If you think that niching down cuts into your earnings, think again. We’re talking about how to profit from your niche. As you know, I’ve been a proponent of niching down for a long time. And if you still aren’t sure that the “riches are in the niches,” this episode is sure to change your mind.
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 Blogger Genius Podcast. Okay. Before I start, I’m going to invite you again to join my Facebook group. It’s called the MiloTree Mastermind Group. It really is an extension of the podcast. If you are liking this podcast, you will love my group.
I’m in there all the time. I’m going live talking about not just the episodes, but just about building businesses. It’s fun and the people are really kind. So please head to Facebook, search for the MiloTree Mastermind Group. Join the group, and just come on over and hang out with us.
For today’s episode, I have my friend Tamara Bennett on the show. If you did not believe me that the riches are in the niches, this episode will change your mind. Wait until you hear how Tamara has built such a successful business, ready for it, teaching people how to paint door hangers.
I didn’t even know what a door hanger was until I met Tamara. She has a site called Southern A-door-nments Decor. I think you’re going to be incredibly inspired by this episode. Tamara really goes step by step on how she built this incredibly successful business.
So without further delay, here is my interview with Tamara Bennett. Tamra, welcome to the show. I’m happy to have you.
Tamara Bennett 1:54
Good to be here.
Jillian Leslie 1:55
We met a couple months ago at this mastermind in Round Top, which I’ve talked about before. I’ve just been so impressed with what you have built in a relatively short time. Would you kind of start from the beginning and just share your entrepreneurial journey and where you are today?
Tamara Bennett 2:19
Absolutely. Let’s see. I started this business almost five years ago when I was actually eight months pregnant with my now four year old daughter, Charlie. My husband had just returned home from a long deployment in Afghanistan. He was in the National Guard.
We just kind of needed some extra income. I have always been a really crafty person. I’ve always loved to paint and make things with my hands. For the several months leading up to him returning home from deployment, I had been doing something that I called Pinterest parties in my home.
I was inviting friends over and we were doing some sort of craft that we found on Pinterest once a month. When he came home, all of that stopped. I missed that girl time. I missed getting to craft as much as I had been before.
And so, rather than going out and getting a job somewhere in town, I thought, you know, maybe there’s a way I can turn this Pinterest party idea into a business. The thing about the Pinterest parties is every single month we had done a different craft.
In one month it might be painting, the next month it might be sewing related. You just didn’t know. But the most popular project that we always did was door hangers. Do you know what a door hanger is?
Jillian Leslie 3:38
Okay. I was going to say, “Please explain.” I did not know what a door hanger was until we got together. And then you’re like, “Yeah. I teach people how to make door hanger hangers.” I was like, “What is a door hanger?”
Tamara Bennett 3:51
Essentially, it is a piece of wood that has been cut to a particular shape and you hang it on your front door. Just like you would have with wreath. And so, they’re usually painted in some sort of cute whimsical design.
Jillian Leslie 4:03
And they can go for holidays, or spring, or something like that?
Tamara Bennett 4:08
Right. Or it could just say welcome to our home. They’re just cute wooden signs. They’re pretty lightweight, and they hang right on the front door. So anyways, we did those a couple of times during the Pinterest parties.
I ended up taking that concept and taking it out of my home and taking it into other people’s homes. I started doing paint parties. I would cut out these shapes and take them to someone’s house. They would invite all of their friends.
It was almost like modeled after a direct sales company would be, where you have a hostess and she brings the guests and everybody shows up and pays for something and the hostess gets a reward. I had done direct sales before with different MLM companies.
And so I thought, there’s a way that we can do this where the hostess gets a reward for hosting the party and inviting her friends. And so, the hostess would get to paint for free at these parties. I started doing those. I was big and pregnant. And then of course the baby was born.
I loved it so much that even after the baby was born, I couldn’t wait to hop right back into it. I think I craved the connection with other women at these parties. And so, it was a chance for me to get out and spend time with other ladies and make money.
Jillian Leslie 5:20
So you would go to, let’s say, a friend and say, “Hey, you host this party. I’m going to bring all the supplies. I’m going to teach people how to make these and we’re all going to craft together.”
Tamara Bennett 5:29
Jillian Leslie 5:30
How much do you charge somebody to come to this party?
