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Editor’s Notes

Kate McKibbin

Carly Jacobs

“I’m CEO Bitch” Do you remember that iconic moment from that Facebook movie (can’t remember the name), where “not Mark Zuckerberg” puts those epic three words on his business card? And it was like, boom, he’d made it. Or that’s what he thought that moment would be like, but (not to give away the ending), somehow it was a little anticlimactic and a bit awks too. And that is the weird thing about those three little letters, CEO. Especially when you stick the word “blogger” (or anything creative) in front of it. Because for a lot of us, even though it’s the truth (I am legally the CEO of my company, it’s on a very official looking piece of paper signed by lawyers and everything), calling ourselves a CEO of our own blogs and businesses, well yeah, it can feel a bit “ick”. A bit weird. A bit too “who do you think you are”. When really we all still feel like we are just making this shit up as we go, even after 1, 2, 5 or even 10 years of doing it. Right? So we thought we would dedicate this issue to those three little letters, to owning them as an industry and to sharing some of the best advice and inspo from some of our favourite boss bloggers to help you guys have your own boss moments on your blogs too. Enjoy

Kate xx

Hello gorgeous faces! I’m just putting the final touches on this issue and Kate will not stop sending me Benedict Cumberbatch gifs. Freaking typical. This issue is the Blogger CEO special basically, it’s all about making coin with your blog. What to sell, how to sell, how to not be a dick to your customers. It’s all there. We even have interviews with internet cash makers. Bonza. Even if you’re not too keen to make moola with your blog there are still some ace bits in this mag so make yourself a cuppa and get reading, bright eyes! Sending you all the big, fat, money making vibes in the world right now. Make it rain baby!

Car ly xx


contents 4 THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM Do you have to teach blogging, to make money from blogging? –By Kate McKibbin

9 THAT’S A WRAP

40 WHO HAS BLUE HAIR AND ROCKS? Our mate Magdalena from Unleash Creative. This is why we love her.

No wait, all wrapped up is better… something about being a wrapper? Whatever… this month we’re crushing on wrapping paper.

12 LADY CONQUERER We are so stoked to have Natalie MacNeil in the mag this month. Major fangirl moment for Kate and Carly.

19 GET SELLING Got the idea, just not sure how to present it? Here are 5 ways to sell your stuff online.

21 DODGY AF How to make sure your customers don’t end up hating you and writing mean things about you on Facebook.

23 VOX POP Ever wondered who does courses and whether or not they liked them?

25 CRAFTY QUEEN We chat to Francesca Stone about We Make Creative and how she inspires self pro-claimed, non-creative people how to be just that.

31 THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE WEIRDER THAN YOU Think no one will buy your weird niche product? These courses are weirder than anything you’ll ever do…

38 TOOL BOX The best platforms for promoting, selling and delivering your shit.

45 HOW TO NOT SELL THINGS That’s not really the point of this issue but once you read this, you’ll get what I mean.

3


Do you have to teach

blogging to make money from blogging? Kate McKibbin

“How boring would it be if there was no progression? And how selfish would it be to not share that wisdom and value?” I got asked an awesome question in a recent Live Chat I held with some of my Blogger’s MBA students (OK it was this morning...), and the reason it is such an awesome question is because it is what everyone is really thinking, and no one is actually saying. And I love shit like that. The question was; “I’m quite disillusioned, it seems that the only bloggers making any money from blogging are the ones teaching other bloggers how to make money from blogging”. 4

Told you it was awesome! Because I bet you’ve all thought that right? No need to be awkward about it. I won’t be offended. Hell, I even thought something along a similar line back when I was just running my first blog, and it’s one of the reasons I actually put off starting a blogging course for as long as I did, because it seemed like cheating (ever heard that saying about how the people who made the real money in the gold rush were the ones selling the shovels?).


So, is it true?? Well, yes, in my opinion anyway. Well, yes and no. Firstly, I am not going to BS you. There are certain things that are a lot easier to sell, and one of these is definitely anything that helps people to make more money (the others are things that help people look better, feel better, lose weight, find love or improve their love lives, or to help ease the “mummy guilt” in some way). But, I personally (and yes, I am a little biased), don’t think there is anything wrong with a person passing on what they have learnt through their own experience and journey to help people with any of these topics. As long as they legitimately have something of value to share and what they share is going to help others (don’t even get me started on the

“The easiest way for you to monetise your blog is going to be to help your readers solve a problem of some kind, using your own experience and expertise.” number of people I see teaching how to do something when they’ve never really done it successfully themselves). The way I see it, it’s no different than any other career path. If you do something really well for any amount of time, at some point you will probably progress to be some sort of consultant, advisor or teacher on that particular topic, and blogging is no different. I mean, how boring would it be if there was no progression? And how selfish would it be to not share that wisdom and value? I personally never intended to create a course about blogging, as I mentioned before I thought it was a bit icky. But, I just had so many people asking me about it (even bloggers who had been blogging longer than I had), and at the time there really weren’t any courses out there teaching what I did and knew, so I caved in and did it. 5


BUT do I think this is the ONLY way that bloggers are making money?

And I’ve also started adding them in to my first blog too.

No, absolutely not. Take my first blog, DDG for example, it made me and my employees a very nice living for many years, and I never once mentioned blogging. We did sponsored content, banner ads, sponsored emails, reader reviews, reader events and lots more.

