Business

Ep 099: Ask Allie Anything About Business Part 2

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It’s part two of the “Ask Allie Anything About Business” episode and I am so excited to continue chatting all things business with you guys! I absolutely love talking about this. I'm very passionate about business and I think it's so important for people, especially women and mothers, to find a way to create revenue and income based on what they're passionate about. If you want to have something aside from your role as a mother and a wife, and that's a desire that you have, I think it's absolutely possible for you to create that without leaving the house, if that's what you want! I love helping people with that. It's what I did and it's what I help people do on the side. So let’s dive into part 2 of this Q&A!

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • How she started creating online courses and how she makes revenue from them.

  • Ways she monetizes her blog without using ads.

  • The right way to build a brand before building a huge audience.

  • Whether an LLC is important and if you should have one for your business.

  • The best ways to promote your brand on social media.

Mentioned in this Episode:


Where are my business-minded mama's at? I have something for you that I'm super excited to be sharing. If you've ever wanted the behind-the-scenes and inside scoop on how I grew my business from a tiny hobby blog with zero income to a multiple-seven-figure-per-year corporation, I have so, so much to tell you!

I've compiled all my favorite resources, books, courses and advice. A brain dump of everything that helped teach me what I know now and get me to where I am today (other than a lot of blood, sweat and tears and some serious hustle and late nights.) I've put it all together for you guys and it's in the Blog To Business Guide.


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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Hi, beautiful! I'm so glad you're here with me today and I'm really excited to jump into another discussion about business. These “ask me anything” episodes are basically a rapid-fire Q & A style episode where I read questions that have been pre-submitted usually on social media, sometimes via email, from my listeners and they want to know about different topics, so we segment that off into genres and by topic.

We recently did one about business and we had so many great questions that we just couldn't fit it all into one episode. I really like keeping my episodes somewhere around the 30/45-minute mark and not going over that whenever possible because my listeners are mostly moms and we're busy. We've got a lot going on and it's very difficult to create more time than that to listen and I know the likelihood of you coming back and finishing an episode is not good. I try to help you out in any way I can, so we split it up into two parts. Today I'm jumping into the second part of the last time we opened up space to have you guys submit questions about business.

I absolutely love talking about this. I'm very, very passionate about business, not just what I do, but about business in general. I think it's so important for people, especially women and mothers, to find a way to create revenue and income based on what they're passionate about, if they have something like that. If you want to have something aside from your role as a mother and a wife, and that's a desire that you have, I think it's absolutely possible for you to create that without leaving the house, if that's what you want. I love helping people with that. It's what I did and it's what I help people do on the side.

I'm always happy to bring that here to The Purpose Show even though it's not really a business podcast, it's more of a lifestyle podcast. So, let's dive in.

The last time we did an “ask me anything about business” episode, we left off with questions that were about balancing work and family. We also talked a lot about the startup process of my business and a lot of really good top tips and advice that I have from my experience to pass on to people who are just starting out. Then we went into balancing work and family.

Today I want to dive more into courses and paid content, running the business, delegating to other people, things like that.

Before I dive into that real quick, I just want to say that for anyone listening who isn't aware, there are a few different ways you could start an online business. I dive really deep into that in the previous episode where we talked about business. I can link to that in the show notes. If you'd like to go back and listen, I think that'd be a great place for you to start, especially since I did mainly cover the startup process. If that's where you're at and you're interested in how do you even make money from a blog, that's a really great place to start.

I want to say that the choice that I made was not to do affiliate links and Amazon affiliate stuff and linking up products on my blog as a way to make money. Firstly, because it takes so much to even make something that's impactful and mainly because I really didn't want to send people away from my blog.

One of the first questions that we got today for this episode is asking me about that, so I'll dive into more detail about that. But I just wanted to preface this episode with the way that I choose to share my message and my passion and to create revenue from that is by creating online courses and online programs.

I have from the small things like paid PDFs that are really detailed workbooks that women can work through on their own sort of DIY style to create less excess in their homes and their schedules all the way up to the big giant courses. I have intentionally priced my courses really low. Most courses in the online business community are $1,000+ and it's like the more information that’s in there, the bigger the course is, the more impactful the course is, the higher price it is.

I've decided to settle on around the $300 mark. My course right now (at the time that I'm recording this) is $297 and I get told all the time - every time I join a business mastermind, anytime I talk with another powerful influencer - that my prices are way too low and I need to raise them. I have raised them by little nudges here and there as I've added value to the course and improved on it. But I've chosen to have lower price online products because I want women to be able to get into them and not have to be millionaires to afford them.

That's the background of my business setup and how I have money coming in from a blog-based business. Okay, let’s dive in.

How did you create your course exactly? I'm wanting to create a course about parenting and I want to know what the timeline, planning and execution looked like.

This is a very loaded question, but I will do the best that I can. First of all, anytime I'm creating any new course, or really any new online product of any kind, I do what I call a ‘brain dump.’ It's not the most feminine word in the world, but that's what it is. I literally get everything out of my brain and onto a Google doc. Open up that fresh page in your computer and just title it, “parenting course,” and let your brain get it all out. It's almost like your brain is congested with ideas and you need to just get it all out on paper. So, I start there.

It doesn't have to be pretty. I usually use a bullet-point, outline style. I'll do Bullet #1 ‘introduction to this parenting style.’ And then a subpoint might be, ‘why I don't think spanking works’ or whatever it is that you're going to say. Go through it and get it all out.

I don't overanalyze the order it's in. I don't overanalyze how deep would this lesson even go, what are all the sub points that I would say. I just get what's in my brain and what's flowing out as I'm writing out onto the paper until I feel, “Okay, this course is done.” Then I go back through and I reread it and usually more stuff will come out as I'm rereading the points that I wrote down. When I feel like, “Oh my gosh, this is good. This is a course. It's all out and it's all done.” That's really good.

In terms of the timeline, usually about 90 days is what it takes. If you were to really focus and get it, like really focus in and get it done, you would probably need about 90 days. I have done a course in less. I've done a course in two weeks and I've done a course in over a year. I've done a course in three months, six months, pretty much everything. And the thing is, is that it doesn't have to be perfect. Just get it going. Get it to where it's finished for now and put out into the world. Price it low at first so that you feel comfortable and confident with people getting in there and giving you feedback. Let them know, “You guys are my first round of students and I'd love to give you this awesome discount, have you tell me what you think, give me feedback” and use that to your advantage.

After the brain dump, that's kind of starting the 90-day timeline. 90 days is what in the industry people say, and I agree, is typically a good amount of time to bust out a decent course from idea and brain dumping all the way to launching it out into the world.

After I get everything out of my brain onto the paper, then it's time to think it through in terms of organization. I like to do this with post-it notes. When I was making all my courses I had these two big whiteboards on my wall that were side by side. I would get different post-it notes out in all different colors. I wrote on the whiteboards “section 1, section 2, section 3, section 4” of my course. Each course has a different amount of number of sections or modules. Sometimes I call them modules, but it’s basically just breaking it up. If it was a book it would be the chapters, or maybe the sections of the book, or the acts of a play and there's different ‘takes.’ Does that make sense? You're breaking down into big sections and subsections for the lessons.

I would write that out and then I'd use the post-its to write the lessons on. So, I would take the brain-dump Google Doc and I would say, “Module #1.” And I would go through that Google Doc with all of the ideas that I had put onto that paper and say, “what seems foundational goes here” because obviously section #1 is going to be the foundation of what you're teaching.

For example, in Your Uncluttered Home, which is my biggest course all about minimalism and getting that all the way through your house and making it work for you, that’s the big one for me. So, in that one I have the foundation module is module #1 or section #1.

Basically, it starts with first of all, here's how to access your course, and how to use this platform that I use for my courses, which is Teachable. (By the way, Teachable is the best. You should use them.) Then I say, okay, first of all, what is minimalism? First of all, what's the deal with all these other philosophies of perfectionistic minimalism and legalistic minimalism and why it’s not going to work for you. Cause you're a mom. How to make this work for you. How to make it real. I'm setting it up. How to deal with tough emotions that come up when you're decluttering. How to deal with if your husband's not on board with this. What do you do if your kids are pushing back? What do you do if your relatives are being really difficult and pushing back and you feel really unsupported?

What do you do with tech stuff that you want to get rid of? Should you sell or donate your items? What do you do with what you're donating? What do you do with what you're selling? How do you sell it? How do you not end up holding onto everything because you're not making money off of it? All of these foundational things that need to be addressed before we can start to purge. Go through your content and “what is foundational.”