Tamara Bennett 5:35
When I first started out, I was charging $25 per person. And then a couple years later, I increased my price to $35 per person. So you know, with 10 people at a party, I could easily make $250 to $350. A lot of times it was much more than that, depending on how many people were involved.
Jillian Leslie 5:53
Got it. Okay. But you had to have this connection of people who wanted to host these parties.
Tamara Bennett 5:59
Right. But it’s kind of addicting. Once you come to one party and you make something pretty with your hands, you get a little bit confident and you think, “You know, I had so much…” It’s very therapeutic. It’s very relaxing to sit down and paint, eat snacks and talk to the other ladies.
And so, many times at these parties, the ladies at the party would say, “I want to have one of these with my church fellowship group.” or “I want to have one of these with all of my girl scouts and their moms.”
And so, it really started to network into other groups of friends, even though it started in my little circle of friends.
Jillian Leslie 6:31
Interesting. Okay. So then, you took this online.
Tamara Bennett 6:36
Jillian Leslie 6:36
How did you do that?
Tamara Bennett 6:38
Well, there was this little thing that started up called Facebook Live.
Jillian Leslie 6:41
Tamara Bennett 6:42
A lot of this is part of it. Yup. And when Facebook Live kind of became a thing I thought, you know, I’m going to try this out. I’m always one of these that when something new comes out, if it’s a new app or a new tool, I want to try it. I love trying new things.
And when Facebook Live came out, I thought I’m going to see what this is. So I set up my little camera. It probably was a six minute video, but I was just making a bow to go on these door hangers.
I love the fact that when I went live on Facebook, friends would pop up and they would say hi. They would ask questions about what I was doing. And so, it kind of became a little bit addicting because it was like, I was getting that connection with people even though I was still inside my home. I wasn’t having to actually go to a paint party to get that connection.
Jillian Leslie 7:27
Well, okay, so you were doing this on your personal Facebook page?
Tamara Bennett 7:31
Yes. Well, the first one that I did, I goofed up and did it on the personal Facebook page instead of the business page. But I’ve eventually figured out that I need to do it on my business page in order for it benefit my business.
And so, I started painting on Facebook Live, just so that I could have somebody to talk to while I was painting. I thought it might be kind of fun to let them watch.
Jillian Leslie 7:50
Tamara Bennett 7:55
Yeah. I personally have this innate teacher that lives inside of me. I can’t help but teach something while I’m doing it. And so, tips and all of this advice would just start spilling out of my mouth while I’m painting. I wasn’t really even seeing it that way. I didn’t mean for it to come across as teaching. It was just me answering questions.
Jillian Leslie 8:16
People be showing up live and and talking to you?
Tamara Bennett 8:20
Yes. I kind of had two different crowds there. I had the people who had zero interest in learning how to paint and they just wanted to order a door hanger from me. They would watch me paint. They loved it if they could catch me painting their order on Facebook Live.
So I was painting people’s orders. If you popped up I would say, “Oh.Hey, Jillian. Yeah, this is yours. I’m working on your door hanger right now.” And so, the person watching loved seeing the process of what I was making.
But then the other crowd of people were these people who wanted to learn how to make these and were interested in this business that I had built. And so, they started asking questions about paint parties.
How I made my door hangers, what kind of wood do I use, what kind of paint do I use? All of that kind of stuff. And so, I kind of had two different audiences going at the same time.
But, you know, it eventually kind of became where they were asking so much that I thought, you know, I need a more structured way to teach this. That was sort of where my membership site was born.
Jillian Leslie 9:21
Okay. So you thought to yourself, “Wait a second. I could charge people to teach them how to paint door hangers.”
Tamara Bennett 9:31
Yes, because they were already asking me all the questions all the time. It’s hard to teach that kind of stuff in depth because they’re on a Facebook Live video.
There’s so much you can teach somebody about it. It would be easier if it were more structured, you know, in a membership setting.
Jillian Leslie 9:48
Got it. Okay. So, how long ago did you launch your membership site?
Tamara Bennett 9:54
We launched in April of 2018.
Jillian Leslie 9:57
Okay. So like a year and a half ago?
Tamara Bennett 10:01
Jillian Leslie 10:02
And so, did you cultivate? When you said, “I’m going to launch this membership site.” Did you first talk to your audience to say, “Guys, would you be interested in this?” Did you email your list? How did you prep for this?
