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From Blogging for Free to Profitable Digital Shop Owner: Anna Joy Lowell’s Business Journey

Episode 68: From Blogging for Free to Profitable Digital Shop Owner: Anna Joy Lowell’s Business Journey

Wondering what’s possible if you decide to start a digital shop?

In this episode of The Empowered Business Podcast, I sat down with one of my Digital Shop Experience students, Anna Joy Lowell, to talk about her experience in the program and how her digital shop has grown since implementing everything she learned in the program.

Anna Joy has been blogging for many years and creates printable resources to help busy teachers & parents teach engaging, joyful Bible lessons quickly!

I always say that if you are a blogger and you have a resource library full of products that you give away for free, you need to switch it all over to a digital shop. Anna was throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick until she finally started her shop and changed everything.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • Anna’s journey with her blog and products
  • The problem with the blogging business model
  • Why Anna decided to start a digital shop
  • How The Digital Shop Experience helped her improve her store 
  • The income Anna’s shop generates now after implementing what she learned in the program
  • How you can leverage your email list with your digital shop
  • What happened when Anna let go of the fear and started selling every week 
  • The impact you can make by creating a digital shop

 

The value you provide your audience should not just be free things. Take a page out of Anna’s book and move those free products over to your digital shop. And remember, selling doesn’t have to be scary! 

If you are ready to get started with your own digital shop and want some help from me, head over to https://digitalshopexperience.com to learn about the Digital Shop Experience!

Head over to http://monicafroese.com/listen to listen to this episode and previous episodes on your favorite podcast platform!

Resources Mentioned:

Speaker1: [00:00:04.89] You are listening to the Empowered Business podcast. I’m your host, Monica Froese, and if you’re like me, you want to grow a business you love that gives you financial freedom and fits your lifestyle. Every week you’ll get strategy and unfiltered opinions from me and other successful business owners that will inspire you to make big moves in your business. When we work together, we not only grow faster, we also amplify each other’s voices. Are you ready to build your business on your terms? Let’s jump in.

 

Speaker2: [00:00:37.12] And Joy, thank you so much for joining us on the Empowered Business podcast. I’m super excited to talk to you. I know you have a lot to share about your journey and that’s where I would love to kick off the interview with. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your entrepreneurial journey and what you’re doing today. Thanks, Monica. I’m so excited to be here and I really appreciate this opportunity. And if I could give a shout out to all [00:01:00.00] of those bloggers out there who are working like crazy and not seeing results in their business, and also those who are just hate selling because I’m an introverted blogger and I hate selling. So I started blogging and 2014, but when we had like flip phones a really long time ago and I was very, very part time and back then they were just like, Oh, start putting stuff online, make a blog. Everybody will get money, you know, passive income, whatnot. And it was very part time. I was home schooling. I would just do a little bit when I could Fast forward to 2020, I had already created a couple products. I’d grown an email list. I wanted to put my kids into private school. So it was, you know, my husband said, Well, you can make enough money blogging.

 

Speaker2: [00:01:46.61] We can put the kids in private school. So I started full time. At that point, I had a few products. I had an email list. I was trying to sell things. It wasn’t going great, and I was mostly doing the launch model where create a new product, [00:02:00.00] send it out to your email list, get, you know, some sales, but not enough to keep you going for the next three months. And then lots of freebies to nurture the email list as as I was going along wasn’t working great. So spring of 2021, I started running Facebook ads to a couple products and that was great to learn how to do sales pages and everything. But Summer of 2021 iOS changes made it really difficult. I was able to continue running ads profitably with all kinds of workarounds to try and figure out tracking, and that’s a whole nother story. But. Continued limping along until January of 2022, when lawsuits against Facebook forced them to stop targeting anybody based on religious, political, sexual orientation or medical. At that point, it was like a light switch turned off. My ads just completely overnight [00:03:00.00] were done. I could not get those things to work. And for reference, the name of your blog is Kids Bible teacher.com. Yeah. So quite literally the interest that.

 

Speaker1: [00:03:10.24] You needed to.

 

Speaker2: [00:03:10.78] Target they just disappeared off the map on Facebook, correct? Yes. And I was looking for basically Bible teachers and the closest I could get after they shut off that niche was targeting Joanna Gaines. I mean, seriously, like, I couldn’t get anywhere close to anything Bible or Christian related. And that affected a lot of people. I know people selling essential oils for migraine headaches could not run Facebook ads profitably anymore. So a lot of people were affected by that. So I kept struggling. Like at that point I was like, okay, I don’t know how to sell. I cannot, as a solo entrepreneur, create a new product every two weeks to launch. Yeah, I kept trying for a few months to see if I could make Facebook ads work again. Nothing. March In April [00:04:00.00] of 2022, I made a net profit for both months combined of -$164. I just didn’t know what to do. Basically, through 2022, I was pulling my own salary from business savings, just trying to figure out how to turn this thing around. Okay, so your kids were.

 

Speaker1: [00:04:22.10] In private school then in 2022 while you’re going negative. So this is a great story first. Okay.

 

Speaker2: [00:04:27.14] So going back to.

 

Speaker1: [00:04:28.52] 2014, when you.

 

Speaker2: [00:04:30.26] Started. What made you decide to blog?

