If you want to know why perfect is the enemy and why you want to do B- work to build your business, this is the episode for you!
Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the show. I am recording this intro on March 13. The world has turned upside down. There’s so much uncertainty. I don’t know when we’re going to get onto the other side of this. But I wanted to share the way that I’m thinking about it.
Am I scared? Of course. Do I feel unease? Absolutely. So, what I’ve tried to do over the last couple days is to work on the things in our businesses that have been on my to-do list for a long time.
I’ve been getting many fewer emails. I think that things definitely are slowing down in terms of requests and things like that so I’m able to dig in on things that I can control because there’s so much I can’t control right now.
I can hold my family tight. I can also try to use my business as an outlet for all the emotions that I’m going through. So, I don’t know if that’s helpful. Hopefully, it is.
If you want to email me about how you’re dealing with this time, I would love to hear it. Email me at Jillian@MiloTree.com.
Now, for today’s episode, I have something special. I recorded an episode that’s just me. David and I are in the midst of teaching our coaching group, and we are loving it. We love the people in it. And so, I’ve been thinking a lot about building businesses.
I had some observations, realizations, insights that I wanted to share with you because I’ve been sharing them with my group. I think they can help set a framework for thinking about making money online.
Also, again, like I said, please reach out to me. Let me know what you think of this. And without further ado, here is me.
I want you to think about top-down design. A good example is thinking about a planned community. You’ve got your houses in certain areas, and your parks and other areas, and your supermarket someplace, and your shopping district. And it’s all planned top-down.
I think about this a lot because, here living in Austin, Austin is going through all of this interesting change. Something I see repeatedly is there’ll be an area of town that has, let’s say, a strip mall.
And strip mall’s kind of old and there would never be a reason to go there. And then, all of a sudden, because the rents are cheap, you will see a coffee shop emerge in the shopping center.
And you’ll go, “Ha, that’s kind of cool. Looks a little out of place.” And then, a couple months later, you’ll see a used record store show up next door to it.
And then you’ll see a cool sushi restaurant emerge from this. The word I’m using is “emerge”. And then you look back six months later, a year later, and you’ll be like, “Wow! That’s become a funky part of town.”
But you’ll also see the old businesses, and it has this vitality to it but it also looks a little messy. And this is called “emergent business building”, which is it doesn’t necessarily have a plan or a structure, but kind of attract other like businesses. You can transform something, and it’s growing organically.
When I think about online business, I want you to have this idea of “emergent business growth” in your mind so that ultimately it might look messy but it’s coming from a place of finding what works and leaning into that.
I was recording a podcast yesterday with somebody and she was interviewing me and said to me, “Wow, you’ve got all these unique businesses, and they don’t necessarily all kind of fit together. How do you deal with that?”
And I thought about it. And I thought, “Well, that is really true.” So, we started with Catch My Party, which if you don’t know, it’s a social photo-sharing site. People add their party photos to our site.
We’re publishers. Meaning, we’re creating content to help people plan their parties and get ideas. And so, it’s really B2C, which is business to consumer.
And then David, not because we thought this would be a business, but David built a pop-up for us that grew our Pinterest followers. And when it worked really well, we stepped back and we said, “Ha, you know, if it works really well for us, maybe it would work for other bloggers.”
And so, we decided to launch it as a separate company called MiloTree. So, wow! There we have Catch My Party and MiloTree. And while one came out of the other one, MiloTree is a b2b business.
It’s a business to business business, and it’s a subscription business. It has many different parts. The whole monetization strategy is completely different but it kind of works.
And then I said, “Well, why don’t I start a podcast?” Because in truth, I love podcasts. I really feel like I understand the medium of podcasts, and because somebody had said to me, “Gosh, MiloTree feels a little cold.” Like a little corporate. It’s a widget. It’s a piece of technology.
And I thought, you know, that’s probably true. Is there a way for me to put a face to this business, hopefully, teach people about how to grow businesses. Remember, I have an MBA from Stanford. I’ve gone to school to learn about business, I’ve built these businesses.