Some great examples of this are;

And now that I spend most of my life obsessing over all things blogging and in particular blogger monetisation, I have seen that there definitely are many, many different ways for bloggers to make money from their blogs (I share my top 14 favourite ways for bloggers to make money in great detail in the Blogger’s MBA). 6

Styling You Nikki is a fashion blogger for the 35+ niche, who has teamed up with her favourite stores and brands to run a seasonal online drop-shipping shop (and she bases her posts and styling advice around the items in that store). Mr Kate Another fashion and lifestyle blogger (with a younger audience) who designed her own jewellery and body art range. A Pinch Of Yum A food blogger who makes money the old school way from banner ads, sponsored content and speaking engagements (as well as her own eProducts and cookbooks).


The Merry Maker Sisters They published their own cookbook (and just recently got their own book deal), plus they run a healthy living online course. The Design Files This Aussie interiors blog actually created an annual event called “Open House” where they took over a gorgeous house and completely kitted it out with gorgeous homewares from their favourite brands (and everything was available for sale, of course!). They also now run art exhibitions around Australia. And these are just some of the bloggers I follow.

So, what does this mean for you & your blog? To me it all comes down to this. The easiest way for you to monetise your blog is going to be to help your readers solve a problem of some kind, using your own experience and expertise.

“It just comes down to how you can best help your readers to solve a problem that they are feeling a bit of pain over right now.” 7


How you do that is up to you. Whether this is through coaching, selling templates and tools, eCourses and eBooks, physical products, artwork, apps, events or even promoting other’s products (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg really). It really doesn’t matter. It just comes down to how you can best help your readers to solve a problem that they are feeling a bit of pain over right now. Figure that out, and it suddenly becomes a lot, lot easier and quicker to monetise your blog. And you are doing it by helping people which is pretty awesome too. Now sometimes what you are good at, and the problem you can best solve has nothing to do with your current blog or audience (like me and DDG). And sometimes it’s really obvious and fits together really nicely.

Just remember it’s your blog, your rules.

8


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Jute Twine from Cotton:on

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Our favourites for delivering the most beautifully packaged parcels your customers have ever seen…

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Rifle Paper Co from mag nation Furoshiki

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$39.95 magnation.com Why not make like the French and send a personal thank you card to your customers on Garance Dore note cards?

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Natalie MacNeil is an internet force to be reckoned with. She’s been surfing (dominating) the net for years in many different ways but in the last few years she’s focused her energies in one direction and it’s the best thing she’s done…

She takes on

the Wor ld !


Just to start off with, can you share with us how your business, how She Takes On The World, came about? We’re actually coming up on a really big milestone this year, we’re celebrating our 10 year birthday, which just feels ancient in blogging years. She Takes On The World was just a little blog that I started when I was building my first business in media and marketing and travelling the world. It was just a little personal blog to document the journey and along the way we picked up readers and started gaining some traction. A few years in is when it really started to turn into something that had taken on a life of its own, and then I decided to pursue it as a side business because I was still working on the media and production company at the time. It wasn’t until 2012 that I decided this was going to be my full-time thing that I wanted to work on and that I wanted to really expand on and scale. It was a slow journey at the beginning, when I reflect on it now, a lot of it happened by accident, depending on whether or not you believe in accidents. That’s a little bit about the earlier stages of She Takes On The World. So 10 years, and the first five of them, it was a side kind of thing. What was it that made you go, at around about year five, “All right, this could be a real thing. I’m going to start focusing more attention on it”? Well, it was generating revenue. We were getting a lot of media attention. We were being listed by Forbes and

featured in major media all over the world. And because it was generating revenue, I felt comfortable jumping into it and taking that step to make it full-time, and to start transitioning out of the media and production company, which did take a little bit of time as well. So really, it wasn’t until 2013 where I was working on it full-time. How did you feel about letting go of your other business? How did you come to that decision? I was ready and I had a business partner and he, as an artist, was also wanting to pursue other projects that were more aligned with his craft. So we both were on the same page there about moving in a different direction, and I think with any kind of partnership it’s all about communication and so we were just communicating that with each other. We were able to make the decision together, and then we both went into our passion projects and what we were really excited about, and obsessed about at the time.

“It wasn’t until 2012 that I decided this was going to be my full-time thing that I wanted to work on and that I wanted to really expand on and scale. It was a slow journey at the beginning, when I reflect on it now.” 13


“I've always chosen to focus, when I can, on one big thing at a time because I really believe that we have to zoom in on one thing to make it all that it can be.” What’s the difference between working in business by yourself and having a partner? And what are the pros and cons that you’ve found with each style of business? Yeah, I think with any kind of partnership, you are always having to be on the same page as the other person, so that requires, again, just a lot of communication. And that’s really important in the contractual stage as well and just figuring out who’s doing what and making sure that you’re each handling a different piece of that partnership. So I think that communication is key, having the contract in place, making sure that you’re clear on expectations and where this is headed. Some of the cons are related to the same things. Because sometimes you’re not on the same page, sometimes you have different visions and you’re always having to try to align those. 14

I have not technically been working in a partnership recently, although there are always partnerships and collaborations that I am working on. I don’t think there’s ever a time when I’m not collaborating with somebody and collaborations can be very powerful if you are clear at the beginning and you can stay on the same page for as long as you both feel like you’re being able to get a lot of value out of working together, that you’re both learning and growing and building this thing together that you’re really passionate about, so it really depends on the situation and I think that collaborations can be very powerful. So, I wouldn’t want somebody to think that they weren’t just because I’m not in some of those partnerships anymore.


