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Founder of The Spark School, Gwen Lane, shares how to build an online community

Joining me today is Gwen Lane, Founder of The Spark School.

Usually I’m chatting to women in ecommerce but today we’re mixing things up! I was recently a guest on Gwen’s popular podcast, The Spark Show and today she’s joining us here to share her insights and learnings from along the way.

Gwen Lane is a seven figure entrepreneur and business coach who helps impact-driven content creators grow their influence and revenue through brand sponsorships and digital products. Since launching the Spark School in 2018, she's helped 5,000+ students worldwide through her online programs.

In this conversation we’re chatting about how to successfully build an online community and how entrepreneurs and small business owners should approach influencer marketing.

Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!

Well, my name is Gwen Lane and I do a lot of things typical from people from L. A. We have so many job titles. I would most describe myself as an entrepreneur. I've been an entrepreneur since I was a kid selling airheads on a school bus we can chat about later. But I had so many businesses quote unquote that I started as a little girl selling on ebay, a Pokemon cards, you name it. And so I was pretty much always a side hustler pretty much all my life, always trying to make some money on the side to have money for travel, which I love. And after I went to school for business I got into the advertising world in the marketing world in Ella's entertainment industry, that's where I'm from and got to learn a lot about how films and tv shows were marketed in different locations and that's kind of where I got my start and learning about advertising and media planning and that was kind of where the rise of the influencer marketing where there were like mommy bloggers and content creators and Youtubers kind of started becoming a thing before it was even influencers or the creator economy as they're calling it now.

00:06:13Edit Um And so I started my blog, the L. A girl as just a little something that I did on the side as a creative outlet to write. I've always loved writing and people always ask me what to do in L. A. Because I was from there. I grew up there. I was born in the Philippines and I lived there since I was five. So over 30 years in L. A. And then it just started growing more people started knowing about it. I started building an audience online on twitter on instagram my blog. And it became Of serious thing when brands started reaching out to me to partner with me and to sponsor me. And so I started getting brand sponsorships. Um and I was able to leave my 9-5 job as a marketing director as a full time content creator. And then after that people ask me, how did you do that? How did you partner with big brands like Disney and Facebook and Target and american airlines. And so I started teaching classes. One of my first workshops was in my backyard with 10 people until yeah until I figured out what online marketing was.

00:07:21Edit And then I started thinking about launching my own courses, my membership Which is now the spark society. And we've helped over 5000 content creators secure brand sponsorships and we're helping them grow and monetize their personal brands and that is what I do now. Gosh, that's a that's a lot of cool things going on for you there. Yes, something I'm really interested in talking about today is specifically how you built your online community when it came to the spark school and the Spark Society. Obviously it's something we're working towards with female startup club and so I'm eager to know the ins and outs of how you built it and launched the community in the very beginning, when it comes to the spark school. Yeah, so with someone who's always had like a content marketing and a content background, I feel like everything is all about content. If you, the moment you open up facebook, there's content everywhere, and I feel like that's really what creates the community. People are drawn to the content and then once they're there, they start to engage with each other and they may start engaging with the creator of the content and it all becomes kind of like this mishmash of, oh hey, like we all follow the same people and then like it becomes into bigger things, like more of like, you know, that's why I love facebook groups because you get to interact with each other and then when in person events for a thing I also loved in person events, which kind of became like a culmination of like what you guys or what people did online and turning that into more of an experience.

00:08:54Edit And so I feel like community is built on having those common values and common interests and I feel like building a brand, the biggest thing that I learned was talking about my values and things that I cared about and other people cared about two, and that's what really built the community and so if we were to dig a layer deeper and think about, you know, say going from 0 to 1000 of your students specifically, what were you doing? Like how many times a day were you posting on social media? Where were you kind of like hanging out in other platforms to bring them to your platform and what was that more like day after day strategy that you were doing? So coming from a content creator background, I always tell my students even now if you are trying to build an audience for your 1st 1,010,000 or even 100,000, I say post every day, and I know people are like, no shocked, sounds exhausting, but also like this gives you a chance to really attract those people.

