Podia: 10 Features You Will Love

Podia: 10 Features You Will Love

I’m not one for hyperbole, so it means something when I say Podia is the best thing to happen to my business.

I switched to Podia in early 2018, and have not once regretted that decision (find out why I dumped Thinkific for Podia). It’s a one-stop shop for my offerings and makes my life so much easier. My favorite part, though, is that I’m PAYING LESS and getting so much more. How often can you say that?

In this post, I’m sharing the 10 features that I love most about Podia. If you run an online business or just want to make extra money from online offerings, Podia could be the best platform for your selling needs.

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This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase via a link here, I’ll get a commission. The price is the same for you whether you use my link or buy directly from the vendor.

 

1. Create Online Courses

Creating an online course is a great way to showcase your authority and earn money. With so many hosting platforms out there, why choose Podia? For me, it’s simple—because you can sell courses but also make extra dollars by also selling digital downloads and memberships. Oh, and Podia is REALLY easy to use … their new, more robust editor is pretty intuitive and customizable.

There’s no limit to how many courses you can sell, and you can easily include video, audio, downloads, quizzes, and more in your courses. You can also deliver the content all at once or drip it out over time.

CHECK OUT PODIA FOR YOURSELF!

2. Sell Digital Downloads

One of the best ways to showcase your style and expertise is with a digital download. It’s also one of the easiest ways to start earning money online. It’s so simple to put together a PDF, eBook, guide, or workbook using Canva, or to create a template or audio file that you can sell.

Also, if you’re not yet ready to invest in an email marketing platform like ConvertKit, you can use the digital download option as a free way to deliver your opt-in (also called a lead magnet or freebie).

 

3. Host a Membership

The reason I switched to Podia was because I wanted to create a membership and my previous course-hosting platform didn’t provide that service. Now, I can sell everything in one place rather than having to pay separate providers for each thing (ie, Thinkific for courses, Gumroad for downloads, and Kajabi for memberships).

Memberships are an awesome way to earn recurring income from your audience. It allows you to build a community of fans who love your content, engage with you, and support your work. You can even set them up “Patreon” style but without all the extra fees!

 

4. Make More with Bundles

Combine two or more products together and sell them as a package to generate additional revenue. Offer multiple products for a single price (that’s lower than the sum of the original prices), incentivize prospects to purchase a new product (by including another product with their purchase), or create customized bundles for different customer personas (e.g. “The Course Creator Bundle”, “The Blogger Bundle”, etc…).

Bundles are a smart way to make more money per sale, and to help your customers with a more comprehensive offering.

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5. Use Upsell Offers

Upsells are a great way to increase the size of your orders by giving your customer a great deal on adding additional products to their purchase. You can set up an upsell for any course or download so customers who are already buying from you can very easily make an impulse buy of an additional product.

Using discounts on the upsells can incentivize someone to make an additional purchase they may not have otherwise, which ups your total earnings without all the extra effort of a lengthy email sales campaign pushing other offers.

 

6. Basic Email System

Podia has a very basic email marketing system actually built into it. This is really great for anyone who is newer to online selling and doesn’t yet want to invest in a more robust and pricey platform like ConvertKit (what I use and love).

While not comprehensive, the internal email system does allow you to create drip campaigns that are triggered with a purchase (perhaps a series of emails to sell a buyer of a digital download on a more expensive course), or one-time campaigns that can be used for weekly newsletters or to update students/members about changes to your courses/memberships.

You get basic analytics (how many people received the email and when, plus open and click rates). You can’t yet schedule emails, but it is a feature that is likely to be added soon (I’ve requested it, and Podia is usually good about getting to customer requests pretty quickly).

 

7. Create Quizzes for Courses

A pretty snazzy (and newer) feature on Podia? Quizzes. You can now add them easily to your courses to help to reinforce what your students learn. They are simple, clean, and easy to use—plus, they work on mobile.

Just ask whatever questions you want and then when a student finishes answering all of your questions, they’ll see their final results before moving onto the next lesson in your course.

CHECK OUT PODIA FOR YOURSELF!

8. Embed the Buy Button

These features aren’t necessarily listed in order of preference because the embedded checkout is probably my very favorite feature. It allows you to turn any web page into a sales page, meaning visitors can buy your Podia products without ever leaving that page.

Seriously, this was a game changer for me. Now I can create my own landing pages on my WordPress site and allow people to buy my course or digital download (or enroll in my membership) without having to navigate away from my website. Remember, the more steps someone has to take to purchase, the more likely they are to change their mind.

