Each week we are bringing a Flip Your Life Member onto the podcast, helping them work through whatever challenges they may be having with their online businesses.
Today we have Flip Your Life member, Anthea.
Anthea wanted to relieve the pressure on her husband of bringing in all of their income while she stays at home, homeschooling their three kids.
She began a blog using her Masters Degree in Creative Writing for a website called Overcoming School.
Realizing that blogging wasn’t bringing in money, she joined our community to figure out how to create a product that people would want to be a part of.
Anthea wanted to create a community of parents where they can be trained and learn how to start homeschooling.
We walk her through why it isn’t beneficial to keep creating free content, but rather use that content to get people to join her membership community using lead magnets and other strategies.
Remember that to differentiate yourself online, continue to be YOU.
Doing all of the homework – Anthea has researched keywords, knows there is an audience, has free content and free giveaways to get her target audience back to her membership site.
Wwe discuss that now is the time to create that community so it is there and ready for when her members join.
You will learn
- How to transition from blogger to a business.
- Clarity with your message
- Pricing for your Online Community
- Solve your consumer’s problem
- Content Strategies
- Always have a plan and strategy that is executable
- How to differentiate Your Online Business
- That you control the outcome of your business by working hard
Links and resources mentioned in today’s show
Enjoy the podcast; we hope it inspires you to explore what’s possible for your family!
Click here to leave us an iTunes review and subscribe to the show! We may read yours on the air!
Can’t Miss Moments
Each week Jocelyn and I share moments that we might have missed if we had not started our online business. We hope these moments inspire you to see the possibilities and freedom online business could provide for your family.
Thank you for listening!
Thanks again for listening to the show! If you liked it, make sure you share it with your friends and family! Our goal is to help as many families as possible change their lives through online business. Help us by sharing the show!
If you have comments or questions, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post. See y’all next week!
Can’t listen right now? Read the transcript below!
JOCELYN: Hey y’all! On today’s podcast, we help Anthea design a product for the education niche.
Welcome to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast, where life always comes before work. We’re your hosts, Shane and Jocelyn Sams. Join us, each week, as we teach you how to flip your lifestyle upside-down, by selling stuff online. Are you ready for something different? All right, let’s get started.
SHANE: What’s going on everybody, welcome back to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast; great to be with you again this week. And for everybody out there that might be new to the show, our podcast is a little different than other shows you may listen to. Each week, we bring a member of our Flip Your Life coaching community on to the show and we help them with the challenges they are having right now in their online business. We love helping our members build successful growing online businesses and today we are going to help a Flip Your Life member take it to the next level. Today’s community guest is Anthea Shirk. Anthea, welcome to the show.
ANTHEA: Hey, thanks for having me.
JOCELYN: Hey, yes we are excited to talk to you; I know that you have been in contact with us for quite a while now and been one of our members for a long time, and we are excited to have you here with us today. So, tell us a little bit about your family and what you do online.
ANTHEA: Okay. So, I’m married to a wonderful man, and we have three children; two boys and a girl and I was a high school English teacher for three years before we had children and we realized from the very start that we wanted to homeschool our kids. We wanted a better education for them, we wanted more freedom and flexibility for our family. So, I have been privileged to stay home with them and we’ve been homeschooling for the last 11 years. But during that time, my husband’s been working very hard at a job that he does not particularly love and so that started to come to a head about two years ago, and I decided to start researching ways that I could bring in income myself and relieve sort of some of that pressure from him. So, I read ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’, I started to listening to Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast and I fell into blogging. I love writing and I have a partial master’s degree in creative writing, so that’s where I ended up and I started overcomingschool.com about a year-and-a-half ago. I waffled all over the place for a niche, probably like a lot of people. I did not want to be a homeschool blogger, so I’m kind of light-and-fluffy and like in the mommy blogger scene, but I just kept feeling called to help parents who are just starting to homeschool, sort of from making that initial decision to getting the first couple of years under their belt. So that is what I write about now. I discovered that blogging is not a very good way to make money if you don’t want to sell ad space or if you don’t want to do sponsored posts and lot of affiliates –
SHANE: But the experts say it’s so easy to just start blogging and make millions. You mean they are – that is not true? I mean, come on –
ANTHEA: Well, it’s not true for me. So, I actually became a Flip Your Life member because I was just spinning my wheels round and round, I wasn’t getting any closer to making any money and I was really inspired by your podcasts and how practical they were and how you get to the heart of what is holding people back. So, right now, in my business, I am trying – I’m making that transition from blogger to business and over 70,000 children in United States start homeschooling every year.
