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#191: How To Grow a Successful Business as a One-Woman Show

If you are wondering how to grow a successful business as a one-woman show, this is the episode for you.

Today I’m talking with Lisa Steele from Fresh Eggs Daily. She started a successful business around raising chickens. Her Facebook page turned into a blog. Her blog got her a book deal (she’s coming out with her fifth book in 2022) and a TV show. And now she sells her own line of chicken supplements on Amazon and Chewy

We talk all about:

  • How she accidentally started her business after giving people advice on chickens
  • How the pandemic has been a boon for her business
  • How books don’t make you rich, but give you credibility
  • The ins and outs of selling products on Amazon
  • What her blogging and social media. schedule looks like
  • Why you don’t need to always create new content, but update the content you have

If you want to know how Lisa runs such a successful business all by herself, don’t miss this episode!

How To Grow a Successful Business as a One-Woman Show | MiloTree.com

Show Notes:

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Jillian Leslie 0:04
Welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.

Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the Blogger Genius Podcast. I am your host, Jillian Leslie. And if you know anything about me, you know, I love building businesses on the internet with my husband, David, that help creators monetize.

And that’s what we’re rolling out our new product it’s called MiloTree Easy Payments. So, I have a challenge for you. Is there a membership you’ve been thinking about starting? Or is there a one-time live class you’ve been thinking of teaching?

Well, with MiloTree Easy Payments, we help you monetize your memberships, your classes, you lead them wherever you want, we just help you get paid. Simple as that. If this sounds interesting to you, head to milotree.com/betatester.

And I will be sure to email you as soon as we go live, very soon. So, milotree.com/betatester.

For today’s episode, I have Lisa Steele on the show. And she is the blogger creator behind Fresh Eggs Daily. She is a fifth generation chicken keeper, and she is a master gardener. She writes books.

She sells supplements for chickens, she is really living the life. And this is definitely an episode about how you can grow a very large business in a very narrow niche. And Lisa is a one woman show wait till you hear how she has put her whole business together.

So, without further delay, here is my interview with Lisa Steele. Lisa, welcome to the show.

Lisa Steele 2:03
Hey, thanks for having me.

Jillian Leslie 2:05
You reached out to me and said, “Hey, I have this interesting story.” And I looked at what you’re doing. And it is really interesting. And you’ve built an entire business around chickens.

So, would you share how you did this? What your entrepreneurial journey is like and where you are today?

Building a Business with Chickens

Lisa Steele 2:23
Yeah. It just kind of happens. Honestly, I can’t say that I had a plan, or had any intention of building a business or a brand or anything. We got chickens about 12 years ago, I was in between jobs. My husband was in the Navy. So, we bounced around.

And it’s hard to have a career when you’re moving around all the time. So, I kind of was at loose ends and got chickens on a whim and started a Facebook page that was like in the early days of Facebook and started posting things.

And it was sort of a right time, right place, right message moments. It was the recession, a lot of people were gardening, raising chickens getting into all that sort of stuff.

And because I had a family history of doing this, I guess I had retained and knew more than I thought I did. So, people started asking me questions. And I started answering questions. And that led to a blog, which was basically just started to be an archive of all this information.

I didn’t have to keep, typing the same thing into Facebook, every day. I figured I just write like 20 top questions, I’d write up a blog post, and I could just refer to those.

And now 12 years later, and 600-something posts later, it’s turns into this thing that’s bigger than I expected. But after the blog, came a book, and then another book and another book and a TV show and a product line, and it just has snowballed.

And at this point, I don’t even think I could stop it if I wanted to.

Jillian Leslie 3:52
Wow. What I love about the business you’ve built is talking about niche. You are for people who probably don’t know a lot about chickens who are thinking, “Hey, my neighbors have chickens. Maybe I want chickens. How do I even start?”

Am I right? So, you’re like, do you start with like the beginning person thinking about chickens?

Lisa Steele 4:17
So, I do. Back then in 2009, that was what it was. It was a lot of people who were just getting into it. And it was sort of the soccer moms and the suburban backyards and all that. So, it was a lot of new people.

And then as the years went on with people that have been following me for five or six years. And so, the conversation just sort of changed and it was more advanced. And we were just talking about different things.

And then with COVID all of a sudden it was like we were set back to 2009 because a whole bunch more people got chickens. So, now it was a lot of new beginners. A lot of new followers. People who had never had chickens before and didn’t follow me before.

So, last year was just huge. The whole chicken thing just blew up and I don’t know that there’s anyone out there who either doesn’t have chickens, want chickens or know someone who has chickens.

It went from maybe like, I don’t know, 5% of the population to having them, to a lot more people.

Starting with a Facebook Page

Jillian Leslie 5:12
Wow. So, you start with your blog, and you start writing blog posts. And then did you start promoting what you were doing? How did people find you?

Lisa Steele 5:26
It was mostly from Facebook in the beginning, since I was in on, more towards the early end, my Facebook page grew really, really fast. And I ended up with like, half a million followers in no time.

