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Kim Doyal 0:01
Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome to another episode of FtheHUSTLE with Kim Doyal. I, of course, I’m your host Doyal. And I’m just doing a little preview clip for today’s show because I jumped right into it saying, We haven’t you know, we haven’t done anything in a long time. And it was specifically referring to today’s episode, which was a conversation plan conversation between myself and Jodi Hersh, my co-founder of the content creators plan. So I thought I would just do a little preview clip here. So it makes a little bit more sense. When you listen to this. We did record this on video, which will be up on YouTube. And we’ll be sharing in the content creators, Facebook group, and anywhere else, that seems like a great place to share it. So that being said, kind of big announcement to make. So enjoy the episode.
Welcome to F the hustle. I’m your host, Kim Doyal. You want a life that is meaningful and exciting. In this podcast, we’re going to talk about launching and growing an online business that meets your lifestyle. F the hustle is all about doing good work, building real relationships, and most importantly, creating a business that supports how you want to live your life. You don’t have to sacrifice the quality of your life today to create something that sets your soul on fire. And yes, that includes making a lot of money. So we’ll be talking about selling, charging, what you’re worth, and help earning more means helping more people. My goal is to help you find freedom and create a business on your terms.
Hey, what’s going on? Everybody? Long time, no talk? No, see, we haven’t done anything on video in a long time. So we’ve got a big announcement today. Of course, we are the founders of the Content Creators Planner. I’m Kim Doyal. And of course, my cohort is Jodi Hersh. Well played not passed off very well. But we’re, we’re excited we do have a big announcement. And I’m going to kind of pass this over to Jodi to start with the announcement. And we’ve got a lot to share with you. So stay for the whole video. But we do have an announcement to make.
Jodi Hersh 2:06
Yeah, so the big exciting announcement is that, like all good things, CCP is coming to an end CCP being Content Creators Planner. It’s a mouthful for us. So we always call it CCP. And while we love the product, and we have loved working with everybody and helping everybody through Content Creators Planner, we’re finding that we’re both just way more focused on and excited about other things. And we’re really doing a disservice to CCP, and to our audience. So we thought that we’d share a little bit with you about kind of how we got here, some of our favorite moments and highlights, and things that we’ve learned along the way. And a little bit about what we’re each going to be doing moving forward and what all of this means for you guys than our customers.
Kim Doyal 3:06
And first and foremost, of course, we want to thank you all for being on this journey with us. And just so you guys know, Jodi and I love each other life is good. This is not some weird, like, oh, you know, but we’re not breaking up. We’re still very good friends. And, you know, confidants and counsel to each other about business. So I want to do that. But a huge thank you. It’s been such a fun, amazing journey. No regrets. It’s, it’s been wild, you know, starting something and launching something here before the world went upside down. But let’s go. Jodi has prepared some really great kinds of questions and takes away so we’re gonna jump in and say that, but again, thank you so much for being on this journey with us. So let’s, let’s get into the little structured thing you got to do there. I love it.
Jodi Hersh 3:57
Well, why don’t we do like a quick sort of like, timeline of what brought us here. So back in the summer of 2018, It was crazy. I was literally on a cruise. I’ve been on one cruise in my entire life. And I was on a cruise floating around somewhere in the middle of the British Isles. And Kim sent me a message. Did you send me a LinkedIn message? Or did
Kim Doyal 4:29
You know it was Facebook Messenger Facebook, okay. Yeah.
Jodi Hersh 4:34
She asked me if I knew InDesign, I’m like, Yeah, sure. I use it all the time. What do you need? I figured I’d make a video and show her how to do something. But she was interested in getting some help to produce this printed book that she had thought of which
Kim Doyal 4:51
I’m gonna interject because this was the funniest answer. They literally said can I a hire you to do this? Or B Do you want to do this with me and her The answer was yes. It was like it was awesome.
Jodi Hersh 5:08
I do remember that. So the answer was, yes, I’ll partner with you. And that was I got back to the state. I got back home sometime in August, I think like, mid to late August of 2018. And we started work on it immediately. And then we decided that a Kickstarter was a good idea.
Kim Doyal 5:31
At the beginning of December, no less. I don’t know why I had that. I had to do that. But moving on.
Jodi Hersh 5:38
You know, the funny thing about all these missteps are you learn so much more from the mistakes than you know, from the things that actually worked? Well, maybe, maybe it’s equal, maybe you learn equally from both, but the mistakes are just, there’s just so funny.
Kim Doyal 5:55
They are. Right. And the nice thing is, it’s like, you don’t know what to mistakes that you make it right, like, stop to think about I mean, originally, we had even thought we should get imprinted overseas, all the books we had tested and stuff. And each thing led us to where we were, but it’s, I don’t know, I always say like, if you knew now what you know, if you knew then what you know, now, would you have done it? My answer is still yes. But
Jodi Hersh 6:19
Yeah, definitely. No, I might have done some things differently, knowing what we’re doing now.
Kim Doyal 6:23
Yeah, that’s true. Yeah.
Jodi Hersh 6:26
But so we have a famously failed Kickstarter. But fortunately, we also had Kim’s email list which she had been growing for years. And we had everybody on Kickstarter. You can’t export them on a Kickstarter for you can certainly one by one, send them a message. So that’s what we did. And in our case, you know, I’m a web designer. So I whipped up a WooCommerce site, basically, over New Year, and we started selling, pre-selling on our own. And we were able to raise enough funds through the pre-sale to be able to pay for the first batch that printed books, which we sourced locally here in Atlanta with a company that I knew. So if anybody wants that information, is called Book Logix. And they’re in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Kim Doyal 7:19
And they’re phenomenal, amazing service, highest quality, best price, lowest minimum. So it was like, how do you beat this? Yeah,
Jodi Hersh 7:27
yeah, it’s all it’s basically print on demand. So they’re set up to do a short run, printing. So quantity, I think our smallest quantity in bulk was 250. But the price gets much better as quantity goes up. So we had a successful launch. We were I think we were still designing the book while we were pre-selling. I don’t remember the details of this. But one of my funniest memory is that Kim and I had known each other for about seven years, five months, or something like that. Yeah. Online. We had zoomed where we knew each other. We’re so old. We had Skyped. Okay. We chatted a few times. And we were online friends, but we had never met in person. And we were scheduled to meet in St. Louis for a mastermind event that Kim was invited to and I was her plus one. And the books. I might be mixing up like two different stories, but I remember as the books had like, just come in, and we were like finally shipping them and I’m like racing to deliver hundreds, and actually I had to pack them into the bubble mailers and carry hundreds of books to the post office. As I’m trying to fly to St. Louis. It was all like one crazy 24-hour and
Kim Doyal 8:50
You brought me a chunk of books. Remember, you also brought me a ton so you had your own stuff, plus a whole ton of books for me to take home to California.
