Episode 54. Everything I Learned at ConvertKit’s Craft + Commerce Conference (mind blown!)
I recently got back from ConvertKit’s Craft + Commerce Conference in Boise, Idaho and my mind was BLOWN!
The online business world is changing and we all need to adapt. This conference brought together some of the biggest names in the industry, but also the up-and-comers who are trying new things and finding out what works.
I’m going to share some of my biggest takeaways, why I went, what I had hoped to get out of it, and what people are missing out on when they don’t go to conferences. I’ll also give you the one takeaway that, if you were to only take one thing from this conference, will make a huge difference in your business.
In this episode, you’ll hear…
- Why I chose to attend Craft + Commerce (and why I almost changed my mind)
- Blogging isn’t dead
- The importance of diversifying your marketing strategy
- Focusing on the big stuff and less on the trends
- Getting down with your numbers
- Titles are so important
- Public speaking tips
- Investing in your future self
- Being high value
- Getting clear on what success means to you
- Doing $10k work
If you’d like a shoutout (and a chance to win a $20 gift card), just leave a review on Apple Podcasts and send a screenshot of it to me on Instagram via DMs!
10 takeaways I had from Craft + Commerce
- Blogging isn’t dead—or at least it shouldn’t be forgotten.
I met so many people at Craft + Commerce who are still blogging or even built their entire business on blogging. We’ve been hearing for years that blogging is dead, but it’s a fact: Written content designed to drive traffic to your website and nurture your clients absolutely works.
- Diversify your marketing
You’ve probably heard people say “don’t build your house on rented land,” and contrary to the previous point, this one is actually spot on—but while many will hesitate to start a blog today, few actually take to heart the advice of marketing outside of social media. We should all spend more time building our foundations: Content that lives on our own platform.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
The people who are most successful—and I define that as a mix of personal satisfaction as well as doing something good in the world—aren’t messing around with trends or wasting their time on little things. When we’re all following the same trends, we’re naturally going to be less unique, and standing out is one of the best ways to gain attention.
- Successful people get down with the numbers
Do you know your acquisition cost? Churn rate? Customer lifetime value? Average subscriber growth? The people who are really seeing success do. This isn’t about vanity metrics, but knowing the numbers that actually contribute to your business and finding out what’s working and what isn’t.
- Titles are SO important
Whether it’s your podcast episodes, blog posts, or email subject lines—titles are what sell. The founder of The Hustle, Sam Parr, talks about using titles that play to “awe, curiosity, or anger.” You’re not trying to piss people off, but titles that can trigger defensiveness are likely to get people to pay attention.
- Be entertained by your own speech
Mike Pacchione gave a ton of public speaking tips, but we’re not going to go into all of them because he will actually be a future guest on the show! But one important takeaway was to make sure that you are entertained by your own speech—otherwise, you can’t expect others to be.
- Invest in your future self
We spend so much time focused on current events or the past, when we rarely think about how our current decisions may be a cost to or an investment in our future selves. If we don’t clarify our future goals, we will get lost in the small stuff that doesn’t really matter in the long run.
- Being high value
There’s a lot of advice out there about how to sell more products, but there’s surprisingly little about how to make quality products. If you’re selling a $29 product, you should be providing more than $29 in value—that’s how you create a lifelong fan. When you go above and beyond, the results will pay dividends.
- Getting clear on what success means to you
Success is going to look different for everyone—that’s why it’s so hard to talk about universally. Notice how I had to define how I view success above? You need to clearly define and name at least three metrics of success beyond money to find out why you’re really doing this.
- Do $10k work
In your business, there is $10, $100, $1k, and $10k work you could be doing. $10-100 work is the execution: Social media posts, answering emails, sending invoices, etc. $1k work is the kind of work only you as the business owner can do. But the $10k work is when we can start hiring and training others to do the $10-100 work, repeatable offers, and focusing on the big vision.
As you can see, there is a ton of value to gain from conferences like Craft + Commerce. I’m not an affiliate, but if you are interested in attending next year, you can already buy tickets for the next event at conference.convertkit.com.
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Resources Discussed in This Episode
- Tickets to next year’s conference are on sale here: conference.convertkit.com
- ConvertKit (affiliate link)
- Goal Setting, Productivity & Evergreen Content (Guest Episode with Louise Henry)
- Khe Hy
- Mike Pacchione
- Cara Chace
- Dr. Ben Hardy
- Glo Atanmo
- Chloe Weaver
- Tim Urban
- Sam Parr (The Hustle)
- Marketing link Sam shared in her private fb group
If you’re ready to legally protect and grow your online business today, save your seat in my free workshop so you can learn how to take the simple legal steps to protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build. Click here to watch the free workshop so you can get legally legit right now!
