, there's sidebars, there's a lot of things to detract attention from an action that you want someone to take. The thing about Leadpages with my marketing brain that just clicked for me was, "Okay, they're going to come to this page and there's nothing else to do but the action that I'm asking them to take, period. That's it."
I'm like, "That's what I need." Plus I could update it on the fly without having to engage Grayson at 11:00 PM. It was just... That's actually when I realized that I was having all this momentum on my site because people were interested just naturally in what I was saying, but then I couldn't talk to them after that. They would read the one article and that was it. It was like, "Well, I need an ongoing communication with these people."
How a Simple Budgeting Spreadsheet Created $400K in Revenue
Monica: It just was a very natural flow that when I decided to quit my corporate job, I went... When people say, "What's the one thing you did?" The one thing I did, I cared about nothing else but growing my email list. For five solid months it was, "How am I going to own this relationship?" Then quickly I learned, "Ooh, now I have to have something to sell. That's the gap we're going to miss here if I plan on replacing my paycheck." That's when I launched my first digital product, which was a spreadsheet, and it was a family budget spreadsheet that solved a need of my readers at the time, which was, "Hey, I want to also quit my job and do this thing, but I need to pay the bills so how do we do this?" I'm like, "Well, you need a budget."
That's actually the very first thing we did as a family, was we sat down and made a budget, which I hate that word by the way because I am a spender. I'd rather make more money to keep spending. I do not like budgeting. But then when I flipped it on its head and I realized, "Well, budgeting is really just a way to understand where your money's going, it doesn't necessarily mean you're taking something away from yourself or cutting something out. You got to understand where your money's going. How else are we going to scale back to the point where we can give myself this leeway for the business to take off?"
That became my first digital product, which has gone on to make a lot of money. It's a $17 product, the sales page is built on Leadpages. It's been maybe just three revisions since 2016 and it's made over $400,000 with very little effort on my part.
Bob: Yeah. That's amazing. I was going to ask you a little bit about that, but I appreciate you already jumping into it because essentially that's a full-time income for a lot of people just from one spreadsheet with some minor revisions, and you're not sitting on the computer waiting for somebody to buy it for you to send it, right?
Bob: You have the systems in place to sell it, to deliver it, communicate. You can never work again and that's still bringing in money, probably on a little diminishing return over time but it's still doing well for itself so, (A) congratulations about that.
Home Finance Tip: Map out Your Cash Flow Accurately
Bob: But more importantly, (B) I'd love to know just a tip about budgeting that you help the moms you serve understand about their home finances so that they can get their head around it a little bit better and really take that control and confidently manage their home better.
Monica: Yeah. I would say the basis of... And I actually kept the name simple, the Family Budget Spreadsheet is quite literal. The real impetus behind it is many people don't understand what their cashflow in their family looks like projected out, so if you're trying to make this move where you're going to lose your income over here and your income, if you're moving into doing your own thing, is going to ramp up on the slower side, you need to know highs and lows, "Okay. Optimistically we hope to make this, but what if we make that? How do you project that out and understand where you're going to end up 12 months down the road?" That was the single biggest hangup that my audience was having was, "Okay. I could probably white knuckle it for a month or two, but if I'm not at the same level I was in corporate at the end of that then we're in deep trouble so what does that look like?" The whole basis is projecting out, understanding your family cash flow or... And it has typical budget elements like where the money's going and all that, it's like typical things that you would think of a budget but the projections and the estimations of your cash flow is probably the biggest thing that attracted people to it.
Bob: Yeah. I think it's really important for people to have that sense of destination, Not just circumstance. It sounds like that's what this particular spreadsheet does for your audience, which I think is amazing.
Monica: I still use it to this day. I've used it since my daughter was a year old. She's almost 10 and every month... I pay the bills based on my husband's paycheck schedule. I open it up twice a month and I still do my own projections. I think it's fairly easy to use once you get into it.