Then you get into the ‘heart’ of your course, which for me is the actual decluttering. So, do the next section ‘the heart of what you teach.’ Anything else after that is going to be what does maintenance mode look like for what you teach, if that applies. What are the bonuses? What are the extra things, “Oh! Also, before you go you need to know this.”

For me module #3…after the decluttering module, the heart of the course, the next module is maintenance mode. Intentional shopping and being mindful while you shop. Stopping the flow of excess and needless items into your home so you don't undo all your work. How do you handle your kids' birthday parties and holidays from here on out? You don't want to overdo it and undo all your work, but you also want to celebrate. How do you even do that? How do you store and organize certain difficult things like your kids’ art supplies? All of that ‘maintenance mode’ stuff.

Then module #4 is bonuses and extra things that help them take action. PDFs and workbooks, checklists, worksheets. 15-minute challenges if you just want to declutter something and you only have 15 minutes. Things like that. Things that are helpful to the course but are not the heart of the course.

And that's pretty much it. I would organize and put every single lesson title that I had wrote into my brain dump doc. I would write each lesson on a post-it note and organize it on the whiteboard underneath which module I thought they fit best in. Then because they're on post-it notes, you can move them around really easily. That really helped me to get visual.

In executing it, I decided that some of my lessons would be video when it's necessary to show something, but the rest of them would be audio so that people could listen podcast-style on-the-go, and these moms that were taking my courses could access it from anywhere - on mobile, on a tablet, on a computer, at work, wherever.

I started to outline the lessons and hit the main topic points of what I needed to say in the course in order to cover all the bases for that particular lesson, then I would hit record and just go for it, record my lessons and save them all to a folder on my computer. Then when I was ready, I uploaded them all to Teachable to the course and organized them

That was about 3 ½ years ago. Now Your Uncluttered Home has been refined, fine-tuned, changed, tweaked, and rebranded. All the lessons have been re-recorded and things added. My teaching style has evolved and gotten so much better since then. It's all new. But you know, a handful of my students got that course for $39 one day a long time ago. They're still in there. They've never paid a penny more and they get all the updates and all of that stuff.

I would encourage you to not be overwhelmed. Do what I did. Just start. And take care of your students. If you take care of your students, they're going to love you. And they've bought almost every other course that I have. Most of them have bought all the other courses that I offer because they know that I overdeliver and everything that I do is worth eight times what they paid and that I'm going to take good care of them and always make sure they get every bonus, every coaching call, anything that I ever ad for free moving forward. Once I have them, I love on them and I'm committed to them and they know that.

So, I think it's important not to get too overwhelmed with the creation of the course and remember to focus more on delivering good value and then taking care of your students moving forward.

Okay. Next question.

I was so inspired when I've heard you talk about why you don't do ads on your blog because you didn't want to send people away from your website and you didn't want to be paid to do that. Would you talk more about how you finally decided to monetize your blog and how you decided what your gifts were?

Yes. I'm really passionate about that. There's nothing wrong with people who do affiliate links. There’s nothing slimy or weird or wrong about that. Some people, the way they do it, there is absolutely something wrong with that. It's dishonest and they've never even used the product and they're just linking to their affiliate link so that they can make money and they don't even know if it's any good.

I mentioned in the last business Q & A episode that people will do that with expensive items. They know that the click is going to deliver a decent amount of a percentage paid to them. So even though they've never used it or even heard anything about this product, they'll simply link to it, write a blog post about it and totally make it up out of nowhere, just so they can get that SEO and land on the Google pages and get affiliate money from it. And it's just really slimy.

But not everybody who does affiliate links is like that. So, it's not that that's the wrong way to blog, it's just that I had a personal conviction I guess, that that's just not what I wanted. I had worked really, really hard to grow the little following that I had back then. I really loved everyone that was in my audience. I really loved writing. I really felt called to share my message, my journey, my lifestyle and encourage other moms. And I wanted to begin to make money from that, but I really didn't want to get paid to click people away from my website. My whole point was keeping them on there.

I also didn't feel good about talking about motherhood and then having a Huggies ad pop up in people's faces and get them to click away from my site. It just didn't vibe with what I wanted my blog to feel like. That was the first decision that led to that.

Then after that, I started to be aware of what I was really good at. I talked about a lot of different things on my blog back in the day. I started to survey my audience and also notice what I really enjoyed talking about and what I seemed to be really lit up about and what was my passion. And they ended up being the same things.

I felt happiest when I was talking about simplifying, clutter, my journey, and my story that I've shared so many times about how I was so overwhelmed, depressed and really struggling as a mom, and then simply by removing the clutter in my home, everything just got better. It was a kind of domino effect that leaked its way into every other area of my life. And people wanted that for me.

The other blog posts on the other topics as wonderful as those posts were and as helpful as they were, they just weren't getting clicked. They weren't getting read. People could feel the passion in me when I talked about the other stuff. So, I moved over into that direction and leaned into that. I leaned into what I was good at, what I felt good about, what people seemed to like and I became one of the top people in that niche. I think it's important to, like I said, lean into that.

What are your gifts? What are you passionate about? Most of the really good businesses that I look up to the people who started them and I admire how they run things, they all started from someone's story. They all started with someone’s difficult time and mine is no different. My blog, my business and everything that we've built today with this online company…it started from my hardship. It started from one of the hardest times of my life. I think that's really beautiful and it continuously fuels my passion for what I do.

Figure that out for yourself. Maybe it won't be such a dramatic story, but maybe you just really enjoy something. Maybe you already know what your gift is and you already know what people would benefit from when it comes to what you're putting out into the world.

Decide that that's what you're going to use to monetize your blog, your podcast, your website or whatever it is, and just start there.

How do you start monetizing your blog without sounding like all ad-centered blog sites?

What I'm going to say is that if you don't want to sound like all the ad-centered blog websites, you're going to have to probably not do affiliate links because I think no matter what people’s ears are tuned in to that sponsored Instagram post, that sponsored blog post, that affiliate link. I think if you really don't want to sound like that and it bothers you, create something new, create your own stuff.

When you're monetizing your business, your blog, your podcast, whatever it is with your own stuff, it's easy to sound ad-centered. I think the difference that I've learned is it comes down to being authentic. My lifestyle sells my products and I don't have to sound ads-y or sales-y. It's just facts.

The way that we live is in me and comes out of me. It flows out of me. I'm excited about it. People can see it. They see something different about the way my kids are with each other, with me and Brian. They see something different about us. They see something different about our house.

I'm very open and honest and I show how we live. I'm not really afraid to do that because I have nothing to hide. I think that authenticity shows up. People realize how cluttered and overwhelmed they're living and they want this life and I'm telling them that they can have it. “Here's the steps you can take and if you want further help you can get this course. That's why I made it.” It's easy. I don't have to sound sales-y. Even when I'm pitching the course on a webinar, interview or something it's very easy. It's just a natural flow because I'm not forcing anyone to buy something or telling them, “I am getting paid for this. You should go and click this link.”

It's not ad-centered and it doesn't sound like that because I'm just talking about my story, talking about what works and what I've seen work in hundreds of thousands of lives all across the globe in almost every single country. That's a lot to be said. I've seen it over and over again. They see it over and over again in my Facebook group, on my Facebook page, on Instagram, in testimonials, on my website, talking to their friends who have heard of me and have my courses. It's spreading because it works. When you have something authentic, you don't have to be all ad-centered and sound sales-y and annoying. It just is what it is.

You can tell them the points of your course. You can explain what's in it. You can talk about the features. You can talk about the bonuses that you're offering, the discount that you have and all that stuff and still not sound sales-y and ad-centered because they don't have to take it if they don't want to. It's up to them. If they want the lifestyle shift, then it's there. But if they don't want to spend the money for that and that's not their priority then that's fine. It doesn't matter.

I think it can sound really ads-y and sales-y when you're promoting a product that somebody else made, that you're getting paid affiliate money to promote. I don't really think there's much you can do to get around that. I've definitely seen some bloggers and Instagrammers do a better job of doing sponsored posts, but once you scroll through and you see that “here's this discount coupon code…” You know that feeling. You've all been there. I don't know if there's really a way around that unless you decide to start your own brand, which isn't for everybody. It's a big decision to make.


Where are my business-minded mama's at? I have something for you that I'm super excited to be sharing. If you've ever wanted the behind-the-scenes and inside scoop on how I grew my business from a tiny hobby blog with zero income to a multiple-seven-figure-per-year corporation, I have so, so much to tell you!