Jodi Hersh 9:03
Oh yeah, I think they charged me extra for my luggage. But so we met for the first time in baggage claim.
Kim Doyal 9:12
Yep. We absolutely did. You know thinking about something else we did in between you remember we did for I don’t know why we limited this to four days ding dongs but Black Friday, Cyber Monday before the Kickstarter, we ran a giveaway. And we got 500 subscribers, people signed up for the giveaway and it was to win like an annual subscription with four planners and a hoodie and you know all of those things, but it was fun to test that and I’m like, You should have ran that for like two weeks. I was just I don’t know, you know, so hindsight like I was thinking Black Friday Cyber Monday for days, but so just so I think to share the piece that we were talking about this and marketing it constantly the second we came up with the idea, we started throwing it in the Content Creators Facebook group. Jodi, would we do a zoom call? And she showed me a design and I’d screenshot it and share it with the group. She’s like, Oh, you know, it would have a read notes and stuff on it. But it was yeah, that was an intense five, six months in remember, you got sick at Christmas time? You were sick for a few weeks. That was not what I know.
Jodi Hersh 10:24
I feel like I was patient zero. Yeah. But that was like a year in advance of the pandemic, though. Yeah. Yeah, I was sick. My boss for the holidays. That year. When I recorded the original walkthrough video, I have this really deep voice. And I had to keep pausing the recording to call for like 20 minutes, and then come back. But I don’t know if that’s still the audio track that’s out there floating around on YouTube.
Kim Doyal 10:54
I’m sure it is.
Jodi Hersh 10:55
I’m sure it is. It’s like two octaves lower than my normal speech. Yeah.
Kim Doyal 11:00
Yeah, that was wild. And when we shifted, we didn’t have what we’re we’re using girl originally, maybe it was when we started the ads. But we didn’t launch with the masterclass, but pretty close. Or we did pretty close. We wanted to make sure we had one upsell during that process, because we had the physical digital, and the masterclass, right?
Jodi Hersh 11:22
The original upsell was a really annoying pop-up with the digital planner.
Kim Doyal 11:29
That’s right. We didn’t do the math in class till we Yeah.
Jodi Hersh 11:33
And then we started running our own Facebook ads using ad espresso we started with because we didn’t like the native interface. And once we had an ad that was performing well, I know it was made because I remember the name of the totally bogus still may something once we have a successful ad, and it was time to scale it up. That was when we started looking for help. And we found an agency that helped us scale up our ads. And that’s when it got really interesting. I never thought I’d be the person that would say I was spending $1,000 a day on Facebook ads. But we had scaled up to where we were profitable at $1,000 a day because we were getting a return. So more we put in the more we got out. And during that time we had our one of our best highlights was our biggest month. I think our gross sales that month was like 67,000 Yeah, yep. And that may have no that January, like January of 2020. Yeah.
Kim Doyal 12:45
Now, I just want to throw in, and not to be a Debbie Downer. But that year was a shit show. 2019 I lost my mom, Jodi had some health issues. I moved, and almost twice in like six, seven months. And so just for me and I want to share that only because, you know, life doesn’t stop happening to us as we’re creating and growing and scaling or whatever we’re doing.
Jodi Hersh 13:11
And we were running other businesses at the same time.
Kim Doyal 13:15
Absolutely, I mean, my life shut down for a while it was I was devastated. But it was still like, I don’t know, finding that balance. Because we knew what we had created and what we believed in and we’re like, well, we’re gonna keep going people like these, you know? And do you remember it was so fun. Even before we turn the ads on, it was like, we would text each other’s sales and updates. And you know, it was, it was really fun, then as we started scaling, to be able to kind of run with that. And it was wild. There was a really, there was a great energy about seeing it working and scaling and working and scaling. And it was just, it was a blurry wild talk.
Jodi Hersh 13:57
Yeah, I mean, it was definitely fun. And it was intense. And I mean, some of the best parts were hearing from people how much they loved the planner, and you know, how they were using it. And, you know, in hindsight, I think maybe one of the, one of the many mistakes was trying to maybe do too much, which is kind of ties in with what we how we both are focused and what we’re doing moving forward. It’s, it’s very tempting to try to do everything that I think have to do all the things. And, you know, as content creators, we, you know, we’re just kind of wired to make stuff. And we definitely were doing too much. And I must say that it’s challenging to create content about creating content on a continual basis, such as what we were doing. It’s kind of like the snake eating its own tail. I mean, it was yeah, that was Was it was challenging and it was
Kim Doyal 15:03
challenging. excited about it. Honestly. Yeah. You know, it’s like I love the planner. And I love creating content but creating content about content. But I think we have that conversation in terms of what we’re content planners, shouldn’t we create content, it felt like, oh, boy, like, it was a little tricky to feel like we didn’t, we were tired of content, I think at a certain point, but we were
Jodi Hersh 15:29
And, and even with the two of us switching off, I think Kim did probably create more content than I did.
Kim Doyal 15:34
Jodi did everything behind the scenes that kept the machine running. Let me just tell you that right now.
Jodi Hersh 15:42
It was still like the most amount of content that I authored myself, though, for any of my projects. And while it was really challenging, it was something good that came out of it is that it really has forced me to become a consistent content creator. And you know, as a result, I’m now publishing. A weekday, daily weekday email called Fresh squeezed, you can find that on my web or in store.com/fresh.
