Welcome to episode 010 of The Blogger Genius Podcast. My guest is Becky Mansfield from the blog, Your Modern Family.
Becky is one of the most talented blogger entrepreneurs I know. She know how to create products people want. For example, she turned a blog post about potty training into a bestselling book on Amazon.
She’s build seven different product lines that cover all aspects of motherhood, parenting, and family life.
Don’t miss this interview where we go deep into creating and selling products, the importance of your email list, and why making friends in your niche can really move the needle.
Some of these links may be affiliate.
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Transcript – How to Create Products People Want with Becky Mansfield
Intro: [00:00:03] Welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by Milo Tree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian: [00:00:11] Hi! Welcome to the show. Today, my guest is Becky Mansfield from the blog, Your Modern Family. Now, Becky is a therapist, an educator, a blogger and an entrepreneur. So welcome, Becky.
Becky: [00:00:26] Thank you.
Becky: [00:00:28] And Becky, we met maybe four years ago, three years ago at the BlogHer Food Conference and we were both there because we work with Bounty. So Becky, could you tell me how you started your blog, why you started it and when you started it?
She started her blog to help mom’s in her parenting group
Becky: [00:00:52] I started my blog in about 2012, and I started it because I was at a mom’s group meeting called Mops, and we were talking about organizing houses, and I was giving some organizing tips. And then one of the moms asked if I would just send them out in an e-mail. And so when I got home, I decided I’d just put it on a website and they could kind of look at it all the time.
Becky: [00:01:18] Not even really knowing what a blog was, I just knew that a website I could put it on, and it would stay there for them to look at whenever they wanted. And then once I did that and I sent it to them, I saw that there were way more people on it than I had sent it to, like maybe 75 friends.
Becky: [00:01:38] So then I kind of decided, “Well, maybe I’ll make something of this.” And I realized that you could make money, and I figured I’d try to make just enough to cover preschool costs at that time. And it’s kind of just grown from there.
Becky: [00:01:54] I stopped doing just organizing once I realized that I needed to branch out to work with brands, which took me a while to learn all this but yeah, that’s how it started.
Jillian: [00:02:03] Okay, so explain the genius behind your potty training book.
Her bestselling potty training book
Becky: [00:02:10] So it’s funny. I knew that it was something that – I think it started at that moms’ group too – was that I was asked just to speak about potty training because they, the moms, knew that I had trained our boys and so, we have three boys and then a little girl. And they knew that I had trained our sons really quickly, like in just a couple of days.
Becky: [00:02:34] And each of them, before they had turned two. Then I thought “If they want to know this, then other people are curious too.” So I wrote a post about it, and the post just went viral. And so then, it kind of sparked my idea to maybe write a book about it.
Jillian: [00:02:54] But here’s the thing that’s so brilliant, I don’t know what the post was called but the book is called Potty Train Your Kid in a Weekend, right? What parent does not want to potty train their kid in a weekend?
Becky: [00:03:09] I know, like before it’s done.
Jillian: [00:03:10] Yes, but I mean that was a genius marketing.
Becky: [00:03:16] It’s funny because I had talked with like three or four friends trying to come up with that title, and because potty training in three days is kind of everywhere online, and that’s what the post was, was potty training in three days. And so even when you would search for that, then the post would come up and not the book which I’ve now realized is to phrase it a little differently so that you’re the only one in that market. You know what I mean?
Becky: [00:03:42] So that when people are looking for that, it pops up. But the post will lead to it too for a potty training in three days, so it kind of covers all bases.
Jillian: [00:03:51] So wait. So okay, so you took this post, you saw that it was getting tremendous traffic and you said “I want to turn it into a book.”
Becky: [00:03:59] Yeah.
Jillian: [00:04:00] And then?
Becky: [00:04:01] Yeah, and then I just started writing and I wrote. Like every night, for an hour, after our kids were asleep, I would just sit down and write and write and write and at the time, I had just started blogging and my blog was like brand new when I decided to.
Becky: [00:04:17] So I didn’t even hired editors. I didn’t want to spend any money on it. So my goal for blogging has always been that I wouldn’t spend money that I hadn’t made. So I didn’t even have the money to do any of that stuff and I just wrote it over several months and then, I published it.
Jillian: [00:04:33] Where did you publish it?
Becky: [00:04:34] I just self-published on. Like I just had to PDF download. And it took a while to take off. Like I expected that people would buy it, I don’t know what I was thinking, like right away. And so it took a little while but pretty soon, it just spread through word of mouth and then sharing it on Facebook and then, it became a bestseller. And so once that happened, then I thought the part about this book that worked is that it’s solving someone’s problems.
Becky: [00:05:04] It’s something that will never go out of style and people are going to be potty training forever and it solves a problem that all parents will have at some point. And so then, that kind of led me to start thinking about ideas for other books and courses that… what’s something that will never stop, like what will always be trendy or whatever, and what’s something that parents are going to always need to know the answer to, and they want it right now.
Becky: [00:05:30] They want to potty trained their kids like today. And so kind of for everything else that they’ve done, like I have, say, a weight loss course because people want to lose weight today, and I have one on parenting because they want their kids to listen today. And so just the different things, just kind of trying to find the needs of parents and matching that up to a product that works for that.
Jillian: [00:05:50] That is so, again, brilliant which is looking for problems and figuring out how you can solve them. And then what you just did, which I loved about your potty training book, is you sold it. You got affiliates.
Becky: [00:06:06] I did. I think that was really helpful.