And honestly, I have to say that’s something that I think would be almost impossible today. Even if you try to boost and promote and pay for ads and everything, because Facebook has just changed, and I’ve throttled back.

And nobody is seeing my stuff anymore. I was in another time when it was growing really, really fast. I was on track for a million followers, easy. And then maybe three or four or five years ago, it all just screech to a halt.

And I’m not going to pay them. I have zero advertising or marketing budget; I’m not going to pay a platform to promote my stuff. When, as the page owner, I am actually promoting the platform, I am driving people to that platform.

Everyone has gotten tired of seeing their old high school boyfriend’s kids or their friend soccer matches or whatever. It’s the pages that are offering advice and information and entertainment, and we’re drawing people to those platforms.

So, I’m not going to pay them to show my stuff.

How To Grow a Successful Business as a One-Woman Show | MiloTree.com

Get On To Social Media Platforms That Are Growing

Jillian Leslie 6:37
And I think that what you’re saying is really true. So, for Catch My Party, we have an enormous Instagram page. And people say, “How’ did you do it? Did you pay? Are these real followers?”

And I’m like, “Yeah.” And we got on the platform early, when there was tremendous growth. And we could never get there today. So, that’s where when you’re sitting here pulling your hair out going, why isn’t my Facebook group growing?

Why isn’t my Instagram growing? It’s like, there are these windows. And a lot of it is kind of luck and getting on there. And for example, now I recommend getting onto TikTok.

Lisa Steele 7:14
Unfortunately, yeah.

Jillian Leslie 7:15
Being where people are, or if you’re going to do Instagram be doing Reels, like where the platforms are saying, here’s where the growth is, jumping into that.

But not to expect that I could start a Facebook page today or Facebook group, and it’s going to grow like gangbusters. It just doesn’t?

Lisa Steele 7:34
Well, absolutely not. I agree. Because you’re right, doing what I do, or you do or what anybody does, really, you need to keep up with the platforms and what’s new, and what’s coming and what they want.

And without killing yourself, because you can kill yourself trying to keep up with the algorithm. There are too many people who just pick one platform, and you can’t do that. You have to be on all of them to some degree, and then focus on what’s working for you.

But I did start a group when they said it was all about groups. And I spent a lot of time trying to move people over to my group.

And at first it was growing pretty well. But now I’ve noticed the people that are asking to join my group, they belong to 100 or 200 other groups. Early on, they would belong to maybe three groups, so now even the group thing is saturated.

I was late to Instagram. So, I made it to 100,000, finally. I didn’t think I was ever going to get there because I was late to the Instagram game, I have to admit and you’re right. If you’re not in at the beginning, it’s very, very, very difficult.

I’m not saying you can’t do it. But you’re going to work really, really hard to get a huge following.

Jillian Leslie 8:39
I want to talk about two things. I want to talk about how you monetize. And then I want to talk about books and how you got into writing books. So first, will you go through the different ways you currently monetize your business?

And will you rank them in order of where you make your most money and go down that way.

Lisa Steele 8:59
Sure. So again, I didn’t start this with any intention of it becoming a way to earn a living or a brand or business or anything. But I had started my blog, and I guess I was a few months in.

And another blogger mentioned to me that you could put ads on your blog, and people would pay you for them. So, I have a degree in Accounting, Business Administration. So, of course the light bulb went off, and maybe I could earn a little money here.

Reaching Out to Brands as Sponsors

So, I started reaching out to some brands that I already use their products and like their products, and I think I was charging like $10 a month maybe, that first year, and I got maybe 10 ads.

So, I was making $100 a month from my blog and I was thrilled. I mean this was wonderful. And then it took me a couple more years to realize that ad networks were the way to go. I forget which one I started with. Anyway, I’m with media vine now.

And they’re really profitable once your blog gets some decent traffic. I do have a lot of sponsored ads on my blog now. And I do charge a lot more than $10 a month now. So, it’s pretty much neck and neck between the direct sponsored ads and the Mediavine ads.

And that’s probably my number one revenue stream because there’s no expensive attached to it. Which is nice.

Jillian Leslie 10:20
Have you gone out to these brands to say, “Come advertise.” Have they reached out to you the ones where you’re selling directly to a brand?

Lisa Steele 10:30
At first, I reached out to them. And at first, I actually was working for product, which I recommend, no one ever, ever, ever, ever, ever do. Instagram has just become a cesspool of influencers.

So, thrilled that a brand actually noticed them, that they’ll basically sell their life for a product, which your time is worth money. And you have to remember that you might be the little guy now working for product.

But you’re taking dollars away from someone who’s bigger, and one day you’re going to be bigger, hopefully. And then you’re going to be cursing all these little people who will work, for a $10 product. So, never work for product, always demand to be paid.

That’s just a little side note. So, then as time went by, and I got larger, and became more well known in the chicken keeping field. I have brands coming to me and I turned down way more than I accept them.

I’m pretty picky about who I work with. Because, it’s my reputation. And, I just want to work with like the best of the best.