Kim Doyal 16:14
All the links for everything we mentioned will be below this video, by the way.
Jodi Hersh 16:19
I never in a million years thought that I would do a daily email, I would have said, You’re, you’re nuts. I don’t have that kind of time. But they’re really short. I’m saying that they’re short, sweet and nutritious, fresh ways. And it’s actually really fun. And I would not have come to that if it hadn’t been for Content Creators Planner. And yeah, the commitment that we made to each other to stick with it because I think it is on my own, I would have petered out. About you.
Kim Doyal 16:50
Yeah, for sure. For sure. Especially because I mean, I’ve created content for a long time on Kim Doyal, WordPress Chick, whatever. But there is a difference when you’ve got accountability to somebody better responsibility to someone else. And Creativity Published was the first newsletter I had published, which got me so excited about f the hustle. But it was, it was fun to see the responses to that it was fun to do that. But again, it was the same thing as creating content about content. You know, I enjoyed doing the newsletter, but then it just started feeling the snake eating the snake to your point, you know. And I think the other tricky thing with that is, first of all, let’s not forget our six-hour famous zoom call where your ears are about ready to fall off. We spent six hours together on a zoom call, really defining the brand story for content creators planner, which is why I think our ad hit right out of the gate, our site resonated with people we did that’s what I always call that the intangible work that people can’t see. And it’s really taking that time to get clear on your message, who you serve the problem you’re solving. And we did that really well. And so, but then we also have two very distinct voices and personalities. So it was, you know, nurturing that into the brand. But yeah, the newsletter was phenomenal, too, though. I mean, I fell in love with newsletters, before we even started it, and it got me really excited about the possibility of them.
Jodi Hersh 18:20
Yeah, I think, you know, on my side of things, too. It just all of CCP and its needs really forced me to tackle some technologies that I had dabbled with but not like really mastered. So not only do we use WooCommerce, which I was already pretty adept at but boy I definitely know my way around WooCommerce really well. Yeah, like every add-on imaginable in there to make it do everything. But I installed and set up every single LMS system.
Kim Doyal 18:59
We have because we moved off of Thinkific so a couple things everybody.
Jodi Hersh 19:07
We started with Kajabi and then we went to Podia. And then we went to think if IK and then we decided to bring it inside WordPress, it was getting really expensive on Thinkific which was driving that because it worked great. It was just getting very expensive. And we tried, you had the Thrive. What is the Thrive one called apprentice Thrive Thrive Apprentice. We tried that and it was having an issue conflicting with I don’t remember what one of the other plugins that we couldn’t turn off so we were having an issue with that. And then we tried. I had a copy member press so we tried member press courses and that looked fine. And we also decided to try LearnDash And when I say try, I mean like, really set them up, and yeah. And LearnDash. Just, it’s been great. So yeah, got that all setup. And we’ve not had any issues with that. But also early on, we got cart flows and started experimenting with our funnels. And we haven’t to date taken full advantage of all the latest features, which is one of the reasons why we’ve decided to move on, from CCP is we just, we’ve there’s not enough time, effort, energy to put into it with our other things at this time. But I’m actually really excited about some of the new features of CART flows, which I’m going to be experimenting with very soon. Very wine thing as we wind things down, because I don’t know if we should save it to the end, or tell everybody what we’re doing yet.
Kim Doyal 20:59
But let’s do it right, now’s a good time, is it?
Jodi Hersh 21:03
Okay. Um, so we still have quite a bit of inventory. So we’ve decided that we’re going to run an amazing sale to sell off the physical books that we have left, I think we have the secrets. Yeah. Yeah, I think it’s like 550 ish. Please don’t make me count them.
Kim Doyal 21:27
Then we get to the last box.
Jodi Hersh 21:29
Yeah. They’re stacked up hidden behind the big red thing. So we’re going to sell the digital and the printed books at a greatly reduced price. We’ll do some special combos in there. And we’re going to continue to support the existing customers who have the training product. So if you have the Trello, contract promotion code, or content masterclass, we’re going to keep that part of the website running and support for a little bit.
Kim Doyal 22:02
Yeah. Yeah, for it’s not going to be indefinitely, but we haven’t figured that piece out yet.
Jodi Hersh 22:08
But yeah, but we’ll make sure that you know, we give you plenty of time to grab what you want from it, and we’ll probably make it so you can download stuff and, you know, hang on to it. So that we can actually shut the site down at some point, but that we don’t have any urgency around that. So that’s the plan. And I want to ask him a couple of questions, just put him on the spot and do the same to me.
Kim Doyal 22:39
I like to spot um,
Jodi Hersh 22:42
What has been just, your favorite moment in all of CCP, of all time?
Kim Doyal 22:49
Connecting in person, and honestly, well, I’m gonna give you a few. So connecting in person was the best. You know, and there is something to be said about, you know, an idea whose time has come to see this come to fruition. I also think I like I was getting the first time I got to hold the book, right? I think we both have photos of ourselves, like, oh my god to hold the planner, the quality, all of that was like, Oh, my God, we made this. We did this, you know, that was really fun. And it was ridiculously fun to see those sales in those months. It was just, I remember, like, constantly like to be sounding and checking and getting notifications and stuff. So it was Yeah, those were probably the top moments for me. What about you?
Jodi Hersh 23:40
Um, I think my favorite moments have been our zooms because they’re always so random. And hilarious. We’ve just had so many funny moments like, mommer bloggies, which you can’t even possibly explain. Just ended up.
Kim Doyal 23:59
Yeah. But a lot of our mouths when you’re tired, and you’re just Yeah, they’ve been fun.
Jodi Hersh 24:05
We’ve really had a lot of fun. And I mean, I’m, yeah, I’m a little sad, because every time I work on the website, even when I’m mad at it, for some reason, because something’s not working, right? I’m just so proud of it. You know? Yeah, yeah, I think we made we did something really cool together.