Jillian: [00:06:09] So can you explain what that means to people?
How to sell your products with affiliate sales
Becky: [00:06:11] Yes, so anybody that sells my book makes a percentage of it. So like if Jillian bought my book from, like say, –
Jillian: [00:06:21] Dana.
Becky: [00:06:21] – Dana. Okay, then Dana makes part of my book sale, like I give her part of what I made off of the book. So Jillian wouldn’t pay anymore but I just split my profit with Dana. So I always give 50 percent to my affiliates because, and I know that most people say to give 30 to 40 percent but I give 50 because I want them to feel like it’s worth it.
Becky: [00:06:50] So I get 50 percent affiliate, then they’re doing half the work. Like I wrote the book but if they didn’t get it out to their audience, those people wouldn’t buy it. So I just feel like it’s a good number to keep us both motivated.
Jillian: [00:07:04] For us, with MiloTree, we have an affiliate program, and we give 20 dollars for every signup even though our product is only nine dollars a month.
Becky: [00:07:16] Oh that’s awesome. Yeah.
Jillian: [00:07:17] Yeah, because we want people to know that we want you as a partner.
Becky: [00:07:22] That we need them. Yeah, that’s how I feel. I want them to know it. Without them, it wouldn’t work as well.
Jillian: [00:07:29] Yeah, and it’s because they believe in your product that they want to support it.
Becky: [00:07:34] Yes, exactly.
Jillian: [00:07:35] So do you continue to do that with the products that you create?
Becky: [00:07:40] I do. I do. So I have a lot of courses on Teachable and there, I give us each 48 percent because Teachable takes a little part of it until I get it on to my own website. The only downside I found with all this is finding like a store pretty much that you can sell all these things through. I think I’ve been through like four.
Jillian: [00:07:59] You mean online store that you put up on your blog?
Becky: [00:08:03] Yes.
Jillian: [00:08:03] Okay.
Becky: [00:08:04] So like I’ve had it on my blog with like Digital Downloads. I’ve had like eJunky, Shopify. I haven’t yet found anything that I truly love that I could say like, “This is definitely the way to go for all courses and books if you’re selling yourself.” But I’m working on it so I hope I find that thing.
Jillian: [00:08:22] So how do you like Teachable? So Teachable is software that you use to create courses.
Becky: [00:08:30] Yes. It is so easy for me to put anything on Teachable. So it’s almost like they’ve set up this space for you, this like blog-type space for you, and all you do is you go in and you import your information so that when people look at it, it shows like my clean eating course that shows 20 different kind of chapters, and you just click on one, you watch the video. Click on the next, watch video or read the text, whatever’s there.
Becky: [00:09:01] But I just like it because it’s somebody else doing the busywork of like they’re paying the affiliates, they’re getting the sign ups and taking care of all those things, and then I can tag people so that in my email list, if somebody signs up for my five dollar clean eating course, then I know that you tagged them as they’ve taken this course and then I know that I can upsell my 21-day wholefoods course.
Becky: [00:09:28] And then I can upsell a clean eating menu planning course for them after that because I can go into ConvertKit which is my email provider, and just see which people are tagged as which things. It just kind of gives me like my own little flow map of what they’re ready for next.
Jillian: [00:09:45] And are you finding that if somebody buys one of your courses, they’re more apt to buy the next one?
Why your email list matters… a lot!
Becky: [00:09:52] I do. So I take like a ton of pride in my email list and I really work at it.
Jillian: [00:09:59] What does that mean? Because I get your emails, and just from my end, what I find is that you’re so approachable. And you talk about your family and you. There’s never like a hard sell but you might put a link in at the bottom that says something like, “Hey, if you want more tips, check this out!”
Becky: [00:10:22] Yeah. That’s exactly how I do it. I’ve been really trying to grow my email list for a long time, and it’s paying off by just having the right lead magnets and things like that.
Jillian: [00:10:35] Can you explain what that magnet is?
How to set up lead magnets and funnels
Becky: [00:10:37] Yep, so a lead magnet is like literally like a magnet that it’s something that – Okay, so like let me walk you through just one of them. So say, the one that leads to a parenting course that I have. So my lead magnet is going to be – I have one on there that’s like 30 days, like one-on -one time with their child in 30 days. And it’s a calendar that has something different that they can do every day for 30 days, the child and the parent.
Becky: [00:11:05] So on the bottom of all my parenting post is this link that says “Hey, do you want this free calendar? It will give you something to do every day for the month with your child, for that one-on- one time,” and they click to download. They’ll click like “Yes, I want it,” and then it takes them to another page that says “Great. We’re so excited. Where should I send it? Could you enter your e-mail? I’ll send you this as well as emails pertaining to parenting.”
Becky: [00:11:31] And then they give me their email, and then, they automatically receive an email back that says, “Thanks so much. Here’s your first calendar, and let’s get started.” And then a couple of days later, I send another one that’s like, “Hey, do you find yourself being less patient than you want?” And then a couple days later, another one.
Becky: [00:11:52] And I have a funnel set up, like a sequence, so every few days, they’re getting an email and then once they’re done with those ones, that are automatically sent, say, after five emails, then they get put into a new list that says: “they’ve completed your parenting series, and they’re ready for your normal emails.
Becky: [00:12:12] So in my parenting series or my weight loss series or my potty train series, there are sequences. Like the third, fourth and fifth e-mail, I start introducing whatever product it is that I want to sell. So it would maybe say like, “I’m so excited you’ve taken these steps with me to spend more time with your kids. If you are interested in learning more, you might love this parenting manual 101.”
