Stacey's a teacher who helps other teachers create side hustles over at sidehustleteachers.com. As she puts it, “Being a teacher doesn't mean you have to be broke.” But how can she coordinate her course launch with multiple start dates, since teachers have different school schedules all over the country? We're going to dig deep on that question and a lot more today, including some different types of marketing, so enjoy!
We start off by talking about why Stacey's decided to niche down and the methods she's using to communicate with her audience. Next, we dive into the heart of Stacey's current issues: How to create a course launch for teachers with different start dates. I offer tactics and strategies for grouping students together and creating an easy-to-manage approach. We talk about creating an early bird launch strategy and keeping each group engaged, then we pivot to a few other tactics, like utilizing Stacey's podcast in her launch strategy, connecting with influencers, niche and affiliate marketing, and more. Stacey wraps up the call with new ideas and some great blueprints for the future.
What You'll Learn:
Learn how to coordinate an online launch with multiple start dates, plus marketing tactics so you can ensure its success.
AskPat 1057 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to AskPat 2.0, Episode 1057. AskPat 2.0 is a podcast where you get to listen in on an actual coaching call between myself and an entrepreneur just like you. And today we're going to be talking with Stacey from sidehustleteachers.com. I love what she's doing because as she says, “Being a teacher doesn't mean you have to be broke.” She helps teachers create additional income through side hustles. And she's doing some fun things, fun, exciting, new things that we're going to be talking about today that she needed a little bit of help sort of just understanding how it was going to all work, how the launches were going to happen and all that good stuff.
So, before we talk to Stacey however, I do want to thank today's sponsor which is FreshBooks.com, one of my favorite companies because not only just because they're an amazing sponsor for the show, but because they're an amazing piece of software that allows you to better organize the financial things that are happening in your business, from your income, your expenses, and of course your invoices. If you do any invoicing of any kind, you should be using FreshBooks because it allows you to create a professional invoice in less than thirty seconds. They allow you to keep track of all that stuff and even understand who has even yet to open those invoices so that way you can follow up properly and get paid like you deserve.
So if you want to get a thirty-day free trial please check it out. You know that you've been needing some help with your finances, right? So go to FreshBooks.com/askpat and just get the free trial. It's a thirty-day free trial. Just make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section so that they know that I sent you. FreshBooks.com/askpat. Make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. Cool. Let's do this. let's talk to Stacey from Side-Hustle Teachers. Here she is.
Hey Stacey, welcome to AskPat 2.0. Thank you so much for being here today.
Stacey: Thanks, Pat. I'm really excited to dig in.
Pat: Yeah, let's talk about you and what you do. So, how about you just share with us for a couple minutes what that is exactly.
Stacey: Well, I wear a number of hats. I'm a full-time teacher, primarily, but I also have a blog and I recently started coaching other teachers on how to start a side hustle to give them some options for a little bit more financial security, and teaching for forty years is a really long time so having options is a good thing.
Pat: That's really great. How long have you been helping other teachers for?
Stacey: I just niched down to teachers this year. I've been working with moms a lot for the last year, and now I just started working with teachers primarily, last fall.
Pat: Oh interesting. Tell me a little bit about why the niching down? Like, where did that come from?
Stacey: I had an idea for a group program. It's actually the one we're going to talk about today, Side Hustle Summer Camp. And I had it last spring, and it just came about in my head too late to actually put it into action for last summer. So I kind of put it aside and it just kept calling me back. And I couldn't stop thinking about it. And I finally decided, all right, this is something I have to pursue and I need to narrow my focus to help just teachers so that I can really make that a reality for myself and for them.
Pat: I think that's a fantastic move, just personally. You having that experience as a teacher as well, you already have connections to people that you can help and a lot more clout as a teacher speaking to other teachers and I think that's really smart. And what I also think is cool is that you're listening to your gut here. I think a lot of entrepreneurs need to do that a little bit more because sometimes we kind of get dissuaded by other people and other people's examples and we're like, oh I need to start this and then start that. But here you are listening to really what's calling to you. So tell me about this program and then let's talk about it.
Stacey: Yeah, so I found that a lot of the teachers that we're talking to, they were really interested in having a side hustle and starting a business, because I'm sure you know so many teachers have second jobs just to make ends meet. But having another boss is not ideal, so a lot of people would rather work for themselves. They'd rather set their own hours. So they kept asking me, how did I make this work, how could I work the time out, and all those other things. And so it really started to reform in my head that one of the things that people need to get over is that first initial how do I even get started, and some of the mindset blocks that come along with well, I'm just a teacher, and all those other things.