Jillian Leslie 11:28
So, you’ve got ads, both through Mediavine and ads that you have put up yourself for other brands that you work with directly. Okay, where else are you monetizing?

Lisa Steele 11:40
Okay, so I don’t do sponsored blog posts. I rarely do sponsored, Instagram or Facebook posts, I don’t like to do it. And I don’t think people like it. And you end up losing a bunch of followers. If your whole feed is just sponsored this, and sponsored that’s.

I try not to do that. Although in my stories I do some of that stuff.

Jillian Leslie 12:01
In the past was sponsored a part of your business and that you’ve kind of moved away from that or you never did it?

Lisa Steele 12:09
No, I never did. Because I want my blog to be evergreen. I don’t want it to be a bunch of giveaways and around ups and things that are outdated, a week from when I post them.

And I follow a lot of blogs, I follow a lot of cooking blogs especially and you can tell when Campbell’s Soup, or whoever is doing a promotion because all of a sudden, 10 bloggers that you follow are all of a sudden making a recipe with Campbell’s Soup.

And to me that is so not genuine and forced. And I never wanted it to be like that. So, I don’t do that.

Jillian Leslie 12:43
So, you’re not doing sponsored? What else are you doing?

Writing books to Build Authority

Lisa Steele 12:45
You’re not necessarily going to get rich on book royalties. Although if you write a bunch of books, and they fell for a bunch of years, it does add up. But more than anything books, give you street creds, you’re almost an instant expert in your field.

Amazon gets really good. Google SEO, you can link your blog. And then also, once you write books, you get asked to do speaking engagements. I’ve spoken at a bunch of fairs and conferences and things like that, you can do book signings.

And so, it’s a lot of exposure. And you build a following that way, because you can build a lot of buzz around your books and all that.

Jillian Leslie 13:32
Did a publisher come to you? Did you write it and then approach publishers? What was that about?

Lisa Steele 13:41
I used to actually own a bookstore, like in a previous life after I was an accountant. So, I’ve always loved to read and I’ve loved books, and I just kind of got in my head. I should write a book. I have all this information on my blog. And I should write a book.

So, basically, I put together a proposal. I shipped it out to five publishers. I got three noes’, one maybe and one yes. And then the maybe came back like two years later and said they wanted to do the book.

And I was like, well, it came out a year ago, but thanks anyway. And it was with a very small publisher. In retrospect, maybe I should have held out for a larger publisher. But I did learn a lot about marketing and promotion because I didn’t have a PR person.

I didn’t have a marketing person. So, basically every book that I sold, I literally sold myself and it was really good experience for selling things and marketing and using your social media to sell books.

Jillian Leslie 14:36
Got it. Okay. How many books have you now written?

Lisa Steele 14:41
Six, so I wrote two with that publisher. And then I moved to a mid-size publisher for my next four books, which was great because that meant advances and it meant a PR person that was dedicated.

And I did notice, I was getting on a USHA gardening booklist for the summer, or I was getting in Country Living Magazine, or American Farmhouse Style, or there was a lot more media promotion that came along with that working with that publisher, which I loved.

Jillian Leslie 15:12
Okay, and is book writing a love of yours? And I’ve heard this from multiple people, you’re not getting rich off of books, but it does give you credibility, and you become this expert, and it kind of opens other doors, but that’s like a longer route.

Lisa Steele 15:31
Yeah, writing a book and that’s not to say you can’t. My royalties now with six books and a seventh coming up, they definitely pay the bills. My first book is still in the top 10 Chicken Keeping books on Amazon.

So, we’re talking, I’m selling 100 or 150 copies of all my books put together. So, that’s like nothing to sneeze at. But yes, you don’t write a book thinking that you’re going to be able to retire rich.

Jillian Leslie 16:05
You’re going to be like JK Rowling.

Lisa Steele 16:08
Unless you’re like that or James Patterson, like you’re not selling millions of copies. I think the average book sells, like 250 copies in a lifetime or something. I’ve been really lucky, all of mine has done really well.

And I have a cookbook coming out with HarperCollins, which I’m super excited about which I have a feeling it’s going to, take me to a whole new level of just with the media, appearances and coverage.

Because the cookbook appeals to everybody, not just people who have chickens. And its HarperCollins.

Jillian Leslie 16:42

Lisa Steele 16:42
I’m going to have a whole team promoting this book. So yes, I wouldn’t say, don’t think you’re going to make money writing books, but the odds are against you. I had thought about.

Actually, I didn’t really think about, people have mentioned to me that I should have gone the self-publishing route. Because, obviously, when you write for a publisher, you’re only making royalties.

So, you’re making 8 or 10, or maybe 12% of the cover price on every book you sell. But even with my huge social following, I could never sell as many books as a traditional publisher can sell for you.

You don’t realize the scope of like, how many bookstores and libraries. And I couldn’t do it. I feel like self-publishing a book is like the get rich, quick route. If you want to make a lot of money up front, fine. Go ahead, self-publish your book.

But if you really want to have a long track record, and if you want to build credibility, for the long game.