I've compiled all my favorite resources, books, courses and advice. A brain dump of everything that helped teach me what I know now and get me to where I am today (other than a lot of blood, sweat and tears and some serious hustle and late nights.) I've put it all together for you guys and it's in the Blog To Business Guide.

Maybe you already have a blog or a platform and you want to grow it into a business. Or you don't have anything yet but you're wanting to get more information. You know you have some ideas but you want some resources. You wish you knew what are the best books to give my time to? What are the best courses? What are the best investments I can make in time or money to learn about growing a successful business?

I've given you all of my opinions in the Blog To Business Guide and you can go get it right now by heading to alliecasazza.com/blogtobiz.


Okay, here's a good question. If you're really in need of income, can you build a product to sell before you build an audience as long as you know who your niche is? Unfortunately, I can't audience-build and product-build at the same time consistently with how much time I can spare and we really need additional income asap. This is a good question. So, this is what I did.

I had a little blog with barely an audience. I don't know the exact number, but it was really, really tiny, under 100. It was so tiny. Nobody knew I was there. It was so, so small. I created an ebook and I made a few sales from that. Honestly, the ebook was a total fail, but it made something. It brought in a couple hundred extra dollars; you know, it was supposed to make thousands, but that's okay. It brought something in.

I created little PDFs that were helpful about managing your time better, decluttering, things like that. Easy things that don't require you to have video/camera equipment and a microphone, just PDFs and stuff. You can sell those for $9 and put them on Pinterest. That doesn't cost anything. Pin your own pins. Ask your friends and family to try it out and see if they like it. And if they like it, ask them to repin it and help you out in that way if that feels right to you. I actually never did that. I just always felt weird about it. But if you have supportive friends and family, then you absolutely can do that. Also, even if you have 10 people watching you and looking at your blog, that's 10 people you could sell to.

So yeah, you absolutely can build a product, build small price products or one big price product before you build an audience. Just understand that the sales are not going to really roll in. There might be a couple trickling here and there, but what you could do is just get that product built and you could have it ready to sell on your website, make couple of trickle sales here and there and then go and work on building your audience after that. And then the product will already be there.

This is what I did. I started with the ebook and some PDFs. I had a lot of free stuff though. You have to give value to your audience. You can't just as Donald Miller says when he's teaching his StoryBrand philosophy, “You cannot meet somebody and then propose marriage to them. You have to date them and get to know them and let them get to know you and build that trust.” They call it the “no-like trust factor.”

Doing free things that help people is an amazing feeling. So much of my stuff is free. There's so much helpful stuff on my site and around for free. I mean this whole podcast is free. I don't do sponsorships. There's so many things like that.

But then if they really want to get “married” and they really want this lifestyle, they really want to go “all in” and they really want my expertise and to literally have me guide them through this process for them, then that's what the courses are for. Because this is a business. Even if it wasn't there was no way I could do all of that for nothing. Who has that time?

You can build the product and then when you get bigger, the product will already be there. And that's what's happened. That's what happened to me. I created my course with almost no audience and just had it ready. Then I got to work on my audience building and I wrote guest posts for other people. I hustled really hard.

I worked really hard spreading my message. I wrote awesome blog posts that got shared. The more powerful they were, the more they got shared. I worked really hard on becoming a good writer. I would partner with other people, other influencers, and they would share me on their pages and it grew a little bit at a time.

Then one day I wrote a blog post that went viral and when that virality happened, my product was already there. My course was already there so people were buying. If you've listened to episode six of our business story, that's where the $20,000 overnight came in because we had gone viral and the product already existed.

By the way, virality is not an accident. It can absolutely be intentionally done and planned. That's how mine happened. I intentionally planned to go viral. I knew I would; it was just a matter of timing. I just want to encourage you guys in that. I think a lot of people think that if virality is luck and it's absolutely not.

Anyway, what I was going to say was even before the virality, when I was just writing guest posts and slowly growing my email list and my blog by little bits at a time, 5, 10 people here and there on my email list, my course was already there and some people would buy it. Sales would trickle in. I had an email funnel set up. The sales were coming in, but they were very sparse.

That is how you can bring in income right away. It might be very small, but you can absolutely start with a product. You just need to be aware that you're probably going to have a lot of fine-tuning to do once your audience does grow. Be very open and willing to serving your audience, asking them what they do and don't like about it so that you can make it better and better and better.

These next couple questions are underneath the topic of delegating and not having to do all the work yourself. Let's talk about that for a little bit.

How did you know when it was time to hire someone to help you?

My story with this is a little bit unique. Basically, I didn't have anyone. I couldn't afford anyone. I did every single thing myself. I'd never outsourced a single thing. I learned how to build a website. I learned coding. I learned how to create opt-ins and PDFs. I learned every single thing I know from the Google search bar and I had to do it by myself. This is why I always say I basically didn't sleep and I was up super early and up late and just working my butt off figuring all this out because I couldn't afford to hire anyone to help me.

As soon as I would make money, we needed it for bills. We needed it for food. We needed it for stuff. So, I couldn't hire somebody.

Once the viral article happened and everything happened that way, we got a bunch of emails (it was like 700 emails in my inbox within that week) because the article that I wrote not only went viral, but it was trending over the first Presidential debate between Hillary and Trump of 2016. It was trending over that debate on Twitter and Facebook, so it was big.

It was a really big deal. People were freaking out about it. Some positive and some negative. If you've read the article, I'm not really sure how you could feel negatively about that. But I think I've learned, people can feel negatively about anything.

It had gone so big that I had 700 emails in my inbox and I was really overwhelmed. I basically fell on the floor in a little ball and cried because I didn't know what to do and how to handle all this.

So, I went into a Facebook group that I had been aware of that I was a part of and hadn't really used, and I posted, “Help!” I said how many emails are in my inbox and what had happened and I just really needed help. And one lady reached out to me. She was so sweet. She gave me her phone number. I didn't even look at the other comments. My eyes just zoned in on her name and I called her. She was so helpful, understanding and sweet. She congratulated me and said, “This is a good thing, not a bad thing. We don't need to talk about hiring. Let me just help you. Let me just spend a couple hours going through these emails for you and you can just pay me for that. We don't even need to work together in the future if you're not ready to hire anyone.” I was crying and I said, “Thank you so much,” and I hung up.

She did a great job. She answered every email in a few hours and she did a great job. Her customer service skills were amazing. I read through some of her sent emails and even the rude people ones were so nice. Her name was Kena and she was my first hire and my Virtual Assistant. She still works for me to this day and I adore her.

I knew it was time for someone to help me because I was in a ball on the floor crying. So, if you’re in a ball on the floor crying and you have some amount of funds to pay somebody, do it.

VA’s can be as low as $15 an hour and they're usually like up to $30 an hour. If somebody’s charging more than that, it's probably too high for just basic VA work (VA is Virtual Assistant.)

Kena started out at $20 an hour for me and I thought in my head, “Okay, well if I just need her to do like two hours a week…okay.” I could afford that a month because I knew we had a good amount of money coming in. And I knew it would be okay. I was still terrified that I would somehow go broke, but I just did it because I knew I couldn't handle the emails.

That's how I knew. You have to find that balance between your funds and your feelings. If you are drowning and you cannot hire anyone because you're super broke and you're just starting out and you're overwhelmed, you're going to have to push through that like I did.

And there's times for that. But if you're in a ball on the floor crying and you definitely could spare $15 an hour for a few hours month or $20 an hour for a few hours a month, then you should definitely get a VA.

And I think that a VA is a great place to start and that is a great first hire. You can always Google how to do graphics or download templates, and hire a graphic designer later. Hire a photographer later. I learned how to take great pictures with my iPhone and I got great editing software that was free, and apps to make my photos look Instagrammy, beautiful, and amazing. You can learn all that stuff.

But a VA is someone who's going to give you your time back and that time is what you can pour into revenue producing tasks. I think the VA is the first person you should hire. Somebody to take over emails, customer service, basic tasks that are not revenue-producing or are time consuming and that don't need to be done by you.

Give them a cap. Say, “I really don't want you to go over 10 hours a month, so can you keep me posted on how much work is this taking? How many hours is this work taking? Do you need more hours? Is it not taking as much?” Figure all that out with her, but it's okay to give them a cap.

Okay. Next question. Please talk to us about your team. Who is virtual, who is in person? How did you find them? Does everyone work exclusively for you or do some of your team members juggle multiple jobs? What did you outsource first, second, third? Okay. That's a lot of questions.