One of the things I've discovered in my entrepreneurial journey is I have a knack, and I think this is what makes me a good teacher and how I ended up in the B2B world with helping other women do this, I have a knack for taking concepts that people find overwhelming or daunting, especially around data, numbers, things like that, and making them easy to digest and understand.
Bob: Yeah. Keeping things simple. That's the way to do it. We'll of course have a link to the spreadsheet from Monica in the show notes so make sure that you do take a look at that because the more you have the handle on your finances, the better risks you can take in business which means the faster you can grow, which I think is really important.
Recommit to Your Core Mission
Bob: Now, the journey that you had I'm sure had some ups and downs along the way, as you mentioned. Is there any one particular struggle or challenge that you faced in the preceding seven years that you learned from a lot? Obviously, it didn't stop you from succeeding, wasn't really a failure, but something that you had to overcome and you still learn from to this day?
Monica: Well, yeah. I don't know how to phrase this. Maybe a four-year hiccup that was a really good thing but taught me a lot and wasn't necessarily what I wanted. Summation, when Redefining Mom really took off it was in the Pinterest heyday of free traffic. My marketing brain was like, "Ooh, eventually this gravy train is going to get cut off." When they came out with their advertising system I was like, "I'm going to learn this." All of my blogging friends were like, "Why would you pay for something you can get for free?" I'm like, "It's called targeted marketing and very high-quality leads. If you're very good... If you get good at doing ads, that's what you're getting, is high-quality targeted leads." I knew what was going to be a thing so I got really good at it before pretty much anyone else got really good at it.
It put me in what I call “blue ocean” out there, where it put me on the map. Essentially, it's the thing that people knew me for and it wasn't intentional, it was just something that I got really good at. I had a course around it that was very successful, made a lot of money, but it made me very unhappy. The reason why was because I said Pinterest ended up hijacking Redefining Mom. Now, there are a lot of reasons why building a business around someone else's platform is not a good idea. Every time Pinterest changed something, I had to change something. There was a lot of missteps along the way, but at the end of the day what ended up happening was my mission of wanting to help women got hijacked on this little micro how to teach this specific skill. In early 2020, we built a house and it was this perfect storm where we built on 2019 prices and the market was high for selling and it was just this great thing.
We were so excited, and right after we closed and put a lot of cash into doing things like the landscaping and all this stuff, I looked at my husband and I said, "I'm really unhappy with the business and I'm going to blow up the Pinterest ads course, which was our biggest revenue stream at the time." He looked at me like, "Are you kidding me? Why didn't you tell me this six months ago?" But I'm like, "But it's okay because I don't do failure." That was my attitude. I'm like, "There's no..." And I've not taken a single revenue dip making the change, and it was pretty dramatic. I cut it off completely. I decided in September and I retired it by the end of November, and that's when I launched Empowered Business. Empowered Business was meant to be part of that bigger mission of helping women achieve... Essentially what it all rolls into is financial independence.
Another thing that informed that, I have a podcast episode on it, I think it's episode 22, but in May of '21 I... Was it 2021? Yeah, I guess it was May 2021. This is when it really became very solidified what my mission was. I went to go buy a car.
I've never had good experiences in car dealerships, I will tell you that, but it was a very condescending experience and they just took everything. They asked me if my husband was going to co-sign three times, they intentionally spelled Redefining Mom wrong. It's actually why I changed the name of my LLC because I was so mad because they didn't take me serious in there because it was Redefining Mom LLC now it’s Froese Media. But it was a very condescending experience and I thought, "Wait a minute, every woman needs to be able to walk into a car dealership and buy her own car, period. Period.” I don't care if you're married, I don't care if you're single, everyone who's an adult needs to have the ability to take care of themselves. That really set me on this mission of how to make that happen.
Bob: Yeah. I'm glad that you're doing what you're doing because we do live in a world where unfortunately that kind of stuff still goes down.
Monica: It does.
Bob: And not very cool.