00:09:59Edit I feel like showing up every day, you don't know who you're reaching it that day, because if you know how social media works, you don't reach everyone every single day. And so for me, it's like, just hopefully the right person sees this today and I'm going to continue to show up every day and you don't have to show up every day live, you know, like I'm not posting every single day on real time. I plan my content ahead of time, and that's how I feel like I'm able to balance my time on an offline. So I plan my content, you know, a month ahead of time, a week ahead of time, at least with my students, I tell them, you know, try to get ahead as much as possible because that's where you can really have the freedom to then just use that daily time to engage rather than thinking of what should I post today? I know so many people struggle with what do I post today and you're just like sitting there for hours trying to figure it out, I'm sure you've been there, do Oh my God, guilty, totally, I get there too, like I get behind, it happens all the time, like batch and get really good and then after a while, I, if I'm not on the train of like the cycle and the processes in place for creating content, um which a lot of people underestimate, which we'll talk more about, I'm sure and the influencer side, um, if you're not shooting content consistently, if you're not thinking of ideas consistently and if you're not planning content, it's gonna be really, really hard to post consistently.

00:11:29Edit So plan for every day, if that's too much for you, even three times a week, if you think about three times a week for a month, that's 12 pieces of content. Find 12 old photos, you can repurpose, I'm all about repurposing, write captions that will connect with your audience and is more deeper than like, you know, spring playing, you know, and that's it. Like I like to microblog on my post and I feel like that really created connection with my community. At what point did you think? Okay, I'm going to go from this organic community that I've been building to introducing the paid community and having people join that pay walled community. That is a certain group of people. Yeah, it was really apparent from the star, similar to if you think about free classes online, right? Free classes, you sign up, you don't go, you never watch it, you don't do the hallmark. It kind of just floats away into Neverland, right? But I feel like when people pay for things, they pay more attention and this is something I learned on an online marketing is like, the more I paid for something I invested in something, the more I showed up when I paid for an online coaching program.

00:12:46Edit I remember it was the most I've ever paid $12,000. I showed up every day. I did the homework, I went to the classes, like I was invested physically emotionally because you want those learnings Because I was like, I paid a lot of money and yes, like the membership is not $12,000, um and we've made it affordable and accessible for people who want to learn, but we wanted it to be a price point where people felt at least that they were going to consume the content and at least go through the content and we provide coaching calls as well. And so it just, I feel motivates people actually when they enroll in something versus then just like a free for all come whenever nobody cares. Yeah, I'm really starting to see that play out in real time for me when it comes to our facebook group, which is a private facebook group, but of course it's free and you know, the level of engagement, there is just, it's great in the beginning, when someone first runs the group and introduces themselves, but then there's not really any engagement in the post, just kind of like if someone chooses to post, it can just get that tumbleweed when no one's replied and I'm like, oh gosh, it's a really tough one.

00:13:59Edit And then when we go through our listener research interviews, a lot of the times what keeps coming up is that people would love, women would love paid community to be able to enter and connect with like minded women and learn more and kind of take it to the next level. Something that I've also been wondering about and maybe you can share some of your strategy that you did here was, what is your price point per month or per year? And how did you land specifically on that number? Yeah, so our membership right now for the spark society, there's different ways that people get into, the membership is 47 a month or for 70 a year. Um, so we believe under $50 with something that, you know, most people that are able to access that price point. Um, we actually didn't start at that price point. We started our beta price is $27 a month and it was just something that we wanted to start as a founding member and we knew we were going to go up from there and we've raised the price several times And we still have founding members from three years ago, $27 a month because they don't want to get out of that locked in rate because they know that if they cancel, they're going to have to come in at the current rate.

00:15:10Edit So we've tried different things. I think. You don't really know until you test it is a numbers came and we've been watching our conversion numbers, we've been watching like retention on how many months people actually stay. So we actually know the data of all of that. You know, people mostly safe for three months. They leave right away sometimes because they realize they come in and they're like, oh, this is not easy stuff where it happens overnight. I actually have to do work and then they are like, I quit, okay, we're like by and because we tell them right away, we're very honest. Like this is not for everyone takes work. Content creation is a skill and a job that has to happen. It has to happen consistently for you to actually do this as a full time thing too to grow a business. And then um, we've seen that there are people who stay around three months time, they try it. Maybe it's not for them where they get busy and then there's people who have stayed for many, many years. So it's just been a matter of testing. We've also tested the course instead of the membership where the courses on the front end and then the membership is at the back end.