Jillian Leslie 17:53
Absolutely. So, let’s talk about products.

How To Grow a Successful Business as a One-Woman Show | The Blogger Genius Podcast with Jillian Leslie

Selling Products on Amazon

Lisa Steele 17:56
In my research and raising chickens and doing things naturally, I started using some supplements that were out on the market, mostly for horses and dogs. And I started using them with my chickens.

Brewers yeast and probiotics and secale, these things are kind of universal, they’re good for people, too. And I started recommending them to people. And people would say, “But there’s a dog on the package is this really for my chickens?”

The company that made these products at a trade show. And I say, “Can you please put a chicken on the label, because I’m having problems telling people these are for their chickens?”

And they said, “Why don’t we just do a private label line for you. Put your name, put a chicken on it. And we can just make a new line of chicken supplements.” Which was super exciting, because there’s nothing else on the market like it, it’s all private labeled.

I love the labels. It’s very on brand for me. And they made it super clean. So, I basically buy the product from them. They ship it directly to Amazon or Chewy. And then it gets sold and Amazon and Chewy pay me.

Super profitable and it’s been fun to develop the products and I want to develop more products.

Jillian Leslie 19:07
And when did you start this?

Lisa Steele 19:11
So, I started about halfway through 2018. And we are on track for almost $1 million in gross sales this year. Which is pretty insane.

Yeah, I do have to say there are a lot of small and family owned and women owned and single entrepreneur businesses on Amazon. And like for myself, it’s the only way that I could ship nationwide to people as a one-woman business.

Because I’m competing with these brands with huge marketing departments and huge PR departments and I can actually compete with them like I said without spending a dime.

I don’t pay Amazon anything to promote or boosts the products or feature them or anything I just pay them their fees.

Jillian Leslie 19:56
Okay, but who’s paying for the inventory?

Lisa Steele 20:00
So, I do pay for the inventory up front. Yeah, I pay for the inventory up front, which to get this started, I had to have like a nice chunk of change, to get it started. But now it’s like, product sells, money comes in, I pay for more products, send it to Amazon, it sells.

I’m thankful for my accounting background, I have to say, because this has turned into like a real bona fide business, and I have to be able to figure my profit margins. And what my cost of goods sold is.

And like Chewy, they said, “How much are you going to charge us for these products?” And I had to figure that out, what I had to charge Chewy, to make sure that I was going to be able to pay my manufacturer and the fees and retain some profits and everything.

So, it’s a great challenge. But it has been really super fun.

Jillian Leslie 20:45
That’s so cool. I did another podcast episode with somebody who backed into selling invitations on Amazon. And they’re not digital, they are printed invitations. But here’s the best part.

They literally have a line that says party for and you take a sharpie, and you write, Alisa, for a birthday. You would think, who’s going to buy those kinds of invitations on Amazon, when today you can get digital invitations, or you can get printed invitations?

And guess what? Moms who at the last minute forgot to get invitations are buying them on Amazon. And with Amazon Prime, they can get them quickly. And all of a sudden, they can just take a sharpie and fill them out.

And she’s got a million-dollar business, but kind of backed into it. And is like as now hired people to help her but started as a one-woman operation. But because she too can ship those invitations, physical goods to Amazon, and they warehouse them.

It’s pretty amazing what she’s been able to build as well. So, even though Amazon does take its cut, you would never be able to have this without that.

Lisa Steele 22:01
Absolutely not. And I get it. I shop Amazon, I don’t love to. I love to support local businesses and small businesses, but it’s not always possible. And even just the shipping, I mean, I have a one-pound container that sells for $24.95.

Now if I had to ship that from here, and pay shipping because it’s over one pound with the box, there’s no way I could do it. You have to ship through someone who gets these great rates and these great deals.

And so, Amazon does provide a service, I’m just careful about who I buy from there. And I do try to buy from the brands that I know that are family brands, or U.S. brands or whatever. One thing I wanted to go back to, though, that we kind of touched on.

And another advantage I have over these other brands is that I am the face of my brand. And people can go to Amazon and see my chickens and they can go to Facebook and see my chickens.

Whereas, if you’re buying from Purina or AmanaPro or a Tractor Supply, it’s not as personal. So, you look at brands on their website or a product, and you don’t really have anything to like quantitate it.

Whereas if you look at my product and my chicken, there’s like a direct link, and you’re like, “Well, if I buy this product, my chickens will look like her chicken.”

Which I think some of the brands are really missing out on not having more of a one-on-one type of face associated to their brand, because I think it is really important.

Use the MiloTree Pop-Up App to Send Your Site Visitors Where You Want

Jillian Leslie 23:31
It just so happens that Lisa is a MiloTree pop-up app customer. So, this was the first product that we built to help creators and listen to the cool way she is using it. Lisa, you’re a MiloTree customer, what do you think of your MiloTree pop-up?

Lisa Steele 23:52
I am and I love it. I have the Pinterest and Instagram, there’s like the templates or whatever that you can link to your social accounts. But I did actually want to tell you just this morning, I set up one of the custom ones which are super, super easy to do.