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:00:11] Hey. Hey. Welcome back to On Your Terms. I’m your host, Sam Vander Wielen. I’m an attorney turned entrepreneur who helps you legally protect your online business. And today, I am sharing with you my biggest takeaways from the ConvertKit Craft + Commerce Conference that I went to in Boise, Idaho at the end of June 2022.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:00:30] I learned so much. My mind was completely blown. My team has said that I came back like a different person, all motivated and had all these things to share. And I am just really excited to share this with you because this is all part of something that I want to talk about more, which is that I feel like the online business industry is changing. I feel like there’s change coming and I feel like we need to adopt in certain ways. And I feel like we’re kind of going through a gross spurt of sorts. And I feel like a lot of what I’m going to share with you today is speaking to that, but also in what to do.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:01:02] So, I’m kicking off this episode by just sharing a little bit about, like, why I wanted to go to ConvertKit’s conference and what I hope to get out of it, why I almost didn’t go, and what I think people are missing when they don’t go to conferences or don’t go to the right ones. I then launch into sharing my top ten takeaways. These range from everything like marketing strategy, to trends, to data and numbers, to public speaking, to what success means for you. So, we’re going to talk about everything in this episode.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:01:34] At the very end, I’m going to leave you with what the overall themes are that I want you to take away. If I could just zoom out and zip up and give you a 30,000 foot view of what I want you to take away, not only from this episode, but from all of my takeaways from the conference, it will be what I leave you with at the end. So, sit back, relax or go on a walk, grab your sneaks, I hope you enjoy this episode. I’ll talk to you soon.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:02:03] So, I’m so excited to be talking with you today about my experience at ConvertKit’s Craft + Commerce Conference – try saying that five times fast. At ConvertKit’s Craft + Commerce Conference I went to a couple of weeks ago, it was hosted out in Boise, Idaho where ConverKit is based. And they’ve hosted it there every year since they started the conference. But, obviously, the conference has been off for the last two years because of the pandemic. So, I knew that as soon as things started to pick up again and ConvertKit offered it again, it was something that I wanted to go to. I was so sad I couldn’t go to it in the past. I was always, like, speaking in another conference or had something life-wise going on.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:02:44] So, everything kind of aligned this year, and I was really excited. I signed up months and months ago. And I was really excited about going. And I had a couple of goals in mind with going to this conference. I’m going to talk to you a little bit today about the importance of conferences, maybe selecting certain conferences over others, all that kind of stuff. And so, hopefully, through me sharing my experience, you can better choose something that works for you and that actually helps you to grow your business.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:03:12] So, I chose to go to ConvertKit and had these goals in mind of learning more about email marketing. Not just ConvertKit’s email marketing, like nothing about their software itself. I do use and love ConvertKit. But I actually wanted to go there to learn in general more tips about growing your email list, nurturing your subscribers more. Really, in hearing a lot more about trends and changes in the industry when it comes to email marketing, that was something I was really interested in going there for, because I feel like a lot of things have shifted, and I feel like things have changed with social media consumption and other means of content. And so then, that has left me just constantly coming back to this notion that our email lists are so important, so I was like, What’s new? What’s happening? What’s coming with this?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:04:09] I also really wanted to go and meet people. I have always gone to conferences and walked away with a handful of great connections. I think sometimes you will get intimidated or they get a little nervous about going to conferences. They have a lot of people thinking like, "There’s so many people." And in my experience what ends up happening is that it’s almost like going to a big college. Like, you kind of find your little group and then you become friends with them and they’re really cool. And now I have these friends from years and years in different conferences that I’ve gone to, and that’s exactly what happened at this one too. So, I wanted to meet people.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:04:43] And, also, coming off two years of a pandemic and continuing to work from home. I’ve always run my business from home, being even more isolated at home, like no coffee shops, no WeWork. When I was still living in Philly, I was going to WeWork all the time and, it’s so funny, I used to joke with myself because I was working by myself that sometimes I would be at WeWork and I’d be like, "I think I’m the only person here that actually owns my own business," because everybody else at WeWork seem to work for a company but be working out of WeWork. And in Philly, WeWork, a lot of people have their actual offices there. So, it was just kind of funny.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:05:21] But even just being in that environment, there were a lot of startups and people doing cool things. And I get really inspired by the diversity of entrepreneurship. Like, I don’t need to be around a bunch of other coaches or legal people or people in online business. I love being around creatives and writers and cinematographer. I mean, literally anything. I think being around people who are super passionate about what they’re doing, it doesn’t really matter what exactly they’re doing. It’s just really helpful to be in that energy. So, that was a huge goal for me in going to this conference. Just like after the last two years, I kind of needed that little shot of being around people who were equally as passionate about whatever they were doing as I am.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:06:11] And I was so excited to go. Like I said, I signed up for it a long time ago. And then, my dad suddenly passed away in the beginning of May. He had cancer for a long time but I didn’t think he was going to pass now. And I was like, "Shoot. I wish I didn’t sign up for this thing," because I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to leave home. I didn’t want to be around other people. I didn’t feel like introducing myself or being uncomfortable or not being in my own bed. Just like the whole thing, it just kind of zapped, and I think that’s pretty reasonable and normal.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:06:46] But over the coming weeks after my dad passed and before I went to ConvertKit at the very end of June, I think it was a really good lesson for me on black and white thinking. And a lot of my friends were really helpful in talking this through. And I want to share this with you in case this is something that comes up for you about going to big events or conferences or meet ups or whatever it is, it’s not a go, don’t go decision – or it doesn’t have to be, I should say. It’s not that black and white.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:07:16] So, when I was thinking about going to ConvertKit after my dad died, I was like, "I just shouldn’t go anymore." It went from me being super excited to being I don’t go at all. And as I thought about it over the coming weeks, it was like, "Maybe we go and we get the most out of this that we can based on where we’re at, based on how comfortable we are in these environments, based on what our goals are, what we’re up to in our businesses, what resources we have, and that’s that. So, that’s kind of how I went to WeWork – To WeWork? I wish I went to WeWork. That’s how I went to ConvertKit’s conference.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:07:51] I went in there saying, "You know what? I’m not in the mood. And I’m not myself, I’m not my normal self. But I’m going to go with an open mind. I’m going to drop the expectations of what I originally had hoped to get out of all of this. And how I was just going to be my normal, like, I’ll talk to anybody self. And I’m going to go." And I’m really, really glad that I did because this conference was mind blowing for me.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:08:17] In my experience, you go to these conferences and sometimes the content is, in fact, mind blowing. And there were several of those moments and lectures and all this kind of stuff that I experienced at ConvertKit. There are also, though, sometimes I feel like these moments where you just needed to hear something. It could be the most simple like duh thing. It could be something that you’ve thought about a million times in the past. It could be something that you’ve wanted to act on in your gut but you haven’t. And then, you go and you hear it from somebody else or in a different way or in a different tone. Or sometimes for me, it’s like I hear the opposite. I hear somebody saying, "Don’t do that," and that’s what solidifies in my gut that I do want to do it. To me, conferences or things like this are just as beneficial because of that stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:09:08] So, yes, I learned the most incredible knowledge and I feel like I walked away from so much. And as I’m always encouraging you to do, you have to kind of keep chiseling away at your version of business. Your way of marketing, your way of speaking to your customers, your writing style, all these things, it has to be your way. And one of the best ways that you can do that is being exposed to a lot of these different thoughts and opinions and ideas, but filtering them, not just accepting them.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:09:38] So, not going on Instagram and saying, "Oh, everybody who’s on here who has a lot of followers is doing it right, therefore, I’ll do it like them." It’s just a way of doing it. And then, you can kind of take that and say, "How does that map on to me and my story and what I want to do? Or my personality, my way of speaking and writing?" And if you’re a customer of mine, you’ve heard me give this visual many, many times, but I think of business sometimes as an ice block. You know, if you’ve ever seen those guys with – what do they call them? – sauce, I think, and they chisel away at the ice and they’ll make a sculpture. They’ll make like a dolphin out of this big block of ice.