Tamara Bennett 10:18
Back then I didn’t really know much about email list. I really didn’t have what you would call like a list. I mean I probably had some names on a list that had come in organically through my website, but I wasn’t doing anything with that email list. It was just sitting there.
The main primary source of communication with my followers was through Facebook Live in my Facebook page. About six months prior to me opening up the membership site, I had been dabbling with… Technically, that was a membership site also, but we called it a virtual paint party where I mailed a piece of wood to you once a month, and I taught you how to paint it.
And so, that was one project each month. And then, the thing that I noticed was, we had about 40 to 50 members in there. It was going pretty good but I noticed that a lot of people were not joining because they wanted to figure out how they could make this thing without having to pay for shipping and pay for an item to be mailed to him.
A lot of these people knew how to cut these themselves at home using like a jigsaw. They wanted to save money and cut it themselves, but they just wanted to learn the painting skill part of it.
So, after about four or five months of doing it that way, where I was mailing things out, I decided to restructure it. And that was in January of 2018.
I thought, you know, what if we took out the shipping part of it, and we just gave them like a digital download that they could use to print out at home, they tape it to their wood, and they trace it and cut it out themselves. And then, I teach them how to paint it.
And so, I started thinking about this idea. I kind of asked my audience on Facebook. Every time I did a Facebook Live, I would kind of mention it.
I would say, “I’m thinking about doing this thing. I’m not sure exactly what it’s going to look like yet, but this is kind of what I’m thinking. What do you guys think? Is that something you’d be interested in?”
And of course, everybody was like, “Oh my goodness, yes. When can we join? When is this?” They were really excited.
Jillian Leslie 12:10
Don’t you love that when your audience is telling you like, “Yes, we are dying to do this.”?
Tamara Bennett 12:15
Yeah, it’s like I finally hit the nail on the head. I’ve been struggling for a while to figure out exactly how I could best serve these people. Once I finally figured it out, it was like the path became so clear.
Jillian Leslie 12:28
I love that. Again, I talk a lot about being an entrepreneur is like being a miner. I think I might have mentioned this when we’re in the mastermind, which is, you kind of take out your pickaxe and you start mining.
You go, “Okay. Is there any gold over here?” And then you go, “Well, I see a little bit of gold, but maybe there’s a place I could go nearby that has more gold.” And then you kind of go, “Well, what if we pivot a little bit this way? What if we kind of move it a little bit this way?”
Hopefully, you’ve got an audience that will talk to you. I’m sure having to ship out pieces of wood was (A) lot of work for you.
Tamara Bennett 13:06
Jillian Leslie 13:07
And very expensive. And you’re like, “Wait. What if we take this whole piece out? What could that be?” And that your audience was receptive to that.
I mean I think, again, it’s like you kind of make these micro adjustments to go, “Wait. Should I go this way? Should I go this way? Let’s try this. Let’s try that.” And then once you find it, it’s like, “Whoa! There it is.”
Tamara Bennett 13:32
It’s like you don’t have to throw the entire idea out. Like you said, just make a micro adjustment. Sometimes that’s like striking gold.
Jillian Leslie 13:40
Right. And you figured out a way to strike gold.
Tamara Bennett 13:43
Jillian Leslie 13:44
Okay. So initially when you were shipping out these pieces of wood you had like, what? 40 members 50 members?
Tamara Bennett 13:51
Jillian Leslie 13:52
Okay. And that meant you had to be cutting the wood, packing it up, going to the post office, that whole thing?
Tamara Bennett 13:59
Yes, it was very labor intensive.
Jillian Leslie 14:00
Okay. And then you say, “Wait, we’re going to take the wood piece out. People can cut their own wood.” And then, you launched this. Would you say January of 2018?
Tamara Bennett 14:12
I started seeding the idea in January to my audience. I told them, “It’s coming. It’s coming. We’re going to do it in April.” I think it was like March 28 or something, like three days before April, I actually launched it on my Facebook page. I just live launch.
Every day I did a Facebook Live. I would talk about the benefits of joining, what you would get, how it’s going to be this amazing community of women who are supportive of one another.
We focused a lot on the community aspect of it because there is something really powerful about being a part of a community that is all working towards a similar goal and has similar beliefs and, you know, they’re all supportive of one another. And so, we really talked about the community a lot.
Jillian Leslie 14:56
When you say we, what do you mean by that?
