Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast, brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:08
Hey guys, welcome back to the show. Today I’m here again with my friend and MiloTree Community Manager, Paula Rollo. Today we’re digging in on how to find opportunities in your business to make money. I think we all want to know how to do that.
What we’re going to talk about is how to find what what’s called product-market fit, where you find something that connects with your audience, where they’re willing to pay.
Then we talk about how to build that out, how to test it, and then ultimately, how to scale your business. I think as business owners, this is really the holy grail. This is what you want to be thinking about. This is what you want to be testing for.
So without further ado, I bring you my interview with or my conversation with Paula Rollo. Paula, welcome back to the show.
Paula Rollo 1:08
Thank you for having me back. I’m excited.
Jillian Leslie 1:10
I love when we sit here and we talk about business topics. So today, we said we’re going to talk about scaling and what scaling means, and when to scale and when not to scale. Because we’ve been talking about this as a concept previously. And we both are like, “Hey, let’s let’s dig in.”
Paula Rollo 1:31
Absolutely. I think that scaling is like one of those words that entrepreneurs use constantly. We start throwing it around and no one ever defines it or tells us what it really means, that we all kind of just act like we’re doing it.
Can you quickly define out for us what scaling is? And I’m sure there’s like a dictionary definition, but what’s the context that we’re going to be talking about it in today.
Jillian Leslie 1:58
Yeah. I would say that scaling is that you want to be scaling your business when you have hit what I call “product-market fit”. And product-market fit is hard to find.
But it is when what you’re trying to do connects with an audience especially if they’re willing to pay for it or they’re willing to come back for it, that kind of thing.
And so we spend most of our time looking for product market fit, testing stuff for product market fit. And then once you found it, it’s kind of like digging for gold, and then you find your gold.
Then you want to figure out how to put systems in place so that you can then dig, you can get that gold automatically without having to work as hard.
Paula Rollo 2:47
That totally makes sense. So there’s a timing element here that I really want to spend a lot of time talking about, no pun intended, but it just happens.
About when to know that scaling is the right choice. How do you know that you have struck gold and this is something that you should scale, what’s a good marker too to look for?
Jillian Leslie 3:09
So a couple of things. One way I would say, this is not the right signal to scale is, I’m going to create a product and let’s say I’m going to create an e-book.
And what I’m going to do is, I’m going to ask five friends, “Hey, if I created this e-book, would you buy it?” And five friends say, “Yeah, I’d buy that.” Because the truth is, they’re your friends and they’re going to tell you that they’re going to buy your book.
So, therefore, I would say no, no, that’s too early to scale. Because people will tell you what you want to hear, especially if they’re your friends.
Another way to think about doing it is to put up a landing page for your book, and you can do it a variety of ways. One is, you literally put a “buy” button on the landing page and see if people click it. See if you could get somebody to open up their wallet and put their credit card information in.
And then, you know, guess what, I’ve got a product. Now, what you can then do is you can email them immediately and say, “I’m still working on this, I’m going to refund you your money now, but I am going to reach back out to you once this product is live.
Or I’m going to give you a 50% rebate, and I’ll have this for you in three weeks. Is that okay?” or a month or whatever it takes.
But you really want to make sure that you’re not just getting signals that your whatever idea is working, but that you’re getting real information, confirmation that it’s working.
So let’s say you decided I’m going to start a blog and it’s going to have a certain topic. Let’s say tidying up, and you’re going to somehow have your own spin on sparking joy and whatever, and you put it up there.
Well, you see and you do some pinning and stuff, and see if you can get some traction. Or if people are like, “I’m over this, I’m really not going to show up for this.”
And so you’re always looking for these signals but you want to make sure that the signal is strong before you start A, investing money and, and B, investing time — and those are two elements that I would put towards scaling.
Like, once you do strike gold, then you want to figure out, Okay, how can I do this? And how can I get my systems in place so that I can continue to — people talk about it as a flywheel — get my flywheel going.
If you’ve ever taken a spin class, you know what I mean by that flywheel. By the way, it’s hard. It’s not like, Oh wow, you know, everybody else seems to have figured out their flywheel and I can’t find mine.
