28 Jun Explore the Digital Landscape – Anne Mandler and Susie Romans Show You How
Anne Mandler interviews Susie Romans and explores the digital landscape for the Spring/Summer 2016 No. 2 of ANNE
ANNE: Alright, I am really excited because I have a special guest here today with me, Susie Romans. Susie and I have chatted before, and she is so lovely that I wanted to do a part two. Let me just give you a little bit of background on Susie. Susie Romans helps women who have a powerful expertise, skill, talent, or story to create freedom with an online business model that allows you to work less and earn more. As an online business coach, she has assisted hundreds of clients in the creation and growth of their online brand, and with a personal blog that has received 5.3 million web visitors with no advertising, she is an expert in marketing and online based business models. Susie is redefining what is possible at work and as a stay at home mom and CEO of a thriving business. Susie, I just want to welcome you and thank you again for being here today.
SUSIE: Thank you for having me. I love doing these. I love video, so this is fun.
ANNE: That’s great, me too. Well, I think one of the main things that I Iove to have you on for is just your directness but also the way that you explain business to entrepreneurs and the range of people who are in the audience. We have people who are starting at just above the early stage of forming an entrepreneurial businesses and people who are a little bit more advanced. From that perspective, I ask you what you’re excited about in the world of business right now, and what’s your favorite topic to talk about?
SUSIE: Yeah, good question. I love to see how the online business kind of landscape is evolving, and what I’m seeing is people who are coming online who have some sort of expertise or skill set, talent, or even story, a message to share, something they’ve gone through can really and are really exploding. So people that I’ve seen, kind of been watching from two to three years ago that are just exploding. I think you really have to own what you have and get clear on the angle that you want to brand yourself. There’s a lot of noise and there’s also a lot of room for people who know exactly what they do. I’m going to keep repeating that, but whether it’s an expertise or a skill set, talent, or even a story, I really do believe….[being able to say exactly what you do is important].
You know, we think about people like Brendon Burchard who really started with just a story. It was not life changing but more of near death experience is what I’m saying, with his car accident and that’s how he started. So we all as online entrepreneurs have to plant our feet and set a foundation on something and know that it may change and evolve, and we look at great leaders like Oprah and Brendon and these huge brands. They certainly didn’t hang their hat on that one thing, but they started with some specific story or expertise and then grew it from there. So I love seeing everyone’s business really exploding, and I love when I come across entrepreneurs that really know their thing. You know, they have clarity on what it is that they’ve branded themselves to be, so that’s really lighting me up.
ANNE: Yes. I had the opportunity to talk with Brendon Burchard briefly about two weeks ago, and I think one thing that’s really refreshing about him and what he does, is one, he sticks with the story that is his actual true, simplest, ‘essence of Brendon’ and then two, he takes you through the path of where he has been and then where he is going. You mentioned Oprah in the same sentence and recently those two (Oprah and Brendon) have worked together to form beneficial relationships at this point. Like you said, it’s really obvious that if you’re true to your brand from the beginning and you’re speaking authentically, so much brilliance can come through. I think it’s a faster path to not only having and creating that audience, and being able to take your audience through your evolution.
SUSIE: Yeah, absolutely, and I know we talked before we went live here on the call about this huge movement of online learning, and I actually spoke to somebody who was a part of Brendon Burchard’s marketing team when he was doing that ‘O’ Course with Oprah. Yeah, so it was cool to hear it from the side of his marketing team guy and also just seeing, I mean, ads coming up now where Christina Aguilera is teaching online classes. I mean this is huge.
It’s like a green light. This is the time if you have something, a story, expertise, talent, whatever you have and you’re powerful and passionate and you know that it’s something that’s really good that’s needs to be out there, it’s time to like package that up, you know what I mean. This online learning landscape is exploding and I love that anyone from a mom sitting at home on her computer to Oprah are doing these courses and selling them.
ANNE: Absolutely, yes, I agree. I think the other thing that we touched on earlier is this magic that really comes through. It’s a combination of your story and what needs to be told. I think one thing that people can be challenged with at different levels depending on where you are as an entrepreneur is how to best synthesize that and promote it in a way that is authentic and is still doing for you what you need it to do in terms of making money as a business owner.