Becky: [00:12:37] And then it’s just like kind of an introduction. And then, I’d ask a question like, “What is it that you’re struggling with in parenting?” And then the next email I introduce it just a little more and then, the last one is usually like more of a push.
Becky: [00:12:51] And then they get put on another email sequence. So now, they’re just going to get my normal emails. So I really try to think of emails as a way that these people are inviting me into their home and they trust that I’m not going to take up their time with things that don’t matter.
Becky: [00:13:14] And so I just write. When I’m writing them, I just picture the people that is reading them so like my mom, my sister-in-law, my friends and that’s who I’m writing to.
Jillian: [00:13:25] That’s so funny because that is the tone. They’re not formal but they’re like chatty, like, “Hey, you know what happened to me this week with my kid?” it’s like a family newsletter.
Becky: [00:13:42] Well, my mom always calls and she says, “I just love to read your emails because I feel like I’m talking to you on the phone. It’s just you write them exactly like you talk.” So I hope I give out that tone.
Jillian: [00:13:53] You totally do.
Becky: [00:13:54] Good. I hope that because of it, people then see that I am just a normal person and that the things that I’m saying are things that I believe. And so then, it makes it easier to promote something like, say, I was promoting one of your products, it would be easier to just say, “Hey, my friend, Jillian, came up with this product, and you should check it out because I met her here and these are things we talked about. And I’ve taken this and I love it.”
Becky: [00:14:24] It’s just comes up. It’s just natural that I would be able to talk about something and then, that really produces good feedback and people generally click to check it out or they purchase it, and it has like a good return on investment just from putting the time into the newsletters.
Jillian: [00:14:44] So how many of these different kind of funnels or journeys have you set up?
Her seven email sales funnels
Becky: [00:14:48] I have seven. I have seven for Your Modern Family. And then, I have two for blogging, like people that want to learn to blog. And then like everyone’s, “Oh, wow.” I’ll set up a new tag. I have a lot of tags. Like since I clicked on this link, so next time that you promote it, promote it just with these people with a discount rate or whatever.
Becky: [00:15:19] So yeah but I have seven main because I have seven products that are the main products that I want to sell. And so I have one set up for each of my main products. And then as I have more products, then I’ll kind of sort those out, like take that flow map a little further and divide people more.
Becky: [00:15:37] And what I do is if they come into a general email, I usually set it up so that right away, I say I have like a picture of Harry Potter and it says “Hey, welcome. I want to play the sorting hat on you and decide where you go if you could click on which thing you’re interested in, I’ll be sure to send you only those things”, and then I have my main house, food, parenting so that they can just click the thing that they are most interested in.
Jillian: [00:16:04] That’s brilliant.
Becky: [00:16:11] I was sending a general email to everybody and then I realized, these people that are getting kid things, some of them were 50 or 60 years old without kids in the house, and I’m telling them about toddlers, and they were there to hear about cleaning and so, I decided I had to do something. So that’s when I sort of set up those different lists.
Jillian: [00:16:29] And what’s smart about that is that you can then create different products that relate to areas that you know about, things that you’re interested in and you don’t have to be so consistent, like I am only about toddlers.
Becky: [00:16:47] Right. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And it’s easy then because I can promote anything that comes to the table, so say, like there was somebody that was selling a cleaning product, that’s an easy one to promote my cleaning list. And if somebody is talking about a new pull up or whatever, I can promote that, which I actually never use pull ups on the kids. So it’s a funny example. But then, I could talk to that. So it’s easy that it works out the way that it does. It just makes things easier down the road.
The blog writing process
Jillian: [00:17:17] Could we talk about your process, because one thing that I love about you is that you just write? Can you talk about how that is because I know a lot of people struggle with writing, putting their voice out there, thinking they don’t know what to say, but you will sit down and just write.
Becky: [00:17:40] I do. So you mean like on the blog?
Jillian: [00:17:42] Or just any time you need to create.
Becky: [00:17:45] I do. I enjoy this part of. It’s funny because for me, like when people say that blogging takes so much time, and for me, it’s not the writing at all that takes time. It’s not the creating content that takes time. It’s just all the other stuff.
Becky: [00:18:03] I just like to sit down. Like today, I just sit down and write about whatever comes to mind. So like a lot of times, there’ll be things on my mind or somebody will say something that will spark a thought about “Oh gosh. That’s right. Like say getting rid of a pacifier.” I mean, that’s right. My niece got rid of it by putting it in a Build-A-Bear. And so that just kind of gives me ideas.
Becky: [00:18:26] I just write them out or if I feel inspired to tell somebody something, then I’ll just put it in a newsletter. And even if I don’t send it right then, I’ll save it. But I have so many posts just from that, because even if I don’t publish them right then, I just save them.
Becky: [00:18:42] It’s kind of like an online diary. And then I’d make sure that all my posts, I have to have like an aha moment. You know that Oprah used to say that?
Becky: [00:18:52] But I feel like all of my posts, I want them to have that or else, they could find that anywhere else online, which is why I have a hard time with guest contributors because a lot of times, it’ll just be like five ways to clean your house, but if it’s just the normal five ways, then what was the point of them coming to my blog? So I wanted to always have a special something, like a new way that they’ve never heard of.
Why every blog post needs an a-ha moment
Jillian: [00:19:15] So can you give me an example of an aha moment?