SHANE: Big market, yeah.
ANTHEA: Yeah, it’s a big market and every year there’s new kids and I am really passionate about building a family culture that values learning. I write a lot about the current research on how children learn and the intersection between teaching academics and building character.
SHANE: Okay, so let me ask you a question here before I forget about it, so, right now, I know we talked a lot in the community with you about the difference of having a hobby and a business, and that is like kind of that challenge I think, when we first started working with you, was like, okay, we got to get past this hobby and now we are going to think about this as a business, we are going to think product first, what are we going to offer these people, not just tell them, you know, how to do it or what to do, but show them how to do it.
SHANE: So, let me ask you real quickly, are you going to offer curriculum in your product offerings or is this strictly coaching then through the homeschooling process? What’s your product?
ANTHEA: I would like to have a membership model that really would be training and building community and not so much curriculum. There is so much curriculum out there that is really good and that not really where my heart is. I don’t think that is where my –
SHANE: You want to say, ‘I am the person that can guide you to someone else’s curriculum.’ ‘I am the person who can tell you how to structure your day.’ ‘I am the person that shows you how to make up for things like how are my kids gonna play sports, how are my kids gonna do this.’ All these things that come with homeschooling, you are going to be the coach that gets them through that first year or two at least, and gets them to the level where they can take care of themselves. It’s almost like you are creating a virtual co-op; like it’s a place where a bunch of homeschooled people come, and we have guidance to show them how to do this correctly; right?
SHANE: So, that’s where we are gonna start from as a product line is that this is going to be a coaching community for homeschoolers, people starting homeschooling who are looking – and I’ve done the research with you in the forums and I know that the search traffic is bonkers for this; like how to start homeschooling, how to do these things and it’s just going to be a matter of creating something that people can jump into together and at a good, affordable price where you can manage it and help them do that. So, very cool, very good product.
ANTHEA: Yeah, I’m excited about it. So that is where I am at right now, is just how do I make that transition, how do I do it.
JOCELYN: All right, so, with all this stuff in mind, let’s jump into your question. So, what is your first question for us today?
ANTHEA: Okay, so my first question is really about mindset. So, I know I need to do some mindset changes from everything from blogging to a paid membership site. I keep feeling like I have to produce all this free stuff and it’s not getting me anywhere I know something is not right and I am thinking about it.
JOCELYN: Well, you do have to create free things, but everything should lead to a paid product and I think that is what you are missing. You are trying to bring people on to your site, but you have to remember that most people aren’t going to be like, ‘Oh, this site is really compelling, I’m gonna come here every day and read this wonderful information.” No, people come to pages and websites because they want to solve a problem. If you solve their problem, but then you give them no next step to do, they are going to move on to something else. That’s just human nature.
SHANE: Yeah, and this is the big problem that a lot of people have that come to us for help is, they are like you, they start a blog, they start talking, people think that is the right way to do it, you just start doing content, you just start building up a following blah-blah-blah, but the problem is, you are just kind of wandering in the wilderness. There is no guidance to say, this person showed up at my blog, that is great, they consume my content, cool, but what am I going to sell them? How am going to get them to something? And I think that is kind of where you have gotten to in your business. I think we know now what that thing is –
SHANE: – so strategically from a mindset standpoint, now we’ve got to say no content gets created that does not have the end goal in mind to get them into your community. And there’s all kinds of strategies that you can combine together to create a content strategy that doesn’t overwhelm you. Like Jocelyn and I always start with this “What are we gonna give our members?” because they pay the monthly payments, right, so let’s take our example in our space right now. Like, our example might be a sales funnel training videos like we have in the forums; so now we look at that and we say, ‘All right, what can we create that leads to that for free?’ Well, a podcast would be good to show people an overview of what we strategically would teach them in our forum. So, we might go record a podcast about sales funnels and then we might say, ‘Well, wait a minute, I need a lead magnet that’s related to that podcast. Well, how about we give away the first of the four modules in this training as a lead magnet?’ So we have already made the training, it exists. We can quickly create a podcast that goes over the basics of what is inside of it and help people apply that immediately and we’ve got a lead magnet that we just pulled – we splintered part of the paid product out. So whereas you are just creating constant content for no reason, we have completely created a sales funnel with one piece of content.