And as somebody on the internet, if you are not a perpetual learner, I think you will easily fall behind because things are changing so quickly. So, by having a podcast, I weirdly am able to learn along with my audience.
It gives me this way to reach out to people to say, “Hey, can I interview you for my podcast? And then, can I ask you questions that probably if I were to meet you at a cocktail party, I would never have the guts to ask but now because I have this platform, I’m able to do that.”
And so, it serves me. It helps me grow, but hopefully, it helps you grow, and hopefully, it supports MiloTree but it is a separate business. And then, now we’re doing coaching. And again, because people came to us and said, “How do we learn? How do we do this?”
David and I thought, “Well, what if we could work with a small group of people and really dig in and roll up our sleeves?” So, if you look at all of these areas, they don’t quite fit together. It’s a little bit like the strip mall. And yet, I think this is the most successful way to build businesses today on the internet.
So, if in fact, your business looks unusual, again, I would say lean into that. If you think about it, we as humans look, the way we look because of natural selection. There is a purpose to it, but really, it’s like, well, we’ve had mutations and that’s why our fingers look the way they look, and our arms look the way they look, and all of that.
But it really is emergent. Remember, we started in the ocean as little single-cell organisms and now we are humans. So, use this as a metaphor for building your business on the internet.
These are the three things that I told my coaching group, which I think was a little shocking to them, but I think can be very powerful. One is building a business on the internet will be messier than you ever could have imagined.
When I say that, what I mean is, I put together on post-its every day a list of things I need to do that day. I would say maybe half of the time I get through that list because there are other times in my day where there will be some sort of fire I need to put out, big fire, small fire, who knows.
I will have to leave my to-do list and go work on whatever that thing is because I’ve got to keep these businesses running. I’ve got a team of people to help me but at the end of the day, the buck stops with me.
And yes, I love Google Docs and Google Sheets. And that’s really how I run my business. There is a lot of organization behind it, but it’s also at the exact same time, what I like to call a hot mess, meaning, I don’t know in the morning exactly what that day is going to look like.
I want you to assume that you won’t either. So, you set yourself up with some goals, and maybe a list but you also hold that lightly because you do not always know what your day is going to look like. The more we can do that, the better.
Back to emergent business building. It doesn’t mean not having a plan. It means having a plan and a hypothesis, but holding it lightly, because what you are trying to do is test whether what you think is true is actually true, and the way that you will know this is by your audience.
Are they showing up? Are they buying what you think they’re going to buy? Are they behaving in the way in which you thought they would? So, if in fact, they are not, that means, “Oh, okay. I need to change my strategy.
And see if you can attract the people who you think are the right people in the right way. So it’s continually pivoting with an overarching plan. But again, it is a plan that you are willing to change.
Write that plan down in pencil, but fill it out so that you know the direction you think you’re going to go in. And so, this is what I teach my group, my next piece of advice. I want people to be doing B- work.
What I mean by that is because you are continually pivoting and trying, you cannot do things perfectly. And if you are shooting for an A+, you are never going to build your business.
So, I want you to be posting stuff that’s slightly embarrassing, that isn’t completely finished, that’s rough around the edges. Because your job as an entrepreneur is to be learning.
And if you’re putting your authentic self out there, the people who you want to attract will be attracted to you. And so, what I say is building businesses on the internet, I want B- work and I want you, therefore, to start to be okay with being in discomfort.
That’s interesting as well that building businesses on the internet is also a great way to push yourself in ways you would never have imagined, nor in ways in your normal life that you would ever do.
But I want to say, discomfort is part of the plan. If you are feeling uncomfortable, you’re in the right direction. That might be putting your face out there. It might be not crossing every T and dotting every I.
It might be that you’ve got typos in your blog post, that things are a little wonky. I always say that a lot of my business is kind of patched together. My whole podcasting setup, I’ve kind of hacked it together and it works but it’s not elegant.
Elegant solutions tend not to… If your solution looks elegant, you’re either incredibly successful, or you’re too focused on your solution. So I want you to, for example, in your business, do stuff that doesn’t scale. Do stuff where you’re getting on the phone with somebody.