Becky: [00:19:18] So like putting your kids to bed, bananas apparently make your kids sleepy, so that would be one where I would say like, “the secret tips to putting your kids to bed” and I would list like nine normal things like routine, lavender and the like, and bananas. Did you know that those make your kids sleepy? Just things that I think you can’t, like if you’re reading something on Google, it wouldn’t be the first thing that you’d see.
Becky: [00:19:47] So I want something that they’re like, “I just never thought to do that.” There’s one that I’m writing on. I haven’t even started it yet but just today, I thought, we got a new refrigerator not so long ago, and I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to organize it. Today, I was like “Oh, I’m going write on organizing your refrigerator.”
Becky: [00:20:08] But then, something like turning your egg carton, like taking it, cutting it in half and turning it upside down and putting your ketchup and your mustard stuff in there upside down and like your syrup in there upside down.
Becky: [00:20:19] So it’s like “Does this make sense?” So then it doesn’t drip, and you’re able to keep it up without falling. So things like that that you wouldn’t normally see on organize your refrigerator, but that I think would be really helpful. And the people would say, “Now that’s something I want to tell my mom about or that’s what I want to share.”
Jillian: [00:20:40] That’s true. That’s terrific. Now, do you ever worry that people are judging you? I find you to be so prolific? So do you ever get stuck?
Becky: [00:20:56] I do. Oh my gosh. It’s funny because Mickey and I, my husband, took this parenting quiz to see what kind of personalities we were as parents. And mine was a pleaser, and his was – I forget what his was but it was like not a pleaser. It was more like wants things done his way which is so our personalities.
Learning from your negative feedback
Becky: [00:21:19] So I often worry about. I mostly worry. I don’t want to offend anybody when I write. So one time I sent out a post, I sent out a newsletter that was titled: “How to un-spoil your child”, and I meant it in such a general way, like if our kids are acting spoiled, here’s what we can do.
Becky: [00:21:39] And somebody wrote back and said, “I’m so disappointed that you would think that my kids are spoiled. You don’t even know them.” Oh my gosh, I did not mean it to come out like that. So I read and reread and have my husband read things like that before I put them out there because I’m always just afraid that I would disappoint somebody or hurt somebody feelings.
Becky: [00:22:02] I just never mean to. And then like other bloggers, I worry about that too. I’m the complete opposite of anybody that wants any sort of competition at all so I feel like if somebody is competing in any way, I usually just back down because I don’t want there to be any kind of weird feelings or anything like that. So I don’t give my opinion when it’s not asked, and things like that just because I like to keep the peace.
How her process works
Jillian: [00:22:32] Got it. How does your process work? How many blog posts a week are you writing? If it’s every week, how many newsletters are you sending?
Becky: [00:22:46] So I try to send a newsletter every week to each group, which ends up being an awful lot, but I can combine some, so I would maybe do like combine my house and food lists.
Becky: [00:22:58] Here’s just a story about house and cleaning and cooking or something. And so newsletters, I’d say I send three a week maybe and then blog post, I usually do one a day. Lately, I’ve been doing one every other day because I’m getting a lot of sponsored posts which is wonderful.
Becky: [00:23:18] I like sponsored posts but they take more time than normal. So if I was just to sit down, say I have like no posts for the week that were due, then I would probably just sit down and write a post every day just because I enjoy doing that.
Becky: [00:23:33] But if I have a sponsored post, like this week, I had six. So now they weren’t due. I mean I didn’t have to post them all this week but I had to write all the content this week and send them to the right people, the drafts.
Finding old content and updating it
Becky: [00:23:46] And so because that took so much time, then I didn’t really have the time to do the other things that I wanted to do like write new content. So then on those days, I just published something from a few years ago, and I’ll update it or I’ll just change it.
Becky: [00:24:01] Nd at the beginning, I’ll say “I shared this a few years ago, and I thought that it would be helpful again today” or something like that because the truth of it is that I have like 3000 post that are published or 2500, and most people that read those posts haven’t read them all.
Becky: [00:24:18] And if they have, which I think it’s only my mom, then they’re not going to remember what I wrote a year ago, and it’s going to be new to them.
Jillian: [00:24:26] Wouldn’t you say that your audience, let’s say you have a lot of new moms. Well, five years ago, they might not have been moms.
Becky: [00:24:35] That’s so true. Yeah, everybody changes, and yeah, that’s a really good point. So I feel like when you republish, it’s not doing, I mean update the pictures if they need it but it takes no time, and it’s something new.
Becky: [00:24:47] A lot of times, what happens is I’ll go in to like February from three years ago and I’ll see like what did I publish this time three years ago? And it will be relevant again and now, I’ve forgotten about it completely. It gives me a new chance to re-promote everywhere and things like that.
Jillian: [00:25:05] So can we talk about social media because you’re the person who opened my eyes to the power of Facebook. Now, I’d love to know how that’s changed for you. And I will be honest and say that Facebook has never really connected for Catch my Party but for your content, –
Becky: [00:25:31] It would just be better on Pinterest.
Jillian: [00:25:32] Yeah, exactly. So could you talk about social media, how you think about it, how you promote your stuff?
Social media strategy
Becky: [00:25:41] So it’s funny because I wrote a post, and I put it out on Facebook, and it was called “The Scary Truth about our Kids” or “The Scary Thing.” Gosh. Now, I can’t remember the title but like: “The Scary Truth about our Kids,” and it’s about technology and what technology does to our children and just different things about how it makes them feel.