Kim Doyal 24:27
I say real quick. It’s probably the first time in the 14 and a half years that I’ve been doing business that my dad understood what I did because you could see a product I was
Jodi Hersh 24:37
Yeah, my family has no idea what I do. You went to Disney World. No, I’ve never worked for Disney. So you make websites.
Kim Doyal 24:45
No, I don’t I did at one point. No, don’t do that either. What do you do marketing, just marketing? What’s a podcast?
Jodi Hersh 24:53
My other favorite moment was being mistaken for as the caterers.
Kim Doyal 25:00
We go to St. Louis for this mastermind, and it was a friend of mine and he’s got this amazing house. And he’s invited a bunch of it was a small group, but it was really, really good. And I Why can’t I remember his name? The guy?
Jodi Hersh 25:16
Oh, it was the guy from tap out Dan Caldwell, Dan.
Kim Doyal 25:19
And he was so fun. But they’ve got this huge spread in the kitchen right in the morning, like pastries and coffee. And what did he even ask her. They just walked in, we had just walked in. And he thought we were where the coffee like something about the coffee or something? And like,
Jodi Hersh 25:37
I don’t know, I’ve never been like, aren’t you caterers? You know? I mean, I could make toast.
Kim Doyal 25:48
I order you food. I hate cooking. And then it was he proceeded to call himself out for having called his caterers throughout the next couple of days.
Jodi Hersh 25:56
It was pretty telling on himself. It was.
Kim Doyal 25:59
Yeah, that was pretty good. Or how about you setting up cart flows because I got zero hours of sleep one night that we were there and I’m like, we go back to the hotel. Oh, my God, I just I have to sleep I have to sleep.
Jodi Hersh 26:13
Kim says I’ll buy it, but you have to set it up. And I turned around and she’s sleeping. And um,
Kim Doyal 26:21
Unfortunately, though, we had made good use of the trip to like we scheduled an extra day in there after the mastermind to work together. So that was fun, too.
Jodi Hersh 26:29
It was Yeah. So Kim, tell us about what you’re so excited to be focused on now that you won’t be focused on writing content about content.
Kim Doyal 26:41
FtheHUSTLE baby, I am going all in. And this has been a recent sort of come-to-Jesus moment for myself. If you haven’t heard or when I moved to Costa Rica about a year ago. And when I would say it was the fall of 2020. I had gone from California to Boise, Idaho, everyone says why Idaho? I’m like, it was a test. It was my Get Out of Jail Free card can I move out of the shadows for the fry sauce, actually, but it was to see if I could move out of California anyway? So I’ve been in Costa Rica for a year. I love it. My life is the epitome of FtheHustle down here. But through working with CCP and this is really kind of been an epiphany I’ve had recently to God, it’s I don’t think without having done this, I would have gone down this really more intense path of writing that I have kind of fallen in love with. Because of this, because of the planner, I really took a hard look and have become a practitioner and I’m studying and learning copy all the time. I fell in love with email marketing, I did that in probably 2016 When I was doing almost daily emails, but it was really being more strategic about it even. And so with the Kim Doyal brand, I’d gone all in with email newsletters, and I still love that. But my bigger calling is to help people really create and design a life with a business in there that supports what you want. I hate the hustle culture. I’m trying to bro marketing. I am living proof that you can do things on your own term, every time I do things from a place of joy. And my heart is really in it. It works. That’s where it makes me money every time I do something because I feel like I have to do it this way. So you know, it was through the recent launch of something and it didn’t go the way I wanted. And I took a step back. And it was a friend who said, why don’t you put your email stuff on one site? And so I’m doing a service business with my daughter called inked email. And then I’m gonna just start doubling down on f the hustle I’m not super clear on what that looks like yet. But I think I see a weekend edition of the newsletter actually retreats in Costa Rica and coaching programs all about living life on your terms. And I have also gone back down the rabbit hole of sketching and doodling and I don’t have an art degree like you do. I was an art major for a while and I have to create I need to make stuff and so if the hustle is being birthed, so to speak right now the newsletter I’m actually at I just published issue 84 which is giddy like when I’ve been doing that’s like 84 weeks that makes you just, like kudos me, you know, but I’m really excited about it. And like I said, Not crystal clear on where it’s going. But I just feel this is what I was put on this planet to do to be honest with you.
Jodi Hersh 29:28
I’m excited for you.
Kim Doyal 29:29
Thank you and I agree with you
Jodi Hersh 29:31
Kim Doyal 29:34
Amen girl. So you’re up! Like you’ve first of all kudos also on fresh squeezed because when she said she was going to do a daily email also, I was like, alright, you want to write a daily email? Because you’re, you’re a great writer, but you’ve always been like, I don’t really enjoy it. And it’s awesome. I freakin love it. Although she gets like, what do the earworms like? Yeah. Oh, every time she uses a song, I’m like, thanks that’s in my head all day now. But anyways, yeah, you’ve got some great stuff going on.
Jodi Hersh 30:08
Oh, thanks. Um, so I’ve had the idea for the Smartist Way for so many years that it’s embarrassing that it’s not completely out there yet. And I am no slacker. I’ve just had one thing after another, and it’s a constant balancing act of priorities. And I have a lot of things going on. So number one, I’m continuing to serve my clients. As a designer. That is my background. I’ve been a graphic designer for years. I’ve been in business for myself for 29 years, this I just celebrated 29 years, June 10.