SHANE: And that is what you have to think of is, once we – we have pretty much established your avatar, we have pretty much established who you are targeting and what you are going to sell; now, we got to say, let’s work backwards from the product to get people to it and that is what we’ll give away for free. A good example of this is this podcast; like we were doing podcast on our own topics and we would outline it that would take an hour-and-a-half and then we would record it, that would take about 45 minutes, but we started realizing that we were thinking backwards from a content strategy from what we know is right. We said, well, how can we serve our members better first and get content from that? So, we decided, let’s open it up, let people come on the show and ask questions, that’s how people get help. They come to us to ask questions and then if they give us permission, we’ll use that on the show so other people can learn too. So, we are kind of killing two birds with one stone here; we are serving you, our member, and we are creating content in smarter way to release for free.
JOCELYN: So the strategy is not just to create content and provide value, the strategy is to create content, give them a lead magnet that provides more value about the subject with the intent of getting them on your email list showing them what you have to offer and ultimately selling something too.
SHANE: So what is going to happen immediately? Now that we have worked through a couple of months with you of getting you to this point where we know what this offering is going to be – like we know it’s not curriculum, we’ve excluded people that want that right?
SHANE: We know all these things that are going to happen directly in your business so now everything going forward, we have a point of reference, and the content becomes less of a chore and less of random “I’m doing useless work” to “This is awesome, everyone that reads this potentially might give me 30 dollars a month to be in my co-op” or whatever.
SHANE: Makes sense?
ANTHEA: Yes that is so good; that is definitely the shift that I need to make because you’re right, it’s just like putting free stuff out there for no reason and trying to come up with ideas and this is much more – has point.
SHANE: Even like Jocelyn’s lesson plans on elementarylibrarian.com or like anything on ushistoryteachers.com, we have the membership area that has all the lessons, but what we do is, we create a post that describes a lesson and targets keywords and we’ll pull like a worksheet out of the lesson plans to give away for free and then the emails will sell into the membership to get everything. But everything came from the product; so it’s strategic.
ANTHEA: Yeah, very good.
SHANE: All right, so does that answer your first question? Is that good?
ANTHEA: Yes, that does, that is exactly what I needed to hear. Are you ready for the second question?
JOCELYN: Yup, let’s do it.
ANTHEA: All right, so I think this has to go from, you know, that first question into the second one that kind of fit together. So I have been creating all these posts and I feel like there are so many homeschooling bloggers out there and they are all writing the same sorts of things like ‘Seven tips for a smooth homeschooling day’, or ‘What are the pros and cons of homeschooling’ and there is just dime a dozen and I – so I need to leverage the blog posts that I do have to get traffic, or I feel like I do, so how do I differentiate myself? How do I be different from that whole just that big crowd?
SHANE: Yeah, here’s what you have to remember; this is a common fear that people go through, like it’s just – well, there’s a lot of people coaching online business in entrepreneurs, you know, but like me and Jocelyn are different; we are just – we sound different, we look different, everybody is different from everybody. So, the first thing is, people are going to relate to you over other people. Someone is going to look at your picture – like, we are talking on Skype right now and I’m looking at you and you are sitting in a field with your child, someone is going to see that and see themselves in you more than the other person. So, just being you right away makes you unique. Another thing is, we always assume that everybody knows about all those other blogs, but I promise you, we have friends that homeschool and I could go ask her, she has four kids at home and I can say, ‘Hey here’s five homeschool bloggers; have you ever heard of any of them that I picked randomly off the first page of Google?’ And maybe she’s heard of one of them, maybe two. You can’t assume that people aren’t going to find you first because you are creating quality content and they are searching for – strategically you’re gonna be targeting people because now that you know what you are leading them to, exclude all those other people and focus on just the thing that makes you unique, you and the product, and that is what is going to make you stand out like in the marketplace.
JOCELYN: Yeah, we always tell people, don’t work about this so much, I mean, I know that there are other people out there, but when people are searching for things, typically they don’t even know other competition exists. So, if you get them there, you show them that they are in the right place and you offer them a next step to do, that is really the most important thing. You don’t have to worry about are they comparing your prices or offering it to someone else? There would probably be a handful of people that will do that, but for the most part they won’t.
SHANE: This also speaks to something, a huge problem I found with online entrepreneurs that first come to us is, you’re worried way too much about this magical organic growth, like, “How am I going to be the person that wins the first page of Google?” or whatever, and that is such BS. It’s not how it all functions. You are going to have to strategically know who you want, where you are leading them; you are going to find where those people are online, you are going to get in front of them with hard work and effort organically by talking to them and then we are going to have to promote things to them with marketing and paid advertising. If entrepreneurs would just take that mindset instead of, “I’ll just create such high quality content that Google can’t help itself but to show everyone my website” then that fear goes away and you have regained total control with your business. Like, Jocelyn and I never, in any of our discussions say, “Oh, but we are at the whim of Google” “Oh, but we are at the whim of Facebook.” No, we are not because we have a strategy and we have a plan and we are going to execute it and that is the bottom line. So, take that and internalize that a little bit and say you know what, I am going to stand out because what I am offering is awesome, I am an expert, and people are going to relate to me over other people and I am going to control the strategy of how I get them into our membership.
