April 17, 2023
Episode 111. Writing a Book, Online Business Changes & Discipline with Amy Porterfield
If you’re in the online business world, you probably know the incredible Amy Porterfield. She’s recently published her first book, “Two Weeks Notice.” I had the privilege of chatting with Amy and picking her brain about everything from how she spends her day to the challenges she faces as a successful entrepreneur. I’ll be sharing some of her insights and tips for building a business you love, as well as some exclusive behind-the-scenes information about her new book. So get ready to be inspired, learn some new skills, and take your business to the next level with Amy Porterfield.
In case you haven’t heard of her, Amy Porterfield is an ex–corporate girl turned online marketing expert and CEO of a multimillion-dollar business. Today Amy empowers people across the globe to take their futures into their own hands and find professional autonomy, independence, achievement, and success far beyond what a corporate glass ceiling would traditionally allow. Her action-by-action teaching style provides aspiring business owners with the tools they need to bypass the overwhelm and build a business they love.
In this episode, you’ll hear…
- Why Amy decided to write a book, why this book, and what she learned about herself in the process
- Whether or not starting an online business will bring you happiness
- The common qualities of successful online business owners
- Behind the scenes of how Amy runs and organizes her business and life
- What’s working in the online marketing world
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In this article, you’ll get a summary of my interview with Amy Porterfield. Be sure to tune into episode 111 for the full discussion!
Why Amy wrote “Two Weeks Notice”
Amy Porterfield’s new book, “Two Weeks Notice,” is the product of her 14-year journey as an entrepreneur. She wanted to create a guide that would have served her when she was first starting out. As someone who started as an ex-corporate girl, she knew the challenges that came with transitioning to becoming her own boss and wanted to help others do the same. Amy aimed to make the book accessible to everyone and a lower barrier to entry than some of her higher-priced courses. She also wanted to reach a wider audience and go more mainstream with this book, beyond being known as someone who teaches others how to create digital courses. The result is a guidebook that helps aspiring entrepreneurs get started with the foundational skills of building a profitable online business.
Will starting an online business make you happier?
Starting an online business can be an incredible opportunity to gain freedom, financial stability, and creative fulfillment. However, as Amy and Sam discuss in their interview, it’s important to get clear on your why before embarking on this journey. Simply starting a business is not a cure-all for unhappiness or dissatisfaction with your current job. In fact, being your own boss can come with more stress and responsibility than working a nine-to-five job. But, if you are clear on what you want and why you want it, a successful online business can provide you with the freedom and opportunities that you are seeking. As Amy explains, the business can be the vehicle to get you where you want to go, whether that’s time freedom, financial freedom, or lifestyle freedom. Ultimately, it’s up to you to define what success looks like for you and pursue it with purpose and clarity.
How Amy runs her business
Amy has built a successful business with a team of 20 full-time employees and a brand new CEO to help manage the day-to-day operations. Despite being busy, Amy has implemented a four-day workweek, which has made her days even more important to stay on task. She spends her time either front stage, which includes podcasting, interviewing, and live video, or in meetings and reviewing content. Amy is excited about her new CEO and sees a lot of freedom coming from it, which would allow her to reduce the number of team meetings and content reviews. Her new goal is to have a business that runs without her having to be so present, as she wants to slow down and work fewer hours per day. With over 14 years of experience and generating over $80 million in revenue, Amy has built a successful business, but she is ready for a new challenge and direction for the future.
What’s working on in the online marketing world
Amy believes that building a thriving email list should be a top priority for anyone doing business online. While a huge email list is great, having an engaged list that opens your emails and clicks on them is even better. One of the best ways to grow your email list is through a quiz. A well-done quiz is interesting to people because they like to learn about themselves. As the marketer, you can learn a lot about your audience through the quiz, which can help you write great copy and better serve them. Another strategy that Amy believes people should focus on more is mapping out and planning their revenue generators. This involves breaking down revenue goals into specific units and determining how many units need to be sold during specific launches or evergreen campaigns. By doing this, entrepreneurs can have a better understanding of what they are shooting for and can make adjustments if they are being too aggressive or not aggressive enough.
If you’re still working your 9-5 with BIG dreams of building a legally protected side hustle-turned-online biz, check out Amy’s book Two Weeks Notice! See the resources below for direct links to purchase!
Sam Vander Wielen: Hey, and welcome back to On Your Terms. I’m your host, Sam Vander Wielen. Today is a very special episode because, today, I have the one, the only, Amy Porterfield on the podcast.
I’m so excited to chat with Amy today. We had such a good chat because I tried to ask Amy a lot of questions that maybe you wonder about behind the scenes, like from how she spends her day, to how she organizes her day, to what she truly works on, even down to how did she come up with the idea to write a book, why a book. I also wanted to ask her about what some of the challenges were that she experiences now that she’s so successful versus maybe some of the ones she experienced early on. I just thought it was so fascinating to hear her answers. She was so open and honest with me.
I always hate in podcast intros when people talk about the interview for a million years and you’re just like, "Can we just listen to the interview?" So, that’s what I’m going to let you do. I’m going to let you listen to this interview because I thought it just went so, so well.
So, if you don’t know her already for some reason, Amy Porterfield is an ex-corporate girl turned online marketing expert and CEO of a multi-million dollar business. Today, Amy empowers people across the globe to take their futures into their own hands and find professional autonomy, independence, achievement, and success far beyond what a corporate glass ceiling would traditionally allow. Her action-by-action teaching style provides aspiring business owners with the tools they need to bypass the overwhelm and build a business they love. You can learn more at amyporterfield.com.