So Susie, is that something that you’re interested in talking about? I know that my audience has a set of particular challenges and those are not far from your audience’s challenges. I think one really big challenge is feeling like there’s so much information out there. So how do I really concentrate on one thing that is going to maximize or push me to the next level?
SUSIE: Yeah, well I think that there are two things that come to mind. The first one is that they have been done before — the thing that you want to teach or the thing you’re passionate about, the story that you want to tell may have been told or done by other people. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed that someone else has done it, right? The thing to remember is that it’s never been done by you, so you’re coming at it with a different background, and different life experiences. You are your own person, so nobody else has done it your way because you’re unique. Right and we all are. There was this talk that I think it was by Elizabeth Gilbert…
ANNE: I was just going to bring her up when you said that. We’re on the same wavelength…
SUSIE: …Where this inspiration is coming from. I heard her say the same thing. It’s not been done by you, right? So that’s one major thing and you have to really believe in yourself too and be able to stand on that foundation that I am unique enough and I am talented enough to put this out there and really have certainty in that because if you don’t, you’re not going to go all the way. I do believe that there has to be a certain level of determination and certainty within yourself that you’re going to drive this all the way. The other thing that comes to mind is that it’s never been done by you. You may have to come back to it.
ANNE: Well, there are a couple of things you’re particularly adept at speaking about. One is in the marketing realm and taking the online world in a kind of step-by-step way that’s palatable for people. I think that’s one challenge in terms of thinking, about the audience, and you know, I’ve been there. I know friends who have been there. There’s just a lot going on socially right now. Do you have a piece of advice or something that you would like to remind people of about taking those baby steps in the direction of where technology and entrepreneurship are going?
SUSIE: Sure. I mean you definitely need to be clear on what you want to create and through what method you want to create it. In the simplest terms, how do you want to make money and how do you want to sell your thing? It could be a $97 audio program, something that’s simple that’s MP3s with maybe some PDFs and workbooks, which is an information product, right. You could be running a live group program that’s $5,000 a person and you’d bring on ten clients. They’re very different and there are so many different business models out there, which is really exciting and it can be confusing, too.
So I think you really need to focus — laser focus on the one that you want to actually do, and then the other thing that comes to mind is to know your ICAs, your ideal customer avatars, client avatars. Know that it’s okay to have multiples. It’s something that gosh I was so for like a long time like harping on this and just kind of oh I don’t have clarity. I don’t have clarity. I have to hire another coach and another coach, and the truth is that I just had to be okay with the fact that I have multiple [ICAs] that I can help millennials who are 22 years old and want to get started online and have this freedom-based business, but I need to get really clear on who they are, what they want, and how I’m going to talk to them in a way that weeds out the people who are going to waste my time. Those who are not really that dedicated or don’t have that determination or certainty that I was talking about.
So have your ICAs. I was just saying millennials and mothers. I have clients, this bracket of more experienced people who built a career around something. Maybe they’re in their 40s or 50s, and they’re kind of nervous about the online landscape because they’re not techie. They’re not online people, so they look to other generations that are getting this software and how to build online courses and just clicking. So there’s all these different kind of ICAs, and I finally just allowed myself to embrace that and get really clear on the hooks and the messaging and positioning. How am I going to attract these different ICAs and diversify all my offerings?
We’re living in an era where the online learning is huge like we just talked about, so embrace it and have fun with it and enjoy the creative process, and there’s been so many things that I’ve upgraded from just doing screen share tutorial style things to now hiring video teams to come in my home office and they’ll record and do the whole production so all I have to do is show up, be the expert and talk, and then we can package this whole thing up and sell it. That’s when I say like have fun with it. When it used to feel stressful it was because I had to do it all. I had to create the PowerPoint and do the screen record and teach and then export the file and edit the whole thing and upload it. It was so much and so overwhelming. It’s like how can you make it fun. You know what’s fun, looking glamorous, having video people come in and you just get to sit there and do your thing, be the expert, teach or tell your story and what not.
ANNE: I get what you’re talking about in a very clear way. In terms of technology that goes along with who you’re trying to serve and how you’re trying to serve. It’s really not just you being diverse in who you’re reaching as millennial or Gen X, or working mom, but in message and I think this is what I’m hearing from you. It’s that you can also have really clear multiple service pieces. That yes, you teach one thing and you might also be brilliant at teaching something else. There are ways to connect and make your business truly unique to you. I think you can serve more people and provide more value in that way.