Tamara Bennett 14:59
Well, I say we a lot. I guess just because even though I’m the owner of this business, it doesn’t feel like it belongs solely to me. Because my community is so involved in every aspect of my business, I feel like they all own a piece of it. Does that make sense?
Jillian Leslie 15:16
Yeah. Well, it’s a community.
Tamara Bennett 15:18
Yeah, it’s a community. And so, even though I’m the one, you know, that built the business, I feel like I couldn’t do it by myself.
This business would not exist if it wasn’t for all of them helping me, and supporting me, and believing in me throughout all of this. When we launched it in April 2018, we ended up having 407 members join.
Jillian Leslie 15:39
Tamara Bennett 15:40
Jillian Leslie 15:42
And wait, how much were you charging a month?
Tamara Bennett 15:44
$27 a month. That was our founding member offer.
Jillian Leslie 15:48
Okay. What do you charge now, by the way?
Tamara Bennett 15:51
Jillian Leslie 15:51
Tamara Bennett 15:53
We still have several women in the group who have been in ever since the beginning.
Jillian Leslie 15:57
Okay. That’s amazing. Now, here’s here’s a question. You’re doing all these Facebook Lives. In the process, are you watching your organic Facebook page grow?
Tamara Bennett 16:09
Jillian Leslie 16:11
Okay. Because again, you have this audience of people who are showing up when you’re going live. Ultimately, you’re growing a very big business Facebook page.
Tamara Bennett 16:22
Yes. When I first started doing Facebook Live, I probably had about 2500 followers on Facebook when I did my first Facebook Live. Fast forward about a year later, I probably had about 5000. That was with zero Facebook ads spent, and me not really knowing what I was doing.
Around the point where I was at 5000 followers, that was around the point where I finally hired a business coach and got more serious about it.
Jillian Leslie 16:51
What did this business coach tell you?
Tamara Bennett 16:54
To be consistent, that was one of the main things, and to show your face which I was already doing with Facebook Live but I wasn’t being consistent with showing my face.
Jillian Leslie 17:03
You mean you were showing the craft and you painting or what?
Tamara Bennett 17:07
Right. But it’s not just my hands doing the work, it’s my voice and connecting with the audience, them being able to see my face and make a face connection with the business.
Jillian Leslie 17:18
I love that. You have such a cute face.
Tamara Bennett 17:21
Jillian Leslie 17:21
And a cute voice. Like the whole package is super cute.
Tamara Bennett 17:25
I’ve been told many times before that I have like a comforting presence. I don’t know how to explain it. It sounds silly to me because I’m just me.
I don’t know if it’s my Kentucky accent or what it is but people who watch, sometimes they will just watch because they love hearing me talk and they love like my calming demeanor.
Jillian Leslie 17:45
Tamara Bennett 17:45
I’m always very positive. There’s never any drama on my page or in my group. I’m very conflict avoidant. I don’t know. Something about that draws people in. I think that I have this innate ability to make you as the viewer believe that you can do it. What I’m teaching you, you can do it.
Jillian Leslie 18:09
I have to agree. I’ve watched you paint and it is very soothing. You have that pretty backdrop. It’s a kind of rustic wood colorful. I don’t know what it even is but it looks really colorful and happy.
You do have this really nice like, you know, you seem like a really sweet kindergarten teacher. I mean I don’t mean that, like, you know, you’re talking down.
Tamara Bennett 18:36
No, I love that.
Jillian Leslie 18:37
You love your kindergarten teacher. Different than your first grade teacher. You’re like when you’re painting it, it is very calming. And you know, I don’t know. It’s pretty and it’s like you’re making something. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Tamara Bennett 18:54
Yes. I’m very relaxed while I’m doing it. They’ll always say, “You make it look so easy. And you’re so relaxed.” I’m like, “Well, painting is relaxing in and of itself.”
Jillian Leslie 19:05
Absolutely. And you’re doing something creative.
Tamara Bennett 19:08
Right. And my goal for the people watching is to help them find this creative person inside of them and help them become confident in doing this because the confidence is what makes it seem easy. Once you become confident, it’s easy and you can relax.
Jillian Leslie 19:25
One thing I would say is you seem so non judging. You’re the expert, but you are so not like superior. Not like, “I know what I’m doing.” You’re just so welcoming.