Avoid Key Mistakes of Digital Course Creation
Bob: All right. I would love to switch gears now and discuss a little bit more around your entrepreneurial zone of genius, which is creating digital courses, something that I'm passionate about and have enjoyed the fruits of over the business life I had before I joined Leadpages. The first thing I'd love to know, Monica, is for you to share if there's a misconception around creating digital courses that you would love to get rid of. If there's one thing that you could get people to stop thinking about what it takes to make a digital course, what would that be?
Monica: Well, okay. I'll say two things. First, I do love digital courses but I think there's... Right now in the current state of the economy, I think there's a lot of power in digital downloads more so than even digital courses, but the thing about digital courses... Because I've created a ton over the years and I've helped a lot of women do the same, probably the biggest misconception is the over-delivery that people put into them. They think they need to over-explain everything and I truly think the core basis... You said it earlier, simpler is better. I'm guilty of that, wanting to feel... I always say it's like putting in the kitchen sink, you want to throw... Because you feel like you have to create the value there, but the real value of a course is getting someone from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible. Usually that means less, not more. That's where I think a lot of people go wrong with online courses out there. I think the successful ones are really good at keeping you on that linear path.
Bob: That's awesome. I think you mentioned a second thing.
Monica: The downloadable templates. Here's the thing, sometimes I refer to them as usability tools, that's what my spreadsheets are. We sell a lot. I don't just sell courses, I have hundreds of digital products. We're working on getting them all up in our shop now because there's just so many at this point, but sometimes the knowledge... Because, okay, actually let me back up and just say what a digital product is because I think sometimes people overthink it. Any digital product, a digital course, a spreadsheet, a template, a printable, whatever it is, it's someone has a problem and you're providing a solution. The digital product is the solution to the problem, period. That's all it is.
Sometimes that solution is a lot easier and a lot less complicated and it doesn't need to go into a course and you don't have to have a course to get this perceived value either. This is a big thing I find in the online space. People think they have to put everything in a course so it's perceived to be more valuable so they can charge more, but there is a lot of power in smaller-priced digital products and selling in volume. Because then you can create momentum with upsells and downsells and cross-selling and if someone... I have a note on my computer that actually says, "If someone purchases Y, they are more likely to purchase X."
That's always to keep in my mind to pay attention to, "When someone buys this, they're more likely to buy that. How do we connect those dots for them through email marketing?"
I just think there's a lot of power in the smaller downloadable. Getting people quick wins, essentially, is how I see them and I think they're easier to bite off when you're getting started. A lot of my students, if they come in wanting to create a course, they get overwhelmed by it very fast. There's so much to learn just doing video and PDF supplements and there's just a lot of moving parts, so just boil down your knowledge to start easy. Sometimes that's just providing something like a template, like the Family Budget Spreadsheet, something you use in your everyday life. I tell my students that all the time, "What is something that makes your life easier? Start there."
Bob: Yeah. That's an amazing pathway towards success and revenue. I know that my own history is riddled with $27 products that boosted my ability to leave the teaching classroom and all that kind of stuff, so I can echo the importance of this concept.
Your First Digital Product Should Solve One Specific Problem
Bob: For those that are—you may have touched on this already, but I'd love to see if you want to expand on it—for those that are brand new to creating a digital product or a digital course, what should they get? Obviously, the simplicity and thinking through what's the easy, efficient deliverable, but is there anything else that they should be thinking about?
Monica: Yes. This is a big one. Okay, the whole concept of not putting the kitchen sink into it... So what happens? This is what happens usually. Someone comes to me brand new and they're like, "I don't know anything enough to create a product on it." I'm like, "No, everyone knows something that is good enough and something they could create a product about it."
We go through this exercise called reverse engineering where I take them through search engines because search engines... You search a problem, solutions come up, their minds get rolling. They're like, "Oh, wait. Yeah. This system I use in the kitchen, I could totally put this." And now they're all excited, they're all jazzed.
They're like, "I could create a hundred digital products." Now they want to put all of these ideas into one digital product.
People don't know you yet, they know nothing about you and so when someone's introduced to you, you have to give them an easy yes. You just do. If you give them too much or you're trying to solve too much, they get overwhelmed and they will click off your site.