Remember, on the internet, you’re competing with the world. So a lot of the low-hanging fruit has already been kind of picked and so you might spend a lot of time trying to figure out what your product product-market fit is.
Paula Rollo 6:20
Okay. So as you’re planning how much of a business plan do you need them to get started, because I think a lot of the time, another thing entrepreneurs talk about is like having this from day one vision for the next 10 years or 5-year plan, or whatever it is.
So how much of a drawn-up, mapped ouplan do you have before you start trying some of these things or do you just kind of jump in with the first idea that you have,
Jillian Leslie 6:48
I would say that in the past, I would have said, go out and Google business plans and write a business plan because it will get your brain in the game. It might not get other people in it, but it will get you aligned, like get you thinking about what you’re doing today, my advice would be different it would be to definitely write down what you want to be accomplishing what your goal is, and what your hypothesis is. And then because today, tools are relatively inexpensive, you can get a landing page up very quickly. You can, you know, start a blog very quickly and very inexpensively, I would start building something but not putting a lot of money in it. I would put some time into it. And then I would be constantly getting feedback, okay, because what we have discovered is, the more open you are to the experience of CO creating with your visitors with your customers. The more success you’ll have, the more you are listening, the faster you will find a solution to a problem people are having.
You can start a blog very quickly and very inexpensively. I would start building something but not putting a lot of money in it. I would put some time into it and then I would be constantly getting feedback.
Because what we have discovered is, the more open you are to the experience of co-creating with your visitors, with your customers, the more success you’ll have. The more you are listening, the faster you will find a solution to a problem people are having.
Today, my advice would be different. It would be to definitely write down what you want to be accomplishing, what your goal is, and what your hypothesis is. And then because today, tools are relatively inexpensive, you can get a landing page up very quickly.
Paula Rollo 8:05
Jillian Leslie 8:06
I go back to the start of Catch My Party and I think we’ve talked about this, but my husband worked at MySpace. And I was a writer in Hollywood writing teen movies.
We thought we so understood teens, especially teen girls, because I had been a teen girl and we built Catch My Party for teen girls because we thought it… And it was like, I don’t know if you remember there was a show on MTV called My Super Sweet 16.
So we’re like, Hey, what if we took this concept and created a photo sharing site for teen girls to share photos of their parties. And we hired some developers, because this was before the days when you could just get a website up on Squarespace or something like that.
And we worked. And again, we did it on the cheap and we did it as a side hustle, which was not called a side hustle back then. It was just called like late nights working — working with some developers in Indonesia. That’s what it was called.
And we built the site. But we hired a designer, again, on the cheap. But we did and we worked on wire frames. And we did like the whole nine yards. We built the site for teen girls and we opened the door. We’re like, Okay, guys, come on in.
And it was crickets. It was total crickets.
And then what happened was, and I think I might have said this, like, I would be stalking teen girls on the internet. This was before Facebook, and I’d be like, I would find some photos of somebody’s party and I’d be like, “Hey, will you put your party photos up?”
And I’m some 30-something mom. And they’d be like, this is creepy. Nobody would respond to me. And I was like, Oh, no, what do we do? We spent money. We built a whole website. We’ve been spending months and months on this.
And then luckily for us, moms with Etsy shops started putting photos on our site and it was like, whoa. And of course, this is the point where you need the mindset of flexibility. Because in the beginning, we didn’t have it because we had this vision. This is teen girls, and all of a sudden, we’re getting moms.
And we’re like, Oh my god, this is wrong, this is not the audience we wanted. Should we delete their parties?
And then we had a moment where we said, Wait a second. Because then another mother would do it, like another person with an Etsy shop. Because what we allowed you to do was put links on your party page.
So if I had an Etsy shop and I create beautiful party hats, and the site is letting me put links on it — cool, I’ll put pictures of my parties on.
So we made that choice. And then what we decided was, wait a second, maybe this is our site, maybe it is for moms with beautiful Etsy shops — and we should go that way.
And that was a moment where I think we were on vacation, we were in Palm Springs, and I remember feeling depressed thinking, Oh no, this isn’t right. Like, what do we do? And we thought, like, is it mean to delete their parties? And then we said, Wait, maybe this is the direction.