Amy would also love to let you know that she has a brand new book out called Two Weeks Notice. It’s absolutely fantastic. If you are thinking about starting an online business or you want to learn about the foundational skills of building a profitable online business, I definitely recommend going and purchasing Two Weeks Notice.
Send me a DM on Instagram after you’ve listened to this episode, let me know your takeaways from it. I’m going to pick one person who DMs me to send the book to. But definitely go and check that out. I’ll drop all the links below.
And you’ll also hear me mention in this episode that I have coming up, you have this week only to register for my next live training called What to Do if Copycats Steal Your Content and How to Make Sure you Don’t Actually Steal Their Content Too. Registration is open right now in the training. I’m going to teach you how to react from the first moment you see copycats take your content so that you don’t lose any of your rights or remedies. I’m going to teach you how to get copycats to take your stolen content down, how to assess your own legal action plan, and avoid costly legal fees from lawyers.
And a bonus, you’re going to get a copycat guide so you can put everything you learn in my training immediately into action after the workshop. It includes an overview of the training itself, plus resources for creating a 90-day game plan for how to successfully take down copycats and online business. The training is $99, but you can save $25 as an On Your Terms listener and pay only $74 to come to this incredibly valuable training about how to protect your online content. So, just click the link in the show notes to register for my workshop, What to Do if Copycats Steal Your Content.
With that, let’s jump in to my chat with Amy Porterfield.
Hey, Amy, welcome to On Your Terms.
Amy Porterfield: Hey there. Thanks so much for having me.
Sam Vander Wielen: I’m so excited for you to be here. I was just telling you, everyone is so excited for you to be here. So, I just really appreciate you taking the time. I know you’ve been very busy with the book lately.
Amy Porterfield: I’m so happy to be here. I love chatting with audiences like yours. And, yeah, it’s been a whirlwind with the book, but it’s finally out into the world. It’s been out, at the time of this recording, about a month, so I feel like I’m finally getting back into normal life.
Sam Vander Wielen: I can imagine. And that was actually the first thing I wanted to ask, I want to start at the beginning with the book, like, how did the idea of writing a book first come to you?
Amy Porterfield: You know, I’ve been in business for 14 years and I’ve always thought that I would write a book. I think it’s something kind of normal that most entrepreneurs will think about or eventually do. But I just didn’t know what was I going to write about. And I have a lot of different people in my audience, from total beginners to a little bit more advanced, to those that have multi-million dollar businesses, so I thought, Who am I going to serve with this book?
And then, it came to me that I need a book that would have served me 14 years ago when I was first starting out, when I was still at my 9:00 to 5:00 job, when I didn’t know what the heck I was going to do and how to be my own boss, but I wanted it bad. And so, I thought, I’m going to write the book that I wish I had when I was still in my 9:00 to 5:00 job to get the courage to actually leave and start something. So, when that finally came to me, I was like, "Game on." And then, it kind of starts to snowball pretty quickly once you’ve got that idea.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. I can imagine. I can imagine that book having been so helpful back in the day. And like I always say, I still remember Googling what is an email list. I don’t understand what this is. Is it do I keep a list somewhere?
Amy Porterfield: Exactly. That’s the thing. I teach a lot of newbies. And we created a glossary because it is so unfair to expect people to know what an opt-in page is, and a conversion, and what goes on a sales page, and all the different lingo but also things that we do in online businesses. So, yeah, I was the same as you, like, "What are they even talking about?" So, I wrote the book to explain a lot of that.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. And I think the book is fantastic. You were kind enough to send it to me ahead of time. And you’re exactly right, it’s so helpful for that and I think it will help people to get really clear on what the big starting blocks are, you know, to getting their business off the ground.
Was it important to you specifically to write a book versus doing some other? I mean, you obviously have done a million webinars and other things, so was there something about a book that felt special to you?
Amy Porterfield: Great question. Yeah. So, my whole business model is digital courses. Not only do I have digital courses, but I teach people how to create digital courses. So, that’s my mode of operation that works really well for me. However, a book, in my opinion, it allowed me to have a bigger reach. And I wanted to go more mainstream with this book. Meaning, I don’t want to just be known as someone who teaches other people how to create digital courses. I want to teach people how to get started with an online business in general. And I wanted to reach people that did not know who I was.
And so, in order to reach people that have no clue about the online space, don’t know really how to get into it, they’re not following me because they don’t want to create a digital course. They’re nowhere near there. So, I felt like a book could cast a wider net. It was a lower barrier to entry than, let’s say, a $500 course or a $2,000 course, which I have. And so, I wanted it to be easier to get into my world and hope that other people start recommending it. It’s so easy to recommend a book to someone, right? And so, that was another thing that I really wanted. So, I wanted to shake things up and I wanted to go more mainstream.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense because, being a person who had a corporate job, if somebody would have told me to watch a webinar, I would have been like, "What’s a webinar?"
Amy Porterfield: Exactly. That is very foreign to a lot of people. So, I wanted to kind of meet them where they’re at.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. I think that’s great. I was so curious reading through the book, and obviously you are the expert of experts on this and you’ve been talking about this for a long time, but was there anything that you learned about yourself or your business while you were writing the book?
Amy Porterfield: That’s such a good question. So, two things. One, when I was writing the book, I had a lot of doubts because I’m not a natural writer and it takes me a long time. There’s a reason I’m a podcaster because writing takes me a long time. So, there is a lot of insecurities that came up during the writing of the book. Am I saying the right thing? Is this all just garbage? Am I really going to change lives with this? Can I even write? Sometimes I would write something and be like, "I’m like a third grader? What is happening here?"
So, lots of fears and doubts came up along the way to not only write the book, but launch the book. But I was able to address them head on.
