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SPI 458: Nailing Your Pitch and Growing Your Business with Maria Failla (SPI Pro COTM Winner)

Imagine you got on an elevator today, right now even, with someone who could benefit from your business. You have 60 seconds to convince them. What would you say?

The elevator pitch exercise is one of the most important litmus tests we can use to distill down the messaging of our business and quickly draw in new audience members. To put it bluntly, nailing your pitch is mission-critical. That’s why we launched an elevator pitch contest as our Challenge of the Month on SPI Pro back in July. The prize was an appearance on the SPI podcast, which is why we have Maria Failla on the show today!

The elevator pitch exercise didn’t just help Maria distill the messaging for her podcast — Bloom and Grow Radio — it also helped her understand how best to position her marketing on her website and elsewhere. Hopefully, today’s episode clues you into the importance of nailing your pitch and inspires you to try this exercise for yourself. If you do, tag me on Twitter or Instagram @PatFlynn.

Let’s kick off today’s chat with Maria!

Today’s Guest

Maria Failla

Maria Failla is an NYC-based “plant killer turned crazy plant lady” with a passion to help you love plants as much as she does (or at least help you not kill them).

Maria started out as a professional musical theater performer with a degree in opera. During her first 5 years in NYC, her “houseplant graveyard” had grown to 20 unlucky houseplants. After making her Broadway Debut with Cats and moving in with her boyfriend, she decided to give plants one more try and started with a herb garden on her small balcony. With the help of her Italian mother and the internet, she successfully cared for the herb garden, which empowered her to try houseplants and the rest is history (160 houseplants in 500 square feet!).

Maria created Bloom & Grow Radio as her love letter to plants and to help empower others to experience the incredible change in quality of life that she had through learning to care for plants. Bloom and Grow has grown into a multi platform brand that includes the Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast (1M + total Downloads), Instagram (23K Followers), Youtube (5K Subscribers), and Pinterest (357K monthly viewers). In 2019, Maria did five successful live tapings of Bloom and Grow Radio in Los Angeles, San Diego, Tucson, Philly, and Dallas and had listener meetups in Seattle, Toronto, and Chicago. Through the private Bloom and Grow Radio Facebook group and Zoom calls, she is deeply connected to her audience and ready to continue to serve them in many exciting ways to come!

Take the [free] Plant Parent Personality Test and unlock your plant parent potential by getting a curated list of plants, projects, and podcasts for YOUR personality.

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SPI 458: Nailing Your Pitch and Growing Your Business with Maria Failla (SPI Pro COTM winner)

Pat Flynn:
You’ve all heard of an elevator pitch, right? The idea that you might be stepping into an elevator with somebody who might benefit from hearing about your business. And within a short period of time, you’ve got to tell them all the right words to convince them to do business with you before they leave the elevator.

Well, many of you know that in July of 2020, we launched something called SPI Pro. And this is a premium community, a membership, that you can join if you have a business to connect with others and to network and also get some great advice and get challenged as well.

And speaking of challenges, one of the things we do every single month inside of SPI Pro is a COTM or a Challenge Of The Month. And in October of 2020, I challenged the members of SPI Pro to get in front of a camera and pitch me their business within 60 seconds. No fancy camera tricks, no fun, crazy sets, just you in front of a camera pitching me your business.

And we would award several prizes and we would have a little voting process internally and we did that. And I got to say, every single person who posted a video, congratulations because you have just leveled up in your business.

Learning how to pitch your business, learning the right words to say, learning how to connect and engage with an audience very quickly and help them understand exactly what you do is very, very important. But when you actually have to do this yourself, it can be very challenging.

And so this challenge was meant to test people to, of course, challenge people. And yes, we gave away a number of different prizes and things like that, a lot of recognition. To everybody who participated, you are a winner in my book, for sure. And it was just great because we also got to know each other through that process too.

But the top prize for the number one pitch that was voted the highest internally within SPI Pro would be awarded a spot on the Smart Passive Income Podcast. And I’m very, very excited to welcome this person in today. I’m not going to mention her name. I want you to learn about her through the exact pitch that she shared within SPI Pro for her business. And yes, this was on video. However, you’ll be able to get the gist right after listening to this. Here she is.

