Loyalty to platforms and tools is crushing your growth.
This was a huge epiphany I had while listening to a podcast recently (I was listening to Jenny Blake’s “Free Time” podcast, which, by the way, is one of my favorites).
The podcast episode I was listening to was “Why I Migrated My Three Email Lists to Substack (BFF Bonus Replay),” episode 222 (highly recommend).
Many of you who have been with me for a long time (thank you) know that I love finding cool tools to check out and share.
You’ve also probably noticed that over the last year, I’ve also talked much about streamlining my business.
In fact, I’m tired of doing the tech.
All I want to do is create and serve my audience – whether that’s coaching, courses, a community, or creating and sharing valuable content.
In late 2022, I contemplated moving from WordPress and going all in with ClickFunnels 2.0. Well… that was a bust. ClickFunnels 2.0, after a year-long delay in their launch, didn’t have all the features I wanted to use, and it seemed silly to go to the trouble to move when I’d still need WordPress.
The primary reason for wanting to make that move was simplicity.
But it was also because I hate WooCommerce, which is what we used to launch Create It – The Content Planner.
ClickFunnels 2.0 had promised their version of Shopify (for lack of a better explanation), and I thought, ‘Great! That solves everything!’
So, stick with WordPress I did.
This is where the phrase, “better the devil you know,” comes into play.
As much as I don’t like WooCommerce, I know how to use it and have developers who know how to use it.
I love WordPress for the primary feature it was created for, which is blogging.
The reason people end up looking for other platforms is that they don’t want to piece a bunch of different things together (or Frankenstein, as some people say).
As someone who can do a lot of this (although the less I do it, the less I remember how to, not to mention the less I want to do it) and has a developer who can do it, it all comes down to what I WANT to do.
And screwing around with tech isn’t something I want to do anymore.
Circling back to the episode of Free Time I listened to that gave me my “a-ha” moment.
Jenny Blake is a well-known author, has a large audience, and also has a very public dislike of social media. Her whole stance on social is that it isn’t good for her. And that’s the point, isn’t it?
I was intrigued to listen to this episode because I’ve been thinking of moving the newsletter for Create It (which is called “Creator’s Weekly” and is fabulous – I don’t write it, my daughter does) over to Substack.
Now, before you think I’ve lost my marbles, you might be wondering about my very public love of beehiiv.
Here’s the thing.
I do love beehiiv. I think the platform is beautiful, and it’s easy to write in.
That being said, I think Substack has a more robust community for discoverability. They seem to keep adding features that make it easier for people to grow their audiences, not just referral income.
I’ve joked that if beehiiv ever became a full-blown email service provider, I’d be there in a heartbeat. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon, even though they’re adding more and more features by the day that support segmentation and automations.
Before I go too much further with tools (because I still want to share a few things that are making me a little nuts), it’s incredibly important to consider one thing with all of this.
Your Business Model.
How you monetize your business is the first thing you want to consider.
Let’s look at newsletters.
If your goal is to grow a newsletter to sell sponsorships, then what you use to do that is going to look very different than a personal brand where the goal is to grow the quality and relationship with the subscriber so you can sell products and services.
It also depends on how “ninja” you want to get with segmentation and automation.
Are there incredibly powerful things you can do with segmentation and automation? Absolutely. But if you don’t want to do it, nor do you want to hire someone else to do it, does it matter?
One of my favorite examples of this is Ramit Sethi.
I’m a huge fan of his work and am on his email list.
He has a large suite of courses he offers, a few that are not relevant to me but are specific to people with jobs. I responded once, asking if there was a way not to get those promotions, and they said no, they didn’t do that.
They were super polite about it, and I moved on.
Now, when I see him promoting these courses, I usually delete the emails (although there are some I still read because I like his writing and personality).
But you’ll notice I didn’t unsubscribe, which is what’s important here. 😉
I had resigned myself to keeping the shop on WordPress for Create It and figured I’d stick with what I was already using for Kim Doyal.
Until I found High Level.
I had looked at High Level a couple of years ago but didn’t like the UI. Then I looked at it again in late April and was floored at how much better it looked and how easy it was to use.
My entire point in looking at High Level was that I still wanted ONE place for my funnels, products, and courses.
For $97 a month, I have unlimited of both for both my brands.
Then, they added communities, which are still in their infancy but are good enough to get a minimum viable community started.
My understanding is that they’re releasing e-commerce this fall, so the wish I had with ClickFunnels 2.0 is being fulfilled by High Level.
Bear with me here because I know I haven’t gotten to how “loyalty to platforms and tools is crushing your growth.”
At the risk of this turning into a love fest for High Level, one thing I’m incredibly impressed with is their community. They are super supportive, no hype, and they push improvements and features faster than any other company I’ve seen (including beehiiv).
They have an annual event also, which I was hoping to go to this fall, but will be in Costa Rica (not complaining).
I’m just about done moving my courses from Podia (for KimDoyal) into High Level and already have a couple of courses for Create It inside of High Level.
I’ve been dragging my feet on all of this because, again, I don’t want to do it, and there’s still a bit of a learning curve.
Then, I finally got smart about two weeks ago.
I have a developer and a designer I’ve used for years (probably close to ten years), and I love them. I had posted some work for them recently and then remembered, “OMG! There’s an entire FB group dedicated to High-Level jobs!”