Tamara Bennett 19:41
Well, I always think of it. Would you rather have someone standing on a hill, preaching down to you at the bottom of the hill telling you what to do to get to the top of the hill, or would you rather them come to the bottom of the hill, grab your hand, and help you out?
Jillian Leslie 19:54
I love it.
Tamara Bennett 19:56
I have that philosophy, I want to be down in the trenches with them, helping them get to the top.
Jillian Leslie 20:01
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Let’s go back to your Facebook page. You’re doing Facebook Lives. You then hire a business coach. Your business coach says, “Be consistent.” So you get on to Facebook Live and you start doing them. How often?
Tamara Bennett 22:14
I started doing Facebook Lives twice a week.
Jillian Leslie 22:17
Okay. Do you say, “I’m showing up at this time and this time.”?
Tamara Bennett 22:20
No. Well, for the most part, no. I do that now a little bit more but my personality is I love to like fly by the seat of my pants and I don’t like to be held down to a schedule. It’s difficult for me to show up at a certain time at a certain place. And so, I will usually just.
Back then I was just hopping on whenever I had the moment because as a mom with you know, a toddler end of it, if she decided to take a nap, I hopped on Facebook Live, or I would do it late at night while she was in bed.
But now that I’ve been in business longer, she’s older, I have the ability to structure my time better. So, I do show up consistently at a more specific time.
Jillian Leslie 22:58
Okay. So then you start showing up more regularly because your business coach tells you, “You need to do this. You need to show your face.”
Tamara Bennett 23:05
Jillian Leslie 23:06
And now, how is your page growing at this point? When was this?
Tamara Bennett 23:12
I hired the business coach in August of 2017. At that time, I believe I was at around 5000 Facebook followers. And then by January, I was up to about 7500.
I had played with Facebook Ads a little bit, but it is so intimidating. I couldn’t get it right. So in January of 2018, I hired someone to do my Facebook Ads for me. And that made a huge difference.
Jillian Leslie 23:42
And this was all to grow followers.
Tamara Bennett 23:44
Right. Because I knew the more people I got into my world, all I had to do was get them to watch me paint. Like I said earlier, my zone of genius is helping you get over that fear and thinking that you can do it.
If I can get you to watch me, I can get you to believe you can do it, then you’ll want to join my membership.
Jillian Leslie 24:03
Got it. Okay. So, running these ads, all of a sudden your Facebook page starts taking off.
Tamara Bennett 24:09
Yes. By the spring, by the time we launched the membership in April of 2018. So four months later, we had grown to about 15,000 Facebook followers. We had doubled it in about four months with Facebook Ads. And then now today, I’m at 103,000 Facebook followers.
Jillian Leslie 24:30
But even more so, very engaged.
Tamara Bennett 24:35
Yes, it’s not just empty followers. They are all very engaged. They show up when I do a Facebook Live. It’s great. It’s a wonderful community.
Jillian Leslie 24:46
Okay. So let’s fast forward again now. You saying I’m going to do this membership site where I’m going to give you the download to, you know, make your wood, and we’re going to show up. What are you offering? What did you say? $27 a month? $29 a month?
Tamara Bennett 25:04
Jillian Leslie 25:05
Twenty seven. And you go, “Here’s what you get in my membership site.”
Tamara Bennett 25:09
Right. They would get access to a private Facebook group which we call the Painters Clubhouse. They get two of the printable templates each month that they can trace and cut out their own wood with.
Then they get two video tutorials. One is taught by me over one of the designs. And then the second one is usually taught by a guest instructor. And that’s the second template that they get.
Jillian Leslie 25:34
Which you recorded beforehand.
Tamara Bennett 25:37
Sometimes, yes. And sometimes they are live inside the Facebook group. Our community prefers the live videos.
Jillian Leslie 25:44
So they can interact with you?
Tamara Bennett 25:45
Yes. And they can ask questions while I’m painting.
Jillian Leslie 25:48
How long are these tutorials?
Tamara Bennett 25:51
Usually around 40 minutes, 40 – 45 minutes.
Jillian Leslie 25:56
Okay. So they get two of these a month. And then, what else are they getting?
Tamara Bennett 26:02
Usually we do some sort of, like technique kind of video. We might teach bow making or we might teach hand lettering or how to do a specific kind of pattern. Just something that’s very specific that they could use on any door hanger that they want to paint. It’s just to improve their skills.