I have my motto... What I say repeatedly to new people is, "One problem, one solution. No boiling the ocean, no kitchen sink thrown in. You need to figure out what their first problem is on the topic that you're going to be creating your products on. What is that problem? Solve for that one problem. One solution. Start there."
Bob: That's awesome. One of the things I love to help people with along those lines, too, is your first product is not your last product. That was something that I had to teach myself so that I didn't feel like I had to dump the kitchen sink in because I would have another opportunity in order to fulfill whatever other aspects of a solution could be presented. This one problem, one solution is super perfect and I think it's really something to adopt.
Monica: Yeah. Part of that learning... I always feel like you always want to learn from a teacher who went before you, made the mistakes and then they can... Part of learning from people online, in my opinion, is you're learning from their mistakes. What would they have done differently? When I created the Pinterest ads course, that was a very robust course so essentially in my ascension ladder, I started at the top, created the whole thing. Then one day I was like, "Oh, this is overwhelming to people."
You had to be at a certain level in order to even get to the point where you could really benefit from all of the information I put in there. Then I built my ascension ladder down. Now, I've done this enough times to say, "If you're going to build an ascension ladder, starting from the ground up is way easier than starting at the end and working back."
What happens, too, is people inform you... This is a big thing. When people are new, they forget... As you get momentum and people buy your stuff, people love to tell you their problems. They love it. It's like reviews. I'm always skeptical on reviews because, let's be real, people leave reviews when they're mad. They don't leave reviews when they're happy so they're skewed.
Well, it's the same thing when you have customers. If someone is upset or they have a problem that they're still looking for you to solve, you're going to hear about it. Nobody's shy about telling you that kind of stuff. Through that, when you keep your focus very narrow in that first product, very naturally you're going to hear the same questions coming out and it's going to click with you. You're like, "Oh, so this is the next thing they need from me. Now I'll go create the next product." That's essentially how I create all my products nowadays because my audience is big enough that people just tell me what they want. I don't really have to go validate it very much. People are very happy to tell me what they want me to do.
Supplement Your Products (and Revenue) with Strategic Affiliate Marketing
Bob: Now, you've also done well as an affiliate of other people's products. How do you decide when just to recommend some other person's product that solves that new challenge versus creating something for yourself?
Monica: Well, that's a good one. For me at this point, I'm probably... I guess we'll just take Redefining Mom for example because that's out of the B2B world and it's more consumer-based for moms. Generally, I can see holes. For example, my pregnancy posts do really well in Redefining Mom and I have no funnel behind it. What I need is some sort of maternity leave planner, pregnancy planner, something like that. It doesn't resonate with me. For me, I can't... I don't think I would create a good enough product to really impact and help, and that's what I want to do. Everyone should want to do that in their business. I actually want to make an impact. It's just not about selling something.
In that case, I would outsource it or partner with someone, like an affiliate, who has a better product than I know I could create. If I do my due diligence on what's out there and if someone has something that hits the nail on the head and would serve my audience and did it better than I know I can do it, I'm better off being an affiliate than trying to recreate the wheel on something that I'm not that confident I could do better. It opens you up to adjacent audiences too. That's the other thing, being an affiliate for someone gives you exposure to other people's audiences so it's a kind of win-win in that way when you see it that way.
Grow Faster with a Larger Network
Bob: For sure. We could obviously talk about affiliates for a whole ‘nother conversation, but we have just wrapped up, I think, a thought around the people that are pretty new to creating digital products and courses. For those that have been around the block a few times, have a few products under their belt, maybe they're at that level five or six out of 10 that they want to be at, what's their next step to help them scale to a six-figure business and beyond through digital products and courses?
Monica: Well, networking really is the best way to get momentum. Affiliates are one way, doing joint ventures. Anytime you can get in front of someone else's audience, especially nowadays... Back in the day... Back in the day. We're going to go back in the day when Facebook ads actually were pretty predictable and produced predictably. People actually built what I call fake businesses that way. They basically built businesses based on this one funnel idea, running a Facebook ad, made a ton of money and they're like, "Look, I got this business."