I posted what I wanted and had to turn off comments within about 5 minutes because I received so many responses.
The first person I hired was fired in less than two weeks (he didn’t follow instructions, disappeared, kept giving me excuses, and then moved the wrong product), so I was a little more diligent with the next hire.
I said I would do a test first, and then we could commit to a monthly retainer.
She did more in two days than he managed to accomplish in 10. And it was done correctly.
So, needless to say, I’m thrilled.
This brings me back to my epiphany when listening to the podcast (I’ve now circled back twice to this podcast episode).
As I was listening to Jenny Blake, talk about how much she’s enjoying Substack and why, I realized that I needed to let go of what I think I “should do” and do whatever the hell makes my life easier and supports me in reaching my goals.
A big issue for me with the newsletter for Create It and an email list was that in using two different platforms, there was no way to sync subscribers on both platforms.
Could I have made my life easier and just used ConvertKit?
Yes. In fact, I did import the subscriber and customer lists into ConvertKit (from Klaviyo)- but I didn’t pull the trigger on doing anything yet because it’s still the same issue.
There’s no way to sync when people unsubscribe automatically.
You can push new subscribers into either platform, but it doesn’t work the other way around. This means every time you send an email or a newsletter, you’d have to unsubscribe people from the other platform manually.
Since launching Create It almost a year ago, we’ve changed our business model.
I don’t need a robust e-commerce solution. We *might* have another physical product, but right now, the goal is to get the paid traffic funnel working for the planner, grow the newsletter, and offer a monthly continuity (low-priced) on the backend.
I’m not looking at anything else until that is running like a well-oiled machine.
What hit me like a ton of bricks was that we could really dive deep into Substack with the newsletter growth, and for broadcast emails, I could use the built-in email platform in High Level called ‘Lead Connector’ (now that I have a High Level VA).
Between ConvertKit and beehiiv, I’ve just saved myself $200 a month (which is going towards the new VAs salary).
Do I still like ConvertKit and beehiiv?
I will still use ConvertKit for my personal brand, although I will connect it with LeadConnector in High Level for KimDoyal (this is because of the automations and workflows that happen when people purchase something via High Level).
And you never know… I may be back to beehiiv at some point (it really is one of the best-looking platforms), but right now, it doesn’t make sense with my business goals.
And that’s where your loyalty should be.
This might be super obvious and a bit of a “no shit Kim”…
But I feel a weird sense of loyalty when I’ve professed to liking something and promoting it (and I get it; this is totally my own weird hangup).
But much like we’re seeing in so many areas in real life (education, healthcare, jobs, politics, you name it), just because something has been done one way doesn’t mean it’s how it should still be done.
At least not for you.
I will always be a proponent of owning your own property online, i.e., a website.
But you don’t have to start there.
I know plenty of people who make incredible livings with the internet, and they don’t have a primary website. They have funnels, they run paid traffic, and they have a few other tools they use for the back end of their business, but that’s it.
Contrary to what we’ve heard for years, you don’t need to:
- Have a WordPress website
- Focus on SEO
- Be on social media
- Use one of the major email service providers
- Segment your email list
As much as I love WordPress, there are plenty of people who prefer Wix or Squarespace.
It also seems like there is a new email service provider that pops up every other month. Most do the same things; it just depends on what YOU like.
I’ll never understand why companies can’t have good-looking interfaces… You know me, if it looks like Microsoft circa 1995, I’m bouncing. Fortunately, you have plenty to choose from.
I remember when there were maybe 5 or 6 email service providers.
Now, there are too many to count.
What Loyalty to YOU looks like
This is where the rubber meets the road.
You have to be willing to have some faith in yourself, trust your gut, and, regardless of what anyone else says, use the tools and platforms that work for YOU.
The best tool you can use is the one you’ll actually USE.
I’m actually at the point where I’m so sick of platform-hopping that I’m committed to making High Level the one resource I use for everything except my content.
Side note: They also have WordPress hosting, but I love Rocket.net and won’t be moving, so there is no need to.
So, instead of having multiple tools I’m using for funnels, courses, products, and coaching, EVERYTHING will live in High Level, except my email list for Kim Doyal.
With my VA, I’ll be able to have everything up and running in High Level before the end of September, which is also when my new community, the SPARK Collective, will launch.
Oh, and with the community feature in High Level, I’m saving myself another $99 I’d have to spend on Circle because I don’t want to do another Facebook group.
Hopefully, by the time the community launches, or shortly thereafter, the feature where you can integrate your courses will be live in High Level as well.
So I’ll be able to grant access to courses to community members as well (and they can see additional courses available if I choose to go that route).
In some ways, I feel like I’m taking a few steps back, but it’s so I can take a HUGE leap forward.
This is exactly what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but I didn’t see the platform I wanted to do it on (and I’ve tried them all, trust me).
Sometimes, you have to hit pause, take a step back, get some clarity, and create a plan.
I’m also wise enough to know that I never say never anymore, but I am committing myself to staying this course for the next year.
I need these foundations in place to focus on what I love to do and mastering the traffic channels I want to use.
All of this also applies to social media.
Pick the platforms you want to use and commit to getting them to work.
Remember, there are billions of people using these platforms… none of them are terribly unique anymore, so do what feels right to you, create a plan, and stick with it.