Kim Doyal 30:48
Jodi Hersh 30:50
Thank you. And so I do branding and graphic design and website design for lots of small business clients mostly. And for larger companies. I do those things, usually subcontracted as part of a team doing a bigger something. But I also do a lot of UX and UI, usually redesigning of like legacy applications for various companies. And I can’t tell you who because I sign NDAs constantly. And with the smartest way, which is my big idea. It’s an essentialist approach to branding and marketing, for small businesses, we can’t do all the things. If we focus on those things that are essential. We can accomplish more by doing less. And I often miss speaking and say that backward, which makes absolutely no sense. thinking we are I mean, our decision to Yeah, it’s very much based very much essentialist. I’m spread thin because of the thing that has happened to me in the last year that I have hinted at here and there if you get fresh squeezed. I have mentioned it, but I don’t live my life out or as loudly is Kim does. Well, I’m just more and more private about you know, family stuff. And sorry, I’ve been itching for the last 20 minutes. My father has dementia, and it got really bad last August, and I went down to Florida stayed with them to assess things and I moved my parents to Georgia to be closer to me. And we have my dad getting he’s in a care facility. And we’ve got my mom settled and it so like almost a full-time job for me to just take care of my aging parents who are in their 80s. So that I mean, that’s, that’s been huge. So I have to do fewer things. And I question all the time, like, Okay, I still haven’t gotten this course out there, the framework exists, I use the framework, like in my, in my work with my clients, but I still haven’t finished it. And I know how to write a course, I know how to record and edit a course I know how to put LearnDash together. So there’s really nothing in the way except me. And I often say I am the obstacle in the pathway of all human progress. And I started questioning like, like, maybe I just don’t want to do it. Nobody says I have to. And I don’t think that’s it, I think I do want to do it. I think it’s just very difficult to carve out enough time in large enough blocks to, to build enough momentum to actually get it done. It’s not the kind of thing that you can do like in the nooks and crannies. So taking the essentialist view of it. Every day, I’m asking myself, like, what can I stop doing? I’ve gotten rid of some clients, not because I didn’t like them, they just weren’t really the best fit. And I have eliminated some services, I just say no. And I’m charging more where I can, I can probably not even true. I’m charging more where I allow myself to be able to charge whatever I want. And people either pay it or they don’t. But I’m really excited because I really think this course is going to help people and I feel like I’d be doing myself and the people that I’ve been talking to that it’s coming I’d be doing everyone a disservice if I didn’t. And hopefully, this was the year that I actually get through it.
Kim Doyal 34:33
Well, I think so and you know, it is that I do that elimination game. And you know, it’s when you realize what resonates most with people which I think you’re getting so much validation with that also. I mean, you use it in your business all the time, but through fresh squeezed, you know, we get validation, that’s half the hustle people are like, Oh my god, I love it. That’s the first thing they resonate with. And so it’s really creating a store doctrinal framework within it. And so it’s, you know, it’s the same thing that CCP was, at one point, nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come. And you know, the world needs it. And not to mention, we’re both at a stage in our lives where, you know, we’ve had a ridiculous amount of rain here, every time it’s sunny, I’m like, I need to get outside, I want to go for walks on the beach. You know, I’ve had visitors every month this year, except February, I created a business that I should build to spend time doing those things. And so taking the essentialist approach, using the smartest way to say, what do I not need to be doing? And what’s working that I can amplify and get more leverage from?
Jodi Hersh 35:40
Yeah, and I think, you know, the, for me what I’ll get out of it, aside from seeing my big idea out in the world, which is very fulfilling, and getting feedback from people I love when people reply with my first squeeze email.
Kim Doyal 35:56
If I send an email, right, if I don’t get a reply, Amal, nobody liked my email today.
Jodi Hersh 36:05
But the revenue generated from that is not time for money like my design services are. So theoretically, that will allow me to do less done-for-you service work, which will free me up because ironically, one of the reasons why I became self-employed a bazillion years ago was because I’m an artist. And I wanted more time and a higher income, to be able to afford to do the art projects that I wanted to do. And I mean, the joke was on me because I’ve never been busier in my life. And I don’t really have time or energy for it. But I still have the drive to want to do it. That’s what all that nonsense is back there. That’s like my art zone. And I just don’t have time. And when I do have time, it’s filled with other responsibilities right now. So I think the Smartist Way is a good opportunity for me in that way. Yeah, I kinda thought CCP was going to be also but man, it was a lot of work.
Kim Doyal 37:12
It is. And I think, you know, if we look at some of the things we’ve learned, one, you know, we both agreed that we were going to run ads from day one that was great. And you know, it’s very interesting with ad agencies, the first agency we had, where they were able to scale. They knew what they were doing. But yet, it wasn’t necessarily a good fit. The second agency we had our actual sales rep with the account guy was phenomenal. But the agency, I don’t think had done anything like we were doing, you know, they were more kind of brick and mortar and stuff. And so but we learned, you know, it’s I 100% believe in paid traffic. And I think as much as you maybe don’t want to do it, it’s probably best to be able to really get in there and learn it, and thank God, you were so much better with it than me. But to really understand controlling it and your audience and all of those things pay traffic is a whole other can of worms. You know, so it’s that was interesting. You know, I think that experience and no regrets with either learned a ton. You know, and I love paid traffic because that is I always tell people you’re gonna pay one way or the other with time or money. We did well. Well, yeah.
Jodi Hersh 38:36
Well, yea, if it didn’t with intention, it was a, you know, paid traffic is a much shorter timeline to return. Yeah, I mean, organic traffic. I mean, you could get lucky and have something happen very quickly. But that’s a long game strategy. Yeah. Which we did. And we get a tremendous amount of traffic to the site organically because we created all that content. So there’s that but the paid traffic I think. I mean, I think for anything I put out there I’ll always use it. It’s just doing it strategically because yeah, what was working then isn’t what’s working now is working out is different from them. So are you purely focused on retargeting I know a lot of people right now are using paid traffic for retargeting, but, I mean, there are just so many cool things that you can do with it. And, you know, everyone’s freaking out because of the iOS, Apple, you know, stuff that kind of changed how you can target and what you can target. So something changed, just, you know, figure out what you can do with the way it is. And it’s small experiments. If it’s working, crank it up, as if it stops working, pay attention because when it stops working, you want to turn that off because it gets expensive, but there’s also there’s to it.
Kim Doyal 39:52
Absolutely. And I think the other piece is that especially it’s getting validation for your offer which we had. So people will one of the planners, they raised their hand, we completely funded the print production, all of that. So we had validation, we knew we had a good product. And so taking care of that piece, I think before would be my recommendation people make sure you get enough validation. And then once you have an offer, that you’re getting results that you’ve got the validation for, then turn it on at the same time. You don’t necessarily have to jump just into Facebook or Google or Instagram, right? I think there are a lot of other channels. YouTube, I’m so curious about YouTube ads, but also Tiktok ads are cheaper, and newsletters sponsoring, or podcasts or things like that.