Maria Failla:
Okay. Raise your hand if you have ever killed a houseplant before. Well, I am going to be your new best plant friend because I’m the plant killer turned plant lady behind Bloom & Grow Radio podcast, a plant care podcast designed to help everyone successfully care for plants no matter how many plants you might’ve killed in your past. No judgment here.

Through my show, I want to help you feel empowered to successfully care for plants. But more importantly, I want to help you use plants as tools to disconnect from screens and reconnect with yourself.

Plants really teach us patience, empathy and kindness. And I believe if we can practice those skills on plants, we can then take those skills into the world and make it a kinder and greener place.

So if you don’t know where to start, take my free plant parent personality test. It pairs with a list of specially curated plants and podcasts to set you up for success. You can find it at BloomandGrowradio.com/personality and I cannot wait to help you keep blooming and keep growing.

Pat:
So that is none other than the winner of the October COTM – Challenge Of The Month – in SPI Pro, Maria Failla from BloomandGrowradio.com and I cannot wait to introduce her to you today and to have a conversation with her about this exercise itself. You’re going to pull a lot of great tidbits about how she was able to find the right words and how she struggled through this initially, but got through it and then ended up winning this contest and this challenge.

We also talk about her origin story. It’s actually a really interesting origin story, something I didn’t know about until this conversation. And to see where she came from to where she is now in her business is just such an interesting and inspiring pivot. And I know a lot of us are thinking of pivoting in some way, shape or form here in 2021. So let me just drop the intro in really quick, and then we’ll get to the show. Here we go.

Announcer:
Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now, your host – he once had the hiccups for two days straight, no kidding – Pat Flynn!

Pat:
Hey, what’s up. It’s Pat Flynn here and welcome to session 458 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. My name is Pat Flynn, here to help you make more money, save more time, and help more people too. And today to help us out we have Maria Failla from BloomandGrowRadio.com, our winner from the challenge within SPI Pro. And let’s not wait any further. Let’s bring her on. Let’s have some fun. Here we go.

Maria, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thank you so much for coming on today.

Maria:
Oh my gosh, Pat. Is it so nerdy if I say long time listener, first time caller?

Pat:
It’s not nerdy at all.

Maria:
Because that’s what it feels like right now.

Pat:
How long have you been listening to the show?

Maria:
At least three years. And I actually found you when I was learning … I’m entirely self-taught as a podcaster. And I learned about you because I watched – you had made a podcast editing tutorial for Tim Ferriss on Garageband.

Pat:
Yes.

Maria:
And that’s how I found you.

Pat:
No way.

Maria:
I watched your editing video with Tim Ferriss and I watched it a few times and that’s how I learned to edit my podcast. And that was the skill level that I had when I launched. So you’ve been alongside me for this whole journey. So it’s a real treat to be here actually talking with you.

Pat:
Thank you. And wow, that video brings back memories. Tim, I had helped him a little bit with the launch of his show and he was just like, “Yeah, I want to do a video to help my audience learn how to edit. Can you just make it for me and I’ll put it on my channel.” I’m like, “Of course.” And then here we go, years later, we have connections now as a result of it.

Maria:
You’ve got this sweet baby face. You’re clean shaven and it’s so sweet. But hugely instrumental to me. Such a helpful video.

Pat:
I’m so thankful for that and Bloom & Grow Radio is your podcast. And how we’ve gotten connected here today is because you have won a contest in our SPI Pro community. It was a pitch contest, what we call the Smart Tank.

And tell us a little bit from your perspective when you saw the challenge, describe for everybody what the challenge was and what was going through your head and how did you create such a great pitch to come in and win this thing?

Maria:
Well, I first just want to say thank you for making the challenge because I really feel like it’s probably been one of the most instrumental exercises that I’ve done in my three years of building this side-hustle-turned-business.

So on SPI Pro, which is your community that I’m a part of, you do these monthly challenges and they look different every month. And you gave us a teaser the week before the challenge launched. And you said, “Just start thinking about this, but we’re going to have a pitch competition.”

And I have been obsessed with Shark Tank for many, many years. My family makes fun of me because I always cry at the success stories. Every Shark Tank success story, I am fully crying because I’m so excited for the entrepreneurs and I own many of the products that are on Shark Tank.