ANTHEA: Yeah, that is very empowering, I think, because it is like that. You feel like there is some fairy dust floating out there and you just have to go find it.
SHANE: Yeah, we work with a lot of – we know a lot of the people that look like they’ve got the fairy dust, we know them personally, and like what’s funny is, we know for sure they don’t have fairy dust. It just looks like they have fairy dust because nobody starts telling their story until it looks like they have got fairy dust. So when someone starting out sees that, they are like “magic!” but really there was two years before that of grind and dust and mud and all the stuff that goes with it. So, does that make you feel better?
ANTHEA: Yes, it does because I hate the feeling; I think a lot of – at least it seems to me that a lot of people in the same place that I am at, you just feel totally lost like they are supposed to be something magic, I’m supposed to find here and I just can’t find it and it’s a frustrating place to be in and so hopefully that – hopefully your answer will help other people too because that feeling of not being in control, is it probably leads a lot of people to quit, I would imagine.
SHANE: Oh, for sure.
JOCELYN: Yeah, definitely and you just have to remember and everyone out there, that there is no magic pill; we say this all the time. I mean, there is no right or wrong answer; you just have to try things and see what works.
SHANE: Awesome, all right, what is your third question?
ANTHEA: Okay, so, just really practically speaking, what are the next steps that I would need to take, to make a membership site a reality from where I am at now? I know, in the forums you gave me a couple of things that were really helpful and so I am compiling all my start homeschooling blog posts into an e-book to use either as a freebie or for sale, and then I am changing my lead magnet so it is a lot more obvious, and so it’s going to be just a free mini-course on how to start homeschooling, so it’s really simple and easy for people to access and know exactly what it is. But what other things do I need to do to start moving in the direction that I want to move?
SHANE: Well, first everybody that comes – and we have done a lot of research, we understand your market for one thing because we have done so much, look at the key words and things like that, so I don’t think this is a situation where we’ve really got to go get a ton of feedback right away from people because you’ve done this, you’ve been this person, you are the avatar and the research is ridiculous. We found so many good keywords that it’s okay, we know what we are looking at here.
SHANE: So, like I think that the number one that you’ve got to have is the community in place even though no one is in it, even if we have to have a place to put people when they come. They are gonna come. We are going to find them, but we are going to have it set. So, I think the first thing we got to say is, we need the forums set up, we need the community set up, we need it protected, and we have videos to show you how to do that in the community, but then we also need the first step – like if you said like to someone like, “Here’s the first ten things you got to do to get ready to homeschool and then this is what your first month looks like as a homeschooler” that is the minimum viable content that we are going to need inside the membership area I think, to draw people in. And then we can add to that once we get readers and members into the community.
SHANE: The next thing that we want to talk to you about, we are talking about clarity of message, that’s what we got to clear up on the blog, to guide people. We got to tell people who the right avatar is when they get there, but we also have to be really excluding to people. You know, we don’t want a five-year homeschooler necessarily in this membership area because the conversation is going to be different than what you are trying to go for. So, you know, we need to talk about that language and Jocelyn and I, we don’t fuss about demands very much, but overcomginschool.com, I think that is very negative, and it doesn’t tell the person immediately – like, forget Google and all that crap, that doesn’t matter but it doesn’t tell a human being “I’m in the right place.” Like, I wonder if we can change – we might need to discuss somehow to say something like you know, starthomeschooling.com; that’s probably not even –
JOCELYN: The helpful homeschooler –
SHANE: Yeah, right, like the homeschooler – like the starting homeschooler’s community or something but not that long, but like I think we have more of a direct communication when people get to your site of you are in the right place.
SHANE: So, first I would say, get the product done, that’s what we always say first; get your forum set up, take a few days, get that plan together, we’ll help you go through the plan, you know, the before and after to get set up and to start homeschooling, and we’ll help you kind of set up the product, that initial content and now we can work backwards from that to figure out the messaging, the lead magnets, a good domain name that is going to really help the right people get into the community. So, the first step is the forum, the second step is the content in the forum, and then the third step that you are going to work on is messaging and I think that will probably take about four to six weeks for us to get it right.