So, let's just have a discussion about teams. My team is mostly virtual. They live in other states. We had one contractor who lived near me, but she's no longer with us. So, I think my CFO and accountant live in San Diego, but I'm not in San Diego. I'm in Temecula Valley, so it's like an hour away. So, we're not really in the same city. But if we ever do need to meet in person, we do. And that's always fun.

We have just me in California. We have somebody in Arizona. We have South Carolina, North Carolina, Missouri. We have people sprinkled everywhere and it's really cool.

This is why we use a platform called Zoom to meet on Fridays all together. We meet on Friday mornings for about 30 to 45 minutes to just get on the same page. People can ask their questions. They know that they're going to get me and Hayley there.

Hayley’s my COO. She handles all of the implementing of my ideas and running the actual business. So everyone's virtual.

And then how did I find them? Everyone has a different story and I won't get into every single person's. I already told you Kena. I think that it's really important to follow your gut and to pray about hiring people. I think that having hires that you wish you hadn't done, people you wish you hadn't hired is just a part of having a business. And without making those mistakes, you will not grow that tough entrepreneurial skin and you will not learn wisdom to make good decisions in the future. I don't think it's avoidable to never make a mistake and never wish you had done something different.

The experiences that I've had where somebody has hurt me or my company, or done something wrong and needed to be fired for doing something incredibly dishonest, or not showing up and doing their job and not being apologetic about that, or whatever the circumstance was, it's always been a good lesson and taught me a lot moving forward and made me better for it.

I don't think that we should, as entrepreneurs, be trying to avoid pain or trying to avoid ever making a mistake. Obviously, we don't want to purposely make mistakes, but I just don't think we should have this attachment to making mistakes and missteps and thinking, “Oh wow, I really wish I wouldn't have hired that person. I think I'm a failure.” But instead saying, “Well, I wish that hadn't happened, but let's go over what I learned from it and what I want to take into the next hire moving forward.”

That’s just like life, but somehow it seems really personal in entrepreneurship and it's hard not to get really upset when somebody does something wrong or wrongs you or your money that you worked really hard for, or your company that you're very attached to. It's difficult.

Most people work exclusively for me. Most of them didn't start out that way. Actually, none of them did. I'm thinking…yeah, none of them started out that way. But almost everyone has become where they have to just take me on exclusively and let go of their other clients because the company is just constantly growing. We're always moving forward. We're always working on new things, and everything is always growing bigger and bigger and the workload just becomes so much that they have to make a choice.

And I'm super thankful that they always choose me to come on exclusively because they love what we do, they love the mission that we're on, they love helping other women lighten their loads and just live better lives. It's a really cool mission and I definitely credit that, not me, to why people always choose me instead of keeping their other clients and coming exclusively with me. And it's a really neat experience to be able to do that for somebody, to be able to simplify their role and their workload and say, “Go ahead and let go of everyone else. I'm going to take you on. Let's settle on this retainer that makes you feel awesome and excited to show up for work and simplify your workload so you can just focus on me.”

For example, with Hayley, she started out as sort of just like a business manager position a couple of years ago. It was back when we were touring the country in the camper with the kids and I called her just really overwhelmed. She was referred to me by good friends of mine. She used to work for pastors, she used to help pastors run the backend of all their stuff and their churches. I asked her to come on and she said yes. It just developed into this relationship of CEO and COO and we work beautifully together. We have opposite personalities, opposite strengths and weaknesses. It is a perfect match.

I think that was just a God thing because the way she even was brought to my attention was totally the Lord. There's just no other explanation for it. That developed into what it is today to where she hires and fires and runs everything.

And I say, “Hey, I have an idea and I want this set up by next week.” And she makes it happen. She delegates. She assigns things to people. She does some things herself. She's running the business, checking in on finances, checking in on the backend of things, statistics, making sure everyone's happy in their role, managing the business and regular operations.

Let it flow, let it develop into what it needs to as you grow.

The main thing when it comes to my team is that I am focused on revenue producing ideas. I'm dreaming all the time. I'm always writing down ideas. I'm always bringing Hayley new ideas and I don't do that work anymore. I just dream things up. Cast a vision for what I want. I show up. I'm the face of things, but the backend things like scheduling emails, scheduling launch dates, things like that, it's all backend work that's done by my team. At this point we run like a really well-oiled machine, which is awesome.

I mean that to be encouraging to anyone starting out. You're going to get there if you push through and you keep going. You're going to get there.

But there was one point that lasted a very long time where I was doing all of that stuff myself. I made every image. I had to Google how to do everything. I was a graphic designer. I was a business manager. I was the CEO. I was the Operations Manager. I was the Chief Financial Officer, and I was terrible at that part of it. I was everything. I was the team manager for my one or two staff at the time. And before that, I didn't even have them. I answered my own emails. I saw every negative word said about me and to me, and every positive one. No CEO should be doing that. Remove yourself from the negative. Remove yourself from the feedback. Ask your team to bring you the positive things and remove yourself from the negative. It's so important.

Delegate social media. Get out of there. You don't need to be in the muck and mire of what you're doing. Just show up. Be your best self. Keep your mindset protected. Don't let yourself be stuck in that negative mess. It's going to mess you up and make you afraid to go live and show up for your audience, serve them and be there for the good ones who need you. So, yeah, that's my advice.

Okay. Let's get into a couple more questions and then we'll wrap up cause this episode's getting long.

How important is it to have an LLC, or something similar, when starting a blog that will possibly generate income? And can one business name cover the big picture and also the products you sell?

Okay, it is very important to have an LLC. We started out as an LLC and then we quickly realized we needed to change that and become an S-corp because of the amount of contractors, the amount of revenue, the size of the business and the way that everything is functioning.

We have an amazing CPA and Financial Adviser that we can go to and she recommended it. She was like, “You're just beyond that. We need to go into a S-corp.” So, we did but we started out as an LLC.

Pretty much as soon as you're generating income, you want to have an LLC. I'll be honest and say that is not what I did for the first year of our business. We filed it as a Sole Proprietor. We made this money and then we formed the LLC and moved forward from there.

But if you can afford…it's a small fee to start an LLC in whatever state you're in…if you can do that, then just do it right away so that any money that comes in, it's going to be a lot easier for you at tax time.

And yes, one business name can cover the big stuff, the products, the blog, the podcasts, everything. Every single thing that we do is covered underneath The Purpose Group, Incorporated. That's the name of our company, our S-corp. So, The Purpose Show podcast, the blog, the website, the courses, the PDFs, the way we pay our contractors, everything is underneath The Purpose Group, Incorporated.

What's the best way to promote blog posts to gain followers? Do you recommend pinning your own posts on Pinterest? Hashtagging the mess out of them on Instagram?

Yes. Both of those things are good.

I would suggest that you create your brand. Who are you as a person? (The answer to this is usually “yes”) but is your blog reflection of you, who you are, your story and your lifestyle?

Then ask yourself, “What fits you?” Create your brand. Don't post those really lame pictures with words over them of what your blog post title is to your Instagram and say, “New blog post: Have you ever felt like this? Click the link in my profile to read it,” and then Hashtag all the things. Don't do that.

Get good at taking beautiful photos. Don't be overly obvious. Just take great photos. Post the actual beautiful picture. It's going to get people to stop their scroll and look at that.

Then hit a pain point for people. Talk about what your blog post is about. If you have a blog post about, you know, let's go back to the parenting idea that somebody gave us the beginning of this episode. If you have a blog post about your experience with yelling at your kids, ask a pain point question, “Do you ever feel awful that you just yelled at your three-year-old?  Or “You just yelled at your child? I've so been there.” Share a little bit about your story and then say, “This is what I learned and I want to help you. There's a new blog post up.” Then use relative hashtags and do it that way. Don't be overly obvious, lame, or just get the post up for the heck of it.

Be creative. Let yourself shine. Be different. Create things that are beautiful. Every image. Every webpage. Everything should be beautiful and fit your brand, make you happy and make people think like, “Wow, this is legit.” You can make things look way more legit than they are. I did that for a long time.

And then Pinterest is great. Pin your own blog posts in Pinterest for sure. I still do that. I've delegated Pinterest to my team, but that's still a tactic that is very effective. Go and check my stuff out and try to figure out the back end of how I have things set up. That's what I did to other influencers that I admired and I wanted to be where they were. I would just kind of go and creep. I would look at their Pinterest accounts and see how they had their board set up. I would look at their Instagram and study what has the most likes, what are people really liking from them. I would go and figure out where are the holes in other people in their teaching.