00:16:16Edit So we've tried that as well. Um that was doing pretty well. But I did see of course with the price going up with of course being higher that the conversion numbers went down. I think it also depends on what excites you for me and my team, we love having a lot of people and a lot of members. And I feel like with a lower price point you're also able to reach and help more people than a higher price point. That's just how the economy works. Right? Supply demand pricing. That's what I went to school for. So it's like the higher you could help a lot of like a lower number of people on a deeper level if you do have a higher price program or you can have one of those, you know, mass things that everyone has like a netflix or hulu model where it's a lower price and but more people can afford and have access to it. Mm Yeah, I love that. And so where actually is the community hosted? Like if someone goes onto your website and they sign up, they want to be part of the community.

00:17:20Edit They want to learn all about influencer marketing and how to create content and all the things. What happens then? Like where do they go? Yeah, So they do have a number portal which we host in Punjabi right now. So that is where our courses are, Our video trainings are workshops and then we do have a facebook group, that's where the paid community is. And like you were saying earlier about your free community or paid community is super, super engaged because that's where they get to ask questions, that's where they get to ask about the materials and the courses they get to, you know, share their content with everyone in the group and everyone actually supports everyone's content, which is really great for our engagement. Um so it's a very, very active community and they also get access to coaching calls. So we have weekly coaching calls for them. So I have a coaching team that helps me. So it's not just all me, that's I feel like one big worry of membership owners is like, oh my gosh, I have to do all this stuff.

00:18:22Edit I have to be in the community have to answer every question I have to coach every call. No, it does not have to be that way. Like you get to choose how you want to run your community. And I feel like the mindset coaches, my community loves them. We have two of them and they alternate every single week and that also take that time that I have to put in. Like I do a monthly strategy Q and a call. I'm in the group. I answer questions and I also have a community manager that helps me run the group and like welcomes people like points people in the right direction if they're looking for resources. So I have built a great team so that it's not just me doing all of that work. Mm Yeah, I can feel like it can get overwhelming when there's so much content that needs to be going out in all the different places. And then to think of all these things that you need to do then on the, on that private side of things. It's a lot. Yeah. Well we used to create new content every single month. And what we realized is that actually overwhelmed people.

00:19:26Edit And so instead of doing, uh we don't do new content every single month anymore. But the same content with the courses that they have access to, they still need to be going through that you don't just go through it once and then it's over and then you're done, you're an expert. No, that's not how it happens. And I tell my students this all the time. Like my own team goes through the content course every single quarter because that's how we plan our content every quarter. So we have a content planning course. I teach them how to plan and batch the content and produce the content. There's a lot more to it than taking a selfie or taking a photo with brand branded content, there's producing, there's figuring out where you're actually going to shoot, there's like, who's actually going to shoot are you doing here and makeup were producing an entire concept and the whole shoot by yourself. And so having, you know, that experience in having those guidelines actually, I think helps a lot of our content creators think of it that way. And it also helps them start to think about why they should be charging for that content and that service, because brands do pay production agencies to do whole shoots of like a photographer and editor of stylist model when influencers provided that all in one package.

00:20:43Edit Yeah, so true. There's a lot of work that goes into it for sure. I'm interested to know about in the beginning, when you had the organic community, I imagine you would have been able to get a lot of people joining your paid community and then at some point it becomes saturated and you need to find new ways to broaden the net and find new people who would be part of the community. How are you doing that? Like, what was your strategy to reach more people and what's working for you now. Oh, I'm a definitely a big believer in paid advertising because that is what social media is. It's 10% organic and 90% needs to be paid because that's it's their business, right? People I think forget what social media actually is and it's an advertising platform and they're not going to show your content to people unless you pay for it. And so, um, someone with an advertising background, I understood that very early on. So I, I'm not one of those people who insist on doing things organically because for me that's like pushing a boulder up like a giant hill, like, yes, you can do it, but it's going to take 10 years and I do not want to wait that long to help that many people.

