Today we’ll be talking with Kelly McCarthy. Kelly is an entrepreneur, business coach, and she has an excellent project of economic growth and personal well being called beachpreneurs. I really am fascinated by that name. It is a brilliant combination of digital marketing and partnership and lifestyle of freedom.
Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here.
Great. So just so that we can get to know you better. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, your experience?
Sure. So I Well, I’m a business coach,
I help people with their content marketing and community building. Most of my clients are women, not 100%. But I help people who have an area of expertise, bring it to an online business, to create information products, run membership sites, get involved in affiliate marketing and build something for their future.
That’s great. And how did you get started in content marketing, and building information products?
So my first experience in content marketing was in starting an internet radio show. In 2003, I started in an internet radio show, The next year, it became a podcast, okay, and I just kind of followed my own curiosity interviewing other work at home moms. And that grew a community around the show that led to a paid membership site the next year, which then led to creating some individual information products to sell an organic development.
That’s great, and what kind of information products, you know, a lot of people in our audience, they are entrepreneurs, but they really focus on, you know, traditional businesses and information product business may not be as familiar to them. So can you unpack a little bit about what are these information products? What are the different formats and things of that nature?
Sure. So for me, I’m creating products that teach people how to do a specific content marketing project. For example, I have a little course that teaches you how to develop a knowledge base for your website. Okay, I call it FAQ challenge. Because we all have those frequently asked questions. But do you take time to put them on your website, and have a really good knowledge base on your website is often going to help you make money because it can point them to your products and services and other recommendations Yeah. When I work with clients, I’m often helping them turn offline expertise into a digital product. For example, I had a client who teaches people how to make their own essential oils. But the actual technical process of working with essential oils, blending essential oils, she had people flying in to her city to learn from her. And we took some of those elements and turn them into digital products where she did video course work. Great. So now people can learn from her without having to hop on an airplane.
Yeah, that’s a great example. So when, you know, there are a lot of people building an online course and sharing their expertise. Do you have any recommendation in terms of how, how to pick a topic? You know, because a lot of people have all this expertise in their head, but they don’t realize it? Because, you know, they, I mean, generally, you know, when when we acquired this knowledge, we think everybody has this knowledge, and it’s meaningless to share it. So how do you sort of work with your clients to uncover the actual topic that will be a value to others?
So I always say you want to sink your roots deep into a community of people you love. So you think about who it is that you want to be at service to spend time with them, have conversations and hear what they’re saying. So, you know, for example, in my community, people were, I was overhearing conversations about people saying, I don’t know what to email. I think I should email my list more often.
But I think can’t figure out what to say.
And so I turned that into a course, I created a basically an idea for you to email challenge, where I give them every day, I give them one or two ideas to play with to come up with an email. And it’s always about spending time with your community and listening to them. They’ve got problems, and you have the answers. And the problem is you do hold that knowledge is being really common. No, I thought like, well, well, I know how to do it. Everybody knows how to do it. But it’s not true. Yeah.
And what is the typical duration of such a course? Is it like one hour, two hours, several hours?
It really depends on the focus. Many of my courses are set up as a challenge. So they’re designed to be tackled over the course of 30 days. But I do have some courses that teach something specific. And, for example, I have a course on designing a banner message brainstorming, you can consume that product in in like, two, two and a half hours. And then you’re going to implement it at your leisure.
And what about the marketing aspect of it? Because, you know, as I said, like, I do know, a lot of course creators, and one of the biggest struggles is okay, you know, we can put the course together, but how are we going to market it? So is there a methodology that you use to, to market the product?
Well, so I leverage an affiliate programme, okay, an affiliate program that people who, like there are a lot of people that are helping entrepreneurs with their content, marketing, their websites, their social media presence, and they recommend their audiences to my course, and they get paid a commission. So, so that’s a big part of my marketing is, is having a community of affiliates to share the course. But then, you know, sometimes I’m doing a webinar, I’m offering a free mini training in order to, you know, expose them to my expertise and invite them to learn more from me through the course. You know, I have a blog, I have a podcast, I’m, I am active on social media. So I use all of those venues to market my, my course, the the thing is, if you just like come out of the blue and create a course, and you’ve got no one to sell it to you, you’re probably going to be pretty frustrated. So I talked a lot about the offer funnel, like if you if you picture a, an actual like funnel shape, you need to have free content that people can get to know you with, and then something that they can opt-in with to spend a little more time with you, so that you build your mailing list, and then you can market your products to that mailing list. And always be creating some new content to keep growing that that community of people.