Eventually, if you’ve got thousands of customers, you can’t get on the phone with them. But if you’ve got five customers, you can get on the phone with them. So in the beginning, I want you to hack together stuff and do a lot of things that do not scale.
My three words are messy, uncomfortable, and B-. And I want you to take that to heart. The other thing that I teach my group… By the way, if this sounds interesting, you want to come learn with me, please, we’ll be doing this again. So, join my next group.
I want to teach people how to get out of their own ways. And one powerful thought is this: Building a business today, I want you to put yourself front and center. I want it to be your business. I want people to have a relationship with you.
David and I were talking about this last week with our group. There are too many people on the internet who are creating content farms. You go to a site and it kind of doesn’t feel real.
You know that somebody in some country somewhere have put up links because they want to monetize this and it doesn’t feel authentic, and people can smell that. So what I want you to do is build a business that is authentic and where you are the the being behind it, the person behind it, the expert behind it.
But here is the interesting piece. I do not want it to be about you. I want it to be you focused on helping other people solve their problems, because the truth is, and I say this to my 13 year old daughter all the time. “People don’t really care about you. They care about themselves.”
So, if I can be Jillian, but I can be hopefully providing value, even in this episode, then you feel a connection to me, but really it’s about you. So, your business while it is your business and people will hopefully get to know you, it’s really what you can do for somebody else.
I’m sure you guys like me and what but you’re not really that interested in stuff that’s going on in my life that can’t necessarily improve your life. And so the focus has to be away from me and toward you.
It’s funny because I would say more introverted than anything else but I talked about this in the recording I did with Paula, about how I can get up and I can speak in front of hundreds of people because I trick myself by telling myself, “This isn’t about me. It’s not about my outfit. It’s not about anything.”
“But it is about how can I help somebody or serve somebody else or teach something to somebody else to better their lives.” If I feel like I am bettering somebody else’s life, it is so worth it to me that I’m able again to get out of my own way.
How the MiloTree Pop-Up App will Help You Grow Your Business
I wanted to take a quick break, to talk about how, as bloggers and online entrepreneurs, the landscape is always changing. What you want to do today is really direct your visitors and your customers to where you want them to go.
I’m excited that we launched as part of MiloTree. So, not only can you grow your social media followers on Instagram, in Facebook, in Pinterest, in YouTube, and get people to subscribe to your list from your pop-up, but we have another pop-up that we just launched and it’s a custom link pop-up.
What that means is if you want people to see a certain piece of content on your site, you can link your pop-up to that piece of content, put an image in the pop-up so that when someone comes to your site, they’ll be directed to go see that.
Now, let’s say it’s a piece of sponsored posts that you want to get eyeballs on it. That’s a great use case for the pop-up. Let’s say you’re selling a product, and you have a landing page or sales page. You can link this pop-up to that.
Let’s say you’re really psyched about your Tik-Tok account. Go link the pop-up to your TikTok account. Wherever you want it to go, you can. And therefore, you start to gain control of your audience’s path.
Head to MiloTree.com. Get your first 30 days free. You’ll see the custom link pop-up. Also, you have access to all the other ones.
I think this is a game changer because I think we are going to see over the next six to 12 months a real shift in how people make money online. If you have any questions, reach out to me at Jillian@MiloTree.com. And now, back to the show.
The reason why these are emergent businesses is you are a miner and you are mining for gold. You do not know where the gold is hidden. It’s in the hill somewhere, but you got to get your pick axe out. And you’ve got to start chipping away.
This is the idea of you put something out there, you have a plan, you see how people respond to it. And if they are not responding, you say, “Okay. There’s no gold there, I’m going to go someplace else.”
Hopefully, related to where you are, and you start mining someplace else and you start seeing where you can get traction. So in many ways, your job is to put out B- work and then step back, and look, and listen.
Look with your eyes. Look with your analytics to see where things are percolating up in your business, like bubbling just a little bit. Maybe you want to go a little deeper, and dig a little deeper, and see if you can find something that somebody else hasn’t quite discovered.