You’re clearly a very multi-passionate person. How has that played out in your business and do you have any advice for any other multi-passionate people who are reading this? I’ve always chosen to focus, when I can, on one big thing at a time because I really believe that we have to zoom in on one thing to make it all that it can be. I think sometimes you do yourself a disservice to be focusing on too many things at the same time, instead of giving a lot of attention to one thing, and that’s the lesson that I’ve learned over the years and a hard lesson for me to learn. Now I find that with anything that I’m working on, I can do one or two things at a time, and I do have a team now, but I can’t manage a whole bunch of different things. I can’t task-switch throughout the day. I feel like that really lowers my productivity and so even though I have a lot of different passions, I’ve usually looked at what the best next step is, “What do I have the resources to do now, what makes the most sense for me to do next?” And I dive into that knowing that if I put something on the back burner I always have the choice in the future to take it off the back burner, and to start working on it again. It can all get done, it just can’t all get done at the same time, and I think it’s a big mistake that a lot of creatives make. That’s just my personal opinion. Some people can manage a lot of projects, it’s just not for me. How do you make that decision? If there’s like a couple of things that are both calling your attention at once and you’re like, “I want to do them all.” How do you choose one over the other?

Looking at the financial statements. That’s a big part of it for me, so always looking at the resources that we have available that could be allocated to a new project. And sometimes, this is another thing you have to keep in mind, if you’re splitting all your resources between multiple projects, again, you’re not making each of those things all that they could be. And when you focus on one thing and dedicate your resources to one thing or maybe two, you can get a better result from that and then you’re going to have more revenue to invest in the next thing instead of putting your resources in all kinds of different baskets and not being able to have one of those things really grow and give you more resources to work with. That’s what I’m always looking at and for anybody that does not do financial statements, you need 15


to have these in your business. This is why in my book ‘The Conquer Kit: The Business Planning Workbook”, I walk people through their financial statements and how to read them and how to interpret them, because I think it’s something that a lot of creatives especially struggle with. If you’re not looking at those numbers, you cannot make empowered decisions as a business owner that will allow you to figure out what that best next step is. For me a lot of the time, it’s working with my accountant, it’s looking at those finances and then figuring out what makes the most sense to do next. And of course there’s always the gut feeling. I’m very intuitive and always trust my intuition and I’ll jump on what I think is the best next opportunity, so there’s always that balance, but I think that more entrepreneurs need to be in tune with what’s going on in their business financially and that is the place that you can make the best and most empowered decisions from. At what stage in your business did you start having these kinds of things in place, like having a proper grown up accountant, not just one that you see at the end of the year and close your eyes and cross your fingers and hope he doesn’t give you a big bill kind of thing? Was that right from the start or did that come with time? First hire for me. There was a time when I was doing my own bookkeeping when we were smaller, especially for She Takes on The World. So when that was just a side business for me there were a lot of 16

things that I did on my own, but the first person that I brought on to my team was managing that with me and I do think it’s one of those roles that a lot of us have to hire out. Unless you are trained in that, unless you are an accountant, I don’t recommend doing it yourself, because we save so much money too, by having the right people in place. It costs you a lot less in the long term than when you decide to do it yourself and you make mistakes and you lose money. So I think it’s something that you need to consider right from the beginning.

“I want to be a very conscious business owner and really consider impact and sustainability and the difference that we can make in the world, so I’m very discerning when it comes to opportunities and people.”


So, who was your very first hire? What was the first kind of help that you got? Technically, I would classify hiring someone to clean my house as my first hire. I think this is something that we forget sometimes, that when you need team members, it’s not necessarily a part-time employee or a full-time employee that you need to go out and hire. Sometimes it’s just life-sourcing, it’s making more time by having somebody else clean your house or do your laundry or cook some of your food, so that you have that time to spend working on your business. What about your official team, your She Takes On The World team, who were some of the first people you put in place? We got a VA to do publishing. I think that was really key because I was doing all the publishing on shetakesontheworld.com so having somebody that could help me with that piece and manage the WordPress dashboard and just getting all those posts out or creating pages. And then having somebody help with some of the back and forth, the correspondence between us and our customers some of our early customers or our early readers. That was another piece that I was spending a lot of time on, and I’m always just asking myself the question, “Where in my business am I spending the most time that is not generating revenue for us right now?” So any time you’re working on a task,

I think this is a great idea to actually keep a little Post-It Note or something by your computer that just says, “What’re you working on right now?” And to check in with yourself throughout the day and really ask yourself, “Is this something that is top-level, working on my business, not in my business? Is this something that’s going to generate revenue? Is this something that’s going to matter a year from now?” And if you’re constantly saying, “Well no, not really,” then you need to re-evaluate who’s helping you and how you’re spending your time. One thing you mentioned is that your main focus is obviously around revenue-generating work and working on your business not in your business and I find particularly with bloggers, that so many of them have that as a last priority. It’s like first priority is creating content and then engaging with their community, which is obviously also very important, but did you have to make a mental shift around that or was it always your priority from day one? 17


Yeah. I think it was always a priority for me, just because I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to grow and accomplish the things that I wanted to accomplish if I didn’t have help, so I was very aware of that early on and recognised that I would be able to do so much more to grow our business if I had some help. So for me, and again this isn’t everybody’s experience, it was something that I valued earlier and I think for a lot of entrepreneurs, they’re afraid to take that financial risk of delegating, but even if you have a very small budget, even if you can only afford a hundred dollars or two hundred dollars a month, even having a good person working with you for a few hours a month, it’s still time that you get to reclaim and when you reclaim that time, if you commit it to doing things that can produce more revenue, generating cash and going out and

getting clients that are your ideal clients that you want to be serving, even those few hours can make a really big difference to your bottom line. And what is the one thing that people could not pay you enough money in the world to do? Sell my soul? I think that as business owners, I want to be a very conscious business owner and really consider impact and sustainability and the difference that we can make in the world, so I’m very discerning when it comes to opportunities and people. I think that that’s another thing, you couldn’t pay me enough to be around people or to be hanging out with or keeping people around because I’ve known them for a long time, even though I don’t feel an alignment with them. So ‘people’ is a really big thing for me.