That’s great. And you brought up a very good point about affiliate marketing now, are you the liberty to disclose? You know, what platforms do you use for affiliate marketing.
So, since my business is almost 100%, digital, I use software that’s it’s called a member.
Okay, this is, this is a software that installs on your own server, you by license, and the instals on your server, you connect it to your website, like I use WordPress for my website. So you remember, it’s not a WordPress plugin, but it integrates with WordPress, to protect the content.
So if you come buy something from me, you’re buying it through the a member shopping cart, and then the a member is giving you access to the WordPress protected content. And that a member shopping cart is also an affiliate software tool. So everything happens within that software.
That’s great. Now, it seems like it’s it’s a reasonable way to go. But it also seems like you know, there is some sort of technical challenges to overcome, how difficult it is for somebody who may not be very technically savvy to accomplish all these things.
You know, it’s really overwhelming at first, there’s a lot of yet to understand, you know, what are all the moving parts? What does it do? Why do we think here, it can be a big learning curve. But if you can just get somebody to walk you through it. So that you can see how how somebody moves from an item of content, to signing up to a list to to experiencing some some time with you through some training to saying yes, with a credit card. Once you see it flow through, then it’s like the light bulb goes off, and and you get it. So it can be overwhelming. But there are people that are there to help.
Yeah, that’s great. And once again, you know, I see a lot of people sort of jumping into this arena of online courses. And since you’ve been doing this for such a long time, what changes have you seen in this in this niche? Like, is it? Is it growing, getting more crowded? Is it getting more challenging? What are your thoughts? What are your observations,
it’s interesting there, there will always be someone who will say something like, oh, that niche is saturated. It’s too late, all the money that’s ever going to be made there has been made. And that’s just baloney, pure baloney. when I came into the when I was first getting started, I was working with working home moms. And there were lots and lots of work at home mom websites, but we were able to come in and be unique and attract people.
The industry has changed.
It’s easier than ever before, there are so many tools that you can use to sell an information product. Just the choices, the choices themselves can be overwhelming for somebody getting started out. So my best advice is that is finding someone who you want to do what they’re doing, not necessarily in the same niche or topic, but that you like the flow of how their business works.
And then go to them and ask them what are you using? What software? What are the bits and pieces why and follow their model so that you’re not out there? You know, it feels like you’re trying to walk on sand if you don’t have a model to follow.
Yeah, that’s great. And what about the technical aspects of it like you? Do you generally do video or audio-only? Or is it like live instruction where you log into a zoom meeting or you know, like a live meeting, just like we are doing right now? What is the format that you follow? And what is it what is the recommended format.
So I work with a blend of content. So just for example, one of my most favourite trainings is the stretch yourself a challenge. This is a Content Marketing Challenge. I run it live every September, but it’s available as a self-study all through the year. And it starts with a guide. There’s a 250-page guide, you don’t have to read the whole thing. But it contains 15, different content marketing challenges that you can tackle with, with to do lists and checklists, specific instruction to follow. On top of that guide, we’re also getting together in a Zoom Room, we have 16 different live sessions during the month of September, where I have pop up experts who come in to deliver a little mini training. And we’re brainstorming and supporting each other. I will do demo videos for some of my courses where I’m teaching them how to do something specifically. So sometimes it’s audios, sometimes it’s videos, sometimes it’s a checklist, sometimes it’s a PDF guide, it’s usually a blend, whatever, you know, if you need something visual to really understand something, then I want to make a video. If it’s better to have something to read and check off, then that’s what I’ll provide.
Okay, that’s great. And now what about structuring the content because obviously, you know, let’s say if we have a lot of knowledge in our head, if we just sort of, you know, dump it on on in a document or you know, just talk about it in a video that may not really resonate, that may not, you know, the listeners or viewers may not relate really retain that knowledge. So how do you structure it in such a way that it actually makes sense, and people understand it, and they can implement it themselves.
So, one big mistake that a lot of first time information product sellers will make is trying to just like pop up in their brain and poured out. And that’s a nightmare. I, you, I’ve known people who have started that process. And three, four years later, they’re still trying to perfect their product. Yeah, and don’t try to pour your entire body of expertise into one product. To get started, choose one single problem that you have a solution for, and create a small product that addresses that one problem. And then that’s usually really simple to outline and then create the content that supports it.