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:10:17] I like to think of all these experiences that you have in your business every time you’re exposed to something, every time you read something, as like you deciding to carve that sculpture out for yourself and making whatever your dolphin is. And so, mine would probably be a cup of coffee. But you can make your ice sculpture whatever you want to make your ice sculpture.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:10:36] The point being is that, when you go to these conferences, you start to be inspired by certain things and be like, "Oh, that’s more what I want to do and how I want to be." And then, there are other things I walked away from like, "Whoa. That is not what I want to be." All of those things are carves. They all help to carve. That’s the way I like to think about it.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:10:55] I think that people in our industry sometimes don’t go to conferences enough. Sometimes I go to these events and then all these people will write to me on Instagram and be like, "Oh, do you recommend that somebody goes to this?" I’m like, "Of course." This is so helpful but it’s about picking the right kinds of conferences. I feel like we spend so much time in our businesses – well, at least I did in the early years and I know this might be true for you if you’re in the earlier stages of business – spending all this time on those free crap online. All these free virtual events and downloadable things and all that kind of stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:11:32] And it’s funny because looking back on it, when I’ve gone to this more live in person events, like ConvertKit conferences, two full days, essentially, you get more out of that than you could get out of a million virtual conferences, in my opinion. That’s just my opinion. But I feel like this should be when it can be, when it’s a possibility for you resources-wise, this should be a focus in your business is some sort of regular interval of these kinds of things. Even if you start it once or twice a year, maybe it’s once a quarter, that would be a lot. But I think as much as you can handle and it would be more about quality over quantity, and not just going to any conferences, but going to good ones.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:12:20] So, I understand that traveling, too, is expensive, and I want to be sensitive to that. It costs a lot of money to go out there. The conference itself is not expensive. It’s, I think, very affordable for what they give you. So, shoutout to ConvertKit because I think that they keep it super affordable. They actually have the tickets on sale already for next year. I’ll talk about it a couple of times, I’m not an affiliate or anything like that. But I really highly recommend that you go to this again next year. It will be in June in Boise again. And I think that they offer a really high value conference for the price, especially. It’s really the travel. So, I understand that the travel is expensive. And I stayed in a nice hotel because I like nice hotels and all that good stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:13:06] But I want you to know that that’s not how I started. So, I didn’t start by flying to Boise and all that kind of stuff and going to conferences for days on end. Because back when I started my business, I couldn’t have afforded to take that time off or to travel. So, I started local. I literally started on the most local level. I went to little workshops. I hosted little workshops, which then prompted other people to host workshops at this place, at this cafe. Then, I started going to conferences in Philly, and meet ups in Philly. And then, it would be New York. Which if you’re not from our area, New York and Philly are not far away, but it was still a train ride or I’d go spend the night in New York. And it just kept growing. And then, I started speaking on stages and it just kind of went and went and went.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:13:54] So, again, no black and white. It doesn’t have to be either you go to a big national conference or nothing. You can start local and grow. But it is somewhere I would focus some of your budget when you can.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:14:08] I also want to encourage you not to only build your online businesses online. I think that’s a common mistake that a lot of online business owners make. Even with somebody like me where my whole business is online – I have a digital commerce business, essentially – I make so many great connections in person at these conferences and I learned so much. You don’t only need to learn through Instragram or through webinars. You can also go do stuff in person. You can go meet people in person.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:14:36] If you’re a coach, I highly, highly recommend that you get involved in your community. I built my health coaching business by hosting workshops in person and going to a lot of different meet ups amongst business people in person. So, yes, you can offer all your services virtually if you want to, but that doesn’t mean you only need to market your business online, it doesn’t mean all of your connections needs to be cultivated online.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:14:59] So, with that, I’m going to share with you today all of my conference takeaways. I would definitely recommend that you listen to this episode probably more than once and that you take notes. This is going to be a good one.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:15:11] Before we get into it, let’s read our Review of the Week. Tada Srah says, "I love listening to On Your Terms. Sam is incredibly knowledgeable and an outstanding teacher. She makes the less fun legal parts of running a business actually interesting and enjoyable to learn. I’m also an Ultimate Bundle member, which has helped me tremendously in my business. So, I was doped when she started a podcast because I love learning from her. I listen while I’m doing chores around the house and always feel like she’s right there talking directly to me. I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who’s starting or running an online business." Well, thank you so much for leaving a review on Apple Podcasts.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:15:43] If you listen on Apple to my show, On Your Terms, leave a review of the show and you’ll be entered to win a $20 Starbucks gift card. All you have to do is leave a review. If you listen on Spotify, just go ahead and give the show a rating. It’s really helpful to spreading the word and keeping this show free to you.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:02] So, let’s get into all of my conference takeaways from Craft + Commerce. So, here’s what I’m going to do for you in this episode. I took copious notes at this conference. And everybody, when I was at the conference and I was sharing what was going on, like, on Instagram and then afterwards, they were like, "Would you be open to sharing your notes?" And I couldn’t figure out a great way to do that, so you know what I’m going to do? I synthesize my notes for you, essentially.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:29] So, first, I’m just going to kind of give you a random smothering of all the highlights of things that I learned at Craft + Commerce. These are both things that people said who came to speak at Craft + Commerce and then things that – I don’t know – I guess that I like boiled down and some realizations that I had through things that I learned. So, it’s a bit of a mix and I will cite where proper.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:54] The other thing is that, at the very end of the episode, I am going to give you, like, the big picture, the 30,000 foot view highlights of the big takeaways I want you to have from this and that I, personally, am walking from. Because, ironically, one of the things I walked away from with this conference is that we need to be looking at things in our business from a more global perspective. Sometimes we need to zoom out, we need to get out of the little day to day of all this minutia and social media crap. And we need to zoom out and we need to be thinking big picture, future, long term strategy. So, that’s how I’m going to do this, so buckle up, buttercup, let’s do it.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:17:35] Okay. Conference takeaways, here we go. Number one, blogging isn’t dead, or at least it shouldn’t be forgotten. I can’t tell you how many people spoke at ConvertKit or who I met at ConvertKit who are still blogging. You know, maybe blogging is the wrong term, maybe that’s part of the problem. I think that too often people just don’t have content on their website that is written to drive traffic to their website, to attract their ideal client, to nurture them, to help with brand awareness. And so, creating content that lives on your website overall is something that was huge that I took away from this.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:18:19] And that a lot of people are using their email lists to kind of do that. Some people are putting, essentially, their posts in their email and sending it out to their email list. But then, taking that same content and putting it on their site and optimizing it for SEO purposes so that they’re driving to the site. That’s what I’ve done a lot and it’s worked really well. That’s not something I see being done hardly at all, let alone enough, in our industry. Because it’s much easier to sell you a course on growing your Instagram following, or getting more YouTube subscribers. But telling you like you have to write these articles, and do some research, and be a good writer, and put them on your site, and figure out a little bit SEO.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:19:01] I taught myself this on the very most basic level when I started my business. It’s something that you can do, too. Of course, there are also lots of people that can help you with that or who can do it for you and all of that kind of stuff, too, just depending on where you’re at and your resources. But you’ll hear me talk a lot today about blogging, SEO content, evergreen stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:19:22] The second thing that I took away from this conference – and this was one of mine that I just kind of pulled out of my notes as a summary – is that you need to diversify your marketing strategy. You should not be building your house on social media’s land. We hear people say this a lot, "Don’t build your house on rented land." Social media is rented land. It’s not ours. We don’t know what’s happening with it. We can’t control the algorithm. You can put out the best content ever, we have no idea how many people are seeing it.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:19:54] I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t be on social media or you shouldn’t create for it. What I just feel like I walked away from Craft + Commerce thinking is like, "Whoa. We spend way too much time on this side of our business, meaning the rented house side, and not nearly enough time buying our own lands and cultivating our lands and building the house on our land."