 

Speaker1: [00:04:32.84] Like, what was that all about? Like, what made you decide that would be a good thing to do?

 

Speaker2: [00:04:36.17] I really wanted to be home with my kids. Okay. I was homeschooling. I’m a registered nurse. I did not want to go work 12 hour shifts on med surge, holidays, weekends, all the rest of it. I wanted the flexibility of being home. So you went into blogging, wanting to monetize it.

 

Speaker1: [00:04:53.15] It wasn’t like.

 

Speaker2: [00:04:54.44] That was your idea all along was to monetize it? Absolutely. Were you a display ad person? [00:05:00.00]

 

Speaker1: [00:05:00.29] I can’t remember if you are a display ad person now.

 

Speaker2: [00:05:03.56] No, I ran. I did not. I never ran display ads. First of all, I wasn’t getting enough traffic for a really long time. And then I was jumping on to some other Christian blogs that were running display ads and seeing ads for like suntan lotion on bikinis, which is totally fine, but not in the niche of a Christian blogger. So I was like, if I didn’t feel like I would have a lot of control over what ads would show. And by the time I needed to start making money, ads were pretty much already kind of on their way out. I felt like.

 

Speaker1: [00:05:34.92] Well terrible user experience first and agreed it’s it’s so you picked up really early on then. What I’ve been saying all along, which is, first of all, you’re going to attract people to you and then send them away. But also the ads that were being displayed through display ads were usually not very relevant to the content that they arrived on to begin with, because obviously that’s a huge disconnect. If I’m coming for Bible teachings and then you’re sending [00:06:00.00] me away to go suntan in a bikini, that doesn’t make any sense. So do you remember what your first product was that you created?

 

Speaker2: [00:06:07.22] I was trying to remember this. I don’t remember. It might have been. I’m thinking maybe the Royal Familys guide Ch’ü Family Bible study, which is not a product that you can purchase anymore.

 

Speaker1: [00:06:19.97] Okay, so but what was the first product? Because you put your kids into private school in 2020, you said, right.

 

Speaker2: [00:06:27.14] Yes. Okay.

 

Speaker1: [00:06:28.43] So what was the thing that you created that turned the tide where you were making money?

 

Speaker2: [00:06:34.55] Yeah, And it was right after that. I had some Bible study materials for kids, so little Bible journals that you could print off and use. And then right as I’m starting to do the Facebook ads, I created these huge teacher Bible teacher bundles. So it’s got all the cards like get well cards, birthday cards, tons of games, ideas, work pages. It’s like 300 pages in those bundles of just all [00:07:00.00] kinds of stuff that a Bible teacher would need in a Bible class Sunday school or whatever. And you were selling these in like a sales funnel.

 

Speaker1: [00:07:07.76] Type model so that you had a sales page for it, and then they would check out what did you use for your checkout?

 

Speaker2: [00:07:13.37] I have been on Shopify for quite a while.

 

Speaker1: [00:07:15.47] Okay. So even on the sales page, you were linking.

 

Speaker2: [00:07:18.32] To the Shopify checkout? Yes, and I was doing actually workarounds before they came up with their buy buttons. I was in there creating my own links. It was a mess. It’s Shopify with the funnels is not ideal.

 

Speaker1: [00:07:30.77] Yeah. So you hacked it a little bit. Actually. When this airs two episodes before. This is all about the difference between sales funnels and shops and why you actually still need both. But the checkout does not work for both. You need a dedicated checkout for a sales funnel and a dedicated checkout for your shopping experience because there are a lot of limitations. So everyone that was like, Well, what are those limitations? Go back to episodes and you can hear all those. So it’s interesting. Our paths are kind of like aligned in terms of when things changed [00:08:00.00] in our business, because I pretty much my slip on Facebook ads happened in the summer of 2021, like when iOS started slipping for everyone. It just for me it was like a faucet turned off then like your faucet turned off in January 2022. But we have similarities because my launch in January 2022 performed 33% plan, which is not good when you have employees. And so that was like the whoa, we have to do something different. You hit on something else there, which was in a live launch model. When you’re live launching, you need a hype around it, right? So what we all end up doing is like, let’s launch something new. And so you would create something new, get hype around it, launch it. And then it was like, okay, well, now I just spent dedicated time talking about it and now what do I do come up with again, something new. And so you did that for a little while with the live launching, right? For like what? Like a year, year and a half?

 

Speaker2: [00:08:56.36] That’s correct. And again, I’m introverted. I consider [00:09:00.00] myself a product creator. I’m a creative. So I always doubt my own products. And I hate selling because selling feels like being graded on a product. So I’m already like, Oh, I don’t know if people are going to love this. Like it’s a melancholy thing, you know? And then you go to sell it and you launch it and you’ve got one opportunity and you’re trying. So there’s all this pressure to make enough money to get you through until you can do the next launch. And then if you don’t get the response that you want, there’s just this huge letdown and it feels very personal. And then you’re like, okay, am I should I even be here anymore? Should I be doing this? And our sales have been such a change for me because now, okay, I’m running a flash sale and then if it doesn’t go well, I’m going to run another one next week. Right. And all of that pressure of having to make enough [00:10:00.00] for the next couple months is gone and I can reuse the same products, try it again six months later, tweak the copy a little bit, the sales copy or the sales page, whatever I need to do. It’s really taken away a lot of the stress and it’s also giving me practice and also it feels like I don’t have to get myself hyped up nearly as much.