You can see how the buy buttons work on this page where I sell low-cost masterclasses. There are also options to create product cards (with an image, product title, and description along with the buy button) or text links that embed the checkout trigger directly into a text hyperlink.

 

9. Set Start Dates

If you don’t have evergreen courses (those that are available for purchase and automatic start at any point), don’t worry. You set a course to start at a future date, so you can pre-sell your courses and get paid while you create!

This can be helpful in a few different scenarios:

  1. You’d like to pre-sell your course and allow students to pay for it before the launch date.
  2. You’d like to have all of your students start your course at exactly the same time.
  3. You’d like to run your course multiple times per year (and have everyone start at the same time).

With this feature, your students will be charged immediately after they purchase. This is different from Podia’s pre-launch feature, which simply collects email addresses of people interested in buying your course when it launches. You can also remove a start date (and give everyone access immediately) anytime before the start date passes.

 

10. Integrations Make Life Easier

Podia integrates seamlessly with most major email marketing platforms, including ConvertKit, Mailchimp, AWeber, Drip, MailerLite, and ActiveCampaign. There is also an integration that allows you to connect your shop with ThriveCart for affiliate marketing (although I just use Podia’s built-in affiliate system because it works for my needs at this point).

Also, you can use Zapier to automatically do a ton of super specific tasks. You can create a Zap to add a new member to a Google Sheet or to receive a Slack message for every new purchase, as examples.

CHECK OUT PODIA FOR YOURSELF!



How to Handle a Jerk Client

How to Handle a Jerk Client

Here’s an axiom that drives me nuts: The customer is always right.

Sometimes customers are not only wrong, but they’re also total jerks about it.

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. Stay in business long enough, and you’ll have to deal with at least a few lemon clients.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about no-good-pain-in-the-behind clients…

1. You teach people how to treat you. If you allow a jerk client to treat you poorly once, there’s a decent chance they’ll do it again (and again and again). Setting boundaries, speaking up for yourself, and demanding respect can be difficult, but they’re essential skills that every business owner must develop.

2. Up your screening game. The best way to not work with jerks is to not take them on as clients in the first place. Although not foolproof, a thorough and thoughtful screening system (discovery calls, applications, screening questions, etc.) can help weed out bad fits before they sign your contract.

3. Charge more. One axiom I do tend to believe is this: You get what you pay for (or what you charge). Bargain hunters can sometimes be the most difficult of all customers. They want everything, but expect to pay next to nothing. There are jerks with deep pockets, too, but competing only on price can meaning setting yourself up to deal with one jerk after another.

4. It’s not you, it’s them. Name calling, blaming, belittling… when jerk clients do these things, it’s easy to allow your self-esteem take a hit. If you did good work and were professional, then their behaviors are a reflection on them, not you. They are just trying to make themselves feel big by making you feel small. Don’t let them!

5. Be thankful. When a customer reveals themselves as a jerk, be grateful. Now you can end the relationship and free up that space for good clients. Yes, losing a customer (even a jerky one) can mean a painful financial hit. Nonetheless, I’d rather take that hit than endure an abusive client relationship. I love myself too much to suffer fools, no matter the price.

Not sure how to fire those jerk clients? Here are my best tips for firing a client without burning bridges.

How to handle a jerk client with video
How to handle a jerk client without losing your small business
Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Many people have told me they’d never hire a coach who wasn’t “successful.” Their definitions vary wildly, anywhere from making a certain dollar amount (usually six figures) to having no credit card debt.

Almost universally, people think a coach must be doing much better than them.

I’ve given that a lot of thought in the last few months. Part of me gets, and somewhat agrees, with what they’re saying.

Another part of me, a much bigger part at this point, thinks it totally misses the mark. Here’s why.

I’m really, really, really good at helping other people with things like clearing mental blocks, figuring out their message, getting clarity about their offering, and coming up with strategic action plans.

For myself? Not nearly as good.

I regularly encounter my own mental hurdles, still struggle with pinpointing my message, keep massaging my offer, and sometimes veer off my plan. Also, I was a bit shy of hitting six figures in 2018 and I have a healthy amount of credit card debt.

[I could go into this last bit a lot more — like how arbitrary “six figures” is (gross or profit? $100k or $999k?), or that debt is an incredibly common byproduct of divorce (not to mention childbirth in a broken healthcare system) — but that’s not the point.]

The Truth About Business Coaches

All of this used to make my inner critic pipe up and say, “How can you help others when you’re not yet a millionaire?” And the very fact that I had those imposter syndrome moments seemed like evidence that I had no business calling myself a mindset coach.