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:20:18] So, personally, I can just tell you what I’m going to do and you can take what you want from this. But I felt like ConvertKit’s conference was a well needed and deserved slap in my face to get back to my foundation. I built this business, and the reason it was so successful and has continued to be is because I focused on foundational content, content that lives, content that has a purpose. It goes somewhere. It doesn’t die on a cutting room floor on Instagram.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:20:47] So, I’ve shared before how I’ve had phases in my business where when Instagram Stories became really popular, [inaudible] are doing all these Instagram Stories and then realized, "Oh. This stuff all goes away after 24 hours." So, if I am not taking care of cultivating my own land, then I have no business working so hard on the rented stuff. I think it’s not a black and white thing. I think we work hard on our own stuff. Like you do SEO stuff or you have a podcast that you title SEO Optimize, and you turn that into a post on your site. Or you have a YouTube channel and you do the same thing.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:21:26] And then, we are also on social media to cultivate the connection, build a community, have some fun, brand awareness, all that kind of stuff. But that should not be where we’re building our house. And, personally, I need a little bit of that slap, slap to get me back to what I knew in my gut was the right thing for me, the right long term strategy, and just what, honestly, keeps you in a better mental space too.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:21:52] So, I think there was another part of this that came out of my notes from this conference was not just about not focusing on social media so much and getting back to some more foundational evergreen content roots. But it’s also about diversifying our marketing strategy off of social media. So, cultivating our email list, obviously they talked a lot about that. Really focusing when we create content, it’s like how are we taking those people from Instagram and getting them on to our email list and giving them something of value and nurturing them so that they’re not just sitting there on social media. And we’re trying our hardest everyday to reach a tiny percentage of them.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:22:32] Also, focusing on getting on stages, speaking on people’s podcast, speaking at conferences. If you’re in the earlier stages of your business, a great way to start is trying to speak at virtual summits or at those local workshops like I talked about, or a local conference if you have that. So, just diversifying your marketing strategy not only off of social media but even off of just online stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:22:57] The third thing that I took away from this conference was that the most successful people – everyone there is successful, and I don’t define that, by the way, by making a lot of money. I could give a crap less. But to me, it was people who were happy, who were running profitable businesses no matter how much profit they’re making who are happy with it, who have a nice balance in their life. That’s typically what I’m looking for. And who seem to enjoy what they do and are really good at doing it. Like, they’re actually helping people. They’re offering something that’s useful, that’s helpful.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:23:29] The most successful people weren’t messing around with the little things or trends. They weren’t, for the most part, on TikTok. Actually, interesting thing I noticed was that most of them weren’t even on Instagram. They weren’t messing around with dance reels or lip-syncing or any of this other kind of stuff. They thought that was almost interesting that we were all doing that, like everyone I talked to. I would be like, "Yeah. But what about this? Aren’t you worried about this on Instagram?" "But now they’re saying Instagram is dead." What about TikTok?" And they were like, "I’m just building my email list and we work on SEO really hard. We work on our titles and we hire good writers." Some of them were still writing all their own stuff and they’re like, "We just focus on our writing." And were building a genuine connection with their audience not through social media. Which, again, was just a wake up call.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:24:26] I think that something that was really impactful was Glo Atanmo, she’s @glographics on Instagram. I highly recommend following her. She gave just an incredible talk at ConvertKit. She was one of the speakers. She said that trends lead us to be less unique because we’re always trying to be like each other. And that was so helpful to hear from Glo because I was like, "Yeah. That’s true."
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:24:51] But, to me, there are two issues with this chasing after all the little things, the trends, the hot platform, the hot feature of Instagram at the moment, or something like this, or whatever other platform, is that, not only does it keep us distracted and away from this big picture – that you’re going to hear me talk a lot about today – of building our businesses. But it also keeps us all kind of doing the same thing like each other.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:18] So, even if you are going to participate in the trend of, for example, creating Reels, that’s "trendy" on Instagram, then what about doing them your way with your spin? Or creating a new unique series or something. Something that’s uniquely you.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:35] I like to think of the comedienne, Elyse Myers, when I think about this of just the way that she talks, kind of the content – I guess she started on TikTok but I only ever see it on Instagram – even just the way she does her little graphics and design on the screen, I just feel like it’s very her and it’s very unique. And so, even though – what do they call it on Instagram? – the surface is trendy and meaning that Reels are trendy. The way that she’s doing it is not. Now, people are trying to be like her, I feel like. But I think that’s kind of the way that I would like to think about it moving forward.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:26:13] I also thought something that Glo said around this was super interesting and helpful, she said that too many of us aren’t having conversations with our audience, we’re lecturing them, and that nobody likes to be lectured. And I thought that was really interesting because I thought one of the things that social media kind of trains us to do is feel like it’s our platform and we just get to stand up there with the mic and we don’t have to hear anything back. It’s also why people like to leave mean comments. It feels like you get to say your side and then be like, "I’m not open for discussion on this." And I just thought that was a helpful little wake up for ourselves.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:26:50] And I definitely am guilty of this as well. Like, we get used to being in a teaching position of being in a position of authority and talking from a place of expertise for whatever you do. But we have to remember to keep it conversational there. If we’re going to be there, that’s probably a nicer way to have conversations and build a community with people who are there.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:27:11] So, sticking with this not messing around with the little things or trends, I thought Cara Chace, another speaker at Craft + Commerce, who did a wonderful job. She gave us a great presentation. She said that we need to peel off the layers of other people’s playbook. And I was like, "Oh, that is so good."