So I started to sort of put together this idea in my head of helping teachers set up the backend of their business. Like figure out, do I need a website? Do I want to go with a WordPress? Do I want to start a blog? Do I want to start a podcast? And thinking through all of those questions that you need to go through before you really jump in, and giving them a safe place to do that with people who get it and understand the time pressures of being a teacher and also having gone through that myself a few times, various businesses, I can come from a place of experience. So this idea of using the summer vacation to get that backend work done really started to form in my head—that would be a fantastic time for teachers to really dig in to something. Take a break from the school year, take a break from thinking about teaching all the time, and really focus on something they're passionate about. It might be education related but it might not be.
Pat: Have you spoken to anybody else about this yet?
Stacey: Oh yes. Yeah I have a group on Facebook now called Side Hustle Teachers and one of the first thing I ask people to do is fill out a really short survey and the last question is, “Do you mind if I give you a call?” so that I can actually talk to people about what their struggles are. A lot of people haven't started yet so they're thinking about it. And my freebie is related to different side hustles teachers can do. So that's another good starting point. So I'm getting out there and I'm in a couple of teachers groups so when I see people really struggling with that “I don't know if I can do this for forty years” question.
Pat: This is very well thought out. I think that the summer time obviously is kind of the only time that this would be able to happen, which is great. I also, in my eyes, especially when you said, “Oh I'm just a teacher,” to me that's a super power that not everybody has. So let's flip the switch that you're giving them that ability to use that super power in different ways now, which is amazing. So what's on your mind with this? What can I help you with, related to this? Because it sounds like you've got things figured out in your head. I'd love to know what I can help you figure out.
Stacey: Yeah, well the biggest question I have is that I know I'm laying out the program. I'm talking to people about what exactly they want in the program. But with the American school system, we're not all on the same time schedule. So what we find, or what I'm finding is that some teachers—I was actually looking it up today and some teachers go back to school as early as mid-July and then there's teachers like myself in the north who, we didn't get out of school until June 29 last year. So it's a varied schedule. So what I want to do in order to honor that schedule is I want to have a staggered start date so that teachers who get out of school, generally in the south they get out in mid to late May, they can start in June and they can use their summer months to do the program. And then teachers who don't get out of school until mid to late June don't have to worry about starting this program which is going to be fairly intense while they're trying to do finals and grades and all the other end of the year stuff that comes with being a teacher.
So I'm struggling with how to launch a single program with multiple start dates that are about a month apart.
Pat: Great. I have some thoughts on how to do this. Some other questions related to this: what systems are you using for this, if you've decided this already, like actually collecting payments and setting up the sort of back end of this program itself?
Stacey: Well I run through Thinkific. So all the payments would go through Thinkific and Stripe. So that whole thing would be taken care of. It's just a matter of dates and managing that whole thing. Because I really don't want to launch to my audience twice in two months. Especially the same product.
Pat: I mean, I'm considering a single landing page with all three start dates on them. You buy the program now and you can choose which start date there is. It would be preferable if you had group one, they start and finish and then soon after that group two then starts and finishes. And then group three. And that way you don't even have to worry about marketing this thing during that time which often—and like, where I'm at, I have courses where I have students going through them now and I'm also marketing it to new students, which is a lot. I wish I could just focus on the students and then later focus on the marketing, which I know some people can do. But your schedule seems to be perfect for that.
So this is marketing season now, which is why it's smart you're having this conversation. Like, how should I launch this, and let's get it up and let's get it on their calendars and let's get them in the program and get them excited about it so that when it's time for them to start they can start.
So I would actually say just—the question I always ask myself is, and I got this from Tim Ferriss: If this were easy what would it look like? Like, let's stop trying to over complicate everything. And I'm not speaking specifically to you. I'm just speaking to all of us entrepreneurs, myself included. So why couldn't you just say, get in the program, here are the three start dates for the summer. You can choose the one that best fits your schedule. And come in when you're ready. And they get to choose. And they have to . . . maybe you do a bit of like, all right guys, the June session is starting on June 10. If you want to be a part of this first group this is the time to get in and be a part of that. Maybe part of the benefit is also that they would have access to if they wanted to, all three groups because it's essentially just going to be the same. I don't know if that would mean there's any additional work for you.