So again, the lesson was so powerful for us, which is go toward that. Especially if it’s an audience that you want. Whereas if it’s an audience that all of a sudden you’re like, Whoa, I don’t want this audience, then you need to pull up and go in a different direction.
But if it’s an audience that you never anticipated but could work for you, that’s where the flexibility comes in. That’s where the learning comes in. And that is where the nimbleness comes in.
Paula Rollo 11:38
It kind of reminds me of Pinterest back in the day and how initially it was for decor, it was for… I don’t even remember.
Jillian Leslie 11:50
It was weddings.
Paula Rollo 11:50
It was mostly that. It was weddings, it was crafts, it was DIY.
Jillian Leslie 11:54
It was cupcakes.
Paula Rollo 11:55
Yes. So many cupcakes, so many mason jars, and burlap. All of those things.
And then bloggers kind of went nuts on it. I felt and I think a lot of if you’ve been around a while in the blogging industry, you remember this feeling a few years ago where there was just this tension with Pinterest, and we felt like we were fighting against them.
They were trying to put a few things in place.
Jillian Leslie 12:21
Who are the content creators…
Paula Rollo 12:22
For making it really hard for bloggers. And they were kind of trying to butt us out for a minute.
Jillian Leslie 12:28
Or it felt like that, yeah.
Paula Rollo 12:29
It felt like yeah, like, I don’t have any inside track to Pinterest or anything, but it truly felt like they were trying to kick us out and go back to being what they had an initially envisioned, which we had turned it into something else, for better or worse, that’s what we did.
Then they pivoted and they said, You know what, we exist because of these people. All of these bloggers have brought all their people to us. We’ve actually been in the room with Pinterest where a Pinterest representative actually said this like we exist because of bloggers.
So, that I can say for sure, yeah. But they had to make that choice as well to take what had been a good idea and was a fine idea. But then they got thrown this other thing and they could have shut us all down.
And they could have stuck with the initial niche that they had in mind and then they chose not to, which was their, I guess, version of scaling in a new direction, instead of just focusing on growing in the exact way that they had planned to grow in.
Jillian Leslie 13:30
Exactly. So that’s why weirdly for us, I think of planning in terms of six-month increments. Like, do I believe we will go out of business in six months because we have no plan? I don’t. I’m assuming that things will continue to move forward.
But I am not going to lock into a plan because everything changes. It’s that saying like the only thing that is consistent is change, right? The only thing you can rely on — it’s change. It’s like if you work in the internet, you have learned this lesson hard, that it is just constant change.
So I don’t think that it is possible to map out a long-term plan and think you’re really going to stick to it. It might be good in terms of your vision for your business like this is where I want to go, this is the direction.
Like setting life goals. For example, I want to figure out how to make an income on the internet, so that I have more money for my family or a more flexible lifestyle, those kinds of things. Those are goals that I think are really powerful because they will fuel you when it sucks and when you want to give up.
But in terms of saying, A, I’m am going to hit these revenue numbers — that’s not necessarily going to happen in the way that you think it might hopefully you make more than you thought. Or to think my business will be here and I will have four e-books.
Like the the details, I would say, not to focus on how those that you think you’re going to actually hit these numbers. I don’t think that that is realistic.
Paula Rollo 15:18
Well, and I think that that it comes with maybe breaking two pieces apart. Because we have this, on the one hand, you should know who your audience is, you should know who you’re addressing, and you should know how you’re solving problems for them, right?
We’ve talked about this in the previous podcast, so I’m not going to go into audience. But that’s one piece. And I think that that piece can remain the same. You can always know who your audience is and you should always know where you fit into their life.
But the way that you package up how you solve the problem for them will change. And so like even mentioning e-books, like I’ve written, I don’t even remember how many e-books to be honest — a lot. And they used to sell better than they do right now.
But I could take one of those e-books, if I so desired, and turn it into a webinar, turn it into a video course today right now. And that would yield me many more sales than an e-book would right now.
Jillian Leslie 16:13
Paula Rollo 16:14
And so it’s not my vision that’s changing, but it’s how I’m packaging up the way that I served my audience and that’s the piece that will change constantly as long as the internet exists.
Jillian Leslie 16:26
Absolutely. I was talking to another blogger and he too was saying his e-book sales are down.