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:27:32] I mean, first of all, it’s why I called the show On Your Terms, but you hear me talk a lot about how important it is to do things your own way and to follow your own path. And not treat everybody else’s way of doing things like it’s the standard and you just need to follow it. The reason I hate that in particular is because what if their standard isn’t actually the best idea? Like, when I started this business, there were a couple of other people who were doing a similar style business. But nobody was doing it in a way that I thought was a really good idea. Whether that’s true or not, I wasn’t sure at the time.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:28:07] But if I had just said, "Okay. They started the business to look like this. Therefore, I’ll start the business to look like this." That would have put me in a box. It would have limited me. So, don’t let the way that other people are doing things be the definition, be the boundary that you’re not allowed to go outside of. That’s just an example. It’s their playbook. You can create your own playbook. So, I love that Cara taught us, peel off the layers of other people’s playbook.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:28:32] It’s also why I always am telling you, unfollow people in your space. And people always write to me and a lot of people say like, "Oh, thanks. That was so helpful." Other people would be like, "Well, I’m just going to mute them and I’m not going to see their stuff." That’s fine. Whatever you need to do. I don’t know if following them is like performing some function for you. I’m not sure if you’re ever going to hire them. But otherwise, in my opinion, just unfollow.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:28:58] I’ve never followed to begin with. I never understand it when lawyers follow me. I don’t exactly understand what they’re trying to get out of following me. And it just doesn’t feel good, from my perspective. And it just helps me to keep my head down. I don’t have to peel of the layers of other people’s playbook because I don’t even know what their playbook is. I don’t know what it looks like. And they really shouldn’t be looking at mine. We should all just be creating our own playbook.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:29:23] And that doesn’t mean that we don’t support and wish them the best and bless and all these things. We do that. We want everybody to succeed. There’s more than enough room for all of us. I just don’t know why I have to watch it or be influenced by how they’re doing it. I want to make sure I keep my playbook very clean and clear.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:29:46] Have you ever felt lost about where to begin with the legal side of protecting your online business? Some people say you can just wing it at the beginning and get officially set up later. Not a good idea, by the way. Whether you’re afraid to even start working with clients because you don’t want to do something wrong legally and then get in trouble or your business is growing and you sort of forgot to take care of the legal pieces, I’ve got you.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:30:08] I don’t want you to live in fear of the internet police coming after you and your business. But you do have to do certain things and get certain things in place in order to legally and safely run your business online. As much as it just feels like an unregulated, wild, wild west online, that is very much not the case.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:30:25] As an attorney turned entrepreneur and former corporate litigator, I can assure you that there are rules. There are real steps that everybody who runs or starts an online business needs to take. And you’re not behind at all. We can get you set up and following the rules right away. In fact, we can even do it today.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:30:42] I want to teach you the five very simple steps to take to legally protect and grow your online business. You don’t need an MBA to be a successful entrepreneur and stay out of legal hot water. But you do need to dot your legal i’s and cross your t’s in a few key areas that can’t be skipped. That’s exactly what I’ll teach you in my free one hour legal workshop called Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business. Just head to mylegalworkshop.com, drop in your email address, pick the time, and I’ll send you a link to watch the workshop video whenever you have time.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:31:12] This is the best place to begin if you’re just getting started legally legitimizing your business, so head on over to mylegalworkshop.com and sign up to watch Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business now.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:31:26] The last part of this not messing around with trends thing that I wanted to share was that, Tim Urban also spoke at Craft + Commerce – they had just a crazy lineup of speakers – shared this concept with us, which spoke directly to my heart, where he talked about the chef versus the cook. So, the chef experiments. They create original recipes. Maybe they even create something that’s never been done before. The chef is somebody who, like on Chopped on Food Network, can take a basket of the most random ingredients in the world that you would never put together. And they can make something extremely unique.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:32:04] The cook, on the other hand, is somebody who takes that chef’s recipe and replicates it. They follow steps. They are cooking under people’s food. They are not creating anything original to them. They are following instructions and replicating and executing. So, I think that that’s really helpful in your business to constantly be asking yourself am I being a chef in this or am I being a cook? And what I see on online businesses is a lot of cooks.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:32:36] And I think that sometimes when people are like, "I can’t believe this person is so successful?" What you’re actually seeing is that this person was a chef. They were acting like a chef. They did something unique. They did something different.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:32:47] And Tim Urban encouraged us when thinking about this, to ignore what’s normal. So, a part of this is that, again, going back to this idea of if you’re only looking at the way that other people are doing this in your space, that’s the "normal." And then, you’re limiting yourself by looking at that and seeing like "This is the way I have to do it." And by getting it out and the reason I’m encouraging you to unfollow, unsubscribe, whatever, is because by getting that out of your vision, you can actually start to come from a creative place where you can envision and see something that maybe nobody else has seen before. That’s possible. As entrepreneurs, we have those kinds of brains but you need to give yourself the space to do that.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:33:34] When I was little, my mom went to med school, and so she graduated when I was – I don’t know – seven, eight, something like that. And when she wanted to go start her own practice – she never wanted to go work at a hospital. My mom wanted to do integrative medicine. She was way ahead of her time – my mom was like, "I’m going to start this practice and I’m going to do integrative medicine. And I’m also not going to take insurance because insurances aren’t going to pay for it, but people can submit for reimbursement."
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:34:01] And I remember – I mean, I was like eight. I didn’t know anything – people would tell me like, "Your mom’s crazy. That’s crazy. You can’t do that. First of all, you can’t be a new doctor who just starts her own practice. You can’t do integrative medicine where you tell people food is really important, and movement, and mindset, and all these stuff. Like, that’s crazy. It’s all about other stuff. And you can’t not accept insurance. No one will pay you." And she was just like, "Yeah. I think it’s a good idea."