Jodi Hersh 40:38
There’s also this wouldn’t be paid traffic. But you know, like joint venture swaps. With me, we grew a pretty good-sized email list for CCP, mostly, I mean, it got seated with Kim’s initial list because we started emailing them, but then people actually opted in for CCPs list, we didn’t import anybody. But because of all the ads that we were doing, we also ran some lead gen ads, as well as just cold traffic to an offer. So every time we got a customer, they got added to the list, but we also ran lead gen ads. And we also had like the blog post checklist, we had some lead magnets on the website that just organically got traffic. So we built up a pretty substantial list, and we never monetized it in obvious ways. But you know, I think there were some missed opportunities where we probably could have sold ads in our newsletter and things like that.
Kim Doyal 41:48
Absolutely. But again, it’s looking at. And it’s funny because I’m definitely ready fire aim, Jodi is like, let’s make a plan. At the same time. I feel we’ve kind of met each other in the middle a little bit. I’ll never forget being on a call. And I’m like, well, we can wait and look at and you’re like did Kim Doyal just say we can wait because I’m like, let’s go do it. But you know, there’s a minimum viable opportunity. And there is a testing of stuff. I love the newsletter stuff. I’m the for the cost of it. You know, I’ve run one. I’ve already bought another one for someone’s newsletter for July. And I’ve got a couple more than I’m looking at. And then I want to run ads and sponsorships in the hustle as well. You know when you have? Because the thing is I look at that, that that’s a warm, much warmer audience. They already trust this person and their readers. So they’re ideal for a newsletter subscription, you know, for sure. But there’s, you know, I think the other piece of the paid traffic that people don’t think about I know I don’t enough, is do a little guerilla marketing, where you find somebody who has your audience and just reach out, would you be willing to do an email for me? I’m happy to pay for extra do you do sponsorships? Or is there an opportunity to work with you? And find out? I mean, try who the mastermind, we went to do that all the time offered email drops, and just would go find people who have their audience. So that’s a whole other can of worms. But I just think we both learned a lot. And I truly believe unless you are a massively prolific creator, and you have people like, like a Gary V., right? Like unless you’ve got that type of a team. organic traffic is harder to compete with. It definitely works. It’s extremely important. I totally believe in SEO. But to get there sooner, you need to put a little gas on it with paid traffic. Yeah, I would agree with that.
Jodi Hersh 43:38
You know, what else we did that, you know, in hindsight, I wish we had put a little more oomph into it is, you know, we ran an affiliate program. And, you know, our affiliates. You know, there were a few that, you know, were strong and consistently creating referrals and getting commissions as a result, and we had a pretty healthy, I think it was 25% that we pay out to our affiliates.
Kim Doyal 44:06
Yeah, right. It’s 25. Yeah.
Jodi Hersh 44:10
You know, so on some of our bigger packages, I mean, that can be, you know, significant 25 – 30 bucks per order. And I think, you know, in hindsight, I would have done more to support and excite our affiliates.
Kim Doyal 44:27
But again, girl, I think it comes back to it was just the two of us. Yeah. You know, and so I mean, that the plan, I mean, fortunately, God has a great team of VAs and then we started they started helping with customer support. But at the end of the day, with each having individual businesses, you know, there’s only so much you can do and then you know, even though we were making money selling the planter, there’s a difference between sales and profitability. And so yeah, we just didn’t have the bandwidth,
Jodi Hersh 45:01
The piece of the story that we kind of left off as Okay, so we had like our best selling month, January of 2020. While we were happy with the results and working with that agency, come February, something changed. We don’t know exactly what happened, but it and the agency weren’t reacting very quickly or effectively to it. And we were blowing through money without seeing the return plus paying them their fees. And one thing led to another and we decided to cut ties. And we ended up hiring another agency, which we’ll get into all the details, right? So what happened that March was COVID.
Kim Doyal 45:54
And after COVID happened, George Floyd happened. I got hate mail for running ads to that I was being insensitive during a challenging time. And it was I don’t even know how to explain that time. Do we say something to me not say something to be addressed this? Do we not all up? So you’re right. The world went upside down?
Jodi Hersh 46:22
Yeah, and I mean, there’s being sensitive, and there’s trying to stay in business, too. I mean, and pay your bills and keep a roof over. It’s possible to run ads to help people create and sell for their own businesses. So we’re creating and promoting and selling things to support those people. Because all of that has to happen. And oh, at the same time, yes. We are outraged at what’s happening in the world. But right, both things, can they’re not the same. Yeah,
Kim Doyal 46:58
absolutely. Absolutely. So yeah, that’s a really good point. That’s a really, really good point that and I mean, you stopped to think about it, you know, with both agencies, the amount of time it took to engage with them took a lot of time out of our business every week in terms of, but you at the same time, you’re investing all this money into it, stay on top of it, you know, and I don’t know what the solution answer or any of that is, I really don’t
Jodi Hersh 47:27
I still struggle with that. Because if you could see what my dog is doing?
Kim Doyal 47:34
Yeah, and I keep looking at it the floor, and people are like, what, because I have a dog at my feet also.
Jodi Hersh 47:40
So, um, I have a hard time with certain kinds of outsourcing. I mean, I’m a big fan of outsourcing wherever it makes sense to multiply what can get done, but to have somebody write for you when you’re kind of an integral part of your brand. That’s weird. It’s never quite right. But if you build and promote your brand, to be kind of its own voice, yep. Then outsourcing can work. And we were still early on. I mean, I think our voices were a big part of it. But I think we were early enough in that it was possible for others to create content that we would bless and approve and let go of. But we weren’t seeing it, like the quality of the content that was being brought to us. Yeah, for some of the campaigns, like no way we would, I mean, from the get-go like, we would I mean, we would specifically say Well, I’m trying to be careful when I say no, I
Kim Doyal 48:58
I know. That’s why I’m laughing.