Jillian Leslie 26:22
Okay. And then what about though, this is what I love for the live painting?
Tamara Bennett 26:28
Oh, when I paint the door hanger live?
Jillian Leslie 26:30
Yeah. In the membership, don’t they get certain kind of educational tutorials? But then, are they also invited to come and paint live?
Tamara Bennett 26:39
Yes. Well, that wasn’t originally offered by 2018. But now that has become a very important piece of the membership. We call them Zoom Paint Parties. They get a Zoom link and they’re invited to grab whatever project that they’ve been putting off and not had time to work on that week.
They just come and paint with us. And so, I’m not teaching anything during those Zoom Paint Parties, but it’s more just a chance to interact. And so, they talk to each other, they talk to me, they share tips and advice, or they talk about starting a paint party business or whatever it is.
Sometimes they just talk about the struggles of being a mom. And so, it’s just a great chance for them to get to know other members, spend time with me, and to paint.
Jillian Leslie 27:22
Okay. Again, remember we’re talking about mining for gold, right?
Tamara Bennett 27:26
Jillian Leslie 27:27
So you start off your membership and you’re going to do two workshops a month, right. And then at a certain point, I guess you said, and then we’re going to introduce paint parties.
Tamara Bennett 27:43
Oh, the Zoom Paint Parties. I was thinking of in person paint parties.
Jillian Leslie 27:47
Oh. No, no. But like adding the Zoom Paint Parties.
Tamara Bennett 27:49
Yes. One year later, when we launched it this past April, April 2019, that was when we started implementing those monthly zoom paint parties. We started out doing them once a month, but they were such a hit that we began doing them twice a month.
And now, I’m actually toying with the idea of doing them weekly. I may not show up on them weekly, but that really doesn’t matter, Jillian.
They want to communicate with each other, just as much or more so than they want to communicate with me. And so, just providing the space for them to do that is so valuable.
Jillian Leslie 28:23
Again, like you you say, it’s a “we” it’s not a “me”.
Tamara Bennett 28:26
Jillian Leslie 28:28
Okay. On Zoom, how does it work? How many people can show up on your Zoom paint party and have their little video where you can see them? How many people can you see at once on the paint party?
Tamara Bennett 28:43
The largest group that we’ve had so far was about, I want to say 60 people. Normally, we don’t have more than 30 or so show up. But the first one we had after this last launch, we had like 60 people.
Zoom has this really cool feature called breakout rooms. As the host, I can take the large group of people and segment them into breakout rooms. And so then, they might be only four in a group or five in a group.
They can chat amongst themselves without feeling like they are drowning in this huge sea of people. They get more one on one interaction. And so usually we’ll start out in a large group with everyone’s tiny little photo or video up on the screen.
Everyone will be muted. I as the hostess welcome everyone. Sometimes we’ll tell what’s going on in our lives this week.
And so, we’ll have the little zoom, raise your hand feature and when they raise their hand, I’ll bring them up on video and just say, “What was something great that happened this week?”
Someone might say, “I sold my first door hanger and we all celebrate with them.” And then after we’ve had that little introductory moment, we do the breakout rooms. And then at the end of about 45 minutes or so we will all come back into a large group again, inside of zoom.
Usually we do a little share session where we say, “Okay. What was one takeaway that you got from your breakout group?” And so, some of them will come on there and they’ll say, “I didn’t know about these amazing paint pins.”
And so, they’ll start sharing with the group this amazing thing that they just discovered. It’s really great. They just love it.
Jillian Leslie 30:18
Do you feel like you’ve come full circle?
Tamara Bennett 30:21
Jillian Leslie 30:21
Like from when you started your paint parties. Oh, no, when you started your Pinterest parties, and you wanted community, and you wanted a group of women coming together with a shared activity, but also to build community and support each other.
Tamara Bennett 30:36
I’ve never thought about it like that. But yeah, you’re right. I started doing those Pinterest parties because I needed time with other women. I needed that community.
Jillian Leslie 30:45
And especially as you have kids. Especially when you have little kids, it’s a really potentially lonely time.
Tamara Bennett 30:55
Well, not just that, but there’s so many women in my group who are now retired or close to retirement. They’ve got emptiness now.