 

Speaker1: [00:10:25.44] So it becomes just a part of your marketing plan so everyone knows what we’re talking about. So in the Digital Shop Experience, which is my program on developing your taking all this hard work we’ve done and putting it into a shopping experience storefront where you can actually just go and see everything we have to offer, add things to cart and all that. But the issue becomes and this was the crux and what so many people struggled with, which is why I’m so glad you mentioned it was people. You need to get people there so you can put everything you can take all this hard work that you’ve done over the years and put it in a shop. But if you’re not talking [00:11:00.00] and directing people to the shop, this is what I see so many people do. So then they’re like, okay, I’ll try a digital product shop. I have all these products, I’m going to put it in the shop and then they forget to point people there and they’re like, Well, no one wants my stuff on the shop. So my shop didn’t work. And so part of my philosophy is listen, like. Every week we should be talking to our list.

 

Speaker1: [00:11:21.25] These people are here because they want stuff from us. This is why they come to us. They want stuff. And the blogging model, which I think you did for a long time, is. The value you were giving was through sending them back to your free blog post. Like, Oh, I have this really great activity and I’m going to highlight that. And what that did was everyone got trained to be like, Oh, Anna is going to give me everything for free. And it’s really hard to run a business or pay for your kids to go to school when you’re giving everything away for free. So then you develop a product and do a launch and it’d be great. You’ll talk about it. But now you had nothing to talk about after the launch was over, and then you’d have to wait. You thought you were going to burn them out versus the reverse. [00:12:00.00] And this is what I take from it, that you’ve now train them that every week you’re going to be highlighting a great new value added thing that you have for sale. That’s what you’re doing now. And it takes that pressure off.

 

Speaker2: [00:12:14.13] Correct. And it also gives you a foundation for the entire business because I’m very like squirrel, like, you know, everywhere. And having the flash sales setting up my calendar and saying, okay, this is what I’m going to have on flash sale every week. It was like a light turning on like, Oh, wait a minute, this is what I should be posting on Facebook and Instagram about every week. It should all be cohesive. So now instead of having to constantly think, okay, what am I going to put on Facebook? And that’s going to be different from what I’m emailing about and it’s going to be different from this freebie. I put up like, No, no, everything can be all the same. So if I’m running a flash sale on the teachers bundle [00:13:00.00] for third and fourth grade this week, well, let’s talk on Facebook about the bundle and yeah, can have a couple other posts in there about an amazing game you can play with your third and fourth graders that points back to the bundle or, you know, find ways to make your third and fourth graders feel special on their birthdays. And oh, by the way, there’s a printable card in the bundle. It’s like making the whole thing cohesive where it no longer feels like my social media is completely disjointed from my blog, which is disjointed from my emails, which is nothing pointing towards my shot. Now it’s all one cohesive thing, and it’s way easier for me to wrap my mind around.

 

Speaker1: [00:13:39.24] And I feel the same way. And it’s funny because in corporate I developed marketing plans and yet for seven years doing this full time, I think what happens in the live launch model and I see it time and time again is. You know, when your live launches are going to happen. So like in terms of having a calendar like those would be calendared in because there’s so much energy [00:14:00.00] that you have to put in to an actual like huge sales event that you’re like like for me, I have to make sure like my kids are in school because if they’re home, then that’s going to be really hard to do. And so like I knew every year, like we would live launch in January, April, August, and then Black Friday was kind of like the fourth one of the year. And so we had those. But there’s a lot of time in between that. And we kind of just like you said, would squirrel. It was like, okay, we just did this big promo. Everything was about it. That was the only time, like our social media, like you said, would match what we were talking about. But then it was over and it’d be like, Uh oh, now what do we do on these two down months? We were burned out. We thought we’d burned out our list because, you know, we were like, it was so many emails in such a concentrated time that they usually weren’t getting from us. And so then it was just kind of like, well, I guess we’ll what we have to entice them. So we’ll create something new. On the downtime and then we would do that, but then would be time to go into a new launch. And so all this work we were doing, there was nowhere for people to go to see [00:15:00.00] all the great things we had to offer because we were always on to the next thing. Is that kind of how you felt?

 

Speaker2: [00:15:04.76] Yes, absolutely. And then there’s so much and there’s really good courses and good material out there geared towards bloggers. Well, this is how you grow a huge Facebook following. This is how you create reels on Instagram. This is how you do Pinterest, like all of this stuff and it can just become so overwhelming to try. I’m tired of creating tons of content for no purpose.

 

Speaker1: [00:15:30.51] And that is like unfortunately the blogging model, as it was taught, was that it was a lot of like, let’s throw spaghetti at a wall and see what sticks. And then when we saw what stuck, let’s create more of that. But yet the end game was always missed. The end game should have been, How are you making money now? Let’s create content that leads to what we’re making money. And it was just backwards. Like let’s create a lot of free content and be value led. And there’s nothing. It’s funny because when I talk about selling, [00:16:00.00] I’m always like, I’m not saying you shouldn’t offer value. Like it will be in different forms. Like for you, you still have plenty of valuable blog posts that help people for free. You know that like you can get immense value. For me, it’s the podcast because that I’m an auditory processor, so it made sense that you can go back, you know, 60 some episodes and get lots of value from me. But when it comes to once you’re in my world, a business sells. Like that’s what we do, that’s you can’t be. And just like you, it’s funny because like, I’m sure you can relate to my sentiment. Like I always say when I’m sitting here in my desk, I want to help you. But in order for me to be sitting at my desk and like I paid for a full time nanny for four years while I was building the business, I needed to make money, otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here helping you. So there just has to be that exchange. Like for you to not be homeschooling. You need to be making money. Send your kids to school. Right. Right.