And here’s the thing that I learned when I was writing the book. I learned – not maybe learned, but I realized and remembered what it felt like to be so brand new. I serve newbies in many different ways, and so I needed to get back into their head. And now, putting a book out, launching a book, very vulnerable, very scary, not sure if it would work. These are all the things that my students feel. So, I feel like I have more compassion for them, more patience for them, because I feel like I was them, again, as I wrote this book. So, that was huge and a lot of growth for me to kind of get back into the shoes of my students.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. That’s so interesting. Because those are the initial mindset blocks that a lot of your people are going to face as they go to put themselves out there for the first time. I often forget how foreign it probably felt the first few times I was talking to my camera or writing an email to a big email list or something like this. It’s all so natural to us now.
Amy Porterfield: Right. Exactly. But all those feelings came up again and I thought, "Oh, this is what I need to feel right now."
Sam Vander Wielen: That is so interesting. Did you ever envision that your business would look like what it does now?
Amy Porterfield: Absolutely not. So, I tell this story to my students, where a couple of years ago, I was still living in California – I’m in Nashville now – and we had a spa in the backyard and it faced the house. And Hobie, my husband, and I got in the spa one night and all the lights were shining on our house. And I looked at it and we had this big, beautiful house in California. And I said, "Would you have ever in your wildest dreams thought this was our life, where I have a multimillion dollar business, we don’t have any debt, we have this gorgeous house in California, we have a good relationship with our friends and family, and the business is growing?" Like, never in my wildest dreams.
I started the business in a tiny little condo in Carlsbad, California, near San Diego, and it was a really rough start. My first two years were pretty rocky. And all I wanted to do was make as much money as I made in my corporate job. I think it was $160,000. If I could just make $160,000, I would be fine. I just need to replace my corporate salary.
And so, fast forward to where I am now, I’ve far exceeded that. But more so, I’m a totally different person. That’s the thing I love about entrepreneurship and why I want to teach so many of my students how to leave the 9:00 to 5:00 and become their own boss. If you ever want massive personal growth, if you want to look at all your wounds, all your weaknesses, all your strengths, become an entrepreneur. Because they stare back at you every single day and you have to confront them. And the reason for that is you’re making decisions, you’re messing up, you’re building a team, you’re seeing what you’re good at, what you’re not good at every single day.
And some of you are listening like, "That doesn’t sound so great." But at the end of the day, it really is a journey of personal development and growth. And you won’t even recognize yourself a few years in if you stick with it. And I think that’s what I love the most, I’m stronger, I’m more confident, I’m more fearless. Things that I could not have said about myself in my 9:00 to 5:00 job.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. That’s for sure. I always say, leading a team of employees is a really fast way to learn whatever issues you still have.
Amy Porterfield: So true. I was talking to a guy yesterday that I was interviewing and he said, "I listened to this podcast of this guy who built a multi, multi, multimillion dollar software that he ended up selling for, like, $250 million. So, it exploded and became so successful." So, here he is from scratch, built this software, sold it for $250 million. And someone asked him, "What was the hardest thing about building this business and building the software?" And he said, "People. Managing people was the hardest thing I had ever done."
And so, I’m like, "Thank you." Because it is such a hard part about being an entrepreneur and growing a team. And you can’t scale if you don’t grow with people. But, dang, it’s a hard one.
Sam Vander Wielen: I know. Do you ever have days where you look back to the beginning and are like, "Man, I miss some of the simple times in your apartment in Carlsbad."
Amy Porterfield: Yes. Because now I have a team of 20 full time employees and I could not do what I do without them and I love them dearly. But there are moments that I’m like, "Remember when it was just me and a five hour a week assistant, and I didn’t really have to answer to anyone, and I wasn’t on the hook for I have to make money in order to pay my employees?" Like, that’s an extra stressor that will never go away. So, yeah, there’s some days I miss that first few years of being a whole lot simpler.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. That simplicity often pushes me. Like the other day, I was talking to the team about feeling there were too many steps, too many cooks in the kitchen to get some social stuff out the door. And I was like, "Guys, I literally used to just sit there and write this and hit post." So, there has to be a better way.
Amy Porterfield: It’s so true. Yes, the amount of hoops. So, my team is really big on systems and SOPs and processes, and I appreciate that. It’s like a monster that has a life of its own right now in the best possible way. But I have those thoughts sometimes, like, "Oh, my gosh. We jumped through five hoops to get an email out, where it used to just be me and my assistant." However, the emails these days are way better. And when a lot of people are touching it, a lot of mistakes can happen, so there needs to be those SOPs in place. But at the same time, sometimes I’m like, "You guys, I think we could cut three steps out right now." So, I agree.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. It’s always good to go back to those simple moments, I think, sometimes. I was curious, too, in the book you’re talking a lot to people who might be in a job right now, like we used to be, and thinking, "Okay. Maybe this is a possibility for me that I hadn’t even realized that I can go out and do this business."
But I also know for someone like me, and I’ve since then heard from so many people in a similar position, when I was in my corporate job, I thought that leaving the law, being a lawyer at a firm would bring me happiness, like to start the business would bring me happiness. And then, it was very interesting to learn that the business wasn’t the vehicle to my happiness, but it provided me the opportunity to explore that outside of it.
So, I guess, what would you say to people who might be looking to escape the 9:00 to 5:00 and think that the business is the answer to that? Do you know what I mean?
Amy Porterfield: Yes. I think you’re right, so if you want to escape the 9:00 to 5:00, if you want to get out of that, I think you have to get really clear why you want to get out, what don’t you like about it, or what do you want. So, in the book, I go really deep on we’ve got to get clear on our why, not only because it will help us make the right decisions as we leave our 9:00 to 5:00 job – because in the book, I map out a runway of how to leave a 9:00 to 5:00 job where once you leave, you can have success on the other side. So, getting clear on your why is just important to make those decisions – but also when you get out, you’re going to be faced with so many challenges like we’ve talked about.