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:34:29] Just because nobody was doing it didn’t mean that that wasn’t something she could do. And so, I was fortunate to grow up watching somebody who, like my mom, has the confidence of – I don’t know – a titan. And she was just like, "Just because it’s not normal doesn’t mean I can’t do it." You got to ignore what’s normal. That might be what you actually need to breakthrough and come up with a good idea, but you can’t do that if you’re just absorbing all the stuff for all these other people and making that your box, your limit.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:35:02] Number four – let’s get to number four takeaway – people get down with the numbers. Successful people get down with the numbers. They know acquisition cost. They know churn rate. They know lifetime value. They know how many subscribers on average they’re growing, and what rate, and what they’re losing, and all this kind of stuff. Not from a vanity metrics perspective, but more they’re digging into the data to get feedback on what’s working and what’s not.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:35:28] I think that if you’re implementing something like, let’s say, you’re going to commit to emailing your list once a week, or you’re going to commit to doing now twice a week, you have to commit to that for long enough that you get some data out of it. And I think that’s a mistake that earlier stage entrepreneurs make a lot is that they make a lot of changes really quickly and then don’t track anything. So, they don’t do anything for long enough that’s trackable. And they just don’t track anything, period.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:35:56] So, I think if you were going to do that with your email list, for example, even just something as simple as that, where are we tracking this? Do you have a spreadsheet where you’re talking about this? Were you going to track open rates, click through rates, subscriber numbers? How many are adding every month and how much you’re losing every month? So, we understand how you’re growing over time. Does emailing them once a week help? Does it get the open rate up? Does practicing something with your subject lines help? All that kind of stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:36:24] So, that’s what we want to do. You want to take little notes in your spreadsheet if you start, for example, editing the preview text of your email list, which I do sometimes, which is where you change the line that they see and there’s a rate beneath the subject line in their email. So, that’s not the first line of the email. You can put a little summary or something. If you start doing that, note the date on your spreadsheet when you start doing that. Does it help? Does it help people open the email more? If you start changing something with your links, do your link click through rates change? So, track. They like numbers these people, that’s what I noticed.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:00] Tip number five that I took away from this conference is that titling things is so important. I just felt like it was a wake up call about titling. And I’m talking about titling your podcast episodes, your blog posts, the subject points of your email, literally everything that we’re titling.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:19] I thought a couple of main themes I heard over and over again, and Sam Parr talked about this, who’s the founder of The Hustle, he said to go with titles that play to awe and curiosity and anger. For the anger piece, I was curious about this one and somebody asked a question, he was saying not something that’s going to piss somebody off when they read. You’re not trying to be inflammatory.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:46] The example he gave on the anger piece was an article he wrote titled Why Buying a House is a Terrible Idea? And it just gets people fired up. People have various strong opinions on both sides about there are people who think that buying a house is a terrible idea. And then, there are people who are really offended by hearing that, and people like myself who bought several houses by now. It’s like I’m not offended but I’m like, "Hey. I bought a house." So, that kind of emotion.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:38:17] Another thing that Sam Parr talked about was that he talked about how our eyes as readers and consumers, like if you were doing a blog post, for example, we see the picture that you used at the top, followed by the main title, and then the subtitle. So, in that order, your eyes actually see the picture, the title, the subtitle. So, he was saying that a lot of people dial it in with pictures on their site, which I thought was really interesting and something I feel like I have done as well. And so, having that picture actually maybe tell you something about what this article or podcast episode is going to be about, and making it a little interesting. I mean, some people make them kind of fun. Some people play to emotion. Just using this stock images or whatever, I think, might be dialing it in a little too much. So, I thought that was super helpful. And then, again, focusing on this title stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:39:12] He was also encouraging us not to use sad titles. He’s like, nobody wants to read sad titles. And then, also, for searching on topics, I thought for all those of you who are in the coaching space, he gave us this really good run down of searching Reddit trends. A lot of these guys are really into Reddit, which I thought was another interesting takeaway. But he uses Reddit to see what’s going on.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:39:36] Like, he went in real time and showed us a Reddit thread about diet and fitness. And then, going through there, you can see which posts are getting the most engagement. And somebody in this example on that day have posted something about the keto diet and it was something about electrolytes related to the keto diet. And he was just doing all this as an example. It wasn’t an endorsement of anything so don’t worry.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:40:00] But he was just showing us as an example that this was a topic that people jump on and people were talking about like crazy on Reddit. And so then, he was like, "Here’s what I would do with that, I would go and I would write an article about are your electrolytes in the toilet, because the keto diet -" you know, some better title. But the point being he went and got this idea from looking at what was going on in the space and what were people talking about. And somebody had pointed out an interesting, I guess, connection between electrolytes and keto diet. So, I thought that was a really helpful way of looking at it.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:40:36] Number six, where so many public speaking tips that I’m not going super deep into only because Mike Pacchione was the person who gave all these incredible speaking tips, and I loved him so much and thought he was so great. And, no, not just because he lives in Philly and I’m from Philly, but because he is so good at helping you to learn how to be a better public speaker both on stage and anywhere else on your podcast, and Instagram, and YouTube, whatever, his tips would really apply. But, also, he’s really helpful in helping us craft our story, like when we have to pitch, to be on someone’s podcast, to be on stage. And I liked him so much that I asked him to be on the podcast, so he’s going to be on the podcast really soon.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:41:22] So, I just want to give you a couple of the highlights here, because I’m going to let him actually teach you how to be a great public speaker. But some of his more, I would say, mindset tips that I thought were insanely helpful was that Mike said you have to be entertained by your own speech. And remember when we say speech, we’re not just talking about on stage if you’re not there yet. This can be like you giving a webinar or a training on Instagram or whatever.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:41:52] So, Mike said you have to be entertained by your own speech. That had me thinking about how and what we talk about. The things that we’re the most passionate about. The things that we could talk about in our sleep. They don’t feel hard or boring. We don’t feel like it’s an obligation to have to talk about it. Because if it’s like that to us, it’s going to be like that to them, to whoever we’re speaking to.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:42:15] So, I think it’s really important that getting back and getting centered to whatever you’re talking about in your business to make sure that you are entertained by it. Do you think it’s interesting? That’s going to come through in the way that you talk about it. And you’re going to attract other people who are genuinely entertained by it too.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:42:33] The other thing that Mike said that I just thought was so solid was that, don’t wait for permission to be good. The audience doesn’t need to confirm that it’s good. You have to feel like you’re the right person to be there. And when Mike said this, I was just like, "That is so true." You have to feel like you’re the right person to be there before everybody else is going to think that you’re the right person to be there. That’s just how it works. So, I thought those were two huge takeaways from Mike’s talk. Like I said, I’m going to let him give you his incredible public speaking tips. You guys are going to love him. He’s just the best.