Or maybe it does mean that they do . . . the management of three different groups in one course and like separating the students of that, how do you tag them? How do you give them access to it but not access to it? That, to me, is confusing. Which is perhaps where this question is stemming from. What if you just said you get access to the course and we're going to start with a group of students in June? And we're going to go through the month worth of content and then you'll be done. And you can start in July. We're going to go through a month worth of content and you'll be done. And then we're going to go in August and you can . . . whichever. So that way it's all set up and people have actually more options and it's just, to me that's a little bit easier.
Am I missing anything there? How does that feel to you?
Stacey: Yeah, I'm just concerned because it's a very . . . it's not so much a course as a group coaching program. So it's very hands-on for me. So my plan was to have one launch June 3, which is right after the southern schools sort of get out, and then have another one that would start July 1 for the northern. And also because teachers are generally overachievers, I'm also offering a local version of this through my parks and rec for teachers who are local to the area.
Pat: That's cool. I like the idea of testing a live one because then what if this becomes something that you or even people that you hire do elsewhere? So that's really cool. Okay so I understand. So it's going to be group coaching.
Stacey: It is an eight-week course, or an eight-week program.
Pat: Got it. So eight weeks. You don't want to give . . . it would make sense to separate them and to have—in your eyes it would make sense to have the group of students who are in for June, and you just know that whenever they come on that call you know that that's that group of students. It's like, never mixed up, right? In your eyes that would be easier to manage if the system was in place, right?
Stacey: Yeah, I think so just for the fact that they're going to be working on different content than the group that starts a month later, because they're going to be digging into the initial things while this other group is a month ahead.
Pat: Got you. So if this was a more automated thing where it was less of you involved, then I would say the first idea would probably be the best because there's just less moving systems. In this case, what you could do is you could actually create three versions of the Thinkific course, and one is the June one, one is the July one, and one is the August one. They each run for eight weeks and there will be a moment at the second half of the first one when the new students are coming into the second one. But that way they're each managed as students of that particular course based on that particular group.
Pat: And it does add just a tiny bit extra work in terms of just setting that up, but I think in time that's going to be much easier to manage because if you wanted to send the email to all the August ones, you can just send them the email, right, through Thinkific or if they're tagged in your email as such. The sale of that would be the most interesting question.
So how do you do that? So I would say it would be a landing page outside of Thinkific, perhaps on your website even, that says here are the dates and the sessions. You have your June eight-week one. You have your July eight-week one and your August eight-week one. Underneath each of those is a button that then links to the sale of that particular session. So it actually starts outside of Thinkific.
And I know Thinkific does have it's own sales page builders and things like that, but just you being able to help people understand what is available to them and have them go yes I'm interested in that, and then set them on that path into that course for that time, that I think would solve all the problems.
Stacey: Okay. Now as far as launching goes, when it comes to . . . like I was thinking of a ten-day cart open, cart close. Would it make sense to do that sort of system before the first session and then maybe even do a surprise open cart for one day before the second session opens? Or should I just let sleeping dogs lie?
Pat: I like the idea of having a launch period because that's going to give people a sense of urgency and, “Oh, I have to make a decision. I really want to do this,” and that's good for you because then you can put in all your marketing efforts during that time and actually have sanity outside of that time.
Stacey: Sanity is good.
Pat: Right, as opposed to just always open. So personally I think it would make sense to launch the camp or summit or whatever you end up calling it.
Stacey: Side Hustle Summer Camp.
Pat: Side Hustle Summer Camp is now open for ten days. Choose the time that best works for you. This is like a world launch for any of the times that make sense and there's only that much time to get in. And then it closes. And then you should have those three sessions sort of filled up with your early bird ticket holders or however you want to call it. Your early bird campers. And then if you need to, you can open it up again later and you can increase the price even because now it's a little bit closer to the date of the event, even though it's just a group coaching thing. So you'll have control and options during that point to reopen it if you like. So you can call it, “this the early bird launch,” like the first one.
Pat: People get in there and they get in early at the lowest price and they get to be first come to that particular group and they get to again, choose between one, two, or three. And then they all close. And then they all open again and then they all close. That way you don't have to worry about the staggering of before the second.
Like, to me one and two and three are completely separate. Those are completely separate people. Because they're from completely separate time zones and time and areas of the country. So to me you just—this is the program. And we're doing you a favor by making it accessible to everybody, no matter what kind of schedule you have. And then it closes. And then it opens and closes.
Stacey: Okay. So do you have any suggestions on how to then keep the people who purchase in May, but they're not going to start the course until July, engaged?