And so, that why is going to pick you up on the days that you’re worry and fears are knocking you down. So, we have to really understand what do you want, why do you want it, what do you want it to look like.
And you’re right, starting a business is not the solution to everything. In fact, you’re going to have more problems when you’re your own boss and you have a business versus in a 9:00 to 5:00. In a 9:00 to 5:00, at the end of the day, it’s not always up to you. You always have a boss to lean on. And that boss is probably going to be blamed when you don’t actually show up the way you need to.
In your entrepreneur job, you will literally be the end all, be all. At the end of the day, if something doesn’t work out, I don’t care how many people on your team, it’s back to you. And so, it’s more stress and a lot more responsibility, so it’s not going to cure everything.
However, like you said, what a business does when it’s successful is it opens up so many opportunities, so many things that you likely want, like freedom, like financial freedom, creativity, freedom, lifestyle freedom. Those are the things that I ultimately wanted. You make a great point. I didn’t necessarily want a business. I wanted more freedom. And the business was my vehicle to get me there.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. Totally. And I was just saying on a podcast interview the other day that, to me, I think I chased down the freedom. And I wasn’t really thinking of it this way, but I think I was thinking about time freedom. And now, I feel this incredible freedom in the business, fortunately, that’s like, if I don’t want to do something, I don’t have to do it. That seems like incredible freedom to me.
Amy Porterfield: It is, right? It’s incredible. And where else are you ever going to get that? Like, quite honestly, you and I could wake up tomorrow and say, "You know what? I don’t want to work today." And I would have to cancel some things and maybe ruffle a few feathers on my team because they were relying on me. But at the end of the day, it’s okay. That is ultimate freedom in my opinion.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. And if we build up that recurring revenue, then we could take off for a long time.
Amy Porterfield: Amen. Amen. That’s what I love about you. Like, talking about this evergreen funnel you’ve built, and what you’ve been able to do with your business, and not go live all the time, and not do huge live launches, that’s the ultimate freedom right there. I love that.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. I’m very grateful. So, for those people who do leave and start their own online business, do you ever see some common qualities in those people who end up becoming successful eventually, even if it’s not super fast?
Amy Porterfield: Yes. I think the number one quality I see is, those that leave their 9:00 to 5:00 job, start their online business, and it’s become successful after a few years, the number one thing is they absolutely value managing their mindset. So, I always say, and I learned this from my Tony Robbins days, that 80 percent of being an entrepreneur is mindset, 20 percent mechanics.
I could teach you the mechanics of webinars, digital courses, email lists all day long. But if your head is not in the right place, if you don’t know how to manage fear, if you don’t know how to get past that overwhelm, that stress, thinking you’re not enough, beating yourself up, all of that is going to get in the way of all the strategies that I can teach my students. So, if they value managing their mindset and they put it as a priority, that right there gives them a huge advantage in terms of success.
And then, I think the other thing is showing up consistently. And this is something that most of us struggle with, and I absolutely did in my beginning years, where, when I say consistently, I mean you are creating content consistently, you are consistently selling online, you are consistently showing up for yourself, whatever that looks like in your business.
And I think as an entrepreneur, when you leave a 9:00 to 5:00 job, you realize, "Oh, my God. I have all this time. No one’s telling me what to do. I don’t have to report to anyone." And you get a little loosey-goosey on how you manage your time, at least as a beginner entrepreneur. So, you’re sleeping in a little bit more. You’re kind of doing the laundry – if you’re working from home, you’re doing the laundry in the middle of the day, you’re taking some personal phone calls. And then, at the end of the day, you realize, "I did not get anything like I thought I’d get done today."
And so, consistently showing up how you need to is a big deal. That’s why I use the Full Focus Planner. It’s a physical planner. I’m old school like that. I love the Full Focus Planner. Every day, I have to write down three things I’m getting done today no matter what. And, of course, you usually get done more than three things, but these are the most three important things I’m going to get done.
And then, using a project management tool, like Asana – that’s the one I use – having everything dialed in, what I’m working on, when it’s due, who it’s assigned to. Being diligent around something like that makes a huge difference. So, it really comes down to daily habits in your business that you do consistently that make a huge difference, ultimately, for your success. And I’ve noticed that the successful entrepreneurs take habits seriously.
Sam Vander Wielen: That is so interesting. I’m glad you said that about the Full Focus Planner, too, I’m going to look at that. And I love Asana, too. I put everything in there. I put everything personal, everything. I love it.
Amy Porterfield: I’m not even surprised because you’re so efficient. And I was going to ask you if you have a project management tool. I think it’s essential. Even if you’re a solopreneur, get into the habit of putting everything into your project management tool.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. I talk a lot on the podcast about how, actually, when it was just me and I didn’t have anyone working for me, I actually signed up for Asana, got everything into four categories. You know, I have the marketing category, operations category. And it was just me, but I sketched everything out. And then, that way, I started to learn it so that when I did start to bring people in, I was like, "Here’s my system, and you can make it better."
Amy Porterfield: Yes. That’s exactly what I teach my students.
Sam Vander Wielen: Oh, that’s so funny.
Amy Porterfield: That’s exactly what I teach them. I love that. And that takes discipline. When it’s just you, getting every task into a project management tool, you could easily cut corners. But what I love about you is you are disciplined. I mean, you are a lawyer, so that makes total sense. But you’re going to do it right and you’re going to show up. And that is a great sign of a successful entrepreneur. So, I’m not even surprised you’re successful.