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:43:07] Number seven, Dr. Ben Hardy came and spoke. And he talked a lot about the future, and how we spend too much time in our current and our past. And he encouraged us to ask when doing things in our business and when making certain decisions, is this a cost to or an investment in my future self? Is this a cost to or an investment in future self?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:43:35] He was saying that we don’t clarify our vision or our goal for the future. We stay way too much in the now, in the past. And, again, just going back to this common theme of staying in this little minutia of this is what’s trendy right now, this is what I want to do right now, this is how many people I want to have following me on Instagram right now. It’s all this small ball stuff. It’s not what is the big vision.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:44:00] Like, if you have all these Instagram followers, even if you have all these people in your email list, take away the vanity metrics thing – and I’m talking more about, you know, I’m encouraging you to build things that are more long term, like an email list – what are you doing that for? What’s the future goal there? And what are you doing with them? How are you nurturing them?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:44:22] Dr. Ben Hardy was saying that we spend a lot of time between the short term rewards and immediate battles. So, the short term rewards are things like social media likes and followers, or maybe like a quick win in your business. And we also spend a lot of time in the immediate battles which is like, "I need my money now." It’s a very practical concern, you need to live, you need to make an income. You also have life stress, maybe you have children or you have an aging parent or you have financial stress or a stressful job. So, we spend a lot of time just like kind of batting around between those two things.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:45:01] I hear this all the time from people where they’re like, "I need to make money fast for my business. I’m not making enough. I’m not happy about this." And then, they’re posting crazy on this short term reward platform like social media. So, we’re not spending enough in time in is this a cost to or an investment in my future self, in my future business? Where there is headed? What’s our vision? What’s our goal for the future?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:45:30] You can definitely go and listen to my podcast episode I just released, Episode 51 with Louise Henry. It was a guest episode where she helped us focus on goal setting, and I thought that was really helpful.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:45:35] All right. Number eight is all about being high value or generous in value. A big takeaway I had in one of these was from Glo, actually, where she gave us the example of selling a $29 product. She was like, "If you sell a $29 product, your $29 product should not have $29 in value. It should have a lot more to it, so it should be much higher value so that they actually become a fan." And so, kind of getting out of this mindset of, "Oh, someone is only paying $29 for this, I’m not giving them anything because that’s nothing." Well, first, if you have that kind of resentment around it, you shouldn’t be offering it. But I also thought this was a really good reminder in just going above and beyond. And, oftentimes, that actually pays dividends.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:46:18] People say that to me all the time about the podcast that they got a lot out of my podcast, that they got a lot out of my free legal workshop. And then, they still need the legal templates. They still want to work or be in my community. So, it’s okay to give a lot of value.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:46:34] I also thought it was really interesting, speaking of this value thing, that there were so many people there who had built this gigantic email list. Like, we’re talking some millions of subscribers. Lots of people I met who had hundreds of thousands of subscribers. And they were focused on making sure that what they were emailing their lists or the content that they were putting out there to generate leads to get on to their email lists.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:47:00] In a lot of their examples, it was blog posts or podcast episodes that they turned to posts on their site were really good. And that’s what kept people coming in. So, the content that they’re creating to pull people in was really good, really high value, actually help people, good writing, well-sourced, all of that. And then, when they’re emailing their email lists, they’re sending them really good stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:47:23] And I just feel like sometimes in our industry, the good stuff part gets lost. And I’ve talked about this a lot when I talk about people who teach you how to create courses and encourage you to do this and that. And I’m like, "Did you ever notice that no one ever talks about creating a good course, like that you have to create a good course?" All they ever do is talk to you about what kind of lifestyle it will afford you if you sell courses. But they never talk about how your course actually has to be good. It has to be helpful. It has to be original. It has to actually provide some sort of transformation or some tangible benefit in order for somebody to enjoy it. And like it enough to (A) not ask for their money back, but (B) also tell other people about it.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:48:05] And so, sometimes I just feel like there are people who teach you how to get more followers on Instagram or more subscribers on YouTube. They’ll teach you, like, hacks with titles and things or descriptions and meta data. But what about good, high quality, valuable content? And I felt like that was just what I took away from so many other people who spoke and over the last couple weeks signed up for their emails and got on their websites and write these articles, I’m like, "These are really good. They’re really helpful. They’re unique." Even the think pieces are from a different angle that I wouldn’t have thought of. So, high value generates some value.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:48:45] Okay. I got two more for you here. Number nine, what does success mean for you? That was something I took away from the conference was really getting clear on what success means for you, not for them, not for her, not for any of them, him, nobody else. What does it mean for you?
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:49:02] Cara Chase encouraged us to name three additional success metrics that aren’t financially based, that aren’t money focused. Think about that. Like, I would love to hear what yours are. If you want to share them with me, I’m happy to share mine with you. If you want to DM you, I’ll DM you back what mine are. But name three success metrics for you that aren’t based on money. I think that would be so interesting.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:49:28] Khe Hy, he was another speaker, who’s a credible speaker. He’s Owner and Founder of radreads.co. He said that he, for example, go surfing for two hours every single morning. And he doesn’t start work until 11:00. Khe, like me, left corporate. Well, he left Wall Street. I left being a corporate lawyer. But he left this life that was hyperstructured and rigid and had worked a million hours and all this kind of stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:49:55] And this is what was important him, of course, he wants to be profitable and do well. He is a very successful guy and he is very driven. You can tell. But these were success metrics for him. Like, if his business is allowing him to go surfing for two hours every morning, and his team only works a 30 hour work week, I feel like if we could ask Khe, he would say that’s success to him. And so, I thought that was super helpful to hear.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:50:22] And speaking of Khe, the last thing I want to leave you with here on kind of my overarching takeaways is that, Khe gave a great talk and he writes a lot about this, and I’ll drop all these links to everybody’s websites and newsletters and everything below. Like I said, he is the founder or RadReads. He has this concept called $10,000 Work, 10K Work. And he breaks down this whole system of $10, $100, $1,000, and $10,000 work that you do in your business.