And it’s to pre-order my cookbook. So, I was able to add the photo of my cookbook and then the tag on mobile and desktop and then the link to pre-order. So, it’ll pop up in my rotation now. So, I was super excited about that.

Jillian Leslie 24:25
Oh, thank you so much for sharing that. Yet. I don’t think people understand that there’s a custom link where you can link your pop-up anywhere.

Lisa Steele 24:35
Yes, I have one of my products on Chewy that I had set up and I just set up this one because all of a sudden it just popped in my head pop-up and I was like I need to have a book pre-order pop-up.

But I love it because it’s so easy to set up and customize and it looks on brand with my whole website and everything. So, I’m a big fan of MiloTree.

Jillian Leslie 24:53
There is nothing better than hearing a review like that. Thank you, Lisa. And now back to the show.

I’m going to keep your geese in the podcast episode because it shows that you’re the real deal. And there is something really, like, I want to raise chickens eventually, and you’ll be my go to, you’ll be my girlfriend who shows me exactly what to do.

So, I love that. Now, if somebody is sitting here thinking about how to find a product, how to even start to imagine selling on Amazon, what would be your top tips for them?

Lisa Steele 25:37
I do watch a lot of Shark Tank and Mr. Wonderful always says, what’s to stop anybody else from selling this product? I think that’s the biggest stumbling block is that people, whether it’s, printing something on a coffee mug, or a T-shirt, that’s not proprietary.

And anybody could do that, like, in my case, I have a lab making these products. Joe Schmo does not have a lab, that they can, replicate these products. So, for someone to compete against me, they’re going to have to find a lab to make these products for them.

So, you’ve got to find something that is unique enough, that you’re not going to have this idea. And then all of a sudden, you’re going to see 20 knock offs, who are undercutting you on price or whatever. So it’s got to be something that—.

Jillian Leslie 26:26
It has a moat. It has a moat around it. Okay.

Lisa Steele 26:30
Yeah. And something you’re passionate about, I think that a lot of people dive into something because they think it’s like, the latest trend. Or they’re going to, like you said, be instantly rich.

Or all of a sudden just blow up on TikTok, and that does happen, but it’s not really the norm. And I think the people who really are the real deal, and are passionate, and it sounds so corny.

But if you don’t believe in yourself and your product, and what you’re saying and what you’re doing, you’re either going to burn out really fast, or your followers are going to see right through it.

Being a One-Woman Operation

Jillian Leslie 27:02
Mm hmm. So, you really are a one-woman operation? Do you have people helping you?

Lisa Steele 27:12
I have no people. My husband won’t even help me. I’ve tried to hire him so many times. He won’t help me. Yes, it’s just me. So, at the end of each year, I sort of go back and like you said, the revenue streams.

I go through and look at what’s making me money, what’s not making me money, what might be taking more time and not really earning money to make it worth it. And anything that I don’t totally love doing or isn’t profitable, gets dropped.

And then I streamline, which leaves me time to do the things that I really need to be doing. I did actually have a product early on that I was shipping out of my home office here. And it took too much time. It was way too labor intensive. So, I do that.

And then I don’t have a virtual assistant, I post all my own stuff on social media. I don’t use the scheduler, because I think it’s more genuine and more real if you’re snapping and posting, as opposed to sitting there and scheduling out your whole month.

But what I did do, because I didn’t spend all that money early on, on all of that. I do now have a PR person. I have an agent. I do have a tax accountant, new this year, because things are just starting to get really, big with the money.

And I just want to make sure because I’m not a tax accountant, I was a corporate accountant. I think the money spent on an accountant will be worth it. Because I’m probably not taking all the deductions I should.

So, yeah, PR person, agents, accountants, attorney, I have a trademark attorney. I think that’s it for my people. So, instead of hiring people to work for me, I’ve hired experts who can help me do the things that that needs to get done, if that makes sense.

What Is Your Blogging and Social Media Schedule?

Jillian Leslie 28:59
Totally. So, let’s break this down. Go through your schedule, say a weekly schedule or a daily schedule. How often are you blogging? How often are you posting? When are you posting? Where are you posting? What does this look like for you?

Lisa Steele 29:14
So, I have run the gamut from whenever I feel like to oh shoot, this is really getting serious and people kind of count on me for stuff and having like an Excel spreadsheet, and every two hours posting on whatever.

And this last year or so I’ve kind of gotten back to the point of I’m going to do what feels natural. So I get up about 5:30-ish because we have a rooster. So, I wake up and it’s laid out. I feed the cat and I get my coffee and I start going through my email.

I pretty much check messages and email first thing while I’m caffeinating, just to make sure there’s nothing I’d have to deal with. I delete what I don’t need to deal with. Then I go let out the chicken feed the chicken.

And then when I come back in, it’s dealing with the email that had to be handled, whether they need a response or I have to attach something, or do something. And then the rest of my day it could be a podcast like this, it could be working on a book.

I take pictures, all day long of everything, no matter what, because you never know when you’re going to need a picture of something.