 

Speaker2: [00:16:58.52] And even in a business [00:17:00.00] model, you know, I think a lot of people ask this, well, I don’t have an email audience yet. And so I was real big into creating this email audience way back in the day. I had a post all of a sudden go viral. I had 3000 signups in a period of like four days. And guess what that means when your email audience all of a sudden explodes, It means you’ve got to pay for the list. And I didn’t have at that point a good product. And I was like, I’m going to this. My audience is going to bankrupt my business.

 

Speaker1: [00:17:35.32] Which is like such a good illustration of how important it is to know the end game. You know what I equate it to? I always say. So when I was getting my undergrad. I could not stand some of the gen eds. It was just like, I don’t want to take world. Like, I just did not want to take it. So if I did not know what the end game was, the end game was I wanted my degree in order to get my degree, I had to take the gen eds and if I didn’t understand [00:18:00.00] the end point, then I would not have shown up at World Civ because I just didn’t care about it at all. But it was understanding what my end game was to get there. It’s like no different than being in business. It’s like you put out this great free content and people like it and then it goes somewhere. And you have this relationship and you’re like, uh, but didn’t know.

 

Speaker2: [00:18:18.37] What was supposed to do with it.

 

Speaker1: [00:18:20.43] Yes, yes, totally. That is the blogging game. So but you eventually picked up on the fact that products were where it’s at, and then you found the Facebook faucet, which many people found, which is fabulous. You have these products, they start making money and then the faucet turns off and now you’re in a, oh boy, what do I do now? Mode. So how did the shop? Become a thing because you had Shopify, you said, but yes, but you weren’t really sending people there or making it a central call to action. Like what was the rub for you?

 

Speaker2: [00:18:55.19] And that really was getting on your list and then hearing about digital shop experience. [00:19:00.00] And when I was like, okay, I’m already on Shopify and I’m just going to talk about how to do a digital products on Shopify. I’m like, Well, that’s me. And I was desperate at that point and I’m like, I have got to either turn this thing around or by the end of January 2023, I’ll be looking for a job. Whoa! So I was very desperate by that point. A little bit of personal story as well. My daughter, all through the fall of 2022, had been very sick with asthma related stuff and just not doing really well. I was focused on her. And then right after Christmas, my son ended up at our children’s hospital here in diabetic ketoacidosis with the diagnosis of type one, insulin dependent diabetes. And I’m like this, I don’t want to go back to work full time. And this is a terrible time for my family, for me to go back to work full time so I could call my girls out of school their senior year, which would be this coming year. Don’t really want to do that. So I’m like, I have got to do something. [00:20:00.00] I’ve got to start selling, be okay with it. And so your program was just great timing and just really a godsend for me.

 

Speaker1: [00:20:11.10] Oh, wow. That makes me feel so honored, honestly, because that is. In a nutshell, that is why I do what I do, even though, like I’ve always been clear that in order to do this, I need to get paid because that’s just the way this works. It was always with the intent to help people have access, especially women to have access to. Because when I was in corporate, just like you said, with your 12 hour shifts when you were a nurse, like that’s essentially what my being corporate was. By the time I dropped my daughter off and I got her home, she was going to bed. I like deeply, deeply I don’t like using the word regret, but I missed the first three years of my first daughter’s life, essentially, you know, And it was like but yet I wanted I had this passion and ambition. There just had to be a better way. You know, like you feel so trapped. Yes. [00:21:00.00] And that’s what I really like. I still work full time in my business, but like my second baby, I had home with me and I just created a dynamic for me. What worked? It was having a nanny, but like we would have lunch together. And it is actually really weird now because she’s in preschool and the house is quiet for several hours a day. And I’m like, But you know, I never thought I would say I miss it, but I do. I really, really do. And so like to be put in that situation where you have to make the choice between being there for your kids and making money, because that’s what we need to do to pay for all these things. To support them is a really like, tough place to be in.

 

Speaker2: [00:21:40.54] Yeah, it is. But we have so many more opportunities now than women have ever had in the past, and that’s what’s just amazing. And so I started taking the digital shop experience and I loved the program as a solopreneur. I don’t have a ton of time to research stuff, so there were so [00:22:00.00] many how to videos and just step by step lay in just to walk me through really improving my store. And I think the best things I loved, though, some of the checklists for finances, like, I don’t like numbers and I know you always say I’ve got it on like auto repeat numbers or not emotional numbers tell a story. I don’t even know what numbers to track until I started getting into some of these sheets and eye opener. Oh, things like I wrote down. I had been working hours and hours in a Teacherspayteachers store as well. It’s it’s a great, great platform because in the fall of 2022, you’re talking about throwing spaghetti against the wall. I was throwing lasagna, noodles, elbow macaroni, I think a pack of dry ramen, one up against the wall like nothing was sticky. So I was doing a teachers pay teachers store. I started a jewelry Etsy store with somebody else. I created all kinds of products. I mean, just frantic, looking [00:23:00.00] to see what I could do to turn this around.