That's where I developed my whole thing about how minimalism shouldn't be legalistic or perfectionistic. It should set you free, not be rules that you follow because that's what I saw from other influencers. Once I saw this minimalism thing was a trend and it was like, “Hey, wait a minute. I've already been doing this for four years (at that time.) I don't want this to be a trend without me. I am one of the ones that figured this out. I'm doing this.” That's how I figured out how to make it my own.

Go. Stalk. Save my emails. Go sign up for my email funnel and save those emails. It's okay to stalk people and figure out what's working and then make it your own. Don't copy it, but figure out, “Okay, if she's this successful and she's doing this, then I could do this, but change the messaging to fit what I do.”

Don't copy work. Never, ever copy anyone's work, but you can see the general layout of how they have things set up. Be encouraged and inspired by that and go copy that and then make your own words, your own stuff and your own business.

Okay. Last question for this episode. What did you need to start your business? Any particular equipment or anything?

There's a quote that I love and my gosh, I cannot remember who said it, but it's “all you need is a pencil and a dream” or is it “a pencil and a dream can take you further than you realize.” It's something like that. I was about to tell you how impactful that was for me, but obviously I can't do it if I can't remember the phrasing, but I think about that quote or the essence of that quote all the time.

And I thought about it even more when I was starting my business because it came across my path at that time of my life and it just really encouraged me because all I had was a crappy old Toshiba laptop that I got from a creep on Craigslist that barely worked. It was super slow and I didn't have anything else. The charger had duct tape all over it. It had to be in a certain position with a paper weight underneath it to hold it in a certain position so it would actually charge my computer. You know, we had nothing and it was really hard and all that. That's all I had was that old laptop. Everything that you see today was started with just that old crappy laptop.

You don't need a fancy microphone. I recorded the first round of my course with my apple headphones that came with my phone. You can get Skullcandy headphones for $7.99 and record your stuff with that. You don't need anything fancy. It doesn't have to be perfect. Please never look at everything that I have going on or everything that somebody else who's super successful, and way ahead of where you are right now has going on, and think, “Okay wait, I need that microphone. I need that. I need that desk. I need to have an office like that. I need to have that computer.” No, you don't. You don't need anything.

You just need a computer of some kind, your dream, your passion and to have the discipline to get up hella early, stay up super late, work on the weekends or figure it out. Whatever it is going to be for you and your schedule. If you really want this, it is going to take a lot of grit and that's why 1% of entrepreneurs actually become successful business owners because it is dang hard. So, don't get all caught up in the equipment and all that.

If you guys want to know what I use to help you, if you're looking to start a podcast and all that, then I can absolutely tell you I love Apple computers. I just think hands down, they're the best there is. I absolutely love them. I love their service. I love their company. I'm obsessed with Steve Jobs and the way that he used to present new apple products at the reveals. I've studied that. I've read articles about that. I've implemented some of that philosophy into my own business. I love him and his ethics and the way that he ran his business. Maybe not as a person but as a businessman. I love Apple products.

I have a Blue Yeti microphone. It's not expensive. It's less than $100. You can get it at Best Buy. I'm using it right now and it's not fancy. It's not the best there is. It's not, you know, super crazy. It just gets the job done and that's all I care about. That's pretty much it.

I have a photographer who comes and takes photos that need to be able to blow up really big and be on the website and not be pixelated. But other than that, I take my own photos for Instagram and stuff. I use my phone. I have Brian or the kids take them. I've kept things really simple cause you guys know that’s what I'm all about.

I just want you to know it doesn't have to be crazy. It doesn't have to be fancy. It just doesn't…like that quote that I can't remember… “All you need is a pencil and a dream.”

I love you guys! Good luck! Submit more business questions and we'll do more episodes like this. Have a great day!


This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

Ep 097: Ask Allie Anything About Business Part 1

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One of my favorite things is helping other women get creative and create money, revenue and a successful business out of something they love to do - especially when they can run it from their sofa! If you are ready to start your own business, work from home, and create income from your blog or podcast or whatever, this episode is for you! I’ve got a big list of questions you guys asked and I am REALLY excited to dive into them! PS - part 2 of this business Q&A will be out soon!

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • Her tips for getting started and the best ways to fight discouragement.

  • How to balance work and family life.

  • Ways to generate income for your blog.

  • The importance of delegating work and when you know it is time you start bringing on a team.

  • What you need to get started.

Mentioned in this Episode:


Where are my business-minded mama's at? I have something for you that I'm super excited to be sharing. If you've ever wanted the behind-the-scenes and inside scoop on how I grew my business from a tiny hobby blog with zero income to a multiple-seven-figure-per-year corporation, I have so, so much to tell you!

I've compiled all my favorite resources, books, courses and advice. A brain dump of everything that helped teach me what I know now and get me to where I am today (other than a lot of blood, sweat and tears and some serious hustle and late nights.) I've put it all together for you guys and it's in the Blog To Business Guide.


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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Hey guys! Welcome! All right, we are doing an “ask anything” episode. I love these.

Usually on Instagram (sometimes we involve Facebook, sometimes we'll send an email out and get some questions from there) but what we do is we send out a topic with a question box where people see a topic – family, minimalism, business - and they can submit any question that they have on that topic for me.

A while back we did one centered around business and I think next time we do it, I'm going to be more specific because this is such a beast of a topic. It's really huge, it's really important and is a huge passion of mine. I absolutely love helping other women get creative, get passionate and create money, revenue and a successful business out of what they care about and what their passion is, and absolutely from their living room sofa not needing to go out and be away from their kids if that's not what they want.

Some of you mommas absolutely want that. You need the break and thrive doing your thing outside of the house. And that's great. But not everybody wants that.

So, for those of you who are starting your own businesses, have a dream to work from home and want to create income from your blog or your podcast or whatever it is, I'm your girl. I love helping with that. And although this podcast is not a business podcast, this is something that we can talk about every once in a while.

If you guys have the questions and they're rolling in enough, we'll talk about anything on here because this show is a lifestyle show for moms. It's not one and done. It's not just about one thing.

So, okay, I've got a big list of questions here and what I'm going to do…I'm just really relaxed here, just doing this live. Well, this is recorded, but you know what I'm saying. This isn't super preplanned or anything. I've got a list of questions here in Trello and I am going to go through, skim through and pick out the ones that seem like they'd be the most helpful and we'll just go through it this way.

So, ask me anything about business. Here we go.

Here's some questions that are about the starting process of a business.

What was the hardest part of starting your business? Uh, being broke. If you guys have not listened to episode six of The Purpose Show you might want to go back and do that.

It's basically the story of our business. The story of how we came to run this together, Brian & I. He used to work for a really big company. He worked a ton of hours. He was gone all the time and we were really broke all the time. We lived that way for years. And so not having the financial resources to start out in an easier way, I think starting a business is incredibly grueling no matter what. But also, not having funds for things like a new laptop, a microphone, even some decent headphones. I desperately wanted noise canceling headphones just so that I could get some work done in the evenings when Brian would come home from work and he'd be doing bedtime with the kids. I could hear everything. We lived in the Midwest at the time and it would be icy and cold and, being from SoCal, I just didn't want to brace that and go out and find a coffee shop. Or they'd all be really full and it became too difficult to even find a spot to work in town, you know? It was easier to stay home.

But I could hear everything and it was hard to focus. My laptop was really crappy. I got it off of Craigslist from this creepy guy and it just wouldn't work. The fan was super loud on it. It was old. It was slow.

I was constantly worried about how we were going to make it. How are we going to pay bills? We were behind on our car. We were behind on our rent. So just that stress, that heavy financial burden was the hardest part of starting for me.

But I think also (and this might be more relatable to everyone else) working so hard to create really good content that's going to help people and feeling like nobody is seeing it. That's really frustrating. It takes a lot of time and energy and you're constantly creating this stuff - these blog posts, these podcasts episodes - whatever it is for you. For me (at the time I didn't have the podcast) it was a blog-based business.

I had been blogging for, gosh, I don't know, five years, but had just recently decided, “You know what? I'm going to turn this into a business. We're done with this hand-to-mouth lifestyle. And I'm going to make this something big.” And I told Brian, “I'm going to get to a point where people know my name. This is big. They know my message. And this is going to be a global phenomenon. Just watch.”

And it's really cool because I said that when we were trying to stretch one cereal bowl into four and in the middle of the Midwest, away from all of our friends and family, and really struggling.

And it's hard because you see that picture and you're busting out all of this content to help people, but it does feel sometimes like nobody is even seeing it.