So I’ve always kind of been infatuated with the concept of a pitch. And I started thinking, I remember I got like, full body pins and needles. I got butterflies when I heard the concept of the challenge and I had never participated in one of your challenges before.

And so something that was so helpful that you did was when the challenge actually went live, you gave us the most effective formula ever for how to put the pitch together. And I opened the Google Drive document and I literally took so many notes from the video you made and then started to sketch out what that looked like for me.

And for the most part, the structure that you provided us was your elevator pitch of what you are, activating pain points and then presenting why you have a solution to that pain point, and then your larger mission.

For me, my larger mission has always been what gets me up in the morning. But I don’t think I had successfully kind of articulated it with my pitches because my podcast is a plant care podcast, I help people successfully care for plants. But everything I do is because I want to make the world a kinder and greener place and I truly believe that if you learn how to care for plants, you’ll learn how to care for yourself and others more effectively.

And that’s my secret thing. That’s my secret motivation, but it’s not really prevalent in my brand. And that was a huge light bulb moment for me. So the first stab I took at doing the pitch, it was three minutes long and you said that the pitch had to be 60 seconds or under and no editing.

And I have a YouTube channel. So I’m very comfortable with doing as many takes as I want. I’m also an actress. So I do as many takes as I want and I edit as I see fit.

It was a full week of work for me. I think probably I had to put maybe five hours of work into the pitch because I realized … there was a weak point and I couldn’t effectively articulate the mission and purpose of my business in under 60 seconds. As you can tell, even in the explanation of this pitch, I like to talk and can be a little long-winded.

So it was a beautiful exercise and I kept having to niche down and niche down and get more and more articulate with what I wanted to say.

And I think my pitch ended up being 58 seconds at the end of the day. But it was such a great exercise and I’ve told so many of my entrepreneur friends in and out of SPI, “You’ve got to do this if you haven’t done this for your podcast yet because it distills your mission and gives you such clarity.” I’m so thankful for the exercise and I can’t believe that the hard work paid off and I’m here talking to you right now.

Pat:
Right? And you won first place in a SPI Pro community vote. And to be honest, it was your connection to the larger mission that did it for me. It was everything that you said that you finally were able to unpack and eloquently share that finally allowed me to understand the purpose of this.

It’s not just taking care of plants. It’s being able to take care of something to allow yourself to take care of even more things. And I have a family and I have kids and now a garden. And I’m sure we’ll talk about that in a minute.

But it’s just, it was perfect. And the way you hooked us in the beginning … I will play, if not already have played, the pitch for people here who are listening to the podcast-

Maria:
Oh cool.

Pat:
Likely they have already heard it. But the way you start out, it’s just like, “Hey, raise your hand if you’ve ever killed a plant.” And I’m just like, “Oh, me.” And it’s like, you got me, right? You got me right from the start.

How hard was it for you to narrow down the words that you were going to share? It’s very easy to come up with a full page worth of stuff. But 30 seconds to a minute, how do you select … what, out of all that, do you keep? How did you rehearse or what did you do to whittle that down?

Maria:
Ooh, great question. I think for me a big part of the whittling was understanding what I wanted to say and understanding what my audience needed to hear.

There was a little bit of a disconnect sometimes there. I think plants are so great for so many reasons, but it really needed to be about, “Who’s killed a house plant before, let me help you care for houseplants and also let me help you cultivate more joy in your life and more ability to care for yourself while doing so.”

There are so many other facets that I would love to dive into, but sometimes it gets too complicated and you need to bring it back to how am I serving the community, not necessarily how am I serving myself. I’m a big part of my brand. So sometimes for me that’s a little bit hard to compartmentalize.

So I think that just going back to the listener, back to the avatar over and over and over again was really helpful.

Pat:
Good. How has defining this pitch now in the way that you have helped you since the pitch contest happened? Have you used it anywhere? Have you experimented with it in any different kind of way? How has it helped you, more than just obviously helping us all mentally just better understand our business? How have you tactically perhaps use this if at all?

Maria:
Yeah. It’s really become the brand script for me for several things. I finally have gotten around to making a trailer for my podcast. It only took three years.

Pat:
Oh, good for you.

Maria:
Yeah. It only took three years. But I want to get into doing some trailer swaps with other podcasts and want that to live on my feed.