Then, I started talking about this with other coaches. Turns out, I’m not alone. Not even close.

Here’s the truth about business coaches: Almost all of us operate with some degree of “do as I say, not as I do.”

That’s why so many coaches hire coaches themselves. We need outside perspective as much as anyone. We need advice, support, and (sometimes) a swift kick in the pants, too.

Does having faults, struggles, or credit-card debt make someone a bad coach? No. It makes them human.

I help my clients. I’ve seen them make giant mindset shifts, get incredible clarity, go from stuck to inspired, get clients, make more money. But I’m not leaps and bounds ahead of my clients. Usually, I’m only a few steps ahead (and, in some cases, I’m still working on some of same issues as them).

While my inner critic still has plenty to say, she’s no longer telling me I’m not successful enough to coach.

I realized I wouldn’t want a coach who claims to know it all (have they stopped learning?), or who is miles ahead of me (can they remember what it’s like to be where I am?). I want someone who is always growing and who really gets my struggles. And I know I can be that person for others.

The takeaway? There will always be someone in your field who knows more than you or earns more than you. Also, you may be an awful lot better at helping others with whatever you do than doing it for yourself. That doesn’t mean you don’t have something incredible to offer. You do, and there are plenty of people out there who will want to work with you (faults and all).

Ready to invest in coaching? My program includes a monthly face-to-face call, plus unlimited virtual access to me without a long-term commitment. I’d love to help you clear limiting beliefs, get clear about your values and message, define meaningful goals, and map out how to reach them in 2019. Learn more or apply here.

The Truth About Business CoachesThe Truth About Business Coaches

Undeniable and Relentless

Undeniable and Relentless

There was an interesting conversation this week inside my membership community, and I’m sharing because I think it’s a great lesson about how to become an industry expert and business leader.

A member shared this TED talk from a stylist who talks about dressing for confidence. Another member saw it and was upset for a reason I wouldn’t have expected.

Her response: “It bothers me that I frequently see articles go viral that are the things I talk about on an everyday basis. …. Seeing other people succeed at being so much like me is a little depressing at the moment. I feel like Monica in that episode of Friends where that girl steals her identity and lives her life better than she does.”

She went on to ask how someone does such a thing, identifying a topic, embracing it, marketing it, becoming known for it.

First, I am so honored that members of my community feel safe enough to express such real, raw, vulnerable feelings. I love that they know they won’t be judged and instead will be embraced and given positive feedback. That’s magical.

Second, this person’s experience is so incredibly common. So many of us are sitting on life’s sidelines and (with bitterness, anger, resentment, disappointment, sadness) saying, “How do I get in the game?” I’ve been there, too.

My response is equally simple and difficult: Just do it.

What I said to that member of my community: “You can’t think something or wish something but not do something and then be surprised when no one knows you can do that thing. If you have something to say, then say it.”

The woman in this TED talk probably started talking about this topic among friends or on her Facebook page, then turned it into a blog, then shared it on podcasts and local media, then turned it into a signature speech that she gave at local and then larger events, and finally applied to TED.

The takeaway? She honed the message until it was undeniable and then shared it relentlessly. That is how you become an industry expert. It’s also how you grow a successful business.

Success = Being Undeniable + Being Relentless

Of course, I recognize that’s easier to say than do. It takes clarity and confidence. It means honing your craft or message over time, making hard cuts and tweaking over and over until it’s undeniable. It means being persistent even when times get hard and you feel like giving up. This is the hard part.

So, the woman in the TED talk was successful because she did it. More importantly, she was successful because she believed in herself and believed she could be successful.

My member went on to ask about the mechanics of the process (ie, how doing a TED talk equals money and how to go from idea to undeniable). First, this woman is a stylist so that’s how she makes money; the talking, I’m sure, serves to increase her following and potential client base (or, maybe, to lead into something like selling a book). Second, it’s not just “build it and they will come.” More than just writing a blog post, you have to share it everywhere, ask others to share it, pitch yourself to podcasts and media and for speaking opportunities. You have to work hard for a long time.

Again, it’s like running a business. You can just put up a website and wait for clients to find you. You have to network, share content (provide value), do discovery calls or pitch yourself, ask for referrals, and never give up. Over and over and over again. Undeniable + relentless…

If you’re still stuck on the sidelines and not sure how to move from wishing to doing, let me offer a few resources to help you get going.