00:22:00Edit And so for me, we invested early on and advertising. So we did a lot of paid advertising to my free webinars. I did some paid advertising to my lead magnets to grow my email list. So we definitely invested, I think of it as an investment versus as an expense. I think that's one big mindset shift that a lot of small business owners need to get over themselves and like your organic content is great, but no one is going to see it unless you put some money behind it. And I've always believed that and I feel like that has definitely accelerated our growth and how we've been able to reach seven figures in the last three years. Oh my gosh, that's amazing, Congratulations. By the way go you thank you love that for you noted. So paid advertising. And are you talking about like facebook and instagram ads or you also talking about podcast advertising or Tiktok advertising? Where are we talking? Yeah. So so many different ways right there is facebook and instagram which I feel like is what we started on because I feel like it was the easiest to get started on and I kind of just knew more about it due to my background.

00:23:14Edit We've also done google and some youtube advertising, which a lot of people are doing more and more of now because of the facebook, apple IOS updates that are happening. So that's something that people are doing now. I haven't tried Tiktok advertising but because I am an influencer and I know about influencer marketing, that's something that I've done as well where we do work with influencers to, for them to do sponsored posts and we've done sponsored content with our own influencers as well as do an affiliate program with them. So it's kind of like a whole mish mosh of different strategies and testing what works and what doesn't and we like to do a little bit of everything because I just feel like that's kind of a well rounded advertising strategy. I feel as a way to go rather than just focusing on one because if you are focusing on just one then if something happens like a big update or like a google algorithm change or whatever, you still have other traffic sources and I don't of course forget about organic marketing and organic content because what a lot of people do is they don't see an ad and by right away what people do is they see an ad and then they go stock your socials is this surreal deal?

00:24:28Edit Do have people gotten results? They google like this park society reviews or Gwen Lane and then they look me up on linkedin and so all the organic, I feel supports the advertising and supports the initial kind of buying decision that customers do. So it's like don't forget about the organic, that's why I say always be posting because you don't know who is going to be looking. But also the paid advertising brings you in front of new audiences that are already following you and the organic also nurtures the people who haven't bought yet but are kind of just waiting around seeing if they should buy from you totally hanging on the fence. There's a lot of them. I bet I bet you mentioned something that leads me into this next topic that I want to talk about. I'd love to know more about influencer marketing and how startup owners can leverage influencer marketing for their brands. Yes. So I think that it's something that is still pretty untapped for businesses and small business owners, a lot of them have a lot of misconceptions, I think about influencer marketing, one that it's going to be super, super expensive.

00:25:37Edit Yes, if you're going to hire celebrity, you've got to have a couple mil in the bank for that, but if you are looking at micro influencers who have less than 50,000 followers or even nano influencers who have less than 10,000 followers, some of them are willing to do it as a collaboration. I do highly suggest not to do collaborations because it is kind of more of an exchange and if there is no guarantee that someone's going to post, if you think about it in pr like gifting right, if you give something to someone, there is no guarantee that they'll wear it or they'll tag you in it or they'll post. So for me, I would rather do something that is guaranteed placement by paying an influencer and I don't mean $10,000 a post, it could be as little as $50 post or $100 opposed. It depends on the influencer in the number of followers and engagement they have. That's something that you can negotiate and you can actually ask the content creator, how much do you charge for this and you can always negotiate, you can always just have an open conversation on what you are willing to pay versus what they're willing to charge and I feel like it's easier that way too because you know that your content is going to get posted.

00:26:53Edit You can, you know, agree on dates that go with your campaign if you are launching something or it's something that is date driven, so I would rather do that and then also they can send you stuff for approval because like if it's a collaboration, you don't know how they're going to portray your item, your products, if it's going to be in the way that you want is the brand name showing like some of those things are just like those little details and so if you have an actual campaign and it's a paid sponsorship, you can actually then have a little bit more data, a little bit more guidelines to the creators on, like what you want, what kind of content you want, what kind of location you want, and I feel like it's just better because then you also show that you appreciate and are paying people for their work because everybody should be paid for their work and I just feel like those do better and it's like a better relationship with the influencer and also don't be afraid to just reach out to people that you like and I'm sure you're already following influencers in your space, so reaching out to them, Damning them asking if they're open to partnership is what I would call it collaboration usually means free in a sponsorship usually means paid, wow, thank you something that I often see online from the perspective of a small business owner is what happens when they aren't happy with the partnership and you know, they've paid an influencer who hasn't delivered or they've had some kind of negative experience, how can you kind of prevent that from happening in the beginning?

