Episode 7 of the Self-Made Mamas Podcast
I’m not going to lie to you. These days, I am feeling so calm and so positive about my business, sometimes I can’t even believe it. It honestly feels like Self-Made Mama has really hit a sweet spot when it comes to hours in versus profit out, which, let’s be honest, is the dream for anyone with kids they actually want to spend time with.
Today on the podcast I’m sharing with you one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while getting here, as well as all of the many mistakes I made along the way that slowed me down and got me stuck.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my business. In many ways, I feel that Self-Made Mama has really hit its stride lately. We’re growing month after month, I’m able to work less and less while collecting more profit, and most importantly, we’re impacting hundreds of new people every single month with our content and products. Which is kind of a dream. This feels amazing, but it has really pushed me into a state of reflection.
What did it take to get here? How could I have gotten here faster? What could I have done differently, and what do I really need to change moving forward? One theme that keeps coming up over and over again as I percolate on this is that I should have stopped starting over. Let’s dig into that a little bit because I know this is something that many of you do as well.
Launching and Starting Over
When you’re first starting out in your business, you’re kind of throwing spaghetti at the wall. I actually call it “spaghetti season” with my clients because when you’re first developing your offers, pulling together your messaging, and figuring out where your sweet spot is, you are basically just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks—what the right offer is for your audience and what the right audience is for your offer. You’re still finding your feet as a business owner and clarifying your messaging. You’re in the ideation phase, and that piece is really exciting.
Coming up with something and launching it is exhilarating, fun, and it’s also safe. It’s really safe because when you’re mapping out an offer and branding it, when you’re talking about it on Instagram for the very first time, that’s pretty easy. You’re not likely to be rejected. Even if nobody buys the offer, you will get some interaction on it. People will be excited for you. It won’t appear to be a flop. You can even detach completely from the outcome. You can just say, “I’m putting this out there and I’m going to see what happens.” You’re just trying it out. In those ways, creating new things is really safe and really fun. If we don’t get the result we want, what do we do most of the time is just create something else. That is the critical error, though. That’s what I really want to talk to you about today.
For the first couple of years in my business, I was the queen of launching new things and then never selling them again. I knew how to get a small group of people really excited about my new offer, serve them well, and have them buy into it. Then I would set really high expectations for the first round of sales. I would inevitably be disappointed because I hadn’t actually done anything to get the sales that I was hoping for. Then I would pick holes in the offer until I never launched it again. Nobody knew this was going on, but it would go on in my head behind the scenes.
Here’s an example. In 2018, I spent dozens and dozens of hours building my very first online course. About 10 people signed up, which was incredible because my audience was tiny back then. I charged something totally ridiculous like $500 for this enormous course with 12 weekly calls or something like that. I can’t even remember completely. Obviously, $5,000 in sales was not enough to carry me through three months of delivering on all the promises I had put into this program. By the end of it, I was super exhausted and distracted because I had to take on other work after the first month. I convinced myself that my course and my idea were crap because I had personally built up all this negative energy around it. Instead of taking what I had already created, refining and relaunching it, I set it aside and started building a new offer.
In 2019, I built out and launched phase two of that product. Not a refined version but the next steps. I launched it and again exhausted myself delivering it. Unfortunately, right around the time I was due to start delivering on this product, we unexpectedly had to move back to Canada from Spain for a family emergency. We re-immigrated in the middle of the delivery of my second big digital product and this burnt me out so badly that I decided, again, this wasn’t very good. I didn’t launch it again.
A New Plan
If you are keeping track, we are now at two very comprehensive curriculums. I had spent probably hundreds of hours developing and refining these programs prior to selling them, and then just left them to collect dust. By the fall of 2019, I was in my third trimester with my youngest son. The clock was ticking, I was about to have a preschooler and a newborn. My husband was training out of province for work and wasn’t going to be back for a few months. I was really trying to set myself up for an easier 2020. That’s what I kept telling myself. This is kind of funny now because I obviously didn’t know there was a pandemic coming right after my second baby was born.
Anyway, this baby was very, very big. He was so big and heavy and low and it was extremely uncomfortable. I had a preschooler who was extremely challenging back then, so bed rest was not an option. Really, sitting still ever was not an option. By November of 2019, I was really struggling physically and I was very mentally drained because I was essentially solo parenting while pregnant. My first instinct when I was trying to plan for the baby and plan for 2020 was to create a new product, which had been always my go-to. I was just going to create something new and launch it. Again, that felt very safe for all the reasons I described earlier. Luckily for me, I was way too exhausted to be creative. I literally could not come up with a new curriculum if I tried. My brain felt like Swiss cheese. I had baby brain to the max, I was overtired and not sleeping very well. You know, all those fun side effects of having a baby. I didn’t feel inspired to come up with something new. I couldn’t do what I usually do and systematize information and develop it into a curriculum.