And he said that he thinks it’s because we’re now so used to being on our Kindles and buying a book for $7, and to buy a $30 e-book or $20 e-book that’s maybe 50 pages, when I could go on my Kindle and get a new book and it’s 200 pages.
That the calculations don’t make as much sense right now for your typical customer. That’s his theory.
Paula Rollo 17:00
Of course, there’s going to be exceptions, but I would from everything I’m seeing, that’s the same.
Jillian Leslie 17:04
Okay. So, therefore, you’re right. Like, people are more apt, let’s say, to buy a course or to do some sort of mastermind with you or a live program where you walk them through it and everybody shows up at a certain time or whatever. You’re right, the packaging will change.
However, if you’ve cultivated this audience and you know them and you know their pain points, then you can continue to find ways to solve those problems.
So, for example, let’s say you started your blog when your kids were really little, and one thing that’s interesting is you’ve had an audience of people who have been with you for a long time. And chances are, your families have been growing up together,.
And the stuff you’re facing today is very different than the stuff you were facing back when they were infants, but you can then grow with them as you’re solving problems for yourself that you would never have thought to solve.
Because you know, you had an infant, you weren’t thinking about a fifth grader,
Paula Rollo 18:09
Jillian Leslie 18:12
Think about your business in this dynamic way. You’re growing, you’re changing, your life is changing. See if you can find an audience that can change along with you, that’s in those natural life progressions.
Finding product-market fit can be tough, it can take time. And that’s why MiloTree can be really helpful as a business owner.
MiloTree puts growing your social media followers, your email list, your Shopify shoppers on autopilot so you don’t have to spend as much time on that part of your business as you can on these other really important parts of your business. I welcome you to head to Milotree.com, sign up today,
You can install your pop-ups on your site in under two minutes. If you have any trouble, just reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paula Rollo 19:09
So would you say that it is not the right time to scale if you do not feel like you have, for lack of a better word, intimate relationship with your audience?
Jillian Leslie 19:28
I would say product market fit is the most important thing because if you can find that and you don’t even necessarily know who’s showing up for your product, I would say dig in and try to figure out who’s showing up.
But I would say if you are seeing your bank account increasing, it’s time to think about scaling. And I would also say you’ve got an engaged audience but somehow your products aren’t connecting with them, than to assume that somehow more of the same audience is going to show up and then all of a sudden start to buy your product.
I would say that’s probably not necessarily going to happen. So I would use the fact that your traffic is growing substantially or people are opening up their wallets and typing in their credit card information. Those are signals.
Rather than love letters from three people that go, “We love you. Oh, my God, we love you.” Meaning, develop that relationship because those people will give you insight into problems you can then solve where people will pay or people will show up in big numbers.
Paula Rollo 20:32
Yeah, it’s true, because people don’t always put their wallet behind things they love. And that’s the sadly frustrating truth. I know that there’s certain posts on my site that I always get love letters about, and that people will tell me, “This is the best thing you’ve ever written. I’ve been reading your blog for years,” and blah, blah, blah, blah, all of the stuff.
But there’s a specific post I’m thinking of that has gotten, I think, 250 views ever. But those 250 people thought it was the greatest thing ever. But I can’t sell anything on it. It’s never going to be viral. But those people sure loved it, but they wouldn’t have purchased anything.
Jillian Leslie 21:11
Paula Rollo 21:12
There’s that frustrating piece of you can have something that your audience adores and you knew that your audience would adore it, but there’s just no future scalable event there.
Jillian Leslie 21:31
Right. Now, one thing you could do is create. And this is the thing that I think is really important as a blogger, as a shop owner, as somebody who sells stuff, somebody who’s a content creator is to, as much as you possibly can, pick up the phone and call them. I’m doing that right now.
But I will tell you it pains me too. So we are working on rolling out a pop-up that what we noticed is that people use MiloTree and then they will also use a second pop-up and we feel like, wow, people are hacking together a solution, maybe we could create that solution.
Paula Rollo 21:40
You know that pains me.
Jillian Leslie 22:02
So what I’ve been doing is I’ve been seeing MiloTree on people’s sites and let’s say then they also have an email. We have an email pop-up as well, but we don’t have two pop-ups showing up in one visit,
So somebody can come to your site, you can set up your email pop-up, it will show. They come back to your site the next time and they’ll see your Pinterest pop-up. But people have been wanting an email pop-up and our let’s say Instagram pop-up to show maybe not directly on top of each other, but to show during somebody’s visit.