Sam Vander Wielen: Oh, thank you. I appreciate it. Although, I’m not very successful at my Asana tasks to drink my daily amount of water, and so sometimes I go in there and I’m like, "Whoops. It’s still on last Wednesday but that’s okay."
Amy Porterfield: I love that you have that in there. I’m going to start doing that. I’m going to put some more personal stuff in Asana.
Sam Vander Wielen: They’re called Daily Non-negotiables. So, I have my daily non-negotiables in there, which is my water, get outside every day 15 minutes, take a walk with my dog – I have a dog who looks like yours except black – and then taking my multivitamin and my probiotic.
Amy Porterfield: Okay. This is great. Those are things that I do every day – well, I want to do every day, but I’m not as good. It’s funny that I am more consistent in my business than I am in my personal life. And I have had a coach for years and years and she’s a wellness coach. And I got on the phone with her this morning and I said, you know, it’s so easy to do the things in my business I have to do, because if I don’t do them now that I have a team, it’s a trickle effect. I kind of ruin everybody’s day when I don’t hit my own deadlines. And so, that I can do.
But when it’s just me and the only person I’m screwing up is me, I tend to get a little bit lazier on my habits. And I don’t want to do that. So, that’s something that I’ve been working on. But, yeah, I could easily skip those supplements if I’m just like, "No. Just take the dang supplements. What’s the big deal?" So, I have to kind of talk myself into stuff like that.
Sam Vander Wielen: Maybe, like, checking it off in Asana because there’s something about it every day I feel so accomplished, like, "Took it."
Amy Porterfield: I’m doing that. I’m doing that.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. That’s funny. Yeah, We’re the first domino at this point. And I’m always like, "Well, if my domino is not pretty strong, then I just mess everything up after that." So, that’s how I try to think of it.
So, you told us about the Full Focus Planner, which I was hoping to ask you about. Like, if you could give us a little glimpse into your business life, I guess your day-to-day, I’m always curious for someone like you and the stage that you’re at, like, what your tasks and the areas of focus are for you every day in the business.
Amy Porterfield: You know, I hate to say that I’m busier than I would like to be. And I don’t know if that’s just coming off of a book launch and it was so much going on. Now, I’m kind of playing catch up with everything else we put aside. But my days have been really busy.
But here’s the thing, number one, we work a four day workweek. So, we work Monday through Thursday, 8:00 to 5:00 or eight-hour days, and then we take Thursday, Friday, Saturday off. Unless we’re in a big launch, then, of course, Friday has to go back on the calendar. But normal, it’s not. And so, because I’ve got just four days to get it done, my days have become even more important that I stay on task.
And so, what I typically do in my business, so I have a team of 20 full time employees and I have a brand new CEO. She’s been in my company for a while, but she was promoted to CEO. Which, I’m very excited about because think of her as like an integrator, someone who is operating, knowing what everything is going on, so I don’t have to be in the weeds everywhere. So, I’m very excited about that and I see a lot of freedom coming from it, but it’s brand new, so it’s going to take time.
But how I spend my time, like today, I had a coaching call right before you, and then I have this interview, and then – I actually have a business coach and a wellness coach – I have a business coaching call right after this, then I meet with my leadership team. Every single week, we meet with our leadership team. And I run my business through the EOS model, Entrepreneur Operating System. There’s a book called Traction, another book called Rocket Fuel, they talk a lot about the EOS system. And so, I have a leadership team, we meet every week, that’s part of the EOS system and it’s really effective.
And then, from there, I have content to review for a presentation I have next week, I have podcasts, solo episodes to record, and then a meeting with one of my team members. So, a lot of my time is either front stage, which is podcasting, interviewing, Q&As, live video, all of that, or it’s more meetings or reviewing content. So, that’s essentially how I spend a lot of my time.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. That sounds awesome, but also a lot.
Amy Porterfield: It’s a lot right now. I’m looking forward to getting into the summer soon to slow down just a little.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. What are you hoping will take off of your plate?
Amy Porterfield: I don’t know, Sam. That’s a great question. Now, that I have this CEO, I think a lot of the meetings, I don’t think I need to be in as many of them if I have a CEO. So, over the next few months, I think I’ll have less team meetings. And then, in addition to that, probably less review of a lot of the things that will get reviewed before it comes to me. So, that would free up a lot of time.
Like in an ideal world, I would work, like, five hours a day, Monday through Thursday. I would love that. Right now, I’m working eight, nine hours a day, Monday through Thursday. So, if I could get it down to five hours.
And the reason I say that is I’ve been in business 14 years, so I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’m in my mid-40s, and so as I get closer to 50, I’d like a business that runs itself a little bit more than me running the business. And I’m still in a place that I’ve got to show up live. If we want to make some money, I’m live, I’m doing webinars, I’m launching. And that’s the way I built the business and it served me well. We’ve generated over $80 million in the last 14 years, and that’s beyond my wildest dreams.
But I also think I’m ready to get to a place that my business runs without me having to be so present. So, that’s kind of my new goal. So, we’ll see how that goes.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. Well, I’m excited to hear about it in the future, that’s for sure. Have you found any, like, personal hobbies or rituals or anything that you do that kind of help keep you grounded through all of this?
Amy Porterfield: Oh. Let’s see, some personal hobbies? Well, number one, one of the reasons we moved to Nashville from California is that we had an opportunity to buy a fixer upper lake house. And in California, Southern California, you don’t own a lake house unless you have way more money than I have. And I have a lot of money, so that says a lot. It’s so expensive. In Nashville, it’s not as much.
So, we bought a fixer up lake house, and one of the things I love to do is, on the weekends – it’s only an-hour-and-a-half away from our house. We remodeled it last year – I get to go there and I don’t work there. Unless there’s a special situation, I don’t go there to work. So, it’s my time to relax, shut the computer down, be present with my husband, and just enjoy myself. And that is one of the ways that I recharge. And it’s a big deal to me to get away like that so I love doing that.