00:28:28Edit And what should small brand owners be looking out for before they kind of engage an influencer or a micro influencer? It's a great question. Dune first of all, don't pay them, Don't pay them first. Uh we always usually get paid after in in my case, I feel like that's better because then it's like, it's like a contractual agreement, right? Like you don't get paid until the stuff gets delivered, that's just like a safety thing for everyone. So a few things that you can definitely do is first of all get really clear on the goal of your campaign, It's it is your job as a business owner to know. Like what is the goal? Is it to drive sales? Is it to drive traffic? Is it to get leads? Is it to get brand awareness and also know that like one post may not convert to sales, just like all advertising. It takes a couple of times for things to happen. That's why I like long term influencer partnerships that are, you know, anywhere from 2 to 3 months long. So the influencer and content creator can introduce you to their audience that they already know and can show that I'm not just posting this, I'm actually use the product, here's how to use it.

00:29:37Edit Here's the progress, for example, beauty brand, right? Like this is me putting it on, this is how many times I've used it, here's the before and after for a week. Like that took more compelling story than here by this brand. Like that doesn't mean anything to a lot of people anymore. And so having the goals very early on is number one, number two would be a creative brief. So a lot of brands that I've worked with send me a brief and they pretty much tell me what the guidelines are, some of their concepts and I'm still free to give ideas and kind of tell them what I'm thinking of doing because at the end of the day I'm the one who knows my audience best and what they will resonate whether or not so I really feel like brands who respect our creative freedom and that's what we do is creators, we create content. So let us do that, but we will follow the guidelines if there are guidelines. So tell us like, you know what, not to wear what colors, you know what hashtags to use, what needs to be, what legal stuff needs to be in the caption.

00:30:39Edit Sometimes we've had to do that, especially with 21 over products and then lastly it's like there's an approval process like open communication and usually brands ask for, you know, one or two revisions or if there needs to be re shoots so that everyone is happy and at the end then we get paid afterwards. And so I feel like so many things can be avoided if those steps are taken. And also like guidelines and agreements, legal agreements so that, you know, I've signed a contract saying I'm delivering these things and if I don't deliver them along these guidelines, I know that I'm not going to get paid for that. Mm And I love what you said about a long term partnership because it's so true. You see something once you forget about it, but you see something like five or six times and you're like, oh, that is really cool. I like what's happening here. I can understand what the brand is. I know what the USPS are, I know what they stand for and now I'm interested in buying and I think that's also where small business owners can go wrong with doing that one off kind of posting and not really like making a lasting impact on the viewer definitely.

00:31:49Edit And we talked already about like Organic reach not being as much as we want. And so something that I urge brands and small business to do when they do have influencer marketing campaign is to put paid advertising behind it. Put another $100 on there so that they'll get the views that you want. And so don't rely just on the organic reach of any post even if it's the content creators post because it's the same that the algorithm and the platform will not show it to, you know, a certain number amount of people. That is just how advertising works totally. And I think what's also important to note for small business owners is having that retention funnels set up afterwards. So making sure that you have your retention adds if someone's gone on to visit your website but they haven't purchased yet, making sure that they're being retargeted with that ad. So they're staying top of mind, so you're staying top of mind to that person and when they are ready to commit they know where to go exactly you're building an audience and you're not usually you know, expecting it to happen on the first round, but like we're targeting ads and like you know building those audiences through your pixel.

00:33:00Edit Those are the things that you have to think of as a long term strategy rather than just who's going to buy from this one post totally, totally. We often talk about all the highlights stuff and the success that's been, you know, hard building this great, amazing thriving community but obviously there are challenges that come along the way, being an entrepreneur is really tough. It's a tough journey. What are some of the challenges that you're facing now at this stage of your business. Oh, so many things. Let me get my list out. Um Let me get my journal. Yeah, there is no shortage of challenges I definitely feel in the beginning, it was all scrappy and everything was great, we were just making money and then everything break. I think when you get to about six figures, once you reach 100,000, everything that you did then is not working and then we hit that point again around 500,000 like systems break, processes break at one point we were like what processes?