Jodi Hersh 49:01
We made it clear that we are a positive voice. So if we have something negative to say we want to spin it and focus on the positive. So don’t say stop doing this, don’t do this, do this instead, we would rather say do this, rather than doing this, you know, right? Just just a man was a terrible example. But it’s just like, we weren’t being heard. And I’m like, I don’t have time for that. So that was big, that was challenging, and also being a professional designer to see design work that somebody made in Canva.
Jodi Hersh 49:45
Well, it was like, somebody took something that looked good in Canva and somehow messed it up. Like here, let’s run this but yeah, yeah, I just it was I couldn’t it was taking too much effort. I could have done it myself faster. better and I didn’t want to, you know, so. But I don’t think that we maybe could have hired better. But I mean, neither of us had ever really done that before. Yeah. And I
Kim Doyal 50:13
And not to be trite, but it is what it is. Right. That’s how we learn. And it’s a double-edged sword because you scale and let’s not forget that we didn’t hire PSI to ship the planners until after we’d had these crazy months, right? It was when I came to visit you.
Jodi Hersh 50:37
Yes, I was shipping department people.
Kim Doyal 50:41
It didn’t make sense. We would take turns initially, but because everything was printed in Georgia, it would have cost a ton to ship them to California for me to take over shipping. Yeah. And I did move to Boise between January and March of 2022.
Jodi Hersh 50:58
But I think it was in February of 2020. When you came to Atlanta and February. Okay. Yeah, we hired PSI, a local fulfillment center. So I would go and usually, I would go pick up the books at the printer and take them to psi, and they would handle all of our fulfillment. Occasionally, they would send a truck to go get them if I couldn’t do it. But yeah, it was kind of a fun, fun day for me to do that once in a while.
Kim Doyal 51:29
Yeah, it’s good to get out of the house. Right. Here’s a question for you, Jodi. Any advice you’d give to someone who is thinking of doing something similar to what we did?
Jodi Hersh 51:41
Oh, gosh, do it? I have no regrets. Yeah, um, you know, it’s okay to start small. And grow something small. You know, everybody talks about scale, scale, scale, scale, scale, grow, grow, grow, grow, hire all these people. And, you know, do it at your own pace. And nobody, nobody says you have to scale everything, you know, like, you know, yeah, do what is right. For you. Has everybody kept telling us from the beginning? What What, oh, you should you need to have this back-end offer, you need to have a membership. You sell a book, and then you know, you got to have a high ticket something like, I don’t know, rocket book sells books. They don’t have a high ticket, mastermind, or membership. They just sell you another book.
Kim Doyal 52:27
We had people remember telling us at the mastermind. You need to give the book away.
Jodi Hersh 52:33
Yeah, the money’s not in the book. I’m like, I don’t know. $67,000 for says otherwise. Otherwise.
Kim Doyal 52:38
Yeah. But I mean, that was before that even happened. But the point was to be our planner. I mean, if we were selling a blank notebook, then maybe that we had something on the back, but it was this is it’s a content strategy. It’s the whole thing. It’s not just a scheduling tool. And so I’m really grateful that we listened to her own to ourselves on that. And, you know, it’s, yeah. Could we have done a higher ticket on them? Yes, but at the same time,
Jodi Hersh 53:09
We wouldn’t have to support whatever that would have to support. Yeah, it’s not like we didn’t think it through. Ya know, the best advice is, you know, trust yourself and yeah, do your homework because had we gone with, you know, some of the first printers that we got estimates and stuff from, oh my gosh, could you imagine us trying to get our books from China during the pandemic?
Kim Doyal 53:34
Oh, that and still to this day, I will just tell everybody that we had three different books printed and shipped as tests to us for us right? Number one was so was it was horrible. It was thin and the cover it literally when we got our the planner from book logics, you got it first and you were like if you could only feel it like because we were very adamant we wanted it to feel high quality. I love colored pens and stuff and like we need to be able to write in these pages that bleed through they listened to us they were a wonderful company to work with they really were I highly recommend them
Jodi Hersh 54:11
So what advice would you give to somebody?
Kim Doyal 54:17
Do it just like you said and I think there’s probably a couple of different instances maybe where the trust your gut, you know that it’s I’m probably more risk averse.
Jodi Hersh 54:33
Buy bigger bubble mailers.
Kim Doyal 54:37
Buy bigger. Yeah, squeezing those in. Oh, my goodness. So yeah, I mean, if Hindsight is 2020 Here’s, here’s the trick. We had we were close to pulling the trigger on a continuity program. It’s called Creative kick. You were gonna get a new content creative lesson every month. And its great graphic of a kick in the butt to it was awesome. It was it was fabulous. I love I swear, I’m working with the designer, it’s like it’s Christmas, every time you do something new, I’m like, I love it. But that being said, we were really trying to look at it because, again, we hadn’t stopped either of our own businesses in the meantime. And so what is the most value we can provide? That doesn’t require a ton more of our time. And so, you know, we just pulled the plug before we ever put it out there. And I think we may have announced it because that’s kind of how I do things. But it just, it wasn’t a good fit. So, you know, I think that it’s, that’s why I had set up Memberpress. Now I remember. Yep, to store that, you know, so I don’t, I think it’s just doing it. And to your point is learn and just be prepared to course, correct. It’s kind of you know, that what they say is, you know, with a pilot when they’re flying a plane that A to B, but they have to be willing to adjust the flight pattern along the way. So it’s you have to be flexible, probably more than anything, and listen to your customers. Our customers told us they wanted a Trello version, right? We hadn’t. And then people were like, We want a sauna. And we got Notion. And it was, it’s, it was so much to record all those videos for that. But it’s also then it opens a whole other can of worms with support with when you’re getting into software and stuff. So I think that they’re all good ideas, though. They’re all good ideas. They’re all good ideas. And I, I don’t know, yeah, I would just say do it, I would do it. And I would the biggest thing is minimum-viable. And we did that is run with minimum viable, and where we’re saying, you know, minimum viable in terms of the product, but also be the content piece of it, because we created precedence. Right? And hindsight is 2020. But maybe setting lower precedence and focusing solely on e-commerce? I don’t know. I don’t know. But to your point I agree, just friggin do it. Just do it. Thank you, Nike. Anyway, so let’s wind this down. And let’s look at where the best place for people to connect with you. And what’s coming, and you know how they can stay in touch with you. Oh, really? Quick, Jodi, before we do that, let’s address if we could, what we’re doing with the subscriber list, the email list. So people are aware of that. And I don’t know if we’ve like mapped out a very definitive plan, but we’ve talked about it.