5

O nline

of the Best things to sell

When you’re a blogger or an online influencer, it can be really difficult to figure out how to sell your services, especially if getting people interested in you in the first place means giving away a lot of your content for free. The question is, what can you sell and how can you package it into something people actually want to buy? Say you’re a personal trainer, how do you package your knowledge into a valuable product? What about a teacher blogger? Can you package your classroom ideas and sell them as a big resource book? Here are a few things you can sell through your blog.

#1 Courses You’d be amazed at what people sell online. I was doing research for this edition of the magazine and I found a course on arranging things neatly on

shelves. For real! Never feel like you can’t teach people to do the thing you’re good at - someone somewhere will want to know how to paint a wall in their kitchen, how to do a DIY fancy up-do for a wedding or how to market themselves as a professional photographer. Your course can be DIY and run whenever someone signs up or it can be live and run as a group in real time. They can have deliverables or they can just be casual. Figure out your customers pain point, offer a course that fixes this pain point and experiment with different ways of delivering the course. 19


#2 Subscriptions Subscriptions are fast becoming a sustainable way to make money online. I’ve seen some excellent subscription services including month by month meal plans and fitness clubs, low tox living clubs and even things like singing and playing guitar. Many savvy online entrepreneurs understand the importance of community and support, so by having the subscription model, people are consistently engaged with your content which creates extra value in your customers.

#3 Events You can run events on almost anything - meditation, fitness, wellness, productivity, organisation, cooking or even cleaning. Communities love to meet in real life so give events a go. They are hard work but they’re also amazing for getting people to fall in love with you. Nothing will sell you more than yourself. #4 Products Anything related to your genre - it might be a workbook, a specialised notebook, cooking utensils, fitness equipment. Never assume that a product won’t sell. One of the most popular YouTubers, Jenna Marbles, whose genre is comedy, sells plush toys of her dogs and they sell like hotcakes. Start with a small run, see how that goes and do more if you need to. #5 Your Time Never underestimate the power of consulting. You can do it in any field - a teacher mate of mine started a business as a special needs consultant and she charges by the hour to visit schools and figure out what changes they need to make to their curriculum. Depending on your genre you could offer consulting on diet, exercise, meal plans, interior design, productivity, business, relationships. Whatever your speciality is, you can offer one on one sessions to your clients.

20


5

of the BIGGEST Mistakes Bloggers make when they try to make money

Online

Making money online is easier than it’s ever been… especially if you’re dodgy AF. There’s nothing stopping anyone from chucking a sales page up on the web with a payment button and start collecting cash for a bogus product but if you do this, you really won’t last long in the business world. But you know that right? The thing is, a lot of people try to make money online with the best of intentions but accidentally end up putting themselves in the dodgy pile without even trying too hard. You don’t have to scroll very far down the feed at news.com to find a million stories of failed businesses. People who bought dodgy products, people who sold courses they hadn’t written yet and failed to deliver on and people who just ghosted - they just up and walked away from their business and all it’s responsibilities because it all got too much. Here are a few massive mistakes we’ve seen bloggers make when they’ve been trying to make money online.

#1 Pre-sell a course and then not deliver on it It’s a standard self motivating trick to start pre-selling a course before you’ve written it (Kate and I have both done it several times!) but you do actually have to deliver on it. It’s extremely dodgy to sell a course to people and then just ghost on them. Never assume that people will be understanding if you’ve taken their money. Most people think they own you once they give you money.

#2 Set a release date and then miss it If you pre-sell a product or course and offer a date when that product will be available, that product must be available on that date. Have you ever seen a Kickstarter project that falls behind? It’s not pretty, even if the person in charge has been really honest about manufacturing difficulties. When people pay for something, they expect to get it on the date it was promised. If something has come up and you can’t make the deadline, be honest and offer a refund. Tell your customers the product will be available in 3 weeks but if they can’t wait 21


that long, you’re happy to offer them a refund. It’s so important to make sure you keep your customers happy and expecting a product to be delivered on time is not unreasonable. #3 Sell a product they don’t have Have you ever bought something from eBay and then received an email saying they don’t have that item in stock? And you’re like “Well why even have it available for sale?” - so frustrating. Don’t ever sell something unless you have the stock. You can’t assume that a manufacturer or wholesaler will be able to get you the products you need in a timely manner or at all. I heard a horror story about a swimwear manufacturer who got featured on a famous Instagram account and she didn’t have limits set for the amount of product available on the website and she sold thousands of units of a bikini that was made in a discontinued fabric. She had to refund every single sale. It makes me sad every time I think about it. Just don’t do it! #4 Sell merchandise you can get cheaper else where Up marking isn’t a great way to make money, especially in the online world. In the good old days you could purchase generic stock, put it in your bricks and mortar store and charge a fortune for it and no one would ever know you could get if for half the price in a shop a few towns over. If you do manage to sell something at an inflated rate, you’re not out of the danger zone. Once people figure out that you’re over charging, they’ll tell people and you won’t have any 22

customers left. This only applies to physical products that are identical, not courses. #5 Underestimate the logistics of physical products It seems like posting things shouldn’t be that difficult but there are so many things to consider. Some blogging mates of mine had a corker a few years ago. They assumed their A4 cookbook was compliant with the standard 500gm large letter measurement but they had chosen a lux cover which put each book 5gms over the 500gm maximum for $6 postage. This made their postage double to $12. Little things like this might not seem like such a big deal but posting physical products can be a nightmare. Make sure you look into postage FIRST before launching a product based business. Also, postage in Australia and postage anywhere in the world from Australia, is really expensive, so keep that in mind.