00:34:04Edit They weren't even there right? When I say processes, it's like the step by step saying of how you do things in your business. So like if someone quits or someone leaves or you know you have to let go of someone then it's not like who does, who ends up doing it And usually as the ceo it's you, so I did not have that in place and after we hit the seven figure mark again, another break in the system and I feel like it's just growth, right? It's when you grow you realize the foundation that you built it on is not going to withstand that growth to the next level and there have been many nights of stress and anxiety and oh my gosh, why am I doing this? Is this what I wanted? You know there's obviously the highs and like the milestones that you see and then there's like of course self doubt creeps in every level, there is no level exempt from imposter syndrome, there is no level exempt from um oh my gosh, like this is this what I wanted and like when the challenges come, sometimes it's not, you know far and few in between there, sometimes it's like 10 at a time and you're like trying to put out fires in a lot of it.

00:35:22Edit I think at this level my biggest challenge is our team and it's like it's trying to figure out who to hire next, who's going to stay, who's going to go, who's going to, who aligns with the vision of the brand and sometimes as the ceo it's really challenging because you know where it's going to go in 5 to 10 years, but nobody really sees that vision yet and so they think, you know, operating at this level is fine, but I know like in six months time, in one year time like this is not going to work and so we need to, you know, figure out this new systems and new infrastructure, especially when we're launching new things and doing things in a massive scale, like for example, we don't know if the software that we're on is going to work in six months, right? If we grow two x, I don't know if I need to start thinking about different solutions and who's going to be handling all those solutions, I have a community manager now, but is she going to be able to be able to handle that or do we need to start building teams under each of the different departments?

00:36:29Edit And so right now I don't have an HR team or an HR manager, so that's still me. I feel like in the seven figure range and above, I feel like all across the forward from like friends and colleagues and people I know in the industry it's team building is really the biggest, the biggest challenge of all because people are unpredictable. Unfortunately you can't expect people to stay forever. The team that you have in the beginning is probably not going to be the team that you have in 35 or 10 years time. So those are a lot of learnings and it has nothing to do with you, right? And there's nothing to do with you, the person, it's just people grow at different levels in different directions and you're just gonna have to accept that that is part of this entrepreneurial journey and business in general. Yeah, it's that constant up skilling to figure out the next hurdle and the next step up, there's always something there and you feel like, oh we're good now and then it's like, oh wait, nope, Here we go, Here we go again, you mentioned some software, you mentioned some processes there, I know you've been working on something very exciting in the background, you have been building a SAAS platform which for anyone who doesn't know what SAs means?

00:37:49Edit It's service as a software. Can you tell us about that and what it's all about? Yeah, So we have been working on some tools for our creators and we found a lot of challenges for them that they have not been able to solve with the current solutions that are in the market. There are some things out there, but not anything that's specific to creators we believe and specific to creator challenges. And so we're working on a platform to help them monetize even easier with me launching my membership. I saw how hard it is, luckily my husband, who's my business partner is a software developer, so he was able to figure it out because if I didn't have him I would not be able to figure that out. Have to hire someone to do all the tech stuff. And so I feel like for creators our zone of geniuses creating content and not necessarily building those platforms are picking which platforms are figuring out which is the best way to process payments and to accept payments.

00:38:56Edit And so we're building a tool that's going to help creators monetize easier. We've been kind of doing it by recommending other tools and platforms but we realize that it's time for us to build our own and we're super excited about that and that will be launching later this year. Oh gosh, so exciting going to keep my eyes peeled for it. What's it gonna be cold? Our working title is spark dash right now and we're calling it monetization dashboard for creators love it. That is so cool. Congrats you, what advice do you have for women who have a big idea and want to start their own business? Oh man, Yeah, definitely get it down on paper. I feel like sometimes when we have so many things in our minds and our heads, it feels so impossible, feels so overwhelming. I'm a pen and paper kind of girl and so I like to write everything out. My husband who's very, you know, all of the computers, like he sees me with my papers and tens and dry erase sports, but that's how I process things.