And what’s happening is because people are hacking together their own solution, one pop-up could be showing on top of the other pop-up, or they could be showing you the same time, or they’ve got all of this script, all the stuff on their site.
So we’re like, wow, maybe we can solve this. In fact, by the way, if somebody out there wants to talk to me about this, please reach out to me at Jillian@Milotree.com because I would love to get on the phone with you and talk to you about this.
So what I have been doing is, I have been discovering people who have hacked together something, and I have emailed them and said, “Hey, Jillian, could I talk to you really quickly for 15 minutes? Just I want to hear about how you think about this because we don’t want to build something, we don’t want to scale it without knowing exactly how people would use this.”
And I have now talked to five people about it. And I have a list of other people who I’m waiting to get back to me, or we’ve scheduled a call just so that I can more intimately understand how they think about this.
Because we have our own preconceived notions, which is we wouldn’t want two things popping it was but who are we, you know, what we’re noticing is, we might be in the minority. So you have to always check your own assumptions to make sure that they’re resonating with your audience.
Paula Rollo 24:12
Well, and I like that what you’re saying too, is that you’re going to the source and finding people who are dealing with this problem.
Because you could have just come to me, for example, and I would have been like, “No, Jillian, we should only be using one pop-up.” Because that’s my opinion. Or you could have gone to a group of bloggers just at random who are probably going to, you know, tell you a lot of the same thing because then all of those groups just want somebody who states an opinion that’s a pile-on.
And everybody is agreeing. But instead, you’re going and having private conversations where people can share what they actually think.
Jillian Leslie 24:48
And how they’ve actually solved it for themselves.
Paula Rollo 24:51
Exactly. And what they were trying to solve, what they think they’re solving. You might actually be able to solve it better for them. They’re able to express their actual problem to you.
Jillian Leslie 25:00
Exactly. So one woman I talked to has an enormous email list. She’s a food blogger and she sends her posts in an RSS feed, which means it’s automatic to her subscribers and gets a ton of traffic for that.
She also works with brands, and therefore her social media accounts matter like Instagram. So for her, she’s got this huge email pop-up that shows up and says “join my list”. It’s not obtrusive but it’s big and it’s right there. Because that’s her most important moneymaker.
And then our second most is getting brands to say, Wow, she’s got some serious followers, we should work with her. So then she has her MiloTree Instagram pop-up, and I’m like, okay, that’s really interesting. These are her two kinds of major sources of income and she’s trying to serve both masters.
But because of this, they’re not necessarily in sync. There’s a lot of code on her site. And maybe we could solve that.
Paula Rollo 26:09
Jillian Leslie 26:10
So that’s though how we’re thinking about it. So we’re out in the world. So weirdly, when I would see people with like two pop-ups, I’d be like, what are they doing? No. My initial instinct was to say, to discredit it, or to say, No, no, that’s not really something people are doing.
And then to step back, kind of like when I was initially bummed that moms started putting parties up on Catch My Party, thinking I would delete that. Kind of like in the beginning with MiloTree, like, No, no, no, you’re not using the product correctly. We have an email pop-up. It’ll just show the next time.
To go “Who am I to know this?”
Paula Rollo 26:46
Yes, you don’t know what they need in their business and why.
Jillian Leslie 26:50
So there’s something very humbling about getting on the phone with somebody. One, I will say, people have been so nice, so lovely. And it’s interesting to hear about their businesses, and they’re willing to share, and they’re willing to help us build.
This is the other thing, which is I go, okay, when we build something, can I show it to you? Can I get your feedback? And then they’re willing to go, “absolutely.”
Paula Rollo 27:16
Because you really are solving a problem for them.
Jillian Leslie 27:18
Exactly. And I want to make sure we solve it. I don’t want to be spending our time spinning our wheels thinking we’re kind of solving it. But maybe we’re not thinking it through.
And one thing too, is if you are building a course or if you are building an e-book or something like that, too, I love this idea, which is you build the initial course with people who you sell it cheaply first and then you say, “hey, you’re my test group, you’re my beta testers.”