That’s it. So so that automatically keeps it simple. And then once that product is out there, then you can say, well, what’s next? What do they need now?
What’s the next problem that they’re gonna bump into go make a product for that. And thank you keeps it simple, and organization is a breeze. If you do need to teach them something that’s more involved, then you do need to sit down, like with a can band board like a Trello board and really think about what’s the best order? What do they need to know when and you gotta be careful because you can rabbit trail and an end up with a monstrous product. Keep your focus, remember what it is that you want them to be able to do when they’re done. And keep it really focused on that.
That’s great. Now, you also talk about focusing on the things that that you love to do, and then sort of blending that into the product that you want to build. So can you talk about that?
Yeah. So we know, I work with entrepreneurs. And Gosh, I could there are a million things to talk about with entrepreneurs. I stay really focused on content marketing and community building. I’m never going to teach a course on bookkeeping. You know, someone might say, well, but entrepreneurs need that, like, Yeah, but not from me. Um, so I, I got really clear I’m, I’m really good at content marketing, I’m really good at teaching it. I’m, I’m, I’m wonderful at motivating people, inviting them to stretch and try the next new thing. So that’s what I stay really focused on. And, and the cool thing is, is that my clients do come to me with questions about other stuff that I don’t cover. I don’t let that distract me. I’m not going to say oh, well, two clients asked me about Pinterest. So I better go make a Pinterest course. No, I stay focused on what I do. And I go find a Pinterest expert to recommend, hopefully, as an affiliate. Let’s see, so that I can meet that need through recommendations.
That’s great. Now, let’s talk about your personal journey. So from reading your bio, I came to know that you went through some financial constraints of your own and you know, you you faced some challenges in your life and you were able to overcome them. So can you talk a little bit about that?
Yeah, gosh, when I was getting started, I was really broke. I didn’t have any money. I had, I had been divorced. And really my credit rating was dismal. I was working full time now making very much money as a single mom, I started my business to make some extra money to pay the bills. And over the course from 2002, when I got started until the by the end of 2005, I’d actually paid off all my debt. Also, my online business had grown to such a degree that I realised I could go ahead and quit my day job. Awesome. And the thing is, when I made that change, when I went from doing it part-time to full time, I filled my days with work. I thought if I made this much money working part time, I’ll make this much money working full time. But you know what, having more time and cramming more work into that time is not always a fast past two more income, I found out that I could make myself really busy, and not really impact my bottom line. So I had to get clear about my value and start charging more for my time. And I needed to let go of some of the busy work that made me feel productive, but we’re it wasn’t really producing profit. So that’s what the next couple of years was really focused on honing that.
yeah, but I just gonna say that became really important. Because so 12 years ago, my niece gave birth to quadruplets, four little babies born at one time. And because I was 100%, self-employed, and I was homeschooling my son at the time, he was 17, we were able to flip our schedule upside down so that we could take care of the babies at night. So that mom and dad could maintain some sanity in their life. And so I was sleeping during the day, and only working about four hours a day. So I went back to a part-time schedule but still made full-time money, because I had been making some really smart choices. That’s great.
That’s great. Now, you know, going through those challenges and taking care of for babies, I have to have my own and I can just understand, you know, and there are different ages. So you know, it’s not like we we had to, like take care of a baby and the same, you know, two babies at the same time, but taking care of for his staff and going through the challenges, financial challenges, how, how, what kind of mindset changes you had to go through to sort of, you know, get through push through these challenges and, and overcome them. Because I firmly believe, you know, you need to have a very good positive mindset to, to keep going. So can you share a little bit about that?
Yeah. So, um, before my business, I never made more than $11 an hour at a day job. I’m actually a high school dropout. Went back, got me, my GD went to college, and then I dropped out of college too. So when I started to build my business, if I was making, like, the first year that I did, like, 50,000, I felt rich. And it was, it would be many more years before I crossed over the big the six-figure mark. And then I just felt like wow, like this is more money than I ever imagined making before. And I think at that stage, there was I experienced some health problems at that time, that that had a pretty big impact on my ability to work. So for about two years, I struggled with that. But I never, I never got into a desperate situation because I had so much passive and recurring income, that my bills were always paid. But when I got back to good health and dug back into my business, I thought, you know, I’m ready to really do something bigger with my business, I’m ready to really go go ballistic and make more money, I started to invest in my own personal development, I started to invest in coaching, getting some other eyes on my business and hearing feedback and suggestions from other people. Working on on my own mindset, understanding the value that I bring to others, with huge so and I’m I’m really pleased that to say last year, I actually broke a quarter of a million dollars in revenue. So it’s working, like taking care of myself building up my own mindset, taking outside advice, really being strategic is creating exactly what I want my business without making me work myself crazy, either.