 

Speaker1: [00:23:03.26] So in those models and teachers pay teachers in Etsy, they’re great because they’re a marketplace and there’s built in traffic. But you still had a conundrum. Well, first of all, you don’t own the customer data. I’ve talked about all of that. So like you could get sales with the built in traffic and that was obviously great. Like, why not get sales from built in traffic? But two conundrums, one, then you couldn’t really circle back to the people who were buying there into you still had this email list to leverage.

 

Speaker2: [00:23:30.20] Yeah, well, and when I started that coming back to Digital Shop Experience, I started putting in my numbers and looking at them, okay, what story are the numbers telling me? Oh man, for March of this year I made $502 in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I also made $241 in my Shopify store from Google Search.

 

Speaker1: [00:23:53.44] Awesome.

 

Speaker2: [00:23:54.61] I didn’t spend any time on it all like half of that amount and I didn’t even know where that traffic [00:24:00.00] was coming from. I’m like, Wait a minute. I spent hours and hours here and made half as much over here with no time or saw it at all. That’s where you got to start looking at the numbers and be like, okay, going back to the Facebook ads, if you made $2,000 in one month with no Facebook ads and then the following month you make $4,000 gross sales, but you spent $2,000 on Facebook ads. You’ve done all this work and your net profit is $2,000 for both months. You haven’t moved the needle. Right. And I think for a lot of bloggers, we go in a circle and we’re not moving the needle. We don’t know how. And so we just try to do more.

 

Speaker1: [00:24:38.92] That is the story of online business. Pump out more content, do more, and never leverage what you’ve already done.

 

Speaker2: [00:24:47.49] Yeah. So back to the digital shop experience. Those checklists and watching your numbers is so helpful. Having the checklists on how to set things up. There’s videos in there on how to do different [00:25:00.00] apps. I don’t have time to research Shopify apps. I’m sorry, I don’t I don’t even know what apps are out there. I even know what I need. So to be able to go through and just say, okay, this app is recommended, I’ll put it in my store this week and next week I’ll get to the next recommended app. And it’s been amazing to watch Honeycomb and frequently bought together. Some of those apps start working. We have a whole.

 

Speaker1: [00:25:25.02] Episode about the five top apps I recommend, so we’ll link to that so people can go listen if they want. But that I heard that feedback I got a lot because with any new project that you pick up like so if you’re going to do a shop and you’re like, okay, I mean there’s a million different apps in the App store to help enhance the experience that my people can have in my shop. Where do I start? And I just, like lay out and it just cuts out all of the questions. You know, it’s like, just go get these five apps and install them. And this is what they do and this is how you set them up. But can we circle back to March real quick? So you said you made $500, you got [00:26:00.00] $250 from Google search to your shop without trying. So you didn’t implement SEO strategies. It just was. But how much did you make? In your shop from your emails.

 

Speaker2: [00:26:12.58] So I’ll give you my best numbers here. I’m back. Okay. 2022 And I was going to say, my my sales are very seasonal. I have a lot of holiday stuff and I don’t have a lot of years now because I just I’m so new at starting some of this stuff. And then if I go back too far, I’ve got like Facebook ads messing everything up. But for March and April of 2022, I made -$164.61. Between those two months I took digital shop experience. Was it beginning or middle of January? January, I ran my first. I’m just like, I’m going with this. So I ran my first flash sale the last week of January. So between March and April of this year together I made net profit after taxes of $5,700 from my Shopify store. [00:27:00.00] Wow. And that I would attribute. Pretty much all of that to the digital shop.

 

Speaker1: [00:27:08.26] Experience because now you’re just regularly emailing, directing people to the shop. You’ve made it like the bedrock central call to action, and that’s where you direct people. So I am right when I say prior to having the central place that you were directing people, you were really sending them to like, here’s a blog post when you would email. Is that What were your emails like before you were selling regularly?

 

Speaker2: [00:27:31.78] Correct. Blog post.

 

Speaker1: [00:27:32.92] With freebies and.

 

Speaker2: [00:27:33.64] Stuff? No.

 

Speaker1: [00:27:34.72] Okay. Can we talk about your freebie resource library? Because this is a hot topic amongst bloggers and. So I’ve never personally had one, but I’ve recognized very early on seeing. So the whole concept of a freebie. You have this blog post, you’re like, Hey, in order to incentivize someone opting into my email list. So you understood the importance of that. Here’s this worksheet that supplements what I just showed you in this blog post, and [00:28:00.00] to streamline it, you put everything in a free resource library so you could direct people back to the free resource library to see all these great things that you created. We’re free. But that would help enhance your experience with the things that you were teaching on your blog, essentially.

 

Speaker2: [00:28:15.74] Kind of. But worse than that blog post with all of these different crafts, I mean, we’re talking like 50 free resources, all had their own opt in.

 

Speaker1: [00:28:25.22] So the amount of work.

 

Speaker2: [00:28:26.57] That that.