Pat: Great question. So a couple things for especially the later group who is going to have to wait a few months. So first of all, you're doing them a benefit by launching it earlier because now they can plan for it. So that's number one. You actually are doing them a favor by letting them know about it earlier. So that's number one. Number two, you have the ability to, even while some of the other sessions are going on or even before summer starts like, getting them excited about it, sharing even some of the wins and success stories that your June students have had to them. Just, I would have in a calendar, every couple weeks, an email that you can write that just gives them on update on how things are going and that way it's just, you know they're being talked to over time. And I would say you set that expectation upfront starting in May, “I will be sending you an email every other week to keep you posted and get you excited and give you some even early materials that you can think about so that you come better prepared.” And then, actually the August group is probably going to get the most excited because you're going to talk a little about what some of the June group is doing. And that'll probably fire them up even more.
Stacey: Yeah. I actually wasn't planning on doing an August group but now you're making me think I want to.
Pat: Oh, or maybe July. I don't know. That's up to you. You know the schedule of teachers better than I do.
I love what you're doing. I think it's so important. I think teachers are completely under served and underpaid and I love that there are people like you out there serving that community. And so, here to help, and I think this is going to be a great thing that they can do to create some side income for their lives. And I think that's fantastic. What else? What else is going on?
Stacey: You know, it's just one of those things, and this is where other teachers get tripped up as well is that we don't have any business training and this is one of the sort of mental talks we do to ourself, and I actually find myself doing it now.
Going into a launch, what are some of the things that I need to remember as I'm going forward into this launch? I'm starting a podcast. A seasonal podcast, so that will start in February and it will go through the launch and then it will close. And then I'm just sort of working on growing the Facebook group and my email list, and so what are some other things that I can do to help get more people aware of this program? Because there aren't a lot of groups where teachers who are looking for side hustles kind of hang out. So I'm in teacher groups and I'm in business groups and I'm sort of like the only overlap there is, really.
Pat: That's kind of cool. You're in kind of uncharted territory. So with the podcast, I like the idea of the podcast, having it seasonal is great because you are controlling your time in that way. Definitely have it through the launch. And even when it closes have a URL that even after the launch closes up people can go to to put in their email for a waitlist. You have to have that, because people are going to hear those episodes and even hear about the launch after the launch is over because podcasts are evergreen. You need to collect those interested parties and even mention we'll let you know when the next launch is coming. And then you get to build that interest even between years. Which is great.
I would look for, if you haven't already, other influencers because the podcast is a great asset to have for connecting with other influencers. It's a great relationship building tool. So if there so happens to be other people out there who are serving the teacher space, whether they teach entrepreneurship or not, if they just help teachers you can go to them, invite them on the show and work with them in some way, collect some information from them. That would be helpful for your audience, but what usually happens is a relationship is built there and when they start to hear about the kinds of things that you are also doing for your teachers, then they might be interested in sharing you with them as well.
On the flip side of that, you don't even necessarily have to have them on your show. If they have a podcast already you should be being on their show because you have this superpower of teaching other teachers how to build a side hustle, and you can give them a taste and really teach them what that's like as a guest on another person's show. So that would be a cool marketing effort that would then lead people to not necessarily even the camp, although you could potentially mention that. But just you and your brand and your podcast where then they start to hear some of these other efforts that you have going on on top of that.
The Facebook group I think is a great place to let people know about the podcast and the upcoming dates. I think the Facebook group is likely highly engaged.
Stacey: They are.
Pat: And they're on the upper tier of interest of this. Those are going to be very important people who are going to be sort of your launch heroes. I would say that they could really help support this idea and you could even go to them to ask questions to help build the thing in the way they want because then you are essentially seeding the idea that this thing's coming even before it happens, and they're part of it. And when they become part of it and they're involved in it, they're going to be interested in it a little bit more. So that would be great.
And then the other avenue that I'm thinking about is I know there's this website called Teachers Pay Teachers and I know that they sometimes run ads on their sites or there are people who sell things to teachers there. This could be a great relationship with that group of people, because I'm sure you're all serving the same purpose: to help teachers get the payments they deserve and the money they deserve for the amazing things they do.
So there could be some interesting organic relationships there with sort of leaders in that space. But also ads, like banner ads, and other things like that there too could be really interesting as well.