And I think my advice on that…I don't want to just tell you what the hardest part was and then move on. What I would say to anybody in that place who's really relating to that (you know, what I'm saying) I would say you need to realize the power of the few people who are watching. Even if they're not reading every blog post, even if they're not opening up every email, they are there.

Somebody is there. Somebody really likes what you have to say. Even if there's one person. Even if there's 3. If there's 50. If there's a few hundred, you know, but it's just not massive, don't look at what I have now and think. “Man, I just wish…”

It's not helpful. It's not constructive. And you have to realize that I was talking about this same stuff that I'm talking about now, but nobody was there. It was just 10 people, and then it grew to 50 people, and then it grew to 300 people. I thought that was a big deal some days. But then other days I'd get frustrated because I'd see other people having way more than me and I let that frustrate me.

But the thing is that you will never, ever have those tens of thousands or millions of people if you don't start with the 10. If you don't serve those 10 well, show up for them, consistently get in their inbox and create content that's helpful for them, inspiring for them, that's true to who you are so they can connect with you…those are the people who are going to spread you to their friends, their neighbors, their families, share you on social media and talk about you at mom's group.

Those are the people that grew me to the millions now, but it doesn't start that way for most people.

What is the very first step you would take if you had to do it all over again? This is an amazing question. I would start my email list earlier. I blogged for a long time with really no email list. I had an RSS feed and stuff like that, but you have to have an email list.

I recommend Convertkit. That's what I use for my email list. I love them and I like their pricing. It moves up as your list size grows so you're not paying $500 a month right out the gate. It's like $49 a month to start. And then as you grow more followers and more email subscribers, then the price goes up accordingly. Once you hit 500 it goes up a little bit and once you hit 5,000 it goes up a little bit. Your email list is where your money is going to come in.

I don't like to rely on social media and algorithms for my success. I love Instagram and I do use it. I don't really play the algorithm games. I just kind of show there and do my thing. I'm not super rule following and picky on there about when's the perfect time to post this photo. I'm just there. I'm sharing. And once people realize it, they stay and they like the content, and I'm not worried about the algorithms.

But the thing is, is that so many people put all their eggs in one basket, or they just rely so heavily on social media to carry their businesses. And the problem with that is that certain platforms expire. They die out.

Look at Periscope. Periscope was the newest, the latest, the hottest livestreaming platform. It was super popular. It grew. It broke records with how much it grew and how quickly it grew. It was such a success. And then it died because of Facebook Live. Facebook is probably not going anywhere, but that still doesn't mean that you should put all your eggs in that basket because their algorithm is constantly changing. It's like a mind game over there.

I don't want my business success or failure to be in the hands of someone else. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest…there are other companies running them.

But when you focus on your email list, you put the power in your own hands. Everybody checks their email. No one's gonna miss that. Maybe they'll choose to not open it, but everyone checks their email, so when you get in their inbox, that's powerful. That is where you can make sales, you can connect, you can share your passion in a very deep way. And it's very personal. You're writing like a friend to these people. I always write my emails like they're to a friend because I feel that way about you guys first of all. And secondly, because I want to connect with you because if I can't connect with you, you're not going to hear my message. And my message is important. It's going to change your life if you'll hear it. I know that.

I wish that I would have realized that sooner. I did start my email list pretty early on when I switched my blog to my business, but I just wished that I would've had an email list growing while I was blogging for five years. I did not have any email list and that really sucked. Starting from zero there, you know, it's hard.

How did you start making a steady income from your blog? There are a few different options when it comes to creating income from your blog. The most common way is affiliates. I'm not a huge fan of affiliate marketing. And by this I mean like Amazon affiliate links, talking about other products and trying to get the clicks to make money. It just doesn't vibe with me. I don't like to be paid to tell people what products from Amazon to buy. I don't really do any of that. I do have an Amazon affiliate account because obviously at my level there's millions of people watching what I do. So, if I do happen to find a really great jacket or a great pair of shoes that I absolutely love and I want to share it of my own volition, I will. And I do believe I should be compensated from that. So, every once in a while I'll use an affiliate link like that.

But some people use Amazon affiliate links…they find things that are high priced so that each click gets them more money and they will not even buy the product. They'll just promote it. They make stuff up straight out of the air and then use an Amazon affiliate link to try to get money. And that just doesn't work for me. Like I said, it doesn't vibe with me. It feels dishonest and slimy and I just didn't want to do that.

Also, I’m not a huge fan of getting people to click away from my site. I'm not here to have a blog that makes me money. I'm here to spread my message. So, if you're there to just have a blog that makes you money and to bring an income, there's nothing wrong with that. Your approach is just going to be different and you might want to look into affiliate links and things like that and creating money from things other people have done.

My courses have affiliate programs and a lot of moms sign up for the affiliate program and make money from telling people about my courses that have changed their lives already and then they make the money back that they spent on the course and then some. They bring in hundreds every month. It just depends on how they're sharing it.

There is nothing wrong with affiliate programs. I think they're very powerful. But for me, my message is my passion and it's important that I get that out into the world. And I knew there was a way for me to create a very steady and powerful income by doing that, so I went the route of courses and online programs.

Basically, it's almost impossible to get everything out that you want to say for free on a blog or a podcast if you're a busy mom. But if you put everything in one vault, in one area, and you organize it, you put it in order, you can see that you've covered every single topic, every single base, then you can package it up and sell it. And that's basically what an online course is.

It's for the people who want all the information. They’re done with whatever the problem is that your course solves and they want the solution. They're willing to pay for it and they want all of it. They don't want to just get inspired and listen to a podcast or read a blog. They want to be coached to solving this problem that your course solves.

And so, I created my course because my audience was asking me for one. It was slow going at first, of course, but eventually through growth, guest blogging on other people's blogs, getting podcast interviews, doing things like that, I spread the word enough. I was doing webinars and no one was coming. I just kept doing them and eventually people came.

Eventually the income went from a few hundred dollars a month to a few thousand. Now we have an incorporation, we have an S-corp. We have this big incorporation that employs all these people and makes multiple seven figures every year, from a low-priced course. Most courses are in the thousands. My highest one is less than $300. That's just unheard of. But I want to tell you, now it is heard of and you can do that as well.

I started from nothing, you guys. There was nothing special about my story. There was nothing special about me. I was a normal girl, very overwhelmed. Very afraid of fame, very afraid of being seen. Very private. But I had a burning passion to spread my message and I had a burning passion to create revenue for my family so that my husband could get out of his crappy job and we could step into this lifestyle that we had only dreamed of.

It seemed impossible. Honestly, so many people that I really appreciated and respected told me that it was impossible. Nobody took me seriously. And you know, honestly, still some people don't. They'll say things like “you're lucky” or “wow, you went viral and you are so lucky this happened for you.” Like, “oh, it's so lucky that you get to take Instagram pictures and make a bunch of money.” And it's very demeaning.

It is a lot of hard work and it absolutely is not for everyone. I think it's something like 1% of entrepreneurs actually keep going more than a year and have successful businesses. If you want to be in that 1%, you've got to do the work and it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I mean that quite literally. It's a lot of hustle, a lot of focus, a lot of being willing to learn and being willing to change your mind and be flexible.

So that is the first step that I would do if I could do it all over again. I would start that email list early. Making steady income came from the courses. I know that was a lot, but I hope that answers those two questions.


Where are my business-minded mama's at? I have something for you that I'm super excited to be sharing. If you've ever wanted the behind-the-scenes and inside scoop on how I grew my business from a tiny hobby blog with zero income to a multiple-seven-figure-per-year corporation, I have so, so much to tell you!

I've compiled all my favorite resources, books, courses and advice. A brain dump of everything that helped teach me what I know now and get me to where I am today (other than a lot of blood, sweat and tears and some serious hustle and late nights.) I've put it all together for you guys and it's in the Blog To Business Guide.

Maybe you already have a blog or a platform and you want to grow it into a business. Or you don't have anything yet but you're wanting to get more information. You know you have some ideas but you want some resources. You wish you knew what are the best books to give my time to? What are the best courses? What are the best investments I can make in time or money to learn about growing a successful business?

I've given you all of my opinions in the Blog To Business Guide and you can go get it right now by heading to alliecasazza.com/blogtobiz.


How do you keep the courage to turn your ideas into a business when you see others in the same field succeeding, especially in the mom niche? Well, first of all, I think that it doesn't matter if anyone else is doing something. You have your own personality and your own voice and that's why it's so important to be yourself. It's really easy when the camera starts to roll to switch and get into a different tone of talking, get into this different mode. I still find myself doing it sometimes. To some extent it's just normal. But I think it's important to remain true to yourself.