Like, I want you to help me build this course. Because then now all of a sudden, they feel listened to. And so they’re getting the value, they’re getting it at a discounted price but I would not ever do it for free. You want people to have skin in the game.
But then you can get these people to be your evangelists because they feel like they have a vested interest that they’re part of this, they’re part of this community building a product.
Paula Rollo 28:21
And people are more willing to listen to them to if they know they had to pay.
Jillian Leslie 28:26
Yes, definitely always, like do not give stuff away for free thinking the next time people are going to pay for it. It’s a totally different mindset.
Paula Rollo 28:36
It goes back to what you were saying earlier about building an audience that you don’t necessarily want because there are buyer audiences and then there are audiences who will never buy anything ever and the’re just freeloaders.
And you don’t want to build your content around people who would never buy anything in the first place and who are just there for the freebie because then the product will then not be suited for those people who are really excited to fork up their money for convenience, for a great product, for whatever it might be.
You have to make sure you’re targeting those people.
Jillian Leslie 29:13
Exactly. So David had worked at MySpace and in the beginning, they did curate people’s accounts like if it was from some… I don’t remember where like if it wasn’t like a teen girl or something, in the beginning, they would delete that person’s account.
Paula Rollo 29:33
Jillian Leslie 29:33
Which is I can say that because, you know, MySpace is no longer which is why again, I was thinking, oh my god with like Catch My Party, maybe we need to do like a reset and just to kind of curate audience, and I would say, do not delete people.
But you do want to be attracting a clientele that can pay or that is engaged, or that gives you what you want, so that you can have a sustainable business, because I say this to women all the time, especially as women, we struggle with this, which is we want to be givers and we want to be helpers.
But at the end of the day, in order to do that, we need to make money. And that charging for something is not bad. In fact, it’s good because then you can be more of a problem solver for your audience. And that’s a mindset shift.
Paula Rollo 30:31
Yeah, it is but it’s an important one because you could wear yourself out.
Jillian Leslie 30:36
And you wear yourself out.
Paula Rollo 30:36
Trying to serve everyone. And then you miss out on the chance to really serve your true audience and the people that you set out to help in the first place.
Jillian Leslie 30:46
Absolutely. Even as an introvert, it’s weird you’re not an introvert and yet you don’t want to get in front of people.
Paula Rollo 30:50
I’m a millennial, so I don’t want to talk on the phone.
Jillian Leslie 30:52
Oh, interesting. Well, I try to do it via email, via surveys, that kind of thing. But there is something like getting somebody on the phone.
Paula Rollo 31:03
It’s very true. I’ve been using it more and more lately, and I don’t love it but I do it.
Jillian Leslie 31:07
Yeah. And again, like, here’s the thing that I found. You make lifelong friends. Meaning those are people who get you and they it’s kind of spreading the vibe or the energy of your company.
You can come to MiloTree and you can see it or you can come to Catch My Party. But one of the reasons why I love the podcast is because I get to put my vibe out there. So people see the person behind the company because I think that it can seem kind of cold.
Paula Rollo 31:42
Yeah, you just make an assumption that it’s just like robots running it or something.
Jillian Leslie 31:46
Exactly. And really, it’s like you and me and David, and, you know, a couple of other contractors, it doesn’t look very… I mean, it’s professional but it’s not like we’re in some sort of office building or anything like that.
So it is about, I would say, connecting back to the idea of scaling. You want to connect first, you want to solve the problem, you want to make sure that you are getting the traction then like that it’s real. It’s not just people telling you what you want to hear.
And then, only then would I say, start thinking about scaling. And what I mean by scaling is paying for services that can help you, paying for a VA that could help you. Putting money like advertising, you know, in a more kind of intentional way.
Because the goal ultimately is that if I put $2 into Facebook, and again, Facebook has gotten very expensive for ads. But let’s say Pinterest or something, I put $2 in, I can get $3 back.
Now, to get there takes money and investment and a stomach of steel. Like right now, we’re trying to do this. We’re trying to create a funnel for MiloTree using Pinterest ads. And you know what, I’m losing money every day right now trying but I’m trying different things.