They need to interact with other people because it’s just them and their spouse or perhaps their spouse has passed away and they’re home alone. And so, they need community just as much as us busy mamas.
Jillian Leslie 31:14
Right. Again, they say that it improves your life, and your longevity, and all your health markers and stuff just by being part of a community. And what’s neat about today is you can be in a virtual community and you still get the benefits without having to get in your car and drive somewhere.
Boom! You just turn on your computer and there are people who want to interact with you and get to know you.
Tamara Bennett 31:40
Right. I can’t tell you how many women in this membership have told me that it has been life changing. And so, that just feels like icing on the cake for me.
I wanted to do this to support my family and bring a community together, but I never envisioned the ripple effect that it could have on these women and their lives and their financial lives because so many of them have started their own businesses or just started selling a few door hangers here and there to help, you know, pay the bills and it’s been huge for them.
Jillian Leslie 32:11
Okay. So now, how many members do you have in your membership site?
Tamara Bennett 32:16
We are at about 950 right now.
Jillian Leslie 32:19
That’s incredible. That’s incredible. And so is this your main business right now? For example, do you have an Etsy shop where you sell your door hangers? Because again, you were starting by making door hangers for people.
Tamara Bennett 32:33
It was a huge chunk of my business until recently where the other parts of my business had been built up. Now it’s about a 50% chunk of my income.
The other chunk comes from my Shopify store, where I sell the wooden cutouts and I sell the printable downloadable templates. And so, that brings in quite a bit of revenue each month.
Jillian Leslie 32:57
I love it. I love how you’ve been able to just build on what you love and what you discovered. I mean it’s just amazing.
Okay. So in terms of then, are you active, for example, on Instagram? People will say, “Facebook’s dead. I can’t build a business on Facebook.” And you show that yes, you can.
Tamara Bennett 33:18
Yeah. Facebook is my my biggest platform, but my second largest would have to be Instagram. I do Instagram Stories every single day. I’m not very good at being consistent at posting on my Instagram feed, but I’m very consistent with Instagram stories.
And so, I think that just really helps with getting connected with your audience. They feel like they know you because they get to see a little bit of you every day and see what’s going on behind the scenes.
Jillian Leslie 33:49
Do you find that your audience on Instagram is different from your Facebook audience?
Tamara Bennett 33:54
A little bit. I feel like they’re a little younger. It’s more of the busy Mamas and less of the older retired ladies. The retired ladies are usually over on Facebook.
Jillian Leslie 34:03
Right. And do you have a team to help you?
Tamara Bennett 34:06
Yes, I didn’t always but I do now.
Jillian Leslie 34:09
What is your team consist of?
Tamara Bennett 34:11
Well, we have a lady who is considered director of operations, if you will. She actually built my website. She manages the membership site area. And then, she also sort of delegate tasks to the other members on the team.
Because for the longest time, I was the one who was going back and forth with every single team member. It’s exhausting trying to micromanage and make sure that everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing.
And so, she has kind of taken on that role so that it opens me up to be able to think about where the business is going, and what’s next, instead of all the tiny little pieces.
And then of course, I’ve got the same lady with me who started running my Facebook Ads. She’s still with me today. She also helps me with my content and what we’re posting on Facebook and Instagram.
Jillian Leslie 35:00
How often are you posting, for example, on Facebook?
Tamara Bennett 35:03
At least three times a day. Sometimes more.
Jillian Leslie 35:06
Okay. So you’re not just doing lives on Facebook. You’re also posting, and engaging, that kind of thing.
Tamara Bennett 35:15
Right. We might share a viral video, or take a poll, or share some sort of tip. A lot of times on Mondays we will ask people to share what they have painted with us. And in that post, we get easily 150-200 comments of photos of their door hangers that they’ve been painting.
Jillian Leslie 35:32
That’s amazing. That’s amazing. Okay. So, I love how just organically you’ve been able to cultivate. You are the perfect example of somebody who found something she’s passionate about, figured out that other people are passionate about it, and built an authentic organic community to serve these people and yourself.
Tamara Bennett 35:53
And it’s so niche specific. I never would have dreamed that I could have a page with 100,000 followers on people who are interested in painting door hangers.
Jillian Leslie 36:02
Yes. No, here’s one of my last questions. Do you have a blog?