VOX POP Have You Ever Bought An Online Course? If you’re wondering if your average Joe/Jane customer would buy (and actually learn from) an eCourse, I hit Facebook to ask how people feel about eCourses.

Vanessa

I did Ytravel’s money course. It was pretty good - I’m pretty decent with money but was enlightening to read more and learn more.

Emma

I did an online course in copy editing from Australia College. Was ok, but very self directed - only useful for very motivated people.

Stephanie

Yes! Often! Totally worth it. Usually if it’s a good course they give you crazy deadlines and you are fully accountable for assignments etc, so you really do get the most out of it. My fav is Harvard Ex.

Simon

Yes, a voice acting one that I bought about 5 years ago and every six months or so I think that I should really get around to doing it.

Gina

Yes I have bought several. Some have been 100% worth it. Others, I think were overpriced for what you got but they had great value. One I have taken did not deliver like it claimed.

Maureen

I am very biased. I have bought eBooks that were okay and a planner I liked but it was a bit cumbersome. The only courses I have purchased are Pinterest 4 Bloggers, MBA, Blog Squad and now Boss Squad.

Each of these courses has been real value for the price! I especially like the way Kate presents.

Amanda

Photography course and many scrapbooking classes/workshops. Totally worth the money.

Caroline

I did an online diploma. It was good, I learnt a lot and the assessments were way more comprehensive than I expected (5-8000 words each). I’d recommend it, the assessors were supportive and gave great feedback.

Jodi

Yes! I’ve done about five online writing courses and two social media management courses. Absolutely worth it, as it has allowed me to be able to run my own writing business, follow my writing goals and do it all from home.

Jessica

I did a photography one with Kate Berry which was great - I have found others to be hit and miss though.

Tam

I’m completing a diploma online, I also have access to a tutor. Worth it for me. A friend has paid for courses such as learning about plant based food - initially she was skeptical, in the end she was so pleased she did it!

Yvonne Adele

Creating Awesome Online Courses course is awesome. (That’s quite a mouthful isn’t it?) 23


Im going to g n i h t y r e v e e k ma a r ou nd me beautiful that w ill be

my life. ELSIE DE WOLF

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Crafty Business Francesca Stone is the brains behind We Make Creative - a learning hub and kit subscription service for people who want to get their creativity on but they’re not quite sure how to do it. Francesca believes you can learn to be creative and she’s the one who’s going to teach you.


You’re the founder of We Make Collective - an online creative hub that offers kit based and tutorial only creative subscriptions - can you tell us how you came up with this idea? I decided to start We Make Collective after meeting far too many people that don’t believe in their own creativity. I hear people say “I’m not creative” all the time! Instead of trying to tell them they’re wrong, I wanted to show them that creativity is something we can practice and learn. Not something we’re gifted with. This idea is one that many of my blog readers also feel strongly about, so in response to this need for easy access to skills, materials and inspiration I launched the We Make Collective. 26

‘‘I hear people say “I’m not creative” all the time! Instead of trying to tell them they’re wrong, I wanted to show them that creativity is something we can practice and learn.” When you first started We Make Collective did you have a plan of how much you wanted to make and how long you thought it would take? When I first started I created a very simple business plan. It detailed what my costs would be and how much I would need to make to create a profit. It basically gave me a baseline and if the subscriptions met this amount I would keep going.


What was your monetisation strategy when you first started your online business? Was it always providing a service or did you try other monetisation methods first? I use a number of different monetisation strategies from sponsored posts, running ads, affiliate sales and selling my own products and eCourses. For me this feels like a safer route. This way if one strategy fails I have other options. The downside to this is that I don’t feel like I can fully focus on one area and I don’t grow as fast as I’d like to.

Can you give three pieces of advice to new bloggers just starting out? What three things would you get them to concentrate on? 1. Don’t be afraid to try and fail. When you start a blog, it’s the best time to make mistakes. You want to find out what you love writing about, what you are good at, what you want to be good at, what you prefer not to do and how you differ from the crowd. 2. Don’t fall into the comparison trap. Don’t be scared to do something no one else is doing and at the same time don’t be scared to try things people are already doing. You don’t have to figure it all out on day one. The great thing about blogging is how much you learn in the process. So get started and see where it takes you! 3. Do keep learning. Even well established bloggers need to keep up to date with the latest social media trends, technology and ideas or just keep improving on their existing knowledge. If you want to be good at something you will never stop learning more. Embrace Google search and learn as much as you can!

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‘‘When I first started I created a very simple business plan. It basically gave me a baseline and if the subscriptions met this amount I would keep going.”