And again, I’m trying, I’m mining — I’m in the mining stage. And it is a question of every day I go, Oh, God, I should turn these ads off because it’s not working.
And so that’s the time when you feel really nervous because you do have a hypothesis and you’re hoping that it works. And it might not. Yeah, and you know it might not.
And you know it might not. So then the question is, okay, how long will you try the experiment? And it’s like, how long can you stomach it? And are you learning? That’s what I would say. If you’re not seeing a major return, are you learning so that you can then make better choices moving forward?
Paula Rollo 33:59
So how long do you typically give an experiment, you personally? I know this may be different for everyone.
Jillian Leslie 34:08
A lot of it, to be honest, is kind of just like a feel for how it’s going, meaning… It’s a very good question. A lot of it is how long I can stomach it.
Here’s what I would say. One thing I have learned is that a lot of times, if we’ve gotten early traction, it’s definitely a signal. “Oh, wow, this, this could work.”
So I will kind of see and take the temperature of this experiment and go “Ooh, are people responding?” If they’re responding, then I go deeper. If they’re not responding, I tend to pull back more quickly. So I don’t know if that’s specific enough answer. But that’s what I would say. It’s like a sixth sense.
Paula Rollo 35:02
Yeah, you’re very in tune with your audience already, though. And I think that goes back to that, that we were talking about earlier, of having a very good idea in mind of who you’re talking to and what they need.
And so you really are just trying out the packaging. Is this pin seeming to resonate with people? Are people clicking it? Because the thing you’re testing is not “is MiloTree a good product?”
You’ve gotten that feedback already. So it’s not like you’re throwing advertising dollars behind a product that may or may not actually do well on the market. You already know MiloTree is great. People love it.
It’s how do I package that and are the people that I need to be resonating with my product resonating with this pin? Which is a different question.
Jillian Leslie 35:49
So one thing that I’m experimenting with now is our product is a little complicated. And again, we built it organically so it wasn’t complicated to us but this is something that we’re thinking about.
And now I’m saying, okay, could I break it up and advertise it as a Pinterest pop-up? And if you buy the Pinterest pop-up, guess what, you get all these other pop-ups too. And can I market it as an Instagram pop-up as a way to grow your Instagram.
And hey, and then guys, if you want to grow other stuff, do it. Or like as a Shopify pop-up because now we’ve rolled out a pop-up for Shopify where you install it on your blog and it just says “shop my store”.
But what I realized is, to try to explain it as like grow your social media followers might be too general, like, we’re talking to everybody and nobody.
So that’s the strategy that I’m trying out right now, which is being more specific to a specific audience. Because people who want to grow their Instagram followers might be a different audience, and people who really want to grow their Pinterest followers or their email list or that.
So it’s like trying to think about it in terms of segments.
Paula Rollo 37:04
I think that’s fascinating that we can do now is segmented off in our ads. Because it used to be we’d have to write a blog post and your blog post has to address everyone.
Or you send an email and you send it to everyone on your list where now we can segment off these are people on my list who are interested in Instagram, these are people on my list who are interested in Pinterest. I can target specifically Facebook or Pinterest people who are interested in specific things.
Jillian Leslie 37:29
Exactly, exactly. These keywords, yes.
Paula Rollo 37:31
There’s so much more than we have now.
Jillian Leslie 37:32
Yes, but again, I haven’t yet found it. I mean, meaning I’m trying out for like our Pinterest pop-up and I’m running some ads on Pinterest because that seemed like a natural fit.
But I haven’t yet figured out how to get it to convert. So if anybody has any ideas, please email me.
And the one thing that I would say is check your assumptions. Really check them at the door. I have this friend, I have a friend and she’s building a company. And she’s building an app for teachers. And she was and she’s just starting.
David and I were helping her and talking to her about her product. And what we noticed was, she hadn’t yet even put it in front of teachers and in her mind, she knew exactly how the teachers would think about it.
And we kept saying to her, I promise you, your product is going to look so different once you’ve tested it with teachers and they’re going to have uses for it that you would never have thought of. So be open to hearing that rather than assuming that everybody’s thinking the way you’re thinking.
And I said, Be humble, be humble. And I do think entrepreneurship is a big exercise in humility.
Paula Rollo 38:59
It is for sure.