Becky: [00:26:07] And I didn’t plan for it. I hadn’t done the SEO work on it. I didn’t give it a title that I felt was really compelling or told anybody what the story was going to be about, but it was one that had been on my mind and on my heart. So I just wrote it.
Becky: [00:26:22] I put it out on Facebook, and it just went crazy. And in the first month, it brought in around like 4.8 million page views just that month. And it just has grown ever since. And so it’s still is doing well months later. And I think that what it is is because with Facebook, I think that it’s the stories that touch your heart.
Becky: [00:26:47] Like I could put out kitchen hack and I just don’t think that that’s going to do well on Facebook, like the day that I watch my child grow up or the last time I carried my child or whatever. Those are the ones that I think really do well on Facebook because they are the ones that people – It speaks to their heart. .
Becky: [00:26:47] It really speaks to them as people and makes them want to share because when you feel those big emotions, then you’re ready to share them with other people. So I think Facebook, for me, has been really great because most of my content is parenting. And so because of that, Facebook’s been a really great road for me to share things on.
Jillian: [00:27:34] What other social networks are important to you?
Becky: [00:27:38] Well, definitely Pinterest because I have, just for all my other stuff, like food and cleaning. Instagram, I like because I can kind of give them a peek at my real life but I don’t really do much blogging on Pinterest. It’s more like what’s going on with our family.
Jillian: [00:27:56] You mean Instagram.
Becky: [00:27:58] Oh yeah, did I say Pinterest? Yeah, Instagram. It’s just like little snapshots here and there. And then of course, like the sponsors, they want you to put things on there. That’s fine with me too because everybody that follows me knows that I’m a blogger. And I don’t really do much with Snapchat. I just don’t know why I’ve never really gotten into that.
Becky: [00:28:17] And then Twitter, I use it really just to promote post and for bloggers – I mean for sponsors that come and retweet things that friends have written that are also bloggers. But I’d say my biggest ones are Pinterest and Facebook and then, Google brings in a lot of traffic as well.
Jillian: [00:28:36] Now, the one thing that you taught me was for like Facebook, for example, to work with other people. And are you still doing that?
Becky: [00:28:46] I do. I don’t think I will ever stop. So what I’m saying before about how I don’t want to get into it, like I don’t want to ever be confrontational. I don’t want to ever be competitive. In the same sense, I love to work with other people. I love to help other people. And I like when those online friendships also benefit your business.
Jillian: [00:29:14] What do you mean by that?
Working with blogger friends to promote each other’s work
Becky: [00:29:14] The majority of the bloggers that I’m friends with, we promote each others’ things or we’ll swap things like, “Hey, can I write this for you in exchange for whatever?” So I still will find people that have bigger Facebook pages than I do and I’ll ask them likem “Can I write a parenting post for you in exchange for a share of this post that’s doing well?” or “Is there anything that you need me to do in exchange for a post?” or with working on my SEO right now, like I’ll reach out to people and –
Jillian: [00:29:55] Wait. I’m going to have to ask you to stop. SEO. Search engine optimization, which is where you make your content Google-friendly so Google finds it, it likes it, and it will show up in search results.
Becky: [00:30:09] Yep. So in order for my things to show up more often, if other bloggers have links back to my stuff so if I had a parent post and Jillian shared a link to it on her blog, like “Yesterday Becky was talking about this and it reminded me of a story,” she’d link to me when she was talking about it, then it’s going to help me with SEOs.
Becky: [00:30:33] I might rank a little higher. So I’ll reach out to other people. Now, I only ask friends. I wouldn’t reach out to a random blogger but I’ll ask friends if I can, “Do you want to swap a link or do you want to swap some shares on Facebook?” or “Hey, you want to join each others’ Pinterest groups and be able to pin to them whenever?” and things like that.
Becky: [00:30:59] I have some arrangements set up where I will write content for bloggers that have bigger Facebook pages than I do and in exchange, they’ll give me Facebook shares which is amazing. And then I have like Pinterest groups that I work with other people on.
Becky: [00:31:20] In the same way, I have people that do things for me for shares or for pins. But I think being open to working with other bloggers is and not feeling ever like we’re too good or not good enough to work with other people.
Becky: [00:31:41] I think that no matter how big or small your blog is, you can always do something with someone else. So my mom, last week, she told me that she had read an article. We have this local magazine in our town, and she had read an article from a doctor. This doctor had talked with the people of the magazine. They asked her what was like one big piece of advice that helped you forever, and she said “Well, my mom told me one time that everybody in this world has something to teach you and learn from them.”
Becky: [00:32:17] Now, that is so good because how many people do we talk to that could so easily teach us something? It doesn’t have to be this huge profound thing. It can be something simple. And like blogging, as long as you and I have, we know so much but there’s so much that we don’t know. And so just to work with other people or say like, “Hey, can I pick your brain for like 10 minutes? In exchange, I’ll help you with whatever you need.”.
Becky: [00:32:44] But just sometimes, you just need that outside person to say, “Oh my gosh. You should be doing this.” So I have one friend. She’s not a blogger but she does work online and when I’m feeling like I need to do something different or want to do something, then I’ll just ask her, “Do you have like a few minutes so we can talk?”
Giving yourself financial challenges
Becky: [00:33:03] The last time I was taking our family to Disney, and I wanted to raise the whole Disney fund. I wanted it to be paid for with a new product. So I said, “Do you think you can help me think up a product that would pay for the Disney trip?” And we were going in like a month or something like that.