Instead, I ended up slowing way down, against my will, and I stopped creating new things because I just didn’t have the creative capacity. I focused on closing the loops I had opened and finishing up projects that were on the go at the end of 2019. I took on a few last-minute projects with payment plans to help pad the first few months with baby #2. Other than that, I just kind of thought all the time. I know that sounds silly, but my littlest was born mid-January and I really spent most of December, January, and February just thinking. I would sit on the couch, nursing and thinking. Or take the kids out for a walk and think. I’d think about what I had already created and the impact I wanted to have with everything I’d already created and the problem I wanted to solve. By the end of February, in 2020, I felt like I actually had a clear idea of what I wanted to do.
Refining and Relaunching
I realized I had these two curriculums I had already developed and they worked in tandem with each other. They just needed a little bit of updating and tweaking, and probably a little bit of additional support for the people taking it. At the time I had invested in a high-ticket group coaching program to help me scale a course. I had invested in it to give myself a kick in the ass to create and finish my signature product, whatever it was going to be. I really wanted to have one thing I was known for that would be streamlined.
That’s how I came up with the Self-Made Mama Society. I actually took these products I had already created, updated them, and put them together with some coaching and different sort of tools and templates and resources. Based on (what I now know was) some questionable coaching from the program I was in, I packaged it all up and sold it at a very low monthly rate on a 12 payment plan. That was the first iteration of the Society. I packaged it up and launched it with a webinar in Spring 2020, and I just launched it to my warm audience. I didn’t run ads or anything like that, so I ended up having a few dozen really amazing women from my warm audience join which was awesome. However, I very quickly realized the way I had structured the payment plans and when revenue would come in wasn’t actually aligned with what I was delivering in the program. Again, when I realized this, my first instinct was just to scrap it because I was like, “Oh, shit. I’ve done this wrong. I’m just starting over.” I had to force myself to stop.
At this point, my baby was only a few months old and my preschooler was still very high energy, very high needs, super challenging. Thankfully less so now, but at the time it was really difficult. My husband was just getting back from his training out of province, and things were a bit chaotic for us. I had to say to myself, “No, I’m not starting over again. You need to stick with it.” I didn’t really have the capacity to relaunch it at the time, so I just stuck with what I had already created. I kept delivering and showing up for the girls inside the Society who were already there. I kept refining what was inside, and working on the way that I was presenting or wanted to present that offer, and how I could best support the people who joined so they would get the maximum results. My focus shifted to not only what works for me—what is the ideal setup for me as a mom with two young kids right now, as and someone whose other streams of revenue take a little bit of management—what is the ideal way for me to deliver this so the people who sign up for it get the absolute best results and the most possible out of their investment? While also ensuring that I am still sustained by the work I’m doing inside this program.
It took the better part of 2020 to develop. This is not a realization I came up with and all of a sudden everything was fixed and I had it all figured out. It took the better part of 2020 for me to work through all of my fears and the little roadblocks that I had created for myself to develop something that felt really perfect. Developing a group coaching program that encompasses the curriculums I had already created allowed for them to evolve and be updated because things in the online space change super fast. This also allowed for the lifestyle I wanted and the revenue from this product I needed as a businesswoman and as a company, and the revenue needed in order for the effort I was putting in to be viable. It took me almost the entirety of 2020 to figure that out, and I was only able to do it because I stuck with the product. I didn’t scrap it. Everything in me wanted to ball it up, throw it in the trash, and start again with something shiny and new. I had done that too many times before, though, and I knew it wasn’t serving me. If I had continued to relaunch my very first product over and over again, I strongly believe it would have been easily a multiple six-figure product, but I didn’t. I just pushed it aside. I started a new thing.
Sticking With It
Going forward, I tried to learn from the mistakes that I had made in the past and put that into effect when it came to developing what is now the Society. That meant sticking with it and refusing to throw it out, continuing to show up for the women who had committed to me, even though some of those women came in at a very beta price of 12 payments of $37 or $57. This is a high-level group coaching program now, with coaching every single week and customized support in the Facebook group. They are getting thousands of dollars of online business curriculums, so congratulations to my beta girls because you guys hit the jackpot! Continuing to show up and evolve the program, and to do so with their support and buy-in, was incredibly valuable and I’m super grateful for them. By sticking with it, I’ve now developed this program I am so incredibly proud of and so happy to show up for. One that actually pays me the way I need to be paid in order to keep showing up for it. I would never have got there if I had started over.