SUSIE: Yes, and I think what you have to have in mind when you’re doing multiple service offerings is, one obvious thing is the price points, but also the customer journey. When people first come to your brand, where are they and what position or circumstance are they in that they want to fix, and that they want a solution to. This versus when someone has already been aware of your brand and they’ve bought your entry-level product what’s next and how can you serve them on this whole journey? Because building a business — it’s the same with weight loss or relationships, I mean it’s all a journey. We evolve as people where we are right now. It’s going to be different from five years in all areas of our life. Think about that and the customer journey. Something that I’ve recently done with one of my entry-level products, my $97 level, is the cheapest kind of thing, the entry-level it’s about the money mindset. It’s an unstoppable mindset, and I think that that’s so fitting at the beginning part of the customer journey because I won’t teach you how to create and sell an e-course or an online product if you don’t mentally believe that you can do it and be successful, put yourself out there and all, right. So it’s very fitting to be at the beginning of the journey and then people kind of grow with me and can buy my more expensive or higher end programs.
ANNE: We’re really talking about organic growth and I think that’s crucial at the speed at which we’re moving as well. Not only is technology changing but the way that business is changing is so fast. I really believe in a lot in research and tell me what you think of this Susie — I don’t believe that you necessarily have to have the product and completely research from back to front and back again and wait and do another beta and do it again. I think sometimes what holds people up and even puts people at bay from taking the plunge and jumping into business in the first place, is not giving themselves the room and the freedom to be able to test while they’re going. I think testing is super important. I think it’s crucial to building a business and understanding your product and understanding your customers, but I do think that we need to be able to research and test and give ourselves a break as we grow.
SUSIE: Right, right.
ANNE: Is that something that resonates with you? I feel like sometimes people hesitate to get started because of that process. Do you know what I’m saying?
SUSIE: I know what you’re saying, and I have a couple of thoughts on that, too. I think it’s the research part I consider to be like listening, almost like eavesdropping on people who have a problem and look in groups in Facebook forums or groups or they’re all these blogs where people are commenting and talking about their problems and issues and circumstances that they’re in that they want to get out of whatever that may be. It can span over all different industries. So that listening part is huge. If research sounds daunting, think about it more of like I’m just going to go listen and read and see what people are saying and talking about, and then when you say testing, I believe the first that you can do is throw out a freebie. Imagine just creating a free video or a free webinar or a free PDF on that topic that you’re considering of creating, like an offering around it, and then like you’re saying, test it out. Are you actually getting opt-ins? Are people signing up for it? Because if they’re not even signing up for the free thing, what are the chances that they’re going to buy your course about it, right? Absolutely listen, put together some sort of freebie. If you want to be simple, a one page PDF. If you want to really put in time and attention, make it like a three-part video series, but put it out there for free and see what interest you get. That’s a great way to gauge whether or not you should begin to put the whole e-course or the larger thing together.
ANNE: Right. I think also if you do get to the point where you’ve tested and you’ve tried and you got feedback and then you launch that beautiful thing out into the world and it doesn’t go exactly as planned, you can always take it back and modify it and put it back out there. I think that’s the beauty of where we’re at right now as well.
SUSIE: Oh yeah, tweaking. That’s like my favorite word. It’s always about tweaking. It’s always about changing and evolving and maybe I’m just an optimist, but in my brain it’s like it’s not failing, it just needs a little tweaking, like what can we change or shift, and gosh it’s happened to me where I’ve had, I don’t know that I would say full out launches but sending out an email or maybe a whole week’s worth of emails and I didn’t get a sale, so I’m like alright, I’m not taking this off the market. I’m just going to hire a copywriter and a Facebook ads person, and so I bring in experts and advisors to look at this thing and tell me where the disconnect is. It’s either messaging or it’s you just don’t have enough traffic. So I figure that out and gauge what is it I need to edit. The copy, the positioning, the branding, or I ask if there is visually something off where it just doesn’t look like a premium program but yet it’s a premium price tag. Or again, it could just be the volume of traffic. It’s just not high enough, you know.