What’s been your biggest business set back so far and how did you overcome it? My biggest set back is other people’s perceptions of blogging. In the UK, we are still a little behind the times and many people don’t understand that bloggers are professionals creating valuable work and promoting a whole industry (especially the handmade/ craft genre which has seen a huge resurgence over the last 10 years). But I’ve seen this improve over the past two years and I have high hopes that as bloggers, we will continue to show the worth in our work to grow the business as a whole. You have a blog as well as your business - how helpful is your blog in driving sales and garnering interest in your product? This is definitely one of the most important and significant drivers of business to We Make Collective. The blog has given me a voice and allowed people to get to know the person behind the business. It lets me share projects, my influences and my inspirations with my customers and readers. Many people might read my blog who have never heard of We Make Collective so it’s very important for me to drive sales. What are the top three apps you use on your phone every day? Only three? Ok then. Of course I use Instagram everyday. I love keeping up to date with my friends and fellow bloggers this way and it’s a great place to share a little more than I do on the blog.

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I also check the Slack groups I am part of every day. I have a number of groups with different bloggers and business women and the information and support is invaluable. I couldn’t run a business without this. Finally I can’t go a day without listening to at least one podcast. My podcasts app keeps me up to date with all the latest! If you could go back and start your blog/business again what would you do differently? Invest in myself early on. This is a tricky one because I built my business from the ground up. I started in debt and didn’t have any investment to put in, but every time I have been able to buy a new camera or rent a studio, I have seen progress.

“Even well established bloggers need to keep up to date with the latest social media trends, technology and ideas or just keep improving on their existing knowledge. If you want to be good at something you will never stop learning more.”

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QUICKIES What’s your main business focus for 2017? I spent the last year working on a lot of freelance projects and this year I want to bring the focus back to my own business. This is important to me to have more control over the areas I work in and spend time creating the projects that make me happy. If you could tell a new blogger to grow one social media platform, which one would you tell them to concentrate on? Instagram is definitely the place to focus on at the moment. It’s a fun platform that people love using and brings together communities for many different types of businesses. I have made many friends via Instagram and I love showing snapshots of my day with them via the new stories feature!

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My favourite place to travel is… Mexico. It’s so pretty and I love all the food! You’ll never catch me eating… nothing. (I’m pretty much constantly eating something…) If I had a spare $100 I’d spend it on… moisturiser. My perfect birthday would be…. a room of friends, family and great food. Proud Mary is my favourite song to dance to at weddings


5

of the weirdest online courses on the

inter net

When Kate and I are talking about making money in the Boss Squad, we usually fall to courses pretty darn quickly. It makes sense - if you have a skill and you can teach it to someone, that’s just grand. A lot of people freak out though and think they don’t have anything to teach. They generally think one of the two following thoughts.

I’m not good enough at this thing No one will want to learn how to do it

I’ve come across a few courses that will show you how you can do a course on almost anything on the internet. These are my top contenders.

Politicising Beyonce

Ghost Hunting

This course looks at modern gender, race, class and sexual politics in the life and career of Beyonce Knowles. And you thought no one would be interested in your course on eating gluten free!

These guys have been around since 1998 and it seems they haven’t updated their website since then, but the 3 part course is still available and will be delivered to your door in CD form. Ghetto fabulous right? 31


Mushroom Growing

Dog Psychology

Don’t you just hate how hard it is to grow mushrooms? I’m joking! I have never in my life even thought about growing mushrooms. I haven’t even really considered the fact that mushrooms grow. They just exist. Apparently, there are enough people that struggle with the growth of mushrooms to warrant a full online course. The course includes identifying different kinds of fungi, growing the edible stuff and cultivating a garden of delicious noms.

My favourite thing about this course is that it’s a certified course so you get letters after your name. Dip.Dog.Psy to be precise. You actually end up with a diploma in dog psychology. I kind of want to do it just for fun.

Pokemon Professorship This qualification allows fans of Pokemon to become Pokemon Professors where they get to go to Pokemon events and be judges and adjudicators of live Pokemon card games. 32

Criminal Investigation This is technically a course that is provided to existing criminal investigators but it’s open access so it seems anyone can do it. I’m actually really excited. It looks super awesome.

Now what were you saying about your course idea being too niche and no one will want to do it?


! t i g n i l l i K Blogger of the Month

Lisa Jones

Girl in Aus is a tale of travelling and emigration, bringing real life stories to the internet, moments that aren’t always ‘instagramable’ and realistic travel tips for the every day backpacker, plus learning to live life in a new land far away from the life you know back home.

What’s your story - what or who inspired you to become a blogger? It was no particular person, I remember when I went travelling for the first time I read some of STA Travel’s blogs about Australia and I was hooked, I read them all! At the time, my parents weren’t on social media so I set up a Tumblr blog for them to keep track of my happenings. I got home after 16 months and never did anything else with it. In 2016 I got my residency visa through for Australia and decided to set up a ‘proper blog’ about emigration and bring in my old travel posts to create little stories, travel guides and to track all of the travelling I hope to do from this side of the world. I loved it, I love to tell stories. I grew up with my Grandparents and Parents telling me stories from across the world when

they worked all over, and lived in South Africa so I had the travel bug from a really young age and it’s really all I’ve ever wanted to do.

Do you remember having a sort of ‘oh damn, I really can do this’ moment? What was it? It was when I first bought my domain and started posting, I looked at my stats for the first time and saw that it wasn’t just my mum and a friend reading my blog, that it was reaching people in the States, in Australia and over Europe. It wasn’t big numbers by any means, but it was reaching people and I thought regardless of how well my blog ever does, if there are people who want to read my stories then I shall tell them. 33


What is the best blogging advice you have ever received? Planning and investing will be worth more than you will ever think! Planning out posts months in advance allows me to create graphics, take or source good imagery, schedule posts, write posts and schedule ongoing social media ahead of time to keep the blog seamless. Investing in your blog - a good opt-in, WordPress.org, good email marketing platform and a great social scheduler - the time saved is worth so much more than the money you spend, so it makes it so worth while!