And then like nine o’clock, I try to post on Instagram, something for the morning, I push that over to Twitter and Facebook, for Facebook, I added a link to a blog post that’s relevant.

And then I usually put it on my Instagram story with that link, because I have the swipe up and also push it over to Facebook stories. So basically, from one post, I’ve covered my social media.

Jillian Leslie 30:43
Wait, can we go through that one more time? So, go 9am, Instagram.

Lisa Steele 30:48
Post on Instagram.

Jillian Leslie 30:52
To your feed?

Lisa Steele 30:54
To my feed. And since there’s no clickable links there, there’s not really any point. I do have like a search my social thing, but pretty much, it’s just for the picture or short little video, good morning type of things.

So, people know that I haven’t expired overnight. But I’m still around. So, I push that over to Facebook, but I add a link to a clickable blog post. It also automatically has this than that. So, it pushes it over to Twitter.

Twitter, basically, I’m only on behalf of journalists and media people hang out there, so if anyone’s looking to write an article on chickens or whatever, I just want to have a presence there. Okay. So, nine o’clock, I push that over.

And then I also usually take that same photo or a similar photo, or make a short little video or something, and I put it on stories, Instagram stories with the click up link to that blog post, and then push it over to Facebook stories.

And I sometimes change like the verbiage a little bit, because they are different platforms. So, that covers me for the morning. So, everybody knows I’m alive and well.

And then throughout the day, if the dogs happened to walk by, or the geese are honking whatever, I might make a reel, or post again on Instagram a video or whatever.

I try to post, like two more on Facebook, just grabbing links from my blog, and writing a little like seasonally something.

Interestingly enough, though, with the 650,000-something Facebook followers, that’s only about 20% of my blog traffic. 80% of my blog traffic is organic.

Jillian Leslie 32:35
Is it Pinterest? Is it Google?

Lisa Steele 32:39
It’s Google direct from Google. I’m on Pinterest, okay, so backup. So, I used to blog twice a week, I’ve kind of run out of things to say honestly. So, I have not written new blog posts like maybe once a month, maybe not even that.

But what I’ve been doing is going back to my old posts, and optimizing them, making them longer adding new photos, adding more links.

Jillian Leslie 33:03
Love it.

Lisa Steele 33:04
Adding links to my product, adding a link to a newer blog post, adding a new pin. So, I repin that. And then most of the posts, I don’t republish, I just optimize them. And maybe I’ll push them over to Facebook at that point.

If it’s very seasonal, or I’ve really changed it a lot. Sometimes they do republish it. So, it goes to the top of my blog. But it’s so much easier than coming up with a new blog topic.

And in the past year, which I’ve been doing this, I have quadrupled my Mediavine RPM.

Jillian Leslie 33:38

The Value of Refreshing Old Blog Posts for SEO and Traffic

Lisa Steele 33:39
And almost doubled my traffic, just from cleaning up. Some of those old posts, like I would go back, this was 2000 like ’11. I would go back and look at them and be embarrassed like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe anybody actually read this post.”

So, if the pictures are salvageable, I’ll just try to fix them. And if they’re not, I’ll just go out and take new ones, or sometimes I’ll take a picture and be like, you know what, that would be a great photo for this old blog post.

And I’ll spend the rest of my afternoon optimizing it. But it makes me feel good because now I’m actually proud of these old posts.

I’ve just learned so much in less than a decade I’ve been blogging and when I scroll through my blog now actually feel proud instead of like cringing it, after the old posts.

Jillian Leslie 34:24

Lisa Steele 34:24
Oh, that’s a really good use of time.

Jillian Leslie 34:26
I do recommend when you update a post to republish it, to update the date. Now if you don’t want it at the top of your blog, just backdate it a little bit, but from what I’ve heard from SEO experts, you will get more juice if it’s not dated, say 2016.

Lisa Steele 34:46
Yeah, that’s a good point. I should probably do that because right now, if I were going to update my “what to feed your chickens in the winter” posts. It wouldn’t make sense to have it as a new post that goes out.

But yeah, changing the date a little bit, it’s a good idea. At least bring it forward a couple years.

Jillian Leslie 35:02
Absolutely. It can be like, you could, because you want that juice to grow that even if you do a post now in August, “what to feed your chickens in the winter” it gives Google time to recognize what is this post about.

So, by the time it is winter, but you don’t necessarily have to date it, today’s date, but do it, date it like August 1, or something like that. Just experiment with that. But from everything I’ve heard, Google will see that as another signal that this is more relevant.

What I love about what you’re doing, is recognizing that what you’re creating, you have evergreen content, that’s really valuable. So, thinking of your content is like a library, and you’re just like updating the volumes of the books, but the books are all really good.

And you don’t have to be constantly churning out new blog posts if you’ve covered your bases. And if you’ve made it easier by say, linking to other relevant posts. So, you’re just creating better posts for your audience more useful posts, like that’s the name of the game.