And then, in the mornings I do a red light. I don’t really know if it works, but psychologically – it might be a placebo – it works great for me. I feel calmer. I feel energized after it. I do journaling. I do meditation. And I try to do that Monday through Friday. And so, I’m an anxious person. I wake up anxious, unfortunately. And so, I’ve got to make sure I’m kind of maintaining a regular schedule like that.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah, me too. I can relate to that. Yes, for sure. And I don’t ever, ever, ever stop thinking about business. Like even when I’m out and about, I’m just analyzing the marketing messaging and the things. And I’m sure you’re the same way.
Amy Porterfield: It’s true. I could really drive my husband crazy if I’m not careful.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah, you and me both. And I always say to my husband, Ryan, I’m like, "They don’t want to know my opinion, but if they were to change something here, what I would think about is –" and he’s like, "Well, no one asked, so let’s just leave it." It’s so funny. But that’s kind of exhausting though, too, right?
Amy Porterfield: It is. It’s like your mind never shuts off, that’s the thing. I encourage so many of my students to move from 9:00 to 5:00 into entrepreneurship, but one thing I caution them is you will think about business 24/7. It will become your baby. I feel like I birthed this business. That’s why managing your mind is so important because it feels like it never turns off. When it’s your baby, it just never turns off.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. It’s also why I encourage people to give themselves credit for all that time that you spent thinking. Because as a lawyer, we used to joke that we would bill people in the shower. Because if you’re in the shower and you were thinking about a case, you’re like, "Oh, I should do this," we would bill somebody for that. That’s work. Thinking is work. And so, I don’t know where in our business that somehow got shoved aside.
Amy Porterfield: It’s true. We can’t get paid for all the time we’re thinking about work.
Sam Vander Wielen: We can bill our own businesses.
Amy Porterfield: Right. Dang it.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. It’s not very profitable. I was thinking about how you probably experienced, as you shared, a lot of challenges and obstacles in those first few years of your business. And I was curious if you could, like, reflect on a challenge you had back then versus maybe a challenge you’ve had in, like, the last six months or a year in your business.
Amy Porterfield: So, challenge back then, so let’s go back, like, 12 years or so, I really struggled with, one, figuring out what I was going to do. I always knew I wanted to teach marketing and online business, but I didn’t know if I could do it through a digital course, even though I wanted to. I didn’t know if I would have to do a service based business or whatever. So, there’s so much experimentation.
And when I launched my first digital course – I talk about this in my book, Two Weeks Notice – where I made $267 and I was devastated. So, the challenge was I thought I wasn’t cut out to be an entrepreneur. I thought I wasn’t smart enough, strategic enough, brave enough to do it. So, every time something didn’t work out, I’d be like, "There’s proof." I’m going to have to go grovel back for my 9:00 to 5:00 job because I am not cut out to do this. So, it was a lot of insecurity, a lot of desperation, a lot of doubt in the beginning. Which is why I talk about that in the book, it’s very normal and I want to neutralize it for my students. And it does eventually go away at that level. So, that’s where I struggled. I struggled a lot with my confidence in the beginning.
These days I struggle more with, Can I pull this off? This is bigger, this is new, this is different. It’s still a little bit do I have what it takes, but it’s at a whole other level because where it comes from is I’ve had a proven track record for 14 years. I have been successful. What would it mean if I try this and it doesn’t work? What is it going to mean about me? It means nothing for the record. And that’s where I’m smarter now. I know it means nothing. It means it didn’t work. But there’s a little bit of, What will people think? How will I look?
Here’s an example. I’ll launch this book. I have never launched a book before. Years and years ago, I co-wrote a dummies book, like those big fat yellow dummies books about Facebook marketing. I did not write the whole book and I sure as hell didn’t launch it. So, now, here I am, wrote this book and I’m launching it. Never have launched a book before. And it was really scary. It was five months of promotion. That’s way too long. And I had to ask for favors. I had to ask, Can you have me on your podcast? Can I go on this news channel? I had asked everyone to share it. I had to do things on social media I’ve never done before. I got on stages I wasn’t comfortable with. I was uncomfortable for five months of this book launch.
And so, the challenge there was, Is this going to work? And if it doesn’t, what does that mean now that I’m 14 years in? So, I think it all comes back to, "Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes?" even this many years in. I just manage it better now.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. It’s like all those stories that we pull out about what things mean, right? And in the earlier years, I remember I thought this when I was reading your book as well, that I remember when I would make those mistakes in the beginning, I always thought there was a plan B. Like, it almost felt like I had gotten out of prison because that’s kind of how my job felt. And then, I felt like every time I messed up, I was going to go back to jail. That’s always how it felt to me.
And I remember I had this one day where I was just like, There is no plan B. And for me, I’m very visual and I kind of have to take action on something. So, I went and got rid of all my attorney clothes. I donated them to a women’s shelter that helps people to go get interviews and stuff. It was like, I’m never wearing these scratchy suits again. I’m never doing this again. And that really helped me to shift that mindset of not feeling like if something didn’t go as great as I wanted it to, that meant that the only other option was going back to my job.
Amy Porterfield: Yes. You’re so right. That needs to shift. In the book, I talk about this concept of Unboxing, letting go of the concept that you are employed, that you have to do things a certain way. And so, getting rid of your clothes is a great way to unbox. I love that. I’m going to have to use that example someplace else, because it’s such a great example of I’m shedding who I was and I’m stepping into who I want to be. I think that’s brilliant.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. It’s very helpful. I highly recommend donating your corporate clothes, and then there’s no going back after that because those suits were expensive. That’s what I thought.