Jodi Hersh 57:34
Yeah. What are we doing with that list?
Kim Doyal 57:36
Well, so the thought is one, we need to clean up all the unsubscribes everything, it’s an Active Campaign. Because it’s still us, we’re still both under the digital marketing umbrella, we’re going to let everybody know that we’re each going to download the list and import it to our own. I use ConvertKit for Kim Doyal, Jody also uses Active Campaign for her stuff. But we will do my thought was a separate campaign for everyone to say, look, you’ve come through here, this is what I did. This is who I am here. Here’s the link to unsubscribe. And so kind of creating a campaign from that perspective. So at a certain point, we’re not rushing it, but at a certain point, we will be closing down that Active Campaign accounts. So the thought was we would each import active subscribers to be completely 100% Transparent upfront about what we’re doing, give them the opportunity to stay or go or tell us what they want to hear from us. And see how that goes. You know, I think it’s the other piece that we had us the other day when we were talking was the amount of content we have an active campaign. So we’re going to be getting that out probably by emailing it to ourselves. Pretty much
Jodi Hersh 58:48
Yeah, I mean, it’s almost worth just paying for the account to stay active.
Kim Doyal 58:55
Um, but yeah, because we have automations and sequences and then we have broadcasts and we the newsletter. We have a lot of content inside of Active Campaign.
Jodi Hersh 59:05
Yes, we do. So one parting, one parting thought before we get into Where everything lives. For those of you who have been using printed books, we are going to have a massive sale to move through the to move the inventory that we have left. But also, if you get the digital which is a PDF, you can print it out you can have it printed out at UPS FedEx Office, wherever I still call it Kinkos can’t forward in time, or just you know, print it yourself. You can have it coil bound at one of those places or just three-hole, punch it stick it in the binder and you have it forever. And if you have any trouble getting it printed somewhere because of our copyright. Maybe we include We can send out a notice that you can take to the shop that we authorize it or something like that. Because I think that that makes it evergreen.
Kim Doyal 1:00:09
It does. The other piece of that is anybody listening. And I haven’t filled Jody in on this yet. But there is an opportunity, I’m gonna we’re gonna sell some bulk ones to somebody who’s doing some training for loan officers and stuff. But we had actually talked about licensing it for them. So we’re open to that as well as licensing it with your own cover in removing our links from the planner. But so if you’re interested, that’s an option to that you could license it and print it and do what you wanted with it. But we haven’t even discussed it because I’m throwing this at God right now. What that would look like from a pricing perspective, that’s an option as well.
Jodi Hersh 1:00:48
Yep. All right. Well, so my everything lives at Orange star.com, and the smartest way you can find it there or you can go to smartest like an artist i s t smartest way.com and Fresh Squeezed emails are on startup comm slash fresh where it’s best to. I’m on the socials. There we go all day. I am on Twitter, Jody Hirsch. And I’m on Instagram. Jody Hersh.
Kim Doyal 1:01:24
Yeah, it’s funny when I think about that when I started my business and I was the WordPress Chick way back when. I don’t know how but I did have the foresight to just do Kim Doyal on every single platform, so I was very glad that I had that foresight.
Jodi Hersh 1:01:38
Yeah, and nobody spells My name correctly. So it’s JODI HERSH.
Kim Doyal 1:01:44
You’re gonna see her in there or her county still thinks she’s Jedi Hirsch. So you know.
Jodi Hersh 1:01:53
The water bill comes to Jedi Hirsch. It’s hilarious. Stop changing it. I’ve changed it for 30-something years but yeah, they never seem to obtain. You’re like I am the Jedi.
Kim Doyal 1:02:05
Okay, so the best place to connect with me is KimDoyal.com. I am doing you can also go to inked email.com, which is all just writing services, email sequences, follow-up sales, sequence, those types of things. sales copy website copy. That is in partnership with my daughter. We’ll have some other writers in probably. But yeah, I’m really excited to see where everything goes. And like I just said, I am Kim Doyal on all social. It’s crazy. I always joke around. I had to spell mutter as my maiden name my whole life. I’m like, Now I have to spell Doyal?
Jodi Hersh 1:02:43
But, Kim, right.
Kim Doyal 1:02:46
This is true. Kim is a hard one to mess up. So yeah, Kim doyal.com. And again, you guys, just thank you. It’s been a pleasure. It’s been a ton of fun. And hopefully, you do feel how much we love and care about each other. And, you know, we’ll still be supporting each other behind the scenes. So you’re not done with the duo just yet?
Jodi Hersh 1:03:08
No, definitely not. This was not an easy decision, either.
Kim Doyal 1:03:11
No, it’s one week had to revisit for probably a year. So know that we didn’t take this lightheartedly at all.
Jodi Hersh 1:03:21
All right, videos.
Kim Doyal 1:03:22
Thanks, guys. Time for a new chapter. And we’ll catch us somewhere else soon. Bye, buddy. Well, there you have it. There is our big announcement. It is bittersweet. But we’re both very excited about everything we’re doing and where things are heading. So you can go to content creators planner.com. And our blowout sale to take care of the rest of the inventory will be on the site when this goes live. So that’s it, guys. Thanks again for being on the journey with us. And if you purchase a planner, thank you. And my suggestion would be to get a PDF version of the planner, and then you have lifetime access to it. Anyway. You guys are wonderful. As always, thanks for listening, and I’ll catch you next time