First, that’s what I do for my clients so hiring a coach is a great idea if you’re ready to really invest in yourself. If you can’t yet pay hundreds of dollars for help and want to DIY your mindset makeover, here are a few books I recommend*:

  • “Mindset” by Carol Dweck … Learn the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, and why the latter is so darn important. This may be an eye-opening book that helps you begin to see why your upbringing and life experiences are making it difficult for you to dream and do bigger.
  • “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks … Want to dig even deeper into why you’re stuck? This book will help you clearly make the association between your past and where you are today. And once you can recognize those patterns, you can begin to change them. I can’t stress enough how transformative this book can be and has been for so many of my clients (and for myself).
  • “Braving the Wilderness” by Brené Brown … I adore every word Brené has ever written. I think this book is especially helpful for people who feel like they are too “different” or aren’t “enough” to ever be wildly successful. I don’t know how anyone can read the included story about Viola Davis and not be forever changed.
  • “Expectation Hangover” by Christine Hassler … If you tend to get caught up in a cycle of big hopes and giant disappointments, then do yourself the favor of reading this book. It has lots of great exercises to help you understand the roots of your wish-defeat cycle and how to begin to dismantle it so you can let go of outcomes and finally feel joy in the moment.
  • “Building a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller … If your problem isn’t so much mindset but just figuring out how to craft an undeniable message, then this is the book for you. The step-by-step guide for making your story compelling has been revolutionary for my business.

I hope this inspires you to be undeniable and relentless so you can become an industry expert and business leader. I know you can do it!

 

* This post contains affiliate links. If you use them, I’ll receive a small reward but the cost is the same to you either way.

How to become an industry expert

How to become an industry expert and business leader

How to Measure Goals

How to Measure Goals

Last year, I set a bunch of lofty goals and…I failed to achieve any of them. It didn’t feel great but, after the initial sting, it helped me see an opportunity for growth. I realized it’s time to shift how I craft and measure goals.

In short, I need to stop creating ego-driven goals.

Here’s what I mean. When I sat down last month to assess how things went in 2018, I immediately felt disappointed. I hadn’t hit any of the numbers I’d written down when the year began. Not one. But when I got honest with myself, I wasn’t surprised.

Those numbers were HUGE and completely arbitrary. I pulled them from thin air because they looked good.

If I made six figures, I’d feel successful.
If I had an email list of 10,000, I’d feel important.
If I reached 5,000 Instagram followers, I’d feel cool.

It didn’t matter that I was building a new business and starting from $0. Or that it had already taken me a year to get just 1,400 people on my email list. Or that 5k Insta followers would be a nearly 500% jump in one year.

Are you tired of setting and failing to reach your goals each year? Learn about how I'm making changes to better measure goals.

Clearly, my goals weren’t based on reality—they were just numbers designed to stroke my ego. And, at the end of the year, I didn’t feel successful, important, or cool. I felt like a big ol’ failure.

Thankfully, I’ve done enough mindset work at this point that I don’t stay in the self-pity place for long. Instead, I did some more digging to see what I could learn from my numbers.

Turns out, it wasn’t all gloom and doom. In fact, there was a ton of good news hidden in my “subpar” results.

1. Income Goal
Bad news: I didn’t hit $100k
Good news: I increased revenues 83% without additional childcare hours (meaning, I did it while working an average of 25 hours a week). All 100% of the increase came from an entirely new business (coaching), which grossed more than $30k in its first year. And my original business, corporate writing, earned more than $45k (same as the year prior) despite my divided attention.

2. Email Goal
Bad news: I didn’t grow a list of 10,000
Good news: In fact, I ended 2018 with a list of just under 1,000 (50% less than at the start of 2018). That sounds like a giant flop, until you learn that I cut my email list from 1,500 to 300 in May in response to GDPR (a new European email privacy law). So, I actually tripled my email list in just 7 months. Better yet, my open and response rates also went up.

3. Instagram Goal
Bad news: I didn’t get to 5,000 followers
Good news: My Instagram following only grew by about 200 followers (of course, I didn’t really engage on the platform so, duh!). But, my overall social media reach grew by 41%. That’s about 2,200 more followers (across all platforms combined) than I had in 2017. I’ll take it.

This year, everything is different. No more vanity metrics! I’m using the OKR method, which my amazing friend Angela at All The Ops teaches (or you can learn about it in John Doerr’s Measure What Matters) to outline goals that are incredibly specific. I’m also using the last year of real data to choose numbers based on historical trends (as in, no more expecting to grow page views by 500% if my average annual increase is 10%).