SUSIE: This shows up with clients where they feel like something is failing, and I say well, how many hits have you had to this sale’s page? How many people have actually landed? It’s like fifty, seventy. I’m thinking, give me a break. We haven’t even given this thing a proper shot. There just hasn’t been enough visibility and traffic. I love that concept that it’s about the tweaking the editing. It’s not that it’s going to fail unless you legitimately have something that’s really niche, and I laugh and I say something like a cookbook for ex-NFL players or something. It’s really random. Okay, well who’s going to buy that, right? Unless it’s that one thing.
ANNE: There’s niche and then there’s niche.
SUSIE: Right, right, and I think to that point, I mean I don’t know if your viewers have already defined exactly what their industry is, but I really do believe that there’s kind of three big ones and you can probably make money in different areas, but in my opinion the three massive ones are business and making money, health/weight loss and nutrition wellness, all that falls under that, stress management, all of that does fall under that, and then there’s relationships and love. It’s like the three massive industries, and if you are in some piece of that, even maybe if that was the pie, those three pies, you know you could have a tiny little sliver in that and still be really successful. I just wanted to throw that out there.
ANNE: That’s great. I appreciate that. Is there something else? I think that we touched on what you’re really excited about right now in business. I know you’ve been traveling, and I’ve been traveling. There’s some really great people out there right now to listen to and to go see live, so it’s a two-part question. You can answer however you’d like. What is a good live event for you or how would you define that for someone who’s asking where should I go? I really want to go and get some inspiration. Then the other piece to that is the impact. How can it impact your business by going out and making those connections live?
SUSIE: Sure, yeah, so you’re just catching me on the day back from New York City. I just flew back yesterday, and I was at a live event that Selena Soo had put on, and she’s a networking and PR expert, and it was kind of a mid-range in terms of how many people, probably two to three hundred people, however it was a really amazing group of high-level people. I believe in networking and that live events are massively important. Not only just to ignite momentum and inspiration in us but also to connect with people who are really going places who are just on fire, and that was a big part of my decision was to be side-by-side mingling with and hanging out with some of the top leaders. I got to spend a lot of time with Kimra Luna who just came out of a 1.2 million dollar launch. We got to hang out, and I was able talk with her one-on-one about her family and how all of it works. Who’s watching the kids while she’s in launch mode and all that good stuff all the way down to Ramit Sethi and Derek Halpern. I mean these amazing, huge names in our industry. To be in the same room as them, to be having lunch shoulder-to-shoulder with these guys, it’s just hugely amazing. I would say definitely, I signed up the VIP access — which I think is a no-brainer because when you go VIP you’re able (like I was saying) to have dinner, have lunch, be at the cocktail parties, be able to really create relationships there and make the most out of it.
There’s kind of two parts to how these events happen. There are definitely the ones that are more open to the public. I mean Brendon’s probably have thousands of people where you’re probably not going to be able to hang out with him, but it’s also that you’re more of a general attendee or what not, or if there’s that many people, I kind of expect that I’m not really going to be able to mingle with some of the speakers. However, when you choose to sign up for smaller events, a hundred to two hundred people or less, you can plan to create some real friendships and mastermind partners. So definitely invest, go VIP when you can because it’s about the caliber of people you get to connect with. If you’re at an event where the ticket was $5,000 a person, the people who are there have really pretty successful businesses. I’m sure to some extent, if they’re able to afford a ticket like that, keep that in mind. It’s worth it, I believe, to mingle with, to create those relationships, and to be a part of that tribe and that group. And to create those relationships how else would you ever do that? Because if you’re just going to send an email to introduce yourself, well guess what? Those people are probably getting two hundred emails a day. Yeah, so I think both really. It’s the small things, as small as a ten person mastermind to the two people events all the way down to these massive events with Tony Robbins and Brendon Bruchard. I think all of it’s worth it, and especially being online entrepreneurs we can get really lonely sitting here behind our computers. You can start to feel a little stale or kind of out of ideas. Why am I not in flow? Get out of your office. Get out of your environment. Change it up. Shake it up. Do something crazy. I’m the risk-taker type. So I like spending a lot of money investing in my business. There are things that I do on a regular basis but they always produce an ROI in either the relationship that I built or the concepts and ideas that I learned. There’s always a great benefit and a great return.