 

Speaker1: [00:28:27.08] Was.

 

Speaker2: [00:28:27.80] Was, oh my God.

 

Speaker1: [00:28:29.24] I mean, because then you have to have 50 different opt ins to your email service provider. Were they all connected to different sequences? Did you have 50 different sequences that were. Yes.

 

Speaker2: [00:28:39.26] Download the Yes.

 

Speaker1: [00:28:40.64] And so here’s the brilliance of a shop. None of that is necessary anymore. All you need is really how many opt ins have you narrowed it down to? Because you still need ways for people to get on your email list.

 

Speaker2: [00:28:54.41] And yet still and still am still in the process of going back and doing all of these [00:29:00.00] posts. And some of the the good crafts, some of the some of them are just like a one page little craft thing. So I’m throwing them up in the store for like $2 and am surprised. Part of the reason that didn’t do this before was I was like, Well, nobody would spend $2. Nobody’s going to pull out their credit card for $2. People do. And it does add up. But I’m also looking at it completely differently. Where I’m starting to really get into the funnel building, I’m doing your whole program like backwards so well at first and now funnel. But I’m getting into some of that and being like, okay, I’m starting with what is my main product. It’s still these teachers bundles. I’m working backwards so that now all of my opt ins. Are going to flow and do a good sequence where the object I’m working on right now is five amazing Bible video games. It’s just a printable. It gives you the instructions and then that’s tripping tripwire, right. And chill the whole set of 19 [00:30:00.00] amazing games for third and fourth graders If you go ahead and purchase that and that’s on a huge discount, then you’re going to get offered the upsell to the whole bundle.

 

Speaker1: [00:30:12.96] Okay.

 

Speaker2: [00:30:13.56] So think starting instead of just being like, Oh, Christmas is coming, what craft should I make a blog post about? And it being a freebie, like, no, it’s all. With a purpose. All will and show the products and ultimately ensue the larger bundle.

 

Speaker1: [00:30:31.52] The experience that you just explained is almost every bloggers experience. So basically, like the level, this is how I’ve seen the blogging happen. We’ve got the the bloggers who figured out how to get people to them, but then chose to monetize through display ads and then they were sending everyone away. So it was like the only money they were making is display ad and they were really kind of either resistant or slow to want to get people on their email list, mainly because they realized even if they couldn’t articulate it, they’re like, Well, I’m sending [00:31:00.00] people away. Why do I need an email list? Was kind of like those. So they kind of just kind of got stuck there. Then the next level blogger, which where you were, is okay. I recognize the value of getting people on my email list. So now, so now I guess I need an opt in for every single blog post because this. And it was this the disconnect was that you don’t need 50 opt ins to get people to opt in. You just need a few really solid ones that meet people where they’re at for why they’re coming to your website to begin with. That doesn’t mean 50. It just means a few solid ones. And then once you get those solid funnels built in, then you can move on. Once they’re in your world to developing more stuff to help them. That’s paid, which is the key. But like what happened with with you and many bloggers is it became, well, I’ll just create something else for free.

 

Speaker2: [00:31:52.96] Correct? Correct. And the brilliance of having the whole starting from the product and working backwards. Now that [00:32:00.00] I’ve got my opt in five amazing games. Well, I’ve got five posts right there to write up about each game and nobody’s going to want to have to sit there and hand write the instructions of this game. So it’s of course they’re going to want the printable, so and then I can start to rework that in different ways too. So now I’m not just sitting down each week saying, Oh, what should I put a blog post about? I know what I need to be blogging about.

 

Speaker1: [00:32:27.00] And you only need to blog when you know it will lead into how you get paid. So this is why I say sales funnels and shops. I’ve been saying they go together like PB and J because that’s all my daughter eats nowadays. Um, which is, you know, mom humor for everyone. But it’s true because if you’re going to spend time attracting people to you, you have to give them like a, I call it a hyper specific buying journey, essentially, because imagine if someone new comes to you and you’re like, okay, well, [00:33:00.00] I’m going to go direct you to 50 products in my shop. Good luck picking out which one works for you. Like, that’s not a good user experience. You still want it to be very clear, like, this is the journey I’m bringing them on. That’s the whole point of the sales funnel. But now they’re in your world and you’re like, okay, well I have all these other great things for you. It becomes this thing of like, how do you allow them to. See all those things and send them to 50 different sales pages. That doesn’t make any sense, right? Like let’s build another sales page, which we all know building a sales page. Then you got to build the checkout and then you have to build yet another post-purchase. And so the thing that throws people and I wonder how you saw this. So once you get everything in a shop, every single product in the shop doesn’t need to connect to its own like buying sequence because if you add five things to your cart, then you’re going to trigger people to have five different emails that fire. That doesn’t make sense. Like that doesn’t happen with Amazon. It’s just instead it’s like, okay, here’s your purchase instructions, [00:34:00.00] just like you would get from any other retailer. Is that how you’re doing it?

 

Speaker2: [00:34:04.23] Yes, And that’s that’s been huge, too, because I did use to have individual emails to give them all the downloads. And people, especially when again, have the teaching resources. A teacher comes in. It’s Mother’s Day, just past Mother’s Day. They come in and they’re like, okay, I want a craft for Mother’s Day for Sunday school. And they come in and then they’re like, Oh, there’s also worksheets that I could hand out on Sunday morning for Mother’s Day. Oh, and there’s also the same craft for Father’s Day and worksheets for Father’s Day. I might as well grab all four products while I’m here.