I also invested in a detailed audit of my analytics (you should, too, and Annie’s Crafty Marketing is the company to hire!). This helped me see what’s really working and what isn’t so I can invest my time, money, and energy into high-impact activities.

Finally, I’m doing monthly check-ins (with the amazing members of my membership community) to regularly assess what’s working and to tweak and refine my goals and to-do list based on actual results.

Instead of feeding the ego monster this year, 2019 will be all about combining data with intuition to guide my choices and measure goals. How did you set and measure goals this year? Comment below!

 
Business Success

Business Success

How to Succeed in Business: It's not as Easy as Some Experts Make it Seem

Last week, someone in my VIP membership community asked about how to succeed in business. She bravely shared that she’d made zero Black Friday sales and was generally feeling completely defeated.

“This is getting too exhausting. I haven’t made money in months and it’s killing me.”

She said she’s now second guessing every decision she makes, and she’s even beginning to think that maybe people just don’t like her.

The post broke my heart … and it made me mad.

I’m mad at the online “gurus” who contributed to her feelings. They clog our newsfeeds with “easy secrets” for five-figure launches and six-figure businesses and growing a massive following. They tell us they know how to succeed in business and make it seem oh-so-simple.

Enough is enough.

Here’s the truth. It may not be what anyone wants to hear, but I think it’s what everyone (especially this amazing woman in my community) needs to hear:

Starting and running a successful, sustainable business is HARD WORK. Period.

Are there unicorns who lucked their way to the top overnight? Sure. But for most of us, it takes time to craft clear messaging and create a solid offer. It takes time to build a following or a network of ideal clients. It takes time to nurture them and to get them to buy. It takes time to develop loyal clients who become repeat buyers. Want to know how to succeed in business? The answer is it takes time.

I’m sick of people trying to sell the bill of goods that you can somehow skip ahead in line if you just learn their handy, dandy secrets.

I’m even more sick that I’ve seen behind some of those curtains and now realize that many of these same people fail to tell you that their “7-figure business” is based on gross numbers and they actually clear something far less. Or that the “5-figure launch” they’re hyping cost $5,000 or more in Facebook ads. Or that their “overnight success” came because of a total fluke viral post or because they were an early adopter of a now-overrun social media channel.

Very often, with a little digging, you discover the truth isn’t as simple as the promise.

If you’ve ever done home repairs, you’ve probably heard “you can have it good, fast, or cheap — pick two.” The same is true with business.

👉 You can build a financially successful business fast and cheap, but it will probably be a really crappy business (as in, one built on tricks or lies).
👉 You can build a GOOD and financially successful business fast, but it won’t be cheap (as in, you’ll need to spend a lot of money on ads, lists, or professional help).
👉 You can build a GOOD and financially successful business cheap, but it will take time (as in you, you’ll need to float that business while you DIY your way into clients).

I’ve chosen Option 3 (good and cheap, not fast) both times I’ve built a business.

The first time, I spent 6 months planting seeds for and saving money to float a freelance writing business while I was still working full-time. Then I spent another 6 or more months relying on my savings as I actually grew the business after leaving my 9 to 5.

The second time, I spent 6 months laying the foundation for a coaching business while making 100% of my income from my writing business. This year, I began to make money from coaching but I’m still doing writing work to sustain myself financially.

As I shared with my membership group, less than half of my income this year came from the work I really want to be doing (coaching, community, and courses). By the end of next year, I hope to be making almost all of my income from this new venture.

That’s not glamorous, and it certainly isn’t the stuff of flashy Facebook ads. But it’s my truth, and the truth of so many other successful business owners I know.

Why am I sharing this today?

I want you to know you’re not alone. You’re not alone if, like the woman in my membership community, your business has you feeling exhausted and frustrated. You’re not alone if, like her, it’s taking more time and energy than expected to be successful.

If you feel that way, take a deep breath and know it’s normal. Then, silence the voices that are adding to those feelings. They aren’t helping you and, more than likely, their “secrets” about how to succeed in business won’t either. Finally, find yourself a business community that is built on truth and support.

Surround yourself with others who “get it” and who are willing to share the good, bad, and ugly of owning a business (not just the Instagram-worthy highlights).

You can build the business of your dreams. You can get rich from your special gifts and talents. But if it takes you more than a few weeks or if the “3 secrets” don’t work for you, that doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It means you’re normal, and that’s okay.

Good, fast, or cheap—which 2 are you choosing? Comment below and let me know!

How to Succeed in Business: What the Experts Don't Always Tell You