It pretty much was the script that I based the trailer off of because the trailer should be around one minute. So I made a few tweaks and the call to action ended up being to the podcast and not to my plant parent personality test. But that was really helpful and that’s what I went back to.

And I also just redesigned my website. I have a real grown-up website now, grown-up business website. I’m so lucky with my web designer and we went back to that pitch script as well to try and use some of the language we found. It’s just been so instrumental to just have this little paragraph that I can keep going back to when I get a little lost sometimes.

Pat:
Yeah, for sure. That’s fantastic. And again, like I said, you won first place, but there were so many winners. Everybody who had participated was a winner. And the beauty of this contest, which was a byproduct, which we didn’t even plan for, was the fact that everybody would get to know each other even that much better through your videos.

Maria:
It was amazing. I’ve connected with so many of them since then. Trudy of … Gosh, she’s from Australia. I’m blanking on her podcast name. But I was actually on her podcast and Trudy and I have become friends and it was so fun to see her pitch. I subscribed to How to Win Life, is that her YouTube channel?

Pat:
I think so. Yeah.

Maria:
Some of the winners, I actually ended up subscribing to their channels and their shows. I didn’t realize, but there was a microgreens expert and he’s in my lane and my field. So we’ve connected.

So it’s just been so fun to get to know people and their brands in that way. I think video is just so fun. It’s so much more fun than just reading a scripted pitch. So it’s been a really, really fun way to get to know people.

And also see how they interpret their brands too because there were a bunch of different tactics that people used and they were all really successful. All of those top five winners, the special recognition ones and some people who didn’t even place, they were all amazing.

Pat:
Yeah, everybody was fantastic. It was cool to see everything unlocked for people once getting a little bit challenged. You had mentioned that when you had been given this task you had some butterflies and a little bit nervous.

I think for me, over the years, I’ve learned that that’s kind of what I want. I want to find moments where I’m challenged in that way because that’s where growth happens.

You had mentioned five hours to put this together, which is a long time but in the grand scheme of things for what it can do for you and what it has done for you already, that’s a small amount of time to invest in something that can make such a big impact on you and the lives of others who are finding your podcast and everybody else who you’re serving.

Maria:
Totally. Every podcaster or potential podcaster who reaches out to me, I always say step one is do your avatar research, write out your target listener. And now my second piece of advice is going to be write your one-minute pitch. I think it’s that level of importance, for sure.

Pat:
Well, let’s talk about your podcast, Bloom & Grow Radio. What do you talk about on the show and how has it helped you in your business? This thing that you started on the side is growing and it’s actually doing really well. I’d love to learn more about how the podcast has helped support that.

Maria:
Yeah. Well, Bloom & Grow Radio was first a podcast. So I had no intention of ever being a podcaster and I’ve actually spent the majority of my life as a plant killer. Which is why, “Raise your hand if you’ve killed a plant,” both my hands are raised and I can relate to everyone at any level of plant parenthood because of that.

So I’m actually a professional musical theater performer, classic plant killer, lived in many apartments over the course of my life. And I like to say, I have a plant graveyard of about 20 plants.

And when I moved in with my boyfriend, when I booked my musical theater dream job on Broadway, and since I was in this epic season of life, I decided to give plants one last try, even though I was notorious for killing plants with so many people.

And the difference there was that I finally was ready to empower myself with education and actually trying to understand how to care for plants and looking at them like living things instead of pieces of decor in my apartment that would ultimately die.

And what happened next was really unexpected and magical. It was a way for my boyfriend and I to connect. We grew these herbs on our balcony and we would cut the chives and put them in our scrambled eggs in the morning and we would watch our little tomato plant grow and it was something really fun for us to bond together with.

And also as a millennial, a millennial living in New York, I would wake up and have coffee with my phone and scroll Instagram. I had no time to myself. And the garden, my little mini garden, gave me a moment of stillness and quiet for the first time in I think my whole life. And I’d love to hear your experience going through that as well.

But for me, my little balcony garden and my plant collection became not only this tool to make my apartment look beautiful, but this tool to just unlock this joy and moments of awe, watching nature do its thing that I was a little blind to.

And also a way to connect with my boyfriend, I would cut my herbs and bring them and share them with my cast members in the show. It was a way to connect with them. It just connected me to this larger feeling.