A lot of times what happens is somebody creates a very successful business, and then everybody piles on and thinks, “Oh, if I do the exact same thing this person did, it will work for me.”
I’m going to tell you that most of the time, that won’t happen, because for whatever reason, it’s the combination of that person at that time doing it exactly their way that has led to their success.
Your success will look different. So, you want to take trends and things. I interview lots of people who’ve been successful building businesses in a whole host of ways.
Hopefully, you can be inspired by what they’re doing. But my bet is, if you did it exactly like they did, you would not get the results that they have gotten. So therefore, I want you to recognize your special sauce.
It’s an equation of who you are, what you’re building, how you’re building it, what is going on in the world at this time? What are the algorithms doing right now? Are they going to help you or are they going to hurt you?
So, just know it’s messy, and it’s uncomfortable. If you can be okay in that – because most people can’t handle the mess. Most people can’t handle the discomfort. But if you can, you’ve got a leg up.
The other thing I wanted to talk about is this idea of keeping your eye on the prize. If your goal is to create a business that will bring in income to you, so that you can go have the freedom and the life you want, then you need to put that front and center.
I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs get caught up in something like, well, my Instagram follower number is growing. And they’re weirdly getting some dopamine hit as their follower numbers are growing.
They have not necessarily connected the dots on how follower number is growing equals money, equals monetizing. Because somehow they’re caught up in this, I would call it ego striking, or people telling you you’re good or you’re okay, and people like you.
I want to say, no, that you need to acknowledge that that’s what you’re doing. You’re working toward this goal and you think you’re achieving it but the real goal is to make money and you’re not thinking about that because you’re telling yourself, “Well, I will monetize this when I get to 10,000 followers on Instagram so I can get the swipe up feature, and that’s going to put my business on the map.”
And the truth of the matter is that it won’t, because there needs to be strategy at every single step. I ask people all the time, why are you doing this? Why are you growing this platform? I want to see how they’ve connected the dots to ultimately making money.
I am not embarrassed about making money. I think it’s amazing that we can make money on the internet. But the money’s not just going to show up. I’m not going to hit 10,000 followers, and all of a sudden money is just going to be flying in my direction. It doesn’t work like that.
You’ve got to, again, step back. Start at “I need to monetize this. How do I monetize this platform and build out the pieces from there?” My recommendation here is keep your eye on the prize.
The other thing too, is you know, when Catch My Party started growing, people kept saying to me, “Well, what’s your magic bullet?” And I would always say, there is no magic bullet.
And by the way, it took a while for Catch My Party to grow as large as it has. I use these terms which is, it is a long slog. People in my coaching group are like, “Can I turn this into a business?”
And I say, you absolutely can but assume it is going to take time. It is going to take consistent work. You need to be consistently putting out content. Even my podcast. I mean it is now really kind of hit its stride.
So, thank you to all of you who are listening, but I’ve been doing this for two years. I have over a hundred episodes. So, don’t think that it was this like slam dunk. A lot of times we see people’s businesses and they look effortless, but you do not see the effort that has gone into building it.
Or somebody will say, “I’m an overnight success and you can be too.” But you don’t know how many failed attempts happened before their “overnight success”.
So, I think that being very consistent, and this is again, where my Google Sheets come in handy in making sure that you are delivering B- work consistently. You will be in a much better place than if you are doing A+ work sporadically.
Or you are only creating content, sharing stuff on social media in your email list like shouting out what you’re doing. If you’re only doing that sporadically or when it hits you to do, I can’t say that you will build a successful business.
And the other thing that I want to talk about, which I think is really on my mind, is this idea of sales funnels, and that we think that there are linear. We think that people kind of start at the top and then they’re getting to know you.
And then they’re, let’s say, seeing some of your content. And then, they are debating whether that is, you know, a thing they should buy. And then they make a purchasing decision, and then they buy it.
It doesn’t work that way. It’s really people are constantly bouncing in and out of your sales funnel and people are distracted. I think about this. Somebody had given me this marriage advice, and I think it’s really, really valid. And maybe it will help you.