Stacey: Excellent. Yeah and the only other thing I was thinking about is—because this is a course for beginners and I figured I would sort of posit this question to you because you're big into affiliate marketing, is that one of the things I was thinking about at the end of the course is to sort of offer next steps as affiliate offers. For example, one of the podcast guests that I have is someone who gets teachers certified in Google classroom and become a Google certified educator. So if that's the route that someone wants to go then they can go that way or to maybe one of your courses or or anything like that going forward. And I'm just sort of trying to talk myself out of creating another course on top of a course.
Pat: Yeah, you should be doing one thing at a time.
Pat: And you're right, there are many other things that your students would be able to get access to that would be helpful, and I think that's the main approach. As long as you know this is helping to serve them then there's no—there shouldn't be any reluctance to share these other offerings.
The other part about this is, is just be completely upfront and transparent about the idea that you are an affiliate, that this isn't done to make more money from people, but these are actually genuinely super helpful things that can help them. Even give them over the top information about this. So this Google certification thing, in addition to clicking here to get access to that course, you have also a hand out for how to use that certification in a person's life as a teacher, just to kind of show that you're here to help and those things only need to be built once. And it's just an additional lesson at the end of your Thinkific course. And then it's just kind of on autopilot.
Then your goal is to just get more students and get them through the eight weeks, and then as a bonus for doing that you actually get more money from people who are going through these referrals, who they're more likely to do that because you've just taught them some amazing things. So I think that's really smart.
Stacey: Okay. I'm so glad. Sometimes it's just really good to hear someone affirm the thoughts that are in your head.
Pat: Right. And down the road maybe there's an opportunity for you, and you get some time back to create that 201 course. This is the 101, let's do the 201. Maybe it's a specialized thing you find, that your teachers are all happening to be going into a coaching sort of thing, versus building something that's more like a software or online course. They're all seemingly going to be coaches because that's their superpower. They love teaching, so you have a level two course for people who take these backend skills and then turn them into a coaching program. And now there's like . . . I'm just thinking way ahead. But you know, like it might go down that route. I would just listen to people.
Stacey: I really like that idea actually. Now I have to make sure I put it in the shoebox.
Pat: Put that away.
Stacey: Put that on the for later list.
Pat: Put it in the 2020 plan. Your 2019 is all about the launch and filling in the seats in this group coaching thing that you're doing.
Pat: Yeah, you're going to rock it.
Stacey: Well, thank you so much. I feel like I could ask questions all day.
Pat: No, you're great. This was a great episode. And we're almost at a half hour, so before we finish up I want to make sure people–and I'm sure listeners here, maybe some of them are teachers or know teachers who'd be interested. Where should they go to find more info about you and what you're up to?
Stacey: My general website is just sidehustleteachers.com. Or if you just want to go to the summer camp page it's just SideHustleSummerCamp.com. It'll take you to the landing page.
Pat: I love the branding, by the way. Side Hustle Summer Camp sounds so cool. It rolls off the tongue really nicely.
Stacey: Yeah, that came to me at 5 AM when I woke up one morning for school and I was like, “Oh, summer camp.”
Pat: Makes it sound fun too, actually.
Stacey: Yeah. It's going to be a lot of work but it's going to be fun.
Stacey: And on Facebook my group is called Side Hustle Teachers, as will the podcast be.
Pat: Perfect. Hey well, great job. Congratulations on everything you've done thus far. And I'm looking forward to—can we connect with you again in the future and invite you back on to talk about how the sessions went, maybe?
Stacey: Yeah I would love to. That'd be great.
Pat: Cool. Thank you so much. Take care.
Stacey: Thanks, Pat.
Pat: All right. I hope you enjoyed that coaching call with Stacey. You can find her at her website—again, in her coaching program and the summer group—at sidehustleteachers.com.
I'm really looking forward to speaking with her to see how it all went, because I'll know exactly when to reach back out to her: After summer. And we can talk about how things went, and wishing her all the best.
So, thank you all so much for listening and I appreciate you. And by the way, if you want to get coached just like Stacey today, you can. There's an opportunity for you: If you go to AskPat.com there's an application button on that page. You fill out that application. I can't possibly select everybody who applies but I select the most interesting people, the most interesting stories to bring on the show. And I want to help you out.
And what's great is not only will I help you out, you'll get to help the tens of thousands of people who listen to this show as well. And that is what is the best part of this show. I love it. I live for it. It's awesome. And I want to just thank you so much. If you haven't yet subscribed to the show, please do so. Just hit that subscribe button and come back next time because we got a lot of great, and even more entrepreneurs to help just like you.
So Team Flynn, you're amazing. Thanks so much. Team Flynn for the win.
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