So when my contract to Cats ended, I decided to do 10 episodes. So I was looking for a podcast on houseplant care and I couldn’t find one. There were none when I was starting out. And I decided I would do a passion project as an artist, not even thinking that it could be anything. And I would do 10 episodes of a plant care podcast where I interview experts as a plant novice on various aspects of plant care and it would be an act of service to other millennials in my position. And each title had, “top houseplants,” “top five houseplants for beginners and learning to practice kindness.: It was this wellness plant care thing. And then I thought I would book another Broadway show and wouldn’t have time for my podcast anymore.

So I thought it would just be 10 episodes. And I wasn’t sure if anybody would listen to it because it was so niche and there was nothing else out there so there was no proven concept.

But through social media, I ended up connecting with this unbelievable community of millennials like me who are going through a very similar experience of learning to care for plants, learning to fill our homes, get that urban jungle vibe and finding so much joy from them, but sometimes not knowing how to successfully care for them.

So a 10-episode little stint in between shows has now turned into a three-year side hustle that’s now quickly turning into a full-time job.

Pat:
That’s so cool.

Maria:
Yeah. Yeah. So it’s been a wild ride. We hit a million downloads last year. I’ve done live tapings across the country of my show. So it’s been pretty wild and extremely unexpected with my degree from opera that I invested a lot of time in.

Pat:
Yeah. Geez, I have an architecture degree-

Maria:
Exactly.

Pat:
And I’m building businesses now, not buildings. Oh, wow. That’s so cool. What an amazing story. And a million podcast downloads from just a little passion project-

Maria:
Plants. It’s about houseplants! Who knew?

Pat:
Plants, something that you used to be terrible at. Now, somebody listening to this, it’s like, wow. How were you able to build this audience not being, quote unquote, the expert on something?

Maria:
Yeah. I definitely went through a lot of imposter syndrome when I started. I definitely thought that I could only go so far because I didn’t have a degree in horticulture.

But I quickly realized that that’s kind of my special sauce in the plant community. I meet my listeners at eye level. Whatever they’ve done, I’ve done and I’ve probably done something more embarrassing.

My favorite thing about reading my reviews — and I think you’ve said this about your show too – but my favorite review is when someone says she asks the questions that I’m too embarrassed to ask. That’s where I like to live.

I notoriously, in my fifth episode, asked one of the leading experts in gardening what mulch was, which mulch is a very basic thing that most gardeners know. But I didn’t know what it was and I think a lot of people don’t know. Our generation is so disconnected from nature and gardening with the way we live.

So I think once I started to understand that that could empower me and not hurt me, that’s when I started to see the potential in not even the business, but in the show, in the longevity of the show.

Pat:
Yeah. That’s super powerful. I think that’s going to inspire a lot of people. Thank you, Maria. You had mentioned gardening earlier being a place to pause a little bit, slow down.

And I know that you’re interested and I’m going to talk about this a little bit, but I had started a garden this year as a result of pandemic and being at home and wanting to just take this opportunity to try something new. I am notoriously a brown thumb as well, just killing every plant including succulents, which is very hard to … You can’t sometimes purposefully do that and I was able to do it.

I have to give a big shout out to a creator that I found who helped inspire me, Kevin Espiritu from Epic Gardening on YouTube.

Maria:
He’s my plant friend. I love Kevin.

Pat:
Dude, he’s so cool. And he lives in San Diego with me and I got to meet him. And when I got to meet him at his house, he was doing a little garage sale because he was moving.

And he’s half Filipino as well. In a very Filipino way, before I left, he was like, “Here, take some dragonfruit with you.” And I was like, “Dude, this is my guy right here.” I love this. This was … bring me back to family vibes.

He’s been helping me out and we built three raised bed gardens. My wife and I have one and then each of the kids have their own. And it’s been really neat to sort of-

Maria:
They do?

Pat:
They do, yeah. And they tend to it, they take care of it and it’s just been really neat to get them involved in something slow. And I think that that’s what the pandemic has done for us as a family. It’s like slow down a little bit and appreciate the small things.

Because, especially with the kids now, they live in an age where, they want to watch a show, they just go on Netflix or YouTube and watch it instantly. Back when I was a kid or when we were kids, you got to go to Blockbuster Video and you might not even know if that thing is available to rent. You might have to wait until the next day, or if at all, maybe never getting it at all.