Then anytime there was any shift to Facebook, and there was definitely a big shift last year with Facebook and privacy things, you didn't have a business anymore. When you really peel back, the core in any business, in tech, in anything I've ever done in the business world, it always comes down to relationships. That is how you grow. Hands down it's who... It's the rooms you put yourself in, it's the other people's audiences that you network with and get in front of, and so to hit that elusive six-figure mark that people talk about you're likely... It's going to be a slow go to get there without networking, if you'll even get there. It's really the relationships you form.
Bob: Yeah. I think these days if you have really good ads and are willing to lose a lot of money to make a lot of money then that's a path, but absolutely, being able to be on podcasts, be on webinars, be in social lives or whatever, that makes a big difference and it's a very quick accelerator.
Bob: It's still going to take time but it's... Given the alternative, it's much, much faster.
Digital Course Toolbox
Bob: Now let's talk just for a moment about one of my favorite topics around courses, and any kind of business really, but course creation particularly. I'm sure there's a couple tools that you're using that you couldn't live without when it comes to creating your courses and products. What are a couple of those that you love to teach people about?
Monica: Okay, so I'm obsessed with Loom for video recording. Makes everything easier because they have actually a lot of built-in tools now. They have captions that can auto-generate, you can easily clip your videos, you can download the videos, you can just share the link, you can also embed the videos. Loom is just amazing, and it's easy to use. There's a desktop extension, there's a Chrome extension, so by far for recording and screen sharing Loom is my favorite.
ThriveCart is my favorite funnel builder checkout. It's drag and drop like Leadpages is for creating our sales pages and our opt in pages, which makes life so much easier. For me it's Loom, Leadpages for selling and bringing in new leads, ThriveCart for closing the sale in terms of creating digital products.
Here's the thing, when I said downloadable products like printables, templates: Canva is free. Now, yes, the pro version's... Honestly, I don't even know how much it is anymore but it's not very expensive. You can create so many digital products inside of Canva. It's crazy.
Then my spreadsheets we create using Google Sheets, which, PS, is free for you and the user. It's free. Completely free software. We have at this point probably 20-ish spreadsheets that we sell so you have to have a way to create the actual product itself.
Gosh, oh, an email service provider. You need that. Without that you don't have email marketing, and we use ConvertKit for that. I would say that's our core software that we use.
Thinking Through What Bonuses to Offer Within a Higher Priced Course
Bob: Awesome. Now, speaking of using Leadpages for your sales pages, I love the pages that you put together to sell your stuff. I could just break them down all day long around the sequence of what you're telling, the stories you're telling, the language, the copy, the images, all that stuff. You just really go to town and I'm very excited to see them and know that you test them, and know that they get really great results. But what I want to ask you about now you alluded to a little bit earlier, and that is this value stacking that people often do. Sometimes they put in too much, sometimes they don't put in enough. When I'm looking at something like your lab, which we'll link to of course in the show notes, you have multiple components.
I'm curious, what do you think are some must-have things for those larger courses where you're trying to get that $500, $1000 price point for the bigger course and experience? What are some of those components that you find people just seem like they can't live without, like they really salivate over when you put these into a course?
Monica: It was actually something that I resisted for a very long time, being stubborn because I can be like that sometimes, and then finally, "Fine, we'll do it." The lab actually really solidified this for me. The lab is broken down into what I call pillars because creating a digital product from scratch is an overwhelming process for a lot of people. You have to figure out your idea, you have to have put together the product, there's a ton of digital assets that go into selling it. You need graphics and it's a lot. It can be very overwhelming, so breaking it down into pillars makes it an easier roadmap for people to follow. We have a roadmap inside there too, but it's okay. Today we're going to create our digital product. That is pillar number one. Now we're going to work on the selling mechanism for it.