With David, when I would say… Let’s say, Lainey, our daughter was really little and I was overwhelmed. What I learned was if I said, “David, I need you to help more around the house.” that he could not and feel sympathetic, but he had no idea what that meant.
But if I said to David, “I need you to do the dishes. I need you to take out the trash. I need you to fold the laundry.” For him, that worked really well because he knew that in order to make me happy he needed to do the dishes, take out the trash, and fold the laundry. And then I would be happy.
But when I would say things like, “You just need to be more helpful.” That didn’t make any sense to him. I mean, of course, he wanted to be more helpful, but he had no idea what I was even talking about because he thought he was helpful in all these other ways.
I want you to think of your audience in a similar way. Your audience, your customers are incredibly distracted. They are being pulled in a thousand directions and you know this because you in your life are being pulled in a thousand different directions.
Therefore, I want you to think about simplifying your message and telling your audience exactly what you want them to do. If you want them to click here, say click here. If you want them to buy now, say buy now.
It’s also like parenting with your children. You want to give them very specific tasks so that they can succeed. Well, we as distracted people in the world today, we want people to tell us what to do.
So, I want you to be more aggressive in directing your audience in what you want them to do. If you want them to buy, you say buy. And you believe in that purchase. You know you’re providing value. You do not beat around the bush.
And if you have one link that you want them to click, you put that one link in your email or in your blog post. Maybe you put that link multiple times, but it should just be one link to one thing. Do not send them to 40 different things and have them choose. You choose for them.
It’s funny. David and I have this philosophy for MiloTree, which is we know our customers and many of you are. Our customers are busy entrepreneurs who are dealing with the mess, the uncertainty, the discomfort, all of the stuff that they have to do.
And so, we said to ourselves, “If we could make the decision on our side for you, that would work in 95% of the cases, we’re going to do it on our end. And we’re just going to give you a very easy solution that you can install.”
You can install your pop-up on your site, gosh, in less than two minutes. Now, does it have all of these options for customization? It does not because we thought that that created too much mental load on our customer’s end.
If we could take that decision away, we were happy to. Email me your feedback on how you think we’ve done but I love it when I get feedback that says, “Oh my God, this was so easy to install. Thank you so much. It was so simple to understand.”
And there is something called feature creep, where you start building more and more features, because you think, “Oh, and then we need this. And then we need this.” David and I, have to stop ourselves and go, “Is that really necessary? Or is that just feature creep?”
So I want you to think about that in your business. I want you to assume that your audience, again, is not focused on you. They’re not watching you. They’re busy in their own lives.
And they are popping in and out of your sales funnels. They’re popping in and out of your content, because you’ve sent them an email and then they go, “Oh, yeah. I remember her.” and they’re clicking over, but do not assume that they are as engaged as you think they might be.
Therefore, take that email and resend it with a different subject line to the same audience, to the people who have not opened your email. Do ask for the sale very much. Like very directly. Do tell people exactly where to click and what they will get out of doing that.
The more specific you can be, the better. Do not give your audience so many different choices that it overwhelms them. You tell them, “I’m the expert. I know this will help you. Click here.”
So those are my main thoughts that I just wanted to share. If this sounds interesting to you, and you would want to join our next group to be coached this way, to be pushed into discomfort, to not be told that it’s easy, but to tell you that if you can get out of your own way, if you can put pretty good work out there consistently, you will be successful.
And to embrace the emerging discoveries in your business and to see this as a positive thing, then please reach out to me because I would love to coach you in my next group. I hope this was useful.
Please feedback. I love it. Jillian@MiloTree.com I’ll be jumping in again doing these solo episodes. So let me know what you think.
Happy emergent business building. I’ll see you guys here again next week. And in the meantime, please stay safe. Hug your families and know that we all will get through this together.
Imagine a world where growing your social media followers and email list was easy…
It can be with MiloTree!
Try the MiloTree pop-up app on your blog for 30 days risk-free!
Let your MiloTree pop-ups help you get to that next level by turning your visitors into email subscribers and social media followers on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.
Sign up today!
Install your MiloTree pop-ups on your site in under two minutes.
Sign up for MiloTree now and get your first 30 DAYS FREE!