 

Speaker1: [00:34:37.36] Right. Versus before, when you had them all separate, the only thing they could grab from you was the Mother’s Day, because that’s all that the sales page would talk about.

 

Speaker2: [00:34:47.17] Correct. And if you are creating like funnels and sales pages for all of this stuff, there’s no point to create a funnel or sales page for a $2 product, right? It’s just way too much work. And I think that’s part of to where I was like, okay, [00:35:00.00] well I’ll just put this stuff as freebies. It’s only a one page, but it is a one page printable that’s super useful. And teachers that come in and get like a mother’s Day craft or something, they’re going to use that over and over again for years to come. They don’t have to think about it anymore. It’s valuable to them, right? But if it’s a low cost item, you’re not going to create all these different funnels for it. And so you don’t have any way to offer it to people.

 

Speaker1: [00:35:23.24] Thank you. Exactly. When I think of all the things that I would create and then I’m like, Well, but the energy to spin this up to its own sales page, its own checkout, connect a sequence to it, its hours of time, it makes no sense. And like, how many times am I going to be able to even mention it? Because you can’t have 40 calls to action in an email. So like there was just no cohesive when it all comes down to is we we both were not allowing people a cohesive way to buy stuff from us. We were just kind of like, Well, go here now, go there. And oh, that’s difficult. So let me just send them to a free thing.

 

Speaker2: [00:35:58.25] And then you throw in some of this like [00:36:00.00] Mother’s Day is a great example. Different countries celebrate it at different times. And I’ve got a very international audience. So if I’m just sending out emails to it, if it’s in my shop, people can access it when they need it. Okay. So tell me.

 

Speaker1: [00:36:15.65] This is one more thing I want to because I could talk to you about this forever. But one of the things that stood out to me that you said to me was how like you went in thinking, oh my gosh, if I start selling every week, people are going to get mad at me. And you found that that did not happen. What ended up happening once you started selling regularly?

 

Speaker2: [00:36:34.50] Yeah. So people I got a lot more negative feedback when I was selling once every 2 to 3 months and doing all the freebies in between. I was getting those emails like, How dare you try to sell to me? And I’m in the religious Christian niche. So it was, This is your ministry. You should be giving men stuff for free. When I started selling every week I started seeing a lot more unsubscribes, but I stopped getting the negative feedback. [00:37:00.00] Now here’s the funny thing. Every time I send out a flash sale, I know I’m going to get 2 or 300 unsubscribes through that those three days, but Im matching that with my weekly signups.

 

Speaker1: [00:37:12.33] Which is the gamification. To get new people in your shop to sign up for a discount.

 

Speaker2: [00:37:17.52] Correct, through Shopify. So yeah, I’m losing people. I don’t care. I’m gaining people as well. Those who want to purchase or who still have need of what I’m selling will stick around. Those who don’t, that’s fine. Like that’s not personal care.

 

Speaker1: [00:37:34.11] It solves the issue that you mentioned already where you were collecting people that were then costing you money. And you weren’t selling to them. And so now you’re weeding out essentially people who want to be around and want to purchase the things from you because they see the value in it. You’re keeping them and you’re keeping them and you’re regularly reminding them that you have great things that can help them and make teaching easier for [00:38:00.00] them. But the people who are like, No, I was just here for the freebie, they weed themselves out and it’s like this. I keep saying it’s like the best way to describe it. It’s like magic. It feels like magic, really. Like, the more I sell, the more people are happy with me and the people who don’t want to be here now just leave and everyone’s happy. It’s like I get people asking me in my emails if they miss a Friday email because that’s our regular flash sales that we do every week. They are like upset that they didn’t get an email and the email was for them to pay me money. So they’re upset that they don’t get to pay me money. When you think about that, that’s what’s happening now. People are upset that I’m not giving them a way to pay me money if they miss an email.

 

Speaker2: [00:38:40.59] Yeah. And I think a lot of bloggers are scared that they’re going to lose a ton of people or people are going to be mad at them. And one thing that I had to keep thinking in my mind, I get, I don’t know, oodles of emails from bath and body works. Like they just and just they go straight to my spam. But [00:39:00.00] don’t unsubscribe because I know once every 2 or 3 months I’m going to want to want to go in and buy a candle and there’s going to be an email there that I can find from. So when it’s somebody that I know that I’m going to eventually buy from, it doesn’t bother me. Exactly.

 

Speaker1: [00:39:14.88] Every day we have to weed through the amount of micro decisions that we weed through in our brain, especially when going through emails of like, what do I want to look at? So what people end up doing is like, they scan and then they decide which ones are going to be relevant to me now or which ones am I going to put off to the side? And it’s like. Going in and regularly selling. There’ll always be those people as you gain an audience and stuff who are like, I will buy everything she puts out. I have those people. But you know what? Eventually I’m going to. In this model, eventually you circle back to those products that they already have and they’ll just learn to weed out, Oh, I already have that. And then they’ll they’ll move on and wait. It’s almost like a mentor once said, stay out of their wallet. And I was like, Oh. Exactly. Because the process of selling is not [00:40:00.00] you like you have to pay me money. You’re shoving it in their face. Instead you’re just presenting them with, Hey, I have this thing, it can help you. It’s on sale this week. The autonomy for them to choose is there. There’s no force behind it. It’s just. Hey, there’s this great thing for you. Yes.