And that's hard, you know? Things like the words that I'll say or the way I'll phrase something…I'm a really blunt person. “I love Jesus but I cuss a little,” sometimes things like that are hard because you see the judgmental comments and people saying, “I can’t believe that you would phrase that that way. That was so harsh.” Well it's not harsh; I'm just being sarcastic, but I guess you don't like sarcasm and I can't really control that.

So, things like that, the constant running opinions of other people can sometimes make it just a little difficult to not turn on your fake camera face and voice. But typically, you've got to just get over it and you have to create the courage. It's not like, “Oh, how do you keep the courage to do this?” You have to make the choice to be courageous and realize you have your own personality, you have your own voice, you have your own way of saying and doing things and that is what's going to connect you to your audience. If you're not connecting with someone, they're just not your audience. It doesn't matter. You don't want them, they're not your audience. They are someone else's audience.

There's been a lot of frustration for me in my business journey with the minimalism becoming a trend after I had been teaching it, feeling like I was talking to a wall for so long and not growing a following and that was really frustrating. Then minimalism became this trend and all of these other people started doing it and they had very quick success while I'm in the background trying so hard.

A lot of the time people will talk to me, “Oh, you were smart. You jumped on board after this became a trend and you got on it.” “No. I've been doing this for much longer…” But it's fine.

I think keeping your head down and focusing on what you're going for, being yourself and letting your personality shine.

You know, a lot of people try to put me up against and compare me to Marie Kondo and I'll never play that game. There's a lot of differences in the way we teach, a lot of differences in our personalities and that's good. She's very sweet. She's very gentle. She has a totally different way of teaching things. Some things are just not my style; I just won’t do that. And some things I just disagree with. As a mom, that’s not going to work for us, for us overwhelmed, busy moms. So that's good.

I can be really empathetic. I'll often cry with people who are struggling. I take on the emotions of other people. And so, I can be sweet in that way, but I'm typically more blunt. I have a lot of humor that I infuse in things with the way I describe situations and try to make people feel lighter about what they're struggling with. I just have a different, “no nonsense, no BS” approach to clutter. Some people like that and some people don't.

It's good that you're different. It's good that you're doing the same thing as someone else because that means that your niche needs that message. You actually don't want to start a business about something that no one is doing and you can't find anything about. There's a reason for that.

So just stick true to who you are and be persistently you. No matter how big it gets, you need to be consistently you. Let yourself shine. If you're blunt and sarcastic, let that be a part of what you do. If you're really sweet and empathetic, let that be a part of it. If you're a mix of all four of those things like me, then let that be what shines.

People connect to people. They don't connect to business ideas.

What's your number one tip for a mom trying to grow a hobby blog read by mostly family and friends into something bigger that brings in more money?  So, I would go back to the earlier questions I answered. Get yourself an email list. You can use MailChimp. You can use Convertkit. Whatever floats your boat; you could use something else. But get an email list set up.

And you need to create a free opt-in. A free opt-in is a pdf, a checklist of some kind that goes hand-in-hand with what you're sharing, what you're teaching. So, for example, my most popular free opt-in is the Clear The Clutter Starter Kit. It used to be called the Minimalism Starter Kit. That's been around for years. That has about 100,000 downloads to it. So,100,000 people have downloaded that in just three years, which is amazing. That is a free opt-in. In exchange for their email address, I give somebody something helpful for free. That’s what a free opt-in is. You can do a video series. You could do one video. You could do a pdf checklist, an ebook, something like that. You could do an email challenge. You're giving them something valuable for free. They just have to give you their email address. So, you grow your email list like that. That's my number one tip for you.

How do you narrow multiple interests into the one people most connect with? Test it out. Talk passionately about what your interests are and you will probably find not only is your audience responding more to one than the others, but you’re connecting more to one than the others. Probably the same one your audience is connecting with because they are going to connect with your passion. So just start.

I used to talk about all kinds of things. Marriage, faith, parenting, postpartum depression, minimalism, house stuff. As I evolved as a minimalist and as a mom dealing with overwhelm, I became extra passionate about the house part. I came across far too many women who didn't enjoy being at home. They avoided being at home. They felt really depressed when they were at home. They felt very overwhelmed by their homes. I used to be like that. I got out of it and I created a beautiful space that I loved being in, even though we were super broke. I got really good at budgeting, decorating on a budget, minimalism, just simplifying.

It changed my life and that passion showed through. As I became more passionate about that, my audience began to not read the other things. They wouldn't even get clicked. The emails wouldn't get opened. The blog post wouldn’t get read. It wasn't happening. And so, I just naturally scooted over into this specific topic. But of course, you guys who have listened to different podcast episodes, you see you can still have it all. You can still talk about other things.

My podcast is my outlet for discussing life and encouraging people on all topics. We have all kinds of different guests - health guests, marriage guests, sex guests, personal growth guests. I talk about all different things - living well and full, being a strong woman, the enneagram and personality types. We celebrate together. We have fun episodes. We have serious episodes. I cry. I laugh. We are relaxed and some are more strategic. It's all the things. So, don't think that you have to pick one thing.

But at the same time, what am I most known for? Minimalism, home stuff, simplified living. That goes into home, calendar, and life.

I hope that makes sense. You'll figure it out. Just start to talk and start to share. Don't be afraid to survey your audience. Ask them what they think you're best at. But don't do it too soon. Make sure it's been a while of you sharing your multiple interests. See what you connect to sharing most. What do you love sharing about so much that you would do it all day long for free? For me that was minimalism.

Talking about faith and dealing with all the rude and difficult feedback from that…it just drained me. Not in a way where I was ashamed of God, or ashamed of my walk with Him, but I wasn't drawn to it. I actually struggled with that one specifically for a really long time. A lot of people still will tell me, “You need to talk about Jesus more. You don't share your faith enough. I'm offended by that.” And it's like, “Well then you go share your faith.”

Because I can tell you right now, I'm eight years into blogging and I know for a fact that going way deep into that and sharing openly, making that my niche, is not my calling. Just because you believe something doesn't mean it's your “calling” to talk about it exclusively. So, don't let anyone tell you that or try to change your mind about something that you feel strongly is what you're supposed to be talking about.

I know that what I'm talking about now, what I'm most known for - helping women create spaces that they love, helping them simplify so they can focus on what matters - I was born to do this and you should feel that way about what you do with your business, your blog, your podcast or whatever it is.

How many hours is a good amount to dedicate to starting your business without it taking over all your time? I think I'm going to flip your question around and instead say, where are the blocks of time you can fit it in?

Going back to an example from my personal life, when I started this business (it was in January of 2016) and started really learning and focusing on turning my blog into a business, that's when Brian would leave for work around 7:40 in the morning and he would come back after dinner. I got up at 4:00 a.m. for a year and I worked for a few hours before he went to work and that's when I got the bulk of my stuff done. About halfway through the day I would need to take a power nap, so I would turn on Netflix for the kids and snuggle with Emmett. Emmett was a baby and I would nurse him to a nap and we would nap together for half an hour in the middle of the day. Then I would often work again at night before I went to bed and let Brian cook dinner, if he was home in time, or if he wasn't, I would handle dinner and then he would come in and do bath and bedtime and all of that. I wouldn't do that every night because I wanted to have that family time at night. But a few nights a week I would also work at night.

Some days I would end up working 7 hours a day and other days it would be 3 or 4 hours. It's not about how many hours is the magic number, it's about where are the blocks of time that you can fit it in. When I started to look at that and I saw that there were none, I had to make a choice. Am I in this or not? That's when I made the choice to get up at an ungodly hour every morning for a year. And it was so worth it. Those are the kinds of decisions that separate the ones who succeed from the ones who don't.

Okay. Let's switch gears a little bit and go into the questions that are more about balance with work and family.

How do you protect your kids’ privacy and security while still sharing about them? This is a very good question.

I've done a lot of research on this. I would encourage anyone…I was going to say anyone who's looking to be a public figure or a lifestyle person…but I wasn't looking for that. I didn't realize that would happen based on what I do. I always say that I'm so glad I didn't know that this public figure role would happen with what I did with my blog and my business. Because if I had known with my personality and how much I value privacy, I probably wouldn't have done it. It's really hard. That's the hardest part of all of this for me. I'm so much better now. Even talking about it now. I'm like, is it really the hardest part anymore though? Cause I'm really over it. I really don't care. People make up stuff about me all the time and I just don't care.