What do you find to be your biggest challenge, and what’s something that has really worked for you? Planning ahead *enough* - I plan a month or so at a time, but running my own company alongside my blog I sometimes find it hard to have the time to do this. So, once a month I make sure all of my deadlines are finished, put all of my projects on hold for a weekend and blog, blog, blog! It works great I know I don’t have to do any other work during this time, I can focus, and sometimes I’ll even head off travelling for the weekend, to a nice beach somewhere and get back into the spirit of it all. This helps me plan ahead without having to worry about getting things out on time. I like to keep consistency within my blog so people know what they are getting. I’ve started a blog in a saturated market, so consistency really is key for getting people to find your blog. 34


What is the thing you are most proud of about your blog or something amazing that has happened because of blogging? I’m proud that I continue to do it - I know its not a huge achievement as some bloggers post more frequently, have much bigger followings and can commit more time to their blogs. But for me, it’s ultimately about being able to travel and tell my stories. If I can travel, whether it’s a small day trip to somewhere I’ve never been, a new country, or an old favourite, as long as I get there and can talk about it, or write about it - I’m happy. So I’m proud that I’ve never let the spark die, I’ve kept this insane dream of mine and I’m making something out of it.

Any tips for other bloggers who want to achieve something similar? Keep going and dont give up. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

If you could blog from anywhere in the world, where would it be? A gorgeous beach with cocktails in Thailand or in a floor to ceiling glass apartment overlooking the city of LA! :)

What was it that made you decide to join the Blog Squad / Boss Squad community? I wanted to make something of my blog and I needed a great community of people to give me advice and who I could help.

What has been your biggest accomplishment since joining the Blog Squad / Boss Squad community? Helping lots of lovelies get their blogs and businesses up and running by using my blog as inspiration. I never thought it would amount to anything!

How would you describe the Blog Squad / Boss Squad community to a friend? A group of awesome like-minded individuals who are a support hub, eager to help each other and cheer each other on!

Moving forward, what’s next for you and your blog? A new blog for my design and wedding business and much more! 35


! s e v i F H igh

Michelle from Glamor Hippie has absolutely been killing it with her Pinterest game after taking advice from our Pinterest 4 Bloggers course. She quadrupled her number of Pinterest followers and along with it doubled her website traffic and all in just 2 weeks! You go girl!

Karly from Karly Says for taking Facebook live by the balls and using it to grow her business by never being afraid to be herself - completely unfiltered and 100% awesome. Alexandra for creating this awesome, free workshop that’s great for anyone with neck or jaw pain. And more importantly, for having a super clever writing style that has made me want to start looking after myself a bit more! 36

Mandy, mandyhalgreen.com- After facing many challenges and nearly giving up at the last second, Mandy finally released her first book, ‘Why You Need A Book For Your Business’. Mandy just proves that no matter what challenges arise, there is a way around them! Sarah, crochet247.com- Sarah, one of our beautiful Blog Squad Babes, totally kicked productivities ass this month! Not only did she set up affiliate banners and ads on her site, she also mastered her welcome email and opt-in offer AND released a new pattern! You Go Girl! Kim-Marie, kimbalikes.com- Kim-Marie now has one awesome looking logo and has just teamed up with Philosophy Australia to launch her online pop-up shop, how awesome is that?! Totally in love with the Marsali Dress!


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TOOL BOX

t s e B The O nline ways to Sell your Shit

People don’t often think about what actually happens when they buy something online. You click the buy button, your credit card gets charged. Boom. Done.

The tables turn when you’re an online business owner and you start thinking about how these things work. Once the person puts in their credit card, how does the money get into your account? How do you even get a button for people to buy things in the first place? How do you know when someone has bought your thing? It’s all so damn complicated! Stress less petal - here are a few ways you can easily sell your shit online. 38

SamCart This is a web-based shopping cart software that’s aimed at small businesses. You can sell physical and digital products, easily manage your sales and keep track of customer activity. It’s super simple to use so it’s recommended for beginners. They also integrate with most of the big players - ActiveCampaign, Infusionsoft, MailChimp - so everything should run super smoothly between all your channels.


Selz This one is particularly good for video tutorials in course work. They focus their product around ease of use for their customers which is a really excellent philosophy as this will always increase your sales. If video content is your bag, Selz is the one to go for. Etsy

Shopify Similar to SamCart, Shopify also develops software for online stores. It has several templates available that you can adjust to suit your branding. This is another easy-to-use, aimed at people who don’t know how to code kind of deal. It integrates with all the big names too - which is ace. At the moment it’s also cheaper than SamCart which is great if you’re on a budget. Send Owl Although you can use Shopify and SamCart for both physical and digital products, if you’re only selling digital products, Send Owl is an excellent option because they actually focus on digital delivery. It also offers automatic delivery of your product once the payment has gone through which stops you relying on manual action.

Etsy is perfect if you just want to sell stuff and you don’t want to mess around with adding a shopping cart to your website. Prices for using Etsy vary but they generally have a percentage of sale arrangement, where they take a small amount of your earnings and charge a listing fee for every item listed. One of the biggest benefits of working with Etsy is that they’re very supportive and will often give good stores and makers lots of publicity. You can still sell digital items on Etsy too I often see patterns and courses for sale on Etsy! Amazon It’s an oldie but goodie - Amazon is a great place to sell eBooks, arguably the best place to sell eBooks. If you make your product free for the first few weeks, you can improve your ranking and increase your sales when your book goes back to being paid. There are some absolute geniuses in this field who teach amazing skills to get your book selling fast, so make sure you do some Amazon success research!