The point of this episode and that very long example, is too often we’re starting over because we’re afraid to stick with it. I think we’re afraid to stick with it because we don’t trust ourselves. When I was in the early years of my business, I didn’t trust myself to launch. My life was very chaotic a few years ago and I didn’t trust myself to show up every week and be consistent. There were so many ways in which I showed that I didn’t trust myself. This led to me starting over and scrapping the work I had already done instead of sticking with it, allowing it to evolve, and allowing it to hit its own stride. I really feel, when I look back at the last five or so years, the things that I have stuck with, dug my heels in and stuck with even when it sucked, those are the things that are now allowing me to work a couple of days a week. Those are the things allowing me to make a really substantial income and unlock an amazing future and lifestyle for my family. None of the new shiny objects that I went and created or tried to develop. None of those things are the big money makers in my business. The things that now sustain me and light me up, make me so excited to get up in the morning and the community that I’ve created around my products, is 100% the stuff that I created in my early days and stuck with.
That’s what I want to leave you with today. Often when we start something, it doesn’t go exactly the way we want it to the first, second, or maybe even third time we put it out into the world. Often it feels awkward and uncomfortable to keep selling something after the launch. There’s something about the initial launch energy that feels very safe and exciting, but then we have to move on to doing it over and over again. Maybe you choose a launch model and you have to keep launching your product but you’re not getting the sales you want. I’ll be transparent with you, I held a webinar for the Society a few months after initially launching it and I hadn’t figured it out yet. I hadn’t nailed my messaging yet and I didn’t bring the right energy to it. We also used the wrong lead magnet to attract people into my audience. I got on a Zoom call with a bunch of amazing women, I taught my webinar, but I knew at the very beginning of the call that none of them were the right fit for the Society. It sapped all of my confidence and sales energy. I still have relationships with many of the women who attended that webinar, and it was a super fun session with lots of great conversation. It just didn’t result in any sales because none of them were the right people for it, and I wasn’t bringing the right energy. That was 100% on me.
Now, if you ask me to stand on a stage in front of 2000 people and give a presentation and sell the Society, no problem. It’s evolved to the point where I know it inside and out. I love it inside and out and it’s an accumulation of everything I have been working towards for the last five years. That’s the result of not throwing it out. That’s the result of not starting over. If I had started over with a brand new product, we’d be back at square one. Instead, I was able to stop doing that. I was able to take all of the things I had already created, update and adjust them as needed to bring them to current standards, and put those to work for me and put myself to work with them. That has led to an absolutely amazing work-life balance, time-in-profit-out balance, and a really amazing experience overall. I come and work on my business and I get to show up for these incredible humans who are showing up for me, for each other, and to learn, and I get to help them grow their businesses which is my favourite thing to do.
I saw a meme the other day that said “My favourite sport is watching other women make money.” And that’s 100% how I feel. I’m so passionate about this. It’s my favourite thing to do and it lights me up. I could talk about this for hours. I wouldn’t be able to do it in this way that fills my cup instead of totally draining it if I hadn’t just stuck with what I was doing. If I hadn’t knuckled down and committed to the offer that I wanted to really hang my hat on and stuck with it until I was able to evolve it to the place that I want. That’s what I want to leave you with today. I hope that was helpful for you and I’ll talk to you next week!
A. Look at the things you’ve launched over the course of your business.
- Are there things that did okay in a first launch but you weren’t committed to a second launch? Update them if necessary and try launching them again.
- Are there things that flopped but could be refined, tweaked, and relaunched?
- Are there multiple products/services that could be combined to create a new offer?
B. Whether you choose to pursue one of these things to go back to or a couple, stick with it. Avoid the temptation to throw in the towel and start over.
- Tweak, refine, and update until you have an excellent offering.
- Drill down into the core messaging of your offer until you know it inside and out. When you sell this offer, you want to sell it with complete confidence.
- Determine your perfect audience for this offer and don’t put it in front of the wrong people. Know exactly who you’re selling to and get it in front of them.
C. Be consistent, do the work, and when your offer is ready, trust yourself to launch. Trust yourself to show up over and over again to get your message out there.
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Self-Made Mamas Podcast. You can find more information about working with us at theselfmademama.com or connect with us on Instagram at @selfmademama_. I can’t wait to chat.