I wanted to talk to you a little bit about kind of where I feel, at least, I don’t know if you agree, but I just feel like the online business industry has changed so much definitely since 2020, but I see it right now even, and I’m just wondering what you think about what’s happening with marketing online businesses in 2023. How do you feel it’s different than before, if at all?
Amy Porterfield: You know, I’m so glad you asked this because I recently put together a presentation for my students about kind of where digital courses are going in 2023. But this is just online marketing in general as well. And I really do think people are looking for more of a personal touch. So, through 2020, 2021, we were kind of getting back into the world figuring out this new normal, and I saw major shifts during that time.
But now that we’re in 2023, I think people are looking for a little bit more handholding, a little bit more personal touch. Here are some simple examples. In Instagram, you can send someone a DM through your voice. So, instead of just always replying to someone through writing, if they could hear your voice right away, that’s more personal. And this idea of one-on-one coaching, I feel like we moved away from a lot of that for so long and now people are welcoming it, "I want that specialized, personalized attention to whatever I am working on." And so, I just see the human touch more so – which I love in – marketing now than ever before. And so, we’re always looking for little ways.
There’s this tool called VideoAsk. And you can put it on a sales page and people can send in a video or an audio or a written question. And then, you can send back a video, audio, or written response. And it just makes it more personal. It’s not real time so you’re not on the hook right in that moment. But just getting back to people in a really personal way. So, little touches like that, I think make a big difference.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. That’s really cool. I did do a live webinar back in the beginning of this year, and then I sent a little video message to everyone who had asked really good questions in the chat, like, we saved them, and that worked really well as well and led to a lot of really good conversations. So, that was helpful.
Amy Porterfield: That is good. I love that. Did you use a certain tool for that?
Sam Vander Wielen: Yes. We used this little app that I’m trying to remember what it was called. Someone set it up for me and sent it to me.
Amy Porterfield: [Inaudible].
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. I will remember and I will put it in the show notes because it was free and it was pretty cool. I kept all the videos to, like, under five minutes, but I let them know if they had questions for me. And I’m always going into Instagram, I send voice notes if somebody has a really good question or something like that. So, I totally agree, the personal touch seems to be there.
And then, this kind of get to the point, tell me the real deal here, I’ve noticed that with Facebook Ads. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that, that we’re being more upfront. I mean, I was always upfront. That’s not really my style to hide anything. But we’re just like, "At the end of this training, I’m going to talk about my program, the Ultimate Bundle." So, I think people appreciate, too, I know that I’m going to be sold something, but I’m also going to get all this value in the workshop. That seems to have changed.
Amy Porterfield: I think there’s a sophistication. I think we see it every year. It gets bigger and bigger of they know you’re going to sell on that webinar, they know you’re going to talk about some product you have, like, why not just put it out there in the beginning? And I kind of play around with that. When I do webinars, I might mention I’m selling something at the end, I might not, but I’ve seen people do it really eloquently and I think it takes people off their guard.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. Yeah. It’s so interesting. And for one of our favorite topics, email marketing, what are some of the things that you think are working really well with building an email list, converting your email list right now?
Amy Porterfield: So, I feel as though making email list growth a priority in your business is essential. Anyone doing business online, you’ve got to have a thriving email list. And notice I didn’t say a huge email list, just thriving, so that’s engaged and people are opening up your emails, clicking on those links, all of that.
And so, one of the best list builders, one of the best ways I think working right now to grow your email list is a quiz. Now, it’s a little bit more advanced, so I don’t necessarily have my beginner students who don’t have anybody on their list yet start with a quiz. But if you’ve been at this for a while, you’ve been growing your list, a quiz.
I have a friend who just put out a quiz and she got 24,000 people in, like, a week to take this quiz. And when people want their quiz results, they have to give you their name and email. And that’s where you’re growing your list. And I think quizzes are interesting because people like to learn about themselves. So, a really well done quiz is one that people, they answer your questions and then they learn about how they navigate something, who they are, what’s the next step for them depending on where they are in their life’s journey. And that’s very interesting to them.
But as the marketer, you’re learning so much about your audience, and you cannot pass that step. You have to listen more than you talk. You have to learn who your audience is, what they’re saying, what they’re worried about, what’s keeping them up at night in order to write great copy and serve them. So, a quiz will tell you a lot about your audience. So, it’s one of my most favorite ways to grow an email list.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. That’s really cool. Okay. And I was also wondering if there’s something that you feel like people aren’t focusing on right now in marketing their online businesses that they should be.
Amy Porterfield: I think one is email list growth. I don’t think people focus on it enough. To me, I have this motto, growing my email list is how I do business. Meaning, it’s not something it’s one and done in my business. It’s not a stressor. It happens every day behind the scenes of my business. Once you build a strong foundation, it can happen every day in your business. I didn’t wake up this morning thinking I better grow my email list, but I can promise you it will grow by hundreds today based on the different strategies I have out in the online world. So, number one, I think that’s something.
Another thing I don’t think that we probably focus enough on is really mapping out and planning our revenue generators. So, I do this training once a year, early in the year usually, where you’re putting together your promo cal. And two things, number one, at the beginning of the year, late in the year before the next, if you sit down and say, this is what I’m going to promote and this is when I’m going to promote it, like I have my launch in September, it’s already on the calendar. I know when I’m pre-launching that. I just finished a launch yesterday, that’s been on the calendar for months and months. I know when I’m promoting.
And the beautiful thing about that is you can look at a year calendar and see if maybe you’re being a little too aggressive or under promoting. You can kind of see how it shakes out throughout the months. And as an entrepreneur, you can see where you can have some white space so you’re not always promoting. I think the white space on your calendar is important.