Sometimes people will figure out things or piece things together that I’ve said from the past that are true and try to use it against me and I don't care. I know that I said that. I know that that happened. I know that that's who I used to be. It doesn't matter. But before this year it was really hard for me.

Once I saw that this was happening, and it was spiraling out of control and people were really obsessively watching our family and looking at us, I started to do some really heavy research on kids’ privacy and safety. There's so much out there, please go look it up for yourself.

Basically there are some rules: Never show the front of your house. Never show the license plate on your car or of a car that is always near where you are (like the license plates on the cars that are in my neighborhood). Things like that. Because people are crazy, much crazier than you probably are, and they will look you up and they will find you. Trust me. I won't get into the details, but we've had some really weird stuff happen and it's disturbing. People are very, very strange, especially when you're connecting with people and you're sharing your heart and you're helping them. Some people get obsessive and strange.

Also be very careful with the types of photos of your kids that you post if you choose to post them at all. I even have some friends who are not influencers and they just live this way. And I have some other influencer friends who don't share anything about their kids. They are not a part of their role. They're not a part of their business, they’re not a part of their image and it does just the way that it is.

For me, I actually really don't like that as much as I love privacy. I wanted to make sure that people were able to see how this is lived out, that they can see our family. I use Instagram Story almost like a vlog most days. Some days I'm not so good at it, but most days I do. I like that and the kids like it too. They'll say, “Mom, can you show this on your Instagram Stories?” We're all involved; we're all in it together. And I like that. I don't mind having my kids a part of what I do and I think it's important.

But be careful - the weirdest, most random photos that you would never think have anything wrong with them will end up snagged from your blog and put on a pedophile site. And I'm not even kidding. You have to watch. You have to be careful. Do it yourself, or if you can't, have somebody be in charge of just watching where blog traffic is coming from. If you ever see a spike on something, follow the trail. Make sure that it's from a reputable site, from a mommy blogger sharing you or something and it’s not from a bunch of creeps looking at your photos. Things like bathing suits, short shorts…just be careful, be respectful, but respect your kids' privacy too.

There's a lot of things…maybe I'm telling a story about a difficult day we had with one of our kids. I won't say who it is unless I've talked to them and I'm like, “Hey, I think this would really be helpful for other moms. I'm going to tell this story but I'm going to leave your name out. Okay? Is that alright with you?” And sometimes they'll say, “Oh, you can say my name mom. I want them to know how old I am.” They get it. They want to help you guys. And sometimes they're like, “Yeah, okay.”

And I won't say which kid it is because I don't want to embarrass or shame my kids and a lot of “public-figure” parents are not aware of this sadly. You have to think, “How can I respect my kids in this way? They don't have a say. So where is their privacy here?”

There was one situation about three years ago when we got offered a reality TV show. And as we met with the producers, we talked with them, we started to see what they were envisioning, I quickly found out that they originally reached out and said they wanted it to be about my business and what I do for women. And then they very quickly switched gears and decided that we were fascinating because we lived in the camper (we were touring the US at the time) and they were like, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing. No, we want to do a reality show about your family and your kids.” And I said, “I'm not okay with that.”

They really pushed and they really wanted it to be that way and it wasn't right for me. It's not that reality TV families are doing anything wrong, but in my gut it didn't feel right. It didn't feel right at that time, and it still doesn't feel right now to have a reality show about our family. It just doesn't feel right to me. You have to follow that. I always say you were chosen out of every mother, whoever lived in any era to be the parent, the mother to your kids. There's a reason for that.

This is why I think that it's ridiculous when moms judge each other for their choices. “Oh, you let your kids watch Spongebob? I would never do that.” And it's like, “Okay, well there's probably some reason that one of your kids just wouldn't do well watching Spongebob then don't do that, but don't hate on us who are like, ‘Oh, Spongebob is hilarious and it's fine.’” You know? I just think it's ridiculous. Same with this sort of thing in my gut. I just knew this isn't right. I would love to do a show about my business. And I don't mind if my kids are in it every once in a while, but I don't want a reality show about our family. It just didn't feel right. And they wouldn't budge, so we didn't do a deal.

You have to gauge with your gut what is important to you, what feels right to you. Pray about it. Think about it. Meditate on it. Process it. It's okay to say, “Let me think about it,” to an opportunity and take a walk. Talk it out with your spouse. Let it sift around in your brain for a weekend. This is your family and this is your life. And once something is out, it's out. People will always try to dig up stuff on you and try to say stuff about you. That's inevitable and it really doesn't matter. It's empty. People are just nosy and who cares? But it is your job to protect your kids’ privacy and security. Be careful. Research. Know the facts and then follow your gut for all the things that seemed kind of fluid and gray.

How do you schedule or protect time with your family and then time for your blog business and then time to be off and away, et cetera, when the Internet really never sleeps? Great question.

I'm really big on batching. I've talked about this a lot in the past and we can link to blog posts and episodes that have been about this in the show notes, but basically there's certain days – guys, take this with a grain of salt because whenever I say something like “I usually take Thursdays off for family day” and then on a Thursday I'll show on Instagram Stories that I'm writing or getting some work done and people will be like, “I thought it was family day.” And it's like, “Good Lord, I don't have a cemented, rigid, schedule with two armed guards next to it that are going to shoot me up if I break my rules.

It's very fluid and what I do, it comes and goes in waves very, very much. So, some seasons it’s so busy and we'll be a little bit more flexible. Maybe I'll work an hour on a morning that I'm normally off, maybe I won't. It's fluid. But typically, my weekends are really protected. We have a lot of family time on the weekends. Then on Mondays it's pretty much really slow going and open-ended. That's a day where we go grocery shopping, we get our stuff done for the week, we prepare for the coming week, a little bit on Sunday night too. We have a family day. We have Legoland passes so that might be a day we go to Legoland.

Also Thursdays are a “nothing” day. If I want to, and I feel like I have the energy, I will sometimes catch up. We use Asana for running tasks for the business. If I have a bunch of unfinished tasks in Asana, I'll maybe spend an hour or so going through them and knocking them out. Approving blog posts, writing up emails for the week or whatever, things like that. But typically, it's a really slow, quiet, at-home day.

And then Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays are very much go, go, go when it comes to the business. I section off my time during the week like that.

Then we make sure we schedule a week or so off really regularly. We take a lot of trips. We do a lot of travel. Pretty much every month at least I am traveling, but usually I bring my family with me because that's the main reason we homeschool is so we can travel, do fun things together, and have that freedom and flexibility in our schedule to do what we want.

For example, I'm recording this right now and it's February. I finished (well almost finished) my book proposal last week. This week it's all about the podcast and recording episodes, doing all of that. And then next week it's all about work wrap up, so I am wrapping up some plans for an upcoming product launch and doing a couple of interviews for other people's podcasts and press, finalizing a couple of really big projects that are being planned. And then the last week of the month is our team retreat in Nashville. So I'll be gone for nine days at the end of the month. So that's usually how it goes. Pretty much every month, there's a week of travel in there somewhere. Sometimes it’s for work, sometimes it's for fun, sometimes it's for both.

I block out my week to where there's balanced work time, rest time, family time. And then also my mom's like, “Well, we're due for a family vacation. Let's take a trip. Let's go up to San Diego for five days and just rest.” “I'm speaking over here on the east coast this week. Let’s add five days to that trip and just make a family event out of it.” How am I feeling? What's my gut telling me? What do I feel like I need? If I feel burnout coming, we'll plan an extra time of rest. I will cancel a launch, cancel something. I'm never afraid to cancel, never afraid to say, “Nevermind, this isn't gonna work for me. I'm too exhausted.” That's how I find that balance.

I wish we could get into the next section. We're going to need to do a Part II on this because there are so many good questions about courses, paid content, delegating and oh, so good. We're going to do another Part II.

Guys, thank you for these questions. I really appreciate when you guys help write episodes like this because I feel like they're so good. And these are always the ones that you guys love the most because you basically wrote them and you decided what the topic was going to be.

Okay. I love you guys. I will talk to you next time.

If you're starting a business, please just be encouraged. Please be encouraged. Go and download my Blog To Business Guide. It is loaded with literally just names and links to my favorite resources that helped me start my business - the influencers, the leaders, the websites, the content, the courses, the freebies that helped form who I am as a business woman today are all linked in there. It's super, super helpful.

Go get that in the show notes. Let that be your starting point.


This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.