Tamara Bennett 36:06
Yes, it’s relatively new. We only just started it within the last six months or so. But we have gotten really consistent on it in the last month and started posting two or three times a week, covering different topics that people would be searching for related to door hangers.
And so, that’s one of the things I’m most proud of right now is that blog and how it is growing. With social media, you post something and tomorrow it’s like down in the feed and it’s gone. It’s really difficult to go back and look at old content of mine.
But on a blog, it’s like this beautiful curated masterpiece where they can easily go back and look at things we’ve published. It feels more organized and easy to access.
Jillian Leslie 36:53
Right. And then like you could have a library of information. Like somebody can get lost learning all the different tips and things that you’re writing.
Tamara Bennett 37:00
Yes. I do have someone on my team writing those blogs, but I’m giving her photos or video. I’m telling her the content.
I’m usually giving her a lot of the words that she’s just putting them in a fancier, more polished way than I would put them because she’s got the time to dedicate to it. She does a beautiful job with it.
Jillian Leslie 37:21
Got it. Okay. What is the one tool that you could not live without?
Tamara Bennett 37:27
Right now, I feel like it is the Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets. We are using all the Google Apps.
Jillian Leslie 37:35
I do too. They’re so easy to share.
Tamara Bennett 37:38
Yes. With my team, we are in those apps every single day. It has been amazing to be able to share things with my team using those apps.
Jillian Leslie 37:46
Absolutely. My daughter who’s 12 and in school, she’s in a master. She’s like, “Mom. I use Google Slides to make presentation.” I haven’t even ventured into that.
Tamara Bennett 37:57
I don’t either.
Jillian Leslie 37:58
I agree. That’s great. Okay. Let’s say that you could talk to yourself five years ago, when you were just starting out. What piece of advice would you give yourself?
Tamara Bennett 38:13
The one thing that I feel like I struggled with early on, and I see a lot of people in the creative industry struggle with is worrying about what the competition is doing.
And so, the moment that I decided to focus on community and worry less about the competition, to put on blinders, so to speak, and only look at the path I was going on, things changed for me.
It was like, all of a sudden, all of these opportunities started coming in and my community became bigger and tighter knit. And so, I’m a huge proponent and believer in the community over competition mindset. And so, I wish I had found that sooner.
Jillian Leslie 38:54
I think that is very powerful. Okay. Tamara, if people want to reach out to you and see what you’re doing, what is the best way?
Tamara Bennett 39:04
Probably on Facebook, Southern Adoornments Decor. Adoornments has two O’s in it because door hanger has two O so Adoornments with two O’s.
Jillian Leslie 39:13
Okay. So Southern Adoornments. Okay. And if they wanted to reach out, should they reach out via Facebook?
Tamara Bennett 39:23
If they wanted to actually message me, Instagram DM is probably the quickest and easiest way to get directly to me.
Jillian Leslie 39:30
Okay. And on Instagram, you are?
Tamara Bennett 39:33
Southern Adoornments Decor.
Jillian Leslie 39:35
Perfect. Well, Tamara, I have to say, I think this episode is so chock full of really good advice. And again, Just this idea of a community that feeds your soul and how that can turn into a very successful business.
Tamara Bennett 39:54
Yes, I agree. Thank you.
Jillian Leslie 39:56
Well, thank you so much for being on the show.
Tamara Bennett 39:59
Jillian Leslie 40:00
Guys, wasn’t that fascinating? I really think it speaks to our desire for community. Think in your own business. Is there a way for you to build your own community? That’s what I’m trying to do with my Facebook group.
If you haven’t joined yet, please head to Facebook. Join the MiloTree Mastermind Group. I want it to be a place where people feel comfortable, where they can share, where they can ask questions about their businesses, where they can grow.
I want it to be a place where we all understand what we’ve all signed up for. I don’t know about you. I’ve shared this previously, but in my own life, in my day to day life, I feel like a lot of the same moms I interact with don’t really know what I’m doing.
When I go to a conference or when I talk to people online who do, there is something very rewarding and affirming about that. Really, that’s my intention for the MiloTree Mastermind Facebook group. So please head over and join.
Also, if you’ve not yet signed up for your free trial of MiloTree, definitely do that. Install it on your blog, grow your social media followers. It’s getting harder and harder to do that. And so, with a tool like MiloTree, you can easily do it and you’re going to grow your most engaged followers.
That’s all I have to say for today. I will be here again next week.
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