Jillian Leslie 39:00
Right? Because you fall flat on your face a lot, you know, we all do. And again, I thought like, Oh, my Pinterest ads are going to be perfect.” And guess what, something’s not working. So be humble, be open and be willing to talk to people.
Paula Rollo 39:16
And I think that’s part of, like we said at the beginning like we all talk about scaling. But these are the pieces that we don’t really discuss. I feel like it’s something that it’s just like, we’ll just go do it, turn $5 into 10, and 10 to 20. And just magically, this is going to happen if you use the word scaling. And,
These are the little pieces, I think, that get lost along the way. The phone calls with individuals, because we want to think so big, we want to think “I’ve solved the problem”.
Like your teacher friend, I’ve already solved it, I already have it in mind, I know that this is the next step when we miss the opportunity to make something even better. And that taking that moment to pause may actually help us scale larger in the future because we have a greater vision and we’ve involved more people in the vision instead of just doing what we knew we could do today.
Jillian Leslie 40:16
Absolutely. And know that the mining part is hard. You’re going to look around and you’re going be like, Oh, my God, this person has like a seven-figure course and they just built it. And trust me, it is hard.
So if you’re there, and you’re just looking to solve the problem and find a solution that people will step up and pay for, and it’s not clicking, you are not alone. It’s not like it’s working for everybody and it’s just not working for you.
Paula Rollo 40:45
Yes. And you don’t know how many years they spent mining before they have a seven-figure course either.
Jillian Leslie 40:48
It is capturing lightning in a bottle. So keep in there and keep learning and keep being curious. And yes, you might have to spend some money. But again, this is where it’s tricky.
You don’t want to spend a ton of money and you want to be smart in those kinds of decisions. And if anybody has any questions and they want to reach out to me, again, please do because I’d be happy to hear how it’s going for you in your process.
Paula Rollo 41:19
I love that.
Jillian Leslie 41:19
Awesome. Well, what do you think, Paula? Do you think we kind of covered it?
Paula Rollo 41:24
I think so. I think that this is a good foundation for getting ready to scale, to know when you should probably wait. And then you know, we didn’t get into the like nitty-gritty of how to take an e-book and turn it into a video course but I feel like your audience knows how to do that part.
That’s the part that we can’t tell you how to turn your business, what the next step for that is. But we can tell you on a business level some of the markers you should be looking for, of if this is the right time or not and when to take that step — and I think that that’s kind of the question we were looking at today.
Jillian Leslie 42:02
Right. A company like Teachable that I really like, they have all the tools for you to do it. But the question is, is this the right time and are people going to buy your course. So those how-to’s are out there.
Paula Rollo 42:18
They are. And we talk about them all the time.
Jillian Leslie 42:21
But it’s really about stepping back and saying, Is this the right time? Or am I going to lose a lot of money a lot of times.
Paula Rollo 42:26
Is this the right idea, is the right time.
Jillian Leslie 42:28
Right. Right. So know that that’s almost the easy part.
Paula Rollo 42:33
It really is because that’s the part you’ll have vision for and you’ll know.
Jillian Leslie 42:39
Right. And they’ll walk you through it. I call this like the mucky part.
Paula Rollo 42:45
Jillian Leslie 42:46
Where you’re down there in the mud and you are just looking for stuff. You know, you’re looking for jewels in there. So I would say be willing to get dirty.
Awesome. Alright, well, until we do this again, I love this. So we’ll be back with another topic. Here’s something too. We want to answer your questions. So please email your questions to… how about Paula, do you want to take questions or you want me to…
Paula Rollo 43:18
Jillian Leslie 43:18
Okay, email your questions to Paula@Milotree.com and what we’re going to do is we’re going to have a session where we just go through your questions, and we’ll do it anonymously. So we’re not going to call anybody out.
But really, we want to hear from you. We want to know what you’re thinking about and what you’re struggling with. And we want to tell you, you’re not alone.
Awesome. Well, Paula, thanks for being on the show.
Paula Rollo 43:41
Thank you for having me again.
Jillian Leslie 43:43
I hope you liked this episode. I hope it gave you a lot to think about. If you have not subscribed yet to The Blogger Genius Podcast, please do. Please share with your friends and I will see you here again next time week.
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