00:40:08Edit I need to see things visually. I map everything out and I think that makes it easier for me. So mapping things out. Um, and don't be afraid to go super big. I feel like sometimes we are afraid because our visions are so big, we have no idea how it's going to happen. Um, but having that big vision, I feel like it's motivating for me and inspiring to me that big vision still in process. For me, it's still a 10 year plan um, from here where like your three in 10 years. But I think having that vision somewhere that you could see it written down. I feel like that's kind of where you should start and then really from there, like taking the steps back and reverse engineering that into like a five year or three year a one year and then eventually like you know what do you have to do this month or what do you have to do this week? I'm a big proponent of starting there and I think talking to people about it as much as possible. Like once they started talking about the sas it was very scary when I was just thinking about it by myself.

00:41:16Edit And then I talked to my husband and we've been talking about it for a while and then I started talking to other online marketers who are moving more into tech products. And then I talked to some mentors who are working in the tech space and working with giant company investors. And then it started not to feel so scary anymore. It stopped feeling like this giant thing and they're like no just put it out there like M. V. P. Like minimum viable product. Like let's let's just go and I'm like wait. Um And so I think that sometimes it's scary when it's just this thing when it it stays an idea in your head. But when you start writing it down and talking to people it becomes more of uh an achievable goal rather than like an impossible idea. Yeah and it becomes the reality because now you've put it out there and now people are asking you about it and you have to think about these questions that they're asking you and come up with an answer to. Yeah. I feel like I feel like that's actually good for me because like if you just hide it right, it's similar for content creators.

00:42:22Edit Like we have all these ideas if you want to make these videos and but we're scared to put it out there because they're scared of what people are gonna say, what people are gonna think and how people are gonna judge us and what if it doesn't work and all those things. But once you put it out there and you start to get some positive feedback and some real like real questions of like okay, what is the next step or like who's who do you need to talk to? Then it just becomes more of like okay, then I can actually do this. And I feel like sometimes, yes, internal validation is great and I feel like you should definitely you know work on believing in yourself. But sometimes having that external support really helps as well. Absolutely surround yourself with your cheerleaders for sure. Yes. At the end of every episode I ask every woman the same six quick questions, some of it we might have already covered before, but we will ask them all the same Question. Number one is why do you do what you do? What's your y oh that's a big one.

00:43:28Edit I really want to help women discover their self worth. Or I say rediscover their self worth because we are worthy. Sometimes we just forget that we are my why is really tied to me feeling unworthy as a child. I had a lot of issues growing up in domestic violence and abuse. And so I feel like my purpose has been to help others who have been through challenging situations through trauma to really rediscover their self worth again. Amazing. Thank you for sharing that Question. Number two is what do you think has been the number one marketing moment that made the business pop Who number one marketing moment as a market around? Like excited about that question. Um I think really when I focused on the solution that I was giving to content creators and not like putting so much fluff, that's what a lot of marketers and founders, I feel like do is like they just fluff everything up because they think that's going to sell their product when really is the outcome.

00:44:40Edit And so even though I teach much more than how to get brand deals in my membership, that's the marketing message that we lead with. And it's super to the point. It's like get paid brand deals without a huge following. It gives you the it already addresses the objection that everyone has about getting brand deals about having a huge following. So I feel like my biggest marketing moment is like let's just do one simple sentence that gives them exactly what they want and we could just, when they get in, we'll teach them all the other stuff about confidence and self worth and um negotiation and communication that they're gonna learn anyway, but it really is that um you know sell them what they want, give them what they need moment, I love that, so good and it's great to be so clear, so you can have that one clear message to reach people. Amazing question # three is where do you hang out to get smarter? What are you reading or subscribing to or listening to at the moment that helps you get smarter?

00:45:42Edit Oh that's a great question. And so I have a, what we call a success squad which is a bunch of um online entrepreneurs that I hang out with, we all got connected somehow. I don't even know how we meet twice a month, I'm actually meeting them right after this recording and so we check up on each other, we have accountability with each other and I'm also in a bunch of groups, I'm in Rachel Rodgers is we should all be millionaires club, I'm in that group and I'm reading her book right now that just came out, we should all be millionaires, she's a mentor of mine, someone I look up to and I found other mentors through other online programs. I'm a big proponent of investing in programs to get better and to help you with your mindset and all the stuff that comes with the entrepreneurial journey. So I keep investing and keep learning and keep being open to conversations sounds amazing.