Putting them in pillars I have found for teaching has made a very complicated, very big topic less overwhelming because people can focus on just that pillar that they're in. But the real key is... First of all, there's no course out there that can completely solve all of your problems around a topic. That's ridiculous for anyone to say that. Do I know everything about creating digital products? I know a lot. I'm sure that there are... And there are areas that I am not the best at. For example, I do not like talking about getting organic traffic. It's just not my favorite thing in the world, I wouldn't consider myself an expert in that are because it really depends where are you getting the organic traffic from and whatever platform that is, let's just say Instagram, there are Instagram experts you should go learn...
I cannot... That's like me throwing the kitchen sink in. I'm not an Instagram expert so I can't really teach you that, but what I did learn was the compellingness of bonuses... This is how I see bonuses, those sales pages where you read 15 bonuses and this is ridiculous. That's why I was so resistant to it. I'm like, "Is the product the bonus or is... What's going on here?" I was just very... But when it clicked, what a bonus should be is a... As you're selling something, you'll learn that there are going to be common objections and common questions that... What I have found, I get questions and if they frustrate me it's because I know it's a gap that I'm missing. Overcoming those objections by providing a very valuable bonus, it helps with your selling and it also gives... It helps the perceived value as well.
If bonuses are used, please don't throw 15 in. That's ridiculous. I just don't understand that. I think that's bad marketing personally, but if offering a bonus it's not meant to be the core piece of your course, but if it helps them... If they're going through your sales page like, "But what about this? How am I going to... I can't quite connect." For me it was always, "Well, after I create my digital product and I create the selling mechanism behind it, like we create our sales page on Leadpages and we do all this fun stuff, how am I going to get people to buy it?" There's lots of ways we can get people to buy it but we narrowed it down to three organic ways that I, over the years, have been very good at doing.
We called it Organic Traffic 101 and now it's a bonus as part of the lab after doing, I don't know, 20, 25 webinars on this, when that was always a question of, "But how am I going to get people to buy it once I'm done?" Simple, you're going to use Organic Traffic 101 and it's a bonus to the course because it's not the thing. For me, the reason I wanted it to be a bonus is because that was not the main part of what I am teaching you in the Lab, but if it's going to keep you from taking action and actually creating the digital product then fine, I will give you what you need but I don't want you to get distracted because you still need a good digital product first.
Bob: That's really important. I do find just from a psychological perspective if your bonus is something that they didn't find the value from, they don't refund because of that.
Bob: They'll refund if they don't find value in the core course, but if the bonus was not their cup of tea they won't have a problem with it. If it was part of your course and it's one-third of your course, is this one thing that they didn't really enjoy, they're going to be like, "You know what? This didn't work for me. I'm going to refund." I don't know if you found that to be the case but that certainly is what I have seen over the years.
Monica: Yes. I will say for sure, and then also the bonus should not be required for them to be able to see success with the promise. If providing these organic strategies helps them overcome an objection for creating the product... But that's not the promise. I am not... I am very clear, actually. I do not promise you will ever make a sale. I can't promise that. That'd be ridiculous. That's false advertising. I can promise you that if you take my course that I will give you all of the lessons I have learned over the years of creating a good, compelling digital product that people will want to buy, but I never promise you're going to find the people. That's up to you. That's your business, that is your hard work that you have to put in to go find the people. I will help you create a really amazing product.
Create a Landing Page for Specific Podcast Episodes
Bob: Yeah. That's awesome. I have two quick questions remaining, the first of which is about where people can go to find out more about you. But before you tell us that link, I want to mention that one of my favorite ways that I see customers using Leadpages is with a page like what you're going to share, which is a place that... A social profile, link in bio, whatever, podcast episode, you're able to send people to this kind of page that lets people choose their own adventure. It's not a high-converting landing page, that's not its purpose. Its purpose is to say, "Here's where you can find out more." There are some conversion components to it but I love that you have this page so that people can say, "Hey, I heard Monica talking about this or this. I am most interested though, in this other thing." And you have this all on one page. First of all, the link please, and what about this page do you find works really well for your business?