And gardening is not an instant thing. It takes time. It takes nurturing and care. But definitely if you put that time in, you reap those rewards. You harvest. And having 60 days for something to be seeded and then come in and then we get to eat it and enjoy it together … it’s actually gotten the kids to eat more greens, which has been really cool.

And just having this routine. And even for me personally now, I start my morning going out in the garden. I get a cup of coffee. I sit out there. I know the plants have grown, but they’re not growing before my eyes in that moment. But I know that the work that I did yesterday is helping them grow a little bit more today and it just keeps stacking.

Now, we’re at a point now where the season’s basically over and we bought some Birdies raised bed gardens, which are like galvanized steel container type things that we can use. So I’m going to have to replace everything and then start over. But I’m excited because now that it’s cooler in San Diego, finally I can have some cabbage and lettuce and bok choy and colder weather type stuff. Anyway, sorry. I could talk about this for hours …

Maria:
Look at you go, Pat. Have you started seeing the business-garden parallels yet and the life-garden parallels?

Pat:
A thousand percent.

Maria:
You want to jam on that for a bit?

Pat:
Okay. Talk about planting seeds and putting work in now and having to be patient on a macro-level is very important. Nurturing, like you’re nurturing your audience and caring for them and giving them the things that they need in terms of gardening.

They need nutrients from the soil, they need water, and they need sun. And our audiences need value, they need to be heard, and they need a sense of belonging.

And again, things don’t happen instantly, but then you feel that reward at the end when you start to see these benefits from that hard work. It’s just totally worth it and it doesn’t happen right away. It’s been really cool to see it happen.

Maria:
That’s so beautiful.

Pat:
Yeah. I’d love to hear an analogy from your perspective.

Maria:
Oh, I’d love to share. Man, so 2020 has been rough for me. I mean rough and amazing. I think for many people. But I’m a professional musical theater performer. I was in a show in New York when the city shut down and my show got canceled. I had to reschedule my wedding. I got engaged and was unable to get married this year. And we moved. We gave up our apartment in New York. We’re part of the mass exodus of people who have left and I’ve also been growing this business.

And something I’ve been meditating on so much is the concept of pruning and how pruning, it’s a little counterintuitive when you prune. So you think, “Oh, I’m chopping off the top of the plant. That’s bad. That’s making the plant smaller.”

But actually, what happens is when you chop off the top of a plant, it actually triggers the growth hormone within the plant to push out more growth to make the plant bushier. So you see this with basil a lot. When your basil gets a little leggy, you cut off the top and then more leaves grow out of the bottom.

So through all of these life transitions, I’ve been thinking about pruning so much just saying we’re pruning back, it’s okay, the growth is coming. The hormones are being triggered. I don’t see the growth yet, but it’s coming.

I think also with my business, as I start to hire people and I start to delegate which is terrifying … when I first hired my editor for my podcast, that was such a scary move. But by cutting off the time it took me to edit my show, I was able to now invest in other parts of my business that are now starting to just start to grow. So I don’t know. I’ve been really thinking and meditating on the concept of pruning.

Pat:
Dude, let’s keep going. Let’s keep going.

Maria:
I know.

Pat:
It’s great. This is great. That reminded me … with a tomato plant specifically.

Maria:
Yes.

Pat:
I’ve learned that in the corner of where you have your main, I don’t know, trunk or stem and then there’s little offshoots-

Maria:
Suckers.

Pat:
Right. Yes. The suckers, the little ones that grow right in the sort of like elbow, the best practice is to remove those. So that what happens is now there’s more energy on the most important parts of the plants and no energy being expended on these little things that are really going to do nothing for you. Like you said, now there’s energy put in the right places versus being sort of expelled in places where they probably don’t need to be in.

And very much in business, like you said, we have the option of doing all the things. But if we do all the things, we’re actually not going to give as much energy to the things that probably are going to move the needle for us or would make us most happy. So I love that analogy that you just said.

Another analogy that I want to share is related to something that happened quickly for us, because a lot of times when we’re building our business, we see the light but it’s so far away. It’s like our goal is way over there. Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated when we haven’t seen a win in a while.