Yeah, yeah, that’s great. Now, you also talk about personal branding. And obviously, you know, you’ve done quite a bit of work to establish your brand. People who are just getting started, can you give them a little bit of an overview of what it takes to build a personal brand? And why is it so important?
So my brand has changed from when I first got started as work at home moms talk radio, when my son grew up and moved out a house that brand didn’t fit me anymore. It wasn’t authentic to me. I so to my brand today being love people and make money. It’s some, like, that’s my thing I just want I want to love on people, I want to see them build a business that that reflects what they want to create more of in the world. Branding, getting your brand right is about starting with you. Who are you? What do you love to do? What do you never want to do? Again, for crying out loud? Yeah. And then getting to know, you know, who is that I want to be of service to? You could be a service to a lot of different people groups, who do you resonate with the most? Yeah. And what I want you to think about is, who do you want to defend and protect, I’ll give you a big clue on who you’re going to be most passionate about serving. So, so know yourself really well know them really well and know what you want to create more of, and let your brand take shape around that.
Great, right. And now you also talk about investing time into leisure activities. And obviously one of the things that, you know, you that you have started the beachpreneur, which resonates so well with a lot of people, including myself, can you tell, tell us a little bit about that philosophy, like you know, spending time in your leisure activities? And what is thisbeachpreneur all about?
Well, you know, when you reach when you’re first getting started as an entrepreneur, you’re really willing to put in the hustle and the grind, you know. But if you stay in that place, you’re going to get burnout, and your relationships are going to suffer. So I have a bad background in the church. When I started my business, I was actually the office manager at my church and I was co-leading women’s ministry. And I knew the magic of bringing some women together, just get out of town, do a little resale shopping hang out together, cook together, the magic things happen that people let their walls down and connect in a super powerful way. So in 2013, I went to my friend Nicole Dean, and I said, let’s do something awesome together. I think if we just bring women together, something amazing will happen. And it was actually her idea to say, let’s do it at the beach. Like let’s run two big beach house and invite people to join us there. And so that was the birth of beach printers. So every winter we host women at a big old beach house on Pensacola beach, we invite ladies to come and mastermind with us and just relax together have adventures, get out see the fresh air, watch a sunset, take a hike. This last year, we went to a zoo and I held a baby kangaroo. Like that’s such a precious memory. We need that downtime. Or we get into a bubble of just being business this is money, money all the time. Yeah. And that’s not healthy.
That’s that’s so true. That’s so true. Now, you also talked about investing in personal development and, you know, working with coaches, tell us a little bit about that, like, you know, what kind of investment did you have to make? And what are the benefits you got out of that?
So I went to a radical leadership retreat, you can find out more about that at radical leadership calm. This was a three-day all-inclusive retreat with corporate leaders and entrepreneurs getting together with with facilitators to really take a look at how we show up in the world. are we creating what we want? Are we even stopping to answer that question? It was a really powerful experience.
That was a big investment for me at the time. It’s cost about 30 $500 to go to that retreat. And then it includes 90 days of follow up group coaching.
And then I said yes to ongoing private coaching with a radical leadership coach. There is there’s two big things I got out of that experience. One, I came away with a radically different view of self-love. And I really started to ask myself what I wanted.
And I don’t know how many people can relate. But being a mom, and being part of a family, sometimes we get wrapped up in meeting other people’s needs and doing what other people want to do. We never stop and ask ourselves, what do I want out of my life? Like, what do I want in the long run? And basically, I started answering that question and heading in that direction, which just has given me so much joy and satisfaction.
That’s great. That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much for being with us today, sharing your story and walking us through this new economy where we can monetize our expertise and help others. So that has been amazing conversation. Now, before we wrap up here, can you tell us how people can reach out to you and talk about their ideas and how they can build information products and how we can help them.
My home on the web is love people make money.com You can find my blog there and my podcast. And that connects you through to my Facebook community where you can get to know me and other members of the world who want to do what you do too.
Awesome. That’s great. Well, thank you so much for being with us today and sharing your knowledge and wisdom. Thank you.
Thanks for having me.
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