Monica: Yeah. Okay. This actually partially was born out of an idea that you gave me when you were on my podcast, by the way. The link is monicafroese.com/lp. It's a unique link for this. The brilliance of this is it's a lead page but I can update it because I give unique links. It's a pretty link that I give out to the podcast I'm on, but that one page I keep updated with whatever's going on in the business at the moment so it's dynamic, essentially. If you listen to this episode a year after from now, that page will be updated for whatever I'm doing at that moment. It makes it... How many times... I've been on hundreds of podcasts. I've given out links that are now dead, that don't end up getting redirected, that aren't relevant to what I'm doing in the business and so this was just a brilliant way, one centralized hub to send people.
The reason it came up was because I did know... Okay, so I clued in early on in my... Because Instagram is a decent push for us. We use Instagram, that's where we really get to respond to our customers and stuff like that. The link in bio, I never really liked it so I ended up building mine on Leadpages, so it's a lead page. It had all the buttons like a link in bio but it was easy for me to swap out and I could track my metrics then. You said to me when you're on the podcast, you're like, "Your main opt in or whatever it is that is your main thing that you're pushing, do you use an embedded lead box?" I don't call them boxes anymore do we, though? What do we call them nowadays?
Bob: You’re an OG so you can still call them Leadbox, but we call them pop-ups.
Monica: I still do. I was like, "Wait a minute. No, I do not. Why don't I do that? That's a genius idea." By the way, my Instagram bio page now converts super well considering that there's other actions on the page. That's not the only action, but when I do Instagram stories leading to, "Hey, just go opt in on my bio," and the form's right there to do so, it converts really well. I was like, "Okay. Now I'm on all these podcasts and there's lots of things I want people to know about me like we have a membership, we have a podcast. I want you to follow me on Instagram. If I'm doing a live training, hey, why don't you come to that?" But I can't give you four calls to action at the end of a podcast, just like you don't want to give four calls to action on a page dedicated to get people to take an action.
I was like, "Well, I'll just create a landing page that's dynamic that I can... And easy to update because Leadpages lets you hide sections and unhide sections and duplicate things so you can do it very easily." I just snap my fingers, which means very fast. It's been great. Now all these podcasts I've been on for the last year-ish, all the people that are listening to those back episodes, when they're going to this page it's always updated whatever is the central call to action in my business. Right now if you go there, it would be a live training we're doing in a month. You could get my Instagram and I will direct you to my podcast because that's where you can really get to know me better, and part of you finding me on this podcast would be, "I want you to get to know me better because we don't really know each other yet, but if you are interested in exploring a relationship with me, where would I want you to go?"
Bob: Yeah. Your podcast is really good, episode 24 particularly. I'm just kidding. That is the one that you and I had the chance to do, and I would encourage people to listen to all the episodes Monica does because they are fantastic and you have some really great guests, but you also do your own shows several times so get a lot of good strategies for growing a business.
Words to Grow By
Bob: As we wrap up, Monica, I would love for you to share if there's a specific mantra or quote that fuels you. "I don't do failure" on your shirt is one of them, obviously. Is there anything else that just clicks in your head whenever you get stuck or you want to take that next action in your business?
Monica: I would say the biggest one is definitely "I don't do failure." We also have shirts that say, "I am empowered." It depends on my mood for which one comes up, and then the other one that I have to say... I have a mug behind me that says it. It says “Mom Guilt” and it's X-ed out. That's a big one because I have a nanny. When I'm sitting at this desk recording this podcast, I have a nanny and that's how I get my work time in. There can be a lot of guilt that goes on about that and I just always use this as a reminder that I'm doing this to show them that really as women, because I have two girls, that we can do anything that we set our minds to and that means also that I don't need to be at their beck and call 24/7, so no mom guilt.
Bob: That's awesome. Thank you so much, Monica, for sharing your story and wisdom, entrepreneurial tips and all the rest in between during this episode. Really appreciate your time and your great wisdom.
Monica: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me.