Lisa Steele 36:17
Yeah, I have not seen any reduction in traffic or income or SEO or anything. And, in fact, some of the older posts that were really bad and not really salvageable, I didn’t really want to delete them. Because who knows where they were linked.

I just redirected some of them to a related post that was newer. Which was great because it cleans it up a little bit. Some of these old posts that just really didn’t have a place anymore, like they weren’t terrible.

But I’d written something that was newer and more relevant and better. So, I did do that to some of them and just get cleaning up I think it helps a lot.

Jillian Leslie 36:56
Absolutely. So, let’s continue with your day. So, you’re spending then, let’s say afternoon updating a post or working on your book. Now what.

Lisa Steele 37:08
So, because I was an accountant, I have spreadsheets for like everything. So, on Fridays, my book sales are updated. So, I got that to my spreadsheet. And I’m checking my bank balances if I need to transfer money. And I’m checking my Amazon sales for the day.

Jillian Leslie 37:22
Got it. Kind of the meat of the business. Like the unsexy stuff.

Lisa Steele 37:29
Exactly. Like sometimes Mediavine loses, you have to update your ad text, it’s a good idea just to check in on all these things and make sure that everything’s running smoothly. And then usually feel bad but like we have happy hour after that.

Jillian Leslie 37:42
I love it. You’ve had a long day.

Lisa Steele 37:45
Yeah, I’ve had a long day and then of course it’s time to start thinking about dinner and then usually after dinner if we’re sitting watching TV or a movie or something like that, I’ll usually edit the photos for the day organize them.

Maybe go in and do some of the blog stuff because if you’re not writing a new post it’s kind of mindless and easy just to go through, check the code, check for this, make a pin. I consider that the fun stuff or if I need to make a new graphic.

My cookbook is coming out so I need to make a graphic or a pre-order banner, things like that. And then throughout the day, I might have phone calls with sponsors or whatever is going on with that.

So, there’s sort of a routine not exactly a routine my chili orders come in on Wednesdays, I have that. I have a call with my PR people on Tuesdays. But I do have a little bit of a weekly routine that I try to stick to.

Jillian Leslie 38:45
Got it. Talk to me about video and how video fits into your strategy?

Lisa Steele 38:53
Video takes so much time. The reel. l should do more Reels. I think I do have a little bit of a benefit because I can get away with taking the video of chicken. So, it doesn’t necessarily have to be video of me.

Like if you’re a cooking blogger even that you could take pictures of the food. But yeah, I feel like oh I really should do a reel because we’re supposed to be focusing on reels these days.

Then I can just go out and take a reel of the chickens and call it a day and if I’m not done and dress, it doesn’t really matter. But I do try to, like today I did get dressed and after this I probably will do a few videos because why waste a shower?

I might as well get full mileage.

Jillian Leslie 39:41
Absolutely. Absolutely. Are you going live on any platform?

Lisa Steele 39:47
Not as much as I should. I used to do Facebook Lives. But as I said Facebook drives so little blog traffic. And it used to be a time when I could post on Facebook.

I sell signed copies of my books from my Etsy shop.

And I used to, post the thing with maybe a coupon code or something, and I’d get like 30 or 40 orders. Now, I’m lucky if I get one. Facebook is just like breathing fumes. So, for me to sit and do an hour Facebook Live, I don’t really see a lot of benefit to it.

Even though people do love it, and I probably should do more. I’ve done a few Instagram lives, but I’m more apt to just kind of jump on my stories and do a couple segments.

I do also have a TV show. So, I have loads of video content that I’ve put on my YouTube channel. So, that’s sort of where I’m, like focusing, if somebody wants to see, video, they can go there.

Having a TV Show

Jillian Leslie 40:44
What is your TV show? Explain that.

Lisa Steele 40:47
Okay, so it’s called, “Welcome to my Farm.” And about three years ago. I’ve done some TV, like being guests on different shows, and that and I really liked it. So, I reached out to the local TV station and asked if they would be interested in doing a show.

And the station manager actually had chickens. So, she loved the idea. And we developed this show. And started filming it. It aired on NBC, here in Maine for two years. And COVID put an end to it, we hadn’t decided if we were going to do another season.

And then with COVID we decided not to. But basically it would be like kind of a day in the life, we did different seasons. And you would come along with me while I’m feeding the chickens and I’d give little tips.

And then maybe I’m out to the garden. And maybe I’m going to a strawberry farm and then I’d come back and cook something. And so, it was just kind of a day in the life half hour show.

So, I was nominated for two regional Emmys for that, which was super exciting. And then this year, I won three Telly awards. And the day after the Telly awards were announced I got contacted by Create TV PBS that they want to air it on PBS.

So, it’s going to be airing on PBS starting in April, nationwide. So, we’re going to start with the episodes we already have, and just kind of rework them, and it’s going to be a different format.

And just kind of shift them up a little bit. So, it’ll be airing on PBS stations across the country starting in April, which is super exciting.

Jillian Leslie 42:22
That is super exciting. Okay, what in your business are you most excited about right now, because there’s so many facets to it?