Maria:
Yeah.

Pat:
We don’t appreciate those small wins. And something that Kevin really helped me with was understanding this idea of okay, well maybe while you’re growing the big garden out there, you can maybe practice on microgreens.

So we have been growing some microgreens, we bought a couple of trays, we bought a bunch of seeds. Much simpler, much easier. And in literally three days, you start to see sprouts. In seven to nine days, you can already cut those things off and put them in your salads and eat them.

So literally, within a week and a half, the kids and I are already super jazzed because we have something that we didn’t before created from nothing. Now, we’re all inspired and we keep going. And now, every day we’re having microgreens for lunch. And it’s just awesome. But appreciating those small things and maybe not going so big so quickly will get you there even faster.

Maria:
I love that. And kudos to you for getting your kids to eat microgreens at such a young age. That’s impressive.

Pat:
Dude. The sunflowers seed microgreens are the tastiest ones we’ve found, sunflowers.

Maria:
Oh yeah. My mom is an epic gardener. And last year she had 350 sunflowers in her front yard.

Pat:
What?

Maria:
And she harvests the sunflower heads and she gives them to the kids on our block and teaches them if you can take the seeds out, you can plant them next year or you can roast them and eat them.

Pat:
Yeah, that’s cool.

Maria:
But there’s so many teachable opportunities with kids. And also, I feel like important to get kids to kind of reconnect to the food chain and reconnect to understanding where food comes from because I think a lot of us don’t really understand how that eggplant grows or herbs or microgreens and all that stuff.

Pat:
Right. Or we’re just at the grocery store, we’re like, “Oh, let’s just get a tomato.” You don’t even think about how that tomato got there and all it had to go through or what somebody had to do to get that to your dinner table and I really love that.

Wow. Okay. I feel like we could just talk about plants and analogies of business all day and I hope you all enjoyed that.

As we close up here, I’d love to learn more about sort of what the future is for you and your business. As it’s starting to take off, you said that you’re going to be starting to hand off some things to people which is a great step for sure.

Where do you want to take this business? In your vision when you talk about helping people with wellness and of course, mental health, as well as just taking care of others, people and taking care of themselves, ultimately, what in three, five years is your vision for your business?

Maria:
Three, five years. I’m going to be honest with you here, I think before I look down the road for Bloom & Grow, I have a lot of work to do in 2021. I really feel like I’m just starting to see the potential and the true opportunity for what Bloom & Grow could grow into for lack of a better planty-pun, especially as I’m just beginning to transition into taking it full time.

So I’m really excited to figure out what that business plan looks like. My last three years have been a lot of creativity and I’ve been actively kind of filling in the blanks there with the help of a lot of your courses. So I took your affiliate course and established some awesome affiliate partnerships that I’m excited to expand.

We have amazing sponsor partners in our sponsor program right now. That is one of the biggest things about my show that lights me up, that I can help other small plant companies grow their businesses while I grow mine. That is just the coolest feeling.

And your Amp’d Up Podcasting course really helped me establish that sponsor program and we’re really excited to develop it a little bit more.

And I’m currently evaluating how I’m going to best invest in my community of listeners. So whether that looks like some Patreon tiers with exclusive content, or maybe that looks like course offerings, I’m currently kind of evaluating what that’ll look like.

And then in the grand scheme of things, I just want to continue to grow Bloom & Grow Radio and get it to as many plant people’s ears across the world as humanly possible and I want to do what I can to just continue to make it better and the most helpful show.

Once I’ve kind of ironed that out, gotten the basic business plan down, gotten my big girl CEO boots on, I’m really excited to see how I could expand it to other forms of media.

So I’ve got a YouTube channel that I’ve been slowly growing, but I totally could see the potential for books and maybe even a TV show about houseplants and self care and how we can all use house plants to make our lives better.

So I really feel like the sky’s the limit. At the end of the day, I just really want to help everyone successfully care for plants and cultivate more joy in their life, really. So however I can do that on the largest scale is what I’m really excited to see unfold and I will make sure to keep you posted.

Pat:
Amazing. I love that. If we were all, who are listening, you have the opportunity to recommend one plant to start out with, what plant would that be?