JOCELYN: How is your lead magnet now? I didn’t really notice what it was.
ANTHEA: I struggled with it a lot; it’s – the current one is ‘Five questions that you need to answer to know that you have what it takes to homeschool’ and –
SHANE: That’s not right.
JOCELYN: I feel like it’s too vague. Let’s work on that in the community, but I think that you definitely need to solve somebody’s problem. Like, if I have a problem, I don’t want to answer questions. I want you to give me answers.
SHANE: And also too, this goes back to – an entrepreneur should never educate. When someone comes to you, they already have to know they got a problem. You are saying – this is goes back to the thing of you don’t have a product; like you didn’t have your product flushed out so you are just kind of throwing mud on the wall whereas, we know where are going now so now we can say we want the person who has already decided and committed to homeschool and needs my help to show them how to do it because that is why they went to Google, they went to find help to do that. They have already made that call whereas, you are trying to convince people that that’s right so a better lead magnet here might be the 20 supplies you must have to start homeschooling because who’s looking for that? The person that’s getting ready to homeschool.
SHANE: So, lead magnet we’ll throw in there too, but we are going to definitely start at the forum, the community and the product and then we’ll work our way backwards from there.
ANTHEA: That’s good. Now I’m gonna be really busy.
SHANE: That’s all right, but that is going to be strategic busy. There is an end-game in mind.
ANTHEA: Really good, thank you.
JOCELYN: All right, well we appreciate you being here today and asking such great questions. I know that these will be helpful for a lot of people out there who are either starting out maybe they are just stuck and not really sure what to do next.
SHANE: There is a lot of great potential here; the research is solid, and now we are going to get it set up where we can build this business for you and hopefully some day we can make sure your husband didn’t have to go for that job he don’t like.
ANTHEA: Yeah, exactly.
SHANE: That’s the goal, right?
ANTHEA: Yeah, it is.
SHANE: Awesome. Well, thanks for being here so much.
ANTHEA: Yeah, thank you.
SHANE: Another awesome call with one of our Flip Your Life community members; to learn more about our Flip Your Life community, head on over to flippedlifestyle.com/flipyourlife and we can help you with your online business today.
JOCELYN: Right, next we are going to move into our Can’t-Miss Moments segment of the show and these are moments that we were able to experience recently that we might have missed if we were still working at our regular, nine to five jobs.
SHANE: Today’s can’t-miss moment is, we took the kids for a weekend getaway to the mountains, and we actually rented an awesome cabin. It’s the first time we had ever taken the family to a cabin like this; it was a private cabin in a secluded little road off the kind of the beaten path from the main drag, and it was an awesome place because it had like a pool in the basement and it had a hot tub out on the deck. So, like we actually had our own private, indoor pool inside of this cabin and on the second floor had this awesome fireplace that you could see through, the fireplace was inside and outside, you could either be out on the back deck in rocking chairs by this fireplace where the kids could kind of lay in front of the fireplace and play their tablets and we just had an awesome weekend of just relaxing in this cabin. We would get up, eat breakfast, then go swimming, the kids would lay around and play, we would just hang out and do whatever we wanted to do: read, check out the internet, watch a couple of TV shows and it was just an awesome weekend to kind of unwind and have a little “introvert time” as Jocelyn likes to say.
JOCELYN: Yeah, introvert time is my favorite. It was a great weekend and the reason it was a can’t-miss moment for us is because, you know, this cabin was definitely more expensive than we would typically spend on somewhere to stay. I think it was like 700 dollars for two nights and that in my past life was real extravagance. I mean, even now, I’m just really practical person so I was like, “Should we really do this?” But we did –
SHANE: and me being the un-practical person; I’m like, yes, we can totally afford that now, why would we not do that?
JOCELYN: Yeah, so we did and we got the cabin, everybody had a great time and it was totally worth it. So, that’s the cool part about doing what we do now as we don’t have to worry so much about these little things. We used to stay in like the least expensive place we could find usually, and now we just stay where we want to stay and that is pretty cool.
SHANE: Before we go, we would like to close every one of our shows with a verse from the Bible. Today’s verse comes from Proverbs 10:2 and the Bible says, “Tainted wealth has no lasting value.” Keep that in mind while you are building your online business guys; always treat every customer with honesty and fairness. That’s all the time we have for this week; as always guys, thanks for listening to the Flip Lifestyle podcast and until next time, get out there, take action, do whatever it takes to flip your life. We’ll see you then.