Becky: [00:33:23] I like to give myself challenges like that. Well, let me finish that story but I like to do that. Like I’m buying this, how can I pay for that without it being what I’ve already made? What new thing can I make that’s going to just take care of that?
Becky: [00:33:38] So anyway, I talked to her for five, 10 minutes and she said, “Well, you have your clutter book. You should turn that into a course.” And I thought “Oh, that’s a good idea.” And so we kind of like talked about it and then, that night, I started it and it was so easy because I’d already had the book. I turned it into a course, and the course sold.
Becky: [00:33:59] I sold like one a minute at the time that I launched it for a while, and it was amazing to me that it was the same thing, just different, but because it was more convenient to watch it, of course, people wanted it, and people pay for convenience all the time. It was an amazing way to just kind of reach out to other people and be able to hear what they have to say, and that always sparks some kind of idea.
Jillian: [00:34:26] I have to say, I so agree. I think that if you’re a blogger, you kind of understand karma in a way that you might not, because it’s real especially in our world. The more you give, the more you receive and the more you do it with not necessarily assuming there’ll be something back, the more you get back.
Becky: [00:34:56] I cannot agree more. I think it’s definitely true.
Jillian: [00:35:00] It teaches you about things like competitiveness because it really is that you and I could help each other, and even if we were in the same space, we could still help each other and not see each other as competitors.
Becky: [00:35:18] Yes. No, it’s so true. And I notice that so much, you’ll notice that like a lot with Facebook, I feel like it’s where I see it come through a lot that it’s somebody. If I share something to someone just because I think it’s a great post or whatever, that they comment or they’ll message or they’ll share something in return, and you don’t do it for those reasons but then, you think like it’s so nice .
Becky: [00:35:46] Almost like you feel appreciated that somebody shared your things so you want to do the same just to show them that, “Oh, thank you for doing that”, whatever. I definitely think, like you said, karma’s real in the real world.
Jillian: [00:35:58] I keep learning it over and over again. Like the more I give, the more I receive.
Becky: [00:36:04] Yes. Yeah. It’s true.
Jillian: [00:36:06] So if you had one piece of advice to somebody who is just starting out, what would it be, or that you’d wish you knew then?
Advice: Start an email list
Becky: [00:36:22] I would say, I have a few. Technical side of things, I would say start an email list from the get go and don’t be afraid to send emails. Just send them, and don’t worry about it because I think that down the road, we will need that more when the Facebook algorithms and the Pinterest algorithms and all that changes, and our things are being seen by people less often.
Becky: [00:36:49] I think that having a direct line of communication to people is really important. And so, I think email is the way to go for that. And then I would say, don’t hold back with things. My most viral posts ever, like all my top posts have gone viral have been ones that have just been like I hadn’t really thought about it, I just wrote it, and that was it.
Becky: [00:37:13] I put it out there online. I had another one called “Mommy, will you lay with me?” A friend of family’s son passed away. And the next day, I just was so sad about it and I thought just breaks my heart. And so every night, when our kids are saying, “Mommy, can you lay in my bed and lie down with me?” and you think like you just want to say, “Just another minute,” but that time could pass, and you don’t get that time back.
Becky: [00:37:46] And so I was just thinking about it, and I decided I was going to write about it. And so I wrote and put it out there, and it did so well. And so I think just writing those things and seeing with all my posts have done well, they’ve just been ones that I didn’t do research on. I didn’t think about them. I just wrote them and shared them. And then my last tip is that images matter so much.
Images on your blog post matters
Jillian: [00:38:10] What do you mean?
Becky: [00:38:11] So for example, I have a post about how clutter in your house can lead to stress, that you feel stressed because of clutter. Now, it might not be most people, but for me, I like our house to be clean and picked up and organized, and so if I feel like the house is messy, like I don’t mind when the kids are playing wherever, but if I feel like the kitchen is a mess, then that just makes me feel a little bit stressed and just out of sorts.
Becky: [00:38:43] So I looked up about if there was really a correlation between stress and clutter and if clutter really caused people to be sad or stressed. And it was true. So I wrote this post about it, and I cited these different people that were talking about it. I put it online with a picture, like a picture of a mess or something like that, like a messy house and it didn’t do too well.
Becky: [00:39:09] I thought “Okay. Well, let’s think about what is it I want it to look.” The picture was too stock photo. You know what I mean? And I think the pictures have to look like somebody just took them in your house, like somebody came in and saw that you like had your hands over your head and you’re looking at your mess and you think like “Oh, man. This is such a mess” but not like staged. “Oh, no.” Just like really that you were in that moment. And so I found a picture that said that to me, and I switched it out.
Becky: [00:39:39] I went to Facebook debugger to switch it so that Facebook would recognize the new image. And I switched it all out and then put it back online, and it just went crazy. It was shared so much, and the traffic on it went so much higher. And just knowing that that the picture that told people “this was real life” compared to “this is a picture that was taken in a studio,” I think that matters.
Jillian: [00:40:09] I was just going to say the photo though that you ultimately used was a stock photo, but it was a better stock photo.
Becky: [00:40:15] It was and I always do use stock photos. I mean, I’m not a photographer. That’s definitely not my forte. And so I almost always use stock photos for my feature images. And I lately have started even screenshotting the purchase part of it, because I don’t want to get caught up in what I’ve heard so many people getting caught up in, where they took down some images or something.