00:46:43Edit I need to do more of that question. Number four is, how do you win the day? What are your AM or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated? I protect my morning time like a hawk, very, very strict on my schedule. So I get up, I usually drink a pre workout because they usually do work out in the morning While that's kicking in because it takes about 30 minutes. I start writing. I am trying to build my writing muscle and so every morning I either I'm writing an article or I'm working on social post, but I'm just writing, I'm not scrolling on social media because that's bad. That's never a good idea. Yeah, whenever I do that always in a bad mood after. So I do work out. Usually I spit on the peloton or do like a core strength workout. I do some meditation every single morning. I feel like that's really helped with my mindset and just getting starting the day, right, some journaling with some gratitude and then I get ready every single day.

00:47:51Edit I feel like that's really helped me, especially through the pandemic. Like I get ready, I do my hair, I do my makeup, I'm ready if I want to film something always ready for an interview. Um, and then I put real close on, I take off this workout clothes. I don't stand them all day. And at night, the journal that I have is a five minute journal is like a morning routine in the evening routine. Um, and this one's harder to stick to because once I'm done for the day, I pretty much bej out and watch tv, which I love. Um, but the evening reflection is more like what three things happened today that were great. It really like closes out the day. And then another question and there is how you have made it better. And it's just like awareness reflection and every time I do that I feel like I feel good and I'm not perfect. Like these things do not happen every day. I try, I try really hard. Um, but sometimes you don't have an early flight or like I'm doing something during the day.

00:48:53Edit I have a shoot and so like I am flexible with the schedule but I find that I'm most productive and I feel my best when I do do the routine and stick to the routine. Mm Yeah, I hear you. And I feel that question number five Is if you received $1,000, no strings attached grant, where would you spend it? Oh Man. $1000 grand. I would probably invest in a program. There's so many things I want to learn. I just recently invested in an investing course program investing coaching program on, it's more about choosing which funds from companies that you believe in. They're talking a little bit about Cryptocurrency, which I don't know a lot about or something like skills like I love music and I've been playing UKulele or self taught, so maybe I'll, I will last. Higher are UKulele instructor. Oh my God, that is so cool. That's the first time that's ever come up on the show and I'm so here for it, UKulele player.

00:50:03Edit Yeah, I'm a big proponent of hobbies. I feel like there has to be life outside the business as founders where like this is everything to us. But I realized that when that happens you start to kind of lose your personal identity and who were you now outside of the business. And so I feel like I have learned that a lot in the past year. And so I draw I read, I go on bike rides like I do different things that separate me from my business and I feel like it actually improves my business when I'm not in it 24/7. Yeah, So true. So true. And question # six, last question is how do you deal with failure? What's your mindset and approach when things don't go to plan? Well I cry, I process emotionally, I think that that's part of it is important is to process it emotionally. I feel like some people don't take the time to do that and invites them because it just keeps coming back.

00:51:13Edit And so I process emotionally. I'm not afraid to cry, I'm not afraid to wallow to stay in bed for as long as I need to and then I know that I will eventually get up and start coming up with a plan. And I always look at it as you know, it's a lesson okay, what did we learn from this? What happened? You know, and I feel like as an entrepreneur, it's not even one of those rare things anymore. Like we fail every day. I feel that all the time things don't go out, things didn't happen and it's just like, okay, what can we do next time to make sure that this doesn't happen. And then sometimes I even think it's like, did did we even want to do this or is this even something that we wanted to do in the first place and most of the time when it doesn't happen or something doesn't happen usually because the motivation or the intent wasn't there in the first place. And so we re evaluate. So I feel like everything is just, you know, alerting process and then I cough it up to that.

00:52:16Edit And I feel like the faster you get over it, the faster you learn from it, the easier it gets to it and and my team knows now that it's like I don't like it's it's never an emergency. We're not doctors or not in the medical field, like our motto and one of our sayings in our cos there's never a marketing emergency, like it's fine. Like there's a misspelled misspelled thing in the email newsletter. Okay great. Like like nothing happened. And so I think like just dealing it that way before it used to be a big thing. I want to have a total meltdown and now it's just like caring less and less. It's like some, one of my mentors told me it's like a balance of caring a lot and not caring at all. I love that. Gwen, thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show today and share all these amazing insights about your community and what you've been building and what's to come.


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