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Love

5 Things We about UNLEASH

I first stumbled upon Magdalena a few years ago when she asked for bloggers to come along to one of her craft day classes. I offered, she accepted and I had one of the best days I’d had in ages. I made a collage, did hand lettering and painted in watercolours. The teachers were wonderful, the atmosphere was just gorgeous and I left feeling all warm and fuzzy and creative inside. Then Magdalena attended a blogging workshop I ran and we’ve been hanging out in blogger foyers together ever since - we should really hang out on purpose soon. She has bright blue hair (most of the time!) and she’s sharp, smart and incredibly creative. Here are some other reasons why we love her.

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#1 She’s collaborative We spend a lot of time around these parts banging on about how important collaborations are but Magdalena really puts her money where her mouth is. The workshop I attended that she ran featured three other creatives Pete Cromer (Collage Artist), Kate Pullen (Hand Letterer) and Paula Mills (Water Colourist). The thing that’s so great about this workshop collaboration is that it capitalises on the audiences of every one involved and encourages these existing audiences to interact with each other. I only knew of Magdalena when I went to the course but I follow all the teachers on Instagram and have become a serious fan of their work. It’s a win win for everyone. Blogging is not an island my friends get out there and collaborate! 41


#2 She diversifies her income Again, income diversification is something we’re very big on around these parts and Magdalena is all over it. She runs workshops, sells her work on Etsy, runs events with craft brands like Etsy and NGV, freelances and works with brands in collaboration with her blog and socials. She’s the perfect example of not putting all her money eggs in one basket. If one of those income streams collapses, she’s got a handful of others to keep her going. #3 She uses her heritage as a point of difference Magdalena is Polish and she makes these amazing Polish chandeliers from paper. She also makes beautiful Polish paper crafts and uses this wonderful part of her heritage to set 42

her apart from other craft bloggers. I love how recognisable her work is - I’ll see a DIY pop up on Pinterest or Facebook and I’ll know in an instant if it’s Magdalena’s work.


#4 She’s useful Magdalena has a few products on sale but her social and blog offer a vast array of lovely projects and things people make. It’s very awesome. She’s nailed the mix between offering free content to garner interest while selling products for profit. If you’re feeling a little bit crafty, you should check out her blog. It’s full of quirky and unique craft projects and tips.

#5 She’s constantly adapting Being in the online space, we’ve seen lots of bloggers come and go and the ones that don’t adapt get left behind. Magdalena is constantly adapting to the changing climate of blogging. She’s all over Instagram stories, you’ll find her on Snapchat, she does Facebook lives… nothing gets past this one.


ever yth ing you want is on the other s ide of fea r . JACK CANFIELD

secretbloggersbusiness.com


How to

NOT to Sell

Figure Out What

We’ve spent a lot of time in this edition of the mag going through how to sell, what to sell and how to package it all, but I thought I’d take a moment to go through a few questions you should ask yourself to figure out whether or not you should sell the thing you’re wanting to sell. So you don’t end up with a warehouse full of expensive merch that no one wants to buy or an eCourse you spent a year putting together that no one wants to participate in. To avoid that sad situation, here are a few things you need to ask yourself before you get started. Am I good at this? If you’re going to sell your skills, you need to be good at what you’re doing. You definitely don’t have to be the best but you do need to be better than your students and stay ahead of them if you’re in it for the long haul. If you just started learning how to play piano 6 months ago, you’re probably not skilled enough to teach it to other people just yet. 45


Can I teach this to other people? This is a big question you need to be honest with yourself about - just because you’re good at something, doesn’t mean you’re actually able to teach it. Teaching is hard - trying to break things down in easy to understand chunks is a real skill and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You can absolutely learn the skills to teach things to people, just be aware that it may not be as easy as you think. Can I buy the thing I want to sell? If you want to sell a physical product see if you can buy it first. It will save you so much time and energy if you can buy a white label product. You can buy software, programs, templates - pretty much anything. If selling is your bag, see if you can get someone else to do the creating.

Is there a genuine need for this product on the market? Make sure you do your research and be sure that you’re putting the effort into something that people actually want. You might spend all your time creating a course on how to take photos of nature when what your audience actually wants is a course on how to take photos of people. You can run polls, conduct surveys and even ask for individual client responses to see if your plan is feasible. Is this product different or better than what’s already available?

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Never look at the competition and think you can’t compete but DO look at the competition and try to determine why someone should choose your product over an existing one. Yours might be better, it might solve a slightly different pain point or it might be cheaper. You need to know why people will buy your product before you try to start to sell it.


are you ready to become a full-time blogger? More than 9 years ago I started my first blog, Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily, from scratch. I was exactly where you are right now. 12-months later I was able to quit my job and blog full-time. Today I have two 6-figure blogs, 4 staff, and I have earned over $1million from blogging.

Want to know exactly how I did it? Exactly step-by-step how I created two multi-6-figure blogs?

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Secret Bloggers Business Magazine (Issue 8)  

This month's issue is a Blogger CEO special, with lots of tips & advice on how to make money blogging!

Secret Bloggers Business Magazine (Issue 8)  

This month's issue is a Blogger CEO special, with lots of tips & advice on how to make money blogging!

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