Becky: [00:40:41] So now, I want to have proof that I’ve purchased that image, but a lot of times, almost always, I use a stock photo. A lot of times, I’ll even take a picture that is just like someone’s hands or something so that it looks like it could be my family which is another thing that I try. I didn’t used to do this. But lately, probably the past years though, I do try to use people that could be our family, so maybe it’s a lady from the back with longer hair that maybe could be me.
Becky: [00:41:14] Not to trick people into thinking that it’s me but just because I want it to make more sense when I’m telling a story about my kids, and it really came from an email that I got back when I sent a post out and somebody wrote back and said: “this post would be so much better if it was believable that it was your family, but because the picture is so clearly not, then it was really hard for me to picture it.”
Becky: [00:41:36] And that makes so much sense that they’re trying to picture me in this situation, and if I have like a mom with short black hair and mine is like long and light brown, then it looks like it doesn’t match. So now, I just try to have something that they could possibly be from our family or that isn’t really a person at all.
Becky: [00:41:59] Maybe it’s just like a picture of something else. I don’t always follow through with that because they’ll still see a picture and think, “Oh, man. That’s a good one,” and I’ll just grab it. But if I’m trying to be more thoughtful about it, or if I really want that post to do really well, then I’ll do that. We’ll like cut out part of their face so it’s just their eyes or stuff about that.
Jillian: [00:42:20] You’re storytelling through images.
Becky: [00:42:23] Yes, exactly. That’s a good way to put it.
Jillian: [00:42:25] That’s so cool. What about your business right now are you most excited about?
Becky: [00:42:32] Well, so much. I have some projects that I want to do better at. What I want to do better at is things like Facebook ads, and all those technical things that I think “I really need to learn these,” and then I think, “They’re going to take so much time to learn. When do I have time?”
Becky: [00:42:59] Because I really only work from like 9 to 12 in the morning when our daughter is at preschool. Our sons are in school all day but our daughter’s only in school for three hours. I work during those three hours. And then, again, in the evening, I checked my email all day long because if I get a sponsor post and don’t respond, sometimes, they’ll write back and feel like “Oh, man. I’m sorry. Those were filled.”
Becky: [00:43:21] So I don’t have so much time that I can dive into learning new things all the time. I always do want to learn new things, so that’s my struggle. Things I’m working on is I’m working on a positive parenting course, just because I, as a teacher and play therapist, I’m not a yeller by nature.
Becky: [00:43:45] And it’s funny because people always say, “Oh, you’re so calm.” I don’t see myself as calm but I guess because I don’t yell when it comes to circumstances. I’m like a worrier too. So that’s I guess why I don’t think calm because I’m always like, “Oh, no. I hope everybody’s okay today.”
Becky: [00:44:01] But I decided that because I was getting so much feedback on people saying that they liked how I handled things, I thought that’s good. The problem that people were having that they want a solution to –
Jillian: [00:44:15] I do have to stop you here for one sec. I love what you just said, which is people are giving you feedback that you seem really calm in your parenting and you’re like, “I will make a course on that.”
Jillian: [00:44:27] I didn’t know this was a trait you had but because you’re listening and because your audience is talking to you, and because you’re listening with that intention of what are people wanting from me, or how are they seeing me and how can I help them, you’re like “I can do this.”
Becky: [00:44:48] Yes, so the girl that I was talking today that sparks ideas for me. I was telling her how I had negative comments, and it hurt my feelings, but it kind of made me see things differently.
Becky: [00:45:03] And she said, “Oh, that’s such a good point that when you see negative things, you can learn so much from them,” which I think is funny because the lesson is when we see a mean comment or whatever, we just automatically delete it or don’t look at it, but if we can learn from it first and then delete it, then I think it really gives us a lot of feedback as to like, “Okay, well, if they’re seeing this, what’s to say that 50 percent of my audience isn’t reading the same tone or whatever?”.
Becky: [00:45:30] So maybe I do need to go back and look at that. But yes, I just try to take what they give, and then if it’s something that I think more than one person is going to be interested in, then it can always become a post or this product. So I want to work on that course, and then, I’m also doing like Bloggers Tell-All with a group of eight girls. It’s funny because it started –
Jillian: [00:45:56] So wait, will you tell people what that is?
Bloggers Tell All membership site
Becky: [00:45:59] OK. So Bloggers Tell-all, it started that I was invited to this Facebook Mastermind group with seven other women. And I thought, “Oh, that’s nice. They invited me,” because some of them have like 7 million page views a month or 5 million Facebook followers. And thought my Facebook isn’t nearly that and so I thought “Well, okay.”
Becky: [00:46:26] Well, I enjoyed it because that was a honor to be asked. And then once I got in there and I started seeing how we all literally have such different strengths and it’s funny because like we said before, you learn from other bloggers and I felt like we’re all kind of like experts in different areas, that we’ve studied different areas so much and so we decided we would get together in Nashville last year just to meet and talk and grow each other’s blogs through sharing what we’ve learned over the years.
Becky: [00:47:01] And so while we were there, I said, “Gosh, wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall if you were somebody that was just starting a blog and kind of listened to our stories?” And then one of the other girls was like “Oh, man. We should definitely do something with that. So then we just decided we would start something where bloggers tell everything.
Becky: [00:47:23] So we called it Bloggers Tell-all and right now, it’s a membership group, and we have bloggers that are new and bloggers that are have been blogging longer than we have, and that our goal is to grow that into something more, so helping new bloggers and helping seasoned bloggers.
Becky: [00:47:42] So it’s a new adventure but I’m really excited about it. I just think it’s exciting because I like the people that I’m working with, and I like learning from other people, so I’m learning from them everyday. And I’m learning from the different people in the group, and I’m really excited about it.