But then, in addition to that, looking at if I’m promoting here, here and here, what are my revenue projections? It’s not good enough to say I want to make $500,000 this year. I want to know how you think you’re going to make it. Literally, how many units are you going to sell in this launch? How many units are you going to sell in your evergreen? What does the monthly breakdown look like?
And this is more sophisticated, but I think a lot of people in your audience are more sophisticated, but really not just having a revenue number, but breaking it down to the final dollar, it’s changed everything for me. And do I hit all those goals? No. But at least I know what I’m shooting for.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. Yeah. Really getting into those nitty gritty details, which you can do with your Full Focus Planner.
Amy Porterfield: Yes, you can.
Sam Vander Wielen: Well, I hope you don’t mind, but I have a series of little Would You Rather questions that I always do with everyone that are just fun. Not really businessy.
Amy Porterfield: Okay. Good. Let’s go.
Sam Vander Wielen: Okay. So, would you rather read fiction or nonfiction?
Amy Porterfield: Fiction.
Sam Vander Wielen: Have you read anything you’ve liked lately?
Amy Porterfield: Let’s see here. Oh, yes. So, Daisy Jones and The Six.
Sam Vander Wielen: I love that book. Yeah.
Amy Porterfield: Such a great book. And then, now it’s on Prime, so I’m going to watch it. My husband gets to watch it, too, and he loves it. So, that was one that I absolutely love.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. All her stuff is really good. Her books are really good.
Amy Porterfield: Really good.
Sam Vander Wielen: Did you read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo?
Amy Porterfield: Love it. And did you hear that that’s coming out as a movie as well or a series?
Sam Vander Wielen: Yes. I’m very excited.
Amy Porterfield: And then, there’s another one. I think it’s called Malibu Rising. I loved that one. So, I love her. Tara Reid, is that what it is?
Sam Vander Wielen: Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Amy Porterfield: That’s right. Yes. Yes.
Sam Vander Wielen: Her stuff is really good. Yeah, I like that, too. Well, this one’s going to be a tough one for you, but would you rather live at the beach, the mountains, the desert, or the lake?
Amy Porterfield: I’m going to have to say lake.
Sam Vander Wielen: Oh, that’s a good one.
Amy Porterfield: I’m going to live at the lake.
Sam Vander Wielen: Good thing you have a house there. Would you rather have coffee or tea?
Amy Porterfield: Coffee all the time.
Sam Vander Wielen: What’s your coffee order?
Amy Porterfield: So, it is a venti, sugar free vanilla soy latte. And I do not get it a lot, but it’s like the biggest treat. And my team always brings it to me when we’re in launch mode, so it’s kind of extra special. But, yeah, that’s the one I get.
Sam Vander Wielen: That’s so cool. But at home, do you make coffee at home too?
Amy Porterfield: I do. But, like, literally super simple, easy coffee at home.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. When you and Hobie cook together, do you clean up as you go or clean up at the end?
Amy Porterfield: Great question. Hobie will clean up as he goes. He hates to have a mess at the end. I’m probably just messy through the whole thing and then know he’ll clean it up. So, I’m not cleaning up at all. That’s terrible to admit, but it’s probably true.
Sam Vander Wielen: I like that deal. Would you rather hit up a fancy restaurant or the best food truck?
Amy Porterfield: Best food truck all day long.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. There’s some really good ones. Would you rather get a phone call or a text from a friend?
Amy Porterfield: Please do not call me. Text message.
Sam Vander Wielen: It’s so funny.
Amy Porterfield: I’m an introvert so I like text messages.
Sam Vander Wielen: We had a team meeting yesterday, and we hired somebody to do the Colby training for us.
Amy Porterfield: So good.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. She came in, and at the end, everybody had to share the best way to communicate with them and the worst. And everybody on the team was like, "Do not call me ever."
Amy Porterfield: So sad. I mean, back in the day, that’s all we did.
Sam Vander Wielen: I know.
Amy Porterfield: It’s like, "Why are you calling?" Like, one of my best friends, I’m like, "Why is she calling me? That’s weird." Like, it’s horrible.
Sam Vander Wielen: Yeah. And then, I was overanalyzing every time I’ve ever called anybody on the team and feeling so bad about it. It’s like, "I’m sorry, guys. I just had to. I was out. I had to do something."
Amy Porterfield: I called one of my team members yesterday. Sometimes you got to get on the phone.
Sam Vander Wielen: Sometimes you do. Thank you, Amy. I’m going to clip this out and send to all. Okay. Last but not least, would you rather have x-ray vision or magnified hearing?
Amy Porterfield: Oh. I would choose x-ray vision.
Sam Vander Wielen: Oh, good one. Any reason why?
Amy Porterfield: It just seems scandalous. I think I would like it.
Sam Vander Wielen: That’s true. Yeah. Scandalous and also safe. You could save a lot of people.
Amy Porterfield: That’s true.
Sam Vander Wielen: Well, that was so much fun. Will you tell everybody where to find the book, where to find you, all of the things.
Amy Porterfield: Yes. So, Two Weeks Notice, you could buy anywhere, in a bookstore or online, and Amazon, bookshop.org, wherever you want to go. And then, I have a podcast called Online Marketing Made Easy. So, it’s all things marketing. And you can find me on Instagram, @amyporterfield. So, those are all the places.
Sam Vander Wielen: Thank you, Amy. I’ll share links to the book and everything below. I just so appreciate you doing this with me.
Amy Porterfield: Thank you so much. This has been a lot of fun. You take care.
Sam Vander Wielen: You too.
Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms Podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcast. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business, at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram, @samvanderwielen, and send me a DM to say hi.
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