ANNE: That’s wonderful to hear and I love that you went to Selena’s event, and I think that what she’s been creating over the last couple of years just continues to grow exponentially, which is really powerful. I also like what you said about going and being with people one-on-one. There’s just nothing else that can match that. I mean it’s wonderful to be able to have even a conversation like this, but there’s so much to disengaging from your everyday to be able to go and meet people in a different environment.
SUSIE: Absolutely. I mean we’re not meant to be islands. We’re literally not meant to build our businesses alone, and when you think of anyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Steve Jobs, like all the greats, did any of them build a business alone? No. You’re crazy if you think they did. They had friends. They had advisors. They had mentors. They had investors. I mean, they were surrounded by smart people. You need to get surrounded by smart people. That would be like major advice to everyone. Get surrounded and get close with other people who are making massive change — and it’s not just about the dollar signs. It’s about the amount of people they’re reaching, the difference that they’re making, the stories that they’re telling. All of that is so amazing. I really do feel giddy and excited when I think about this generation that we live in. It’s like, who else got to do this? You know, like parents, grandparents, no one else had this opportunity to reach a million people because we have an Internet connection. That’s amazing. If that doesn’t wake you up in the morning and make you like jump out of bed, I don’t know what does.
ANNE: I agree. Well Susie, we are about ready to wrap here, but before we do I just wanted to ask you if there is something you’d like to give back, something that the audience can have for listening and being a part of our conversation and just an appreciation of everyone being here together?
SUSIE: I do. I do. I have a gift to give, and this stems from a conversation that I had with one of my coaches, and it was this moment where I told her that I’d basically work about 4 or 5 hours a day, and she stopped in her tracks and said, “Hold on a second. You’re telling me you’re working like twenty hours a week,,” and I said, “Yeah, I have two kids. I mean, it’s impossible to work more than that because when they get home from preschool, I’m mommy, you know it’s mommy time and it’s hanging out with them, playing with them. They want my attention.” So she said, “You need to share that and you need to help other women, especially moms to learn how to do that.” So I have this free webinar replay that all your listeners are welcome to have, and it’s where I talk about how I’ve built my business to multiple six figures in just twenty hours a week and that’s not like get rich quick. I mean that’s legitimately me working premium prices and leveraging my skill set through online products and programs to get to the point where I’m making multiple six figures with just a few hours a day. The URL is susieromans.com/sixfigures.
ANNE: Perfect. Yeah, I think you’re wonderful. Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate you and how you continue to grow and flourish, and it’s really obvious in the way you speak and how passionate you are about what you’re doing. I think you’re a perfect fit for this next issue and we’re excited to have you.
SUSIE: Amazing and thank you for connecting and making this happen and for leading your amazing tribe and for all the work that you do and for putting this together. I checked out your fall issue and it’s beautiful, so I’m super excited to promote this one and get the word out there because that’s what we’re all about. It’s not just the dollar signs. Like I said, it’s enjoying life and being able to build this business while feeling at peace and at ease and fulfilled.
ANNE: Absolutely, and it’s just a reminder the links to Susie’s page, is it susieromans.com?
SUSIE: Yes. It’s Susie.
ANNE: Then also being able to share and pass on to friends your link as well as annemandler.com and of course you can reach the magazine at annemagazine.com.
ANNE: Thanks everyone and take care.
SUSIE: Thank you so much. Thanks for making this happen. I’ll talk to you soon.
Susie Romans helps women who have a powerful expertise, skill, talent, or story to create freedom with an online business model that allows for working less and earning more.
As an online business coach she has assisted hundreds of clients in the creation and growth of their online brand. With a personal blog that has reached 5.3 Million web visitors (with no advertising) she is an expert in marketing and online based business models.
Susie is redefining what’s possible as a work at home mom and CEO of a thriving business.
She graduated with a Bachelor degree from Northern Illinois University in Media Communication at the age of 20 before she could legally have a beer. Then she held corporate management roles by the age of 23 balancing two kids and a successful business all by the age of 26.
Quickly turning her experience over the last seven years in sales, digital marketing and lead generation into a profitable business she has helped women and small businesses owners across the globe bring in over one million in revenue.