Jillian: [00:47:58] That’s wonderful. And if you join the membership, what do you get?
Becky: [00:48:02] It’s so funny because we had started where we just were doing that they get access to our Facebook group and they get like one or two things in the course, like we thought, “Oh, we should put this in there. We should put this in.”
Becky: [00:48:14] Well, now, we have grown our library of like what’s in the membership group to everything. Because like I said, there’s eight of us, and we all kind of have that personality of what you and I have, like “let’s help everybody do things for others.” So we have done live trainings on everything that we can think of, and we have a live training set up for the next few months of every couple days doing live trainings and then, we save the videos into the library.
Jillian: [00:48:44] That’s terrific.
Becky: [00:48:46] And then we have how to pitch a sponsor, how to reply back to a sponsor, how to get organized, everything you can think. I just can’t even think of it because we really have put so much into it. And I just see it growing more and more because these ladies are really generous, nice people, and so they just want to help other people grow their blogs because we’ve all seen it change our lives.
On creating the life you want
Becky: [00:49:13] Like I used to work and Mickey. I didn’t work at all after I was a teacher. So I taught and then, I had kids, and then I was just home and Mickey is working everyday to support the six of us. When I started the blog and it was doing okay at the beginning, I was like, “Well, this is nice because now, I was still doing play therapy a few days a week, and I can cut back on those hours because I’m working from home.” And then, it just kept growing to now where my husband is home with me, and we just work from home, and it’s just been this huge life change. So I feel like if other people can be happy…
Jillian: [00:49:48] We could all have that. I feel the same way.
Becky: [00:49:48] Yes. Let’s just all be happier.
Jillian: [00:49:52] I feel like my husband and I, we’re good partners. But the fact that we get to be home with our daughter, set our own schedule, there’s nothing better.
Becky: [00:50:08] Mickey and I are high school sweethearts and I had said from the beginning that one day I’m going to do something that will make you work from home, and I always thought maybe I’d invent something. I didn’t know what it was, but I’d never considered this as an option. So now that it’s true, I was like, “Oh my gosh. Can you believe that this is the life that we get to live?”
Becky: [00:50:28] With four kids, it’s hard to do everything. And he was not getting to go to anything. He was missing their sporting event, and he wasn’t going to get to go to their school. So I’m like, “Now, we get to do everything.
Jillian: [00:50:38] Well, that’s it. When my daughter was born, my husband worked at MySpace during the whole heyday, and he missed out on that first year, and it hurt his heart. So as soon as he could work from home, he was so much happier.
Becky: [00:50:57] Oh, I know. Like just even those Christmas programs he couldn’t get to, he was like, “I can’t leave, babe. It’s the end of the month. I can’t come to those.” And because he works in finance, the end of the month was always a big deal, and he was working on Saturdays until 2 or something. It was awful. He was working all the time.
Becky: [00:51:14] And he wasn’t happy. If he was working and he loved it or something, it would be different, but he was working, and he was thinking about being home with us. And so yeah, so to just be able to say, “Okay, we found something, and it’s working, and let’s run with it.” And it’s scary when they first quit to stay home with you, you’re like, “Oh, I hope this is going to work out.”
Jillian: [00:51:33] I think it’s always scary. I don’t think it ever loses that. I mean you get more comfortable. You kind of assume there’ll be money next month but it is that leap of faith.
Becky: [00:51:45] Right and you don’t know, like how newspapers went out, I’m like, “Well, what if blogging goes out one day?” But for that reason, that’s why we do so many different things.
Becky: [00:51:53] So I’m like, “It’s okay because if blogging stops, we have book sales, and it’s okay because if book sales stop, I have courses and if that stops, I have this new like Bloggers Tell-all.” I have all these different avenues that will hopefully all be profitable one day, really profitable but for now, some of them feel, “It’s okay because we have back up.”
Jillian: [00:52:12] And also, I believe that if you can create, if you’re an idea person, you’ll always have more ideas.
Becky: [00:52:21] Me too. And that’s what I tell him, I’m like don’t worry. When he starts to worry about like, “What if in 10 years?”, I’m like, “Don’t worry because if blogging would stop, how hard would it be for me to say I can help somebody else with something,” because the ideas kind of come. So I agree with you.
Becky: [00:52:39] It’s like we’re always inventing something, and so we can always move to what’s next. And if you keep up with the trends, I think that we’ll all be fine, kind of keeping up with what’s happening and moving along with the times instead of trying to not change.
Jillian: [00:52:55] Oh I think that is very powerful, very true. So Becky, how can people find out about you, learn more about you, connect with you?
Becky: [00:53:05] You can email me at Your Modern Family.
Jillian: [00:53:08] OK so it’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
Becky: [00:53:10] Yep, or just Facebook. I set up on the Your Modern Family Facebook page an autoresponder for messages because I never was remembering to check them.
Jillian: [00:53:24] And the message actually says “Please e-mail me.”
Becky: [00:53:28] That’s smart.
Jillian: [00:53:28] Because I won’t remember to check.
Becky: [00:53:28] That’s so smart.
Jillian: [00:53:31] I was just like, “Oh, man. I forget every day.”
Becky: [00:53:36] But yeah anything, just feel free to, anytime, ask questions. I’m always open to answering questions.
Jillian: [00:53:41] So Becky, thank you so much for being on the show.
Becky: [00:53:44] Thanks for having me.
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