Lisa Steele 42:33
I’m excited about my cookbook, because this is HarperCollins is like one of the top five publishers in the world. So, the day that my agent called and we pitched the book out to five publishers that I thought would be a good fit.

We had done the 40-page proposal and whatever, and he pitched it out to them. And he called me and he said, we have some offers. And when he told me the HarperCollins was one of the offers, I was thrilled. It’s like a dream come true. That’s just amazing.

So, we haven’t started with the PR yet and the promotion. I’m super excited to see where they can get me. Which shows and which magazines and the media coverage for it. I think it’s going to be super, super fun.

So, that’s going to be my focus from now until February.

Jillian Leslie 43:25
Is the book already done?

Lisa Steele 43:29
Sort of. So, I finish writing it. I turned it in February. I worked from October of what would it be ’19? Like a year and a half.

Jillian Leslie 43:44
Okay. ’18. Right.

Lisa Steele 43:47
Or it was ’19, ’20. I turned it in February of 2021. Oh, yeah. I started working on it in October of 2019. So, about 18 months from the time. I started working on it. I got the agent in January of ’20. And then he pitched it and I find the deal in June of 2020.

Yeah, that’s right come out in February of 2022. So, it’s like this huge, long process to write a cookbook. And then, there was recipe testing. And then there was the photo shoot and like all of that, so I turned it in in February. All the recipes.

We did the photoshoot in April. We just got the cover a couple of weeks ago, and they’re formatting the interior now. Actually, it’ll come out six months from today, so it needs to get to China to be printed where basically all books are printed.

They need about four months turnaround, so they need to get it formatted and sent sooner than later. So, I haven’t even seen the whole book all formatted yet. So, that’ll be exciting. And

Jillian Leslie 45:00
And what kind of cookbook is it?

Coming Out With a Cookbook in 2022

Lisa Steele 45:03
So, it’s called the “Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook,” which is not the most exciting title in the world. That wasn’t actually my pick. But they know best. These people do this for a living and obviously capitalizing on my brand and for SEO and searches and all that.

So, it’s an egg cookbook. 100 recipes of savory, sweet condiments, beverages. breads, appetizers, pretty much everything. It’s available for pre-order, which is the funny thing, I don’t think people realize that. It’s been available for pre-order for about a month now.

And we didn’t even have a cover when they listed it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and all that. But they want to get it so people can pre-order it sooner than later.

Jillian Leslie 45:49
Wow. Wow. That is amazing. That is amazing. I have one last question for you. How many chickens do you have? And how many eggs do you get a day? Okay, it’s going to be three part. And what do you do with all those eggs?

Lisa Steele 46:12
I didn’t know was going to be a trick question. I think we have 18 chicken, 13 ducks and 2 geese who you met earlier. So, this time of year, we get like eight or nine eggs a day. Some of my chickens are older.

They’re like eight or nine years old. In fact, we just lost our oldest chickens. She was 9 1/2. We lost her last week. They don’t lay past maybe five years old. So, we do have a bunch that aren’t laying eggs.

Some of our younger ones, we’re getting eggs from like eight or nine. And then maybe four or five duck eggs a day. And the geese only lay in the spring so they’re not laying anymore. So we eat a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of eggs.

We give our dog eggs, our chickens eat eggs, when there’s extra we give them to friends and family and neighbors and I throw whatever we can’t eat into the compost pile. There comes a point when you just can’t eat all the eggs that they’re laying.

And then in the middle of the winter when nobody’s laying, I’m cursing them because they need to do holiday baking and nobody’s laying eggs.

Jillian Leslie 47:26
Got it and your favorite egg recipe.

Lisa Steele 47:31
I have to say Eggs Benedict, just because it’s such a classic. And once you master Hollandaise sauce, you just want to put it on everything. I would eat eggs benedict every morning if I could.

Jillian Leslie 47:43
Wow. Wow. Well, Lisa, this has been such a pleasure. I just want to say thank you for all that you’ve shared. I love that you’ve taken something so niche and have built an enormous business around it. So, congrats on that.

Lisa Steele 47:58
Thank you. It’s been fun. This conversation has been fun. But yeah, it’s been a fun journey. And it’s kind of interesting to see how far it can go. Because come on. I’m not talking about dogs or cats.

Chickens are kind of down on the pet scale. So, it doesn’t appeal to everybody. But I think they’re becoming more popular.

Jillian Leslie 48:15
Definitely. Well, thank you for coming on the show.

Lisa Steele 48:18
Thank you.

Jillian Leslie 48:19
I hope this episode gave you insight into what it takes to write books, what it takes to sell actual products on Amazon, and that you can even do this as a one woman show.

It is all about being in a very specific niche, knowing it really well and knowing what your audience wants from you.

Before I go, I just have a quick favor to ask, would you go to your Apple podcast player on your phone search for the Blogger Genius Podcast and give it five stars. I would be so appreciative. If you write a review, I might read it on my next episode.

And this way more people can find the show I can continue to bring you awesome guests. I would so love it and I will see you here again next week.

Other Blogger Genius Podcast episodes to listen to:

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