 

Speaker2: [00:40:16.31] And I think maybe stepping back from our own products, too, because I can get so like looking at my products and be like, well, you know, it’s not that hard to create. Anybody could create this and forget. No, people don’t know how to use the programs. They don’t have the commercial license graphics that I do. But these products really, really help people. And if I can pick on somebody in the empowered business society, I saw a lady recently put up something about a pool party planning pack. Does that have the ability to change somebody’s life? Somebody who’s maybe been scared to invite a new neighbor over or hasn’t connected with his family in a while, maybe a new relationship is formed, mental health is better and it could have lifelong [00:41:00.00] impact. It’s a digital party planning pack for people like me who think mowing the lawn is the best fun you can have. It’s like we need something like this. And so we have to kind of step back and say, No, our products can change the world and can do immeasurably good. But if we are producing them but not selling them, we might as well be throwing them under our bed. They’re not going to have the impact we want. And so the shot really helps us to get there, to have that impact. And it’s not about being sleazy. I mean, yes, we love to make money, but more than that, we want to change people’s lives with these things. And that gives us the ability to do that.

 

Speaker1: [00:41:45.93] And do you feel like that’s when like when you would get pushed back with people would say, like, this is your ministry, it should be free, That now it’s like, this is my ministry and this is how I provide value. I’m able to do this because I’m [00:42:00.00] making money off of it. Because if you weren’t. How much of this would you have created if you weren’t making money? Because like, look at you have to make money because that’s what allows you like otherwise you would have to go back to work because you have these obligations. We all have responsibilities in our life, you know? Right. So there’s just absolutely nothing wrong with our ministry being I’m serving. And the way I’m able to serve is I have to get paid for this.

 

Speaker2: [00:42:23.11] Yes. And I mean, I have I had to actually step back. There was one really negative one. And I emailed this person back and said, I’m saving you time here. You could create it. Here’s the link to go buy the commercial graphics. Here’s the link to the paid program that I used. And if you dedicate the next 12 14 hours, you might be able to make this one page printable too. You got that option, go for it. You don’t have to buy my stuff.

 

Speaker1: [00:42:49.05] Now, is that an email you would have sent even a year ago?

 

Speaker2: [00:42:53.88] I’m getting a lot more feisty. I love it.

 

Speaker1: [00:42:57.12] I love it, you know, because I’ve always thought to selling. [00:43:00.00] And I hope if this helps people who struggle with this, because when I was in corporate, I always viewed interviewing as a two way street. This is a dialog, and I always aced interviews. I felt like for that because I didn’t go in feeling like, Oh my gosh, I have to like say all the right things. Otherwise, you know, I’m not gonna get this job. Instead, it was like, I’ve had interviewers before that I was like, I don’t even want to work for you. Like, I’m not going to perform for you. And that’s very similar to selling. Like if somebody doesn’t understand the value that you’re providing, then. Happily. You can go on your way. View it. Buying and selling is a two way street. It has helped me eliminate a lot of the negative people because it’s like, That’s fine. I don’t want you buying my stuff. Then if you don’t see the value, there’s the door. And it’s a very I’m not upset. I don’t have to be upset. Just, you know, I love that it makes it flow so much better. I could talk about this topic forever. So where can people go and find you on the internet?

 

Speaker2: [00:43:56.37] Kids Bible teacher.com. My store is [00:44:00.00] at kids dash Bible teacher.com.

 

Speaker1: [00:44:03.09] Perfect and we’ll link to all of this and now it’s going to be super easy to get on Anna’s email list and also to pay her money for all the great things that she’s providing into the world. So thank you so much for joining us today.

 

Speaker2: [00:44:15.15] Yeah, thank you so much.

 

Speaker1: [00:44:17.83] I really hope you enjoyed my interview with Anna. Two main things I think are important to take away from today’s episode. Number one, the value you provide your audience should not just be through free things. Your free things should lead them to the ultimate thing that’s going to give them a transformation, which is your paid products. That’s number one. So if you are a blogger with a free resource library, take a page from Anna’s book and move that over to a digital product shop. Number two, selling does not have to be scary. Selling is how we provide value to our audience. And the more you [00:45:00.00] sell and the more consistent you are with selling, the easier it becomes and the more people will appreciate it. So how we can accomplish both of those things is with the digital shop experience. If you have been creating content for any amount of time online, you have a ton of blog posts, you have a free resource library, you have a paid membership, you have a paid program, you’ve been creating digital products for a long time. You are primed to create a cohesive shopping experience for your audience, and I can help you do that in the digital shop experience, which is open right now. You just have to head on over to digital shop experience.com and all of the information about how I can help you turn your business into a money making machine every single week you can learn more there digital shop experience.com. I hope to see you inside. I hope you have enjoyed the last four episodes [00:46:00.00] of our series on digital product shops and if you have any questions, you can always connect with me over at Instagram. My handle is Monica Froze. Froze. Please send me a DM. Let’s chat. I’d love to help you build your digital product shop.

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