Maria:
Well, interesting you asked that question, Pat, because I actually don’t think there’s one blanket starter plant for everyone. I truly think that it comes down to your personality and that’s why I built the plant parent personality test, which was what the pitch was about.

But I think succulents actually are a … You mentioned succulents earlier and people always say, “Oh, I’m a succulent killer. I can’t keep anything alive.” People are notorious for thinking that, it’s actually a huge … it’s fake news that they’re easy to care for.

Succulents are great. Succulents would be a great match for someone who has a lot of sunlight and a job where they travel a lot. If you’re my low-maintenance plant parent, which that’s the personality profile I have for them, they might be consultants that travel, or they have three kids and don’t have time to be watering their plants all the time. A succulent that you can sit on a window sill and forget about, come back to whenever you can, that’s a great match for someone like that.

But if you’re someone like me, who’s a mindful plant parent who likes to engage with their plants every day and miss them and visit them and water them when they can. If my personality was applied to a succulent, that succulent would be dead in a minute because I would over-water it in a heartbeat. Ferns, calathea, prayer plants are a better match for my personality.

So I would say if you would like a recommendation for whatever your plant parent personality is, you should take my test and I’ll give you some great recommendations.

Pat:
That transition right there. I like it. I like it.

Maria:
Yeah. Well for your listeners, they can all go to BloomandGrowRadio.com/spi and we have the personality test embedded in that form for you guys and then a whole bunch of other really fun freebies that can help get everyone blooming and growing no matter what level of green thumb they’re currently at.

So I truly think everyone can successfully care for a plant. It’s just about figuring out where you’re at and what your right match is and I’m here to help everyone do that.

Pat:
Love it. Great transition to the lead magnet. You have a specific landing page for our audience. You’re getting into the thick of all the stuff we teach at SPI, which is great. I love it. I love it.

Maria, this has been fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on. Congrats on winning again. And one more time, where can people go to get access to all those goodies and have their personality test results for the perfect plant for them?

Maria:
Sure. And the test actually gives you recommended plants, projects, and podcasts you should start with. So I’ve got a lot of podcast episodes and I know that’s overwhelming for people. So it’s great. It’ll give you a curated list of places for you to start and it’s BloomandGrowRadio.com/spi.

Pat:
Perfect. Thank you, Maria. We appreciate you. And I will see you in the community.

Maria:
Thank you, Pat.

Pat:
All right. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Maria. And Maria, once again, congratulations, and congratulations again to everybody who participated in SPI Pro.

And of course, whether you are in SPI Pro or not, if you haven’t yet done this challenge for yourself, I would highly recommend doing it. Get a camera set up, just your phone, have it point towards you, and for 60 seconds do your best to see how you might able to pitch your business. I know a lot of people who are in within SPI Pro who have done this exercise, who, like Maria, have already started using this as an asset in their business or on their sales videos, in their website, on their social pages, et cetera.

And yes, it’s a challenge. Yes, it might make your heart race a little bit just thinking about this idea, but that means that this is something that you probably need to do. And I challenge you, the listener, to do this too.

Within the next week, I’m going to give you a week. I’m not going to check in on you. This is going to be on the honor system. But if you do happen to publish it anywhere, please @ tag me on Twitter or on Instagram. I’d love to see it. I’d love to get a feel for it. I’d love to congratulate you for continually leveling up your business, just like Maria did and all the other members of SPI Pro.

And of course, if you’re interested in SPI Pro after hearing this, SmartPassiveIncome.com/pro is where you can apply to see if it’s for you and I’d love to see you in there. And I’m sure everybody else in there would love to see you too.

Here’s to you and an amazing 2021. Thank you to everybody here who had listened all the way through. And again, congrats to Maria and all the participants within SPI Pro.

I appreciate you for being here and for subscribing to the show. If you haven’t done so already, I would highly recommend you do it so you don’t miss any of the great content coming your way later this year including next week’s episode, which is going to be awesome. And I don’t want you to miss it. So hit that subscribe button.

Thanks in advance for all the amazing reviews for the Smart Passive Income Podcast. It really means the world to me and my team. We read them, we learn from them, and we just are so thrilled to continue this journey with you.

So thank you so much. I appreciate you. All the best and here’s to you and your success. Team Flynn for the win.

Announcer:
Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at www.SmartPassiveIncome.com!


Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

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