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:50:53] And I’m going to try to summarize it quickly for you. $10 and $100 work is the execution stuff. It’s like posting on social media, answering your emails, sending invoices, and getting clients onboarded. He defined it as the dopamine hits. Like, we get more followers or you get a lot of likes and something. You get a lot of responses to an email. It’s things like Inbox Zero, scrolling and engaging, spending all of our time on social media, researching hashtags, watching yet another free thing on this is the kind of hashtags you need to use or whatever, all that kind of stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:51:32] The $1,000 and $10,000 work is where we start to get a little bit into the deeper stuff. So, we’re talking more growth and deep work as a CEO. So, the $1,000 stuff is like the stuff that only you can do. You will probably have to do the writing. You have to do the videos, the content that shows your face, the speaking. For me, it’s things like Facebook Ads and tons of writing, and recording the podcast, and all that kind of stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:51:58] But the 10K work is stuff where we start to hire and train others to do the things under the $10 and $100 work stuff so that we kind of get out of it because that pays us dividends. So, hiring and training others. One to many opportunities, so things that we can work on that we can create that then can make a lot more. Staying in this space where we can actually focus on – well, I should say is getting in the space where we can actually focus on the big idea, the big vision.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:52:31] Khe actually challenged us all at the conference to spend 25 minutes a week, if we could just commit to 25 minutes a week where you just lay and did not nothing and just had silence, and you thought about big vision, big picture, big idea that you’re working on. Maybe you have a little inkling, a little kindle of something already.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:52:49] And then, of course, client work. Because for those of you who are working with clients and servicing your clients, that’s really important, and only you can do that unless you have the kind of business where you can outsource that kind of stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:53:01] So, those were my biggest takeaways. I want to make sure though that I give you some of these overall themes to walkaway with. If I could boil this all down, these are my overall themes I want you to walkaway with.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:53:14] The day to day task of our businesses are keeping us from our future. The day to day task of building our houses on rented land is keeping us from building a legitimate business that is probably the kind of business that you want to have. We create too much content based on trends or on platforms where it’s not actually creating leads for us. It’s keeping us on a content treadmill and it doesn’t allow us to move forward and actually build our business. We’re not able to zoom out because we’re consuming so much, we’re creating so much content that’s very shortsighted, that has a very limited lifecycle. And unless you have like a killer system setup, like I’ve talked about how I only do evergreen Reels as much as I possibly can, so Reels that if somebody watches it today or a year from now, it’s still leading them to a place in my business that makes sense. Unless you have that kind of system setup, we’re spending time so much time focusing on that and not enough, or in some cases any time on the bigger picture, long term stuff.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:54:20] Another big takeaway I had is that, it is helpful to be super specific and great at one thing. Like, you can be known for just one thing or one angle or one spin on something. Your email list is extremely important. I can’t emphasize this enough. I just think that email list thing is not going away. We might have changes in how we approach our email list. I don’t know that I got tons of like, "Here are the trends that are coming. Or, here are changes that are coming up at the conference." But it was more hearing how other people are building their email list and what they’ve been doing with this kind of content, like I’ve been talking about this entire episode. That was really inspirational for me in like, "Don’t underestimate your email list. Don’t dial it in. Don’t just be emailing them to say here’s another blog post, or here’s this, or I’m on this podcast." We want to create a community there. We want to give them exclusive content. We want to make it a fun place to hangout.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:55:20] I also took away that we cannot wait for an invitation. We cannot wait. I always use the dating analogy of like if you were looking for a date, you cannot stay at home in your apartment and hope somebody knocks on your door. Nobody is knocking on your door to invite you to come speak on a major stage, or to be on someone’s podcast, or to have more customers. You have to be out there campaigning.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:55:44] That came from Chloe Weaver, who spoke. She was a cinematographer. A really cool speaker at Craft + Commerce. And she talked about not waiting for an invitation or permission from others. Not expecting others either to read your mind as to what you want. In Chloe’s case, she talked about how she’s been working her way up the camera operator, cinematographer, photography director path in the film industry. And she kind of expected that the people that she was working with on set just knew that she wanted to climb. But that’s not always true for people.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:56:21] There are certain jobs within the cinematography section of a film that some people like to stay in and other people like to climb and try all different things. And it wasn’t until she actually started to let people know like, "Hey, I actually do want to be the director of photography." Then, people started to be like, "Oh, okay. Sure. Come on in." But she was expecting someone to just assume or know and read her mind. We can’t do that.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:56:45] We also have to take a lot of swings. I think I just walked away from this conference being like, "Man, this people, they have gone up to bat. They have swung. They have struck out. They have hit grounders. They have hit doubles. They have hit triples. They have hit tons of homeruns. And they have struck out again after the homeruns. And it’s just like this massive cycle of taking a lot of swings." And I think that sometimes the danger of social media can be that we’re seeing people’s homeruns but we’re not seeing all the strikeouts and the grounders and the doubles and whatever else. So, just remember that as you are doing this, this is all part of the process. You are taking a lot of swings. You need to take a lot of swings. It’s important actually.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:57:30] Last but not least I want to leave you with, be the chef. You knew that was going to be my takeaway, right? Be the chef. You have got to be the chef. You cannot be cooking other people’s recipes if you want to create something, not only that you’re really proud of, but something that’s successful however you define that term.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:57:50] I think that it’s really tempting in the beginning of our businesses to just be like, "Oh. This is the way it has to be done." But we’ve got to create something that’s uniquely yours. And so, for any of you, too, that are concerned that your space is crowded, more and more people are coming in everyday, and you see all these other people doing what you’re doing. You’re like, "There’s no space for me. Someone is already saying what I’m saying." If you’re being the chef, that wouldn’t be true. If you’re just trying to be another cook, then that could be true because then you’re cooking the same recipes that everybody else does. And then, why go to you versus the other cook’s restaurant? But people love going to chef’s restaurants. People love going to places that are unique and that are innovative. And I just want to encourage you to lean into that in your own business.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:58:37] I’m going drop all the resources that I’ve mentioned in this episode today. I’ll try to make sure you have links to everybody’s website or whatever they have. They have Instagram. I will link to that all below.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:58:50] And I would love it if you would reach out to me on Instagram and let me know what your takeaway was from this episode. Like, out of all the things I mentioned, which one was the one that you were like, "Oh, I needed to hear that." I also hope that you liked hearing this recap. Let me know if you like hearing this recap about the conference, because I’m going to another major conference at the end of this month, and I would be happy to do the same. But that one’s going to be a lot about podcasting and marketing. So, let me know if you would like me to this again when i go to the podcast conference.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:59:23] With that, I hope you have a great rest of your day. And thank you so much for listening to On Your Terms.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:59:31] 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 podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:59:45] 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.
Sam Vander Wielen: [00:21:10] Just remember that although I am a attorney, I am not your attorney and I am not offering you legal advice in today’s episode. This episode and all of my episodes are informational and educational only. It is not a substitute for seeking out your own advice from your own lawyer. And please keep in mind that I can’t offer you legal advice. I don’t ever offer any legal services. But I think I offer some pretty good information.
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